Homemade Ghee (Clarified Butter) for GAPS Intro, Whole30, and Dairy Allergies

3 months, 25 days ago

Homemade Ghee (Clarified Butter) for GAPS Intro, Whole30, and Dairy Allergies

Beautiful golden ghee is a favorite of cooks and those suffering from allergies.  Ghee is clarified butter; butter that has had the small amount of milk solids (protein and lactose) removed. By removing these solids, you are left with a delicious butter-flavored cooking fat that has a high smoke point and is safe for most people with dairy allergies or sensitivities. Ghee is also stable at room temperature for a long time, making it ideal to leave out at ‘spreadable’ temperature.

Ghee for GAPS and Allergies

The GAPS diet can be used to heal dairy allergies.  When you do this, you want to go through the intense portion of the GAPS Introduction Diet partially before introducing any dairy.  My e-book, What Can I Eat Now, was the exact method that I used to heal a life-long dairy allergy, and in that ebook we go completely dairy-free for the first stage, and then ghee is the only dairy that we consume for the rest of Intro.

For Intro you can also use tallow and other animal fats, but most people are excited to be able to introduce delicious ghee for the buttery flavor.

Those with dairy allergies may find that they can have ghee, but get a mild (or more!) reaction to butter that hasn’t had the milk solids removed.

Whole30 is another dietary protocol that eliminates dairy, but allows ghee since it is clarified butter.  You can read more about the Whole30 protocol here.

Making ghee

Ghee is a pleasure to work with in the kitchen, but compared to butter it is quite expensive!  Good news is that we can make it in our home kitchen easily. Baking butter to make ghee is my favorite method. It’s a very ‘set it and forget it’ method and only requires a few minutes of hands-on time. You can also scale it well and make a large amount at one time.

Homemade Ghee

Ghee is a delicious fat made from butter. It is allergy-friendly and has a high smoke point that makes it a pleasure to use in the kitchen.

1 pound unsalted butter (or more as desired)

Preheat oven to 140-250º. Place butter in an ovenproof dish or pan.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, take out very carefully, and pour the golden fat from the top, being careful to leave the white milk solids in the pan.
Keep in a glass jar and use in place of butter.
You can save the buttery milk solids for others who eat butter in the house, or discard.

If you are wary of cow dairy, I have purchased goat milk butter before at our health food store–you may be able to ask yours to carry it too, and use that to make goat milk ghee.

Commercial ghee

Even though this recipe is simple and quick to make, it still is one.more.thing. to do in our busy lives. If you would like the benefits of ghee without adding another thing to your already full plate, you can use commercially made ghee.

When we did the GAPS Intro for autism recovery for my daughter, I used Pure Indian Foods brand ghee.  Pure Indian Foods ghee is made with care from milk that comes from grassfed cows.  Sandeep, the owner, is a passionate and amazing human being that I know is providing a fantastic product!

I used commercial ghee because I wasn’t yet confident in my ability to completely get all the milk solids out of homemade ghee, and I knew my daughter was quite sensitive to dairy.  So we opted for commercial ghee for use until she was able to have dairy again.

Even though we no longer have dairy allergies, I do still love having ghee on hand because of its high smoke point for cooking. We often use it for frying eggs, salmon patties, or anything else that we would use butter for.


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My Naturally Carnivore Toddler (a Child-Led Weaning Story)

6 months, 17 days ago

Beautiful Babies Nutrition Course

It’s story time… with the rising popularity of the carnivore diet I know there will be parents wondering if this is an okay diet for children. While I wouldn’t recommend limiting your child to only animal foods, I do have a child who self-limited to nearly all animal foods (carnivore) as a toddler and absolutely thrived.

Back in 2009, when we started the GAPS diet for autism recovery, I had my preschooler with autism and a nursling 2 years younger.

As we transitioned onto GAPS, I made GAPS food for all of us, so that meant that as the little boy started solids, he went right onto the GAPS intro diet, which essentially is soup and meat and more soup.

My Beautiful Baby Boy, 16 months

Because I was a maxed out mama, and I knew that GAPS was plenty nutrient dense, he pretty much only had access to nursing + GAPS foods as he started solid foods.  I also was only serving 3 meals a day (no snacks), because, once again, I was pretty overwhelmed with life.   I now know that not serving snacks is a fantastic way to prevent picky eating, but at the time it was because I could only wrap my head around cooking/serving/cleaning up 3 times a day.

Meat meat meat

Anyway, this little boy LOVED his meat. He cut teeth on beef ribs, and would cheer when he saw the cod liver oil coming.  Pureed soup made with chicken stock (drank from my coffee cup) was a favorite as well.

And, more than that, though I’d serve both kids a serving of vegetables, meat, and a fruit if we weren’t doing ‘Keto GAPS‘, half way through their plates (above), the kids would get up and trade spots.

When they traded, my daughter had barely touched her meat, and my son had not touched his vegetables. Then they finished the other’s vegetables and meat until it was all gone.

Naturally, they gravitated to meat for my son, and vegetables for my daughter.

Again, I think that I just *didn’t care* because I had so much other stuff going on in my life really contributed to them being able to follow their instincts for what they needed on any given day.

Young toddlers will make healthy choices

Because I had read a study (source) about how, when given access to only nutrient dense foods, young children will choose what they need for optimal growth and development I wasn’t too worried.

I was kind of fascinated by the whole process, with my children begging for cod liver oil and happily eating patties of meat and cultured sauerkraut by the bowl.

Self-Selecting Carnivore Toddler Food

Looking back, our meals were pretty simple, these are most of the foods that he ate. Remember, I did put fruit and vegetables (especially ferments) on his plate, and he just opted out of eating them for the most part. At the time we didn’t eat shellfish or pork, so he ate mostly chicken and beef.

Hamburger patties (we ate a lot of those! We had purchased a huge quantity of grassfed ground beef at a steep discount that year)
Meatballs (I did sneak the veggies in there)
Scrambled eggs
Chicken or beef stock from my coffee cup (he loved the salt!)
Chicken thighs with the skin on
Beef ribs
The meat from around beef marrow bones (osso bucco)
Liver, both cooked with onions and as a pate that he would eat with a spoon, given the chance
Cod Liver Oil 
Fresh caught trout
Salmon Patties
Later into toddlerhood: Plain 24-hour yogurt (we were mostly dairy free when we first started autism recovery)
Raw milk
Breast milk

Growth & Immune Systems

Both children were growing (we were on WIC – a food assistance program for young children-  at the time, with quarterly weight checks) and had amazing immune systems; it’s a story for another time… but when I tried to get them life-long immunity to chicken pox, it was quite the ordeal to actually get their immune systems to let them catch it!

Occasional Vegetables

This boy wasn’t completely carnivore, as he loved sauerkraut, and peeled onions cooked in chicken stock (which you might recognize from GAPS Intro day 3, start at 23:40 for the recipe), but the majority of his diet came from human milk (me! my olders were slow to wean) and M-E-A-T.

As you can see from the picture to the right, he has now turned into a strapping young man.

Together we are excited to share the encouragement that just offering your children nutrient dense foods is enough.

Between him avoiding vegetables, and my daughter avoiding protein for many meals, I was seriously questioning whether my grand nutrition experiment would work at the time.

But you can benefit from my small case study by knowing that they did indeed grow into healthy vibrant children.

Note about child-directed feeding:

I do allow my young toddlers to choose from the nutrient-dense food that I offer, at set meal times.  To accommodate growth spurts, I still nurse at-will at wakeup and sleep times.  For us, this looked like 4 nursing sessions a day, another in the middle of the night*, and 3 meals.  As they cut back on nursing sessions, we just keep the 3 meals a day.

*I’ve always relied on a 3 a.m. feed to keep my milk production up.  I made plenty of milk to feed my babies, but I noticed that my production would go down if my little ones skipped their night nursing session. Sleeping through without nursing was never a priority for me. 

As toddlers develop into preschoolers and wean, I transition more into a parent-led approach, with the kids being allowed to ask for seconds of whatever they want after finishing what I put on their plate.  I put small portions of each a vegetable, protein, and fat on their plate to start.

Young vs older children

Young toddlers are operating nearly completely out of instinct, and if they are in a ‘healthy food bubble’ where they have never tasted sugar or refined carbohydrates, they most likely will choose what they need.

As they become more strong willed (this is developmentally appropriate as their brain develops!) and notice all the other food-like products out there the growing children usually benefit from a parent-led approach to eating.

You can see more of my picky-eating prevention or solution protocol to keep parents sane and kids eating (even if they have sensory issues) in the free Picky Eating Solution webinar.

