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on January 27, 2012
WOW. This book is outstanding. Others have reviewed the book's content, and they do it far better than I could. So, instead, I'll attest to the healing power of this diet.

Over a year and a half ago, I became sick. Super sick. So sick I was unable to get out of bed. I eventually realized my adrenal glands were shot. So I quit my job and school and took time off, expecting to recuperate within a few months. Ha.

I researched and researched, pouring over everything I could read online. I had a Candida infection (resulting from allopathic drugs) that never went away. I'd literally feel poisoned, especially after eating. My immune system was a mess. I had zero energy. I suffered severe chemical and mold sensitivities and began to develop hives. I started developing arthritis in my knees and fingers. Some days it was so bad it prevented me from knitting/crocheting, two of my favorite pasttimes. I experienced constant congestion and back-to-back sinus infections. My body was in terrible shape. I'm not a dramatic person by nature, but I assure you, some days I wasn't sure how much sicker one could get before the body just gave up altogether. I kept getting weaker and more exhausted by the day. For months, I didn't leave the house. For the record, I'm 32 years old. (Mind-blowing, isn't it?) After several months of research and trial and error, I discovered the adrenal issues were a symptom of a much larger problem - severe leaky gut and gut dysbiosis.

If the preceding paragraph sounds like hyperbole to you, I can't say I blame you. Before my experience, I'd have been skeptical too. I had been preparing to study biochemistry in grad school. Before I became ill, I thought chronic illnesses and autoimmune diseases could merely be 'managed.' In blind faith, I had accepted what the medical establishment tells us. That was fine, until the medical establishment failed me...repeatedly. I gave up on allopathic medicine and knew it would be my responsibility to heal myself. As much as this illness has consumed me, it really was a true wake-up call. A blessing in disguise.

So I researched. Boy, did I research. I took vitamin/mineral supplements. I got my detox pathways up and running again, as per Dr. Myhill's methylation protocol. I followed her advice for supporting mitochondrial health. I started eating meat. I had been a vegetarian for 16 years, but I was so sick I had no difficulty adjusting to eating meat again. In fact, I craved it. Things improved slightly, but my quality of life was still abysmal.

Finally, a few months ago I happened upon some website extolling the GAPS diet. I looked into it but figured I was already eating a clean (mostly) paleo diet, so I didn't need to buy this book. I didn't think it was that different from what I was already doing. When I had to stay home on Christmas day because I felt so toxic and crummy, I decided to purchase the book.

So, sure I had already eliminated processed foods and gluten. But I still ate cheese everyday. I still ate sweet potatoes and oats. I still ate a lot of fiber. This book showed me the error of my ways. These things are fine for a healthy gut. But my gut was a complete wreck and needed special help. More importantly, this book showed me what I WASN'T eating that I needed to be eating: lots of bone broth and marrow, organ meats, and lots of ferments, amongst other things.

I started following the GAPS diet intro on January 1st of this year. The first two weeks were brutal. I had been toxic for so long that I was used to feeling lousy, but the die-off this diet produced was intense. In the book, she stresses the importance of managing die-off; but, because I was so toxic, there was really little I could do. The diet alone, even without the introduction of probiotics, sauerkraut, and kefir was enough to produce rapid die-off.

Then early last week, it was like the fog broke. Gradually, I started having more energy. I announced to my shocked boyfriend that I wanted to go for a walk in the park like we used to do. We did. I suffered no repercussions from it, whereas before GAPS it would have taken me days to recover. I now go for a 30-45 minute walk nearly every day. I can't stress how utterly amazing this is. I prayed that GAPS would help me. It was my last resort. However, I never expected it to work this quickly. Truth be told, I'm still stunned.

I'm nowhere near fully recovered. I've still got toxins circulating. I still feel die-off, but it is nowhere near what it once was. True, I take other supplements. However, since starting GAPS I have stopped taking the majority of my supplements, simply because I no longer need them. At long last, my diet is providing the nutrients my body has been needing all along for repair (particularly cholesterol and saturated fats, which are sadly demonized in our culture). I probably sound like a crazy person because I'm so, so excited about this book and this diet; but if you're sick like I was, you know all too well what it's like to live in a chronically ill body. I don't know what percentage of CFS is caused by gut dysbiosis, but I know that mine was. If yours is, this is, without a doubt, the diet to follow.

