Registered GAPS practitioner for the GAPS protocol

bone broth<br />

What is GAPS?

The GAPS diet has grown in popularity over recent years as research into the gut-brain connection continues to grow. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. GAPS recognises a connection between gut health and brain health. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride created the GAPS diet during her work with people with autism. More than just a diet, the GAPS protocol can influence mood and brain health by improving gut health. Finding and healing a leaky gut can have a life-changing effect on some people.

The GAPS book

We are all becoming familiar with the concept that gut health can affect the health of the rest of the body. In the book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia” Dr. Campbell-McBride describes the connection between leaky gut syndrome and mental health.

Leaky gut syndrome means undigested particles enter the bloodstream causing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.

She found that improving digestive issues with the GAPS diet helped improve behaviour and mood in her patients. What’s more, as the GAPS book suggests, the GAPS diet may be helpful for a number of mental health conditions such as autism, ADHD and depression.

GAPS uses the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, as a basis, with some alterations. The GAPS diet emphasises broth and fermented foods. These types of foods can provide the nutrients necessary for healing intestinal permeability. And improve the health and diversity of the gut flora.

What food to eat on the GAPS diet

The GAPS protocol is a profoundly nourishing restrictive diet usually followed for six months to 2 years. There are several diet phases that some people find challenging to work through. But the whole protocol includes a diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes where necessary. Even with a healing protocol such as GAPS, there is often a need for individualisation. If you are struggling to implement the GAPS protocol, I can coach you through each stage as a registered GAPS practitioner.

Start with the introduction diet?

There are different phases of the GAPS protocol depending on whether or not you have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

It is not always necessary to begin at the introduction diet phase.

Some people can start with a later phase. A GAPS trained practitioner will know at which point in the protocol you should begin.

The introduction diet phase of the GAPS diet is the most restrictive. It allows only homemade meat or fish broth and non-starchy vegetables such as onion, squash, or broccoli. It reduces symptoms and inflammation through the use of this leaky gut diet.

Gradually more foods are added, such as organic egg yolks and fermented food, especially homemade yoghurt and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut.

What foods are not allowed on the GAPS diet?

When we consume too much gluten, our intestines become inflamed and leaky. However, the GAPS diet is not just a gluten-free diet. It is necessary to eliminate all grains, as grain proteins including gluten can irritate and damage the gut lining.

Dairy products such as milk are not allowed. Except for homemade yoghurt, which is permitted if fermented for 24 hours. Milk proteins are very similar to grain proteins and can irritate the gut lining. According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, long-fermented yoghurt does not have this effect on the intestinal lining. Similarly, kefir and whey are allowed fermented dairy products if tolerated.

Starchy vegetables should be eliminated because these vegetables can feed an unhealthy gut microbiome.

Similarly, sugar and artificial sweeteners harm the gut and are not allowed.

Can GAPS help other chronic diseases?

Though the protocol was originally created to help those with a combination of a digestive disorder and behavioural conditions, it may also help other health conditions. GAPS also stands for Gut and Physiology Syndrome. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride discusses this in her book “Put Your Heart in your Mouth.” She describes using the GAPS dietary protocol successfully for health conditions such as angina, high blood pressure, arrhythmia and other complications of atherosclerosis.

In addition, because the GAPS diet addresses gut health, it can also help with digestive disorders with an element of intestinal permeability. For instance, some people with inflammatory bowel disease have found the GAPS diet beneficial.

How long should I follow the GAPS diet?

There is no specific length of time required to follow the GAPS diet protocol. However, many find that staying on the protocol for 6 months gives them the best results. It depends on how well you tolerate each food group. If you do not experience any improvement within 3 weeks of starting the protocol then you might want to consider changing what you eat. You could try reintroducing one new food per week until you reach tolerance.

What to do now?

If you suffer from any type of anxiety disorder, then there’s no doubt that food and your digestive system will play an important role in how well you feel.

Experience the life-changing effects of the GAPS diet protocol for yourself. I recommend working with a registered GAPS practitioner to get the most benefit.

Since the GAPS nutritional protocol is very much related to promoting healthy gut wall, I can arrange for appropriate lab testing to identify any gut pathogens or food intolerance that might hinder your recovery.

See my articles on the GAPS diet.

Please feel free to contact me for more information.

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