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GAPS- the ultimate in "food as medicine"?  RSS feed

 
Renee Kelcey
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We've been on the GAPS diet for a year now, healing my 4yo son from autism.

Prior to discovering GAPS I was pretty unaware of just how powerful our food is. Sure, I knew about organics and "healthy eating". I grew a few vegetables at home and have a huge desire to get right into permaculture. But I just didn't fully comprehend how much food really is our medicine.

Is anyone else on GAPS? Or have an opinion about it? I think it seems to be the ultimate in using your food as your medicine. But I'm new to this world. Anyone else have another diet method they have used to heal? How do you think it compares to GAPS?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I discover GAPS, and it matches my own conclusions!

I have been instinctively on this diet when I let myself follow my instinct and not what was dictated by some good-intentioned healthy diet.

So much meat, so much fat?
I could eat meat for breakfast and I love butter.
Marrow is a delicacy, and fat the best part of beef, and cheaper.

Then I realized that I had a problem with gluten...
I worked in an ecological camp with a vegetarian whole-meal diet.
In less than a week, I was a carpet...

A health practitioner suggested to me to stop gluten... and I was sure in less than a week...
So, I understood why my stock of spaghettis lowered only when someone else was at home...
I understood why I had always been against this tendency to eat whole-meal bred and rice.

But why my gluten-free own-producted potatoes stayed all winter in the cellar ?
I just wandered what was the problem with other starch products...

My belly and my nerves (so my mood) were much better, and then it went down again...
Actually, it goes down when I have little opportunity to eat meat.
I can maintain myself with almonds and sprouts, but I HAVE TO eat meat, no way.

Then I discovered that the omega 3 shortage comes from an excess of omega 6...
so I dropped sunflower oil... (sunflower seeds are ok for me)
Now I use coconut oil for cooking, I eat butter, I use olive oil, and I eat a lot of chia.
That is even better than linen.
I want to cultivate a plant for oil, I forgot the name, of the mustard family.

My favorite meal here is to put all my veggies in a cast-iron cauldron and cook them on a fire with a chicken or some fatty beef.
I can eat this all day.
It keeps with no fridge. I heat it every day.

Then, I thought about what might be a mistake in some permacultural practices...
The famous food forest!
Fruit juice are too high in sugar, and fruits are better because of the fruit fiber,
but a fruit is too much sugar.
Berries are much much better.
These can be eaten a lot, and they are rich and concentrated in anti-oxydants.

So I mainly look for nuts and leaves in this forest, and other tree uses.
Have you ever seen a natural forest giving so many fruits all the time?
Do you think monkeys eat bananas and other fruits all year long and all day long?
No...
And they eat insects when they eat fruits. Who dares?? ...
Well, fruit fly worm in oranges, yes I do... At least when small and I do not look...
Getting used to... !
Oranges are also home-grown.
I can have bananas (tiny fruits but they mature), and I think they are healthier than many fruits, I can stand them well and I don't know why.

So now, I want to have a food forest that matches my diet, and a forest full of edible animals and eggs!
Chicks, guinea-pigs, quails... Bigger will be difficult to feed here. But I can get raw goat milk/cheese around.
Yes I will grow some grains, and no more care about processing them, as they are great for chickens!
Yes I will eat some grains and roots sometimes, when I will be better. Amaranth and corn are not so hard to process and keep.

My food forest will have moringa, marula, ramon, pigeon peas, acacia... I already have a lots of avocados, great. I have mangos and papaya, great. I can hardly have pineapples but I will try. Also, I will have neem (not for eating!), yellow sapote, almonds, figs, pistachio, cashew, strawberry guayava, guayava, olive trees, pomegranate... I also have kaki, plums, mulberries and apples. I was going to say that now I have no more fruits in August, but the preakly pears start producing! I have fruits all year long, but really, this is not the first aim I see in home producing. Let's concentrate on our needs in proteins and fat, as they are the most difficult to fulfill.
And essential.

 
Tom Lindsey
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I went on GAPS for myself from January 2012 to July 2012. Online people were saying they used GAPS to heal all sorts of problems (not just autism). So I tried it.