Because I'm having such rapid success on the intro phase, I intend to stick with it for a few months. Some people fly through it in a matter of days before starting full GAPS. That's the nice thing about this diet; you move at your own pace and let your body be the guide.

I'm also curious to see how this diet helps me with the mental health issues I've contended with since childhood (namely fits of debilitating anxiety, ocd, and depression that have become increasingly severe in the last few years). I had tried several SSRI's over the last ten years until a new doctor put me on Adderall (which is nothing more than a mixture of amphetamine salts and is very, very hard on the adrenals) after diagnosing me with ADHD. The SSRI's never worked. I'd be happy if GAPS prevents my anxiety from getting worse, but truly I'd love to see the anxiety eliminated permanently. At this point I have no expectations. After all, I've lived with the anxiety for 30 years. But if anything can help, I firmly believe it'll be this diet.

This book saved me. Reading success stories of people recovering from CFS is what got me through the worst moments. I hope my story does the same, and I will update again in a few months as I progress along my GAPS journey. I wish you all the best of health.

UPDATE 4/10/12: Spring has sprung here. I no longer seem to be affected by pollen, which in previous years gave me terrible allergies and sinus infections. In fact, I have not had a sinus infection in months. The arthritis symptoms are completely gone. I've lost 15 pounds and walk an hour or more just about daily in addition to my chores around the house. Also, for the last 3 months my monthly cycle has been just that (cyclical). In the 20 years I've been menstruating, I've NEVER once had a regular cycle. Now it's literally every 28-29 days. There has been no improvement on the mental stuff yet; in fact, the die-off seems to be temporarily making it much worse.

UPDATE 3/1/13: I've been on GAPS for over a year now, with no deviation. No cheating whatsoever. I can honestly say I don't miss any of the "normal" food that I used to eat. This stuff is just so nutrient-dense that I don't ever think of eating anything else. And I used to literally be addicted to sugar. So, that's pretty cool. As to my progress - physically, I'm not much stronger than I was six months ago. But I'm still light-years ahead of where I was two years ago. Still taking walks, doing chores, knitting, able to function like a human being. I'm experiencing new die-off symptoms (caused by breaking up biofilm in my gut with probiotics and systemic enzymes, I believe) like visual disturbances, rosacea and other rashes, adrenaline rushes, numbness/tingling/burning in my extremities. Apparently, these things are all typical for Candida overgrowth. I'm not surprised that I haven't experienced more physical improvement. My Candida infection was/is quite severe, and I've always anticipated that it would take several years to recover. Happily, though I am able to report a significant improvement in my mental well-being. My depressive episodes started to lift just a few months into GAPS, and now they are all but gone. My favorite improvement by far, however, has been with my anxiety and panic attacks. It took about a year, but they are about 85% gone, at this point. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have some relief from this torment for the first time in over ten years (most of my adult life).

It should be obvious, but in case it's not, this protocol is not (nor does it claim to be) a quick-fix. I've had gut dysbiosis (and many, many rounds of antibiotics) since birth. It takes a long time to undo decades' worth of damage. The diet is only the base, although Dr. Natasha says that for many GAPS folks, the diet alone is enough. In my case, after the infection is gone, I will still need to detox, fix my adrenals completely, get my metabolic hormones back in order, and perhaps chelate. I have no delusions about how long this is going to take.

Thanks to all of you who have commented or contacted me over the past year; it's been wonderful swapping stories and information. I'm very grateful to you all. Here's to continued healing! :)

UPDATE 11/13/13: A lot of healing occurred this year. A lot. I now walk 4-5 miles almost everyday. I am doing so much more than I have in the last few years. I am still quite toxic but can now tolerate an infrared sauna, which is great for detox, every other day. (My adrenals were too weak, and I was so toxic my body could not handle it before.) The little things that used to require so much effort are back to being a routine part of my life, i.e. doing my hair, wearing make-up, etc. I feel more like my old self than I have in a long, long time. Occasionally, I feel even better than I remembered. There are still periods every few weeks of fatigue and die-off, where my IBS symptoms act up, anxiety and brain fog skyrocket, and I feel rough. But I haven't had one panic attack! What I (and my fella) are most excited about is I actually get to celebrate the holidays this year! I missed out on them the past two years, so I'm making up for that. Lots of GAPS baking and so forth. I have read most of the other reviews here, and I am so happy about and moved by how much this diet is helping people with chronic, so-called "untreatable" conditions. My thoughts are with all of you, and I want to wish everyone happy holidays!
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on April 12, 2014
Like with most information you find over the internet, promising this and that, I was very careful not to set myself up for disappointment, again!

