Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GAPS Diet, Pregnancy, and Adrenal Fatigue

I have received a comment on my last post and I think my response will be lengthy enough to warrant a post of its own.  So, here goes...

Hi Janice,
First, congratulations on your pregnancy! I found your blog during an Internet search on the GAPS diet and autism. I found Sam's story tremendously inspiring. I am considering doing it for my family but am a bit apprehensive, for various reasons. Something that I keep thinking about is that you mentioned your health took a downturn. Would you mind commenting on whether you think the GAPS diet may have contributed to your health challenges? I realize it helped Sam so much, but I am wondering if it could actually be harmful to some?
Many thanks to you for sharing your journey with us!

Anonymous, I cannot be absolutely certain as to what caused my health problems, but I do admit that I suspect the GAPS Diet.  My health problems are due to adrenal fatigue.  The doctor that diagnosed me suspects that the restricted diet and the stress that goes along with maintaining a restrictive diet could play a large part in wearing down my adrenals.  I think that my main problem is that I was on the GAPS Diet for two years and during that time I was pregnant with baby #4, nursing baby #4, had an early miscarriage, and was then newly pregnant with baby #5.  I think my pregnant/nursing body just needed more carbs than what I was getting on the GAPS Diet.  My body went into starvation mode and my metabolism slowed down to nothing.  The adrenal fatigue has effected my thyroid function, my hormonal balance, my energy level, my metabolism, my ability to handle stress...I can't believe how much my body has fallen apart because of this.

I haven't noticed any negative effects on the children.  Two years on the GAPS Diet seemed to be extremely beneficial to them.  However, my body needed more and I just wasn't getting it on the GAPS Diet.  I do believe that it is possible to have a larger amount of carbs and still stick to the GAPS Diet though.  However I believe that it would take a deliberate effort to increase those carbs.  I still promote the GAPS Diet because I believe that it can be tremendously healing, but I do have to throw a caution in there as well.  Looking back, I think that my body would have been better off if I had transitioned off of the GAPS Diet around the 1 year mark.


  1. Hi Janice,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my comment; I can only imagine how busy you are right now with 5 children. I am very sorry to hear of your health problems. Whenever I research anything, I try to examine it from all sides, looking at both the potential good and the bad. I guess at some point you just have to go with your gut (no pun intended), make a decision, and move forward. I still haven't come to that decision yet regarding GAPS, but your experience has given me a lot to think about. I have a 3 YO with FPIES and autistic-like symptoms (mild, but they're there) and a nursing 8-month-old who also has persistent GI troubles even with me eliminating many, many foods from my diet (haven't started him on solids yet but I have a feeling he is going to react to everything). I have read of GAPS helping to heal both FPIES and autism, but I certainly don't want to swap one set of issues for another.

    Thank you again for sharing your experience. I pray you will experience a full recovery and feel better very soon.

  2. Hi Janice, my question is: is the GAPS diet safe during pregnancy. I'm currently pregnant, my oldest son has SPD, and is on Feingold. We've seen some major gains with that, but lately, it seems like we're just spinning our wheels with regression, and there are more and more food sensitivities every day! I'm desperate to see some permanent change for my little 4 year old treasure. If you have the time and energy to respond, I'd definitely love to hear your answer! Thanks in advance!

    1. Ruth, I believe the GAPS Diet can be safe during pregnancy. However, based on my personal experience, I believe that you need to be very careful that you are getting enough carbs to support your body's needs. With the information you've given I would be inclined to go ahead and do the GAPS Diet for my child, but to add in extra squash, apples, carrots, or even sweet potatoes and soaked grains for myself. I urge you to remember that you are an expectant mother so your body has different needs. The 2010 edition of Gut and Psychology Syndrome has a Part Four section specifically about Pre-conception and Pregnancy. That section has a lot of good information in it. Don't disregard it or ignore it because it's too bothersome to cook up extra food just for yourself. That's what I did and I am paying for it now. I believe those potatoes, sourdough, and soaked grains are super-benenficial to a pregnant/lactating woman. Best wishes to you as you start this journey and congratulations on your growing blessing!