On the GAPS protocol, we use short-cooked meat stock, not long-cooked bone broth. Understanding the difference between meat stock and bone broth is the first of the GAPS Diet meat stock mistakes, and the easiest to correct.

Short-cooked meat stock is high in the amino acids proline and glycine, biotin, collagen, elastin, glucosamine, and gelatin. These nutrients feed your enterocytes, which are the cells lining your small and large intestine. Think of meat stock like the glue that seals your intestinal lining – and the good bacteria from probiotic foods as the guards that stand to protect it.

Your meat stock should taste delicious and gel when it’s cooled, which can be anywhere from a slight jiggle, to nearly solid gelatin-like in thickness.

Most of us start with watery meat stock, so if that’s happening to you, you’re not alone! Almost every one of my clients has this issue when we first meet. Correcting their meat stock mistakes always increases their rate of healing.

Three ways to remedy GAPS Diet meat stock mistakes

  1. Use a 1:1 ratio of meat to bone. Expect that 1 pound of meat/bone will give you about 1 quart of finished stock.
  2. The water used should just cover the meaty bones and veggies you’re using. That extra inch of water you’re adding to stretch it into a little more stock is often what prevents gelling. I still struggle with this myself – I always want to squeeze out just one more cup! 🙂 I find it’s easier to control myself using a wide and shallow pot vs the taller stock pots. If you’re adding a lot of veggies, that might be throwing the above ratio off as well. A couple of sticks of celery, one carrot, and a small onion (or the equivalent amount of scraps) are plenty to add flavor and impart more minerals, before straining them out. The veggies you plan to eat will be cooked to your liking in a soup with this stock later.
  3. Add more joints of red meat, feet and heads of poultry, or a trotter (foot) of pork. These are areas with concentrated collagen content.

Do you end up with too much meat from making your stock?

When we’re making enough stock to drink 5 cups a day on the GAPS Intro Diet, we often end up with more meat than we care to eat.

The best remedy to this is to use marrow bones with just a bit of meat attached when you’re making stock from beef, lamb, pork, and game meats. If chicken stock is a staple, ask your farmer or butcher if you can buy just the carcass, necks, heads, and feet. The carcass will consist of the rib cage area, after all the “parts” are taken off and sold as breast, thighs, etc. This area has a perfect amount of meat left for flavor! Toss in a few heads or feet with each of these and you’ll make a delicious stock that gels perfectly!

GAPS Diet Meat Stock Recipe

Use a pot that’s big enough to hold your meat and veggies, with just enough water to cover them.


  1. Start by placing meaty bones in the pot, examples:
    • A whole chicken with skin on (or other poultry), any parts of chicken that are on the bone (not breast meat by itself).
    • Whole (gutted) fish.
    • Red meat options: Short ribs, shanks, meaty neck bones, a bone-in type of roast, ox tail.
    • If these aren’t available you can use marrow bones with some stew meat, but don’t use knuckle bones.
  2. Add onion, carrot, garlic, peppercorns, and/or fresh herbs for flavor.
  3. Place the meat in your soup pot and add water just until the meat is covered.
  4. Cover, and bring this to a boil.
  5. Skim any scum that rises to the top with a fine-mesh skimmer.
  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Celtic salt, or other natural sea salt.
  7. Turn down to a low simmer. It should look relatively calm at the surface and bubbly at the bottom of the pot.
  8. Cook poultry for 1 ½ to 3 hours. Cook red meats for 4-6 hours. Cook fish for 1-2 hours.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Strain everything out of the stock. I put the stock into mason jars if I’m saving it for later use, or into another pot if I’m making a soup with it right away.
  11. Separate the meat and marrow so you can add this to your soup, or reserve it for another use.
  12. Toss the veggies and peppercorns. The desired nutrients and flavor are in the stock now.
  13. Leave all the fat in the stock when it’s cooled (crucial to healing).
Now that you’ve solved your GAPS Diet meat stock mistakes, you’re ready to nourish your enterocytes every day. As a reminder, adults should aim for 5 cups of meat stock a day, and children should consume about 3 cups. This can be in soup, sipped on its own, or added to other recipes. The best intestinal support happens when you consume it throughout each day.


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