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ADHD: It’s More Than Just Too Much Sugar and Screen Time (the root is in the gut)

6 months, 23 days ago

The ADHD gut connection

ADHD is one of the most polarizing health topics.  Hyperactivity or inattention (ADD) have been blamed on too many electronics, lack of consistency in parenting, just boys being boys, too much structured time in the classroom, not enough structure at home, food additives, or just a normal part of childhood.

Brain Rewiring & Technology

With everything becoming increasingly ‘on demand’, there are more options for us to consider and sift through than ever before.

Studies have shown that frequent internet users can rewire how their brain processes information, which involves switching between topics more frequently and retaining less, in as little as 5 days (source).

This Time article explains, “Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.”

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Consider shopping… When I was growing up, my parents left us with a sitter one evening before Christmas, hit the mall and Toys R Us, and hauled the shiny packages home in the back of their navy blue Jeep. A doll, a truck, a new outfit, and jewelry for Grandma. They chose between 4-5 options where today on Amazon we’re choosing between dozens and dozens of very similar products.

We need to be able to filter and select quickly.

Have you ever watched someone from the older generation online shop for a home appliance? It’s often an all-day event.  Ads/clickbait are clicked on, every web page is read in its entirety, and a notebook or pad of paper often makes its appearance next to the computer to keep everything organized.

This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not something that we can generally sustain for every decision that we need to make, so we’ve adapted.

Those of us who have been using the internet for most of our adult lives probably have a nearly automatic selection process that looks something like this:

Google ‘cordless vacuum reviews’
Scan the first page of Google, automatically ignoring the ‘Ad’ listings at the top.
Click on a review website that we’ve heard of before and we know not to be scammy.
Scan the website and jump to the price range we’re looking for.
See 2-3 vacuums in our price range that we want to compare prices for.
Copy and paste the model number, and paste that into Amazon, Overstock and maybe one other reputable website.
Quickly scan those three websites for the three things we’re looking for: Price, shipping speed, and warranty/returns process.
Choose the best for our needs, and complete checkout.

Though I wrote that in 8 steps, there were about 3-5 different ‘changes in attention’ for each of those steps. Is this ADD? Is this causing ADD? or has our brain adapted to efficiently use technology?

I would argue that this is a functional change that we’ve conditioned our brain to do.  After all, we probably completed these steps in less time than I would take to drive to one store and look at one vacuum model, and we’ll probably have found a better value as well.

So is ADD a natural thing?

No. A disorder is characterized by something that impacts your quality of life in a negative way, to the point that it interferes with your daily activities.

It is useful for us to scan a dozen Amazon listings for a similar toy and pick out the lowest price/highest rating item in under 30 seconds.  But similarly, it is NOT useful for us to not complete a needed task (like schoolwork, or organizing our belongings so that we can find them easily) because we can’t concentrate long enough to get it done.

Is there more to the rise of ADD and ADHD than just more technology being used in the house and less outside time? Yes.

But a missing piece, and likely a large part of the root issue, is the gut-brain connection.

When the body is healthy, we self regulate well

When we’re healthy we can self regulate.  If we’re overstimulated, or antsy, or have watched too much TV, a healthy body will crave the opposite – a walk in nature, the TV turned off, or a book rather than checking Facebook for the 925th time that day.

Just as a healthy person tends to choose healthy foods, a healthy person will also choose to limit media consumption, and to get energy out in healthy ways.

This is why some people are so adamantly pro-self-regulation with media, and why others insist that their children need strict structure when it comes to media.  My children fall on the side of needing more structure, I personally don’t have a problem leaving my smartphone in my purse, but I do turn the wifi off if I notice I’m using the email/facebook/pinterest/email loop to procrastinate writing, much like I would have moved from the kitchen to my bedroom while doing homework in elementary school.

Being able to self regulate, concentrate in the middle of distractions, and have impulse control is the sign of a well-functioning body and mind.

It’s not just genetics, the mind-body and even gut-brain connection plays a huge part.  Yes, I’m saying that your DIGESTION affects your IMPULSE CONTROL.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is characterized by inability to focus, hyperactivity, impulse control issues and inattention.  Children with ADD or ADHD often have trouble with schoolwork, with behavior in the classroom, getting long with other children, and paying attention to instruction.

ADHD does not always present with the classic hyperactivity, but rather some children may appear calm on the outside but not be able to pay attention to what’s being said during instructions.

Scientists are not sure what the cause of ADHD is, though studies including twins may show a genetic component.


What are the conventional treatments for ADHD?


Medications as treatment for ADD and ADHD are on the rise, being prescribed for children as young as age 3.  Before automatically judging parents and doctors for prescribing children medication, realize that this is usually after lots of thought and behavioral programs. When children can’t attend to instruction, or control impulses, it affects their ability to learn.

I hope that by starting to understand the gut-brain-impulse connection, some of these children are able to come off medications, heal, and learn as they were designed to.

Medications are usually stimulants, such as:


Side effects from stimulant medications like these include:

Decreased appetite
Sleep problems
Personality changes such as appearing ‘flat’ or without emotion
Increased risk of strokes, cardiovascular problems in children already at risk
Increased risk of psychiatric problems such as hallucinations in children already at risk

None of these treatments are thought to cure ADD or ADHD, but rather to just manage the symptoms.

Being on a medication with side effects like these should never be a long-term solution unless all other options have been exhausted.

Why is digestion and gut health so important?

Our gut, where we digest food, keep most of our immune system, and is even home to brain tissue, is much more important than most people realize.

The gut normally is populated with a hefty balance of good gut flora (microorganisms – yeasts, fungi, and bacteria).  It normally is healthy tissue with intestinal villi that work with the gut flora to extract nutrients needed from food, and pass them through the gut wall into the blood stream. These villi move food along the digestive tract, break it into smaller pieces so that nutrients can be extracted, and secrete enzymes needed to break down food (source).

The bacteria in our gut line the gut walls, and actually pre-digest our food for us. They line our guts to prevent food from being passed through the gut walls without first being broken down sufficiently. This gut flora is also a large part of our immune system.

When our gut is unhealthy, the flora in our gut is not protecting food from being passed through, vitamins and minerals are not able to be extracted properly from food, the body is unable to detoxify normally, and the immune system is not functioning as it should.

Lastly, the pathogenic bacteria, which aren’t kept in check by the good bacteria, send out chemical signals as part of their metabolic process through the gut wall, into the bloodstream, and then make it to the brain.

This combination of chemical signals making their way to the brain from pathogenic bacteria and lack of nutrients being adequately absorbed in the gut are a horrible combination for a developing brain.  

The ‘side effects’ of a gut healing diet?

This is what I’ve seen – these ‘good side effects’ show me that rather than further harming my body in attempt to solve one problem,we’re actually bringing everything into a balance, and the body is functioning like it should.

Eliminating picky eating
Food allergies eliminated
Seasonal allergies lessened
Better sleep
Better growth

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Other places that a gut-healing diet has seen to help ADHD:

Robb Wolf: ADHD: Not a Ritalin Deficiency
The Paleo Mama: What is Causing the Rise in ADHD? 
Evolutionary Psychiatry: Food Elimination and ADHD
Study: Gluten free diet, Celiac, and ADHD

How to start balancing the gut to calm ADHD

First, I would look at sensory solutions to some of the behavior and impulse problems.  Can sitting on an exercise ball help this child to focus? How about running laps rather than being put in time out for impulse issues?  See more about sensory issues here – this is a non-medication tool that can help focus and calm children starting immediately, while we work to clean up the gut.

Next, we need to make healthy changes to our homes and reduce our toxic load – these are pretty basic steps but can make a big difference. Click here to get a free printable checklist for a 30-day plan to get this started in simple steps

Third, we try an elimination diet. It’s so common that removing foods that often are allergy-causing, inflammation-causing, and cause a leaky gut.

Elimination Diet & Balancing Gut Flora

Removing dairy and/or gluten will most often relieve symptoms drastically.  And then we can work our way back to really healing our gut with the GAPS diet. (click here for more information on working backwards to the GAPS diet)

Then once we are stabilized and eliminating common allergens from our diet, we can work on restoring gut flora balance and healing the gut. Most importantly, we clean up the gut.  (click here for the GAPS intro diet for gut healing and sealing)

Probiotics can help, be sure to go slow – we’ll be introducing these beneficial bacteria, which will in turn kill off the bad ones – when this happens we can experience a rush of symptoms, so it’s important to go slowly (these are the probiotics that I use)

When the gut flora is balanced, we should crave healthy food, have a stable mood, and feel nourished.

Depending on your symptoms, you may be able to modify this protocol and still see great results; possibly just removing gluten, any known allergens (often eggs, wheat, or dairy), and increasing probiotics for a time.

How did this work for us?

