The GAPS Introduction Diet

It can be confusing when trying to figure out what foods are allowed in each stage, so here is a comprehensive and up-to-date list, stage by stage. The GAPS Nutritional Protocol is an incredibly healing diet for various health ailments, to find out more about it see this post.

Allowed Food list

Stage 1

- Meat stocks
- Soups made with the meat stocks
- Vegetables added to the soup - Carrot (skin removed), Zucchini (skin and seeds removed), Broccoli and cauliflower (florets only- no stems), mushrooms, onion, garlic, artichokes, beetroot, boo choy, brussel sprouts, capsicum, eggplant, ginger root, green beans (not string beans), leafy greens, kale, leek (white part only), peas (shelled), pumpkin, spinach, squash, turnips (some people don't tolerate these well), watercress, tomatoes.
- Sauerkraut Juice in every bowl of soup
- Home made yoghurt
- Ginger and honey tea

Stage 2

- Continue with Stage 1
- Add in raw organic egg yolk
- Once tolerated add egg whites
- Stews and casseroles made with meats and vegetables
- Increase yoghurt and kefir
- Introduce fermented fish
- Introduce homemade ghee

Stage 3

Carry on with all previous foods
- Ripe avocado
- GAPS Pancakes 
- Eggs scrambled with plenty of ghee, goose fat, or duck fat. 
- Sauerkraut and fermented vegetables

Stage 4

- Carry on with all previous foods
- Roasted and grilled meats
- Cold pressed olive oil
- Freshly pressed carrot juice first
- Then add celery, lettuce and fresh mint
- Baked breads with nut and seed flours

Stage 5

- Cooked apple puree
- Raw vegetables (start with softer parts)
- Fruit in juices, no citrus

Stage 6

- Raw apple, peeled
- Then other raw fruit
- Sweet baking (dried fruit and honey as sweetener) 

How to implement: (from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride) 

First Stage:

- Home made meat stock. Meat stocks provide the building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. This is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract. Do not use commercially available soup stock granules or bullion cubes, as they are highly processed and full of detrimental ingredients. Chicken stock is particularly gentle on the stomach and is very good to start from. To make good meat stock you need joints, bones, a piece of meat on the bone, a whole chicken, giblets from chicken, goose or duck, whole pigeons, pheasants or other inexpensive meats. It is essential to use bones and joints, as they provide the healing substances, not so much the muscle meats. Ask the butcher to cut in half the large tubular bones, so you can get the bone marrow out of them after cooking. Put the bones, joints and meats into a large pan and fill it up with water, add a little (about half of your usual salt usage) natural unprocessed salt at the beginning of cooking. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 2.5-3 hours. After cooking take the bones and meats out and sieve the stock to remove small bones. Strip off all the soft tissues from the bones as best you can to add to the soups. Encourage the patient to eat all of the soft tissues on the bones. Extract the bone marrow out of large tubular bones while they are still warm: to do that bang the bone on a thick wooden chopping board. The gelatinous soft tissues around the bone and the bone marrow provide some of the best healing remedies for the gut lining and the immune system; the patient needs to consume them with every meal. The meat stock will keep well in the fridge for at least 7 days or it can be frozen. Keep giving them warm meat stock as a drink all day with their meals and between meals. Do not use microwaves for warming up the stock, use a conventional stove (microwaves destroy food). It is very important to consume all the fat in the stock and off the bones as these fats are essential for the healing process. Add some probiotic foods into every cup of stock (the details about introducing probiotic foods follow). 

