The Five Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

gaps diet mistakes

An increasing number of folks that I know seem to be trying out the GAPS diet in order to solve a variety of autoimmune issues. The “GAPS Diet“, as it is commonly known, is a temporary way of eating (usually about 18 months) to rebalance and heal/seal the gut wall which halts the flood of toxins from pathogenic strains dominating the gut environment into the bloodstream causing an unpredictable mix of autoimmune symptoms. The diet is described in detail in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MDs book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

The autoimmune disorders significantly alleviated or healed by the GAPS Diet include the simply annoying, like seasonal allergies, to the more life altering such as autism, fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, and the list goes on and on and on ….

Ok, let’s get real for a minute.   Does the GAPS diet really work for alleviating allergies and other autoimmune disorders?

Absolutely it does. My husband used to be the poster boy for allergies. He was allergic to every single prick the allergist tried on him some years ago.  Today, he is allergic to nothing. Absolutely nothing.  His asthma (during respiratory illness) and eczema are also gone.

Another person I recently talked to has arrested the progression of her IBS symptoms and gotten herself off the medication using the GAPS Diet. In fact, I know many folks who have received significant relief from their autoimmune disorders from the GAPS Diet.

How empowering to know that there is an answer for autoimmune illness and that something as simple as the GAPS diet can make it happen!

The trouble is, GAPS is simple but not necessarily easy. When folks go on GAPS, a number of common mistakes seem to be made. Here is a rundown of the five most frequent mistakes I’ve encountered coaching folks at various stages in the process:

Mistake #1:   Going off Grains but Not Starches

The most important premise of GAPS is to eliminate all sources of disaccharide containing foods from the diet until the gut wall can heal and reseal. Most sugars and all grains, even those not containing gluten, are disaccharides and hence must not be consumed while on GAPS as a compromised gut wall is unable to digest them. Undigested food in any form provides the perfect environment for pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and fungi to thrive.

Talking to people on GAPS, I have frequently encountered those who have eliminated all disaccharides from the diet but not all the starches in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroot flour, potato flour, carob powder, cocoa powder, chickpea flour, and almost all beans and legumes (navy beans and lentils are ok).

While starch is not a disaccharide, it is a very complex food molecule, comprised of very long strands of hundreds of monosugars that are very difficult for an imabalanced gut to break down. Undigested starch feeds gut pathogens. Even worse, starch that does manage to get digested results in molecules of maltose, which is a disaccharide!

As a result, for success on GAPS to be achieved and long term results attained, grains and starches must be eliminated.

Mistake #2:  Taking a Cheaper Probiotic or No Probiotic at All

GAPS success requires an infusion of strong, therapeutic strength probiotics to reseed the gut with dominant, beneficial flora at the same time the GAPS Diet is starving out the pathogens. Unfortunately, a number of folks I’ve talked to who claim to be on GAPS are not taking a probiotic at all.

This is a mistake – taking a probiotic on GAPS is not an option, it is a must!

In addition, a decent quality probiotic is expensive and some on GAPS may be enticed by some of the cheaper brands available at the healthfood store.

Dr. Campbell-McBride MD warns about this in her book. She writes that most brands on the market are not strong enough or have the correct aggressive probiotic strains necessary to recolonize the gut. Moreover, many brands of probiotics do not contain the strains listed on the label or have the claimed bacterial strength.

To avoid the problem of probiotic label fudging, make sure the brand selected is reputable and can deliver the results you need.

After all, you’re going to all this trouble and inconvenience to eat GAPS, why cut corners with the probiotic and threaten the success of the process?

Mistake #3:  Going Wild with the No Grain Flours

Our culture’s food supply is so overly dominated by grain based foods that when a person initially decides to go on GAPS, the thought “what in the world will I eat” can be rather overwhelming.

As a result, a common mistake for people on GAPS is to make a wholesale switch from grain based foods to those exact same foods made with no grain flour such as coconut or almond.

Eating bread, muffins, pancakes, waffles, pizza and cookies made with coconut or almond flour at the same rate one used to eat these same foods made with wheat can cause unintended consequences.

Coconut flour is extremely high in fiber and eating too much of it can cause gastric distress. Almond flour contains a lot of omega 6 fatty acids, and while essential to health, too many omega 6 fats in the diet contributes to inflammation.

As a result, eating a moderate amount of baked goods made with alternative flours such as coconut and almond is the best way to go to ensure GAPS success.

Mistake #4:   Not Making/Eating Enough Homemade Broth

A very important part of the GAPS diet is consumption of copious amounts homemade broth.  A small cup with every single meal is recommended.  The reason is that broth contains so many easy to assimilate minerals, vitamins, and amino-acids.  It is a very soothing food to the intestinal mucosa and has been known for centuries to aid digestion due to the natural gelatin that attracts digestive juices.

Many folks I know on GAPS are not consuming nearly enough broth.  A good idea before going on GAPS is to make sure your freezer is completely loaded up with any and all forms of homemade broth that you can find quality bones for:   chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, fish etc.

Broth is inexpensive to make and is so very important to GAPS Diet success so be sure to include it with every meal if at all possible!   Once or twice a week in soups is not often enough.

Mistake #5:  Giving Up Too Soon

Success with the GAPS Diet takes time. In most cases, it took years for the gut to get in bad shape and it’s going to take months or even a year or two to get it back in shape. For a child, the average amount of time on GAPS to achieve a significant level of autoimmune remission is 18 months. For an adult, it can take longer.

I have known adults who have achieved success in only 6 months, but these were typically people who had been eating traditionally for many years already and who simply needed to go on full GAPS for a few months to complete the healing process. If you are coming to GAPS from the Standard American Diet, then plan on 2-3 years to success. While this may seem like a long time, it is really short considering living the rest of your life with an ever worsening auto-immune situation.

Don’t give up too soon! Initial subsiding of symptoms within a few weeks or months on GAPS does not mean healing.  Stick with it so that the gut wall is healed and sealed for good and you can reclaim the vitality of life you seek!

If the GAPS diet is of interest to you and you would like a complete overview of the program, please check out a post I wrote some months back on this topic.

More Information on the GAPS Diet

The Healthiest Resistant Starch for Your Gut

GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now

Overwhelmed by the GAPS Diet?  Help Has Arrived

How to Speed Healing and Shorten Time on the GAPS Diet

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

Picture Credit


Comments (206)

  1. What kind of eczema did your husband have? I have seborrheic dermatitis and I have food intolerances to grains. Starting GAPs with a practitioner at the moment.

  2. Back in the early 90’s I did go through a candida diet in line for the most part with Dr. Crook’s methods. It was amazing and changed my life. But as a few years went on, I began drinking beer every now and then, and has brownies and things like that. You know the outcome!! But, now I am a vegetarian. More of a pesco-ovo veg. I don’t eat potatoes as it is. I use quinoa and oat infrequently, so they won’t be hard to cut. You would think a vegetarian diet would naturally be yeast-free. I assure you it is not. Beer and cider, as well as breads, are all part of a vegetarian diet! I am having all the same issues again as I did in the early 90’s. I will do some more reading on GAPS. I do the probiotics and all that stuff when I do these diets. I”m also due for my colonoscopy, so I may get a jump start on cleaning the colon. I hate my reactions to the prep, but it will be a great chance for me to start anew!

  3. So, I’m roughly at the beginning of stage 3 right now. I seem to be tolerating everything just fine. I had a fish allergy previous to starting this and when I tried the Swedish gravlax a few days ago, I didn’t react like I normally did (throat swells and hurts to swallow). I still haven’t had that reaction, but if I noticed correctly, I may have passed it in my most recent trip to the bathroom. So my question is, I am able to skip fish for now and keep moving through the intro diet? I’d rather not sit on stage 2 until fish are tolerated. I assume that if I kept going and tried fish again later, that would be fine. I just need some more thoughts and opinions. Thank you!

  4. I have been struggling with leaky gut for a very long time. It was diagnosed (finally) 2 1/2 years ago, but looking at the symptoms I had been experiencing, I would guess that I have actually had it for 15 years or more. I have been eating a mainly traditional diet for most of that time (Nourishing Traditions, raw fermented dairy, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc). I have been soaking oats (for 48 hours) to make a homemade granola, and that had been a staple of sorts for me while many other foods have been eliminated from my diet. Where do soaked, organic grains fit into any of this? I have developed very severe intestinal reactions to many of the other fermented foods, even after they had been a part of my diet at every meal. I no longer tolerate sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, or kefir. I do drink at least a pint of kombucha every day. Any other thoughts or suggestions for me to try?

  5. One HUGE important thing most articles like this leave out is the importance of getting tested for food allergies and avoiding them like the plague. The GAPS diet allows things like eggs and garlic, but if you were unknowingly allergic to these foods (or more) and you’re still eating them, you are not going to get better.

    I have gone years going from doctor to doctor, been eating paleo and trying everything under the sun, and nothing was working. I have finally found and amazing doctor (whose moto is “we don’t guess, we test!”) and after testing, sure enough I have 13 major food allergies. Wheat, cow dairy, goat dairy, eggs, almonds, potato, cashews, peanuts, and more. After strictly avoiding these, I am now starting to feel better. Because my body isn’t being bombarded by these things anymore, my body feels more sensitive to things, and I can feel that I don’t tolerate certain starches like arrowroot or tapioca and possibly rutabaga, though I do fine with sweet potato. (Each person is different and I NEED carbs for my chronic fatigue and mental state.)

    Moral of my comment, GET TESTED FOR FOOD ALLERGIES! This is soooo important, I don’t know why it has been left out of this article.

    • I guess it kind of astounds me that testing for food allergies isn’t one of the first things doctors do. Reading comments below of people not getting results on the GAPS diet (people that are eating lots of eggs and almonds and what have you) and commenting on the big symptoms that are worsening, then people commenting back that it’s just die off. How do you know? Maybe after cutting out most of the crap your body is just more in tune and a whole lot more sensitive, and so all those eggs you are eating is giving you grief. Sure, maybe it is just detox. I have been dealing with some acne since I have been avoiding grains, sugar and my allergies, (pretty much GAPS, I eat less than what’s allowed on the AIP diet and still figuring out the kinks…) and it is detox. But how would YOU know, you who haven’t gotten those allergy tests? You could go years on the GAPS and get no good results if you are allergic to something you eat every day. No diet is one-size-fits-all, not even GAPS.

  6. My son is 13 y of age with ASD and he was started on GAPS diet 3 months ago and he was on intro diet for 10 weeks and now he is on full GAP diet. We saw some improvement within the first 2-3 weeks. Now, his symptoms are slightly worse. Am i doing something wrong? Or is this expected?
    Any comments are greatly appreciated.

    • We had a terrible time with GAPS. We followed intro GAPS to a T for 5-6 months and then followed the diet for close to 2 years. Big mistake. We got lead poisoning from the organic grass fed bone broth we were making and cadmium poisoning from the crockpot. My daughter wasn’t making serotonin due to lack of carbs. We hung on way to long. We had a very healthy diet before hand. Now we are gluten free and mostly grain free (we do use some sprouted flour occasionally) and give plenty of fruit and do lentils and things are so much better! One size does not fit all. Some kids need carbs! I myself couldn’t maintain a 19 BMI with this diet.

      • Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist January 26, 2015 at 10:22 am

        Fortunately, GAPS is only temporary! Yes, I need carbs from grains too … I lost 8 lbs on GAPS and I was eating like a horse. I was so glad to transition off and back onto grains. Much better for my physiology and obviously my genetics given my ancestors ate grains :)

        • I initially lost weight on GAPS. I could have stood to lose between 5 and 10 pounds and I lost about 18 pounds. Since then, I gained it all back and then some. I could now stand to lose around 15 pounds.

  7. Help! Is it normal for a child to get WORSE before getting better on GAPS? I started on this 8 days ago w my kiddos in part to help my daughter’s constant allergic-type reactions (runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, red eyes), but she has had two horrible days today and yesterday with no discernible trigger… we are just on Stage 4 which is about as slow as I felt I could go w my kids clamoring for more food and needing some carbs. Could it be that she is detoxing and this is causing the symptoms? Or is she reacting to something on the diet (eggs? squash? ack I have no idea!)?

  8. What is a good probiotic to take. My whole family is just starting the Gapps diet, most of us have had yeast related issues for about the last year and some of us longer. Are there different probiotics for kids? I have 4 children with ages ranging from 1 to 14.

    • My whole family takes the ProBio5 probiotic from Plexus. It has 5 beneficial bacteria and the enzyme that works as an antifungal that actually KILLS the candida. We also take the BioCleanse, because we know that bowel habits play heavily into candida overgrowths too. Both are very affordable and many doctors are recommending it in my area.

  9. I’m on day 6 of GAPS and it’s going well and have noticed a decrease in my inflammation. No digestion issues and so far so good. I did a food allergy test before the diet and it turns out I’m sensitive to eggs, almonds, garlic and ginger which are supposed to be consumed on the intro. I’m going to wait until I finish the intro to test these foods and hopefully after I heal I can introduce them one by one. Is that how you recommend or do you have any suggestions? Thanks for the article, very helpful!

  10. I’m preparing to start the GAPS intro diet and usually drink kombucha every day. Is kombucha off limits at the beginning of GAPS?

  11. @Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

    interesting, but..
    -you dont actually explain what the “GAPS diet” is.. and your link does not work. acronym?
    -rice, buckwheat ok?
    -lemons OK, but citric acid no?
    -dairy no, but kefir/yogurt yes?
    -almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds ok?
    -im trying to figure out how i can consume 3,000 calories with this GAPS diet.. green veggies arent gonna cut it.


    • GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It basically means there is a direct link from gut health to brain health. The gut and brain are made up of the same tissue. So leaky gut = mental/emotional/behavioral issues. Healthy gut = healthy brain.

  12. Pingback: GAPS Intro Diet: First Days | Mummy Tries

  13. Hi Sarah,
    I have my 10 year old son on GAPS right now. He’s been on the intro for about 30 days now. We have not followed the exact stages but have stuck to the lists of foods only allowed on those stages. During the first more restrictive week he showed big signs of change. He has a mild form of ASD Asperger’s and ADD. After the first 2 weeks he began to behave his old way but still much calmer. I don’t know of any foods that may have caused this as I took him off our homemade yogurt in case it was that (and he was constipated). I’ve got him back on the yoghurt as he’s having bowel movements now (the doc put him on magnesium so it may be because of that…am not sure). In particular, his behaviour has gotten worse since, I think, going onto BIOKULT. He says he’s feeling very moody, angry, and breaks into tears a lot and then is elated a few mins later. Also, he has developed his old eczema rash around his groan, and in a new place on his foot. I am wondering if this eczema and weird moodiness is die off I keep hearing about? If so,how long should it last for? Or could it be the almond flour baked goods I’m giving him? So difficult to know if things are progressing the way they should be or regressing due to foods he shouldn’t be having. I am scared to remove foods as it’s been hellish for him being on this diet Do you, or anyone else, have any advice? I would be so grateful.

    • Sounds like Candida die-off symptoms. Going through that now personally. You feel worse before you feel better. Could mean that he’s on the right track! Google it, tons of info about die-off (aka: Herx reaction) Hope this helps!

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  15. I am doing the GAPS diet and am someone with a carbohydrate sensitivity and insulin resistance. I have the book and have read it. Doing well on it. Here is a wonderful jewel for you all that you may find helpful. Dr.McBride has a webpage with over 100 Q&A by her that are not addressed specifically in the book. Very helpful!

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  29. Hello, I am using BioKult Candéa. On teh box it says to take them after meals but I have always been told to take probiotics on an empty stomach… Thoughts?

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  31. Sarah,

    I am on the GAPS diet for a similar reason to your husband. Food Allergies. Just curious of how long he was on the diet and when he started to experiment with foods he previously reacted to. I know everyone is different, just trying to gather info.

  32. I agree with probiotics and broth and p’au darco and many other points in this article.

    However, if you stay on this diet for a long time, i.e. more than 3-5 months, you will develop serious deficiencies and potentially even hypoglycemia. Most people who comment did NOT actually stay on a very strict absolutely-no-grain diet for a very long time. The usually do a few weeks.

    I tried it myself, and while it does provide relief from some issues, it leads to new ones, if you keep it up in the long term like I did, for 2 years. I was very diligent and did not cheap. That’s how I know what happens if you actually stay on this diet for a very long time.

    I did use probiotics, I made a large pot of soups once a week and had them for the next 3-4 days (which ends up being 5 days a week), I did not eat any potatoes or starchy veggies at all, no diary at all..I did take antifungals, including p’au darco, and they did help. Helped – but did not cure. My candida did NOT go away (it did stay under control) but new symptoms appeared. Many nutritionists and doctors now admit that VERY low-carb diet in the long term is detrimental. Low-ER carbs, i.e. under 100 gm per day – is still a low carb diet, but it does not lead to serious imbalances. I switched to it and feel much better, and my candida has not gotten worse.

    Apparently, candida can leave without any food for a very long period of time, it can eat ANYTHING (but it loves sugar!), it can curl into a ball and stay dormant, it has an amazing ability to survive in the most hostile environments. The focus should be on strengthening immunity.

    Looking back, my advice: stay on a VERY restricted diet for 3 months and do NOT cheat during this time, because this is where you can make candida regress and reduce its amounts to almost normal (but do not expect it to go away, it will come back very quickly if you start doing “typical” American diet). Take double dose (or more, increase gradually to bowel tolerance) of high-quality probiotics (with no FOS) but also take castor oil, at least a tea spoon per day (but more is ok too) – it helps heal the gut much faster than anything else. Take coffee enemas very two weeks – it does not drain you like other enemas (it is a low enema) and it helps to detox very well. Exercise, breathe (make several balloons three times a day to increase your lung capacity). Stay on a very low sugar diet (but make sure you eat one fruit per day on an empty stomach) and rather low carb, but make sure you get your key minerals (research and count).

    You need to count how much of what you are getting, this is key. I would not worry about carbs, fats and proteins – at all. Instead, focus on key minerals, especially magnesium.

    85% of your diet should be veggies. And of that, 80% should be row. Out of all rules, I would focus on ONE tule: keep your saliva pH in a good range, i.e. 7.2 – consistently during the day, every day, day after day. Buy pH strips and take samples throughout the day. Candida can survive in any pH, but your immunity cannot function in acidic environment.

    Supplement with magnesium and B complex. But at first, candida, like a very good parasite, will eat most of your supplements, so do not focus too much on supplements in the first 3 months or until your candida regresses noticeably. if possible, buy supplements from foods and without ANY additives or “natural flavours”. It is hard to find. I like Mega Food supplements. If what they say on their labels is true (we can never be sure), then they do a very good job and most of the contents are from dehydrated foods. I take them and I feel fine – not sure if they make a difference, but I feel fine.

    Listen to your body. Watch your symptoms very carefully – a theory is always a theory, but your body will tell you what is good for YOU.

    I guess the main point I wanted to make is – any extreme will lead to serious imbalances.

    Hope it helps.

  33. As a nurse I see some docs coming about on probiotics but where they lack is either cheap and/or only 1 strain. I see in myself and others I give advice on the more strains, and higher the bacteria count the better results. The grocery store is the last place you want to get probiotics.

  34. Tammy Miller via Facebook January 25, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    My son was picky, so was my niece. Salt really helps the taste and actually spoon feeding it worked for me in the beginning for the younger one. A 8 year old and 3 year old have done it for almost 7 months now. I’m on day 20 of intro. That book I shared huge help.

  35. I am hoping someone can help… I noticed a couple of years ago that removing grains from my diet removed the GERD I suffered from. I am currently about 2 weeks in and back an forth with stage 3 & 4. (try to introduce stage 4 and go back to stage 3 because it’s not quite tolerated) Well, after less than a week on intro the GERD is back? With a vengeance!! It’s awful! I struggle to believe it’s die-off, (the arthritis and cold symptoms yes, but this? I don’t know…)
    I am uncomfortable from my first Cup of broth in the the morning (post-puke acidic feeling in my throat) and by bedtime I am miserable and have woken up several times hoping I would puke because it was so strong at least maybe it would end, or actually having acid spill out my nose.
    Eating my last meal earlier in the evening has not helped and I am now sleeping upright until about 6 hours after my last meal to at least prevent the acid out the nose. I wake up feeling GREAT but dread eating at all. I tried the betaine hcl, but it didn’t seem to help. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions for help?

  36. Im not sure what to do. I have bad blood pressure. Im trying to lose my post partum weight by eating no wheat or refined sugar but im not sure what else to be doing. I was going to start biokult too

  37. I just wanted to say thank you, Sarah, for such a well-written informative article. I’m about to start GAPS but really wanted to know if I had my information right. You let me know that I’m on the right track, and that I’ve processed the info correctly. (It can be a lot to take in!) And I’ve pinned this so I can check back as I progress and remind myself… Just a note for those who are concerned about additives in Bio-kult: it no longer contains maltodextrin (as of 2014 at least). Thanks again!

  38. I stopped reading the comments b/c people are saying scary and shocking things. You shouldn’t feel hungry on this diet b/c if you pull off the mask on the Gaps diet…. it’s really “traditional food”. You don’t have to feel lost and eat a strange diet your unfamiliar with, if you have even a vague memory of eating traditional food with your family at the dinner table. The recipes for the intro diet…you’ll find an equivalent in any traditional food or you can easily modify a traditional recipe to fit the intro guidelines. For the people with acne, you won’t grow out of it. Your gut is crying out for help. If you have gout, your body is crying out for help too. You have nothing to loose from eating homemade, additive-free food made from whole foods (not the grocery store!).

