You Think You’ve Got It Bad? ;)

At the WAPF conference, I met someone I’ll call Joe. (I remember his real name, but wish to honour his privacy.) His story was spellbinding:

As a young child, Joe experienced the horrible symptom of blood exiting his body with every stool. He had Crohn’s. For the longest time, including in his teens, his weight hovered at around 65 pounds. The boy’s body was absolutely devastated.

As a young adult, Joe learned about Aajonus Vonderplanitz’s raw omnivorous program. He committed to consuming raw meat and raw milk with some raw vegetables. For two years, his hell continued. For two years, every single day he sweated and vomited and had diarrhea.

And then he didn’t.

Somewhere in the midst of his healing horror, Joe saw his first increase in his weight. Today Joe is a solid, stocky 190 pounds. He is also an alert, bright, energetic fellow. Even though he is being threatened with jail (something to do with raw milk), he seems happy and is very definitely positive. The same proactivity that had him recover himself continues to show in his commitment to access of real food.

There are a host of things that stand out to me about Joe’s story, but the one I want to share right now is his commitment through the healing crisis. What made Joe believe? What made Joe believe he could be well? What made Joe believe that a healing crisis persisting for two full years would, in the end, prove worth it?

Our mutual friend, Millie, said, “This is what people need to know. This is what we need to tell them! This is what people need to understand!”

Millie’s own son did (and does) GAPS. When he started, they did not know about intro so of course they could not do it. Millie’s son’s recovery, then, involved a full year of constant die-off, before they started to see glimmers of recovery. A good minute here, five minutes of relief there…

Her boy is very well today. What made Millie believe? What made Millie believe her son could be well? What made Millie believe that a healing crisis with no let up within the first year would, in the end, prove worth it?

I don’t know.

But Joe did believe, and Millie did believe. And they stuck it out. And the lives of two young men are living testimony that it is worth it.

In the GAPS community today we have so much more information than Millie had. There are books and support groups that did not exist when Millie started recovering her son, making it up as she went along, tweaking, finding solutions.

Today in the GAPS community, we know about die-off, about how it cycles, about how to manage it. We know we can’t always manage it 100%, but we have tools for keeping it lighter and coming through it faster. Thus, it is unlikely that anyone will need to go through what Joe or Millie’s son had to. But their stories can well serve as excellent encouragement while we go through whatever degree of die-off we need to.

19 Replies to “You Think You’ve Got It Bad? ;)”

  1. Thank You 🙂 “Joe”, Millie, and Baden. Whenever we waver, we just keep truckin and remember to pay it forward.

    I will be forwarding this to a friend who is also interested in helping their son.

    Wish I could have been at the conference to meet some of the wonderful people who continue to inspire our family….but I have a 3-year-old with die-off to attend to 🙂

    Next year! Let’s move the conference to fla LOL and have the best pet food conference on record.

    Hugs, Anne G

  2. Thanks for sharing this . . . knowing that the long view is one of healing helps make it tolerable to get through the hard days.

    I look forward to the upcoming posts inspired by the conference.

    Cheers!

  3. great to ‘see’ you baden. it’s funny as i had a dream about you last week – something about WAPF – and you had long dark hair. weird huh? ;o)
    thanks for this story. so inspiring. milli and kevin’s experience keep me going when i feel like giving up.
    monique

  4. Hi Baden,
    We sort of started the GAPS diet in November with my son, who is 13 and has OCD/Phobias Disorder. Basically I was planning to start the Intro. to GAPS diet in January, and was trying out recipes, etc., until then. However Christopher, my son, began losing weight. He didn’t have much to lose anyway, and my husband became very concerned. I stopped the diet for now. How do you maintain your weight while on the GAPS diet?
    Thank you so much,
    Julie
    P.S. How is Dr. Campbell-McBride doing? Did they find out what was wrong?

    • Hi Julie,

      A lot of people lose weight initially on GAPS. This seems to be part of the healing process. Part of it is detox and part of it is loss of water weight. See NCM’s FAQ here: http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=32 (Question #12).

      After the initial weight loss, people gain. It is vitally important to feed the body on GAPS, initially offering food upon waking, then every hour or two (max) throughout the day, then just before bed. After about 4-6 weeks of intensive healing, the appetite will balance out. At all points on GAPS, it is important to be taking in *lots* of fats as well as proteins.

      No recent word on NCM -the last word received that she was healing nicely.

