Somehow, as a young adult, I ended up with some pretty incorrect theories about food and nutrition.
I remember thinking as long as I got calories, I was eating healthy. . . whether those calories came from a bowl full of cookies, a drive-thru fast food meal, or a salad, I thought as long as I was full, it was legit. Because of this faulty thinking, I ate a lot of junk food and processed food, and never once thought about nutritious, nourishing whole foods.
I mean, did any of us, really? Everyone I knew at the time subsisted on cokes, candy bars, energy drinks, fast food. . . and we never really stopped to consider any negative repercussions from this diet.
I never stopped to think about why I might be tired all the time. Why I couldn’t put on weight. Why my teeth had tiny striations in them, why my skin was dry and scaly, why my nails were weak and brittle. . . I just chalked it up to genetics, I suppose.
Several years later, my husband’s and my first child came along. Oh! We were such proud parents! (Still are! 🙂 ) And when my poor little baby was dealing with horrible eczema, it took poring over the interwebs for hours on end to finally get me to start realizing the connection between diet and health. (FYI, here’s a great post on children’s nutritional deficiencies from Weed ‘Em and Reap.)
I remember navigating through those confusing, painful days. Do you or anyone you love deal with allergies? Then you understand where I’m coming from. I would have stopped at nothing to end my baby son’s agony. He had to sleep with socks on his hands, he woke up almost hourly his first year.
And the doctors and dermatologists were either at a loss, or told us the only way to relief was through steroid creams – even ones that have been linked to cancer! (I was also told to slather him with shortening. Like the famous one in the blue can. Not kidding.)
I would search and search, late into the night. That’s how we ended up learning about a real food diet, or as some like to call it, the Weston A. Price diet.
Weston A. Price
Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who traveled around the world in the 1930s studying different cultures, their health, and the connection to their diet. He noted that diseases from diabetes to tuberculosis, as well as facial deformities like crowded teeth and underdeveloped jaws, were not present in cultures that ate traditionally prepared foods (which are also referred to as a “Weston A. Price diet”), but that these diseases were rampant in the Western culture which ate a diet full of refined, processed foods.
Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, truly rocked my world – along with The Maker’s Diet, Nourishing Traditions, and most recently, Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. It was and is heavy reading, but I have learned so much in the process. Our family has been doing better and better with each passing year. I have absolute conviction that my family will definitely one day be 100% allergy-free.
What a glorious day that will be!
And we are about to take one large step closer this month.
The GAPS Diet
After hearing about the GAPS diet for several years, I started to actually consider trying to take it on. Why, you ask? Let me explain a little about the diet.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the GAPS diet is a healing diet based on her studies which reveal the undeniable connection between various psychological as well as physical disorders and the state of our gut. More plainly said, she realized that when the delicate balance in our stomach and intestines was thrown off, it can and does result in a whole host of problems.
Dr. Campbell-McBride cured her child of autism on the diet, which is amazing in and of itself. But the GAPS diet doesn’t just work for autism. . . it also repairs the body to such a state that many psychological and autoimmune conditions disappear.
Like allergies. And eczema. And Chron’s disease. And hormonal imbalances, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, asthma, chronic fatigue, acid reflux . . . the list goes on and on. The point is, rather than genetics, this all stems from an unhappy gut (brought on by years of eating processed foods), and this diet fosters healing and facilitates a return to a happy, energetic, balanced life – the life we should be living – the life we were designed to live!
The diet is a highly restrictive one at first. The Introduction part of the GAPS diet leaves you only able to eat very simple, easy-to-digest foods at first, cutting out all sugar and grains. This kills off all the pathogenic microbes that are lining your gut and preventing you from receiving the proper nutrients your body needs.
Then you gradually add more in until you’re at what is called the Full GAPS Diet. You can read more about it in Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It’s fascinating. This diet is designed to heal your gut – which does take time – but is not designed to be adhered to forever. Eventually, properly prepared grains and other carbs are added back in, once the body can easily digest them.
“Mama, I Want to be Able to Eat Eggs and Cheese”
So as I was saying, my son dealt with serious eczema as a baby, which ended up being caused by serious allergies to dairy, eggs, and nuts. (That’s why all of my recipes are dairy, egg, and nut-free.) Then children #s 2, 3, and 4 came along, all with the same allergies (and some more horrible eczema, as you can see in our second son). We’ve always just dealt with it and cut these foods from our diet, and are extra vigilant at social gatherings centering around food (which, really, includes almost every one).
But the thought kept nagging at me.
When I first learned about the diet, I thought, NO WAY. It seemed too totally overwhelming. Then I slowly learned how to start cooking from scratch and we introduced fermented foods (which is a big part of the diet) and the thought kept creeping back.
My babies want to be able to eat things like cheese, eggs, nut butters…. And by golly, I want them to enjoy it too.
I don’t want to have to watch them like a hawk at social gatherings. I don’t want to have to bring our own food to dinner invites. I want to stop living in fear of cross-contamination. (Oh, the stories we could tell. I’m sure you readers have stories of your own.)
I want to do this. For my babies! And hey, let’s face it – we could all use some gut-healing.
So in a few weeks, we are going to be taking part in this diet. I will post updates on the blog. I would appreciate your prayers for strength and determination. Here’s to healing, from the inside out.
Much love and allergy-healing,
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the GAPS diet, here are some links to get you started:
Are you on the GAPS diet or have you ever considered it? I’d love to hear from you. <3
Read on to our first week on the GAPS Intro Diet
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