Most people I encounter have not heard of the GAPS diet. I am going to give you a brief overview of the foods allowed and the lifestyle.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome or Gut and Physiology Syndrome.
The foods allowed on the full diet include all meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, a few types of beans that are fermented/soaked, all non-starchy vegetables and fruits, and certain types of fermented raw dairy. The foods not allowed include potatoes, starchy tubers, all grains, most legumes, soy, certain other types of dairy.
The main differences I have noticed between the GAPS diet and the primal/paleo diets are the emphasis on bone broth, fermented foods and good quality probiotics. The broth MUST be homemade and consumed at least once per day (2 cups is a good minimum). The store bought broths are full of MSG and other bad ingredients! Besides, you do not receive the same benefit when consuming the store bought broths.
Fermented foods consumed can include milk kefir, yogurt, water kefir, kombucha, beet kvass, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, sour cream, etc. These foods should be homemade, unless you are able to source a good quality fermented food that has NOT been pasteurized.
The probiotic that Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends is Bio-Kult. I am currently working with a GAPS practitioner who recommends Prescript Assist to re-colonize my gut. I switched over to Prescript Assist. It has improved my digestion tremendously in the past few months!
One of the most important things to consume with every meal (other than bone broth and fermented foods of course) are animal fats! Yes, they are good for you and help to heal your digestive tract. This includes everything from butter to duck fat, tallow and lard. It is important to obtain these from a good source, preferably from a small local farmer. Try to make sure all of your animal fats and proteins are grass fed or pastured.
Another difference I have noticed is the importance of detoxing. It is recommended that you take daily detox baths. You can do this by adding epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, baking soda or even seaweed powder! These should not be combined, but alternated.
Juicing is another way of detoxing. I included a daily cup of juice in my routine for a while, but I found it to be too troublesome to wash the veggies, cut off the stems, juice them and clean the juicer every day. I am still doing well without juicing, so I feel it is okay to forego for me.
One final difference is the GAPS diet is meant to be temporary. Typically a person will stay on the diet for 18 months to 3 years. I have been on the diet the past 10 months and I have already seen incredible healing.
Unfortunately, I am not yet completely healed and need to stay on it longer. After completing the diet, foods that were eliminated are gradually introduced such as potatoes, raw milk, fermented grains like buckwheat, quinoa and eventually true sourdough bread.
Personally, I think traditionally prepared grains and legumes (fermented/soaked/sprouted) are okay to eat in moderation. However, even after completing the GAPS diet, I am going to stick to a primal/paleo diet for the most part. I feel much healthier when I stick to meals that mainly consist of animal protein/fats and vegetables. If I am going to eat grains and legumes, I will do my best to prepare them traditionally.
I hope this overview helps you to better understand the GAPS diet. What else would you like to know?