I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.
FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols*. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms. –Shepherd Works
SYNERGY: LOW-FODMAP DIET/GAPS DIET COMBINATION
After being introduced to the Low-FODMAP Diet, about a year ago, I quickly became convinced that this theory deserved a trial period in many of our lives. To alleviate IBS, it may be a God-send of insight. I readily admit that at first I shied away from one more diet that suggested taking more foods from anyone’s kitchen repertoire, especially my own. But to feel better, aawww, well, that’s worth a lot.
Oddly some of the foods suggested seem so gentle, avocado, for instance. But notice that the name of the diet contains the word, “Low” instead of the word “No.” This can mean simply reducing the amount of certain foods we eat, while it’s true, being ready to temporarily eliminate others. Wouldn’t you do it if it meant no more gas, bloating, or difficult bowel issues?
I believe that when we have alternatives to old favorites, we can thrive on a more limited diet.
What I’d like to discuss in this article is not only the Low-FODMAP diet, but also the particular importance for many of us of combining it with the GAPS diet. This can be tricky to figure out. What foods are okay to eat if you’re combining the two diets? Below I’ve mapped it out and also written out meal suggestions! I hope this makes your life easier!
Try out the “Yes Foods” and focus on what you can have. Try not to put yourself in work or social situations where you have to see what you can’t have, or at least not too often. Clean out your cupboards and fridge so that you are surrounded by “Yes Foods.” It will make the process much easier. And there are still so many feasts to be made and enjoyed while you heal your gut and give it the reprieve it needs from antagonistic foods.
FROM WHERE DOES THE LOW-FODMAP DIET ORIGINATE?
Before delving in further to the combined diet, let’s take a moment to look at the Low-FODMAP Diet alone. Firstly, bravo to Australia! It has birthed a revolutionary mind and potential relief for millions. Bloomberg news reports about the dietitian, Sue Shepherd, who conceived of the diet,
The 38-year-old Australian dietitian invented a food regimen with a bizarre name in her early 20s to relieve symptoms of bloating and stomach cramps. It’s now being adopted internationally, changing the way doctors manage a set of digestive troubles known as irritable bowel syndrome.
The article goes on,
Peter Gibson, gastroenterology professor at Melbourne’s Monash University, helped coin the term Fodmap to describe the molecules people with irritable bowel syndrome have difficulty stomaching — fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols found in dozens of everyday things from apples and wheat to milk, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugarless chewing gum.
A leading dietician in the American Fodmaps movement is Patsy Catsos. She says, “Doctors have pushed high-fiber diets and fiber supplements almost across the board for IBS patients. Therefore, health-conscious Americans are guzzling smoothies filled with yogurt and fruit, juicing, eating loads of cruciferous vegetables, beans and high-fiber nutrition bars and nuts, then they wonder why their IBS has gotten worse.”
Proponents of the diet recommend giving up the potentially offensive foods, (see the “No List” below) for 2-6 weeks, then reintroducing them one at a time to see which ones are benign and which ones cause an adverse reaction.
MY PROPOSAL IS TO GO ONE STEP FURTHER.
By doing this elimination in conjunction with the GAPS diet, discussed in greater detail in my prior article, you will be relieving your gut while also giving it the added advantage it needs to fully heal. You will remove uncomfortable symptoms but also be working toward the bigger goal of getting well. Of course, doing a low-Fodmap diet alone can be helpful. And doing the GAPS diet alone is great. But if you have it in you to give up onions and sugar, well, then, you are already more than half way there.
There is one more very important reason to consider doing these two diets in conjunction with one another. WebMD says,
People with chronic digestive problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation may be told they have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) when the underlying problem is actually small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Given that IBS is the number one gastrointestinal diagnosis, bacterial overgrowth could be underdiagnosed.
WHAT IS SIBO AND HOW DOES IT RELATE?
We are seeing more and more of our customers (we own a healing health-food café) who have been diagnosed by their doctors with SIBO, referred to above as “small intestine bacterial overgrowth.” I personally have never been diagnosed with IBS, and doubt that it would be an accurate assessment of my condition.
A lot more of us probably have SIBO (overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, where the overall flora count is supposed to be relatively low) than IBS; and the natural cures are somewhat different. That’s what I love about Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s work. She focuses on the cause of all these symptoms, and then on the solution!
The GAPS diet can heal the body of IBS and will help with SIBO, (although food-based probiotics must be eliminated as they exacerbate the problem. Cures for SIBO are elusive; I will look forward to mentioning these in a future post.) But the FODMAP diet alone will not get close to healing SIBO. And it will only provide relief for IBS, not a cure.
In conclusion, by combining the low-FODMAP diet and the GAPS diet, we are relieving the cause of uncomfortable symptoms, and persevering toward a real solution.
One additional detail is that the low-FODMAP diet is not beneficial to adopt for the full period of the GAPS diet. So while this combination diet is somewhat challenging, the idea is really to eliminate the high-FODMAP foods for the above-mentioned 2-6 weeks. Then, by trialing, you will see which foods need to stay out and which foods can be allowed back in, and in what quantity.
As a point of clarification, the FODMAP foods are not inherently “bad.” They are just one more factor involved in a complicated story playing out in your gut.
I am picturing a tired man who went on a long journey. Although he started out alone, he was eventually joined by two creatures, one, a donkey, the other, a faithful canine. One month into his journey, he said goodbye to one of these companions. It was a smart creature and had carried a heavy load. This creature helped him get closer to his destination. But the animal was also a thorn in his side, being stubborn and choosing its own course. He was grateful for the assistance the creature had given him; after all, he reached his destination sooner because of the speed and strength of this ass. But he carried on the full distance of his journey with the second creature, a dog, who understood the desires a man has for variety and adventure.
