GAPS Introduction Diet, Week 1

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I really thought I was prepared for this diet. I’ve lived without dairy and gluten for several years (making exceptions for birthday cakes–I am only human!) I knew many of the cooking skills required (fermenting veggies, making broth…) I’m accustomed to not eating the things that the rest of the family is eating. I thought I would be starting off ahead of the game. That was not the case.

My friends, I had my butt kicked by GAPS.

It’s a cruel irony that by the time I felt desperate enough to give GAPS a go, my body was entirely depleted. I knew I would need help with the cooking. Thankfully, I have a stash of delicious meals in the freezer to give to my family, so that I don’t have to cook for them quite so much. And I decided to pay a friend to get my fermented veggies going and cook broth for me (gallons of it, for days at a time…she is a treasure!) And the dear Linda has been such a valuable resource to me that I encourage anyone in Northern Colorado wanting to do GAPS to get in touch with her.

I also gave myself a lot of space for that first week. My dear Sweetie Pie husband had taken the week off from work and we had planned a stay-cation. Nursing me on my first week of GAPS and caring for the kids wasn’t exactly the stay-cation we’d had in mind, but I’m not sure I could have made it through without the extra help.

I chose to start off with the GAPS Introduction Diet. This phase is listed as optional, but Dr. Campbell-McBride notes that those who choose to skip the Introduction Diet and go straight into the Full GAPS Diet often suffer from lingering health problems that become difficult to address. Some folks choose to just start with the Full GAPS Diet, and then, once they’re feeling comfortable with GAPS methods and concepts, go back and do the Introduction later. Some folks never do the Introduction at all and get the results they’re looking for. However, I knew that with my severe and long-term digestive troubles, the GAPS Diet would do me absolutely no good until I’d done the Introduction.

The Introduction Diet is designed to heal and seal the gut lining quickly. How quickly you move through the Introduction Diet depends on how severe your distress is. Some will take a quick sprint through Intro, in a matter of weeks. Others (like me) will take a long, leisurely walk. Because of this, and because everyone approaches GAPS with different goals, what I outline here is what GAPS has looked like for me. It will look a little bit different for every person who decides to “do GAPS”.

The Introduction Diet is divided into five stages, stage one is the most severe and as you move through the stages you add in more “challenging” foods. Personally, I spent an entire week on stage one. I actually would have spent longer there, because I wasn’t entirely sure that my gut was ready to move on. But somewhere in my research I ran across a comment from Baden Lashkov (who wrote the GAPS Guide) that stage one should never last more than seven days. “You have to move on,” she says.

In stage one, your diet relies heavily on homemade meat and bone broths. These stocks provide building blocks for your gut lining, and they are so soothing to inflammation in your gut. Your stock needs to be made with the best quality meat and bones you can afford, using all parts–joints, bones, giblets, even chicken feet if you can get them. All these parts provide such wonderful nutrition for your tummy. Don’t even consider skimming off the fat. Your body needs that fat, and it is so good for you.

Remember that GAPS utilizes three approaches to healing: diet, supplements, and detox. My diet, for stage one, consisted of the following (a bit bleak, I know) Dr. Campbell-McBride notes that all food should be heated on the stove top (microwaves destroy nutrients among other things)

  • soups made from meat and bone broth. In the early days, these soups were entirely broth with just a few chunks of meat in them. Slowly, over the course of the week, I added veggies and herbs to the soups until by the end of the week it was a pretty darn good soup–or at least it would have been if I wasn’t eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The veggies are very finely chopped and well-boiled so that they are soft and easy to digest. I also started adding coconut oil to my soup, which was super tasty and is entirely GAPS legal (and also aids in detox)
  • “tea” made with sliced ginger and lemon, steeped in a pot
  • 1 teaspoon per day of “juice” from the fermented veggies. My friend supplied me with a jar of sauerkraut, fermented carrots, and fermented beets. They are all delicious. I found that this little sip of juice became my “treat” of the day–the change of flavor that I looked forward to. These juices not only provide tons of probiotic bacteria, but they will also help restore your stomach acid production. Tasty as it is, it is potent stuff and you have to build how much you’re able to handle gradually. This is why it’s recommended to start with only 1-2 teaspoons per day. Since the veggies themselves aren’t well-cooked, only the juice is allowed at this stage. I added a few teaspoons of filtered water to the jars as needed, to keep the veggies covered.
  • on day one I finished off some allergen-free treats that were in the cupboard. I mean really, am I supposed to let them sit there for the next two years, hoping I forget they exist?? Not likely. I ate them up with relish and now they don’t bother me.

GAPS doesn’t recommend starting all supplements immediately, so I am moving into my supplement routine slowly. Here are the supplements I took during week one:

  • Hydrochloric Acid before meals, as a digestive aid. HCl is recommended for some people on the GAPS diet. Many GAPS patients don’t produce enough stomach acid, and HCl acts as a kind of artificial stomach acid, helping to digest food. It’s not recommended that you begin your diet taking HCl, but my naturopath already had me on it and it was obviously helping me, so I continued with it.
  • Probiotic; again, it’s not recommended that you begin your diet taking a probiotic unless your body is already accustomed to it. This was a huge source of trouble for me in week one. Since I’d been taking probiotics for years, I assumed I would be okay continuing with it. However, I was coming off of an antibiotic and my naturopath had given me a super-strength probiotic to be taking. The combination of the super-strength probiotic and the detox my body was getting through diet was way too much for my poor body. I felt positively horrible for days. It finally occurred to me split the probiotic, taking half in the morning and half at night. As soon as I did this, my symptoms became manageable.
  • prescription meds for ulcerative colitis; I’m hopeful that eventually, after some healing has taken place, I can come off of my meds. But for now I thought it prudent to continue taking them. They do control some (but not all) of my colitis symptoms, and for that I’m grateful.

The only detox recommended at this stage is a daily bath. Add baking soda or epsom salts to your bath water to draw out toxins. Ideally, rotate the two so that you have epsom salts one day, and baking soda the next.

And, of course you’re wondering how I felt. Horrible. The first three days were the worst. I was in bed with every digestive distress symptom imaginable. If you’ve ever had to do the prep for a colonoscopy, that’s what it felt like–for three days. Like I said, Week One kicked my butt.

I also struggled with convincing my brain that my body was not, in fact starving. A brain that is used to feeding off of carbohydrates and sugars, that is suddenly getting none of them, naturally thinks it is starving. It takes a while, but a brain can actually be “retrained” to feed off of fat instead of glucose. (Nerdy tidbit: This is the basis of the ketogenic diet, which is often used to treat epilepsy. However, since GAPS reintroduces carbohydrates and glucose in the form of fruit and other natural sugars, GAPS is not a ketogenic diet.)

But towards the end of the week I began to improve. The worst of my digestive symptoms subsided, leaving only the bloating and abdominal distension that has become my norm (picture a four month pregnant belly on an otherwise very skinny girl). Fatigue and brain fog, typical side effects of the die-off of bad bacteria in the gut, also stuck around for the entire week.

So while Week One did not leave me singing the praises of health and wellness, I find myself at least a step or two ahead of where I was at the beginning. No pain? It was hard-won, but I’ll take it.

Basic Meat and Bone Broth

This is an essential GAPS recipe–the foundation for nearly all of your GAPS meals. There are literally thousands of variations on this recipe, but this is how I make it.

Use the best quality bones and meats that you can possibly afford. I’ve written this recipe for chicken, but you an also use beef, lamb, turkey or any other meat that you have access to.

Use your broth to make soups, stews, and casseroles–adding meat and a ton of veggies.

