My Biggest Mistake on the GAPS Diet

I want to introduce you to my new friend, Lauren!

Lauren is almost the same age as me. She is also a blogger, be both do online college (she might even do NTA too!), we have some of the same problems and are fixing them with GAPS….how coincidental! Do you think we were destined to be friends?  Lauren and I enjoy catching up over Skype every week to talk. Even though we live in 2 different states, we can still be good friends! I can’t wait to meet her in real person..someday. (The hard part is, we both don’t travel so well!)


Show Lauren some LOVE and give her blog a “like” on FB (right here). While your at it, comment and say hi to her! (bloggers love comments!)



Let’s give it up for the amazing writer behind the blog Empowered Sustenance!


Hi Gutsy Readers!

I’m Lauren, author of Empowered Sustenance, and I’m excited to share a bit of my healing journey with you all. First, though, I want to tell you about my serendipitous introduction with Caroline.

No--I don’t randomly dance on logs in pointe shoes.  This is my high school senior picture from last summer!

No–I don’t randomly dance on logs in pointe shoes. This is my high school senior picture from last summer!


Meeting Caroline

I used to be skeptical of relationships started over the internet. “How does chemistry happen with just a few similarities typed into a form?” I always wondered. As of July 2012, however, I became a believer.

I first found mygutsy.com through Caroline’s guest post on Kelly the Kitchen Kop. A few days later, I met Caroline in the Real Food Media Forum. We exchanged a couple of emails, at first discussing our two main commonalities: our age (I’m 19 and Caroline is 18), our experience following the GAPS diet, and our blogs. I knew we were soul mates, however, when she explained that her health issues prevented her from traveling with her family. “Finally!” I thought. “Someone who understands being home alone during summer vacation!”

My Real Food Transition

Five years ago, as a freshman in high school, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. For a while, I held my colitis under control by obliviously popping pills to suppress any symptoms. Unfortunately, my colitis advanced aggressively while prescriptions muted my body’s attempts at communicating with me. “You are probably looking at a colon resection in the future,” my doctor solemnly told me. Horrified tears streamed down my face as I promised myself that I would never lose my colon.

Last fall, with that vow, I left for college–armed with potent immune-suppressing medication and a plan to eat and sleep well in the dorm. During that first semester at college, my colitis flared constantly. I struggled to mask my health issues, but I could no longer hide my dwindling energy or humiliating hair loss caused by my medication and distressed intestines. At the end of the fall semester, I signed up for online college courses, headed back home, and ditched my medication. I threw myself wholeheartedly into treating my colitis with nutrition.

I submerged myself in healing books in an effort to treat my colitis without medication

Healing with the GAPS Diet

For months, I consumed healing doses of broths, raw butter, and traditionally prepared foods, but I still couldn’t tame my colitis. Finally, after starting the GAPS Diet four months ago, I experienced immediate relief from many of my colitis symptoms.

The Low Carb Mistake

Shortly after starting GAPS, I read The Body Ecology Diet and freaked out. I realized I was a prime candidate for major candida overgrowth, after years of mega-doses of prednisone (a corticosteroid) and antibiotics for my colitis. In an effort to reduce candida, I cut honey from my diet, reduced starchy vegetables, and ate only one serving of fruit a day.

In an effort to avoid honey, I started sweetening my desserts with only stevia, such as in this Lemon Souffle Cake

Get this yummy recipe here!

Suddenly, I experienced debilitating dizziness. I would collapse on my bedroom floor after getting out of bed in the morning. I needed to clutch the rail as I slowly climbed up stairs to maintain balance. My equilibrium had disappeared–which was bad news when it came time for pirouettes in ballet class. Unfortunately, it took me a few weeks before I realized the correlation between the dizziness and my limited carb consumption.

Sticking with GAPS

Kendahl, of Our Nourishing Roots, discussed how she also went too low carb on GAPS. She decided to stop the GAPS diet and try Matt Stone’s RRARFING: Rehabilitative Rest and Aggressive Re-Feeding. This anti-diet technique works by raising body temperature and metabolism.

I’m happy to hear how well it worked for Kendahl, but I cannot follow Matt’s dietary regimen. I know that avoiding certain carbs, like the grains and sugar prohibited on GAPS, is the only way to keep my colitis under control. Hopefully, after a few years of intestinal healing on this diet, I will be able to re-introduced properly prepared grains.