When I was 28, I started developing strange symptoms of constant anxiety and a general feeling of being unwell. I made so many excuses as to why I was feeling this way: weather/change of climate, allergies, not getting enough rest, stress etc., no matter what I tried to do about it, it would just not go away! Maybe I had some good days here and there but I was on a steady decline with my health. A year later, things started to get really bad, I had constant brain fog, digestive issues and anxiety that landed me in the ER, twice (nothing they could do!) I was falling apart and despite over eight different doctors (neurologist, hematologist, countless times to general practitioner, several naturapathic docs) and tens of thousands of dollars later I still didn't know why I was feeling this way.

The following couple of years I was in a sad and desperate state. When I thought things were getting better, they would suddenly get worse. I had so many different symptoms and they were getting more severe. Heart palpitations, insomnia, constant fear and startled easily, fear of the future, tightness in the throat (it would feel as if I was choking sometimes, unable to workout, pale, red eyes and fatigue around the eye sockets, severe allergies, off and on constipation, nightmares, hypoglycemia, brain fog, skin issues ( I looked really old) the list goes on., The worst part was not knowing what was causing all of this, so I began searching the internet for solutions. It was difficult and frustrating trying to navigate and weed through all the bologna, I didn't know where to start since I had so many different things going on. In early 2012 I started the Dr. Lam protocol for Adrenal fatigue. I was sure this was it since so many of the symptoms he illustrated in his videos was exactly what was going on with me. His protocol worked for a year and things were slowly (and I do mean slowly) starting to get better, stomach issues were gone, sleep and heart issues were somewhat better but I still felt something on a much deeper level was causing this. In the beginning of 2013, like a light switch, things began going down hill again. Anxiety and depression came back with a vengeance, as did fatigue and various other symptoms. I was going backwards again and I felt panicked all the time which made working my full time job almost impossible some days.

Once again I became desperate and alone. I couldn't go to the doctors because I knew they would say the same things, by this time they just thought I was crazy and a hypochondriac anyway and I refused to go on anti-depression and anxiety pills (I've seen what they did to other people I know.) I lost contact with all my friends since I couldn't do anything with them, I was too weak and depressed for no reason. I would come home from work crash on the bed and just lye there. I thought maybe I was not doing the Dr. Lam program properly so I started pumping on on supplements that he provided and taking all these natural pills, regardless it just wasn't working. How could all of this be happening to a once healthy and alive 28 year old!!

In October of 2013 I finally decided to take a parasite test from a lab here in Scottsdale that specialises in parasites. I had heard of things like Candida before but didn't think something in my gut would be the cause of all this misery, besides my stomach issues were not even an issue anymore, I would have the occasional constipation, but thats it. I took the test anyway and two weeks later got the results back from my doc. The results left me both scared and relieved, high amounts of Candida were found in my stool! The report stated that the candida levels were high enough to cause health issues and somehow they also knew that these things were multiplying in my gut. Finally a diagnoses! But still, I was not 100 percent convinced that this was the issue, it was hard to since so many things I tried before had failed me. I started a "candida diet" and eliminated all processed sugars and other processed food in general. I did this for the following two months with some positive results but nothing ground breaking yet (with the exception of losing 30lbs within a very short amount of time.) Progress but I was still dealing with horrible anxiety and afteroon depression.