I lost about 30 pounds in those 5 months. 20 pounds in the first month.

I would often only poop once or twice per week before I started GAPS. My second week on GAPS I pooped something like 20 times in 5 days (7 poops on my poopiest day). And half of those were big poops! My pant size went from 36" waist down to 32" (and now I can even wear 30" size pants!).

I felt very fatigued all the time before GAPS. Now I feel a lot less fatigue (I still have some on occasion). I was experiencing a gradually increasing social anxiety before GAPS. Now I have no problem looking the guy behind the counter in the eye to ask if he has snapper or rockfish heads and carcasses.

I stopped after only 5 months because I lost power for 6 days and lost my whole supply of frozen broth (at least 2 months worth). I didn't have any other sources or supplies of good broth and I was missing/craving some non GAPS foods (like properly soaked organic oatmeal). I have rebuilt my supply and should go back on GAPS for more healing. I eat according to GAPS and Nourishing Traditions principles now, but I think I still have some gut dysbiosis to heal. I had a ruptured appendix many years ago and I don't think I've fully recovered (especially from all the anti-biotics I took). A strict GAPS diet would result (in my opinion) in greater/faster/better healing. I have a white coating (sometimes orange if I have just eaten a carrot) on my tongue that won't go away even with brushing/oil pulling/whatever. Chewing beeswax removes it for a few hours, but it always comes back.

I want to put my son (8 years old) on GAPS (he needs it!). I think he is on the autism spectrum, but nobody else seems to think so, even though he is receiving special services at school. His mom has him 60% of the time and stated that the diet was far too much work for her. Without her on board I don't think I can make it work. I have thought about making all his food and sending it over to her place. Maybe if I go on it for another 5 or 6 months I'll be that much healthier and capable and comfortable (and faster) with the food preparation and everything and I'll be able to make all of his food and send it over for him. But another problem is although she has him 60% of the time he isn't always with her and teachers at school give out candy (at least once per week), not to mention other kids who would give him candy or other stuff.

I love GAPS but haven't been able to convince anyone in my family to try it out. My older brother (who would really benefit) said that he would never go on my diet. I took my fish broth over to his place to eat it and he had the ugliest look on his face when I told him what it was. His face got even more twisted when I told him that going on the diet might even result in headaches, fatigue, pain, diarrhea, all things that I went through as part of multiple healing crises. In fact it is difficult for me to recommend GAPS because my healing crises were quite severe in duration and intensity, but I'm in a much better place physically now. The pain I was feeling was as if all the ill and injured parts of my body were all crying out at once to get the nutrition that I was supplying. So right under my appendectomy scar was extremely painful, my ankle where I had torn off the ligament (completely torn right off the bone) 20 years ago was extremely painful, multiple fingers and toes were in extreme pain (sometimes dull and achey and sometimes very acute - even for injuries that were 20 years old or older) and lot of other places too. It was like they were all saying, "I'm hurt, send nutrition and nourishment and resources and healing to me!" Like it was as if in the past my body had sealed up these injured places - as still injured - because I didn't have the resources to fix those areas, so my body just sort of sealed them off, but when I went on GAPS the resources were there to heal those sites and so my body opened those sites back up and that is when the floodgates of pain just opened up.

I love the GAPS diet, but the book left a lot to be desired. I felt like I was reading a foreign language when reading the book (Nancy Campbell-McBride writes in English - like from England English, not like from USA English). Often things were repeated but with slight variation, so I was unsure which repetition/variation I should follow. I had difficulty following the book in some parts (admittedly, that could be more of a problem with me than the book). But I love the results of following the diet.

My son's mom remarked that I better not end up weighing less than her (I weigh what I did my freshman year of college - that was 17 years ago). My brother said that my body could be used in advertisements (I took off my shirt to show him results after 5 months). My social anxiety is gone. My fatigue is extremely reduced. Old injuries are or seem to be healed/healing. I saw a friend (and his wife) a few months ago that I hadn't seen in 2 years. He was shocked at my transformation so I told him all about it. His wife said that I was smiling now, that I wasn't smiling 2 years ago (and that is true, I wasn't smiling two years ago) and that was before I got into all the details about GAPS.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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You are brave Tom! Wish you the best!
If you introduce some grains, they should be only fermented or better sprouted.
Only leavened bred for example. Yeast is absolutely not good for bred.

