The True Co$t of the GAPS Diet

Whew! I finally did it! I can’t tell you how long I’ve been putting this off. Analyzing the cost of a functional doctor vs. a naturopath vs. doing GAPS perfectly + a GAPS practitioner is just NOT my idea of a good time!

 

Plus it just hurts, you know? Looking back at all my credit card statements, seeing how much money I spent on things that didn’t work. All the doctors that didn’t help me or fucked me up even more. It’s a sore subject. PLUS all the money that I spent on food. Yeah. GAPS normal is not your average grocery bill. We all know it’s WAY above what a ‘normal’ person would spend. 

 

***scroll down for video/ audio version***

 

The Truth

But I faced it. I think it’s important to know. For me, and for everyone.  Because at the end of the day, we all have a bottom line, regardless of what it is. We all live in physical reality.  So we need to know what physical resources we need to gather in order to heal ourselves.  Also, if we are going to spend all this money on our health (being sick is SO expensive!), we need something that WORKS. 

 

So here it is. I broke down the average month of what it costs to go to a naturopath, a functional doctor, and to do GAPS perfectly + go to a GAPS practitioner.  Not only will I show you what I spent on all of these different modalities [each total cost is for 1 person], but I will also follow up each chart with a review of the healing progress I made during that time, and how much each of these methods really helped me.  All the $$$ shown is in US Dollars.

 

The Ugly Truth

Okay, so I’m going to start chronologically. We’ll start with the naturopath who tried to chelate me through IV therapy. Chelation= removing metals from the body by force. It was HELLA expensive. This is the doc who also fucked me up the most. He wanted me to come in and shoot chelators through my veins every week.  This is how much that costs per month:

 

 

The ‘funny’ thing is (it’s not funny, it’s really just sad) is that after the first time he chelated me, he damaged my liver. Hopefully not permanently.  I had a horrendous adverse reaction after that initial time, so I never went back again. But the above is what it WOULD have cost to go through with his program.  IV chelation is super dangerous, which I didn’t understand at the time, because our bodies store metals in fat tissue away from our internal organs to protect us.  When we shoot chelators into our veins (or if we take them orally when our bodies aren’t ready), all of these metals get mobilized. And every chelator has a half-life. Basically, what this means is that a chelator is like Cinderella, and at midnight, or after it’s half-life is over, it just stops working. The carriage turns back into a pumpkin and the metals, where ever they may be, end up settling back into your tissues, where ever they are.  This is how you can fuck up your liver. 

 

Back on Pharmaceutical Medication to Control my Autoimmune Symptoms

I was such a mess after this that I had to go on pharmaceutical medication for over a year to control my rashes and autoimmune symptoms.  Of course, I switched doctors and went to a functional doc who facilitated all this.  She is the one who helped me recover from this unintentionally ‘evil’ man (yes, I know I’m biased!) and his stupid ways of ‘treating’ people. 

This is what she cost:

 

 

She was a steal compared to this other guy. And even though I had a TON of metals in my body, we didn’t take any action in trying to remove them because my body + my detox systems were not strong enough.  She spent all of her time and energy while we were together trying to control my symptoms. And there were A LOT of them. The most notable thing to mention with her is that I was getting tested ALL OF THE TIME.  Poked and prodded with needles. Food sensitivity tests, allergy tests, testing the level of nutrients + vitamins in my body, testing for genetic mutations, testing my homocysteine count, A1C, etc, etc, etc.  It felt like I was getting blood drawn constantly. The nurses were nice enough, but I hated it. 

 

Still a Conventional Attitude Toward Healing

The other thing to mention was that even though she was a ‘natural,’ functional MD, she still had conventional training.  She still had the ability to write prescriptions, which she did so regularly for me.  The pharmaceuticals were positioned as a temporary fix to a permanent problem.  Basically that I wouldn’t have to be on these forever, just until my rashes + autoimmune symptoms got under control.  But she wasn’t doing anything to get me off my medication except telling me not to eat eggs or dairy. 

 

This is where I learned the dangers of a functional doc who is not actually trained in nutrition giving nutrition advice.  My dad still goes to this doctor and it seems like every year he can eat less and less foods. She takes them out one by one and poses this method as a ‘solution’ to his problem. Obviously as a GAPS practitioner who is focused on adding foods back in all of the time, this troubles me deeply. 

