Overwhelmed by the GAPS Diet? Help Has Arrived!

by Sarah General, Healthy LivingComments: 48
Grain Free Cupcakes!

The GAPS Diet is the best approach for healing the gut and putting autoimmune disease of all kinds into remission that I have ever come across.

That being said, the 6 months to 3 years that folks need to be on GAPS to reverse these conditions (on average) is a huge change from the way they were eating before – even if they were eating a whole food based, traditional diet.  If they were on the Standard American Diet before, forget about it!  GAPS can seem flat out impossible at first glance!

This is because all grains, sugars (except honey and fruit), and starches are avoided on GAPS as these foods cannot be fully digested by a compromised gut environment and therefore need to be avoided until the gut heals and seals.  What forms the fundamental basis of the American diet?   That’s right, grains, sugars and starches!

The necessary dietary changes on GAPS are so huge, in fact, that many people who really want and need to go on GAPS never even attempt it because the challenge of incorporating the necessary dietary changes to heal seems too incredibly daunting.

Help has arrived!

My friend Cara, from the blog Health, Home, and Happiness and a fellow Real Food Media blogger has come up with two indispensable resources in the implementation of the GAPS Diet. Cara is a GAPS expert.  She has used GAPS to tackle her children’s autoimmune issues with great success.

I so wish these resources had been available to me last year when my husband and I went on GAPS.  It would have made the transition process so much easier and less stressful on our household!

GAPS Resources

The first resource is a new e-book called What Can I Eat Now? A 30 Day GAPS Intro Meal Plan.

The second resource is Grain Free Meal Plans once you are off the GAPS Intro Diet and into full blown GAPS or if you just want to jump right into full blown GAPS or the very similar SCD (Specific Carbohydrate) Diet from the get go.

The Grain Free Meal Plans include the following:

  • Menu plans for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, plus snacks and sweets
  • Kid-tested recipes
  • Complete shopping lists
  • A Members only forum for questions, problems, encouragement, and success stories

If you are even remotely considering GAPS for your family, make sure you check out these resources!  Consistency is key on the GAPS Diet – falling off the wagon can really set you back.   Therefore having these resources in your back pocket as you undertake this challenge to recover the vibrant health you deserve could very well make the difference between success and failure on the GAPS Diet.

More Information on the GAPS Diet

GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now

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 (48)

  • Melissa

    I am considering this diet for my family. I have two sons who suffer from ADHD and ADD and also have severe toenail fungus. I feel overwhelmed looking at this diet however. I also suffer from a lot of different ailments. Is there a fee guide to get started? I use food stamps so I am not sure I can do it. But I bet we could save the government a lot of money on doctor visits if we could get healed. I might even get well enough to work full time. I am so sick most of the time.

    July 15th, 2016 7:41 pm Reply
  • grace

    My daughter and I got thrush, I think it transferred from her as she is nursing, we are vegetarian only because we do have cheese and she eats yogurt. I want t clear up this issue once and for all as I am about t start a juicing lifestyle and want to start off with good health, though many of the foods on here will be juiced because my daughter is very picky with solid foods, She has also suffered from constipation since starting to eat solids and I am sure it is because she lacks the healthy bacteria in her stomach and intestines so I have started her with a probiotic but am not the happiest as it is only a few strands if that. She loves fruit especially strawberries although I only want her having organic so she doesn’t get them often because they do not sell them here. where can I get a book with all foods that are allowed? thank you

    February 20th, 2015 7:17 pm Reply
  • P

    How is the gaps diet different from the strict paleo diet? ( referring to Chris Kresser’s book Your Paleo Code Diet ) Is one better than the other for healing guts? I know I need to do something, just not sure which direction to go. Thanks!

    May 21st, 2014 11:01 pm Reply
  • Candice

    I have an 8 month old and shortly after he was born I had an explosion of eczema and it keeps getting worse. Do you know what the recommendations are concerning GAPS since I’m nursing?

