The GAPS Diet: What It Is and Why You Might Consider Doing It
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The GAPS Diet: What It Is and Why You Might Consider Doing It

gutpsychologysyndrome-thumb1Do you or any of your family members regularly experience common digestive complaints, such as heartburn (reflux), indigestion, bloating, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea? Do any of you suffer from eczema, asthma, dyslexia, or depression? Have your children received labels such as autism, ADD or ADHD? Do you wonder if there is a common link between any of these these things?

Two weeks ago, I received a book that I had been wanting to order for a long time. I began reading it during a plane ride to Nashville, and I quickly realized that I did not want to put this book down.

I have been studying health and nutrition for about 7 years. Over the course of those years, I have read a lot of books. Scoured a lot of websites. Tried a lot of different diets.

Some resources have been more helpful than others. A few, such as What the Bible Says About Healthy Living, The Maker’s Diet, and Nourishing Traditions have rocked my world. Several of the diets that we have tried have resulted in truly amazing and quantifiable results in my health, my husband’s health, and especially in our children’s health.

So when I say that a nutrition/health book has blown me away, that’s really saying something. Can I just say that I have been blown away by Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride?

The best way that I know how to put it is that it has taken all of the incredible, valuable information that has resounded strongly with me over these past 7 years, and pulled it together in a way that made so much sense. It had me nodding my head emphatically with every page I turned.

So what is the basic premise of the GAPS diet?

I absolutely love the way that Cara phrased it recently,

“It’s almost like setting the ‘reset button’ on your gut flora after a lifetime of antibiotics and toxins.”

That is truly what the GAPS diet is all about. It is not about a bit of a “fix”, or making some improvements in the way that our digestive system functions. It is so much more than that. Rather, it is about completely pulling back from all those things that exacerbate our already over-loaded, tired, lethargic, toxin-ridden, out-of-balance and damaged system, so that our gut can truly heal.


Image by hansel5569

What does the GAPS diet address?

Here is a brief list of some of the symptoms and disorders that are very often related to the gut, and that have been greatly impacted by the GAPS diet:

ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, asthma, bed wetting, thrush, finicky eaters, chronic ear infections, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type-1 diabetes, chronic cystitis (bladder infection), colic & eczema.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop has actually put together quite a few fantastic posts on GAPS, one of which has a more detailed list of conditions and/or symptoms that are related to a dysfunctional gut. I would really recommend checking it out.

GAPS includes three main principles:

1) Healing the gut– By avoiding all foods that irritate it, and by consuming only foods that will nourish and heal it.

2) Repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria– This is done by avoiding all foods that feed opportunistic (bad) bacteria/gut flora. As well, high quality probiotic supplements are used to actively repopulate the gut while all this cleansing/starving of the bad bacteria is taking place.

3) Getting rid of toxins– This happens in a number of ways. By limiting the diet to only foods that can be easily digested and eliminated, by strengthening the gut and the beneficial bacteria so that they can deal with toxins thoroughly, and by fresh juicing to speed up the elimination of toxins.

Detoxifying is one of the most crucial benefits of the GAPS diet. When there is an overgrowth of yeast, bad bacteria, fungi, parasites and anything else that stems from gut dysbiosis (an unhealthy, improperly functioning intestinal tract), myriads of dangerous toxins are produced. These toxins are able to alter brain chemistry, cause auto-immune reactions, severely hamper immunity against infections and more. To better understand how the gut and the immune system are connected, see this excellent post on Gut Health 101.

In a nutshell, “Through her research, [Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride] has determined a distinct correlation between unhealthy intestinal flora, poor digestion and toxicity from chemicals created by undigested foods, which can severely affect brain chemistry.” (Source- Weston A. Price Foundation book review).

I do have to note that it’s not a quick fix diet. If I think too long and hard about what we are about to embark on, I start to feel a bit of anxiety. The diet can take anywhere from several months up to 2 years, depending on the severity of your symptoms and how your body responds to the healing work that is happening.

Right now, I am focusing myself on the benefits of this diet and on the health that I so greatly desire for my family to have, and that makes it feel absolutely worth it as I prepare for us to begin the diet!

I feel like I’ve left out so much valuable information… there is so much to the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and the reasons why we should address it by doing a diet like this. Tomorrow, I will continue to share about why our family has decided to do it, as well as give you some great resources to help you start looking into it more for yourself.


The GAPS diet is still a very popular search on this blog and I know that so many families out there are looking for more help and resources. These are some of the best ones I’ve found.

Cara from Healthy, Home & Happiness has several amazingly helpful resources for those on GAPS:

  • 30 Days on the GAPS Introduction Diet- What Can I Eat Now? This is an essential guide to helping you get started and get through the chalenging early days and weeks of the intro diet!
  • Grain Free Meal Plans Freezer Cooking Guide. Prepping meals and meal components ahead of time is a HUGE sanity and time saver when you’re doing gaps, and this ebook guides you through the process of stocking your freezer to make life on GAPS easier.
  • Grain-Free Meal Plans. Do you prefer to just let someone else do the thinking and planning for you, and follow along a pre-made menu plan? Then you’ll definitely want to check these GAPS-friendly plans out.

Do you think that your family has physical symptoms and complaints that are related to gut health? What would hold you back from doing a diet like this?

(And if you’ve already done GAPS yourself, I would LOVE to hear from your experience with it!)

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

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  1. So glad that you’ve found this book! We have found it to be life changing also and we’ve only been on it (the Intro to GAPS – from the GAPS Guide by Baden) for 5 weeks and have seens changes already. We have 2 (possibly 3) of 4 kids with food sensitivities and 1 with a true peanut allergy. 2 of them have slight learning difficulties/delays (speech, low muscle tone) – nothing huge like autism or ADD or dyspraxia.
    I started with “The Maker’s Diet” which led me to “Nourishing Traditions” – these 2 books changed our lives too!! But I soon realized that as good as they are, I wasn’t implementing them as wel as I could and my 2 kids stil seems tired, sick with colds and seasonal allergies, and itchy with ezcema.
    The jury’s still out on behavior improvement in the kids as I can’t tell what’s bad flora ‘die-off’ and what’s just toddler behavior – lol!
    My family thinks we’re nuts but my hubbs is fully satisfied with the food options (lots of fat and good oils with our meat & veggies!) and he is fully supportive – that helps. I am in the kitchen for an extra 2-3 hours due to all the veggie/fruit chopping but after learning NT, I know it’s worth it. The kids LOVE the food! I think they were expecting something worse because they exclaim how good it tastes at every meal (tasty fats and good seasonings make a difference).

