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Maryana Lishman is New Zealand's leading eczema and allergy coach and the founder of Raised on Real Food. She is also the host of the Healing Tribe and runs a busy online clinic where she helps families across the world with nutrition, lifestyle and mindset when it comes to integrative skin and gut health. She combines her personal experience and dedication to these topics to offer realistic, practical and useful insights and strategies.

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Why I don't endorse one specific gut healing protocol

Updated: Sep 25, 2020


Someone asked me if I maintained a list and outline of various gut healing protocols a few weeks ago and I outlined in my reply why I couldn't, but it also led me to wanting to explain why I don't just direct everyone to a specific gut healing protocol at all.

GAPS is thought to be the best, but is it?

I used to say we did a bastardised version of GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) - often seen as the mac daddy of gut healing diets - however it's not actually always the best approach, as it was designed specifically for autism recovery so in that aspect I've actually found many people who follow GAPS either worsened symptoms especially if dealing with histamine excess already, or they stayed the same for a long time and I have my thoughts on why.


In fact, what we did was more similar to AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) but that hadn't been invented back in 2011 but that's not to take away from GAPS. Both are real food approaches based around nutrient dense foods and the removal of inflammatory foods can go a long way. I do think following a book can be great for giving structure, and not great for that same structure - learning to observe and tweak based on reality is key.


And gut healing is about way more than just the gut, or even just food.

They all have their place but staying fixed to one can be really limiting.


I integrated various elements that resonated with me without studying each protocol in detail - many had some really interesting viewpoints to consider and their own list of "best" supplements or foods. Recommending one specific protocol would also defeat the purpose of my bigger message - which is all about listening to your body, developing your own sense of control over the situation and remembering we're all different although there are some base principles that tend to help us make sense of this, the devil is sometimes really in the detail.


We're all on our own journeys and as hard as it can be once you realise you can't just blindly follow a protocol from a book, it can be a great place to start, specially if you're feeling stuck or need some more detail on what is happening.


I honestly do think that no matter where you start, being open to learning and changing and using your powers of observation and sense of intuition to guide you, while adopting common sense is the ultimate way of navigating through this.

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