GAPS Diet Introduction Phase Stage 1

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You’re ready to embark on a really important healing journey! Today let’s talk all about the GAPS Diet Introduction Phase Stage 1. 

GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1

The main goal of the GAPS introduction diet is to heal and seal the gut lining. You’ll notice that there are very specific foods in stage 1. These foods provide nourishment to renew the gut lining. 

If you’re looking for guidance on how to get started with GAPS in general, I share all my best tips on how to start the GAPS intro diet here. This blended carrot soup and this beef soup are perfect for stage 1 and beyond.

Looking for a GAPS diet meal plan? Check out GAPS to Go, my 30 day meal plan for GAPS intro here

How to heal leaky gut

Do you remember the cute picture of those little cells called enterocytes? I talked about them in one of my previous posts, where I go over our personal ecosystem and how it works. Well, the foods we eat in stage 1 of GAPS intro help make sure that the enterocytes’ life cycles are happening properly, so that food can be digested the right way.

Stage 1 of the GAPS introduction diet eliminates fiber and other foods that are hard to digest. That’s to give the digestive system a much needed rest. It is also helpful to soothe and heal areas of inflammation. Leaky guts usually have inflammation. 

You’ll see that the GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1 includes a lot of meat stock, soups, stews, and lots of animal fats. It’s crucial to provide plenty of these foods every single day. These are what will actually accomplish a lot of the rebuilding and healing. 

It’s really important to go ahead and do the GAPS introduction diet before starting into the full GAPS diet. This will make sure that you heal more deeply and more quickly. If you start right on the full GAPS diet without doing the introduction phase stage 1, you’ll likely end up with lingering health problems that are even harder to deal with. 

How to heal food allergies

Let’s talk for a second about food allergies and intolerances. When there is a leaky gut, food is not digested properly. Food that is not fully digested gets allowed into the bloodstream, and our immune system reacts to the improperly digested food. This is what brings about a food allergy or intolerance. 

Getting testing done for food allergies and intolerances is actually rather unreliable. You see, if you have a leaky gut, your immune system will be reacting to pretty much everything you’re eating. You’re likely to have test results that you you’re reacting to many things you eat on a regular basis. You can even get different results on different days, just because you’ll show you’re reacting to whatever you’ve eaten recently. 

Often, people get tested for food allergies and intolerances, and then go about trying to figure out how to eat in such a way that avoids the foods they reacted to. I don’t know about you, but I definitely wouldn’t want to live that way! A far better approach is to spend the time and effort actually healing leaky gut, and then not have to worry about food intolerances or allergies anymore.

If you suspect a real, anaphylactic allergy to any food, it’s important to do the sensitivity test before introducing that food. To do the sensitivity test, put a drop of the food on the inside of your wrist before going to bed at night. If the food isn’t wet, you can add water to it first. Put a bandaid over the food, and let it dry on your wrist and stay there overnight. In the morning, look at the skin where the food was. If there is an angry red reaction, don’t eat that food right now. You’ll have to wait a while and let more healing take place before doing the sensitivity test again. If there is no reaction, it’s safe to proceed with introducing that food. 

GAPS intro stage 1

Heal with probiotic foods

Another goal of the GAPS introduction diet is to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut. The time spent on each stage of GAPS intro is very individual. If you introduce a new food and your symptoms return, that means you’re not ready for that food yet. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends waiting a week or more, and then trying again. 

During the GAPS introduction diet, you’ll start each day with a glass of water. It’s best if the water is room temperature, so it doesn’t shock your system. This is also when you’ll take your probiotic. 

GAPS diet introduction phase food list

Now let’s talk about the foods for the GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1. 

  • Meat stock – This provides the building blocks for the cells of the gut lining. It also soothes inflammation in the gut. The meat stock must be homemade! Don’t try to use store bought broth or bullion cubes. Those definitely won’t provide the same results. You’ll be having meat stock with each meal, and even between meals as a drink.  The soft tissues from the soup bones, and also the marrow from inside the bones provide these nutrients, too. I show how to make meat stock here
  • Soup – You can make lots of different soup recipes that fit the requirements of GAPS intro stage 1. I have a GAPS intro stage 1 chicken soup recipe here. It’s important to remove all the fibrous parts of the vegetables for soups at this stage. Also make sure all the vegetables are cooked very soft, so they’re easy to digest. 
  • Probiotic foods – These help to restore that balance of friendly bacteria in the gut. The first thing to start having is liquid from homemade sauerkraut. I show how to make sauerkraut here. Pretty soon you’ll also add in homemade yogurt and sour cream. It’s important to start slowly with the fermented foods, to avoid reactions. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends starting with 1-2 teaspoons of the sauerkraut liquid for 1-5 days, and gradually increasing the amount. The goal is to be having 1 tablespoon of fermented food with every cup of meat stock and every bowl of soup. 
  • Tea – Fresh ginger, mint, and chamomile are the best choices. I show how to make these teas here. These herbal teas help to soothe and heal the digestive system, and are nice drinks to enjoy between meals. 

