GAPS Diet Update: I’m a Cheater

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.

Yes, that’s me. I’ve gone astray, and my lying, cheating, cold dead beating, two-timing, double-dealing, mean mistreating loving heart wants to come clean.

Okay, I don’t have a “cold dead” heart just because I fed myself a little anti-GAPS fare. But I still want to explain.

If you’ve been following along with this journey of ours, you might have read that I was so thrilled to find that GAPS had already helped me with one of my biggest health concerns — my inability to gain and maintain an appropriate weight. I gained four pounds on Intro. I thought surely this trend would continue, since on Full GAPS my diet would be so much more varied and I’d be able to have even more of the foods that help to put weight on, especially carbohydrate-rich foods like fruit and honey.

But I started to realize as weeks went by, that I wasn’t gaining any more weight. I had plateaued right where I was. And I started noticing some other changes — some of the things I wasn’t supposed to have started to sound really good to me.

Tempted by the starch of another

I had to grab a bite to eat while I was out one day, and didn’t bring anything with me. Here in Hawaii, there are plentiful food trucks around in nearly every neighborhood offering what we call “plate lunch,” which usually consists of barbecued steak, garlic shrimp, or other meats, along with a side of mac(aroni) or “toss” salad, and always, two heaping scoops of white rice. I ordered just a plain plate of steak.

As I opened up my little lunch carton, the smell of the rice cooking started to drive me nuts. Wafting around like a fluffy, buttery cloud into my nostrils. It was all I could think about. I dutifully started eating my bites of steak. But — GAH!! — I really, really wanted some of that rice!


So later, I gave it some thought, and I decided to listen to my body.

I was going to try to introduce white rice, since my current diet seemed like it wasn’t enough to help me accomplish my goals, and clearly, this was something my body was seriously craving. I’m a firm believer that under most circumstances, if you crave something that is a whole, real food — it’s something you need. It’s your body’s way of communicating to you the fuel that it requires. It’s the reason why things like, oh, I dunno — BUTTER — taste amazing, and fake food replacements always taste lackluster and leave you wanting more.

I needed to listen to this one.

So for the past week or so, I’ve been eating white rice, with no problems, and feeling very satisfied and nourished whenever I polish off a good healthy scoop of it.

I’ve also started introducing sweet potatoes. This decision came about from a similar scenario — I was in someone else’s home and they were cooking some taters, and I started craving them intensely. I ate a few bites, with no issues, so I went out and bought some to make in my own kitchen.

Why rice and sweet potatoes?

You might be thinking, well, geez… you’re not sticking to GAPS anymore, so why not just surrender and go back to regular eating of all the things you used to enjoy? Why add in only rice and sweet potatoes and leave everything else out still?

Well, because those are the only ones which are supposedly “safe.”

Not, of course, according to Dr. Campbell-McBride, but to Paul Jaminet, author of The Perfect Health Diet. Jaminet contends that certain forms of starch have a much different effect on digestion and body chemistry than others. He groups rice, sweet potatoes, and taro (pacific island root vegetable) into a category called the “safe starches,” which are unique in that they provide glucose without fructose, and also a form of starch which can actually improve gut health through promoting mucous production in the intestine which protects the lining of the gut.

So, it sounds to me like if you’re gonna have some starchy foods which are a no-no on GAPS, you might as well make them ones which may offer a helping hand in healing your gut, rather than diminishing the work you’ve done to fix it.

Now, I’m not jumping ship on Dr. Natasha and instead endorsing the Perfect Health Diet. Honestly, to claim that any one specific diet which excludes many types of foods which are real, whole, natural substances is going to be “perfect” for every human, feels borderline irresponsible to me. Maybe Jaminet doesn’t truly advocate that it’s a one-size-fits-all, but it seems to be implied by the title and what I’ve read. I actually have a lot of thoughts about this book I’d like to share, so I’ll write a review when I finish it. Yeah, uh, disclaimer, I haven’t finished it. My Kindle say’s I’m only 8% of the way done, so, don’t quote me on this stuff.

But the underlying principles that certain starches behave differently than others isn’t speculation, it’s science. And Jaminet’s not the only one claiming it. Google “resistant starch” and you’ll begin to see what I mean. (And if you still don’t get it, it’s okay — I’ll work on the research and post my take on it soon.)

Cheating’s Not for Everyone

I don’t want anyone to mistake my little confession here for an endorsement of this modified version of GAPS I’ve adopted — this is just the choice I have made for my own, unique situation and health requirements, and it’s not something I would necessarily recommend to another GAPS patient.

I’m also well-aware that I’m no longer technically “on GAPS.” I do still believe in the underlying principle of why the GAPS diet works — cutting out disaccharides is essential to fully healing a damaged gut. And I’m now adding heaps of the double-bonded starches to my plate every day.

