Melanie delights in helping families apply healing protocols to everyday life, while eating really great food. She writes at As a mother of four children herself, she works with moms and their kiddos to help them feel their best and to have all the energy they were meant to have. Melanie is a Certified Nutritional Therapy & GAPS Practitioner in Vermont. For fun you can either find her creating in her kitchen, Nordic skiing, or swimming in the Green Mountain ponds and rivers with her family.

Learn more about Melanie's practice on her website.

What is GAPS™?

What first drew me to GAPS is that it is digestive therapy for the whole family at the same time. Every system in the body is connected to, and fed by, the digestive system…gut health is (almost) everything! For instance, 70 - 85% of your immune system resides in the digestive tract and the digestive system has an important role in jobs like defense against invading pathogens, detoxification, hormone metabolism, production of energy, elimination and much more.

GAPS™ stands for the Gut And Psychology Syndrome™, which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain (and the rest of the body’s health). Regardless of health issue, it is likely that GAPS can help if used correctly. 

The GAPS Diet is one (1) part of the three (3) part comprehensive healing protocol developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Dr. Natasha is a neurologist with a masters in human nutrition in the UK, who specializes in resolving issues like autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia and schizophrenia. Resolving these issues (and many others) is achieved by treating the root cause of these disorders: compromised gut health. 

Dr. Campbell-McBride’s own son (now grown) was diagnosed with autism at the age of three (3), and GAPS was created out of her desire to help him heal from autism, which he did.

The three (3) main components of the GAPS Protocol are: 

1. Diet - as far as actual food, the GAPS diet is an expanded version of the SCD diet, with an emphasis on a 6 Stage “Introduction Diet which gets to root issues quickly and more deeply, and is used from the beginning for clearing up digestive issues such as chronic or frequent diarrhea. The GAPS™ diet is a grain-free diet that removes all sugars (except raw honey and minimally processed fruit). It also eliminates certain forms of hard to digest dairy, most legumes and all disaccharides from the diet. GAPS emphasizes nourishing fermented foods, healing meat stocks and bone broths, healthy fats, and foods in their natural state, properly prepared. 

2. Detoxification - the GAPS Protocol utilizes gentle and safe detoxification supports like daily juicing, nourishing daily detox baths, enemas, reducing toxic burden, natural chelation, & sunbathing.

3. Supplementation - although the emphasis of the GAPS Protocol is food, there are some key supports that are basic to the program. Supplements include important supports like cod liver oil, probiotics, digestive supplements & more as needed.

To learn about Gut and Psychology Syndrome, how it develops and how to treat it effectively with a sound nutritional protocol please read Dr Campbell–McBride’s book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Natural treatment for autism, ADHD⁄ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia.”

Disclosure: Real Food Diets receives a commission for purchases made through the links on this page.

Who is it for?

The GAPS™ Diet is especially helpful for the whole family as it can address multiple issues at once, by treating the root cause of gut health. It takes some determination and patience as it is not a diet to eat for a few days or weeks. It is intended to be a lifestyle change for approximately 1 - 2 years, especially for more serious conditions like autism. Many find they continue to resolve issues the longer they are on it and those who are patient have the best success — and amazing stories of recovery. GAPS™, as a natural protocol, addresses:

  • Asthma
  • Digestive Disorders such as IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, Chronic Constipation, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diarrhea, or SIBO
  • Autism
  • Learning or Social Problems
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Food Allergies, including Gluten-Sensitivity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Hormone Imbalances
  • Eczema or Acne
  • Neurological Issues
  • Seizures

Who is it not for?

The GAPS™ Protocol is not for anyone who is interested in a fad diet, or who is looking for a quick fix to their health issues, as it is a long term therapeutic diet. It is not for someone who wants to take supplements alone for their health and it requires one to look at food as the medicine that it is. With that perspective, there is a certain amount of food preparation, as GAPS™ ‘convenience foods’ are limited . Also, the GAPS™ Diet will not have the full effect for vegans as there is strong emphasis on healing animal foods.

Note: The 6 Stage GAPS Introduction Diet is not for pregnant or nursing mothers. Pregnant or nursing mothers can use the Full GAPS Diet instead.

Melanie's favorite GAPS™ dish

My treat and indulgence is a good cheese plate with GAPS legal cheeses, sliced or dried fruits, buttery ‘crispy nuts, and a glass of white wine. 

For the family-minded, here are some all-around favorites of the Christner crew:


GAPS White Bean Chili

Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

GAPS Introduction

Intro Pancakes

Mashed Cauliflower

Melanie's GAPS™ courses and tools


GAPS Class is a 12-module program that introduce GAPS concepts, the GAPS nutritional protocol and all it's stages, information on detoxification and supplementation, plus tips for fussy eaters and meal planning on a budget.  The GAPS class is full of helpful information all in an easy to digest format.

With GAPS Class, you'll have access to 10 modules plus 2 bonus classes, eGuides, forum community, live Q&A with GAPS practitioners Melanie Christner and Jennifer Scribner, a forum community, as well as how-to cooking videos.

GAPS Class is your place to learn, be supported, and heal naturally.

Disclosure: Real Food Diets receives a commission for purchases made through the links on this page.


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GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.