Tips for Starting the GAPS Diet

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by brenda on January 6, 2015

It’s that time of year again! All of the advertisements and sales are about:

  • working out/getting fit
  • diets
  • organizing

Since this isn’t an exercise blog, and I (ahem) don’t exercise enough (don’t quote me on that one…I’m changing tomorrow, right?), I won’t be telling you to pull out your yoga mat or sprint a half marathon. (Sprint a half marathon!? See, told you I’m not an exercise junkie).

And, since this isn’t an organizing blog (even though I love organizing and COULD write a blog about it!), I won’t be telling you how to coordinate your rubbermaid tubs into perfect organizational bliss. Nope. I’ll set my label maker aside (for now), and talk about:

Diets! Ok. Not all diets. The diet. You know. The one I talk about here. The GAPS Diet, of course! :)  We did the GAPS Intro the week after Christmas. I feel like a 1 week reset is sometimes a good thing, even for the people who have been there, done that when it comes to the GAPS Diet. It’s a great diet. It’s cleansing, nourishing, healing. One thing I ought to mention, though, is that it isn’t easy. I wish. I wish it were as easy as popping a pill and healing the gut. I wish I could simply drink broth or eat sauerkraut every day and be healed of all of my ailments. That, unfortunately, isn’t the way it works. So, to overcome the work involved in healing the gut, you’ve got to be prepared. Since GAPS is fresh on my mind, I’ve got things to share with you!

1. Make sure you have the right tools.

I personally feel like a crockpot is an essential tool for doing GAPS right. 2, if you have a big family. I like to keep perpetual broth going in one crockpot at all times (I switch between chicken and beef, and I wash out the crockpot in between the two, of course). A strainer is a necessity for straining the bones and bits of meat out of the broth. I use a stainless steel funnel like this for pouring my broth into jars. You’ll need a large pot, preferably stainless steel or cast iron. You will need a good cutting board, a good knife, and some kitchen shears. Make sure you have plenty of bowls to eat out of, as you’ll be having mostly soup during the Intro Diet. You don’t want to get into a bind, without these tools, on day 1 of the Intro.

2. Stock up! Literally!

Start making stock now! Start it in your crockpot or in a large pot on the stove. Freeze lots of stock. You will need it! It is a staple in the diet. Every bit of meat and veggies has to be cooked in broth. It’s a good idea to make as much as you can ahead of time.

3. Get the sugar out of your house.

I can’t believe I’m going to suggest this (out loud), but do a sugar binge if you need to. If you feel guilty throwing it all out (or giving it to your neighbors), have an evening where you pig out on sugar.! My naturopath says that if you’re going to eat something that’s bad for you, it is better to eat it all at once than to eat little bits every day. SO–just eat it. Before we did GAPS Intro we let our kids pig out on our gluten-free gingerbread house. With candy. Yup. Get rid of it, you don’t want to be tempted once you start the diet.

4. Set aside time on your calendar.

Don’t plan a vacation or a big party during your GAPS Intro phases. Set aside quiet, restful time at home. Get some cozy pjs, pick out some favorite chick flicks (or guy movies, whatever!), and think of this time as a restful, peaceful, stay-cation. You’re going to be cooking and resting. You can sit and read, watch movies, do puzzles, etc. Don’t plan on doing anything that takes a lot of mental clarity. You will be detoxing, and there will be moments (or whole days) that you might have a headache or your body will ache. It’s all good–you’re getting rid of the toxins you’ve been accumulating in your body for years–but you need to give it time. Plan to take naps. You will need them. Do yourself a favor and set this time aside.

5. Get some epsom salts.

I cannot emphasize the power of a detoxing epsom salt bath! Add some lavender essential oil and bring a good book (preferably not the Kindle version!) with you. Get some epsom salts and plan to relax. It will help your body heal.

6. Keep enough groceries on hand.

The biggest thing that can go wrong with the GAPS Intro Diet, in my opinion, is that you will *go hungry* because this is what will lead you to temptation. You’ll see whatever is left in the house, and you’ll want to eat it. You’ll be tempted to order pizza. Don’t do it! Just make sure to buy enough of the right kinds of foods to have on hand! This last time we did the Intro was the MOST successful time for our family, because we didn’t feel hungry. I put A LOT of meat in our soups, and this helped us a lot. Stock up on meat, veggies, broth (homemade), good fats, herbs, apples, lemons, ginger…You can do this!

7. Learn, learn, learn!

This topic should be #1 and #7 or #8 or whatever it works out to be…LEARN and LEARN again! Read the GAPS Book. Download the 30 Days on the Intro Diet e-book. Take a GAPS Class online. LEARN! Before you dive in, learn. Know what you’re doing. It is a complicated diet–HEALING, but complicated. Learn about it before you jump in.

Good luck! I hope this helps you in your healing journey!

GAPSters, what else would you add? Newbies, what else do you want to know?

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  • Lisa

    Do you use any enzymes? If so, what brand and do you ever eat anything illegal and have been able to bypass a negative reaction?

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