GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 20, 2010

The GAPS Diet for healing autoimmune disease
The book Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) is an eye opening read about how the environment within the gut can affect a person’s neurology and/or physiology.

This post discusses how to use the GAPS Diet to reverse conditions that are autoimmune in nature. Examples of GAPS conditions include allergies, eczema, psoriasis, ADD/ADHD, autism, celiac disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, diabetes, cancer, and the list goes on and on.

These conditions all can be traced to unfavorable conditions within the gut that cause undigested bits of food as well as pathogens and toxins to spill into the blood causing an unpredictable mix of autoimmune symptoms within the body.

That’s right – all autoimmune disease is rooted in the gut!

The GAPS diet as recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD limits food intake to those items that can be fully digested even within a compromised gut environment thereby allowing the gut wall to heal.   When the gut wall is allowed to finally heal by removing foods that cannot be fully digested, the holes in the gut wall reseal and the toxins that are causing autoimmune symptoms stop spilling into the blood and wreaking havoc in the body.

What Foods Do People Healing Their Guts Need to Avoid

At first read, the GAPS diet can seem quite complicated.   In actuality, it is really very simple.

There are primarily two types of food molecules that folks in the process of healing their guts need to avoid:

  • Disaccharides
  • Starches

Disaccharides, or double sugars, are present in many carbohydrates including ALL grains.  The compromised gut is unable to digest double sugar molecules because the lack of beneficial gut flora compromises the function of the enterocytes.

The enterocytes are the cells that reside on the villi of the gut wall and produce the enzyme disaccharidase which breaks down the disaccharide molecule into easily absorbed monosaccharide molecules.    When the enterocytes are not nourished and strengthened properly by adequate beneficial flora, they become weak and diseased and may even turn cancerous.   They do not perform their duties of digesting and absorbing food properly.

The critical importance of the enterocytes to health cannot be overstated!

Weak and diseased enterocytes also have trouble digesting starch molecules which are very large with hundreds of monosugars connected in long branchlike strands.   People with weak digestion due to an imbalance of gut flora and messed up enterocytes have a terrible time digesting these complex molecules leaving large amounts of it undigested- the perfect food for pathogenic yeasts, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens to thrive upon.

Even the starch that manages to get digested results in molecules of maltose, which is – you guessed it – a disaccharide!     This maltose also goes undigested due to a lack of the enzyme disaccharidase and becomes additional food for gut pathogens.

The Bottom Line

Therefore, all foods containing disaccharide and starch molecules must be removed from the diet of a GAPS child or adult in order to allow the enterocytes to strengthen and heal the gut wall.

Dr. Campbell-McBride MD writes that clinical practice has shown that given enough time, the gut usually will again be able to digest these foods without any ill effects (aka, autoimmune disease) to the person consuming them.

The GAPS Diet is not a forever thing.   It is a temporary measure to heal the gut wall and restrengthen the enterocytes so normal life can be regained without the burden of autoimmune disease.

Foods To Eliminate

The GAPS child or adult must avoid all grains and any food that contains them.   This includes wheat, rye, rice, corn, oats, amaranth, kamut, spelt, barley, buckwheat, millet, teff, triticale, bulgar, tapioca, quinoa and any others.

Starchy vegetables like white and sweet potatoes, parsnip, arrowroot and taro must be eliminated from the diet for a time.

Starchy beans and peas must also be avoided which includes pretty much all of them with the exception of green peas and navy beans.

All sugars including the lactose in milk and cream must be avoided.   Honey and very ripe fruit would be the only sweets allowed.    Fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir as well as butter and ghee are permitted unless the GAPS condition is severe.

How Long to Healing?

Dr. Campbell-McBride says that, on average, it takes a child 6-18 months on the GAPS diet for the gut to heal.   For an adult, it may take longer.

Note that it will not necessarily take this long for symptoms to subside, however.   It is possible for symptoms to be substantially gone within weeks of eliminating these foods from the diet.   Subsiding of symptoms does not mean the person is ready to consume grains and starches again, though.

Every person is different and the severity of his/her gut imbalance will determine how long it takes for the enterocytes to become strong again, the gut wall to heal and seal, and the ability to digest disaccharide and starch molecules regained.

Taking a Probiotic Alone Will Not Heal Your Enterocytes

I’ve had folks say to me that they don’t need to go on the GAPS diet as they take a probiotic on a daily basis and eat probiotic rich, whole foods.

Please be aware that changing to even a completely unprocessed, whole foods diet and taking a daily probiotic will not necessarily heal your gut!

This approach alone will not heal your enterocytes and heal/seal the gut wall from years of abuse by antibiotics, the pill, other drugs, and processed foods.

The reason is that the enterocytes reside on the gut wall and the balance of flora on the gut wall cannot be changed.    A probiotic supplement is not able to re-colonize this area of the gut!

Dr. Campbell-McBride MD writes that probably the only time that in our entire lives where we can populate the gut wall with beneficial bacteria is at birth.

Therefore, the only way to heal the enterocytes and the gut wall is to take away the food of the pathogens (disaccharides and starches) so that they weaken and the beneficial flora consumed by a probiotic can take hold and re-establish dominance in the rest of the gut.

Then, when these foods are re-introduced at a later time, the enterocytes will be strong and able to digest and handle them properly.    This simply will not ever happen unless a period of time to heal these important little cells occurs.

Also note that even after healing, the gut will require constant infusion of probiotics on a daily basis.   You can either supplement your diet with probiotic rich foods like yogurt, kefir, homemade saurkraut, kombucha and others or you can continue taking a therapeutic strength probiotic such as Bio-kult, which is recommended by Dr. Campbell-McBride.

Conclusions

One autoimmune disease begets another, so if you or someone you love has allergies or another mild form of autoimmune disorder, more severe autoimmune disease will very likely take hold in the future unless the root of the problem (gut imbalance) is addressed.

Autoimmune disease never gets better – it only gets worse over time.

Of course, severe autoimmune disease mandates the GAPS Diet as perhaps the only viable option for reversal and healing.

For this reason, it may be worthwhile to consider the GAPS diet as a measure to fix gut dysbiosis once and for all.

More Information on the GAPS Diet

Overwhelmed by the GAPS Diet?  Help Has Arrived

How to Speed Healing and Shorten Time on the GAPS Diet

The Five Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes

GAPS Diet Heals Ulcerative Colitis

Hannah’s Story: 2 Years on GAPS Diet Heals Autism

Chronic Stomach Pain and Bloating Gone!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (179)

  1. Pingback: GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now | The C.A.G.E

  2. Cynthia Robinson July 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I totally disagree with your statement that an Autoimmune disease never gets better – it only gets worse over time. – In the midst of a very difficult case of Systemic Lupus, I did my own research, and found that mixing a solid, healthy nutrition – no preservatives, fat, salt… etc diet, added to a vitamin therapy regimen, within six months I totally reversed my prognosis of having only six months left to live to a manageable disease. Not only that, my doctors, all from Boston, U Mas Medical, Dana Farber, all said to me… Know one comes back from where you were Cindy… NO ONE! What did you do differently? I then pulled out my log of what I was taking and showed it to them… they were stunned! AND my Rheumatologist reviewed the list, wrote down what he felt I should be taking of each vitamin, and my list matched his EXACTLY! So… there is something you can do.

    Reply
  3. James Hudock via Facebook May 21, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    what would you suggest to a person with Seborrheic Dermatitis in the mustache and beard basically around the mouth and eyebrows? I have been using Head & Shoulders Shampoo and Hydrocortisone but it keeps coming back, and would like to get rid of it.

    Reply
    • For my head, I’ve been prescribed KERIUM DS, shampoo by La Roche Possay. It’s very good but expensive. At least in my country. For the skin though, I really can’t remember the name so I’m sorry that I can’t help you.

      Reply
  4. Jacqueline Dolch via Facebook May 21, 2014 at 9:48 am

    The culprit of our sons’ eczema was the family dog and food allergies. Now that we are a pet-free home and allergen-free, the eczema is gone.

