What is the GAPS Diet?
The GAPS Diet is a temporary diet that eliminates hard to digest carbohydrates, toxic food additives, and foods that are difficult to digest. These foods are removed to heal the gut. By healing the gut, chronic conditions such as autism, celiacs, food allergies, environmental allergies, eczema, and autoimmune disorders are all healed.
GAPS starts with a more restrictive, but intensely healing GAPS Introduction Diet, and then moves on to Full GAPS, with all the foods listed below. The entire diet is outlined in the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride.
Fanatic attention to detail needs to be made on the diet, it’s best to not purchase anything but real whole ingredients. Even a few grams of sugar in commercial yogurt or additives in prepared meat or bean products can completely prevent healing. There is lots you can eat on GAPS, but it has to be prepared from either a very trusted source, or in your own kitchen.
What can you eat on the GAPS Diet?
When starting GAPS, it’s important to find a good quality source of meat. Grassfed or pastured is important, and contains the balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids that are ideal for healing. Meat on GAPS is eaten often, and meat stock is a daily requirement on the GAPS diet. Animal fats are allowed as well, as long as they are pure fat without additives or hydroginated oils.
Non starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn are not allowed) are allowed on GAPS and are another staple. Just a roast surrounded by chunks of veggies and tossed in the oven or crockpot makes an easy, nourishing, and delicious GAPS friendly meal.
Fruit is a favorite snack on GAPS. Dr. Natasha recommends eating it between meals. Fruit can be eaten raw, cooked into apple sauce, dehydrated, or cut into fruit salad. Some people do better off of fruit, but fruit is allowed on full GAPS.
When we first started GAPS we went through so many eggs that our ‘egg lady’ even made deliveries to our apartment, driving on ice covered Montana roads to get to us. I think we single handedly supported her flock :) Eggs from chickens on pasture, and ideally eating GMO free feed, are another staple on the GAPS diet.
Honey is the only sweetener besides fruit (dates work really well for sweetening too) that is allowed on GAPS. Maple syrup, sugar, corn syrup, and other sweeteners are not allowed because their chemical makeup takes longer for the body to break down, so they aren’t immediately absorbed. Unabsorbed carbohydrates travel down the digestive tract and feed pathogenic bacteria, which is what we are trying to avoid.
Non Starchy Beans
Navy beans are allowed on GAPS (they’re the small white ones). Some people have success with other beans, making sure they are prepared from scratch and soaked before cooking. I like to cook my beans in chicken stock for added nutrition.
Coconut, Nuts, and Seeds
Nuts and seeds (and coconut flour) are how we make baked goods on GAPS. you can make some awesome sunflower seed crackers, almond flour or coconut flour muffins, and nutbutter brownies on the GAPS diet. See my GAPS Recipes page for recipes. Coconut and palm oil are allowed and are great for those who aren’t able to tolerate dairy yet.
Seasonings and Salt
Dried herbs, sea salt, and black pepper are allowed on the diet and make plain food so much more interesting! Simple whole foods with healthy fats and fresh seasonings make delicious meals.
Want Help with GAPS Meal Ideas?
So did I when we started GAPS :) That’s why I created Grain Free Meal Plans, they give you seasonal family friendly recipes 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, with snacks, sweets, grocery lists, and preparation instructions. Learn more and purchase here.