The GAPS Diet

The Gut Brain Connection is Real

The GAPS diet (also known as the GAPS protocol and gut and psychology syndrome diet) is a strict elimination diet with a focus on healing inflammatory bowel diseases (i.e.leaky gut). The GAPS diet is based on the SCD diet (read more about the SCD diet here) and the theory behind the diet is that inflammatory bowel diseases have an effect on brain function and development.

The GAPS protocol aims to heal the gut by healing the leaky gut, preventing any toxins from entering into the blood stream. The diet is designed to help individuals who suffer from brain developmental issues (i.e. Autism) or struggle with brain function/ focus (i.e. brain fog).

How does it work?

The GAPS diet is typically centred around eliminating foods that irritate the gut lining and worsen leaky gut. In order to see the benefit of the GAPS diet all stages need to be followed and it takes time - could take a few years of being on the diet.

There are three stages to the GAPS diet: the elimination phase, the maintenance phase and the reintroduction phase. However, throughout the diet it is important to eliminate grains, pasteurized dairy, starchy vegetables and refined carbs from your diet and replace with nutrient dense foods.

The elimination phase is the most difficult and strict of the three stages. It is important to do the following in order during this phase, but ensure to very slowly introduce new foods:

  1. Consume drinks made from bone broth (make it at home or check ingredients if store-bought), ginger tea, mint tea, chamomile tea, probiotic-rich juices and unpasteurised homemade yogurt or kefir (if not dairy intolerant)
  2. Consume raw organic egg yolks, ghee and vegetable, meat or fish stews
  3. Consume fermented vegetables (i.e. sauerkraut) and avocado
  4. Consume grilled and roasted meats, cold pressed olive oil and vegetable juice
  5. Consume cooked apple puree, raw vegetables (starting with lettuce and a peeled cucumber), fruit juice and small amounts of raw fruit (no citrus)
  6. Consume more raw fruit (including citrus)

It is advised to only move on to the second stage, the maintenance stage, once these foods are being tolerated well and bowel movements are normal.

Once the elimination diet is complete, the maintenance phase can be followed by introducing the following foods:

Meat (don't eat meat and fruit together)
Healthy animal fats
Organic eggs
Fermented foods
Nuts - in moderation

If all is well after this stage and bowel movements continue to be normal for a period of at least six months, the reintroduction phase can begin.

The reintroduction stage is focused on very slowly introducing the foods that were previously eliminated. It is important to only introduce a very small amount of each food and monitor any reactions for the following three days. There is no particular order of how the foods should be introduced, but it is advised to begin with new potatoes and fermented gluten-free grains. It is recommended that although new foods are being introduced, it is still important to avoid highly processed and refined sugary foods.

Along with the diet, some supplements are also useful:

Digestive Enzymes
Fish or Cod Liver Oil
Vitamin A

Look at our database of ingredients to see what you can and can't eat on the GAPS diet
Brain Healthy Foods

Potential Health Benefits

Some scientific evidence along with anecdotal evidence from those who have been on the diet suggest GAPS can help with the following:

  1. Reducing Inflammation
  2. Improving Leaky Gut
  3. Better Focus/ Less Brain Fog
  4. Improving Brain Developmental Issues (i.e. Autism)
  5. Improving Digestive Problems (i.e. IBS)
  6. Improving Blood Sugar Control
  7. Boosting Immune Health
  8. Reducing Depression

and much more..

However, there are potential risks, such as potential nutrient dificiency or increased toxicity in the body due to the amount of bone broth consumed. Overall, most anecdotal evidence and reviews show great health benefits for those who follow the diet correctly.

Who is this diet good for?

In general, this diet can be good for anyone. This diet works particularly well for those who suffer from digestive issues or brain developmental issues (i.e. Autism). However, it is always important to do your research before beginning a diet to make sure that it is the right fit for you.