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GAPS Diet Legal Foods: What is the GAPS Diet?

GAPS Diet Legal Foods

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Most people I encounter do not know what GAPS diet is. I am going to give you a brief overview of GAPS diet legal foods and the lifestyle around it.

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome or Gut and Physiology Syndrome.

The diet is the creation of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, modeled after the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). If you are familiar with the paleo or primal diet, it is very similar.

GAPS Diet Legal Foods

GAPS diet legal foods include all meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, as well as a few types of beans that you need to ferment/soak, all non-starchy vegetables and fruits, and certain types of raw dairy. The foods not allowed include potatoes, starchy tubers, all grains, most legumes, soy, certain other types of dairy.

The dairy that is allowed is ghee, butter, yogurtkefir, sour cream and many types of cheeses. The cheeses need to be aged long enough to consume (preferably raw).

GAPS vs. Paleo

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 benefits when consuming the store bought broths.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods consumed can include milk kefiryogurtwater kefirkombucha, beet kvass, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, sour cream, etc. It is best to makes these foods at home, unless you are able to source a good quality ferment. Ideally, these ferments will be raw.

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. Consequently, it has improved my digestion tremendously in the past few months!

Saturated Fats

One of the most important GAPS diet legal foods 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. Furthermore, it is important to obtain these from a good source, preferably from a small local farmer. So be sure to make it your goal to purchase grass fed or pasture raised animal fats and proteins.


Another difference I have noticed is the importance of detoxing. A GAPS diet recommendation is to take daily detox baths. You can do this by adding epsom saltsapple cider vinegarbaking soda or even seaweed powder! It is important to alternate between these and not combine them.

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.

It is Not Forever!

One final difference is the GAPS diet is a temporary diet. Typically a person will stay on the diet for 18 months to 3 years. I have been on the diet the past 10 months, but I have already seen incredible healing.

Unfortunately, I need more healing and have to stay on the diet longer. When you begin transitioning off the diet, you gradually begin introducing foods 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?

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