Detoxification Steps

 GAPS Australlia

 1st Step

The first step involves removing the main source of toxicity which means cleaning up and restoring digestive health through the GAPS diet intervention protocol.

Dr Campbell-McBride has a theory explaining how both salicylates and phenols have strong antioxidant and detoxifying abilities and therefore creating a detox reaction whilst flushing toxins from storage sites in body tissues and into the blood stream where it causes the detox reaction.  These toxins are then released though urine, sweat or bile.  Detoxifying is very important; therefore phenols and salicylates play an important part in the detoxification process and also benefit a host of very important vitamins.

2nd Step

The removal of toxins and heavy metals stored within the body.

  • Juicing
  • GAPS Introduction Diet

3rd Step

This step is an important part of the protocol because it aims to reduce the general toxic load.  This takes an enormous amount of pressure off the individuals detoxification system.  The major source of toxicity is in the gut and this is produced from anything we eat, breath, touch or allow to absorb through our skin from the environment around us.

The following list is compiled to assist you in reducing the toxic load.

Avoid chemicals:

  • Remove domestic cleaning chemicals
  • Personal care products and replace them with safer ones.
  • Avoid washing powders with chemicals contained in them and replace with a safer option. Eco Balls or Wash Nuts (especially for sensitive skin and eczema).

Alternative Options:

  • Sour cream made from yoghurt or Kefir or coconut oil/butter as a moisturiser.
  • Avocado mixed with some Bio-Kult is another great source for soothing eczema.
  • Clean your home with bi-carb soda, lemon, vinegar and T tree oil.  Bi-carb sprinkled in the oven with a spray of vinegar provides wonderful cleaning results.  Lemon juice has great cleaning properties and holds a lovely fresh smell.  T tree oil is also a great product for cleaning and provides for a fresh crisp smell in the toilet. Teatree oil is beneficial in the use of antiseptic for minor cuts, abrasions and insect bites.
  • I use Australia’s GRANTS extra fresh herbal toothpaste with organic tea tree oil, it has a fresh taste, that helps keep teeth and gums thoroughly clean and leaves the mouth feeling sparkling fresh. It contains no harmful aluminium, fluoride, sugar, or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and NO PARABENS.  Dr Natasha recommends brushing your teeth with olive oil.
  • Avoid painting or renovating your home, especially whilst your GAPS patient is detoxing.  When you do need to select a paint, choose eco friendly paints with no or low VOC’s.
  • Avoid buying new furniture during the first year on GAPS and especially during detox.  New furniture, as well as paints and carpets all release toxic chemical gasses that are absorbed into our lungs, skin and mucous membranes.
  • Avoid swimming pools with chlorine as they are considered a chemical soup. The Enviro-Swim System is the only sanitiser on the market that meets stringent Queensland and New South Wales Department of Health guidelines and it can be installed for a little over $2,000 in new pools as well as retrofitted to existing swimming pools. It also saves you money because you no longer have to add chlorine.
  • Avoid sunscreen and monitor your time in the sun.  Products in everyday sunscreens are toxic and may be considered worse than the exposure to the sun itself yet every day well meaning schools are enforcing a no sunscreen no play policy with an intent to protect the children.  Whilst we may now maintain a concern for the chemicals in sunscreen, it is of greater concern that Australian products do not disclose a full list of its ingredients for the consumer to make an informed decision. Wear long sleeve shirts and a sensible hat.  It is also important to consider that GAPS patients are vitamin D deficient and that sensible sun bathing provides a wonderful source of vitamin D.  In situations where sunscreen is unavoidable you can seek guidance on the safest sunscreens at the Environmental Working Group online website.
  • Avoid taking children to chemical hair salons, there are several salons available which provide haircuts only.  “Just Cuts” is located within most Australian Westfield Shopping Centres Australian wide.  Regular use of hair dyes can place one at risk of cancer.  The list of chemicals found in hair salons are exhaustive.
  • Avoid Active physical activity around traffic congestion because the deeper you breathe during exercise, the larger consumption of toxins inhaled such as the care fumes.
  • Avoid both passive and active smoking  Passive and active smoking have been known for several years now to be cancer causing agents, however a sensitive GAPS person will be more vulnerable to these toxins due to their impaired detoxification system overload.  Avoid exposure to where ever possible.
  • Avoid Aluminium, Teflon coated or copper cookware When heated the chemicals contained within are released into our food source.  Buy stainless steel and cast iron only.
  • Avoid oral contraceptives, antibiotics and vaccinations Dr N. Campbell-McBride goes to great lengths to outline the reasons for avoiding the contraceptive pill, antibiotics and vaccinations.  All three wipe out the beneficial bacteria allowing opportunities for pathogenic bacteria to grow and overpopulate the gut.  The in-balance of beneficial gut flora depletes the immune system and contributes to the continuing vicious cycle whilst impacting on the detoxification pathways.  Please refer to her book for further detail.
  • Avoid Microwaves  Microwave’s denature the protein and depletes the nutrient contents.
  • Avoid pesticides, herbicides and insecticides around the home
  • Avoid X-rays due to obvious radiation damage.
  • Avoid Fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water.  Fluoride causes fluorosis which damages teeth and bones.  The first sign of this poisoning presents with white or brownish scarring of tooth enamel.  In 2008 Queensland introduced fluoride into the communities drinking water and on May the 1st 2009, Brisbane homes received a fluoride overdose set at the rate of 30 to 31 milligrams per litre when the rate of fluoride contained in the water should have been 0.8 mg/L (0.8 parts per million).  Fluoride is known to disrupt thyroid function, bone cancer in boys and poor kidney function.  Fluoride in water can be toxic for the nervous system and researchers are regarding it as an ‘emerging neurotoxin’ lowering IQ in children.

