How Does The Gaps Diet Work With IBS?

I have tried many diets to help control my IBS, but I had not heard of the GAPS diet until recently. After researching it, I found the diet pretty interesting, and am thinking perhaps I might give it a go. GAPS, also known as gut and psychology syndrome, is a condition that establishes a link between the digestive system and the brain. The GAPS protocol was created for patients dealing with learning disabilities, psychiatric disorders, immune system problems, and digestive problems.

What is the GAPS diet?

It appears to be a logical process. The GAPS diet focuses on eliminating foods such as grains, starchy vegetables, commercial dairy, and processed carbs, that are hard to digest and that may damage gut flora, and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods, giving the intestinal lining a chance to heal and recover. It originated from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which helped naturally treat chronic inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract.

There are six stages of the introduction GAPS diet that are recommended before beginning the full GAPS diet. During the six stages, the following foods are recommended, on a graduated scale:

  • homemade meat or fish stock (because they provide growth for cells in the gut and tend to have a soothing effect for any inflammation)
  • ginger tea with honey between meals
  • raw organic egg yolks
  • stews and casseroles made with the stock (avoiding spices)
  • homemade yogurt
  • fermented fish
  • homemade ghee
  • avocados
  • eggs scrambled with plenty of ghee
  • roasted/grilled meats
  • freshly pressed juices (this is highly recommended for those who suffer with constipation)
  • apples
  • raw vegetables

Once the six stages of the introduction diet have been successfully completed, the full GAPS diet may begin. An extensive chart of foods that are and aren't allowed can be found here.

Helpful tips during the full GAPS diet

  • Combine vegetables with meats and fish at every meal to balance your pH
  • Eat fruit (not avocado) by itself in between meals to avoid interference with the digestion of meats
  • Eat organic (or local not containing pesticides) fruits and vegetables
  • Eat plenty of natural fats in every meal from meats. Animal fats are particularly important
  • Eat a cup of bone broth or meat stock with every meal
  • Avoid all processed foods. They are harmful to the digestive system and the gut-healing process

While it seems like a pretty simple process, it is important to remember that no two people are the same and not everyone will respond the same. Please speak with your physician before starting any new diets, especially if you have any other conditions that might be affected! Now, has anyone tried it yet?

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