Gut Health FAQ

Questions about Gut Health

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the food included in a gut healing diet? Click the button below to check out our Menu. 

Q: First off, what IS the gut and why should I care about it? 

A: The gut, or gastrointestinal tract, is the complex system responsible for digestion, absorption, and elimination in the body. Essentially, it’s a long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. This tract consists of a number of organs that all preform a different task, but collectively work together to break down food, absorb & assimilate nutrients, and eliminate the waste products. It includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, large & small intestines, rectum and anus. And is an innately intelligent, intricate system that is connected to every other part of the body.


The gut also serves as the home for a vast microbial community called the Gut Microbiome, which is largely found in the small intestine. The microbiome is an extremely complex world that is teeming with trillions of micro-organisms. It’s a rich ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea that plays a crucial role in aiding overall health by performing a number of life-giving tasks. They protect us from immune invaders and toxins, aid in digestion and transportation of nutrients, and produce important vitamins, hormones and neurotransmitters. Without this intricate collection of microbes living within us, we probably wouldn’t survive. 


It’s estimated that about 80% of our immune system is located within the gut, so supporting digestive health is also supporting immunity.

Q: How does the gut get damaged and what can result from that? 

A: There are a number of things that can cause damage to the gut. 

1. Diet 

Diet is a major factor that determines the state of our health. The food that we eat can either give us vitality, energy and fill us with life; or it can cause inflammation and disruption to the delicate world of our digestive system; ultimately contributing to discomfort and dis-ease in the body.  When humans were created, we were provided with every food we could need to stay healthy & balanced. However, we are meant to eat them in their natural, wholesome form – the way that Nature designed them. 

When we began to tamper with these natural foods, we began to see an array of problems happening. Any processing changes the food’s chemical and biological structure – altering their design, inhibiting the body’s ability to digest and process.

A diet that is primarily made up of processed food can negatively impact the gut and body as a whole. These foods have the ability to cause inflammation & irritation to the gut lining, as well as imbalance within the Microbiome.

Long term, this diet could cause so much inflammation to the gut wall that it becomes extremely weak and permeable. Meaning holes begin to develop within the tissue of the gut lining – allowing undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria to pass through the barrier of the small intestine and spill into the blood stream. This is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. And a majority of the population suffers from it, knowingly or not. This condition is the root cause of a number of symptoms, diseases, autoimmune disorders, mental illnesses, food sensitivities, allergies, physical ailments, and more. 

“All diseases begin in the gut!” – Hippocrates

The father of modern medicine concluded this more than two thousand years ago; and the more we learn with our modern scientific & technological tools the more we realized how right he was. All chronic disease begins in the gut!

2. Longterm use of pharmaceutical medications and birth control. 

Long term use of certain medications can have damaging effects on the gut microbiome. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been shown to alter the gut microbiome. NSAIDs can cause damage to the gut lining, leading to increased intestinal permeability, while PPIs can reduce stomach acid production, which can affect the growth of certain bacteria in the gut.

Birth control pills can also impact gut health by altering hormone levels. The hormones in birth control pills can affect the composition of the gut microbiome, leading to a decrease in beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and an increase in potentially harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli.

3. Frequent Antibiotic Use

Antibiotics work by killing bacteria, which makes them an effective tool commonly used to treat bacterial infections. The problem is, not only do they kill off the infectious bacteria, but a considerable number of good bacteria as well. Frequent use of antibiotics can cause an imbalance within the delicate ecosystem that is the gut microbiome. Killing off too many species of beneficial bacteria gives the opportunistic pathogenic bacteria the chance to take over. This can lead to a condition called Gut Dysbiosis – where the number of bad bacteria out number the good within the microbiome. Which can manifest itself through skin conditions (typically fungal or yeast) , digestive issues, mental health disorders, weight gain, and immune system dysfunction.

4. Chemical & Environmental toxins 

Toxins seem to be all around us. From our food & produce, household cleaning products, tap water, personal care products, not to mention all of the toxins present in our modern environment. We can’t seem to get away from them. 

Extreme & consistent exposure to these toxins can result in damage to the gut. They have the ability to cause inflammation, oxidative stress,  injury to the gut lining and disruption of the gut microbiome. 

5. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can be a leading cause of dysfunction and dysregulation through the entire body, and the gut is no exception. The gut is highly sensitive to emotional and psychological stress, and prolonged exposure to stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, leading to inflammation, immune dysregulation, and increased intestinal permeability. 

