GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  The GAPS Diet

Coming off of the GAPS Diet

A few weeks ago, my family started trying a few foods that are not on the GAPS Diet. We have been on this diet 2 years and 3 months now, and we figured it was time to start. I wrote my belly fat post, and around that time we were considering 2 options:

  1. Doing the GAPS Intro again (at least for me).
  2. Trying out some foods that are not on GAPS.

We knew that we wanted to make a change, we just were not sure what change to make. With an upcoming trip on our calendar (that we just returned from) where we would need to be more laxed on our diet, we figured that it was good timing to attempt “Coming off of GAPS.

Dr. Natasha says that the GAPS Diet should be strictly followed for 1 1/2 to 2 years. How long you stay on GAPS really depends on the health conditions you are suffering from. I wrote about our conditions here. GAPS has helped our family SO much. I really am a strong advocate for the GAPS Diet. I think that all of you need to come to The Weston Price Conference in Santa Monica, CA this coming November and hear Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride speak for yourself. She’s a very nice woman, and an incredibly intelligent doctor. I think that her work is brilliant. Really!

Anyways, after 1 1/2 to 2 years, the following foods can be introduced, according to the book:

  • new potatoes
  • buckwheat (fermented)
  • millet (fermented)
  • quinoa (fermented)

If you are sensitive to nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc.), you need to be tolerating these foods well before introducing potatoes (which are also a nightshade vegetable).

When you’ve been eating GAPS for the last 1 1/2 to 2 years, it is not time to jump quickly into eating gluten free pizza and store-bought ice cream. You’ve worked hard. Take your time with the introduction of new foods (just like you did during the GAPS Intro) and make sure that your body tolerates these foods. You don’t want to get yourself so sick that you need to go back to the GAPS Intro again, do you? 😉

First, we introduced Jenny’s Buckwheat Porridge. We used honey instead of the molasses, and it was very good! My kids were super excited to be having “oatmeal” again! I’ve purchased more buckwheat groats to try it again, but honestly, I keep forgetting to soak them in the evening. Cooking grains (properly) is so much work! Grain-free is easy peasy in comparison!

Then we introduced some boiled new potatoes, with lots of butter, sea salt, and fresh, minced rosemary. Yum!

Overall, we have done pretty well with these foods. The only issues we have faced are:

  • When I had potatoes at dinner, and then leftover potatoes in my eggs the next morning, my hands got a little arthritic. It was nothing like the arthritis I faced before GAPS, but it was still concerning to me. Remember the study about cooked, chilled potatoes? I actually think that potatoes that are cooked and then chilled are the hardest for our bodies to process.
  • Farm Boy 3 has had some constipation again. I think it’s the potatoes.

We do not plan to eat these foods *often*. We plan to stick mostly to GAPS, but once in a while, we will eat some home-cooked potatoes or buckwheat for variety. I also bought some quinoa, so we will try that next.

If we notice any major problems, we will plan to go back to strict GAPS eating.

After a while (maybe a few months, maybe several), if our family has been tolerating potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa and millet well, I will try making a homemade rye sourdough bread. Yes, gluten! We will see how we do…

And how, you might wonder, is the belly issue, these days? The weight has not changed, but the belly feels a little smaller (though I have not been measuring it). I will keep you all posted on my progress in this area!

Will we ever go back to the typical American way of eating?

In short, no.

I believe that GAPS is amazing for healing a damaged gut (and I believe that many people have a damaged gut and have no clue). I believe that if a person’s gut is doing well, they still ought to stick to traditional foods (read Nourishing Traditions) for optimum health and true nourishment. Foods need to be nutrient dense, or they are not food. Processed foods and refined flours and sugars are not food.

However, one of my goals in going on GAPS was to heal my body so that I could eat at a church potluck or go out to dinner or go on vacation and *not get sick from the food.* Worrying about what to eat and what will make me sick is a pain. Getting sick in other people’s homes and at restaurants and on vacations and on retreats is not fun.

My plan is to eat mostly GAPS at home, forever, with a few new introductions if my body tolerates them (potatoes, sweet potatoes, fermented gluten free grains, and eventually sourdough). But when we go out places, my goal is to be able to make the healthiest choices possible and eat without worry.

I’ll let you know how this works out for me and my family. 🙂


Are you on GAPS? How long do you plan to stick to the diet? What’s your plan when you “come off of the diet?


photo credit: Yashima


  • Mindy

    I’ve been on the GAPS diet for 9 months now. My plan at this point is to stay on it for about 2 years depending on how I feel things are gong. I’ll be interested to hear how your transition off of GAPS goes for you and your family.

