GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  The GAPS Diet

Confessions & Time for GAPS Intro!

I wrote this post in August 2013, but I believe the information is still relevant and REAL. We did an awful job coming off of GAPS. Please do it differently for your body! 


This is Farm Princess & me at Red Robin on her 5th Birthday, last week. Did you know they don’t have the bird anymore? Or balloons? How disappointing, on a girl’s 5th Birthday! 😉


I heart GAPS, but I’m human and I fall short of perfection. Keep that in mind as you read this post. 😉

Since April, when we went to Disneyland, we have come off of GAPS way too quickly & have slacked in areas we shouldn’t have.

On Mother’s Day, The Farmer bought me a box of truffles from Ladybug Chocolates. I love their chocolates. But they contain sugar–and other things, I’m sure.

We went camping and instead of trying to make a gooey honey-sweetened chocolate for my GAPS legal s’mores, or relying on unsweetened chocolate, I bought Hershey Bars. Yes. Soy-Lecithin containing, sugar containing Hershey Bars.

We went to a Nancy Thomas camp in June (which we LOVED! If you have a RAD kid, GO TO ONE!!!). Volunteers at the camp offer the parents candy and stickers for their name tag & tell them that they’re an awesome mom or dad multiple times per day. The first time we went to a camp like this, we said “no thank you” on the candy and just took the stickers. That was a weekend. A full week of camp is stressful and exhausting and emotionally draining and sometimes a little chocolate helps. So, at the week-long camp, when they offered us candy, we ate it.

On 4th of July I chatted with my friend Pam while eating Trader Joes Olive Oil Potato Chips and loved them. And I bought a few more bags after that…

On Farm Princess’ Birthday we went to Red Robin (we did eat gluten free, but still, not GAPS). Later that day, we got some cupcakes from the Crave Bakeshop in Lake Oswego (gluten free, but sugar filled).

We went to Chipotle the other day and for the first time ever, ordered the kids’ meals for our kids–with corn tortillas and chips. They usually get salad. We had corn tortillas too.

And worse than that? Our kids had worked in the garden so hard with me that day, I wanted to reward them. There’s a Ben & Jerry’s right by the Chipotle we went to. Yes. Terrible parents! We rewarded them with tummy aches! 😉

We have mostly been eating healthy at home, but these unhealthy foods have created some issues for our family:

Farm Boy 1 is not gaining weight, off of GAPS. He gained 3 lbs from January to April. Since April (when we went off GAPS), he hasn’t gained anything & some days he is down a pound or 2. He feels “full” when he hasn’t eaten nearly as much as he did on GAPS. Sometimes he gets itchy all over. He’s uncontrollably hyper these days. His learning disabilities are worse than before.

Farm Boy 2 suddenly has had to use an asthma inhaler again. It has been years since he needed one!

Farm Boy 3 is severely constipated and extremely moody again. We’re talking scary rages, people. (He has RAD, which I’ve mentioned before). He’s had some nightmares & woke up screaming (this is not typical for him). He’s getting traditional neurofeedback done to help his brain. His brain needs a lot of help (it typically takes a year or so to do neurofeedback and heal the brain–it will take 2 years for his brain). The gut and the brain are so connected, neurofeedback cannot do its job well if the gut is messed up. And I’m thoroughly convinced that his is! His muscles have been getting stiff and his fingers stick together. He caught a cold/sore throat/fever that has lasted about a week now and just will not go away. His immune system isn’t working properly.

Farm Princess has had asthma, eczema & extreme bloody noses come back. We did not miss these things!!

