Simple GAPS Intro
This summary is intended to assist you in determining your need for the GAPS protocol and to provide you with a simplified version of the Intro diet.
GAPS is a healing protocol that reverses gut dysbiosis and detoxifies your body. Everyone has gut dysbiosis...it’s just a matter of degree. Gut dysbiosis is a combination of leaky gut (tears in your intestinal lining) and malevolent pathogens (flora...fungi, viruses, bacteria) colonized in your intestines. Leaky gut prevents your body from absorbing nutrients from the foods you consume. Malevolent pathogens displace your body’s good flora and release toxic metabolistic by-products. Pathogenic toxins are responsible for numerous disorders in brain and body function. Gut dysbiosis...which begins in infancy and complicates as the years progress depending on diet, and drug, vaccine and toxin exposure...impedes an individual’s mental and physical health. The GAPS protocol will also help to reverse food allergies, heal liver stagnation and improve organ, blood and tissue toxicity caused by exposure to drugs, vaccines, environmental toxins, processed and chemically laden foods, etc.
A majority of brain chemistry malfunctions are the result of gut dysbiosis, as are gastro-intestinal disruptions, immune system dysfunction, body toxicity, and even hormonal imbalances. Other causes for such disorders are environmental, drug and food toxins, and pollutants. If you want to heal the brain and your immune system (most of which is housed in your gut)...if you want to be well overall, you must heal the gut and cleanse the body. Trying to solve health problems stemming from gut dysbiosis by taking supplements will not work. When someone suffers from leaky gut, nutrients are not completely absorbed, if at all. Trying to solve gut dysbiosis by making a few dietary changes (such as removing casein or gluten) will not work. Pathogenic flora must be starved and killed, and the intestinal lining must be resealed. Only the GAPS dietary protocol will do this.
The following are some tell-tale signs of gut dysbiosis (there are more). You need not have all symptoms, one is enough. Most people have multiple symptoms, and I can think of no one I have met yet who does not suffer from at least one item on this list:
- Brain fog (difficulty concentrating, “thinking straight,” tired brain, forgetfulness)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Attacks
- Excessive anger, being overly "emotional" (hormonal swings)
- Chronic headaches
- Dyslexia and other learning disabilities
- Seizures (from mild to severe...night terrors, epilepsy, etc)
- Chronic rashes
- Various skin eruptions
- Chronic body odors (stinky feet, bad breath, etc...sometimes a “yeasty” smell)
- Fungal overgrowth ("athlete's" foot, vaginal irritations, yeast infections, yeast rash, etc)
- Bedwetting (in children who are potty trained)
- Sleep disorders
- Allergies (food, pollen, animal, etc)
- Food intolerances/sensitivities
- Difficulty in healing quickly from illness/wounds, easy bruising
- Inflammation disorders
- Lack of daily good bowel movements
- Stomach pains
- “Picky” food preferences (preferring “white” foods, like bread, pasta, sweet foods...carbs, difficulty digesting fats)
Some symptoms are obvious, others take some investigation to fully understand. It is extremely important that you observe and interpret bowel patterns (for yourself or your child). A healthy person has a bowel movement at least once daily. The bowels should be soft and easy to pass. Hard bowels and a movement that requires straining are not healthy bowels. Watery (diarrhea) bowels are also not healthy. It may not be a topic with which we are comfortable in our culture, but we must become bowel experts to read the signs of health or dysfunction in the body. It really is all about the poo. Becoming comfortable with reading bowel signs and also with administering enemas (a wonderful healing tool) is crucial to a successful healing protocol.
If after reading about GAPS and perusing the symptoms of gut dysbiosis you are still unconvinced that you or your child needs the protocol, I challenge you to do a two week round of GAPS Intro. You will know immediately that you do indeed have a gut dysbiosis situation when you observe die-off and sugar withdrawal.
Die off is the process during which gut pathogens are starved and die. The GAPS diet is designed to cut off malevolent flora’s food supplies (mostly carbs and other sugars), as well as to heal the damaged gut lining. When malevolent pathogens die, they release more toxins than during their normal life cycle. During GAPS Intro, die off can occur rapidly. Be prepared: die off can feel awful. You will observe a worsening of any and all symptoms during die off. But be assured, this is a temporary and necessary part of the healing crisis. The pathogens must die, and their death will never feel good or go unnoticed by your body. Once you rid your body of those pathogens and repopulate your gut with healthy flora, once you heal and reseal your gut lining, you are on the road to wellness and being free from the numerous malfunctions that once plagued you.
Die off symptoms include (but are not limited to):
- Stool changes
- Increased brain chemistry malfunctions (brain fog, OCD, etc)
- Sleep disturbances
- Overall feeling of malaise
To perform GAPS Intro, you will need to gather and prepare organic food ingredients necessary for daily soup making. The backbone of the GAPS protocol is healthy, clean saturated fats and stocks/broths rich in gelatin (collagen). These stocks can be prepared from any animal source...poultry, fish, beef, deer, sheep, what have you. Flavors will vary, as will fat and collagen content. You want the fattiest, most collagen rich stocks possible. Turkey, salmon and grass-fed beef are particularly good. Chicken works, especially when adding the feet, and most people are familiar with chicken soup.
All necessary info and recipes can be obtained from McBride’s GAPS book and in The GAPS Guide, as well as on numerous web sites and in Nourishing Traditions (many resources can be found at the bottom of my full GAPS article). It is important to understand and commit fully to the protocol...cheating and cutting corners will only prolong the process and impede healing. I am providing here only a simplified version of Intro...you will need to get the book and follow it to complete the protocol. It is essential that you only consume allowed foods on the protocol. An important part of this protocol is detoxification, which is completed by the diet, by juicing, by using enemas (the stools must empty completely daily or you will have toxins circulating in your blood stream), and detox baths (soak for 20 minutes daily in a warm bath, adding ½ cup of any combination of the following: clay, epsom salts, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, charcoal, etc.). Anti-parasitic, anti-fungal supplements can be very useful...essential oils and herbs are the best sources. These include clove, cinnamon, oregano, garlic, wormwood and others.
