Why and How to Start the GAPS Diet {Menu Plan Included!}

Are you wondering why and how to start the GAPS diet with your family? Used successfully to reverse autism and many autoimmune diseases, it’s also a great seasonal cleanse. We have done the GAPS diet as a family in January as a nourishing cleanse to jumpstart our nutrition for the year. Here’s my best tips after 3 years of experimenting with GAPS…

finally. this gal shows what it really looks like for a real family to start the GAPS diet

Why Do GAPS??

The GAPS diet is a grain-free diet that focuses on easy-to-digest meats, broths, and veggies in an effort to ‘heal and seal’ the intestines. GAPS stands for ‘Gut and Physcology Syndrome” and is based on the book by the same name by Natasha Campbell-McBride and has been used to effectively heal Autism, ADD, ADHD, Depression, Schizophrenia, Chrone’s Disease, Candida, and more.

We do the diet as a gentle cleanse for the whole family. You may be interested in the diet if you have digestive issues, allergies, or grain, gluten or milk intolerances. The great news about GAPS is that you don’t have to be on it forever–once you’ve healed and sealed your gut, you can often enjoy foods that you were previously allergic to!

GAPS How-To:

The GAPS diet has 6 stages which are increasing less restrictive until you reach “Full GAPS”. The first year we did it, we went on Full GAPS as a family for 3 weeks, and I worked through the 6 stages of more intense GAPS on my own. If you’re doing GAPS for the first time, I recommend starting with Full GAPS, and when you get into that rhythm, you can try the more restrictive GAPS Intro.

Here I shared my favorite resources for learning about GAPS and finding yummy recipes my family would eat. You can also read what we ate, how we felt, and why we quit our grain free experiment!

OK, now to this year! Let me just say, this is so much easier the second or third time around! Mainly because I saved my menu plans from last year and we’re just reusing them. I checked my menu, went shopping, checked my menu, made dinner, checked my menu, made breakfast….and so on. No brain power needed. Instead, I’m using my brain power to walk you through taking your family on a GAPS journey!

1. Menu Plan for GAPS Diet

This is THE #1 secret to a successful diet. Plan ahead what you’re gonna eat so you’re not stuck trying to figure out what’s for dinner when you’ve got Detox Brain Fog and mac and cheese is no longer an option. Here’s the menu I’m working from this week:

B: Smoothies and Omelets
L: Supermuffins (meatloaf in muffin tins) and steamed carrots
D: Taco Salad, minus the chips (don’t forget cordito!)
Snacks: Nutbutter brownies, Apples

B: Pumpkin Nutbutter Pancakes with Honeybutter
L: Leftovers
D: Meatzza (thin meatloaf spread with pasta sauce and cheese), Squash Fries, Salad
S: Leftover Pancakes, Apples

B: French Toast Souffle and Smoothies
L: Leftovers
D: Roast Chicken, Mashed Cauliflower, Steamed Carrots, Gravy
S: Grapes, Cheese

B: Omelets
L: Leftovers
D: Beef stew
S: Pumpkin Pie Souffle, Apples

B: Yogurt with blueberries, scrambled eggs
L: Leftovers
D: Meatloaf, squash fries, Broccoli with cheese, sauerkraut
S: Apple nut balls, grapes

B: Apple nut balls, omelets
L: Leftovers
D: Spaghetti Squash with meatballs and sauce
S: Nut bars

B: Banana Pancakes
L: Spaghetti Pie
D: Shepard’s Pie
S: Apples and peanut butter

Again, you can check out this post for where I found our family’s favorite GAPS recipes. It’s helpful to have a complete list of Recommended Foods and Foods to Avoid as you craft your menu.

2. Take time to prepare for GAPS.

one of the best resources to gradually add more real food into your lifestyleAnother secret to a smooth GAPS experience is beginning preparation in little ways ahead of time. My freezer is stocked with butter I made when I was getting a lot of cream from my milk supplier, as well as store-bought butter I grabbed when it was on sale. I also have lots of chicken and turkey broth put up. I made a half gallon of yogurt last week, and I already had three jars of sauerkraut in my fridge (leftover from last year, actually. Yeah, it’s still good!!). So, make your

  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • stock,
  • sauerkraut
  • and stock up on whatever freezes well.

Don’t be intimidated by or avoid the weird stuff like bone broth or sauerkraut. They are the backbone of this diet and why the GAPS diet gets better and more permanent results than other grain-free diets. If you need a SIMPLE guide to bone broth, yogurt, kefir, and a variety of sauerkrauts to add to your repitiore, then grab a copy of my book, Your Real Food Journey. It’ll get you well on your way!

3. Go Shopping!

(Don’t you love when I tell you to do that?)

Once you’ve got your menu planned and your advanced prep done, you’re ready to go shopping for all those veggies!