Home made soup with your home made meat stock. Please look for some recipe ideas in the recipe section of the book. Here we will go through some details, specific to the Introduction Diet. Bring some of the meat stock to the boil, add chopped or sliced vegetables: a choice of onions, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, zucchinis, squash, pumpkin etc. and simmer for 2-3 minutes. You can choose any combination of vegetables, avoiding very fibrous ones, such as all varieties of cabbage and celery. All particularly fibrous parts of the vegetable need to be removed, such as skin and seeds on pumpkins, zucchinis and squashes, stalks of broccoli and cauliflower and any other parts that look too fibrous. Cook the vegetables well, so they are really soft. When the vegetables are well cooked, add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped garlic and turn the heat off. Have this soup with the bone marrow and meats and other soft tissues, which you cut off the bones. You can blend this soup using a soup blender or serve it as it is. Add some probiotic food into every bowl of soup (the details about introducing probiotic foods follow). You should eat these soups with boiled meat and other soft tissues off the bones as often as you want to all day. If the addition of vegetables causes a reaction, then continue with just the meat stock and soft tissues and try adding in one vegetable at a time. 

- Probiotic foods are essential to introduce right from the beginning. These can be dairy based or vegetable based. To avoid any reactions, introduce probiotic foods gradually, starting from 1 teaspoon a day for 2-5 days, then 2 teaspoons a day for 2-5 days and so on until you can add a few teaspoons of the probiotic food into every cup of meat stock and every bowl of soup. I recommend introducing homemade yoghurt, starting from 1 teaspoon a day for 3 days, then 2 teaspoons a day for 3 days and so on until you have 2 small cups of yoghurt a day with food and between meals. In parallel make sauerkraut and start adding juice from this sauerkraut into every bowl of soup or vegetable/meat puree. Start from 1 teaspoon a day for 3 days, then 2 teaspoons a day for 3 days, and then move to 3 teaspoons a day: one spoon with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure that the food is not too hot when adding the probiotic foods, as the heat will destroy the beneficial probiotic bacteria. You may want to introduce probiotic foods slower or faster, depending on your stool and typical-for-you symptoms. When yoghurt is introduced (you are consuming one cup per day), start introducing homemade kefir gradually (the same way as yoghurt). Kefir is more aggressive then yoghurt, so expect a die-off reaction (bad bacteria dieing off, causing symptoms such as loose stools, headaches, tiredness). 

- Ginger tea between meals. To make ginger tea, grate some fresh ginger root (about a teaspoonful) into your teapot and pour some boiling water over it, cover and leave for 3-5 min. Pour through a small sieve. You can have a bit of honey with the tea (cold extracted honey, preferably locally produced).

- Butter and honey mixture. You can make up a mixture of butter and honey, just enough honey to taste. Put this in a jar and have as much of this as you want, as often as you want in the first few days. This will prevent hypoglycaemia and help to balance out blood sugar levels very quickly. 

Second stage:

Keep having the soups with bone marrow, boiled meats and other soft tissues off the bones. You should keep drinking the meat stock and ginger tea. Keep adding some probiotic food into every cup of meat stock and every bowl of soup: juice from the sauerkraut and homemade yoghurt. 

- Add raw organic egg yolks . It is best to add raw egg yolks to every bowl of soup and every cup of meat stock. Start from 1 egg yolk a day and gradually increase until you have an egg yolk with every bowl of soup. When egg yolks are well tolerated add soft-boiled eggs to the soups (the whites slightly cooked and the yolks still runny). If you have any concerns about egg allergy, do the sensitivity test first. There is no need to limit the number of egg yolks per day, as they absorb quickly, almost without needing any digestion, and will provide you with wonderful and most needed nourishment. Get your eggs from a source you trust: fresh, free range, organic. 

- Add stews and casseroles made with meats and vegetables. Avoid spices at this stage; just make the stew with some salt, black peppercorns and fresh herbs (look for a recipe on Italian Casserole in the recipe section of the GAPS book). The fat content of these meals must be quite high: the more fresh animal fats from meats you consume, the quicker you will recover. Add some probiotic food into every serving. 

- Increase the daily amount of homemade yoghurt. Increase the amount of juice from sauerkraut. 

- Try introducing fermented fish. If you do not react then start from one piece a day and gradually increase. Look for the recipes in the recipe section. 

