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Anyone done the GAPS diet for ASD?

(17 Posts)
dietstartstmoz Sat 13-Aug-11 09:31:15

We tried the sunderland test but it did not help DS2's poo problems and no difference to his ASD. We have been looking into GAPS, and have the book and I have looked on the wesbites. Just thinking its probably worth a go, but I don't know if we could follow it for DS2 as there is no processed food, no bread, potatoes...what would he eat? Would he starve? He's very restrited in his diet.
Anyone done this and if so what did your kids eat???

saintlyjimjams Sun 14-Aug-11 23:03:21

No, although I thought the ideas behind it fitted with ds1's history. But there wasn't enough that he would eat. He would be fine now (eats widely) but his bowel problems seem to be cured (touch wood) so it doesn't see worth it now.

rumple Sun 14-Aug-11 23:29:11

I am doing the GAPS diet for myself. 6 months now. I posted about it a few months ago here

I would really recommend joining the gapsdiet and gapshelp yahoo groups.
These forums are full of people that are really helpful and lots of threads about getting kids to eat. I would say the gapshelp is a the most active list with more people on it that have been doing it longer so have more experience.

It was very daunting for me when I first started and that was just for doing it myself and not with my children but it gets much much easier as you can use to it. And you can implement it a fast or slow as want. Many people gradually introduce more and more gaps legal stuff in and follow full gaps before doing the intro part.

have you found these websites? They might be helpful

This links to some radio interviews. They are done by a lady on GAPS herself who talks to people who have been on GAPS for min 6 months about there experience. There are quite a few with mothers of autistic children.

dietstartstmoz Mon 15-Aug-11 10:50:30

Thanks, that's great I will have a look. I have registered for a gaps yahoo group but am waiting for confirmation. I will look at your blog. I don't think there is enough that DS2 would eat as he is quite restricted anyway, but i will look into it.

rumple Mon 15-Aug-11 22:14:29

Restricted eating does seem to be ubiquitious in GAPS children. They all seem to crave the very foods that are harming them, feeding the bad bugs. On the GAPS forums it seems the single biggest hurdle for parents is breaking their child's initial dependancy on certain foods. On the positive it seems once their bodies start to heal they do seem to start to eat and enjoying all the nourishing foods that are easy for their bodies to digest. (broths made from meat and bones have lots of calcium in them so the GAPS diet shouldn't be nutrionally deficient)

Have you watched the lecture Dr Campbell-McBride gave about GAPS? and also in the book she talks about fussy eaters and how it's a symptom of GAPS.

My oldest was a picky eater (just wanted milk, bread, pasta and cereal) and very slow to eat solids (gagged on solid food until 11-12months old) so I have some idea of how hard it can be - oh the many ice cube trays of frozen homemade purees thrown away!

Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

coff33pot Tue 16-Aug-11 16:33:34

no potatoes , no rice, no pasta? so what would the staple be then?

DS virtually follows this diet by himself anyway due to the amount of fresh fruit and stir fry veg meals his dad cooks with fresh meat. My dd on the other hand would starve full stop as the only way she would eat veg is pureed in mash potatoe. She has been like this since baby and is now 10 so its not going to change there and I am not a believer of forcing a child to eat something they hate. I would rather she had potatoes if she gets veg inside her.

It does look good though but very difficult if your DC are minimal eaters......

dietstartstmoz Tue 16-Aug-11 16:56:08

I will look into it but there is no way that Ds2 would eat raw veg, veg (unless hidden), soups, broths etc. He lives on jacket spuds, pasta, chips, toast, pizza, sausages, spaghetti hoops and frubes! A long way off the GAPs approved list. His poo does appear to be getting firmer though, so hopefully it will continue to do so, as I think he would be so distressed over the food changes and it would be incredibly stressful.

rumple Tue 23-Aug-11 23:42:30

This link was posted on the gaps forum recently, its an interview with a mother of an autistic son. It also contains some before and after videos of her son pre and post the gaps diet.

coff33pot Wed 24-Aug-11 00:05:14

Interesting videos and reading smile

madwomanintheattic Wed 24-Aug-11 00:25:47

still pondering here. awaiting next (new) paed appt and waiting until settled in new school... tempted, but not entirely convinced. ds1 is the epitome of gaps candidate tbh, but his food choices are becoming more limited at the mo. he is a fruit and veg hound though. i'm also particularly skint as currently looking for a job, so pasta and spuds are a good way to fill plates blush

marking for interest anyway.

coff33pot Wed 24-Aug-11 00:57:45

Same here I have one of the links saved and keep popping back to read it. DS eats well and to be honest most of what is on the "not to have list" he doesnt have apart from baking soda as its in cakes so I could change that and cook home made. He cant stand fizzy drinks or baked beans or infact any like harricot or butter beans or pasta so no problem there. He doesnt like cheese and butter so the only dairy he has is his milk or yoghurt so I dont want to leave that out.