This is what shopping for GAPS looks like. Nothing too weird, right?


And just look at these yummies you can have on Full GAPS: Steak, cheese, fruits, and coconut milk!

4. Be Smart in the Kitchen

Everything I talk about in my book about Menu planning, bulk food prep, and freezer cooking applies to GAPS diet. You need to make every minute in your kitchen count, or you will get burnt out. I’ve gotten into the habit of making two meals each time I make dinner. Meatbals and meatloaf use almost all the same ingredients, right? So make them both, and freeze the one for later in the week.

Freezer Cooking on GAPS diet

On Tuesday I mixed up meatloaf and Supermuffins while I was making the taco salad. Three meals at one time–score!

Butternut squash fries

There’s freedom in leftovers, people! A family of 4 won’t eat this many squash fries in one setting, but that’s the whole idea. Planning for Leftovers means I don’t have to make lunch the next day, just reheat!

A GAPS dinner the whole family loves

My Final Tip:

Buy Paper Plates. You need to simplify wherever you can if you’re gonna be trying a whole new style of cooking. Go ahead and eat off paper plates if it makes things easier. That’s what I do!

What do you think? Doesn’t sound too crazy, does it? Grab my book for your foundational GAPS recipes and get started!

89 responses to “Why and How to Start the GAPS Diet {Menu Plan Included!}”

  1. Teresa Avatar

    Hello Trina. First thank you for the great information. I am starting gaps next week. I am fodmap sensitive so I avoid most high fodmap foods. Unfortunately, both saurkraut and kefir are high in fodmaps. I was eating sauerkraut and it caused miserable bloating and diarrhea. I found that the fermentation process causes mannitol to form. I can’t tolerate those type of sugars at all. I’ve been advised to do gaps but still follow the fodmap diet as well. It’s more restrictive but I think I can do it. High fodmaps only partially digest and become food for the bad bacteria. Who knew. We all need to individualize our programs to fit our specific needs. It took me decades to figure out what my problems are. No doctor I’ve been too offered any help at all. Thank goodness we are now living in the information age.

  2. Katie Avatar

    I just began GAPs Intro Stage 1 and my son and I are super sick, can’t stand for long but detoxing (day 3). When can we add in kombucha, water kefir or any kind of kefir? We cannot do dairy. Any recommendations on coconut kefir?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Katie, do you have the GAPS book? it’s really helpful to navigate the questions that arise as you move through the phases.

  3. Grace Ashley Avatar
    Grace Ashley

    I am starting GAPS for my asthma and allergies. I have done it once before and it helped tremendously. Do you have any suggestions for traveling while on GAPS? We will be on vacation soon and there will be a refrigerator and a microwave. This is all I’ll have access to, and just wonder if you have any ideas?

    1. Trina Avatar

      make any baked goods that you can have at the stage you are on and freeze them. Make omelets, egg ‘muffins’ and then make and freeze a bunch of soups.

  4. Guilla Avatar

    I can’t remember how i found your site i think it was because of someone in YL recommended it, anyway i am really intrigued with this GAPS diet. I suffer from Acid Reflux, and it is bad. So i want to change my diet and see if that helps. I have to say Trina I am terrified of fermented foods, citrus and nightshade veggies. I am not entirely sure if that terror contributes…, it might. Anyway I am happy to have found it and will try it for sure. Do you think it may help?
    Thank you again for all your work and posts and info. God bless.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Guilla, lovely to have you visit me here! Are you taking any supplements? Acid Reflux is a sign of deficiencies–I’d be on essentialzyme and life 9 if you have YL membership!

      If you are terrified, just go to whole foods and buy a couple jars of different fermented things and make some tacos and try a bit on something you would otherwise put salsa on, and see what your body says!

  5. Trina Avatar

    sounds like you have a very particular situation. I’d love to help you explore some things you could do to support your digestive tract. Email me if you’d like to explore some other things you could be doing!

  6. Noela Polglaise Avatar
    Noela Polglaise

    hi, im new to hearing about the GAPS diet. I have IBS which is getting so much worse since xmas. Every couple of weeks I have bouts of massive stomach pains and diarreah etc that can last for two to three weeks. Doctors are just saying IBS and not offering any help. someone suggested GAPS or even low fodmap diet but ive looked at them both and im concerned that nearly all of the included foods are things that play up on me.My stomach doesnt tolerate any oils, alot of fruits, vegies or salad. what I can eat these days is very limited and getting smaller. I would like to heal my gut but im just not sure how I would do this if I cant tolerate the foods included?

