GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  The GAPS Diet

Thinking of “Going GAPS” ?? Things to do before you start!

So…maybe, just maybe your kind-of thinking of trying GAPS.


Well, I thought I would share a bit about what it might look like and what you should do before you start GAPS.

(Jackson on our first day of GAPS enjoying some stock!)


A good place to start might be why you want to do GAPS.

Trust me…when your on day two of the Introduction Diet and your just about to jump in your vehicle and stop at the closest mini-mart for a candy bar, you are going to want to remember WHY you started this in the first place.

I think for some very wise people, they see it as a healthy lifestyle and the way our bodies were created to live. For most, I would assume it is out of desperation. Desperate for health. Desperate for a life free of pain, crazy emotions, out of control children or just the hope of having a full life…. truly living life.

Each persons reasons will be different just as our lives are different. Know why you are choosing to do this and keep your goal in mind.


You will also want to take the time to research.

You can probably start GAPS with only a little knowledge, but I believe it is wise to do all you can to know what GAPS is and how to go about it to heal yourself. When it comes to your health, it is important to take this seriously and that may mean going to your doctor to check with their thoughts and possibly having them monitor you.

As you research you are also going to want to find recipes to enjoy! Thankfully, if you read the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, you will have some good recipes to start with in there. There is also the newer Internal Bliss cookbook and many websites (like this one!) that share some great recipes. Meal plans (like the ones Brenda puts together!) are also and AWESOME bonus to get as you will not only have those recipes at your finger tips, but it will also save you so much time that you can use to actually making the good food that you need!

At this point you may be thinking…well, that’s all great advice, but there is NO WAY IN THE WORLD my family will do this! Each family will be different, but I’d like to share what I tried with my family:


How to get your family on board?

For me we started changing our foods about three years ago…at least two years before we started GAPS. That meant that we started eating WAY less packaged foods and more homemade whole foods. Our kids were young, we home schooled and there weren’t other options for their food choices, so they ate the healthy foods we gave them. I do realize that this isn’t possible for everyone. My thought is…do the best you can with what you have. Be creative and try to work with what foods they do like that are healthy. If this means making them the same breakfast everyday-go for it!

When I started to consider GAPS, I think I was the one who was reluctant at first because I knew it would mean more kitchen time for me. Thankfully, after the intro stage(actually, when we were able to eat raw foods), this time greatly reduces!

The other big “hurdle” was how to get my husband on board. I knew that he l.o.v.e.d his pasta…and the occasional pop.

And a few other treats here and there.

So, after mentioning it a few times and the reasons why I was thinking about trying it (being honest to explain that it was going to be a challenge at first and require more money in our food budget, again mainly at first), I decided to try a little experiment of making recipes from the cookbook Internal Blissfor one week. He loved them all. And as he is a brilliant guy, he totally figured out what I was doing after only a couple of days. It was as he finished off a full plate of Honey Glazed Chicken that he looked at me and said, “If we get to eat this on GAPS, we can totally try!” After having a good laugh I did explain that this wouldn’t be what we would eat in the Introduction Diet, but that we would get there soon!

All that to say, he was thrilled at the yummy foods! More importantly, after sharing with him how it works, he was eager to see if it would help our son. Little did we know that it would immediately greatly help my husband’s arm and shoulder pain too!


If you are going to get started you will also need to start fermenting some foods.

I decided to give our family about three months of planning before we started. This included most of my research, making fermented foods, educating our kids and others. And a bit of psyching myself up so I wouldn’t miss my Death by Chocolate ice cream and Twix candy bars! =)

Saurkraut takes about a month in your fridge to mellow to a good flavor, but Kimchee (which our kids all love) only takes about a week. If you are in a desperate situation, I would suggest you start making this so you can have the juices from it as soon as possible.

(You can find some wonderful fermenting recipes in Gut and Psychology Syndrome)


I do think it is important to be honest about your food budget.

