Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gaps Diet

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia

This post has been a long time coming. I really needed to refresh my memory about the details of this diet.
You know how sometimes you can form an opinion about something, because you researched it and became well informed, but then as you step back and life goes on the details of why get a little fuzzy. Well that is how it works with me, anyhow. Plus with the gaps diet, I always feel like there is something new to learn.  So here it is, the post about my seemingly crazy diet. I hope that those of you who take an interest learn something that will really make a difference for your health.

Gaps stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, because doctors and scientist have discovered a that the gut and the brain are hugely connected. In fact your gut is your second brain, they even look like each other in some ways. If the intestinal lining of your gut is not doing its job then it affects how your brain functions as well as your whole body.  Hippocrates said that all diseases begin in the gut. How right he was!

So why would your gut not be working properly? That is a good question. The standard American diet, or SAD as it is commonly called, is made up largely of processed foods, white flour, white sugar, that are void of nutrients. Not only does this not provide your body with anything good, but robs your body of vital minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. You need enzymes to digest your food. Our bodies makes some of its own enzymes, but most of our enzymes come from the food that we eat. These modern processed foods have no enzymes to offer.
So maybe you are thinking your diet is not so bad, maybe you have the occasional bagel made with white flour, and only every once in a while you have a sweet treat, but you still eat plenty of fresh food too. Subway comes with lettuce and tomato right?  Well that is a bigger topic, for another post, but I will say this, if you are not closely reading those food labels then you have no idea what you are eating.  This post is not meant to be offensive just to inform you. Hey I was the queen of poor eating habits. I love junk food just as much as the next guy, but things have changed a bit. I really got sick of feeling sick.
Ok lets just pretend that you have the best diet on the face of the planet. Do you take birth control pills? Have you ever? Have you ever had a round of antibiotics? How about that tap water you are drinking or maybe you have a brita, your water is chlorinated. All of these things kill the bacteria in your gut, the bad as well as the good.   Here are a few things that Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride has to say about it.

Contraceptive pills have a devastating effect on the beneficial bacteria in your gut. One of the major functions of the gut flora is controlling about 500 different known species of pathogenic ( or bad ) and opportunistic microbes get a special opportunity to grow into large colonies, that spread over and occupy large areas of the digestive tract. A modern diet of processed and fast foods provide perfect nourishment for these pathogens. And that is the typical diet that the modern mom had as a child and young adult.  As a result of all these factors the modern mom has seriously compromised gut flora by the time she is ready to have children. And indeed clinical signs of gut dysbiosis ( abnormal gut flora ) are present in almost 100% of mothers with children with neurological and psychiatric conditions. 

She goes on to say...

Why are we talking about the mothers gut flora? Because her baby is born with a sterile gut. In the first 20 or so days of life the babies virgin gut surface gets populated by a mixture of microbes. This becomes the child's gut flora, which will have a tremendous effect on this child's health for the rest of his/ her life. Where does this gut flora come from? Mainly from the mother. So whatever microbial flora the mother has she passes it on to her new born child. 

So even if you eat the perfect diet, your mother might not have, and you have inherited her gut, basically.
The first function of the digestive system is to break down, digest and absorb the food we eat. Good bacteria in your gut break down and pull out the nutrients that we need from our food. If you have abnormal gut flora you are not digesting your food properly. So then what happens? Well a few things... First, your undigested food will go through the wall of your gut and into your blood stream, where your body will not recognize it and attack it like an invader. This will cause you to have an immune reaction. sometimes these reactions come in the form of hives, or skin rashes or eczema., or even an asthma attack. Sometimes these reactions are less obvious, a headache, over all feeling sluggish. It could be any of a hundred symptoms.
Second  you will end up with nutritional deficiencies.

Lets look at just some of the deficiencies that can occur. Vitamin K, folic acid, iron, B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, various amino acids, and proteins.  That is the short list!  Apart from nourishing our bodies, beneficial bacteria in the gut will act as gate keepers or guards. They coat the entire surface ( which by the way, if stretched out flat would cover an Olympic size tennis court )  of the gut, protecting it from invaders and toxins by producing a natural barrier. They produce anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal substances that fight infection! When working properly our guts are amazing. They can be our best friend or our worst nightmare.

So here is a little insight to why I am choosing this diet. I will talk more about the actual diet in the posts that follow!

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