Course: GAPS-Intro Diet, Stage One and beyond

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken preferably organic, free-range with as many parts as possible including giblets, feet, and/or beak
  • filtered water
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • various organic veggies and herbs such as onions, carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaves, etc.
  • sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Place the chicken and chicken parts in a large crock pot (or stockpot). Add enough filtered water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Remove any “scum” that is on the surface (these are impurities and should not be eaten)
  2. Remove the chicken, leaving the stock in the pot. Let cool and take the meat off of the bones. Place your meat (including the skin and soft tissues) into a storage container in the fridge and return everything else (bones and all other parts) to the crock pot.
  3. Add more filtered water to the pot along with the vinegar (vinegar helps draw out the minerals from the bones), veggies, herbs and salt. Bring this to a boil, lower heat and simmer for as long as possible, at least 6 hours, but 36-72 hours is optimal. The longer you simmer, the more medicinal your broth will be.
  4. Strain all the solids from the broth, pour into jars, and store in the fridge. Use within 5 days. If you want it to keep longer, place it in the freezer.

View recipe at plantoeat.com

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90 Responses to GAPS Introduction Diet, Week 1

  1. Oh, please keep sharing your journey with GAPS. I really feel our family needs to head in this direction at some point. Working up to it … and it helps to know what to expect (kind of … as each person is different, of course).

    • Christy, Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to know if people will appreciate the info, or be bored to tears by it! I know what you mean by working up to it. I circled around GAPS for two years before I finally reached my breaking point. You’ll know when you’re there! And if you force it any sooner, you won’t last long on it. Wait until you’re totally sold out on it. All the best to you.

      • I have finally reached my breaking point. Dealing with severe leaky gut and candida due to 4 years of antiobiotic treatment for lyme. I started GAPS two days ago. I’m loving your posts!

        • Hi to Jeni, who mentioned Lyme (though I am not sure this will go to you?)

          I am glad to hear there is someone out there who has been treating Lyme AND is trying the GAPS diet, and I am curious how it is going for you. I have also been treating Lyme but had to stop due to adrenal fatigue and extreme herxing. If you get this, I would love to hear how the GAPS diet is going for you. Thank you! — Thea

      • I’ve been gearing up for gaps, & yes, I do so appreciate people like u that take your valuabletime 2 share. I luv your frankness & detail. I’m getting my ducks in a row, & am excited 2 share that I’ve found a raw goats milk source, farm eggs, farm chicken (I’ll be helping gut them!), & grass fed Elk bones! I’ve been using my dehydrator 4 banana chips (my kids luv them like candy, since I don’t allow them any) & want 2 try squash chips . I’m glad 2 know u still did well when taking your meds. I was afraid I’d have 2 go off all my sleeping aids. God bless you.

    • This is a strange fad diet. Apparently the director believes that an imbalance in the intestinal microbes causes autism.

      How could that possibly make sense?

      • Actually there is quite a bit of evidence if you take time to research instead of leaving a random comment about how it cannot be true. Your stomach is responsible for making a ton of chemicals in your body. Bad stomach, bad chemical, bad absorption, toxins etc… Please research it is actually quite interesting

        • How many Autistic people have been “cured” by doing the GAP diet? Id be interested in those numbers – actual people willing to post – that they had autism and now they dont. Where can I find this information?

          Thank you

          • I personally KNOW several children who have had their autism symptoms 95% removed through GAPS. This isn’t random. This is something that works for any inflammatory condition, including rheumatoid arthritis (joint inflammation), autism (brain inflammation), or colitis (inflammation of the colon). There is a ton of evidence that changing the diet helps people with all sorts of “brain” conditions, including autism and schizophrenia, depression, etc.

      • If you read the book, then you will understand. I am in a college Biology course and this is being talked about. I have found that everything written about in the book is legitimate scientific knowledge and it’s fascinating how my Biology course is tying into it. I am also reaching for a paper and reading about how intestinal bacteria imbalance can cause a lot of issues. All scientific facts…and very interesting.

      • As a parent of a child with regressive autism, I can certainly attest that gut issues are linked to my child’s regression. We have been on a specialized diet for 8 years and his progress toward recovery has been amazing. If we go off the diet, even for a day, the negative effects are lasting weeks on end – very little sleep, increased “brain fog”, etc. When managing his diet, he is soooo much better! We believe in it so much that we built a custom kitchen around his diet. Now if his health improvements weren’t undeniable, would there be any reason for us to commit to the point of building a custom kitchen with his own dishwasher, dishes, cabinets, fridge, etc? That is not a fad, I assure you. It is a responsible measure taken to improve his health…and it works!

  2. searching things about GAPS I came across your site… thanks for the heart to heart info on the first week. I just finished mine and while I have not been too bad I have had a reaction (or detox?) of a racing heart. as a young momma of 2 kids it is freaking me out PLUS I think I am finally hitting the “flu-like” symptoms… oh your post gives me hope!!!
    back to chicken and stock.

    • Jackie, Hang in there. It does get worse before it gets better. However, if any of your symptoms truly frighten or perplex you, I encourage you to seek out some help. The GAPS website has a listing of practitioners who are familiar with GAPS. You could try contacting one of them as a starting point. All the best to you in your healing!

  3. Thanks for continuing your GAPS experiences – I’ve contemplated trying this lately, and your information will help me decide whether I can actually manage it! Keep up the good work, both with the diet and with the writing! :)

  4. As someone who works with children with developmental delays/autism, and a former Ulcerative Colitis sufferer myself (among other things like headaches, PMS, and eczema!) I can vouch for this diet 100%…I have not taken any meds in many years and have had no flare ups. I am still 80-90% GAPS legal, and if I stray too far my eczema on my hands flares up…like a little warning flare: “put down the food! You have gone too far!” ;)

    I love your candid sharing, and am so grateful that you and so many others are willing to share and support others who are taking this daunting but healing step! I wish I had benefited from your blog, and the GAPS Guide, and other great resources, years ago when I did my version!

    Hang in there! There are definite points where things change and/or get a lot easier. Week 3 is one of them, and I found again at week 6, and from there out it becomes much much easier for most people, and you get pretty good at listening to what your body needs you to do!

    For those who need/want more individualized support there are also now Certified GAPS Practitioners all over the world, listed on the GAPS site http://www.gaps.me.

    • Maredith, it’s so nice to hear that this gaps diet worked with healing your colitis. My husband is just starting the diet this week and seems to have gotten worse….but I believe it was because he was eating veggies uncooked. I’m making the chicken broth now and hope that over the next week he sees a bit of change in the flare ups that he’s currently dealing with. Thank you all for these helpful posts. Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated as a newbie to the diet.

  5. I really need to do this diet with my family. My 2 yr. old has had eczema since birth and my 4 and 5 year old struggle with some bowel issues. My husband has what’s been diagnosed as idiopathic hypersomnia and is on a legal amphetamine. The first thing i’m worried about is that my kids will ‘turn noses’ and just not eat anything. second thing i’m worried about is the “worse before it gets better” (will this just be a reason to give up?) and…. if my husband does this with us it seems like he shouldn’t stay on his meds as that’s just toxins that he wants to detox from… but also if he falls asleep or is foggy at his job- possibly losing it would be devastating! i feel in a catch 22

    • Katie, I haven’t tried putting my kiddos on GAPS, so I don’t have any tried and true suggestions for getting them to go along with it. I have heard a lot of people have had success by doing a very slow introduction. There’s an outline for this in the GAPS Guide http://gapsguide.com/book/

      In all honesty, yes, things will likely get worse before they get better. As long as you know this is what to expect, you can usually push through it.

      As for meds, I’d not advise going off ANY meds without first talking to his MD. I’m still taking my prescription meds, toxins and all. Everyone has exceptions, and no one will achieve a “perfect GAPS” or a “perfect detox”. It sounds like your husband needs his meds, so keep taking them.

      All the best to you in your journey!

