What should I eat on GAPS?

GAPS is a gut healing protocol.

The introduction stage of the diet is based on 3 main categories of food:

  1. Stocks and soups made from meat or fish, with vegetables
  2. Probiotic foods like sauerkraut juice, kefir, sauerkraut and 24 hour yoghurt
  3. Fats

The stocks are made by boiling joints of meat, with the bone and cartilage etc for a reasonably short amount of time.  Vegetables are added to the pot during cooking.  The meat is then taken off the bone and eaten with the stock and the well cooked vegetables.

The stock, meat and vegetables can be eaten as a casserole, or blended to make more of a soup.

You can use meat from any animal, but it has to be mostly from around a joint.  Example include lamb shanks, osso bucco or chicken drumsticks.  We included kid (goat), when we did GAPS, as it was a way to increase diversity in our diet.

Organ meats are a very concentrated source of nutrition, and you can include these in your soups and casseroles.  If your children are not used to eating these, add small amounts so they don’t notice.

The vegetables that you eat in the early stages should be well cooked and peeled, with tough stalks removed.  So peel the carrots and the zucchini, and compost the thick stalk of broccoli.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnip are not allowed on any part of the GAPS diet.  Make sure to include vegetables like onion and garlic as they are prebiotic and help feed the good bacteria.  This is important as the starchy vegetables are removed, which normally act as prebiotic fibre.

Animal fats are used plentifully in the GAPS introduction diet.  Pesticides are concentrated in the fat of animals, so it is really important to choose organic fats.  Tallow, lard, goose fat, duck fat and ghee are all good choices.  You can buy these, or make your own.  When you roast meat in the oven, collect the fat and store in the fridge for cooking, then its free!

Probiotic foods should be consumed several times a day.  The first one to start with is sauerkraut juice, so you don’t have to digest the cabbage.  Then you can introduce sauerkraut, kefir, 24 hour yoghurt, whey, cultured cream and other fermented vegetables.

Choose your water carefully.  Unfiltered water will contain contaminants (things that shouldn’t be there), as well as chemicals which have been intentionally added.  Chlorine is added to the water to disinfect it.  The problem is, if it can kill bacteria in water, it can also kill bacteria in humans.  For this reason you need to filter your water.  A carbon filter is sufficient.  If you own, you can get one plumbed in for convenience.

Organic teas are also allowed, which is nice when you are weaning off coffee.  They should be organic, and stick to ginger tea or chamomile tea.

Honey is the only sweetener that is allowed, so you can add it to some yoghurt or kefir for ‘dessert’.  If you know that your blood sugar is going to be low when you start the diet, mix together some butter and honey and keep it in a little jar, so you can take a spoonful when you need to.  You should only need to do this for a few days.

As you move through the stages of the GAPS introduction diet, you get to gradually introduce other foods, like eggs, avocado, raw vegetables, activated nuts and seeds and eventually fruit!