    Reply
  5. Marjie Nickulas Brennan via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    We visited the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and that worked wonderfully for our daughter`s eczema. You can order the skin cream on line. It is expensive but it works!

    Reply
  6. Sam Zech via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Find someone who can do bio-meridian feed back and the NAET method. It healed my kids’ eczema.

    Reply
  7. Sue Lilly via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Oops…just noticed my post said 5-19,000 iu. That 19 should be 10. Not sure if you can OD on it but don’t want to tell anyone to over do it either ;0)

    Reply
  8. Sue Lilly via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Found out purely by coincidence that vitamin D worked wonders ! I’ve had eczema since my teens and nothing worked. Developed severely low vit D levels and had to supplement and even with this insane harsh winter, not ONE break out! My son for the first time ever started badly on his knuckles this winter. He is 11. Started vitamin D and it was gone in a week! We are both immune deficient. I take 5-19,000iu depending on my levels. He takes 1,000

    Reply
  9. Kerri Wartnik via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Our daughter, who is 20 now, was healed before the Gaps diet came out, but we did some similiar things. The gut is definately the problem, as the skin reveals its condition. We gathered info. from lots of different sources. We also switched to real soaps instead of detergents, which helped a lot! To help heal her gut, we cut out gluten and dairy (came to find out later, she had celiac and that was wrecking her gut), and increased veggies and fruits. I started making my own broth, but we didn’t eat it as much as Gaps now advises (didn’t know about it). What was very good was taking good probiotics 3 times a day…even twice a day wasn’t as effective. I suspect that the eczema was related to overgrowth of yeasts in the gut, too, and when we attacked yeast with GSE, we saw improvement, esp. with the probiotics at the same time. She did have die off reactions, though, but sticking with it was worth it.

    Reply
  10. Halina Myers via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The Healthy Home Economist WORKS GREAT! Healing an auto-immune neuro – muscular disorder mainstream medicine sent someone home to die with…AMAZING!! Luv Dr M’s book . Just ordered it in another language (finally found after a two yr search) for a family member who doesn’t read English. Thank you for post.

    Reply
  11. I thought skin conditions like that are a symptom of a thyroid imbalance? You should take her to a Kinesiologist who knows how to do the Meridian Autonomic Testing Technique (MAT). If you’re in CT I know a great doctor.

    Reply
  12. Denise Wilson via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    My toddler had it really bad on his feet and it would get infected. We took him off all grains and sugars and dairy and in about two weeks it was almost gone! Also, Hylands sulphur tablets are great for itchy skin rashes! He is 8 and now only flares up in winter when we can’t get our raw milk.

    Reply
  13. Holly Dulaney Cantleberry via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Tallow balm works well to take the edge off and make the skin less itchy/dry. May be helpfull until you find the culprit!

    Reply
  14. Ronna Ferch Hesby via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I have had problems with eczema in the past but after starting on the yoli program I have had no skin hair or nail issues…the program makes you feel better and heals from inside by correcting the bodies ph.

    Reply
  15. Mindy Morriss via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 10:33 am

    After trying many things for my son’s eczema, I found Eczema Oil from http://www.homesteadcompany.com . It was like a miracle product, and it has now worked on him for years. He is now almost 16, and he rarely has to use it any more. Highly recommend!

    Reply
  16. Andrea Wilson Ostler via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I would scrub my daughter down with coffee grounds. Not sure why it worked but it cleared her eczema right up.

    Reply
  17. Abby Nein Williams via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Have you looked into the effect of traditional soaps vs chemical detergents..solveeczema.org. I hear you mama…

    Reply
  18. Rach Arc via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Gaps diet made things worst because of the high glutamates in the gaps diet, broths and ferments. Keep it simple, did probiotics for over a year, didn’t do a thing, made it worst, baby formula is also high in glutamates as well. Since we’ve cut out glutamates and increasing magnesium rich foods and fats she’s finally improving. Glutamates increases mast cells and inflammation, bad for eczema. I also found getting plenty of beach, sun and bentonite clay really helps reduce the infections, inflammations and detoxifies

    Reply
  19. Linda Sealy via Facebook May 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Try treating for candida or yeast. I had “excema’ ended up being yeast. After one treatment with fluconazole tablet it cleared up completely. Topical yeast treatment did not work. The rash would get a little better with steroid cream but flare right back up when I quit putting cream on it. I finally asked my dr if we could try treating it as candida and sure enough it went away.

    Reply
  20. I’ve noticed that some of you guys out there answer and give suggestions to other people’s comments/questions, so I am going to go ahead and post. Forgive me if it’s long!
    I have a ten year old son with Autism. A few years ago, we tried the gluten free/casein free (GFCF). I had him on that diet for 2 years and it really didn’t seem to help. I don’t understand why his doctor at the time didn’t recommend going a step further and trying either GAPS or SCD.
    Looking back, I took my son off his regular diet and just replaced it with his regular diet, only minus gluten and dairy/casein. So he was still eating a bunch of processed junk, just junk without gluten or casein. There was no gut healing going on.
    One question I have is if anyone knows what effect exactly the starches and sugars we would be avoiding doing GAPS have on the brain. I have read that for many Autistic children, gluten and casein affect their brains almost like drugs that they get high on, and was wondering if sugars and starches could do the same thing.
    I consider myself lucky that for the most part, my son doesn’t have issues with food where he insists on eating only one or two things. He has a very varied diet, and loves most fruits and vegetables. But guess what? He seems to REALLY LOVE beans, potatoes, breads, and pasta. Everything starchy!
    Can anyone answer the question as to what effect these starches and sugars that escape into the blood stream have on the brain?

    Reply
    • What you are describing sounds like it could be an overgrowth of yeast and/or bacteria in the gut. Both yeast and bacteria thrive on starches and could be sending signals to the brain to eat lots of those things. We are working with a GAPS certified nurse practitioner, and have been on GAPS for 17 months and we still have not added back into our diet lentils or navy beans. We also severely limit the sweeter veggies like carrots and beats. My daughter also only has 2 small servings of fruit per day that I weigh out. They are 1/2 of an adult serving. And lastly, little to no honey. We also started back on low glycemic fruit when we did start adding in the 1/2 serving, and mostly still stick to low to medium glycemic fruit.

      Reply
  21. Hi Sarah,
    I noticed that it looks like the last time you’ve responded to a question was in August of 2013. Are you still answering questions?

    Reply
  22. My 7 year old daughter has severe food allergies to certain nuts, and is in the beginnning stages of alopecia areata. I’m heartbroken. This is all so overwhelming. Have you heard of GAPS helping with this hair loss issue? From what I understand, it can be from autoimmune issues.

    Reply
    • Hi Heidi,
      not sure about the food allergy being related to the hair loss, but here’s my experience. My 6 year old daughter (she’s now 8) started losing hair gradually on a 2 inch spot on the top of her head…. dr said it was alopecia aerata and there’s not much they can do. I went home and started rubbing garlic and ginger on that spot, every 2-3 days after the hair was washed…. and slowly the hair began growing again….. it is now about 8 inches long and the bald spot is completely gone. She never lost hair again. She also never has had any allergies

      Reply
  23. Hi Sarah, How does one know if following a strict gaps or fodmaps diet is best? I am not digesting my foods well, have low acid to help digest. I already avoid grains and processed foods.

    Reply
  24. I don’t think you can say that all auto-immune conditions are related to the gut. There has been a massive amount of research and confirming studies that conditions such as R.A. and Lupus, both of which I have, are infectious in nature.
    Maybe the two views are connected in that a leaky gut would affect the immune system’s defense against the mycoplasmas and such that cause these illnesses. It might be more accurate to say gut issues are involved but not the root cause of auto-immune.

    Reply
  25. My 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with vitaligo. I wasn’t to know if anyone has had this and has done the gaps diet for this condition. I’m si worried for her and what the future will hold. I know this condition is not life threatening but she is only 2 and want to protect her and her self esteem. If anyone has any experience with this, I would love to know. Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Pingback: Simple At-Home Test to Pinpoint Autoimmunity Problems | what we discovered

  27. Hi,
    If you soak grains with an acid like apple cider vinegar or sprout legumes and beans it breaks down the lectins and other indigestibles. People have been doing this for thousands of years but we have more recently lost the art. Can this be an alternative to removing grains from the diet altogether?