You can also read ahead to see what foods you’ll be adding in stage 2, stage 3, stage 4stage 5, and stage 6.

GAPS intro stage 1 recipes

How to introduce fermented foods on GAPS intro

Introducing those fermented foods can be a little tricky, so let’s talk a little more about that. When probiotic foods are added, the pathogenic bacteria will start to die off. If that happens too quickly, uncomfortable reactions can happen. To avoid that, it’s important to go very slowly, and increase the amounts very gradually. 

Start with fermented vegetables first. The best is the liquid from homemade sauerkraut. After that, add in fermented raw dairy, but be sure to do the sensitivity test first. Yogurt culture is more mild, while kefir is more aggressive. For that reason, start with yogurt, and add kefir later. I show how to make yogurt here, and how to make kefir here

If you tend to struggle with diarrhea, raw milk yogurt will be most helpful for you. For constipation, the homemade fermented vegetables will be most helpful at first. Full fat dairy, like sour cream made from raw milk, is also really helpful for constipation. I show how to make sour cream here. This sour cream yogurt recipe is also perfect. 

GAPS intro diet for toddlers

If you’re helping a child start the GAPS diet, you’ll definitely want to check out my guide on the GAPS intro diet for toddlers

I share all of my tips on getting toddlers to eat GAPS foods, enjoy meat stock, and more.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Get my full disclosure here.

GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1 video

What are your biggest challenges with starting the GAPS diet?

What symptoms are you trying to heal? Let me know in the comments!


This free eBook includes recipes for everything you’ll need to know how to make for the GAPS introduction diet: meat stock, soup, sauerkraut, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, herbal teas, ghee, pancakes, and apple sauce. Grab your copy below!

GAPS diet essential recipes free ebook

GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1 recipes

Meat stock

Chicken soup



Sour cream


The GAPS Diet Book: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Looking for a GAPS intro meal plan?

GAPS to Go is a 30 day meal plan for the GAPS introduction diet that tells you what to eat each day, with complete cooking instructions, and guidance on when to move to each intro diet stage. Check out GAPS to Go here


GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1: what to eat and how #gapsdiet #leakygut #allergies






Thanks for stopping by! Be well! 🐝

GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.




32 thoughts on “GAPS Diet Introduction Phase Stage 1”

  1. Hi,

    We are starting GAPS while working to put my husbands chrons in remission. Do you recommend the yellow cover GAPS book or the newer blue version?

    Your blog has been so incredibly helpful and so well explained for rookies. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    • Thank you so much! I definitely recommend the newer blue book for Crohn’s disease. There are many success stories with GAPS helping Crohn’s. Sending well wishes!

  2. Hi!! I’m Emma, and have terrible eczema. How long have people been on this before they saw results? Especially with skin?
    Also- how much do you exercise daily with GAPS and in the Intro stage??

    • Great questions! It’s a pretty individual thing and depends how deep the damage is. Some people see relief sooner than others, and in general, healing takes time. It is so worth it, though! For exercise on intro, I usually do some gentle walking. I really try to listen to my body and do what it feels like. Some days it’s a long walk, some days a short walk, and some days I just feel like resting. Hope that helps!

    • Yes! In the yellow GAPS book there is a full list, and “GAPS Stage by Stage with Recipes” by Dr. Becky Plotner has detailed lists on what to add at each stage. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Marisa,
    I was wondering how long you stay on each phase of GAPS? I find this to be a bit confusing. Thanks so much for your help!

