Starting GAPS in the New Year?



Three years ago at the New Year, TinyHands and I completely de-glutened our kitchen and got serious about prepping for GAPS. 3 years later, our changes have stuck for the most part!

We’re still 100% gluten-free, and we mostly stick to the GAPS Full Diet. We have healed enough that we can make exceptions when we want to without problems!

If you want to try GAPS, here are some things to do to make sure you’ll have a good experience and be able to stick with it.

Read the Book

It’s heavy reading, but if you can do it, there is no substitute for Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Synrdome and her ever-changing FAQ. Bloggers like me and GAPS practitioners can hold classes and write posts that make it easier to understand, but you are best-off starting right at the source and going from there!

Here is my list of posts breaking down the stages of the GAPS diet:

Get Set to Cook

You can do GAPS with not much more than a chef’s knife, hotplate, and a stainless steel pot, but let’s face it, when you are cooking all the time, having the right equipment makes it a lot easier. Here are the items we’ve found to be the most helpful over the years:

  • Crock Pot:If you are concerned about lead in the glaze, go with Hamilton Beach. Also, you’ll want one that can comfortably fit large roasts or whole chickens. For this reason, I prefer our 8 quart oval crock pot, though the smaller, programmable one is nice, too. If you have extra, you can always freeze it!
  • Stand Mixer: We have a KitchenAid like this one, and a lot of the attachments, too. We love the ice cream mixer bowl & dasher, the grinder, and the food strainer (great for prepping for dried fruit rollups!).
  • Food Processor: I never was one for using fancy stuff like mandolins and food processors for chopping until we started GAPS in earnest. Our Cuisinart is a major time and energy savor, and some stuff just can’t be done properly without it.
  • Fermenting Crock: We started out using plain old mason jars, which do work, especially if you use them with an airlock of some sort. Fido’s work pretty well, too. But a great big crock with a water channel seal is a thing of beauty, and gives great results for large batches.
  • Blender: You can use any old blender, but the Vitamix is really nice and heavy duty. You can even get blades for making your own nut flours.
  • Dehydrator: Beef jerky, fruit roll ups, dried fruit, crispy nuts… this thing is a blessing. We have a Nesco, which is the economical choice. The Excalibur is well-loved by many and doubles as a yogurt maker.
  • Juicer: Make sure you get one with a filter! In GAPS, you remove the fiber. We got ours by asking friends on facebook if they had one they weren’t using. We like the Breville.
  • Chest Freezer: This allows us to save money by buying in bulk and preserve food without canning. Here is our buying guide.
  • Cast Iron Pans: Lodge makes good new cast iron. If you are using old cast iron, be sure to strip it at high heat first and then re-season it, to get the gluten out.
  • Stainless Steel Pots: We get by with one 16 quart stock pot, an 8 quart pot, and a medium and small sauce pan for reheating and sauces.
  • Cutting Boards: Don’t use your old gluten-filled cutting boards! We’ve been happy with two bamboo boards. One with a channel for meat, and another for veggies.
  • Decent Knives: Sharp knives are safest! You can get old knives sharpened. At minimum, you’ll want a serrated knife, a chef knife, and a paring knife.
  • Poultry Shears: You can save a lot of money by buying your birds whole. They’re a lot easier to cut up with poultry shears.
  • Kitchen Shears: This is a simple all purpose tool that I would be miserable without. I like ones that come apart for easy washing.
  • Silpat: Line old cookie sheets with a Silpat when you do your baking. It prevents sticking and cross-contamination from past baking projects.
  • Parchment: Go with unbleached paper. It comes in handy for lining when you are baking, as well.
  • Outlet Timer: You can plug your dehydrator or other appliance in and set it to run when you are sleeping! I love this thing.
  • Toaster Oven: A toaster oven is great to travel with, and it’s good for heating up single servings of leftovers now that you’re not using a microwave any more!
  • Thermos: Soup! You’ll be bringing soup everywhere. Invest in some good thermoses, both little and big!

Get Screened for Celiac

GAPS is naturally gluten-free, but you can’t get accurate test results for celiac without eating gluten. So if you are still eating gluten, please get screened for celiac prior to starting the diet. You may also want to remove all traces of gluten from your home so that gluten cross-contamination doesn’t mess up your GAPS experience.

Find the Food

When you do GAPS, you’ll be using organic foods and pasture-raised meats. Get familiar with any natural food stores in your area, but beware, not everything in them is good for GAPS! To get the best deals, check out your local farmers’ markets, and buy your beef by the cow!

You’ll also want to start making your ferments, since they take weeks! You won’t be eating them right away, but you will want to add the “juice” (brine with all the good bacteria in it) pretty soon.

Use On-Line Resources

GAPS Starter Kit

GAPS Starter Kit

For January only, Cara at Health, Home, Happy, is having a sale! She’s put together a GAPS diet Starter Kit that combines her What Can I Eat Now? GAPS Intro e-book, 2 months of meal plans suitable for the full GAPS diet, the GAPS Freezer Guide so you can have meals ready to go, and a Paperbook Cookbook with 80 favorite recipes.

While there are great resources out there specifically for GAPS, you can also find even more acceptable recipes from Paleo, Primal, and Grain-Free sites. Once you have read the GAPS book and gotten through intro, you can easily modify other recipes to work.

Find Support

Whether you work with your doctor, find like-minded families in your area, or take a series of classes from a GAPS Practitioner, it can be very helpful to have someone in real life who can answer questions and discuss things in person. If you’d like personal coaching as well, just let me know!

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