    May 10th, 2014 9:53 pm Reply
  • Sue

    My son is allergic to many foods on this eating plan. Nuts,beef, fruit, some of the vegetables, eggs. What do you do in this situation? Thank-you, Sue

    March 7th, 2014 9:34 am Reply
  • jane

    hi sarah,

    do you know if the gaps intro, or full diet, is recommended in the preconception stage, or during pregnancy?


    February 14th, 2014 12:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      GAPS is never recommended immediately prior or during pregnancy.

      February 15th, 2014 7:31 am Reply
      • MIRA

        WAIT……SO HOW IS THIS DIET A GOOD THING IF WHEN GROWING A HUMAN INSIDE YOU IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED? Also is anyone willing to share the full benefits of this plan with out trying to sell me some type of “plan” I’m sick of going around in circles trying to find the answers of healing my IBS and possible candida overgrowth. I can’t trust my doctor, and I can’t seem to trust any of these claims I am finding online. One plan says don’t eat citrus but you can eat grapefruit? Something else I read says no dairy, nothing fermented. Aren’t probiotic formulas fermented? Aren’t fermented things generally good for the gut? I feel like everyone is just trying to sell something, snake oil salesmen as they used to call it. There was a site I found that finds many holes in the GAPS diet so now I’m even questioning that tactic. I am feeling helpless.

        April 7th, 2015 10:00 pm Reply
        • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Because the GAPS Diet initially causes serious detoxification and die-off of gut pathogens which can flood the bloodstream and get to the fetus. That’s why.

          April 7th, 2015 10:03 pm Reply
  • Ruby Williams

    your info seams applies to everyone i know

    February 5th, 2014 11:49 am Reply
  • Ruby Williams

    Is it possible to have instructional seminars in our community.

    February 5th, 2014 11:44 am Reply
  • Margo

    I am interested in getting the book but I am hypothyroid ….my last test results showed my antibodies were normal but they were high just a year ago. So not sure if I should say I am still Hashimoto’s or not. I am unsure if I can follow the menu as planned or do I need to continue stay away from nightshades when doing the GAPS diet? I seem to have food allergies…I retain fluid when I eat something that my body doesn’t like. I have been gluten free, sugar free, grain free for a couple of years now. I just seem to continue to take foods out of my diet …I guess GAPS should be my next step. If I am going to put in the time I want to make sure I am doing it correctly. Kinda overwhelmed by all the info.
    Thank You

    June 12th, 2013 11:27 am Reply
  • Patty

    Hi Sarah, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the GAPS diet. I haven’t been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, but I have suffered from anxiety and depression for many years and I recently learned that I have a hormonal imbalance. I have really been struggling to find a natural cure (my obgyn prescribed the pill for me a few months ago and it’s only making me feel worse). I started eating a traditional diet a couple months ago, (the info you post has been extremely helpful) and I’m hoping the GAPS diet will put me on the road to good health. Thank you for all of your informative posts!

    February 21st, 2013 3:19 pm Reply
    • Viktoria

      Sorry to hear about your health challenge. I help people with immune imbalance. My consultations are free. If you still need advice, please feel free to reach out. Best of health to you!

      January 7th, 2014 2:57 pm Reply
  • Lisa

    I have been on a very limited intro diet for almost 2 months, and I now a few items from next stage. I can not seem to eat broccoli or most vegs. Just carrots, articokes, butternut squash, No onion, or zuccini… I can now have egg yolks ( I could not eat eggs for 10 years, so that is good news),But almost everything I eat still has some negatives. Nothing I eat is totally fine. I am on such a low dose of probiotic to start, everytime I try and increase…I was having an issue. So, it is all very slow going. I do have juice from fermented vegs. again very low dose. But loosing so much wieght, any help or ideas are greatly appreciated. I have dropped 20 pounds in this time. And I had only weighed 140! I mainly eat beef soup, or egg yolks cooked in a bit of ghee. and just those few vegs that seem to be ok. Even then , I still have some issues. thanks, I am really struggling .