I have been dealing with: muscle stiffness and muscle cramps again (especially with potatoes that have been re-heated–more on that one later!!), a little more weight gain & more fat in the mid-section (ugh), just feeling “blah,” headaches, tummy aches, less energy, some digestive loveliness (not!) and needing more sleep than I ever needed on GAPS (hello naps!). Some of my teeth hurt. I had zero toothache issues on GAPS. Before GAPS, I was needing to have a surgery done, to remove a screw (from a jaw surgery I had when I was 18) that is facing the wrong direction & poking into my gums. When I ate sugar, the gums were extremely irritated and it was painful (it is behind a back, bottom tooth). I was dreading that surgery–they would have to go through my face to get to the screw. Surgery in the face is extremely difficult to recover from. It is not fun AT ALL. Anyways, while on GAPS, the screw didn’t bother me one bit!!! YAY! But when we have eaten sugar again, guess what? All of the sudden it hurts again. Ugh. I do not want that surgery!


Please note, as far as “Coming off of the GAPS diet,” I have not set a good example for all of you.

Dr. Natasha says, as you introduce new potatoes, buckwheat, millet and quinoa,

“Do not rush with the introduction of these new foods, it make take several months to do it properly.”

And, in all CAPS in the book, she says something that I think we all need to remember:


In other words, introducing some grains and starchy veggies is one thing–introducing Hershey Bars and Ben & Jerry’s is quite another thing (and not appropriate for a GAPS patient).

So why do I think that we need the Intro?

1. Because we never really did it. Not correctly, anyways. When we first started GAPS, we started with cooked meats and veggies, and way too quickly we added in cooked apples and raw bananas and cheese. We didn’t drink broth. We didn’t cook with animal fat. We didn’t introduce ghee, we just used butter, from the start. We didn’t eat sauerkraut. It was my own made-up-version of GAPS (ha!), not the true GAPS! 🙂 (In my defense, we started before I owned the book–which was probably dumb–but well, here we are). And last October, we sort-of, kind-of gave the Intro a try, but again, we didn’t do it right. I thought I knew what to do and didn’t really read the details (and there are a lot of details to understand!). We did it way too fast and I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no clue, until this week, that you can’t have roasted meats on the Intro. See? I’m learning, too. I want to do this thing right.

2. Because I think doing the Intro is critical for healing the gut completely. Full GAPS is healing, but to seal up the gut, the Intro is necessary, not optional, in my opinion.

3. Because I recently read Nichole’s blog about her daughter, Ellie, and FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome), and I saw many similarities to what she’s facing and what we faced with Farm Boy 1 when he was younger. I think Ellie is a lot more severe than Farm Boy 1 ever was, but still–I think the gut issues are similar. If you read about FPIES, they say that kids outgrow the vomiting at about 3 years old. Farm Boy 1 was older than that, though I think his feeding tube and the corn & soy based high calorie formulas may have induced a lot of his vomiting.

I honestly wonder how Farm Boy 1 would be doing if we hadn’t started GAPS 2+ years ago. He doesn’t vomit up his food anymore. He can tolerate fats without puking. He likes foods he never used to like. Once upon a time, he only ate chicken nuggets–and only the crispy edges. Now he eats a bowl of pureed zucchini soup (soup made him gag before!!!) and says “are there seconds? That was good!” This is not a coincidence–it’s not just because he got older and his taste buds matured. Nope! We started GAPS, took away the junk, added nutrient-dense foods, and his taste buds changed. And his eating issues went away. Yay! Can you imagine what life might be like for him, at 10 years old, if he still only ate the crispy edges of chicken nuggets, and threw up all the time, and didn’t gain weight? I believe, if it weren’t for GAPS, we’d still be there, or worse.

And I wonder how much more he might be healed if we did the Intro (correctly!).

4. I want Farm Boy 3 to have a healed gut, too. His brain needs that. Our family needs that.. Whew! I love my boy and pray for him every day, that God can heal him. He needs to get his gut, brain, moods and rages under control before he grows up and has a job, a wife, and a family…

Side note, I believe that ALL RAD kids need the GAPS Intro. I know that the life of a RAD mom is hard enough. Some days (or most!) you are just trying to survive. The idea of making homemade sauerkraut and bone broth and rendering lard is a little overwhelming. I get it! But I really believe it’s what these kids need, or their brains won’t heal. This diet works for people with Schizophrenia–I believe it can work for RAD kids, too. (Sometimes they seem a little Schizophrenic, don’t they? ;). It heals the gut and the brain, and that’s what RAD kids need!

