When people consider starting the GAPS™ Intro Diet they commonly ask me how long it will take to get through the 6 Stages of the Intro Diet and on to the Full Diet.

The purpose of the GAPS Intro Diet is to remove most everything that you may be reacting too, including tough fiber, which can act like sandpaper to an inflamed intestinal tract, and allow your gut to start healing quickly. Then we add foods back in one at a time, increasing the amount of digestion required by the food itself, and the cooking methods.

For most people, the GAPS Intro Diet will take about 4-6 weeks. Of course, you might not be “most people” and this 4-6 week estimate likely won’t apply to you if you’re bipolar, suffer from a serious autoimmune condition like multiple sclerosis, or if your child has autism.

Here’s a breakdown of how to move through the 6 Stages of the GAPS Intro Diet if you fall in to the “most people” category:

Stage 1

I recommend that most people follow Stage 1 for just 2-3 days. Stage 1 consists of soups with well-cooked meat and veggies, with broth or tea in between meals. There’s no added fats and limited variety in the food. If you suffer with diarrhea you’ll stay on this Stage until that resolves, possibly even removing the cooked veggies, which may be too fibrous for you right now.

Stages 2-4

Plan to be on each of these for about a week. You will spend 3 days working up on each new food that you add. So for example, on Stage 3, when you add avocado, you’ll have 1 slice the first day, 2 slices the next day, and 3 slices the day after. Then continue eating avocado, while you add a piece of the next food on your list.

If you’re one of those people who is super-sensitive and very limited in the foods you tolerate, you may begin with even smaller portions and work up on them over more days.

Stage 5

Stage 5 of the GAPS Intro Diet is where things tend to slow down. The reason for this is that you get to add raw veggies back to your diet. (Eating out gets much easier at this Stage!) There are a lot of raw veggies, and when you’re trying a new one every 3 days, it can take some time to work them all back in.

Stage 6

Stage 6 includes the addition of raw fruits and baked treats. After raw apple, I suggest you try local fruits that are in-season, so they are really ripe. Depending on where you live, what season it is, and how  much you like fruit, this Stage may last for one week or a few. I consider baked goods and sweets to be an occasional treat, so it doesn’t make sense to me to try them all and build up on them. 🙂  Honestly, at the end of the Intro Diet you’ll be shocked by how many sugary things everyone else in the world thinks is normal to eat every day!

My advice on this is to make something sweet when it’s an appropriate occasion, and then try it in moderation to make sure you can tolerate it. If the sugary (honey-y?) stuff triggers cravings or you feel compulsive about eating it, that’s a sign you’re not quite ready for it yet. Take pleasure in the full variety of other GAPS foods you can enjoy now, and try again in several weeks.

Like I said, this is a general answer and how it looks for you may be vastly different. Use this is a starting point, then listen to your body and your symptoms to move at the pace you need to heal.

If you’re getting started on GAPS and have lots of questions like this, join my upcoming online GAPS Diet Class and get them answered while you learn the cooking too!

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