He already eats most on the good list and has full run of the veg and has his own private peeler grin and he will eat fresh fruit in between meals. I dont buy anything with colouring at all and never have done as eldest would get hives when she was small. And I have a slow cooker so he gets stew.

Its just omitting potatoes and rice that is the problem as there is no way he will eat anything mushy like cous cous or tofu or soya (tried them) he likes solid food on plate not mushy muck.

The chocolate part I can understand as we dont give DS any at all. He goes berserk if he has a small square. What is in it I have no idea but he climbs walls.

DD (NT) is the one who is offered all this good food but is the actual picky eater. She would starve end of. She will eat apples (only fruit) and no veg at all apart from butternut squash and sweet potatoe mash. She likes mush grin

What does confuse me is WHY. Why arent all 3 of my children acting the same way if all these other foods should be omitted? This is not me picking on the diet itself as it is a very healthy one indeed. I am close to keeping up as its only a few of the ommissions that are being a bug bear.

dolfrog Wed 24-Aug-11 03:14:48

you could have a look at
Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment of Common Gastrointestinal Problems in Children With ASDs 2010

rumple Wed 24-Aug-11 07:28:01

"An unknown number of various neurotoxins are produced by abnormal flora in the gut of these children and adults, these are absorbed through the damaged gut wall into the blood and taken to the brain. The mixture of toxins can be very individual, and this is one of the reasons why all GAPS patients are so different." taken from her book pg 50.

I think the significant thing with this diet is not just the foods that you eliminate but the foods you add in, especially the fermented ones. How to get them in to your child is the harder part!

Cost wise to do GAPS perfectly is expensive because probiotics are expensive but there are plenty on the forum that have limited funds and/or that have too strong a reaction with probiotics and only use the fermented foods.

Stuff like sauerkraut is cheap and easy to make just cabbage and (natural) salt in a jar.

Kefir, you can buy the grains mail order for about £7 and then that's it. You put them in milk and when done you sieve out the kefir grains to reuse again and again and infact grow so end up with enough to give away. Kefir is a great one because it has good yeast as well as good bacteria so can help against things like candida overgrowth.

Yogurt needs to be homemade so it can ferment 24hrs but again this is cheaper to make than bought yogurts.

(Warning - Really important to go slow with probiotic whether natural or man made because of die off)

Also adding in lots of natural fats is important and relatively cheap. When you make meat stock the fat will set on the top in the fridge and you can skim this off and use separately. Especially beef stock gives lots of fat. You can fry eggs and veggies in it (meat fats are not damaged by high heat like commercial vegetable oils).

Butchers often give marrow bones for free or very cheap. I'm not saying it's easy as you have to find a butchers to start with but my point is there are many things you can implement parts of GAPS on a low budget.

I believe a little GAPS is better than no GAPS. Good luck.

madwomanintheattic Wed 24-Aug-11 19:49:48

ah, there y'go coff33. what they said. i can probably justify the difference with ds1 due to his personal med history and very early heavy use of antibiotics... (he had rsv and double pneumonia at 11 weeks, so was pumped full of anti-b's, then suffered recurrent ear and chest infections for the first 2 years. antibiotic city, really.) the girls, whilst having a checkered med history (dd2 spent the first 5 weeks in scbu and has cerebral palsy) didn't get anywhere near the same levels of anti-biotics pumped into them early. <sigh> (we had a few bouts of chest infections due to aspiration, but not too many as she was tube fed initially lol). obv their diet has been similar for years (dd2's was limited to start as she had swallowing problems, but other than that, they've had identical diet)

i dunno. as i said, ds1 seems like an ideal candidate. and his current issues are the kind that would potentially be improved by this sort of intervention. he did have a coeliac test a year ago, which was neg, but i don't know enough about the testing procedure really. i know lots about brain damage and physical disability lol, but nutrition is a whole new ball game... <sigh> dd2 pretty much as fixed as she's going to be, so time to concentrate on poor middle child ds1 for a bit! grin

new paed next week. will ask about nutrition and testing (have heard that there may be better reception for more alternative methods so worth a try.)

rumple Wed 24-Aug-11 21:25:28

I'd like to flag up two issues in the article you posted dolfrog:

First is the part about treatment for GERDS where Surgical therapy or prolonged acid suppression are the suggested threatments.

Below is a bit taken from the GAPS book where she describes that low stomach acid production is common and can give GERDS like symptoms. In these cases the treatment described in the paper either wont fix the root cause of inflammation (in the case of surgery) or just exacerbate the issue as in the case of acid suppression.