GAPS Intro consists of six to eight stages. Depending upon your level of dysbiosis, you can complete these stages quickly (a few days) or slowly (weeks). I recommend at least 5 days per stage. Some cases require more time on each stage. Rarely can you adequately address die off in a shorter period. To rate your progress, you will be watching your symptoms, including pain, bloating, stool changes, brain chemistry changes, rashes, night wakings, etc. Try to observe 4 days clear of symptoms (or improved symptoms) before moving on to a new food or new stage. You will not see perfection on this protocol...healing takes time. So just remember, you are looking for progress, not perfection. (The full GAPS program requires two years for complete healing.)
Every morning: A glass of filtered water with a slice of lemon (this is alkalizing), drink slowly.
Meals: Eat as much and as often as desired
- Homemade stock (can consume as drink between meals, also)
- Homemade soup with meat and/or allowed vegetables
- Boiled meat
- Warm meat stock with a teaspoon per day of homemade sauerkraut juice only (or juice from other homemade fermented veggies); do not add sauerkraut juice to hot soup...it will kill the enzymes
- Ginger tea
- Allowed veggies: onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli (tops), leeks, cauliflower, zucchini, squash (winter and summer)
Stage One notes
- Add probiotic food (in this stage, sauerkraut juice) to soup every day, at this rate: days 1-5, two teaspoons daily; days 6-10, 4 tsp. Daily and so on until you can add a few tsp. Of probiotic food into every cup of stock or bowl of soup.
- Do not consume fibrous veggies or meats other than boiled...the goal is to give the digestive system the most easily digested foods.
- Cook veggies until very soft.
- Permitted foods may be eaten together or separately. Soup may be blended for variety.
- This stage consists mostly of soup, so you will be eating bowls of soup throughout the day, as many bowels as needed to be full.
Continue as above and add the following foods, one at a time, watching symptoms carefully (look especially for food intolerances, which would show up as gas upon or after consumption of the food, stomach pains, worsening bowels/diarrhea, rashes, headache, sleep disturbances, etc). Wait for clearing symptoms or wait two days before adding another new food:
- Raw egg yolk from pastured hens; preferably added to soup. Start with one yolk daily and increase until you are consuming a yolk with every bowl of soup. If egg yolks are tolerated, do not limit...they are a superfood (very healing to liver) and highly digestible.
- Soft boiled eggs (whites cooked, yolks runny) in soups.
- Stews and casseroles made with meats, veggies, salt, fresh herbs, probiotic food with each serving...fat content must be high.
- Increased amount of sauerkraut juice.
- Fermented fish, starting with one piece daily, increasing gradually
- Homemade ghee, starting with one tsp./day, increasing gradually
Follow protocol as described above...continue all foods and add:
- Ripe avocado, mashed into soups, starting with 1-3 tsp., gradually increasing amount.
- Nut-butter pancakes, one per day, gradually increasing.
- Eggs scrambled with lots of ghee, duck fat/goose fat. Serve with avocado and cooked veggies.
- Cooked onion (in lots of fat, as above).
- Homemade sauerkraut or other fermented veggies. Start with small amount, increasing to 1-2 tablespoons per meal.
Follow protocol as described above...continue all foods and add:
- Meats cooked by roasting, baking, grilling (not fried or barbecued). Avoid burned bits. Eat meat with cooked veggies and sauerkraut.
- Cold-pressed olive oil. Add to meals.
- Freshly pressed juices, starting with ⅓ cup carrot juice. Drink slowly. If well tolerated, gradually increase to full cup daily. Add other veggies when tolerated.
- GAPS bread
Stages Five and Six
Follow protocol as described above...continue all foods and add:
- Raw veggies, starting with a small amount of peeled cucumber and tomato. Watch stools. If well tolerated, gradually increase. When cukes and tomatoes well tolerated, add other raw veggies slowly: carrots, lettuce, etc. Chew well.
- Cooked apple puree
- If veggies juice has been well tolerated, add fruits gradually: apple, pineapple, mango. No citrus fruits.
- Continue to eat probiotic foods (you may begin to add homemade cultured raw whey, yogurt, kefir...please see book for instructions).
Stages Seven and Eight
This stage may not work for people with heavy candida overgrowth, who need to avoid all sweets to continue pathogen killing.
- Peeled raw apple
- Raw fruit
- Other GAPS sweets
Moving Forward to Full GAPS
- Once you have completed the above stages and your symptoms have abated, you may move methodically into the full diet. Continue with soups and stocks at least once daily during Full diet.
- For a full understanding of dairy progression, please read the GAPS book. You will not be introducing any allowed dairy (GAPS allowed dairy is homemade fermented dairy) until at least 6 to 8 weeks on the program.
- Probiotic supplement: This is explained in the GAPS book. You must take an active, potent probiotic supplement. The most potent probiotic supplement is Biokult, and it is worth every penny. You will begin gradually and increase dosage until you hit your maintenance dose. You will not start taking your probiotic supplement until you have completed the first stages of GAPS intro.
- Continue your juicing and other detox program.
- Fully read the books to understand how to successfully complete this protocol.
People may wonder why, when I consult with them on any health problem or malady they suffer, that I first suggest they need to heal their gut. Well, the answer is simple. Health begins in the gut. You need to use the proper tools to get the job done. Just as no carpenter would build anything without first taking measurements, no one can achieve wellness without first healing the gut. The GAPS protocol is foundational to healing all parts of your body, head to toe.