First 5 Days GAPS Intro

The First Five Days of GAPS Intro Diet

When our family first started GAPS years ago, it was the first five days of GAPS Intro that were the toughest to wrap my mind around…and my family was pretty low energy in those first 5 days also. Now, as a GAPS™ practitioner, I find this to be true (more or less) for many families I help through Intro.

Where people tend to get stuck about the GAPS Protocol is typically the Introduction part of the diet. I put together this 5 Day Checklist and Menu for Intro that can be easily scaled up or down (depending on family size) or spread out over more days if needed.

If you can be completely prepared with everything on hand ahead of time, all the better! You can do this.

Why do the GAPS Introduction Diet?

I dig into this question in my article titled What is the GAPS Diet? However, to put it simply, the GAPS Dietary protocol is one of the best ways to address autistic spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD⁄ADD), schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and other neuro-psychological and psychiatric problems.

The GAPS Protocol is my foundational tool, in addition to functional lab testing and nutritional therapy, for addressing these concerns. Please visit my Work With Me page for more information on what that looks like.

In addition to that, the GAPS Dietary protocol can be used for allergies, autoimmune illness, arthritis, gut problems, fatigue, hormonal problems, asthma, and much more.

A video walk-through of the Menu + Checklist

A Note On Meat Stock vs. Broth

I remember years ago when I was transitioning my family to a Real Food diet, making bone broth or meat stock was one of my biggest hurdles. Generation by generation we have simply lost certain food arts, and this was one tradition I couldn’t wrap my head around.

As I finally made my own, I realized, it couldn’t…be…simpler. Soon I was making soups that other people raved about and that nourished the bodies of my family.

This broth & meat stock preparation would become an especially huge part of our diet as we undertook the GAPS™ protocol. Taken in therapeutic amounts daily, it is extremely nourishing and building the digestive tract, bones, muscle, skin…with benefits ranging from stimulating growth hormone to getting rid of cellulite.

Bone broth is essentially made with bones or the carcass of the animal and simmered for long periods of time. Bone broth is used after 30 days of being on the GAPS Introduction Diet.

Meat stock is simply the liquid that you have cooked your meat in and is a shorter period of cooking time. (Which comes in handy when you are doing so much soup making on Intro!)

Meat stock is best for:

Being gentler and less detoxifying, and is used for the Introduction diet. Has less free glutamates, and much less histamines, which can be problematic for some in the beginning. MEAT STOCK IS RECOMMENDED FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF GAPS.

Bone broth is best for:

Being more therapeutic, and should be eased into if you are doing the Introduction diet, especially if you are sensitive to free glutamates, as these will be increased in the longer cooking times for bone broth.

Here is an article that explains the differences further, along with some recipes:

GAPS Diet Bone Broth & Meat Stock


First 5 days of GAPS Intro

32 thoughts on “The First Five Days Of GAPS Intro”

  1. I have just started gaps intro and noticed you have lemon juice with water upon waking. Lemons are not mentioned in the Gut and psychology Syndrome book. Can you explain please?

    1. Hello Deborah,

      Thank you for the comment. Lemon in the morning water is recommended by Dr. Natasha in other places besides the book, like her FAQ. In the early morning water it is good for stimulating digestion and for giving the liver a “jumpstart” in the morning. Her one contraindication is if there is diarrhea.

      1. Hi, my daughter doesn’t like lemon water, so I struggled to give her this. But she can take juice of kraut. Would that work the same?

  2. I’m getting things ready to put my family on GAPS (My seven year old son is on the Autism spectrum and my husband has chronic eczema). I notice in this 5-day plan, you move through the first 3 stages of intro in one week. I was assuming for my family we’d spend 3 days on phase one, about 3 or 4 days on phase 2 and a week each on the rest of the phases. If we could get by with moving through a little more quickly, I’d be thrilled but also want to make sure everyone’s given time properly heal. What do you advise?

    1. Hello Arlene,

      Thanks for the comment. The 5-day plan is simply a starting point, to give some context for how a family could move through Intro. With more severe cases, more time will need to be taken on each stage and each new food re-introduction. It depends on the digestive symptoms present.


  3. This is so helpful! Thank you so much. We’ve never eaten anything remotely close to this way before and I know I’ll have to be patient as we both work full time. Our kids are all grown now, so should be somewhat simpler.

  4. This may be a shocking question, but I am wondering if there are any meat broths/ stocks that can be purchased initially. This would be very helpful for our very tight budget and a huge time saver. We currently us Trim Healthy Mama 100% all natural beef gelatin for some recipes now. Is that appropriate? We are just beginning our GAPS journey. Thanks you so much.

  5. I am in my second week of the Intro diet, and I have found that the only vegetable I can tolerate so far is carrots. Everything else I have tried so far (onions, zucchini, chard, spinach, green beans, cauliflower) causes digestive distress, i.e., stomach cramps, bloating, burping, gas. I think I am doing ok with a tsp of avocado per meal, but it’s hard to say, because I am still experiencing some gas. Egg yolks are fine, so I guess I am technically on stage 2. Help! Do you have any suggestions?! I dont know how to move forward from here.