What can result from a damaged gut: 

Leaky Gut Syndrome, Gut-flora Imbalance, Nutrient Deficiencies, Allergies, Food sensitivities, Weakened Immune System, AutoImmune Conditions, Neurological Disorders, Other Bodily Ailments

Q: Can you heal from a leaky gut? Has it been done before?

A: Yes! You can absolutely heal from a leaky gut and it has been done by thousands around the world in the last few decades. With the help and guidance of the GAPS Nutritional Protocol, people from all walks of life and varying stages of conditions, disorders & diseases have healed their guts, and have fully recovered from their health afflictions. Many people actually choose to primarily eat this way because they feel better and thrive off of eating the healing foods involved in the diet. 

Q: What is the GAPS Diet?

A: The GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology/Physiology Syndrome, and is a food-focused gut healing diet that was created by a Russian Neurologist and Nutritionist named Dr.Natasha Campbell-McBride. 

The Gut And Psychology/Physiology Syndrome establishes the connection between the state of a person’s digestive system and the rest of the body. Our digestive systems hold the roots of our health; and GAPS conditions stem from an unhealthy gut. 

Gut and Psychology Syndrome pertains to the gut’s connection to the brain and includes mental disorders and learning disabilities. (Gut+Brain Connection)

Gut and Physiology Syndrome regards the gut’s connection to the rest of the body and includes various chronic physical conditions. (Gut+Body Connection)

The GAPS diet is essentially an elimination diet which aims to rebuild and strengthen the gut lining and re-balance the gut microbiome, by excluding foods that are inflammatory & processed, and implementing a diet that is abundant in wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. The foundation of this diet is food that is made with QUALITY ingredients and produce that are free from agricultural chemicals, as well as simple, old-world methods of preparing therapeutic foods. The techniques used in the GAPS create food that is truly healing, and nourishing to the body – prepared using traditional methods of cooking.

This diet is conducted in two parts: The Introduction Diet and The Full GAPS Diet. 

Intro Diet | The Introduction Diet is designed to heal and seal the gut lining quickly. It achieves this aim by providing three factors:

 1. Large amounts of nourishing substances for the gut lining to rebuild and strengthen itself – collagen, amino acids, gelatin, glucosamine, healing fats, vitamins, minerals, etc. These are provided in the form of rich meat stocks and soups. 

2. The GAPS Intro diet is very gentle and soothing to a gut.  Allowing the materials and creating the environment for healing to take place. 

3. Ample amounts probiotic & beneficial bacteria are introduced in the form of fermentations and cultured products, bringing balance and strengthening the diversity of the microbiome.

This diet is rigorous and can be very demanding, however, the results and promise of a healed gut and no longer having to deal with persistent symptoms is worth the effort. 

Full GAPS Diet | The Full GAPS diet includes a wider variety of foods than the  Intro Diet, but still eliminates inflammatory foods such as grains, sugar, starchy vegetables, and processed foods. In this portion of the diet, you are allowed to include more cooking techniques that weren’t included in Introduction Diet, such as gut healthy baking, desserts & bread making, and gradually add more foods into the diet.

Though the Full GAPS Diet expands and includes more within it, healing is still being supported with the regulation consumption of those gut nourishing foods – meat stocks, soups, fermented foods such as sauerkraut & kvass’, cultured dairy products, ample amounts of fats and detoxing beverages.

The GAPS Nutritional Protocol has transformed the life of thousands around the globe, and continues to bring healing to more people every day. 

Learn more about it and read testimonials here: 


Q: What are the aspects of a gut healing diet? What does that entail?

A: In a gut healing diet, there are a few different aspects that are involved within the process. In order to truly heal the gut and address any weaknesses it has, the consumption of processed and inflammatory foods must be limited and

 ultimately stopped. The diet should largely consist of nutrient-dense foods that aim to nourish and support the body. These foods include: savory, nurturing meat stocks and soups, a variety of probiotic rich fermentations , soothing cultured dairy products, immune boosting organ meats, and ample amounts of natural animal fats. All of these food groups serve a different purpose in balancing and strengthening the gut and over all, the body, but accomplish the common goal of healing. 

Q:  What is meat stock? What effect does drinking meat stock regularly have on the gut? Why should it be apart of my diet?