It most likely will go up. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but it might be true for you. For some people who purchase many meals outside of the home, your food budget might actually go down! Brenda is going to be posting soon about food prices and I think we will all be in for a wonderful surprise at her findings!

Shockingly, Americans actually spend very little of their income on food. Reworking your budget before starting GAPS might be something your family will want to work on. I can’t say where you can cut expenses out, as each family is going to be different. Our cell phone is prepaid and it is defiantly not “smart” =)! And we really don’t spend any money on entertainment. Our medical budget has cut down DRAMATICALLY the more whole and healthy foods we have included. I love that the money we used to pay the doctor or hospital, now goes to a farmer. It doesn’t get much better than that!


The last point is timing.

I would encourage anyone and everyone to try GAPS, but maybe today isn’t the best timing for you. Start at the most successful time for your family.

When we considered starting GAPS, I wanted it to be during a time of the year that our family didn’t have a lot going on. I also purposefully cleared our schedule of a few activities. This was hard. Really hard. I love the programs we were involved in, but we chose to say “no” to a few for a season while we all get healthy and get used to GAPS.

Remember that the Introduction Diet is the most intense time…especially the first week or two. After that it gets much easier. My husband was having a lot of headaches from withdraws and even took a day off of work. For us, the whole Introduction Diet lasted about 5-6 weeks or so. This could be more or less depending on your health.

Plan, plan, plan. I do believe this can make or break your experience on GAPS! We want you to succeed and be healthy, so take some time to plan!


I hope this is a few helpful tips as you consider GAPS for your family! Remember that even if you can’t start GAPS now, try everyday or week  to make one change  for your health!

What are your thoughts?  If you are doing GAPS, what advice would you give to others if they are thinking of “Going GAPS”?


  • caroline

    i love this post! thanks! i am currently doing gaps. i had tons of allergies and was sick for 7 years. i always got sick in september with back to school and everyone getting sick. but after i tried GAPS for 1 week i have not gotten sick other than a few die off symptoms.. this is AMAZING! my whole family can see a difference in me and i hope that this will help them to see and believe the power of real food…especially real FAT! right now i am 2 weeks into GAPs and still on intro, i have to say that it is not hard at all, because there is soo much fat involved! yumm.. my words of wisdom would be just do it!!! it will be totally worth it because you feel like you woke up with tons of energy! its amazing what GAPS can do!

    • Tarena

      Ahh…fat. I love fat! =) Thanks for sharing Caroline! It is so wonderful to see how much better you are feeling!
      I agree-it is amazing how much energy you have! That was a good point that I missed-you do have a lot more energy to prepare foods… and then some!

  • Dr. Gaie

    I love your blog! Just discovered it. When our family of 7 (5 adults, 1 child and 1 toddler) started gaps we did Intro one at a time so we could keep up on broth etc. Everyone else sort of eased into Full gaps. We don’t have one dedicated homemaker (we all help) so it was confusing and we made a lot of mistakes but eventually it all fell into place.

    • Brenda

      Dr. Gaie, I’m so glad that you’re enjoying this blog! Good for you, getting your whole family on GAPS, with limited time to do it! It is worth it! Keep up the good work!

  • Nadia Rhodes

    Really enjoying your blog! Thank you. Your ideas and resources have inspired me to persist with integrating GAPS diet. I learned about GAPS last winter when I was really struggling with Fibromyalgia and SAD (it was a very long, grey winter up here in Canada). Bone broth and sauerkraut have become daily essentials for me and do make a difference. I have many symptoms similar to Brenda pre-GAPS. Very hopeful!

  • Kate

    Hello! I just found your blog and I L-O-V-E it!! Bookmarking like crazy. Thank you *SO* much for writing this and similar posts about GAPS. There are a lot of posts about GAPS out there, but a lot of them don’t answer the questions about things other than the food. Thank you so much. I know that I need to do GAPS for my health, but I have thought it would be impossible to get the rest of my family (esp. my husband) on board. Now I have some hope! I can’t thank you enough. ~Kate

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