Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Prepare for and Begin GAPS {Stage 1 Information - Part 2}

Ah, Stage 1....

After I rambled on for so long on my last post, I am going to do a simple post with recipes that we have enjoyed that are stage 1 appropriate.  HA.  I laugh at myself when I say something is going to be simple.  My mind doesn't do simple well.  But here are all my food ideas we have used. 

First, some notes...
  • Cooked tomatoes and tomato puree/paste is legal from the beginning.  We did not use puree or paste for stage 1, but we introduced it on stage 2 (we only did stage 1 for 2 days).  It's totally up to you as to whether you use it or not.  It can add a nice variety and flavor to soups.  People can be sensitive to nightshades (an example here), so you have to listen to your body. 
  • It is okay in my opinion (reading a ton of what other people do) to gently saute your soup veggies in the fat of your choice and then add broth.  I think this helps get more fat into the soup.  Sometimes when I make broth, I will scrape the fat off the top and use it for cooking veggies for soups, but in intro stage 1, I would just leave all fat in the broth and use additional fat to saute veggies in.  
  • Try using mushrooms in your soups as well!  This is legal from the beginning, and I wish we had used this for flavor, especially.  Shiitake mushrooms add a great flavor to soups!  Some people are sensitive to fungus and mold and cannot eat mushrooms, but it seems this is rare. 
  • When making soups, at the very end, crush garlic cloves into your soup, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, put the lid on and let it sit a few minutes.  This is what GAPS recommends to do.  
  • When adding your probiotic into your soup (homemade yogurt or sauerkraut juice), wait until your soup is warm, not hot, so that the soup doesn't kill the good bacteria in those ferments.  We usually ice our soups to a comfortable temperature and then add it.  But you could simply put the soup in bowls and let it sit till not so hot. 
Ideas for fullness/energy...
  • It is advised by the GAPS lady (that's how I affectionately refer to the doctor who developed it and wrote the book) to eat spoonfuls of fat with a little honey in it.  I would definitely try this, especially with kids!  Coconut oil with raw honey, and I have even heard of people eating animal fats with honey.  This helps with blood sugar stability, especially if you are changing the way you eat dramatically.  
  • I used my ginger lemon honey 'tea' to help us in between meals.  I used the honey to taste.  It helped me and our little ones.  It was nice to say 'hey, loves, come have some juice!'.  
  • If you do a meal with just boiled meat and veggies, make sure you drink broth or a pureed vegetable soup with it!  You need the broth for healing and it fills everyone up! 
Recipes!!  (I know, I said this would be simple, and there I went rambling again...)

Soups with meat: 
  • Chicken Vegetable soup (usually a base with onions, carrots, summer yellow squash and zucchini, lots of salt). Basically, I usually do my Chicken Cilantro Soup (scroll down in that post a bit) but for Stage 1 would leave out the cilantro.  This would be good with a little bit of lemon juice squeezed in. 
  • Hamburger Soup (without the herbs, and for us we did it without the tomato paste for stage 1, but you can use it if you'd like.  Also leave out the lentils).  This is probably easily the easiest thing to get my boys to eat.  I always make at least a double batch of this!  
  • Spaghetti Soup (at bottom of that post).  Leave out the herbs (and tomato puree if you prefer).  This would be good with chicken as well, and I'm sure you could use beef broth with ground beef for a different taste. 
  • Chicken "noodle" soup.  A basic chicken noodle soup - carrots, onions, broth, then use zucchini sliced into 'noodles' (can also use a julienne slicer for really thin noodles) and chicken of course. 
  • Meatball soup.  One time I made a soup based in chicken broth with boiled meatballs (mix ground beef/pork with salt and pepper and you could even throw some pureed or mashed veggies like cauliflower or carrots or butternut squash in the mixture).  Make meatballs and then freeze them laid out in a pan.  Then you can just drop them into soup to simmer until cooked!  I love spinach and a little bit of lemon juice in meatball soup. 
  • Broccoli Soup.  Boil broccoli in well-salted chicken broth and then add chicken.  For some reason, we all loved this.  I am sure you could do this with other vegetables, but broccoli has a nice strong flavor.  
  • Stews. Make a stew (crockpot LOVE).  Dump (in our house usually still frozen) beef stew meat into your crock pot.  Add vegetables like onions, carrots, and peas, or whatever you want!  Put enough broth in there (surprisingly chicken broth works well, and of course beef broth works, too) to just cover.  Add some salt.  Cook all day.  Be happy when you eat dinner without doing much work :-).  