    @zjac Disagree. If your talking about Dr. Wahl’s intensive nutritional therapy or protocol, she based much of her work on the paleo diet and added supplements and increased intake amount for certain types of whole foods, needed specifically to treat MS patients. You missed the fundamental theme behind paleo and dr. wahl’s information and gaps too — which is people do not eat fresh, nutritious foods anymore. People today eat nutritionally inferior, ultra processed foods. If you find it hard to stick to the diet it’s b/c your eating “their” diet and not the one you grew up with. If you grew up on a Standard American Diet and don’t have a traditional diet to fall back to, then look no farther than old fashion southern food but you’ll have to find pre-industrial revolution recipes b/c today’s southern food is heavily processed (sugar, industrial oil, additives) or adjust southern recipes to fit gaps or paleo guidelines.

  39. As someone suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, and having investigated thoroughly several diets, it really is a pity the nutritional medical community doesn’t come together. There are some serious conflicting point amongst the most popular diets: OMS/Jellenik diet, Gaps Diet, Paleo diet, Wahls protocol and a long etc, and all have detailed scientific backing. It makes me question whether just like pharma companies have an interest in not being completely transparent, several of the preachers of these diets have the same interests especially where publishing books are concerned.

    It is ironic to see diet specifically aimed at helping MS with such striking and contrasting differences.

    I definatly know that there great part of the cause of Autoimmune and other chronic illnesses are related to the food we eat, but the quicker the great thinkers of nutrition come together and work together to provide aligned information, the quicker we will all start to heal. These diets are all generally quite hard to stick to, and what you do not need to distract or deter you is contradictory information and evidence.

  40. 2 questions:
    1) Is GAPS safe durng pregnancy?
    2) After the diet shows complete effectiveness (your estimated 18 months-3 years), can you go back to eating a normal whole foods diet?

    I’m not talking about returning to the Standard American Diet, but will we be forever tied to GAPS? We’re on Feingold right now, and while it’s helped my son’s SPD a ton, there are constant new food sensitivities for him, and he will be on this diet forever. It’s more than a little disheartening… Hoping for something different… Thanks so much for the info!!

  41. Can someone explain if the GAPS diet is o.k. for someone who has gout symptoms? I have been removing grains/starchses/sugars from my diet and leaning toward paleo, but I am thinking I need to do something drastic right now because of my fibromyalgia. Then last week I had my left knee swell up like a balloon over night for absolutely no reason. The doctor thought it might be early gout. :( For gout you have to avoid a lot of meats, and some veggies and fruits. Comments or insight?

  42. Why no cocoa powder? Or is this for people with seriously compromised guts? I have eczema and psoriasis both mild but would like to clear it up – what’s the verdict? :-)

      • I know it seems I’m just re-asking the above question, but I’m hoping you’ll not mind since I am not coming from the typical SAD diet. Between my diet and the other detoxifying things I’ve been doing in the last few years (lots of green and white tea, water and dry body brushing), I don’t think I would be as toxic as the typical person starting the GAPS diet. I have been dairy, corn, soy, gluten, legume, and artificial sweetener free for almost 4 years. I had a baby 13 months ago and he eats free of those things as well. I also recently went back to being (mostly) sugar free. I’m almost at the end of the GAPS book and she does say that you can do full GAPS if you are nursing. I plan to start all of my children and myself on full GAPS in May. Right now, I am trying to incorporate some things into our diets. The baby and I both get at least 1 cup of bone broth a day. We both take a probiotic. (I get his from his D.O. and it’s very high quality). I’m trying to replace some of the rice we eat with things like spaghetti squash. Right now, I am also taking the detox bath once a week. Anyway, we are planning to do 3 months of full GAPS while going through the steps of the milk trial before going on the intro in August. (This is actually recommended in the second edition) I am planning to try to wean the baby by then, but he may still be nursing once or twice a day for comfort. He nurses about 4-5 times a day now. I am just wondering, since he will be doing full GAPS, taking a bath once a week and not getting much of his nourishment from me. In this scenario, would I be able to do the intro?

  43. I’m trying to find out if unpasteurized sauerkraut will break down the disaccharides in grains and potatoes, and beans. It looks like GAPS picks up where SCD left off. I appreciate the information I’m finding here.

  44. I was just currious, but if someone had a messed up gut and instead of going on the GAPS diet they just did the Weston price diet, would they still heal their gut but maybe just not as fast? We were on GAPS a year ago and it was very healing. I’m just currious if it makes a huge difference or not in your gut eating the Weston price way.

  45. Hi,
    I have been trying the GAPS diet for a few days and I feel very light and less bloated. The only challage so far is been eleminating coffee. Not drinking coffee in the last 3 days has made me feel like a dead person! lol
    I was hoping I can try an herb called Astragulas as a morning stimulant, but I see that is also mentioned on the “Food to Avoid” list!.

    So my question is: what do people on Gaps diet use to wake up in the morning? How about Rhodiola or any other herbs/supplements ? anything GAPS Friendly that you can recommend? (Green Tea does nothing for me)

  46. We are on day 3 on GAPS intro and my kids are miserable and won’t eat the food. I can’t get them to drink broth or much of anything. They want pancakes and tortillas and applesauce. Do you have any suggestions?

  47. I did started the intro gaps for 3 weeks and completed and today I moved to general diet, I’m suffering from eczema for more than 3 years, once I started the test the gaps diet by going on general diet for two weeks then started the intro for 3 weeks and now I’m on general diet, I noticed that almost my eczema reduced by 95%, but with going to general diet I experienced an increase again in the eczema, is this is expected to happen? Or that mean I didn’t do it right? I’m confused why with first day of general diet I start to experience the itchiness more. Advice.

  48. Does anyone know where I can hire someone to implement the gaps intro diet for me? I’m a new mom with multiple health problems that hinders me from being able to shop for and cook the gaps foods. I have a young baby and husband to take care of and have no energy/strength to do much more let alone try to keep myself fed with the right foods that won’t give me diarrhea and losing more and more weight. I need help! I’m located in the Sacramento area. Anyone know who I can contact?

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  50. Can you have Konjac Root Fiber and Raw Pea Protein Powder (with only stevia) on the GAAPS Diet? I love the “Sunwarrior” brand!

  51. Hi Sarah,

    After you’ve been doing the diet, who’s to say that the stomach won’t get damaged again when you start eating normal foods?

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  53. I’ve read how inexpensive making the bone broth is, but my Coop sells bones for $4.50 per lb. I’d have to boil several pounds per week and that really adds up fast. I’m not interested in purchasing bones of conventionally raised animals. Where does one find these inexpensive solutions?

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  55. My child was diagnosed multiple food allergies, that include nuts/peanuts, some seeds, some fruits, veggies and even honey :( I read dr. Campbell’s book and wanted to try GAPs but worried that its just not possible with so many dietary restrictions. Is it possible to succeed with GAPs without nuts, seeds or honey?

  56. Melissa Todd via Facebook February 23, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Cauliflower rice is a pretty good alternative to rice. Yes it’s different, but it can be made relatively bland in flavor or add spices to it. And makes a great filler for stir fries or whatever. Just grade or shred the cauliflower head, put in a sauce pan with a little oil and a little bit of broth, stir occasionally and cook with the lid off for most of the time until its softened up.

  57. Yani Lea Briones via Facebook February 22, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I am Asian and rice has been part of my life. In GAPS diet we are advised to remove all grains, do we have a substitute for it? I can give up other foods but sad about rice Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks

  58. Your posts are so great and user friendly and I find them to make sense out of so much contradictory information out there on nutrition. Thank you. I was wondering about doing a diet like this or the Body Ecology Diet however I am breastfeeding and have had two babies in three years and have been nursing and quite sleep deprived now for nearly three years. My body is craving some sort of cleanse and deep nourishment from all it has been through, though I’m not sure if I should wait until I am done breastfeeding?

  59. I was looking into the gaps diet as we have severe asthma, allergies, food allergies, psoriasis and eczema, but when I found that the diet had lots of nuts and eggs I realized we couldn’t do it. I have two boys deathly allergic to eggs and nuts.

    • Hi Anita, I know this reply is like a year later than your comment, but just for others who have the same question as you I’ll reply…I am in the same boat as your boys (though I wouldn’t say I’m deathly allergic…) and doing GAPS as they recommend wouldn’t work for me. Yet I have leaky gut. So what to do?

      According to my doctor, the most important thing to healing your gut is to first avoid your allergies like the plague. Each time you eat one of these allergens, it’s like getting socked in the gut. Imagine getting socked in the gut over and over day after day. Not a pretty picture, is it?

      What does my diet look like? I eat meat, veggies and fruit, basically. And oils like coconut and extra virgin olive. It’s still tough getting enough calories, but I’m figuring it out. The article above says to avoid ALL starches, but that’s just lumping everyone into one category when we are not all the same. If I do not eat some starchy vegetables, my psychological state as well as well as physical quickly goes down hill. I eat sweet potatoes, carrots, and a few other root vegetable like rutabaga, jicama and tarrow.

      Bone broth is a very essential part of gut healing, but what happens when you have no good sources for grass fed bones? This is the case in my life. So although it may not be the most optimal, I use Great Lakes grass fed bone collagen for most of my source. I mix it into coconut milk and berry smoothies, or into soups. As I said this may not be the most optimal, but in my case it’s the best I can do, therefore I am not going to stress (since did you know stress the the main cause of leaky gut?)

      The 3 supplements that have helped the most for my gut and health are apple cider vinegar, diotomatomaceous earth, and a good quality probiotic (I like the Now brand). It’s mostly about the diet, but not all. There are so many factors in healing, and I believe you can heal your gut even if you don’t follow the exact GAPS protocol and you eat some root veggies and avoid eggs and nuts. (In fact, it surprises me that nuts are allowed on GAPS since they are so high in gut irritating anti-nutrients….)

  60. I tried the GAPS program in attempts to help my debilitating gastritis, reflux and it’s consequential breathing problems from all the stomach inflammation. That being said, I was taking probiotics, digestive enzymes and fish oil supplements everyday. I felt like all the supplements were making me worse. Furthermore, a diet of just veggies, meat and chicken broth were also making it harder for me to breath as well as feeling pretty weak. I’ve also noticed that skipping meals makes everything much worse. It was only when I stopped taking any supplements and started adding some potatoes & sourdough bread that things improved. Sorry to poke holes in the narrative here, I’m simply reporting my experiences thus far. Would be curious to get anyone’s thoughts/opinions on this.

  61. I tried the GAP program in attempts to help my debilitating gastritis, reflux and it’s consequential breathing problems from all the stomach inflammation. That being said, I was taking probiotics, digestive enzymes and fish oil supplements everyday. I felt like all the supplements were making me worse. Furthermore, a diet of just veggies, meat and chicken broth were also making it harder for me to breath as well as feeling pretty weak. It was only when I stopped taking any supplements and started adding some potatoes & sourdough bread that things improved. Sorry to poke holes in the narrative here, I’m simply reporting my experiences thus far. Would be curious as to your thoughts on this.

  62. I absolutely agree with #3, people often go from gluten containing highly processed foods to gluten free highly processed foods which is not the right direction.

    Word of caution on #2: Some of the voices actually compare todays probiotic craze to the antibiotic one 50 years ago while long term effects of supplementing large quantities of limited number of species. Rather prefer whole probiotics containing foods like kefir, yougurt, kimchi, sauerkraut.