  7. Jessica Avatar

    Is this diet safe for breast feeding Mommas? Or will it affect milk supply?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Jessica, every mama is different, but personally, i can’t produce enough milk if I’m not eating grains. I tried GAPS when I was nursing my 4th child and almost dried up my milk! As soon as I added oats back in, it came back. I would be cautious and maybe wait till your baby is on solids themselves before trying to cut all grains.

  8. Raquel Avatar

    My family and I served in Rural Asia on the mission field . After 6 months I got severely ill and we were required to return home . Doctors in India suspected intestinal gangrene . Praise the Lord it was not . I was infection with parasites however . Since I have been trying to heal my gut ( 4 yrs now ). I have not done fill GAPS but lately my Neuro symptoms are beginning to flare so I’m gonna take the plunge . My question is , I do not tolerate probiotics . The Dow off is so great that ky blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels . Can I do the diet and see progress wth out probiotoc supplements ? I DO make kefir but I have to make it in coconut cream ( after fermenting in whole milk ). I do not tolerate milk either . Is this a waste of time ? Does this mean the GAPS isn’t for me ? Also , every time I’ve tried to make sourkraute ( twice ) it has molded . What could I be doing wrong ? Lastly , I’d love copies of the above recepies you mentioned . Thanks

    1. Trina Avatar

      Yes, you can do GAPS even if you have a dairy intolerance–but you have to start at stage one. GAPS actually introduces probiotics very slowly, to keep die off from being too bad–the only thing you have that’s probiotic in state one is the liquid from a jar of sauerkraut. I’ve had my share of moldy sauerkraut, and I’ve found it happens if 1) you slice the cabbage too fine, or 2) you don’t use enough salt. Try again, and try my method here… You can find a lot of GAPS basics in my book, Your Real Food Journey, or on Pinterest!

  9. Anna Avatar

    When you say you do the GAPS every January are you doing the intro or full?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Full. I have no food sensitivities or digestive issues so don’t feel it’s necessary.

  10. Brooke Avatar

    Hi! Two questions about sauerkraut. Is store bought just as good for you? And how do you eat it? Like recipe ideas..

    I have been vegetarian and eating none to light dairy for about two years. And my oral health and teeth have been exponentially worse than ever in the last few years. (I have also been going through a lot of stress and eating more sugar) I lost two teeth a few years ago and am scared to go to the dentist because I am likely going to lose one or two more on the other side. I floss religiously and brush twice daily. I have been using home made toothpaste (baking soda, coco oil, and essential oils) for over a year. I have been oil pulling off and on for a few years as well. I was bulimic in a past life and know I have screwed up my teeth. I don’t want to lose more. So I am going to try a major diet change and up my oil pulling anty. I am likely going to come off my vegetarian diet, though it will be hard, losing my teeth at 30 is harder. Thanks for the hope!

    I am also afraid for my daughter, I have recently noticed a few dark spots in her mouth and don’t want her to have cavities. How do your get your kids to take cod liver oil sups? I got some for myself a few years ago and stopped using them because they were just horrible to take. I nearly vomited every time and them I burped it up later. I order the fermented cod liver oil and butter oil green pastures sup again and will try it again.

    Sorry for the book. Thanks for your help and hope you offer through the sharing of your story

    1. Trina Avatar

      loved your ‘book’, sorry it took me a little while to get back to you.

      Storebought sauerkraut CAN offer probiotic benefits, IF you buy the raw kind from the refrigerated section. Bubbies is a naturally fermented kind if you don’t want to make your own.

      I fully support your idea that you need to increase nutrition to help out your teeth! Take it one type of food, one meal switch at a time, and enjoy your butter and yogurt!!!

      I don’t use the cod liver oil regularly, only on an as-need basis for signs that someone’s nutrition is really deficient. My kids haven’t shown any signs of that (no cavaties so far!) so they don’t take it regularly. We stick with a nourishing diet and that seems to be sufficient.

    2. Belinda Carrico Avatar
      Belinda Carrico

      If you don’t like fermented cod liver oil try http://evclo.com/ or http://www.drrons.com/nutrapro-cod-liver-oil.htm . My sister uses one of these bands.

  11. Gloria Carpentieri Avatar
    Gloria Carpentieri

    Curious how this diet helps autism. My 13 year old grandson is on the spectrum and has Fragile X Syndrome. He loves pasta and pizza, bread, etc. Not a big vegetable eater. Would the GAPS diet be beneficial for him and how so?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Many people have noticed a direct correlation between gut health and symptoms of autism. Restoring his gut balance may have positive results: the GAPS diet is great for getting the gut back in shape.