    We are still very restricted but soon will add back in raw veggies (all are cooked right now), cooked, and raw fruits. I think that we will be doing this for about a year (although I’ve told everyone 6 months – lol!). I don’t want to rush this!

    Stephanie, I hope that you find as much benefit from this as we have so far!! It won’t me that much of a change from already cooking whole and nourishing foods and (as far as I can tell), none of it goes against anything we’ve learned from NT. Plan and prepare well and then take baby steps getting intos a NEW routine with NEW recipes and NEW shopping habits.

    And then ENJOY!

    ps. Do you might if I link this post to my blog? I had meant to do one like this to better explain the diet but hadn’t gotten to it and you worded it so wonderfully!
    This is when we decided to try GAPS – to find true gut healing so that we could give them a foundation to build from.
    After 2 weeks, our 2 yearold started talking – 2 and 3 words sentences from nothing previous! The other 2 (with the ‘issues’) have clear skin and more energy – the one with speech delays has drastically improved. I feel like I have faaaar less mood swings and like my metabolism has evened out (after a tiny bit of initial weight loss). My hair has stopped falling out (I wasn’t getting enough calcim prior).
    .-= mom24´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – My Sweet Valentine =-.

  2. I’m very interested in hearing your plan for this diet and why you chose to do it. I definitely think this type of diet would benefit my family. My husband has various digestive issues and (I believe) a mild case of ADD or ADHD. My 14 month old son has had digestion problems for the past three months (which happened to be when we had to start supplementing because I couldn’t get my milk supply back up after a long period of illness). I struggle with depression and have issues with indigestion, reflux and eczema.

    I attended a workshop this weekend about healing depression and anxiety naturally, and one of the topics addressed was healing the gut. I was very interested. The main things holding me back from completely overhauling our diet are getting my husband on board (I know I won’t keep it up if he isn’t doing it with me), the cost of a special diet (we already have a very low grocery budget), and my fears about fixating on food because of past issues with eating disorders.

    I’m looking forward to reading more about your thoughts and experiences with this diet.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..It’s My Blog, and I’ll Vent if I Want To! =-.

    1. @Melissa, What a great review. I’m throwing this book in my shopping cart at Amazon. My husband has been doing an anti-candida diet for a few months (it’s so hard!) so I think this will just serve to support what he’s doing even more.

      I have both Nourishing Traditions and The Makers Diet – fabulous information there too.

      .-= Quiet-Mom´s last blog ..Tell Me Thursday – 2/18/2010 – Shortcut =-.

  3. I love the GAP book as well. It was like turning on a light bulb in a dark room. It is amazing because I have read the same books as you in the same order. Each one has brought considerable change to my family for the better. I have been doing the GAPS diet for the most part with my seven year old for over a year. She was doing outstanding on it until our entire family was severly poisoned by aerial spraying this past August. I have been detoxing her but we are still struggling to get back to the level we had obtained prior to that poisoning. One area I have seen great improvements is in her schooling. She is home schooled and struggled so hard to even learn her ABC’s last winter. One month on the GAP diet and she was quickly learning to read. I see a huge improvement in mental ablitlites!

    1. @Amy,

      so sorry to here that you and your family fell victim to one the worlds many wicked ways. that is not right. i am guessing that yuo have contacted the governmental bodies up to the federal level, and non-profits about this? especially if you have a doctor to back you up on your families side effects. i am curious to know what happened if you did contact authorities, etc. thankyou and God bless all of you on your healing journey!

  4. This is a great overview!
    We really like the diet. After the initial confusion, I kind of found a rhythm in cooking and it became much simpler. I haven’t ever stuck with a ‘cleanse’ before, but this one just made so much sense that I can highly recommend it! I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone in our antibiotic-laden culture who couldn’t benefit from this.
    .-= Cara @ Health Home and Happiness´s last blog ..Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma =-.

  5. I would really like to do something like this because I suffer with depression (sometimes severe) and do not want to continually keep increasing my medication to “make it better”. My only drawback is the restrictive eating that usually is included in diets like these. But I would love to read some more info about it!
    .-= Kalyn´s last blog ..Fess Up Friday: Reading Recipes……..Thoroughly =-.

  6. Did you really mean Type ONE diabetes? Or type II? I have never heard of any diet or protocol that can help type I.

    We have not exactly done GAPS but we have been so close for so long…and we do feel better but we’re not doing the full protocol and it’s only been a few weeks. We’ll see.

    1. @Kate, Huh, that’s interesting. I didn’t catch before that it said Type-1. I only saw the “diabetes” part. I got that list off of one of the other GAPS posts I listed to. I actually haven’t heard of anything helping with Type-1, except that I imagine a mother doing GAPS before pregnancy could possibly help to prevent it, as she would be that much healthier when conceiving? I’m not really sure, but thanks for catching that!

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Regarding diabetes type 1, I do not know whether GAPS would positively influence this, although I suspect it would. However, if you check out the RAW FOR THIRTY and RAW FOR LIFE work of Morgan Spurlock, Gabriel Cousens, David Wolfe, Charlotte Gerson and others, you will find that the Raw for Thirty team did, indeed, help reverse not just diabetes type 2 but also diabetes type 1. We are what we eat … and food can indeed replace medicine …

    2. @Kate, Amazingly the answer is YES, GAPS does help type 1 diabetes. There is a lady on the GAPS Yahoo group whose teen daughter has type 1 and the diet has helped. This diet will heal the body from damage and disease. God made our bodies to heal themselves. It is miraculous and gives us such hope!