      All my best,
      Baden

  5. Hi Baden,
    Thank you so much for answering my e-mail. The GAPS diet is the first thing that has made sense to me in all the research we have done about my son’s condition.
    I have a question regarding your reference to OCD in the GAPS Guide. Did you have a protocol for supplements specific to OCD from NCM? Is the GAPS diet different for OCD?
    My son has made tremendous progress with Cognitive Behavior Therapy done by my husband and myself. However, he is a child and can not see past today. He does not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The intrusive thoughts have only become more prominent to him, (perhaps because we are working on much harder phobias now). My question is, have the intrusive thoughts subsided for you with the GAPS diet?
    I wish I could have been at the WAPF convention to hear you.
    God bless you and your son,
    Julie

    • Hi Julie,

      GAPS is the same for OCD as it is for any other gut-based condition. For me, yes, intrusive thoughts and OCD resolved probably 95% within weeks. For others, it will take longer. Die-off may temporarily increase it. Also, while mine largely disappeared before implementing the oils, these may be key for some.

      My talk at the WAPF conference is now available on CD via gapsdiet.com (or nutrivene.com for those outside of US and Canada).

      Thank you for your loving blessing 🙂

      All my best,
      Baden

  6. Dear Baden:

    How do I get a reply to my questions? I have purchased both books but I don’t see much in there about the terrible die-off I am experiencing. My crotch is so sore and it burns and itches. I have other places on my skin: my arm, my forehead, behind my ear, etc. I have tried dozens of natural, prescription and over the counter salves. Nothing helps. I am doing the diet. What gives?

    Please respond. thanks, Lori Tucker

    • Hi Lori,

      Generally, to get answers to questions, you would need to post to the support list.

      Here are tips for getting questions answered on the list:

      > make a very short, very specific subject line
      > include in your post:
      >> the symptoms that brought you to GAPS,
      >> when you started GAPS,
      >> whether or not you have done intro,
      >> what foods/meds/supplements/baths you are currently consuming
      >> the issue you need help with

      I’ll look for your post whenever I’m over there today.

      All my best,
      Baden

  7. Hi Baden,
    Thank you so much for your helpful answers to my questions. Chris has been on a number of supplements stemming from the onset of his condition from last Summer when doctors thought he had PANDAS, (do to the explosive onset, and the presence of the strep throat virus in his blood titers). The supplement protocol was from Bonnie Grimaldi whose son had Tourette’s. Through this protocol and IV immunoglobulin we think the Tourette’s was resolved and we were able to take Chris off the Risperdal and Clonidine,(from which he suffered terribly with side effects). We were still left with OCD/Phobias Disorder though. I am wondering if Chris still needs to be on all the supplements he is on, and if there is a better way to get the vitamins he needs. I’m not sure if you can answer this question, or if it will have to wait for NCM, but here goes.
    He is currently on 12,000 mg. of Inositol, two capsules of B50(with 11 types of B vitamins), 500 mg. of Magnesium Oxide (the only kind both he and I can tolerate without diarrhea)(Magnesium is a deficiency most Americans suffer from), 400 I.U. E, 500 mg. N-A-C, 30 mg. Zinc,
    100 mg. Grapeseed Extract, 50 mcg. Selenium (there is no Selenium present in the local soil), 1 tsp. of Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil (2,000 I.U. D3, 500 mg. DHA, 400 mg. EPA, 40 mg. ALA, 800 I.U. A – I’m thinking the A is not enough), 1/4 tsp. of Nordic Natural’s Pro EFA (168 mg. EPA, 112 mg. DHA) to round out the Cod Liver Oil, 500 mg. Taurine, and of course two capsules of Bio-Kult. I told you it was a lot. One note is that we live in a climate that rains all winter. That is the reason for the 2,000 I.U. of D3. He is outside as often as he can, rain or not. But we rarely see the sun in the Winter.
    I had him on 3 tsp. of Pro EFA but he developed very weird hand and arm movements, so I backed off on it. As with you, when I tried 1 capsule of S. Boulardii his OCD went through the roof, thank heavens for the Activated Charcoal you mentioned.
    Well, sorry for the long e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you,
    Julie
    P.S. Any past posts on how to get a reluctant 13 year old to do the diet? He really missed his potato chips.

    • Hi Julie,

      Generally, when we come to GAPS, we wean off of all supplements (even the GAPS ones) except those required to preserve life or limb. As we approach intro, most of us find it necessary to even reduce or eliminate the probiotic. Then the GAPS ones are introduced one at a time, starting with miniscule doses, to watch for responses.

      For potato chips, I would slice up a celeriac and bake the slices in oil, and possibly spices. Lots of kids also like butternut squash cut into fry shapes and similarly baked. In GAPS Guide, I suggest starting to introduce a family to GAPS foods through main courses and/or desserts.

