You’re ready to embark on a really important healing journey! Today let’s talk all about the 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.
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.
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!
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GAPS diet introduction phase stage 1 recipes
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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.
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