I am waiting for the book so I hope I will find it ok to read!
It is a pity, I hate when things are repeated and not clear...

I am surprised some people find it hard to do, and that you have to freeze.
I do it without even having a fridge!
I just boil the pot every day.
Monday I will finish the meat/bones I made Friday!

I have bought sourkraut, and I will learn to make it next week with a neighbour.
I was off sugar yet for a long time.
YES it would be difficult for children,
because they are given candies,
and they cannot understand why one would like to deprive them of what they like.
 
Milo Jones
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I think this fits here.
Microbes manipulate your mind

A study by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario now suggests that gut bacteria may also influence behaviour and cognitive processes such as memory by exerting an effect on gene activity during brain development.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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The relationship is obvious for me, as I noticed the change quickly with a gluten-free diet.
I notice a quicker change when I eat some gluten!

What makes me stronger to keep with my diet is to stay in a good mood.
I have notice the problem with sugar, so I do not anymore eat sweet food.

A great help : get rid of your internal parasites with plants!
I do not advertise, so look on Internet....
Parasites MAKES you WANT to eat what THEY want!
You are not addicted to sweet taste,
parasites can make you want to eat junk food!
Well, this is my conclusion...

After I got rid of them, I could no more finish my plates, as my apetite had gone down (best way to pay for the treatment!)
And I was just feeling "yuk" even with the idea of eating a treat, any cake...

So a good help.
 
Corky Love
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I have been eating GAPS since March (but dairy free since 10/2010), not ideally, but avoiding grains, legumes, and dairy. I haven't been doing all the healing things as well as I should, but doing well at avoiding the phytotoxins.

I've lost a total of 50#; 20# in the first year just being dairy free, another 10# during an intensive month of hot yoga, and another 20# since I finally ate through in-house non-GAPS supplies in March. I have a weakness for potato with salt products, but am determined to avoid nightshades to help with eliminating my auto-immune thyroid issues and not allow them as a 'cheat', besides they're double cheats, they're never fried in an allowed oil.

So, even without doing it well, I've seen awesome weight loss and my brain has never felt better!

I found the GAPS Guide to be very valuable in how to implement the GAPS Diet. The author was in contact with Dr. N. Campbell-McBride, so she got a little clarification on some things. I also got the cookbook, and while I use it, I also feel that there are so many GAPS/paleo blogs and websites you may not really need it. I feel like the info regarding nightshades and auto-immunity is not fully understood and what is understood is slow to be disseminated, so some of the recipes have some nightshades and others have cheese and for some - those are off the list, so not all of the recipes are the most basic GAPS, so I end up amending recipes anyhow.

I've been doing a little research into Ayurvedic herbs and Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs to support healing - ideally used in the broths and in regards to nourishing my lacto-ovo vegetarian husband, who is not interested in adding animal to his diet. I've found some good stuff in my herb books by Michael Tierra.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I would like to discuss about the fact it being the "ultimate" diet....
I think it would be reasonable to tell for which case it is ADAPTED.

I have heard about problems in the long run for people being in the paleo diet, because of the excess of proteins.
And I have read about a very healthy family being raw vegan for a few years, and their yearly blood analysis are good, even in B12.

I think it is a matter of being adapted to the person and the eventual health problem.
What is GAPS diet adapted for?
Let's remember it heals very special problems.
So I think it is great when one has GUTS PROBLEMS.
It is made to heal the guts, when the damage done is kept going on because of some sugar in the diet.

It is meant to be eaten for 2 years, more or less.
Then, I believe that they do not speak enough about sprouts (I have the book but did not read all).
I believe all grains, cereals and pulses, should be eaten after sprouting or fermenting.
(you cannot sprout flour!)

And GAPS diet (I would not reduce to the word GAPS, as it is meant FOR people with GAPS) is not dairy free: fermented dairy is allowed. Saurkraut is very much used as well, which is fermented veggies. Fermented food and bone broth are for me the specific points.

