The GAPS Diet is a therapeutic diet designed to improve gut health and turn around a range of conditions, including digestive issues, autoimmunity, neurological disorders, skin conditions, and mental health problems. The complete GAPS diet involves eliminating certain foods that can irritate the gut and cause inflammation, and replacing them with nutrient-dense, whole foods that support gut healing, proper detoxification, and overall health.
Convenience foods, even when they only list GAPS Diet ingredients on the label, are often highly processed and contain hidden additives, preservatives, and other ingredients that can be difficult for the gut to digest. Plus, it’s difficult to know the quality of cookware, water, packaging, and other processing steps they’ve gone through. Store-bought foods are rarely made the same way you’d prepare them at home.
Most convenience GAPS foods also lack the nutrient density that’s so key to birthing healthy new cells that allow to body to rebuild with more vitality, such as easy to digest and complete proteins, organ meats, and fat-soluble nutrients.
Here are the shortcuts that I consider a ‘convenience GAPS diet’:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Drinking broth “meat stock” from a grocery store (there’s no mass market meat stock)
- Store-bought yogurt⠀⠀
- Relying on Paleo packaged foods, including jerky and nut/seed bars⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Using canned or frozen veggies (with secret additives not on the labels) ⠀⠀
- Following the GAPS food list without understanding how it works in your body⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Skipping juicing and baths because they take time⠀⠀
- Rushing through the Stages without tuning in to how your body feels
- Making regular exceptions on your GAPS foods to have fun with (or please) friends, relatives, or schools⠀⠀
- Continuing to live the same lifestyle that led to your illness⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Some things are GAPS on paper, but not in spirit. GAPS is a lifestyle commitment that takes serious prioritization, even when we can’t all do it 100% all the time.
When you’re eating on the side of ‘convenience GAPS’ and not seeing results, it’s not because GAPS doesn’t work. If you need GAPS in a really deep way – for autoimmune issues, Lyme disease, autism, or a mystery debilitating illness, ‘convenience GAPS’ won’t get you there.
Commit to a ‘complete GAPS diet’: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Source your food locally
- Make the effort to get raw milk⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Cook and culture it from scratch⠀
- Include organ meats
- Eat liberal amounts of animal fats⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Go as slow on Intro as your body indicates – not what your mind wishes⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Incorporate the detoxification methods, including baths and juicing⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Include the supplements that are indicated for you, as outlined in the Gut and Physiology Syndrome book
- Prioritizing rest and sleep
- Spend time in nature⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Detoxing your home⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Journal every day to track your changes
- Learn how to treat and cheat in less damaging ways⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Meet with a GAPS Practitioner when you need assistance (we all do at times)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Overall, convenience GAPS foods just don’t generate the same level of gut healing and nutrient density that a complete GAPS diet will. They can undermine the diet’s goals of improving gut health and reducing inflammation by filling you up with foods with less healing potential. Emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods that support gut healing and overall health and save convenience GAPS foods for a once-in-a-while outing, travel, or occasion.