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Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Why plant-based diets didn't work for me | Living in Wellness GAPS Blog

Why do diets work for some people and not for others? I’ve been pondering this question as it relates to my personal journey. I think diets all have the potential to positively affect certain people with specific health issues. They have a “target audience”. But if you don’t fall into that target audience, chances are you won’t see the same, or as many, benefits as others. That’s not to say you won’t see any benefits, you’ll likely see some. But there’s a possibility you may not receive ALL the benefits, giving you reason to leave the diet feeling deflated that it didn’t address all your goals.

For myself, the two diets that didn’t fulfill my complete list of goals was Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) and Smoothie Shred. I saw some benefits when I started these diets, however as time progressed, I was not seeing improvement in areas that were important to me. And in some areas, I noticed new unpleasant symptoms that surfaced.

To understand where I’m coming from, I started these plant-based diets with the following goals:

  • Address my electrolyte imbalance

  • Address my hormonal issues

  • Address my food intolerances

By the time I decided to call it quits and move onto the GAPS* protocol, my goals shifted to the following:

  • Address my electrolyte imbalance

  • Address my hormonal issues

  • Address my food intolerances


  • Address my leaky gut

  • Address the horrific farting and painful bloating that I experienced on a daily basis

  • Address my constant urgent frequency to urinate throughout the day

You’ll notice that 2 out of the 3 original goals still remained and I gained more symptoms that needed to be addressed.

How did things get worse? And why? The answers lie in the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-Bride, specifically within her books titled “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” and “Gut and Physiology Syndrome”. In there, she does a good job of describing the GUT. This is the first place where outside matter comes into our body. It is populated with GIGILIONS of microbes! The microbes digest our food to give our bodies nutrition. And they put up a fight when we come in contact with harmful bacteria or viruses. This all happens seamlessly when our gut is healthy and populated with beneficial/healthy microbes. When our gut is unhealthy and in a state of dysbiosis, the gut struggles to defend against invaders and struggles to provide us with nutrition.

Chances are I started these plant-based diets with a slightly compromised gut to begin with. Then I proceeded to feed my gut with foods that further perpetuated and worsened the problem. Dr. Natasha explains that carbohydrates are difficult to digest and when these carbohydrates go through the gut undigested, they feed the bad bacteria. And when we feed the bad bacteria, we give them the chance to proliferate and outnumber the good bacteria. And when there are more bad bacteria outnumbering the good bacteria, fiber from fruit and vegetables has the potential to feed both good and bad bacteria. Giving the bad bacteria further opportunity to flourish! Furthermore, not only does the gut population get skewed with more bad bacteria, but these bad bacteria produce gas as a byproduct when they digest the carbohydrates and fiber. This gas either gets trapped within our colon that causes bloating or the gas escapes out of the colon as farting. Read more about the blog: What is your gas telling you?

What is recommended that we eat on plant-based diets… Fruit and vegetables that contain both carbohydrates and fiber. I was unknowingly feeding the bad bacteria in my gut! This led to, and explains why, I faced excessive farting and bloating. As soon as I went onto GAPS* and cut out the incriminating foods that contained carbohydrates and fiber, the farting and bloating resided drastically!

The second drastic thing I noticed when I started GAPS* is that the constant urgency to urinate subsided. Dr. Natasha explains that toxins in the urinary tract agitate and inflame the lining such that it causes us to want to urinate immediately and frequently. My body was giving me a sign of distress that there were too many toxins and I didn’t even realize it! It was only until I transitioned onto GAPS* that I realized how wonderful it felt to not have the urgency to urinate anymore.

Since being on the GAPS* protocol since October 2019, my food intolerances have drastically reduced. I have been consuming meat stock regularly to seal my gut lining. Dr. Natasha explains that when the gut is unhealthy and in dysbiosis, the gut lining can have holes or penetrations where undigested foods get into the bloodstream, creating an immune response that we call “food intolerances”. And as a result of GAPS*, the foods that once gave me troubles are now a thing of the past!

There is also the issue of hormonal imbalance. Dr. Natasha explains that our hormones need nutrients. We get these nutrients from our gut and the food that gets digested in the gut. If we are not eating the right kind of food, our hormones do not get the proper nutrition to function. As well, if our gut is unhealthy and in dysbiosis, the food is not being digested properly and the nutrition is not getting into our body. I can now see how the GAPS* protocol helps to address both the nutrition and the gut health to support our hormones. And I now see how the plant-based diets did not provide me with the nutrition my hormones needed.

As I go through my GAPS* journey I continue to see how beneficial GAPS* has been to help me address issues that previous plant-based diets could not. If you’re like me and resonate with my story, please reach out to me to see if you could benefit from GAPS*. Feel free to book a Free 30-Minute Discovery Session, or email me directly at, I would be more than happy to hear your story and discuss the GAPS* protocol with you.


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