Releasing “Extra Rules”

“We have soup every day for lunch.”

“I’m limiting my meat consumption to three times per week, max.”

“We’ve kept fruit out for eight months now, and counting!”

In the last week, I’ve received several excellent blog comments from families struggling with one or another aspect of healing. While I did reply to each one individually (you can read all the latest under Recent Comments in the right hand navigation), I noticed I was addressing something in common in several of the queries, that being the matter of additional restrictions. I believe that when one person takes the time to express a concern in writing, it is likely experienced by several other people too, so I’m going to talk a bit about this matter here.

The diet that Dr Campbell-McBride proposes for resolving gut and psychology syndrome is truly abundant: eggs, meats, dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and more. However, it also relies on a few restrictions. While healing our gut and psychology syndrome, we eat no processed foods, enjoy milk only after it has been fermented at least 24 hours (into yogurt or kefir), decline starches such as potatoes and grains and, in the early phases, avoid fruit and nuts and limit honey. These restrictions are intended to help heal the body -and the program works!

If these restrictions help us heal the body, won’t more restrictions heal the body faster or more thoroughly? Not necessarily. In fact, adding additional limits may actually slow or compromise healing! How so?

1. The protocol presented by Dr Campbell-McBride to heal gut and psychology syndrome relies on a “building” diet. This means that most of us require a steady infusion of dense nutrition. We need to eat as frequently as the body desires, and focus on foods that repair. For most people, this means eating fats (most from the insides of animals) and animal protein (meat and/or eggs) every hour or so in the early stages. If in this context we limit meal frequency, fat consumption, or meat consumption, we restrict how much the body can do to heal, and also tax the body unnecessarily.

2. When we create “extra rules”, we set ourselves up for problems we need not have. Is your child taking an hour to get through a single bowl of soup? If he’s in the earliest stages of Intro, allow him this time. Once he seems reasonably healthy, though, lift your requirement for “soup every day at lunch”. Instead, offer a small cup of soup at the opening of a heartier meal, or use the tips in GAPS Guide 2nd Edition under Eating Broth to infuse any dish with super healing elements, or propose a win-win such as, “Sweetie, if you can eat your soup in half an hour today, we’ll have something else for tomorrow’s lunch.” Loosening any self-imposed reins can allow us to enjoy more freedom and more variety, both of which support more healing.

3. The foods that caused us problems early on may well be the very ones we need to trigger deeper healing later! Most of us need to remove fruit, nuts, and a few other things from our early GAPS protocol. However, just because we benefit from this additional restriction early on doesn’t mean we should maintain that restriction indefinitely! The idea of this kind of program is to heal the body, and GAPS does this quite quickly. Shortly, we will be able to reintroduce foods that once caused us problems and at that point we should, because these foods may be the very ones the body now needs to cement the healing.

My suggestion? Read your GAPS Guide 2nd Edition cover to cover (it expands greatly on the above concepts), then begin to follow the steps presented within it. If at any point your journal, or your strong intuition (not simply “craving”), or your health practitioner recommends additional restrictions, then implement those. Otherwise, aim to maintain as much flexibility and freedom as possible, and to continue expanding your diet, for the sake of your physical healing as well as for your joy.

7 Replies to “Releasing “Extra Rules””

  1. Just wondering if any one has any sort of opinion/information/experience with this Nutrigenic treatment in any area of health and more specifically Autism/ADHD? The [Nutrigenomics or Nutrigenetics] is the DNA testing so that treatments can be personalised for the individual’s personal biochemistry. They do a blood test and DNA swab and work out what treatments would benefit the specifics of the body’s need. Evidently, inflammation is a big issue amongst others. Genetic testing and investigation has recently developed quite considerably. In terms of the GAPS diet and the supplements the idea is that they can emphasis and customise what is beneficial.

    Here is a link:

    Let me know what your thoughts are? Do you think Natasha Campbell-McBride would have any comment to make?

    With thanks and kindness,

  2. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for posting. (I merged your two posts into one.)

    My general thoughts on whether or not to pursue testing is covered in the new edition of GAPS Guide (see “Addressing Challenges – When to Consult or Test”). In most cases, testing is not necessary and needlessly costs a person time, money, and peace. Also, implementing a program to heal one’s gut often resolves “genetic” issues, as the healing allows other genetic influences to take a stronger role, so in many cases it is faster and simpler to simply heal the gut.

    However, if after having read that section of the Guide, someone feels that testing is appropriate in their case -and there are indeed situations in which it is- Nutrigenomics or Nutrigenetics may be one good avenue (I’m not familiar with this one myself).

    I don’t know whether or not Dr Campbell-McBride would have specific thoughts on it, but to find out, you can check her FAQ document as listed at, or post a query via Item #16 at, or see if you can locate any contact option for her on her website.

