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Natural Digestive Healing

GAPS Diet


The Introduction Diet is making my constipation worse.  What can I do?


Many patients start the GAPS protocol and are severely constipated.  It is recommended to either start with the Full GAPS diet or move through the stages of the Introduction Diet more quickly to introduce juicing and GAPS milkshakes right from the beginning.  Please refer to the Constipation resource page for additional information here.


How long does it take to go through the Introduction Diet?


Depending on individual health concerns, how long a patient is on each stage of the Introduction Diet will vary.  When severe digestive symptoms have cleared, a patient can move to the next stage.  Some patients are able to complete all six stages of Intro within 4-6 weeks.  Patients with severe digestive issues may continue on for a few months.  If a patient plans to be on the Introduction Diet for an extended period of time, it should be done so under the supervision of a Certified GAPS Practitioner or healthcare professional.


How do I know when to move to the next stage on the Introduction Diet?


Your symptoms should guide you to the next stage.  If there are no digestive symptoms (severe diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc.), than the symptoms that brought you to the GAPS protocol should guide you.  Some patients experience "die-off" in the beginning stages of the diet and your symptoms may temporarily get worse (especially skin conditions).  You may be able to push through, or you may need to decrease or temporarily eliminate probiotics and fermented foods that can contribute to die-off.  Coconut oil can also have a die-off reaction in sensitive individuals.  If die-off is too severe, some patients do better starting with the Full GAPS diet until some healing has occurred and their detoxification organs are strong enough to eliminate toxins.


Do I have to be able to tolerate all the foods on each stage of Intro before moving to the next stage?


No.  If one particular food is causing a reaction, eliminate it for a few weeks and focus on the other foods on the stage and move on.  Then try to eat a tiny amount when you re-introduce the offending food. If you still react, again wait for a few weeks and try again. As your gut wall starts healing, the food in question will get the chance to be digested properly before absorbing and the reaction will disappear (unless a true allergy exists).


How do I know if I am experiencing die-off or a food sensitivity?


Generally, die-off consists of diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, flu-like symptoms, or your current symptoms temporarily getting worse.  If you are reacting to a food you have introduced, it generally is a new symptom, or occurs pretty quickly (within a day or two) after consuming the food.  Sometimes trial and error is in order to guarantee.  This is why it is essential to introduce a new food item one at a time.


I started the GAPS diet and my symptoms are getting worse, not better.  What's going on?


You are most likely going through a die-off period, which increases the amount of toxins in the body.  It takes time for the gut wall to start healing and as you introduce probiotics, beneficial bacteria is teaming with the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.  This releases toxins into the blood stream for your detoxification organs (especially the liver and skin) to deal with. 


I am starting to lose weight and can not afford to.  What is going on?


Some patients start on the Introduction Diet very thin and malnourished because their body's are unable to absorb proper nutrition.  There is a misconception that the first stage of the Introduction Diet only allows broth.  This is not true.  Patients should be consuming soups with cooked vegetables , meats, animal fats, and fermented foods.  Dr. Campbell-McBride has stated the following regarding this topic:

"Regular consumption of grains and processed carbohydrates causes water retention in the body. As you stop consuming these foods, you will loose that excess water and hence loose some weight, which usually happens in the first few weeks. Without the water retention you will get to your real weight and size, which will show you the real extend of your malnutrition. As you follow the GAPS nutritional protocol your digestive system will start absorbing foods properly and nourishing you; you will start building dense bones, healthy muscles and other tissues and organs and gaining weight as a result."


When should supplements be introduced on the Introduction Diet?


Dr. Campbell-McBride does not recommend introducing any supplements in the first two stages of the Introduction Diet, just fermented foods. In a small number of patients no fermented food can be tolerated, so for these patients it is recommended to introduce a probiotic gradually starting from a tiny dose. From the third stage, if fermented foods have been successfully introduced, you can start introducing the probiotic and the cod liver oil in tiny amounts, gradually increasing the daily dose. When cod liver oil has been introduced (the full dose is taken daily), introduce fish oils. When olive oil is being introduced, you can introduce cold pressed nut/seed oils gradually with meals. For those who started from the Full GAPS Diet, probiotics and cod liver oil can be introduced from the beginning, starting from a tiny amount and gradually increasing the dose. When cod liver oil has been successfully introduced, start the fish oils and the nut/seed oils.


I am feeling nauseas after consuming broth.  What is going on?


Many GAPS patients have difficulty digesting fats due to blocked bile ducts and poor bile availability.  It is recommended to gradually introduce fats with each meal if you feel these negative symptoms, starting with a few tablespoons of broth.  This is the same for all animal fats as well.  Temporarily supplementing with Oxbile with each meal while the body is healing may also be beneficial. 















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Most Commonly Asked GAPS Questions

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