The ass in the story is the low-FODMAP diet. We may need it, but only for a time.
Now let’s focus on the foods we can have and see if this is a viable diet for you.
THE “YES” FOODS, A LIST
- Organic or grass-fed meat: beef, buffalo, chicken, canned albacore tuna (twice a week is actually fine and great!), canned salmon, eggs (must be organic, grass-fed, or soy and corn-free), fresh fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey, Applegate farm cured meat (nitrate-free, humanely raised), Applegate farm grass-fed hot dogs
- Lactose-free dairy (okay for some)
- Fully cultured (24 hours) yogurt, real probiotic sour cream, such as Nancy’s
- Hard cheeses: aged cheddar, parmesan, and swiss
- Cultured cheeses: brie, camembert, and blue cheese
- Soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, in moderation, and their milks, homemade (but no pistachios or cashews, which are high-FODMAP foods)
- Berries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, tangerines- but all fruit in moderation, small amounts
- Alfalfa, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, chives, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, rhubarb, all winter squash, tomatoes, zucchini, the green part of green onions, small amounts of garlic
- Weak coffee, tea, most spices and herbs, as long as they are pure (no other ingredients), homemade broth, grass-fed butter or ghee, natural olives only (no ferrous gluconate, no vinegar, just olives, salt and olive oil, and citric acid okay), homemade aioli (see recipe below), onion powder (small amounts of dried onion may be okay for some), extra-virgin olive oil, black or white pepper, sea salt (must be “sea salt”), NuNaturals brand stevia (Reb 99 is dextrose-free), mustard powder, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil spray, if tolerated (very helpful for all grain-free baking)
- Coconut, in small amounts, is tolerated by many. See this article for more specifics.
o Grain-free waffle (revolutionary recipes in my cookbook) with walnuts and warmed blueberries (tossed with stevia, to taste, and a small amount of water to make a syrup)
o Scrambled or fried eggs or an omelet with spinach, bell peppers and aged cheddar cheese
o Sprouted nut butter porridge (combine ½ cup homemade sprouted nut butter [see my blog on How to Sprout Nuts and Seeds for the nut butter recipe] with hot water and 2 T. chia seeds; stir well), top with chopped “crispy” almonds (it’s important that they’re sprouted) [see here for how to make crispy nuts], strawberries, butter or ghee, stevia, to taste, and optional nut milk garnish
o Fruit smoothie using Nancy’s plain yogurt, if tolerated, (full fat [whole milk or their sour cream] and fully cultured = no lactose), stevia, to taste, nut milk (optional) and one or more “yes” fruits listed above; add super-foods like spirulina or blue green algae for added nutrition
o Chia seed porridge (2T-1/4 cup chia seeds [depending on desired consistency] stirred well into a bowl of warm nut milk; add berries or above “yes” fruit of choice and stevia, to taste)
o Baked winter squash with butter, ghee, duck fat, or coconut oil, sprinkled with sprouted nuts and 2 fried eggs on the side; try different squash: butternut may cause bloating, whereas spaghetti squash may not. Also, enjoy the bonus videos, a free gift with the purchase of my e-Book. One of the videos teaches/shares my all time favorite custard! It’s super high in protein, quick to make and I LOVE it for breakfast poured over winter squash (or a baked good)! This custard makes life good! 🙂
o Applegate farm bacon with eggs your favorite way, served with cucumber and bell pepper slices, plain or dressed with extra-virgin olive oil
o Grain-free mega-muffin (fold sprouted nuts and blueberries into the waffle batter below and bake at 325 in muffin cups till knife inserted comes out clean, [first line muffin cups with parchment paper and/or spray with coconut oil]; or fold in sautéed sausage, spinach, optional sprouted walnuts, and sage for a savory muffin alternative!)
o Sausage patties (made quickly with your own hands with plain ground pork, white pepper, sea salt, and sage) and eggs, with cucumber on the side.
Try having eggs about 5-6 mornings a week! They are easy to digest, an affordable protein, and the raw yolk is full of healthy cholesterol. Have no eggs at all at least one day a week to avoid allergies. If you already have a mild allergy to chicken eggs, put a small amount of yolk from a duck, goose, or quail egg on your wrist before going to sleep. If it is red in the morning, avoid this food. If it isn’t, trial eating that yolk, raw in hot soup. Then try the same wrist test with the white.
I reversed my chicken egg allergy by only eating duck and teeny quail eggs for about 9 months. These specialty eggs are worth seeking out if you are allergic to chicken eggs.
If you are allergic to all eggs, focus on what you can have, allowing your body time to heal. Usually these kinds of allergies are considered “secondary” and go away on their own if we completely remove them from our diets for an extended period.
(The wrist test is recommended by Dr. Campbell-McBride in her book on GAPS.)
