Most people who know me personally know that I’m a strong advocate of the GAPS diet and that the GAPS Protocol has made a big impact healing my family. It has recently made huge waves on the Internet, it is frequently used by those practicing Natropathic Nutritional Therapy or Functional Medicine and you will find thousands of testimonies all over the Internet from families attesting to its healing capacity. The GAPS premise in the main can be very simple to implement – remove certain inflammatory food groups and introduce foods that heal, allowing the the gut to rest and repair. For more serious conditions a GAPS healing protocol will entail implementing a diet plan, whilst taking steps to reduce toxicity in the surrounding environment and using minimal supplements where required.
GAPS, standing for Gut and Psychology Syndrome or Gut and Physiology Syndrome, is a strategy developed by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, a trained Doctor with a post graduate in Neurology and Human Nutrition who resides in the UK. The protocol is used for a variety of conditions, many that will overlap and some that will not even fit into a diagnostic box. Here are some of the most common:
- Autism, ADHD, Schizophrenia, bi-polar and depression
- Auto-immune conditions of which there are now over 200 (including coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Crohn’s, diabetes type 1 and more)
- Atopic conditions such as allergies, asthma and eczema
- Chronic Fatigue, fibromyalgia, ME
- Digestive conditions such as IBS and gastritis
GAPS is developed from the conclusion that first and foremost these conditions begin in the gut and advancing scientific literature lays out foundations for a new blueprint in how we treat disease. Hippocrates, the very famous physician who lived over 2000 years ago once said ‘All disease is born in the gut’ and modern science is pioneering that chronic metabolic diseases like those mentioned above, which are prevalent in today’s society, stem from what is now termed professionally as intestinal permeability but also commonly referred to as leaky gut. Despite the symptom, what all these diseases have common is gut dysbiosis (abnormal gut flora).
The GAPS Protocol is an advanced solution that aims to:
- Repair the intestinal lining
- Provide a diet that is gentle and soothing to the digestive tract
- Repopulate beneficial bacteria into the gut
- Remove an overload of toxins and pathogenic (unhealthy) bacteria
When following the GAPS diet you would look to remove the following foods:
- All grains
- Refined sugar
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips
- Processed foods
What you are left with is a very nutrient-dense traditional diet, as close to nature as possible:
- Bone broth
- Grass-fed meat
- Organic vegetables and fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy fats – ghee, coconut oil, animals fats
- Raw and cultured dairy
- Fermented foods
Fermented foods are core to the healing process, not only are they inexpensive and simple to make but provide a powerful medicinal treatment. These foods proliferate your gut microbiome (the gut flora which hosts the bacteria in your gut) with healthy bacteria which will eventually crowd out the pathogens. They also have many other very important functions as listed here.
When you google GAPS, it must be noted you will find some Doctors critical of the GAPS diet because there have up until now been no clinical trials of this treatment, they will state that the science is “unfounded” and “experimental”. This will soon be changing as a study has received funding from Virginia Commonwealth University by Austen M. Mulluy PhD and the results will be published shortly.
This certainly didn’t deter me because more importantly when you break apart the components of the GAPS diet there are thousands of studies that prove:
- Probiotics remove toxins, improve digestion, immunity and more
- Bone Broth provides collagen that heals and seals the gut
- Real whole-food nutrition supplies vitamins and minerals for optimum health
- Grains (when not prepared properly) are problematic for a large proportion of the population
- Healthy fats are a necessity for heart health, brain function
Anecdotal it may be, I have seen the results that have worked for each and every one of my family. Nothing has 100% success rate because we are all biologically unique but when properly implementing a diet of whole-food nutrition you ultimately risk very little and have so much to gain.
Look at your symptoms kindly as a warning that your health needs your attention, give your body the right tools and it has an incredible capacity to heal.
If you would like to learn more about GAPS please subscribe to my newsletter or if you would like to discuss how you implement the GAPS protocol please contact me for an appointment.