Last year, when we were growing concerned about Jeshuah’s autistic symptoms, I began doing research on the explosion of autism in the recent years. One of the books I found extremely helpful and compelling is Dr. Natasha Campbell’s “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.” In it, she draws the correlation between our “gut” (intestinal) health and our overall health, particularly our mental health.
You see, our brain’s function is dependent on our body receiving the proper nutrients. Over time, our bodies can become overloaded with toxins from the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. In the last few decades, our diets have changed drastically. Where people once used to live off of the natural, real food of the land, industrialization has now afforded us the ability to now eat primarily processed, packaged, manufactured “foods,” most of which contain chemicals or have been sprayed with pesticides or preservatives which are extremely toxic. (Obviously. They are meant to kill pests!). All of these chemicals and processed foods are harmful to our bodies, and over time can cause excessive damage.
But the purpose of this post is not to provide proof that the American diet is harmful, or that the introduction of so many chemicals has done more damage than good. There is ample proof for that elsewhere. My desire is to share how our family has (finally) decided to take these threats seriously and dramatically change the way we eat.
I have been convicted about doing this for some time now, but I have been so intimidated by the magnitude of the task, that I have put it off. When Jeshuah’s autistic symptoms disappeared with chiropractic treatment, the urgency to change our diet was not there any more. However, he still has allergies, skin irritations, pain in his arms and legs, etc. that leads us to believe there is more going on with him.
Eliana and I have also been battling thrush for weeks now and Stephen has had recurring digestive issues. All of this can probably be treated by going on Dr. Campbell’s GAPS diet. Her research has shown her that the reason for many of these issues is that the protective lining of the gut becomes worn down and then the toxins from our food go directly into our blood stream and affect our immune and brain function, causing a wide range of issues, including autism, ADHD, allergies, depression, chronic yeast infections, etc.
But the gut lining can be healed, and these issues can be greatly diminished or disappear completely. The healing process typically takes at least two years on the diet, depending on the severity of the issues. Once healing has taken place, you can usually begin eating many foods that were not allowed on the diet before–foods such as gluten and ones that have a high starch content like potatoes. These things are not bad, they simply do not aid the process of healing once the gut has been damaged. But while you are able to return to eating most foods, all foods should still remain whole and real in order to avoid re-injuring the gut.
And so this is the process our family is beginning. That GAPS diet looks extremely overwhelming and intimidating at first, but the more I research, the more I find out my options, and the more comfortable I become.
We plan to start the diet in April, and commit to being on it for at least two years. It means daily detox baths. It means ridding our home of harmful chemicals. It means all of our meat needs to be organic/grass-fed/hormone/antibiotic-free, etc. It means all dairy products are organic and raw and preferably fermented (yogurts, kefirs, etc.). It means all produce must be organic and fresh–nothing canned. It means nearly everything we eat is made from scratch. Obviously, this means no eating out. It means we will have to bring our own food with us when we visit other people. It means a lot of hard work and sacrifice. But we trust it will all be worth it in the end.
For a full list of foods allowed and not recommended, visit here.