By Amy Mihaly
“I now understand why people want to be alive…”
This was my journal entry a few days after starting the GAPS healing protocol (Gut and Psychology Syndrome™). By the time I found the GAPS protocol, I had already been on my health journey for several years. During that time I found some relief for some of my physical symptoms and I even experienced a year which was depression-free for the first time in my life. But my depression returned and I was wrestling with suicidal thoughts more than I had in years.
My ADD was still a challenge and my ability to focus or remember anything was declining with frightening speed. I was easily irritated, often in pain and struggled to see the point of living. In fact, without my faith and relationship with God, I don’t think I would have chosen to keep living. But even though I was still alive, I wasn’t thriving and there was no joy in my life.
Then I started the GAPS protocol and soon experienced something I had never known was possible. One morning I awoke and discovered I felt an expectation about the future. It was an expectation something good was coming and there was something worth being alive for. Never in my remembrance had I experienced this. Before that morning, I had no idea what I was missing. But I soon found that many others have observed and described this “future-good expectation” as they healed their bodies. I believe hope for the future is not special or unique, but is something we were all created to experience. And when it is missing, it shows something is wrong.
The Connection Between Dental Caries and Our Overall Health
Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist in the early 1900’s, saw a link between dental caries (cavities) and overall health and decided to travel the globe studying people and groups still following traditional diets. In many cases he was able to compare them with a neighboring village who had transitioned to western processed food. He published his observations in the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
In every village that still ate according to their traditional diet, he found them to be cheerful, strong, honest, kind, productive, intelligent and generally welcoming. This was true no matter what their living climate was. The Eskimos were quite as happy as the Polynesian Islanders, even though they lived in much colder temperatures. The common factor was their traditional diet.
The same people, even one generation after exposure to the western foods high in processed grains and sugars, experienced physical and mental decline. They lost strength and beauty because their bones were underdeveloped and deformed and their teeth were riddled with cavities. Many were in pain and their immunity was compromised, leading to frequent and severe illnesses.
There was also a noticeable change in their attitude. In traditional cultures, there were no prisons or asylums. However after the introduction of western food, Dr. Price observed an increase in antisocial traits and behaviors. If you look at the pictures provided from Dr. Price’s travels, you can see the difference in attitudes. The people on traditional diets are smiling and happy, while those on modern foods (sometimes even siblings) have a deep-set sad or resigned affect. It was Dr. Price’s conclusion that the nutritional deficiencies brought on from the modern, western diet produced physical and mental changes.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (creator of the GAPS healing protocol) also discusses the connection between what we put in our gut and how it affects our brain. Like Dr. Price, she also believes we were meant to experience joy and happiness. She further explains that because of the many toxins we are exposed to (from external chemicals and internal toxins produced by the pathogenic flora inside our guts) the normal function of neurotransmitters is hindered. Neurotransmitters include our happy hormones, like adrenaline, epinephrine and dopamine. These neurotransmitters should be released when we talk with a friend, achieve goals, receive praise, and other frequent and common experiences.
But when the body is damaged, they are not released so easily. Rather they are only released when a major stimulus is present — such as sky diving, driving at high speeds, doing drugs, watching pornography, or other “adrenaline” behaviors. And this is only one example of the many ways toxins and poor nutrition affect our hormones, mental clarity, ability to learn and more.
So what’s the solution? To correct these problems we have to address the root cause. Medications only mask symptoms and even add to the toxic load. The problem stems from what we put into our gut! The processed “food” we eat and the many chemicals we breathe, ingest and absorb through our skin must be removed. Good and healing foods must be eaten and our “bad” gut flora must be crowded out by good flora from fermented foods and probiotics.
These changes are not easy, but they are worth it because true healing can occur. As we continue giving our bodies the healing, nutrient dense foods like meat stock and animal fat from pastured animals, the body will heal itself and bring itself to balance. And a body in balance is happy, thriving and pain-free!
• Campbell-McBride, N. (2010). Gut and Psychology Syndrome. York, Pennsylvania: Maple Press.
• Price, W. (2009). Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. La Mesa, CA: The Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.