  6. I am exploring the possibilities, having had years of constipation and mental challenges putting cooking plans into action. I am not a kitchen wizard … when I’m hungry, I eat the basics … protein and a veggie, no fancy stuff and I’m inclined toward protein powder smoothies for breakfast with ground almonds or pistachios or walnuts, almond milk or coconut water/milk, spinach, 1 raw organic egg and maybe some fruit. it holds me for 2 hours or more til my gut is ready for ‘chewy food’. But I’m thinkin my body & mind definitely need fermented foods …. SOOOOO … is the GAPS guide overwhelming or easy to follow? I’m on some great enzymes and Laminine, which is a revolutionary blessing for my brain and body balancing. Sooooo, I’m fishing … Do you all write back directly to email or only to blog? I’ve never blogged. Thanks, Donna

    • Donna:
      Is there a way to contact you privately to talk about the Laminine?

      If not,I understand.

      Have you started the GAPS intro yet?

      Still researching about it….

      Thank you.

      Christina

  7. I really enjoyed your review and thoughts I am on week 2 but think I may have moved thru week 1 to fast I am kinda doing 1&2 at the same time meaning doing the broth while intruding the pear and apple sauce and meats. I don’t have the book my DR copied some pages off so it was difficult to start and understand. Oh well getting thru but will read your blog for ideas and make sure I am doinfgit right.

    Thanks
    Jen

    • Jen, It’s okay to move quickly. Stage 1 should never last longer than a week. And it’s not unusual to find yourself in multiple stages at once. The most important part is to watch your body carefully and respect what it’s telling you. Your body will let you know how quickly to go. All the best to you in your journey.
      Erin

  8. I don’t seem to be having much luck so far, still only going to the loo two, three times a week, not sure when to move on to 3rd stage. Am on my own with MS so Gaps is a must for me can anyone tell me how quickly the gut really starts to improve, would love any help.

    Thank you!
    D

    • Dianne, All I can tell you is that the rate of improvement is different for everyone. (So annoying to hear, I know!) For me, it has been much slower than I’d anticipated (I’ve been on Intro for 5 months). Others tell me that they see results within weeks or even days. Hang in there. And do consider the possibility that GAPS may not be for everyone. I have been considering that for myself lately, too. All the best to you in your journey.

  9. Hi! I am excited to come across your blog. I am a celiac diagnosed 5 years ago, and I have never found relief with the GF diet. Last year I had another colonoscopy where they found lymphocytes in my colon, indicating inflammation. I started going to an alternative doctor who put me on the GAPS diet. I am gearing up to start the intro, but just found out I am pregnant with my 3rd, I am a little concerned about doing the intro while newly pregnant…but I also want to get this started! I did the SCD plan for 2 weeks in August and never experienced “die off” symptoms….I was just really tired and grouchy and I lost about 8 pounds. Any ideas? I want to do the intro, but i have 2 little ones at home who keep me busy…and I am not sure I will experience die-off symptoms.I am also scared I will starve. I have been eating almost completely on teh intro for a week (I eat eggs in the morning and fruit at night..but besides that all intro). Okay so I am sorry for leaving such a long comment. I would love to know if you have any thoughts.
    -Miriam

    • Miriam, I’m not an expert and obviously have no degrees in such matters, but I do know that GAPS Intro is NOT recommended while pregnant. I believe I’ve read the recommendation to stick to full-GAPS while pregnant, and then move into Intro post-partem, but you’d still want to check this out with your care provider. You might also spend some time on Baden Lashkov’s site http://gapsguide.com/. I’m sure this question has been addressed there before. Try searching for “pregnancy”.

      Apart from your own physical health and you wee babe’s, GAPS Intro is emotionally exhausting. I am barely getting by, and my youngest is only 2. I know others have done it, but know that doing Intro with 2 little ones and being pregnant would be very, very difficult. Be sure to have some support in place to help you out. All the best to you.
      Erin

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  11. Thanks for such a candid explanation of your first week(s) on GAPS. I ordered the book last night and have been looking for some recipes to stick my pinky toe into GAPS and learn how to make the fermented foods (get the supplies like jars and such) over the next several months. Why so long to implement? Well, I’ve been a near vegan for over 20 years. I eat some minimal dairy, sometimes egg if it’s in baked goods. Last year I tried eating an egg and threw up. Same thing when I tried chicken. Managed to get a few bites of salmon and was nauseated for hours. I have a lot of digestive and teeth issues (which also can be the first sign of digestive issues) and am convinced that my body is depleted. I have to try to overcome the gross out factor of all of this meat before trying to jump into GAPS. I know if I try it all at once, I will fail. Today I managed to eat a scrambled egg without throwing up. I used butter, cheddar cheese (which is on the full GAPS diet), and sauteed onion. I think the onion actually made it more difficult to eat. Tomorrow I’m going to try just the egg and cheese. And once I get really brave, just the egg. I’m scrambling the egg with a bit of filtered water rather than any milk. Next week I’m going to try to get a serving of fish for 1 meal. Along with braving making a broth. I’ve started eliminating some of the foods from my diet that are not on GAPS, such as using Grade B maple syrup in my coffee and taking molasses for iron and other minerals. Apparently both of those things contribute to digestive issues. Another baby step I may take is making a “pasta” sauce and eating it with squash (I think ok on GAPS, have to double check) and cooking meatballs in the sauce and actually eating the sauce with the meat base, even if I don’t manage to eat a beef meatball. I’m going to start out with the recipe you have posted to get the broth made. My idea is to try to slowly start acclimating myself to meat so that I can maybe enter Stage 1 of GAPS the first half of next year. Baby steps!!!

    • Nancy, Good for you for being so very diligent! I was vegetarian for about 10 years and had some troubles eating meat again, but by the time I started GAPS I was already eating meat so that transition was (a little) easier. There is nothing at all wrong with going slow. Forcing your body to consume things it’s not ready to will not do you a bit of good. You might read Dr. McBride’s recommendations for vegetarians, and just start with eggs, dairy, and chicken broth, adding in actual meat once that’s going well. All the best to you. Erin

  12. Hi,
    I was wondering if broth is a part of the intro diet. I was of the thought that autistic kids should never be given broth in the intro…The weston Price protocol says the same. And I don’t see it in the book by Dr. Natasha. I just started intro for my 2 yr old with autism. Please advice.

    • Syeda,
      Yes, homemade broth is a huge part of GAPS Intro. I am not well-versed at all in using GAPS for treating autism, and I’m not sure if the protocol is different for treating autism vs. bowel disorders. I recommend spending some time searching Baden Lashkov’s site: http://gapsguide.com/ (see the first post on her site “Questions? Need Help?) You could also pose the question to the GAPS Yahoo Group (try this link: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/GAPShelp/ or search the Yahoo Groups for “GAPShelp”) Sometimes the folks on that group are really helpful, sometimes not so much.

      All the best to you in your efforts with your 2 year old.
      Erin

  13. Hello, My son is in the hospital with severe UC.He is on rest and a bunch of steroids and other uc drugs : (He is eating hospital broth :(

    I want to start him on this diet. I just made beef bone broth. Can he eat the marrow on the first week?
    I have the book but it is with him at the moment.

    Thanks, Cheryl

    I wish you well….

    • Cheryl, I am so sorry about your son. If the only thing you can do for him is bring him homemade broth, it is a good start! Yes, he can eat marrow the first week, if he is able to tolerate it (some don’t). You can read a bit about it on the GAPS website. Go here: http://gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html and read under “Homemade Meat Stock”. All the best to you and your son.

  14. Thank you. This was the clearest that I have found in explaining what I need to do on stage one. I have not gotten the book yet, can’t find it local and have not had the money to order it. I have been trying to glean what I could to do it the best I could. Thank you for breaking it down by the day and week.