NCM says in her book
People with abnormal gut flora, almost without exception, have low stomach acid production. Toxins produced by overgrowth of Candida species, Clostridia and other pathogens have a strong ability to reduce secretion of stomach acid.
Of course, most of these microbes love to eat carbohydrates, particularly the processed kind. The digestion of carbohydrates starts in the mouth with the action of saliva. When the food reaches the stomach normally stomach acid stops this digestion. So, carbohydrates have to wait until they arrive at the duodenum to be digested. But in the stomach with low acidity, overgrowing microbes start fermenting dietary carbohydrates, often with the production of various toxins and gas, which can make it very uncomfortable for the GAPS child or adult and make them refuse food. Accumulating gases cause excessive belching and burping. Apart from that some pathogens grow around the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach. This round muscle normally separates the stomach from oesophagus and does not allow food to go back up. Pathogens, growing in that area, and the toxins they produce, partially paralyse the sphincter muscle which causes reflux: regurgitation of food back up into the oesophagus. Even with low stomach acid production there is some acid in the regurgitated food, which burns the walls of the oesophagus, giving the person typical symptoms of “acid indigestion”. Antacids are usually prescribed for acid indigestion and reflux, which may alleviate the immediate symptoms, but in the long run make the whole situation worse as they reduce stomach acid production even further.
So, what do we do?
I believe that GAPS patients need supplementation with stomach acid. The most physiological preparation available on the market is Betaine HCL with added Pepsin…......
Apart from supplementing stomach acid there are natural things we can do to stimulate the body to produce its own stomach acid. Cabbage juice is one of the strongest stimulants. Having a few spoonfuls of cabbage juice or a small cabbage salad before the meal will help to digest the meal. Sauerkraut and its juice are even stronger. A small helping of sauerkraut or a few tablespoons of its juice will prepare the stomach for the arriving food. Having a cup of homemade meat stock with your meal will also help increase stomach acidity.………."

Here is a link to radio interview with a woman who had GERDS. She was treated for silent reflux with PPI to the detriment of her health. (It’s the one titled Maureen & Simon)

The other issue I have is where it talks about the treatment for Chronic Diarrhea and it’s possible different causes; lactose intolerant, food intolerences, gluten intolerance, bacterial or yeast overgrowth.
If the gut lining is damaged as it is believed to be with those suffering from GAPS then all of these causes will more than likely be an issue. If they are not viewed as a whole but treated individually i.e. try removing diary for a bit, try removing gluten for a bit then the result will be the condition is still there and only one of the numerious irritants has been removed so at best the symptoms might ease but not disappear.

This is a good piece that explains the fundamentals of the GAPS dietary approach. Taken from here

"*What Foods Do People Healing Their Guts Need to Avoid*
At first read, the GAPS diet can seem quite complicated. In actuality, it is really very simple.
There are primarily two types of food molecules that folks in the process of healing their guts need to avoid:
Disaccharides, or double sugars, are present in many carbohydrates including ALL grains. The compromised gut is unable to digest double sugar molecules because the lack of beneficial gut flora compromises the function of the enterocytes.

The enterocytes are the cells that reside on the villi of the gut wall and produce the enzyme disaccharidase which breaks down the disaccharide molecule into easily absorbed monosaccharide molecules. When the enterocytes are not nourished and strengthened properly by adequate beneficial flora, they become weak and diseased and may even turn cancerous. They do not perform their duties of digesting and absorbing food properly.

*The critical importance of the enterocytes to health cannot be overstated!&#8232;*&#8232;&#8232;

Weak and diseased enterocytes also have trouble digesting starch molecules which are very large with hundreds of monosugars connected in long branchlike strands. People with weak digestion due to an imbalance of gut flora and messed up enterocytes have a terrible time digesting these complex molecules leaving large amounts of it undigested- the perfect food for pathogenic yeasts, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens to thrive upon.
Even the starch that manages to get digested results in molecules of maltose, which is – you guessed it – a disaccharide! This maltose also goes undigested due to a lack of the enzyme disaccharidase and becomes additional food for gut pathogens.

The Bottom Line
Therefore, all foods containing disaccharide and starch molecules must be removed from the diet of a GAPS child or adult in order to allow the enterocytes to strengthen and heal the gut wall.

Dr. Campbell-McBride MD writes that clinical practice has shown that given enough time, the gut usually will again be able to digest these foods without any ill effects (aka, autoimmune disease) to the person consuming them.&#8232;&#8232;&#8232;

The GAPS Diet is not a forever thing. It is a temporary measure to heal the gut wall and restrengthen the enterocytes so normal life can be regained without the burden of autoimmune disease."

rumple Sun 13-May-12 22:55:08

Thought I’d post these links to a GAPS course given my a mother who has implemented the GAPS diet for her family for over 2 years. I think it gives a good overview of the diet and reasons behind it. It’s also helpful to hear her personal experience of doing it.

GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 1 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 2 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 3 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 4 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 5 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 6 of 7)
GAPS Diet Course #1 (Part 7 of 7)

ZoeGordonBBC123 Fri 07-Oct-16 12:48:29

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