      1. Julie M. Avatar
        Julie M.

        My sister started her journey in recovering her son from autism with GAPS. He was two and drinking a gallon of milk a day, eating cereal and in his own world. She tried gluten free and casein free and noticed a HUGE change. He woke up. He was miserable, but he was no longer in a stupor. From there, she has used elimination diets both GAPS and later Specific Carbohydrate Diet to heal his gut. She found a doctor who specializes in a Biomedical approach to autism. By kindergarten, with a lot of diet and therapies, he was mainstreamed without an aid. He’s now the captain of his cross country team in middle school and almost indistinguishable from his peers. He’s also been included in an NIH study of kids who recovered from regressive autism. But it all started with DIET. It’s also important to find a doctor who believes autism can be healed to support you. He went through much testing and many setbacks , including PANDAS, And still eats a restricted diet but he’s now enjoying his childhood. You might get guidance, referrals and resources from TACA which is an organization of autism parents helping other parents deal with autism. Good luck!

  12. Sarah Avatar

    What kind of meat do you usefor. Meat loaf i like ground turkey is thats till pkay o the gaps ?

    1. Trina Avatar

      I use beef, but turkey could work, too!

  13. lynn Avatar

    how you do freeze the squash fries? do you bake them, freeze then reheat or do you freeze them raw? thank you!

    1. Trina Avatar

      I haven’t frozen them yet! I’m not sure!

  14. […] the number 1 secret is to menu plan for GAPS diet–you don't want to be left … with Full GAPS, and when you get into that rhythm, you can try the GAPS Intro. [more] […]

  15. Umit Ulgen Avatar
    Umit Ulgen

    You have no nuts and legumes nor carbohydrates such as potatoes except mash pot in shepherds pie?! Any reason? Can you explain please?

    Thank you

    1. Trina Avatar

      The goal for all foods consumed while on GAPS is that they be anti-inflamitory and easy to digest.Most Legumes and grains are not good when you’re trying to heal your gut.

  16. Zara Avatar

    Hi, my family have recently started the full gaps diet but I’m struggling to keep up with the kids lunch box as they don’t want to be seen eating different things to their piers. Can we have cheese sandwiches ect. We didn’t go through the intro stage or any other stage we went straight to full gaps because I struggled to keep my 12yr old dyspraxic son satisfied on a minimum diet.
    Thanks I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Zara, packing lunches and peer pressure are tough on GAPS! I would try to make their boxes colorful and fun–chop veggies and cheeses and cold meats into cute shapes, and have a lot of variety in color and such.

  17. Emily Avatar

    Hi there, I am currently a lacto-ovo-pescatarian and have been for about 5 1/2 years. I was recently diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. I also get chronic yeast infections for about the past year. I’ve had a lot of improvement from physical therapy that helps to loosen the overly-tight muscles in my pelvic floor but still suffer from bouts of IC “flare-ups” that effect a lot of my overall mental health and well-being. (Basically makes me feel like I have a UTI but without an actual infection- it’ll drive a person CRAZY!) Because of my continued issue with the IC, I’ve decided to consider altering my diet and adding meat back in to see if it might improve my body’s overall well-being and balance whatever is throwing me out of whack. What recommendations do you have for someone who is re-introducing meat back into their diet as well as starting on this new eating-pattern? Have you heard of anyone who’s experienced success in curing Interstitial Cystitis with the GAPS diet? ( I know that is quite a specific question but thought I’d ask as you just never know.)

    1. Trina Avatar

      Although I don’t have specific information for you, I do know that any disease related to the gut and digestive system can be helped with a focus on healing and fermented foods as described in the GAPS diet. Also, have you heard of the Tummy Team? They are an awesome online rehab program that addresses pelvic floor health. Just thought I’d mention them because they have been a part of my healing journey as well.

    2. Tonya Avatar

      Emily, I have IC as well. It’s a terrible illness but I’ve learned a few tricks dusing my 10÷ year journey.
      First of all, I stated having problems the same time that I started having hot flashes and night sweats so I felt like it had something to do with my hormones and long story short, I’ve been taking bio identical hormones for about a year now and have had a lot of improvement.
      A couple of other things that have greatly helped me have been taking an herb called quercetin with bromlain (I use Now brand). If you try it, give it a good two or three weeks to see if it helps. And also for immediate relief, drink a half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. That’s my biggest tip 😉
      I am looking into starting the GAPS diet also. It looks promising.
      I hope you find relief and personal healing!