  15. Thank you for your post on what your first week was like. My husband and I have just started and it was a little confusing about what you could eat to start with. I have highlighted the book out and started making stock, hoping I was doing it right :) I suffer from UC and have been flaring through my meds (imuran, lialda). My doctors recommendation was to compromise my immune system further by putting me on biologic meds (rimicade) because I refuse to take prednisone anymore because of its terrible effects both on and coming off. So at my further refusal he recomended the SCD diet. While researching I found the GAPS diet and I knew this was my chance for natural remission. Im hoping if this works for me that my brother who suffers from chrons will follow me in finding a natural remission.
    It is a little strange to have to retrain your brain to only eat this very limited food in the first few weeks. I think that is why I thought I was missing something….”soup for breakfast…are you sure?” hahaha :) Good luck to you in your healing journey!

    • Holly, Your situation (and your meds) sound similar to mine. I hope GAPS works for you! Believe it or not, you do get used to soup for breakfast, and I now eat it voluntarily–occasionally. :)

  16. Thanks for posting this! I have been cooking and baking “allergen free” for two years, and just read this book this past weekend. It’s totally blowing my mind as it’s described my exact problems. My plan is to start slow – I am making bone broth and fermenting vegetables this week. I will also have to do stage 1… probably a whole week too. My body is pretty riddled with inflammation. I am excited to start because I often joke that I am allergic to everything (i have12 foods I’ve been avoiding for 6 months)! At least, that’s what it feels like. :)

  17. It was very interesting to read your experience of week one. I feel that this kind of
    information to very valuable and adds reality to the theory.

    I started on Sunday and am now at Tuesday. I feel quite weird and I think my body is looking for some sugar or carbs to fuel it.

    I had been mostly following a GF unprocessed diet prior to starting – but was quite addicted to sugar.

    I feel really good personally to break the back of my sugar fixation – very empowering. I have been struggling with poor health for years and keep telling myself that this is going to be worth it.

    I am looking forward to a new healthy pain free future and wish everyone else well with their journey.

    • Wendy, I remember struggling in those early weeks to convince my brain that my body was not starving. My brain was screaming at me to feed it, but my body was getting all the nourishment it needed. It was a very strange feeling. I hope you find the results you’re looking for from GAPS. All the best to you.

  18. Thank you SO MUCH for all the info! I’m 27yo female, 5′ 8″ 125 lbs wasting away. I’ve had very little unmanagable digestive feelings (ever) but many and growing number of autimune and neurological related symptoms. I’ve always eaten mostly whole foods but willingly went GF 3/12 & casein free for about 3 weeks (family history there) so no more migraines, better sleep and no more joint inflammation!

    I’m at 24 hours on my version of GAPS. I’ve done broth every meal through 2 dinners and only consumed boiled foods from the full diet list. But I’ve made all the mistakes – no homemade fermented or cultured foods ready yet and my probiotics and book haven’t come in the mail yet. I started anyways because I’ve been experiencing bad reactions to more and more foods despite going GFCF – certain fresh fruit & veggies, maybe soy and corn? Which is what got me searching. I totally believe healing is a big step to stave off the ever downward spiral! I really bought into GAPS because the foods that I’ve felt negative reactions to aren’t on the GAPS full list (coincidence? I think not!).

    My question: ONLY broth with really boiled, gentle veggies for stage 1 intro? Can I eat eggs yet? What about eating other stuff from the full list? It’s so confusing, everyone’s brains are hungry but my stomach is hungry!! I’ve been loosing since I went GF and I can’t afford to loose more and keep making it to my job! I’m not going to see my PCP until next week, and likely weeks until I get to the specialist she refers me too! And I’m in a rural area, you’re not sick until you’re sick and then you get some meds – feeling despair :(

    Thanks again for the article and to everyone else who posts and thanks in advance for any advice!

    • Hi Shannon, I understand about the weight loss. I’m 5’7″ and trying desperately to hang on to 110 lbs. You should know that most people lose weight for a time on GAPS, but that most people will then begin to gain again until their weight has stabilized. At least this is what I hear. That’s not what has happened in my case, but then GAPS hasn’t given me significant healing, either. So my guess is that the weight stabilization comes with healing.

      The Intro Diet is divided into several stages. Stage One begins with straight up meat/bone broth, and then you add in meat and veggies slowly, one at a time. So for me, I ate plain broth with just small bits of chicken in it for a full day. The next day I added one of the veggies that I knew to be safe–probably zucchini or mushrooms or something (peeled, seeded, and chopped very finely). And I kept adding in veggies, one per day, and ONLY the ones I already knew to be safe for my tummy. Again, this is what my GAPS looked like. Every body is different and you should feel free to go quicker through the stages if you’re feeling good. When you get to Stage 2, you can consume the foods from Stage 1 along with the foods from Stage 2. Stage 3 includes food from Stages 1-3, etc. You’re not supposed to add in foods that aren’t listed for the specific stages, but that’s not to say that people haven’t done it and still gotten the results they were looking for. That said, if you get stuck on a food (I was stuck for weeks on eggs, for example) or if it says to introduce a food that you know your body hates (onions, in my case), skip it, and move on to the next one. You don’t have to incorporate everything before moving on.

      As you progress through the stages, you’ll be adding in more “challenging” foods, including eggs. Foods are introduced in order of easiest to digest/assimilate to hardest to digest/assimilate. Oh, and soy and corn are both huge triggers for me. I haven’t eaten them for years, and I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed on the GAPS diet.

      I hope this is helpful! It’s totally confusing when you’re starting out. Hang in there. While you’re waiting for your book, you could read about the Intro diet on Dr. Campbell-McBride’s website: http://gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html (not as complete as the book, but still fairly informative), or you could spend some time on Baden Lashkov’s blog, which is a great resource: http://gapsguide.com/

      All the best to you in your GAPS journey!

  19. Thank you for the response Erin! My book finally arrived, my yogurt is done, the sauerkraut is almost there and I’m eating more carbs (in veggie form)! Thank you so much for the helpful advice and the support!

  20. Erin,
    I want you to know that I whole-heatedly appreciate you sharing this experience online. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease one year ago and have been struggling off and on ever since. I did the full GAPS diet for 10 weeks when I was still nursing, but came off of it. Things have gotten rough and I’ve had to stop nursing to pursue “bigger” meds. So after 2 years of stalking around on this diet and recommending it to friends with other issues, I’m all in for the Intro period (excluding a couple cheat days to celebrate anniversary and Christmas).
    Just so you know, your experience is read and appreciated by me. It’s hard to talk about these diseases, but you never know how much you can impact another person in the midst of their struggle.
    Thanks so much, Erin!

    • Erin, thank you so much for your comment, for taking the time to share your thanks. It is always encouraging to know there are others out there with similar illnesses, struggling through similar treatments. It is such a blessing to be able to learn from each other. It was that very reason that made me begin to share my journey in the first place. I’m so glad that it’s fulfilling its intended purpose. All the best to you in your own journey.

  21. Erin, I am planning to start the intro stage of GAPS Jan 1. I have acid reflux disease and being treated with Dexilant…a proton pump inhibitor. The Dexilant is not working as well now as it did in the beginning and I REFUSE to take more. So I am fighting back to begin to heal the gut. My question is…..and not sure if your or your readers know, should I stop the meds cold-turkey when I start the GAPS? It seems the two have opposite purposes. Would the HCI be a good supplement to replace it with? Your thoughts and all the info you’ve provided in the blog is much appreciated.

    • Shirley, I’m not familiar enough with your meds or your diagnosis to be comfortable with advising you to stop your meds. I know some people do stop meds when they stop GAPS, but I personally kept taking mine. Keep in mind that it isn’t the starting of GAPS that heals you. That is still probably weeks/months/years away (depressing, I know). My unprofessional opinion is that you should continue your meds until you show significant improvement, and then talk to your doc about coming off.