  63. Karen Lossing via Facebook February 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I would love to see a result after ten months, because of how limiting it is! I believe that it’s a very slow healing process even when coming from an all organic diet to begin with.

  64. Kim Reynolds Sharp via Facebook February 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    We can’t do without our Shaklee probiotics! They are AWESOME and scientifically sound! THEY DELIVER!

  65. I used this diet (what I now know to be GAPS, but at the time was unnamed) for about 9 months when my 3 month old exclusively breastfed baby had eczema so bad that they wanted to put him on steroids. His skin was oozing and cracked on such an extensive area of the body that he required oral antibiotics (the only one of my six children that I have agreed to put on antibiotics). Because he was exclusively breastfed, it was me who went on the diet. I am pleased to say that his eczema completely healed before he was a year old and that many of my seasonal allergies did as well. If I remember correctly, I may have given him some probiotics as well once he got to be 4 or 5 months old.

    I mention this just in case anyone is wondering whether or not a GAPS diet for the mother would be effective in healing an exclusively breastfed baby…. In my case it certainly was!

    • I just kind of asked this question in a post below and my instinct was that it would be a GOOD thing for a bf baby but my interest was in healing myself so I wasn’t sure if I should wait until done bf-ing to do any sort of cleanse; though logically, if I am interested in healing myself, my babes could probably use the same….

      • Exactly… The only issue can be if you drop weight quickly… because that can cause the liver to release toxins rather suddenly… not great for a breastfeeding baby. In my case we decided it was worth the risk… but if its just a general cleanse I might get some professional advice. When I did it, it was under the guidance of a really talented Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner… But yes, my baby did fine and I did fine, though I did get a little too thin (baby didn’t though!)

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  69. I know that I need to do a GAPS diet. I also know that we are likely to add a child to our family in the next 2-3 years. How does the GAPS diet work with pregnancy and breast feeding? If I did a full year of GAPS before getting pregnanty would it be safe to stay on the diet?

  70. Coconut oil is said to be wonderful against Candida. Bicarbonate needs to be taken away from digestion time, of course. My 4 y.o. also did the entire Candida diet. Formula 1 and 2 are for adults. Formula 3 is for the kids and it’s milder. The stomach aches were simply the contractions of the intestine getting empty. While waiting for formula 3 to arrive, you could try phylum husk or prune juice, it does work. Most people don’t know what normal bowel movements are supposed to be like. Once they experience Dr S’s stuff they are amazed at the amount of stuff they deliver. :) Especially animal product people. Yuk!
    My site has a few recipes on candida diet. Perhaps you want to continue your conversation there to avoid flooding this one with a vegetarian attitude, LOL
    take care!

  71. Excellent, thanks for your responses. I felt the sugar wasn’t working for me. One last question, olive oil and coconut oils are ok, and the bicarbonate thing you spoke of. I found that last year on curezone and it worked for me, however I stopped because someone told me it destroys natural stomach acids. Can we do this molasses bicarbonate while on this leaky gut protocol? And can I include my 4yr old daughter on this? I gave her 1 of the intestinal pills for a week
    and she complained of stomach aches so I stopped.

  72. Hello!
    lentils, garbanzo, and black beans: excellent.
    Carrots and beets are sweet vegg are they allowed? I doubt! No sugar..I think carrots are allowed raw -not cooked.
    Juice fast: wow that was very long. Juices are terrible for candida (Unless they are just veggies. No fruit juices for candida)

    watermelon juice: sugar!
    raw milk: sugar, proteins, fat and glue, NO NO NO! LOL
    watercress with lemon juice. Sounds acidic but might be a good one!

    The last 3 days, I switched over to Dr. C’s 3 day cleanse with the gallons of apple juice. Pasteurised apple juice also has sugar and citric acid which is not good for candida.

    My stomach ballooned after 1 day. I am convinced there is something going on with me, definitely need to avoid sugar. Please let me know what you think.

    Avoid sugar – fullstop.

    Only when Candida is well gone, introduce fruit slowly slowly without exceeding I think 15-20% a day.

    All the best!


    • I saw the comments on the leaky gut protocol on herbal legacy. There are people who said they went to the seminars that say it is ok to eat sweet potatoes. What about lentils, garbanzo, and black beans? Carrots and beets are sweet vegg are they allowed? I’m really concerned because following a 30 juice fast, my previously distended belly flatened out.

      It was really lots of water and various juices. Some days master cleanse, some days watermelon juice, some days raw milk, and some days watercress with lemon juice. The last 3 days, I switched over to Dr. C’s 3 day cleanse with the gallons of apple juice. My stomach ballooned after 1 day. I am convinced there is something going on with me, definitely need to avoid sugar. Please let me know what you think.

  73. I am not confused about Dr. Campbell’s diet. I read everything she wrote, I wrote every word of her speech in London, I watched her video multiple times. I am now studying to be a nutritionist, too.

    Animal products are not designed for the human body. The industry (Big Pharma) is the one that trains doctors and pharmacists and pays Governments and Media to promote processed foods so they make money and sell more medicines.
    Wake up people. If we were meant to eat all that meat we would have the same short intestine of lions, the same strong acid in the stomach, their same short life span and their same teeth. But we don’t and there is a reason.

    If everybody was to use the GAP diet, as the condition is widespread, we would need to kill all animals on the earth.

    To answer the above question, “What about lemons, cayenne, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, sea salt and other spices? And potatoes”?

    Lemons alkalise the body, it’s yes. Cayenne yes. Peppers yes. Mushrooms no, they help candida to grow. Tomatoes are sweet, not allowed. Sea salt technically yes but Dr C and Dr S teach that salt hardens the arteries and we should hardly ever add it to foods.
    Potatoes are starchy, they become sugar, so it’s no.

    The leaky gut diet is about changing your life style for good. Reverting back to our past diet will bring back the symptoms.
    Why? Because Candida MUST live in our intestine, it’s a scavenger necessary for our digestion, as it clears the toxins by binding to them. Thus, when we fall back into our habits, Candida grows again and eventually takes over.

    The best diet we can strive to follow is one that is sustainable for a lifetime and that will sustain and nourish our body.
    For more info read “Eat to live” and “The transfiguration diet” on which foods build the body and which destroy it.

    The China study and many others have proved beyond doubt that a diet based on animal product is a PRIMARY cause of cancer.

    When we followed strictly Dr. Christopher’s protocol, my son’s behaviour improved 100%. People were coming to tell us “whatever you are giving him to eat, keep doing it”. So, it works.

    All the best in your efforts to eliminate Candida overgrowth. Also, study the words of Dr. Simoncini about Candida as a cause of cancer. His videos are in English and Italian. He has eliminated Candida by simply changing the PH of the body, using bicarbonate of soda. He has given patients bicarbonate of soda and molasses in the same spoon. Candida eats the molasses and then implodes when eating the baking soda. Feels great.



  74. Thank you Sarah, I’m about six weeks in and just needing some encouragement to keep going. This post, although I know it is old, helped this morning. Thank you very much.

  75. Hello Sarah,
    I have peripheral neuropathy, tough for a former Olympic distance triathlete. I can’t walk much. I also have leaky-gut. Have you heard of people with pn heal with this diet?

    I started gaps yesterday. I could not tolerate squash as it made me bloat.

    Should I simply cut back or skip it, if so what should I replace it with?

    Also, I’m allergic to beef, therefore is chicken and fish broth enough?

    Is there iron etc. in the rest of the diet?
    I am liking the structure of this diet and it gives me hope. I will stick to it!

  76. Elena, I think the best thing you can do is to start Intro. This is a great post (someone listed it above, I believe), about the differences between SCD and GAPS. I think it would do you well to look at it.
    There is also some info on the Intro diet there. It’s not just broth, but meat and veggies, too. I worked through Intro fairly quickly, but knew if I had a set back I’d go back to the beginning stages. Diarrhea should be an easy thing to measure. If you have it, move backward on the Intro diet…if you don’t, then move forward toward full GAPS. Blessings!

  77. late post sorry- love the blog! I’ve been on GAPS for only 4 days and I am seeing some results (I have crohn’s- 3 surgeries) but I still have diarrhea :( Am I being too eager for healing? I know you all comment on months but that’s without diarrhea- right? She states in her book to stay on only broths until the diarrhea subsides- how long could that be? Should I add some veggies in the soup? I’ve been doing SCD for years but I don’t think my intestine ever healed properly and I don’t know where to turn- any advice on where to get answers or own experiences to shed light would be great!

    Thanks again for the post and all these wonderful people working so hard to find healing the right way

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  80. Great post! I admit I am guilty of eating too many alternative baked goods. I rely on almonds way too much. I’ve made a concious effort to only have these once or twice a week now. And I just started making more broths. I’ve always started to feel better and then I get impatient and begin eating things I shouldn’t, only to relapse with my dysbiosis. This time I want to make a full fledged effort. Does anyone here have experience with a bacteria called enterobacter cloacae? This is what I am dealing with.


  81. Hi all, I have been studying the GAP diet for over a month now, and everything related to leaky gut and candida, as we have it, too, in my family. We are all allergic to milk, my nose is always congested, and my husband has hay fever and asthma. I love what Dr. Campbell has found out and I have watched her video several times. I have sent her video links to all my friends!

    However, when it comes to her idea of how to fix the gut, my mouth drops. Really.

    Dr. Campbell is an excellent neurologist, not a nutritionist, and it is obvious.

    She has developed a diet which is very similar to the one promoted by the Weston & Price foundation, a diet based primarily on raw, organic, un–pasteurised animal products, with the elimination of grains and raw fruit/veggies.

    While it is completely possible that GAP syndrome may get better by following this diet for a short time, (as it eliminates some of the culprits, namely sugar and grains) any nutritionist or holistic healer will know that if kept for a long time, this animal-based diet will cause a lot of harm, namely the four big problems that plague industrialised countries: diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. (For details just watch the free video: Fork over knives)

    Dr. Campbell has not brought any long term evidence that her patients, after say, 2 or 3 years of that diet, have not developed serious, really serious problems, constipation being the first.

    Moreover, she is completely uneducated regarding the massive amount of vaccines, steroids, growth hormones, antibiotics, and general chemicals which are injected in farm animals from day one and pass to our bodies when we have milk (a glue, the foundation of allergies and cancer) and meat (a dense mass that putrefies in our intestine for days before becoming a had mass stuck on the lining of the intestine).

    Most animals are fed with G.M. corn (and they are not supposed to eat corn) and soy meals.
    Oh yes, she recommends grass fed animals. Good luck if you think you can pay for that kind of meat. And how can you be assured that no farmer has ever sprayed pesticides in the field nearby, 3 times a year, and therefore that lovely grass is actually full of chemicals?

    It is just not healthy food. Especially for 18 months. I am yet to read any testimonial of any patient who has been on the GAP diet for 2 years and now, 10 years later, eating all that meat is still healthy. Impossible. And I have read hundreds of testimonials for hours and hours, day after day, for over a month. There isn’t one definite case of one healed person who has no more problems. Because they might seal the gut (easy, as casein is a glue, and it permeates the gut, stopping the absorption of all minerals, thus you read of people being very tired etc) but they will develop a lot more health issues in the future.