5. Farm Boy 2 and Farm Princess need their guts sealed so that they don’t deal with asthma, etc.

6. I need my gut sealed. I thrive on GAPS! I have more energy, some friends have said I look *brighter,* like my skin is glowing on GAPS. I feel it, too! Now let’s see what the Intro can do for me! 🙂

So, I’ve got pork fat defrosting to make some lard.

I just harvested 2 heads of cabbage from our garden today that I’m going to ferment (Farm Boy 3 grew them! He’s an excellent gardener! His garden patch is the most weed-free area in our garden and his veggies are thriving!! He’s excited to ferment his cabbage with me!). 🙂

I did the yogurt sensitivity test on everyone last night. Everyone did fine except Farm Boy 3. Dairy may be an issue for him. We will try again after a few weeks on the Intro. (I seem to be allergic to bandaids, though!! I learned today that they contain corn–who knew? They make me itchy!)

We’ve got tons of broth in the freezer, and The Farmer has been processing more of our yummy, soy free, corn free chickens lately! We’ve got freezers full of meat and a garden with lots of veggies!

I’ve been reading over the GAPS book and writing down an Intro schedule for our family. I will share it when I’ve figured it out.

Anyone else want to do the Intro? Who wants to join us?



  • Sharmista Anthony

    Thank you for this post, and for your honesty. I’ve been debating going off GAPS somewhat to help our budget, but you have strengthened my resolve to stay the course. We’ve not done intro either. Probably should do that one of these days…

  • Angi

    Wow. I know I tell you this whenever I see you, but … we need to do GAPS. The thought of zucchini soup makes *me* gag; I can’t imagine my two pickier eaters going there!

    But daughter #1 is experiencing increasingly worsening, systemic allergies; insomnia and night sweats; and mild-moderate Aspergers.

    Daughter #2 is doing neuro 🙂 to treat severe anxiety issues. It’s going fantastically well and quickly, but I know GAPS would be wonderful for her.

    Son just spent two days in the hospital with a mysterious, unexplained infected and massively swollen lymph node in his leg – not groin, which is apparently less mysterious. And while he’s doing better, still just isn’t bouncing back.

    I won’t even go into husband and self!

    I wish the kids were all five years younger. It’s so much harder to make extreme changes when they’re teenagers and below.

  • Rusticllamamama

    Your honesty is so refreshing! Thank you for this post!! It is SOSO easy to fall into bad habits once off GAPS b/c there are no STRICT RULES to adhere to EVERY SECOND of the day. We were on GAPS for about 3 months, but then we got really sick, then our budget was cut. I know we need to do it all over and do it right with a great intro, but God’s timing will allow that. 🙂 I am excited for healing. And, so I ever know about that extra weight around the mid section. I also had people speak about that glow, saying we looked better than ever and just SO healthy! 🙂 Feels great!

  • Cypherts

    My husband and I are on week 1 of Gaps Intro. It is a learning process. Last night I had an artificially sweetened pop and now I am up with asthma. Other than that regrettable cheat we are doing well. I lost two pounds and aam feeling improvement with stomach issues. What do you feed your chickens to keep them soy and corn free?

  • Stacy

    We are six months into GAPS. We did do intro, but we are not so good about getting daily ferments or enough CLO in. Some of my short cuts are to buy my lard from a local farmer and buy sauerkraut and fermented pickles. We are seeing great improvements.

    Band-aids evidently contain gluten too. My husband is having a horrible time healing a sore on his back that needs to stay covered. The rash from the band aid is worse than the sore!

