1. GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome Take a look – Don’t be put off by the name, the healing power of this system is far-reaching. Developed from the SCD diet (see below) by Dr Natasha Campbell- McBride to help her own autistic child, and also used in her clinical practice to great success, GAPS is an amazing system for healing your digestive system, your whole body, and your mind too.
Over at Nourished Kitchen you can find a good overview and help getting started.
2. Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) Take a look – Developed in the first half of the 20th century by Dr Haas, it later became the basis of GAPS and SCD Lifestyle (below). It is based on the principle that certain carbohydrates require minimal digestive processes and are well absorbed, leaving nothing left to feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Other carbs, specifically those in starchy foods like white bread and pasta, feed the bad bacteria and should be avoided.
The SCD was updated by Elaine Gottschall in her book Breaking The Vicious Cycle, which also has full details on how to implement the diet.
3. SCD Lifestyle Take a look – Developed over recent years by Jordon Reasoner and Steve Wright as an evolution of the original SCD system. The emphasis is on tailoring the system to your precise condition and needs.
Jordan and Steve have an easy-going and clear style as they gently guide you through the process.
4. Primal Blueprint Take a look – The Paleo diet is all about copying the healthy, natural ways that our paleolithic ancestors ate, thereby restoring our gut-health. The Primal Blueprint is Mark Sisson’s development of the Paleo diet into a whole lifestyle. In terms of foods allowed and excluded, there’s a lot of overlap with GAPS.
Mark also focuses on functional, Crossfit-style fitness, which is all about how to be strong, flexible and injury-free throughout your life, rather than just looking good (although looking good is definitely encouraged too!).
5. Autoimmune Paleo Take a look – A refinement of the Paleo diet for the super-sensitive bodies of people with autoimmune conditions like Type 1 Diabetes, Lupus, Crohns, Rhumatoid Arthritis etc
The Autoimmune Paleo protocol will remove inflammation in your gut and throughout your body, enabling your system to re-balance itself. You’ll also find a great summary and introduction to the system at AIP Lifestyle.
6. Nourishing Traditions Take a look – A clear and inspiring manifesto by Sally Fallon focusing on Ancestral Nutrition. Her book is based on the work of Weston A Price who looked at ancient tribes all around the world, found the healthiest ones and identified what they ate. Sally’s eye-opening book contains detailed explanations about what to eat and what to avoid, as well as delicious recipes from around the world.
This book was cited as a big influence by Natasha Campbell-McBride in her GAPS system (see #1 above). Sally also co-founded the Weston A Price Foundation.
This ancestral nutrition approach can help you to tolerate higher amounts of grains (and therefore carbohydrates) in your diet by preparing them the right way. For many of us, higher carbs means better results in the gym.
7. Clean Program Take a look – I love Dr Alejandro Junger because he’s obsessed with gut health! He teaches us how to get to the root of our body’s ailments through deep detox. His approach is all about removing the obstacles that we may have inadvertently put in the way of our body healing itself. Once we remove those obstacles and provide the right nutrients, we’re good to go.
His book, Clean, is brilliantly written and also full of cracking recipes.
8. Muscle For Life Take a look – Once your gut has settled down and you want to get fit, lean and sexy, Mike Matthew’s system will show you how.
You’ll learn how to find the right calorie intake and macronutrient balance for you i.e. the balance of protein, carbs and fats. This will give you precise control over your body weight, body fat percentage and overall body composition.
Which diet is the best for healing your gut? In my opinion, GAPS is the best overall system for that task. It might sound a little intimidating at first because of what you have to cut out, but as soon as you start following it, your body will respond positively.
That said, it depends where your health is right now. Take a look at each of these options and get a feel for which is the best for you.