GAPS diet and protocol
GAPS Diet and Protocol
What is the GAPS Diet?
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, discovered by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Dr. Natasha created the GAPS protocol, which is a temporary healing diet combined with lifestyle changes, to heal her own son’s autism. This protocol addresses the three underlying factors in a myriad of diseases: leaky gut, gut flora imbalance, and nutrient deficiencies.
In a nutshell, the GAPS Diet consists of:
• Elimination of complex carbohydrates, which feed pathogenic bacteria
• An emphasis on fermented foods and specific probiotic supplements to restore gut flora
• Plenty of nutrient-dense, traditional foods to restore nutrient deficiencies
• A specific series of food-reintroduction
• Lifestyle changes that include various detox and immune-boosting steps
The role of Gut Flora in brain health
Gut flora, especially, plays a key role in human health and it's a subject that until recently has been virtually ignored by most mainstream medical professionals. Our gut flora is precious! It protects us from pathogens, aids in digestion, assimilation and absorption, modulates the immune system and aids in detoxification. Our gut flora can become compromised by many things including antibiotics and other drugs, toxins, chlorine in the water supply, illness, pollution, radiation, stress, age, and others.
Problems with gut health can begin with the infant in-utero. The mother's gut flora is often compromised because of the factors noted above, so healthy flora are not passed on to the fetus. After birth, the typical infant problems of infections, antibiotics, over vaccination, poor food-weaning and other issues can arise and the road to poor health begins. As the child develops, the lack of beneficial flora can lead to a damaged and more permeable gut wall that cascades into malabsorption, food allergies, toxicity, immune system decline and possibly auto immune disorders.
Dr. Campbell-McBride went on to explain how toxic by-products affect other parts of the body like the liver and the lung; leading to allergies, asthma and even long term lung damage. The body tries to eliminate toxins through the lung, skin, urinary tract and mucus membranes. If these detox pathways are compromised, asthma, eczema, chronic cystitis, chronic sinusitis, frequent colds, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel will likely follow. The absorption of protein and toxins through the damaged gut wall can pollute the blood as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. This can subsequently lead to depression, learning disorders, substance abuse, and a host of psychological issues. This is how we arrive at the link between gut and psychology.
Dr. Campbell-McBride developed the GAPS diet to address these problems. The GAPS nutritional protocol focuses on eliminating all grains, starchy vegetables, pasteurized milk products, white sugar and other sweeteners, processed foods and food additives. One is encouraged to eat a diet of fresh meats and fish, fruits, vegetables, healthy natural fats, nuts, seeds and fermented foods. The dietary plan provides recommendations for phasing in the diet as well as particular protocols for constipation, diarrhea and other specific symptoms. Finally, several case studies are presented that demonstrated how physical illness and psychological disorders can be eliminated after a period of improved dietary habits.
Described in detail in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, the GAPS diet most commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety and autoimmune disease.
Inspired by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) developed by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas in the 1920s to heal digestive disorders, the GAPS diet has taken the natural health world by storm.
The “GAPS Diet” is an advanced meal plan that is designed to:
• Repair the gut wall (leaky gut)
• Rebalance probiotics in the micro-biome
• Stop toxic overload from bad bacteria strains that dominate the gut environment
• Prevent toxins from entering the bloodstream, which causes an array of autoimmune disorders
• Suggests easy to digest foods your your gut and body can rest and heal itself
GAPS Diet Benefits
Taking it at face value, the GAPS Diet offers a complete array of health benefits by simply taking a common sense approach to eating.
Take me, for instance. When I went on a grain-free eating plan years ago I didn’t even know that I was following the “GAPS Diet”. I knew from studying what our ancestors ate and what science has already shown us that I needed to reduce my grain intake, consume lots of probiotic rich foods and start drinking bone broth.
Like me, the health benefits most people start to experience from the GAPS Diet all start with healthy, regular digestion. Those who have followed the GAPS diet in individual cases studies have found the following GAPS diet benefits:
• Boost Immunity
• Reduce Food Sensitivity
• Improve Neurological Function
• Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
• Reverse Type II Diabetes
• Improve Lactose Digestion
• Kill Candida
• Support Detoxification
• Reduce Anxiety and Depression
• Improve Autism and Learning Difficulties