    The GAP diet in the first two stages eliminates all fiber. There is no need to do so, because you will also lose a lot of nutrients that are only found in plant foods. This issue of the fibers causing an inflamed gut can be easily be solved by juicing fruit and veggies. (And of course by avoiding fruit in the beginning as it feeds Candida). This is the quickest way to remove the fibers and get the nutrients straight into the blood stream.

    Superfood by Dr. Schulze has lots of spirulina and GAP friendly nutrients by the way, and it gives you plenty of energy.

    The human body is not designed to eat only animal products: we have only 4 canines for a reason. Our intestine is much longer than the one of carnivores, and thus meat putrefies inside it, causing, in the long term, a lot of problems, including constipation, toxins and yes….leaky gut syndrome. The industry has brainwashed all of us, including doctors, to believe that we need to eat animal products, so they can become rich while we become sick. Big Pharma is thankful.

    A search on the Internet will show that all the “other” medical doctors and natural healers suggest a plant based diet to resolve dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome. Dr. Campbell is the only one who suggests that humans can get better by following a lion’s diet. It’s a shame because I think she is fantastic and I really like her, but her diet is dangerous. There are far better programmes around which are more doable and will heal the guts, too. There isn’t just one way.

    Among the many websites on leaky gut and candida, I noticed lots of people contradicting one another. Lots of foods allowed by one doctor are forbidden by another. Very confusing!

    I was very happy last week to find some clear guidance from Dr. David Christopher in an article I am linking below.

    David Christopher is a Master Herbalist and I have studied at his school, becoming a Family Herbalist last year. I have learned so much about nutrition and about the mucusless diet of Dr. Christopher, which is excellent to prevent stomach problems and any health problem.
    It is a life style which makes sense and is doable, and not based on difficult to find foods, or on killing animals.

    I am excited to have found David Christopher’s programme for the healing of leaky gut syndrome and it looks to me much more doable than any other programme I have seen so far, plus it makes sense from a holistic healing point of view. Although he suggests one month, in some cases a longer time will be needed but I feel he is on the right track.

    My family and I are getting ready to start with this diet next week. The article is in the link below.

    I hope my comments are not offensive to any of you. My desire is simply to help.

    I have seen first hand my parents, grandparents, and all my in-laws dying of cancer at an early age. (from 35 to 70)

    And guess what they ate. They were all on the GAP diet without knowing it. Great biological meat, (some of them were hunters), great farm dairies, mostly cooked veggies, the purest raw, full fat milk, lots of fresh animal fats etc. They lived in an unspoiled place with no pollution, too.
    You would expect them to be healthy but they all had leaky gut disease for life and din’t know it.

    They all developed constipation very early and together they had: appendicitis, haemorrhoids, tonsillectomies, removal of one kidney and gallbladder, 3 heart attacks, continual stomach problems, gum disease, cavities, fractures, hepatitis, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, 4 cases of breast cancer, 3 of heart disease and one liver cancer. And I am talking about 5 persons here.

    If this is the effect of eating the best animal products – well, I certainly do NOT want to engage in any Weston-Price, industry-led discussion on how well they will make me any BETTER!

    To all of you, all my best wishes for a resolution of your health problems!

    • You’ve clearly confused a great deal of things about GAPS. Read her book again and engage more critical thinking. And yes, she does stress grass fed organic meat for a reason – if you decide to skip that step, I’m sorry.

    • Amazing! I believe our higher power works miracles and this post says it for me. I am trying to heal my son of his “diagnosis” of autism. I found and implemented the gaps diet in May of this year after a 2 1/2 month fruit fast. His vocal stimming that left during the fruit fast returned, as well as bed wetting, constipation, and sleeplessness.

      I recently found the website from Dr. Shulze’s interview on Cayenne. I started making my own tinctures and within 2 weeks of using them, his vocal stimming was gone. After the 1st 2 week cleanse using his formula 1 and 2, his constipation stopped, as did the bed wetting and sleeplessness.

      His name is Christopher, and by accident 3 weeks ago, I found Dr Christopher’s website you addressed here. It made so much sense to me that this would supplement Shulze’s work, that me, my mother, and my son are starting the leaky gut cleanse tomorrow. I have all the pills made up already, as his recipes are listed and closely mimic Shulze’s recipe. I strongly urge people to at least look at these other sites, as they have done wonderful things for my family. The gaps diet was a good stepping stone, and I am taking things from it as well, but look deeper into the entire picture at something tailored for you, by you.

      I would also like to repeat, no disrespect to anyone. We are all on this journey for the right reasons together. To get healthy and break away from the intolerant lies we have been spoon fed for generations. This link gives the recipes and ratios INVALUABLE!

    • Sidney, I do have some questions about Dr. Christophers leaky gut protocol and the customer service is always busy. Are we allowed to eat potatoes? Some say yes others say no. What about lemons, cayenne, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, sea salt and other spices?

      I am using my leftover formula 2 from Dr. Shulze which has slippery elm in it, but it also has apple pectin. Is this ok? Some places say certain fruits are ok, but I’m going to follow Dr. Christophers protocol for the month. Also, instead of the pau d’arco and black walnut tea, I’m using an extract 5 times per day. Would this be ok? I figure a tincture is more powerful than a tea anyway. Please let me know. Thanks, Staycee

  82. I have been following the advanced GAPS diet for about 1 year now. I have seasonal and pet dander allergies for years now.

    I have noticed a big improvement with both types of allergies. Definitely a believer.

    My question is, how do you know when it’s time to put starches such as potatoes back into the diet? I’m basically following a Paleo diet and they’ve come around to the idea or yams/sweet potatoes.

  83. Sarah,
    At age 60 I have had increasing digestive problems. Long history of constipation, and now what seems just kind of a digestive system shutdown. two years of extreme stress seems to have kicked this into overdrive. With a noticeable slowdown of all kinds of healing from little cuts on, am I too old to actually expect healing of my gut?

  84. Hey Sarah,
    I love your blog! It has been really helpful for me as I changed and continue to improve my diet. Two weeks ago I had a little boy! I had to have a c-section….and my water was broke for a long time before he was born, and his white blood cell count and CRP was really high…so the docs made him do a full course of antibiotics. (Which is a week in the hospital) So, now I’m wanting to put him on probiotics to help his gut bacteria get back in place. Can I use Bio-Kult for a newborn? How do I give it to him if I am breastfeeding? Should I take it too?

    Erin Crouch

  85. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about coming off the gaps diet when it comes to eating processed foods in moderation? In the book Dr. Campbell Mcbride talks about how when you come off the full GAPS diet the patient cant go back to eating the typical american diet. But she doesnt even mention eating unhealthy things in moderation. Im not fanatical, I know when i go on vacation im not going to be able to be healthy the whole time, and same goes for when i go to parties and things like that. Of course I wanna stay healthy for the majority of the time and i never plan on going back to my old lifestyle. Ive been doing an anti candida diet for about 2 months and i plan on starting the full gaps diet next month for about 1-2 years.

  86. Hi Sarah, I love your videos and your site! It’s been crucial in our journey to traditional foods and lifestyle. I wanted to know, you mentioned at the end of this article that initial healing in the first few weeks doesn’t mean healing. What DOES it mean? My son had relief from his eczema in total during the Introduction to GAPS, but a few weeks after being on Full GAPS it came back hardcore. I’ve read and been told that this is actually the healing going on (for several reasons) and that eczema takes the longest time to heal, but my heart keeps going back to those first few weeks and why we can’t get his skin to that again. We’re trudging through the diet, struggling financially to do this (thus my frequent visits to sites like yours), but keep wondering is it really working.

  87. Yum! Jessica, would love to know your morning drink recipe! Would be fun to have something to alternate with the tea.

  88. is there a place or way to check if something is a non-grain starch? My husband and I are avoiding all grains and most fast carbs (no fruit except avocado and tomato), but we have started to make a delicious non-sweet hot or iced drink from roasted CACAO powder (not COCOA) and I am wondering if the actual cacao would be considered a starch? It would be really sad to have to give that up as it is a fantastic replacement for coffee in the morning as it gives a bit of a zip and we load it up with all kinds of good stuff (coconut oil, cayenne and cinnamon)

    thanks so much for your always informative information, I hope you know there are many people out here who are silently benefiting from your generous spirit. Know that good juju is coming your way from us, whether we comment or not! big love,


  89. is there a website you recommend to learn about this… I am wondering what they heck you have left to eat????! I did a mostly protein and veggie diet for my candida issues and I got REALLY sick. My It was way too much protein for me it seems. But how do you keep your energy levels up with only veggies? I would like to learn more.

  90. Yes most people neglected this fact. It is really alarming to know that the basic ones have been taken lightly and never had been studied to understand its importance.

  91. When you have a 22 month old you don’t have a choice but to include baked goods, fruit, and honey more often because intro is not recommended and they still have a small sweet tooth. Most toddlers will not eat eggs and sausage every day of their life for breakfast let alone leftovers all the time unless they have taste aversions! I think intro is the only way to ditch the sweet tooth. My son gets WAY too thin on soups and he is already thin. We do butternut squash fries in lard as a way to keep him fuller. Also sour cream smoothies. I am still unsure about yogurt and berries as his constipation came back. I’m finding that making food for him and myself is becoming harder and harder. We are running out of recipes!

    • My little one is 17 months now and we have been on GAPS since she was 15mts. We did the full intro, as our diet was already mostly Paleo so it was not such a hard transition. I did have to introduce eggs a little bit early however, as its her main protein source. We were lucky that none of us got much reaction to the intro diet so moved through it rather quickly to the full diet.

      She loves eggs if I scramble them or cook as a fritata. I whisk stock into the eggs and very finely grate zucchini or spinach into it before cooking. She has this easily one meal a day, but its hidden stock, eggs and vegetables so I feel its fine to have daily. Its a typical breakfast as we cannot find any sausages or bacon we can eat (sugar or preservatives in all).

      I also cook mixed vegetables in stock and butter then puree and keep in the fridge. I add this to her eggs too or I mix it into yoghurt – this way she is getting stock and mixed vege in her eggs or yoghurt.

      It is when you just want to make something sweet and satisfying that they will eat. What I make is a lot is smoothies, she loves them. Using 3 probiotic ingredients: kefir, yoghurt and fruit left over from making Kvass. A little honey to sweeten and she will very happily drink a glass or two.

      I do make a lot of raw nut based sweets now that we are on full GAPS and we have a small piece once every day or so as a treat.

      My lil one will NOT eat leftovers 90% of the time. She will eat whatever I have on my plate though so a lot of the time I just eat with her. I wish I knew how to get her to eat something like a stew with all the vege and meat and stock in one. But she does drink saurkraut juice by the glassful so I cannot really complain.

