Monday, June 3, 2013

Why We are Doing the GAPS diet

As we are venturing into the GAPS intro diet today, I wanted to take some time to explain a little more about Joel's dietary situation and why we are doing the GAPS diet for him and the rest of our family. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Joel had issues with lots of sickness as a baby/toddler. We had him on an insane amount of antibiotics trying to cure what seemed to be the never ending ear infection, realizing now that we were not helping his ears and were also simultaneously destroying the lining of his gut. Once we discovered he had food sensitivities and changed his diet accordingly, his health cleared up! We continued to eat healthier and healthier and have enjoyed a much greater level of overall health in our family as a result.

However, about 6 months ago I began to notice that Joel seemed to be regressing a little. Out of nowhere he got a random ear infection. He seemed to be lacking energy in the morning. And he also started complaining of more and  more stomach aches. With some more probing I also discovered that he was experiencing some minor reflux at times. I had heard before that food sensitivities can change with time so we decided to get him retested. I still am not sure whether doing so was a good thing or a big mistake :)! His list for foods he was HIGHLY sensitive to was huge. I cried when I first got the results.

The good news is that he is doing really well all things considered. We don't have any major issues with him and it could be so much worse. The bad news is that our findings pointed to him not just have a few food sensitivities, but more likely an issue called Leaky Gut. For more info on this read here b/c I won't do the best, most accurate job of explaining it. What I will say is that I have come to understand that this condition causes the body just to not tolerate foods well. You can avoid the problem foods and get better, but then eventually the body grows sensitive to the foods that you use to replace the old ones. Hence, you end up with a whole new list of food problems. This is not a good prognosis.

So we were left with a few options. Option one, and in my opinion the very best, was to pray for God to supernaturally heal Joel. I believe in a powerful God and know He can do this. So we prayed and asked, and continue to pray and ask. His tests said he could do some dairy so I tried to start introducing some and believing for his body to be made whole in the meantime by God. However, every time I gave him dairy he would throw up approximately 2 days later. I tested this enough to know that it is for sure the dairy that would cause the vomitting. So I stopped the dairy. And I realized that while God definitely can heal Joel, I need to do something to help in the meantime. So I prayerfully looked to our other options.

One option was to just remove the foods he was sensitive to. However, in the longer term he would probably just grow sensitive to other foods in his diet so this was not a good option. I could do a rotation diet, but that seemed hard to administer. And it's promises for healing didn't seem as clear. Our other option, which I had already read a lot about, was the GAPS diet. This diet restricts certain foods with the goal to give the digestive track a rest to heal. It tends to take 2-3 years for the healing to be complete. But at the end of it, the individual is usually able to eat almost all foods with no problem. However, the costs involved seemed so huge I didn't feel up for it. So I kept putting it aside. But finally I hit the point where I was willing to make the sacrifice and just do it.

While Joel is the main one in need, I decided to put the whole family on it. I felt we could all benefit ( I know I could). Plus it seemed a bit cruel to deprive Joel so much and eat things he can't have right in front of him. We are a family and I want to support him as a family. In addition, I don't want to be cooking a million different things. One same diet is simpler.

So that is the gist of why we are on this crazy journey. We have spent 3 months on the full gaps diet and Joel has shown some minor improvement. The major healing though seems to come through the introduction diet which is an elimination diet of sorts. Today is our first day on it! I have no idea what kind of road we have in store, but I know I will just regret it if we don't try. So we are going to try to stick it out, taking it just one day at a time!