While we haven’t specifically had ADD or ADHD, my daughter used to be on the autism spectrum and struggled with attention and impulsiveness (and still does to some extent). Some people think that ADD and ADHD both fall on the very mild end of the autism spectrum, and I tend to agree with them.

When we are taking care of the gut by removing inflammatory foods and adding probiotics back in, I do notice a huge issue in her impulse control. When we deal with die off, from too many of the pathogenic bacteria being killed at once (see more about die off here), I tend to see the impulsivity come start to come back.

This is always an indicator to me that something if off in her diet or sensory-wise, whether we need to be taking probiotics slower, do more detox baths, or make sure we’re getting enough fresh air.

My son, I do believe that he has normal little-boy energy and I don’t notice a difference with this when he’s on the GAPS diet or not. He has the ability to pay attention in the classroom, but also craves lots of outside time, challenges like climbing, and other behaviors that some might think are ADD-like but I believe are developmentally appropriate.

I share this just to let you know that a dietary change will not automatically make your child eager to sit still and read books for hours at a time – some children naturally are like that, some children need more activity to grow and develop, this is all within the range of normal.

GAPS and Calmness

The GAPS diet isn’t like a tranquilizer or a pill that numbs your energy or mind, but rather it gives you back normal consistent calm energy.  For young boys this variety or normal may be different than what our culture would prefer.

It’s really amazing to me to see the difference that a dietary change can make – many families find the calmness and quality of life achieved by dietary changes to be worth the initial lifestyle change.

And the health habits are a life long gift that we give our children.

Related posts:

Amino Acids for Mood Help

How to make gut-healing broth cubes

There’s a War in Your Gut! (explain the microbe-mood connection to kids)

Why Sensory Integration May Be Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns

30+ Sensory-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas for Children

More posts in this series:

Behavioral Problems? Skin Conditions? Low Immune System? It’s What We’re Feeding Them!

Eczema: Is the Root Cause in the Gut?

The Gut-Flora and PICKY EATING Connection

Anxiety: Why It’s All in Your Gut, Not Your Head


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When Do You Move to the Next Stage on the GAPS Introduction Diet?

7 months, 3 days ago

When Do You Move to the Next Stage on the GAPS Introduction Diet?

As we go through the stages of the GAPS Introduction Diet, it can be a little confusing to tell when we are ready to add more to our diets.  The good thing is that we can always go back if it doesn’t work out! It’s important to pay attention to your symptoms and your healing.

How do I Know When It’s Time to Move to The Next Stage on the GAPS Intro?

Dr. Natasha recommends moving through intro quickly. My 30-day Intro Ebook has you spend only a few days on each stage for this reason. Every day or two, you will be trying new foods and watching for reactions.
Click here to get the Symptom and Food Reaction Chart

If you do have reactions (don’t forget your Symptom and Food Reaction Chart so that you can spot these reactions), you will want to go back to the previous stage for another few days, or a week. If you’re having reactions to some new foods but not others, then you can go ahead and skip one or two things and then move on through the stages.

How and Why Should I Go Back a Stage?

If you are trying to push ahead, and none of it is working for you… it’s probably time to go back! A good way to tell that it’s time to go back a stage is if you just felt better overall on the previous stage.

When you go back a stage, you can simply pick and choose your favorite recipes from the previous stages, or you can start from the first day on the previous stage, and follow the ebook as written.

Can I move on, but skip a food that’s causing problems?

Yes! Especially when your gut has been a mess for a while, you may have persistent food intolerances even to mostly-hypoallergnic intro food.

Skipping those foods, but continuing to add in the other nourishing foods from the GAPS Introduction diet gives your body the nutrients it needs to continue building a healthy gut and populating it with healthy bacteria.

These are common foods that people find they still are sensitive to, and skip for a time:

Egg yolks
Tomatoes, or other nightshades and black pepper (especially autoimmune people)
Certain meats (some can only do chicken, some only bison, some need to rotate and not have one type of meat more than once a week)
Sauerkraut or fermented foods (try a more mild probiotic, or even a prebiotic if this continues to be a problem)

Why doesn’t this work the same for everyone?

Because everyone’s body heals at a different rate, has a unique history. Some people (children especially) will respond well to GAPS and start healing seemingly overnight!  Those with a more complex medical history, and who have had more time for the body to be ‘stuck’ may need to take more time.

Some individuals dealing with things like seizure disorders, autism, and severe digestion issues may need to stay on some stages longer than others.

Personally, I was able to heal my milk allergy just running through the introduction diet quickly, in about 4 weeks.  Some people get stuck on a certain stage, especially introducing honey and fruit or eggs.

Symptoms to watch for:

Symptoms can be behavioral or physical, watch for anything that went away and then comes back including:

Brain Fog
Upset Stomach
Yeast rashes
Aggressive behavior
Loss of eye contact (and other autism symptoms)
Stimming (another autism symptom)

Click here to get the Symptom and Food Reaction Chart

What is a healing crisis vs food reaction?

Again, this is going to be hard to tell, and why charting is so important!  There is some trial and error with these, but here are some general guidelines.

Quick version:

If you start smaller and gradually persist with what you had a reaction to (juicing, epsom salt baths) and your symptoms improve over time, it was a healing crisis and supporting your body with healing. If you persist with what you had a reaction to, even in smaller doses, and your reactions get worse over time, it is an allergy/intolerance/sensitivity.

More about the Healing Crisis

In the case of a healing crisis, your body may be using a food (primarily juicing, adding probiotics, olive oil, coconut, fresh herbs, or epsom salt baths) to clear out old toxins. In its excitement of having access to this ‘missing link’ that your body needed to clear out the toxins that had build up in your system, your body may decide to dump a bunch of toxins for your newly-effecient digestive system to get rid of.

Your detoxification system is normally in your gut, and so when we’ve had gut problems, it’s not uncommon that we have a buildup of toxins in our body. We don’t need a seperate detox program – the GAPS diet, with its nutrient-dense foods and gut healing supports our body’s natural ability to do this.

In addition, if our gut is populated with pathogenic bacteria (hint: most GAPS people’s are) we’ve gotta kill them off. And as they die, they give one last blast of the chemicals that were making us sick. This is going to happen to a certain extent, and may explain why you’re more tired the more you’re healing. This is a ‘die off reaction’.

BUT, sometimes this is too intense. If you see a super uncomfortable rash (your body trying to detox through the skin), runny nose (detoxing through mucus), or headaches/pain, this might be too severe of a die off reaction/healing crisis.

The solution: Take a charcoal capsule or two (kids: Mix it in food, it’s gnarly black but it doesn’t have a strong taste), it will help absorb the junk in your gut and you should start feeling better soon.

When should I try a problematic food again?

If you noticed that egg yolks, for example, were causing you tiredness and foggyness when you introduced them in stage one, give your body another 5-10 days to heal and then try them again, in a small amount.

The minimum amount of time between trying a problematic food is 4 days, since it generally takes 3 days for your body to ‘clear out’ the allergic response and symptoms. If you try it before the previous symptoms have cleared, you can’t tell what the reaction is from.

You don’t want to take longer than 10 days* to re-try a food, because we don’t want to unnecessarily restrict our diets! Dietary restriction can be stressful, and stress can cause… leaky gut!

Have faith! Your body did, in fact, grow from just one little cell into a full-fledged person! It is quite capable of repairing a little gut lining ūüėČ

*Except in the case of an anaphylactic reaction that involved the airway – we don’t ever re-try foods we’ve had an anaphylactic reaction to unless under the supervision of a qualified medical professional and in a hospital setting.

If after 10 days you try the food again, and it still doesn’t work, you can hold off until you’ve progressed through the last stages of the GAPS Introduction Diet before trying again.

What if I get stuck on a stage?

If you get stuck, and you’ve been on a stage for more than double the recommended amount of time you have 3 options:

 You can try outside supports and alternative treatments, while staying on the stage. Sometimes homeopathics**, aromatherapy, amino acids, chiropractic, eastern medicine, meditation, CBD oil, emotional release, going out of cell/wifi range, and more.If you do these treatments, make sure that nothing you are ingesting is off the GAPS protocol, or you will undo your work at rebalancing and healing your gut. The exception being prebiotic like Inulin, which sometimes is helpful for tough cases, but is not technically allowed on GAPS.
You can move on anyway, and see if your body can catch up.  Sometimes we get stuck in a rut, and we need to just move on and stop obsessing.  Throw out your symptom chart, spend lots of time around friends and in the outdoors, and go focus energies elsewhere.This is easier to do if you prep a bunch of soup and GAPS-friendly foods- don’t completely toss out GAPS, but get out of the kitchen and into life and take the focus off food for a week. Book a vacation to a favorite destination if you can.
You can stay on the stage, or go backwards, and see if you can get some more healing. For us, we do better without carbs, so we just skipped the fruit and having much juice on stage 5 and continued on a GAPS/Keto combination.** If you try homeopathics, have them dilute the remedy in water, or just give you the essence. homeopathics are typically remedies in sugar pills, which even in that tiny amount will feed pathogenic bacteria that we’re trying to starve out.

