How to Start the GAPS Diet

by brenda on January 25, 2011

 A couple of friends sent me to this article yesterday, and I wanted to share: How to Prepare for Going on the GAPS Diet. I’ve been thinking of writing a similar post, but I wanted to re-read the beginning stages in the book. It’s been a year since we started, and I certainly don’t want to steer anybody in the wrong direction! :) There have been many, many people who have e-mailed me, called me, or chatted with me in person about their desire to start this diet, but most feel overwhelmed at the thought of how to start. Well, click on that link–Stephanie did a GREAT job breaking it down!

I suggest, take it slow. Don’t try to jump into GAPS by next Monday, or whatever. You need to research. You need to read the book. You need to stock up on the right foods. You need to get in the habit of cooking things you’re not used to cooking.

A couple of baby steps I have to add:

  • I wrote about this in my post about New Year’s Resolutions, but get in the habit of cooking a whole chicken every single week and then putting the bones in the crockpot with some water, salt and pepper overnight. In the morning, you can strain out the bones and compost them, and then use the stock that night for dinner, or freeze it in quart size jars (don’t fill up the jar too full, it will break in the freezer!). Or, we keep the crock pot going the whole next day so that by evening, we’ve got a really dark, rich stock. Some people strain that stock, and then add more water to the bones and make more broth the next day. 
  • Start eating more eggs for breakfast. Cut out the cereals, pancakes, waffles, etc. Before we were on GAPS, I went through phases where I’d only allow myself to have some kind of eggs for breakfast (even though I was making pancakes for my kids ;) ), and I always felt better and lost a little weight during those stages. Try it!
  • Eat at home. Get into the habit of making every single meal. Read my post on Contentment in the Kitchen if you’re struggling with the thought of this!! 
  • Start collecting recipes. I found a program that I love called Shop n’ Cook, and it’s made meal planning SO much easier for me! I went to all of the blogs I could find that cook GAPS, SCD and Paleo recipes that my family would eat. I copied and pasted the recipes (and typed in the source, too), and then the program auto-formatted the recipe for me. I drag recipes onto the calendar onto specific dates, and then I can generate a shopping list. It’s SO easy and I LOVE it! Check it out! :) I have the Shop n’ Cook Pro version, because I can also enter prices and calculate how much a recipe costs to cook. I am into numbers, and these kinds of details are really fun for me. :) Also, it helps with budgeting meals for my family & figuring out which meals are cheapest for serving to large crowds, etc.


Somebody asked me the other day what GAPS stands for. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The original book was written about autistic kids–to point out that their Leaky Gut Syndrome was causing the issues in their brain. The thing is, Leaky Gut doesn’t only effect the brain–it really depends on the person’s makeup and what bacteria is thriving in their body. Some bacteria like the brain. Some like the thyroid–etc. Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride is writing another book called Gut and Physiology Syndrome. When I first heard of GAPS, the title "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" didn’t stand out to me as something I needed (I wasn’t autistic or schizophrenic ;) ), but a very similar diet (which GAPS was based upon), the SCD Diet, sounded ok: the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I read Elaine Gottschall’s Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet and it made SO much sense to me!!! That’s why I went on to read Gut and Psychology Syndrome–I knew it was mostly the same diet, but more updated, and written by a doctor. I appreciated that. :) I loved both books, but Gut and Psychology Syndrome gets into the science behind it all, and I really, really liked that.


Keep coming back here, I’ll post more about this diet (as well as recipes that you can copy and paste into Shop n’ Cook!). You can Subscribe to The Well Fed Homestead by Email so that you never miss a post, and I highly suggest that! Blessings to you as you seek to improve your health!!


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  • Vickie

    Hey Brenda,
    Micah can’t have any fruit or citric acids, he also cannot have any grains combined with sugars or within four hours of eachother with the exception of pure maple syrup. How would the GAP diet fit into his life? I am going to ask his Naturopath tomorrow about all this, but just wondering your take on it since you are actually doing it.

  • brenda

    Hi Vickie, it sounds like he probably has Leaky Gut going on and needs his gut healed! I think GAPS would be perfect. Just avoid the fruits until you see some healing going on (it may be a while). The sugar/grain combo won’t be a problem because on GAPS you don’t eat any grains or refined sugars (including maple syrup. Honey is the only sweetener allowed. Which naturopath are you seeing?

  • Teresa Cochran

    Hi Brenda,

    I’m wondering if you’d be willing to share your file of SCD/GAPS recipes for Shop’NCook? I have just reinstalled it after have a catastrophic computer failure a couple years ago and losing and ENORMOUS recipe file. Guess who always backs up now?

    SCD Momma

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