Our modern world is awash in chemicals and food-like substances that wreak havoc on our health. And while these compounds can adversely affect any system in the body, it is your gut where the greatest impact occurs.
In recent years, the gut has been called the “second brain” because of its unique relationship to cerebral health. It’s also been shown that over 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, thanks to a diverse population of organisms (or flora) and the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that mediates immune response. Even conventional medicine now recognizes that a healthy body and brain are dependent on a healthy gut.
Gut and Psychology: Build a Stronger Brain with a Healthy Gut
But long before these ideas were mainstream, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD made the connection. In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD/ADD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia, Dr. McBride shows how many physical and neurological disorders can be attributed to dysbiosis – or an unhealthy imbalance – in the gut.
As we deviate from our ancestral diet, the symbiotic relationships between microorganisms in our gut change. These changes can cause abnormal gut flora to proliferate. The combination of these unhealthy bacteria and irritants from our modern diet can cause tiny perforations to form in the sensitive lining of the gut. The resulting “leaky gut” allows harmful microbes and toxins to enter the bloodstream, where they impact normal biological processes and can lead to dysfunction and disease.
Getting Started with GAPS: Seal and Heal Your Leaky Gut
So how do you seal and heal the gut and restore a healthy microbial balance? Dr. McBride has created a safe and effective protocol designed to provide the body with an array of healing nutrients and flora-friendly foods while eliminating potential irritants. The protocol is broken into six phases, each lasting three to five days.
Here is an overview of the protocol and what to expect:
Stage 1: In this phase, the focus is on nutrient-rich meat stock, which is easy to digest and allows the gut to focus on healing as opposed to breaking down foods.
Stage 2: In this phase, raw, organic egg yolks are added to meat stocks to provide additional nutrients for repair. Animal fats from pasture-raised animals – like tallow and lard – are especially important at this time to seal and heal the gut. These healthy fats also provide a concentrated source of energy.
Stage 3: Onions cooked in grass-fed fat (great immunity-boosters) and avocados are added at this time. Probiotics should be taken before meals to help restore healthy gut flora.
Stage 4: Grass-fed burgers, roasted pastured chicken and wild fish are added in this stage, as well as sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. The juice of organic vegetables is also introduced at this time.
Stage 5: As the gut lining strengthens and your ability to digest improves, foods that are more difficult to digest are introduced, including apples cooked in coconut oil or ghee and raw veggies.
Stage 6: Raw fruits and GAPS-approved desserts (like cinnamon baked apples and coconut macaroons) are allowed in this final phase of the Introduction Diet.
Is The GAPS Diet Right for You?
Thousands of people have found significant relief from the GAPS diet. If you try the introductory diet and notice you are feeling better, following the Full GAPS diet (which lasts for at least two years) could be a beneficial next step to improve your overall health.
Have you tried the GAPS diet? If so, what was your experience?
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- Anastasia I. Petra, Smaro Panagiotidou, Erifili Hatziagelaki, Julia M. Stewart, Pio Conti, Theoharis C. Theoharides. Gut-Microbiota-Brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation. Clinical Therapeutics. Volume 37, Issue 5, 1 May 2015, Pages 984–995
- Oregon State University. "Gut microbes closely linked to proper immune function, other health issues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013.
- Antoine Louveau, Igor Smirnov, Timothy J. Keyes, Jacob D. Eccles, Sherin J. Rouhani, J. David Peske, Noel C. Derecki, David Castle, James W. Mandell, Kevin S. Lee, Tajie H. Harris, Jonathan Kipnis. Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature14432
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Gut B Cells.
- Shulzhenko N, Morgun A, Hsiao W, Battle M, Yao M, Gavrilova O, Orandle M, Mayer L, Macpherson AJ, McCoy KD, Fraser-Liggett C, Matzinger P. Crosstalk between B lymphocytes, microbiota and the intestinal epithelium governs immunity versus metabolism in the gut. Nature Medicine. 20 November 2011
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Web. www.gutandpsychologysyndrome.com