Well, I'm at it again. Another new diet that I am hoping will help my four year old and this time it is GAPS. I am just completely stuck on knowing that there is something related to food affecting his mood and behavior and am trying to figure out what it is exactly. He had such a huge improvement in his behavior years ago from removing dairy and sunflower, that I just really think a large part of his issues are gut related.
Anyhow, I am just looking for some support from other mamas of kiddos with special needs who have done or are doing the GAPS diet. My son does not have a diagnosis yet, but I fully expect him to end up with an ASD diagnosis when his testing is finished. So please share and join this thread if you're doing this diet for your kiddo (even if their only "special need" is allergies or digestive issues).
I don't fit into those categories but just wanted to offer you my support!
I haven't done GAPS but I had my family gluten-free for a month and the only change I noticed was that my cycle was lighter, LOL. I know I should probably try GAPS, but our issues (sensory and significant developmental delays) don't seem to be gut-related (though I don't regret trying gluten-free to at least rule that out).
Your son is lucky to have such a dedicated mother!
My DS1 (3 1/2), has a diagnosis of Autism (High functioning). We have known foods affected DS1 since he was a young baby. He reacts pretty strongly to additives/preservatives/colours etc, with a most notable reaction MSG and Suphites. We knew this as a babe because he would become very upset, cry a lot more than usual, and feed a lot more than usual. Now if he has these things he becomes very hyperactive, aggressive and has difficulty sleeping.
When we removed gluten and diary from his diet (around 2) we had huge improvements with, again, hyperactivity, aggressive behaviours, and this time, tactile sensory sensitivities (able to tolerate water touching his skin, wear shoes and short sleeve clothing again) We've since brought dairy back in, and that seems to be ok.
We've also tried the Failsafe Diet (low Salicylate/Amines). Again, we see a big reaction to Salicylates (we didn't do a proper test with Amines though). Sals again causes hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour, and frequent urination.
Oh, and he also has trouble digesting beans/pea/cabbage family. And has obvious digesting issues (gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea)
So, considering all of that, we decided that GaPS made the most sense for him. We cannot imagine him having to have such a restricted diet long term, and when I read the GaPS diet, it made so much sense! I have always beieved the human body in perfect. And it really speaks to me, this idea that becaue the gut has been damaged it is unable to do it's job properly. I don't mean to say I believe this is the answer for every person, but in our case, it seems to make a lot of sense.
And doing the GaPS has been amaing for us. Within a week or two on the intro we saw huge improvements with both behaviour, and bowel movements/gas.
But, we didn't end up getting past stage 3 before getting stuck, and me becoming overwhelmed. So we went onto full GaPS, which also meant having more Sals foods, and behaviour problems again.
So! It's been a hard road for us. When I'm on the ball, he's on full GaPS, with an effort to avoid high Sals foods. But I do often let the ball drop (like at the moment), and I'm reminded, very strongly, why we're doing this. It's a tough road for us. Financially GaPS is tough on us, and the work it takes (trying to avoid high Sals, the food prep, and a fussy eater) can be exhausting, but I can actually see how much it is helping DS1. So I am getting myself together, and getting a heaps of cooking done again today :P
I have to run. I hope this helps some! (and excuse any spell errors or such, haven't proof read this)
Eloisa--thank you too . Your story sounds so much like our story. We've done fail safe too (and feingold, feast without yeast, gfcf). I was really reluctant to try another diet but I read the book on SCD which led me to GAPS and it all makes sense to me too. I see so much of my son in the book. How long have you been doing GAPS? It is intimidating especially because we are dairy and egg free too and I really am not into cooking animal products and have never even seen a fermented vegetable. Within the next few days I'm going to start though. Your story is very encouraging. I hope you were able to get all your cooking done this weekend!
We have been on the GAPS Diet (I'll just refer to it as GAPS from now on) for over a year now. After placing DS (5.5 y.o. now) on the GFCF diet for a year, we switched over to GAPS as a family. We anticipate to be on it for at least another year, with hopes that we'll be transitioning to non-GAPS foods in 2014. We credit the combination of GAPS foods and his therapies to his amazing improvements. He was diagnosed as autistic 2 years ago.
While we saw improvements with GFCF, it was nothing compared to being on GAPS. He used to be a sensory-seeker, and moved about frenetically. After just starting GAPS, he became "still." He sat at the table. He walked. He stood. As time passed, we saw improvements, then saw regressions. At first it was so discouraging to see the regressions, but then we realized that even with the minor regressions, he was still better off than where he started. Eventually we understood that his great progress was often followed by small regressions. Knowing this made things so much better. I'm not sure when it happened, but DH and I had a wonderful moment when we realized that so many of his "annoying" (hate to use that word, but that's what they were) behaviors had disappeared. I can't remember the last time I heard him humming (except along with songs). The stimming is gone. He doesn't break down if he hears loud noises. I can clip his nails and cut his hair. Just this morning we chatted while I trimmed his nails. Oh yeah, he's conversational now too. No more therapies and no more IEP.
We "cheated" a little at the beginning of GAPS by doing a combination of the SCD intro and the GAPS intro. IMO, the SCD intro is a bit more kid-friendly, which made it much easier to implement. Once he was through the intro, we moved to full GAPS. We haven't strayed from it since, with the exception of a batch of macaroons in which I used a small amount of cream of tartar, not realizing it was a no-no. DS didn't eat much of the macaroons, but DH & I did. We also use baking soda to help with the baked goods. It seems we are fine with it.
It is an awfully expensive way to eat, there is no question about that (totally worth it). And if you're not used to cooking a lot of animal products, it may be weird at first for you. I remember when I cooked my first cow tongue... I was mortified and wouldn't even touch it. Now I just use my bare hands to handle it and peel it. I'm finding myself doing all sorts of things like that. Perhaps it might be that way for you? Take it easy on the fermented foods at first, as you may have read, in order to avoid nasty die-off. Oh, and don't forget, pickles are a fermented food! ;)
I'm not sure if you've seen this yet, but this is the video that prompted me to buy my GAPS book:
The "after" video is from a month of being on the GAPS Intro Diet. Janice, the mother, says that they did GAPS off and on, and followed Weston A. Price diet guidelines, but it wasn't until they started with the GAPS Intro that they had these sorts of results. We had the same result with our SCD/GAPS Intro. I highly encourage anybody up for the task to give this a try.
Aegis, you're post brought tears to my eyes, has given me motivation to get back on track. Thank you!
APToddlerMama, DS has been on GaPS since June/July.
Also, if you struggle with the idea of cooking a lot of animal products. Have you thought of trying the Body Ecology Diet? I haven't tried it, but have heard of people doing it with the goal of healing the gut, just like GaPS. And it has less of an emphasis of broth and animal products.