      All my best,
      Baden

  8. Hi Baden,

    I only now read this entry. It touched my heart to the point of shedding tears as it reminds me of my own healing journey through the hell of Crohn’s Disease.
    I think faith, desperation and hope are very intimately linked in ways that is hard to put into words. It has been a driving force for me through all of the -incredible- challenges while on the diet.
    I feel what has kept me going on this diet are the nuggets of progress I see every now and again that just catapult my healing to a level I never imagined possible. A nugget here, a nugget there amongst all of this suffering until those nuggets start taking up more space than the suffering itself.
    The sheer amazement I experience of being able to look back at my history and say “Ohh my god, that was me all those years ago so sick and here I am today, how on Earth did I do it?” make my knees buckle and I feel so humble.
    I loved reading about Joe. What a great guy to think he may have to go to jail over raw milk is an utter tragedy.
    And reading about Millie and her son always fills my heart.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful entry.
    Jodi

  9. I want to thank you all for your encouraging posts. I am just now starting stage 2. I have to be extemely cautious about how fast I move forward on the diet or I am immediately reminded by my body of how weak it is. I want to thank you Baden for the Gaps Guide. What a precious resource to work through the various stages of Gaps to ease through what is often a very long and difficult process of recovery.

    It is truly encouraging to be able to take a glimps at the lives of those who have gone through the diet before us, and through their perserverence, we are beneficiaries of their success.

    When I come here, I am grateful that I am not alone in facing the stuggle and uncertanty of making a conscious decision each day to commit to the Gaps diet meal after meal. All the wonderful testimonies enable me to take my eyes off of my current circumstances, and help me to look forward to a time when the diet will have worked it’s healing in my life as well as all those who are here with me.

    Be encouraged,

    Nina

  10. hi all
    I started gaps into 5 days ago. I have some very bad allergy, food intolarence and a long history of GERD. With GAPS I am given fish oil, buteric acid, zypan, primrose oil, and offcourse the probiotic. I started gaps ok on day one, day 2 started the diarrhea. wich got really bad on day 3, burning liquid stool. I consumed goats milk yogurt on day 4 and it made it a little better. day 5 also continued with the diarrhea. I am already underwight and need to really gain weight. I am worried that all this diarrhea will make me loose more wight that I dont have plus I have kids to take care of and I am alone with them. Any ideas. I was thinking to start with a little grain to help with the diarrhea and continue with gaps and then slowly as weight progress, let go of grain. I also have a very very hard time to digest fats due to my GERD. nausea is a constant thing for me. Any suggestions?

    • Dear thepath,

      Do you have a copy of the GAPS Guide book? In it, I advise

      -transitioning slowly to intro (with a step-by-step ‘how to’)
      -removing all supplements not required for life or limb
      -starting GAPS supplements, including probiotic, only a ways into the program

      The book’s ‘Updates’ page recommends avoiding veggies in the case of diarrhea.

      Tea made with fresh ginger is excellent for nausea.

      Also see my GERD notes here: http://gapsguide.com/2011/05/14/heartburn-reflux/

      thepath, my primary recommendation to you is to go to full GAPS, read the whole GAPS Guide book and Book Updates page, and follow the instructions therein.

      All my best,
      Baden

  11. hi Baden
    Thank you for the quick reply. I have the book and i am actually under the care of a GAPS practicioner. I am still having a hard time with the diarrhea and nausea. I was actually thinking along the same line of starting with the full gaps but my Practicioner thinks that I should stick it through with intro. I am gonna take it one day at a time but I dont know how far I can handle this. I have been sitting on the couch most of the time as I am too tired to even walk and now I must to make lunch for the kiddos.

    • Hi thepath,

      In terms of overall approach, all I can recommend is the approach I offer in the book. It’s based on the experiences and input of many, many families and minimizes the issues people develop.

      Nausea, lethargy, diarrhea, etc, are common die-off symptoms, but sometimes we inadvertently put ourselves through a die-off much more intense than necessary. Even if taking a path other than presented in GAPS Guide (eg. no probiotics this early in healing, etc), you may benefit from the reminders set out here: http://gapsguide.com/2009/10/01/surviving-die-off/

      In terms of the diarrhea, I can add two thoughts: one is to avoid veggies for now; the other is to (even in intro) include whey, then sour cream, then yogurt, then kefir.

      Please let me know how things progress for you.

      All my best,
      Baden

      • HI,
        Thank you for the advice. I plan to do that. Today I cut back Biokult from 4 to 1. The diarrhea ended, thank God. But I started being itchy all over. Even after eating food that I know I am not allergic too, as I eat them all the time and blood work has proven it to be not allergic. So as I mentioned earlier, I have alot of food intolarence and confusion ( sometime ago my doc said I was allergic to things that the current blood test shows I am not). Due to that I had stopped eating most fruits and vegetables. Now I am introducing them one at a time. My question was, should I introduce the fruits and vegetables as I take the probiotic or introduce the vegetables and then move to introduce probiotic. Would the diet still be useful with the use of probiotics?
        sincerely
        Nadia

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