A: Meat stock is the star healer in a therapeutic diet. When properly made, it aids in digestion and has been known for centuries as a healing folk remedy for the digestive tract and the rest of the body. It comprises of cooking quality meat, vegetables and herbs in filtered water for between 1 1/2-6 hours depending on the type of animal. The end product will yield a beautiful, thick meat stock that is jam packed with the exact nutrients needed to heal and seal a damaged and sensitive gut lining. It is abundant in minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other nutrients in an extremely bioavailable form. But the most important aspect of meat stock is that it is rich in collagen, elastin, glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and other molecules that form the connective tissue of all animals (including humans). The human body is largely made out of connective tissue, and it makes up many important structures, such as large portions of the heart, the structure of our bones and muscles, joints and skin, all of our blood vessels and supportive structures of our nervous system, just to name a few. 

Our bodies are constantly renewing and rebuilding itself. All cells and structures in our bodies live a short life. As they wear out, they get removed and replaced with a healthy, new cells. 

“About 330 billion cells are replaced daily…In 80-100 days, 30 trillion will have replenished-the equivalent of a new you.” Our Bodies Replace Billions of Cells Every Day by Mark Fischetti, Jen Christiansen in scientific American. 

This is how our bodies renew themselves and heal damage. The gut lining has a special ability of possessing a very rapid cell and tissue turn over. This gives us a real opportunity to rebuild it, when damaged. In order for the gut wall to rebuild itself, quality building materials are needed. Meat stock and soups made considering the GAPS Diet provide all of the necessary materials for the gut to build itself a new, healing and sealing itself. 

Q: Is Meat Stock the same as Bone Broth? 

A: No! Meat stock and Bone Broth are not the same! They are similar and are both nourishing in their own specific way – but there are a few key differences that set them apart. 

Meat Stock is an extremely nourishing, powerful tool and its purpose is to heal & seal a damaged gut lining. The cooking process of meat stock involves using whole parts of quality animal products that include: 80% meat and 20% bone. Any portion of meat that includes a joint or marrow bone is a big bonus, as this will supply the meat stock with ample amounts of gelatin and collagen. A variety of non-inflammatory vegetables and fresh herbs can be added as well, if the state of the gut permits. The ratio of water is restricted to create a thick, gelatin rich end product. The primary ratio being 1 liter water to 1 pound of meat. 

The cook time for meat stock is: poultry and fish – 1 1/2-3hrs max while for bigger animals, like beef, bison, lamb, etc is: 3-6hrs maximum. 

Meat stock contains all of the nutrients necessary for the gut lining to rebuild itself using quality materials to transform into strong building blocks; healing and sealing all of the holes in the gut wall (Leaky Gut Syndrome). 

Bone Broth is also a nutrient dense, therapeutic tool, but it has its own special place and time. Bone Broth is the most helpful and effective after going through the process of fully healing and strengthening the gut. It is made of the just bare bones (often cooked bones, left over from previous meals), cooked between 

24-72 hours in a considerable amount of water with some acid. There is no definite water ratio since it is cooked for such a long time. The end product is rich in minerals and amino acids, but when your objective is to fully heal the gut, bone broth isn’t as effective as meat stock. Another difference that sets them apart is, because bone broth is cooked for such a long time, it pulls out high amounts of glutamic acid from the bones, which can be irritating and trigger a nervous system reaction to an unhealed gut. Bone Broth can be nourishing and beneficial, but it has its own place in a gut healthy diet.

Q: How does eating soup effect the gut’s healing ability? Wouldn’t you get tired from eating soup all the time?

A: Soup is a very soothing and fulfilling meal that has the power to improve the gut’s healing and digesting ability. When made with clean, high quality animal products and vegetables, and cooked in homemade meat-stock, soup can be a very satisfying and nourishing food that’s convenient any time of the day. When the solid components of a soup are boiled in rich stock, their digestibility and nutrient density are significantly raised. Making this meal not only satisfying & tasty but extremely bioavailable. 

There are methods to keep from getting board of your soup! Everything in moderation right? Don’t over do it! 

– If you make a large amount of soup, save some and freeze it to have on hand for later. This can add variety to your soup rotation! 

– Experiment with textures – try adding a roasted vegetable into your soup/meat stock and immersion blend everything together. This is a fun way to add a new flavor and texture, without getting too crazy. 

– Switch up your flavor profiles and research classic soups from other cuisines. What common ingredients make up that soup and bring out the flavors from that specific culture?

– Eat with the seasons. Use seasonal, local ingredients and produce to keep things fresh and saucy.