The GAPS Carb Solution

So how am I solving my carb problem on GAPS? As soon as I realized my dizziness correlated with my low-carb consumption, I increased my fruit and starchy vegetable intake. Now, I enjoy all-banana ice cream or creamy fruit smoothies every day. I eat squash, carrots, and beets for a GAPS-legal carb feast. And I choose raw honey over stevia. Nothing beats raw honey drizzled over fluffy GAPS coconut flour pancakes.

My ultimate coconut flour pancakes provide protein, healing fats, and GAPS-friendly carbs

mmm…Recipe right here!

One thing at a time

I’ve discovered that super low carb doesn’t work for my body, and I’ve learned how to get enough carbs on the GAPS diet. But what about the candida? Perhaps, when I get off GAPS in a couple years and can eat properly prepared grains, I will try reducing honey and fruit temporarily. For now, I’m focusing on healing my gut–the foundation for whole-body health. I have a feeling that when my gut flora balances and digestive tract heals, the rest will fall into place. I hope to see you soon at Empowered Sustenance!



~Stay Gutsy, Caroline

disclosure 3


  1. Too cute how you girls are such good friends now! I heart the internet. And real food bloggers. Oh, and carbs, too! 😉

    • I think having a friend so far away is a lot of fun! Thanks to real food media, we met! The internet is a perfect place for real food nerds (like us) because at least for me, there are not many around where I live. I am “one of a kind” around here. But having you all around, make me seem so much more normal! haha. Yes I thought you would like this post about “more carbs”. I cannot do that many carbs, but I have been that way my whole life. I prefer the steak over the fresh bread. Everyone’s body is completely different for sure!

    • I thought of you and all the Matt Stone fans when I was writing this post! And I wholeheartedly agree that the internet, real food bloggers, and carbs make the world a better place 🙂

  2. Awesome post! I think this might be a really common mistake. Thanks for laying it all out so clearly.

  3. David Salter says

    It takes time for the body to adjust to a new diet. If you go low carb too quickly, before your metabolism has learned how to use fat for energy, then you will experience dizzyness. It doesn’t mean you cannot go low carb, just that you need to adjust slowly.

    • I disagree a bit with David. I think this is highly individual. My personal experience is that despite being pretty much no-carb for over 3 months my physiology never “got used to it”.

      • Hi Lili! I never got used to carbs as well either, I think that is because my gut is not healed enough to digest carbs! Do what your body wants. I LOVE protein more then you could imagine, that is just what my body craves!

  4. a lot of gaps peeps keep a mixture of honey and butter at their bedside/desk. i never did this on GAPS, but my major mistake was not eating after the kids went to bed, when i was starving. this went on for months, i slipped into a dark, dark depression. about 8 weeks after i started GAPS my hair started falling out, and i became an insomniac, waking every night at 4a or earlier, unable to fall asleep. after the depression lifted 10 months after i started gaps (when i finally reintroduced kefir, duh) the hair loss/itchy scalp stopped. but the insomnia remains and worse, my migraines are unbearable, and i’ve gained about 20 lbs in 4 months after maintaining my weight on an NT like diet for 5 years with no trouble at all. GAPS, if done wrongly can cause a lot of harm. i’ve heard stories of many GAPS mamas who are trying to heal kiddos and themselves get to breakdown state. i’m not saying GAPS can’t be done right, but doing the diet can be like playing with fire, so have your fire gear ready! and mamas, please please please, take care of yourself while you’re taking care of your wee ones. if you stumble. so will they.

  5. forgot the point of my comment? why? because in the process of going on GAPS, then off and trying to heal my kids, i also FRIED my brain. my point was, the honey butter combo would have worked wonders for me if i’d done it thru intro. i am using it now, because my migraines onset during the night, which indicates low blood sugar. now i eat some of my honey butter before bed, or drink honey kefir, and if i wake at night and my head is hurting i eat more honey butter from my bedside.

  6. Lilian says

    Hi kidappeal,
    Did you ever figure out what about gaps gave you these symptoms? I’ve had those same problems with my sleep on an almost- SCD diet and in suspect the primary reason may be too low carb.

