- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: Medinform Publishing; Revised & enlarged edition (November 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0954852028
- ISBN-13: 978-0954852023
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 693 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia Revised & enlarged Edition
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About the Author
After practicing as a neurologist and neurosurgeon in her Russian homeland, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride moved to the UK, where she developed her theories on the relationship between neurological disorders and nutrition. She completed her second postgraduate degree in Human Nutrition at Sheffield University, UK, and currently runs the Cambridge Nutrition Clinic. She specializes in nutritional treatments, and has become recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in treating children and adults with learning disabilities and other mental disorders, as well as children and adults with digestive and immune disorders.
She is the author of Gut And Psychology Syndrome (Revised Edition 2010), in which she explores the connection between physical state and brain function; Put Your Heart in Your Mouth (Revised Edition 2016), which reviews natural treatments for heart disease, and Vegetarianism Explained (2017), which compares the physiological benefits of animal- and plant-based foods.
Dr Campbell-McBride frequently gives talks to health practitioners, and at professional conferences worldwide. She is a Member of The British Society for Environmental Medicine, and a Board Member of the Weston A Price Foundation, and is a regular contributing health editor to journals, magazines and newsletters in English speaking countries around the world.
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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!
My daughter and I started the diet in October 2012. We have been on the diet for 1 year now. We started from a point where we were already eating commercialized "organic" food. My daughter did eat meat prior to us starting the diet. But I had been a vegetarian for over 20 years. I initially picked up this book because it had been getting discussion on an autism parenting group that I belong to. I started to learn about the diet by reading information online, then decided it was potentially worth pursuing further and purchased the book. The intention was to try the diet for my daughter, who had just turned 7 at the time we started the diet. Even though I had been a vegetarian for so many years, I wanted to support her by doing the diet with her.
However, as I read the book, I realized that I needed to try this diet for my own issues as well, extreme PMS and major digestive issues (which turned out to be ulcerative colitis, as diagnosed via colonoscopy 3 months after I had started the diet).
We started the full diet with the larger variety of food in October. We started the restrictive, elimination portion of the diet (Intro Diet) the 2nd half of December. A year later and we are still in what I would consider to be Intro Diet. Not due to obvious food reactions (still haven't figured out anything specific we might be sensitive to). We eat almost everything on the full diet other than the Navy Beans and Lentils. However, we don't eat honey other than rarely. And only have 2 small portions of low sugar fruit per day. We are both still struggling with yeast overgrowth. There are a few other foods we typically don't eat much of either, based on working with a Nurse Practitioner who is also GAPS Certified.
A year into the diet and not one of my daughter's autism symptoms is better. However, there have been other issues that have disappeared. She used to have consistently rashy private parts. She has been to a number of medical doctors and had the area swabbed and analyzed numerous times resulting in being told "some girls just get that" and being told to use anything from vaseline to diaper rash cream to being given a prescription for anti fungal cream or being told to use over the counter anti fungal cream. When we started the diet in October, the rash started to become more intermittent. A week after starting Intro Diet, the rash disappeared. We haven't seen it since.
My daughter was sick with strep throat multiple times a year as well as extreme sinus issues. She was on multiple rounds of antibiotics each year. But the sinus issues were just getting worse. The doctors were urging us to have her tonsils and adenoids removed, yet could not guarantee that would solve the issue. A few weeks after starting the full diet, we started to see improvement in the sinus issues. They disappeared a few weeks after starting Intro Diet. This summer, my daughter came into direct skin to skin contact with at least 2 children that wound up having strep throat. She never got it.
I have no doubt that this diet has helped improve her immune system. But has not helped with the autism.
As for me, I used to get sick a lot too. I have been less sick. After I got my colitis diagnosis, I held off taking the medication for 4.5 months, thinking that the diet would "cure" me. Well, I got worse and worse to the point where all I was eating was broth and chicken and fats. I couldn't tolerate anything else and was looking like a walking skeleton. I was very weak and barely functioning. I wound up going on the colitis medication, which helped some. And then I recently started a high dose of prescription probiotics, which has helped even more. I believe in my heart that the diet is helping me (as I haven't been sick with contagious illnesses like I was before). But as far as healing the colitis, I needed additional support. I don't know if the diet will heal the colitis. I am certain that if I was eating a Standard American Diet, I'd be worse off. And it is possible with the support of the medication and probiotics, as well as some other more targeted things I'm doing, maybe I will heal and not need the medication at some point in the future.