FOR LUNCH OR DINNER
o Bone broth soup with fresh or dried herbs, poached chicken, meatballs, or poached eggs and your choice of low-FODMAP veggies, such as winter squash, carrots, bok choy, tomatoes, and zucchini, well cooked for easy digestion.
o Spaghetti squash (see method below) baked and topped with chicken, tomatoes, spinach and pesto sauce, ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil
o Chicken salad made with chicken, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and homemade apple cider vinegar salad dressing; or use homemade aioli, thinned with more olive oil and/or lemon juice, as another dressing option; top with olives
o Beef (or other meat) and vegetable stew (made with homemade broth, beef, allowed vegetables)
o Applegate farm lettuce wrap sandwich- use a cured meat that doesn’t use sugar like their salami, add cucumbers, tomatoes, “yes” olives, mustard powder stirred into olive oil, aioli; choose big leafy lettuce and dry it well after washing it
o Baked spaghetti squash topped with homemade meat sauce (tomato paste & stewed tomatoes stirred into ground meat (pork, buffalo, beef) that’s been cooked up in a pan with sea salt and spices like oregano and basil)
o Grain-free pizza dough (again, use the waffle batter below, omitting the cinnamon and adding in oregano or basil instead, this time pouring it onto a well-greased cookie sheet, spreading it in the shape you prefer, a circle or a rectangle, topped with tomato sauce, aged cheese, a meat listed above, bell peppers and tomato
o LOTS of other meals can be made by making a big salad from lettuce and approved veggies, then topping the salad with tuna, salmon, fried up Applegate farm hotdog or a fried egg, lamb burger, ground meat, roasted chicken, soft boiled egg (great to keep the yolk runny!) etc. Make sure to use lots of extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt for these salads.
o VEGGIES can be steamed, sautéed, baked, roasted, cooked in simmering soup, or eaten raw
OTHER IMPORTANT SUPPLEMENTS recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell- McBride or that I have found to be helpful in my research and in my personal experience are as follows:
(Consult a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor to be sure these supplements are right for you!)
o Extra-virgin coconut oil (Coconut is high-FODMAP; so some will handle this supplement with no problem, while others will not be able to use coconut at all. It has so many health benefits that it is worth trying.)
o Nut/seed oil, of the highest quality, in a dark glass bottle, refrigerated, with a 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, starting with just a few drops a day, watching for any adverse reaction, and building to up to 1-3 T. daily (not flax oil); this is one supplement I do not use personally, although Dr. Natasha does recommend it.
o Betaine HCI with Pepsin, at the start of every meal. HCl is extremely important in establishing a healthy digestive process. By giving your stomach an appropriate acidic ph, all the other digestive mechanisms are triggered to act normally.
o Thorne Research – Formula SF722– This is undecylenic acid which is great for balancing gut and vaginal flora.
o Thorne Research Bacillus Coagulans– A unique probiotic that may be more effective than most other probiotics available. Used in conjunction with SF722, someone with pathogen overgrowth is both killing pathogens and repopulating their gut. Used alongside a grain and sugar-free diet, these supplements really have a chance at helping a body to heal. However, watch for bloating with this one, if you have or suspect SIBO. For completely SIBO-safe probiotics see the next two products.
o Prescript Assist– This is an essential probiotic for those with SIBO. It’s a soil bacteria and will not colonize the small intestine.
o Saccharomyces Boulardii– One of the best probiotics for SIBO and also for those who struggle with diarrhea. Excellent used alongside Prescript Assist.
o Magnesium Chloride Salts to bathe in, or Magnesium Chloride Oil to rub into your skin. Here’s my favorite magnesium oil spray! (No more leg cramps.) Magnesium Oil Spray – with Lavender This product lasts and lasts, a good value.
o Nascent Iodine or Lugols Iodine- Starting with just a few drops a day (consult a doctor for dosage), if a sluggish thyroid is suspected, this can be a life-changing supplement for many. Whether or not to supplement iodine with a very low dose of selenium is debated hotly. A great quality liquid soil mineral alongside the iodine provides selenium and other necessary minerals naturally! (Again, consult a doc.) This is the iodine we like: Nascent Iodine
o Additional anti-pathogenic herbs; see my article here for a full list of many potential herbs and how to rotate them to overcome candida overgrowth.
This is an easy recipe that can be whipped up in 5 minutes! It is absolute decadence! The grass-fed egg yolks will make the aioli a beautiful yellow color; and the saturated fat and cholesterol should be embraced and enjoyed. Use it lavishly to help abate other cravings.
Place 4 grass-fed egg yolks into a blender. Add ¼ tsp. sea salt. Turn the blender on. In a very thin slow constant drizzle, add in ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and then add to it an additional ½ cup melted rendered meat fat like lamb, duck, or bacon, with the blade turning on a low speed the whole time. Use an immersion/stick blender for greater success with the emulsion process if a blender is inconsistent.
The aioli will thicken and set up more in the fridge. Use for sandwiches, or thin with more olive oil or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to use as a salad dressing. Add more sea salt, mustard powder, citrus juice, or herbs, as desired.
The Best Way to Bake Spaghetti Squash
I love this method for baking spaghetti squash. A 20 minute pre-bake makes it easier to cut in half. Then baking the halves face down creates the right-textured noodles, not mushy, just right.
Preheat oven to 375.
- Rub a cookie sheet with animal fat, to make the drippings clean up more easily. Set aside.
- Place whole squash in oven, on bare rack.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove with hot pads. Cut the stem off of the squash. Then cut the squash in half.
- De-seed, then rub the insides with fat of choice: tallow, avocado oil or ghee. Place greased halves face down on cookie sheet.
- Bake until the strands of squash are al dente. Check after 40 minutes of baking.
- Use a fork, scraping, to reveal the strands of cooked “noodles” and scoop out large spoonfuls to serve.
Carrot, Zucchini, or Pumpkin Waffles (grain-free & stevia-sweetened)
Part of the reason I’m so excited to share my cookbook with you is that so many current on-line grain-free recipes rely on almond flour/butter and coconut flour, which are deficient for various reasons (see my almond butter post) nutritionally. In the following recipe, I see coconut flour as a tool, not as a huge nutritional asset. But the other key players are indeed nutrient-dense.
