The Gaps Healing Model (How to Eat for Your Health)

Gaps Healing is built on the premise that throughout your life, you will cycle through different distinctive stages of nutritional needs and eating.

If you are a generally healthy person, a traditionally prepared whole foods diet will be a great way to maintain your vitality.

When you have minor complaints, you can bridge the gaps in your health with small changes to account for nutritional depletion or stressors on your body.

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If your body needs deeper healing, you may find yourself drawn to a food-based protocol. This is where there are many options for food based healing diets to pursue, such as the Wahl’s protocol, the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, also known as AIP, and the GAPS diet.

In this article we’ll review some of the main options in the Gaps Healing model which we use with our clients.

Getting Back to Basics: Traditional Whole Foods

The vast majority of our clients come with some common complaints: less than optimal energy and some form of digestive distress. For most people, we begin working on a whole foods diet of properly prepared traditional foods.

Let’s be honest, the optimal diet for our species comes from nature and not from a factory. However, we live in the real world and know how hard it is to source real foods 100% of the time. It’s not easy at all, unless you live on or by a regenerative farm.

That said, by going through the process of nutritional therapy, and making gradual improvements to your diet, you can achieve tangible results!

The biggest thing we hear from clients is that the process was about learning how to eat for your health.

How do we get there? By Following a Proven Framework: Bridging the Gaps in your health


Remove barriers to your healing journey so that you can optimize your health most effectively.


Increase foundational support for your body and microbiome, using food.


Support your body’s natural drainage and detoxification. Implement GAPS when indicated.


Learn about quantum healing modalities to supercharge your health journey.

Let’s say we decide that the GAPS diet will be best for you, then what? Here are some options:

For most adults we will begin with the Full GAPS protocol. The intention is always to create a lifestyle that is manageable and habits that will support you in the long term. We plan for GAPS to be one step in your journey, and not a forever diet.

Gut Healing Diets and Full GAPS

When it comes to more serious digestive disturbances, it can be helpful to follow a proven framework for gut healing.

The GAPS diet, as it was written by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, provides a wonderful structure. It consists of three stages: the GAPS Introduction Diet, the Full GAPS Diet, and Coming Off GAPS diet.

Depending on your age, life stage, and current challenges it may be better to pursue the Full GAPS diet or the Intro Diet. This is discussed on a case by case basis.

After having gone through the stages that pertain to your health, you would return to the Traditional Whole Foods Diet, also know as “Off GAPS”.

Backing into GAPS Introduction Diet

There are many situations in which a simple walk through the stages is not direct. Life circumstances, events, moving, trauma, travel and more can impact our current eating habits.

Sometimes you start GAPS and have trouble keeping up, sometimes you need to stop, and sometimes you’re ready to go back.

Many people find success with “backing in” to GAPS, by first learning the ropes of the Full GAPS diet, and then going through the six stages of the introduction diet for deeper healing.

Some of the skills you may want to practice before getting on the introduction diet are things like making ferments, cooking organ meats, and of course learning how to make meat stock.

Even those of us that have restored our well being through the GAPS way of eating, will sometimes need to cycle back for a little while to help the body overcome a certain situation.

Jumping into GAPS Intro

For those with young children, or more severe diagnosis, it may be right to jump straight into the GAPS introduction diet.

When we did GAPS with our child, we only took a few weeks to learn the basics of starting with GAPS, like making meat stock and ferments. From there, I jumped right into the introduction diet. I made many mistakes. But it still worked! Because that’s how good it it.

Working through the Introduction Diet is a marathon. You take it slow, add in new foods gradually and support the body in becoming more resilient through restoring the gut lining and gentle detoxification.

After going through the Introduction Diet, it is suggested to stay on the Full GAPS diet for a period of time, but not forever!

Coming Off GAPS

Many people forget that GAPS also has a reintroduction protocol. This is similar to reintroduction on the AIP or other similarly restrictive diets. There is a framework for reintroducing the whole foods that you eliminated.

When you “complete” the GAPS diet, and digestion and the microbiome have been restored, you are back to navigating food without restrictions.

If you have indeed achieved a great degree of healing, you probably made significant lifestyle and dietary changes to the point where you no longer desire to go back to eating a standard American diet or typical Western diet.

If you have still have more healing to do, but need a break from the restrictions of the the GAPS nutritional protocol, you may find yourself cycling in and out of various stages of GAPS and off-GAPS life.

Ultimately, the goal is to end up back in the traditional foods diet, where the nutrients your body needs are supplied through good food and healthy functioning of the digestive system that absorbs all the nutrients you need.

Let me share my experience:

My Gaps Healing Journey

My Gaps Healing Journey

I always like to share my own journey so that you understand, that I understand, that we all have twists and turns in our journey.

As you can see in the graphic above I went from a healthy-ish standard diet to a paleo diet (which relieved many symptoms). From there back to “regular” food but gluten free, then Full GAPS.

I was on Full GAPS for about a year and a half while supporting my child with GAPS. Over time I transitioned to Coming Off, but then after a stressful event reluctantly got back on Full GAPS, when we had the whole family go through the GAPS Introduction diet.

Then I got off GAPS (again) to adjust to a life stage but then back tracked to the Coming off stage when I realized that wasn’t working. I am most recently back on a good traditional foods nutrient dense properly prepared diet, with occasional “cheats” because no one is perfect. *shrug*

Was it a good idea for me personally to get on Full GAPS? Yes, I believe that it was. Was it a good idea to just get off already, because I was “over it”? Probably not. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Life is a journey and the only constant is change.

Even though, as I am typing this right now, I am not on GAPS, it was a meaningful part of my personal journey, and if it is necessary in the future to hop back on I may!

Because this is what I want you to take away: even without the lifestyle interventions I’m about to mention, the GAPS diet was wonderfully healing for the physical body. It is a powerful intervention that changes the way we live and think about food and life itself!

Lifestyle Support

I also wanted to share some crucial areas that are not food related which have been pivotal in improving my personal vitality. When I started getting these right, a lot changed for the better.

Incorporating lifestyle changes is so very important. Nourishing the mind and the spirit is no less important than the physical body. We are after all not only bio-chemical beings but actually electrical beings.

In our Bridge the Gaps method, working with clients, we generally address these along with nutritional recommendations.

Building these habits help us to understand that we are a part of nature. We must reduce emotional stress, stop rushing all day and connect with ourselves, our loved ones and our community.

Nurturing cells with sunlight, sounds of nature, movement, and negative ions from the earth through grounding has been pivotal in my journey, and I hope to share some of that magic with you!

If you are ready to learn how to eat for your health and get started on own your journey, book a discovery call at the button below!

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