      1. Hi Eileen,
        My husband has an employee who is type 1 diabetic. He has asked me to help him learn everything he can about using “real” foods to help his condition. How would I get in touch with the lady you mentioned whose daughter is type 1 diabetic?

        1. The idea that it could help Type 1 diabetics is interesting. I have read a lot of other sources that talk about fermented foods and probiotics for diabetics. Also, it seems common for diabetics to have issues with other things like IBS, and “metabolic syndrome”, as well as increased levels of depression in diabetics. I wonder if this would help me use less insulin if nothing else, which would be totally worthwhile if it did.

  7. I too am excited to be starting the GAPS diet. I am still working my way up to GAPS intro diet but I am already starting to see some improvement in my overall health. I would love to get my kids on board too but I just can’t see them eating the GAPS foods. I would love to hear how you get your kids to eat some of the recommended foods! Love GAPS Guide by Baden.

  8. I’ve heard a lot of references to the GAPS diet but never a good explanation of what it is and why it is useful. I look forward to reading more about it.

    I feel a lot like Andrea mentioned, I’ve been slowly incorporating NT ideas and do think they are great but I know eventually we will probably want something a little more cohesive and (unfortunately?) strict.

    Right now I’m just struggling to maintain our good habits due to moving and pregnancy but this is definitely something to think for a later time.

  9. I’ve been doing this for about a month. I started it because like Cara, I wanted to hit the reset button, so to speak! I am wondering if I was heading towards chronic fatigue syndrome, and I probably had years of malnourishment due to undiagnosed celiac disease.
    What I first started, I felt AMAZING for the first time in a long while. People who didn’t know I was doing the diet kept remarking about how good I sounded/looked/seemed. But around week 2 the sugar cravings totally overwhelmed me and I couldn’t keep it up, so I’m using the supplements in “The Mood Cure” by Julia Ross to try to regulate my brain chemistry a bit so I can get back on the diet 100% and keep healing.

  10. I have never heard of this book but it sounds great. I will definitely get it. I am a true believer in that what we put in our body makes a difference in so many things and can really help to relieve alot of symptons. We don’t really have any digestive issues here but we sure could stand to eat better each day. thanks!
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..No time… =-.

  11. could one just order the book,and not do the course? is that an option? i know i have only one day to decide i do feel lead taking the course! please let me know.thanks

  12. hi Stephanie! long-time reader and first time commenter here!

    I’m glad to see your positive review of this book – it’s a purchase I really want to make in the near future to hopefully improve our health. I have never really been “sickly” but over the past few months I’ve noticed a general downsurge in how well I feel – my husband and I have both been suffering from headaches and digestive issues, and I have had sinus problems – what’s felt like a long-term mild sinus infection coupled with soreness/bleeding that won’t heal.

    My husband and I had a conversation recently when I told him about GAPS, and we got on the topic of being “healthy” vs. being “functional.” Just because one is able to still go to work or go to school and not be bedridden or contagious with illness doesn’t mean that he/she is really healthy. I think right now as a couple we are functional and able to get through the day, but not necessarily healthy. I like the idea of “rebooting” our guts to flourish and have healthier bodies. I’m looking forward to hearing more about GAPS and how/why your family will do it! Thanks so much for your great blog; I’ve learned a ton from you.

  13. I can’t wait for your next post about this! Today is the first time I really read about the gaps diet (I had seen it before, but never looked into it), and it is exactly what I’ve been thinking is the problem with my almost-two-year-old and her eczema problem. I am just convinced that she is having digestive issues, especially because she was also having problems with constipation until after we took her off of dairy over two weeks ago. Now she is having more regular bowel movements, but her eczema still hasn’t cleared up.

    I was on a lot of antibiotics before I got pregnant with her (I had lyme disease), and have suffered from depression and candida yeast. So all of a sudden these lights start going on in my head, and I can hardly wait to do something about it. But I do want my husband’s support in this, and want to respect him and his opinions. I want to talk with him about it (maybe tonight), and I hope he will be receptive and encouraging about trying this new diet.

    Thank you for the work that you put into your website. I appreciate it!

    1. Hi Karen,

      We are starting to try the GAPS diet for multiple health things in our family. My 2 year old had excema and it turned out to be an egg allergy. I read recently that most excema is caused by egg allergy, especially if the rash occurs on the face.


  14. I’m very interested in GAPS and can’t wait to see how you implement it and the foods that you eat. I read Cara’s blog and I see the things she cooks, too, which is helpful. I would like to buy or borrow this book so I can really read up on it before I start anything.

    The reason I would want to try it is severe heartburn(can’t pinpoint really what causes it), unexplained rashes and itchy spots and just generally feeling run down which leads to some depression at times . I do have asthma too but it is pretty well-controlled now without daily drugs (PTL!).

    My biggest drawbacks would be cost as our budget is very low right now, social eating and also the fact that my husband tends to think these things are a bit hokey! I don’t think I would be as committed if he wasn’t at least mostly supportive. He has some digestive issues too which maybe could be helped some by a diet change such as this one.
    .-= Mary Ann´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday: The "Making It Last Until The End Of The Month" Edition! =-.

  15. In the past, I’ve always felt like the GAPS diet was way over my head, and not something my family could ever do. But I am SO intrigued by the GAPS diet now, and can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’m particularly interested because my 2 year old son has gastroparesis (essentially, paralysis of the stomach). We are desperately trying to find a diet that gets him the nutrition he needs that his stomach can handle without going to a completely liquid (and maybe tube-fed) diet. Even if this isn’t a diet that could help him, I think it sounds pretty great for the rest of us! Off to see if my library has this book, and if not I’m ordering it!! Thank you SO much for sharing!
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday: February 22 =-.