Most people aren’t desperately trying to gain weight like I am. Most people can fulfill their nutritional requirements on GAPS just fine. Most people should not do what I’m doing, especially this early on in the game.

So, I’m just going to give this a shot, and see what happens. I’m trying to eat as much food as I comfortably can. And with the addition of some of my old favorites, that’s going a lot easier for me.

Oh and, as of right now, I do plan on eventually going back on full-fledged GAPS. I may even go through another round of Intro since I kinda liked it. I’ll of course keep everyone updated on how all this works in meeting my goals.

Are you a cheater?

Have you ever felt the need to stray from a specific diet? Was there ever a time that you felt your body was telling you something contradictory to what you thought was best for it? Or, do you just enjoy a good old-fashioned rebellion against the food that’s “good for you?” 😉 I’d love to hear about it!


[photo credit: first, second]


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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

21 Responses to GAPS Diet Update: I’m a Cheater
  1. Laura M. says:

    I say right on. Most things don’t have to be done perfectly to still get some benefit from it. You didn’t just mindlessly eat something, you made a conscious decision. You go, girl.
    I have been eating the Whole30 plan for 12 days. The first several days were hard (headaches, fogginess, cravings). Those are mostly gone now and I am just kind of missing out on social eating and am tired of making my lunch. I will see the 30 days through but I haven’t seen “the magic” they talk about yet.
    Oh and I made tuna salad with mayo made with canola (forbidden) the other day and I have added plain, real vanilla extract with alcohol in it (forbidden) to some smoothies.
    Aim for 100% and also be realistic that a human is carrying this out in the real world, that’s what I say. 😉

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you so much, Laura. I really appreciate the support.

      As for Whole30…well… I have some thoughts about that but I’ll save it for a whole post dedicated to it. I am super glad to see someone that is at least going at it without a ridiculously legalistic attitude — being realistic, as you said, is important! Even just with sticking to “real food.” You’re not going to keel over just because you eat un-sprouted bread every now and again! 😉

  2. Karen says:

    So could it be that your gut wasn’t that damaged to begin with and so it healed quickly? I say since you aren’t having a reaction, enjoy that rice!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      That’s a good point, Karen, and I have wondered that. I don’t really see much of another explanation for my lack of reaction to non-GAPS foods. I just posted on Facebook about eating a freaking english muffin without a reaction. Not only that, but I actually felt pretty good afterward. Really wasn’t expecting this, since it’s supposed to take quite a long time to restore gut health!

  3. Katie says:

    Cute post. I’ve been there. “Doing GAPS” right now as a matter of fact and didn’t even start with intro-just full GAPS (that’s because my inability to give up raw dairy for now). Sometimes I have days where I literally cannot be satiated by anything but carbs (that doens’t mean I eat them). BUT our bodies do crave things and I wouldn’t beat up your cheatin’ self (:

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thanks, Katie. :) Hmm… I think I’m somewhat of a “carb-type” person, too. But I just don’t feel comfortable with denying myself what I want, especially being underweight. Keep me posted on how GAPS goes for you, I’d love to hear about your experience.

  4. Spencer says:

    Definitely finish the Perfect Health Diet book. It lays out a very solid framework, but is by no means a one-size-fits-all prescription. Paul Jaminet is super smart and no way he would advocate everyone following the same diet. His blog ( can offer you some more insight on his views. I couldn’t recommend it more. I look forward to reading your review!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you, Spencer! Yes, the Jaminets’ work is very well-researched and I know Paul is very well-respected in the WAPF community, which says a lot to me. He spoke last year at the conference, I believe. I will definitely finish the book, but I can tell you right now that I won’t be excluding all grains except rice for the rest of my life, no matter what. I’m a donut-and-waffles kinda-girl! 😉

  5. I agree if it’s whole real food you’re craving it’s something you need. I try and fail most everyday to follow all the weston price guidelines. My efforts get a little better from month to month with occasional setbacks. I’m at about 80% I think, maybe a little better. I’m working to become ever more systematic about it :-) I’ve even written a booklet that I hope will help me and anyone else interested enough to try it. I plan to put it on the site this weekend. Anyway, anyone who is having trouble sticking to a food plan, they’re in good company 😉

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you Kathy!! I’m looking forward to seeing your booklet! So, I’m curious, what parts of the WAPF guidelines do you struggle to meet? Is it more excluding certain things, or not adding in all the “right” things? I think 80% sounds pretty darn good. :)

  6. Lisa says:

    Our whole family is on GAPS because two members do have gut dysbiosis. There symptoms are so severe that cheating is not an option. I also know that this diet isn’t the right for for everyone, nor was it ever intended to be a prescription for how everyone is supposed to eat for the rest of their lives. (Getting really frustrated by others who lump GAPS in with paleo and SCD, which are intended to be for life. GAPS is not.) In fact, NCM wrote an excellent post on listening to your body.

