GAPS Diet for Epilepsy and Seizures
In my 21 years’ time-in on mothering, I think motherhood is about listening to the threads of intuition and taking action when something is “not quite right.”
Not too long ago, a woman named Kathleen reached out to me. She shared how she had used the GAPS Diet for epilepsy and seizures in her husband, and how they had resolved entirely.
I wrote back to Kathleen and asked her if she would share her story on my website, and she said yes. I’m so grateful for her courage as a mother to do GAPS for her family. Her story is inspiring. You can read more about her family’s story and lifestyle on her blog – https://www.industriousfamily.com/gaps-diet-recipes.html
Kathleen’s story reminded me of my own experience with seizures in my daughter and how I used a Ketogenic version of GAPS to resolve them. It’s a story I’ve not shared publicly until now.
Below I share Kathleen’s very inspiring story of using GAPS for epilepsy and many other health issues. Then I touch briefly on my personal experience using GAPS for seizures.
GAPS is not a diet. It’s a way of life—a way of life for which I am daily grateful. I am convinced that every family can benefit from the GAPS lifestyle. Happiness, health, and healing await those who do embrace it.
My GAPS journey began when my husband sought a life free from anti-epileptic drugs. Besides controlling seizures, GAPS caused healing in a variety of unexpected ways. We are committed to the GAPS lifestyle and are never looking back.
Exhausted and sick of the way his medicine made him feel, my husband decided to wean off his medication and keep his net carbs below 20 grams a day, a proven method of controlling seizures. I told this to a friend of mine, and she gave me the GAPS book. As I read it, I really didn’t want to believe what I was reading, and yet I couldn’t put it down. The more I read, the more I was convinced.
It was a little too weird to share with my husband, so I started telling my oldest daughter about it. She full-heartedly believed that we needed to do it. She encouraged me to put us all on the intro diet. I convinced my husband and promised to support him by embracing the GAPS lifestyle as a family. We threw out all the prohibited foods in our pantry plus our microwave and purged our home of chemicals.
Our experience with GAPS healing seemed miraculous. Life without seizures and medications yet filled with delicious foods and lots of energy is miraculous indeed. When a striking condition like grand mal seizures disappears, the effectiveness of GAPS cannot be ignored.
Besides the seizure disorder, unexpected healing just kept popping up. One child’s night terrors disappeared, another’s constipation went away, and one’s concentration improved enough that he finally learned how to read. Another child with eczema skin cleared up, I lost weight, horrible diaper rashes no longer plagued the baby, and the child with constant glue ear no longer needed frequent ear wax removal. To this day, the dentist’s office is surprised that an entire family never has cavities.
And yet, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There were some roadblocks. In the early days of our GAPS journey, the biggest roadblock I faced was the push back I got from the people I was sacrificing so much for.
My oldest daughter supported me 100% and encouraged me to persevere. My husband was appreciative, but he didn’t like what he was eating. It was really hard on me to be spending so much time sourcing food and making meals just to have everyone act like I was torturing them. Detoxing and wheat withdrawal are very real and very ugly. Some of my children cried and dreamed about bread. Others threw major tantrums during wheat withdrawals. This, along with negativity from my extended family, and having to learn a new way of cooking with unfamiliar ingredients, were other roadblocks for me.
Suddenly cooking took up a lot of my time. And yet, the day my husband stood in the kitchen and said, “I feel really good,” made all the difficulties worthwhile. It took six months before he felt really good. He lost 30 pounds, was no longer exhausted, and his sweet tooth was gone. He was healed, and I enjoyed a major victory!
As the months and years went on, we discovered we could troubleshoot backsliding by monitoring bowel movements. BMs are a not so uncommon topic of conversation in our family. Slowing down and “listening” to your body is another troubleshooting method for GAPS.
Listening to cravings is a good habit to cultivate. If a child wants a lot of fats, I allow it. When I’m craving sauerkraut, I pile it on! My husband has discovered that he must be careful with the amount of starch he eats. He has only had one seizure, and it was brought on by eating too many starches.
My husband and I have ten children, all living at home. If we can do it, anyone can!
My biggest tip for others who want to embrace this lifestyle is to go all in and commit for two full years. You can do this!
Feel confident in making the decision for the entire family. Their health and happiness are more important than their liking the food you place in front of them. They will thank you in the end, and they will like the food eventually.
Another thing that has really helped me persevere is that I don’t take myself too seriously, and I simply do my best.
Applying a “best,” “good,” and “avoid” ranking, borrowed from the Weston Price Foundation to the items I allow into our home has helped me realize that if I can’t find or afford the “best,” “good” is better than throwing in the towel, and even “avoid” can be consumed rarely without impact on the GAPS lifestyle.
It has been six years, and we are on the full GAPS/coming off the GAPS. The journey was started in an effort to control epilepsy without medications. It led us to heal the complaints that had become so common we didn’t even know we had them.
- Everyone enjoys cooking and helps with the meals.
- My children are healthy, hardy, and happy.
- They are full of energy and enjoy learning.
- My husband is seizure and medication free.
- They are all trim and fit.
I attribute these victories to our GAPS lifestyle!
I will be the first to admit that my own story starts with a time when I was NOT paying close enough attention as a mother.
My older daughter had watched the documentary called “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and was inspired to do a juice fast with her dad. However, her version of a juice fast was almost entirely juicing fruits rather than vegetables, and on the evening of Day 3, she had her first hypoglycemic induced grand mal seizure. I will never forget hearing that from the next room over and rushing in to find my daughter thrashing in her bed but completely unresponsive.
Over the next couple of months, she would have two more seizures. When I took her to the hospital, they could find absolutely nothing wrong. The hospital recommended that we see a neurologist, who wanted to run a host of tests and put her on medication.
The thought of my daughter on seizure meds and my experience with GAPS’s healing power were enough to galvanize me to try another route. I did a lab workup for my daughter, with food sensitivity testing and stool testing, and I placed her on a Keto version of GAPS, restricting her carbs to about 20 grams per day. Once she was on Keto GAPS, she never had another seizure again, even when she eventually returned to a regular diet.
Food as medicine works, folks. It takes courage, but it’s worth the extra effort to heal your family from the kitchen.