  18. nicole scott Avatar
    nicole scott

    Hi Trina,
    I just finished reading the GAPs book which I found in my search for something to help my eczema which started during my second pregnancy, and an undiagnosable irritated bladder problem which started in a year after my second son was born. I had a chiropractor in high school tell me he thought I had leaky gut and low stomach acid, but he had no further information for me and I had no idea it could be linked two other issues I experience including a hormonal eye condition called vernal keratoconjunctivitis, which is essentially painful irritation and inflammation triggered by allergies. I’m in the process of getting organized to start gaps for our whole family. My husband suffers from some oral allergy syndrome to certain foods, and dyslexia. My 3 year old son has a typical picky toddler appetite, heavy on the bread. My younger son (18 month) struggles with ear infections, and had five courses of antibiotics before we figured out acupuncture helps. I am concerned that he is even more selective with his food, still loves purees/yogurt, or hard crackers, no eggs, VERY slow to try anything new if it is raw or has more texture than soft veggies in soup, or soft meats.
    I need help figuring out how to approach GAPs. The book says the Introduction diet is for people with any food allergies or intolerances or leaky gut and offers the quickest healing, and that it shouldnt be skipped. But you suggest trying the Full GAPs, and then moving into the GAPs intro. I’m assuming because this is moving towards more and more restrictive options until you can do the Intro for an intense period of healing? Obviously I want to heal everyone, but with two picky toddlers I hesitate to jump right into the Introduction diet. At the same time I feel like healing will take longer if we only slowly shift. We dont eat the SAD diet, but plenty of grains, sprouted bread, and as minimally processed food as possible. Should I just start eliminating foods that aren’t allowed, while introducing foods that are? How old were your kids when you first tried GAPs? Any tips specifically for toddlers? THANKS!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Nicole, please forgive how long it has taken me to respond to your comment! Here are my thoughts:
      One of the most important things to reduce or eliminate is stress. Stress is just as toxic to our bodies as allergins. That’s why I do recommend the gradual approach for most people. If you are not facing severe allergies or life-threatening disease, I believe you can afford to do this slowly and that is best especially when you’re leading a whole family.

      I would cut out grains, and start introducing cultured foods. Those two steps, though not getting you fully into GAPS mode, can have so much impact, you may not need to go further! Whatever you do, I would take it one step at a time, slowly, and try to avoid stressing yourself. Trust that healing comes from God, and He may use the GAPS diet, but He doesn’t need to. 😉

      Your second son’s intolerance of texture has me wondering if he may have a tongue tie. I would check out this post by my friend Amanda…http://realfoodwithkids.com/hidden-cause-childrens-eating-difficulties/

      My kids were 5, 3, and 1 when I did GAPS the first time. They don’t like soup as a rule, but when you’re hungry enough… 😉 Their favorite dish was Meatzza (a thin meatloaf topped with sauce and cheese like pizza), and they still ask for it!

  19. Stephanie Tuttle Avatar
    Stephanie Tuttle

    This is great, a cleansing, healthy diet, however, please be careful making claims that it “heals” autism. As a parent to a moderately autistic child, I can tell you autism can not be healed. I do feel that symptoms can be decreased, but autism doesn’t just go away. Also, I have an ADHD daughter, she is on a mostly natural diet to treat it, rather than medication, and for most (if not all) ADHD people, apples are one of the worst things they can eat. My brother was severely ADHD, and my daughter is pretty rambunctious herself when not treated, and apples are worse than red 40 for both of them, takes DAYS to clear from their system.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Stephanie!

      I have seen testimonies of autism reversed with diet, but agree that it won’t be in every case, and everyone is different.

  20. Angela Avatar


    I found it interesting that you do the GAPS diet once a year. Good idea! So what is your opinion on doing the diet before/during pregnancy? I read in the Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care that you should not do the GAPS diet just before or during.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Angela, great question. Personally, I’ve not done it during pregnancy, but probably wouldn’t because my metabolism is so fast, I’d have to eat constantly to maintain proper wait gain. I did try GAPS last year while nursing and nearly dried up my milk supply because there were simply not enough carbs! It is a healing diet, and probably not ideal during times when our body needs to be in ‘production’ mode. That being said, many of the principles of the diet (like bone broth and fermented vegetables) are great to apply in any season, even if you don’t have the ability to go grain-free. I do bone broth and kraut daily since being on GAPS and have totally kept my gut in good shape during pregnancy with those two superfoods.

      1. Angela Avatar

        Thanks, Trina! That is helpful!

  21. Helai Avatar

    Hi Trina,

    I have suffered from acute eczema from four years old (I am 29 now), and although I managed to have some control of the disease (localised around my right leg) it seems to have reached its peak by spreading all over my body after the birth of my baby 4 months ago. Have you had or heard of any positive skin results on this diet?

    1. Trina Avatar

      the great news is, skin is totally connected to gut health–and you can see a difference in days if you go to the root of the problem, pull out foods that you’re not digesting, and begin healing your gut. My girlfriend’s husband got rid of life-long psoriasis after a few months on GAPS. Yeah!!!!

  22. Chelsea Avatar

    Was wondering, I am mildly intolerant to garlic, bay leaves, green beans. Should I omit these healthy things even if the GAPS diet calls for them? I also am intolerant to wheat/dairy. Thanks!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Chelsea, anything you are allergic to should be avoided until you have healed your gut. The GAPS book goes into detail on how you can self-test for food sensitivities as you expand your diet.