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Comparing Diets for Healing Leaky Gut

8 months, 25 days ago

Comparing Diets for Healing Leaky Gut

As a society, we are starting to cycle back around to healing ourselves with food. Or better yet, nourishing our bodies, and allowing them to naturally heal or maintain a state of health.

With the internet, we are connected to thousands of others who are using diet to heal themselves. Some are outspoken and a tad judgmental- eager to paint a blanket statement that if just everyone followed this particular diet, everyone would be the picture of health.

Others are cautious, and a little bit commitment-phobic to any particular diet. They don’t want anyone to take anything to the extreme, and though they have seen healing by changing eating patterns, they realize that health is a moving target and different things work for different people at different times.

Still there are some that firmly have their heads stuck in the sand- diet does not impact health. As long as we are consuming fortified products and getting enough calories, everything else will work out. Any so-called healing is placebo effect. These people claim to believe in science, but in reality they are parroting exactly what big-business wants them to think. Consume junk food that is cheap to produce and high in profits. If you’re sick, it’s not the fault of the food.


As health problems are multiplying with each generation, the last category of people is starting to fall away.

Love, compassion, and a big dose of desperation can change our minds.

The mom who sinks into post partum depression after having a vibrant healthy pregnancy is motivated to look for any solution that will make her be the mother she wants to be.

The family who has two children with autism diagnoses, watched them go ‘lights out’ and sees their struggle to process stimuli and make sense of the world around them.

The teen who has struggled with skin issues including eczema her whole life, and wants to make a difference in the world but is distracted by the itching of eczema just enough that it’s hard for her to focus.

The dad with Celiac disease that is determined to get healthy enough to walk his daughter down the isle and take his son out hunting.

The mom who is addicted to sugar, unhealthily focused on food, and gaining unwanted weight every year.

Different solutions will be right for different people

Everyone has their own unique biology, mind, lifestyle, and limitations. Health symptoms, from a minor irritation to a life-restricting severe autoimmune disease can also determine what dietary plan will best support quality of life.

For this reason, we are going to look at different dietary protocols, and who they might work best for, what foods are allowed, and what the major goals of each diet are.

Choosing a plan that works best for your specific needs will help you to be more successful in making needed change.


Looking for the overviews of the different dietary protocols? Click the links below to jump right to them.  Have another one that I didn’t cover? Leave a comment and let me know!

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS)/Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)/Wahls Protocol
Whole 30 Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox
Paleo/Primal Diets
Keto/Low Carb/Atkins Diet

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Also known as:


Founded by: The GAPS diet is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which was founded by Sidney Haas, MD in the 1940s as treatment for digestive diseases (IBS, etc), and was later popularized by Elaine Gottschall in the 1980s to help her child with both digestive and neurological problems. In the 2000s Natasha Campbell-McBride, Neurosurgeon, further added healing foods to SCD, creating the GAPS diet protocol.

Popular books on this diet:  


Foods that you are encouraged to consume:  Meat, vegetables, limited fruits, healthy fats, meat stock, most legumes, herbs and spices, occasional nuts and honey.

Not allowed foods: Any carbohydrate more complex than a disaccharide (so no refined sugar, starch like potatoes or arrowroot powder, maple syrup), no food additives such as MSG, gums such as guar gum.  All grains are excluded; corn, rice, quinoa, especially wheat.  Dairy that is not cultured is not allowed, and even cultured dairy is eliminated for a time for most people.

The introduction phase of the GAPS diet is even more restrictive, restricting everything but boiled meat and vegetables, and then day-by-day increasing allowed foods until you have reached full GAPS.

The goal of this diet: The GAPS diet eliminates foods that are common allergens and cause inflammation, gives the digestive tract a break by only allowing foods that are easy to digest, provides very nutrient-dense foods to facilitate in tissue repair, especially of the gut, and eliminates food additives that increase the body’s toxic load.

Carbohydrates are limited to what is digested high in the digestive tract (which is why honey is allowed but maple syrup is not- maple syrup is slightly more difficult to break down).  This starves out overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria that cause digestive and neurological trouble.

Probiotics through homemade fermented food and commercial probiotics are encouraged to re-balance the gut flora.

Temporary? Yes! But 4-6 weeks on the introduction diet and 2 years on the full diet is recommended.

Difficulty level: This protocol has little room for error, with any accidental ingestion of not-allowed food causing a flare of symptoms and re-growth of the pathogenic bacteria that you are trying to starve out. The introduction diet is associated with detox reactions, and for some people the adjustment to eating low carb is difficult.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols: I have seen the most dramatic results in my family from this protocol.  And for me, a short time of intense dietary effort was worth it to clear up chronic health problems.

Best for: Those with significant digestive or neurological troubles that are at the point in their health that they are ready to go on a strict eating plan without ‘cheating’.

Put this in action: Real Plans can make you a custom menu plan to fit this diet (and any additional dietary preferences you might have).  GAPS is now an option when you add in my (Health Home and Happiness) recipes! 

Skip to a different protocol: 

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS)/Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)/Wahls Protocol
Whole 30 Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox
Paleo/Primal Diets
Keto/Low Carb/Atkins Diet


Autoimmune Paleo

Also known as:

Wahl’s Protocol

Popular books on this dietary method:


Included foods:  Meats, vegetables, fruit, herbs, and sea salt for seasoning are allowed. Root vegetables such as sweet potato are allowed, with the exception of white potato (because it is a nightshade). Eggs, nuts, and gluten-free grains are reintroduced in the reintroduction phase and allowed after if tolerated.

Not allowed foods:  AIP has both an elimination and reintroduction phase.  The elimination phase temporarily eliminates such things as nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshade vegetables (including spices like paprika).  Both protocols eliminate grains and legumes.  Both protocols eliminate dairy.

The goal of this diet: Including nutrient-dense foods to support the body’s natural ability to heal, while removing other foods temporarily that specifically are known to cause problems in people with autoimmune disease.

Temporary? Wahl’s Protocol is a life-long dietary modification to help control a lifelong health issue (autoimmune disease).

AIP, as described in The Paleo Approach is a temporary restriction with the goal being to go to a less strict diet (regular paleo) after specific food sensitivities are discovered, and autoimmune symptoms are healed.

Difficulty level:  Both AIP and Wahl’s Protocol have different phases that are more or less strict, depending on an individual’s needs.  Each phase lasts about 3 months, and the elimination phase is less restrictive than the GAPS intro stage is.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol: In Wahl’s protocol, the recommended 9 cups for veggies a day can be a struggle for some.  The strict introduction phase makes this dietary protocol for those who are struggling with severe illness, and may be unnecessarily restrictive for those with more minor health conditions.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols:  You can use plantains, sweet potatoes, tapioca starch, and arrowroot flour in AIP. Both tapioca starch and arrowroot flours can make excellent baked goods and some people find the additional starch helpful to feel good.

Best for: Those struggling with autoimmune disease that did not see an elimination of symptoms by following a less-restrictive paleo or gluten free diet.

More information: 

The AIP Reintroduction Guide by Eileen Laird walks you through the stages of reintroduction of foods on the AIP diet with recipes, answers to common questions, troubleshooting, and more.

Real Plans can make you a custom menu plan to fit this diet (and any additional dietary preferences you might have).  Click here to learn more. 

Whole 30

Founded by: Melissa Hartwig

Popular books on this diet:

Allowed foods:  Delicious meats, vegetables, sweet potatoes, nuts, fruits, and seeds in their natural form.

Not allowed foods: Grains, dairy, alcohol, food additives, sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, or anything that resembles baked goods or ‘junk food’, blended smoothies.

The goal of this diet: To get people out of the habit of living on junk food, pastries, and to cut the sugar addition.

Temporary? Just 30 days.

Difficulties: This diet will be intense for the first 5-7 days for those addicted to carbs and sugar. After that first week, it should be smooth sailing as your gut flora has adjusted.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol: Any cheating is supposed to re-set your 30 days, so it may be difficult to eat out socially during this time.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols: You can do this for 30 days! I think this is the most beneficial temporary diet that I’m covering here. You can see dramatic results in 30 days, and you break the habit of eating junk food- even healthy junk food. In paleo, GAPS, and other dietary protocols I’ve covered here, you can make ‘junk food’ concoctions out of dates, almond flour, honey, and more.  Not on Whole30, and I think that is a plus.

Best for: New year’s resolutions, or anyone wanting to do a quick attitude adjustment around food.