I started to do some more research and try alternatives to getting rid of candida. People have reported having Candida issues for years and they were still unable to get rid of it. This left me a bit dismayed, why was it so diffiult to get rid of? I heard of the GAPS diet through a health blog, I've heard of it before but didn't want to have to research yet another program. But something told my I should consider it. I started reading about it and it did make sense, so I started the gaps diet in February of 2013 and began eliminated all grains and sugars. I began making my own beef and chicken broths and stews and ate them regularly. I eat vegetables "swimming" in good fats and get plenty of sun. After three months I'm happy to report that i've seen the most improvement in my health than anything else I've tried! Over the past few months I've still have had bad weeks, like something is trying to work itself out of my body. But when I feel good, I feel really good and it stays with my longer. It seems like its been a two step forward one step back progress. Other times it's been three steps forward then three steps back. I'm also happy to report that I can work-out again and feel good afterward, this is something I was not able to do for the past four years. But overall a upward progress! I've very happy with the results so far but I also need to acknowledge that I'm not 100%. Not going to get over excited quite yet.

At this writing I feel about 65 to 70%. Six months ago I was at a 35 to 50 (just for reference.) My depression is only very subtly noticeable during the afternoon and some days it's a non issue. Anxiety levels have dropped considerably and I don't have that constant "on edge wired and tired" feeling. The brain fog is much less significant and some stretches of days it doesn't exist at all, my thinking is much clearer also! Hypoglycemia has reduced a lot also, not constantly hungry for sugar and food in general. Energy levels are way up! Heavy and fatigued feeling around my eyes is almost completely gone. Skin has improved and I'm getting carded again when I enter a bar with friends. A lot of other changes for the better, too many to list here in fact.

I am grateful for this book and I will continue to report my progress as I am planing to make this a permanent lifestyle for at least another year. I hope to report continued positive news! I wish everyone well.

(UPDATE June 3, 2014)

Hit a major wall, feeling some major anxiety and brain fog. I feel as if a bunch of toxins were suddenly released and are flowing around in my body. Stomach issues have back, constipation especially and gas. Ugh feel like hell. I'm going to stick with the diet and hopefully everything clears. Still taking probiotics and eating fermented foods. Starting intro GAPS.

(UPDATE August 16, 2014)

Past couple of weeks I've been feeling significantly better. Brain fog and anxiety have started to clear up, don't have that constant on edge feeling. Energy has improved significantly and I'm able to work-out again! Feeling more motivated about doing things and am starting to do things I used to enjoy. Feeling more optimistic about life in general and not as depressed (for no reason) anymore. Able to concentrate at work and productivity is up. Pretty amazing how things have suddenly started to improve. Going to continue to be cautiously optimistic but significant improvement. It's been a two step forward one step back progression and at times one step forward four steps back. But eventually I'm propelled up again, very strange. I'm still on the fifth stage of GAPS protocol and I've been taking liver clearing supplements, they have been helping a-lot. I've been feeling the best I have in years, bottom line. I'm hoping for continued progress, will keep you updated.
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on May 21, 2015
I grew up very healthy, moved to the United States when I was 16, then I had a deadly allergy attack (acute anaphylaxis) while playing tennis at the age of 23. Immediately following that incident I started experiencing many symptoms from chronic fatigue, bloating, depression, anxiety, joint pain, constipation, diarrhea, acne, asthma, ear infections, sinus infections. After going to an allergist, rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, and 4 other general physicians, all my doctors were clueless as to what why these symptoms were persisting. I eventually discovered that the root cause to all of my "constellation" (as one of my doctors put it) symptoms was the fact that I had a Saccharomyces (beer/bread yeast) infection in my gut along with a sensitivity to dairy (IgG and IgA mediated immune responses). The cure for my maladies: paleo-like or low FODMAP--extremely low carbohydrate and sugar diet--with no dairy along with a mild anti-fungal medication. This was the solution after spending $20,000 on an elimination based diagnostic method. After all this, one day by chance I went to the restroom after my brother and saw his stools were not of a healthy digestive system, looked very similar to how my stools turned after my accident. My brother was going through is first two years after a diagnosis for Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. I had to go online trying to put together the very disorganized data about the gut to schizophrenia relationship. And sure enough, after my brother had a similar test like mine, we saw his gut had a few pathogenic parasites, an overgrowth of Candida Albicans, and very high IgG and IgA responses to dairy. After I put him on a paleo like diet the results were amazing. It was an instant improvement, the changes in his mood and cognitive capabilities were more than we could have ever expected. This well-written book has a wealth of information about the importance of gut health from a very credible and passionate medical professional. The 25 page bibliography is a testament to the quality and validity of the book. I love this book, and I just wish everyone were aware about the information inside.
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on December 28, 2012
My only concern about this book is that the information here should be required reading for all medical personnel, all parents, and anyone wanting to live a healthful life. So the title, which focuses on particularly brain-related dysfunctions, may cause the average unhealthy person to ignore this as a reference for them!

