Recommended / Avoided Foods

By Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition)

Recommended Foods 

• Buy fresh or frozen meats, fish and shellfish. Make sure that they are not smoked, salted or preserved in any other way. Your patient needs to have gelatinous meats every single day (meats around bones and joints, skin and brown meats on the poultry). It is important for him or her to have all the fats on the meat, eating lean muscle meats will not be good for GAPS.

• Liver and other organ meats should be eaten on a regular basis. They can be cooked any way you like. It is very nourishing and is the best remedy for many nutritional deficiencies.

• Eggs – the yolk is best eaten raw, the white should be slightly cooked, like for example in soft boiled or fried eggs. Make sure that you find good quality eggs, free-range organic eggs are the best. Your patient should have minimum 2-3 eggs a day as they are particularly good for restoring neurological functions.

• Fresh vegetables – all types of vegetables are recommended, apart from starchy vegetables, like potatoes, parsnips, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichokes and yams. You can cook vegetables by steaming them, stewing, roasting, grilling or stir-frying. It is particularly good to eat them as a homemade soup or stew with plenty of garlic, added at the end of cooking. Your patient should have plenty of cooked vegetables with every meal, as they are better digested than raw vegetables and are more nourishing. It is also important to have fermented and raw vegetables with every meal in a form of salads with olive oil and fresh lemon juice or as a snack. Raw and fermented vegetables will help in digesting proteins and detoxifying. However if your patient gets diarrhoea then cook all vegetables until diarrhoea clears.

• Fresh fruit. It is important that the fruit should be ripe. After completing the Introduction Diet introduce local seasonal ripe fruit gradually. At that stage start your patient’s day from a bit of fruit and offer some fruit between meals. He or she should not have fruit if there is diarrhoea. When the diarrhoea has cleared he or she can start from having cooked fruit (peeled, de-seeded and well cooked with a good dollop of butter, ghee or coconut oil) and then raw, introduced slowly.

• Avocado is a wonderfully nutritious fruit. Make sure it is ripe and serve it with meats, fish, shellfish and salads.

• Butter is better than any so-called healthy substitutes. You can cook with it or add it into ready dishes. Butter should be bought organic and unsalted, because non-organic butter contains a lot of pesticides and antibiotics, which the cows consume. Cold pressed virgin olive oil is very good for your patient, use it in salads and ready dishes liberally. It is not a good idea to cook with olive oil because it changes its chemical structure when heated. Frying is best done with animal fats: pork dripping, lard, lamb fat, goose fat, duck fat, ghee and butter. Coconut oil and palm oil are two plant oils, very good to use for cooking. These fats do not alter their structure during cooking. They can even be re-used. Collect your own fats after roasting meats. Avoid all common vegetable cooking oils, margarines and other processed fats: they are very harmful to health.

• Nuts and seeds are a wonderful source of very good nutrients. Nuts should be bought just shelled – not salted, roasted, coated or processed in any other way. This way they are an excellent source of essential fatty acids and many nutrients. However, nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, which may make them difficult to digest for some people. If you feel that it is a problem for your patient, as soon as you bought nuts to remove the enzyme inhibitors try to do the following: soak the nuts in salty water over night (1 tablespoon of sea salt per litre of water), in the morning drain them, rinse the salt off and dry in your oven at the temperature 50C for 3-24 hours (keep checking them as different nuts take different time to dry). Your patient can also eat nuts and seeds straight after soaking without drying them. Once they are dried keep them in an airtight container or well-sealed plastic bag. They become nice and crunchy and make an excellent snack food together with dried fruit. You can grind nuts and seeds (sunflower and pumpkin) into flour consistency to make bread, pancakes and even cakes at home. My book will provide you with recipes. Ground almonds or almond flour is available in health food shops.

• If your child would like to have a milk-like drink, nut/seed milk can replace all other milk while you are gradually introducing dairy. You can use almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and pine nuts to make milk. Blanched almonds make the best milk. You can add a teaspoon of flax seeds to make the milk thicker. Soak a cup of almonds in water for 12 – 24 hours, drain. Blend in a food processor with water: for 1 cup of nuts/seeds add 1-2 cups of water. A good juicer will crash the nuts/seeds well, making a paste, which you would blend with water. Mix well and strain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer and you have got milk. You can add some soaked dates or raisins, when blending, they will make the milk sweet. If you find that the milk is too rich, just add more water. You can add some of freshly pressed apple juice or carrot juice into it to make a very tasty and nourishing drink for your child. You can “milk” the same cup of almonds a few times. Just keep the paste covered with water in the refrigerator.

• You can also make coconut milk. Bring to boil (but do not boil) 1 cup of unsweetened shredded dried coconut and 1 cup of water. Cool down and blend well in your food processor. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine strainer.