Detox Interventions – Reducing the toxic load

  • Epsom Salt and Apple Cider Vinegar Baths: will assist during Detox and provide the body with a natural way to draw toxins and heavy metals from the body.  Stress drains the body from magnesium and magnesium helps the body to produce adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood elevated chemical in the brain that promotes relaxation to relieve stress.  Epsom Salts are also known to relieve aching limbs and muscle strain. Other detox bath remedies to consider include apple cider vinegar. Alternating baths with Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar will help to normalise the pH of the skin and encourage the growth of beneficial skin flora.  The use of soap should be avoided as this strips the skin from its beneficial flora.
  • Safely remove amalgamated fillings:   Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Mercury exposure include: irritability, anger outbursts, lack of energy, fatigue, low self esteem, memory loss, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
  • Sauna:  A Far infrared Sauna has wonderful detoxifying capabilities and stimulates the immune system.  The difference with this type of sauna is that it heats your body not the air and it is safer because it is the same technology used to keep newborns warm in hospital.  In the old sauna, a person would sweat out 3% of body toxins and 97% of water, however the far infrared sauna assists you to rid of 20% of toxins whilst seating a reduced amount of 80% of water which is a 7 to 10 times more efficient system.

Dr N. Campbell McBride commented on an interesting concept at a Wise Traditions conference in 2008 explaining that when an autistic child’s body temperature rises in a sauna they seem to become more lucid until their temperature drops down again.  If you have access to a far infrared sauna, I highly recommend it.

  • Enemas: It is important to be prepared for an enema if the GAPS patient has a tendency to get constipated.  Dr Campbell-McBride advises not to leave a patient constipated for more than 36 hours as this will be very toxic for the body.  Click here for more information on enemas and where you can receive support.
  • Plastics and BPA Australians use more than 1.3 million tonnes of plastic each year which is more than 71kg per person.  Storage containers for our food and drink sources come in contact with plastic everyday, but not all plastics are safe.  Studies have shown how chemicals leach from certain types of plastics when they come in contact with food, especially if they are heated like when a water bottle is left in a hot car. Try to avoid plastics where ever you can and use glass or stainless steel containers for food storage including lunch boxes.  I have come across several plastic thermoses sold in Australia containing plastics that are not considered safe.  You should make an effort to become familiar with the code numbers on the bottom of the plastic products or steer clear all together.  You can access a plastic use code number reference chart at here
  • Pure water or water filter The GAPS protocol requires filtered water which can be consumed from bottled mineral water or from your home if you have installed a water filter system.  You can install a ‘One water filter’ system made right here in Australia that has the ability to remove fluoride and numerous toxins and chemicals.  I like this system because you do not need to install it under your sink, because it is installed outside to filter all you’re the water in your home including your bath and laundry water.  Having a system available to filter the bath and shower water is ideal for GAPS people because we absorb all these toxins through our skin as well.  Eczema can also be so severe that clothing washed in these everyday tap water chemicals can cause a problem.  Choose a water filter that you can afford – GAPS is about reducing the toxic load where ever you can, it does not mean that you have to have the best water filter on the market.

Educate yourself   

Always educate yourself, don’t just assume that just because a product is on the shelf and claims to be organic that it is GAPS allowable or safe at all.  Some organics are not certified so make sure you check for the Certified Organic label. If you can’t find it, it is not certified.  In addition to this we also have contradictions with certified organic authorities because organic farmers still have the discretion to exercise their right (under organic certification guidelines) to use “allowable” certified organic chemical inputs.

