An Open Mind: Healing with the GAPS Diet Protocol
These days we seem to be hearing more and more about the importance of vegetarianism and going plant-based. We have famous people, actors and political figures and Instagram influencers, taking the stage and declaring to us how much better their life became when they opted out of an omnivore diet. They tell us we’re saving the world by eating Impossible Burgers.
As we’re right in the middle of a giant experiment testing just how much industrialized food the human body can sustain (after all, this current model of feeding ourselves in the fastest and cheapest way possible only really came into full force around World War II), it’s not really possible to objectively say one way or another whether these claims that vegans will save the world are valid or not.
I can only speak from my personal experience. And personally, I nearly destroyed my health on a vegetarian diet. From age 16 onwards, I was under the impression that my body didn’t need meat to survive and that eating meat was an antiquated and barbaric form of nutrition. When I lived overseas in developing countries, I would opt to survive on nothing but rice, salad, and bread for days at a time instead of God forbid! I take a bite of someone’s home grown chicken. And I watched as slowly, over an 18-year span, my energy levels began to tank, my hair and nails stopped growing, and I began to feel beset with regular bouts of inflammation. These issues not only affected my body, but my mind as well. In hindsight, my body was in a state of emergency for several years before I finally paid attention to what it was telling me.
After several pointless doctor visits where I wasn’t even asked what kind of diet I was consuming or about other environmental factors, where I was simply offered thyroid medicine that I would need to commit to for the rest of my life, I decided it was time to open my mind and consider all the possible ways I could feel better. I began researching healing with diet and the method that came up again and again was the GAPS diet.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and it’s a protocol designed by a neurological and nutritional doctor, Natasha Campbell-McBride. She came up with the protocol as a means to treat her son’s autism and has since relieved tens of thousands of patients with disparate symptoms that other doctors can’t figure out using her methods. In addition to autism, GAPS has been shown to be highly effective at treating autoimmune conditions, anxiety, ADHD, and many more.
I’ll get into more details about the protocol and my experience in transitioning from a long-time vegetarian to someone consuming high-quality meat and animal fats at nearly every meal in a later post. But, for now, if you’re considering a vegetarian diet as a way to be healthy, I urge you to dig a little deeper. Right now, the world is seeing a huge swing of people like me who were long-time vegetarians and are now passionate meat consumers and purveyors because we’ve lived it and, as a diet and lifestyle, it doesn’t work for many bodies.
So, dear reader, what’s your experience with vegetarianism? Or the GAPS diet? Or perhaps you’re on a paleo diet? I’d love to hear from others who have overcome health challenges using diet and lifestyle changes.