Put this in action: Real Plans can make you a custom menu plan to fit this diet (and any additional dietary preferences you might have).  Click here to learn more. 

Skip to a different protocol: 

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS)/Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)/Wahls Protocol
Whole 30 Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox
Paleo/Primal Diets
Keto/Low Carb/Atkins Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox

Background: Gone from ‘the candy girl’ to health and fitness guru, Diane Sanfilippo wants to help you break that sugar and carb addiction as well.

Popular Books for This Protocol:

21-Day Sugar Detox Allowed/Not Allowed Food List: There are 3 levels of strictness for the 21-Day Sugar Detox. You start on the level that is right for your lifestyle and current eating plans (more details are in the book and packages, this is a simplified list)

Level 3 (most strict)


Meat, poultry, seafood in their natural state (not processed)
Vegetables: No starchy vegetables (see No list) but most vegetables in their natural state are allowed.
Coconut in all forms as long as it is unsweetened (look at the ingredients).
Fruit: Only lemon and lime.
Nuts and Seeds: All nuts and seeds (almonds, macadamias, chia, hemp, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) other than cashews and peanuts.
Fats and oils: Animal fats like tallow and lard, butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil, sesame oil.
Condiments: Homemade broth, yellow mustard, coconut aminos, vanilla extract, spices and herbs, vinegar, sea salt.

Limit: (One serving a day from each of the following is allowed)

Carbohydrate-rich vegetables such as hard winter squash, beets, green peas.
Green-tipped bananas, grapefruit, green apple.
Coconut water (100% only- no additives), kombucha.


Baked goods and refined carbs such as bread, cake, brownies, chips, cereal, crackers, pasta.
Grains such as oats, orzo, rice, popcorn, corn, millet, quinoa.
Fruit, fresh or dried (if this is too strict, move down a level)
Beans or legumes including black beans, garbonzo beans, lentils
Nuts: Cashews or peanuts.
Dairy: No milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. Only butter or ghee are allowed on this stage.
Sweeteners of any kind,(honey, sugar, maple syrup) real or synthetic (no ‘diet’ drinks or artificial sweeteners either, not even gum)
Alcohol, sweetened coffee drinks, juice, soda, protein powders that have more than one ingredient.
Canned or packaged broth, mayonnaise, salad dressings, soy sauce, or really any condiment that is not on the Yes list.

Level 2

Everything is the same as in Level 3, but full-fat Dairy is also allowed.


Milk (full fat)
Half and half
Heavy Cream

Level 1

Level 1 allows everything from Level 2 and Level 3 with the addition of limited amount of grains and legumes.

Half cup serving of the following gluten-free whole grains are allowed (I believe this is total; you cannot have 1/2 cup of each):

Beans: Black, garbanzo, navy, pinto

Goal of this diet: To kick the sugar and carb addiction in 3 weeks.

Struggles with this diet: It would be difficult to eat at other people’s houses or go out to eat.  You will be spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen, if you’re not used to that it might become a shock (but that is true for most of these diets).  The meal plan relies on eggs quite a bit, if you are egg-free it might be difficult to follow the meal plans suggested in the book.

Who would benefit most from this diet? Those who really want to kick the sugar and carb addiction and have 3 weeks without many social engagements that involve food or alcohol.

This diet will work well for people who have a fruit addiction or those transitioning to keto or low carb.  Whole 30 is similar but allows fruit, and I know my family can easily overeat fruit.

If you’re the type of person who wants to do a cleanse every January or twice a year, you might find the levels helpful- you can just ‘level up’ each time you do it without having to purchase another program or book.

Put this in action: Diane has Basic, Premium, and Plus packages to help you complete your 21-Day Sugar Detox that include helpful detox emails, audio help, quick-start guides, community support, the books shown above, and more.

Skip to a different protocol: 

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS)/Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)/Wahls Protocol
Whole 30 Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox
Paleo/Primal Diets
Keto/Low Carb/Atkins Diet


Also known as: The Caveman Diet, primal, stone-age diet, wild diet

History: Patterned after the hunter-gather lifestyle, with dietary focus on grassfed meats, seasonal vegetables and fruits, and occasional nuts, this diet has become more and more popular as health problems associated with the Western diet, particularly overconsumption of refined carbohydrates has come to light.

Some of the benefits from the paleo diet come from lowered calorie intake, and some from elimination of common allergens (dairy, gluten, corn, soy), and some from the increase in vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods.

Popular books on this diet:

Allowed foods:  Meat (including fish and poultry), produce (fruits and vegetables), coconut products, nuts, sea salt, seasonings, honey, and maple syrup.

Not allowed foods: Grains including rice, wheat, quinoa, millet, and more are not allowed and neither is anything made from them (bread, pasta, etc).  Dairy is not allowed on paleo, full fat dairy is allowed on the primal version of the diet.   Legumes (peanuts, lentils, beans) are not allowed.

The goal of this diet: To return to our roots of healthy eating, lessening our dependance on carbohydrates for energy, to nourish our bodies with healthy nutrient-dense foods, and to eliminate common allergens.

Temporary? Depends on personal preference.  Most people choose this as a lifestyle, going more or less strict as it works for them.

Difficulty level: Varies

The paleo diet can be as strict or not strict as you wish.  Strict paleo, where you only consume grassfed (or better- wild harvested!) meats, in season produce, and minim nuts is unlikely to fit into most modern people’s lives.

The normal modern take on paleo can fit well into most people’s lifestyle, provided that they have access to medium-sized grocery stores and can afford higher-end restaurants when they eat out.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol: Cost is a common objection to eating paleo, and if you consume lots of meat it is costly.  However, coconut oil is inexpensive and can up calories (add it to your veggies!) without breaking the bank.

Going too low-carb doesn’t fit well for everyone, so make sure you’re eating both enough calories, and enough carbohydrates, especially if you already are at a healthy weight.

Some people add in sweet potatoes, or white potatoes for another inexpensive source of carbohydrates.

Another struggle that some people have, is they use flours like arrowroot and tapioca and almond flour along with maple syrup, honey, and coconut cream to re-create the standard american diet of pastries, sweets, and breads.  These should be a very small ‘treat’ part of the diet and including too many of these will not produce the results most people are looking for.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols: The paleo lifestyle is more of  a lifestyle and less of a strict protocol.  The ’80/20′ rule can apply to this, allowing some grains or refined sugar when eating out, but still keeping most meals nutrient-dense and focused on produce and protein.

Best for:  Those who want to kick the carb addiction but still allow for some ‘cheat’ meals.  This is also a good diet for those coming off a more strict protocol like GAPS or AIP.

Put this in action: Real Plans can make you a custom menu plan to fit this diet (and any additional dietary preferences you might have).  Click here to learn more. 




Those suffering from Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) may not respond normally to other treatments.  The low FODMAPS diet is a restrictive diet that starves out the bacteria that are overgrown.  It can reduce gas, bloating, and other symptoms of SIBO.

For those who haven’t had success with GAPS or AIP, it is recommended to try SIBO and crush that problem before trying GAPS or AIP again.

Recommended resource: The SIBO Solution by Sylvie McCracken

Ketogenic Diet
Also known as:

Keto, Low Carb, Atkins

History: The ketogenic diet has been used to treat seizure disorders since 500 BC (source). In the 1920s it returned to modern medicine again as a treatment for epilepsy.  Up until the early 2000s it was primarily used only as treatment in children’s hospitals, putting epileptic children into ketosis for seizure control in a medically supervised setting.  Dr Atkins brought the ketogenic diet mainstream with his 1972 book Dr Atkins Diet Revolution which promoted the ketogenic diet for weight loss and other conditions.

Popular books on this diet:

Allowed foods:  

More than allowed/not allowed foods, this diet focuses on keeping your body in ketosis by limiting the amount of carbohydrates consumed, and increasing the amount of fat.  The body in ketosis runs on fat, not carbohydrates for energy.  Recommended foods are non-starchy vegetables, meat, high-fat dairy, oils, and nuts.

Continue reading: Allowed foods on the keto diet

Not allowed foods: 

Again, the focus is on fat to carbohydrate ratio, so carbohydrates such as bread, rice, sugar, and even fruit are consumed in very low quantities or not at all.

The goal of this diet:

To have the body in a state of ketosis, producing ketones, and running on fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates.


For weight loss, yes. For chronic conditions such as seizure disorders this is a lifestyle change. Though people who suffer from frequent severe seizures are often happy to trade bread for reduced or eliminated seizures.