    February 20th, 2013 11:00 am Reply
  • NP

    Is there a gaps recipe for an alternative baby formula? Suffice it to say, my breast feeding and donor milks are not options. I’ve seen the weston a price formula but it looks deficient in fats and carbs and my baby cannot tolerate fish it seems. Dairy corn gluten and soy are big no nos in her case as well :/

    January 17th, 2013 2:34 am Reply
  • Becky

    How can I eat high fat without causing gallbladder issues? And. ..how can young children go without any carbs? Tried it once a few months ago with the makers diet and they were lethargic until I fed them rice. I’m thinking if I ease into less carbs then start the younger children in the future. This is difficult because some of us in my family are doing the diet and some are not. It takes more self control for us to watch them eat!! Also… do you have any lunch box ideas? Thanks so much for answering!l

    August 24th, 2012 4:10 pm Reply
  • cindy

    how can i shrink kidney cyst

    April 16th, 2012 6:53 pm Reply
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  • Michele

    I have been reading the Diet Cure by Julia Ross. She mentions using Aloe Vera juice to aid in gut healing. Has anyone heard of this or tried this?

    July 28th, 2011 12:58 pm Reply
    • Dr. Michael Haley

      Many people consume aloe vera inner leaf gel for gut health. Whole leaf aloe contains phytochemicals from the outer leaf that can be a digestive irritant and should be avoided. However, the inner gel contains the soothing and healing phytonutrients. There are some (gaps diet) who recommend that those with severe gut problems avoid aloe during the severe phases since aloe can lead to increased immune stimulation (which is otherwise desireable with cancer and viruses, etc.)

      June 21st, 2012 7:53 am Reply
  • Eileen Schafer Bader via Facebook

    We have been on GAPS for 1-1/2 years and have been so pleased with the results. I’m thrilled to have this extra help to get us through our 2nd round of Intro this summer. It’s tough but worth every effort.

    July 2nd, 2011 1:05 pm Reply
  • Kortni Gehri via Facebook

    starting this soon… it took having a liver transplant date to be willing to commit to something like this but I’m praying for a miracle to happen by that time! I’ve tried everything else under the sun (stem cells, nutritional IVS, homeopathics, herbs etc etc) I’m so excited and blessed to have 2 awesome parents and a fiance to cook for me! Thank you thank you thank you for making this easier with the cookbook… it will help my dad so much as he starts cooking these soups!

    June 28th, 2011 3:13 pm Reply
    • outtathere

      Kortni – I hope you see this – how are you doing now?

      July 26th, 2011 12:36 pm Reply
  • Jen @ Eating My Vegetables

    I’m thrilled GAPS is becoming so popular and being recognized for it’s power. I started my recipe blog for all my friends who would ask me about what to eat on the diet. It’s really been helpful to me and I’m glad Cara put together such an awesome e-book!

    June 27th, 2011 11:24 am Reply
  • Karin


    thanks for the reminder about Cara’s meal plan. My sister, who is a nutritionist, has been encouraging me for sometime now to do the GAPS diet. I am close to starting…loading up on broth for the freezer and prepping. A friend of mine who is also preparing to go on it, found Cara’s website for us. I know it is a huge commitment but I feel it will help me w/digestive issues I’ve dealt w/for years. I hope you are available in the near future b/c I am sure I will have plenty of questions…especially since you’ve done it. Is there any magical way of knowing when you are “done” w/the diet? I am 1/2 way through the book, so maybe it tells. Do children generally heal in less time? Your blog has been a real blessing that I’ve enjoyed a lot lately.

    Thank you!

    June 26th, 2011 8:23 pm Reply
  • Jackie

    Sarah, a huge thank you to you and this blog (and video posts!). I’ve only discovered it the past few month and it has been a huge blessing to our family. We truly appreciate all your efforts in helping others. We had huge success on SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). I’m wondering if and why GAPS might be preferred by you, or others, over SCD. It was my understanding that SCD was originally introduced and we’ve found it to be an extreme blessing as well.

