This time around, we’re all set up for GAPS, and it’s super easy! I know all my past objections are moot. GAPS Intro is actually a satisfying way to eat, and it makes me feel so much better. I just grab a jar of stock from the fridge or freezer (or scoop some out of a pot in progress), chop up some veggies, and add some meat. When it’s ready, I add a bit of a probiotic food. It takes 25 minutes to make my meals. If I need to go somewhere, I just heat up my soup and put it in a thermos. For variety, I use different vegetable and ferment combinations, and alternate the textures of my soups from brothy, to more stew-like, to pureed.
It also helped that we already had all the stuff we needed to do a bunch of home cooking!GAPS Stage 1 is a very basic diet, comprised of:
- Homemade bone and meat or fish stock.
- The soft tissues, meat, marrow, and fat cooked while making the stock.
- Non-fibrous vegetables, cooked in the stock until soft.
- The juice of fermented vegetables, added to the stock when eating.
- For people who are prone to diarrhea and who pass the sensitivity test, dairy based ferments.
- Ginger, mint, or chamomile tea with a little honey.
For all the details and reasoning behind it, read pages 142-148 of the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Revised and Expanded Edition by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
If these foods are new to you, here are some more details:
Homemade bone and meat or fish stock.Stock is a traditional healing food, and is ridiculously easy to make. You can either do it on the stovetop in a heavy stock pot, or in a crock pot. You start with bones and joints (with marrow and soft tissues still on them, and large tubular bones cut by the butcher) or a cleaned, whole fish, chicken, pheasant, etc. Then you put your bones or animal in your pot and cover it with water. You can add some unrefined, uniodized salt to taste.
You cover it and simmer for a few hours, or if using a crockpot, cook overnight. Then you strain out the bones and meat. You can freeze (use wide-mouth jars with no neck and leave headspace!) or refrigerate your stock, and then reheat it later on the stove top (not the microwave). Take all the meat, marrow, and soft tissues and save it to add to the soups you make later.
The more stock you have on hand, the better. Just keep it going all the time and you’ll never have to worry about running out.
The soft tissues, meat, marrow, and fat cooked while making the stock.
When you make your stock, you strain out the bones, meat, marrow, and soft tissues. Pull out the bones, and save the rest in the refrigerator. Then you can add these to the stock when you are making soup.
Non-fibrous vegetables, cooked in the stock until soft.The GAPS diet avoids starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Other vegetables, such as carrots, leeks, squash (winter and summer), broccoli, cauliflower, etc can be added to the soup. At this stage, make sure to avoid brocolli stems and other fibrous parts of the vegetables. Add your stock, vegetables, and the meats you saved and bring it to a gentle boil for about 25 minutes, or until your vegetables are soft. You can puree the soup if you like. A stick blender works well for that.
The brine of fermented vegetables, added to the stock when eating.
Fermented vegetables are a naturally probiotic food. Since introducing probiotics can unpleasant reactions as the balance of flora in your gut adjusts to them, it’s important to start slowly. Start by adding a total of 1-2 teaspoons a day of the juice from the fermented veggies to your stock and soups. Gradually increase the amount each day until you can tolerate a few teaspoons of the probiotic food in each cup of soup or stock. Always take care to let your soup cool a bit before adding the fermented vegetable juice – you don’t want to kill the good bacteria before you get a chance to eat them up!
We’ve got lots of fermented vegetables and their juices on hand at the moment – sauerkraut, asparagus, cucumber, and green beans. If you are just getting started with fermenting vegetables, the easiest thing to start with is homemade sauerkraut. If you really don’t have it in you to make your own, Bubbies makes a live sauerkraut that you can buy in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
Limited Fermented DairyFor people who are prone to diarrhea and who pass the sensitivity test, dairy based ferments.
If you have an existing dairy allergy, of course consult your doctor before trying to introduce any dairy products. The sensitivity test that Dr. Natasha recommends is to take a bit of the new food and place it on the inside of the wrist before bed. Let it dry there overnight. In the morning, check the spot for any reaction. If there is a reaction, retest again in a few weeks. Do not introduce a food that shows a reaction.
Some people find that while they have problems with processed dairy, homemade fermented dairy is well tolerated. We use raw milk from a local farmer and make yogurt from it. We also make kefir from raw milk. The kids and TinyHands eat the kefir – I can’t stand it. In Stage 1 of the GAPS Intro, whey drippings from the yogurt and sour cream made from yogurt culture are recommended if constipation isn’t an issue and the sensitivity test shows no reaction.
These ferments are probiotic, like the fermented vegetables. They should also be introduced very slowly, working up to about 1/2 cup a day.
Ginger, mint, or chamomile tea with a little honey.
To make ginger tea, just grate some ginger root and add boiling water. Don’t use powdered versions! Let it steep for 3-5 minutes, then add a little honey (raw and local is best).
Prep for Stage 2
Make sure you have the things you’ll need for stage 2 on hand. For example, you may want to start fermenting your fish and find a good source of fresh eggs now. Full disclosure – the fermented fish never turned into a thing we did. GAPS still helped us immensely!
If you need a bit more guidance on getting all set up to start GAPS, check out these related posts:
- GAPS Resources
- Starting GAPS
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 1
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 2
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 3
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 4
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 5
- It’s so Easy – GAPS Intro Stage 6
- The GAPS Full Diet