    Reply
  28. Maybe some of these disorders are caused by GMOs. I had developed swelling in my face and hands, lost some of my hearing, lost a lot of weight, my hair fell out and my blood pressure was sky high. I was tested for a myriad of autoimmune diseases and they came back basically normal. Because of my chronic rosacea, I eliminated yeast and my face got better, but when I cut out grains, my rash pretty much went away. One day I ate only organic food, and the next day fluid leaked out of my eyes and my face was recognizable again. Now I only eat organic or GMO free foods. I also started drinking organic alfalfa tea because it contains a natural steroid. This relieved my other symptoms. Also I found that if I eat chicken or turkey, I swell up and sometimes my joints ache. Poultry has a substance that can cause inflammation. I tell you, I’ve been through some stuff, but the Lord is good!

    Reply
  29. Now i’m don’t guaranteed in which you are obtaining your details, having said that wonderful matter. I need to expend some time learning far more or maybe knowing additional. Thank you for wonderful information I became hunting for these details in my assignment.

    Reply
  30. Sarah,
    In 2005, our family made a change from the standard American diet to begin eating primarily 75-85% fresh and raw. Those of us who stuck closest to this new eating style stayed the most free from sicknesses going around. Now though, due to allergies and some other issues among us, we are seriously considering the GAPS diet.
    My question is this: While eating primarily fresh and raw, our doctor said that an occasional splurge (straying from this style of eating once a week or month) would be fine as this would encourage us to press on eating healthfully. While on the GAPS diet, are “splurges” ever allowed without totally messing up the healing work being done? Thanks!

    Reply
  31. You stated ” autoimmune disease never gets better — it only gets worse over time.”

    Auto immune diseases can be cured. I find this a conflicting statement based on the suject of the article.

    Reply
  32. Hi Sarah,
    I have alopecia too. That’s my main issue along with bloating and sleepiness/brain fog. Ive been doing toe virgin diet for a week but not having sweet potato or rice since I think I may have leaky gut? I’m having dhal (yellow split peas) and making chickpea flour wraps at home, and wanted to know if this isn’t good for leaky gut? There’s a lot of contradictory info on that and taro & cassava which I wanted to eat so if you could let me know that would be great!

    Reply
  33. Hello Sarah! I just found your website and I have hope! I have been living with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism for the past 10 years and was then diagnosed with alopecia areata. To make a long story short, my husband was deployed for a year
    and our 4 year old son started to lose hair. I don’t know if it is from the stress (as the Dr.’s say) or if he has inherited alopecia from me. I am so torn up about this as I have tried very hard to keep my family healthy e.g. no processed foods freshly extracted juices, no sugar, no vaccines. We did eat grains up to about 4 month ago, I finally realized that my son was
    grain sensitive pretty much from birth. Can this GAPS diet help my son and myself. Please get back to me, I am desperate for help and I like your philosophy. I am very motivated in helping my son!!

    Thank you so very much and I look so forward to hearing from you.

    Kristy

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist August 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      I would recommend an evaluation by a GAPS practitioner. Biodynamicwellness.com is a good one to try .. they do phone and Skype consults.

      Reply
  34. Pingback: Chicken Feet Stock | Skinny and Fit

  35. Hi Sarah and all bloggers! I am brand new to this site…I have just subscribed and am overwhelmed w/ excitement as I am eager to give GAPS a try! I have recently been researching about the Paleo diet and know a few people on it having great success! It’s very similar! :-) I am glad to know you are all here for support and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can make this appealing at the dinner table for my family as their overall health is extremely important to me. Plus it makes it much easier if everyone’s on the same page! Thank you for all of your posts, questions and information…I have read through sooooo many and will continue as I’m not finished yet! Lol!

    Reply
  36. Pingback: Resources for GAPS and digestive issues | Bun Oven

  37. I have been doing the GAPS intro diet for 3 weeks now. I’ve got RA. I quit taking the NSIDs, methotrexate and weekly enbrel shot 2 months ago. Now that the meds have completely left my system, I’m experiencing a lot of joint pain and have had to add 2 aleve/day. I’ve lost 15 lbs being on the GAPS intro diet of just broth and boiled chicken and am seriously afraid I’m too skinny. I have not been able to add any milk based probiotics. I add only sauerkraut juice to the broth. I consume 3 quarts of broth a day and eat an entire boiled chicken every 2 days. Can you tell me if there is something nutritive that I can add that wont harm me further and when to know I should go back on my meds to deal with the RA!
    I’m seriously miserable! But I truly want to do the right thing and I do believe, after reading Dr. Campbell’s book that the GAPS diet is what I need right now! Please help!

    Reply
  38. Virginia Edward June 30, 2013 at 4:57 am

    Hello,
    My only symptom, that really bothers me is s vaginal yeast infection that has been going on for months and the over-the-counter or the Dr.s prescription does not do it any good. Is this a sign that I have a really bad overgrowth of yeast, or is it something that will clear up quickly.
    I am using an essential oil by Doterra called GX Assist and am on day 4 of a 10 day regimen and followed by 5 days of PB Assist, which is the probiotic. Have you heard of this and any good results with it? You do this for 3 months at the beginning of the months.
    Also, are flax, chia, and hemp seed something to avoid?
    Thank you from all of the sufferers on here.,
    Virginia

    Reply
  39. Good thing to learn those food that need to avoid in order to heal your disease.Now a days i am having difficulties on avoiding some food because of some hair problem but then hope that some organic stuff can heal it.

    Reply
  40. Do you have suggestions about the GAPS diet and heart disease dietary recommendations?Heart disease diets really push the oats and grains.

    Reply
    • Once I started treating my gut issues (first with Threelac and now with Threelac and GAPS) my blood pressure decreased from the high 130s to about 118. My heart rate was consistently over 100 now it is about 80. Before my cholesterol wasn’t great and my triglycerides were through the roof. Now my doctor said she is jealous of my cholesterol profile. I have now been on the full GAPS diet for 4 months. Even though I have been pushing the limits of what is diet legal, eating too much honey, drinking too much fruit juice, and not eating all the things I should I have lost 20 pounds and am slowly healing. My blood pressure and cholesterol have improved even though I am intentionally adding animal fat to my diet, eating lots of eggs, GAPS legal bacon and sausage, cooking in butter and bacon grease, drinking full fat raw milk, etc. I know I need to get serious and do the intro again, but I will probably drag my feet a little longer.

      Reply
  41. does any one know about donkey milk and it it can help your gut and auto immune disease. if so why does it help?

    Reply
  42. I was wondering what do you think of donkey milk?. does it have any beneficial results for people or children with auto-immue disease? people say so, but they dont really specify why this would be the case? im curious to try it. ive been cutting out all starches for a few months now but i still feel there are toxins in my system ,in the morning the heel of my foot is painful and i have had hair loss .but my stomach is much better,i use to have upset stomach/pain a lot. does any one know about this?

    Reply
  43. Pingback: Doing the GAPS diet | The Ozark House

  44. Sabrina, the anti-candida diet is an older diet. It may heal some people, but not everyone. This article refers to a diet practiced by the Weston Price Foundation, and written about in the book ‘Gut And Psychology Syndrome’. It recommends grass-fed meats, bone broths, and only specially prepared grains. You can research the diets on google. Good luck!

    Reply
  45. Hello I’m so confused. I was panning on starting the candida diet by doing the cleanse first then the strict diet which had grains like oat bran allowed and no fruits allowed since it fed the candida. Now I see that fruit is allowed and that grains aren’t! Omg I need help I just want to heal :(

    Reply
  46. I’m wondering – would a parasite infection cause the kind intestinal distress that would benefit from a GAPS diet? I’m having a heck of a time getting rid of parasites, have tried clenses and now am trying antibiotics (which I really really did not want to do, but am following the advice of my naturopath doc). Just feel like I am in need of a healing diet after all the abuse of the parasites and the anti-parasitic remedies, and have been following a ‘parasite diet’, similar to the candita diet. But of course, am still eating the grains/starches – monosaccarides… maybe the parasites are thriving on these. I’m very intrigued by the GAPS diet – I’m looking more into it for this issue. Any advice on this?