 

But ANYWAY.  So I was on this anti fungal for over a year that is famous for causing liver damage (especially not helpful to the damage I already had). My past partner’s mom, who is a nurse, told me after the fact that people are not supposed to be on this medication for more than 3 days.  Again, I was on it for over a year. 

 

Time to Rebel

By the end of my time with her, I was feeling better and more ready to be on my own. Long story short, I was feeling well enough to be defiant haha.  Oh yeah! and I forgot to mention that my previous partner (bless his heart) was giving me b12 injections 2x a week during this entire time.  It was traumatic for both of us. They made me feel so much better, but at the same time I hated the process. I think we both did. 

 

So I was ready to try something new.  This whole time I had been on GAPS in addition to the therapies that my parents were willing to pay for. I found that the doctors I went to had heard about GAPS, but later realized that didn’t mean that they understood it.

 

Grocery Store Spending $$$

During this time, I was managing the wellness department at a health food store and then got promoted to nutritional health coach midway through. I got a discount and that with the combination of Dr. Natasha’s words in my head as my mantra, ‘never economize on food,’ I spared no expense.  I was in a grocery store pretty much all the time and bought whatever I wanted.  This was over a period of a couple years, and I do feel it helped me in that I never felt deprived.  This was the first time in my life where I wasn’t yo-yoing in size.  Ever since my teen years I would expand and I would shrink. Over and over again.  When I stopped economizing on food, this stopped happening. And now I can’t even believe I’m saying it, but I’ve been relatively the same size (give or take natural, subtle fluctuations) for the past 3 years. Fuck going up and down in size all the time. That’s in the past!

 

So yeah, I want to mention that I did not have access to my exact past food expenses because they were on a debit account that I no longer have. However, I remember spending about an average of $750 per month on groceries during this time in my life. 

 

Even Though I had Been on GAPS for Years, I was Doing it Wrong

I think I was just doing the typical thing of what people do on full GAPS. Getting all of my food at the grocery store and not quite getting it right. I wasn’t making my own ferments, I was drinking store-bought goat kefir + kombucha (both are absolute no-nos), and just eating a lot of salads with primal kitchen dressing when I didn’t have time to pack my lunch.  Now that I know what I know about GAPS, I don’t even ‘count’ this time as being on GAPS because I was missing such a huge part of the picture of what eating nourishing food actually meant. 

 

Actually Figuring GAPS Out

Cut to, I break up with my functional doc and go on GAPS intro for the first time since getting my shiny new GAPS practitioner certification.  A month into intro, I’m already off that stupid, expensive, liver-damaging anti-fungal I had been trying to get off for over a year. I also got off all my b12 injections.  Teaming up with Becky Plotner, I could really get GAPS right.  I fought with my parents because of this and then ended up going to therapy for months. They wanted me to go to a ‘real doctor,’ but I was done with those! I fought for my right to choose my own practitioner, a GAPS practitioner. Becky, the woman who helped me save my own life!

 

I was terrified of how much I spent on food during this period of ‘real GAPS’ because it was so much more focused on food.  Literally making everything from scratch, getting it from local farms. None of this teton waters ranch pre-cooked sausages or primal kitchen dressing bullshit. Real food that I made myself in my home. Every single time. Rendering my own fat, making my own kefir, sour cream, fermented veggies and brines, kombucha, etc, etc.  This stuff worked WAY better than supplements. Though I noticed I spent roughly the same amount on supps because of the fermented cod liver oil I was taking every day. NOT in a capsule. I was drinking it from the bottle haha.  Capsules are a thing of the past for me, and good riddance for that!

 

Actually Saving Money on Food when I Got GAPS ‘Right’

What I realized, focusing SO MUCH on the quality of my food that the grocery store was not enough, I ended up saving over $200 on groceries a month! So yeah the average I spend on food per month is under $550 vs. the $750 I was spending when I was half-assing GAPS.  Still a lot by today’s standards, but I gotta say.  This is the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.  This is the most success I’ve ever had with any kind of healing protocol. And I get to buy my food from people, not grocery stores (which are HORRIBLE to work for, by the way, even if you had the best job there, which I did. Margins are really low in grocery stores. It’s not a sustainable model, and it makes it virtually impossible for them to treat their employees well, even at the ‘good’ stores). So now I get to buy food from really beautiful, inspiring farmers, who are passionate about what they grow.  Anyway, my life is so much better now!

