Select Page

Paleo and GAPS experiences please….

Blog Forums Dieting Sucks! Paleo and GAPS experiences please….

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)
  • Author
  • #7562

    I am very interested to know what others have experienced by doing GAPS/SCD or Paleo diets.

    I started GAPS about 9 months ago being 100% convinced that it would cure my chronic health problems. I experienced the immediate ‘die off’ and felt really sick for the first week or two. Sadly, I never really got better. I had EXTREME fatigue for the next 5 months. (even had to quit my job and change careers!) I started getting heart palpitations, became dizzy, irritable and just felt like shit the entire time.

    I stuck with it as Dr. McBride says those with extreme illnesses can sometimes need up to 5 months before they feel better. I did the diet perfectly, but just kept getting worse. Finally I started adding back in lots of carbs (via ‘safe’ starches like sweet potatoes, white rice, tapioca etc.) I was still feeling like shit and getting heart palpitations. About a month ago I said screw it all and starting eating whatever. Sadly, I don’t yet seem to be getting better. The palpitations have lessened, but the fatigue is debilitating. I have a whole shit-ton of other symptoms, and GAPS/Paleo definitely made them worse.

    What have others experienced? Any positive results? Other bad ones??

    Mali Korsten

    I did GAPS for 4 months last year. I did experience less digestive pain (I’m prone to stomach cramps), but other than that it didn’t go great. I lost weight I didn’t need to lose, my blood pressure was so low that I couldn’t even go for a walk without feeling like I was going to black out all the time, and the depression that I’d worked so hard to get rid of came back with a vengeance. There were a few benefits, but overall I felt pretty crappy the whole time.

    Recently, I did something similar to GAPS, but still included sugar, fruit juice, potatoes and sweet potatoes. I basically just cut out grains and ate lots of homemade stews (and some homemade ferments). That worked a lot better. No stomach cramps, but no nasty side-effects either. But, this was after having done the RRARFING for a long time, so I was in a good starting position, metabolically-speaking. If your metabolism is still weak, I would advise sorting that out before restricting your diet in any way.


    I did a Paleo diet for about 5 years. About 2 of those years was very low carb. I did it initially to cure my acne. I found that low carb seemed to be the most effective way to control my insulin, which was the main culprit of my inflammatory skin ailments. I had already had adrenal fatigue from my lifestyle choices, and going low carb Paleo only made it worse. I didn’t have a menstrual cycle for almost 6 years. I followed the diet too rigorously, and my health suffered because of it. I do still believe in some sort of dietary manipulation in order to fight inflammation, but you have to be flexible with your choices. More does not equal better.


    I did GAPS for a couple of years with a few major chocolate binges along the way! Some of my digestive issues lessened (chronic diarrhoea), but then I would have major episodes of “die-off” that lasted days & sent me to bed. The symptoms were way worse than the original problem – cramps, pain, body aches, nausea, tremors, flank pain, alternating chills and fever etc etc. I pretended that it helped my anxiety, but I think that was wishful thinking and the loss of a food social life was very stressful. I was convinced it would cure me and was the right thing for my kids, relatives, friends, the whole world. I was terrified to go off it because I thought it was my last hope, but I started getting insomnia and horrible night time heart pounding and sweats. So,in February, I decided that nothing affects my health more than stress and the difficulty of the diet & the symptoms put me in a vicious cycle of stress. The answer to symptoms occurring according to GAPS is to go back to the earlier stages, start again, clear out the toxins etc but I just found I was in a constant state of extreme dietary restriction & felt like every time I had a symptom it was because I wasn’t strict or vigilant enough and that felt bad. Oh, and the food preparation time! My god, I never left the kitchen! I don’t want to rubbish it just because it didn’t work for me, but, well, it didn’t work for me. Started eating the food in Feb and implementing a few RBTI ideas (good, carby breakfast, big lunch, small dinner & watching sugar levels with a refractometer) and that has helped digestion, sleep, anxiety a lot, though I’m way too cautious to claim any miracles! But eating yummy food and sleeping well is really fun.
    Sorry this is such a long post. Seems I needed to get that off my chest.


    I did paleo for about 2 1/2 years and incorporated some of the GAPS ideas (lots of bone broth, fermented foods). I did really well with it for the first year or so and felt better than I had remembered feeling in years. After that first year, though, things started to go backward. My digestion was terrible again, acne was worse than ever, and I had no energy.
    I started adding foods back in about 2 months ago and my energy is significantly better. My digestion is still a work in progress, but eating grains (I’m still gluten-free for the time being) and dairy has not made things worse.