    Reply
    • Hi Marie. My understanding of GAPS is that it wouldn’t get rid of parasites. Dr. Natasha even mentions medications for that in her book. You could first do a 90 day round of Diatomaceous Earth (DE). You can google that treatment. Just be sure to get “FOOD GRADE” Diatomaceous Earth. Then after you have cleared the parasites, you could potentially try out GAPS for additional healing. Just a suggestion…

      Reply
  47. Has anyone had success treating Interstitial Cystitis with this? It also seems that every time I turn around I develop a new food allergy and a new skin sensitivity. I had no allergies as a kid but did suffer from many yeast infections since the age of 10. They subsided around 20 and I seem to have traded them for the Interstitial Cystitis. Im tired of feeling terrible.

    Reply
    • Hey Lauren, combined with the use of homeopathy (with Joette Calabrese), I am reversing my food intolerances and Interstitial Cystits (IC). I am drinking raw milk and slowly working up to eating more fermented veggies. I feel that if I heal my gut–combined with the help of homeopathy–I will be able to heal my IC. Go to my blog to learn more: http://weallseeic.blogspot.com

      Reply
  48. I have a question for you, do you think a child would get adequate calories on the GAPS diet? My 2 year old adopted child has two very serious autoimmune disease, one in the kidneys which she is currently in stage 2 kidney failure, and one in the colon along with a host of serious food allergies. I would like to try the gaps diet with her, but she is failure to thrive at the moment and getting a feeding tube next month. I would like to try the GAPS diet and think the feeding tube will be a great tool to make it successful, I just worry about her getting enough calories with what seems like “just a lot of broth!” ;) Also down the road as her kidney disease progresses she will need to limit protein intake a bit, do you think this will be a challenge on the gaps diet? Thank you!!!!

    Reply
      • I still haven’t quite worked this all out completely. While I do now think it’s doable in the calories department, I’m still not sure about the protein intake question. Seeing as how my daughter is getting highly processed medical formula through the feeding tube at the moment, I think we’re pretty far off gaps, but I keep taking baby steps with her and our whole family’s journey to heal and healing.

        Reply
        • Having glanced at your blog, I would suggest that you get in touch with Dr. Campbell McBride to discuss all of her issues. My friend’s friend has a 5 year old son that has had terrible digestive issues since he was a baby and she had a consultation with Dr. Campbell McBride, because his situation was so bad (they had been to many specialists in many states). 2 months after starting GAPS he is off of the formula and eating real food, by mouth, for the first time in his life.

          Reply
    • There should be no problem getting adequate calories on the GAPS diet. Just include plenty of fermented cream and clarified butter. Calories really are not an issue. People who loose weight on GAPS are either not eating enough fat or have serious trouble digesting fat (which can be healed fairly quickly). I was underweight when I started GAPS and started putting on 1 pound a month and now I put on 1 pound a weak (pretty much all muscle).

      My wife went through kidney failure. Yes, protein restriction is recommended. How much it helps is very questionable. A lot of studies are showing that kidney failure patients who restrict their protein die quicker than those who don’t. Limiting protein does create less load on the kidneys, but deprives the entire body (including the kidney) of essential amino acids.

      My wife did fine with eating about 1.2g of protein for every kg of body weight. Just don’t go overboard on the protein. But make sure the child gets as much as they want. Let their body guide you. Fermented milk (36-hour yogurt) is a great source of easy to digest protein that probably won’t produce too much waste products.

      Reply
  49. I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of a product called Threelac? If you have I would like to know your opinion on it. Also I noticed that you mentioned quinoa in your list of grains… I read on a website that it actually isn’t a grain, rather its a “pseudocereal” and closely related to spinach, beets, and tumbleweeds… should this still be avoided for the time frame needed to reprogram your digestive system?

    Reply
    • I have used Threelac for several years now and love it. It has made a huge difference for me. I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofacial Pain, an Autoimmune Progesterone Allergy, Leaky Gut, Candida, and Adrenal Fatigue. Before Threelac my classic candida symptoms were 7′s, 8′s, and 9′s on a scale of 1-10 (10 being worst). After taking Threelac for several months without any diet changes (Standard American Diet-SAD) my symptoms reduced to 2′s and 3′s, except my fatigue continued to be terrible. It took me over a year to talk myself into trying the GAPS diet. I did the GAPS diet in June and July of 2012. (We went on a cruise the end of August and I wanted to transition back to a normal diet. I didn’t want to cruise on GAPS.) After only 2 months I felt better than I had felt in 15 years. We started on the intro diet and progressed through all of the stages in about 2 weeks. (My husband was impatient with the diet.) We were able to determine some foods that didn’t agree with us. I was actually starting to feel like I had enough energy to start an exercise program. (I used to exercise regularly, but have been way too tired.) I felt like my body was being nourished and healing at the cellular level. I feel like Threelac only fought half of the battle and that the GAPS diet will finish the job. I started back on the diet about 2 months ago, but didn’t jump into the deep end (into diet) this time. I have started on the full diet and am slowly working my way to the introduction diet. It was very, very difficult to start with into. I tell all my friends to start by preparing some GAPS meals and getting used to the making the foods. (It is nice to be able to grab a bottle of barbecue sauce from the fridge when your attempt at the GAPS legal stuff doesn’t come out like you expect it to.) Then starting with the full diet when they feel ready. Once they have adjusted their lifestyle a bit, it will be easier to transition to the into. My results this time have not been quite as good as starting on the intro, but I am progressing as I would expect and am working toward doing the intro again. My 11 year old daughter is also doing well also. She is thinking more clearly, her focus is much improved, and her OCD is gone. My husband is not doing the diet this time. He did it for emotional support last time, but was surprised to be healed from a digestive issue that he has had since he was a child. When he ate fatty foods like pot roast, he would have terrible diarrhea. 30 minutes after he ate it, he would be in the bathroom for an hour or so in pain (digestive enzymes helped if we thought about them ahead of time). One doctor said it might be gall bladder related. 2 months on the diet and the problems are gone. I highly recommend the Threelac (especially Fivelac) for anyone with candida problems and definitely try GAPS. (Start slow with the Threelac. It is potent.)
      Some of my symptoms greatly improved by Threelac and GAPS:
      Perfume, smoke, & chemical sensitivities, Sugar cravings, Inability to think clearly, Feeling ‘spacey’ or ‘unreal’, OCD, insomnia, abdominal pain, vaginal itching and discharge, rectal itching and hemorrhoids, menstrual pain, headaches, dizziness, itchy ears and heavy wax buildup, heartburn, indigestion, toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, dry eyes, muscle tension/pain, hypersensitivity to light touches on my skin, and a physical anxiety/hyperactivity-like sensation that I can only describe as feeling like I had itching powder running through my veins (sitting on an airplane for a couple of hours was torture–I wanted to get up and run up and down the aisle.)
      Also, I used to get cold sores every 2-3 weeks (I was able to stop most of them from forming with Sambucol brand elderberry extract). I have only had 2 cold sores since I started GAPS the first time over 10 months ago.

      Reply
      • I am interested in the Progesterone Allergy condition. Could you tell me more about symptoms – when they started, what kind, triggers, diagnosis, medical treatment, etc.