About loosing weight, I think any diet low in sugar would do! I think it does not come from the specificities of GAPS diet.
It is also said that vegetarian diets have good effects on some health or weight issues, but then it is said that this comes from the fact that vegetarians take care of what they eat and do not eat junk food! And this you can do without being a vegetarian!

So, the main common point about a "ultimate diet",
is that they all suppress junk food
and focus on home made meals with quality products.

-What do you folks think about this?
-And what do you see as the main specific point of GAPS diet?
 
Corky Love
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Those of you on the GAPS diet, have you considered genetic testing for MTHFR mutations?

I have not heard about folks having a hard time with "excess" proteins but I'd like to know what those problems are so I can watch for them.

RE: the vegan family, give them a few more years and check again. My husband has been lacto-ovo vegetarian for 24yr and I see clear symptoms of malnutrition in him, including but not limited to mental health issues and B Vitamin deficiency symptoms in his fingernails. I spent the first 5years of our life together always reducing my meat intake. The result: reduced "mental wellness", low energy, hormone imbalance, weight gain/no loss, etc. Yay, for the folks who can feel 'great' on a meatless diet. I don't think that's the majority of humans. I'd also like to point out that leaving behind the Standard American Diet (SAD), for anything else is almost guaranteed to improve one's health, however, it doesn't mean that what you've moved on to is the best, it's just better than the worst.

Another note: not all practitioners agree on what a healthy lab report looks like. Lab values shift periodically, depending on the newest "science". Just a few years ago the "normal" zone for thyroid changed quite bit. My naturopath frequently points to a lab result that falls in the normal range and says, "The lab says it's normal, but I want to see it lower/higher (depending on the lab)." Because, she has a different idea of what those labs indicate and what healthy really is. Blood sugar levels are a great example of that. While working as a phlebotomist (blood drawer) in a hospital, my fasting blood sugar was 90, the staff at the hospital thought that was GREAT, my ND says that it indicates that diabetes is in my future and that I need a fasting blood sugar of 70-80 to indicate good health.

I would not say that the GAPS diet is meant to heal 'very special problems', from what my research has brought to my attention is that it heals almost everything, because almost every disease is caused by gut dysbiosis. Autoimmune diseases (of which there are many), mental health issues (of which there are many), allergies, chronic pain, hormone imbalance, acne...what else is there? Cancer.

In the GAPS diet book, Dr. C-M, states that it's a 3yr diet and that many with kids stick to it for years after to maintain the health that they have gained. I hope to use Weston A. Price foundation techniques, like sprouting and soaking, to add non-GAPS food back into my diet when I feel like I've maximized my healing. GAPS diet doesn't cover that because this diet is for healing. Also, it's a dairy free diet until your body says you can eat it, mine does not say that yet. I do agree that broth and fermented foods are the heart and soul of the healing process and that cultured dairy is a part of that if your body allows it.

About loosing weight, I only mention it because it happened, not because it was the goal of my GAPS diet. However, you think "any diet low in sugar would do!", I say, "Maybe, but it wont heal your gut." I eliminated my greatest source of sugar in my diet: grains. You cannot eat a "Standard American Vegetarian/Vegan Diet" without huge exposure to grains ergo sugar (do legumes digest into sugar, I usually think of the phytotoxins in re: to legumes). The other improvements I've noticed in my health I do attribute to the specifics of the GAPS diet, including the weight loss. My brain feels so much better - I think it's because I've stopped putting phytotoxins into my body and I've focused on healthy fats, so my brain is getting brain food and no poison from bad gut chemistry.

Also, if you're sick and your gut flora is unhealthy and you don't address the gut flora, it's unlikely that you'll be able to stand up against the cravings for sugar.

I want to admit that I find it difficult to discuss the diet with those who haven't read the book. I look forward to discussing the book.