    I ate a pretty paleo/primal diet for the last 3 years and it did not do me any good! I wish I never, ever started eating that way but I honestly think that I would have restricted my eating in another way and that wouldn’t have been good either. However, paleo is the most restrictive diet and lifestyle that I’ve ever encountered and I think it sent me on a path that has been life changing. It hasn’t been good but maybe it’s meant to be and I think I’ll be stronger and a better person for going through this. Before I get into all the bad things, there are a few good things: discovering raw milk and buying more raw ingredients in general, grass-fed meat, making my own broth, making my own beauty products (I love making my own face wash, deodorant, etc), my cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen have greatly improved!

    When I first started paleo in 2010 it was great. I loved having the freedom to eat whatever I wanted as long as it was paleo. I didn’t have to feel bad about eating loads of chicken or having some beef jerky or fruit or nuts… I didn’t see any weight loss (I didn’t need to lose any but I always wanted to loose those 5 lbs to be really thin). I got really into reading paleo/primal blogs and listening to podcasts. I remember hearing Mark Sisson speak and feeling so smart because i knew exactly how he would answer every question. That was because it was all I thought about. I thought that eating so clean would cure my anxiety, depression and everything and I did feel pretty good when I was following Chris Kresser’s healthy baby code and eating liver, fermented foods and bone broths.

    The big problem for me was that I stopped getting my period about 8 months after starting paleo. It was actually the time I took a break from paleo because I felt like it had main me gain a few pounds so I decided to do weight watchers. I was restricting my eating and then noticed that I stopped getting my period. Around that time I also had horrible, horrible stomach pains and thought it must be the gluten and other toxins. So back to paleo. Like many, I kept thinking I had to be even more strict. Then I began making all my own meals and many of my own condiments. I never, ever wanted to go out to eat and would get so worried about going to my parent’s house for Sunday dinner. If I would go out with friends sometimes I wouldn’t eat or I’d bring my own food and eat in the bathroom. My husband would run every restaurant by me and I’d look at them menu to see what I could eat. I’d have bad anxiety when the meat wasn’t grass-fed.

    Also, because paleo never really resulted in weight loss for me, I would often not eat dinner. Especially over the summer I would restrict my eating and would look at pro-ana websites to inspire me. It makes me so sad to think that i did that but it’s true. It made me feel good not to eat like everyone else and to be the thinnest one. I got thin during the restricting times but never under weight. As I said before, I didn’t have weight to loose but I would feel awesome loosing about 5-7 lbs. Last Sept I started following a paleo meal plan and counting all my carbs, protein, fat, etc. Prior to that I was eating pretty much no carbs. This resulted in about a 5 lb loss but I found myself binging and purging again as I had one “cheat” day but that made me feel out of control. This happened more regularly as I followed the meal plan but wasn’t uncommon for me in my paleo experience as a few times I would find myself eating candy at halloween or a piece of cake at thanksgiving and then throwing up. This was especially sad for me because I had been recovered from bulimia for about 8 or 9 years at that point. I don’t think I would have stumbled back into that bad cycle if it wasn’t for paleo and how restrictive I made it. I always thought something was wrong with me and I needed to be stricter or just surrounded by a paleo community. I felt so anxious about my daughter eating grains, etc and bought every paleo kids book I could think of. My parents expressed concern but I just thought they didn’t know everything that I know and I worried so much about the effects of toxins in the food.

    I always had a bit of anxiety before following a paleo diet but during the past 3 years this got to the worst ever and I had panic attacks while driving. My inability to get back my period even after eating so “clean” and doing everything imaginable was so discouraging for me and that coupled with the anxiety made me want to kill myself sometimes. Honestly, it was a very low time for me and to sum it up paleo did nothing good for my health.

    I’ve seem numerous doctors over the past few years as I’ve been trying to figure out why I stopped getting my period (I never thought it had to do with my eating) and over this time I had high cholesterol, low blood pressure, low temperature, freezing hands and feet, hair falling out, dry skin, NO sex drive, and estradiol (estrogen) in the post-menopausal range. The lack of sex drive was a huge issue and I thought it was me and I went back to therapy and started working on all possible issues in our marriage and I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have any desire to be intimate. I even took progesterone to try and start bleeding (this was a hard decision for me as I was doing everything natural but after 6 months of acupuncture 2-3 times a week in addition to Chinese herbs I was desperate) and it didn’t work because I had Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

    Since I started eating the food I’ve gotten my period back and my anxiety has lowered a lot. My husband says I’m much more fun and it’s like we have a new life.
    Sorry for such a long post!

    Matt Stone

    Ok, you asked for it. I am going to give it to you. Not pretty. Paleo. I got the worst constipation of my life. Seriously. One time I thought I was on the toilet and thought I might have to call an ambulance or the roto-rooter man. Scary as hell. That was the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, or whatever the hell it was that Churchill said about the Paleo diet.