        Reply
        • I had autoimmune progesterone dermatitis. I had taken the pill on and off for several years. I started again after being off of it for several months. My hip started itching, then I had a small rash about the size of a quarter at first, but it continued to grow. The doctors didn’t know what it was. They said it looked like an allergy and asked if I changed my laundry detergent. Unfortunately it took me a month and a half to figure out that it was the pill that I was allergic to. The rash had grown to completely cover my outer thighs, my inner thighs, and my bottom. As soon as I stopped taking the pill the rash stopped getting worse and went away over the next couple of weeks. A few months later they gave me a different pill. Within a day or two I started itching again, so I stopped taking the pill immediately. Then I started breaking out in a rash every month just before my period. It started at about day 24 and would get progressively worse until I started my period, which was usually at 30-33 days. It took a couple of months for me to realize what was going on and get to a doctor when the rash was visible. The common ingredient between both of the pills and that point in my cycle was progesterone. It started as a reaction to the pill, but continued as an autoimmune reaction. This was back in 2000. He was perplexed, because he had never heard of it before. That same office visit he confirmed that I was 2 weeks pregnant with my daughter. As my progesterone levels rose, my rash continued to get worse for about 3 months, then mellowed out and finally went away. He said that a lot of women’s allergies decrease later in the pregnancy, because your immune system decreases a bit so you don’t reject the baby. Also, when I was pregnant, I had terrible morning sickness. Without medication I threw up everything I ate or drank. With the meds I was only throwing up 3 times per day. It finally eased up well into my second trimester, but I had to continue the meds all the way through. When I started having periods again, the rashes continued, but were not as bad. They eased up over the next several years. They went away when I started treating my yeast overgrowth and gut issues. I don’t have the rashes anymore, but I would imagine it is still an underlying issue contributing to my adrenal fatigue. It was probably 2006 before I started seeing the diagnosis of “autoimmune progesterone dermatitis” on the internet and said “aha, that’s it!! I’m not the only one!” As far as treatment goes, I did very little. I just used some over the counter creams like cortisone and Benadryl. My personal recommendation is to treat the gut issues with probiotics, lacto-fermented foods, and the GAPS diet so that the body can heal itself.

          Reply
  50. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some
    great images or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this website could definitely be one of the greatest in its niche.
    Wonderful blog!
    Carolyn\’s last post: Carolyn

    Reply
  51. Pingback: Diet for healing autism, depression, and other problems? | Vacaville, CA Chiropractor

  52. I am commenting very late, as I just started GAPS & am reading old posts. I started taking GAPS seriously after I found out about “fecal transplants”. You probably have not heard of this experimental treatment, but it is now being used on persons with severely diseased colons, who would otherwise require colon removal. The Doctor takes fecal matter from a healthy person, & basically uses it as an enema. Amazingly, this has worked for hundreds of people, & is about to become mainstream treatment! Apparently, it repopulate a the ravaged colons with beneficial bacteria, which spreads throughout the digestive system! So maybe this “fecal treatment” acts similarly to the GAPS diet. One thing is for sure, I’d rather do the GAPS diet than end up needing the fecal transplant!

    Reply
  53. Pingback: Getting Started on the GAPS Diet | Homemaking With Heart

  54. Hi all. I am SOOOO interested in the GAPS diet for healing my digestive issues. I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and only started having obvious digestive problems within the last 3 to 5 years. But the more I read, the more I’m convinced that it is my diet. I stopped eating soy about 6 years ago. And we eat mostly organic. And when I say “mostly”, I mean that we don’t eat anything with chemicals such as food dyes, processed cane sugar, etc. In the last year, I have tried to eat some meat such as chicken animal product such as egg and I gag and throw up. I never liked fish. Even when I used to be a meat eater. Just the smell of it can make me throw up. I can’t even eat (or smell) seaweed because it’s too fishy tasting/smelling. While I do make meat for my husband and daughter, it absolutely grosses me out. So I don’t think that throwing up from eating 2 or 3 small bites of chicken and when I tried to eat egg is allergy related, it’s more that it disgusts me. I can even smell broth and tell if it is vegetarian or meat based! I don’t know how I would eat any of this stuff. Anybody else out there have such a huge mental aversion to meat and manage to get over it? I need help so badly to get over these digestive issues! I am serious about doing this, even ordered the book, which should arrive any day now. But I realistically don’t know how I’m going to manage to eat all this broth and other meat stuff. Just reading about the “gelatinous” meat and/or “organ meat” makes me feel sick. HELP!!!

    Reply
    • Hello Nancy!
      I used to have a similar problem..Meat would disgust me…Even looking at a steak would make me cringe/feel sick/etc. I realized it was mostly because of me feeling guilty about eating an animal. The thought of people killing animals for me and other people to eat just really got to me, to the point where seeing certain meats would make me feel sick. I still feel that way sometimes even though I am no longer a vegetarian! But I’ve learned to accept that if I don’t eat the meat, it will be wasted since the grocery stores throw out several pounds of meat every week…and somehow I feel it is worse for them to waste it since that would mean the animals were slaughtered for nothing. It’s a mental battle to be able to tolerate eating meat again..but you can get through it! Just try not to think about it too much and heavily season the meats. As for fish..I agree..I think fish is disgusting as well..and it’s okay to only eat one or two types of meat. You can also try masking the smell of the meat with other foods.,.like vegetables or fragrant herbs and seasonings. I know what helps me some is to only buy boneless meat..and I have my boyfriend prepare the meat most of the time so I don’t have to look at it too much or even touch it. As for the broth…meat based broth also bothers me if I don’t season it heavily. You can make your own vegetable broth too, if it helps..Homemade veggie broth is usually better since the store bought ones are usually odd (I guess just because they aren’t exactly fresh…).
      Speaking of digestive issues though, have you tried doing a parasite cleanse? I used to have digestive issues as well..and found out it was related to parasites and food intolerances. After doing the cleanse and cutting out certain foods..like wheat from my diet, my digestive issues went away for the most part. A huge amount of people have parasites and don’t even realize it. They’re extremely common and you can catch them from fruits and vegetables even! I’d recommend seeing a Natural/Holistic Doctor if you’re able to since they will be able to test you for food intolerances, parasites, etc. and guide you along the way to good health.
      Hope this helps. :)

      Reply
  55. I was diagnosed with hypogammaglobulinanemia about 2years ago. I am 63 yrs old. Would the gaps diet help . Issues digesting foods etc

    Reply
  56. Pingback: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now « Healthy Earth Mama

  57. This may be a dumb question, but does this mean no raw milk either? I know it is good for the gut…and my eczema has improved quite a bit since I’ve started drinking it, but it has kind of come to a stand still the past couple weeks. Am I hindering rather than helping with raw milk?

    Reply
  58. It depends on your whiegt. If you only have a few pounds to lose, like 10-15, then it’ll take longer to lose that amount than if you have over 20 pounds to lose. With the HCG drops, I’m guessing you could lose 7 pounds easy. More if you’re really strict while on the VLCD. Remember you only eat 500 calories a day, no sugar (nor fake sugars like splenda), 200 grams of meat total, 2 fruits, and 1 bread thing. If you want to lose the whiegt faster, you may want to cut out the bread stick and 1 of the fruits. Honestly, I started these drops 4 days ago (2 days of Phase 1, and now I’m on my second day of Phase 2) and I just got on the scale a few minutes ago and I lost 5 pounds in 1 day! But I have quite a bit of whiegt to lose so that won’t be the results for everyone. If you exercise at least 30 minutes a day also, you could lose even more than 10 pounds a week. Also, I haven’t been hungry on this diet. The drops help soo much! Good luck and have fun in N. Carolina!

    Reply
  59. Sarah,
    Do you know anyone who was actually healed of a peanut/tree nut allergy on GAPS? I can’t find any writing about this online–of actual cases–just people saying that it could happen. We started GAPS last November for my 2 year old who has those allergies plus eczema/asthma. The eczema and asthma are better now (eczema totally gone), but she recently had a severe reaction to pecans that opened my eyes to the severity of her allergy. We went to an allergist who confirmed the allergies and we are also working with a natural doc. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  60. I have scoured the internet for testimonials of people who have completely healed
    from their ailments from this Gaps diet there are none ?? Even here, there are none.
    I at least would hope to see someone’s testimonial of their eczema clearing up.