Meat Ideas (non-soup based):
  • Boiled Chicken: 
    • We honestly loved just eating boiled chicken (mainly dark meat - I suggest getting hindquarters because dark meat is just easier to eat boiled than breast meat!) with lots of good salt on it, and I would make it moist with just a little broth.  We often ate this for a meal right after I had boiled some for broth.  
    • Use a blended vegetable soup (recipes below) or several different ones (maybe kids will get excited about different colored soups?) and dip the chicken in the soups.  So you can pretend you are eat chicken nuggets or strips ;-).  
    • Chop up the chicken and mix with already cooked veggies (boil them in broth for extra flavor).  Veggies like carrots and peas and onions...salt well.  Eat like a chicken 'salad'.  
    • Chicken on top of spaghetti squash that has been baked and then simmered in broth.  
  • Boiled Beef
    • Put a couple round steaks in your crock pot, barely cover with water or broth of your choice, cook all day.  Shred the meat.  
      • Eat shredded meat just salted on its own.  
      • Drizzle a blended vegetable soup on top like a 'sauce' on steak.  
      • make a soup with the shredded beef.  
    • when you need to cook ground beef for soup, just brown it like you would normally - with a lot of fat and add enough broth or water to almost cover.  That way it is gently cooking it.  Then add your broth to make soup (or try mixing it with a blended veggie soup and eating it off a plate!).  
    • Eat shredded beef or 'boiled/browned' ground beef over spaghetti squash that has been baked and then simmered in a broth.  Tell your kids they are eating spaghetti.  HAHA.  
 Vegetable Soups:(and you could add chicken or beef to these)
  • Butternut Squash Soup (at bottom of post)
  • Butternut Squash Soup, take 2 - make up your own! :-) I prefer a soup that is not as thick as that first one.  My kids loved the first one.  The other day I simply made a soup with about 3-4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of already baked butternut squash.  I blended it with my stick blender and simply salted to taste.  We all liked it.  So, you can experiment with what your family likes. 
  • Carrot Soup (leave out coriander for stage 1)
  • Summer Squash Soup - we all enjoy this soup!  It's nice and filling, too!  Use coconut oil or an animal fat instead of butter for stage 1.  
  • Cauliflower Soup - just boil cauliflower in chicken broth.  Eat like that or puree it for a nice thick soup!
  • Pea Soup - I use about 1 quart of chicken broth (could use beef, too) and add a bag of frozen organic peas.  Boil until peas are nice and soft.  You could also put carrots and/or onions in it.  Puree or eat like that.  Of course, salt plenty!
  • Broccoli Soup - Same as cauliflower soup.  Eat with broccoli whole or blend!
  • Onion Soup - Slice onions and gently saute in lard or tallow or coconut oil.  Add chicken or beef broth and salt well.  You could also do this and add only a tiny bit of broth and then blend and use as a 'dipping sauce' or as a 'gravy' over meat.  
  • Tomato Soup - if you aren't sensitive to tomatoes, just use chicken or beef broth and add tomato puree, to whatever consistency you like, and just simmer and add plenty of salt.  
  • Add Garlic at the end to any of these soups! 
Vegetables:  (this might be self-explanatory, but it is helpful for me to have ideas listed out, so I will go ahead and include this)
  •  Boiled Vegetables (boiling in broth is always more flavorful).  Drained and salted, can drizzle more animal fat or coconut oil on them when eating.  Boiled baby carrots (or just whole carrots cut into chunks) are helpful with kids because most kids like eating them.  Green beans are another kid pleaser...unless your kids all of a sudden decide not to eat them. Having these vegetables (make large amounts and keep in the fridge - our boys will usually even eat them cold with enough salt on them) provides great finger foods for kids and fillers with meals or in between. 
  • Butternut Squash was a lifesaver for us during intro!  Bake 2-3 9x13 pans at a time, and then scrape it all out into a glass container.  We would warm this in a skillet or small saucepan, add coconut oil to taste (some people can handle more, some less).  If needed, drizzle raw honey once in bowls to entice yourself or kids to eat it.  (Just a teaser, we added cinnamon on stage 2, which makes it amaaaazing.)
  • Chicken broth, well salted, with a little lemon juice in it. 
  • Beef broth, well salted, just on its own.  
  • Boring, but needed. :-)  
Well, now, wasn't that THE most exciting blog post you've ever read?!  Just wait till the next stages.  :-)  


  1. I'm loving EVERYTHING about this. I feel like you wrote this JUST for me...MONTHS ago! ;) Thank you.

    1. So glad you found it helpful, Kirby! Can't wait to hear how things go - you are a loving and determined and hard working momma to do this! Love you!

  2. Thank you so much! I am 48 hours into Intro Stage 1 and was about to go crazy. The only thing I've eaten has been chicken stock/ small amounts of meat & vegetables in the stock and coconut milk kefir. This gives me so much hope that I can last on Stage 1 for the 2 weeks I had hoped. Thank you again.

    1. Ashley, so glad you found this helpful! I hope it goes well for you!

  3. This is a very helpful post! I realize you wrote this some time ago, but just wondering if you feel you were all able to get in enough calories. Veggies and broth don't amount to a whole lot of calories. I am trying to get a feel for how much fat and meat we will have to do. Do most of the calories come from the meats, or do most come from the fats?? I just don't want us to waste away and I am concerned about doing too much fat or too much meat...

    1. There are plenty of calories in meat and fat; just be sure to eat enough food. If you are really concerned, track and enter your daily food intake into an online nutritional calculator like or some other similar site.

  4. Erin, what did you all eat for breakfast during stage 1? It seems like stage 1 is all soups all the time. That's kind of freaking me out. :-|

    Thanks for all your great information. We're hoping to start in on stage 1 after homecoming. (Doing stage 1 and taking a date out to homecoming seems like too much to deal with at once.) ;-) So I'm pouring through your posts getting ideas before we start.

  5. Love this... I have a feeling it is going to be a big life saver!

  6. About to start intro this weekend and I'm SO thankful to have this resource. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together.

  7. Hi, My 4 yrs son in at stage 1. Is it fine to give him coconut milk(homemade)?
    Sachin Sakpal

  8. Hi , in 2nd stage, do we need to remove the skin of squash, before making soup.
    We are removing skin of butternut, green and spageti squash. But for yellow squash and zuchhini, we are keeping the skin. Is that right?

  9. I see you're not updating the blog anymore, but thank you so much for posting these recipes and tips.

  10. I am 61, live in New Zealand and my doctor has just put me on this diet. I made a broccoli soup tonight and a zuchinni muffin. Have to admitt took a bit of eating. The old taste buds ar enot going ot know what hit it. My gut is very sick so have been advised to do this diet. Thank you so much for the amazing recipes.


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