The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet is divided into two parts: the Introduction Diet and the Full GAPS Diet, which will be outlined below.
Before you begin, it’s best to read about the GAPS Diet in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.” If you’d like to learn more about the book, or purchase it for yourself, click here.
Please download this easy-to-use GAPS Diet Foods PDF document.
When beginning your journey, it’s important to understand that the Introduction Diet and even the Full GAPS Diet can be overwhelming to patients, parents and children who are accustomed to a traditional Western Diet.
That’s why easing into the Full GAPS Diet may be the best option for some. For example, try one new GAPS recipe per week that displaces what you normally eat that’s not on the protocol. This allows you to build your repertoire of recipes and gives you time to find your core food sources. You may even need to purchase the appropriate cooking tools to set the foundation. Taking time to learn and adjust to the new diet is also a great way to set yourself up for success!
For patients with severe digestive issues and food sensitivities, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends starting with the Introduction Diet. For those who have constipation and mild symptoms, starting with the Full GAPS Diet is an option, too.
The Introduction Diet is divided into six stages. It generally takes patients three to six weeks to complete all the stages. However, some patients may take longer, as each GAPs patient is unique. As we touched on above, the Introduction Diet is designed for patients with severe digestive issues including chronic diarrhea, IBS, Crohn’s, gastritis and ulcerative colitis, as well as patients with severe neurological conditions including autism, schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.
Some patients may exhibit neurological conditions with no clear digestive symptoms and may be able to move through the Introduction Diet more quickly by listening to their bodies and observing negative reactions.
Full GAPS Diet
Once a patient has moved through the six stages of the Introduction Diet, it’s time to move onto the Full GAPS Diet.
For patients who skipped the Introduction Diet, Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends following the Dairy Introduction Structure when introducing dairy products. It’s important to remember the majority of the patient’s diet should consist of meats, fish, eggs, fermented foods and vegetables. Overindulging in baked goods made from nut flours and fruit can be detrimental to the healing process, so such treats should only be consumed in moderation.
For patients with yeast overgrowth, temporarily eliminating fruit, honey and nuts may be beneficial.
Once a patient has moved through the Full GAPS Diet, there’s an additional stage called Coming Off the GAPS Diet, designed to help the patient make a healthy and smooth transition.