  16. I never comment on blogs. But I just had to let Cara know that my sister had Gastroparesis and tried every kind of conventional therapy and medication that her doctor prescribed. Eating was always just a miserable experience for her. She has been following the GAPS diet for 9 months and is completely cured. Her Gastroenterologist is amazed, and really backtracking on his previous statement ‘there really is no cure, we can just treat the symptoms”
    God is so good!

    1. @Angela, I have Gastroparesis and have been searching for a diet that I can follow with my food allergies. I’d love to know more about how your sister decided upon the GAPS diet and if she made any alterations due to the restrictions of low-fat and low-fiber that those of us with GP are given. Did she idiopathic GP or is she a diabetic? We rarely hear these success stories with GP so I would appreciate any more details you can offer! (I can give you my email address if you’ve be willing to exchage info.) Thank you!

    2. Hi, @Angela! I have a friend with advanced gastroparesis who would abosolutely be SO encouraged if she could talk to your sister! She is now unable to tolerate tube feedings, and living off of intravenous nutrition. We would REALLY appreciate it if we could get in touch with her! You can email me at

  17. Thanks so much for sharing. I really look forward to hearing how this works for your family. We did the intro diet for a couple weeks just as a cleanse. We eat close to GAPS as possible, but can’t make it work ALL the time with work and travel. I struggled with the “absoluteness” of the diet because we just couldn’t do it, but I know that every positive change we make is helping us to heal. We are still doing beans soaked 24 hours, potatoes or pasta once every couple weeks, and chocolate here and there. I still feel we are making progress though we are not perfect GAPS. We definately feel better since cutting out most the grains, but I may bust the budget with all the nut flour. We’re trying to do a lot of juicing and green smoothies instead of baked goods, but the family loves muffins and pancakes (so do I!). We eat a lot and easily eat a dozen muffins for breakfast. I look forward to hearing your ideas.
    Blessings on your GAPS journey!
    Oh…and we LOVE the juicing and regular epsom salt baths. They have really made a difference for us!

    1. @Kari, Kari-I don’t know the GAPS diet (YET) but just based on your comment I would suggest making healthier pancakes and muffins if you can’t skip them. Use the juices and green smoothies in the mix rather than just water. Use healthier grains and mix in veggis, fruits and nuts.

  18. I’m going to facebook link this post… I can think of several people who would be interested in it. I am scared of the GAPS diet, but I am definitely in the seriously checking it out stage. We’ve had a lot of gut issues and my son has multiple food allergies and asthma… so it sounds like a road we may want to try.

  19. I see this as providential that you just posted on this. I was reading about this book last night, and thought it might be a neat idea to add it to my collection “sometime”. Then you posted, and it REALLY got my attention 🙂 I scoured a lot of the GAPS site, and I ordered the book. We are so humbled and blessed that with 9 children, we don’t have any major problems/diagnoses – all of my children were breastfed and most never had antibiotics. We’ve eaten much homemade stuff for years, and are getting back into raising our own meat, milk, and eggs. Lately I’ve just not felt up to snuff, and my husband is in 2 years of training at his workplace (nuclear power reactor operator) and has been fighting fatigue – he’s normally a high-energy guy. So we’ve been re-examining our diet – it’s just so much simpler IMO to change your foods first, than to add a bunch of supplements without addressing the root problem. AND I just recently cleaned out my cleaning products and bought almost the entire BioKleen line of products (on sale!) to try. God has given me a desire to clean up in so many ways…

    Just a-ramblin’… Looking forward to hearing how this goes for your family!
    .-= Kimarie´s last blog ..Back to School! =-.

  20. yes, and yes. =) i relate so much to what you’ve written. i’ve read the GAPS website, looked thru the book (my friend’s copy) and felt a tugging and leaning toward “taking the plunge”.
    like you, i desire good health for my family. my 9yr old daughter has ezcema and i feel like we have really tried *everything* … =( we’ve made many dietary changes but in pieces; the GAPS approach feels like a complete commitment to radical change, which is both totally appealing and terrifying. one of my best friend’s implemented it in her home a few months ago (her son is autistic) and … what a journey it was/is!
    i am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
    i probably should order a copy of the book myself …
    blessings to you,

  21. There’s an interesting post over at the Health Journal Club that makes the case that people should just not eat anything that wasn’t a food 100 years ago. Gets rid of the aspartame, bleached GM flour, high fructose corn syrup garbage they try to pass off as food these days. If interested you can read on it here,

  22. Hi Stephanie,
    Thanks for this amazing overview. I’d been searching for something to get to the bottom of my eczema, and I’ve been researching this for hours ever since I read your post on Mon. I’m going to start the GAPS diet tomorrow with my 3 kids (7, 6, and 4.) Based on Cara’s advice (Health, Home, and Happiness), we’re going to start w/ the full GAPS, and then after a week or so, we’ll transition to the Intro diet. I think that will be a huge help to us in transitioning away from all the wonderful freshly ground, soaked or sourdough, wheat baked goods we enjoy (and I think are addicted to!) I’m really hopeful that this can be a huge boost to our health. It makes so much sense! And I love that it works you toward eating some of the things that temporarily have to be removed. I have no goal of going the rest of our lives without whole grains and other healthy starches.

    Please keep us all updated on how this works for your family, and if you have any tips for preparing/getting started.

  23. I’m looking forward to following your journey, as we’re about to embark on one of our own. We too have eaten a fairly healthy diet for many years, and in the last 1 1/2 years moved toward a WAP/Nourishing Traditions type diet. (Not 100%, but trying to incorporate more.) In the last few months I’ve done a lot of looking into GAPS, and really feel it will benefit my husband in particular, who has many symptoms and issues that it addresses. My kids thankfully have always been very healthy, but there are little things that I think it will help, and so we’re in the process of transitioning into the full GAPS, and then we’ll move toward the intro for my husband at least. I’m pregnant so can only commit to so much right now… God willing it will be a help and I’ll be able to keep up with it. As I already make almost all of our meals from scratch I think it is do-able.
    God bless you as you embark!

