Stool Issues

People affected by GAPS often have problems with either diarrhoea or constipation. Other bowel problems are also common.

Do I have a problem with my bowel movements?

This chart is a reference that allows you to see at a glance how “normal” your bowel movements are.

If your stools are most commonly 1, 2 or 3, that is considered to be constipated.

If your stools are usually 4, that’s normal. They should be comfortable and easy to pass, without being mushy.

Type 5 is also ok.

Types 6 and 7 are considered diarrhoea.

Apart from the consistency, there are other factors that determine if you have an issue.


If you don’t have a bowel movement every day, that is also constipation. A normal number of bowel movements a day is somewhere between 1 and 3.

Transit time:

Food should take about 18-24 hours to pass through your system.

Eating beetroot is one way to find out your transit time. You will usually see red stools within a day. If it’s less than 18 hours, the food is moving through too fast. If it’s more than 24-30 hours, things are moving too slowly.

Troubleshooting for diarrhoea

Cutting out grains and other starches will often resolve diarrhoea. You will have to stay off them for a period of time to heal the gut.

If you eliminate those and you still have diarrhoea, Dr Natasha recommends you do the Intro diet.

Other steps to try (one at a time):

  • Avoid till cleared, then reintroduce very slowly:
    • Eggs
    • Vegetables (fibre)
    • Oils – coconut, olive, nut/seed
    • Anything that’s not healing
  • Have more:
    • Stock
    • Well cooked gelatinous meats
    • Animal fats
    • Probiotic foods & supplements
    • Supplement with Betaine HCl & pepsin

Troubleshooting for constipation

If you don’t have constipation to start with, and want to avoid it while on Intro, easing on will help prevent it.

If you already have constipation, it will be better to stay on the Full GAPS diet. As you replace and rebalance your gut flora, your digestion will improve and the constipation will ease.

Some things that can help ease it more quickly:

  • Putting your feet up on rubbish bin or similar, to put your colon in a better position for bowel movements
  • Rebounding / trampolining
  • Tummy massage
  • Avoid or reduce dairy temporarily
  • More fat
  • More sauerkraut
  • More ginger tea
  • Add juices earlier
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • Enemas / colonics
  • Eating prunes that have been soaked then mashed

If a bowel movement doesn’t happen for more than 36 hours, or it is too painful to pass a movement, Dr Natasha recommends having a colonic or adminstering a home enema. Full instructions are in the book.