    • Great question! It is very individual. Most people stay on stage 1 for a short time, a few days to a week or so. Stage 2 is where the deepest healing happens. Here’s how you know you’re ready to move out of stage 2: introduce avocado. If your old symptoms come back, you’re not ready for stage 3. Go back to stage 2 and stay there longer until more healing has happened, then try again. For the rest of the stages, just go through slowly and carefully, adding one food at a time, listening to your body to see if you’re ready for each food or not. Stay at a stage longer if needed. In this process, you learn so much about your body! Hope that helps!

  4. Hi, first I want to thank you for posting all of this helpful content because
    I’m a little confused. I’m planning to start with the first stage of the intro diet, so in brief, this is my plan according to everything I have absorbed from your content:
    For the first stage, I will consume

    1. Water in the morning.
    2. My breakfast will be Soup + meat stock + 3 teaspoons of sauerkraut probiotic liquid and some mint tea at the end.
    3. I will repeat step 2 for every time I feel hungry during the day.

    Is this correct? I’m i missing something ? how do I know when I’m ready for the next stage?

    Thanks !!

      • Yes! You eat the chicken meat and as much of the “nibbly bits” (connective tissue, fat, skin) as you can as they are all very healing.

    • You’re welcome! It can be confusing at first, and I’m happy to help. Yes, that is all pretty close, I would have the tea in between meals and not right after a meal. As for the sauerkraut liquid, unless you are already used to eating plenty of sauerkraut on a daily basis, you may want to start with less and work up gradually to avoid any uncomfortable die off reactions. Most people can stay on stage one for a few days, and then they’re ready for stage 2. Stage 2 is where a lot of healing takes place. Moving from stage to stage is very individual. If you’re feeling good on stage 1 after a day or so, go ahead and move on to stage 2. Hope that helps!

  5. I have candida overgrowth and leaky gut. I have been homemade drinking bone broth for 25 days today. I was too weak with bone broth only so I did have to start having small amounts of meat, low carb green veggies and some organic berries every day. I am on a spore probiotic. I will be done with this part of my diet in 5 days. Then I wanted to start the gaps introduction diet and move on from there with gaps. I’m confused about fermented foods and candida. I have been on diflucan for 25 days too and will finish that at day 30. I don’t see much ever talked about as far as fermented foods and yeast issues. My dr has told me that fermented will make yeast overgrowth worse. I don’t know how to proceed. Any resources or suggestions? Thanks so much for your articles! They are teaching me so much!

    • You’re very welcome, I’m so glad! I have not heard that about fermented foods and yeast. Rather, Dr. Natasha says that homemade fermented foods are very powerful at balancing the body’s gut bacteria, and helping to prevent and correct yeast overgrowth. Specifically, homemade kefir has beneficial strains of yeast in it, along with beneficial bacteria, that are very helpful for gut health. I hope that helps!

  6. What can be used if you have no access to raw dairy? I have checked and it is just not available anywhere near me. I’ve really wanted/needed to go on this diet for a while 🙂

    • You can definitely do a dairy free version. Or, if you can find low temperature pasteurized and non homogenized milk, you can culture that into yogurt and kefir 🙂

  7. I’ve attempted this a couple times with my son but he has an anaphylactic egg allergy and dairy intolerance so I struggle with feeling like he’s getting enough to eat on this diet.

    • You would have to avoid egg and dairy for now, and stick to meat, meat stock, vegetables, and animal fats. I’ll be talking more about variations like this soon.

  8. I’ve yet to start this diet, but I’m becoming more and more interested in it. I’ve been watching your posts for awhile and I hope to take the plunge soon.

    • Hello,
      I have been planning on doing the gaps diet in a few weeks, and have spent the past few weeks prepping (mentally as well as last and menu wise.)
      I had thought of starting at stage 3, for many reasons but mainly for the fact that I will be the sole provider for my children during that time and want them to dp it with me. I figured starting farther ahead wouldn’t be as intense for all of us.
      You mention that not doing all the stages would cause more problems, though. What exactly happens if you start at stage 3 or 4 instead of 1?
      We’ve done many detox-style diets over the years, 21 DSD and Danile fasts, at least twice per year. So wouldn’t starting with a more advenced stage just be similar to another detox style diet?

      • These are great questions! I’d love to help, but this is beyond what I can address in a blog comment. Please message me on Instagram @bumblebeeapothecary or send me a message on my contact page, and I will get back to you with my thoughts 🙂

  9. While I am not sure that I would be ready to go on the actual GAPS diet, I love implementing a lot of those ideas (and already have). Thank you for a well-written article!


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