– Add in fun toppings and protein options: meatballs, boiled eggs, egg yolks, fermented/pickled veggies, microgreens, sour cream, etc. 

Q: What are fermentations? What role do they play in a healing diet? Why should they be a regular part of my life?

A: Fermentation is a method of food preparation that possesses many health-giving benefits and preserves food for long periods of time. It is a practice that is as old as time, used by people in every corner of the earth, that was created out necessity. It involves harnessing the power of the microbes that naturally live on our foods. Employing them pre-digest the ingredients being fermented, making it easier to digest, more bioavailable and abundant in beneficial bacteria – that have the ability to strengthen and balance our gut microbiome. Fermentations are important to implement in a diet because they are alive, wholesome, immune & microbiome boosting superfoods. They provide us with a source of nourishment that is unique, thriving and robust. Though their benefit is great, they are super easy to add into even a busy life! Acting as a healthful addition to a meal, or a satisfying snack. It doesn’t take much, a spoonful daily or with each meal can provide a powerful probiotic rewards.

Examples of ferments are: Sauerkraut, fermented cucumbers, carrots, dilly beans 

kombucha, kvass’, sourdough, kefir, yogurt, cultured cream, beer, wine, and many more foods.

Q: What is the “Gut Microbiome”? Why is it important to have a healthy one? 

“If you don’t like bacteria, you’re on the wrong planet.” – Stewart Brand 

A. Let me set the stage by saying that the teeny-tiny microbial world is extremely vast and intricate. Though we can’t physically see it, a microbial world exists in and on essentially everything on the planet.  We each have a unique & diverse community that lives within us, on every system and surface of our bodies. The headquarters for all of these microbes is located within the Gut Microbiome, which is largely found in the small intestine of our digestive system. This world is just as amazing and as complex as life on Earth itself. Realistically speaking, the human body is an ecosystem of life forms, indivisible from one another and dependent upon each other. 

Our gut flora/microbiota/microbiome, preforms a myriad of functions that keeps us alive. It’s an innately intelligent, complex system; without all of the little microscopic creatures conducting these tasks, we probably wound’t survive. They fulfill many important duties concerning digestion, and assimilation of nutrients. As well as protecting the body from free radicals and environmental toxins. Not only that, but these microbes also preform essential functions within our immune and endocrine systems. An estimated 80% of our immune system resides within our gut. Protecting us from harmful, pathogenic bacteria, and acting as an endocrine organ itself. 

Our gut flora works intricately with these systems. Microbes within our microbial community will create their own hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and many other active molecules, and release them into our bodily circulation. The more research done on the human microbiome, we find that it is highly involved in our hormonal balance – and every other system inside of us.

What happens in the gut flora has a profound effect on every other microbial community in the body. It is also the easiest part of microbiome for us to influence. By working to keep our gut flora healthy and well, we can keep the body’s microbiome as a whole, robust and balanced, so it behaves like a good friend to us rather than a powerful opponent. 

Q: What role do Probiotics & Lactic Acid, found in fermented food, play in the microbiome?

A: In a healthy human being, there is about 6 lbs of beneficial bacteria living within the gastrointestinal tract, specifically in the small intestine. This complex microbial world relies on a balance between all of the species that inhabit the community. As a person goes through life, they may accumulate damage that could disrupt this delicate balance. With the persistent use of antibiotics, pharmaceutical prescriptions, and inflammatory dietary habits, the good bacteria may become suppressed and weakened. Giving opportunity for pathogenic (bad) bacteria to take over as the majority within this community. This can begin to effect other systems of the body, causing undesirable symptoms to arise. 

The consumption of wholesome, alive foods is a powerful way to address and manage this imbalance. Fermentation is a time-honored mindful preparation method that employs the natural microbes that live in and on our food. This process transforms the fermenting food and establishes a robust microbial community within it. The ferment becomes more bioavailable, nutrient dense, and most of all HIGHLY PROBIOTIC, teeming with lactobacilli (beneficial bacteria), which increases digestive strength, helpful enzymes & vitamins. Probiotics fight off bad bacteria, yeasts, fungus’, viruses, and parasites that seek to make us sick. The main by-product of fermentation is lactic acid, and it actually promotes the growth of healthy flora within microbiome. So when we eat fermented foods, we are inoculating and diversifying our gut with probiotic, beneficial bacteria. Bringing back balance. 