As a consumer, we all trust that organic means no chemicals. But that isn’t always the case in organic meat practices. For example, there is an organically certified sheep dip called Extinosad which is commonly used in organic lamb production.  With the organic certification you are allowed a certain percentage of “allowable inputs”. This can also include the use of vaccines or certified chemicals.

It is always best to contact the farmers and ask them questions directly.  So far I have found only one meat supplier that impresses beyond the organically certified practices and this is at Mitchell Grass Meats.  Here they have established a direct link between producer and consumer, bypassing the middle men along the way which cuts the costs significantly. They like their customers to be confident with the practices used in producing and storing their meat and happy to provide feedback with all questions thrown at them.

I recently learnt of an Australian certified organic poultry farmer who feeds his chickens and ducks soy because it is cheaper and this is another product we are trying very hard to avoid.  High levels of soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.  Soy foods also contain chemicals, stunt growth, increase the bodies need for vitamin D and interferes with protein digestion causing pancreatic disorders.  The list of harmful effects from soy are exhaustive and you can find more information at the Western A. Price Foundation…

The following is a list compiled by Anna at Mitchell Grass Meats which will assist you in knowing what questions to ask organic farmers or suppliers when seeking the best quality meat products for your family.

  • What allowable inputs do you use in your meat production?
  • Does grass fed mean 100% fed on your property? Or do you use supplementary feeding at times?
  • Is the grass natural or has the country been sown with an introduced grass? Does this grass require fertiliser? What organic fertiliser do you use?
  • Do you use vaccines?

At Mitchell Grass Meats they use no chemicals, vaccines, supplementary feeding, fertilisers etc. Just 100% grass, sunshine, artesian water, salt for dipping and good care.

Choose organic   Choosing organic eliminates the use of growth hormones, antibiotics, and genetically engineered drugs and feeds in livestock.

Detox & Retracing

Why you feel worse when you implement an optimal nutrition program

By Linda Paterson BHSc

The more food is presented in its natural raw state in which it grows, without any modifications made to it, the easier it is to digest.  Food in its natural state maintains all its enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and other trace elements, therefore allowing the body to use these resources to replenish and develop healthy tissue.

When people change their diet for the better and eat natural easy to digest foods they often ask “why do I seem to feel worse when I am eating better”?  To answer this question we need to look at what the body is doing when this occurs.  The body starts to identify the lower grade materials and tissues and rids of them in order to make room for the superior ones derived from the higher grade food coming into the body to renew healthier tissues.

During this process, the body goes through a process of ‘retracing’ which presents with a variety of different symptoms that people associate with feeling unwell or worse than they were before they had started.  The new improved diet forces the body to deal with accumulated toxins stored in the tissues of our body by excreting them through the skin, bile and urine.

As these toxins are being discarded from the body, they release their poisons which cause a die off reaction .  The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of toxins stored in the body and range from headaches, fever, cold/flu, skin eruptions, either constipation or diarrhoea, lethargy, depression, irritability, frequent urination, vomiting, leg cramps and tummy pain.  Although these symptoms can be quite abrupt for some people, it is imperative that the retracing process is not interrupted or stopped by the use of medications or other alternative means.

Many people confuse these symptoms with allergies or food sensitivities within the first two to three days and attempt to stop the healing process before it is concluded and consequently not allowing the first important phase to complete its task to recuperate.  The body should allow at least 10 days for the first phase to complete and this can be longer for others who have more severe conditions.

Dr Campbell-Mc Bride proposes that phenols found in food, act as a natural detoxifier and play their part by cleaning up the toxins throughout the body.  Although it may be true that many GAPS patients are sensitive to phenols, it is imperative not to avoid them unless you have a true allergy (anaphylactic) because they play an important role during detox and retracing.  Whilst the detox reaction from phenols may cause a variety of concerning symptoms, they do subside if the steps are followed through correctly and clinical experience has shown that generally, as the gut heals, the sensitivity to phenols changes and the reaction goes away.

The first stage of detoxification requires plenty of rest so that the body can use all its energy and power to work on reconstructing the injured sites.  If any attempt is made to avoid the body’s signals (lethargy) to rest, the process of retracing will take longer.  Rest and sleep will provide the body with more energy to rebuild the body’s important organs and cells.  The less energy used by the body’s muscles during this phase the better dispersion of power and energy to restore the much needed internal regions.

When a person practices patience during this phase, their strength will progressively return and improve beyond that of which it had been before implementing the diet.  There are two important points here to remember: plenty of rest and avoid the use of drugs to assist in the relief of symptoms during the retracing phase.