8 eggs, preferably grass-fed
3/4 cup melted butter, ghee, rendered duck fat, or coconut oil, slightly cooled
½ cup coconut flour
½ cup well-cooked smashed carrot, zucchini, or winter squash
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/16-1/8 tsp. stevia, to taste (depending on the product), or 10-15 drops, to taste
Coconut oil spray (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides once with a rubber spatula, as necessary.
- Pour the batter onto the waffle iron as directed by manufacturer’s instructions, greasing the griddle with appropriate high heat fat. (If you have a Belgian waffle iron, pour or ladle about a ½ cup batter per quadrant, using 2 cups total per batch.) Coconut oil spray works great and facilitates the process of keeping a no-mess, non-stick surface.
THE “NO” FOODS, A LIST (Foods NOT to eat on this diet of GAPS and low-FODMAP COMBINED)
- Cheeses that aren’t aged and also the following dairy: buttermilk, milk chocolate, cottage cheese, ice cream, creamy/cheesy sauces, milk (from cow, sheep or goat), sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, soft cheeses (cream cheese, ricotta), sour cream (depending on the person and commercially made preparations), whipped cream, yogurt (depending on the person and any varieties that aren’t fermented for a full 24 hours, which is most commercially made varieties)
- Many veggies: artichokes, asparagus, beets, leeks, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, garlic, green beans, mushrooms, okra, onions, snow peas, yellow summer squash
- Many fruits: avocado, apples, applesauce, apricots, coconut*, coconut milk*, coconut cream*, dates, canned fruit, cherries, dried fruits, figs, guava, lychee, mango, nectarines, pears, papaya, peaches, plums, prunes, persimmon, watermelon (*UPDATE*~ For more information on coconut, please see this article. Coconut has largely been vindicated and is safe for many in small quantities.)
- Legumes: beans, black eyed peas, cashews, hummus, lentils, peanuts, pistachios, soy products
- All grains: corn, high fructose corn syrup, wheat variations: einkorn, emmer, kamut, spelt, wheat flours: bromated, durum, enriched, farina, graham, semolina, white flours, flour tortillas, barley, rye, even gluten-free grains are avoided for the GAPS diet: teff, quinoa, amaranth, millet. Buckwheat is a seed but is starchy and best to be avoided as well.
- Miscellaneous: chicory root, inulin, agave, chutneys, honey, jams, jellies, molasses, pickles, relish, pre-made sauces or salad dressings, artificial sweeteners: sorbitol, mannitol, isomalt, xylitol (cough drops, gums, mints), all juices, wine, beer. And it is best to avoid almost all prepackaged foods.
Cheers to your healing and please comment with any questions or your own experiences. I am a Recipe Counselor. I help individuals implement the diets their doctors have prescribed for them. I help with the contentment side of things, making something so new and seemingly difficult stick. If you need help implementing the concepts in this article, you can contact me.
 In fact, reducing, instead of eliminating, some of these foods is advisable, as some of them play an important prebiotic role in our bodies, that we don’t want to eliminate. Trial and error, after first eliminating the foods, will tell you how much of which foods you can tolerate. Reintroducing certain foods that are well tolerated is really at the heart of the low-FODMAP diet. This diet is meant to be short-term and a method of diagnosis. I will discuss this further below.
 In Eugene, OR, for good meat choices, enjoy shopping at our brand new Natural Grocers. Also try The Kiva grocery market for plain ground pork to use as sausage (no sugar) from Deck Family Farm or Rain Shadow El Rancho; Capella Market sells Rosie Organic Chicken, whole legs or whole chicken, always skin on, and grass-fed buffalo; and Long’s Meat Market sells Knee Deep grass-fed beef and lamb (save all the rendered fat in the pan and use it in cooking); or shop online at eugenelocalfoods.com for meat from local farms; In other cities, buy meat from local sustainable farms or order meat online that is perfect grass-fed meat from sources like US Wellness Meats.
 Dr. Nicholas Ralston, special guest of well-respected alternative practitioner Chris Kresser, has revealed some very important studies that reliably de-myth most Americans’ concern about eating too much ocean fish. He illuminates the fact that it is not so much the quantity of mercury we should be concerned with, but the ratio of selenium to mercury in the fish we’re eating and in our own diets. The main “fish” to avoid are actually whales, sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Notice tuna is not on the list. It has a higher ratio of selenium to mercury, by a lot, and is actually recommended. “Eating more fish is actually good advice…, but unfortunately still too many people have the misconceptions that are kind of the outdated ideas, and we’re trying hard to get everybody on board so that they understand this and have a unified message so more and more of the people that formerly were arguing, Oh no, fish has to be avoided, are coming around and saying, Oh, no, actually ocean fish need to be eaten in greater amounts.” Here’s the full interview for a fuller explanation! http://chriskresser.com/the-truth-about-toxic-mercury-in-fish
 Nancy’s yogurt, kefir, and sour cream can be found organic and grass-fed. This is a company out of Springfield, OR with national distribution that you may be able to find in many of our 50 states. However, if not, look for comparable high-probiotic, organic, full-fat, grass-fed, cultured dairy. Making your own is actually quite easy too, and is ideal if you have the time, inclination, energy, and a source for grass-fed, raw milk. But for those of you who are already a bit overwhelmed, it’s nice to benefit from whole foods that are readily available that set the standard for excellence in packaged foods.
 Bone broth can be made with high-fat bones, such as beef marrow bones or chicken with pieces of skin and ligament. Add generous sea salt, to taste, and simmer the bones for 2-3 hours. Skim off the fat and use it and some of the broth for your first round of soup. Continue to simmer the bones for 24 hours, with more added water as needed, to extract more minerals. Puree well-cooked winter squash, carrots, or zucchini with cooled fatty broth for a thick, healthful, and truly delicious base. See this link for the exact recipe on How to Make Bone Broth.
 Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the GAPS diet, says “The most important fats for GAPS patients, which should be consumed daily and which should constitute the bulk of all fat consumption, are animal fats…and fats in egg yolks…Animal fats have nothing to do with heart disease, atherosclerosis and cancer. Our human physiology needs these fats; they are important for us to eat on a daily basis…Saturated fats are heart protective…(and)…GAPS patients are in particular need of cholesterol…Contrary to popular beliefs, fat is a preferred source of energy in the human body. Remember, the brain and the rest of the nervous system, as well as our immunity, are largely made of fats.”
So while most of us have been conditioned by 100 years of propaganda favoring oils detrimental to our health, feel now liberated to enjoy this healing source of saturated fat and cholesterol that is not only good for you, but that will help your body to heal and function better.
If you have IBS, start out with it slowly, if the high fat makes you nervous. See how it does in your body and increase your daily consumption as you gauge the response. But be intentional to increase the number of raw egg yolks and saturated meat fat if there is no adverse reaction.
My usual disclaimer here is that I am not a dietician or doctor of any kind. I am basing my recipe counseling advice on my own experience and the reading I’ve done and agree with, the writings of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, as well as others. Having a naturopathic or allopathic doctor guiding your journey can be very helpful, assuming they agree with principles of the GAPS diet, in my opinion. So don’t just take my word for it; consult a doctor.
Susan Finney says
Bravo! A beautiful blog! One to print and save! Love, Mommala
Sent from my iPhone
Great summary Megan. Thanks for digesting so much information for us!
I’m so happy to have found this post. I have come to the same conclusion and am preparing to start GAPS intro (30 day goal). I attempted it before but failed because of FODMAP malabsortion (I believe…I can’t eat an apple without looking 6 months preggo lol). So I quit because I was frustrated since so many of the GAPS intro foods contain FODMAPS . Have you done GAPS intro before? Do you have any thoughts on how to make this work successfully? Thank you Megan 🙂
I have to apologize, I wrote this comment before reading your GAPS intro diet post! Thank you for sharing this information; you have no idea how incredibly helpful it is!
Thank you Again Megan! I love that you did this research and fused it. I have not come across something like this in my research.
A lot of great information however in my recent self education, since I am not a doctor either, I have learned that if one has SIBO they should NOT eat anything fermented since their gut is already a fermenting ground to begin with. One physician I listened to recently advised against even a probiotic in the first 30 days of changing ones diet because some actually have worse symptoms when eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic. I was one that had worse symptoms and stopped taking the probiotic only to begin feeling better and never thought that was possible. The physician states that sometimes the over growth of one strain of the good bacterium can cause trouble too. Who knew!
Megan Stevens says
Hi Wilda, these are the two that are still recommended and safe, even with the SIBO issues you mention: Prescript Assist and Saccharomyces Boulardii. I agree with you that it is a real paradigm shift to stay away from probiotics altogether when we’ve been told by the best sources how important they are. Thankfully, the best sources, when read thoroughly, are also telling us to take it slow and that commonly occurring probiotics indeed are not going to work for every body and every stage of healing.
Laura DuPre' says
Do you know what diet works best to heal candida? I read that going the Body Ecology route doesn’t address the underlying problem which is Leaky Gut, BUT, foods on the GAPS diet, which as you know , is meant to heal the gut, also have sugars and I’m concerned they will feed the yeast. Your thoughts?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Laura, I have done GAPS but with no honey and only low-sugar fruits: cantaloupe, Granny Smith apples, and berries, in moderation. No dried fruit. Huge emphasis on the soups and broth and then rotating pathogen killing herbs is a must, IMO. See my blog articles on GAPS. There are 3 articles that outline my experiences and recommendations. Best of luck!!
Beth @ Hooked on Health says
There is a much easier and more reliable method to making mayo, aioli etc I have outlined it here…..http://www.mealsalone.com/secret-to-no-fail-mayonnaise/#more-2805 I am paleo and have a 40 year history of healthy eating. 🙂
Megan Stevens says
Hi Beth, People on the GAPS Diet cannot eat prepared mustard or red wine vinegar; and many of us are allergic to lemon juice.
I clicked over via Food Renegade, and boy am I glad that I did! Your site and work looks incredible. I am a WAF girl, still trying to implement everything. We do broth, dairy and water kefir, Kombucha, and sourdough bread. I sprout all our grains, and I’m still trying to figure out cultured veggies. I’m currently dealing with a 6 year old who is clearly having some kind of persistent skin reaction to something. I have done the 30 day Paleo version elimination thing with her father, suspecting gut issues, a year ago, but it is another thing to do it with a child!! Pretty quickly after we took her off of dairy and gluten, she started having regular, smooth bowel movements for the first time in her life. But the skin is another issue. Anytime she scratches she gets these big welts…anyway, I wasn’t commenting to tell you all about her, sorry, it’s just first in my mind. My question has to do with digestive enzymes in general. I’m 5 months pregnant and experiencing indigestion and my midwife recommended I go on some. I’m fine with doing that in the short term, but I’d like to have a better idea of WHY I’m not producing them in the first place, or where is the breakdown in my system so I can fix it. And I’d never heard of digestive enzymes until the midwife mentioned them, a few google searches, and then today from you. You know how if someone googled something about “saturated fat” they’d likely get a lot of dead wrong stuff? Yeah, I’m not finding the right experts or resources…
Megan Stevens says
Hi Marcee, hopefully I can offer a bit of help! 🙂 Your daughter’s symptoms are indicative of what you’re seeing in yourself. If it’s any comfort, so many of us have figured out our own gut issues when our kids are born with skin and allergy issues. That’s how I found mine! As you look at my blog, check out the articles on the GAPS Diet; it might be what’s necessary for you and your daughter to find more complete healing. It’s very healthy as a pregnancy diet or you can keep doing sprouted grains and wait, of course. I know sprouted grains helped me with blood sugar levels during pregnancy because I’d get shaky and they digest more slowly than just meat, aged dairy and veggies etc. I used Digest Gold and HCl together for a while; but in the end found that HCl with pepsin was enough for me. What’s the bigger issue or breakdown for you? Probably your overall gut health and gut flora balance. For most of us it’s not a quick fix. Some people can heal as quickly as 6 months, when doing the GAPS Diet. For most it takes longer. You can trust, IMO, the information from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. She’s the author and creator of Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It gives us tools and educates all at once. Blessings on your journey!!!