      My feeling on the HCl for you is no, but you may want to find a naturopath to discuss that with. The HCl is intended as a stomach acid supplement for those who aren’t producing enough stomach acid. It sounds like maybe you don’t need more of that right now.

      Again, these are just my thoughts and opinions based on the info you’ve given. I’d encourage you to talk to your doc before making any decisions. All the best to you!

  22. Thank you! It has been hard to find many blogs that can explain the process they are going through with the GAPS diet. I have multiple sclerosis and it was recommended to me to implement the gaps diet, but it is hard for me to understand certain aspects of the process. I can’t find anyone on the net that has a blog or a testimonial stating how it worked for them and what results they received from this diet. I need structure and details, details, details. I am glad I bought the book, and recipe book, they were helpful. Even your Basic meat and bone broth recipe explained to “remove the scum that forms on the surface” and why! I didn’t do that with my broth! Now I know… please keep blogging. I wish there was an interactive site.. like weight watchers!

    • Hi Colleen, I’m so glad the posts have been helpful for you! If you search for GAPS on the Plan to Eat blog, you’ll find the whole series of posts that I wrote during my 6 months on GAPS Intro. I’m not on a completely GAPS-legal diet now, but it is a version of GAPS that works for me. Many of the recipes that I continue to post are GAPS-friendly or could easily be adapted to be. Feel free to leave me questions in the comments. I’m happy to help with any information I have. All the best to you.

    • Hello Colleen – I also have MS. I was on the OMS diet but then found GAPS and thought that would be good for my daughter. I decided to try it with her so she would not be alone however I have a conflict going on in my mind :) :) It’s so different from the Swank diet and the Swank diet has a lot of proof that it works but I cannot find anyone who has a testimony that GAPS helped their MS.

      Did you go on the GAPS diet? Can you please let me know how it’s going? Or maybe you found something else that is helping? You can email me at joannesmith6819 at gmail. Also, my GAPS blog is linked in my name above.

      Thank you.
      Joanne in SW MO

  23. Hello and thank you for posting.
    I’m doing chelation to help with severe heavy metal toxicity. Many metals
    mind you. Since i was a vegan for many years and a carb adiction, my
    gut was severily compromised. Then multiple courses of ever more
    potent antibiotics and an apendectomy pretty much left me unable to eat
    With exhausted adrenals and liver. Since doing broth for about 3 weeks (out of despair)
    And some fermented veggies I’ve experienced some noticeable improvement.
    But i have continued my aloe vera smoothies. About 3 days ago
    I started experiencing die off. Headache and vomiting etc. Coffee enemas were very helpfu as was the salt/baking soda enema as recomended in Dr.McBride’s blog.

    For the carb addiction i found the mix of raw honey and coconut oil
    A teaspoon every time i had a craving helped. She does not suggest anything else.
    But i stil want chips, potatoes, and bread. I don’t know how long the craving will persist.
    The honey really helps, but i still find the cravings more challenging than the die off.
    Any ideas?

    I’m also doing the supplements for chelation. Not sure i should be doing
    Both concurrently but i was literally starving unable to digest
    anything i ate. Broth seems to be absorbed well. Eggs some days fine others not
    Not daring to do any dairy Yet. Any thoughts you or your readers may have
    Will likely encourage me. I need all the encouragement i can get.

    Wholefoods ocationally has chicken feet. So that’s in my broth and
    my stomach seems to love it. I hope i do ok when that runs out.
    Thanks again. Best wishes.

    • Andrea, I hear the despair in your words, and though my circumstances aren’t exactly the same, I know the feeling. Hang in there.

      My carb cravings began to subside after a few months on Intro. It’s different for everyone. Keep up with the honey and the coconut oil. Can you tolerate apple puree? Or fresh carrot juice? Those were welcome additions once I was able to add them in and they seemed to satisfy the sugar-cravings. I know most GAPS folks would disagree with me, but my advice is to keep your focus on your general direction, not on your day to day fluctuation. In other words, if your body is screaming for potato chips and you indulge in a handful out of desperation, don’t beat yourself up. Especially if your pre-GAPS diet would have meant you ate 3 handfuls (or half a bag….not that I’d know anything about that!) If your general direction is good, pat your back and keep going. One day you’ll find that you don’t even want those potato chips.

      I don’t know a lot about chelation, but it sounds like that plus GAPS could be a lot of detox for your poor tired body. Listen to whatever your body is saying. Vomiting and headaches are your body’s way of asking you to slow down and back off the detox a little bit. Respect your body’s requests. Do you have a naturopath or MD working with you? He/she would be a valuable resource to help you figure out how much is too much. Definitely try to find some professional support if you don’t already have it.

      The chicken feet have so much good stuff for your body–lots of gelatin. When they’re unavailable you can get similar results by mixing in some powdered gelatin to your broth. I like Great Lakes beef gelatin (in a big orange can. I’m sure Whole Foods would have it, though I’ve never bought it there.)

      Finally, I noticed huge improvement in my health (holistically, not necessarily physically) when I started an anti-depressant. I never knew that 90% of seratonin is manufactured in the gut. Since my body was so sick, it meant that my mental and emotional health were also suffering. Getting my mental and emotional health back in balance has helped me to deal better with the physical shortcomings and the stress of difficult diet restrictions. I don’t know you at all, so don’t hear this as a suggestion that you need medication! Just something that was immensely helpful for me, that our society puts a lot of taboos around, that no one really talks about, that I thought I’d toss out there for you for whatever it’s worth. :)

      Hang in there, please feel free to leave questions or concerns in the comments. I’m happy to help where I can. All the best to you, Erin

  24. You are such an amazing person. Thank you for your very unique empathy. Your idea of juice is brilliant. As part of my chelation protocol. I do a smoothie or two if my body asks for more. It’s base is aloe vera, fresh leaf gell not bought, wheat grass, ginger, coconut and fresh tumeric. On top of that i can add fruits and a bit of beet juice for iron. I can have these on the smoothies, so i will try that. I do have a professional and my husband is amazing as a support. Emotionally i’d probably be a candidate for antidepresants if it weren’t for his love and patience. I think the hardest part. The detecitive work finding what is wrong and the right practitoner was the most depressing. Since iwe found it and i’m improving our spirits are up. But I’ll Keep it mind.

    Since my liver is so taxed my Dr. Has me off every med, even aspirine. Only homeopathics and not all of them allowed. But as chelation progresses we’ll get back to that.

    The original idea was to get through the chelation first and then do gaps. But reading up on it while starving and supper constipated i remember both my grandmothers used bone broth for almost every ailment and fermented veggies. My body just sort of said Yay! So i made broth. And fermented veggies. I could feel my self coming back to life. Except for cravings, till the headache- I do suffer those chronically. But you are right. He told me today broth ok but fermented veggies not. Only a teaspoon of juice in a week and we will see.

    Its like you say, got to play it by ear. I’m so glad i found Your blog and even more thankful
    For your thoughtful and wise answer. It is a though and experimental road we share. But in my despair i think of my good fortune to have come this far. And how lucky I am that i find people like you in my journey. Wish you best and i hope we both and all your readers succeed.

  25. Hi Erin,

    I have been on the GAPS Intro Diet for 4 days now, and came across your blog. Thank you for sharing your story! I have slowly begun eating broths and soups and gradually no carbs for the past month, so I have not experienced die-off that I know of; however, I have noticed cramping and combination constipation and diarrhea in the past three weeks. I was under a lot of stress with much traveling, and I attributed the cramping, etc to that fact. Have been able to rest over the holidays, and the cramping is getting better, but still there to an extent. I am concerned about the amount of fat in the soups, as Dr. Natasha says we need to eat all the fat. My gallbladder was surgically removed 10 years ago, so I cannot tolerate more than one nut at a time, for example, without suffering diarrhea later. I bought oxbile supplements, which do help; however, I have noticed that even with those supplements, there will be this situation if I eat all the fat in the soup. I can’t tell if it is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or if it is the excess fat that my body is unable to digest. Would you have any suggestions? Also, I already eat 5 times per day — 3 meals plus 2 snacks (all in the form of GAPS Intro Stage 1 soups at this point). How many simple broths should I add to this regime during the day, if any? Thank you very much for your time.

