Jacinta O’Connor

Nutritionist         Naturopath         Certified GAPS Practitioner         MINDD Practitioner

There are many that offer advice, but there are few who offer guidance.’
Fermenting WorkshopsWhile living in North America for five years, I was horrified by the level of obesity and illness, particularly in children, and dismayed at what people where loading into their shopping trolleys. On returning to Australia, I saw we were following in North America’s nutritional footsteps. With a desire to educate and assist people, I embarked on studies in Nutrition and Naturopathy.

In 2011, I listened to a webinar in which Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride was speaking about the GAPS Protocol and the penny dropped. This is what I needed to follow in order to heal myself and my clients. It made so much sense!

Throughout Nutrition and Naturopathy studies we are encouraged to remove certain foods when a client has digestive complaints. We are also encouraged to use various supplements and herbal preparations to assist in this healing process, which can be costly. If that doesn’t fix the issue, we then take out other common foods allergens and add in a few more supplements. And on it goes!

In the webinar, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride was talking about healing the gut so foods that caused issues for people in the past, could be reintroduced and tolerated once more. Dr Natasha talked about stocks and broths, fermented foods and probiotic supplementation to change the microbial balance of the gut, in addition to removing processed foods, sugars, starchy foods and grains from the diet. Fermented foods, stocks and broths had not once been mentioned or demonstrated in my studies.

After listening to the webinar I was convinced GAPS was for me. I was really excited by the prospect of primarily using foods to heal rather than a cupboard full of supplements.

In early 2012, I was fortunate to be selected to attend the first Australian GAPS Practitioner Training. Appreciating the wisdom in the GAPS Protocol and being fortunate to witness incredible changes in my health using the GAPS Protocol, it soon became the foundation to my practice. I started GAPS Perth Support Group Meetings in August 2012 to provide people with an opportunity to share, ask questions and meet like-minded people.

My personal journey to GAPS began in 2007 when the state of my health declined dramatically as a result of experiencing fear, anxiety and extreme stress after leaving a very unhealthy marriage.

I could no longer tolerate certain foods, my stomach was incredibly bloated after eating and it took everything I had not to fall asleep during meals. My bowel movements swung from constipation to loose and back again. My skin looked like I had moved back into adolescence and my head was ridiculously foggy. I could no longer concentrate for long periods of time. In addition to this, I endured bouts of debilitating vertigo with increasing frequency.

Despite trying supplement after supplement, which cost me a small fortune, I saw no sign of improvement. I began removing foods in an attempt to find what was causing these issues and still nothing seemed to be making a significant difference and my health was continuing to deteriorate.

After listening to the GAPS webinar, I became inseparable with my GAPS book. I started following the GAPS Protocol and before long my symptoms started to diminish with some disappearing from the time I started on the GAPS Protocol. It felt like I could breathe again! I still remember the first time I sat down to have soup made with a base of chicken stock. It felt deeply nourishing. I knew this was just what my body and my mind needed.

Through the Support Group and client consultations, I feel incredibly privileged to work with the people I do, educating and empowering them on their journey towards health.

Someone once said to me that from my post-marriage experiences, my greatest learning would come. Since regaining my health and being able to assist others do the same, I realise this is absolutely right. If I had not been so unwell, I would not have found the GAPS Protocol, I would not be enjoying the level of health I have today and I certainly would not have met so many inspirational people.

Life’s opportunities do not always look or feel like opportunities to begin with!