    Reply
  61. My 18 month old daughter has eczema and is allergic to cow dairy, eggs, and peanuts. I am wondering if we should try GAPS, but I worry that the lack of carbs will effect her brain development or weight. She is very tiny for her age (10th percentile) and can’t afford to lose any weight or have slowed growth. Any advice?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I am wondering the same thing for my daughter. She is 3 years old now. She is allergic to dairy,eggs, nuts, soy,apple sauce, goat milk, and orange juice. If she has these foods she gets eczema. I wonder if GAPS would be a healthy diet for her? I think it would be difficult because she does love carbs and I know a certain amount of carbs are good for toddlers.

      Reply
      • btw she was also very low in weight (petite) she is 27 lbs now. Her sister at 9 months is 14 lbs and petite. We saw a gastrointologist and she said that the littlest one was healthy. But I am concerned because the littlest is allergic to goat and cow milk as well as coconut oil.I wonder why we have so many allergies? Do I have a compromised gut that is transferring it to my children? I am pregnant now with the third and I hope he doesn’t have allergies. ALso they were all c-secs.

        Reply
  62. Izzy, please check out some of the other diet protocols, such as low FODMAP out of Australia or the RPAH/Failsafe diet out of Britain. I enjoy this blog and have been learning about GAPS for my own health (I am nursing so have to wait a while b/c of detox). However, my daughter has some severe gut issues and was prescribed low FODMAP by our city’s best children’s hospital pediatric GI. Although very allopathic in his approach, he believes very strongly in the efficacy of dietary interventions. You will definitely find some similarities among all of these protocols, but GAPS does not work well for some of the sensitivities that these other protocols specifically address…worth looking into so that you can perhaps combine them or do one protocol first and then another.

    Reply
  63. Any suggestions for people who have sensitivities to nuts and meats and grains? Lots of allergies. We tried GAPS on our 3 yr old and didn’t see much improvement. She lost weight, tried it for 8 months. No growth, her nails stopped growing, she did horrible. There was hardly anything she can eat. I am sure she has leaky gut and need help for that desperately. She is currently paleo, doing better but still suffering from a lot of the behavioral and skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. Please help. We’ve been consulting w/ someone who’s supposed to be an expert on GAPS and traditional diets(in CA) and we’re not getting much help.

    Reply
  64. I would love to try GAPS. I have multiple food allergies that cause me to get acne and itchy spots on my face and neck. I didn’t develop any of these allergies until around the same time that I went through puberty. I grew up eating mostly fast food, was on lots of antibiotics and was put on the pill for my acne and heavy periods at around age 13! I also took accutane which now I know did huge amonts of damage, no thanks to the stupid dermatologist who told me that there was NO connection between food and acne! I already started eliminating grains and I feel much better, I have more energy and I’m not constipated anymore. Has this diet helped anyone to get rid of their dairy allergies?

    Reply
  65. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I highly doubt the validity of your claims. I’ve had a couple of colonoscopies, and watched the entire procedure on the video screen. There’s nothing in my “gut”–it’s totally squeaky clean and void of any “holes” that need to “heal”, so how do you explain that I have RA?
    Your theory is quackery, and it does harm to people by giving them false hope.
    RA is nothing to play around with, as it can and does affect internal organs (heart, lungs, etc.) as well as cause crippling deformities if not treated. Allowing people to believe that a diet can get rid of RA, which has a genetic component, only prolongs the amount of time they go untreated and allows untold damage to be done internally.
    Your blog is irresponsible at best.

    Reply
    • SNilsen,
      A scope of your gut would not show the holes that the GAPS diet adresses. They are microscopic and have to do with how the nutrients in your gut move through the gut to the bloodstream. If the “holes” (which is very much a lay term to aid in understanding for non-medical folks) are too large they allow larger molecules of nutrients through to the blood where they travel throughout the body. That activates the immune system which recognizes it as a foreign body and attacks it. This attack can also affect healthy tissue, including those that cause pain and inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
      Your body is a cohesive system. Where one part is affected the rest of the body will also feel the effects.
      This does not discount the aid that comes through more modern medical intervention, but a large part, if not all, of your symptoms could be alleviated through diet changes. I have found that my arthritis symptoms are significantly relieved through diet changes.
      Please reconsider the possibility that what you eat could affect how you feel. Even if you have a medical diagnosis and medical doctors helping you. Diet changes are not something that they know much about nor will typically recommend because A, they haven’t spent the time to learn much about it and B, they are focused in a completely different direction of putting a bandaid on the problem rather than finding a root cause.

      Reply
      • Oh my gosh! Diet is everything!
        My doctor did a stool test and found I have leaky gut. I also have RA. Let me tell you it is what you eat! I do not take medication for it but eat low inflammation foods and exercise. I am doing the GAPS as best as I can and it makes a huge difference. My Dad has RA and has lived on Aleve for 20 years and now has leukemia. I do not want to go down that road and know diet IS the key!

        Reply
        • Cl

          Omg. Just like you I am wanting to do this. I don’t want to take medication just want to heal it by diet. Please,assist in the Gaps diet. Don’t know where to start from. I am solo desperate.

          Nadia

          Reply
    • I have RA as well, and can attest to the validity of the above claims. I’ve been on a GAPS/Paleo Diet for a year and reduced my symptoms by 90%, without the need for any steroids, immunosuppressant or biologic medication. I don’t have pain any more. What remains is a mild discomfort. The only clarification I would make is that the 6 month healing timeline is a long shot. Most people take 3 years to heal (which Natasha says in her book). However, I know why Sarah mentions the 6 month possibility. She wants people to try it, and once you see results, you’re more willing to give it the time you need.
      Eileen @ Phoenix Helix\’s last post: Paleo AIP Road Trip

      Reply
  66. Dismayed American August 5, 2011 at 1:11 am

    I’m confused. Is raw milk on a GAPS diet ok? Are potatoes ok if they don’t bother you? Thank you so much for all this great info!

    Reply
  67. Hi,
    U must be correct.
    To say milk is not good, its incorrect
    Our raw donkey milk heal people with atopic syndrom = Atopic Dermatitis, Azema and all the list u wrote.
    We have near 100% recovery
    We r oversea
    on the land of the Holyland of Israel

    4 any q. pls feel free to ask us

    Genesis
    (Sorry 4 my poor English, we speak the bible language)

    Reply
  68. Hello Sarah

    Thank you so much for this website! It is truly informative…… I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few months ago and a friend of mine introduced me to the GAPS diet and I have been on it since April. So far it has been working pretty well. I still have good and bad days but all in all the diet has been helping a great deal. The only thing that I get irritated about is when the pain gets unbearable I have to take pain medication. I try to avoid taking anything, but that doe not always work. I realize this is a long process, so each day I am hanging in there! Thank you again for this site :-)

    Reply
  69. Important to note, in the case of Celiac Disease, the removal of gluten-containing grains must be PERMANANT, not temporary, regardless of symptom relief. Even in asymptomatic Celiac, gluten triggers a villi-damaging reaction. This disease cannot be cured, only managed by lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.

    Reply
    • Have you talked to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride about this? I would think if you truly heal the lining of the intestines (villi) and repopulate/rebalance the gut flora that you would be able to reintroduce soaked grains in moderation into the diet. That would be an excellent question for her as she answers questions each month on her website.

      Reply
      • You need to be careful when clumping all these “disorders” together. Celiac is permenant. You can heal you intestine, but ingestion of any gluten will lead to more damage. Too many people are out there saying things they know nothing about. If you have gut problems see a GI, they can actually diagnose issues and tell you the real way to deal with them.

        Reply
    • According to Dr. McBride’s website, she considers celiac healable via GAPS. I know what mainstream medicine says about celiac and that it is not considered a possibility to ever eat gluten again. But the concept is that if you heal the leaky gut, gluten will not enter the blood stream and will not create and auto-immune response. I recognize that this is risky (if full healing has not occurred), but I believe that it is the greatest opportunity for celiacs to experience healing. My mom went 60 years before her celiac was diagnosed. She had many, many auto-immune conditions. My children and I also have issues with gluten. I do not want the health that she suffered with. I want something better and I think it is worth serious effort to change our health.

