GAPS Diet


Ready for soup season? The beginning to any good soup is, of course, broth! Bone broth is a wonderful way of getting minerals and nutrients to your body. Bone broth has minerals, amino acids, and gelatin. These all promote healthy connective tissue and strong bones and teeth. Bone broth also is soothing to your gut and is a non-fibrous way of getting nourishment if your gut feels irritated.

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What is bone broth?

Bone broth is the result of boiling bones (and a few other things) with water to make a delicious liquid! The only difference between bone broth and stock is that bone broth is cooked longer than stock, has a different amino acid profile, and is more watery.

The cool thing about bone broth is that it is made from, well, basically kitchen waste. Here are the main components:

  • Bones of any kind, chewed steak bones, chicken carcasses, chicken necks, soup bones, chicken feet (they add a lot of gelatin, which is great for your gut!)
  • Vegetable scraps such as onion skins, zucchini tops, cores of hot peppers, carrot tops, etc.
  • Water
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

There are endless add-ins you can throw in the pot to add more minerals and medicinal properties. Here are just a few to get your imagination going:

  • Ginger root
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric fresh or powdered
  • Peppercorns
  • Herbs such a rosemary, thyme, or sage
  • Celery
  • Soy sauce or Coconut Aminos

Broth-Making Methods

  • Crockpot– I use the crock pot because it’s simple and I feel safer about leaving it going when I’m gone or in bed.
  • Stock pot– This is the best method to use if you have a lot of bones and want to make several gallons at a time.
  • Instant pot– This is the quickest method, taking only 3-4 hours.

How to Make Broth

Alright, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. But trust me, this isn’t hard and you definitely can do it!

 

Put the bones in your pot. Experiment with how many bones you need to make a good tasty broth. I’ve found that one chicken carcass per crockpot full of water is a good ratio. If you are doing a big stock pot, you might want two or three chicken carcasses. This time, I’m using chicken necks.

 

 

Add veggie scraps. I am using onion skins and ginger root.

 

 

Cover with water.

 

 

Add a dash of apple cider vinegar. This helps pull extra minerals from the bones.

 

 

I added turmeric powder and kelp granules for extra minerals.

 

 

Put the lid on and cook:

  • In the crockpot, put on low and leave for 12-24 hours
  • In the stockpot, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 12-24 hours
  • In the instant pot, cook under high pressure for 2-3 hours, let pressure release naturally at the end.

 

 

Once it’s done, let it cool, pour the broth through a strainer into a large bowl. Taste for saltiness and add salt as needed. It’s always better if your helper is grumpy and tired, too. Just trying to share tricks of the trade, y’all.

 

 

Pour into jars or any container you have. I use half gallon mason jars. Refrigerate for up to a week. Mine is being kept company in my fridge with 20 pounds of pig fat to render into lard and gargantuan onions!

If you freeze it, make sure you have only filled your jars 1/2-3/4 full, otherwise it will expand and you will have a bunch of cracked mason jars. Don’t ask me how I know…

 

How to use bone broth

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Drink the broth straight from a mug 
  • Chili
  • Make sprouted rice
  • Add it to mashed potatoes instead of milk

 

Hope you enjoyed this! Share your ideas of how to use broth, as well as any other add-ins you put in your broth that makes is super yummy or nutritious! I’d love to hear what other people do.

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This is an overview of the GAPS diet. I am not an authority on this subject and I don’t know every single detail of the diet. However, I have spent a lot of time reading about this diet and implementing it for my family. If you want to know more, visit the GAPS website and read the book. I hope this at least piques your interest and will be a springboard for you doing your own research!

Our family has found a lot of health and healing from the GAPS diet (I lost 30 pounds in 6 months on the GAPS diet!) and I think it has the ability to heal a variety of health issues.

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

Who is the GAPS diet for?