Loriel Adams says
It seriously is amazing how food can heal.
Anna @Green Talk says
That was amazing. Thanks for breaking it down especially the yes and no foods.
Holy cow. So much information.
I am a true believer that food can heal (or harm).
Love this post!
So helpful 🙂 I was wondering your view on maple syrup, cacao and also herbal teas allowed ? Thank you!!
Megan Stevens says
Thanks! Maple syrup can feed pathogens and is hard on the cells lining the gut, so is not ideal, better eliminated until the gut is healed completely. Cacao, sadly, too is not ideal; but I think it’s a good cheat. It doesn’t feed pathogens but contains phytates and caffeine, and is tough on the gut lining. So, for a very occasional treat, sweetened with honey, hardwood xylitol or stevia, it’s a good bet…just in moderation…lol, I had a hard time getting the moderation part right for the first two years of my journey. Not ideal for blood sugar levels either, hypoglycemia. Lastly, herbal teas are great. They are GREAT. Sweetened with stevia, and sometimes fortified with sustainably-sourced gelatin, they are a free treat, meaning no back-talk, no regrets, all good. And so many fun flavors to play around with. Cheers!!
Is sauerkraut a FODMAP? I know sauerkraut is encouraged during the GAPS Intro and beyond. I’ve been trying to follow GAPs but haven’t made the progress I had hoped for so now I am going to try to combine GAPS/FODMAPs. So…should I keep the sauerkraut or cut it out?
Megan Stevens says
I would cut out the sauerkraut that’s made with cabbage or any other FODMAP food; but buy or make sauerkraut that’s made with carrots, radishes, zucchini or any other low-FODMAP veggie. 🙂
Megan Stevens says
Also, check out my Resources page for Prescript Assist and Saccharomyces Boulardii, both of which are great probiotics for those on GAPS who can’t tolerate sauerkraut.
Thank you so much, Megan! I really appreciate your advice. 🙂
Megan Stevens says
🙂 You’re welcome!
Great info. Thanks for posting. I just wanted to point out that coconut products (cream and milk) have been added to the low fodmap list. You currently list them under avoid. There has been a lot of discussion about this, but it seems in the end we are able to eat them if you are following both the GAPS diet and the low fodmap.
Megan Stevens says
Thanks, David, for that!! I’ll verify your good information and make the change!! 🙂 I appreciate the update!
I’m so glad I found your blog/site – great synthesis of information, so thank you!
I have two questions (ok, maybe two groupings of questions). One is whether to implement the low-FODMAP / GAPS diet while pregnant. Is it safe to do so? Any suggestions for how to do so well? I recognize you’re not a doctor, but based what I’ve read, I trust your advice as much if not more than an MD’s. My wife likely has SIBO and was going to wait until after pregnancy to treat it, but the bloating is really uncomfortable now that there’s competition for internal space (she’s actually pregnant with twins). My second question is more tactical. If we do implement a low-FODMAP / GAPS diet, what guide do we use? I’m guessing I buy the GAPS book and apply the low-FODMAP filter, but want to make sure I’m not missing something. I read this blog as well as your GAPS introduction post… is there another post I should check out?
Megan Stevens says
There are so many aspects of GAPS that will be excellent for pregnancy: lots of cholesterol, especially from raw egg yolks, high fat (mostly animal fat), plenty of protein and B vitamins and mineral-rich bone broth. The one caution that comes to mind, and this from my own experience with pregnancy, is the need for slow-release carbohydrates. If she does GAPS, sprouted nuts and chia type porridges may be very important for her to have sustained energy levels. Eating meals often will be important. It’s not ideal to overdo nuts either, though; so she’ll have to find the balance between enough filling food that gives her energy and being sensitive to her food digesting well. And, of course, the nuts must be sprouted (no store-bought almond butter, for instance). Chia seeds are great; no sprouting required and they make a good porridge… Do try to rotate foods to avoid allergies.
Also, you do already know about Prescript Assist, yes? Since she can’t probably tolerate kraut or dairy probiotics, having SIBO, it is a great source of soil bacteria, in my opinion. Probiotics are important during pregnancy. (You might also research slathering the babies with some source of probiotics when they are born. With women who have a good gut flora balance this can be done with vaginal fluid. You could look into other options if/since she may have less than is ideal.)
Dr. Natasha also recommends taking fermented cod liver oil (Blue Ice Royal brand); and if your wife does not love organ meat you can buy the grass-fed liver pills. Also, she should start with full GAPS, not the Introductory Diet, since she is pregnant. Like you said, the FODMAP aspect of the diet will be straightforward; you’ll just exclude those foods. Lots of carrots and zucchini! 😉 And hopefully, if she can have dairy, lots of butter!!