    I hope you are able to figure out what you need to thrive. Enjoy the journey.

  7. Great to see you back! Our family has been following you closely since you started gaps a week ahead of us… Love love love your energy. We made some new adjustments for a few of our crew too this past week. Felt fantastic to read your very real and timely post on making sure we are listening to our bodies. Dr Natasha is very clear on that! Groove.

  8. Frances Murphy says:

    Everyone does cheating on their diet once in a while. Don’t restrict yourself with a little pleasure your favorite food can give you. Reward yourself sometimes for being determined and motivated! :)

  9. Why not at least brown rice, basmati, or wild? 😀 There’s not much nutrition in white rice. It’s got powdered vitamins on the outside, but they are synthetic.

    That said, I do like white rice on occasion, purely for the taste. But then I’m starving in 30 minutes LOL.

  10. Aimee says:

    Butter Believer. I am so grateful for your post. I am a 28 year old mother who is severely underweight. After I had my second child I lost even more weight which puts me at about 82lbs at 5’1. My highest weight ever (while not pregnant) was about 98 lbs. Now I would happily take 98lbs : ). also struggle with acid reflux, inflammation in my GI tract and so on. I have been researching different approaches to healing naturally especially since i am still nursing my daughter. This diet seemed promising but I am hesitant to start it, because I am fearful of losing more weight. I am definitely interested in starting the diet as well. I am so excited to know someone else who struggles with gaining maintaining weight. I don’t ever come across others like myself. Do you have any tips for me that could be helpful in my journey? Because as you said yourself, many others on the diet are not adults who have underweight issues. Thanks so much.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Hi Aimee! I so know the feeling — when you seem to have the opposite “problem” of the rest of the world, it’s easy to feel very much alone in your struggle!

      I am working on a post about gaining weight right now, actually. Because I know there are many others like us, even if it may not seem that way. One thing I would advise you to do is take your temperature, basal temperature is best (this would be your temp first thing in the morning, before you even get out of bed). Is it low? In the 97’s, 96’s, or even 95’s? If it is, you might be struggling with hypothyroidism, low metabolic rate, or both. Yep, the latter would be metabolism, the very thing everyone your whole life has probably told you was on overdrive (high metabolism), likely is not at all!

      Like I said, I’m going to be writing about this more in detail very soon, but just to give you a bit of hope, I have gained nearly 10 pounds in the past 3 months. And I’m not on GAPS anymore. Feel free to email me ( or bug me on Facebook as I would be more than happy to offer you any help I can with your journey!!

  11. aimee says:

    Thanks for the update. I am following your posts and even thinking of starting my own as I journey into GAPS eating. I, similar to you, am underweight so I am curious about the effects, but I think it is worth a try.

  12. Benjina says:

    I did that, too!!! since I’m the sugar addicted and I always find myself cheat on diet and kinda guilty when doin that…I feel thankful that there is someone like you sharing this to me!!!! Thank you so much!! :)

  13. Melissa Murphy says:

    I’m on day 8 of GAPS intro. But already on stage 4. I felt I needed to go faster through it as I am very underweight and was losing too much weight on the earlier stages. I mean, I lost 3kg in a few days (over 6 lbs I think!) Please share your tips on gaining weight. I came to GAPS after being on the Perfect Health Diet. Paul Jaminet explains that his diet is intended for healthy people and may not be enough for people with more serous health issues like fibromyalgia, which I have. They are both excellent diets and serve different purposes. I think when I have healed a bit more I will return to eating white rice, with lots of added butter!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Hi, Melissa. I strongly believe that the root of my health problems, including my chronically low weight, is hypothyroidism. It is also my belief based on the research of doctors Ray Peat, Broda Barnes, Lita Lee, and others, that fibromyalgia is a symptom of hypothyroidism. I hate to knock GAPS because I do know how incredibly healing it has been for many people with a number of different conditions, but if I had someone ask me today how they could heal from hypothyroidism, the GAPS diet would not be my answer. The biggest reason being, it’s incredibly difficult to eat an appropriate amount of easily-digestible carbohydrates on GAPS, which people suffering from hypothyroidism desperately need.

      I ended up quitting GAPS ( and began a healing protocol to heal from hypothyroidism along with some other tactics to help myself gain weight ( and I have never felt healthier.

      Matt Stone of 180DegreeHealth was the one who helped me do all this. He offers consultations on a pay-what-you-can basis (available here). I really can’t recommend the guy highly enough. Sure hope you’re able to find what you need to get to a healthy weight and start feeling better. I know how hard it is!

  14. Maple says:

    This is my first time visit at here and i am truly impressed to read all at single

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