Today’s guest post is by Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath & Certified GAPS Practitioner with locations in Paris and Antibes, France. Developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The goal of GAPS is to remove foods that are difficult to digest and damage gut flora and replace them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to “heal and seal.” Continue reading to learn what a GAPS diet is all about, including foods to eat and foods to avoid.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
What is GAPS?
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. This means that many mental disorders such as Autism, ADD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, certain types of Epilepsy and Schizophrenia, are actually related to imbalances in the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. By healing the Gut through a very specific diet, the brain is then able to recover, and in the majority of cases, these mental disorders can be stopped and/or reversed!
This concept was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor practicing in the UK who has a son who was diagnosed with Autism. Researching what could help her son, Dr. Campbell-McBride found the work of an American pediatrician named Dr. Sidney Hass. Dr. Haas was able to completely cure Celiac Disease by putting his patients on a very Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This Specific Carbohydrate Diet was rediscovered by a woman, Elaine Gottschall who wrote a book called “Breaking the Vicious Cycle.” Mrs. Gottshall’s daughter suffered from Ulcerative Colitis and Epilepsy. After putting her daughter on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Mrs. Gottshall’s daughter’s seizures stopped, followed by the healing of her ulcerated colon.
Dr. Campbell-McBride slightly modified the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and applied it to her son, who completely recovered from Autism. This remarkable personal success led Dr. Campbell-McBride to apply this diet to many of her patients with great success. As a result, Dr. Campbell-McBride created the concept of Gut and Psychology Syndrome or GAPS.
What Can GAPS Accomplish?
GAPS can help two categories of symptoms: Psychological and Physiological:
- Psychological Symptoms: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Bipolar Disorder, Panic Attacks, Addictions, Epilepsy, Eating Disorders, and many other conditions such as Mood Swings, Memory and Cognition issues, Tics and Involuntary Movements, Inappropriate Social Behaviors…etc.
- Physiological Symptoms: Auto-Immune Diseases (Crohn’s Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Vitiligo, Hashimoto Thyroiditis…) and also Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, Chronic Constipation or Diarrhea, Eczema, Dermatitis, Asthma, and Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Hormonal Imbalances, Allergies, Chemical Sensitivities, and Food Intolerances.
What Is The GAPS Diet?
There are two parts in the GAPS diets: the Introduction GAPS or the Full GAPS. The decision as to which one of the GAPS diets is best for an individual is decided according to each individual case. The GAPS diet is a very nourishing type of diet with the emphasis on animal proteins, healthy fats, and fermented food. The quality of the food has to be the best possible: fresh, organic, grass-fed, pastured or wild animals, homemade, from farmers, or from the garden. You are not hungry on the GAPS diet; on the contrary, your body is well fed and well nourished. You lose weight if you need to lose weight, but you gain weight if you need to gain weight because your metabolism is going to regulate itself.
Foods To Eat:
- Animal meats (no hormones, no antibiotics, grass fed and organic if possible) such as beef, lamb, venison, buffalo, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, pork…
- Fish and shellfish (wild caught, not farm raised)
- Healthy fats such as pastured butter, ghee, goose fat, duck fat, beef tallow, pork fat, chicken fat, coconut oil, and olive oil
- Eggs: organic, pastured fed, free-range
- Liver and other organ meats are eaten about once a week
- Fresh vegetables except starchy vegetables such as potato, parsnip, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke and yam
- Fresh ripe fruits
- Freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices
- Nuts and seeds; homemade nut milk
- Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt
- Fermented foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, homemade yoghurt, kefir or Kvass
- Dairy is recommended on an individual basis: homemade yoghurt, kefir, sour cream, crème fraiche, raw cheese, and raw milk
- Raw honey
Foods To Avoid:
- Sugar and anything that contains it: cookies, candies, cake, chocolates, ice cream, muffins…
- All artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods
- All grains and any flour products derived from them: wheat, oats, rye, rice, corn, spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth…
- Breakfast cereals
- Low fat, non organic milk and dairy products
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, Jerusalem Artichokes, and parsnips
- Fruit juices in bottles or cans
- Soft drinks
- Soy and its derivatives
- Anything with artificial colors, preservatives, flavorings, or chemicals
How Long Does a Person Need to Stay on the GAPS Diet?
This can vary from a minimum of 6 months up to 2 years, depending on the severity of the condition we are treating. In some instances, patients may need to stay on the GAPS diet for the rest of their lives.
What Kind of Support Can You Count on While on the GAPS Diet?
- Private consultations with Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath and Certified GAPS Practitioner.
- GAPS group meetings with Béatrice Levinson, Naturopath and Certified GAPS Practitioner.
- GAPS book: “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
- GAPS cooking DVD: “Cooking with GAPS” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
- GAPS recipe book: “Internal Bliss”
For more information on GAPS, please visit GAPS Frequently Asked Questionsor email: BeatriceLevinson@sbcglobal.net
Consultations available by Skype, FaceTime and phone.