- Introduce homemade ghee, starting from 1 teaspoon a day and gradually increasing. Just add it to ready-made meals. 

Third Stage:

- Carry on with the previous foods.

- Add ripe avocado mashed into soups, starting from 1 teaspoon a day and gradually increasing the amount.

- Add pancakes, staring from one pancake a day and gradually increasing the amount. Make these pancakes with three ingredients: 1) Organic nut butter (almond, walnut, peanut etc.); 2) eggs; 3) a piece of fresh squash or zucchini (peeled, deseeded and well blended in a food processor). Fry small thin pancakes using ghee, goose fat or duck fat, making sure not to burn them. Nuts are fibrous, so watch for any reactions.

- Egg scrambled with plenty of ghee, goose fat or duck fat. Serve it with avocado (if well tolerated) and cooked vegetables. Cooked onion is particularly good for the digestive system and the immune system: melt 3 tablespoons of duck fat or ghee in the pan, add sliced large white onion, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes on low heat until the onion becomes soft, sweet and translucent. 

- Introduce the sauerkraut (You have been drinking the juice from it for a while now). Start from a tiny amount, gradually increasing to 1/2-1 teaspoon of sauerkraut per meal. 

Fourth Stage:

- Carry on with the previous foods.

- Gradually add meats cooked by roasting and grilling (but not barbecued or fried yet). Avoid bits which are burned or too brown. Eat the meat with cooked vegetables and sauerkraut (or other fermented vegetables). 

- Start adding cold pressed olive oil to the meals, starting from a few drops per meal and gradually increasing the amount to 1-2 tablespoons per meal. 

- Introduce freshly pressed juices, starting from a teaspoonful of carrot juice. Make sure that the juice is clear, filter it well. Drink it slowly or diluted with warm water or mixed with some homemade yoghurt. If well tolerated gradually increase to a full cup a day. When a full cup of carrot juice is well-tolerated try to add to it juice from celery, lettuce and fresh mint leaves. You should drink the juice on a fairly empty stomach, so first thing in the morning and the middle of the afternoon are good times. 

- Try to bake bread with ground almonds or any other nuts and seeds ground into flour. The recipe (please look in the recipe section) requires only four ingredients: 1) nut flour; 2) eggs; 3) piece of fresh squash or zucchini (peeled, deseeded and finely sliced); 4) some natural fat (ghee, butter, goose or duck fat) and some salt to taste. You should start from a small piece of bread per day and gradually increase this amount. 

Fifth Stage:

- If all the previous foods are well tolerated try to add cooked apple as an apple puree: peel and core ripe cooking apples and stew them with a bit of water until soft. When cooked add some ghee to it and mash with a potato masher. If ghee has not been introduced yet add duck or goose fat, or coconut oil (if introduced). Start from a few spoonfuls a day. Watch for any reaction. If there is none gradually increase the amount. 

- Add raw vegetables starting from softer parts of lettuce and peeled cucumber. Watch the stool and typical-for-you symptoms. Again start from a small amount and gradually increase if well tolerated. After those two vegetables are well tolerated gradually add other raw vegetables: carrots, tomato, onion, cabbage etc. 

- If the juice made from carrot, celery, lettuce and mint is well tolerated, start adding fruit to it: apple, pineapple and mango. Avoid citrus fruit at this stage. 

Sixth stage:

- If all the introduced foods are well tolerated try some peeled raw apple. Gradually introduce raw fruit and more honey. 

- Gradually introduce baking cakes and other sweet things allowed on the diet. Use dried fruit as a sweetener in the baking. 

You may be able to move through the Introduction Diet faster or slower depending on the changes in your typical symptoms. You may have to introduce some foods later then in this program depending on your sensitivity reaction. Make sure that you carry on with the soups and meat stock after you have completed the Introduction Diet at least once a day. After the Introduction Diet is completed, move into the Full GAPS Diet. 

If you need some help to get on track with GAPS, or you just want to find out if it is right for you, book in a Free 20 Minute Check-in with me.