GAPS Diet: Critical Differences Between GAPS and BED, Two Gut-Healing Protocols
Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS):
Understanding the Gaps
1. GAPS does not reflect a true understanding of candidiasis—the systemic yeast infection that affects hundreds of millions.
Candida—a yeast or fungal infection—can grow out of control in the digestive tract, but it can also be the source of painful, persistent systemic infections in the bloodstream and organs of anyone at any age, including babies in the womb. Candida can grow in the lungs, the birth canal, the bladder, and in the sinus cavities. In fact, candida can grow in almost any organ in the body, including on the skin and in the brain.
Originally published in 1994, The Body Ecology Diet was written to help people overcome systemic candida overgrowth, which is now a worldwide epidemic. However, it soon became clear that as a systemic yeast infection, candida is present in many other serious conditions—such as cancer, diabetes, hormone and neurotransmitter deficiencies, depression, and autoimmune disorders, including gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease. Thus, the BE Diet program became ideal for many health conditions, and for people of all ages.
While it is literally impossible to permanently eliminate the systemic candida infection from your body, you can—with certain diet and lifestyle changes taught by Body Ecology—completely bring this infection under control. The key is to eliminate all foods that feed the yeast—literally weakening and then starving them—while creating a robust inner ecosystem in your gut. The inner ecosystem is essential for building a strong, hardy immune system.
Candida does often start in the gut, especially when antibiotics are given. The yeast can cause inflammation and lesions anywhere in the digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. The lesions provide an opportunity for the yeast to escape into the rest of the body. Yeast have also been observed infecting large cells in the lymph tissue that can be found everywhere in the gut. The yeasts are then carried by the lymph system to all other parts of our body. So anyone with an overgrowth of candida in the gut will usually have a systemic yeast infection as well. And any individual with a gut problem will always have a compromised immune system. With a weakened immune system, it is quite easy for candida to invade the entire body.
Campbell-McBride does talk about yeast in her book, but she would have one believe that candida is mostly a problem in the gut and is only one of many potential pathogens that can be found there. In fact, a candida infection in the gut can be easily cleared up, but the systemic infection found throughout the entire body is very difficult to conquer. It is this systemic infection that GAPS fails to address and is a major focus for BED.
The GAPS diet admits that GAPS children and adults without exception are seriously affected by candida and other fungal species. Indeed, the book clearly states, “…candida must be considered with GAPS patients.” However, it goes on to say “…anti-candida diets do not work because they allow grains (corn, barley, wheat, rye, millet, oats, rice, etc.) and foods made out of them, as long as they do not contain yeast. Starchy vegetables are also allowed: potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and Jerusalem artichoke.” (p. 98)
The BE Diet does not allow the yeast-promoting grains or vegetables mentioned above, and one can control a systemic candida infection by following the BE Diet anti-candida protocol.
Many foods on the GAPS diet, however, do feed yeast. They include high-sugar foods, such as fresh and dried fruits, honey, and fresh whey. Too many acidic foods, including meats and nut flour pancakes, cookies, breads, etc. (especially when they are sweetened with dried fruit, as recommended) simply serve as fuel for a systemic or gut infection.
The Body Ecology Diet is not just for those with candidiasis. The BED provides the tools needed to heal the gut as well. It is an excellent diet for correcting nutrient deficiencies, establishing a healthy inner ecosystem in the gut, and thus building a hardy immune system that can conquer infections.
Addressing a systemic yeast infection is a key step to wellness. It is connected to over 100 autoimmune conditions that plague us today and to the widespread incidence of gluten intolerance—an autoimmune problem affecting the gut and the brain, as well as the entire body. Candida suppresses T3, the active form of the thyroid hormone that provides energy to every cell in the body. Therefore, anyone with a systemic yeast infection will have an underactive thyroid. The lack of T3 also weakens the adrenals, lowering energy for healing. To conquer the infection and restore energy to the body, one must weaken and starve the yeast while building a hardy immune system. You do this by eliminating all foods that allow them to grow and building a vibrant inner ecosystem in the gut with fermented foods.
To bring an intestinal or systemic yeast infection under control, you must be on the BE Diet—a sugar-free, gluten-free, probiotic-rich diet that also has an abundant variety of alkaline-forming plant foods. Alkalizing is very important. When you alkalize your body, you change its internal environment to one that is not conducive to the growth of yeast or other pathogens including cancer. You also provide minerals—essential nutrients for the thyroid and the adrenals and thus energy to heal. The foundation for GAPS—large quantities of meats, fish, eggs, broth, nut flour baked goods, dried fruits and honey—creates a very acidic diet, a key difference between the GAP and BED.