  92. Hi Sarah,

    I have been considering doing the GAPS diet for some time to try and heal asthma I’ve had since I was 2 (I am now 41). I’ve been cooking Noursihing Traditions style for almost 5 years now and overall feel pretty good. The only problem is we really can not afford the probiotics. The whole idea of doing the GAPS diet feels very overwhelming and I don’t want to start it up if being that we can’t afford the probiotics it’s not going to help. The cost of Green Pastures cod liver oil for me and my children is already more than we can afford but I splurge on it since I feel it is so important. What do you suggest for people who can’t afford Bio-Kult?

  93. #4 is the big problem for me – how does one heal when you can’t tolerate the smallest amount of meat broth, let alone bone broth? My gut is in such bad shape that histamines, glutamates, etc. all cause me major distress…

    • Did you ever find a way to tollerate the broth or meats. Im trying so hard and they all just make me so sick. I can hardly eat anything.

      • will you please contact me about where you’re at with your gut health and whether you found a way to heal despite your sensitivities to the high histamine foods? i’m in the same place you were when you posted this. Thank you

    • will you please contact me about where you’re at with your gut health and whether you found a way to heal despite your sensitivities to the high histamine foods? i’m in the same place you were when you posted this. Thank you

  94. About mistake #1:
    Are cooked beets, cooked carrots, and cooked chestnuts also starches? Should they also be excluded like potatoes etc?

    I have been looking EVERYWHERE and still have not found an answer, and I am very excited cause I think you will know! I have been on this diet for months, but still haven’t found out about them (and I love all these foods!)

    I cannot wait for an answer! Thank you very much!

      • Beets are fine on GAPS, especially fermented with other veggies. I think she has a fermented veggie medley recipe which includes cabbage, carrots and beets and the juice is delicious. I use it as a dressing or just drink w/water as recommended. and yes! Carrots are to be used in making broths. Actually it is important to start w/cooked veggies, like carrots, on the intro diet before introducing any raw ones. Best to read the book, glad I finally got around to getting it. It clarifies a lot!

  95. Hi Sarah,
    This is an old post, so I hope that you see this comment! My husband and I have been on the GAPS diet for around 2 months now, and I have a question about the probiotics. We were honestly trying to avoid the cost of Bio-Kult and we were hoping that juices from fermented veggies and milk kefir would be strong enough to repopulate…Apparently we were wrong! My husband usually takes a good deal of juice with every meal (either from sauerkraut or other fermented veggies) in addition to a diet full of sour cream (made with kefir) and milk kefir and other fermented veggies/drinks.

    I was under the impression that milk kefir contained strains of bacteria/yeast that WERE aggressive (and in very large amounts). Is this incorrect? Are the liquids from fermented veggies more probiotic than the veggies themselves?

    Would you also recommend kombucha and water kefir on GAPS even though they are made with sugar? I am very interested in the liver cleansing benefit of Kombucha, but the GAPS book doesn’t say if it is legal or not.

    Ah, and the last thing, I remember reading that probiotic supplements never make it to the lower intestines (I’m pretty sure this is in the GAPS book) and that is why you need fermented foods/drinks. What is your take on this?

    Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your blog. You have changed my life, really!

  96. My husband is on the GAPS diet. I am wondering if this diet has been the focus of research into the creator’s health claims? I understand that perhaps parts of the foundations of the diet are based on some research, but has any research been done using subjects that have been on the diet?

  97. Sarah
    Thanks! This is a great post. Also as any FYI, Dr. Cowan recommends an anti-candida diet that is basically GAPS but is low carb and excludes honey, sweet/high carb veggies like winter squash and carrots, all nuts except almonds, all dairy except yogurt and kefir, all fruit except avocados, granny smith apples, berries, and white grapefruit. I’ve found it very helpful. To learn more go to:
    and then click on low-carb.

  98. Here’s a question- if a person doesn’t seem to have any gut imbalance or auto-immune symptoms, do you think there is any point in doing a strict GAPS diet? I’m interested in trying it, but I don’t know how I would gauge effectiveness, since I don’t have any problems that I can tell…

  99. Hi Sarah! Donna Gates and McBride have helped me so much!

    I can’t take dairy yet so I make coconut milk kefir. If I drink a small glass of it I start to feel very dehydrated and constipated and was wondering if you’ve ever felt the same way and if these options helped (ie. dilluting it, adding fruit)?

    Thanks aain for the great quality info Sarah!

  100. Thank you for your informative post, Sarah. I just wanted to add that Dr. Natasha herself has mentioned here and there than buying probiotics hasn’t been necessary for many families to succeed with the GAPS protocol. Certainly she doesn’t advocate adherence for life, like many companies suggest, provided that you take plenty of home-made lactoferments. I think she feels the greed of many companies and the struggles of many families with 3 or more kids. Probiotics have been helpful for me, as an initial boost, but as soon as I can tolerate large doses of lactoferments I plan to stop taking them. Also I find very telling that she didn’t recommend the biokult brand to me…

  101. Hi Sarah!

    I am thinking I really need to go on GAPS to heal the eczema I have had my whole life. I am now 21 years old and it is starting to get worse…everyone told me it would go away after childhood…it has not. The doctors have now given me strong steroid creams and I can tell they are not good for my body. I also have issues with food sensitivity and need to eat simply and food combine, so anyway, I do think there is a gut skin connection even though all of my dermetologists act like I am crazy. My questions regarding GAPS are: 1. Are Squashes like Butternut forbidden? 2. I realize you do not think people should eat tons of Almond flour, but would almonds be ok for an emergency snack (I am out and about a lot so don’t always have time to prepare everything at home). 3. I try to avoid dairy, but just found raw kiefer at my co-op. Is this GAPS friendly and do you think it will help eczema? I know a lot of people say to stay away from dairy with eczema. But the probiotic benefits seems great.

    Thanks a lot!!


    • Hi Asha, squash is fine on GAPS. ALmonds are totally fine too .. just keep them in moderation. Raw kefir is fine for most people on GAPS as the lactose (a disaccharide) is used up during the fermentation. Some very severe cases may need to eliminate all dairy while on GAPS, even butter and fermented dairy. But, to start out, try the raw kefir and see how you go.

      Be aware that your eczema may get worse before it gets better .. this is called a “healing crisis”. This is when many folks give up, but you need to work through this period as the pathogenic strains causing the eczema in your gut are dying off and being redominated by the beneficial flora strains.

  102. Hi Sarah, many friends have IBS and have been diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. They therefore stick to a low fructose diet (high fructose corn syrup is not common here in Australia), so eliminate honey, apples, pears, wheat, onion, and many other foods. Do you know if GAPS diet would help with fructose malabsorption in the context of IBS? Cheers, Fiona in Australia

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist March 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Hi Fiona, malabsorption issues have their root in gut imbalance so I have no doubt GAPS would prove helpful in this situation.

  103. Thank you for this post. All of the comments have been very helpful. I have been doing the GAPS diet for a month now, but like you said I have not been drinking enough broth or taking the biokult. I have no freezer space to store it and use th chicken broth in the soups I am making. Is that enough broth or do I need to drink a glass of broth as well. I eat the soup all day long while at work, since that is the easiest thing for me to bring to work.

    This is just the beginning. I have had other issues that have come up since on this diet, but don’t think they will go away until we get out of the house we are in. I am sure I will have to stay on this diet for a lot longer than most because of being in an environment that is not the best.

    Thank you for any advice you can give me!

  104. Our friends’ two sons with autism are currently on the GAPS diet. As you mentioned, it can be long process but they have seen a great improvement in their sons the last 7 months.
    I will share your information with them. Thanks.

  105. Great post. We are following the GAPS diet pretty closely, and I’ve been trying to incorporate more broth into our diets… thanks for the reminder! If anyone is interested, I’m hosting a 40-Day Grain free and sugar free challenge to help remove grains from the diet: . As this is also part of the GAPS diet, to remove grains and sugar, it might be helpful for anyone embarking on the GAPS diet as well.

  106. Another great tool to help with autoimmune problems is the LEAP MRT mediator release test by Signet Diagnostic. This is a blood test that checks for “mediator release” of 150 various foods and chemicals. Our systems are so individual that it is impossible for one diet to fit everyone. When I had the MRT done, I had problems with many of the very healthy foods I was eating — garlic, apples, pinto beans, pineapple. By avoiding those trigger foods I had great improvement in my skin condition. Their website is It is promoted for IBS and Migraine, but it is helping people with many immune-related problems.

  107. So, so, so well said, Sarah! I don’t have time for blogs, but I always read and pass along yours to friends and the folks on the health forum I moderate! This one should go in your “most important” list.

  108. Probiotics and enzymes in pill forms upset my stomach. I used quality stuff from Standard Process and Progressive Labs – I was worse off than when I started. I found, after some trial and error, I could use them pulverized in my mortar and pestal and just sprinkled on my food. But real food sources are better (for me) I think. I now just use kefir and fermented foods like homemade yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, etc. and I seem to do fine. Also, as someone else mentioned, lots of good fats – homemade butter from raw cream, coconut oil, home rendered lard, etc. I have Sjogren’s Syndrome and peripheral neuropathy (cause unknown) and I’m not sure those can be “healed” with any type of diet. The fact of the matter is, I don’t have time to pursue a GAPS diet or any other high maintenance diet. We follow WAPF as much as possible within our time frame and my DH and I do quite well considering we are not spring chickens and that I have two major “diseases” going on.