  • Jhverrier

    I have been reading your blog and getting really interested in the GAPS diet for a few months now. I have been cutting things out of our diet little by little as I think it’s going to be a hard transition and it won’t stick otherwise. We have gone from eating processed stuff to much less (we have no crackers, no commerical breads now). I don’t think I can cut out yeast until they have gotten used to less bread.

    I have been stalling in getting the books. I tried to get the library to order them but it’s not orderable from the company they order from. Can you survive at only getting the one main book. I also saw the DVD’s as well.

    For now I want to start on me but I do have three kids, one with CAPD/ADD, another that is very very skinny (48 lbs 7 year old) and another one with speech issues. They all need to be on it just only in time.

    And yes your honesty at how hard it is and how you compare your health before/after is really helping me see how much I need this.

  • Heather

    As someone who ate real sugar ice cream at the county fair today, I’m not judging. I don’t typically cheat and tonight I am sore, and I feel drunk and depressed (the drunk part has me a little baffled – not drinking anything!). And craving sugar like mad. And kicking myself for being stupid. Tomorrow is another day. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who does stuff like that though. 🙂

    We’ve done intro twice – fairly briefly each time although I did a better job the second time – and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t perfect either time. At least you are making the effort, so many people don’t even bother, or know that they should bother with it. So be kind to yourself. 🙂 I know my previous statements aren’t kind to myself but maybe tomorrow I’ll feel a little kinder. 🙂

    We slack off on broth, and/or juice, at different points. I work full time and frankly I can’t handle it all. I’m not even sure if I was home, that I could handle it all. And we are 4Hers, and with the fair this week and a family wedding tomorrow – this week we have slacked off on everything. Alot. And ate ice cream.

    I have discovered on our second trip through intro that my little girl doesn’t tolerate dairy or nuts. I have been frustrated and kind of hitting a wall and feeling way more limited…and struggling with it. I know there are people with far worse but it is frustrating. I wouldn’t quit for anything because we really have seen phenomenal healing though.

    Anyhow, I can’t wait to get back to some sort of normal next week- and at the same time I know it will be hard to backtrack with my 3 year old (who BTW did NOT have ice cream, that would have just been a recipe for disaster) to get back to where we should be. Good luck to you all…I love your blog and look forward to hearing how things go…

  • Shannon

    Hi Brenda, my son and I were Gluten & Casein Free, then went back to old eating habits and his language/speech has regressed considerably. My allergies/anxiety/brain fog also went craaaazy! He has autism and I’ve recently decided to bite the bullet and get on the GAPS diet. We are full GAPS this week (dairy free from today) but I’m planning to work our way down to Intro by the end of this month. Nervous!! (Although, he’s already accepting the soups so much easier than I thought he would – so maybe it won’t be so bad). I’ll be following the progress of you and your family. Wishing you lots of good healing! We are at

  • Liz

    Thanks for sharing this! We have been toying with the GAPS diet for about a year now, trying recipes and slowly changing everything but not officially on GAPS. We just finished our first batch of pastured organic chickens and sooooo need to start intro. Even though we are not officially on the diet I see major changes in my children and myself when in “cheating” mode! Not good ones either! It is going to be a major challenge mostly because our extended family does not see the importance of this. The kids get whatever they want when visiting and they do not see that it is harming them. Not sure how to deal with this besides not visiting… which is not really an option. Any help with this would be great! Thanks!

  • Courtney Smith

    This was a great post Brenda. GAPS is HARD in the summertime for me, I can’t even imagine with four kids! I’m looking forward to working through the intro in the fall and sticking to GAPS (minus dairy) through the winter like I did last year..but hopefully next spring and summer I can be a little more wise about what I introduce and when.

  • Jennifer Aherin Ashford

    I’ve never done GAPS before and I want to start in 2 weeks. I’ve read the book and done some research. I’m stressed and terrified but I have a lot of hope for helping for my kids. I want to do GAPS with my 10, 6 and 3 year old. I will also be doing it. I need friends, encouragement and people to help answer my questions.

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