During the preceding months, you may experience a ‘recovery regression’ where out of the blue, you develop a rash or become quite irritable.  This flare up is the body’s consistent progression towards healing.  The skin for example, is becoming more stimulated and toxins are released through sweat glands in the skin presenting a rash or igniting a pre-existing state of eczema which could last for ten days or more until it progressively heals.  A few months after this another flare up is experienced but this time it may not be as severe as the last and take less time to recover.  Recovery regressions occur as a part of the recovery cycle.

If you identify that the GAPS patient is particularly sensitive to a certain food, you may take it out for about 4 – 6 weeks and slowly reintroduce it from small progressive amounts.  Worsening of symptoms may also occur during the introduction of new foods or Probiotic foods like sauerkraut or yoghurt/kefir.  The best thing to do is to determine the smallest amount tolerated and slowly increase the amount over time.  Some people attempt to avoid probiotic foods thinking that they make them ill or are sensitive to them and some believe they are not ready for them; however this is generally because they are unaware of how Probiotic foods assist in detoxifying the body.

Probiotic foods are full of beneficial enzymes and friendly bacteria and when consumed they repopulate the gut with beneficial flora that kills the pathogenic flora.  When these pathogens die, they release an accumulation of stored toxins which are then released through the body causing a die off reaction.  This is why fermented Probiotic foods should be introduced gradually and progressively at a pace that the individual can tolerate.

Remember this: successful completion of the first phase of retracing will equip your body with the ammunition to avoid future disease whilst allowing the body to heal from previous conditions that lead you to optimal nutritional changes in the first place.  Whilst the walk through GAPS detox is exhausting to say the least, the trade off in enhanced quality of life is well and truly worth it.

Healing the gut takes time, especially for those with more serious digestive abnormalities.  Some people claim to have noticed more digestive discomfort after sneaking foods from their previous diet like bread or rice.  These people then ask why am I more sensitive now than I was before I started improving my diet?

Basically, the gut wall had not had sufficient enough time to heal and whilst the body was busy focusing on rebuilding the integrity of the gut wall and restoring the microvilli covering the enterocytes, the forbidden food goes back to work in destroying the new enterocytes and disrupts the whole healing process, amounting in subsequent discomfort and return of symptoms.  Most people never noticed their symptoms before they attempted to change their diet and did not realise the full extent of their condition until they attempt to clean it up.

The gut wall began a journey of healing and the duration of this journey will be different for each individual.  A period of 2.5 years is the optimal recommendation for GAPS patients, however this will be dependent on how well the person has adhered to the protocol and how severe their digestive abnormalities were to begin with.


Dr. N. Campbell-McBride MD, MMed Sci (neurology), MMed Sci (nutrition), Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Natural treatments for Autism, Dyslexia, Depression, Dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD, Schizophrenia.

Dr. Stanley S. Bass, Symptoms to Expect When You Improve Your Diet,  3119 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn,  NY 11235
(718) 648-1500.

The role of Juicing as a detoxification remedy

Juicing provides a means to detoxify the body from heavy metals and other harmful poisons and chemicals naturally.  The wonderful thing about juicing is how easy it is to digest and assimilate the body.  Fibre from fruit and vegetables can aggravate an already sensitive GAPS digestive system and impair absorption of many nutrients, however the juicing procedure removes the fibre from the fruit and vegetables which results in absorption occurring within 20 minutes.  If you eat one carrot (with all its fibre) your body will absorb 1% of beta carotene whilst the remaining remains trapped in the fibre, however if you juice one carrot, the beta carotene assimilated by the body increases more than 90%  Daily juicing provides direct absorption of  many live enzymes, amino acids and necessary vitamins and minerals.

All fruit and vegetable juices must be freshly pressed at home, from ripe (preferably) organic local produce.  60% of the active oxidation power and enzymes within fresh pressed juice is lost within half an hour, therefore it is essential to drink the juice immediately.

The GAPS Protocol suggests adhering to two glasses of freshly pressed juice a day for optimum results.  It is important to remember to drink Juice on an empty stomach, 20 – 25 minutes before food and 2 – 2 ½ hrs after a meal.

 Fresh Air and Leisure  

Ensuring you get plenty of fresh air will also assist your body to detoxify.  This can be emphasised during a family leisure activity that you find both rewarding and enjoyable.  Open your windows and doors and air your home regularly to allow a good circulation of fresh air.

Supplying many house plants are also beneficial in reducing toxins within the home as they naturally convert toxins into oxygen and other beneficial substances within the environment. Dr N. Campbell Mc Bride recommends certain types of plants within her book on p.208.