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The Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet is a therapeutic diet that relies on the concept of healing leaky gut as a natural cure for neurologic and psychiatric conditions. It is employed in the treatment of such conditions as inflammatory bowel disease, autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, major depressive disorder, and autoimmune diseases. The term was coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride who wrote the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, originally inspired by the 1920s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD diet - more on that in posts to follow!).

Leaky gut is a syndrome in which the small intestinal lining has become permeable to undigested food particles, toxins and bacteria. These particles then enter the bloodstream and are able to cause various health issues. The GAPS diet aims to heal leaky gut by first eliminating grains, starchy vegetables and refined carbohydrates. That's right, ALL grains. The initial phase of the diet is very restrictive and broken down into six phases. One moves to the next phase when bowel movements are normal and symptoms are controlled on the previous phase. Outlines of the six phases can be found on various sites.

After completing the six stages of the introduction phase, the maintenance-phase full GAPS diet begins. There is still a focus on fresh meat, animal fats, organic eggs, fermented foods and non-starchy vegetables. GAPS diet followers are encouraged to include olive oil, coconut oil or animal fats at every meal. The maintenance phase may last 1.5-2 years after which patients can choose to add other foods in a systematic manner.

We picked up some great habits while my husband was trialing the straight GAPS diet. For example, my husband eats a slow-cooked chicken and vegetable stew frequently for lunch. Also, we continue incorporating fermented foods into our daily intake. I now recommend stew vegetables slow-cooked overnight for all of my patients with evidence of leaky gut. I also recommend that olive oil be added liberally and eaten as frequently as possible. We are still evaluating the health benefits of bone broth and other components of the GAPS diet in this ever-changing field.

Here's to your health - have a wonderful day!

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