Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why We Chose the GAPS diet....

GAPS diet autism

From the very beginning I knew that diet and nutrition were crucial in addressing Emma's issues. 

But which diet?


We were advised by our integrative doctor initially to remove gluten and dairy until we figured out exactly what she needed. We saw changes immediately. She was more alert and had noticeably less absence seizures. We knew we were on the right track.


There are lots of things we don't know about what has caused Emma's issues. But one thing we did know was that her mitochondria weren't functioning well. We put her on a protocol of supplements to specifically support mitochondria and saw good progress in her muscle tone and energy levels.


The current (non-mainstream) recommendation for kids with mito issues is a diet low in oxolates. We tried this for 6 months with no changes that I could attribute to the diet. She continued to be bloated after every meal and alternated constipation with horrendous explosive poo. It was clear that we were missing something. I also felt 'awkward' about the low ox diet as it had very little nutrition as foods high in oxolates like fruit and veg are also high in antioxidants which are also important in recovery.


I understood the basic principles of the microbiome but had never actually read the GAPS book.


                                                        Image result for GAPS BOOK


I'm someone who need to understand the 'why' before I jump in. If I was going to attempt a diet as restrictive and time intensive as GAPS I needed to understand the science behind it.



The basic science


Your immune system is in your gut.  Your gut and brain are connected. 

If your gut health is poor then your health is unlikely to be optimal. 


Diet and lifestyle factors have a direct influence on the good or bad bacteria in your gut. Eat bad food then you end up with more bad bacteria than good. Eat good foods particularly foods with live bacteria (e.g probiotics, fermented foods) then you feed the good guys. 


More good bacteria equals a healthy gut and a healthy gut equals a healthy brain. 


I knew Emma had lots of inflammation in her body which included in her brain. Science has always believed that the brain was incapable of being 'inflamed'....turns out they just discovered they were wrong. This diet reduces inflammation in the body by healing the gut.






WARNING - This diet is hard work. 


I only attempted it because I have my best buddy (my thermomix) to help me out. It requires LOTS of cooking and food preparation and organisation (not my strong suit). 


BUT.....It has been sooo worth it!


Why?


After the initial detox which was horrendous we noticed improvements in Emma's social skills. She became more aware of other kids and started finding ways (without words) to interact with them. This was exciting - an obvious change. 


It has also helped my other kids by beginning to heal their leaky guts. How do I know? Because after years of being the same weight they have stacked on the kilo's in just 8 weeks! We have also not had one tummy ache since starting the diet and kids just seem happier. 


I've been doing it too - and it feels awesome. 


In my humble opinion, if you haven't experienced success with other 'diets' then GAPS is one worth exploring for your family especially if there are special needs or health issues.


Although I believe a holistic approach is best in recovering special kids I've seen firsthand that diet is crucial in working towards healing. 


Be encouraged xo 


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