Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends many GAPS patients to follow the Introduction Diet before going into the Full GAPS Diet. This is especially true for individuals suffering from chronic diarrhea, severe digestive conditions including IBS, Crohn’s, and Ulcerative Colitis, as well as multiple food and chemical sensitivities. Depending on the severity of the condition, you can move through the Introduction Diet as fast or as slow as the condition will permit. Please note: It is essential to have the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome to implement the GAPS diet effectively.
Click HERE for the INTRODUCTION DIET QUICK RESOURCE GUIDE.
In cases of stubborn constipation, Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends introducing freshly pressed juices earlier in the diet or starting with the Full GAPS diet until constipation has resolved. Juicing and GAPS Milkshakes (the inclusion of raw egg yolk, kefir, or coconut oil) may stimulate bile production, as poor bile availability is a common underlying cause of constipation. Supplementing with Oxbile and digestive enzymes may also be beneficial and can be found on our online shop. Enemas, both water and coffee, Epsom salt and seaweed baths, castor oil packs, oil pulling, and lymph drainage techniques have also been recommended by Dr. Campbell-McBride to support detoxification and waste removal.
People with multiple food sensitivities are recommended to move through the Introduction Diet first in order to heal and seal the gut lining. Leaky Gut is a coined term to describe intestinal permeability caused by pathogenic micro flora. A “leaky gut” allows undigested food particles to pass through the damaged gut lining into the blood stream, causing the immune system to react and “attack.” Trying to identify problematic foods can be nearly impossible depending on the extent of damage the intestinal wall has suffered because most foods wind up only partially digested causing either immediate reactions (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea) or delayed reactions (hives, eczema, allergies). Testing for real food allergies can be notoriously unreliable: if one had enough resources to test twice a day for two weeks, they may find they are “allergic” to everything they eat. As long as the gut wall is damaged and stays damaged, you can be juggling your diet forever removing different foods and never get anywhere. “From my clinical experience it is best to concentrate on healing the gut wall with the Introduction Diet. Once the gut wall is healed, the foods will be digested properly before being absorbed.” -Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
SKIPPING THE INTRODUCTION DIET
If you have decided to go straight into the Full GAPS Diet, keep in mind that about 85% of everything your patient eats daily should be made out of meats, fish, eggs, fermented dairy and vegetables (some well-cooked, some fermented and some raw). Baking and fruit should be kept out of the diet for a few weeks, and then be limited to snacks between meals and should not replace the main meals. Homemade meat stock, soups, stews and natural fats are not optional – they should be your patient’s staples. Note: Those who start with the Introduction Diet will introduce dairy earlier than those who go right into the full GAPS diet. Always do a sensitivity test prior to introducing dairy.
IMPLEMENTING THE GAPS INTRODUCTION DIET STAGE BY STAGE
A comprehensive outline of how to progress through the six stages of the GAPS Introduction Diet is available in a PDF HERE. This information has been supplied by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Please note, additional information and recipes are available in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Many GAPS patients need to tailor the stages to support individual and biochemical differences. Working directly with a GAPS Practitioner or GAPS Coach will give you the best support at achieving your health goals.
The GAPS Introduction Diet was designed to reduce inflammation quickly by avoiding foods and substances that irritate the intestinal wall while supplying essential nutrients to begin repair. Depending on individual health concerns, some patients are able to introduce supplements immediately, while others may need to wait until later stages when diarrhea and other serious digestive symptoms have cleared. It is important to remember not all supplements are created equal. Choose supplements from professional-grade, FDA-registered suppliers with Good Manufacturing Practices and third party testing. Our online shop only carries the highest quality dietary supplements found on the market today.
PROBIOTICS – The trillions of bacteria residing along the intestinal tract directly influence the health and function of the intestinal barrier among other roles in the body. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends consuming beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, in the form of food and supplements to replace damaged flora and increase microbial diversity. A combination of spore-based bacteria as well as transient bacterial strains from families including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria lay the ground work for a diversified, balanced, and abundant microbiome.
COD LIVER OIL – Cod liver oil provides omega-3 essential fatty acids, bio-available Vitamins A & D, and cholesterol to support immune function and the body’s natural detoxification system.
DHA/EPA – These essential omega-3 fatty acids are used by every cell in the body for proper function and survival, especially the brain. GAPS patients are almost always deficient in these nutrients, exacerbating neurological and immune abnormalities. Finding a high quality fish oil supplement is necessary to guarantee purity standards, as many products on the market are contaminated with heavy metals and heat treated, destroying the delicate chemical bonds.
Please visit our SUPPLEMENTS page for additional information for targeted support based on individual health concerns. Working directly with a healthcare practitioner is recommended prior to introducing new dietary supplements.