“Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine.” — Hippocrates
Moving forward from my diagnosis of SIBO to treatment included botanical anti-microbials as well as yet another diet change . It wasn’t too big of a deal – I’m a pro at dietary re-haul now. Gluten-free, dairy-free, auto-immune paleo, I’ve done it all! The botanical meds which included garlic as well as a peppermint(or was it spearmint?) were taken for one month. This helped kill off the disruptive bacteria in my digesting tract. At the same time I was supposed to pick either the SCD diet or the GAPS diet and follow that for 2 years. This was supposed to allow my gut to heal and allow for the proper and thorough re-population of my intestinal tract. It took time to get out of balance, enough time would be needed to properly re-balanced.
The Choice: GAPS VS. SCD Diet
For the dietary long-term treatment I was instructed by my naturopathic doctor to choose either the GAPS diet or the SCD diet. Either one would help, so it really came down to my preference. Luckily being the book nerd that I am, I had previously read both books. It had been several years since I had read the Breaking the Vicious Cycle which is the SCD diet book. (We had even tried it with Rick. Sadly it made little difference for him – I believe it was because we didn’t address his food sensitivities -dairy and more.) After reviewing the diet basics online I decided that it didn’t really resonate with me. It’s a perfectly fine book and diet that has helped a lot of people, but just didn’t seem like the best of ideas for me. For a review since it had been several months since I had read the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, I also read through the GAPS Diet info online. The review was all I needed to make a decision. The GAPS diet focuses on broths and healthy fats, as well as probiotic foods. While technically both diets focus on fermented foods, the SCD diet uses more fermented dairy to improve the intestinal biome, while the GAPS diet uses sauerkraut as well as dairy if a person can tolerate it. Unfortunately, I can’t tolerate any dairy. Again, nothing against the SCD diet but GAPS seemed to give more support for those of us dairy-tards.
The GAPS Intro Diet was a complete reset for me. In fact, I can’t say enough about it. It was wonderful! It allowed my poor digestive system to rest and make some progress in healing. When transitioning to the Full GAPS Diet, I discovered a few things that didn’t work well for me. I can’t do nuts or seeds at all right now. My blood sugar is/was too imbalanced for some of the treats in the GAPS diet. I mean seriously imbalanced. For example, I can’t make GAPS gummys using fruit, fruit juice, or honey. It results in more “sugar” cravings, unsteady blood sugar, and a general slowing of progress.
After months of tinkering, I have found my sweet spot blending GAPS and low-carb and framing it within the paleo diet. I don’t handle most legumes – including those allowed by the GAPS diet. Also, I don’t do any dairy. Hence referring to my diet as paleo as well as GAPS. The final piece of the puzzle was keeping things low-carb which allows my blood sugar to stabilize and makes me feel that much better. Again wins all around!
For more information about SIBO check out the rest of the series: