Why The GAPS Diet Is Such A Profound Experience

by lydia on June 4, 2014

Are you considering tackling the GAPS diet? I always find it helpful to hear about other people’s experience with it. I’ve had several readers ask me to share more testimonial type posts. Today’s post comes to you from a colleague of mine, Ashley Hathaway, NTP, CGP. She shares why the GAPS diet is such a profound experience (I can totally agree with her on this).



Over the last few years, I have heard my fair share of GAPS stories, so I know mine is really not extraordinary, however doing the GAPS diet was one of the more profound experiences of my life, and that is why I want to share it.

In late 2009 I had a rather acute GI illness that I thought would simply need to “run its course”.  In the couple of years prior I had several bouts of food poisoning and often had GI upset after meals. Looking back, I think this may have been a sign that there had been a breakdown of my gut health overall.

After several weeks of unbearable symptoms I found myself with my first opportunity to seek help from Dr. Thomas Cowan.

When Dr. Cowan first moved his practice to my neighborhood in 2006 (San Francisco), I wrote a story about him for our local newspaper.  During my interview with him, he gave me a copy of his book, “The Fourfold Path to Healing” and this sparked my interest about the way he practices medicine.  The information in Dr. Cowan’s book then lead me to discover the work of Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon.

Not wanting to see my primary care doctor for the conventional medicine route to figure out what was going on in my gut, I called for an appointment with Dr. Cowan and he was able to see me that week.   He examined me, asked a series of questions, and along with ordering a fecal lab test to rule out the possibility of a nasty invasion of bacteria or parasites (Salmonella, Shigella, etc.) he explained and prescribed the GAPS diet.  Walking out of that appointment totally overwhelmed and curious, I began a full-fledged research mission to figure out what the GAPS diet was about and the difference between a disaccharide and a polysaccharide!

I began the introduction GAPS diet the very next day and followed it through all 6 stages for the next 4 months.  Eight days into the diet I began to feel relief from my horrible symptoms.  After about 40 days, I was feeling 100% better, although not all of my symptoms were gone.

The GAPS diet was truly one of the most challenging things I have had to do in a long time.  And to make it even more difficult, the first few weeks on the diet just happened to fall over the Thanksgiving holiday and I continued through the GAPS diet stages over Christmas and New Years!  Not easy.

After about 4 months, I began incorporating some dairy & soaked grains into my diet and after 8 months, I was 100% symptom-free and eating a Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon) diet.  I also joined the Weston A. Price Foundation and soon found myself telling my story over and over to all sorts of people with surprising interest.  People always had a lot of questions and were generally very curious about the GAPS diet and what I had been going through.

To date, those horrible symptoms have never returned.

After this experience, having already had a fair amount of knowledge about healthy foods and diet, I realized that I had learned much more than I ever would have imagined about the digestive system, and how a nutrient dense whole food diet has the power to heal the body.    This experience was so profound for me that I decided to quit my freelance career of 20 years as a video producer to pursue a certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.  I received my NTP certification in June 2011 and in addition, received a GAPS Practitioner Certification in September 2011.   I now have my own practice called “San Francisco Nutritional Therapy”. Through my practice I find great satisfaction in helping others achieve wellness using whole foods, natural supplements and when necessary, the GAPS diet.

Further Reading About the GAPS Diet


Ashley_CNT_Home Ashley Hathaway is a Certified Nutritional Therapist and Certified GAPS Practitioner with a focus on overall GI health: digestion, intestinal health, gallbladder function, blood sugar regulation, liver detoxification and GAPS diet. Prior to this she has over 20 years of experience as a Producer and Production Manager in the film, video, and broadcast television industry.

 She earned her Nutritional Therapy certification through The Nutritional Therapy Association, in June 2011.  

Ashley launched her own company “San Francisco Nutritional Therapy” in June of 2011. You can find Ashley on Facebook and Twitter.


A healing diet can be socially isolating. Especially one as powerful as the GAPSâ„¢ Protocol. Do you want to join a group of “GAPSters” and have fun with GAPS food? What if you could also get tons of useful information, tools, and inspiration to use in your daily life? Enter the GAPSâ„¢ Class, an online course taught by GAPSâ„¢ Practitioner, Melanie Christner. This is an in-depth GAPSâ„¢ course that also takes a fun and community approach to GAPS cooking. Along with the course materials and worksheets, we’ll be meeting up in a private FB forum and sharing our creations for each stage on Pinterest. Interested? Check it out…….



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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn B June 4, 2014 at 10:25 am

I can 100% relate to the authors experience. It took me 7 months on GAPS and it was life changing in so many ways. I have such a heart to help people now and have been planning to go back to school as well. Thank you for the encouraging post.


lydia June 5, 2014 at 7:58 am

That’s awesome Jenn – yay for going back to school and for helping people!


Ashley June 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Hi Jenn B-
I’m glad you were inspired by my humble story! The “GAPS Stories” book is full of many more, so I highly recommend it for more inspiration! Best of luck to you!


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