The GAPS diet is designed to be temporary. There are various reasons for coming off of the GAPS diet.
How and when I phased off of the GAPS diet
I followed the GAPS diet for two full years, and experienced amazing results. It truly changed my life. Read all about how the GAPS diet changed our lives here.
While I was in the middle of the GAPS Diet, I was so happy with the results, that I figured I’d live the rest of my life eating that way. Little did I know, things would change!
Several months after that two year mark, I started noticing that foods like grains were sounding more and more appealing. The whole time I had followed the GAPS diet, I was happy with with the allowed foods. Now I began to feel like I needed grains. I wondered if my time for coming off of the GAPS diet was now.
I knew that it was important to listen to my body. Many healthy cultures around the world eat properly prepared grains, and I knew that if my gut was well, I should be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
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“The majority of GAPS people do not have to adhere to a special diet for the rest of their lives: once the digestive system starts functioning normally, they can gradually introduce most wholesome foods commonly eaten around the world.” Gut and Psychology Syndrome, page 156
Since I had followed the GAPS diet for two years, I felt that this was a really good time to think about transitioning off.
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How long should you stay on GAPS?
How long does it take to rebuild your gut? Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends that most people stay on the GAPS diet for around 2 years. She says that you should have at least 6 months of normal digestion before you start adding non GAPS foods.
Dr. Campbell McBride says that some people don’t need to follow the GAPS diet that long, and 6 months or 1 year can be enough time. Some people have to follow it for longer than two years. It’s very individual.
How to phase off of the GAPS diet
I started carefully and slowly, with one new food at a time. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends going in this order:
- New potatoes
- Fermented, non gluten grains, such as millet and quinoa
- Sourdough bread made with wheat and rye
Before I tried potatoes, I made sure my body was doing well with nightshades, like tomatoes and peppers. The first time I tried potatoes, I ate about one mouthful, and then waited several days.
Since everything was fine and no symptoms returned, I tried a bite of potatoes again. I waited several days again, and since everything continued to go well, I gradually increased the amount of potatoes.
“Introduce one food at a time and always start with a small amount: give your patient a small portion of the new food and watch for any reaction for 2-3 days. If there are no digestive problems returning, or other typical-for-your-patient symptoms, then in a few days try another portion. If there are no reactions, gradually increase the amount of the food. These are starchy foods, so do not forget to serve them with a good amount of fat to slow down the digestion of starch. Do not rush with the introduction of these new foods, it may take several months to do it properly.” Gut and Psychology Syndrome, page 155
You might be wondering, how do you add back in grains? I followed these same exact steps for each new food.
After the potatoes I tried some fermented, non gluten grains, and eventually homemade sourdough baked goods. I also added raw cream, non cultured raw milk, and other cheeses that aren’t on the GAPS allowed list.
Every time I ate a starchy food, I included lots of animal fat. This is pretty easy to do. Potatoes and fresh sourdough bread are delicious with a generous amount of grass fed butter!
Everything continued to go well. It was really exciting to be eating a full, non restrictive variety of foods!
How to eat after the GAPS diet
Dr. Campbell McBride encourages people to maintain everything they’ve accomplished while on GAPS. I wouldn’t want to undo all my hard work by going back to the standard American diet!
“Your patient will never be able to go back to the typical modern diet full of sugar, artificial and processed ingredients, and other harmful “foods”. Gut and Psychology Syndrome, p 155
Now I eat a full, Nourishing Traditions style diet, that includes all food groups. I make sure everything is high quality, pasture raised, and organic. Read more about the Nourishing Traditions diet here.
Every time I eat grains, I try to makes sure they are properly prepared: soaked or fermented. This Nourishing Traditions sourdough bread is one of my favorites. Same thing goes for beans and other legumes. I also try to soak nuts and dehydrate them.
I continue to try to drink meat stock or bone broth at least once a day, and I try to include homemade fermented foods with each meal.
The GAPS diet is so rewarding, and definitely worth it.
Following something like the GAPS diet definitely looks like hard work. But, if you think about it, that’s only because of how far our modern world has strayed from traditional, healthy foods.
The GAPS diet seems somewhat restrictive, but that is really only in the context of how the typical modern American eats. Everything that the GAPS diet includes is healthy and wholesome. Plenty of cultures in the past ate in similar ways to the GAPS diet, and they were very healthy.
It’s really not that hard or complicated to follow GAPS cooking. You just buy everything fresh and unprocessed, and prepare it at home. For all my tips on traveling on the GAPS diet, check out this post here.
I personally am so thankful for the GAPS diet, and for what it has done for our family. For us, it has laid a strong foundation for wellness for the rest of our lives.
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Where are you in your GAPS journey?
What benefits have you seen? How long do you plan to stay on it? Tell me all about it in the comments!
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The information in this blog post is my personal experience and opinion. It is for general information purposes only, that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own physician’s medical care or advice. Always seek advice from your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding nutrition, medical conditions, and advice. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on this blog.