The GAPS Diet as outlined in the bestselling book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD is one of the most effective ways to heal and seal the gut wall in order to reverse a variety of autoimmune conditions. It is based on the 100-year-old, science-backed Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
Conditions resolved by GAPS include eczema, psoriasis, ADD/ADHD, autism, Celiac disease, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, diabetes, cancer, and the list goes on. This book is a must-read for those who suffer from any sort of autoimmune disease, mild or severe.
Dr. Campbell-McBride says that, on average, it takes a child 6-18 months on the GAPS diet for the gut to heal, while an adult may take longer possibly up to three years.
While the good news is that the GAPS Diet is only a temporary diet to heal the gut, the bad news is that the diet is highly restrictive with the elimination of many foods that cannot be consumed until symptoms of autoimmune illness have completely subsided and the gut is sufficiently healed. These foods include:
- All grains and any food that contains them. This includes wheat, rye, rice, corn, oats, amaranth, Kamut, spelt, barley, millet, buckwheat, teff, triticale, bulgur, tapioca, quinoa, and any others.
- Starchy vegetables like white and sweet potatoes, parsnip, arrowroot, cassava, and taro. Even those that contain beneficial resistant starch must be avoided temporarily.
- Regular and soaked beans and legumes must also be avoided which includes pretty much all of them with the exception of green peas and navy beans.
- All sugars including the lactose in milk and cream must be avoided. Honey and very ripe fruit would be the only sweets allowed. Fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir as well as butter and store-bought or homemade ghee are permitted unless the GAPS condition is severe.
While many folks desperately want to heal their autoimmune illness using GAPS, the restrictive nature of the diet is off-putting, to say the least even if it must only be followed temporarily.
As a result, giving people the means to heal as quickly as possible while on GAPS is very important so that the diet can be used for as short a time as possible.
If you are already on GAPS or considering using it to put your autoimmune disease behind you for good, here are four techniques suggested by the clinic Biodynamic Wellness in San Diego to facilitate rapid healing. If using these methods reduces your time on GAPS by even 6 months, it will no doubt be well worth the effort!
Methods to Supercharge Gut Healing While on GAPS
Castor Oil Packs
The castor bean (Oleum ricini) is known principally for its laxative effects. A pack placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied, allows the oil to be absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment.
The castor oil pack works well to speed the healing of many disorders specifically those involving the digestive system. It is not to be used during pregnancy, heavy menstrual flow or the presence of internal bleeding. This article contains detailed instructions on how to prepare and use a castor oil pack to speed healing and shorten your GAPS journey.
Okra Pepsin E3
Okra Pepsin E3 is a supplement that supports intestinal mucosal tissue, bowel function, and cleansing. Agricultural experts call okra a “powerhouse of nutrients” with much of its nutritive value found in soluble fiber gums and pectins which greatly promote gastrointestinal health. This supplement is particularly helpful for alternating periods of diarrhea and constipation which plague many people suffering from autoimmune illness.
Okra Pepsin E3 also promotes phagocytosis, the biological process which removes debris and harmful microorganisms from the body. In addition, immune function is stimulated and the mucilage from the okra coats and provides intestinal lubrication that acts as a cooling agent, easing gastrointestinal discomfort.
This new technique which has gained popularity over the past few years has been clinically shown to be safe and 100% effective and is nothing short of astounding in helping children and adults regain normal digestive function very rapidly.
The effects of a clinic or DIY fecal transplant cannot be replicated with any other technique. It can best be described as “probiotic treatment on steroids”. Some holistic doctors around the country are quietly performing the procedure for their patients, but the good news is that people can easily do it safely at home with a $10 enema bag. No insurance companies to haggle with and no expense/travel long distances to find a doctor who will do it for you.
Just be sure to select a healthy donor. According to Biodynamic Wellness, exclusively breastfed, vaginally delivered babies from Moms who follow the principles of Traditional Diet would be ideal donors along with an older sibling or adult with the same background.
Drainage remedies like those from UNDA, Heel, Pekana, and Guna are also extremely helpful (and easy to administer) in healing the mucosal lining of the gut and respiratory tracts.
You can locate a classical homeopath in your area to prepare these remedies for you, or alternatively, you can contact Biodynamic Wellness who can make them for you as needed without the need for a long or expensive consultation. A brief health history including age, weight and gut condition over the phone (takes about 2 minutes) is necessary to prepare the remedies appropriately. This helps determine the ideal dosage.
These remedies can also be found online but it might be difficult to determine proper dosages.
More Information on the GAPS Diet
GAPS or Autoimmune Paleo for Healing the Gut
GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now
Overwhelmed by the GAPS Diet? Help Has Arrived
The Five Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes
GAPS Diet Heals Ulcerative Colitis
Hannah’s Story: 2 Years on GAPS Diet Heals Autism
Chronic Stomach Pain and Bloating Gone!
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.