  23. Dannelle Avatar

    What kind of things do you do to make family get together’s easier? Both my husband and i have large extended families that live close by so we see them frequently.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Dannelle, gathering around food is one of the biggest challenges to being on a restricted diet, but it can be done with grace and a bit of gumption. I recommend starting out by making soups and snacks “to go” for yourself. Although this is inconvenient at first, gradually you will get used to it, and your family may find a few GAPS friendly dishes that they like or can prepare, and you can eat together occasionally. If you are confident that this is the right thing for your family, that confidence will go a long way toward making others comfortable with the restrictions you have chosen for a season.

  24. dawn duffey Avatar
    dawn duffey

    I just loved reading your infro mation i really want a life style change to not just lose weight but to heal my bodyand to really enjoy this journey most of all i need simple easy fast and cheap to succeed and with the paper plates and leftovers you get it love it thank you

    1. Trina Avatar

      Dawn, I’m excited for you! I really think the GAPS can help, and glad my tips make it sound doable for you!

  25. dana owens Avatar
    dana owens

    My daughter has ulcerative collitis. ..7years old…they wanted to take her colon out…please help me

    1. Trina Avatar

      I’m so sorry about your daughter’s diagnosis, but I’m really excited because I firmly believe there is hope for her! I just received an email from one of the nutritional blogs I follow the day after your comment, and she included this link–


      She healed herself from ulcerative collitis with the GAPS diet.

      She, too, was told she needed to have her colon removed, but she’s found a way to heal, and has a GAPS class to help people along the journey. She shares about an online GAPS class and support group with registration open now for the fall session.

      I don’t want to take anymore of your time because I think that her post and blog is what you really need to explore. I’m not a GAPS expert–just someone who’s tried the diet and studied enough to know I wanted to spread the word that there is hope. I just want to let you know that I’m praying for you and your daughter. This is not a hopeless diagnosis, Dana. There is a way to heal.

  26. Kim Avatar

    Do you have the first stage outlined anywhere?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Kim, I do not–so sorry! I do really recommend getting the GAPS book–you can find it at the library sometimes!

  27. Suzan Barnes Avatar
    Suzan Barnes

    you are amazing! thank you. 🙂

  28. Nick Gordon Avatar
    Nick Gordon

    Hi Trina
    We are thinking of trying gaps diet fir my daughter ( 10 months ) to heal her gut and help solve skin issues. Do you think it’s suitable for her at her age ?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Nick, any child below a year old should ideally still have breastmilk as their primary source of nourishment. I would certainly cut out grain and sugar products from her diet, and look into a whole-food formula if breastmilk is not an option. The book Nourishing Traditions has two recipes for good formula.

  29. Shelley Avatar

    What is in the pan in the picture just above your Final Tip. It looks like some sort of pan pizza. The reason I am asking is because pizza is one of my downfalls.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Shelley, that’s butternut squash rounds, topped with sauce, meat, and cheddar and baked till the squash is soft. It’s a quick and easy substitute. You can also make a cauliflower crust on GAPS, but it’s a bit more complicated.

  30. dena mott Avatar
    dena mott

    Hi I want to do the oil pulling, I have read about it for years and just never did it. I also read about your diet of Gaps…I work in the operating room and see more and more surgeries consisting of leaky guts. For myself I am trying to cut out all animal fats this includes liquid fat which would be milk but also, butter, cheese eggs. For me I am trying to prevent and reverse heart disease. I am eating whole foods and juicing. I also have type 2 diabetes so I am following Dr. Neal Barnards program for reversing diabetes, whom pretty much goes hand in hand with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyns Prevent and Reverse heart disease. This calls for omitting all animal fats…all fats period. So I just would like to know if I can encorporate the gaps diet also, but without all the dairy and meat (animal fats) Thank you for any and all the info you have so graciously posted. dena mott

    1. Trina Avatar

      Dena, from my research, certain fats are actually essential to our health, and the fats to be avoided for heart health are actually the over-processed, rancid vegetable oils. Sounds like you like to read and do your own research–good for you! I would really recommend you read the GAPS book by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. It should clear some things up for you. GAPS centers around healthy animal fats and proteins so I don’t think you could do it without those things. 😉

  31. […] My oldest is still on the SCD diet and I’m leaning very strongly in transferring him to GAPS. Not that I want to. SCD and GAPS are both a lot of work. But I can see the benefits and that makes […]

  32. Jonny Avatar

    This is just what I needed to read!

    Just a few questions how do you make your ” french bread” as gluten isn’t allowed?


