The Ultimate Guide to the GAPS Diet

The Ultimate Guide to the GAPS Diet

The Ultimate Guide to the GAPS Diet

The GAPS Diet

When you hear the word “diet” what comes to mind?

If you’re like most people, you instantly think “weight loss.”

 

However, the word “diet” actually means “a way of life”—and diets simply entail the foods we eat on the daily for our best health.

For some, the “diet” they follow actually means eating foods that help heal their body, if they are coming from a place of illness, disease or digestive distress.

“Therapeutic diets” can help one do just that.

GAPS Diet

Ever heard of GAPS diet? If not…read on about how food can be your medicine—especially if you struggle with anxiety, depression or digestive woes.

GAPS Diet 101

Back in the day, “paleo” used to be the only “real food” nutrition philosophy out there.

Fast forward to today, and we’re bombarded with all sorts of diet philosophies about “keto,” and “AIP” and “specific carbohydrate diet” and “GAPS”…But what’s the difference?

More than a weight loss approach, the above mentioned protocols are actually “therapeutic” or “healing diets”—designed to help treat disease, restore gut health 

There’s a ton of different “healthy” and “gut-healing” diet protocols.

The “GAPS” nutrition protocol—also known as “Gut & Psychology Syndrome” protocol is a dietary strategy developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride when she was trying to find a cure and treatment for her son with autism.

After running into wall after wall with doctors who told her that her son would always be “that way,” Campbell-McBride began to turn to “food as medicine.” 

She studied and observed the impact of certain foods on her son’s behavior and symptoms, and unbeknownst to herself at the time, began to become a leader in the “gut-brain” connection school of thought.

GAPS has become a leading a dietary treatment, designed to help individuals heal from their own struggles with neurological conditions, anxiety, digestive pathologies, autoimmune disease and general inflammation.

And the philosophy is quite simple:

Eat real food: Especially meat, fish, vegetables and healthy fats. 

The diet progresses in stages, and eliminates a greater amount of inflammatory-causing foods in the beginning in order to support gut restoration.

The ultimate goal?

Reintroduction of a wide variety of foods, a healthier brain and a happier gut. 

Win. Win. Win.

THE GAPS PROTOCOL: HOW IT WORKS

GAPS diet begins with a 6-stage “Introductory” phase that  generally takes people 3-6 weeks to complete. 

Each stage lasts about 5 days, and helps a person remove many common “trigger” foods (associated with poor gut health or brain function) in order to allow their body to heal their gut and mind, then slowly help them expand and reintroduce foods back in.

At the end of the “introductory” phase, you finally arrive to the “full GAPS diet”—which includes all the foods found here.

The primary foods GAPS eliminates throughout the entire course include those with the highest connections to gut and brain inflammation, digestive difficulties and poor brain power, including:

GAPS Diet

Dairy

Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes

Legume

Grains (rice, breads, pasta)

Sugar

Cocoa/Carob

Corn, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch

Chewing Gum

Jams/Jellies

Other food additives (carageenan, cellulose gum, MSG)

Conventional, processed deli meats and smoked meats

Soy

Some fruits* (FOS fructooligosaccharides; Pectin—like citrus, grapes, apples, plums)—*Consume in small amounts and notice if they bother you

The diet is not meant to last “forever”, but it is a therapeutic diet with the end goal to eat “in abundance.”

(Download the GAPS food list here)

A supplemental approach is often also recommended, entailing probiotics, hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), digestive enzymes and/or anti-microbial herbs to support gut healing. 

GAPS may be followed independently, but it is best guided by a skilled and knowledgeable nutrition or functional medicine practitioner, familiar with treating and supporting gut health and restoration.

Here’s an overview of what foods each of the three GAPS stages includes and eliminates:

THE GAPS DIET PROTOCOL: INTRODUCTION STAGES 1-6 PROGRESSION

Each stage is intended to last 3-5 days and allow gut and mind healing to take place.

STAGE 1: Keep it Simple

Progress to the next stage every 3-5 days, as long as your body tolerates it:

Eat in Abundance

  • Homemade meat stock (beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, pheasant or fish)
  • Stew or soup made with well cooked meats or fish and well cooked vegetables and meat stock
  • Probiotic foods (homemade fermented vegetable juices and/or homemade fermented whey, yogurt or sour cream daily—1-2 tsp daily);
  • Fresh ginger tea, chamomile tea with raw honey, if desired (and not dealing with bacterial overgrowth)
  • Well boiled broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, leeks
  • Baked squash, winter and summer
  • Boiled meats
  • Sea salt
  • Purified water*

*Start the day with a cup of still mineral or filtered water. 