    • Hi D. I have been reading through these posts, all very interesting, and have just read your comment about neuropathy of unknown origin. As a Medical Herbalist I have a good deal of success with such neuropathy, or that caused by known pathologies such as diabetic neuropathy. What I use is Chilli Cream. You can make your own like this: Take any standard skin cream that you generally use and have no reactions to and add chilli tincture to it, at about 5% of the weight of your cream, and stir it well in with a teaspoon handle. Apply this to the areas affected by numbness or tingling or sporadic pins and needles, two or three times daily, rubbing well in, then washing the fingers that rubbed it in, so as to prevent inadvertantly getting chilli in your eyes, nose, vulva etc (!). Now you should ask, ‘Where do I get chilli tincture?’. You make it. It’s easy. Cut up some hot red chillies, using rubber gloves and in a ventilated space (as the fumes can catch at the back of the throat). Cut up enough to fill a jam jar, then pour on vodka right to the top of the jam jar and put the lid on tightly. Shake this around as often as you see it (keep it in an obvious place, not out of sight) every day for two weeks. After this time has elapsed place a piece of clean cotton cloth into a sieve and empty to contents of the jam jar through a sieve into a fresh clean dry bowl or wide necked jug, squeezing out the chilli bits using the cloth to press out the juice. Decant the liquid into a clean bottle, with a well fitting lid. This is chilli tincture. It is a very useful substance, including having the effect of opening up narrowed cardiac arteries, such that a mycardial infarction (heart attack) insues. Just a few drops of chilli tincture in this sort of emergency can be a life saver. It also has the effect of increasing gastric hydrochloric acid, and generally producing a warming effect everywhere, when taken in a little water. A great thing to take on a cold day, or to add to soups or other dishes. Although chilli is a member of the solanaceae family (like potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines and bell peppers) it is tolerated pretty well, even by GAPS people, though some will react if they are super sensitive. The dose one uses is very small, just a few drops at a time, so that is obviously a factor. Externally, added to a cream as I mentioned, is a very effective way of getting fresh oxygen rich blood to any tissues that have insufficient, such as feet and toes. It also combines very well with ginger. You can make ginger tincture in the same way using fresh chopped up or grated ginger, or, if treating nausea (such as nausea of pregnancy) make the tincture using dried ginger as it is far more effective. Good luck and let me know how you get on if you do it.
      I’d just like to add that Sjorgren’s Syndrome is, at it’s root, no different to any other autoimmune disorder. The cause is the same, i.e. cereal grains, especially the lectins (such as wheat germ agglutenin) and the proteins (prolamines such as glutens and gliadins, which are in all grass seeds/grains in some form or other), and the effect of eating this non human food (which is perfectly fine for rodents) is then compounded by excess glucose from all carbohydrates, which feed the pathological gut microbes leading to a downward spiral of dysfunction and damaged tissues. Lectins are also in the solanaceae family, especially potatoes and tomatoes, and in legumes, i.e. all beans including peanuts (a bean really). All these foods are also packed with phytate which adds to the body’s woes by removeing the very minerals needed to heal and defend itself from the lectins and microbes. I suggest going on the GAPS diet properly, starting with the intro and never, ever eating any cereal grains again. Ever. These are the basic cause of it all. The reason there is such a steep increase in autoimmune diseases is that wheat has been mucked about with and so is now even more dangerous than it was for our ancestors of the past 7,000 years or so. It was alway a terrible food choice, caused most of the arthritis, madness and tuberculosis in that time, but now it has been so hybridized that it has become super toxic. You, tragically, are one of the many who have succumbed to it. Stop ingesting all the toxic ‘foods’ and start eating only healing foods, chief of which is bone broth, as everyone above has correctly stated, and you have a chance of recovery. But I would say that it is a life long dietary change that is needed, not just 18 months.
      I say this very confidently, because that is where my research has lead me. I apologise if you feel that in your case there is a completely different cause. I could be wrong, and if I am I would like someone to show me in what way that thesis is incorrect.
      Best of luck with changing your diet and starting to recover.

  109. Hi Sarah. This is a timely post as I am planning to do GAPS when I get ready. I don’t have severe issues but have had digestive issues for a long time and would like to heal that so I can eat comfortably. I just received the GAPS book and the GAPS Guide. Have read the guide and just starting the GAPS book. It will be a trial I’m sure but I am hoping I can manage committing to it. I have a question I would like to ask while I’m here. I don’t have access to raw milk but was recently visiting my Mom who lives near the Maine/US border (it is about 75 miles from where I live). I often cross the border when visiting to purchase food items that are cheaper than here in Canada (milk, butter, chicken, tuna etc). Anyway, this last trip I checked out the organic section and they actually had raw milk and raw yogurt for sale from a local farm. I was super excited, so I bought a gallon of the milk and a large container of the yogurt. I was wondering since I have never had raw milk, would I have to be careful how much I drink to start. I have had kefir so my system is used to some good bacteria. My daughter and I both found the milk to have a bit of an aftertaste and I found it thinner than pastuerized whole milk – could this be because there wasn’t enough cream in it? It had a sticker on it that said ‘shake me up’, I assumed that was to mix in the cream. I’ve had a bit each day for the past 3 days and no issues with it. I’ve also eaten some of the yogurt and it isn’t causing me any distress. I won’t have a steady supply of it obviously as it is a long drive and I only visit every couple months or so but figured I would get some each time I visit.

  110. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama March 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The only exception to what you’ve said is the probiotic issue. Some (including us) have done much better simply including many probiotic foods. Some with EVERY meal. It’s been discussed heavily on the GAPS Yahoo list too, and that is the way some families do it. For us, that means homemade yogurt with breakfast, kombucha with lunch, and possibly pickles and juice at snack or dinner. You absolutely NEED probiotics…but it doesn’t have to be a supplement.

    We started out baking from almond flour maybe once a week…as a transition. Now we bake maybe once every 2 – 3 weeks. Most meals are really meat-heavy and lots of soups, or (if you can’t stand soup all the time), meat/veggies cooked in stock.

    • Yes and no on the probiotic. In our guts, there are transient bacteria and native bacteria. Transient bacteria, like that found in cultured foods, come in and do their good deeds and then leave with an elimination. Native bacteria, like those found in only very specific supplements (99% of the ones on the market only have transient bacteria), are the strains that colonize the gut and shove out the bad bugs. It’s important to have both. Cultured food is extremely important and should be included at every meal, but a good high quality probiotic with native bacteria, should also be included. I don’t use BioKult in my practice, for the most part, because of the additives, though many people are just fine with it. I use a different probiotic that has over 29 stains plus soil-based bacteria. It’s comparably priced to BK and I feel does a better job- though it is based on your bio-individual needs, of course.

        • I use the Usana probiotics as they are manufactured in Denmark by a reputable, well-established manufacturer of probiotics. There are very few strains of probiotics that have been proven to work. And getting these strains into a delivery system that works is not easy. Best of luck

  111. Hi Sarah, I was wondering if you know the differences between the GAPs diet and the SCD diet. I will be starting the SCD diet tomorrow and have read the book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” which has been very insightful, it seems these two are very similar.

  112. Couple of things based on comments above that I’ve observed. First of all, I’ve seen plenty of folks heal on GAPS without doing the intro, myself and my husband among them. We ate honey and fruit and were fine. I don’t personally find the anti-candida diet to be helpful.

    Also, in most cases, BioKult is needed. Probiotic foods are not strong enough. There are some extremely aggressive strains in the BioKult that “search and destroy” the pathogens like the milder strains in probiotic foods cannot. People may think they do better without the BioKult because it is so strong that it makes them worse at first. AFter coming off GAPS, fermented foods are sufficient for maintenance, but in my experience, a very strong probiotic like BioKult is necessary.

    • The problem many GAPSTERS find with BioKult is that it contains additives that they react to and it’s really expensive especially with more than one person doing GAPS.

      Custom Probiotics makes an 11 strain powder probiotic that is much more cost effective but is still missing three strains that BioKult contains. CP has no fillers.

      Many find healing with doing full GAPS but most (based on reading GAPS Support Group for a year now) need GAPS intro and sometimes an anti-candida diet to heal.

    • The anti-candida diet excludes fermented foods which is misguided and will drastically slow healing of the gut wall. It also allows starchy vegetables which will prevent the gut from healing properly. Believe it or not the anti-candida diet does not exclude grains either! It is a misguided diet all around.

      I do not find excluding honey and ripe fruit on GAPS to be helpful at all. While on GAPS, there are SO MANY restrictions on carb intake (with grains and potatoes and other starchy veggies completely eliminated) that eliminating honey and fruit as well can cause extreme tiredness from too low a carb intake. Eating honey and fruit while on GAPS was my saving grace .. I could not have gotten through it without them as I would have had no energy whatsoever from too little carbs in the diet. GAPS itself will bring the candida under control even if honey and fruit are still consumed in moderation. It is simply unnecessary and causes undue stress and strain to eliminate honey and fruit as well.

      • Thank you for that clarification. I _have_ been awfully hungry. My specific protocol allows for yogurt so I’ve been consuming that with glee. Maybe GAPS isn’t so bad after all :)

      • Hi Sarah,
        I’ve been doing the GAPS diet for about 7 months. I am definitely not ready to end the diet yet as I get a recurrence of symptoms (specifically some joint pain) if I try to eat any potatoes. But, I have noticed that over the last month or so I have been getting extremely tired, so tired that I might even call it lethargy and fatigue. My sleep is not the best (I still have an infant in the house after all, and he still wants to nurse throughout the night), but the tiredness seems to be more than just lack of sleep. My gut feeling is that perhaps I am not consuming enough carbs, and this is leading to the extreme tiredness. Can the body function okay without many carbs? Do you know why I felt fine for the first six months on the diet, but now seem to have this problem? We aren’t really eating any lentils or white beans, so my carbs are limited to veggies and the 1-2 pieces of fruit I eat each day, plus a small amount in baked goods (that are only eaten a couple times/week). Sorry if it is off-base to ask you; you just seem to be so knowledgeable about it all.

      • thanks for this post. I was wondering what to do about the candida. I saw the Doc recommended taking it slow on the honey and fruit. I am on first stages but I am opting out on the honey and loading up on veggies. i will be interesting to be adding a sweetner in after 3 years of no sugar (only grn apples and berries.)

  113. Adrienne,

    Can you expand on your comment? Are you saying we need grain flours? Or are you saying we shouldn’t eat as many veggies? I’m confused but would definitely like to learn more. Thanks!

  114. Sarah,

    I really appreciate this post. I personally know a number of people who have gone on the GAPS diet only to find themselves in a worse situation than they were before.

    One additional caution that I would like to bring up is that adrenal fatigue is often linked to copper overload / toxicity and vegetarian foods are heavy in copper. This is one more reason why “going wild” (as you appropriately put it) with the no grain flours can be a problem. This doesn’t mean that we can’t eat any of them, but it does serve as a reminder that anything to an excess can become a problem.

    • Please tell more about people that have tried GAPS and then been in worse shape. Why? We are very close to starting the intro and want to be sure we don’t end up worse off. Thank you!

      • The GAPS diet is very low carb. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, which is probably most of us to some extent, a low carbohydrate diet can actually aggravate it. It is important to treat the bigger problem first. IE. if you are very fatigued but also have trouble sleeping, going on a very low carb diet may not be the right choice. Try a less strict version of GAPS first.

        • I didn’t think the GAPS diet was very low carb. At least not Full GAPS. You have lentils, navy beans, squash, and other veggies on the diet. I think maybe the carbs are more limited than most of us are used to, since we are used to carbs coming from grains and starchy foods. But I don’t necessarily think Full GAPS has to be low carb. Sometimes it is more time consuming/difficult to work in the carbs after spending all the time preparing the broths and meats. But the diet itself doesn’t have to be low carb. I am working towards GAPS. I eliminated all grains about 3 weeks ago. But I’m not yet up to fermented veggies or dairy at this point (have to learn how to make them) and not yet doing fermented dairy (need to figure out where to source raw milk and how to make it). I also have just started reading the book and haven’t gotten to the part about which supplements I need and dosage and such. But once I get to that plan, will be ordering the high quality supplements. I am doing Full GAPS first because I spent over 20 years as a vegetarian (near vegan) and I had to see whether or not I could even manage to drink meat broth (let alone the rich “gelatinous” bone broth). I haven’t even eggs in all that time, other than if they were hidden within baked goods. I don’t know that I will be able to eat the raw eggs at all. But even eating a cooked egg is a huge leap for me. I am eating large quantities of the home made soups at least once a meal. As I get more recipes under my belt and making this type of food becomes more of a habit over the next few months I hope to eat the soup(s) as part of my meals rather than the entire meal (usually I eat soup for lunch and then maybe a smaller portion with my dinner). But I’m working towards it. Once I get this huge lifestyle change with both eliminating grains AND eating meat down, then I will back track to the introductory stage. I think I had die off symptoms the first 2 weeks. But it’s hard to tell because of PMS (which is potentially a GAPS issue anyhow). But I was very stiff and couldn’t sleep. The stiffness has mostly disappeared at this point. Sleep has gotten better but is still a bit of an issue though. I read that a lot of animal protein can make it difficult to sleep. And I’m not used to any animal protein. I figure once my body has time to adjust, better sleep will happen.

