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7 Not-so-quick Takes: Inquiring minds want to know: More on the GAPS diet

Thanks, Jen, for hosting!

Since writing my first post about my family beginning the GAPS diet, I have gotten lots of questions about what we are doing.  Even though, most of these questions have been asked in real life, I decided to answer some of them here, just in case y'all want to know too!

1.  Exactly what do you eat? Or better yet, what can't you eat?

I know I was very vague on this point in my last post.  I did want to write more about it, but did not want the post to get too long.  Now, most people want to know what we cannot eat, so, I will start with some of the foods that we are currently not eating.  We do not eat ANY grains.  No wheat, oats, quinoa, rice.  Potatoes are out.  Currently, we are on the middle phase of the intro diet, so we are not even eating fruits yet.  And no raw vegetables.  Those will be added to our diet over the upcoming weeks, but for now they are out. 

And no sugar.  We can have some honey, but a very limited amount.  And that will be the case throughout the whole diet.

The diet is rich in whole foods: meats (non processed), cooked vegetables.  Broths are essential as they are healing to the gut.  And, as mentioned in my previous post, we have lots of fermented foods.

Once we are through with the Intro diet and onto the Full GAPS, we will be on a diet similar to a Paleo diet. (You can see a full list of recommended foods and foods to avoid here.)

2. Just how long are you on this diet?

For the average, healthy person, with no symptoms (digestive issues or other physical/emotional aliments), the Intro part of the diet should take about a month.  The Intro diet goes in stages and you progress, and add new foods, as symptoms dissipate. 

Once through the Into, it is recommended that one stays on the Full Gaps diet for a whole year!  I doubt we will go that long.  My goal is around 4-5 months and then we will slowly add back grains, but only fermented grains.

3. Coffee?

Ok, no one has actually asked me this,but I am putting it here, in writing, so that when my kids accuse me of breaking the GAPS diet, in public, because I am having coffee, I may have people out there that know the truth.

You can have coffee on the diet. BUT, it is not recommended. Coffee is very tough on the digestive tract.  Dr. Campbell does allow for coffee on the diet, but you can only have a limited amount and it has to be watered down.

I know for many that may sound gross, but it really is not.  I did not have any coffee the first week on GAPS.  Sunday, after mass, I decided to make some.  I drank about 1/4 of a cup of coffee mixed with lots of water.  And, to me, it tasted great.  I can no longer drink full strength coffee.  It makes me sick.  I learned this the hard way while at one of my favorite grocery stores, Trader Joe's.  I love how they have those tiny cups of free coffee.  I filled one up, thinking, "What could it hurt?  It is only a small cup of coffee."  I was wrong. so wrong.  My stomach was in knots for the rest of the day.

So now, I love my coffee weak, very weak.

4. Have you really seen changes?

Yes.  But first, I have to be completely honest, as I do not want to lead anyone astray by making you think that my young, picky eater is a complete convert.  We still have our moments when he does not want to eat what has been prepared.  This kid HATES broth, and when you are on GAPS, and broth is an essential part of the diet, it is hard to make things completely harmonious.  But, he is eating tons of food and working through his distaste for broth.

That aside, we have had the best two weeks of school that we have had in, what seems like, forever.  Everyone is working well and attending to their work.  I do not need to redirect my oldest son every 10 minutes and he does not throw a mini tantrum when I tell him to do his school.  Now, maybe this is all because we are just coming off of a break, but I really do not think so.   Plus, there are fewer fights amongst the kids and everyone just seems happier and calmer.  Again, these are all things that an outside observer may not even notice, but they seem so huge to me.

Aside from the kids, I feel better too.  The first week, I was tired and sluggish, but since then my energy has increased a great deal and I feel great all day long.  I no longer get that mid-day sluggishness and I do not get as irritable as I used to.

5. Can you workout on the GAPS diet?

Yes!  The first week, I only worked out limitedly. My runs, were more like walks and I did not have the energy for T25.  But since then I have been able to run and do T25 each day with ease and some days I do a double workout. 

6.  Ok, it sounds like a lot of work. You must have a lot of time on your hands, I could not do this, I am too busy.

OK, first, I do not have a lot of time on my hands.  I homeschool my kids, transport them to swim, OT, and scouts.  I am working furiously on our Pack's recharter and adoption paperwork.  I workout each day, get myself to daily mass at least 3x a week and I have clients several times a week.  I am not saying this to say "Look at me, I do so many things." I am just saying, we are all busy and this diet, like anything else is a matter of time management and planning.

EVERYTHING is made from scratch.  I have only been doing this for three weeks now and I spend a great deal more time in the kitchen cooking and prepping than I did before, but it is all about planning and being prepared ahead of time. 

Meal planning is not new to me, I used to plan our dinners each week.  Now, I just plan every meal for each day,  I have to know what we are eating at every meal.  What makes this easy is that I always have a large supply of broth and veggies in the fridge.   Soup is a quick and easy meal to make.  I also make sure I always have nuts either soaking or roasting, keifer or yogurt being made, and veggies fermenting.  I either have bone broth stewing in the crock pot or chicken stock being made on the stove. I make sure I am always making, or have just made the the staples of the diet.

There are days that this can seem overwhelming, but because of it, I am finding I waste less and less time on non-essentials like Facebook, reading blogs, or organizing my sock drawer (I do not really organize my sock drawer, by the way!).  I know that the cooking and cleaning up takes a lot of time, so I am much more intentional about all the other time I have, if that makes sense.  I actually believe that the extra prep has made me better at focusing what needs to be done; my prayer time, my workouts, homeschooling, laundry, etc and getting it done more effectively.

So, yes it is a lot of work, but is manageable when planned out accordingly. 

7.  Other Resources.

 I have found a bunch of great blogs out there that describe the GAPS diet and give a look at the healing and changes other people have had through the GAPS.  Plus, there are some pretty yummy recipes out there too.  See these great blogs for more details.

The Well Fed Homestead


Grain-Free Foodies

GAPS Diet Journey

Health, Home and Happiness

8.  Just a quick word on buying Organic

As mentioned in my first post, our grocery bills have increased, doubled in fact, since starting GAPS.  At the very beginning, I was buying organic everything.  That lasted two weeks.  Our budget simply cannot handle that sort of expense, so I buy some organic meats, and others conventional.  Most of our veggies are conventionally grown, but others are organic.  While organic is ideal, I do not think it is essential to be successful on the GAPS diet.

Have a great weekend everyone!!


  1. Thanks for sharing. How fascinating. I'm sure you know our mutual family friends, the P family went GAPS last lent and saw drastic improvements in digestive and behavior issues. It sure sounds like a huge sacrifice, but the rewards are well worth it!


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