Yes, the best book to own, well worth owning, is Gut an Psychology Syndrome. You’ll find that the last two chapters in the book are for pregnancy and postpartum. 🙂 Cheers and best wishes!!
Hi again – I also just saw that you have a book (still exploring your site, sorry) so would include that question around what to follow for low-FODMAP GAPS implementation guide. Thanks.
Megan Stevens says
Lisa, can you clarify? Sorry, I’m not sure if that’s a question or a comment. 😉 Thanks!
Megan – a belated response that this was a comment, and a big thank you for your reply to my other post that was a question!!
Thank you so much for linking to my “coconut on the low fodmap diet” post at lowfodmapforlife.com, I’m glad to hear it has been useful! I really enjoyed reading this post and about your own healing journey. All the best,
Megan Stevens says
Hi Sacha, so glad to! I appreciate your article, its approach and thoroughness with the subtleties! Blessings!!
Kristie M says
Hi Megan! My name is Kristie and I blog about healing diets also. I was diagnosed with SIBO a while back and have been working on digestion for a long while. So far, I haven’t given up white jasmine rice because it is low in fermentation potential and I felt I needed the carbs. Fermentation potential is basically a formula to figure out what carbs will be digested quickly and not leave fiber around to feed the bad bacteria (coined by Norm Robillard). I am open to changing our diet more, but so far feel the best the way I eat now. I have struggled with fermented foods and broths in the past, so I have to be careful. One other thing-this list from a famous SIBO doctor lists cabbage as an okay food (in the right amounts). I was thinking of trying cabbage soon but haven’t yet. Thank you for this wonderful article!!
Kristie M says
Here is the link to the SIBO food guide if you would like to take a look at it-http://www.siboinfo.com/uploads/5/4/8/4/5484269/sibo_food_guide_jan_13_2014.pdf
Megan Stevens says
Hi Kristie! Thank you for your comment and input!! 🙂 I am familiar with the work you speak of, by Norm Robillard, and have written about it over at Food Renegade, briefly. My mom uses his approach; I have read his book; and I think his insights are indeed that, insightful and helpful!! My body responds best to the approach I outline above. I do not yet tolerate any grains and cabbage causing bloating. But, indeed, we are all so unique and I’m glad you have the rice! Yes, we tend to know what we need and what we can let go of. I think it would be great for me to update this post with Robillard’s ideas; because, it’s true, they can be factored into the GAPS diet approach to some extent. Blessings as you continue to work through your healing process!!
hi megan how long must you stay on this diet for it to actually work??
Megan Stevens says
Hi Esh, it varies considerably depending on the individual. Children heal more quickly because the patterns are not as entrenched. Healing is definitely a process, which is why I emphasize contentment and learning to genuinely love the food your healing diet offers. It can take adults many years on GAPS/(AIP). FODMAP can heal in a very short time, but not with all foods. For me, I was able to reintroduce certain FODMAP foods after only 2 months of taking a break from them. Other FODMAP foods I still can not eat a year + later.
Thank you for this info! I’m currently on day 7 of the Sibo Specific Diet, which combines SCD and Low Fodmap. I was 4 weeks into the Gaps Intro when my Naturopath changed up my routine to remain on the stage 1 and continue with the SIBO Specific Diet. The reason for my writing is that I noticed you have Vinegar in the avoid list – however the FODMAP list has it as low-legal. Thank you again for taking the time to research all of this to easily provide to all us confused beginners. I’ll be following. 🙂 Merry Christmas!
Megan Stevens says
Most vinegar must be avoided on the GAPS Diet. But ACV is okay, which I have listed among the Yes foods. I hope that helps to clarify. Blessings in your process, Kristina. Thanks for writing. Merry Christmas, too!
Joy Gardner says
I have been having a problem with bloating, gas in stomach, but not releasing it, and inconsistent BM’s.
I have eliminated gluten, dairy, and eat a fairly restrictive diet with a focus on animal protein and vegetables. I do eat white rice and potatoes.
I was thinking of trying Betaine HCL and possibly one of the Probiotic you have mention in you post. I am curious how these affected your bladder at all? I have Interstitial Cystitis and notice that my flares and stomach issues sometimes coincide.
I am looking for the right combo to help with my digestion and be gentle on my bladder as well.
In the past, I have had IC a long time, with some remissions, I have never notice issues with gluten. In fact whole grain breads have always help me with regularity.
The last couple of years have been a mystery on why I flare so often and the sluggishness in my intestines.
Thanks for any info,
Megan Stevens says
Hi Joy, You can look on my Consulting page if you want to Skype or talk via phone. Your questions are too involved to answer here. Definitely I recommend Betaine HCl with Pepsin! 🙂
Joy Gardner says
Ok. I will set up a consultation. I live in Eugene also. Would we meet in person?
Megan Stevens says
Yes, that would be great. 🙂 I meet with in-town clients on Saturday mornings at our shop in the Whiteaker. You can email me at [email protected] and we can find the right date for you. I’ll look forward to meeting in person. 🙂
Joy Gardner says
I just emailed you and paid via pay pal. I look forward to hearing from you:)
Megan Stevens says
Looking forward to meeting. 🙂
If someone is working through GAPS intro, would they still find healing if they waited until they are in full GAPS to do a low FODMAP protocol? Or would they need to start completely over and do a low FODMAP GAPS intro? Does that makes sense? It would for sure be much easier and less unpleasant to do low FODMAP on full GAPS!