    Francesca

    • Hi Francesca, Yes, fat is a huge part of the GAPS Diet. While the full GAPS diet is not a no-carb (or even, neccessarily, a low-carb) diet, the Intro stage has a severely limited carb intake. The theory is that you can retrain your brain/body to “feed” on the fat and not the sugar. I think this is good for most people in the long-run, though there certainly is an adjustment period when your brain thinks it’s starving. But if I’ve learned anything from all these years of diet restrictions and food sensitivities, it’s that no two people will thrive on the same diet.

      I think GAPS has a lot to offer, so definitely keep going with the Intro. In retrospect, I should have listened to my body more, and respected its wishes, even in cases where I’d be “breaking the rules”. Try to think of GAPS as a series of suggestions that will work for some people as written. Others will need to tweak them. The goal is not to achieve a perfect GAPS diet according to the rule book, but rather to feel your best. So, in my (unprofessional) opinion, if the fat is making you feel bad, then eat less of it. Add in some carbs in a GAPS-legal form to make sure you have some fuel for your brain (maybe some apple puree, or a spoonful of honey, or some fresh carrot juice). You can certainly consider giving the diet another few days or so as is, just to see if your symptoms improve. Sometimes it just takes a while to adjust.

      Obviously, I’m no doctor, and I have no experience with what the loss of a gall bladder will do to a body, although I suspect it is nothing minor. I’d recommend checking in with your doctor (assuming you have a good relationship with your doc and s/he’s supportive of your diet changes) or a naturopath. Find someone who can help you tweak GAPS to your own personal needs. I know it’s a pain to find someone, and potentially expensive, but I think it’s so important.

      If you are consuming broths in the form of soups, there’s no need to drink the broth straight up. I only drank the broth by itself later in Intro, at a meal where I wasn’t have soup or stew (GAPS pancakes, or eggs, for example, I served with broth). My body loooooved the chicken broth. But again, we’re all different. If you don’t feel like you need it, have less of it. If your body really craves it, by all means, drink more.

      I hope my thoughts are helpful! Feel free to follow-up with questions if you need to. All the best to you in your healing!
      Erin

    • PS. I just read this in a paleo cookbook from the library (Practical Paleo by Dianne Sanfilippo). Offering it here for what it’s worth :)

      “If your gallbladder has been removed, you may find that a more moderate or even a low-ish fat intake helps you feel better. Focus on fats that are easier for your body to break down without the need for bile…saturated fats are easier to digest than unsaturated fats. This is because the actual chemical structure of saturated fats like butter and coconut oil is much shorter, and our bodies can break them down much easier than those made from longer chains like mono or polyunsaturated fats (such as olive or walnut oil)”

  26. PS — I am taking the Biokult probiotic, and notice much improvement! Had slowly introduced fermented veggies before doing the Intro 100%, but have not been able to make them recently. I will make some sauerkraut today, and will have it ready in a week.

    Francesca

  27. I’m just starting Stage 1 of the Intro Diet today! Your ideas are really helpful. I noticed your recipe for broth has you simmering the bones for days, which is the way I normally do it, but Dr. Natasha seems to make a distinction between long-simmered bone broth and shorter simmered meat broths and says to do the latter for the intro diet (at least the beginning stages?) because simmering the broth for a long time brings things into the broth that might be hard to digest for some. Any thoughts on this?

    • Hi Debra, Definitely! Thanks for bringing this up. That was something I learned along the way during my GAPS journey. I no longer simmer my broth for days because I found it to be irritating to my gut. My current method is roasting a chicken, eating off of it for a few days, then putting the rest of it in the crock (meat and bones) with vinegar and maybe some herbs. I only simmer it for a morning or an afternoon, and then strain the broth in the evening. I like the flavor of meat broth, and my gut likes it better, too. But everyone is different, and a long-simmered broth will certainly draw out tons of nutrition. You should play around with it and find your body’s ideal.

  28. Hi Erin!

    I am so happy to have come across this post. I can relate with it so much. Thank you for your inspirationand motivation. GAPS can be so overwhelming in the begining! Like you, I too am documenting my journey via my blog and spreading awareness. I have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gut dysbiosis and leaky gut. It’s always so nice to know that we are not alone in outr stuggles.

    XOXOX F

  29. Hi Erin,

    Thank you SO much for sharing your week one journey. My naturopath put me on this diet and i had my first day of the intro diet today. To say the least i have been overwhelmed, lost and unsure of what to expect from my body and to read your post has made such a difference to my state of mind! the broth and soup is definitely NOT my cup of tea, im not enjoying the oilyness or the fat of it at all! I had to hold my nose and force it down this morning! but i’m hoping to get used to it. I definitely experienced brain foggyness and my energy levels were all over the show. i also have a bad headache after day one. did you notice any weight changes? im nervous this diet is going to make me gain weight!

    • Tess, I’m so glad that sharing my experience is helping you with your own. The symptoms you’re having, based on my own experience and what I hear from others, are very common when first starting GAPS. I did have weight changes, but never gaining weight. I lost about 5 pounds in the first month or so (which isn’t a good thing for me, being already quite malnourished and underweight). I have read that most people will lose weight at first as their body detoxes, and then perhaps gain a bit back until weight stabilizes. It’s highly individual. But I haven’t encountered anyone who has gained unneccessary weight from a GAPS Diet. Not saying it’s impossible, we’re all different, but if you’re following the diet correctly I think it’s unlikely. Hang in there! And all the best to you in your GAPS journey.

  30. I love that I stumbled across this site! Reading the comments was very helpful, too! I’ve been trying to find success stories with the GAPS diet and ADD. I haven’t found anything yet, so I decided to start my own blog in hopes that I can help others. I just got the book, so I will be starting shortly. Thank you and thank you everyone with your questions. It gives me hope! I’m a stay-at-home mom of 2 boys.

  31. Hi Erin,

    I just wanted to thank you for making this blog! I’m making my way through your entries, but so far, very helpful!

    A bit about my journey so far:

    I’ve never had a medical diagnosis, but over the last few years my body has finally declared enough is enough. I have been experiencing distension and pain on and off (almost always on) from an increasing number of foods. An allergist said I’m allergic to gluten, along with a dozen other common foods, and need to eat GF, but I knew something deeper was going on.

    Long story short I sought out other help and it seems I clearly have leaky gut. I was started on a SCD/candida cleanse early Nov. I dropped a lot of weight initially (I’m late 20′s, was 135 lbs 5’4″, dropped down to something like 120 lbs in 3 weeks.) I freaked out, contacted my health professional and dropped the candida part – allowing for things like dairy on the SCD intro diet and my weight has stabilized. With the exception of some big mistakes over the holidays, I’ve been following the SCD diet ever since. It has been quite challenging – things are not laid out very clearly. With a lot of guess work, I’m experiencing setbacks often when trying to introduce something new. On top of the typical rules, my body can’t handle eggs, tomatoes, and some other things that are very common in these diets.

    I have been incorporating some of the GAPS principles without realising it for some time now (i.e.: homemade broth everyday,) but I’m actually considering stepping back from what I’m currently eating and starting from scratch again with GAPS. I suspect the first few stages will be fairly easy for my body considering how I’ve been eating the last several months. I just find the GAPS intro diet laid out so well in comparison! Its clear progression of foods looks so helpful.

    I am a little worried about not being entirely symptom free on GAPS either (like I’m experiencing now,) but in my opinion it can’t hurt to back up and reinforce healing for the gut, and go from there.