      • I am one of those people. I didn’t have any digestive issues but we went on GAPS as a whole family because I was hoping it would help my husband and one of my children. (It would not have been possible to have two out of six people on GAPS while the rest of us at traditional foods. Not only would that have been extremely difficult for me, the planner and cook, but for the people giving up all disaccharides to watch the rest of us eating them would have been torture.)

        My hair started falling out, my menstrual cycles got strange, I developed short-term memory loss, extreme fatigue, exercise intolerance, gained 20 pounds, and my body temps dropped down to 95 degrees on a regular basis. I was grain & starch free for 2 months, then we did GAPS for 11 months (adding in all the broth and ferments), so about 13 months of being disaccharide free. The symptoms just kept getting worse, as time went on.

        My throid levels were fine (had them checked by a holistic thyroid specialist, not just the standard TSH) but my ratio of RT3 to FT3 was way, way off. Basically, I had developed a famine response by being on a starch free diet.

        It’s two years later and while I’m mostly feeling better, I’m still trying to recover.

        I have seen how GAPS has helped people overcome allergies and autism. But, based on my experience, I strongly caution anyone from using it that does not have digestive issues.

        And, a good friend of mine healed their family’s food allergies in a mere 4 months on GAPS. So, in my opinion, if you need GAPS, do it and get off it as soon as you can. Don’t stay on it, thinking it’s a lifetime diet. And, if you are continually getting worse, don’t think that “sticking it out” will make things better. Examine whether or not you are, overall, getting better or worse.

        As far as my husband and son– my husband’s pollen allergies did improve. His other health issues seemed to stay the same or decline. My son’s anxiety improved in the beginning but, the longer we were on the diet, the more it regressed.

    • Another consideration is that most people with GAPS have low hydrochloric acid levels in their stomach. Not only does this play into problems further down the intestinal line (with dysbiosis, leaky gut, etc) but it also affects your zinc status, which interplays with copper. Therefore, someone with low zinc and/or low HCL would be more affected by this. It’s important to explore some of these other health issues as a supplement to the GAPS protocol. HCL and/or zinc supplementation is easy and inexpensive. Most people could benefit from it but it shouldn’t just be used automatically. I do see that most of my GAPS clients also need digestive support further up the chain as well- digestion is a north to south process after all :)

  115. I’ve been transitioning to GAPS for about a month now. I’m still BF my 13.5 month old so I’m doing full GAPS. I actually had to back off a bit – I started with BioKult (was up to 6 caps a day), broth, no grains or starches, limited fruit – and had dieoff almost immediately. This would have been fine if I had not been BF. I’m still doing BioKult (2 caps), broth (1 to 1.5 cups daily), no grains or starches and 1 serving of fruit a day. I had to up my starchy veggies as well. If you are on GAPS you should definitely use the GAPShelp group on Yahoo – it’s been a lifesaver for me. I agree that for full healing (especially for major issues) you should do intro, but you shouldn’t avoid GAPS altogether if you can only do full GAPS. It’s already done wonders for me and I’m not even 100%!!

  116. It should also be mentioned that (raw) fats are VERY important on GAPS. I think they’re just as important as broth, probiotics and fermented foods. Raw beef suet, raw lamb suet and most definitely raw grass-fed butter (when one can do dairy) are incredibly healing – w/o these fats, you won’t heal.

    • Can you give me some ideas on how to incorporate them? Obviously if I render them- they are no longer raw……but biting into a BIG OLE piece of beef suet or lamb suet- doesn’t sound very good.

    • I’ve read the book, and nowhere do I remember the author specifying that the fats had to be raw, unless they were fats (like olive oil) that are damaged by cooking. Animal fats are generally stable and are still good for you even if they have been heated; in fact, the author specifically recommends cooking with them. So yes, fats are important. The raw thing is more a question of which fats you’re talking about.

  117. The drug industry has conditioned us to expect instant results. People want to take a pill and be instantly well. The instant results provided by drugs only relieve the symptoms, and become less effective over time. They never fix the underlying problem, which continues to get worse while the drugs mask the symptoms.

    Everybody should understand that true healing takes time and commitment. It is not easy, but it is worth it.

  118. In the last few weeks I’ve been trying to cut down my grain intake. I’m a life-long grain junky and I’ll even choose it over most other sugary foods. Its so hard trying to find foods or make food that doesn’t contain grains. And coconut and almond flour is too expensive for me. All this salad gets boring after awhile. Thankfully, I do not suffer from an autoimmune disease or any severe digestive disorder, but I’ve always had problems with flatulence and sometimes bloating. You’d think after so many years of eating grains that I would have problems, but no.
    Sarah, do you think it would be worth me going on a full GAPS diet? What can it do for someone that doesn’t really have any autoimmune disorders?

  119. Thanks for the great post, Sarah! I would add just one more common mistake to your list: skipping the intro. While I think it’s ok to start with the full GAPS and to approach the diet gradually (especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding), it does seem that at some point the intro has to be done for full healing to occur.

    • Christine Kaiser March 9, 2011 at 1:12 am

      Just curious, I am planning on starting the GAPS diet soon and I am breastfeeding. Should I NOT do the Intro diet because of breastfeeding?

      • Hi Christine!

        I would start with Full GAPS and then when you are no longer breastfeeding, go through Intro for a time before returning to full GAPS. Many people find it easier, regardless of pregnancy or BFing, to do it in this order. Either way is fine- and in my opinion, equally healing!

  120. Thanks for this post. We’ve been doing GAPS for about 7 months. We were very strict for 6 months, but since none of us had any “severe” issues, we’ve been trying to see if we can re-introduce a few foods like raw milk and occasional potatoes in the last month or so. We all seem to fair fine with the raw milk (presumably because of the lactase enzymes), but potatoes definitely can cause a recurrence of some very minor joint pain for me.

    It is hard to keep staying 100% GAPS when there are so many pressures from outside influences (like my mom, who loves to cook a family dinner every Sunday that has always included potatoes or grains). It’s hard on my daughter going to the park and seeing all of the other kids eat lots of food she can’t have (which we never fed her at home anyway, but would let her indulge a little bit if people offered her some snacks when we were away from home).

    With the exception of raw milk, all of the foods I make at home are still 100% GAPS; however over the last month it has been easy to let some other foods slip in once a week (like potatoes or rice, although we’ve managed to avoid all other grains and starches). Your post reminds me that we really need to try to stick with it for longer, otherwise what if we waste the effort we’ve made so far? I’m sure we still will not be perfect, but it’s worth trying. We’ve slowly gotten accustomed to eating less and less non-grain baked goods, and our reliance on nuts has been diminishing as well.

    I definitely need to start pushing the broth back into our diets more, though. And thanks for the reminder about probiotics. We’ve tried reducing the amount of Bio-Kult we’re taking since it is so expensive. I’m thankful you have provided so many good videos that help cut our budget other places, like making homemade kombucha, water kefir, and milk kefir.

    • Just a comment in response to what you said about raw milk: based on the book Gut and Psychology by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, I was under the impression that raw milk was, in fact, allowed in the GAPS diet. She mentions specifically in her section on dairy that while all dairy for GAPS should be fermented, she makes an exception for what she calls “live” or raw milk (obviously, this would be after making sure that milk sensitivity has been eliminated by slowly introducing fermented dairy first). So, I think GAPS people should be able to enjoy raw milk guilt-free, knowing it is actually a part of the GAPS diet for those people who can a) get it in the first place, and b) tolerate it (which a surprising amount of “dairy-intolerant” people can, especially if they are slowly acclimated to dairy through the dairy system described in the GAPS book).

  121. I think that hardest is thing about GAPS is realizing that you have to do GAPS intro and you have to eliminate honey, sweet vegetables, fruit and nuts to have GAPS really work for you. You have to do an anti-candida diet for a period of time while on GAPS because all GAPSTERS have pathogens in their gut (ie parasites, candida/yeast, bacterial overgrowth.)

    When you look at Full GAPS it seems very doable but real healing doesn’t take place unless you do an anti-candida diet.

    I wish I had known that an anti-candida diet was a must because I would have done that first then GAPS Intro and then Full GAPS.

    • I’m doing the intro. I’m in week two. The intro says you can have ginger tea with honey. I’ve been doing that plus yogurt with honey. Do I need to omit the honey?

      • The 2nd edition of the book includes using honey from a good source. (I have heard the first edition of the book did not include honey.) It must be raw and preference for cool process vs warm procss is said to be best.

  122. Thanks for this post. I got the GAPS book (and have read most of it), have broth made in the freezer and just ordered the probiotics from GAPS store, lots of grass fed meat in freezer and veggies ready too. These tips were quite timely as I will embark on the GAPS intro diet very soon. I think and hope I am ready. Keep doing GAPS posts to encourage us. :)

  123. Thanks so much for the post, Sarah! My daughters and I are on week 6 of GAPS. I must admit that I am a bit disheartened at this point. Growing up in a “quick fix drug remedy” society, it is very hard to be patient as more intestinal problems come to light in the initial stages of the diet. I’m definitely guilty of slacking off on the broths – and I believe many people also are less diligent on the fermented veggies and on fruit/honey intake. It is definitely not easy – especially with all the “social” repercussions. Our going out to eat at/with friends has really diminished. Most don’t understand. However, it is definitely worth it when I think of the long term effects on my children’s health. Thanks again, Sarah. This article was very encouraging for me!

    • I also had a problem following the GAPS diet for the same social reasons….however the premise of the diet is pretty spot on! The gut is very important for healing eczema completely! If you’re looking for an easier program, you could try The Flawless Program 30 day eczema plan. It also focuses on the gut, but in a much simpler way and quicker time frame! :)

      Good luck to you and your children!

  124. Hi Sarah,
    As a clinical nutritionist/chiropractor I use GAPS in my practice all the time and it really can help with alot of problems from autism to psoriasis and all in between. I find the hardest thing is gettting people to really commit to it. They really have to do it 100% or it will not work well, if at all. Your “five common mistakes “are right on the money. As usual your posts are well thought out and relevant.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist March 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Thanks for commenting, Jill. Yes, folks have to commit to reclaiming their health. A half hearted attempt will not work and it is best to let folks know this upfront.

    • I’m wondering if I should go on GAPS and see if it’ll heal my skin. Since I was 12 years old, I’ve had cystic acne on my face and body. It’s been better as I’ve gone through pregnancies, but recently it is flaring up again. I am breast feeding my almost 9 month old, so can I go on GAPS while breast feeding? Could GAPS really help clear up my skin?


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