This diet was developed by Dr. Natasha McBride to help with a range of psychiatric, psychological, immune, and digestive problems, including:

  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Widespread inflammation
  • Dyspraxia
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD and ADD
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • IBS
  • Dyslexia
  • Asthma
  • Allergies

GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome because of the link between the gut health and brain health. Your gut wall acts as a fortress that processes everything in your gut, making sure it is in a correct form that your body can use. When your gut loses its health, your whole body begins to suffer. A damaged gut’s can’t produce enzymes that help your body break down food particles. You can begin to have what is called “leaky gut”, which means that, over time, your gut wall has been damaged with poor eating and has developed holes which allow particles to enter your bloodstream that wouldn’t be able to fit through a healthy gut wall. Your body doesn’t know what to do with these partially undigested food particles and can develop allergies to these foods. 

The way to heal the brain is to heal the gut wall. The GAPS diet does this by taking out difficult-to-digest foods and replacing them with easy to digest, nutrient dense foods that allow your gut wall to heal. By eating probiotic foods, you will also re-colonize your gut with good bacteria, which help you to get the most nutrition out of your food. 

How do I follow the GAPS diet?

There are two sections to the diet:

  • Full GAPS– This is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet consisting of mostly meat, vegetables, eggs, and nuts. It is recommended to follow the Full GAPS for 1 1/2 -2 years for full healing. 
  • Intro Diet– a short-term cleansing and healing for the gut wall that takes 3-6 weeks to complete.

Let’s look at these two parts of the diet in more detail:

 

This is how I get my kids to eat GAPS Intro soups- I blend them and serve them with a straw!

Intro Diet

This part of the diet consists of six stages and takes 3-6 weeks to complete. Fairly healthy people might be able to complete it in 2 weeks. For people with more severe digestive issues, such as IBS, Crohn’s, Autism, and depression, this diet will take more like 6 weeks. Each stage builds on the one before.

Stage 1– Homemade meat stock, boiled meat, boiled vegetables, and sauerkraut juice

Stage 2– Continue with soups, add egg yolks

Stage 3– Add scrambled eggs, avocado, and fermented veggies

Stage 4– Add baked meats, fresh juices, and nut flour bread

Stage 5– Add cooked fruits and raw veggies

Stage 6– Add raw fruit

This is a very difficult diet to follow, but It is worth every bit of work. It is hard to make broth constantly, and after a few days of soup, you get pretty ready to sink your teeth into something crunchy. But it does an amazing job cleaning your system and healing.

 

Full GAPS

You will spend the majority of your time on this part of the diet. Visit this page for the Full GAPS food list, but here are the basics of what you eat:

  • Raw dairy
  • Grass-fed meat
  • Homemade bone broth
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Lots of oil (good fats such as animal fats or coconut oil or avocado oil)
  • Fruits
  • Honey (small amounts)
  • Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and water kefir.
  • Low starch legumes such as lima beans, white beans, and lentils
  • Eggs

 

Sauerkraut

Supplements

It is recommended that you supplement Full GAPS with: 

  • Probiotics
  • Essential Fatty Acids such as Cod Liver Oil, Nut/Seed blend oil, and Fish Oil
  • Vitamin A which is found in Cod Liver Oil
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements

For us personally, we have only taken Cod Liver Oil, which supplies vitamins A and D, Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA. We also supplement with a magnesium foot soak. We also eat fermented food almost every day (sauerkraut and kombucha) instead of taking probiotics. We just don’t feel like we have the money to spend on probiotics. This is my cheap “hack” on probiotics, and although I doubt we get as many strains, it’s better than nothing.

 

Detoxifying the Home

Make sure you quit using chemical cleaners, soaps, shampoos, candles, air fresheners, laundry detergents, and lotions. Dr. McBride also suggests not getting new carpets, furniture, or paints since they off-gas chemicals. Don’t get any new mercury (amalgam) fillings and decrease your exposure to lead and other heavy metals. You are cleansing your body, so make sure you aren’t burdening your body with things that will make it difficult to completely heal.

You really can’t go wrong by trying this diet. It is full of whole, real foods that will nourish your body. 

