The GAPS Diet - What, Why and How

WHAT IS THE GAPS DIET?

GAPS is an acronym for ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome.’ If it has been recommended that you give the GAPS diet a go, it is likely that you have been suffering from gut issues, an autoimmune disease, arthritis or that you are susceptible to virtually every cold, flu or infection under the sun. Perhaps the GAPS diet has come into your life because you have been diagnosed with depression or a mental illness, you suffer from allergies, anemia or eczema – or maybe you have just decided, on your own terms, that it seems like the right solution for your body.

Whatever the reason, there is no denying that the GAPS diet has soared in popularity in recent times or that it is an effective way to promote a healthy body and mind.

Among a plethora of other things, the GAPS diet is well known as a gut healing diet, which focuses on treating inflammation caused by gluten and other grains. It helps rebuild and repair gut flora, which strengthens the lining of the gut and repairs the damage that is quite often caused by inflammatory conditions.

By now, we all know that the impacts of a leaky gut reach far beyond our stomachs and that, as our second brain, the state of our gut can strongly impact our state of mind, so taking good care of it is paramount.

The GAPS diet has a focus on gut care, while influencing a number of other areas in the body. In a nutshell, the diet itself; eliminates complex carbohydrates, promotes the consumption of fermented foods, encourages probiotic use and the consumption of nutrient dense, traditional foods. It also requires a number of lifestyle adjustments and as a basic rule, says you should avoid eating anything out of a packet unless it is organic.

While you might be super keen to dive into a GAPS diet and lifestyle change, it’s important to understand and appreciate that one cannot just jump straight in. Due to the fact that the nature of the diet can be so impactful on the body, it’s important to go through a ‘phase-in’ process. While its effects can be very positive, shocking your body with sudden change is something that, where possible, should always be avoided.

The ‘phase-in’ process, in the case of the GAPS diet comes in the form of an introductory version of the diet.

 

INTRODUCTORY GAPS DIET

The introductory stage of the GAPS diet has 6 steps. You can find much more detail on the GAPS diet and all of its intricacies here, but for the purposes of this article, here is a very quick rundown;

STEP 1: This involves consuming stocks, bone broths and stews containing meat and well-cooked vegetables, homemade probiotic foods like fermented vegetables, yoghurts and vegetable juices (with the juices of sauerkraut and kimchee, for example), drinking chamomile tea and fresh ginger tea.

STEP 2: In stage two it is advised that the processes of Stage 1, including bone broth consumption, are continued, but boosted. The recommendation is that more fermented juices and foods are gradually added to daily intake and that the juices of foods like kimchee and sauerkraut are increased. It is also suggested that fermented fish and a daily dose of ghee or brellow be introduced.

STEP 3:  Again, here, we carry on with bone broth and all other previous instruction with a few additions to daily intake. Additions include avocado, pancakes (not the unhealthy kind), eggs (cooked with ghee), sauerkraut and kimchee (the vegetable – not just the juices) and GAPS approved probiotics

STEP 4: To the already existing diet, we now add grilled and roasted meats, pressed juice, cold pressed olive oil, breads with seeds and nuts ground into the flour and GAPS milkshakes.

STEP 5: Now we add raw vegetable, fruit to veggie juices and apple puree.

STEP 6: At stage 6 it is recommended that you introduce raw fruit starting with apple and raw honey, if tolerated (honey may well have already been introduced in an earlier stage depending on your tolerances). This is also the time when you can start consuming cakes (special recipes, of course) and other sweet treats.

Each stage of the introductory diet can take 3-5 days – or even less. Once all stages have been introduced, as long as the foods involved have caused no digestive disruption, it’s time for the full GAPS diet.

 

THE FULL GAPS DIET

Circumstances obviously vary from person to person. One ailment might mean one person can’t consume a food that another person can, for example. Whatever your situation, it’s important that a diet plan such as this, while fairly strict, is adjusted to individual circumstances.

The full GAPS diet is generally undertaken for 2 years. The core structure of the introductory diet is used, allowing further additions such as dairy along the way. A great general tip is to avoid anything that contains preservative or that is not organic.

 

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

From the afore mentioned dietary guidelines, you will have picked up that bone broth is an integral part of the GAPS diet from the introduction stage right through to the recommended length of the diet. The reason for this is that the amino acids, the nutrients and the vitamins contained in bone broth are essential and so easy for the body to absorb.

The gelatin in bone broth promotes digestive juices and, as we all already know, bone broth is a wonderful healer of intestinal and overall gut issues.

While the benefits of broth are abundant, making broth can be incredibly time consuming and inconvenient to those of us with busy lifestyles – and that’s where Broth of Life comes in. Dehydrated, organic bone broth, rich in all the right nutrients, tasty and easy to transport, Broth of Life’s beef, chicken and lamb broths are the perfect solution for the GAPS dieter wishing to travel or those that are unable to take the time to make their own broths. Better still, due to its dehydrated form, Broth of Life’s dehydrated organic bone broth can be added to, sprinkled into or onto any GAPS recommended foods to boost their nutritional value.

Whether you are wanting to restore gut flora, rid yourself of pathogenic bacteria, restore nutrient deficiencies or all of the above, the GAPS diet may well be the solution for you.
Whatever you reason for gravitating towards the GAPS diet, if it’s a step you’ve decided to take, I urge you to consider making Broth of Life a partner in your GAPS journey. Broth of Life will ease the pain of brewing your own broth, while still providing you with all the benefits – so when you think about it, it’s almost as if GAPS and Broth of Life were made-for-each other. Kind of romantic when you think about it *wink*.

 

REFERENCES:

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-five-most-common-gaps-diet-mistakes/
http://www.gapsinfo.com/gaps-introduction-diet/
http://www.gapsdiet.com/gaps-full-diet.html
http://www.gapsdiet.com/

 

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