January 15, 2012: Day One of the GAPS Challenge

Today is the day!  We are starting the GAPS Challenge today and you are all invited.  If you have not heard of the Challenge before today, it still isn’t too late to join in.  All you need to do is have a little determination for 30 days, starting today.   At the end of the 30 days, you can feel energized and cleansed.  Plus, you will have the support of this community behind you every step of the way!

You can still purchase a copy of the What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on GAPS Intro Diet ebook, which will walk you through the Intro diet day by day and step by step.  Cara over at Health, Home, and Happiness write this ebook after thinking about what would have helped her when she was going through Intro Diet with her family.  I have used it personally, and I find that it lives up to it’s claims!So without further ado, here are your options for the GAPS Challenge:

1.  For the real food newbie, you can simply go gluten- or grain-free for 30 days, starting today. This means getting creative with cutting wheat, grains, and gluten out of your diet.  If you go gluten-free, try quinoa or buckwheat for a grain substitute.  If you go completely grain-free, make sure you eat plenty of veggies, meats, eggs, fruits, and the treats sweetened with honey and made with grain-free flours like almond flour.  You can see my GAPS treats here, with which you will not feel deprived in the least!

2.  If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can do the Full GAPS diet for 30 days which is outlined here.  This is a little bit further than just going gluten-free or grain-free.  You also cut out any starchy foods, like green bananas, potatoes, and beans (except white beans).  This helps your digestion have a rest from processing foods that are harder to break down.

3.  Finally, for those who feel like they would benefit greatly from GAPS Intro Diet, you can buy the ebook and follow along for 30 days.  Intro Diet is truly nourishing and cleansing, and is the best way to start the GAPS diet.  If you are ready to take charge of your chronic illnesses, mental problems, or auto-immune issues, then GAPS Intro is the place to start.

I did the GAPS Intro Diet last March, and I was determined to get a renewed feeling of life.  Intro Diet truly delivered.  I was tired, yes, but I could tell that it was because my body was healing and rebuilding.  Be kind to yourself.  Eat plenty of food, and get plenty of rest.  Nourish yourself with stocks and broths for 30 days and see where your health can improve.

Please use this as a place to comment on your commitment to the GAPS Challenge, as well as a place to troubleshoot any problems you might have along the way during this first week.  I will be available in comments, and also on my Facebook page for anyone who needs support.  Happy GAPSing!

This post is a part of Sunday School, Weekend Gourmet, Monday Mania, Traditional Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Healthy2day Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fresh Bites Friday, and Fight Back Friday.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


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  1. We actually cut out the grains at the beginning of this week so are good to go for the rest of the diet. I am hoping for major improvement for us.

    • With all the bone broth and probiotics, it should make a noticeable difference. Remember to get a lot of rest, and try the detox baths and juicing if you’re able to. It helps you detox more effectively and gently. Good luck!

  2. Hi,

    I am starting the full GAPS diet today. I am a student and I exercise on a daily basis so I find it challenging to find time to cook all this soup and to get enough energy from these foods. I am doing this to heal my crohn’s disease which is getting progressively more severe.

    Is it okay to use organic store bought probiotic yogourt? can you suggest any Canadian brands. I simply don’t have time to make my own yogourt. When can I start introducing yogourt?


    • Nellie, do you have a dehydrator or a yogurt maker? If so, use a storebought yogurt as a starter. It’s not ideal to use storebought yogurt because it’s not cultured for a full 24 hours rendering the lactose significantly reduced. But it will work in a pinch, if you can tolerate it. Just follow the Intro Diet stages in the ebook or the outline here.

    • If you get a crock pot (hamilton beach supposedly doesn’t have lead and is cheap) you can throw some bones and veggies in there and keep it on all the time and just dip some broth out of it all the time, continuously adding veggie scraps, and other bones as you have them.

  3. I have started today and I am very excited. There are challenges as I have a potluck to go to tonight for church. I’m just prepared to take my food to all social functions.

  4. The problem with store bought yogurt is finding something that has absolutely NO sweetener in it. Yogurt is introduced before fruits in GAPS so you have to find plain, full fat, unsweetened yogurt. This is almost impossible in the US. You might have better luck in Canada.

    I’ve been using Villi culture from Cultures for Health to make yogurt at room temp. It is as easy as making chocolate milk. Just stir in the culture and leave out for 24 hours or so. Instant delicious yogurt.

  5. I started a little early–I’m on day 7 of the Intro–but definitely following along here and looking for encouragement!

  6. Sundays are busy days for us, so we will be starting tomorrow following the eBook pretty much as written. My only concern is that US Wellness Meats has been out of lamb and beef tallow, I don’t know how well my family will tolerate having chicken fat on everything, we are usually a butter family.

  7. Just went grain free – we’ll see if I end up going full GAPS. I’ll check in as I can. I mainly need help doing this w/ my son if I try. He really doesn’t like broth and has a life threatening allergy to egg white and dairy and we are off honey due to candida, He also is allergic to sesame and all nuts except almonds and macadamias.

  8. Adrienne, we have most of the same problems although we still do honey in baked things because I don’t know how to cope without it. You can bake a lot with almond flour (I get cheap almond meal from trader joes) … and don’t forget, you can boil broth down to a very small concentrated amount and just saute veggies in it or pour it over meat, or use as a dipping sauce. It’s super flavorful (dont’ salt until it’s done) and not brothy. My son doesn
    ‘t care for broth either.

    Rachael – you could try coconut oil or lard.

