Hello, I'm Debi Leyland, Certified GAPS Coach.
In 2006 I helped my son, aged 6 overcome ADHD and other health issues by eating nourishing, nutrient dense whole food. His journey back to health wasn’t an easy road, and for six years I struggled to find solutions to his health issues from the usual conventional medical health system.
As a baby he had reflux and was always hungry, so I started him on solids from 4 months. He then developed chronic constipation, which became more of an issue, as he got older. Other issues started to become evident with his speech and fine motor skills however he seemed to excel in other areas such as learning and comprehension.
By the time he started school, it became evident that he had a high IQ but low EQ and due to his lack of social skills he was quickly labelled the ‘naughty’ boy. And so began our long and arduous trips from one specialist to another as we tried to get to the root cause. These long lists of specialists included, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Chiropractor, numerous GPs, Paediatricians, Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Psychologists. He also had three primary school changes, and one schoolteacher suggested that putting him on the drug ‘Ritalin’ would be the solution. My husband and I were united in our knowing that drugging our child was not the answer!
Finally it was suggested by one psychologist that I consult a Naturopath she knew, who conducted a ‘hair sample’ analysis. This was my introduction to holistic health care and it was the first time in six long years, that someone finally had a possible answer to the root cause. The results were astounding; our son had heavy metal toxicity and was lactose and gluten intolerant. The Naturopath then explained all about gut health and detoxification. Feeling completely overwhelmed and inexperienced, we embarked on a complete dietary overhaul and I started educating myself on the healing power of food and natural remedies.
A whole new world opened up to me and I was hooked. It didn’t take long before we started to see changes in our son’s behaviour and health, simply by implementing the diet changes and undertaking the recommended supplements regime.
Finally he started having regular bowel movements and his whole demeanour started to change – he became happier, livelier and more present. This was all the encouragement I needed to keep going with our new lifestyle changes. In 2008 during my continued research into optimal health, the GAPS Diet came on my path. After reading Dr Natasha’s book ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’, I finally understood the reason for my son’s conditions and started to appreciate the importance of the gut/brain connection.
The GAPS Program was founded in 2004 by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride and is a healing protocol for anyone with Gut and Psychological, or Gut and Physiological issues. These include digestive disorders such as IBS, SIBO, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac, skin disorders such as Eczema and Acne as well as Asthma, Autism, ADD/ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar and other neurological issues.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, learning about health science and the importance of food was both new and fascinating for me and I wanted to help others. However, having had another child I didn’t feel brave enough to take the necessary step to become a GAPS Practitioner, so instead I would recommend Dr Natasha’s work to anyone I felt might benefit and I started following her work. Ten years later, the Certified GAPS Coach course was announced and I jumped at the chance. I graduated in January 2020 and my role now is to support a person or family on their journey back to health using the GAPS protocol. I am the person; I wish I had back in 2006, when I felt overwhelmed and alone.
My son is turning 20 and he is a normal, healthy, happy young man with a bright future. My husband and I couldn’t be more proud of him and his achievements to date and although the initial six years of his life were at times extremely challenging, we are so grateful for the choices and decisions we made which turned our son’s life around for the better.
Let me help you embark on a brighter future by undertaking this nutritional approach to whole body healing, it’s definitely worth it!