If you are in the end stages of the GAPS Introduction Diet, you may be wondering, “how do I transition to Full GAPS?” and “What can I eat on Full GAPS?” Or perhaps you are starting the Full GAPS diet and wondering what to eat. You have come to the right place! In this post we will answer common questions about the Full GAPS Diet.
When To Start with Full GAPS
First, many people do not need to start with the six-stage Introduction Diet. In fact, in Melanie’s practice she generally starts people on Full GAPS unless there are severe problems. This is because Full GAPS is much gentler than the 6-Stage Introduction Diet and will not initiate such severe die-off or detoxification reactions. After some time on Full GAPS, the person can do the 6-stage Introduction Diet and then move back to Full GAPS for the long term.
Here are some good reasons you might want to start with Full GAPS rather than the Introduction Diet:
- You are busy, or travel often. The Introduction Diet requires a lot of food preparation and may not work for you at this time.
- You are chronically constipated. The Introduction Diet will usually exacerbate constipation in the short term.
- You are very weak or ill, not strong enough yet to go through the detoxification process which is initiated by the Introduction Diet.
- You have been eating a standard diet, or haven’t done a healing diet recently. Full GAPS is a good starting point in this case.
- You are a pregnant or nursing woman. In this case it would not be appropriate to start on the Introduction Diet.
- Other reasons could be: you are not yet comfortable cooking GAPS foods and need some time to learn; you don’t have severe digestive, neurological, or immune symptoms but you want to reset your gut; you want to gradually remove non-GAPS foods so that detoxification and herxheimer/die-off reactions are less severe.
When to Transition from the Introduction Diet to Full GAPS
If you are on GAPS Intro, here are some scenarios where you may want to transition to Full GAPS:
- You are on Stage 6 of the GAPS Introduction Diet and you are no longer having digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain or bloating. Then you are ready to transition to Full GAPS.
- You are experiencing severe constipation on the Introduction Diet. In this situation you may want to transition to Full GAPS until you are having regular bowel movements once more, and then try the Introduction Diet again to resolve lingering issues.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding and you want to do GAPS or you are on the Introduction Diet. In this situation it is wise to transition to Full GAPS.
These are some examples. Everybody is different, and there may be other factors to consider for your particular situation. A Certified GAPS Practitioner (CGP) will take a comprehensive history, perhaps do some targeted testing, and help you to determine the best way forward for you. Learn more about working with Melanie, FNTP, and CGP, here.
How to Transition from GAPS Intro to Full GAPS
If you are currently on the GAPS Intro diet and you want to transition to Full GAPS, here are some tips to make things smoother:
- Start by adding local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, one at a time.
- Go slowly. It’s okay to take a step back to calm the digestive system down and then move forward again (a.k.a, the “Intro Diet Dance”).
- Keep the focus on meat stock, ferments, and other savory foods, making sweet things or nuts only 15% or less of your daily intake.
What Can I Eat on Full GAPS?
Below you will find an updated and complete list of what one can eat on Full GAPS.
Full GAPS Food List by Category
Meats & Fish
- bone marrow
- wild-caught fish
- organ meats
- *All meats and fish should be fresh, frozen, or canned in glass jars in their own juices or oil with no preservatives or sauces. Homemade cured meats are OK as well, with GAPS-approved ingredients.
- avocado oil
- coconut oil
- duck fat
- flaxseed oil
- ghee, homemade
- hemp oil
- goose fat
- olive oil
- tallow (the fat from beef, bison, or lamb)
- sesame oil
- sunflower oil
- schmaltz (chicken fat)
- wild boar fat
- *Fats must be fresh and stored properly (preferably in airtight glass in a dry, dark, and cool place). Seed oils are much more fragile, therefore careful sourcing, storage, and preparation (do not overheat) are critical.
- black radish
- bok choy
- brussels sprouts
- celeriac/celery root
- collard greens
- lettuce, all kinds
- peas, dried split and fresh green
- peppers, all kinds
- seaweed, fresh and dried, once the introduction diet has been completed
- squash, all kinds
- string beans
- sour cream
- crème frâiche
- *All fermented dairy must be home-fermented for a minimum of 24-hrs. Commercial yogurts and kefirs contain lactose and are not suitable for GAPS. Choose raw or pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), un-homogenized, whole milk or cream without additives for your ferments.
- black, white & red pepper: ground and peppercorns
- cayenne pepper
- coriander, fresh or dried
- dill, fresh or dried
- ginger root, fresh or dried powder
- mustard seeds, pure powder, and gourmet types with only GAPS ingredients
- spices, single and pure without additives. Ingredient ‘spices’ in store-bought prepared foods not allowed.