      1. They are common to me. I’ve had a hard time digesting vegetables for a while now, especially cruciferous vegetables. I do take 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar before meals and an Hcl with Pepsin when I eat. I’ve been doing the vinegar for a long time, to help with the bloating and gas.

        1. I am also wondering if this should affect how quickly I move through the Intro Diet. And should I avoid the vegetables that give me a lot of trouble, i.e. onions? If so, for how long? THANK YOU!

          1. Hi Kristen,

            You may need more HCl than one.

            I would suggest continuing through the stages but avoiding your most problematic vegetables. You can try them again periodically, for example, 3-6 weeks.

            Based on your symptoms, I wonder if looking into SIBO might be a consideration for you. If you want further help you might be interested in my Adult program –


  6. Alison Van de Pol

    I have tried Gaps intro twice and only made it through the second day. I feel so discouraged when I read about so many people succeeding with it. I have a supportive husband (who is willing to single-parent our 3 yr old!) and a good understanding of the diet and I STILL cave! By Day 2 I feel like I’m going to vomit if I have to eat one more bite of chicken or cooked vegetable. When does it get easier? (I’m doing this for pretty sever food intolerances as well as thyroid and adrenal issues. Any advice??

    1. Hi Alison,

      Have you tried backing into GAPS slowly? For example, beginning with Full GAPS first for several weeks before starting Intro?

      The vomiting is likely a symptom of low blood sugar and is fairly common, especially if beginning Intro “cold turkey”. There are a couple of remedies to try for that…tiny amounts of fresh pressed carrot juice w/ lemon, or a little bit of cooked applesauce, or a little bit of ghee with honey.

      Hope that helps,

  7. with the first stage in gaps, when I make the stock, and separate the bones and meat for later on stages, when I strain the stock do I eat the vegtables now or do you save them for a later stage also?

    1. Hello Ellen,

      As long as the vegetables aren’t high fiber vegetables, they can be eaten with the meat and stock from the beginning.


  8. I have been on Stage 1 for 6 days, some days only the broth, but continue to have severe diarrhea with bleeding.

    How can I stop this? It has been going on for 2 1/2 weeks, and I have lost 15 pounds. I am very weak, and so need to get it under control.

    1. Hello Sonia,

      I would recommend you get in to see your doctor about what you are experiencing. I can give some general ideas of what other GAPS people have done in your situation, and you could book a Puttering Session to talk about them, but severe diarrhea with bleeding sounds concerning and I would recommend getting some medical assistance.


  9. Hi Melanie, I am on full gaps now and planning to move to intro diet. question I have is are we allowed to take Kefir in intro ?? Can we eat sauerkraut .. I am not getting much of sauerkraut juice ..any suggestions on it.

    1. Hello Sarala,

      Thank you for the question. Typically, small amounts of fermented vegetable juice and kefir are introduced right from the beginning of Intro. 1-2 teaspoons for the first 5 days, then double until you’ve worked up to a regular serving.


  10. Aimi Justinussen

    Hi Melanie,

    I have been on full GAPS for over a year now. My issue before GAPS was constant constipation. When I initially started the diet, I had very runny and pale stools. Now I do not have constipation, but I have pale, floating stools.
    I do not have any discomfort though, and my health is much better. I got rid of gout and rosacea on the diet. In the beginning I lost too much weight, and became under-weight. However now I gained a few pounds and am in the normal weight-range for me.
    How do you suggest I resolve the issue with pale and floating stools?

    Warm regards


    1. Hello Aimi,

      Thanks for the question! Not knowing your full situation, I can only give you a generic suggestion…but it sounds like you need support for your liver/gallbladder and fat digestion. I would suggest going through my free Digestive Supplements mini-class to find out more. You can find that here –
      Beet kvass & Biotics Beta TCP are supports that I think of initially…


  11. Hi Melanie,
    So for people who do not have severe digestive issues is it recommended to just do one day on Stage 1? Do you have some examples of digestive issues where longer periods of time on Stage 1 would be indicated? Thank you so much for this wonderful free resource and the video explaining how to use it!

  12. Hello Melanie,

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I have been diagnosed with leaky gut and so I am prepping for the 1st stage of the Introduction to GAPS. I am inquiring specifically about the meat/chicken/fish stocks. Am I supposed to eat all of the connective tissues, organs, cartilage, skins, etc. ?

    Thank you!

  13. Hello Melanie,

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I have been diagnosed with leaky gut and so I am prepping for the 1st stage of the Introduction to GAPS. I am inquiring specifically about the meat/chicken/fish stocks. Am I supposed to eat all of the connective tissues, organs, cartilage, skins, etc. ?

    Thank you for you support!

    1. Hi Kianna,
      Thank you for your question! Yes it is beneficial to consume the skin, organ meats such as tongue, liver, giblets, heart, etc., bone marrow, and the gelatinous and cartilaginous (meats close to the bone). Some people find it works best to take all these parts and blend them, then add them back into the soups or stews for a creamy stock.


      Deanna- Honest Body Assistant and Certified GAPS Coach

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