When the microbiome is damaged greatly, the GAPS Protocol is often the most healing and supportive method of recovery. People often turn to GAPS, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, when they are at the end of their rope, when nothing is working and they are desperate. To some it is daunting and scary, overwhelming an already overwhelmed mother. There are many, many reasons for this, but the truth remains, there is definitely an answer which isn’t so hard. 


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The GAPS Protocol is designed for the worst damaged situations. It rebuilds the microbiome step by step, so that folks can tolerate foods which were previously not tolerated. The protocol consists of six introductory stages: Stage One, Stage Two, Stage Three, Stage Four, Stage Five, Stage Six and Full GAPS. Stage One starts with foods which are most easily tolerated, Chicken Meat Stock, Fish Meat Stock or larger animals like Beef Meat Stock. Vegetables are cooked in meat stocks and are low in fiver, without starch, so they are easiest to tolerate. This includes vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, onions, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and the like. As you progress through the stages, more advanced foods are introduced such as green beans, nut butters, nut flours, avocado and so forth. As you move through the stages, more advanced methods of cooking are also introduced. This includes foods going from Meat Stock to soft sauteing, to cooking in the oven, to having crunchy bits cooked in the oven to grilling, broiling and frying. 

Each time you progress forward, adding in more probiotics and probiotic foods, you are building enzyme structures in the microbiome. More and more foods are tolerated, including those which were previously not tolerated. Foods are made fresh and cooked at home to nourish the body, as it has been done for centuries before we began buying already prepared ready to eat foods which are often nutritionally dead. 

But for some, this is overwhelming to the point where it is not achievable. That is not the goal. 

For cases like this, or those with deeper damage such as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis – a disease which includes extreme exhaustion), multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, schizophrenia and the like, starting at Full GAPS is recommended. Full GAPS includes all fish and meats, non-starch vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. They can be cooked in any manner you desire. It is easy to follow and for many folks, a great place to start. 

It doesn’t have to be hard. 

Starting at Full GAPS is fine. 

For some, they don’t have to do any more than Full GAPS. 

If you are overwhelmed, starting at Full GAPS is the perfect place to start. 

If starting at Full GAPS is overwhelming, there are no rules! There is no, “This is the way you do GAPS and that’s all there is!” It doesn’t exist and it’s not the heart of GAPS. Instead it’s all about what you can do as you move yourself forward on your health journey. Some people take six months to back up into Full GAPS while others do two years just working their way to Full GAPS. Others just use up the foods in their pantry and only buy Full GAPS foods when they purchase new food items for their home. All of these methods are fine and work. Each person needs to do what they can and they follow their own journey. 

My son was autistic, ADHD, bipolar, hypoglycemic and dyslexic when we started and he has never done Intro, and lost all of his diagnostic labels within the first couple of years. For me, the situation was much worse and I had to do Stage Two for a full year, but first I started with Full GAPS for three years. It’s very bio individual. 

Click here for a complete list of Full GAPS foods. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. becky.nourishingplot@hotmail.com

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.

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