STAGE 2- Eggs & Fermented Foods

Eat in Abundance

Everything in Stage 1, plus:

Raw organic egg yolks & Soft boiled eggs if no allergy to the white is suspected

Stews and casseroles made with meats and vegetables.

Increase daily amount of homemade yogurt, kefir

Sauerkraut, fermented vegetables or vegetable medley if juice was initially introduced

Fermented fish

Ghee

STAGE 3-Pancakes 

Eat in Abundance

Everything in Stages 1 & 2, plus:

Ripe avocado eaten with broth, starting with 1-3 teaspoons a day

Nutbutter* pancakes mixed with squash and eggs and cooked in fat or ghee — starting judiciously with one a day

Scrambled eggs

*Recipe below!

GAPS Diet

STAGE 4-“Bread” & Olive Oil 

Eat in Abundance

All of the above and you may add:

Freshly made vegetable juices: start with a few tablespoons of carrot juice (made with a juicer — not pureed vegetables)

Bread* made with nut flour, eggs, squash, fat, salt

Cold pressed olive oil

*Recipe below!

STAGE 5-Raw Veggies + Grilled Meat

Eat in Abundance

All of the above, plus:

Raw legal vegetables, peeled and deseeded

Fresh applesauce from cooked and pureed apples

Raw honey, up to a couple tablespoons a day (that includes any that is in baked goods)

Boiled, roasted, or grilled meat

Juiced apple, pineapple, and mango (avoid citrus)

STAGE 6-Pumpkin Muffins + Fruits

All of the above and you may add:

Peeled, raw apple

Other raw fruits may be introduced slowly

Baked goods with dried fruit as a sweetener

GAPS PROTOCOL FOOD LIST

You’ve finally arrived! 

Check out the GAPS Food download for all-you-can-eat foods, plus 3 bonus GAPS recipes .         

SUPPLEMENT SUGGESTIONS

Probiotics

Prescript Assist

Primal Defense Ultra  

Florasport by Thorne

Digestive Enzymes

Spectrazyme Complete

Transformation Enzymes

Fish Oil or Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Omega-genics

L-Glutamine Powder

Glutagenics

DISORDERED EATING?

When I first heard about the GAPS “diet,” the word “diet” had me completely turned off, with my fingers in my ears. 

“La, la, la…I don’t want to hear it…”

However, as I have learned more about it, and implemented some of the principles myself for my own gut healing, I have discovered that the use of GAPS as “medicine” can be enormously impactful for some—especially those who have tried the whole “eating healthier” approach, only to still feel like their body is at war with them.

The thing is: GAPS diet is not intended to last a lifetime.

If you’re considering experimenting, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the ultimate goal of GAPS is not restriction, but abundance—first “wiping the slate clean” for optimal healing of the gut and mind, then, adding more nourishing foods that (hopefully) your body tolerates better than before.

Think: Growth and abundant mindset…Not restrictive.

HOW DO I KNOW WHERE TO START?

Your initial state of health will determine if the full-on 6-stage approach is warranted.

People who may benefit from the FULL GAPS include those with:

  • Moderate-high chronic anxiety
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Sensory processing disorder
  • SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
  • Parasites in stool
  • Dysbiosis (disrupted gut flora)
  • Repeat Candida overgrowth
  • Chron’s
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • IBS/IBD
  • Bi-polar
  • Depression
  • Those who have tried “gut healing” through supplements or “clean diet” changes with no luck

If you are generally healthy, but still experience some “digestive issues” (gas, bloating, constipation, allergies, low immunity), you can benefit from GAPS too, but you may not need to go through all 6 stages.

Instead of building up for 15-20 days to more solid foods and variety, consider a 24-hour broth and juice day, then hop into Stage 4 and finish it out from there. This will thoroughly rest a semi-functioning or lagging digestive tract.