    Thank you for letting your experience serve as a guinea pig for us all!

    Cheers! (a cup of broth of course)

    • Heather, I’m always happy to allow my experiences to be the guinea pig! I’m glad it’s helpful.

      I know of tons of people (and personally know a handful of people) for whom GAPS has been life-changing. But our bodies are all different and so I’ve had to accept that GAPS doesn’t work for everyone, including me! Like you, I really struggled with some of the common foods that GAPS and SCD rely on–dairy (even fermented dairy), eggs, tomatoes and other nightshades, nuts and nut flours. But by realizing that these were my trigger foods, I’ve found the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol (AIP) and am embarking on 30 days of that diet next week. I’ll be blogging about it here, so check back in and see if any of it seems useful to you. And the meal plan I’ll be using is completely laid out for you–recipes, shopping lists and all.

      You don’t need a diagnosis to know what does and doesn’t work for your body! Kudos to you for listening to it. All the best to you.

  32. Dear Erin, All I have to say is THANK YOU!!!!!!! I have had UC since I was 21. I have just turned 48 on the 16 Feb 2013. My family have introduced me to your Diet. Its my first DAY!!! The broth is cooking. I have made a list of what to do next. I am determined to start the healing process. I only take 18 predisone a day (generic of immodium) Have not taken Salasopiron etc etc for 5 years. So am so excited to go into remission and TODAY Is my first step…….
    Kind Regards
    Judith

    • Judith, I hope that GAPS gets you on the road to remission. It did not do everything that I had hoped it would for my illness, but I gleaned a lot of knowledge from the experience. And we are all different! So many people have great success with GAPS, and I hope you are one of them. All the best to you.

      • I’m on about day 2 or 3 of the GAPS intro (I know it sounds weird that I’m not sure, just can’t remember what day I began broth only. Anyway, I have inflammation in my small intestine and want to heal naturally, but haven’t had many digestive issues to monitor to know if it’s working or not. Glad to know cooked veggies are allowed in stage 1, because only chicken broth is making me feel VERY hungry. Growly stomach and all. I heard beef broth is more healing for the gut, but it made me sick. I will say symptom-wise, that I’ve had eczema since I was in grade school (33 now) and joint inflammation/pain since I was 18 and slowly progressed to where I can’t straighten my right knee. I only have BM’s about every other day, but never realized it was a big problem. No pain or distention thought. The digestive inflammation was only caught because I had a colonoscopy, fearing other diseases. Didn’t even realize I had Crohn’s. How will I know if my gut is healing? Will I ha e more frequent BM’s? I also have no idea what veggies are good for me, grains either, but the latter is a ways off. Do I just do the sensitivity test that the intro diet webpage talks about? Sorry for the long post. Just lots of questions. I don’t even really know if GAPS will heal my gut. Just need to start somewhere. I definitely don’t want to end up with resections! Thanks!

  33. Hi Erin,

    Thank you so much for this blog post! It has come at a very poignant time for me. Week 1 has been pretty hell for me so far, laced with uncertainty, despair and general confusion about how I should personalise the diet for myself.

    I have Candida, SIBO and Leaky Gut and potentially a parasite problem, so a spoonful of honey etc is a big no no for me, which kind of sucks. Also I have learnt that probiotics feed my SIBO, so that impedes my body’s recovery and ability to function more optimally even more.

    What I have been doing is taking very small steps as I react to EVERYTHING, so for the past 7 days I have been eating courgette/cauliflower and broccoli/leek soup with broth instead of water to puree it followed by bits of boiled chicken. Followed by cupfuls of broth in between meals. I also after every meal have a big spoon of Flax seed Oil (3-6-9), cod liver oil, digestive enzymes before meals and occasionally Molybdenum for die off.

    I have been doing various diets for the past year and have not got anywhere, so GAPS is pretty much the last resort. Since starting GAPS I have had moments of “clarity”, but nothing more than a few hours and it generally occurs post 8 at night. Its at its worst from morning till 5-6pm. I know I may come across as impatient but I have been in this limbo (am I improving even at all) state for too long now and have lost 4 and a half stone as a result and cannot lose anymore.

    The brain fog is by far the worst part about all this and really is the only thing which I can’t handle living with. It’s stopping me from progressing with my recovery and life eg getting a job, socialising, going back to uni etc. I just want to get away from this life of solitude I have been living for so long, the complete opposite of my character, as Im naturally a very social creature! I can manage everything else, but the brain fog inhibits my ability to do effective research, monitor myself carefully, piece things together in my mind and most importantly reassure myself when I get into die off/brain fog panic mode that Im ok and on the right path.

    How long did it take for your brain fog to drastically improve?

    Do you know where I am able to get the “Gaps Guide” in the UK? I have scoured the internet and can’t find it anywhere!

    I would hugely appreciate your help.
    Thanks for your inspiration.

    Best Wishes,
    Jamie

    • Jamie, I’m so sorry for your health troubles and your frustration. I’m well-acquainted with my own forms of both, and I know it’s difficult. The amount of time it takes to adapt to the diet you’re on is different for everyone and depends on many factors–what your diet and lifestyle were beforehand, your particular body and ailments, etc. Most people on GAPS report that they begin to think more clearly around week 3. For me, I think it was a bit longer. From what you’ve told me about your diet, you are on a fairly strict ketogenic diet. This is good for some, and not so good for others. If you continue to feel bad, I’d encourage you to experiment with adding in some carbs. If you’re following GAPS you can do this “legally” in the form of homemade applesauce. I get that that may seem counterproductive to battling your candida and SIBO, but try to keep a long-term perspective. It is more of a two-steps forward, one-step back healing process. Unfortunately, you can’t just shut down the parts of your body that NEED the carbs in order to starve the parts of your body that don’t. I speak from experience when I say that caring for you own mental state is of the utmost importance in your attempt to care for your physical body. Tune into your body’s needs first, and then work in the principles (not the “rules”) of GAPS.

      I don’t know where to get the GAPS Guide in UK. Have you tried Baden Lashkov’s blog? She wrote the GAPS Guide and has a wealth of information on her site: http://gapsguide.com/ There are also a number of e-mail support groups available on Yahoo! I used all of these resources, in addition to the book, to get through my 6 months on Intro.

      Hang in there! It is never easy to heal gut disorders. I wish you all the best, Erin

      • I need some advice! I started the GAPS intro three days ago, and today I have been throwing up everything. The very smell of the broth has made me so nauseous I can barely eat it. I have been in bed all day, and I feel tired. My stomach has also been cramping. I have heard of people having bad die-off symptoms but I didn’t think they would be so severe. Do you have any advice of how to deal with this symptoms or how to relieve them at all? Thanks!

    • Jamie,
      I feel so much connection with your circumstances! I would love to write back and forth in emails as support for one another. I’m in my 20s, and share many of what you described as your concerns, frustrations, experiences, etc. Email me if interested: streetpolitics at yahoo . com

  34. had an ideal 2 week vacation from work to start the Intro gaps diet…did I ? nope..now I am going back to work ( middle school teacher) and I will not be able to heat broth up during the day for lunch ( Id have to use a microwave- which I wont) So I am making broth tonight and will attempt to eat it for breakfast and dinner…I see you can go slowly into this diet…does that mean I may eat a solid food at lunch ( something that doesnt have to be heated) As long as I am incorporating the broth in my diet is this an acceptable start? Will I benefit just from adding this broth into my diet or is it pointless if I am eating other foods ( Full Gaps foods). I can skip lunch ( we only get a brief 25 minutes anyway in which I am often making copies ) and if I drink a lot of water or Kumbucha or my greens powder shake I think I will be fine…I am needing to be realistic. I have 8 weeks of school left and then I will be overseas for a month and food control will be difficult for most of my summer. I know I need to do something towards healing and I am doing a lot of little different things- adding fermented foods into diet…drinking alkalized water…my bowel movements remain off…thank God for Saltwater Flushes…its really hard to make THIS kind of adjustments in the real world. If I know that something is better than nothing..I can be faithful to a baby step and be a little more pure on the weekends.