5 Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes

I'm researching a vegetarian paleo diet for my toxic husband, I'm coming across some blogs that list the percentage of phytotoxins in legumes that get eliminated via a 24 hr soaking. Fava beans were listed at 100%, but it was the only one. I'd also like to know if a short soak with sprouting de-toxes the legumes and grains as well or better than a lengthy soak. The things we do for love. I should ask this question of the WAPF!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I think sprouting detox much better than soaking! Soaking is only a start, and for those who want to do "better than nothing".
Also, the longer you sprout, the less the grain contains sugar!
Make him eat only bred without yeast, but with "leaven", well, the sour fermented type of bred!
Use lentils, fava and peas as in GAPS.
Make him off gluten except fermented bred, thanks to quinua. Soak it 3 hours or so, and then sprout it a few hours up to 24h, before cooking. You will cook it less!
Also use buckwheat. After 2 days sprouting, it is delicious, better raw than cooked! Of course you can cook it.
Ferment or sprout all his grains and legumes if you can.
Sprouted chick peas are also great.
If you use sesame, only the raw and white one, the whole grain is terrible for toxins!
Use miso and pure soya sauce without wheat. They are fermented. So is tempeh, the only good way for soja is fermentation.

I have the book.

I still miss a few things, including how to chose the right probiotic for intestine.
 
Corky Love
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Xisca, I like what you're saying about the sprout v soak. Thanks re: less sugar in grains after soak and the bit about sesame, buckwheat, chickpeas (he loves hummus).

RE: the quinoa, are you recommending that I use it to make the fermented bread or use it as a grain replacement like rice, etc? Both?

RE: Probiotics, I go for the product with most diverse variety of strains with the most in each serving and then I hope I can find one on sale. There are a couple of strains specifically listed in the GAPS diet book that I was looking for, but they were only available in brands that I didn't want for other reasons. Dr. C-McB, does recommend a specific type that is formulated to her specifications. I'm considering going that route after I get through the ones I have, which have a diverse number of probiotics and a large number of them per serving, but lack 2 of the specifically recommended strains.

I wonder if there are any specific probiotics recommended for vegetarians? In my herbal books, certain herbs and spices are recommended in Ayurvedic medicine to maximize the digestion of vegetarian dishes. In Chinese medicine, certain roots and barks are recommended to help support the body and provide the qi one would normally get via the eating of meat. I figure I can get both recommendations in each day.

I'm looking for anyone with information on egg shell broth. I think my friend's Korean caregiver has some knowledge to share with me on the subject, but I've been too sick to visit my health-compromised friend for the last 3wks. Two of my biggest questions are: do I need to use the shells the same day the eggs are opened or can I keep the shells in the fridge for a few days while I collect a dozen or so to make a large batch? Do I toast the shells like you do bones to create a more robust flavor?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Always glad when I can give as much as receive in a forum, clover!

less sugar in grains is after sprout, not soak. The sprouting uses the sugar as energy for transformation.
I would use the quinua as rice. I am not experienced in bred nor anything with flour!
Quinua ad buckwheat can both be eaten raw after sprouting, and they are good, either in salads or to make healthy muslies.

Yes you can make hummus after sprouting, and a very fast cooking like 20mn is enough.

Well, that's all non GAPS diet! I would say that it can help when you finish the diet, or for people who are not yet ready to go to GAPS diet...
A proof that the belly gets better can help to decide the big jump for change...

I know nothing about probiotics, and I did not yet read this in the book, as I am afraid not to find what she tells, as I am not in the US.
Do you know how to read the ingredients list and chose a product?
 
Xisca Nicolas
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PS: I did not know about egg broth! I knew you could soak them in vinegar to get some calcium... Are there some good nutrients as in bone? Sounds strange....
About toasting: I know the smell of a whole egg beginning to toast in the pan, so i would not toast it! Your first question seems very relevant, and I have no clue... Would an opened egg keep in a glass in the fridge, out of the closed shell? I think some people cook the yolk and keep the white for later use.
Eggs can be washed only just before use, so I would wash them before breaking.
 
Corky Love
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Sorry, I mistyped re: the soak v sprout and the sugars, thanks.

I hesitated discussing the grains and legumes here, but I then I figured GAPS dieters at least understand my concerns, the average vegetarian will not understand - they love grains and legumes. Creating a paleo-vegetarian diet is complicated and in my opinion my husband should just eat some damn meat! But he won't so...

