What is the GAPS Diet?
The GAPS Diet was a diet created by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride to help her autistic son, which worked with great results and now has been helping millions of people and families worldwide with all sorts of conditions using the principle of diet. GAPS works by removing the stressor foods and replacing them with nutrient dense foods, feeding the cells and repairing the microbiome. The GAPS diet is designed to treat problems at the root cause, and not just managing the symptoms. If our digestive system is not functioning as it should then the rest of our body suffers as we aren’t able to get the nutrients it needs to function and serve its purpose to the full. So treatment of chronic disease must start in the gut. GAPS is divided into two phases, Intro and Full GAPS, both with different functions.
Intro involves removing all foods that might be gut irritants and then slowly reintroducing certain foods and looking for adverse reactions, including but not limited to: stomach pain, digestive upsets, changes in bowel movement, seizures, eczema, increase in behavioural issues, etc. The intro part of the diet is where the most healing takes place at the fastest rate. It is nutrient dense with foods that are particularly healing to the cells in the stomach lumen (tube)- bone broth, gelatin, L-glutamine, etc. foods that start the process of bringing in gut flora, such as healing foods like sauerkraut juice and as you go through the stages, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.
Full GAPS is when you allow all the GAPS legal foods in the diet to be consumed, leaving out any food that you are still not tolerating. This stage is about continuing the healing process. Healing takes time, which why healing isn’t done overnight, and most people are looking at a long term plan of 1-2 years and more for chronic long-term illnesses.
GAPS works on the principles of the 4 R’s:
This R is all about removing stressors that affect the environment of the GI Tract. These stressors include foods that are causing a reaction or slow down the healing process, chemical irritants found both in household products as well as food such as artificial colours, sweeteners, and preservatives, as well as addressing physical and emotional stressors that act through the hormonal system being out of balance. The aim is to eradicate the pathogenic bacteria, yeast and parasites by removing their food sources such as starch and sugar, and including natural ones found in fruit and some vegetables- as well as limiting honey intake.
Replacing the missing or lacking elements in the body and diet. Assisting the body with needed supplements such as enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL), and bile, which are all compromised by poor food choices, medications, various diseases, ageing, and other factors. We are all different so some clients may need several elements while others may one need one or two- this is when working with a practitioner is helpful.
Our intestinal tracts are the host to over 500 different types of bacteria and in fact, they outweigh our cells 10-1! In a healthy gut there should a balance or around 80/85 to 15/ 20% good bacteria to bad. Reinoculate and reseed is all about replacing the gut with healthy bacteria and providing it with food for the bacteria to grow and take control. We do this with supplemental probiotics and fermented food such as milk kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented veggies and fermented dairy.
Once your diet is in check and the stressors eliminated (for the time of healing) the repair work starts to take place and the mucosal lining of the digestive tract begins to regenerate. There are some useful supplements that can be used for those with extreme damage, such as L-Glutamine.
Is GAPS something that you need to do for your family? Why not contact Christina about how it might help your family?