    Cookin, I did GAPS for 1 1/2 years. At about 6 months I started getting the same symtoms you had–especially chronic dizziness to the point of black out. That’s when The Perfect Health Diet was new, so I did GAPS with the addition of potatoes, plantains, white rice, which I still ate very (very) minimally. The “safe starches” might have saved my life.

    It’s been a year since I quit my version of GAPS, and some of my symtoms went away, but I still struggle with moderate dizziness which gets better month by month.

    I’m just giving it time.

    mighty m

    Not the worst of it, but a quick snapshot of one drawback: On semi-paleo, every time I took a shower I’d leave a giant hairball in the drain. My hair is growing back thicker now … I have long hair, the new ones are 2-4″, and, when standing in front of the light, they kind of stick up from my head like an aura in an old Byzantine icon!

    Sexually, I was as dry as a Baptist picnic. (NOT counting the flasks in the hollow Bibles!)


    The Primal Blueprint turned me into an asshole :(


    Mighty M, I too leave a huge hairball every time I shower but I wrap it up and throw it away. I thought that was normal because I have long hair that I only brush with my fingers but now I realize that it’s not. My husband and daughter tease me about it (we have a small house with one bathroom so everyone is in everyone’s business) and I can’t wait for my hair to stop falling out! How long did it take for you?


    Oh my goodness, sorry everyone for such horrific experiences. Amoeba, your comment made laugh! For me it was wapf that screwed me, you just sort of tend to restrict grains naturally when you imagine all the work involved they recommend for preparing grains!
    Anyhow, I never took it too extremely fortunately so I always had my periods. But for me I just always ate very little and never realised how it made me anxious. So to sum it up “not eating turned me into an asshole.” :)
    Now that I eat, I’m much nicer to be around. And my husband will have to start eating for heat soon, otherwise he won’t be able to keep up with me. Sorry, too much info. :)


    My LC paleo testimonial is here and reprinted in 12 Paleo Myths.

    The major points were:
    – the highest point of my food anxiety. Eating socially was a nightmare and impossible
    – Racing heart at 4 in the morning regularly, followed by restless tossing and turning, then sleep and utter exhaustion upon waking up for work
    – Occasional lightheadedness after my perfect paleo raw milk and egg yolk with berries smoothie

    Not fun. Not planning to do that again.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 10 months ago by Rob.

    If I got anything out of this thread it was the Mighty M’s statement

    Sexually, I was as dry as a Baptist picnic

    I’m male, but I am definitely going to try to work that one in.


    Here is my experience. I am a 53 year old Male. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease a few years ago and have been on synthroid for about 7 years now. I started with low carb, Atkins type diets and they worked well. I was able to get down to about 178 (at 6′ tall) and was running about 25 miles per week. After combating back injuries and so forth, I quit the running and predictably gained back the weight and more. I went strict Paleo after reading Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint. At first it worked wonders, I was doing intense kettle bell workouts, sprinting, and got back down to around 185. In an effort to keep my energy and mental focus up, I was drinking more and more coffee. My coffee consumption was getting ridiculous, I was living off “Bulletproof” coffee (butter, MCT Oil and Coffee) to the tune of like 1 pot per day. I didn’t each much other than grass feed beef, buffalo, fish and vegetables. I started feeling worse and worse and then the weight started to pile back on. So what to do? Enter Intermittent Fasting (IF) and the Warrior Diet. That mess went on for awhile and when I had my blood work done for my thyroid and a general physical, the doctor mentioned that my thyroid (what is left of it), was hardly working…what was I doing to cause such low values of free T3 for example. Also other numbers were very odd (high Uric Acid, much higher triglycerides, etc). I mentioned my various diets and he just shook his head and suggested I needed some carbs to convert synthroid (T4) into T3. I noticed that I was getting weaker in the kettle bell exercises and my lower back pain was getting worse. While doing some research I came across 180 Degree Health and read Diet Recovery 2. I took my waking temperature..not surprisingly it was around 96.5 most mornings. So I began the re-feeding phase, cutting out exercising (except for some weekend hikes occasionally) and eating basically everything I wanted to eat. I gave dieting and restrictive eating the finger. God I missed beer. After a few months I went back to my old 24 hour fitness and started pumping iron, nothing serious, going 2-3 days a week, lifting for maybe 30-40 minutes and guess what? I put more weight on the bar every week, strength went through the roof. Then I went back and got more blood work done and my results were super, TSH, Free T3/T4, triglycerides, cholesterol, uric acid, etc) all back in normal range. I can honestly say the Warrior Diet, IF, Paleo…never again.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.