What Can I Eat on GAPS Intro Diet- Stage 4?
The GAPS Introduction diet is a very precise set of steps to follow that heal and seal the gut, while also supporting the body in the clean-up of accumulated toxins. See my detailed post on how to tell if you need to start with the GAPS Intro diet and what to eat on Stage 1 here. For a free menu and checklist on the first five days of GAPS Intro click here.
Because the Intro stages are so precise, they can be confusing. Over the years, some things have been changed or improved upon in the GAPS protocol. So, here is a detailed, up-to-date post about what to eat on Stage 4 of the GAPS Intro diet. Stage 4 allows for you to try baked goods and roasted, browned meats and veggies. It’s also when you start adding freshly pressed vegetable juices to support detoxification.
When am I ready for Stage 4?
Once you have added the Stage 3 foods successfully without a resurgence of symptoms, you are ready to try adding Stage 4 foods. When adding new foods, it is good to add one new food per day. That way, if you have symptoms, you will know what food triggered them. Note that it is okay to move on to the next stage even if there is a food or two from the previous stage that you are not yet tolerating (such as an egg white or nut sensitivity that requires more time to heal).
Generally, one only needs to be in Stages 1 & 2 for a relatively short period of time, though some conditions require an extended period of time on Stage 2 to calm and heal the gut. Learn more about Stage 2 here. Stage 3 however, is good to take a bit more time to complete. Exactly how long depends on the person, but a general recommendation is 5-8 days, introducing one food per day to make sure your body is adjusting, detoxifying, digesting, and renutrifying before moving on to Stage 4.
The Introduction Diet “Dance”
When moving through GAPS Introduction Stages, it’s very common to take “two steps forward and one step back.” This has been called the “dance” in the GAPS community. This “dance” often starts in Stage 4 so that it takes a while to graduate to full GAPS, but it can happen in any stage. It can be frustrating and discouraging to have to step back to a previous stage or take out a food and wait a few days for things to settle down again, but I hope that knowing it is normal will help. Be encouraged, many people have gone through all this before and been successful!
Remember to be patient and forgive yourself when you make a mistake or have a lapse in self-control. It’s not a disaster, and you can recover! Just move back a couple of foods or to the previous stage until things feel better and then go forward again. Trust your body that healing is happening even when it’s not easy or when symptoms are flaring up. Sometimes the symptoms are a detox or healing reaction, which means that GAPS is doing exactly what it is designed to do. If you are having severe or prolonged reactions, or you have specific health conditions that are of concern, work with Melanie or another Certified GAPS Practitioner to clarify your individual situation.
What can I eat on GAPS Introduction Diet, Stage 4?
Continue with foods tolerated in Stages 1-3, continue to focus on these key therapeutic ingredients:
- meat stock (5-6 cups daily for adults, 3 for children, can be in a soup or stew)
- probiotic home-fermented foods, brines, and beverages, such as beet kvass, yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies, increasing up to about 1/4 cup with each meal
- consume fresh fats, especially animal fats and ghee, working to about 1-3 Tbs per meal
- consume organ meats, skin, cartilage and gelatinous portions of meats and scaled fish
- fish oils & cod liver oil (I recommend Rosita or NutraPro)
- eggs or egg yolks from pastured poultry
Add the following foods:
- roasted meats and vegetables (for you crispy chicken skin lovers out there- it’s now allowed!)
- cold-pressed, organic, and unrefined hemp, flax seed, and sunflower oils
- fermented seed flours (can use to bake bread, muffins, GAPS pancakes, etc.)
- if seed flours are tolerated, try nut flours
- GAPS nut butter bread
- other baked goods (frittatas, egg bakes)
- baking soda (can use in baked goods, do not use baking powder)
- homemade coconut cream and coconut milk
- home-cured meats (commercially cured meats contain harmful additives such as sodium nitrite)
- home-fermented miso
- home-fermented fruit kvass
- fresh pressed vegetable juices (start with a very small amount diluted with whey, water, or meat stock and increase gradually)
- sauteed vegetables
- pork cracklings
- broiled foods
OK, so what can I eat on GAPS Introduction Diet- Stage 4? Here’s what a day’s menu might look like:
GAPS Introduction Diet Stage 4 Sample Menu
Upon waking- fresh pressed vegetable juice (best taken away from food for maximum absorption and detoxification)
Snack- Double cup of meat stock + soft or hard boiled egg
Dinner- Hamburgers on the grill or fried in a skillet + garlicky mayonnaise (omit mustard and cayenne until Stage 6)+ sautéed mushrooms + sauerkraut, roasted vegetables, cup of meat stock
Dessert- Lemonade Jello Cups
This sample menu provides 5-6 cups of meat stock and includes a ferment with each meal. To make it even more GAPS-y, add a bit of minced poultry liver to your sausage and a generous amount of ghee to your Chicken and Peas.
There it is, the official “list” of GAPS Introduction Diet Stage 4 Foods. With each food, start with a small amount and increase slowly. If a particular food causes symptoms when introduced, take it out for one week and then try it again. In the meantime, if your symptoms have cleared up, you can try adding another food on the list. You can even move forward to foods on the next stage before you try that food again. Of course, there are variables and nuances to take into account based on your particular need & situation.
In my one-to-one work with clients, we develop a GAPS plan that is unique and specific to you.
Often I am working with individuals who are quite sensitive or compromised. To reduce their inflammation and reactions, I use food sensitivity testing alongside stool testing.
The information gathered in a comprehensive intake process allows me to determine further what GAPS foods you may need to avoid for your healing progress, as well as what needs to be specifically targeted (and in what order) for your healing improvement.
Have experiences or questions about Stage 4 you want to share? Please leave a comment!