The Full GAPS Diet

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

 

Your patient needs to carry on completely avoiding starches and sugar for two years at least. It means avoiding all grains, sugar, potatoes, parsnips, yams, sweet potato and anything made out of them. The flour in your cooking and baking can be replaced with ground almonds (or any other nuts or sunflower or pumpkin seeds ground into flour). In about 1 – 1.5 years you may be able to introduce new potatoes, fermented buckwheat, millet and quinoa, starting from very small amounts and observing any reaction. Wheat, sugar, processed foods and all additives will have to be out of the diet for much longer.

Slowly increase the amounts of fermented foods. You can ferment vegetables, fruit, milk and fish (please look in the recipe section). I would also recommend reading a wonderful book by Sally Fallon “Nourishing Traditions”, it will provide you with a lot of good recipes. Eating fermented foods with every meal will help your patient to digest the meal without using supplements of digestive enzymes. Make sure to introduce all new fermented foods into the diet very gradually starting from 1-2 teaspoons a day.

The best foods for the GAPS person are eggs, meats and fish (bought fresh or frozen, not smoked or canned, and cooked at home), shellfish, fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, garlic and olive oil. As well as eating the vegetables cooked it is important to have them raw in the form of salads and sticks. In this form they will provide your patient with valuable enzymes and detoxifying substances, which will help in digesting meats. Raw fruit should be eaten on their own, not with meals, as they have a very different digestion pattern and can make the work harder for the stomach. At that stage let your patient to have fruit as a snack between meals. Remember, that about 85% of everything your patient eats on a daily basis should be savoury – made out of meats, fish, eggs, vegetables and natural fats. Sweet baking and fruit should be snacks between meals in limited amounts.

It is very important for a GAPS person to have plenty of natural fats in every meal from meats, butter, ghee, coconut and cold pressed olive oil. The fat content of the meal will regulate the blood sugar level and control cravings for carbohydrates.

If your patient gets a tummy bug or any other form of diarrhoea go back to the low fibre diet for a few days: remove all nuts, raw vegetables and raw fruit out of the diet; go back to meats cooked in water and meat stock, fish, eggs, fermented dairy and cooked vegetables (skinned, de-seeded and well cooked with meats as soups and stews) until diarrhoea completely clears. After the stools stay normal for a week introduce raw vegetables slowly, one at a time and starting from small amounts. When vegetables are introduced, try to introduce nuts, seeds and fruit gradually.

It is important for your GAPS patient to balance the meals so that his or her body pH stays normal. All protein foods, such as meats, fish, eggs and cheese leave an acid ash in the body, which may aggravate his or her condition. Vegetables are alkalising, so you need to combine meats, fish and eggs with good amount of vegetables cooked and/or raw. Raw fruit, vegetables and greens have particularly strong alkalising ability. Apple cider vinegar is very alkalising, it is good to have it every day: just add one teaspoon of cider vinegar into every glass of water your patient drinks. Hot water with cider vinegar will makes an excellent warming and alkalising drink. Fermented foods are also alkalising.

It is very important to avoid processed foods (any packet or tinned foods). They are stripped from most nutrients that were present in the fresh ingredients used for making these foods. They are a hard work for the digestive system and they damage the healthy gut flora balance. On top of that they usually contain a lot of artificial chemicals, detrimental to health, like preservatives, colorants, E-numbers, etc. Try to buy foods in the form that nature made them, as fresh as possible.

Do not use a microwave oven, as it destroys food. Cook and warm up food using conventional oven and stove.