  24. My husband, 2-year old son and I have been on GAPS for five months and have never felt better. My husband’s digestive distress is gone and my son’s dairy allergy is also gone. I’ve never felt more energetic. I also resisted it at first but at this point I can’t see myself ever going back – we plan to eat this way indefinitely!

  25. My son was delivered by c-section after 4 L of antibiotics were poured into my veins for my water breaking before it was “suppose” to. (looking back my husband and I have had candida infections since we were infants also) He was colicy, severe asthma and bleeding ecema. Dr’s just want to give drugs and “help”. By God’s grace and wisdom we have carried him through w/ out drugs but it was looked so down upon. (Chest contractions were even helped w/ teas) We eat by NT and Jordan Rubin’s books. But it still has helped but he is not well. We are off of all yeast and sugar and that maintains us ok. This past week he had a type of uti that could not be well diagnosed. This so fits us. I can’t wait to get the book and devour it.

  26. Stephanie,
    I’ve been wondering how GAPS is going for your family and would love an update post if/when you get the chance!

    1. @Susanna, So funny you would ask this today, as we are going to transition back to our regular Maker’s Diet/Nourishing Traditions diet for a period of time. It has been going really well for us, but I’m in a season where I need one less thing that is causing me stress/extra work. We’re going to keep up with the broth, probiotics and fermented foods, though, and still stay off of conventional, processed foods. I will consider doing an update soon- thanks for asking!

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home,
        THanks for the reply, Stephanie! I totally hear you on the work/stress of it. You inspired me to start GAPS as I was searching to get to the root of our eczema issues, and we started a day before you, so that’s why I was curious. 🙂 I’m planning to stay on it (w/ my 3 kids) til the end of May, then transition back to a NT diet, but much higher on the ferments/probiotic foods than before. And as much broth as I can manage – getting a little sick of smelling the beef stock cooking and dealing with the grease. 🙂 I’ve been very pleased w/ the noticeable results of GAPS and am really hoping it’s doing a lot for our gut that we’re just not noticing. My eczema is almost gone, my hormones have regulated some, b.o. has drastically decreased, and my stomach feels so comfortable all the time (and I hadn’t even realized before that I had mild stomach aches a lot.) Sorry if too much info. My boys both had serious reflux as babies, so I feel like this is one way I can help them heal.

        Anyway, I appreciate the update and hope the transition makes things less stressful for you (b/c stress can impair healing!)

        Take care,

  27. It was a very helpful post for everybody who seek a solution in this kind of problem. I also heard about GAPS diet on children who is in autism spectrum. My friend Dr. Kurt Woeller is an expert about that diet. Thanks God that this kind of diet helps a lot of people. More power on your family.

  28. Is this a diet geared towards people who already have these types of health problems? Is it meant to prevent them? If we feel/seem healthy and don’t suffer from these things, is this diet no good? Or would you recommend it to anyone to be generally healthy? Thanks (I know this is an older post…).

    1. @Nikki Moore, We started GAPS over a year ago to help my 2 children who have learning disabilities. I joined them in the diet to help show them support, even though I had no outright symptoms of gut dysbiosis. After being on the diet for a few weeks I realized that I had this just as bad as they did. My foggy brain subsided. I lost 40 lbs, my monthly PMS stopped, my gray hair started fading back to brown, I had endless energy throughout the day, and I had a happier and more content disposition. It was amazing.

      This experience has made me realize that if you aren’t supporting your gut flora from the day you were born then you should be on GAPS.

  29. My three children and I have been doing the gaps diet since end of Aug. We are planning a trip cross country in a car. AHHHHHHH! I need some advice on how to travel and stay on the diet.
    I do thank God that a friend gave me this book.
    He is good!

    1. There’s a really good Yahoo group (email) for GAPS Diet that covers issues like traveling…and even things like breast feeding while on GAPS. I’m just learning about GAPS and found the group to be really useful. That said, I’d get the emails in digest form. There is a LOT of traffic…upwards of 30-50 emails a day. The group is called GAPShelp Hope this helps and I hope I’m not overstepping in sharing this info.

  30. We have been on GAPS for over a year for my children’s learning disabilities. My son also has sensory issues and probably Aspberger’s syndrome. We have seen remarkable changes in both my children. Changes in their behavior as well as changes in their cognitive ability.

    We still have a long way to go on GAPS, but now I feel like I have such hope that we can reverse the damage of our gut dysbiosis and my children will have successful lives ahead of them.

  31. I know I will get booed off if here, but let me first say I am a huge fan Of this blog and of natural living. However, posts like this and many of the comments I have read infuriate me! I do believe diet can affect many things and can assit in the management of mental disabilities (ADHD, autism etc) because I’ve seen it do wonders in my older brother who is diagnosed mentally retarded (although if he were diagnosed these days he would probably be on the autism spectrum somewhere). But the one thing I learned growing up with a “disabled” brother is that he was divinly created just like any “normal” person and God had a special plan for him, that could never be acomplished by a “normal” person. Why are we so obsessed with “curing” these people?! Managing the disorder is wonderful, and diets and supplements are the tools God gave us, but God also made my brother the way he is and he is perfect. I wish more parents would understand this instead of trying to fix their children and start embracing the gift they were given.

    1. @Jaimee, Don’t worry, no booing from me. 🙂

      I think that the perspective you’ve taken on this is wonderful. Your brother (and all others with disabilities) are absolutely gifts from the Lord, just as they are. We certainly do need to have the perspective of embracing people as they are and recognizing that the Lord sovereignly works through even disabilities, for our good and His glory.

      I don’t think we’re being obsessed with curing people, though. I think that as a mom, it’s my responsibility to do whatever I can do to nurture my children and help them to steward their health and bodies. If God has given us ways to be able to do this, through the food He has given us and through allowing me to be exposed to this information, then I feel it’s necessary to try it. When children suffer with these disabilities, it puts a lot of strain on the entire household, it makes it difficult for them to focus on learning and education, it makes it challenging to teach them about the Lord, and difficult for them to respond to others in genuine and affectionate relationships.