 

Here is the Breakdown of what I spend on GAPS:

 

 

 

The Real Obstacle on GAPS

I think the real obstacle with GAPS is learning how to do it correctly. Because the book literally can’t tell you everything. Practitioners can’t even tell you everything. I had been on GAPS for 3 years and done intro 3 times before I started to really understand how to do it right and get the depth of success that I have. You can see the full list of what I’ve healed here, but to give you a brief overview—> being able to work again, being able to leave my house again, being able to go on walks again, curing my insomnia, healthfully coping with lyme symptoms and PTSD, passing thousands of parasites, passing hundreds of gallstones, healing true food allergies, such as eggs and dairy, plus being able to eat nuts again. Not being addicted to sugar or binge-eating at all anymore. The list goes on and on. 

 

The Solution

My solution to there not being enough accessible info about how to do GAPS correctly was to make a series of GAPS Certified Instructional Videos for my clients.  There are 14 of them that show how to make meat stock, do enemas, make fermented brines, why all this stuff is important, etc, etc. Totals to about 8 hours of footage, and they are spaced out over a period of 4 weeks to help you prep for GAPS in a timely manner without getting overwhelmed. Becky is in a couple of them! My clients watch all of these before we even meet for the first time. That’s how important and imperative this info is! Like… I don’t want to even talk to you until you know all of this!

 

My grand plan is to sell these videos both as a package and individually so that you don’t need a practitioner to get the most basic stuff right.  Currently, they are being reviewed by the GAPS team for accuracy (Dr. Natasha’s SON is reviewing them! Pinch me.). Though Becky, my personal GAPS hero + mentor + expert, told me that because we’ve spent so much time together, she bets ‘most of it is right.’ Thanks Becky. You can learn more about these videos here

 

Confirmation that GAPS was the Most Affordable Option

What I realized is that GAPS gave me my life back, and it was also the most economic option.  I was so ill at one point that I couldn’t leave my house for 2 months straight. Literally, I didn’t leave. So spending an average of $1017.58 per month to heal myself (this included my food as well!), that was a hell of a deal. And not to mention that my chelation costs around $10 a month vs. $1600 from the naturopath. And it is MUCH safer.

 

Of course there are the upfront costs, like investing in kitchen equipment, buying whole or half animals from farmers (BIG expense upfront and then all the meat lasts for over a year), and getting a chest freezer to put it in. But as you can see comparing my grocery store costs to my farmer costs, these investments did pay dividends over time. 

 

I want to disclose with the farmers’ market and butcher costs that these fluctuate, but that that is the general amount I have found I spend every month. 

 

Whatever Works Best For You

I think the most important thing in deciding which healing modality to try, the practitioner that your working with, etc, is that all the time, money, and energy you throw at it will end up working. Will end up paying off. Because healing yourself is hard enough when you are doing everything right (see ‘fuck the pretty healing picture’ for more info haha).  Your life is too precious to keep doing and investing in things that don’t work. 

 

Being sick is expensive regardless, but for me, I found so much hope in the fact that I CAN throw money at this and get better.  Vs. going to a ton of doctors that can’t help me and only make me worse.  I found that healing was possible for me, and that it did cost a chunk of change, but it was WELL WORTH the investment. 

 

 

 

 

 

PSA-

After I published all this, I got SO NERVOUS that I messed up the numbers or I left something out somewhere. Then all that came up for me was that I forgot that I spend $15.42 per month on my water filter (a water filter can be another BIG upfront cost that averages to said amount every month. $25/mo for the first year when you buy it new. Or you can buy a functional but less than ideal one for $35 total. {my water video goes more in depth on this! but I digress}). And I’m not juicing right now- shame on me–> HA. My juicer is in a storage unit in Oregon, and I can’t do everything all the time. Though I did get my juicer for $20 off craigslist, all the veggies for juicing can get expensive.

 

So yeah this isn’t suppose to represent EXACTLY what you would spend, but is just meant to give you a gist of the general idea/ patterning. And if any of the info I shared resonated, you can use it to inform your own unique decisions in how you want to invest in your health. <3