- tomato juice and purèe, without any additives apart from salt
- vinegar, apple cider or white; make sure there is no allergy
- monterey (jack)
- Port du Salut
- uncreamed cottage cheese (dry curd)
- nut flour or ground nuts
- nuts, all kinds freshly shelled, not roasted, salted, or coated
- nut butters of approved nuts, without additives
- peanuts, fresh or roasted in their shells
- apricots, fresh or dried with no additives
- bananas, ripe with brown spots on the skin
- berries, all kinds
- coconut, fresh or dried without any additives
- coconut milk, no additives, preferably homemade
- dates, fresh or dried without any additives, not soaked in syrup
- olives, preserved with only GAPS ingredients
- pineapples, fresh
- prunes, dried without any additives or in their own juice
- ugli fruit
- mayonnaise, homemade
- sauerkraut, raw, homemade is ideal. Store-bought fermented raw sauerkraut with GAPS ingredients okay, ingredient ‘spices’ not allowed.
- any properly fermented raw vegetable or fruit with allowed ingredients
- mustard, allowed ingredients only
- hot sauce, allowed ingredients only
- ketchup, homemade
- barbecue sauce, homemade
- *Get our recipes for 7 GAPS legal condiments in this free downloadable pdf!
- meat stock, meat stock, meat stock! Keep drinking meat stock every day to continue healing. See this article on how to include more meat stock in your day.
- bone broth, after 1 year on the GAPS protocol, if tolerated
- fermented vegetable brines
- kefir, homemade
- loose leaf herbal teas
- juices, freshly pressed from permitted fruits and vegetables
- GAPS milkshakes, a mixture of fresh pressed juice + egg yolks, animal fats, and/or 24-hr fermented cream, important for detoxification and fat digestion
- jun, homemade
- kombucha, homemade
- fermented coconut water
- coconut & nut milks, homemade
- black tea, organic and weak, freshly made from leaves
- coffee, weak (so clear you can see the bottom of your cup) and freshly made from ground beans
- gin, occasionally
- scotch, occasionally
- vodka, very occasionally, in tinctures okay
- wine, dry: red, rosé, or white
- cellulose in supplements
- citric acid
- calcium chloride
- white (navy)
- string beans
- dried split peas
There it is! The updated and official list of foods allowed on Full GAPS.
Common Mistakes on Full GAPS
But, simply sticking to that list and avoiding foods not included on the list is not enough for most people to achieve lasting healing. Here are some of the most common mistakes on Full GAPS and what to do instead:
- Not consuming enough meat stock for healing. For adults, at least 5 cups per day of healing meat stock is recommended, and 3 cups per day for children, even on full GAPS. The meat stock rebuilds your gut lining and helps seal it and protect it from harmful microbes. That’s a lot of meat stock and it can be hard to keep up! But it’s one of the most important components that make GAPS, GAPS. Try making meat stock from cuts like necks, backs, feet, wings, oxtails, and shanks so that you end up with less boiled meat and more stock.
- Forgetting Detox Measures. One of the reasons that pathogens and parasites are allowed to thrive in our bodies is that they actually help us deal with toxins. However, they come with their own set of problems. As microbes rebalance in your body, some will die and their waste needs to be eliminated. We are all exposed to environmental toxins on a regular basis. Supporting detoxification processes is key to healing. For more on detoxification, and specific supports, see this article.
- Consuming too little of the healing foods on the list, and too much of the not- so-healing foods. Dr. Natasha recommends making the majority (about 85%) of the food you consume savory meats, vegetables, eggs, and allowed dairy. This means that fruit, nuts, and sweets should be only about 15% of your daily intake. If you eat 3 larger meals, 1 small snack, and 1 small dessert each day, this would translate to mean that only the dessert should be a sweet item, or contain nuts or fruits. That’s not much! It’s very tempting to eat our preferred GAPS-legal foods while on full GAPS, but these healing foods should be the emphasis of the daily diet:
- meat stock
- organ meats
- pastured eggs
- fermented dairy
- fermented vegetables
- lots of fresh animal fats including ghee, tallow, schmaltz, etc.
What Can I Eat on Full GAPS- A Sample Menu
Upon waking– a cup of meat stock or fresh lemon juice in warm water
Snack- Cup of meat stock + see this list of GAPS snacks for all needs!
Snack- GAPS milkshake
Notes: In accordance with Dr. Natasha’s recommendations, this menu provides 5 cups of meat stock per day. It also includes a ferment with each meal. Remember to keep focusing on the nourishing foods- gelatinous meats and organ meats, fats, ferments, and eggs.
How Long Should I Stay on Full GAPS?
Though this is a very individual question, Dr. Natasha generally recommends two years of GAPS before transitioning to a whole, traditional foods diet. Some people may need more time; others might heal with less time.
To get more individualized support, including personal health history, testing, or supplement support, connect with Melanie, Certified GAPS Practitioner, FNTP, RWP, on this page. Have questions? You can talk with Melanie via email or schedule a free inquiry call.