  • Carrie

    I was 100% on the GAPS diet for 16 months. About 10 months in I noticed that I started to gain lots of belly weight, my skin started breaking out and I was depressed and anxious 90% of the time. I NEVER cheated. By 15 months I could hardly get out of bed most days and that was when Cheeseslave started talking more about Matt Stone and carbs. I have come to realize that GAPS was not a good choice for me, personally. NCM recommends low carb to handle yeast issues but in all the time I was on GAPS my issues never cleared up. Now that I am eating food again I am more “regular” than I was on GAPS and my yeast issues are not nearly as severe. I can actually eat foods occasionally now that I could never eat on GAPS. For example, my dairy allergy got WORSE while I was on GAPS but now I can tolerate it more as my adrenals heal.

    I am writing this because I think it is important to tell your readers that if they suspect they have adrenal fatigue or are hypothyroid I would recommend doing a lot of research about healing those conditions instead of going on GAPS. Both these conditions cause similar symptoms to GAPS conditions and going low carb, which is very easy to do on GAPS, is quite possibly the worst thing you can do if you are hypothyroid or have adrenal fatigue. Definitely be very careful to get a lot of carbs into your diet on GAPS and especially, as Brenda has said before, don’t deny those cravings.

    • Anna Ramos

      I agree, it is easy to go low carb and not eat enough on GAPS. It seems to me that most of the problems people have had with GAPS are related to not enough calories. I think there are two sides of the coin.

  • Jjbutterfliesme

    Hi Brenda, I have been in and out of the habit of religiously reading your blog and leaving comments (because I’m a mom of three, not because of anything lacking in your blog!). My kids have been on GAPS for a year and a half. They currently are doing the Introduction Diet and are on stage 4. We are going on 6 weeks now and we are exhausted. This is our son’s second experience on the introduction. He started on intro before starting the actual diet a year and a half ago. Our daughter went right into the full GAPS diet. Our kids problems have centered around constipation. this has been the ongoing persistent issue along with stomach distention which we suspect is due to slow gastric emptying. For these reasons we returned to the intro. I am beginning to think baed on our experience over the course of the year and a half as well as your most recent blog post and Carrie’s comment that is time to move on. My son has been scoped 3 times. His last scope this past January revealed a normal pathology along within normal pancreatic enzyme amounts as well as within normal disaccharide pancreatic enzyme amounts. I believe his gut has healed and it is time. Thank you for this post. We will proceed with caution, but it is time to stop living in complete exhaustion, doubt, and worry and let ourselves live this life. God did not promise perfection in this world and it has occurred to me that that is what I have been in pursuit of for my children. I will not achieve this and it is in fact wrong for me to think I can.

    • Jjbuttefliesme

      If at at all possible, our family will be visiting our family near Seattle next summer and I would love to meet you. Please consider this. Jenni schuessler

  • Andrea

    This is great – we’ve just started to do the same and tried potatoes for the first time this past week with our family! So far, so good! Next I was hoping to do yams and then buckwheat/millet/quinoa. By fermenting them do you mean just soaking them with whey/lemon juice overnight?

    I also came across this article yesterday…and it made me ponder the GAPS diet. We’ve seen great healing with it, but in the past year some issues that I’ve NEVER had before have cropped up and I’m wondering if it could be because of eliminating an entire food group for too long??

    Curious what you think about it:

  • Allison

    My daughter had eczema so we cut out grains and it cleared right up. After 6-7months I introduced homemade traditional sourdough and she’s still doing great. It’s nice to have bread again once in a while.

  • Allison

    My daughter had eczema so we cut out grains and it cleared right up. After 6-7months I introduced homemade traditional sourdough and she’s still doing great. It’s nice to have bread again once in a while.

  • Jackie McMillan

    Would you ever consider creating a GAPS farm retreat for families dealing with autism or gut dysbiosis? There’s a mum I know who knows she needs to do it again for her twins, but needs a place that is well away from other food options now that the boys are teens and a little less manageable in their food choices. Let me know at
    Thanks, Jackie

  • Meaghan

    I’m curious about something: before GAPS my body would use starch and sugars for energy and it would store fat. After coming off of GAPS, does your body continue to burn fats for energy, or does it go back to it’s old ways?

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