    1. Trina Avatar

      I don’t eat GAPS all the time, so I’m thinking the french bread you’re referring to is probably something we’ve enjoyed when we’re eating grains again. 😉

  33. Lindsay Jaynes Avatar
    Lindsay Jaynes

    I’m interested in the printable list of foods you mentioned. Where can I find that? I’m breastfeeding and my newborn has severe reflux. Our pediatrician thinks if I go on Gaps it might help. What’s the easiest way to start. I honestly don’t have a lot of time to read the whole book and learn how to cook completely differently, but I know this is really important for my baby. Is there kind of a Cliff’s Notes version for the full Gaps somewhere? Thanks so much for writing this and answering questions!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Lindsay! First let me say, ‘I know how you feel!’ My second had severe reflux. Actually, all my babies have been spitty until I gave up milk for a few months. After about 4 months, their digestion matured and I was able to add it back in.
      GAPS simplified is: No grains. No uncultured dairy. No sugar. Plus you add in lots of good bone broths and homemade sauerkrauts to heal your digestion. I agree that it can be overwhelming, so I’d suggest cutting out uncultured dairy for starters (you could keep yogurt and aged cheese in your diet, which is what GAPS allows). If that doesn’t help after a week, then you could cut out the next one that often triggers digestive issues…grains. Start with wheat, then oats, then rice (wheat being the hardest to digest, rice the easiest). This is basically an elimination diet which may allow you to find out what’s irritating baby without having to give up so much at once. Make sense?
      The challenge with doing GAPS while breastfeeding is that the complete lack of grains can affect your milk supply. I did GAPS last month, while nursing my 3 month old and –ooops!–nearly dried up my milk supply! I added back in oats and rice, and some wheat, and my supply increased again within 6 hours. I have found that it’s the uncultured dairy that makes my little one the spittiest.
      You could also look into an infant probiotic–this really works with my baby, wish I’d known about it with my others!
      Here is a list of what you can eat on GAPS–http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/what-can-you-eat-on-the-gaps-intro-diet

  34. Jill Avatar

    Thank you so much for all of your helpful info. Our family of nine has been very sick from a toxic mold situation and are getting ready to transition over to the GAPS diet as part of our healing process. Thanks again for your ideas.

    1. Trina Avatar

      I’m so sorry about your mold issue! I have SO ‘been there, done that’ but I wanted to encourage you that once we got the mold remediated, our good health returned and we have not had any further health issues! I did the GAPS diet to help rebuild our bodies and feel it was why we didn’t suffer more from the mold. Praying for your journey back to health!

  35. Jordan Avatar

    Hey there! I was hoping you could help me. I feel really lost as to where I should start with the GAPS program. I have been diagnosed with ibs, lactose intolerance, and gluten intolerance. I would really like to heal my gut and be able to actually feel good after a meal rather than in pain and bloated. buuuttt… I don’t have a clue where to begin haha. Any advice?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Jordan! I know big diet changes can be intimidating–I certainly hope I can help!
      First, I’d encourage you to look at this not as a diet, but a lifestyle. Food prep will be a larger part of your day (although in time it will become easier and habitual), you will have to buy some food from different stores or sources, and it will affect your social life–food is such a big part of most people’s social lives. I don’t mean to scare you off, but simply encouraging you to see from the start that this path will affect your whole life, and to caution you that discouragement will come if you don’t realize ahead of time what you are committing to.
      OK, here’s for the practical advice:
      To start with, you want to learn to make bone broths–here’s my chicken broth instructions, my beef broth recipe is not on the blog yet but you can find it in my cookbook.
      Next, you’ll need to learn how to make fermented veggies. These are crucial to your healing, and are super simple and very cheap to make. Don’t be intimidated by sauerkraut–I’ve got a whole series with my 4 favorite krauts and how to make them and enjoy them in this series…http://trinaholden.com/tag/lovingsauerkraut/
      Third, you will want to learn to make cultured dairy: Yogurt, and Kefir.
      When you’ve got all that under your belt, and your freezer stocked with bone broths and your fridge with your fermented and cultured yummies, then you’re ready to start GAPS, a diet that cuts out all grain and sugar and focuses on meat and veggies with cultured foods at every meal.
      If you have not already, I’d recommend purchasing the GAPS book by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, and at least one of the great recipe books from Cara here…http://www.healthhomehappy.com/
      And any questions you have, please feel free to comment or email me!

  36. Melissa Avatar

    I am a little confused… is flour not a grain or made from grains?

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Melissa! I’m not quite sure what you meant by your question. Flour can be made from nuts or grains…when doing GAPS the only flours you can use are nut flours, such as almond or coconut flour, and you avoid flours made from grains, such as wheat or oat flour. Does that answer your question?

