GAPS Diet: Critical Differences Between GAPS and BED, Two Gut-Healing Protocols
Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (GAPS):
Understanding the Gaps
7. GAPS eliminates all starches and fiber, including highly nutritious grain-like seeds. (continued)
…has healed. (See “Body Ecology Protocol for Serious Gut Dysbiosis” below.)
So to summarize this important difference between the two diets:
The Body Ecology Diet does not eliminate carbohydrates entirely. You can eat low-glycemic, low-FODMAP, mildly starchy foods, such as grain-like seeds, red potatoes, artichokes, and butternut and acorn squash. They are an important source of energy and are also calming; they are rich in B vitamins and magnesium and help to produce serotonin, a substance deficient in many people with gut disorders. In addition to keeping us emotionally balanced, serotonin is the precursor to melatonin, so it makes you feel sleepy yet you wake up refreshed. A night of deep sleep is very important to healing. And a low level of serotonin also causes us to crave sugar, something we must actively avoid if we suffer from gut dysbiosis. BED’s use of grain-like seeds and starchy vegetables helps regulate your body’s biochemistry and provides natural fiber. But once again, the 80/20 rule applies here. In a BED meal only 20% of your meal would be the grain-like seeds or mildly starchy vegetables. 80% would be vegetables from the land and ocean.
Nourishing your thyroid and increasing energy is another important reason to include a small amount of very low carbohydrate foods in your diet. Grain-like seeds, red potatoes, and acorn and butternut squash help make the thyroid hormone, T3—giving you the energy you need to heal. By slightly increasing insulin or blood sugar, another thyroid hormone, T4, is converted into the active form of T3. T3 fuels every cell in your body—including the cells in your adrenal glands—providing the energy to heal.
If you do come to Body Ecology with an inflamed or wounded gut (as in IBS, Crohn’s, or colitis), or if you simply have a very sensitive digestive tract, these grain-like seeds can be prepared in a way that makes them even more digestible. They can be very healing to the gut when cooked properly—simmered for a very long time on low heat or in a Crockpot with plenty of water or vegetable broth until they become a creamy “gruel” or porridge. (The seeds would no longer be visible and would melt into the porridge.) Root vegetables, diced very small, can also be added but, again, they must be cooked into the porridge for a long time.
Even though Body Ecology is a sugar-free diet, we are well aware that we humans love the sweet taste. And rightfully so, as our first food—mother’s milk—was sweet. We associate pleasant memories with the sweet taste. So the BED recommends the use of two excellent sugar substitutes—zero-calorie stevia and the calorie-free sweetener Lakanto, made in Japan. Note: Lakanto is made from erythritol and a Chinese herb called LoHan Guo. It does not usually cause the digestive disturbance many experience when they eat xylitol or the other sugar alcohols. But if you do have gut dysbiosis and are following the FODMAP protocol, you may want to limit its use or try a small amount to test if it works for you. Bottom line — sugary treats feed yeast; the BED does not allow the honey-sweetened foods or the dried fruits eaten on the GAPS diet.