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The GAPS diet was derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas to naturally treat chronic inflammatory conditions in the digestive tract as a result of a damaged gut lining.  SCD gained great popularity after a mother, Elaine Gottschall, healed her own child of Ulcerative Colitis and became an advocate for SCD.  Elaine Gottschall is also the author of the popular book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.  Through years of research and clinical experience, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride adjusted her protocol to fit the individual healthcare needs of her patients suffering from a variety of intestinal and neurological conditions resulting from an imbalanced bacterial ecosystem within the GI tract.  The GAPS Diet focuses on removing foods that are difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora and replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal and seal.

GAPS Protocol Outline

Once a patient has moved through the six stages of the Introduction Diet, they are ready to move onto the Full GAPS Diet.  For patients who skipped the Introduction Diet, Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends following the Dairy Introduction Structure on page 124 when introducing dairy products.  It is important to remember the majority of the patient’s diet should consist of meats, fish, eggs, fermented foods, and vegetables.  Over indulging in baked goods made from nut flours and fruit can be detrimental to the healing process and should only be consumed in moderation.  For patients suffering from yeast overgrowth, temporarily eliminating fruit, honey, and nuts may be beneficial.  For a detailed outline of the Full GAPS Diet please go here.

Dr. Campbell-McBride does not generally recommend any vitamin or mineral supplementation at the beginning of the program for patients with severe digestive issues.  Some patients may require targeted supplementation including liver support and detoxification support but this is a matter for a qualified practitioner to decide.

If you are going to use supplements:

  • Choose supplements without any ingredients which may aggravate the gut condition. 

  • Choose supplements with a high absorption rate. 

  • Keep supplements to a minimum.

Natural Digestive Healing



All patients handle nutritional/supplemental protocols differently and may need additional targeted support other than the essentials recommended by Dr. Campbell-McBride.  This is a matter for a qualified practitioner to decide.  Only choose supplements with the least amount of added ingredients that may aggravate the gut condition.

  1. An effective therapeutic strength probiotic

  2.  Essential Fatty Acids

  3. Vitamin A

  4. Digestive enzymes

  5. Vitamin and mineral supplements.

The Introduction Diet is divided into six stages.  It generally takes patients 3-6 weeks to complete all the stages, however this is very individual and some patients may take longer.  The Introduction Diet is designed for patients with severe digestive issues including chronic diarrhea, IBS, Crohn’s, gastritis, and Ulcerative Colitis as well as patients with severe neurological conditions including autism, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar.  Some patients may exhibit neurological conditions with no clear digestive symptoms and may be able to move through the Introduction Diet more quickly, listening to their body and observing for negative reactions.  For a detailed outline of the Introduction Diet please go here.

The GAPS Protocol is broken into three parts specifically designed to heal and seal the gut lining, rebalance the immune system, and restore the optimal bacterial ecosystem within the gastrointestinal tract.  The Nutritional protocol restricts all grains, commercial dairy, starchy vegetables and all processed/refined carbohydrates while focusing on easily digestible and nutrient dense foods.  The Supplementation protocol needs to be tailored to fit the individual healthcare needs of the patient but generally includes a commercial probiotic to provide beneficial bacteria along the GI tract, essential fatty acids, cod liver oil, and targeted digestive support.  The Detoxification  Protocol enforces natural ways to cleanse the liver and colon through juicing, GAPS Milkshakes, and enemas while reducing the general toxic load by restricting man-made chemicals and heavy