  37. Geni Avatar

    Hi Trina. Great site. what a gem. Can you tell me how to make banana pancakes for the Gap diet? What is the binder? I have a bunch of very ripe bananas to use up. Thanks very much indeed. Best wishes from Geni in France.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Geni! sorry it took me so long to answer your comment! I have had trouble getting near a computer this month what with moving and all.
      Banana pancakes recipes are all over the web–did you try googling it? My recipe was basically eggs, bananas, a little honey, and a little salt–I can’t recall proportions right now. The eggs hold them all together. 😉

  38. Danuta Toop Avatar
    Danuta Toop

    I’d really appreciate a printable copy of your recipes for my Gaps Kitchen. Thanks for your blog and I’ll see you on Facebook!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Danuta, sorry, I don’t have them compiled for printing as most of them are other’s recipes. Cara of Happy Healthy Home has ebooks you can purchase and print, though!

  39. Crystal Avatar

    I love reading about your journey. I think this might be something we do at the start of our year next year. I have been limiting more and more of our grains. Like you, I think they are beneficial, when prepared correctly. I’ve just got to learn to do that! I think this year I will try to focus on learning how to soak them for baking. I’m also wanting to tackle sandwich bread!

    Anyway, I enjoy reading about what other people are eating! Does that make me weird?

    1. Trina Avatar

      If you’re weird, that makes two of us 😉 ’cause I like the same thing

  40. beth | our front porch view Avatar

    thank you for this!
    we are actually starting GAPS.. TOMORROW! for the first time. hoping to heal my toddler from a gluten sensitivity. thanks again!

    1. Trina Avatar

      woot! Go BETH!!!

  41. Amanda Medlin Avatar

    Thank you so much for posting this! It was just what I needed to make the GAPS diet look doable. Do you suggest I start with a menu like yours, or do I need to go to the extreme Week 1 broth stage with my son with gluten intolerance?

    1. Trina Avatar

      If you are actually addressing a gluten intolerance, then yes, you need to work through all 6 stages. And you will be the best judge of what’s best for your family…Putting everyone on full GAPS for starters may make it easier for your son, because then everyone’s eating the same thing. After you make that transition, you can dive into the Intro diet. Or, if you don’t want to wait, just dive right into GAPS intro and get it over with. 😉 I do suggest you do it with him, so you know how he feels as you both detox and heal, and so your example can normalize it for him…
      GAPS intro is easier in some ways than Full GAPS–all you do is take a thermos of soup with you everywhere you go. 😉

      1. Amanda Medlin Avatar

        Thanks for the clarification!

        1. pam Avatar

          I’m sssooo confused reading the gaps intro it says on pg 145 to drink the warm meat stock all day with meals and between meals, so am i just drinking the stock or having meals too?

          1. Trina Avatar

            Pam, yes, you’re having meals, mainly soups of boiled meats and vegetables, and you are to drink broth with the meal, and between meals.

  42. Lizzie Branch Avatar

    absolutely amazing, Trina. You hit a homerun with this one. I, like you, live on a somewhat GAPS diet, but the hardest part is the overwhelming part of being in the kitchen all the time. Leftovers are sort of like superheros in the kitchen to me!!!! Thanks for sharing your daily menu. I have been looking for new recipes to add to our recipe rolodex and I found them here!! Happy GAPping!!

    1. Trina Avatar

      yeah! so fun to fine another mom on this journey!

  43. Carla T. Avatar
    Carla T.

    Hey Trina,

    Thanks for this post! I recently found your blog because I purchased the bundle of ebooks before the holidays. I am loving it! I have been toying with GAPS for a long time, but I haven’t done it because it seems so complicated. You make it seem easy. I think if I didn’t tell my family it was GAPS, they might just be ok with it.

    Thanks again!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Carla, I’m delighted you’re here! So glad I could help.
      You know what? I didn’t tell my kids we started yesterday. 😉 My six year old is just old enough to have opinions, and I didn’t want any negative ones from him. So I just served him pumpkin nutbutter pancakes…and he asked for seconds! And when I told him we were having meatzza for dinner, his face just lit up. 😉

      1. Carla T. Avatar
        Carla T.

        Haha! That is just what I am thinking. I have twin 13 year olds, an almost 5 year old, and an almost 3 year old, all boys. The bigs have heard me talking about GAPS enough to be terrified of it. 🙂 I just hard core went back to making everything from scratch and soaking grains, I think in a couple of months I will just gradually start weaning out the grain for awhile and see what happens. I am already trying to do at least 1 grain free meal a day anyway.

        1. Trina Avatar

          Sounds like a great plan. You know something else I remembered I love about GAPS? All that soaking and sprouting to properly prepare grains…gone out of my routine. Although I believe eating grains is a GOOD thing, and preparing them properly is important, I don’t miss that prepwork. It’s one of the perks of the GAPS diet. 😉

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