Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healing Autism With the GAPS Diet

I think I've made my dislike of diets pretty clear. The GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) diet, however, is different. It is not a diet to lose weight, or to gain muscle or to burn fat fast. It is a diet designed to heal the gut. It is a diet designed to cure modern neurological disorders: autism, ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety and even several other ailments that are not linked to neurological disorders, but linked to an unhealthy and out of balance gut. Notice that I said cure, and also said modern disorders. Yes, these disorders are fairly modern. While I'm sure depression and anxiety in one form or another has existed for thousands of years, they have never existed like they do today.

I first read about the GAPS diet and its effect on autism from the Cheeseslave blog. It really piqued my interest, and I immediately told my friend Sara about it, who works with autistic children. At that point I had only done a bit of reading, wasn't too familiar with the diet and just wanted to relay my findings. What piqued my interest even more was that Sara told me most autistic children have digestion issues. This really got me thinking: what if these issues are not genetic after all? Proper digestion is a huge part of gut health, what if these diseases are the result of a poor and damaged gut? Could it be that with the advent of chemicals and toxicity in our modern diets, the transition into fake foods, low-fat and GMO foods, the result is overwhelming and increasing instances of autism, ADD, and a host of other behavioral disorders? And not only that, but IBS, Crohn's disease, heart disease, diabetes, even cancer? The answer is yes. So often we hear that these diseases and disorders are genetic. Please tell me how humanity has survived if cancer, obesity, autism, depression, heart disease, etc, is genetic? We need to consider that there is not some outside force doing this to us, but we are doing it to ourselves when we do not properly take care of our bodies.

The GAPS diet was developed by doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride. It is designed to heal the gut. The diet eliminates things like grains, sugars and starches and processed foods while adding things like probiotics, healthy fats and animal stocks (which are extremely healing to the gut). An unhealthy body absolutely effects proper brain function, immunity, digestion, etc. We need to be able to absorb the nutrients we are consuming, which is very difficult with a damaged gut. I have read so many testimonials from families about how much their child has improved, or even been cured using this diet. Dr. Campbell-McBride even cured her own son of autism using this diet.

While I do not personally follow this diet, I do follow some similarities. I try to avoid grains, sugars and starches. I drink kefir, raw milk and probiotics, along with getting plenty of fat (which is extremely important). From eating this way I have noticed significant changes. While I still have a lot of healing to do, my overall mood has improved, my anxiety (sorry for cursing, but my anxiety has been fucking crippling at times) rarely gets to me, my periods are not as severe as they used to be (and they used to be extreme) and a host of other improvements. At some point, I do plan on taking the plunge and following the GAPS diet fully. I just think we all need to start taking more responsibility for our health. I mean really, what do we have if not our health? It is so basic and fundamental to our lives. Cancer is without a doubt terrible. A lot of times people get cancer and it is inevitable, and that is awful. But there are steps we can take to prevent cancer. We can take good care of our bodies. We can eat well balanced, organic diets. We can quit smoking, we can quit using products full of parabens, we can exercise. I get sort of frustrated when I see all of these commercials and companies urging people to donate money to curing cancer. Why is there no emphasis on the prevention of cancer and other diseases?  And my bottom line is this: we need to take proper care of ourselves.

So when people look at me a certain way, or insinuate that the way I eat is ridiculous because it's not typical, it's only because they are ignorant. The way you eat is the most basic way to take care of your body, and I take care of myself very well. I don't care if people think it's weird or ridiculous. I enjoy eating the way I do, using almond or coconut oil as lotion, using all natural deodorant and even making my own (ok ok ok, Mike actually makes it) toothpaste because I'm not loading my body with disgusting chemicals that are going to come back to bite me in the ass in the form of one disease or another down the line. The way you eat can heal your body and you should never underestimate your body's ability to heal.

No comments:

Post a Comment