Difficulty level: 

Simple, but difficult. Especially transitioning into ketosis can make people sick for the first few days/week.  Because the state of ketosis will increase energy, reduce brain fog, and reduce carb cravings in most people, once people are past they initial week of transitioning onto keto they usually find that the diet is surprisingly easy to stick with.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol:

Because there is the need to stay in ketosis, you can’t really ‘take a day off’ or even enjoy a piece of cake at a wedding without setting you back for a week or so, and having to adjust back to going into ketosis again.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols: 

As long as you stay under a certain number of carbohydrates (the amount seems to vary per person, but 30 g is a common number) each day you are free free to eat what you want.  You can also transition rather seamlessly to fasting if that’s something you wish to try, since your body is already burning fat it will run off your fat stores rather than make you hungry the first day of your fast.

Best for: 

Weight loss, or difficult to manage chronic health problems including mental health. We were stuck on low-carb (in ketosis) GAPS for a while when we were doing autism recovery and are currently using it to boost our brain health.

Put this in action:

Click here to learn how to start the ketogenic diet.

Carnivore Diet

Also known as:

Zero-Carb, all-meat diet

History: Eskimos and other groups of people especially very far north have been noted throughout history to consume only meat products for months at a time during the harsh winters, and also have been noted to not eat many or any plants during the short summer months, despite things like dandelion greens being available.  More recently, the carnivore, or zero-carb, diet has become a spin off of the ketogenic diet for those of us who live south of the Arctic.

One of the main driving-factors of this lifestyle/way of eating is when someone feels that they are ‘allergic to everything’.

Read more: Why leaky gut can cause you to be allergic to everything

Popular books on this diet:

Allowed foods:  The carnivore diet typically only includes ‘meat and no plants’ including muscle meat (steaks, roasts, ground meat, etc), offal (liver, kidneys, etc), and bones and cartilage as made into bone broth.  Fish, poultry, and red meat are all consumed.  Eggs (ie bite-sized meat) are usually allowed.  Sea salt and other seasonings are allowed, with a strict warning against ‘plants’.  In some versions, things that come from animals (cheese, milk) are also allowed.

Not allowed foods: Plants.  This includes grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, and more.

The goal of this diet: To give the body a significant shift to try to clear up chronic or acute health conditions, or to be trendy or to experiment with different ways of eating.

Temporary? Yes or no. Some people eat for this for a 1-week or 1-month reset, some make it a permanent way of eating.

Difficulty level: Simple, but difficult. This diet will put you into ketosis if you aren’t already on keto (doing keto before carnivore is a common progression) transitioning into ketosis can make people sick for the first few days/week.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol: It’s a lot of meat.  If done for a long time, your microbiome will adjust to this all-meat diet and you may have a hard time going back to eating plants.

When you look at the RDA of certain vitamins and minerals, the carnivore diet is not going to meet those needs. However, the RDA is set based on people who consume a carb-heavy diet, and there is evidence to support that the body can run just fine on lower quantities if it is in ketosis and not running on glycogen. For example, there are numerous case studies of people following a carnivore diet for more than a month or more, and no cases of rickets (typically caused by low vitamin C in carb-based diets) has been found in these self-reported studies.

Another struggle is that high quality meat is expensive and not easy to come by, so people may need to resort to factory-farmed meat to meet their calorie needs and/or when they are traveling.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols: For those who don’t want to fuss with any cooking other than the barbecue, this is a simple solution.  This also has reversed chronic health conditions that were unresolved even after a strict dietary protocol like the GAPS Intro diet.  Especially if you rotate different meats (beef, bison, chicken, turkey, pork, venison, elk, etc) this elimination diet will eliminate nearly all food allergens and decrease inflammation, allowing for a chronically ill person to immediately start feeling better in many cases.

Best for: Those who are not responding to other elimination diets. Or those who are just curious to see what their body feels like running on meat only.

Put this in action: Click here to buy grassfed and sustainably raised meat

Also known as:

Water fasting, dry fasting, absolute fasting, intermittent fasting


Fasting has been part of nearly every culture and religion until our current culture, where it became taboo. Like all trends, we are swinging back the other way, with people re-discovering the ancient practice of fasting.

Popular books & documentaries on this diet:

Allowed foods:  Water, and electrolytes – typically potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Usually black coffee and unsweetened tea is allowed.  Supplements and medications are allowed but only if really necessary.

Continue reading: The Importance of Electrolytes

Not allowed foods: 

During a water fast, anything other than the above is not allowed during your fasting window.

Other types of fasts:

When you think of fasting, you probably think of water fasting most often.  There are other types that fit other needs.

The ‘fat fast’ is where you only consume fat and zero-calorie drinks (like black coffee) during your fast, usually limiting to one meal or less than 500 calories a day.

A modified fast usually does not restrict the type of food consumed, but limits the calories on a ‘fasting’ day’ to less than 500.

A dry fast is usually done for a 24-hour period or less, and does not even allow water.  This is thought to increase the amount of autophagy the body does, and is sometimes done at the end of an extended water fast.

The goal of this diet:

To tap into autophagy, where your body literally eats itself (typically mostly from the fat stores) and gives your digestive system a complete rest.  The reasoning behind autophagy is that when your body is designed to have periods of ‘feast and famine’ and the famine, or fasting, encourages it to self-clean and cannibalize the cells that are most sick or old.  Most people in our current culture fast for weight loss.

Fasting can also be used to induce ketosis (taking 24 hours rather than the typical 72), increase growth hormone, and for spiritual purposes.


Yes, of course, eventually we need to return to eating! Whether that is after 12 hours over night, 18 hours of an ‘intermittent fasting window’, or 5 days of an extended fast, is up to the individual. Though once someone has fasted once or twice, it often becomes a part of their heath care, and they repeat a fast a few times a month or year.

Difficulty level: 

Simple to understand, but difficult to execute as it takes lots of self control at first. Especially transitioning into fasting can make people sick for the first few days.

Common struggles for people on this dietary protocol:

Social situations can be difficult during a fast, and excess stress can make fasting difficult.

The first 3-4 days of a fast, especially if you are not already fat-adapted from being in ketosis can be a difficult transition and make you very tired with low energy. I personally choose to fast when my kids are in school, for 48-100 hours at a time.

Electrolytes, like with the ketogenic diet, are essential to understand before a fast of 20 hours or longer is attempted. Your body can recycle electrolytes, but this is hard on your kidneys.  There is an adage that states, ‘salt follows water’, so if you are urinating, salt is going with it and it is important to replace your electrolytes.

People with a history of disordered eating may be triggered by fasting and should discuss this with their healthcare professional. Because fasting can address mental health issues, it still may have a place in a mental health (including eating disorders) protocol, but careful monitoring would be important.

Benefits of this dietary protocol over other dietary protocols

Fasting is extremely simple, can be started (or stopped) at any time, requires no special equipment, and is incredibly helpful for many health conditions.

When we are in a fasted state, or practice occasional fasting there are benefits to the body:

Risk of diabetes goes down. (source)
Immunosuppression is reduced. (source)
Cancer risk is lowered. (source)
Toxicity from chemotherapy is reduced. (source) Your body detoxifies during fasts (even the overnight fast, which may be why sleep is so important for detoxification; we aren’t eating if we are sleeping).
Tissue regeneration and repair is sped up. (source)
Appetite is reduced, suggesting that if we are in a pattern of fasting occasionally, whether it is for a few hours or occasionally fasting for 24 or more hours at a time it will become easier.  This may be helpful for people who are ‘always hungry’ yet constantly go over their calorie needs in attempt to satisfy hunger. (source– gherlin is your hunger hormone, and is reduced with fasting)

Best for: 

Firstly, people who have excess body fat and can spare to lose approx half to one pound per day of fasting.  Second, fasting is best for weight loss, or difficult to manage chronic health problems including mental health.

Put this in action:

Listen to the Complete Guide to Fasting on Audiobook

Missed something? Click the links below to jump right to the overview.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS)/Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
Autoimmune Paleo (AIP)/Wahls Protocol
Whole 30 Diet

21-Day Sugar Detox
Paleo/Primal Diets
Keto/Low Carb/Atkins Diet

The post Comparing Diets for Healing Leaky Gut appeared first on Health, Home, & Happiness.

Read more: healthhomeandhappiness.com

You Know We Have a Special Needs Child, But Here are 10 Things We Might Not Have Told You

9 months, 3 days ago

You Know We Have a Special Needs Child, But Here are 10 Things We Might Not Have Told You

Hannah is the reason for Health, Home, & Happiness. If I had two typically developing children, I wouldn’t have done the whole GAPS journey, wouldn’t have so much to share with you on the internet, and most likely would be in a different line of work.  She has special needs, she had autism but it was healed with GAPS, but she still has a global delay diagnosis and we’re still trying alternative treatments to heal her body as much as possible.

Further reading: What is the GAPS Diet?

I love that I have the internet available to share what I have learned with all of you. Today I’m going to talk about some things that outsiders might not realize about families that have a special needs child in them. Of course, this is all true for me, but won’t be true for all families.