      And if these diets and other treatments don’t work, then we need to ultimately let it rest in the Lord’s hands. But I believe that taking dominion includes being to able to use the knowledge and tools that He has given us to do what we can for those who are struggling with any sickness. Sickness will always be a part of our lives, because of sin, but just as we don’t leave sin and allow it to fester in our lives, I also don’t think we need to just give up and say “well, this is the way it is”.

      I appreciate your thoughts and insight, Jaimee. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Your brother is blessed to have a sister like you. 🙂

  32. Does anybody know how the GAP diet compares to the CLEAN diet as described in Alejandro Junger’s book, Clean? My husband and I are also attempting to “reset” our guts and are in the first week of the Clean diet. It involves eliminating all potentially allergic food (gluten, dairy, nightshades) and all junk (alcohol, caffeine, sugar) and having blended foods for breakfast and dinner and a solid delicious meal at lunch. Fish and chicken are allowed but no other meat. If anybody knows how this compares to GAP, please let me know.

  33. Hi Stephanie,

    I love your blog and have been following for awhile. My husband (and I suppose I can include our 6-month-old too!) are in the process of becoming “real foodies” and overhauling our diet to a more “Nourishing Traditions” style. We’re 24 years old and well, I was reading up a bit on GAPS and thought it sounded interesting… but I was wondering if it’s still worth it if you DON’T have any of the symptoms mentioned. My husband and I seem to have both made it through our 20 years of S.A.D. eating relatively unscathed. Neither of us gets sick very often… and both feel generally “healthy” overall. We are having kind of a tough time cutting out the junk completely (old habits die hard) but we’re getting better. I was thinking maybe doing something like this would help kind of give us a clean slate… but it seems like such a huge commitment (particularly in hubby’s eyes), I’m wondering if it’s worth it for us. Could we benefit from doing a more relaxed version of it? Any thoughts?

    Also, I was wondering about doing it while breastfeeding… I’m pretty sure they said you can do it pregnant, but I wasn’t sure if releasing all of those toxins would result in “toxic breast-milk”?


    1. @Amanda, I think you could absolutely do it and receive the benefits. I am not personally doing it for most of the reasons that people usually do GAPS (I’m doing it because my family is doing it and certain family members need it more than I do), but it is still making a huge difference for me. I’m losing a bit of weight, gaining more energy and mental clarity, and it will certainly improve my digestion, nutrient absorption, and help me to pass on better health to any future children.

      I think you could do the full version (maybe skip the Intro) and find it very worthwhile. Another thing you might want to consider is a diet like The Maker’s Diet, which is 40 days long and takes you through some similar stages and restrictions, with a focus on just improving overall health, ending in a proper Nourishing Traditions style diet.

      There is a concern with toxins in breast milk, so you might want to wait longer. But, if you don’t do an the Intro and keep the probiotics more minimal at first, the toxin die-off shouldn’t be too bad. If you notice that you are dealing with die-off symptoms (fevers, nausea, flushed cheeks, etc.) then maybe back off of both probiotics and make the diet less strict so that you detoxify more slowly.

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Thanks so much for the input! I think we’re going to plan on doing it January of next year – depending on what happens with the family situation (We’re leaving our family planning up to God, so we have no idea when the next one may be coming!). But yeah, I figure that gives us plenty of time to plan, we’ll be through the holidays, and my little one will most likely be breastfeeding only as a supplement by then. Plus we figure winter will be a good time for all of that soup!!

        Your post on preparing for GAPS was great – I was kind of curious what a dry run might look like though… just trying it out for a week or so to get the hang of it? Or just practicing with recipes and such?

        In the meantime I think I might take your ‘Maker’s Diet’ suggestion…

        Thanks again! 🙂

    2. Hey Stephanie,
      Thanks so much for posting this. I have subscribed to your site for a few months, and just now realized that you were doing GAPS. It was suggested to us that we do GAPS for our 23 month old son who is showing signs of autism. After reading the book, I realize that all of us need the GAPS diet.
      So, I have a question for you. I have made my first batch of sauerkraut this week by following the directions in the GAPS guide and book. Both were somewhat non-descriptive in quantities of seasonings, salt, etc, and I do not have a creative bone in the kitchen (but am great at following directions). I am afraid that I just wasted money on ingredients, etc. as well as time, and I really need to get this right for our son’s sake. Do you have any suggested time-tested recipes for us? I have subscribed to a few good sites, but the few I’ve seen suggested adding dairy, and have to avoid dairy until after we can do the intro (my son produces peptides with casein). Any help here?

  34. “So when I say that a nutrition/health book has blown me away, that’s really saying something. Can I just say that I have been blown away by Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride?

    The best way that I know how to put it is that it has taken all of the incredible, valuable information that has resounded strongly with me over these past 7 years, and pulled it together in a way that made so much sense. It had me nodding my head emphatically with every page I turned.”

    AMEN to that. Except for me it’s been the past 11 years. Completely ties it all together, orthomolecular medicines successes with the mentally ill, autism, gut issues, the second brain…

  35. Was interested, but see that this is for Christians. I am Jewish, have to look elsewhere.

      1. It might be worthwhile noting – the book is not at all religious. There is no referenced to religion at all, its only concern is health and nutrition. While the similarity to the Maker’s diet might be off-putting from a Jewish point of view, don’t assume that GAPS comes from a similar standpoint!

        The GAPS diet, as far as I can evaluate (we do keep kosher, but not super-strict), can be done kosher, but finding legal meat/fish is mad expensive (not surprising, it’s kosher), and I can’t find any kosher cod liver oil. Bummer, but it might be worthwhile asking your Rav about it. We’re just going to try it without (my husband’s call).

  36. My journey has paralleled yours in some ways. I’ve also been researching and making healthy changes for the past eight years, since I was pregnant with my third son. The first book that changed my way of thinking about food was What the Bible Says About Healthy Living and I’ve also read Maker’s Diet and Nourishing Traditions. I’m still looking for answers and am now researching the GAPS Diet for my family. The medical establishment is no help in trying to figure out what is causing various symptoms in my sons and I am now ready to tackle this on my own. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts on your GAPS experience and from others in the blogging community.