I am absolutely sold on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the GAPS Diet and the Paleo Diet. Although each has its individual "rules", they are all very close cousins and are setup according to good science.

If you read this book, it will give you a good clue why there are so many children now being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, autism, bi-polar, obesity, etc. The Standard American Diet is slowly poisoning us and our children.

Sadly, the three diets I mentioned, above, are not easy, pre-prepared foods. I am lucky: I grew up on a farm. My mother froze home-grown veggies, we made homemade jams and canned tomatoes. Cooking healthful food is my hobby, so although it is a challenge, I basically know how to get myself organized and make it happen.

But when I read these books and I think about the single working mother who is struggling to make ends meet, struggling to get her child to school, herself to work, and keep up with a limited budget and limited time. I wonder how she would implement any of these dietary protocols. I think about someone who is literally dying from years of drug treatments for this and that illness, is now so weak and exhausted they can hardly do anything, and my heart aches. How the heck can these folks make these changes? How does someone who is alone and very sick and weak do all that needs to be done? Shear grit, I guess.

Anyway, thank you everyone who has written reviews on this book. Because of your feedback I have finally found the way to eat that not only has cured my chronic lifelong constipation, but will also afford me overall good health.
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on January 6, 2015
I just want to start by saying that I never wrote an amazon review. After reading this book about 8 months ago and following the diet (with a few alterations), I have lost about 30 pounds. I wasn't trying to lose weight, but I do like having less pounds on me. My girl friend was following the diet, even though she was less strict that I was, and she lost 40+ pounds. It's not just about weight either, I just feel better overall. I'm not saying that this book is the holy grail of diet information, but it worked for me and my gf. Whenever I get into a conversation about food with someone, I recommend this book. This book changed the way I look at food.
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on March 19, 2014
I like this book a lot. I have suffered my entire life with eczema, allergies and asthma and have been tested over and over again to determine my triggers. each time, there are always new triggers or old ones that crop back up. I do have some consistent allergies that have persisted my whole life (animal dander, pollen, dust, mold, etc) but i have never found relief for eczema. I was told I "grew out of" my food allergies so it was impossible to still connect those foods to my eczema problems.
I have been told by countless doctors to move to Arizona (why?) rip out the carpets in my home and install wood floors (again why?) and avoid my triggers by keeping covers on pillows and bed, vacuuming every single thing in my house daily and washing cothing every night. (gee, that's reasonable AND realistic!)
I tried to eliminate foods anyhow to see how my skin would react or not - I tried eliminating wheat for approximiately 4 months and saw little to no effect on my eczema. I slowly got off of the topical steroids I was using to manage my condition and started reading around blogs from people that struggle with eczema and avoiding steroid creams/ointments. I found this book through a blog from a mother that began the diet for her child and found that her son's eczema had cleared up by about 90%.

The difference with this diet and others are that this isnt just an elimination diet. it is a healing diet, meant not only to restrict foods that cause inflammation but to heal the digestive system naturally and then reintroduce some foods to determine if intolerances still exist.

I have only begun this journey a month ago and it has been difficult. The elimination of some of my favorite foods is the hardest. the prep of the food is not, my only recommendation is to BE ORGANIZED. This book helps to teach you about how your system works and get your started, but is not meant to be your food bible. you have to learn what your body can handle and what it cannot. I found the sauerkraut was easy to make and i have found recipes online to keep things interesting when it comes to probiotic foods.