It’s hard to know what you don’t know

Before I had a child with special needs, there was so much about special needs families that I didn’t understand. And I know there is still tons I don’t understand- I have avoided the whole medically fragile/multiple hospital visits route, and I know I have readers there.  I have some readers with multiple children with special needs, some with higher functioning children, some with lower. We all love our kids though, and we all have different strengths and challenges.

Today I present 10 things that many special needs families often don’t talk about, but do often feel.  It’s a given that we love our children, and you’ll hear us talk about that and the rewarding parts of raising them, but this is some of the hard stuff:

We don’t have anything extra

1.  Parents of special needs children don’t come with any extra energy or more patience or understanding than anyone else.  It feels dismissive to us when people say to us, ‘God will only give you what you can handle, He must have known you could handle it.’ Yes, we’re handling it, and we understand that you can’t imagine yourself in our shoes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s any easier for us than it would be for you.

Emotional Exhaustion

2.  Sometimes the emotional enormity of it is more exhausting than the physical aspect of having a special needs child. For children that need to be carried and lifted more, our muscles build up strength (I have some killer arms, since I still carry my low tone 47 lb 6-year-old fairly often when she gets tired), but emotionally every developmental change, school placement, choosing alternative treatments, supervising and making medical decisions are just as exhausting this year as they were last year.

Navigating Services

3.  The services that are available for children with special needs are difficult to navigate and often expensive.  Before I had a SNC (special needs child) I assumed that if you had a SNC you just went and signed up for services, and someone told you exactly what to do, what you qualified for, and always acted in your child’s best interest.  In some places that is true, but in most cases the parents have to really network with other parents to see what’s available, apply and re-apply for a correct diagnosis because the standard testing may or may not accurately reflect the child’s actual needs, and fight through red tape to get the child to be placed in the appropriate setting. And then do it all over again in 6-12 months when their developmental needs or school placement changes.

For expenses- there is so much out there, but it costs so much more than stuff aimed at typically developing children! Horse therapy- $60/session, a visit to the naturopath $200, speech therapy $48 twice a week…

Further reading: Simple Budgeting to Reduce Stress

Paperwork and Phone Calls

4.  Paperwork and phone calls.  Tons and tons of it, from everyone that even looks at our child, and many people who don’t even see our SNC, 10 pages of paperwork is often requested, they look at it for 5 minutes, and then realize we’re not the right fit.

I keep an Excel document with the names, addresses, faxes, and phone numbers for everyone who currently and in the past has worked with my daughter and print it out before we see anyone.  I call it her resume.

Phone calls are hard, just like your children, our kids also act up while we’re on the phone. But as parents of SNC we’ve learned that it’s better to spend half an hour on the phone and make sure the specialist is actually something we need to go to before we drag the kids out for half the day for an appointment.

Family Priorities

5.  Our priorities change based on the entire family unit.  Sometimes we are focusing on limiting screen time, sometimes we’re focused on a special diet, sometimes we’re focused on a behavior issue, sometimes it’s academic, sometimes it’s just maintaining the progress we’ve made so far because the family is going through some other transition like moving or having a new baby.

It’s impossible for both the child and the parent to focus 100% on everything at once, so it may look like we’re changing our mind and jumping around a lot.  Or we might be changing our mind and jumping around a lot. I promise, though, we’re not doing this for fun or because we’re bored- we’re trying to find what works best for our family.

Further reading: 101 Family Friendly Summer Activities

We need Self Care Too

6.  We soon realize that we can’t give our kids 100% of us 100% of the time.  Because parenting a SNC is so intense, we eventually realize that we have to take ‘me time’ to avoid burnout. I had the idea that as a parent I could keep pushing myself and eventually I’d get used to it.

It took me 5 years, but eventually I learned that I have to take some time out and take a break from completely giving everything for my child.  I come back refreshed, and much better able to a good job as a parent.  It’s a good mental break too, to be somewhere where you’re not just known as a mom of a child with special needs.

Continue reading: Self Care for Moms


7.  It’s super hard to find qualified childcare for our kids!  And we often need more of it than parents of typically developing children, since our kids require more of our attention when we are watching them and might not do well on standard errands.

I’ve been fortunate to find amazing nannies to help me out part time, but because my child takes so much attention, I have to pay quite a bit more since the babysitter can’t take other children alongside mine, and she needs a higher wage than the high school girl down the street that could watch my typically-developing children just fine.

The person providing childcare has to be experienced with special needs, on top of things, and has to have a personality that meshes with our child’s.

Parenting Advice

8.  Our children’s behavior issues are not from poor parenting.  Yes, consistency usually helps, but the way these children’s brains are wired and the sensory issues they deal with make them not respond to regular parenting techniques the way a typically developing child would.

I’ve personally found that other parents have more grace with me when I put a medic alert bracelet on my daughter, it kind of gives them the heads up that she’s a SNC and I tend to avoid most of the glares at the playground for age-inappropriate meltdowns.

We still have to go buy groceries, go to the bank, and get our car fixed just like everyone else – and sometimes plans can’t work around our children’s sensory issues, so they may be fussing in the store.  It’s just how it is, there isn’t always an option to ‘do it when someone else is watching her’.

Further reading: Are Sensory Issues Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns? 

Not Easily Offended

9.  It doesn’t offend us if you ask us about special needs at all. Unless we’re newly diagnosed or still trying to figure it out ourselves, in that case it might be overwhelming. But to a family who has been ‘doing the special needs thing’ for a while, we’re happy to talk to you and help in any way we can.

Many moms come up to me and want to ask if their toddler is showing signs of autism, or other special needs, and I’m always happy to talk about it with them (they’re usually not, and of course I’m not a medical professional but I’ve been around enough SNC that I’m fairly accurate on what’s developmentally appropriate and what’s not).

We want the best for them

10.  We want the best for our child, no matter the circumstances.  That’s why we work so hard, it isn’t because we’re ashamed, it isn’t because we’re trying to change something that can’t change, or that we’re in denial, it’s because we want to make sure we’re doing everything possible for our child to reach their fullest potential.

Further Reading:

10 tips to help you interact with our (special needs) family.
You Know My Child Has Special Needs… Preteen Edition
Special Needs Mamas, You Need Self Care
It’s a Sensory Issue (that’s why they’re melting down!)



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CBD (Cannabis) Oil for Cell Healing, Inflammation, Anxiety, and More

10 months, 22 days ago

CBD (Cannabis) Oil for Cell Healing, Inflammation, Anxiety, and More

Even in the past two years here in the conservative state of Montana, CBD oil is becoming more widely accepted. When I first started experimenting with CBD oil I was afraid to let my friends know that I had tried it, and I was a little concerned about the mail man judging me… even though I bought it totally legally (it doesn’t require a prescription or anything) and through the mail even!

CBD oil is controversial because it contains cannabinoids, which are also present in THC-containing cannabis. What CBD oil¬†doesn’t contain is the THC¬†that is responsible for getting people high. CBD comes from hemp that is specifically bred (not GMO, but like how we get A2 milk by breeding two A2 cows) to not contain THC, but it does contain over 400 compounds that are beneficial for many people.

Cannabinoids in your Brain

Did you know that your brain actually has ‘cannabinoid receptors’? And your brain can even manufacture cannabinoids on its own – that’s literally what the ‘runners high’ comes from! (source)

In some cases, people benefit from extra cannabinoids, and thankfully this part of the plant is completely legal (in the US at least, I’m not sure about overseas).

Who can benefit from CBD?

Supplementing cannabinoids through CBD oil has been shown to be helpful reducing inflammation (I use it mostly for this – the morning after a hard workout it works fast to make me stop feeling like I was ran over by a truck), soothe the digestive system (source), and for neurological issues such as parkison’s disease, epliepsy, and more. As we talked about in our recent¬†brain-trauma post, many things (like the ketogenic diet!) that calm a brain to reduce seizures or slow parkinson’s also correlate to helping any kind of neurological problem – autism, anxiety, depression, etc.

It’s not a stand-alone thing, there are many components to a mental-health program, but CBD can certainly play a part in the ‘progress snowball’¬†of getting one thing that works and having it snowball into a much higher quality of life.

Anecdotally, I feel that CBD oil helps my daughter just as much as the ketogenic diet does.

What to look for in CBD Oil

Thankfully now that CBD is recognized as being separate from the ‘high’ part of the cannabis plant, it is considerably less sketchy to buy! There are many reputable companies out there now, but I choose and trust¬†SOLCBD¬†due to the ingredients they use, that they screen and eliminate all THC (so no chance of it showing up on a drug test!), and their super-clean method of extraction with CO2.