    June 26th, 2011 7:32 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Jackie, so glad you are finding the videos etc helpful on your health journey! SCD is fantastic .. there is little difference between it and GAPS. Some folks prefer GAPS just because the protocol is based on the recommendations of a MD and because of Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s youtube videos and books which have made her program a bit more accessible (SCD was written some time ago). No worries though .. if you are having great results with SCD just stick with what is working for you! :)

      June 26th, 2011 8:10 pm Reply
      • Bonny

        I thought GAPS was based on and centered around the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but that Dr. Natasha also adds in the therapeutic probiotics, supplements, etc. So it’s essentially a whole healing, lifestyle program, as opposed to just a diet. Is that right? Maybe I’m not familiar enough with Elaine Gotschall’s book to have all the details right…

        June 27th, 2011 2:04 am Reply
  • Bonny

    I love GAPS and Dr. Natasha! I have several copies of the book, one for me to keep for reference, and two for lending out to friends and family members. Sometimes they all get lent out at once. Dr. Natasha’s new blog/website has a nice list of conditions that can be helped by GAPS: http://www.doctor-natasha.com/index.php (since someone asked earlier about a condition and whether or not it would be helped). Though I believe that ALL people can benefit from it, as you mentioned, Sarah. :) I love Cara’s blog and have appreciated it a lot.

    June 26th, 2011 5:59 pm Reply
  • Karen Nielsen Andonian via Facebook

    Bought it!! So excited about this! Currently on stage 3 of intro and my kids are so sick of the limited food options. This should really help!

    June 26th, 2011 2:40 pm Reply
  • Melynda

    Sarah – Did you mean the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) developed by Elaine Gottschall? http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/ instead of the Standard Carbohydrate Diet?

    June 26th, 2011 2:20 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Melynda, yes – sorry about that typo. Thanks for letting me know.

      June 26th, 2011 2:24 pm Reply
      • Melynda

        No worries! I thought that was what you intended, I just wanted to make sure so that others who are new to the GAPS/SCD way of life can google the correct terms.

        June 26th, 2011 8:38 pm Reply
  • Terri

    This may seem like a dumb question, but I have been wondering how a person would know if they need to be on a GAPS type of eating plan? I read about healing the gut and auto immune issues and am a bit confused. I assume you just know if you have a bad stomach issue, but then there are so many other things that seem to be helped by GAPS ways.

    I crave carbs most days and have been trying to avoid them as much as possible. I notice I gain weight when I eat breads and flours. I try to follow a traditional diet, avoid processed foods, make my own broths, eat grass fed beef etc, but I still crave breads. I don’t eat much sugar except honey or sucanat. I haven’t been able to switch to pasteured chicken or pork mainly due to cost right now.

    I am trying to lose weight, I have minor arthritis and high blood pressure and wonder if this is a symptom of ‘leaky gut’ issues I keep reading about.

    I appreciate any answers any of you may have would be appreciated.

    June 26th, 2011 1:57 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Hi Terri, I went on GAPS even though I do not have any autoimmune issues. I just wanted to improve my gut function since I was not breastfed and my gut was not seeded properly to begin with anyway. I found a lot of benefits to being on it for a short healing period of time,

      If your arthritis is rheumatoid, then yes it would be gut related. Weight issues may or may not be related.

      June 26th, 2011 2:26 pm Reply
    • Beth

      Terri, you could check out the list of things addressed by GAPS here:

      June 26th, 2011 6:17 pm Reply
  • Erica

    Hi Sarah,

    How much bone broth is recommended each day? Would you say a quart?

    June 26th, 2011 1:30 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      A small cup with each meal is recommended, so a pint or so per person should do it.

      June 26th, 2011 1:52 pm Reply
  • AshleyRoz

    I found going on a low carb paleo diet with lots of bone broths and probiotics has been the most helpful. For me, even having the GAPS legal/ Paleo legal baked goods just set me on a path to veer off. By completely cutting sugar, grains, starch and any foods seeking to duplicate those foods for a 3 months my body stopped craving them. We occasionally have some home made ice cream or coconut cream ice cream sweetened with stevia but even then I can only stand having a very small amount. I think it’s so important to wean oneself off of the desire for these foods. There are so many delicious ways to eat gaps legal that don’t include cheat foods.