All in all I like the book beause it's easy to read, there is a lot of good information about how your digestive system should work and what it looks like when it is deficient.
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on January 13, 2016
Been suffering from chronic vertigo and brain fog among other things for the past year....since starting GAPS 2 months ago, the fog has gone and I'm down to 3-4 bad days/month from 20-30. It is a very labor intensive diet, but once you kind of get going it just becomes your new normal, and as you start feeling better that helps, too. I feel like I am giving myself and my family the very very best of nutrition and have loved seeing my kids really thrive. I would recommend working w a GAPS least to figure out what supplements you should/should not be taking. I would have had no clue where to begin. It is expensive, but even if you can get a consultation then you can kind of go on from there. If you're eating a "healthy American diet" like we were (no fast food, few processed foods, not much meat), your grocery bill WILL go up. But weighing the cost with the benefit, we wouldn't have it any other way.
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on September 7, 2014
This book saved my life. I am so thankful for people like Dr. Natasha McBride and Elaine Gottschall (author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle). We need more people like them, people who care about getting to the underlying cause of a symptom. Not just treating it. Too bad the pharma companies only want $$$ and our government couldnt care less about our health.

I went from doctor to doctor, they could not tell what was wrong with me. I was very fatigued (could lie in bed for days- felt like no amount of sleep was enough), I felt faint when I didn't eat every few hours, got depression, digestive issues, a lot of neurological problems like numbness in my hands and feet, and got weird rashes that were white spots on my hands. I still dont know what that was about. I also had vaginal itching and was given pill for candida like 4-5 times with no help. I really dont like recalling these symptoms but I am doing this to help others out there who might be in the same boat. I turned lactose intolerant all of the sudden, and just a few months ago turned gluten intolerant, I was also almost diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Thats what they tell you when they dont know the answer. I did my own research because i was so surprised i got this disease out of nowhere, and came across ONE website (sadly just one) which mentioned hat a vitamin d deficiency could cause the same symptoms. I told my doctor this, who tested my levels, and they were soo low. My level was 8, the normal range is 30-100. I was on high dosage of those, along with vitamin b-12. My levels went up again. My personal opinion is that I just wasnt absorbing anything, because I am a very healthy eater. Recently found out I'm anemic, but I am certain GAPS has helped tremendously with my absorption.

I came across this diet when I was looking for cures and information about heartburn (another symptom i had! along with horrible persistent nausea.....) Found Chris Kresser's site and it saved my life. From there he talked about low-carb diet, probiotics, and backed up his statements with a lot of science. It made more sense to me than anything any doctor has ever told me. I chose the GAPS diet and have been on it since May. It definitely has had ups and downs, but for the most part its been more good than bad. Just make sure you follow it and dont have too much fruit, nuts, honey. Those things should be occasional.
I think all of my problems started after I had this really weird "stomach flu" or whatever it was, about 3 years ago. Ever since then, I think something happened to my gut, and things have just never been the same.
If youre considering GAPS, I say go for it, I whole heartedly recommend it, I think it could benefit anyone. It has worked for so many people. Just remember to stay positive! Also, mind and body are one, so focus on relaxing your mind as well. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey, and the best of health.

UPDATE: After 7 months of GAPS, things went downhill again. After lots of searching I found out I had candida. I started working with a holistic nutritionist. I realized this cannot be beaten without supplements (sorry, gaps.) Work with a holistic practitioner or a qualified MD who understands these things. I had a really comprehensive test done by Genova diagnostics which confirmed some food sensitivities that I never would have known had I not went to a practitioner. They help a lot, but you are your own judge in the end. Hang in there! So gaps for me particularly was not gonna get me very far since all the simple sugars allowed on it would feed my candida even more. So it may be for some people but not for everyone. Maybe for like crohns or colitis or intestinal problems it would help. My problem is my stomach being irritated. Its complicated i can't type it all here but i hope this helps someone.
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on June 9, 2016
One of the best books, so informative. My 18 month old son and I are both on this diet and IT WORKS. It is not easy, but it works for skin issues, behavior, etc....
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on May 11, 2016
The diet itself is extremely helpful, I'm sure, but this book is not. It is EXTEMELY wordy with useless information. Half the book seems like the author is simply trying to convince you that her diet works. You have to piece everything together and do your own research. For a informational book that is a guide, it lacks clear cut directions. It needs charts and clear cut directions because this diet is overwhelming and the people who need to go on it are often times stressed, sick, brain fogged, and overwhelmed due to their health issues. Also, most of the info in this book is on her website.
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