THE BOTTOM LINE

5 Core GAPS Principles

  1. GAPS is a therapeutic diet to heal the body and mind. Use wisely.
  2. Meat broths, fermented foods, apple cider vinegar are your BFF’s
  3. Don’t forget to take a probiotic
  4. Keep it simple: Simple foods. End in mind. One day at a time. 
  5. Eat in “abundance” (not restriction). Aim to integrate and expand your diet as your body heals). 

Download your WORKSHEET here for a full GAPS food list, daily sample meal plans and ideas, and 3 exclusive recipes.

WORKSHEET

GAPS FOOD LIST    

Full GAPS Diet Food List

VEGETABLES

Artichoke

Arugula

Asparagus

Avocados

Beets

Bell Peppers

Bok Choy

Broccoli

Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Collards

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Fennel

Garlic

Green Beans

Jerusalem Artichoke

Kale

Mushrooms

Olives

Onions

Parsnip

Pumpkin

Radish

Romaine Lettuce

Seaweed

Spinach

Squash (summer and winter)

Tomatoes

Turnips

Watercress

FISH (Wild Caught only, NO Farm Raised)

Anchovies

Bass

Cod

Grouper

Haddock

Halibut

Herring

Mackerel

Mahi Mahi

Red Snapper

Salmon

Sardines

Seabass

Trout

Tuna

Walleye

NUTS AND LEGUMES (ideally sprouted or as nut butters)

Almonds (sprouted or as raw nut butter)

Brazil Nuts

Coconut (technically a drupe)

Hazelnuts

Lima Beans (soaked)

Macadamia

Navy Beans (soaked)

Pecans

Pine Nuts

Walnuts

Nut Butters

Nut flours (in moderate amounts – no more than 1/4 cup a day)

FATS / OILS

(Organic Unrefined)

Avocado Oil

Almond Oil

Butter (pastured)

Coconut Oil

Flaxseed Oil

Ghee

Hempseed Oil

Macadamia Oil

Olive Oil

Sesame Oil

Palm Oil (sustainable)

Walnut Oil

DAIRY (raw, aged and grass-fed)

Goat Cheese (aged 60+ days)

Kefir (Cultured Goat Milk) (fermented 24+ hours)

Raw Sheep Cheese (aged 60+ days)

Sheep Yogurt (fermented 24+ hours)

Raw Cows Cheese (aged 60+ days)

Raw Cows amasai, kefir and yogurt (fermented 24+ hours)

MEAT (Organic, Grass-fed)

Beef

Bison

Bone Broth

Chicken

Duck

Eggs (free-range)

Lamb

Turkey

Quail and other wild game

Venison and other wild game

FRUITS – in moderation

Apple

Apricot

Banana

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Cherries

Coconuts

Figs

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemon

Lime

Mango

Nectarine

Orange

Papaya

Peaches

Pears

Pineapple

Plums

Pomegranate

Raspberries

Rhubarb

Strawberries

Watermelon (no seeds)

SPICES AND HERBS

Basil

Black Pepper

Cilantro

Coriander Seeds

Cinnamon

Cumin

Dill

Fennel

Garlic

Ginger

Mint

Parsley

Peppermint

Rosemary

Sage

Sea Salt

Tarragon

Thyme

Turmeric

CONDIMENTS

Apple Cider Vinegar

Coconut Vinegar

Sea Salt

FLOURS

Coconut Flour

Almond Flour

BEVERAGES

Almond Milk

Coconut Kefir

Coconut Milk

Herbal Teas

Raw Vegetable Juices

Sparkling Water

Spring Water (or Filtered)

Wine, in moderation

SWEETENERS – in moderation

Raw Honey

Dates made into paste

SAMPLE GAPS MEAL PLAN 

*After Introductory Phase

After you’ve walked through the basic protocol, here are some ideas to begin to eat “in abundance” (again).

Pre-Breakfast

12-16 oz. Filtered Water with sea salt and lemon

Breakfast

Nut butter Pancakes with 1 Tbsp. Pure Maple

Pork Sausage  (nitrate free)

Sauerkraut 

Lunch

Chicken Salad* 

Nut-based Crackers (homemade, or store bought, like Simple Mills)

Cold Pressed Green Juice

Dinner

Herb Crusted Salmon

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Pan-fried Greens

OTHER GAPS MEAL IDEAS: SIMPLIFIED

BREAKFASTS

Eggs Over Easy

Scrambled Eggs

Omelet

Coconut Yogurt with fruit 

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Nutbutter Pancakes (with banana or squash)

