When you read the Gut & Psychology Syndrome book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, she lists coconut oil as a healthy fat to have on the Intro Diet, but she doesn’t specifically say when to introduce coconut oil on the GAPS Diet. I’d like to give you some guidance on that.
When you introduce coconut oil, you want to start with a small amount and work up gradually (just like everything else on GAPS). Coconut oil can cause a die-off reaction because it’s naturally antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic.
There are two situations when I recommend starting coconut oil during the Intro Diet:
You don’t have a gallbladder. Without a gallbladder you might have a hard time digesting all the fat on the GAPS Diet because your body doesn’t have a way to secrete the appropriate amount of bile for the amount of fat that you ingest with each meal. You may feel nauseated or sick to your stomach when you eat fat.
You have a gallbladder, but you’re having a really hard time tolerating all the fat, and animal fats in particular. I frequently see this as an issue for people who are very sensitive to corn, including the meat and dairy from corn fed animals.
Coconut oil is actually a type of fat that doesn’t require bile to be digested. It’s very easy to absorb and goes straight to your liver for energy. So if you don’t have a gallbladder, try including coconut oil as your main fat. If you’re really struggling with all the fat on GAPS, I recommend skimming the fat off of your soups and replacing it with coconut oil instead.
Of course if your gallbladder has been removed, you do need to start supplementing bile right away, and for the rest of your life. Taking supplemental bile at each meal will enable you to digest and absorb the fats you eat. Then you’ll be able to make proper cell membranes for every new cell, hormone, and neurotransmitter you make.
Whenever you introduce coconut oil, start with a maximum of 1 teaspoon at a time and gradually work up to a total amount of 1 to 4 tablespoons of fat per meal. This can be coconut oil, or a combination of other fats and coconut oil.
If neither of those situations describes you, then it’s really up to you to decide to try coconut oil on Stage 2 or beyond (there’s no added fats on Stage 1). You may choose to bring it in on Stage 3 to slather on the GAPS pancakes. Or you might wait until Stage 5 when you try cooked apple, mashing some coconut oil in with it. You can always wait until you’re on the Full GAPS Diet. Of course, there’s no requirement that you eat coconut oil at all. Some people don’t like the taste, are sensitive to it, or don’t want to eat a fat that must be shipped from another part of the world.
I think it’s wonderful to have coconut oil in the mix. It’s great in baking and stir-fry’s. It can be kept in the cupboard, unlike most GAPS foods. I also think coconut oil makes things taste just a little bit sweet without adding any sugar, which is helpful to those of us with a sugar addiction to break.