The GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) is a protocol designed to heal the digestive system. It was developed by neuroscientist and nutritionist Natasha Campbell-McBride to address the common issues that she was repeatedly seeing in her patients such as ADD/ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, digestive issues, dyslexia, dyspraxia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more.
How can one ‘diet’ address such a long list of problems? Centuries ago Hippocrates said that ‘all disease begins in the gut’. Modern science now backs him up and shows us that the issues mentioned above are a result of a compromised gut. What is a compromised gut? It’s when the small intestines become inflamed and permeable, or leaky, allowing food particles to now escape the digestive system and enter the body. This is commonly called leaky gut. These particles don’t belong anywhere except in the digestive tract so when they’re elsewhere the body sees them as foreign invaders, or toxins, and responds in many ways to deal with them.
Another problem with a compromised gut is an imbalance of microorganisms, or gut flora. The flora in our gut actually communicates with our nervous system, which is housed in our brain. When we have too much of the ‘bad’ flora it sends incorrect messages to our brain which impairs it’s messages to the nervous system. These little buggers actually hijack our brain. This shows up as cravings , tics, compulsions, foggy thinking, attention issues and so much more (review that list above). So yes, it’s the bad bugs asking for that cookie or extra serving of macaroni and cheese, not you. And it’s the bad bugs that are making you feel unwell both in body and mind.
So what to do? Heal the gut! The only way to heal the gut is to remove offending foods and nourish the body with healing foods that seal that damaged and permeable lining. Heal and seal is the GAPS mantra.
Recovery through GAPS is not an overnight success. It took time, after all, for the body to become unwell and it will take time to get it healthy again. GAPS is a commitment but one that it so worth the time and effort because let’s face it, who wants to feel bad?
The GAPS protocol is done in 6 stages. It’s initial stages have the most limited menus because they include only the most easily digested foods.Though, as a built-in bonus, these foods double as gut healing agents. As the body heals and seals it’s leaky gut (as evidenced by the disappearance of symptoms) more foods are introduced with each progressive GAPS stage. The order in which foods are introduced is intentional as some foods and certain ways to prepare foods are easier or harder for the body to digest. The GAPS protocol has 5 stages. The progression from one stage to the next is entirely dependent of the person’s healing process. For some, this is relatively quick, for others it takes longer.
Heal and Seal. Those words seem so simple but doing this can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t feeling your best. If you’re trying to help a loved one through GAPS, just being their for support can be a lot of work and then trying to navigate GAPS without help can feel like too much. Having an experienced practitioner guide you through this protocol can make the difference of failure or success. I will help you determine which stage of the diet is the right one to begin your journey and offer guidance and support throughout. Not only am I a certified GAPS practitioner, but my own family has gone through it so I have first hand knowledge of what it takes as a mother, wife and individual navigating GAPS and best of all, healing because of it.
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