  9. I have been doing the GAPS diet for almost a year now and my son (13) has slowly been converting. It has taken him a while to adapt but he is willing to try! Soon he will be almost completely on the diet!! I am so proud of him! I want to tell people that some kids are picky and it may take some time for their kids to adjust, especially if they are older like me son, but don’t give up. For my son, I always offer him GAPS legal foods, but ultimately he has the choice. Luckily my son realized a couple years back how good real food makes him feel and for the most part he makes the right choices. The hardest thing that he needs to come to terms with is giving up processed meats. He LOVES sausage and hot dogs. Of course, I always buy the organic, nitrate free stuff, but it still has sugar. And, his other vice is cream! His fav treat is baked apples with cream. So, we are working on these. I feel good knowing that he is eating very healthly, nourishing food and even if its not always GAPS legal, he’s getting there. And, his progress already is AMAZING!! I have seen amazing results for myself as well- GAPS diet saved my life!! You can read more about our story on my blog! 🙂 Happy GAPSing everyone!

    • Linnae,
      Applegate make an organic, grassfed, nitrate-free, sugar-free (phew!) hotdog. I found it at our local health food store. They also carry an “uncured” bacon that is sweetened with honey at our local store as well. I believe that brand is Hemplers. You can also sometimes find sausage and hot dogs that are GAPS legal on US Wellness Meats. Hope this helps you! Nicole

      • Thanks Nicole!! I will have to do some more searching I think! We just tried the Appplegate brand and my son likes them! I also started making our own sausage with ground turkey and seasonings and he like that as well!!

  10. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    Share your great fermented food recipes at my Probiotic Food Linky – open through Februray 6, 2012.

  11. I wonder how people are feeling? I started on the 15th and in 24 hours I had a low grade temperature and body aches. Temperature is only slightly elevated but feel muscle weakness and nausea. I usually love to eat and am not turned off by food tasting different but I feel nauseas when I think of eating and after I eat. I am having a hard time eating enough in a day as the thought of food is making me feel sick. I’m just wondering if anyone else is having similar symptoms or issues already? I appreciate any encouragement.

    • Shonda,

      It sounds like you are experiencing “die-off.” It is very common when going through intro. My son has been on GAPS for a year and he had several rounds of die-off. It was the worst during the beginning of Intro. Have you read the GAPS book yet? It is very helpful to understand the concept behind this reaction and it gives ways to help aleviate your symptoms. One things that helps tremendously is to take Epsom Salt baths to help pull out the toxins. Also, if your die off is really bad you can take Activate Charcoal capsules. Another great resource is the GAPS Guide book. It’s short, but is great because it is very clear and tells you how to navigate the whole things. Hope you’re feeling ok. It does get better. I’m planning on jumping into Intro this spring! This diet has helped my son so much.

      • Nicole – thank you. Yes I have read the book and I expected to have some die-off symptoms but was really surprised by the nausea. I may try to get some activated charcoal as I find I just can’t eat much and I don’t want to not eat as I feel a fair bit of muscle weakness. It makes it hard to stick to it. I did cheat a little yesterday but my deterimination is back today. I don’t want to cheat and go through all of this and not get the best result.

        Thanks again!

        • When I was doing coconut oil three times a day (before I did GAPS), I got nauseous from the die-off that it caused. I just took a little less and tried to not make the die-off so acute. Are you feeling any better?

  12. Vanessa Drake says:

    Okay I started one day late and am on day 4…I am experiencing no die-off- is that strange? On the morning of day 3 I felt very weak and a little warm/hot- but ate a little coconut oil/mixed with honey and that picked me up. Other than that I’m okay! Well excpect for some heartburn!

    My DS had a headache/body aches on the eve of day 2…but I cannot get him to drink/eat the broth- he is already refusing soup! I think the soups I make taste pretty great- but he acts like broth is disgusting ( I think I made the mistake of letting him see me put a bone in the pot) Tonight I made a cauliflower creamy blended soup- and he ate that- so maybe the trick is creamy soups? We tried to do raw eggs today in soup- the kids were fine- but I felt stomach cramping/aching/burning ( I think I have an ulcer, as I’ve had this pain a long time and it’s very specific in it’s location) I have been having the pain no matter what I eat really- but it was def worse after the egg- I hope this does not mean I’m allergic!

  13. Vanessa Drake says:

    Oh and I do not see much fat around my chicken bones- what kinds of animal fats are you all eating? The beef broth looks fattier, but to be honest it smells/tastes a little funny to me- I have a hard time getting it done- but I like the chicken broth- is there a reason to be doing both?

  14. Kristina W says:

    Still craving chocolate!
    @Vanessa, I’m only doing chicken broth. I don’t think it matters.

  15. how many days is it normal to experience die off for? i am on day 7 and still have intense diarhea muscle stiffness and fatigue, can I progress to to stage 2?

  16. I am on day 5 and my bowel movements have become less regular each day (3 days of constipation with a tiny bit of diarrhea each day). I am usually relatively regular. I am guessing this is a sign of die off? Do you recommend doing enemas as Dr. Natasha talks about in her book? I have never done one before and am a little scared of them. Thanks so much for any insights.

    • That’s totally normal! I would suggest taking detox baths if possible, and if that doesn’t alleviate your symptoms then try the enemas from the GAPS book. I haven’t done them myself since I haven’t had constipation as a problem with die-off (I go the other direction on the poo spectrum, lol!)

  17. Deborah Raub says:

    When they suggest filtered water, is Brita OK or do you need a fancy in-sink filter? Also, is the bubbly mineral water from Italy OK to you???


  18. Will this heal my arthritis or at least do away with most of the pain?


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