      Reply
      • The autoimmune reaction in coeliac occurs in the villi, not in the bloodstream, so even if the gut is no longer permeable a reaction will still occur IN the gut.

        Reply
  70. Pingback: Who Is Talking About Grain Free Diets? | Health, Home, & Happiness

  71. Pingback: Article about food allergies | hcgRESULTS.org

  72. With regards to the nuts allergies – you can use coconut flour to make baked goods, which would give you a bit of variety.

    (We have just finished our first month on GAPS and are learning as we go. Thanks for this post!)

    Reply
  73. I’ve been wondering the same thing about nuts. my son is allergic to peanuts and due to cross-contamination risks, has to strictly avoid all nuts. how would you go about convincing a 3 year old that he can’t have anything baked anymore?
    and can gaps really heal a full-out peanut allergy? or is it more for food sensitivities (rather than true allergies) and environmental allergies?

    Reply
  74. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for sharing this article. GAPS (book and diet) is wonderful and has so much healing knowledge. I am actually a testament to all of this information myself. I healed my autoimmune thyroid disease using these basic principles, although I never specifically followed the GAPS diet. I now work with people in attempt to help them do the same. There is so much power in all of these principles and I love how people are opening themselves up to the possibility of healing. Ultimately, many people do not and will never be able to get the benefits that Dr. McBride has written about. It’s all about being open to the possibility. Thank you so much again!

    Reply
  75. Dear Sarah,
    I was thinking of trying the GAPS diet for our whole family since our three kids suffer from severe allergies and eczema. What would you recommend first? The GAPS diet or the Nourishing Traditions cookbook? The GAPS diet seems very challenging especially with the three kids..but if it really works it would be worth a try. I’m overwhelmed and not exactly sure where to start.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      GAPS is a subset of Nourishing Traditions so if you do that you are doing both. It really does work but it will take a complete overhaul of your kitchen/shopping/food preparation habits. It will be a huge stretch and growth process but so worth it and your kids will thank you for years to come that you healed them before they are adults when it is much harder to deal with.

      Reply
  76. I’m thinking about starting this diet for my 5 year old daughter. She has struggled with eczema and food sensitivities her whole life. My only issue is that she is allergic to tree nuts–would this eliminate all baked goods of any sort for her? That’s a lot to ask from a child.

    Reply
    • Hi Tabitha, With all the sympathy I have in my heart, I mean this in the best of ways, but asking a child to suffer with eczema, and have to deny her self of all the other foods she’s allergic to for the rest of her life, when there is a solution that could take 1.5 years of her life is no small thing to ask of her either….

      Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm

      Not a good idea to start it while pregnant or nursing as there is typically some die off symptoms that manifest for a period of time as the body detoxes. If you are already on GAPSit, it is fine to become pregnant of course as your body will have had time to adjust.

      Reply
  77. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
    Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist December 7, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Hi Russell, Dr. Campbell-McBride MD didn’t identify the toxins by name if I recall from her book, but there are many, many of them. Each type of gut pathogen produces a different one and there are hundreds of possibilities which accounts for the myriad of autoimmune diseases and symptoms. The book Gut and Psychology Syndrome is a great read if you want to dig in further.

    Reply
  78. the toxins you speak of are they leptins? if so you should be able to test blood for them? no unnecessary diet control then. ive heard it described as perforated gut..due to fungal invasion usually?
    without references it seems easier to be clear by putting question marks after a statement.

    Reply
  79. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist September 11, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Hi Sarah, yes, we took the max dose for 6 months (you have to work up to it very slowly else you can get very uncomfortable with die off symptoms). However, I think you can derive great benefit from just working up to the maintenance dose of 4/day (2 in the am and 2 in the pm).

    Reply
  80. One (hopefully last) question about the probiotic: did both you and your husband actually end up taking the recommended therapeutic dosage of 8-10 capsules daily? It is such an expensive probiotic that it would be hundreds of dollars/month if we all worked up to the therapeutic dosage; that would really break the bank considering we recently took a 50% pay cut so I could become a stay-at-home mom. I'm really hoping we can still get great results without taking quite so much probiotic considering none of us have any "severe" symptoms (mostly just nagging things such as some joint pain for me, plus eczema and sinus troubles for my husband). Sorry to ask so many questions, and thanks for taking the time to respond!

    Reply
  81. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist September 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Sarah, yes we both took BioKult probiotic. If you scroll down to the Amazon store below this post, you can click on this in the "supplements" category to check it out.

    Reply
    • I would recommend you take probiotics as well. build up slowly until you reach a therapeutic amount. Over 20 billion bacteria.
      I take a 90 billion one every day and have 1 – 2 cups of kefir per day.
      You will get better results with the high potency probiotics, especially if you have severe dysbiosis.
      In one study those with ulcerative colitis used 350 billion organisms per day.
      Build up slowly to avoid die-off reactions.

      Reply
  82. This is great info! Do you know if snap peas are allowed on the GAPS diet? Just curious as I was planning on planting some for a Fall garden, but would rather not waste my time if they aren't allowed.

    Reply
  83. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Lydia, yes, you can drink kombucha on GAPS .. just take care to ferment at least 7-8 days (longer would be even better) to make sure all the sugar is fermented away.

    Reply
  84. Hi Sara,

    This is very helpful. I have been considering GAPS for some time now and decided to look into this coming month and most likely will go on it for about 6 months. Problem is I haven't read the book yet, but plan to pick it up soon. So this was timely for me. Do you know, can you drink Kombucha while on GAPS? I am assuming so, but was wondering because of the initial sugar content that feeds the SCOBY.
    Thanks so much!! Peace to you!!

    Reply
  85. My dd tested allergic to several foods including wheat and dx as having leaky gut. Only symptoms we noticed were headaches. Dr Saxena's advice was to eliminate all the foods, take a GI supplement to heal the leaky gut and take probiotics for 3 months. Then reintroduce foods even before the 3 months was up. We did all this except have not reintroduced any of the allergic foods and it's been 6 months. Headaches were gone within a few weeks. We have improved the diet too with raw milk, eggs, raw butter, high quality meats. I am wondering if we need to do GAPS diet too to be sure the gut is healed.

    If so, we would need to eliminate all milk, even raw? But butter and kefir are ok? What about cheese? Kombucha? And add back the BioKult? Or would daily kefir be enough or both but take less BioKult?

    Thank you Sarah for this important info!

    Reply
  86. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Hi Arabella, the book you want with Intro Stage I is called "GAPS Guide" you can see it below in the Amazon list of recommended books at the end of this post.

    Good luck on the diet! I feel sure you will feel a whole lot better very soon for taking this step.

    Reply
  87. Sarah, i am so grateful that you are posting this information on the GAPS diet on your blog. My partner and i are hoping to start the diet in the next few days. I am struggling a little to understand the specifics of what we need to eat each day. I listened to Baden Lashkov (sp?) at the WAPF conference last year and she talked alot about the Intro stage of the GAPS. I haven't been able to find the same info in Natasha's book. We're looking to understand 100% what we can and cant eat as we've both got quite bad GAPS symptoms. If you have any further info for first-time-GAPS dieters, and the Intro Stage i would be most grateful.Thanks so much again. I love your blog and have shared it with many others:)

    Reply
  88. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 22, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Actually, my husband and I are both on GAPS right now and have been for several months. The kids are not, however as they have no GAPS issues. We have recently reintroduced potatoes as they do not give us any issues. It seems to be grains – even sprouted, soaked, or sour leavened that are the big problem.

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  89. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 22, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Hi Beth, on page 76 in the GAPS book, Dr. Campbell McBride discusses the anti-candida diet. She says that almost without exception, GAPS children and adults suffer from candida overgrowth. Candida, however is just one of the many pathogens that are uncontrolled in the gut – GAPS diet will take care of candida as well as the other pathogens. Honey is fine as long as it is in moderation. The anti-candida diet does not work as it does not eliminate grains and starches. These are bigger contributors to candida problems than a bit of honey could ever be as honey is fully digested even by a messed up gut and is rarely a food for pathogens unless eaten to excess.

