The GAPS Diet – An Intro to the Intro

A couple months ago I left off my usual recipe-posting and wrote up an introduction to the GAPS Diet, which my family and I have been on since last November. If you have no clue what the GAPS Diet is, let alone why anyone would want to go on it, head on over here and check it out.

The GAPS Diet: An Intro to the Intro | www.RaiasRecipes.com
 
 

The GAPS Diet is split into two parts: the Intro Diet, and the Full Diet. Though the Intro generally comes first, there’s no hard, fast rule that you have to do the GAPS Diet that way. I’ve read plenty of stories of people who started on the Full Diet and slowly weaned themselves onto the Intro. It’s a personal thing, based on what you can handle, and how quickly you want your body to heal.

What is this Intro Diet you speak of?

While the Full Diet is pretty much a paleo diet with the addition of navy beans and fermented dairy (think yogurt and sour cream), the Intro Diet comes in 6 stages. Its basic purpose is to starve out the bad bacteria that have been residing in your gut and then build up the good. For most people this can really only happen one way: fast from anything that contains hard-to-digest starches. Since starches feed the bad bacteria and yeast it’s pretty hard (dare I say, impossible?) to heal your gut while consuming them.
 

If you’re not quite sure what food has starch in it, let me tell you…

Everything. 
 
Kidding! But it sure feels that way when you’re nixing all your easy, family favorite dinners, and your kids’ favorite snacks! For the first bit of the Intro Diet, all you can eat is boiled meat, bone broth, and non-fibrous veggies. Exciting, eh?
 

The Intro Diet comes in 6 stages, the first of which is the fast/detox period. Depending on how your body handles this, you can stay on stage 1 for anywhere from a couple days to a month. It took my family about a week to be free and clear of any detox symptoms (such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, etc… it’s not always that bad, but it ain’t pretty either!). After stage 1 you begin adding in the foods recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, waiting in between additions to see how you react. Each stage is stayed on until all your negative reactions alleviate. The most common reactions to newly introduced foods are diarrhea, constipation, tummy ache, ear ache, rashes, and headaches.

The general rule for introducing new foods to your system is each night before bed, take a 1/2 teaspoon or so of whatever food you are wanting to introduce the next day, mash it up, and rub it into your wrist. Sleep on it, and if there’s no reaction in the morning, you’re free to try eating 1-2 teaspoons of said food. If you still don’t react, you can up your consumption daily until you’re eating normal portions.

(Tip: This little rule isn’t just for GAPS, it’s helpful for any time you think you might be reacting to a food.)

Since everyone progresses through the diet at their own personal rate, getting through the Intro Diet can take up to 6 months. It took my family about a month for all of us to get through it safely.

The break down…

Here’s a general list of what happens on the Intro Diet:

STAGE 1
breakfast
room-temp water
chicken, meat, or fish stock w/ salt & pepper (save meat the boiled meat for later) 

lunch & dinner
boiled meat & veggie soup (no fibrous or starchy veggies, i.e. pretty much only carrots, squash, peas, and onions)
w/ 1-2 t. probiotic juice (read, juice from the sauerkraut jar)
ginger tea w/ honey
 
STAGE 2
continue with stage 1
add raw egg yolks to soups 
add homemade yogurt
add homemade ghee 
 
STAGE 3
continue with stages 1 & 2
add mashed avocado into soups  
add peanut butter pancakes (nut butter, eggs, squash)
add scrambled eggs with ghee, avocado & cooked veggies
add sauerkraut 
 
STAGE 4
continue with stages 1-3
add roasted & grilled meats (not fried) with boiled veggies & kraut
add olive oil 
add freshly pressed juice before breakfast (start w/ 2 T. carrot juice, increase to 1 c. add celery, lettuce & mint)
add almond flour bread
 
STAGE 5
continue with stages 1-4
add applesauce
add lettuce and cucumber (then carrot, tomato, onion, cabbage, etc.)
add apple, pineapple, and mango to carrot juice
 
STAGE 6
continue with stages 1-5
add raw peeled apple

add baked sweet foods sweetened with dried fruit

Realistically speaking

My husband and I thought long and hard about it before plunging our family of six into the Intro Diet. We were already eating gluten and sugar-free, and I was dairy and egg-free as well. After months of prayer and research, finally jumped in. To say it was a shock for our systems is putting it mildly. By the end of the Intro, you’re eating enough variety to actually make a few regular meals, but the beginning can be very exhausting – especially when you’ve got kids you’re trying to convince to eat broth for the 300th time that week! Since progression through the Intro stages is personal – based on what each person can handle without reacting – making meals can be very frustrating!

This all might seem a little overwhelming, even discouraging. Don’t be dissuaded though, it can be done – and the results are worth it! In my next post I’ll be sharing what my family lived off of during the Intro Diet, as well as a list of some helpful recipes from some of my blogger friends… 

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