So these are the reasons why I wound up giving this diet book 4 stars. The reason why I would give this book only 3 stars is for the tone of the book. The book leads you to believe that this is a miracle cure. The book's tone is that this diet so simple and easy. And it is not. This diet is HARD. It is a LOT of work. I spend huge amounts of time in the kitchen day and night. Just for my daughter and me, I typically have 3 loads of dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day, plus all the things that need to be hand washed. When we were on Intro Diet, I would have between 3 and 5 loads of dishwasher dishes going plus all the things that had to be hand washed. Of course, some of that is also due to my daughter not necessarily eating the same thing in the same way week after week. If it were just me, I wouldn't necessarily be spending the extra time on some of the things I do for her, being that she is a child. However, I know a few adults that are on this diet without the considerations of a child, and they also complain about the work it takes, and the several loads of dishes to clean each day. There are some concepts in the book that are not entirely clear, such as information on dairy, and that all of the nut based recipes are very supplemental (a lot of people tend to over do it with eating nut butter/nut flour "treats").
The diet book, as all diet books would be, is generic. Which is another reason that this is not a one size fits all diet. This is why, after starting the Intro Diet (about 4 months total of being on GAPS), I sought out the expertise of an actual medical practitioner who also had GAPS Certification. Somebody with actual medical training, knowledgeable about this diet is very difficult to find. And very costly as well, and not often covered by medical insurance. However, I recognized that we needed more customized information, backed by medical testing. I wish that Dr. Natasha (author of GAPS Diet), would stress that it can be beneficial to seek out additional, more personalized medical advice. The book is presented as if you do these steps in this order, most people will be cured.
The book itself is not a stand alone resource either. There is an additional website with more up to date information that needs to be checked fairly often for updates. For instance, when we first started this diet and even at the beginning of the year, there was no mention about the possibility of needing to stay on Stage 2 of Intro Diet for 6+ months. So now we have moved so far along on the diet and I looked back at that FAQ and Dr. Natasha is now claiming that for certain things, you will need to stay on Intro Diet for 6+ months. How in the world do you explain to an 8 year old child who has been slowly going through Intro Diet and has been doing this for a year that you are going to have to backtrack and spend 6+ months only eating broth, boiled meats and boiled vegetables, and raw egg yolks. The answer is that you can't. So why wasn't this information either in the book or in the FAQ section 6 months ago? This diet is very emotional and I find that even being farther along on it that I tend to have low morale with all the work and being exhausted with it. Children on this diet are are continuously exposed to situations where other kids are eating all kinds of things they can not eat and some kids even get teased/bullied for their healthy food. I could see being able to backtrack or even first stay in Stage 2 of Intro if you have a very young child like toddler aged or maybe even up to age 3 or 4 and who is at home all day and not in child care or preschool. Or if the child is old enough to perhaps make some serious decisions on their own (don't know at what age that would be...junior high??? high school???). When we initially started this diet, the information was to move through the stages once you no longer see "reactions" or symptoms improve. So for my daughter, she moved through the first few stages on the diet rather swiftly. With staying in Stage 3, 4, 5 for longer periods. A few weeks in Stage 3, many weeks in Stage 4, and several months in Stage 5. We added in new foods one at a time and waited 4 to 7 days in between introducing anything new. At times I wasn't sure if there was a reactions, so I would remove an item, not add anything new for at least a week, and then retry that food item. And now all of the sudden the information is that if certain things have not improved, go back and stay in Stage 2 for 6+ months. I would say that is a rather major piece of information that should have been communicated sooner rather than later.
So to sum things up, the book is absolutely vital to starting the diet. However, the diet may or may not help and certainly might still not cure. Try to seek out knowledgeable medical opinion with a practitioner either certified in GAPS or familiar with it and get personalized advice and appropriately targeted medical testing. Realize that the book is not "stand alone" and stay current with the supplemental information located online:
Lastly, the book draws heavily from the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), so it is sometimes beneficial for some people to read the SCD book. And, it is important to know that the diet also draws heavily from Traditional Dietary guidelines as put forth by the Weston A. Price Foundation (google that), along with the cookbook Nourishing Traditions (can be found on amazon). If you are having a difficult time sourcing pure foods, you can contact a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader (as listed on their website). Another good resource is Paleo Diet. Although not specifically addressing the same issues, there are many more Paleo blogs with recipes online than GAPS. Paleo recipes sometimes require some easy modification of either leaving out an ingredient or two or substituting. Good luck....