Are you ready to start GAPS but not sure how? Good success calls for a good plan! And figuring out how to get started can be the hardest part. In this post, we discuss 3 plans for starting GAPS with confidence, and who they are best for.
Plan 1: The 3-6 Month Approach
The first of our 3 plans to start GAPS with confidence, Plan number 1 is a nice gradual approach to GAPS. Perhaps you have done enough research to know that you need to do the GAPS protocol, but haven’t incorporated many traditional or GAPS foods into your diet yet.
Best for: The family with boxed cereals and meals, canned soup, fruit snacks, & store-bought dressings in their pantry…i.e. processed foods are regulars “on the menu”. This approach allows for those that are starting from Ground Zero to gradually work into the GAPS Protocol.
How to start with Plan 1:
- Plan tasks by the MONTH
- REAL FOOD = Take 1 – 4 months replacing processed foods with their traditional & homemade versions.
- REMOVE SUGAR & GRAINS = Take 1 month to remove sugars & grains, using online search terms for recipes like “Paleo”, “Primal”, & “Real Food”.
- DO FULL GAPS = Take a month to incorporate Full GAPS meals. Week 1, GAPS breakfasts, Week 2, GAPS lunches, Week 3, GAPS snacks, Week 4, GAPS Dinners. Remember to add meat stock and probiotic foods gradually into your GAPS meals.
- INTRO IN REVERSE = If needed, start the Introduction Diet this way: starting with Stage 6, work backward through Intro, then through the traditional progression, and eventually back onto Full GAPS again for as long as needed.
Plan 2: The 1 Month Approach
Plan number 2 to start GAPS with confidence is a bit more accelerated, but still gives you plenty of time. Perhaps your family prepares natural foods from scratch and eats a few processed or ready-made foods. You have some confidence in the kitchen and knowledge of natural food preparation, but you aren’t on GAPS.
Best for: The family or individual who has a good understanding of traditional food & preparation…who is ready to take their health to the next level, but wants to take a measured approach.
How to start with Plan 2:
- Plan tasks by the WEEK
- The theme of the month is to try GAPS Foods & Skills to work your way to a full GAPS lifestyle, then start the Introduction Diet if needed.
- 1st week = 1 GAPS meal/day. Remember to add meat stock and probiotic foods gradually into your GAPS meals.
- 2nd week = 2 GAPS meals/day
- 3rd week = Add GAPS snacks
- 4th week = All meals are Full GAPS
- Start the 6 Stages of GAPS Intro if needed
Plan 3: The “Next Week” Approach
Of the 3 plans for starting GAPS with confidence, plan # 3 is the most intense. This is the plan for those who need to start GAPS as soon as possible. Even though you will be starting GAPS shortly, make sure you do have a plan. This is because it’s common to run out of the food you need by stage. In addition, people often feel tired or sick when first starting GAPS Intro, so plan ahead with food in the fridge and freezer!
Best for: The child or adult who is miserable & failing to thrive…dealing with severe digestive issues, pain, distress, etc. In this case, one doesn’t have the luxury of a measured approach. This would also be the approach for those who have a thing for “cold turkey”.
How to start with Plan 3:
- Plan tasks by the DAY
- Clear your calendar, you’ll need at least a long weekend
- 5 days off work/school is best (longer the better)
- Use my “5 Days” Intro Checklist & Menu as a guideline for your grocery list
- Prep 1 day ahead of yourself…DO NOT run out of food!
Set Your Date
When I schedule something on the calendar, it always propels me forward and magically gets done. Got a half-hour? Sit down with your calendar, choose the best of our 3 plans for starting GAPS with confidence, set your date, and work backward to list the next steps & supplies you’ll need. You will be amazed at what happens once you decide on a course of action and make a plan!
Once you choose the best plan for you, make sure you have the resources and information you need to be successful! Here’s a list to get you started:
- Buy the Gut and Psychology or Gut and Physiology Syndrome books by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
- Cookbooks: The Heal Your Gut Cookbook by Boynton and Brackett- Be aware that this now has discrepancies from the updated GAPS stage foods lists, but it has great information on how to prepare traditional GAPS foods AND some delicious GAPS approved recipes of all kinds. Or you could get the Complete Cooking Techniques for the GAPS Diet by Monica Corrado for the traditional preparation of nuts and legumes, meat stock, bone broth, and ferments.
- How to make veggie ferments and meat stock.
- An updated list of what is allowed on Full GAPS.
- First Five Days of GAPS Intro Menu and Checklist.
- Updated lists of what is allowed on GAPS Intro Stages:
- Doing GAPS with kids? Check out our picky eater’s tips and try these ideas for getting more meat stock in their day.
- Browse our GAPS Basics page for more information, plus recipes for GAPS staples.
- Finally, save yourself some time and get our free pdf on the Top 5 GAPS Diet Mistakes, and What To Do Instead!
If you have a severe or persistent condition, you may want to work with a GAPS Practitioner. You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Melanie from our GAPS Services page to see if working with her is right for you!