“Hash”: Ground sausage, butternut squash, greens, mushrooms, ghee

Applegate Farms Breakfast Chicken Sausages or Turkey Sausages

Homemade Sausage Patties

Ham (sugar free, nitrate free)

Bacon (no nitrates, sugar)

Smoothies with coconut milk, vanilla beef isolate protein powder, greens, banana, nut butter

Pumpkin Muffins

Coconut Flour Muffins

Carrot Muffins

LUNCHES

Meat, Veggies, Avocado

Grownup Lunchable: Turkey/Ham Roll-ups, Cooked Steamed Carrots, Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing

Lettuce Wraps with Ground Meat, Avocado, Tomatoes, Sprouts

Butternut Squash or Acorn Squash, Ground Turkey, Coconut Butter, Greens

Greens with Meat, Olives, Olive Oil + Apple Cider Vinegar

Burger Patties, Guacamole, Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Tuna, Chicken or Salmon Salad

Nut/seed-crackers, Turkey/Ham, Grassfed Cheddar Cheese (occasional)

Hot Dogs—no nitrates

Meatballs

Baked Chicken Thighs, Summer Squash-Roasted with Avocado Oil, Greens

Nutbutter with Celery,  Fermented or Coconut Yogurt

DINNERS

Pot Roast, Veggies

Chicken Drumsticks

Homemade Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

Pulled pork with Sweet Onions & Meat Broth

Garlic Shrimp

Baked Salmon or Snapper with Veggies

Butternut or Acorn Squash Coconut Milk Soup

Chicken Curry over Zucchini Noodles

Roast Chicken with Roasted Beets & Asparagus

“Sloppy Joes” (meat and seasonings) over Spinach

Bacon & Eggs

Stir Fry with Coconut Aminos

Bison Beanless Chili with Coconut Flour “Cornbread”

Grass-fed Burger Patties with Carrot Fries

Fish with “Yogurt Sauce” on top (coconut yogurt) in Coconut Flour Tortillas

Grass-Fed Steak with Cauliflower Mash + Pan-fried Collard Greens

SNACKS

Beef Jerky

Hardboiled Eggs

Turkey/Ham Rollups

Pulled Chicken

Coconut Butter + Green Apple

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Raw Sprouted Nutbutter + 1/2 Banana

Carrots with Homemade Paleo Ranch or Hummus

Handful Raw, Sprouted Nuts & Seeds

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup cooked & pureed squash (like butternut, cut into chunks, & simmered in broth or water until soft)

1 cup nutbutter (such as almond)

5 eggs (yolks & whites divided)

½ tsp salt

Directions

Beat the egg whites until fluffy.

With either a food processor or an immersion blender & large bowl, blend the egg yolks, squash, nutbutter & salt until smooth.

Gently fold mixture into the egg whites until blended together.

Fry in a pan (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron griddle) over low heat. Don’t burn.

Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1 Rotisserie Chicken (or 1-2 lbs. Chicken)

1-2 Tbsp. Avocado Oil Mayo (Primal Kitchen)

Add-ins: Grapes, Celery, Cranberries, Cucumber (you choose)

Directions

Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Nut Crackers

Ingredients

2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)

1 pastured-egg

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Place almond flour, egg, salt, and pepper in a blender of food processor. 

Pulse until dough forms

Place dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper

Roll out to 1/16 inch thick, then remove top piece of parchment paper

Transfer bottom piece of parchment paper with rolled out dough onto baking sheet

Cut into 2 inch squares using a pizza cutter or a knife

Sprinkle with extra salt and pepper if desired

Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes

Herb-Crusted Salmon

Ingredients

3-4 wild caught salmon fillets (6oz each)

2 tbsp. coconut flour

2 tablespoons fresh parsley (or dried, if you have on hand)

1.5 tablespoon olive oil

1.5 tbsp. dijon mustard

sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place salmon fillets on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet.

Top salmon with olive oil and dijon mustard and rub into your salmon.

In a small bowl, mix together your coconut flour, parsley, and salt and pepper.

Use a spoon to sprinkle on your toppings on your salmon and then your hand to pat into your salmon.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes or until salmon is cooked to your preference. I cooked mine more on the medium rare side at 12 minutes.

By | 2018-07-28T07:48:42+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Gut Health|0 Comments

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