  37. My question has mostly to do with cost. I have been interested in getting more grains out of my diet and my kids’ diets. We have been following a nourishing traditions/maker’s diet model for a couple of years now and our food budget is just crazy! And this is with just doing the bare minimum. There is so much more I would love to be able to do. For a family of 5 (plus now a baby that will be adding to our budget here soon) we can’t seem to stay under about $700-750. So I keep thinking if I cut out grains it will just go crazy! Any thoughts or tips to do this diet and keep to our budget? Is it even possible?

    1. @Kristy, I do find that we spend a little more when we’ve done the GAPS or any grain-free diet. We simply end up eating more animal protein to fill up, plus more fresh produce, and that just costs more than grains.

      The best ways that I’ve found to keep the costs more reasonable are to do things like:
      -find the cheapest source of high quality bulk eggs that you can and use them frequently
      -as soon as you can include lentils, white beans, etc. (on the full diet, not the intro), use them plentifully
      -stick to very seasonal produce. In the winter, this meant tons of root veggies (which works well when you’re making lots of soups and casseroles anyways). Sometimes those veggies are cheap anyways, if you buy them in bulk and depending on where you shop.
      -buy all your meat in bulk. This is especially true for beef, because you should be able to get the bones included in the cost for making your broth. Whole chickens are definitely the way to go on this diet as well, for cheaper meat and bones for broth.

      Hope some of that helps a little!

  38. I stopped by looking for a recipe and ended up here. I thought I’d look to see if perchance our library would have the book (never hurts to try right!). Well, I put in the title in the search and it came back asking, “Did you mean: art and archaeology of rome?” I just had to share that with someone else since it made me laugh!

  39. I just started reading about this GAPS diet two days ago and I was hopeful that it might be helpful to me. I am 65 years old and almost ready to retire. At the end of 2010, I went through a 3-month period of tremendous stress at work – really an awful experience. I thought I had weathered it pretty well, but in January of 2011, I very suddenly began not feeling well. I have a past history of anxiety and was on a very low dose of Xanax for several years. The anxiety just got worse and worse and now I’m on high doses of multiple medications for the anxiety. I also began having stomach problems – soreness, bloating, chronic diarrhea. I went thoughh a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. Tests for celiac and H Pylori were negative and all they could tell me was that I have mild diverticulosis and probably IBS. I haven’t eaten gluten, dairy, wheat, or sugar for months, but I don’t feel much better. I took a quick look at the “permitted foods” list for GAPS and made myself a dinner of broiled haddock with fresh lemon juice, a small serving of steamed turnips, and 5 stalks of steamed asparagus for dinner last night. To my great shock, today my stomach is worse than it’s been in months. It’s so sore I can hardly sit up straight. Did I do wrong by eating that meal last night? Does the bad reqaction mean the diet won’t help me? I hate to cook and am really not very good at it. The GAPS protocol sounds very daunting and intimidating to me and I don’t know how I could ever master it alone. I can’t give up, though, because I don’t want to live like this. There are no doctors in my area that I know of who work with GAPS dieters. I’ve become so discouraged and even a little depressed. I ask God a hundred times a day to see me through this. Can you make a suggestion for me? I just feel so bad and overwhelmed right now. Thank you.

    1. Well, unless you have a problem with white fish (haddock could be an allergen but usually has very low mercury compared to other fish), or your fishmonger put the fish in preservative (some do), then you could have a problem with sulfur foods/thiols, especially if you have or previously had mercury amalgam fillings. Asparagus and turnips are both high thiol foods. Google high thiol foods list and see of those are foods that agree/disagree with you.

      Also from what I understand on GAPS, people with serious issues need to start with the intro diet, and only once their gut is healed enough can they go to the other foods.

  40. Norma — have you tried seeing a TCM physician (Traditional Chinese Medicine)? In my future profession (I am a student), we use acupuncture, herbs, exercise and diet changes to help our patients. We have helped many when Western medicine could not provide the cure or the answer. My son (who has had chronic GI problems since he was 2, and now he is 4) also sees a homeopathic doctor. The digestive enzymes he put him on, along with the change of diet from the TCM doctor and acupressure and massage, has helped him TREMENDOUSLY! His bowel movements are just about back to normal now. Look up a TCM doctor — it just might be the answer you’re looking for. God bless you.

  41. Hello, we are into our 7th month on the GAPS Diet. It has been wonderful for our family. I had a very similar reaction to yours when I read the book. I, too, read The Maker’s Diet, Nourishing Traditions, etc. And since my husband had a life-threatening autoimmune disease in 2006, I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about immune dysfunction. My husband’s pollen allergies are gone. His chronic sinusitis, that he has had for over a decade, is 90% gone. His energy levels are better. My son, that has anxiety, has also improved greatly. But, the best part is that I feel 100% good about every bite of food that my family eats. There are no compromises on this diet. It is hard, no doubt about it. But life with a chronically ill husband and boy (only 5 years old!) with severe anxiety is incredibly hard, too! GAPS worth it, worth it 100 times.

    1. If I can offer you any encouragement, keep your son on the diet! Teach him to love healthy gaps food that will keep his gut functioning well. We began counseling at age 5 for my sons OCD/ anxiety. Mood swings were intense. Night seizures by 9. In addition my daughter is dyslexic and adhd. My youngest boy stopped growing at age 4. All of my three children had on and off dharriea and constipation with stomach aches. I have celiac an auto immune disease. So connecting the dots b/w nutrition, specifically pertaining to our guts has been vital. We have been doing the gaps diet. We eat organic products. And we juice a lot of fresh veggies. And we have seen big improvements in our health. My son with epilepsy is sleeping better. My daughter is reading well and calming down. The dharriea has stopped. My joint problems are almost gone after 5 years of aching. Other issues are slowly healing.

