A diet that cures autism? Yeah, right. I heard about it on an obscure interview and then looked at the web page. I had never read anything like it before in my many searches for wellness through diet. It looked impossible to me. You have to cook. Restaurants are out of the question when doing the first few stages of the diet. For maximum healing, the diet has to be followed upwards of two years. Despite these supposed negatives, the diet kept coming to my mind.
Gaps stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The idea is that the gut is damaged by out of control pathogens. These pathogens create small holes in the lining. The holes keep food from being digested properly, nutrients from absorbing, and sends undigested foods into the bloodstream. In turn, the brain is affected in many ways: learning disabilities, autism, mental illness, etc. Dr Natasha Campbell claims that the “leaky gut” also creates problems such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases. She lists many health problems in her book.
The idea behind the GAPS Diet is to heal the intestinal lining. Consuming a diet low in simple and complex carbohydrates and high in proteins and fats is the crux of the diet. Appropriate probiotic and fatty acid supplementation, proper stress reduction, and a change in sleep habits is also required.
In July 2013, Mark and I decided to jump in and try it. So what’s the worst that can happen? We feel better? Mark will be a healthier Aspie?
It is a dramatic dietary change. The most important healing food in the diet is the bone broth which you drink as if it were water. How weird to suddenly be buying pig feet and beef bones. It’s pretty hard on the conscious when you see feet in your stew. The diet also includes organ meats. We have not yet acquired a taste for these. Of course, there are “normal” foods, but the afore mentioned are the staples.
The changes I began seeing in myself were remarkable. Relief from many pains, including the incessant jaw pain I had learned to live with, uncomfortably. But what Mark was experiencing was beyond comprehension. Miraculous to those with Auties in their lives.
For the first time in Mark’s 45 years of life, he started experiencing other’s feelings. He also started expressing his own feelings. It was as if he had awakened from a coma.
It has not been a mostly pleasant awakening. One bite of “wrong” food sent him back to autism worse than he had experienced before. In 10 minutes, all the good food was null and void and it would take weeks to get back to “feeling” again. This roller coaster ride led him to wanting to be “normal” so badly that he has been able to avoid “wrong” foods through a desire to be well. This is quite a feat since he works in a kitchen.
Imagine the overwhelm of feeling emotions suddenly at the ripe old age of 45. He had always SEEN that some people at work were grumpy, but now he was feeling their very down vibe. It made him feel so bad he thought they were mad at him. They were actually just grumpy people. We have talked about creating filters and only allowing energies in that you choose. A very difficult concept.
Imagine an emotionless, 19 year old marriage, suddenly awakening from a deep sleep. There were many walls I had put up to survive in an emotionless marriage. Walls I didn’t know were there until he awoke. Walls that affected my entire life, making me less than what I could have been. Walls I’m working on as soon as they are recognized.
The scariest part was wondering if the marriage would stay together. “What if he doesn’t really like me? What if he married me just because I offered and no one else had? What if he doesn’t like who I am emotionally? What if he starts feeling something for someone at work and decides I’m boring?”
Guess what! It turns out that even though I couldn’t feel him all these years and he couldn’t express all of these years, every choice he made was on purpose, meant something to him, and he has no regrets! In fact, I feel like I’m having an illicit love affair with my own husband.
This diet has changed our lives immeasurably. We hope to use this experience to even better help others within our sphere.
*For more information on the diet see http://www.gapsdiet.com. We are not Gaps practitioners, but if you would like support starting the diet or with recipes, we are available.