Recommended reading

 

Explanation of the GAPS diet by Dr. Natasha McBride-

 

A GAPS cookbook with great recipes and encouragement-

 

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I’m excited to share my experience with the GAPS diet. I hope it inspires you to pursue health and healing in your own life, no matter where you are! I also discuss  learning to accept the body you have and focus on health and strength, not chasing that “perfect body”.

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

 

I got married when I was 19. Before our wedding, I was stressed, and like any bride, eager to not regret my body in the wedding pictures. So I ran a lot and ate very little and got my weight down to 139 lbs. I liked my body, I liked my wedding pictures, and I was ready to take on the world.

 

 

Yeah, let’s just say the next 6 years hit me like a locomotive. They were beautiful years of holding babies, nursing babies, and loving babies. But they were also desperate years of back-to-back pregnancies, sleepless nights, and tired days. Yet no matter what the challenge, food was something I could count on to comfort me. Desserts were a “reward” for getting through the hard day. And they did make me feel better. Kind of. 

After our fourth and final baby was born, I was 180 lbs and I felt frustrated with all the extra fat on my body. I never had been fat before and I didn’t feel like myself. But I never thought that losing so much weight would be a option, so I decided to embrace it and bought a bunch of “fat clothes”. 

 

Starting the GAPS diet

Six months later when we decided to follow the GAPS diet as a family, our major motive was Trent’s health, but I also secretly hoped it would help me lose weight. 

In the midst of our whole family becoming healthier, I began to see the fat basically melt off my body very steadily. I was losing 1-2 lbs a week, and before I knew it, I had lost 20 lbs and my friends were starting to comment about how good I looked. That felt great. 

 

 

After 4 months of following the Full GAPS diet, we took a few weeks to go back and do the GAPS Intro diet, and I kicked my last 10 lbs. I was 150 lbs, a wonderfully healthy weight, and feeling great about myself. I had new clothes, I fit in my “goal jeans”, and I didn’t cringe when I saw a picture of myself.

I also had much more mental clarity, sustained energy, and a heightened sense of well-being.

 

Learning to Accept My Body

About a year and a half later, I am still 150 lbs and still feeling pretty great. And we don’t even follow the GAPS diet anymore! We eat several gluten-free grains (like sprouted rice!) and even splurge every few weeks when we encounter “junk food” the we’re out-and-about.

Do I still kinda hate parts of my body? Absolutely. 

Do I see other women and wish I had their body? Yes.

But I am choosing to not let it take over my life. There will never be a perfect day where I am completely satisfied with my body. 

I have also realized that, even if I lost every ounce of fat on my body, I would still not look like a supermodel. I just am not built that way. And that’s OK. I want to be healthy and strong and that is my priority at this point. 

 

 

Is GAPS the only way to lose weight or be healthy?

While I think the GAPS diet is an amazing way to heal your gut and lose weight, I don’t think it’s the only way you can achieve your health or weight loss goals. My mom has lost 20 lbs in 8 months following the Keto Diet. I know others have found healing through the AIP Protocol and SCD diet.

One thing I really like about GAPS is that it allows you a period of time where you heal your gut wall. Once you are healed, your gut is no longer “leaky” and is able to properly digest the foods you do eat. This can be a wonderful reset for your system.

Understand that following the GAPS diet is a big commitment of time and effort. You will spend many, many hours making broth, straining broth, chopping veggies, blending soups, and mixing salads. You have to be committed before you start or you will fail. But the time you spend in the kitchen will be well-spent when you start feeling healthy, thinking clearer, and seeing your kids thrive.

 

Recommended Reading

This explains everything you need to know about the GAPS diet:

This is a beautiful GAPS cookbook that helps you through each stage:

 

Feel free to share with us all in the comments what diets or protocols have helped you reach your health or weight loss goals!

Be sure to like my Facebook Page to receive updates each time I post on my blog! Thank you to each one of you reading; I really appreciate you. 

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Why would a family of 6 choose to live in a tiny house? The short answer is this: we want a full, rich quality of life for our family. But to be honest, the tiny house is one small part in a larger mindset shift that Trent and I have experienced. To explain our story in full, I have to go back in time.