  7. Ahhh! I didn’t know there were GAPS bloggers my age. I’m setting up a blog myself soon. I’m about to be 20 in a week, and I’m a new mom. My blog is still a work in progress and nothing is published yet, but it’s called Chicken Soup for the Gut. You guys should totally add me on Skype. …How would I get you my username without typing it publicly, though? :/

    Sounds like I need some extra carbs too based on the comment about hair falling out and bad sleep. I’ve had awful pseudo-nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night for a few days. I don’t really remember much except that I had to go sleep in the living room and they involved gelatin o.O

    • you can e-mail me at at my “contact me” tab on my blog

    • Rhianna says

      I have experienced a few days of “pseudo-nightmares” and sleep talking (this hearkens back to childhood) to be symptoms of die-off and detoxification while on GAPS. They are not pleasant but they will pass and may recur. Hang in there. I believe these symptoms, if of short duration and intermittent while on GAPS, mean that the diet is working.

  8. Just a suggestion – magnesium could help with sleep issues. I use magnesium glycinate. I’m doing GAPS but also can’t stay too low carb either – I eat butternut squash fries as my main carb source right now.

  9. Michelle says

    I clicked on your article because I’m planning to start GAPS in the next year or so (I’m pregnant right now) and I wanted to make sure I didn’t do whatever it was you did. Well….I know I won’t. Why? Because I already did that once and learned my lesson too!! I was trying to loose weight after having my second child. I had used a high protein/low carb diet to get the weight off from my first child and it worked great. However, with the second, I decided to get “real serious” about it and went all the way down to the “induction” intake of carbs on the Atkins diet. (I think it’s like 10 or less grams a day). I was a gymnastics teacher at the time and lifted weights every day along with 1 1/2 hours of cardio every day. After 2 months of this, I was getting weaker. My muscles would shake when I was lifting the same weights I had been lifting. I was getting dizzy and would have to have my assistants take over the spotting in class so that I didn’t drop someone! I realized later that my body was literally eating itself in order to get the carbs it needed. This is something I warn anyone about when I hear, “I’m going on the Atkins diet.” Thanks for your warning to others out there.

  10. SwanSwan says

    This is helpful. My son had thrush (caused by yeast in the Mom). I reduced to a one fruit a day, pretty much chicken, veggies and broth diet and then ended up having major dizziness issues, and vertigo…I thought it was from cutting out dairy…I think it was from cutting out the carbs. I’m now on the GAPS diet (while nursing), but I think I went a little too hard-core. I phased out sweets for a few weeks, then dairy for a few weeks, then starchy veggies/fruit and then I phased out grains…then I started on the GAPS intro-ish diet (knowing that I couldn’t totally go on the GAPS intro ’cause I’m nursing)…but I reduced my carbs too much. Now I have dizziness again. I think the original dizziness wasn’t from taking dairy out (like the dr. said…) but from reducing carb intake. I woke up this morning and NEEDED to eat fruit with honey – and then I felt better. I think I’ll incorporate more of those veggie options and include a banana or two a day, along with my apple a day. Thanks so much for the post, it was helpful!

  11. Julie Christopher says

    I’m curious about the amounts of healthy fats and proteins that Lauren eats and whether that would make a difference in the dizziness she said comes from eating too low-carb. For me, I get light-headed/dizzy with low calorie intake. I avoid carbs except in vegetables and nuts and seeds and eat more proteins and health fats like avocado and coconut oil. Thanks.


  1. […] me today at MyGutsy.com where I’m sharing how Caroline and I became best buds and also My Biggest GAPS Diet Mistake. If you follow the SCD or GAPS diet, read this article to avoid making this dangerous […]

  2. […] Caroline Lunger is a prolific young blogger. She made a common mistake – going too low carb on GAPS. […]

  3. […] can be a life saver (especially during intro). It is filling, satisfying and helps to keep you from going too low carb! Try my GAPS […]

  4. […] Comments Remember Lauren from empowered Sustenance? She did a guest post here a while back on going too low carb on the GAPs diet. We have been friends and watched each others blog grow. I think you will be pleased how AMAZING […]

  5. […] fout te zijn onder mensen die GAPS volgen, zie bijvoorbeeld deze (Engelstalige) blogpost of deze. Echt iets om in de gaten te houden […]

  6. […] fout te zijn onder mensen die GAPS volgen, zie bijvoorbeeld deze (Engelstalige) blogpost of deze. Echt iets om in de gaten te houden […]

  7. […] fout te zijn onder mensen die GAPS volgen, zie bijvoorbeeld deze (Engelstalige) blogpost of deze. Echt iets om in de gaten te houden […]

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