I first heard the term GAPS on Pinterest about five years ago when I started finding and pinning healthy recipes. I continued moving forward on my path toward healthy eating and becoming a Nutrition Consultant and I kept hearing about GAPS all along the way. I bought the book well over a year ago and it’s been on my list of books to read for quite some time. I finally picked it up a few months ago and got to reading it.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome was written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She wrote this book as a practical guide for those suffering from all host of mental illness issues including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD, as well as asthma, eczema, and allergies. I hate to be redundant here but “All disease begins in the gut” and so this too is a book about healing the gut in order to heal the domino of other issues that cascade after an inflamed and irritated gut.
Campbell-McBride draws upon her experience as neurologist, as well as her experience as a mother of an autistic child to detail the inner workings (pun intended) of the digestive system, the gut flora, the immune system, and how the gut and brain are connected. Later, she details how to treat the problems, with food and supplementation.
I’ll leave you with a quote: “In GAPS people, due to the abnormalities in their gut flora, viruses from vaccines or the environment have a good chance to survive and persist” (p.29). Some folks will tell you that it’s all in your head, but I’m starting to think that it’s all in your gut.
If you’re interested in learning more about the gut and how to improve your own health, GAPS Gut and Psychology Syndrome is an amazing resource.
September’s Clean Eating Book of the Month is Gut by Giulia Enders. After Eat Dirt, Brain Maker, and Gulp, you may begin to think that I’m obsessed with the digestive system. And well, I guess I am. I am a nutrition consultant, after all.
Enders takes a unique scientific approach to teaching us about our gut. A microbiologist by trade and currently enrolled in a gastroenterology PhD program, Enders infuses humor throughout her book and her sister creates simple and enlightening illustrations like this one of how to properly use the toilet to go poop (Ender, 2015, p.19).
I hear from many people that like to debate the existence of gluten intolerances. Enders does a wonderful job of clearing up the confusion for folks. Celiac disease is what Enders terms a genetic intolerance to gluten. Here is how she explains a gluten intolerance: All grains (and all plants for that matter) have a small amount of toxins in them. These toxins exist to ensure the survival of the species. Compared to other grains, wheat produces more toxins. Because of the high level of toxins in the proteins in wheat, gluten (and gliadin), can pass through the small intestines into the bloodstream, undigested. In turn, it can weaken the junctions between the cell lining the small intestines (microvilli). When those junctions are weakened, food particles (like gluten) can pass through unregulated and cause the immune system to go on overdrive. The job of the microvilli is to keep out large (undigested) food particles and toxins, so when food particles are allowed to pass through and the immune system is on overdrive, many other health problems occur, resulting in an intolerance.
In addition to clearing up confusion around food intolerances, Enders also discusses poop, acid reflux, constipation, vomiting, the brain-gut connection, the HUGE role of bacteria in our lives, and much more. This is a fascinating
poop book. I actually did type poop there first, so I thought I should leave it. 😉 I highly recommend it for all homo sapiens. 5/5 Strawberries!
I wrote this article for an assignment on autoimmune conditions, specifically Lupus. However, this applies to anyone that is looking to determine what is “off” with their digestion, what food triggers they may have, or trying to solve other “unsolved mysteries” about what may be causing skin problems, headaches, etc. Enjoy!
To address autoimmune conditions like Lupus, the 5-R Protocol would be highly recommended. It is like a “jump-start” into the diet plan that should be continued for optimal immune health. By removing offending foods, the body stops reacting negatively to those foods and can begin to use its nutrient resources to heal itself. Additionally, 80% of the immune system is in the digestive system and a healthy digestive system is key for a healthy immune system.
- Remove: Eliminate foods that are processed and devoid of nutrients, poor-quality fats, parasites, heavy metals, and foods that are potential triggers. Potential triggers include gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and kamut), nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers) dairy, soy, and possibly fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. Each person will have to decide what he or she needs to eliminate.
- Replace: Once the offending foods have been removed, it is time to replace them with nutrient-rich, whole-foods. This step also includes replacing missing nutrients using supplements, as well as adding in digestive supports like digestive enzymes, bile salts, and hydrochloric acid.
- Reinoculate: The digestive system is home to billions of bacteria that we rely on to help digest food, protect us from foreign invaders, and to help make short chain fatty acids that we need. Over the years, our diets have been lacking in healthy bacteria and we take many medications that kill off the necessary bacteria. These healthy bacteria are found in cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir, and in fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Supplementation with probiotics can begin with 10-20 billion per day and can increase gradually to 50-100 billion (Bauman, 2015).
- Repair: Over time, our standard diets have also damaged our digestive system’s ability to properly breakdown foods and absorb nutrients. Using foods like bone broth, grass-fed gelatin, and foods rich in fiber will help to repair and clean out the intestines. Additional supplements that can help to heal include: glutamine, gamma-oryzanol, boswellia, licorice, quercetin, goldenseal, aloe, marshmallow root, essential fatty acids, and cabbage.
- Rebalance: Digestion starts in the brain. If your mindset isn’t in the “right” place, proper digestion will not occur. If you are stressed, your body will be in sympathetic mode rather than in parasympathetic mode and your digestion will be compromised. The focus of step 5 is on stress management, quality sleep, adequate exercise, and a positive outlook. This last step is often a continual practice in mindfulness.
Bauman, E. (6/20/15-11/30/15). Personal Communication
Lipski, E. (2013). Digestion Connection. New York, NY: Rodale.
Health & Hugs <3,