Thinking about getting started with the GAPS diet? Wondering what to do to get ready?
For me, the GAPS diet has literally changed my life! It healed several stubborn, miserable health issues. The GAPS diet has also helped other members of my family. I’ll go more into depth on my experience in future blog posts. For now, I want to help you get started!
I have another post here where I explain what the GAPS diet is in a nutshell. It’s a great introduction to what the GAPS diet is and how it works.
Quick recap: What is the GAPS diet?
The GAPS diet is a temporary, healing diet. It focuses on sealing leaky gut, as well as restoring the balance of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract.
Usually people do the GAPS diet for two years for complete healing. After that, most people can transition to a nourishing, traditional diet where no food groups are excluded, but everything is high quality and properly prepared. Also, people who have experienced deep, through healing can normally eat whatever they want on occasion and have no ill effects. That’s what I can do. Pretty nice!
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Read the book
My first tip on preparing to do the GAPS diet is to read the book. Grab your own copy of Gut and Psychology Syndrome here. It really helps to have an overview for what you’re doing and why.
I love how easy of a book it is to read. Dr. Campbell McBride does a great job of explaining everything in a simple, easy to understand way. She even has fun little drawings to illustrate what she’s talking about. and, if you’re the type who wants to see sources and studies, she provides that as well. There is plenty of science in the book for anyone who wants it.
Try to read the whole book before you start. You’ll discover that a lot of the book is actually a cookbook with recipes. The actual technical part is much shorter than it at first appears. But it’s really helpful to have a good overview of how the healing takes place.
Don’t get overwhelmed
By reading the book and arming yourself with knowledge, you might start to feel some information overload. Don’t let that get you down. As you start the practical steps, you’ll get the hang of it. It’s pretty simple. Really, it is mostly an eating, cooking, and lifestyle adjustment. And, best of all, you’ll see wonderful health benefits. There isn’t anything more encouraging than that!
I do really like how Dr. Campbell McBride keeps the book nice and simple. I think most people can easily read it and understand what they’re doing. It’s designed to be easy to use and practical. So grab a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot, and start reading!
Get your kitchen ready
The next thing you’ll want to do is to make sure your kitchen is ready to go. There are a few pieces of equipment that you will be using a lot. The first kitchen essential is a big, stainless steel stock pot. Don’t use aluminum; make sure it is really stainless steel. (Aluminum is a toxic metal, while stainless steel is usually safe.) You’ll use this a lot for making meat stock and soups.
Along with a good stock pot, you’ll need to have stainless steel utensils such as a ladle, strainer, and stirring spoons. Wooden spoons are also great. Stay away from plastic cooking utensils, as these can leach chemicals into food.
Say goodbye to the bad guys
Teflon and other nonstick cookware will have to go. Definitely don’t use it while cooking for anyone on the GAPS diet. The nonstick coating releases dangerous chemicals into the food. That’s not good for anyone! People who are trying to heal need to be especially careful to reduce their toxic load. So, do everyone in your family a favor and ditch the toxic cookware. Stick with safer, traditional cookware made from stainless steel, cast iron, and glass.
Get good storage
Another essential kitchen item is a collection of glass food storage containers. Again, we want to steer away from plastic and other materials that can leach chemicals into food. Glass is a safe, nontoxic option. Also, it makes heating leftovers very easy. Just pop the glass containers into the oven (take the lid off!) and you’re good to go.
Mason jars are another kitchen essential. They’re also made of safe, nontoxic glass, and all sorts of different things can be stored in them. I prefer wide mouth for ease of use.
Other things that are nice to have
A crockpot is really handy, especially if you’re very busy or work outside the home. Crockpots make it very easy to have hot meals ready to go, very easily.
Another thing that can make life easier is an Instant Pot. It’s not necessary to have one at all. I completed the GAPS diet without one. But, looking back, I can see how it could make things easier if you have access to one. Also, you can make yogurt in the Instant Pot. Since homemade yogurt is an important part of the GAPS diet, you might find it is a good investment. That way you don’t have to also own a separate yogurt maker.
A juicer is something you’ll need to get eventually, but you don’t have to get it right away. I own and love this one. A really powerful blender is another kitchen tool that is great to have. I use one like this all the time for smoothies and many more things. It’s wonderful for the blended soups that are eaten a lot in the beginning stages of the GAPS diet.
Find the best food sources
The next thing you’ll want to have ready when getting started with the GAPS diet, is high quality sources for bones, meat, organic produce, and other foods. It’s important to look for pasture raised, organic meats and bones. Organic produce is also a must. Remember, on the GAPS diet we’re wanting to nourish and deeply heal our bodies. So, its really important to reduce our toxic load as much as possible. I love Azure Standard for getting great prices on high quality, organic food. Here’s a list of some foods to have on hand before you get started:
- Pasture raised, organic meats & bones
- Organic produce
- Sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt & black peppercorns
- Homemade sauerkraut
- Homemade yogurt or sour cream
- Fresh ginger root, dried mint tea, and/or dried chamomile tea
- Pasture raised, organic eggs
- Fresh organic herbs for cooking
- Pasture raised, organic butter or ghee, tallow, or duck fat
- Organic nut butter
- Cold pressed olive oil
- Almond flour & coconut flour
I’ll go way more in depth on pretty much everything I’ve touched on here in future blog posts. But for now, I just wanted to give you a quick overview of what you need when you’re getting started on the GAPS diet.
Keep the goal in mind
Depending on your lifestyle and cooking and eating habits beforehand, it might be a bit of an adjustment to start the GAPS diet. Everything is made from scratch at home. There are certain foods that are off limits at certain times. It does take some diligence and a bit of work. But I can tell you from my experience: it is so worth it!
I encourage you to keep that in mind. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or someone else, think about what you’re accomplishing. You’re giving yourself or your child the gift of vibrant, good health, for years to come. There is a saying that goes, “health is wealth.” I tend to agree with that! Some discipline for a temporary healing time goes a long way towards a long, healthy, happy life. Don’t get bogged down with the daily details, but keep that end goal of excellent health in mind.
Getting Started with the GAPS Diet Video
How do you feel about getting started with the GAPS diet?
Are you excited? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Do you have any questions? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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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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