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Healing with Food: Bone Broth and the GAPS Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

leaky gut inflammatory bowel disease

Healing with Food: Bone Broth and the GAPS Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be challenging to manage. Symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue can be debilitating, and no known cure exists for these conditions. However, many people find relief by making dietary changes focusing on healing the gut. Two popular dietary interventions for IBD are bone broth and the GAPS Diet. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of these approaches and how they can help support gut health.

Combining bone broth and an elimination diet

While bone broth can be a nutritious food for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it may not be enough to address the underlying issues contributing to the condition. While bone broth is rich in nutrients like collagen, amino acids, and minerals, it may not address the root causes of IBD, which are not just gut dysbiosis and inflammation but include food sensitivities.

That’s why an elimination diet like the GAPS Diet can benefit people with IBD. By eliminating certain foods that are known to trigger inflammation and focusing on nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods, the GAPS Diet can help to avoid food sensitivities and reduce inflammation while promoting healing in the gut. Incorporating bone broth into the diet can provide your body with additional nutrients and further support gut health.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a nutrient-dense liquid made by slowly simmering animal bones with herbs, spices, and vegetables. It’s been around for centuries and has recently gained popularity due to its numerous health benefits. Bone broth is rich in collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, as well as other amino acids and minerals. The practice of slowly simmering bones extracts these nutrients and results in an easily digestible broth. We have a guide for making it that you can read here.

Bone broth can be a soothing and nourishing food for people with IBD. Bone broth is easy for the body to digest, making it a good choice for those with digestive issues. It can provide anti-inflammatory and nutrient-rich substances that help the body heal.

What is the GAPS Diet?

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride developed the GAPS diet as a way to heal the gut and improve overall health. The diet emphasizes nutrient-dense whole foods, including bone broth, which is believed to be beneficial for gut health. 

The GAPS Diet eliminates grains, dairy, starchy vegetables, and refined carbs to reduce pain and inflammation. It’s based on the theory that leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability allows chemicals and bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affect the brain, leading to inflammation and disruptions in proper brain function. The diet has three phases: an introductory phase that eliminates target foods, the GAPS Diet, which monitors health conditions; and the reintroduction phase for gradually adding back foods to see what causes a problem. By cutting out foods that typically cause pain, inflammation, and other health problems, the body has a chance to recover.1

What foods does the GAPs diet eliminate?

The GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet eliminates certain foods that may contribute to gut dysfunction and inflammation. Here are some of the foods typically eliminated on the GAPS diet:

  • Grains: All grains, including wheat, oats, rice, and corn, are eliminated from the GAPS diet. This includes any products made from these grains, such as bread, pasta, and cereal.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables are eliminated from the GAPS diet.
  • Sugar: All forms of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup, are eliminated from the GAPS diet.
  • Processed foods: Processed foods, such as packaged snacks, convenience meals, and fast food, are eliminated from the GAPS diet.
  • Dairy: Most dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, are eliminated from the GAPS diet. However, some fermented dairy products, such as homemade yogurt and kefir, may be allowed.
  • Legumes: Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are eliminated from the GAPS diet.
  • Certain meats: Processed meats like sausage and bacon are eliminated from the GAPS diet. Some people also eliminate red meat and poultry.

Bone Broth and the GAPS Diet

Bone Broth and the GAPS Diet
Bone broth is considered a staple food in the GAPS diet. It is often used as a base for soups, stews, and other dishes. It is recommended to consume bone broth daily to support gut healing. Bone broth can be made at home using high-quality animal bones, herbs, and vegetables or can be purchased online on our website.

To consistently make a delicious and healthy homemade bone broth from home, try Beth’s spice kit with premium dehydrated veggies. Her recipe has a proprietary blend of mushrooms, black garlic, and spices that can enhance immunity. It enhances both the flavor and health benefits of your broth every time. It can be used with any type of bone, including chicken, beef, turkey, venison, elk, or bison. Simply add apple cider vinegar and bones for a perfect broth every time. The spice kit’s ingredients have medicinal properties that can help fight and prevent various illnesses. Learn the easy way to make bone broth.

Beth's Bountiful Bone Broth

How to do the GAPS Diet

If you’re looking for a way to heal your gut and improve your overall health, you might want to consider the GAPS diet. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride created this diet to help people with gut-related health issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Working with a doctor or registered dietician can help ensure that this approach is done properly and safely for your individual health needs.

The diet’s founder, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, says that food is an essential part of the diet, but you may also want to look into the supplements she suggests here.

The diet is broken into three phases, which last over several years. How long each phase lasts depends on the severity of problems in your gut. You may move through the phases quickly or slowly.

Introduction Phase and the Six Steps

Welcome to the most intense portion of the diet. We’re eliminating nearly all foods from your diet, and you will experience the most significant changes. This phase breaks down into six steps:

Step 1

You can only consume homemade bone broth, juices from probiotic foods and ginger, mild digestive teas with honey, and a small amount of homemade yogurt or kefir.

Step 2

Include stews made with vegetables and organically raised meat or fish. You can also add raw organic egg yolks and ghee.

Step 3

Include fermented vegetables, avocados, raw yolks of eggs, and duck or goose fat.

Step 4

Include grilled or roasted meats, cold-pressed olive oil, and vegetable juices.

Step 5

Include raw vegetables, raw fruit juices, cooked apple puree, and other raw fruit except for citrus.

Step 6

Include citrus.

Each step typically lasts between 1 and 3 weeks, depending on how you feel after each addition. You should start with small amounts and gradually build up to a standard serving if you tolerate the food without issue. If you introduce food and you experience a reaction, completely eliminate that food from your diet.

Maintenance Phase

The maintenance phase of the diet generally lasts 1½ to 2 years, based on the amount of healing a person needs to do. Over this time, if a food produces a mild intolerance, it will show itself during this period. It may also be necessary to go back and go through the six steps if a problem arises.

The standard diet includes all vegetables and fruit, fresh meat from hormone and grass-fed animals, animal fats and butter, fish, shellfish, organic eggs, and fermented foods. You can also have some nuts, and keeping the quantity a serving or less is generally recommended.

The maintenance phase lasts until you experience six months of consistent healthy digestion and bowel movements. Then, you can move on to the Reintroduction phase.

Reintroduction Phase

The final phase of the GAPS Diet is the reintroduction phase. This is where you start to introduce other foods, such as bread, pasta, and other foods. Home-baked treats are included here. 

During this final phase, the GAPS Diet allows you to add other foods you choose. Start introducing one food at a time and observe your digestive system and bowel movements over the next two to three days. It is still recommended that you avoid processed foods, standard white bread and pasta, and other high-sugar foods.

broth brewing spices

Addressing IBD Naturally with Functional Medicine

When it comes to managing health issues like IBD, it can be tempting to turn to pharmaceuticals to alleviate symptoms quickly. However, these medications often cover up the problem and don’t address the root cause of the issue. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to healing your gut, you may want to consider working with a functional medicine or natural doctor. These doctors use special types of supplements that support the gut and promote healing from the inside out. By addressing the underlying issues that contribute to IBD, you can alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall health and well-being in a more sustainable way. If you want to explore a more natural approach to managing your IBD, consider speaking with a healthcare professional specializing in functional medicine.


Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and IBS can be challenging to manage, but dietary changes can help support gut health and reduce symptoms. If you’re interested in trying bone broth and the GAPS Diet for IBD, working with a healthcare professional to ensure that these approaches are right for you is essential.  

By incorporating these approaches into your diet, we hope you will be able to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and support overall well-being. With little guidance and support, you can heal your gut and live a healthier life.

Take a look at our Discover Blog for more insightful articles!


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