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  90. I have a question about GAPS versus candida syndrome. As I read different things I wonder if I have both issues. The solution diets are somewhat different though, as the anti-candida diet doesn't allow any sugars including honey. Would you recommend treating one issue before the other, or doing it at the same time? How can I tell which is a bigger issue for me?

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  91. Anyone know if a child has had eczema/food allergies since birth, is it a gut problem? I am very interested in this diet for my daughter and myself (we both have lots of allergies/eczema and I have asthma)although I'm not sure I could get the rest of the family to follow it strictly. I've been eating almost 100% grain free for a little while now, just because I realized they were making me bloated and itching and foggy brained. It would be HARD to give up potatoes though. I think I'm going to have to finally buy this book.

    Reply
  92. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    AFter your symptoms have been completely gone for about 6 months, try to slowly reintroduce the foods that you eliminated and note if any return of symptoms occurs.

    Reply
  93. If symptoms improve quickly, but it takes 6-18 months to fully heal the gut, how do you know how long to continue on the GAPS diet?
    Thank you for the great summary!

    Reply
  94. Great summary Sarah! I just finished my first go through of the book. This was helpful. Anonymous. . . you summed it up nicely IMO; yep it's not rocket science–let go–I like that.

    Reply
  95. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Fantastic Mama G!! You must be one persuasive gal. I am so sure GAPS will help him tremendously!

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  96. Talked to my son's pediatrician this morning at our 12 month check up. While he is a conventional doc he supports using diet and lifestyle changes first. After discussing some of the ongoing issues we've been having he not only gave us his support in doing GAPS but is looking forward to monitoring it's effects on Little Man. Even his medical student was interested in it.

    Reply
  97. The diet's not complicated. It's just what all of humanity ate before agriculture was developed. Look at any nomadic or hunter/gatherer tribe today, or to any of the "primal" or "paleo" eaters. marksdailyapple.com is one of many blogs I've seen devoted to applying primal wisdom to modern living, and has lots on what is basically this same mode of eating: meat, veggies, fruit, dairy, eggs, & fermented foods.

    Our family is almost GAPS by default. We just do better w/o many grains, and potatoes are one of the few tweaks we'd have to make to adapt. I think that 6mo of GAPS may be what we need to boot sugar addiction & tics here for good, returning afterward to a moderate grain intake.

    Unless you attempt to make "grain-free" versions of all your favorite baked goods, this way of eating is really simple. Just let go. We have eggs for breakfast (fast! & omelets w/ leftover veggies are yummy) (ssg or bacon on the wknd), leftovers or deli meat w/ chs for lunch (rolled up or on lettuce leaves or long slices of cucumber), yogurt/nuts/cheese/fruit/etc. for snacks, & for dinner, we grill/roast/saute some meat & veggies & add a salad. Simple. Done. Don't forget plenty of butter, tallow, lard, & fermented foods to go with it!

    Reply
    • Good reply with great foodie ideas. Thanks. I’ve been on it for 2 weeks with my Grandkids and contemplated it for over a year. I learned prior to the diet to cook with almond flour & honey for baked goods and breading while getting others ready for the diet. I personally was gluten free for a year and grain and sugar free for over 6 months. I went thru 2 detoxes (1 harsh) prior to starting intro. The salt baths always made me feel better. I would recommend to anyone with health issues. Drugs are not the answer. Dr. Campbell says it makes it harder to treat once on meds. Don’t do it!!!

      Reply
    • I have read many reports which state that manufacturers add flour to processed deli meats. hence, I don’t think eating processed meats is 100% GAPS-diet..?

      Reply
  98. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 20, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I've heard great things about Dr. Saxena. Let me know how it goes when you get in to see her!

    Reply
    • I know this is an old blog. Sarah, Do you have experience with Dr. Saxena? I know that you cannot and will not give medical advice. I just am curious. My care has been mismanaged thus far and I am looking for a doc who can look at what is actually causing the problem and not mask it with anti-depressants, etc. I would like someone who supports and practices based on the WAP principles. The local chapter leader does not have anyone she knows in this area so looking to broaden my search now.

      Reply
  99. Yes, recipes or realistic diet suggestions would be helpful for someone weaning off grains!
    Have you heard of SevaMed Institute in Lutz? They practice integrative medicine and I just heard a lecture from their MD (Dr. Saxena) about "enterocytes" and the gut walls. It was very good! From my understanding, they will work with patients to change their diets. I'm on a waiting list to be seen!

    Sarah-Linear Morphea is a version of Linear Scleroderma. It's the less scary version, thankfully. Basically, my body produces too much collagen (hmm…isn't wanting extra collegen why women get botox??) on my leg and it looks like deep, tough bruises that can make the skin taut. I've been controlling it with a cream and it lessened its "tautness" but I've always wondered what else I could do. http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/morphea.html

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  100. Does this book make specific diet suggestions, like meal plans, recipes, etc.? If not, do you know a source that does to help those who may feel overwhelmed by the restrictions?

    Reply
    • There is now a GAPS recipe book available to purchase called “Internal Bliss”. You can also Google GAPS recipes and find lots of great blogs of recipes that have been created for the diet. We have been on GAPS for 1-1/2 years and have never eaten so well.

      Reply
    • I purchased a downloadable (adobe) 30 day meal plan for the GAPS Intro diet….was a HUGE help, and it cost $15 !!!
      It is called “What Can I Eat Now – 30 Days on the GAPS Intro Diet”….I don’t think I could have started this process without it!! I think the website was healthhomehappy.com
      Good luck!

      Reply
  101. Our 13yr old ds has OCD, I've been interested in this diet since last fall. The difficulty I have is getting my dh and ds on board. I brought the book to our dr visit yesterday, and was strongly advised that dietary changes were not likely to result in any changes and that meds are the best decision. I've also been to an integrative medicine specialist who is on board with the diet, but is out of plan with our insurance and had our ds on ascorbic acid 2,000mg a day in addition to amino acid supplements all of which are expensive and do not have traditional medical support. It is very difficult to be confident that the treatment is right and safe. I think with the right support we could at least try this diet for 3-6months. Will you be posting more in regards to menus and recipes? Thank you for your post.

    Reply
    • I hope you’ve found some relief for your son by now. I just wanted to say that the only risk with the GAPS diet is aggravation and adjusting the diet is not likely to be as expensive as the supplements; and that your doctor is trained and paid to treat pathology with pharmacology. Doctors aren’t bad people – they picked their job to help people after all – but like anybody they can get into a rut in their responses. As a client, you are allowed to respectfully disagree with your physician’s recommendations if you feel they don’t fit your family, just as you would with an accountant or mechanic. A true professional in any field should be open to that challenge.

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  102. I am seriously considering buying the book on Amazon as well, for I too have an autoimmune disease called Sjogren's Syndrome. I produce too many antibodies so they attach my moisture glands-dry eyes, dry mouth, etc. I have found that the cod liver oil help relieve the dryness a little, but I would love to heal myself completely. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  103. Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist July 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Megan, I have never heard of Linear Morphea – what is that? Yes it is tough for the first few weeks to figure out what to eat on GAPS as grains are such a huge part of the Western diet. Fortunately, nut and coconut flours can be used to make baked goods that are delicious and a fantastic alternative.

    Reply
  104. I have been waffling on what to do about my eczema and food allergies and sensitivities and other symptoms, knowing that untreated they are likely to get worse! I even have the GAPS book and read it all the way through, but the diet itself did seem confusing! Thank you so much for clearing this up for me!

    Reply
    • Get on the GAPS Website FB pages and many many people will help you. I’m doing it now with 2 Grandkids. It’s hard, but we’re doing it. Cara Comini @ Health, Home, and Happiness, LLC wrote a short e-book “what can I eat now?” Good luck!

      Reply
  105. I finally ordered this book off Amazon (used). I have a mild autoimmune disorder (ever heard of Linear Morphea?) and would love to eliminate it or prevent future AIDs. This is really compelling. The diet elimination would be tough but worth it.

    Reply

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