You can use the code HHH5 for 5% off + free shipping on orders over $75 when you order from¬†SOLCBD. It’s a great time to give it a try!

You all know that I advocate choosing¬†cold-pressed olive oil¬†because all the delicate plant compounds (even the compounds that our brain uses, but science hasn’t quantified yet) are preserved when heat is avoided. For this same reason, I love SOLCBD as well – they use a pure cold extraction that retains over 300 of the plant compounds that all work together within your body.

Suggested Products

For people who are¬†very sensitive to dietary or supplement changes¬†(this will be many of our spectrum-y kids who often get a¬†healing crisis¬†when something new is introduced)¬†Whole Body Activation Tincture¬†is a slower-acting more slow-and-steady tincture that still contains all the needed compounds. I use this with my daughter since the Lipsomal is ‘too strong’ for her. I do see an immediate (5-10 minutes) change when she gets this, she is just really sensitive.

For those who need more quick absorption,Lipsomal CBD quickly enters the bloodstream in water-soluble form (which dissolves in the blood). I use this for workout recovery and many use it for fast-acting anxiety relief.

For those with pain, topical CBD balm can be applied directly where it is needed for a localized application. CBD is absorbed through the skin.

CBD is not for everyone, and if you have a specific health condition or are on a medication you should check with a qualified physician before use. I am just a mom, not a medical professional in any capacity, and this is informational in nature, and this cannot be considered medical advice. High doses of CBD may make you more sensitive to pain medications, and can interact with some seizure medications, for more information please click here.

CBD is a welcome and soothing part of a healing protocol, and I’m really excited to be able to share the company that I trust with you.

Don’t forget to¬†use code HHH5 for 5% off!

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Grain-Free Southern-Style Biscuits made with Honey

11 months, 6 days ago

Grain-Free Southern-Style Biscuits made with Honey

I just got the new book¬†Everyday Grain-Free Baking¬†in the mail a few weeks ago, and ever since it’s been the cookbook I hand to my kids to choose a recipe on our Saturday baking day tradition. ¬†Most recipes are GAPS-legal, and if they’re not, there are simple substitutes or omissions that can be made. I especially love that they call for ingredients I almost always have on hand – coconut and almond flour are used, but those are in most grain-free kitchens anyway.

The recipes are simple to follow and delicious. So far we’ve tried these biscuits and the cinnamon-swirl coffee cake with great success! ¬†Kelly offered to let me share the biscuit recipe with my readers, so here it is. ¬†Thanks Kelly!

Make sure you click on over here and check out the rest of the recipes in her Everyday Grain-Free Baking book.

Southern-Style Biscuits

Reprinted with permission from Everyday Grain-Free Baking
Grain-Free Southern-Style Biscuits made with Honey   Print Prep time 15 mins Cook time 15 mins Total time 30 mins   These fluffy almond flour biscuits are low carb and quick to whip up in the morning! Enjoy alongside soup, or topped with a poached egg and crisp bacon for a breakfast treat! Author: Cara Comini Recipe type: Breakfast, Side Cuisine: Keto, Paleo, GAPS Serves: 8 Ingredients 2-1/2 cups blanched almond flour (find here) ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon sea salt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or coconut oil), melted 1 tablespoon honey (omit for keto or replace with 1 packet/scoop of stevia or monk fruit if desired) 2 tablespoons coconut milk 2 large eggs ¬ľ teaspoon apple cider vinegar Directions Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. n a small bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter and honey until smooth. Add the coconut milk, eggs, and apple cider vinegar, whisking together until well combined. Using a spoon, stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until thoroughly combined. Scoop a large spoonful of batter into your hands and gently roll into a ball about the size of an apricot; repeat until you‚Äôve made Place the dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet two inches apart and gently flatten using the palm of your hand. (If dough is too sticky, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before rolling into balls and flattening.) Bake about 15 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve warm with a drizzle of raw honey or homemade jam. Nutrition Information Serving size: 1 Calories: 265 Fat: 23 Carbohydrates: 10 Fiber: 4 Protein: 9 3.5.3226

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I Healed My Dairy Allergy in 6 Weeks with the GAPS Diet

1 year, 1 day ago

I Healed My Dairy Allergy in 6 Weeks with the GAPS Diet

It’s ice cream season!¬† Would you like to heal your dairy allergy? I did!¬† It’s not going to be something that works for everyone, but I was surprised at how quickly I was able to eliminate my dairy allergy by healing my gut.

When we started the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS), I knew we were a GAPS family, but I was primarily doing the diet for my daughter with autism.  Because she was only 3, I felt like I should do the diet right alongside her to make sure I felt okay on the diet and I could relate to what she was going through as she went from eating a gluten free diet to the GAPS Intro and then full GAPS.

In snatches of internet research while she slept and I was nursing the baby (our early afternoon routine), I had learned that not only did GAPS help autism and other neurological conditions, but it also healed the gut to help digestive issues and with that healing it could potentially reverse food allergies. ¬†That’s pretty cool, I thought.

My dairy allergy history

I had been allergic to dairy protein my whole life, it caused chronic sinus infections which I was treated many many times for with antibiotics when I was a child. It wasn’t until I became a vegan as a teen, and then stopped being a vegan a few months later that I found the connection- without dairy I didn’t get sinus infections, with dairy I would get slammed with one in a few days.

Re-introducing dairy also gave me hives, itchy raised bumps on the skin.

This shows how important an elimination diet is!¬† Some people would think that ‘going vegan’ gave me a dairy allergy, but re-framing the perspective gave me the information that I needed. I had always had an underlying dairy allergy!

For the next decade I just avoided dairy for the most part, I’d give in to an urge for real ice cream or pizza with goopy cheese every once in a while, get a painful sinus infection, and then avoid dairy again for the next few months.

GAPS Intro Reversed (or healed) my dairy allergy in 6 weeks.

We started GAPS intro on November first as described in my GAPS intro guide.  We progressed quickly, working our way through the intro in 4 weeks and then went to full GAPS. My daughter got stuck on reacting to raw fruit and veggies, but I was able to progress through the intro in just 4 weeks.

I was taking the probiotic Biokult at the time too, as Dr. Natasha recommends- adults working up from just 1/10th of one capsule up to taking 10 capsules a day. ¬†Now, because of what I know about die off and not wanting to stress your body with more than it can easily detoxify, I don’t really recommend that most people take a high powered probiotic supplement at the same time they are doing intro. But at the time, I thought it was kind of cool that I could feel the illness caused by bad bugs leaving my body, so I plowed through GAPS Intro and upping Biokult all within 30 days. ¬†(being honest!).

I was planning on staying on full GAPS with my daughter, but mid December (6 weeks after starting intro) a friend ordered pizza, and, well, it looked and smelled REALLY good.  So I ate a piece.  (I do not recommend transitioning off GAPS in this way- see a more sensible approach here)

The pizza after 6 weeks of very clean eating on GAPS gave me digestive upset, as my body wasn’t used to gluten (or junk) at all. But the cheese on it did not give me hives or a sinus infection! Amazing! ¬†After my initial binge on pizza, I went back to eating dairy free full GAPS with my daughter for meals, but after she went to bed I started eating more and more dairy, first just a small slice of cheese, then a whole glass of raw milk, and by the next week I saw that I was¬†just fine eating as much dairy as I wanted!

It’s been 2-1/2 years since I did 6 weeks on the GAPS intro, and I still can enjoy as much dairy as I wish, and haven’t had a sinus infection or outbreak of hives since!

Allergies: Protein vs Lactose

There are two different kinds of sensitivities to dairy, some people are sensitive to the lactose in dairy and do well with yogurt and cheese, which has had most of the lactose (milk sugar) used up in the culturing of the product, but they do not do well with fluid milk or ice cream.

Others are sensitive to the protein in dairy (casein), it’s found in high quantities in cheese, yogurt, and fluid milk.

Butter contains a very small amount of casein and lactose, but many people can handle it because the amounts are so small.  Ghee is clarified butter, which has had the casein and lactose removed, and is appropriate for all but the very very sensitive.  People are generally not sensitive to milk fat, which is the only thing that remains after clarifying butter.

A Note for Others

Just because I healed my dairy allergy in just a few weeks doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to, but it is encouraging that there is hope, right? ¬†I didn’t attempt to introduce GAPS legal dairy to my daughter until she had been on GAPS for over 6 months (and she did fine with it too) just because I was scared of losing the progress we had made on GAPS and she had been sensitive to dairy as a baby and toddler as well, as had my son.

I’ve had readers report success with GAPS healing egg and nut allergies as well, have you healed an allergy with GAPS?

More reading: 

What is the GAPS diet?

Why is the GAPS Intro Diet more helpful than, say,a gluten free or paleo diet?

How are autism and food allergies related?


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