 

Childhood

I grew up in Oregon on a few acres and my best childhood memories include making teepees with the long pasture grass, pretending fallen logs were horses, and talking to chickens. My dad grew a garden and my mom homeschooled and cooked healthy food from scratch. I wanted to do what was expected of me and I colored in the lines. I always thought I would grow up, get married, and live the American Dream.

Trent’s childhood was similar: he grew up in the country, his mom homeschooled and cooked from scratch and his dad grew a garden. He spent those years making and playing in forts, digging tunnels, and riding bikes with his brother as fast as he could down steep logging roads. He didn’t color in the lines; instead, he drew fantastical beasts and futuristic spaceships. He dreamed of living in an underground house. The American Dream was just not creative and unique enough for him.

Trent and I got married when I was 19, and in the next two years, we had two kids. We changed a lot of diapers. We were too tired to dream of fantastical beasts or underground houses. We ate whatever unhealthy food we wanted, went shopping a lot, and took the kids to the park. That’s what the American Dream is all about, right? But our rental house was a major roadblock to being normal. It was a old pink house with a long gravel driveway. Not cool.

After a few years, we had a baby girl. When she was a chubby 6 month old, we found a documentary on Netflix called TINY. All of our childhood interests in making small dwellings welled up inside us. We were intrigued. You could build a whole home on a trailer and tow it behind a truck? The cute loft and tiny bathroom were too enticing. We had to know more. We wasted no time looking at Tumbleweed trailers and floor plans. We even made a small mock-up with boards on the ground to see what the space would feel like. But that’s as far as it went. We had three little kids and were expecting another and those days were long and hard. But we never stopped talking about living in a tiny house someday.

 

Making the plunge

A few years later, once our fourth and final child was born, Trent and I looked at each other and said, “Are we going to keep talking about this tiny house or are we going to build it?” It was a hard decision for me; it would mean giving up on the American Dream. Then it occurred to us: we could dig up an older version of the American Dream and start a homestead. We could roll our tiny house onto bare land and have little to no debt.

We decided to take the challenge, so we bought house plans from hOMe and a trailer from Iron Eagle and started spending a our hard-earned savings at Home Depot.

The more we thought about a homestead and a self-sufficient lifestyle, we began to apply that thinking to other parts of our lives. Taking charge of our health was next on the to-do list.

 

Changing our Diet

Trent was having joint pain and our daughter Elsa was suffering from a gluten allergy. Our bad eating was catching up with us. We weren’t thriving, and I knew we could have a better quality of life.

We heard of the GAPS diet, which promised us healing from inflammation and restored gut health. We knew it was a massive life change, so we chose to try it for a month. I enthusiastically gave it my all; making bone broth, deboning meat, chopping veggies, soaking nuts… it was all new for me. We began to see results immediately. Our brain fog was lifted, we had more energy, Trent’s inflammation was better, Elsa wasn’t head-banging at night anymore, and my baby weight was melting off! At the end of the month, we adopted the diet as part of our life. I kept cooking, even though I was getting weary of chopping veggies and convincing little kids to drink broth. The changes we saw in our life kept us committed to continue.

 

Feeling alive

Once I began to take responsibility for my family’s well-being, it began a waterfall of change in our life. We rapidly began to realize how ill America has become and how little modern medicine is doing to heal and restore health. We began to pull dandelion roots out of our yard in the winter, clip nettle in the spring, dehydrate calendula in the summer, and pick elderberries in the fall. We discovered several medicinal plants that had been growing in our yard the whole time. Now, the little pink house with the long driveway became a place of life and health. The house was humming with broth pots, sauerkraut crocks, and tinctures. Our permaculture chickens fertilized our garden in the winter and gave us beautiful brown eggs for breakfast. Our no-till garden produced the veggies we needed and craved. We felt a deep sense of humanity and vibrance. We were changing, and we felt truly alive to enjoy it all.

Go to part two of Why Live in a Tiny House?

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