Q: What is cultured dairy? How is it beneficial to the Gut Microbiome? 

A: Cultured dairy refers to dairy products that have been cultured/fermented with specific strains of probiotic bacteria. This food group includes things like yogurt, kefir, sour cream, buttermilk and whey. They each contain a rich microbial community that can introduce & inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria, promoting balance and strengthening this delicate microbiome. These foods are abundant in lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, enzymes, vitamins and minerals that cannot be found in other foods. They are extremely soothing and can bring relief to an inflamed or damaged digestive system. 

Even people that are considered “Lactose-Intolerant” can largely handle cultured dairy products, for a couple of reasons. When created with the purpose of gut-healing, these products are usually made with raw, organic and minimally processed milk. This ensures that the nutrients, enzymes, and structure are in tact in balance, making it easier for the body to break down. Commercially available milk is often highly processed and pasteurized (heated), which can cause problems for digestion because the living enzymes are killed and the structure of the milk is changed. Pathogenic bacteria take the opportunity to breed in the once- making it more harmful and inflammatory for the body. 

Another reason is, because these foods are fermented, we employ the natural microbes that live within the dairy and they begin to break down and pre-digest it for us. These microbes will consume the “casein & lactase, which are proteins in milk that can be irritating for sensitive systems. Once the fermentation process is complete, the finished product is an extremely nourishing, soothing, probiotic rich beverage that can bring balance and diversity to the gut microbiome, in an extremely bioavailable form.

Q: Why does eating quality food matter? Do you have any tips that make the transition to cleaner eating easier? 

A: Ultimately, you are what you eat. The fuel you give your body will affect it’s overall performance and functionality. Diet plays a very large role in maintaining health and wellness, as your digestive system is a hub for energy creation and nutrient assimilation. It transports the materials collected from the food you have eaten, to the rest of the systems in the body. If the food in a diet is largely processed and devoid of real nourishment, the energy and nutrients that the body creates will not be as stable or effective. Long term, this may lead to (chronic) fatigue, a weakened immune system, nutrient deficiencies and more symptoms to develop. 

In contrast, if a diet is full of nutrient-dense, wholesome & quality foods, the body will be able to achieve a lot more in terms of vitality, healing and clean energy. These foods provide the body with the materials it needs to rebuild and replace tissues and cells that are damaged. When the body feels that its dietary needs are being met, it creates  an environment for deep healing to take place. As healing takes place, and with quality nourishing foods in present in the diet, the body can begin t can create long-lasting, pep-in-your-step kind of energy. 

Change doesn’t happen over night, and nothing worth having is easy. Healing is a complex process that takes time and effort. But there are a few tips that can make the transition to cleaner eating easier. 

Supportive Transition Tips: 

– Do what you can, when you can. A little bit of mindfulness is better than none at all. In fact, tackling your health journey & trying to juggle 20 different changes all at once may cause overwhelm and burn out. Focusing on one thing at a time, and gaining confidence in it before moving onto the next will serve you much better. Give yourself grace and a reminder that all good things take time. Having expectations will be the only thing that will fail you, so take it all in and enjoy where you are in your journey. 

– Slowly begin to limit and swap out processed and inflammatory foods. Of course, this doesn’t have to happen overnight, go at whatever pace you need to. Just try to remind yourself to be mindful about these foods.

– Start simple. Embarking on a wellness journey doesn’t have to look like splurging on a  bunch of supplements, deep diving into fermentation, or going on an extensive healing retreat. (not that any of that is bad) But there are much cheaper, simpler wellness methods to include into your life that could give your body, gut and hormones *that* much more support. This can look like: eating breakfast before drinking your coffee, gradually consuming more natural animal-based fats (yay for butter!), moving your body every day, daily sun exposure, replacing coffee with meat stocks, morning grounding, etc. Do what makes you feel good and supported. 

Q: Can kids eat these foods? 

A:  Yes absolutely! It’s never too early to start introducing foods that support and strengthen the gut into the diet. These foods are completely safe for children to eat. In fact, feeding your family nutrient-dense, nourishing foods as soon as possible is an excellent way to assure the fortification of their immunity and overall wellness. Providing them with these wholesome, quality meals will supply them with all of the materials they need for strong development. 

Babies just beginning to eat solids can even be gradually fed these foods, though they will need to be made a bit more mild. Your little ones can absolutely enjoy the same nourishing foods you are eating and share the great benefits they contain.