  35. Hey there. I am so glad this blog, and especially this entry, exists. I’m beginning the Intro diet. i feel so alone and don’t know anyone else eating remotely similarly right now. I’m cooking constantly, and putting so much energy into the digestive ailment I have. I am young, in my 20s – my friends are free spirits and some travel a lot and some have regular work days in fields they enjoy. I don’t feel involved in either of these paths right now and sometimes it’s hard not to judge myself for this. For years I did my best to act like my digestive suffering was just excessive whiny-ness on my part… Finally I am giving myself space to heal, as deeply as possible. But its very lonely sometimes. I’m trying to organize a support group for people with gut issues who are treating them in unconventional ways. No response yet.
    Reading this entry helps me feel some solidarity. I did not make this up – I truly am low energy, and I don’t need to hate myself for it…
    Seriously if anyone is interested in a pen-pal kind of connection I’d love that. Sometimes this path is so lonely.
    Thank you!

  36. I am so excited to come across this blog. I have been suffering with severe food allergies (hives, rashes and psoriasis) for almost 2 years now. I am now dealing with too much klebsiella in my gut which is causing some not so fun symptoms in the bathroom department. My naturopath suggested GAPS and i started it about a week ago. UNFORTUNATELY i suck at staying true to food changes and fell off the sugar wagon today and consumed 8 (yes 8) allergen free chocolate chip cookies. Of course this brought on fireworks in the bathroom. Anyhow, the reason bring this up is that tomorrow it will be a week. After reading your blog on the intro diet, i dont think i have been cooking my broths long enough, I am also eating actual meals (only meat and veggies). Should i be only drinking broths for the first week with possibly adding in cooked veggies as the week goes on to my broth? Not sure on how to handle the first stage. Any insight will help. I also think that i will stay on this stage 1 more week since i have been cheating almost every day. Just a baby cheat though………well except for today.

    Thanks!

  37. Is it possible to do the gaps diet w/ out vinegar and fermented foods ? My whole life I’ve had humongous problems w/ eating or smelling certain foods.

  38. great info! :) i’m currently researching as much as I can to fully prepare myself for the gaps diet. I have to admit, it sounds very overwhelming already, but so are three autistic children. I really want to try this for health reasons and to hopefully heal many stomach issues my children have. this article explains it well . thank u. :)

  39. I just started GAPS today, with a twist. I can’t eat sugar (fruits included), chicken, turkey, soy… I am going with a specialist to create a menu but reading this helps, knowing is not impossible.

  40. I am (once again) considering GAPS mainly b/c our 4 yo suffers from nut, peanut and egg allergies. It’s the peanut one that would drive me to do this. Do you know of anyone healed of PA after doing GAPS? Is it safe to do with kids? What about if I am exclusively breastfeeding? How long is the intro diet? I still feel like I just don’t know where to start! I’m guessing it’d be better to start this after the holidays?? Thanks for the help!

  41. Hi Erin,
    Thank you so much for this blog!
    I have UC and was in remission for quite some time but this past year I have been flaring.
    I was doing SCD but still not having the results I was hoping for so I switced to the GAPS
    I just started the GAPS intro diet yesterday and I feel miserable today.
    I am so weak and I am still going to the bathroom often.
    I too am only 5 6′ and weigh about 115 and I feel like I am withering away:-(
    I decided today to try some activated charcoal in hopes that it will help with my bowels.
    My husband has been amazing through all this preparing all the broths but I still feel so overwhelmed and alone at times. I guess I am writing for support and any other thoughts of encourgement would be great!
    Thank you so much!
    Shelly

  42. How do we do a rotational diet on intro gaps eating chicken fish beef lamb soup broths and only steamed carrots brocoli kale zucchini?
    My 19 yr old excema increases and or lips and eye swells if he tries to add egg yogurt coconut oil honey or fruit into the diet.
    Now he is reacting to the grassfed beef steak shank soup,meatballs hamburgers.
    I dont understand how to properly rotate so few foods. He is stuck in stage 2-3 for 3 months..this is second time around. Beginning 3rd time.
    Can someone email me a sample menu for 7 days intro stage 1-3 with above limitations?
    Tytyty!

  43. Hi, are you still using GAPS? What did it help? Not help? I’d love the end of the journey debrief! :) I’ve struggled my whole life. Went paleo last January and my tummy did SO great. But in November it took a remarkably bad turn :( are u still on meds?
    Thx!!!

  44. I haven’t read all the comments but am replying to Maniac who commented so long ago they will likely never read this. My 15 year old son has been recovered from Asperger syndrome through healing his gut and correcting his dysbiosis. Strange fad diet, NOT. It makes perfect sense and it works.

  45. I was searching diets to heal Leaky Gut and found you. I have struggled all my life with digestive problems. Allergic to dairy, gluten, eggs, yeast, walnuts, and cannot tolerate preservatives, binders, coloring, etc.

    Gained weight from eating the all “American Diet” and have inflammation, muscle spasms, muscle, bone, and flesh pain all the time. Have Sleep Apnea and struggle to get around. Depression, Anxiety and scattered thoughts with memory loss plague me.

    I tried the “Raw Juice” diet and became so nauseated on the green juices and my stomach is so raw I cringe at the thought of more green juice. I know the nutrients are wonderful but my stomach is so raw and sore.

    I cooked a chicken and drank the broth last night and feel some better this morning. Have been using Aloe Vera with no improvement and I am hoping that the intro diet to GAPS helps me.

    I have had Candida, constipation, asthma, and many auto immune symptoms all of my life. Some doctors say it is a “food allergy” intolerance. Others say I don’t have the enzyme to digest casein and gluten. Others say I have developed Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Polymyositis, and possibly Scleroderma. Another Rheumatologist said I have the antibiodies that cause auto immune disease.

    Whatever the case, I have been in so much pain and emotional distress that I am not able to work anymore. I am going to try this GAPS intro and see if it will help me. I have had to be careful of my diet for a long time so I think I can manage this GAPS long enough to see if it will work for me.

    Thanks so much for the information you have shared.

  46. Thanks for this blog. I have severe migraines that wake me up at night and acid reflux. I am on the GAPs diet for 2 weeks now, but go off it with things like pasteurized sour cream, so am not entirely legal. I often feel alone and so it’s helpful to read of other people’s struggle. I believe that the food corporations have poisoned our food supply which is why 25 million Americans have food allergies, migraines, digestive disorders. There have been studies to show that the older generations in African countries live longer than younger generations now eating Western style processed food. Better to eat fresh.

  47. Hi,

    We are currently doing the GF/CF diet with my son……I’ve looked into the BED diet and also alittle with the GAPS diet…..my question is can you do this diet if you are vegetarian? My son does eat eggs but no milk.

    Thanks

  48. After reading one comment about this diet being a fad, I felt the need to share. Dietary changes have CURED my boy of all ASD symptoms. This kid HAD such severe vestibular dysfunction, he never played like other kids; never ran, never climbed, never explored his environment. He didn’t make eye contact, couldn’t read cues from others, didn’t have social skills. But now, NOW, my friends (tears) he is everything a kid should be. We started with an elimination diet to identify allergens, and the progress was immediate. We are gradually improving and tweaking, as we go. Only recently have we embarked on the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (almost identical to GAPS), and things are getting better and better. Thanks for your blog, I feel more confident starting the first official week on GAPS after reading what to expect.

  49. Hi there! On step two you take out the whole chicken — I’m wondering how long it needs to boil before taking it out?

    I started GAPS yesterday, and your blog has been very benefical to me. Thanks a bunch!

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