I may take some of these questions over to the WAPF.

RE: the probiotics, I think you can order the recommended product on line, where ever you are. I heard an 'expert' on our Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that the bare minimum to look for is 6 strains and 8 billion live cultures per dose. I bought a product that has 32 strains and 86 billion live cultures per dose. You'll find something somewhere between those!

*over cooked eggs do stink!*

Good luck!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Even for those who are not interested in taking the DAPS diet,
there is something to take from it!

I have taken the habit to look for the "rules" behind the examples.
So, GAPS is about what damages the guts, and that is sugarssss!
This even gives problems that seem to come from proteins! (like gluten, egg etc)
So, ferment or sprout grains and legumes, and you've got it!

So, for being close to GAPS diet, and being vegetarian, try this:

- keep veggies as a basis, especially raw, especially greens. You can make green juices, also carrots etc, and cook the remaining in soups. Increase also grated roots, they help to eat less grains.
- of course, all the fermented vegetable "saurkraut" are welcome.
- suppress sugar, and other sweeteners.
- eat fruits but never fruit juice (they have no fiber to slow sugar intake!)
- use honey, bananas, dry fruits like raisins...
- eat a lot of raw ripe bananas instead of potatoes or so...
- use coconut oil instead of butter... (there are tahitian recipes with coconut oil and banana for good cakes!)
- eat a variety of nuts, including the hull-less variety of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame (never wholegrain) and the great chia!
- cook the vegetarian crackers from GAPS, cakes and crepes...
- change yeast bred for fermented bred with leaven...
- turn slowly from cooked cereals to sprouted cereals, quinoa and buckwheat being the best. These can be sprouted before a slighter cooking than before, then some can be eaten raw, start in salads, or make muesli (suppress cereal flakes!).
- Rice cannot be sprouted (too long and irregular). Potatoes neither...
- sprout ALL legumes before cooking them...
- eat tempeh, that is fermented whole soja, very good if fresh and not canned (raw or stir-fried)
- use miso and tamari sauce (pure soja without cereal! and fermented)

For vegetarians that eat the followings:
- use the GAPS diet recipes with eggs
- use only homemade fully fermented yogurts
- use only fermented cheese (runny camembert!) and prefer goat cheese and from raw milk.
- use butter

For those who eat fish, then the diet is easy!
For those who eat little animal products because it costs to nature, then tell that bones are leftovers that do not anymore go to the bin!
Some vegetarians also accept to eat from the same pots and just avoid the meat (then some stock will go with the veggies)
 
Corky Love
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Xisca,

You've touched on most of what I've come to figure. I've only been working on the GAPS diet for me for about 6mo so I feel like a beginner when it comes to so much of it, now I'm loading on my husband's crazy restrictions into it. An odd blend of GAPS and WAPF! (He won't eat the broth of a meat soup, if he had his way, he'd only eat food prepared in pots and pans that have never touched meat.) At least he eats dairy and eggs.

Thanks for your notes!

~C
 
Lironah Wulfe
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I investigated the GAPS diet not long ago in my search for things that would make me better. I couldn't follow it strictly, because I just didn't have the energy to do all the work I would need, but I started doing bits of it at a time, as much as I could. I also cut GMO ingredients and corn-fed meats from my diet, but it wasn't until this Monday when I found a source for raw milk that anything made more than a small difference.

After just 48 hours of drinking the raw milk, I decided that I could never go back. I haven't felt this good in the almost 2 years since my C-section. I figure what happened was the antibiotic they fed me after the C-section made me lactose intolerant, and also extra sensitive to processed sugar, especially corn sources. I was never diagnosed properly, but I had a lot of symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Nothing else I've ever tried has made it go away.

If you never try anything else from the GAPS diet, try the raw milk and raw honey. I'm a believer.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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One thing i have notice about the recipes I have read and found on Internet...
(well, I also believe this can be "very American"... you will tell me...)

There are too many recipes that need an oven!
It seems to me that oven are more used by americans than europeans...

And i believe that such high temperatures are not so good for the food...
 
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