Getting Started with the GAPS Diet

Are you desperate for healing? You’ve heard about this thing called GAPS in a facebook group or on some random blog post and you want to know how to dive in. This is the post that will cover the bare essentials that you absolutely must know for getting started. It is not a deep dive into every detail of the GAPS nutritional protocol, but these are the true essentials of the GAPS diet.

If you have a child, or you yourself are desperate to make some progress right away, you may not have the patience or the bandwidth to go into the science of the GAPS diet. What you want to know is how to get started with GAPS.

If you need one on one help, then we have a GAPS practitioner available for consultations, click the link to book a free consult. However, if you are not ready for personalized support but just want to know how to start GAPS, then read on for the summary and action steps to start healing right away!

Getting Started with GAPS

As mentioned above, this post is not about the science, the background, the amazing results or why GAPS works for healing. This is about actions steps pure and simple.

If you want to understand why this works check out the original Gut and Psychology Syndrome book, and/or the newer Gut and Physiology Syndrome Book.

Step 1: Learn to Make Meat Stock! and start consuming it!

Meat Stock is the basis for gut healing! It acts like the glue to heal your gut lining. Drinking meat stock is a pillar for healing. Remember, not bone broth, but short cooked meat stock!

You will want to be drinking 5 cups or more a day of meat stock!

Step 2: Remove foods that feed Pathogenic Bacteria

As you start consuming meat stock, you need to remove foods that feed the pathogenic bacteria that are causing your gut to be leaky and a myriad of symptoms.

Many diets focus only on this part, and you will see relief of certain symptoms just by doing this elimination. However, for healing, you must do this and also consume meat stock and ferments (below).

So which food do you need to cut out on GAPS?

  • Grains (wheat, rice, quinoa, corn, etc)
  • Starches (potato, sweet potato, tapioca, arrowroot and more)
  • Dairy that you buy at the store (you can make your own as tolerated, but many following GAPS do well by starting with removing dairy altogether).
  • Legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc)
  • All sugar, everything processed (artificial and natural colors, artificial and natural flavoring, preservatives)
  • Vegetable oils (except olive and coconut)

Wait, What?! So What Can I Eat on GAPS?

This is the best part: if you are doing a quick start to GAPS, you are getting yourself onto the Full GAPS Diet. This means you can eat:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Eggs
  • All non-starchy Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Well aged cheeses (assuming you tolerate dairy)
  • Navy beans (only navy, not any other type- soaked and/or sprouted are best)
  • Lentils (soaked and/or sprouted are best)
  • Animal fats! The more the better! (Ghee, Tallow, Lard, Schmaltz etc)
  • Olive oil (but not for cooking)

*Download a complete list of foods allowed on the Full GAPS Diet*

Take as much time as you need to remove the foods above. If budget is an issue, don’t throw them out, just use them up and don’t buy more.

If this is your first time ever cutting out wheat and grains, you may feel some “carb flu” as your body works it out. Stick with it and reach out for support if necessary. The first couple of weeks are the hardest and then it gets better!

Step 3: Incorporate Fermented Food

The third absolutely essential part of GAPS is incorporating fermented foods in your diet. This is so that we can repopulate the gut with good bacteria and crowd out those bugs that are making you sick!

Fermented foods will help improve your digestion enormously, helping you actually absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. But, they will cause die-off, meaning they kill off the pathogenic bacteria. This can look like a flare of the original symptoms you had.

Always start low and slow with ferments! The sickest GAPS patients may need just a toothpick drop of sauerkraut juice. If you’re not so sick, start with a teaspoon a day, and build up from there!

A great first ferment to incorporate is sauerkraut. If you tolerate dairy, then whey made from homemade yogurt is another great one to start with.

You’re on the Full GAPS Diet, Now What?

If you have incorporated meat stock, ferments and are avoiding feeding pathogenic bacteria, you are officially on the Full GAPS diet. Good for you!

The GAPS nutritional protocol is not only the GAPS diet, although the food part is the most important part. While you hang out on Full GAPS for a bit, let’s make sure you are dipping your toes into the other parts of the protocol. This means you are doing:

  • Detox baths- to support die off (rotate epsom salt, baking soda, vinegar to start)
  • Sunbathing and grounding
  • Clean up the household products in your home! (Cleaning products, laundry, yard)
  • Reduce toxins as best you can, filter water, get an air purifier, and remove yourself from toxic environments and stress as best you can!

Before moving onto the GAPS Introduction Diet, which is used for deeper healing, I suggest making sure that you are doing Full GAPS correctly! Please read the precise diet in the book, and make sure you are not accidentally ingesting anything that is off GAPS. When in doubt, consider speaking to a GAPS practitioner.

Next Steps: GAPS Introduction Diet and Supplements

If you are already seeing healing on Full GAPS you can continue as you are doing, and will want to consider specific supplements to support your healing.

If your condition is more severe, it’s time to consider doing the GAPS Introduction Diet. This part of the GAPS nutritional protocol is significantly more restrictive. However, it will accelerate healing significantly.

Do you have questions about getting started with GAPS? Drop them in the comments!

*Note: Yes this post is missing some links. Coming shortly!

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