Yesterday I shared about what the GAPS diet is. If you missed it, I would suggest going back and reading that post first.
No one has asked me this yet, but I can well imagine that this is the question in many of your minds,and it is an extremely legitimate question!
As I've shard before, my journey into nutrition and natural living did not come about just because I loved being healthy, but rather because I was an incredibly un-healthy person.
I started out after a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a serious hormonal/reproductive disorder. I used to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as being lactose intolerant, and would often experience severe episodes of cramping and pain. I also spent about a year and a half on birth control pills before marriage (and before I knew better), and have probably taken antibiotics more than 25 times throughout my life.
I began to get healthy before I started having my children, but not much before, and I was really only just baby-stepping my way towards health back then. Though my efforts have made a tremendous difference (my PCOS is greatly diminished, the IBS and lactose intolerance are gone, and I generally feel 110% better than I used to), I know that I haven't solved all of the damage that was done in the first 20-something years of my life.
From generation to generation
In Gut and Psychology Syndrome Dr. Campbell-McBride says this:
"...When I ask questions about the health of a child's grandparents, particularly on the mother's side, it becomes obvious that we have generations of people with compromised gut flora. This damage becomes deeper in every generation. The era of antibiotics, contraceptive pill, breast feeding going out of fashion, and drastic changes in diet have all contributed to this phenomenon. Doctors have known for centuries that unhealthy parents produce unhealthy children. Mother's body is a home for the growing baby for nine months and a source of nourishment and care for months after the birth...
...As far as science knows an unborn baby is sterile. Its body has no bacteria, viruses or fungi living in it. When the time of birth comes, as the baby goes through the birth canal, it gets its first dose of microbes. Its skin, eyes, mucous membranes in the mouth and nose acquire their first microflora. Through swallowing liquids in the mother's v****a the baby's digestive system gets its first population of bacteria, viruses and fungi."
Can you see that whatever imbalances and level of compromised health is in the mother's body when her children are in utero and then breastfeeding will be passed on to her children?
This isn't a guilt trip and it shouldn't be condemning. Many of us didn't grow up knowing any better than what we have done, and we are in so many regards a product of our society and culture. Please don't hear me laying a burden upon mothers for what they have passed on to their children.
Image by peasap
Rising to the challenge in the now...
I am taking this as a challenge to myself to see what can I do about it now, through God's grace. The past is the past. But I want to give my children every chance to grow up without such a heavy toll on their gut flora, and thus on their overall health!
I have seen in our children the signs of a compromised gut. All three of them have dealt with eczema fairly extensively. The two older ones have shown some tummy troubles from time to time, stools with undigested food in them, mild constipation, etc. Our baby dealt with colic this summer.
Something I have never really discussed on my blog (mostly because I am concerned about the backlash that I will receive) is the fact that our 2 1/2 year old son was showing some signs of developmental delays (motor and speech), as well as some behavioral activities that were similar to those of children in the autism spectrum. Immediately after a Candida/detoxifying diet to deal with his eczema about a year ago, those behaviors almost disappeared and his development suddenly took off, especially his language.
Please don't hear me saying that he had autism and was healed- that just isn't what I'm saying at all. I am simply sharing what I observed in his development and behavior, and the change that took place, and that I have seen enough evidence for me to believe that there is a connection.
All this to say that between my children, my own past of poor gut health, and my husband's battle with recurrent heartburn and other current health challenges, as well as all the chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics that he received during cancer treatments 2 1/2 years ago, I think we have many reasons to be interested in pressing the "reset" button.
Where to go from here
Is any of this striking a cord with you? Do you see your own health or your family's health in what I am talking about?
I have a guest post coming from a mom who has recently had great success with GAPS for her children. I will be also sharing from time to time as our family follows the GAPS diet, though I cannot begin to cover it nearly as extensively as has already been done on the internet.
Here is a gathering of some of the best resources that I have found for doing the GAPS diet:
- GAPS Diet and Gut Health- from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. She has written multiple posts with much valuable information, and has many other excellent resource links
- How the GAPS Diet is Helping Our Family- a guest post at Cheeseslave.
- Starting GAPS and Modifying GAPS to Work For Us- both from Cara at Health, Home, Happiness
- The GAPS Diet- I think this is the official website, and it has many excellent resources including detailed information for starting to implement the diet, as well as an online store where you can purchase the recommended Bio-Kult probiotics (I also just noticed that these probiotics are available from Amazon
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome- more info on the diet, as well as another place to purchase the probiotics
- The GAPS diet Yahoo Group- I will soon be joining this group, to have a place to share what we're doing and give/receive support and help from others who are also doing the diet.
- More from Cheeseslave- several other posts, and her own update as she implements the GAPS diet for her husband
If you really want to do this, I highly recommend purchasing the actual book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It's a little bit pricey, but I'm so glad that I actually have it as it has explained everything in so much more detail and also offers a lot of recipes and suggestions for implementing the diet.
The GAPS diet is still a very popular search on this blog and I know that so many families out there are looking for more help and resources. These are some of the best ones I've found.
Cara from Healthy, Home & Happiness has several amazingly helpful resources for those on GAPS:
- 30 Days on the GAPS Introduction Diet- What Can I Eat Now? This is an essential guide to helping you get started and get through the chalenging early days and weeks of the intro diet!
- Grain Free Meal Plans Freezer Cooking Guide. Prepping meals and meal components ahead of time is a HUGE sanity and time saver when you're doing gaps, and this ebook guides you through the process of stocking your freezer to make life on GAPS easier.
- Grain-Free Meal Plans. Do you prefer to just let someone else do the thinking and planning for you, and follow along a pre-made menu plan? Then you'll definitely want to check these GAPS-friendly plans out.
I know that I'm going to receive a flood of comments on some of the things that I've shared in this post. Please, keep it respectful, keep it clean, keep it kind. I have a delete button and I'm not afraid to use it. However, I am fully open to polite disagreement and big girl words. Thanks, all!