GAPS Diet: All Diseases Begin in the Gut
By Mila McManus MD
My nutritionist, Nancy Mehlert, and I just returned from Chicago as certified GAPS practitioners. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome and is a dietary protocol to heal whatever ails you, whether you are young or old, and whether your ailment is a skin rash, autoimmune disease, mood disorder, learning disability, autism, ADD/ADHD, allergies, migraines, arthritis, bowel disorders or any other health problem imaginable. It’s also a great way to slow the aging process. So how can a diet address all of this? Let me explain.
90% of the cells and genetic material in our bodies is not our own. It’s made up of the inner space of microorganisms that live within us. We greatly underestimate the impact these tiny microbes have on our immune system and overall health, yet we continually, and often unknowingly, kill these microbes and interfere with the important work they do to keep us well. Antibiotics and personal care products, in conjunction with our increasing toxic loads on our bodies, are wreaking havoc on our health. The beneficial bacteria that live in our guts are responsible for preventing the invasion of pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes, producing important vitamins, nutrients and protective neutralizing substances, as well as helping us digest and absorb our food. Once this microbial barrier in our gut is compromised, it initiates a chain reaction of events that leads to the development of chronic symptoms and disease. This compromised foundation causes inflammation in the GI tract, which then allows the body to absorb toxins, disease-causing viruses, bacteria, and parasites. In addition, it also allows partially digested food particles to absorb into our bloodstream prematurely, which creates food allergies and intolerances.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is the pioneer behind the GAPS diet, and author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome. She believes that the link between physical and mental health, the food and drink that we ingest and the condition of our digestive system is absolute, and the results of her work have supported her position on this subject. As a parent of a child fully recovered from a severe learning disability, she was aware of the difficulties facing other parents like her and she has devoted much of her time to helping these families. She realized that nutrition played a critical role in helping children and adults to overcome their disabilities and has pioneered the use of probiotics in this field.
The yeast cleanse that we offer at The Woodlands Institute is a similar approach to restoring the microbial foundation; however, the GAPS protocol takes a more aggressive approach for those who continue to have health problems after the yeast cleanse and for those with more severe and chronic disease.
Highlights of the GAPS protocol:
– Dietary focus on high intake of animal fats that provide the building blocks to heal the gut and restore healthy tissues throughout the body
– Dietary focus on high intake of fermented foods and probiotics to restore the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut
– Detoxification through the use of cleansing fruits, vegetables and juices, and avoidance of toxins
– Myths surrounding vegetarianism are discussed
Conclusion: Plant foods are for cleansing/detoxification and do not provide the body with building blocks that animal fat and protein provide to nourish and heal the body.
– Myths surrounding the link between cholesterol/saturated fats to heart disease are discussed
Conclusion: There is a plethora of evidence dispelling the myth that cholesterol and animal fats cause heart disease, and Dr. Campbell-Mcbride discusses the evidence in detail in her book called Put Your Heart in Your Mouth. She further spells out how animal fats and cholesterol are required for good health.