GAPS gut health


The GAPS Diet (whether the Introduction Diet or Full GAPS Diet) involves a big learning curve.  So the following cumulative list of tips is designed to make it easier for you.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome book

There is unfortunately no way round the need to read Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Not every page is relevant to everybody.  But this is the ‘GAPS Bible’ which explains the reason for the different parts of the GAPS protocol.

When the going gets tough, and it can get tough, it is very important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and what to expect.

Also it’s important to keep referring back to the book, as there’s too much information in it to remember it all!

It’s All a Big Learning Curve – How Will I Cope?

Don’t try and learn everything at once.  For example if you are new to making meat/fish stocks and bone broths, look for a source of ready-made GAPS-legal fermented foods.  Some local wholefood stores sell traditionally-made ferments.

Cooking with GAPSBeware sauerkraut bought in supermarkets, which will be prepared using heat or vinegar and will be devoid of the favourable live bacteria so important for the gut.

Or have you got a relative interested in GAPS who might be happy to learn how to make ferments or a friend who loves baking, who could get to grips with the GAPS baking for you?

(Is Fermented Food a Recipe for Good Gut Health? For a quick and readable overview click here)

Bones can be frozen until you are ready to make bone broths.  Small quantities of broth for children can then be frozen in ice-cube containers.

Soda crystals are a safe and inexpensive addition to a gentle washing-up liquid and cut through grease when washing up after making meat and fish stocks and broths – this saves time and water!

Starting with very small amounts of those elements which may cause ‘die-off’ or other uncomfortable detox  symptoms will give a smoother route through GAPS (bone broths, fermented foods and drinks, probiotics, oils including coconut oil, GAPS juices, and supplements of omega 3 and fermented cod liver oil, and detox baths).

People are very individual in their sensitivity and some people need to start taking probiotic by opening a capsule and dipping a knife-tip in and even that may cause a reaction.  So start with minimal amounts.  At the same time it’s important to find out where your or your child’s personal ‘die-off point’ is as that gives you valuable information.

Keep a diary of what you introduce and the effects (if any) – it is almost impossible to remember every little detail over time.

I Can’t Afford to Eat Organic Food

Dr Natasha is clear that buying organic is not a must if people are suffering financially.  If making vegetable ferments at home, organic is preferable (there are more good bacteria in it).  I think for juicing organic is important (because the pesticides otherwise get concentrated in the juice), so better not to have juice than have it from non-organic juices.

Although there are useful omega 3 oils in meat from grass-fed animals it is not essential.  Most important is to buy joints (which have cartilage) and any bones with marrow in and make meat stocks and bone broths from these. If you decide you want to use meat from organic or at least grass-reared animals, it is worth trying to get a good deal, and it needs a bit of research.

The best way is to get out of the city and meet farmers and buy poultry or lambs (you can get the farmer to chop it up etc) and freeze them.  This I appreciate depends on having freezer space.  But some families find that having a decent-sized freezer helps them all.  (If freezer space is limited, perhaps you can do an order with other local people.)  Other farmers will sell online but you get a big discount for going to the farm to buy.

In making meat stocks and bone broths:

Dr Natasha recommends using the whole animal ie skin, flesh, bones, offal.  This often makes it much cheaper than buying, say, ready-made organic sausages or burgers.

    1. Farmers Market meat and fish stalls are often happy to give bones free on request.  There is often good meat on them, so they’re suitable for meat stocks as well as bone broths. I asked at my local Budgens (who I know do more sustainable fish than other supermarkets) once for white (non-oily) fish remains (bones, skin, with any flesh left on) and was given a whole load.


  1. Use the joint-bones and fish bones over and over again to make bone broths. Make successive batches of broth until you can easily crush the bones between your fingers.  Also liver and other offal tends to be cheaper than other meat nowadays.