    I started because after a failed birth induction (don’t get me started on that…) and subsequent c-section I believe the antibiotics and pitocin completely screwed up my gut flora. I went from being perfectly regular, could eat anything without any discomfort to having debilitating heartburn about 4 times a week and became constipated and miserable. 6 Months later, thought I haven’t tried grains yet and I’m beginning to become regular again, I haven’t had a bout of heartburn in 5 months and even my baby who used to be very gassy despite being exclusively breastfed until a few weeks ago comfortable, alert, happy and no longer has tummy issues, His favorite food is a meaty lamb bone! :-) I also got rid of 15 years of on again off again depression and I’m starting to feel the fog of my ADHD lift. I wasn’t even expecting all of the benefits, I was just trying fix my digestive issues. GAPS is amazing.

    June 26th, 2011 1:24 pm Reply
  • Mel @ Trailing After God

    Your site has been a huge blessing to me. I am going to check out these resources. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on Christmas eve (merry christmas to me!) and have IBS. I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon – grass seed capital of the world. Willamette Valley means valley of sickness. I am ALWAYS sick. I can’t get my doctor to listen to me. It’s so frustrating. So I am doing what I can on my own and learning all I can about healing my body.

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    June 26th, 2011 12:56 pm Reply
  • Allie

    I ordered the GAPS intro ebook a few days ago and love it. We start the diet in august, after our family vacation and when our grassfed beef order is ready. Can’t wait to heal my family!

    June 26th, 2011 12:13 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      You won’t regret it Allie, I was shocked at how much GAPS improved my health even though I had already been eating traditionally for years. Just those few months on GAPS took my digestive function to a whole new level.

      June 26th, 2011 12:37 pm Reply
  • Genevieve

    I ordered the 30 day intro meal plan and it is awesome! I’m only 5 weeks postpartum though, so I can’t use it right now. Do you think there is still healing taking place even on the full GAPS diet? My little nursling is allergic to nuts (haven’t tried coconut yet as I’m to scared) and has some other food sensitivities that I’d like to heal him from sooner rather than later.

    June 26th, 2011 10:51 am Reply
    • Alyssa

      From my reading, if you’re having some broth every day with your meals, there will be some healing taking place and having some fermented foods like saerkraut as well will help colonise your bubbi’s gut with good bacteria too thru your milk. Once bubbi is old enough to go onto other foods than breastmilk, I’ve seen a good chart somewhere on how to give bubbi broths and things to gradually heal them, and of course, they heal a lot quicker than us as they have so much less years of damage than an adult so it shouldn’t be long before your he is perfectly healthy!

      June 27th, 2011 1:29 am Reply
  • Cara

    Kelli, I’ve found coconut fat to be the most effective for me with sugar/carb cravings. If I use coconut milk in my tea or smoothie, I’m usually craving free and am not even tempted!

    June 26th, 2011 10:15 am Reply
  • Kelli

    I often find myself overwhelmed with sugar/carb cravings. People I live with will bring home Belgian chocolate brownies and I can almost taste those brownies. Its so difficult. It may be because I don’t get enough healthy fats (I’ve seen you blog about that before), but I’m taking the Green Pasture cod liver oil everyday (two capsules in morning) and consuming butter. However, i still enjoy my homemade spelt bread, which I try to make the only bread I consume.

    June 26th, 2011 10:04 am Reply
    • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

      Smoothies (fruit and veggies) with raw egg yolks and plain yogurt or kefir helped me a lot with sugar cravings. It was lightly sweet, GAPS-legal, and full of enough fat and protein that I didn’t even want anything else. Baking with almond flour on occasion has also helped when I REALLY want a treat.

      June 26th, 2011 1:16 pm Reply

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