Megan Stevens says
Hi Sunny, ultimately do what works for you. It’s true that GAPS Intro without onions or winter squash etc. is very limiting indeed. So yes, you can wait and eliminate those type veggies when you have a broader diet and other alternatives to turn to. Your diet may still be quite narrow when you eliminate high FODMAP foods on full GAPS, but you can at least at that time have foods like sausage patties and scrambled/fried eggs, which are very satisfying, even if you have to eat them often. Cheers and blessings. 🙂
Thanks, Megan! Got your ebook a couple days ago and am loving it! It has me so excited for all the things I’ll be able to make on full GAPS. Love that you unapologetically believe that food should taste delicious. I feel like it can be easy to get stuck in a sort of masochism around food with healing protocols and focus on all the “thou shalt nots.” Your perspective refreshed and encouraged me. Reminds me of some of the fascinating work that The Institute for the Psychology of Eating has been putting out. Your ideas definitely jive with theirs. Thanks again!
Megan Stevens says
Thank you, Sunny. That’s one of my favorite comments ever. 🙂 You’re welcome, too; so glad the ideas are helpful!!
Hello, if one is going no fodmaps with gaps, does the homemade sauerkraut have to be eliminated as well? Also would you recommend any of the juicing protocols by Dr Natasha Campbell combining these two protocols?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Carla, not completely on the sauerkraut. I’d scale back to just the juice, as with the Intro. Diet, and see how you do. If no bloating then you can try eating a few shreds of the fermented cabbage. Basically work up to your limit. If a certain quantity creates bloating then pull back a bit and have that be your maintenance dose until you try to increase again (in 6 weeks or so). Which of her juicing protocols are you referring to specifically? You can certainly juice low-FODMAP and GAPS produce; is that what you mean?
Thank you, I think stage 3 calls for juicing but in the Gaps Guide it’s confusing because in the juicing section she says to start off with 1-2 tbsp per day and work up
Megan Stevens says
Starting with small amounts sounds good. And keeping it irregular sounds safe, not too often, and not the same produce too often to protect against new food sensitivities developing.
Hi Megan, my husband has been struggling with sibo for several years. He finally has gotten to the point of seeing that the diet is absolutely necessary to heal his gut. It’s not easy! I am the cook in the family and have found this diet to be a real challenge, in part because there is so much contradictory information on yes & no foods. I had to be on the Candida diet (and still 80% on it) and found that to be so much less restrictive! Are you available for diet coaching?
Megan Stevens says
Hi and yes: http://eatbeautiful.net/consulting/ 🙂 You can email me if you’re interested. Blessings!
Agnes Machura says
A quick question: would psyllium husks be considered grains and hence avoided, or rather seeds and eaten in moderation?
I think these diets were created to heal the person making the diet. I think it’s okay to mix diets like GAPS and Body Ecology (which allows pseudo grains) until you find a good protocol that works best for yourself or your child. That’s what I’m going to try to do for my sensory processing disorder and speech delayed 4 year old. Make a diet dedicated to him and try keeping pseudo grains since he has trouble eating anyways. And eliminate the grains as needed. But no sugar (except small amounts of honey), only sour fruits, young coconut kefir water, dairy kefir, 24 hour yogurt, more fats, and lots of fermented foods
Krista Sutton says
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful information. My family is currently going through the GAPS diet (we are on stage 5 of the Introduction portion) for some gut issues. I have low energy and persistent weight issues since the birth of my kids, my husband has digestive issues, my son has eczema, and my daughter has a peanut sensitivity. GAPS has significantly helped my son with his eczema and my weight is slowly coming off (pre GAPS I was only able to lose weight through fasting) but now there are some significant struggles with constipation. We have started doing regular enemas but I feel like that is just a temporary fix and I need to find some way to get digestive tracts moving better.
I ran across the book Proper Food Combining Works by Lee DuBelle and it seems to offer a lot of good insight on how to combine certain foods and separate others to help with digestion. The problem is, there are also some points in it that contradict GAPS and I am just unsure of which “side” to believe and what path to take for my family. Have you ever heard of that book or the concept of food combining?
Thank you so much!
Since Saurkraut is high FODMAP, is the juice considered high FODMAP, and if so, what do you use instead of saurkraut juice during the GAPS intro phase?
Hi Arlis, thanks for the great question. As you may know, FODMAP foods affect everyone differently. So what causes one person bloating and fermentation may not be an issue for someone else … OR *in smaller quantities*. So one teaspoon of sauerkraut juice may not cause an issue. If it does, 1/2 a teaspoon or even less can be challenged. I have heard stories of people going down to the tiniest amount of a certain food and then building back up very slowly. Not all temperaments can stand this level of patience and discipline, but it’s an effective way to include and increase probiotics. Another option, if dairy is tolerated, is a tiny amount of fully cultured yogurt.
Hi Megan thank you for sharing all this very valuable information, it definitely brings me hope and inspiration. At the end of the of the article you mention a post about anti pathogenic herbs and how to rotate them can you please send me a link to that post? the post that is linked in the article is actually only on the gaps introduction diet… I went through it several times and did not find anything about the herbs. Thank you for all you do!!!
Hi Christina, and you’re welcome! 🙂 I’m sorry, I’ll check that link and fix it! Here’s the link you need: https://eatbeautiful.net/how-to-heal-yeast-infections-and-treat-pathogen-overgrowth-part-2-candida-and-more/ Best wishes!
Hi Megan, I noticed that my multivitamin contains inulin. Should I use a different brand or would the amount of inulin in a multivitamin be small enough to be safe?
Hi Mary, that amount of inulin will probably not cause you a problem. But if you isolate that it’s causing bloating, then yes. The nice thing about an elimination diet is if you remove all of the offenders, it’s easier to see what’s causing the problem, or what remains to be removed. So probably fine, but I’d just observe to be sure.