    All my best,

  3. We were on (mostly) Full Gaps for the past 8 months, and started intro 10 days ago. We are just starting Stage 2, with egg yolk intro. My son, who is 5, had been eating about 1/2-1 cup bone broth one month prior to intro, but I could never get my daughter (3) to touch the stuff. Now, he won’t eat it either. I am mixing meat broth in everything, and everything they eat has a sauce, so they are getting some, but they will not drink it with gentle encouragement. They are both craving meat, and my daughter asks for all sorts of fermented veggie juices (all day long), gelatin, and fat. I make a “Beef Slurry” that is marrow, cartilage, and fat from the joints and she will eat that by the spoonful. I’ve noticed the past couple of days that her stools are gray, and she occasionally complains of a stomach ache after eating a lot of food or fat (but still says she is hungry). She has vomited twice. I feel like she may not be digesting fats well, but don’t know where to go from here as she is getting as many fermented juices as I feel comfortable giving her. She also has some lemon water in the AM. (to complicate things, she has had random vomiting since April that may be related to a concussion. Her appetite used to be very poor, however, except she loved raw milk, tons of fruits, and processed carb sources if she could find them.
    Thanks for any insight. Right now I feel like we need to start over and hold out food until they start to consume broth, but their appetites are so good, they must be healing. Fat intake is good, just minimal veggies and broth/soup on it’s own. Starting day 4, they were much more even keeled in temperament, but that has progressively been worsening, and though they are not “lethargic”, they do act low on energy. After a big meal they will lay on the floor, they’re not overly interested in playing outside, they want me to accompany them more than usual, etc. This has been the case since the beginning. Thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    • Dear Jennifer,

      Thanks for posting -it’s important to me to be in contact with readers! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you -I was shipping out books the past few days, and on my first vacation before that.

      It sounds to me like you have approached the program very conscientiously -good job! I would totally not worry about the broth consumption. If they get a bit each day, that’s great and if they miss a few days, that’s fine too. Did you read the section in the newer GAPS Guide (2nd Edition) called Broth – Eating It? That gives great tips on getting broth in to people that don’t love to drink it by the mugful. But your daughter’s intuitive cravings simply rock! And your Beef Slurry is as nutrient-dense as it gets.

      I would definitely not start over, nor withhold food in the goal of their drinking liquid broth. I would carry on as you are.

      I would also not worry about their veggies being relatively minimal at this stage -many people find they do best without veggies initially.

      It is quite common for kids to vomit in early healing, especially between days 2 and 4.

      One adjustment that might be helpful is to offer them several smaller meals throughout the day, rather than a few larger ones. This can be helpful in early healing. (Lots more on that in the new book if you have that.)

      All my best,

      • Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me. I don’t have the new book, but am looking to get it. I’ve checked out the original from the library 3 times already, and it is always on reserve! So, good for you- you’re helping so many people. Thanks again.

        That’s good to know about the broth. I keep feeling that if they aren’t drinking it like it’s going out of style, that they aren’t going to heal properly. Same with veggies. I feel like they need some, but if I sneak too many in their foods and their body doesn’t want it now, I don’t want to slow healing that way either. I just hope that when their body does need them, they intuitively start exploring them! I’ve read about so many people who stay on the early stages for months, and never thought that would be us….but I’m beginning to wonder. Not sure how I know when to progress at this point.


        • Hi Jennifer,

          That’s wonderful to hear about the book being in the library and constantly on reserve -and great that you have been able to access it there!

          In terms of how to progress, simply keep moving forward every 4 days (or so). Just incorporate the next item in the Intro progression. If any family member’s body genuinely rejects a given item -rash, constipation, etc- simply remove that item, wait 4 days, and move forward to the next. The problematic food will very likely become acceptable and appreciated by the body after additional weeks of healing.

          All my best,

  4. I hesitate to comment because I’m not someone who has done the full on experience of GAPS. But I figure there have to be other people like me checking out your blog, so here I go.

    I thought I’d never eat onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pickles, or olives ever again. Before I started following some of the GAPS ideas, I would have such intense, immediate and painful (and stinky!) gas if I ate those foods. And those foods are in a lot of things I love to eat. One by one, things dropped off my list of what I could safely eat without gassing the family or my clients.

    After implementing just a few of the GAPS ideas (broth, no gluten, no potatoes, fewer grains), I felt so much better that one day I thought – hey, I haven’t farted in weeks now….think I’ll go ahead and try this hummus even though it has garlic in it. Just to see.

    And nothing. No pain, no gas. So, bit by bit I added back in all the things that used to just kill me, and nothing. No pain, no gas.

    I don’t know if this is exactly in line with what you are talking about, Baden, but your post resonated with me, and I’m still so freshly in love with all the benefits of what I’ve learned from you and your book and blog, that I just can’t help writing about it. And my family is tired of hearing me say “Hey, no farts!” after eating the foods I thought I wouldn’t be able to anymore – so, instead, I say it to you today! 🙂

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