• It is better to replace the table salt in your patient’s diet with unprocessed salt. The salt, which is sold in shops has been processed to remove all natural minerals apart from the NaCl. The human body needs all those minerals, that is why we must consume natural unprocessed salt. You can get very good quality sea salt called Celtic Salt or a Himalayan Crystal Salt.

• Garlic is very important to eat every day. It will help to normalise your patient’s gut flora and stimulate the immune system. It is important to have it raw with meats or cooked as a part of the meal. Work on using a whole head of garlic every day (not just a few cloves).

• Unprocessed honey is the only sweetener allowed (in baking it is better to use dried fruit as a sweetener). Locally produced honey is usually the most reliable.

For a full alphabetic list of foods to avoid and recommended foods, please look in the GAPS book.

Foods to avoid

By Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition)

• Sugar and anything that contains it.

• Molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, any other syrup.

• Aspartame in any form, it is a potent neurotoxin (brain toxin).

• Sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ice – creams.

• All alcoholic beverages. An adult can have good quality wine with meals occasionally but not beer or spirits.

• Tinned and processed foods, always read the ingredients label, beware of sugar, lactose, maltose, starch, corn flour, preservatives, flavourings, colours, yeast. It is best not to buy processed foods at all.

• Grains: rice, corn, rye, oats, wheat and anything made of wheat flour (breads, pasta, biscuits, cakes and anything from the bakery, anything with bread crumbs or batter), buckwheat, quinoa, millet, couscous, spelt, semolina, tapioca, etc. After about 1 – 1.5 years you may be able to slowly re-introduce buckwheat, millet and quinoa (fermented to start with), but not wheat, rye or rice.

• Breakfast cereals are highly processed products with virtually no nutritional value, they are full of sugar, salt, trans-fatty acids and other harmful substances. They should be out of the diet forever.

• Starchy vegetables and anything made out of them: potato, parsnips, yams, Jerusalem artichoke and sweet potato. In about 1 – 1.5 years you may be able to introduce new potatoes.

• Milk should be out at this stage. However, the GAPS person can have soured milk products, such as natural hard cheese, live natural yoghurt and kefir, crème fresh or soured cream, butter and ghee. There are many substances in milk, which could cause trouble, such as milk sugar lactose, casein, immune complexes, etc. Soured milk products do not contain lactose and are pre-digested by the fermenting microbes, which makes fermented milk products very easy to digest for us. I would recommend using only organic milk products and introduce them one at a time, starting from small amounts. If you were not able to introduce any dairy in the Introduction Diet, then please look at page 95 in the GAPS book, it will explain how to introduce dairy safely. If you have introduced homemade yoghurt, kefir and ghee as a part of the Introduction Diet, then gradually introduce fermented cream and butter. When that is well tolerated try natural mature cheeses. You may want to try goat’s or sheep’s milk products first as they are often better tolerated by the GAPS people, than cow’s. In about 1.5 -2.5 years and when all fermented dairy products are introduced, your patient may be able to drink raw unpasteurized organic milk. Introduce it gradually starting from 1-2 teaspoons a day. A GAPS person must never have pasteurised milk!

• Fruit juices apart from freshly pressed. Unfortunately fruit juices (not freshly pressed by you) are a source of processed sugars and can contain a lot of fungi and moulds in them, which your GAPS patient might react to.

• Beans and pulses are generally hard to digest. The two varieties that your patient can have are white (navy) beans also called haricot beans, fermented and cooked at home, and fresh green beans. Commercially available baked beans have almost 40% sugar and should be avoided. You can make your own baked beans at home (please, look in the recipe section).

• Coffee is a strong irritant for the digestive tract, try to avoid it. Strong tea is not advisable either. Natural herbal teas (no flavourings added) and ginger tea are fine. Ginger tea is a well-known folk remedy for digestive problems.

• Soft drinks are not allowed at all, they are full of sugar and various chemicals, which are very damaging for GAPS people.

• Anything with colours, preservatives, flavourings and other chemicals.

• Soya and anything made out of it. It interferes with thyroid function in the body and negatively affects hormonal balance, as it contains oestrogen – like compounds. It is important to avoid all synthetic oestogens, such as from soya, contraceptive pill, many other drugs, domestic cleaning chemicals, laundry detergents, toiletries, etc.

GAPS Food Allergy Test

You can perform a food allergy test by yourself.

• Paint a little bit of the food you want to test on a wrist where the skin is soft before you go to bed.  Make sure that the paint of food is dry enough so that it is not wiped off while the person is sleeping.

• Check the skin in the morning.  If the skin is pink or red, then he/she maybe allergic to the food. If there is nothing change on the skin, this person may not have allergy.