      I am a Jesus lover too. My husband has seen the incredible time this diet takes and my melt downs in the kitchen. But if I could go back 5 years and change the food I gave my children, I would in a heart beat. Their lives would be very different now. God is bringing beauty out of all the struggles and brokenness . He doesn’t waste it. And it is a GIFT to your children to take the time to put them on a diet that will eventually feed their brain the way God intended it to be fed. Don’t put it off.

  42. OK. I’m curious as to what the GAPS diet is, but nothing I read here gave me a clue as to what it is. Just what it is supposed to accomplish etc. AFter reading this page and the next post, I still am clueless. Is there a way to find out what the basic premise diet is?


    1. its suppose to help heal our diegestive system, I was put on it because I had let myself go so long not paying attention and no insurance,that now my liver, kidneys and adernal glands are screwed up and cant do cleanse or anything til I fix that problem first. So its primalrly eating meat,(not processed or smoked) veggies these should be 80 % and 20% fruit, no .sugars, of any kind bur stevea, no potatoes, no dairy but yellow cheese, , also make your own yogart, broths so on, they want you to drink broth with every meal.

  43. what can i do besides to use cononut oil and some apple cyder to ease the itchines and al redness?

  44. I did the Gaps diet for just over a year. Most days I think I have had a lot of healing. I have Celiac disease and was hoping to go back to eating fresh milled homemade bread. That did not happen. I have less pain–less headaches–they used to be all the time for over ten years. And a lot more good stomach days. I was a bit too obsessed with the diet and I believe it was affecting my relationship with my husband and my family. God was telling me it was time to stop and go back to Gluten free. It sure makes me enjoy eating gluten free again!! Now I am thinking and praying about putting my 11 year old son on it because several months ago he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. But if it didn’t heal me, will it help him to come off his insulin?? He says he is willing for a few weeks, maybe months but not a year. The beginning is the hardest thing I have ever done. And then there is the getting the doctor to help adjust the insulin. What my son would need is the intro without the carbs but then his sugars will go too low, the doctor says. I will keep praying!

  45. My family has been on GAPS for 13 months now. We did SCD a few years ago but made the mistake of letting to many unhealthy foods back into the diet. When we started GAPS last year we saw much more healing, much faster than we had with GAPS. So far we have seen it heal eczema, some sort of seizure problem, hyperactivity, aggression, inability to control bodily functions (in a 3 1/2 year old)inability to focus, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and some other issues. We started introducing other foods in December and have realized that our bodies just weren’t ready for that. We are now going back to the intro diet, to heal the damage. I know it won’t take as long this time around because we aren’t as sick. My favorite side affect of the diet is mood stability. It has been amazing for us.

  46. Hello, I am about 80 lbs overweight and I don’t have any of the (known) celiac, adhd, or many symptoms other than being overweight, frequent constipation, low thyroid, some heartburn, have had my gallbladder removed because of gallstones. During that surgery it was revealed that I have a fatty liver. I have been learning that if a person has had their gallbladder removed they definately have digestive issues. I do take Biotics bile salts to help digest fats. I have not read anything about GAPS helping with weight loss. I am assuming I have some adrenal issues. It just makes sense to me that my digestive system is not healthy from years of eating lots of refined sugar and carbs. Do you agree that GAPS would be a foundational, and great beginning to my healing? Also, does it help people lose weight?

  47. Hello,
    I started GAPS diet with my 3-year old son who has adhd. I noticed that since we started, he lost weight and has dark circles under his eyes. I am wondering that maybe I am doing something wrong…

  48. Hi, I am a keeper at home and have been for 29 years! I have 5 beautiful blessings that range in age from 26 to 14 and homeschooled before it was “acceptable.” My wonderful husband is my best friend and we have a small farm and raise free range chickens. I am 50 and have always been very active and we eat “healthy,” but I have had increasing digestion problems. After doing some research I have decided to start the GAPS diet. How have you all done?

  49. I am so happy to have stumbled upon this lovely site. I have a couple of questions as I journey towards a healthier food lifestyle for my family.

    No one in my family have major issues with our health. We seem to have made it thought the standard American diet with out to many issues. I have a 7 month old and a 2 year old. I want to start with a healthy, solid food base so that my children have those habits as they go through life.

    I am pretty sure we are going to embark on the Nourishing Traditions as our base. My questions are about the GAPs and Maker’s diets. Is it essential to use one of these methods to reset our systems before we head onto the NTs? Or are we going to see benefits from just the NTs on its own?

    I also know that any processed food we remove and healthier choice we add will be an improvement. I just don’t want to waste the effort.

    Thanks for any perspectives out there!

  50. I am so confused right now. I am 50 years old and have had an extra 30 pounds and digestive problems all my life. I have tried so many diets over the years and listened to or read about the success stories, feeling like a loser while others claim weight loss in weeks—-while I lose nothing.
    More recently I have ditched processed foods and tried to eat clean, and follow Paleo and Wheat Belly. And gained weight.

    I am single, so I don’t want to make a production of big meals and wasted food. I have friends that I go out with, making GAPS impossible to maintain.

  51. Awesome. I’m always looking for more things to heal the issues I know we have. I’m probably never going back to a doctor unless it’s to help them teach their patients how to eat! We lost our 3 year old daughter to cancer 5 years ago. I’ve always known since that it didn’t just happen and there are things that cause it. But since she passed I’ve had a lot of health issues, mostly stomach problems exacerbated by the stress of her treatment and passing. Thank you for your info! I keep the home and I’m passionate about showing them the love of Christ and feeding them well! There are a few other passions but those are two REALLY big ones.

  52. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride is absolutely Brilliant I am most impresses
    Nutrition is absolutely vital from conception, natural birthing , breast fed , with nothing but organic nutrition with absolutely No Genetic Soy in Formula ? No genetic corn products , No Fructose or very little No Rubbish in the Pop realm watch out from Sweet Deception from all artifical sugars or even cane sugar
    Buyer Beware
    If possible take the child to France for vaccinations [no 3 in 1 ]just one at a time makes sense right

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