This is a post I've been wanting to do for some time, but it is inspired also by one of the dearest people in my life who is preparing to do GAPS. So I will be doing a series of posts on how to prepare for the GAPS diet to hopefully in some way help but also to re-inspire myself in continuing to prepare the foods I am confident will heal us and pave the way for long term health for us and our kiddos.
What I am going to focus on in this post is what you would want to stock up on to begin this lifestyle (and keep stocked up on for as long as needed). Something else I will address in the hopefully very near future is how to make GAPS work (basically, what I have learned in the few months we've been on this journey). Because it is a lot of work. Very worth it, though! Another topic I hope to tackle is about how to progress through the introduction phases, if you choose to do that rather than just follow the full diet (which is actually pretty easy to follow, especially after you've done intro!!). Included in that would be what you eat on each phase and how to prepare things.
So here are some notes on what I stocked up on for starting GAPS intro, and what I now continually stock up on or keep around in our house. I am also including notes about what has worked for me with certain items - where to buy, prep, etc.
Animal Fat: Tallow (Beef Fat) and Lard (Pig Fat). We get big bags of these fats from our amazing farm we get all our meat and eggs from.
Coconut Oil (we get ours from Mountain Rose Herbs)
Ghee (from Pure Indian Foods - the only Ghee I've ever read about or seen that is so yellow and is from purely grass-fed cows...and it's GAPS recommended)
Beef: ground beef, stew meat, round steaks, roasts (grass fed!) Also, get bones (often called 'dog bones' and meat soup bones) for broth!
Chicken: whole, cut up, hindquarters (truly pastured!) Buy bones or save all bones for broth! Can also get heads/necks and feet to provide even more nutrition to broth.
Pork: Ground, roasts (also pastured)
Eggs! (um, can I say pastured again?) (introduce egg yolk in stage 2, so you just need eggs by then)
**Many people can not locate or afford organic, grass fed/pastured meats. I have read of people still experiencing much healing with GAPS with conventional, confinement raised animals. However, you do have to be aware of the fact that those animals are not as healthy, are fed grains, which the corn and soy are pretty much guaranteed to be GMO (genetically modified), and therefore might cause difficulty for some (from what I've read). Food renegade has great posts about what the best things are to buy - best to worst.
Broccoli - We pretty much only get the giant bags of frozen organic broccoli from Costco. It is affordable and organic, and I can simply throw it in soup or a pot to steam/boil. This is a huge lifesaver to always have on hand!
Cauliflower - Used as florets in soups, blended into soups to make them thick (sometimes kids like thick soups better), later in GAPS we make 'rice' from shredded cauliflower. You can also boil/steam it and puree it for kind of a 'mashed potato' type dish.
Squash - Summer (Zucchini and Yellow Squash) and Winter (Spaghetti and Butternut are the only ones we've used). Our farmer's markets are huge blessings for these veggies! Organic and SO much cheaper than the store - anywhere from about 50 - 70% cheaper!
Carrots - Costco carried giant bags of organic carrots, and large bags of organic 'baby' carrots, which is worth it to me because you can quickly throw it in with a roasting chicken/pot roast or even in soup without having to peel and cut! This is also great for blended soups - saves much time and effort! Also, our Whole Foods stores have huge bags of organic juicing carrots for when juicing is started.
Onions - Stock up when organic ones are on sale. We always just get yellow (sometimes red/purple). We get a ton when they are a good price since they last so long.
Green Beans - Costco giant bags of frozen organic green beans are another favorite that we keep in our freezer!
Ginger - buy a bunch and peel it and then freeze it in a freezer bag or individually wrapped pieces. Then when you want to make tea or add it to soup, you can just grab a piece, grate it, and you're done!
Lemons - Have a bunch of these - to start your day with warm lemon water and to add to soups - it's amazing what lemon can do to chicken broth!
Green Peas - I have yet to find anything better than the normal sized organic bags at our grocery store.
Leeks - We only get this every now and then, but that doesn't mean you can't get it all the time! :-)
Added: Silly me for forgetting these!
Spinach or Chard - I get the big tubs of organic spinach to add to soups
Garlic - important for soups, especially since it adds flavor and is legal in stage 1!
Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Puree - This is if you tolerate it well - some people are sensitive to nightshades. We have been able to use tomatoes in soups, and I believe we added it in stage 2. Tomatoes (boiled, as in soups) and paste and puree are legal from stage 1! This helps a lot with soups!! We buy paste and puree in glass jars to avoid metal and chemicals in linings of metal cans.
Things I haven't used but are legal from the very beginning: Beets, Rutabagas, Celery Root (celeriac) - I think boiled beets, very finely chopped, could be drained and kept cold and made into a great salad with lemon juice. I might have to experiment with this - trying to imitate something I had at a Mediterranean restaurant recently.
**I think buying organic is important if you can afford it! But sometimes it's impossible depending on availability, so just do the best you can! This is not an exhaustive list of GAPS intro-approved veggies, just what we use the most.
Sauerkraut - We found raw sauerkraut at Whole Foods (but in a suburb 30 minutes away yeesh). I will be making homemade soon - you will want to make homemade for sure! I will post more details about this as soon as I make it, which should be within the next week.
Homemade raw milk yogurt (depending on when you plan on introducing it). Find a good source of clean, wonderful, grass-fed raw milk and make homemade 24hr fermented yogurt. I will also post more about this - it's super easy!!!
Probiotics - we have used BioKult - both adult and the baby biotic. I have heard that tons of people use different ones! Custom Probiotics and some other brands...You will start with tiny doses and work your way up as you progress. Trying to choose one can be overwhelming, but I think just starting with any brand (good company) without any GAPS 'illegals' in it is a safe way to go. This is why we started with biokult - it was too overwhelming to me to look into all the brands out there! I would think Dr. Mercola's recommended probiotic would be a good one as well.
FCLO - fermented cod liver oil. Here or here. I really would only use this brand after all I've read.
Added: I can't believe I forgot these!!
Raw Honey - for with chamomile or ginger tea - also can eat with coconut oil, ghee, or butter (once eating) for energy and to get more fats in anyone, especially kids!
Good SALT! Himalayan, Celtic, Real Salt. Our favorite is celtic. Buy in bulk at Whole Foods - many places to buy all of these salts online.
- giant pot.
- Maybe another giant pot ;-)
- A crock pot.
- Freezer bags and/or Prep bowls (or can use bags) to store chopped veggies.
- Glass storage containers for soups and broth (glasslock containers, mason jars, pyrex with lids)
- Blender/Food Processor - For slicing and shredded and chopping large amounts of veggies for soups in a short amount of time, for making smoothies, and you can even juice with one (although I haven't done this).
- Juicer (Stage 4) - I actually do not have this yet - saving up for one because I REALLY want to start doing this soon!
- Dehydrator (I use mine mainly for yogurt making, but as I get into this more, we will use it for making snacks). You could also use a yogurt maker as long as the temperature stays low enough to not alter the properties of raw milk. We culture our raw milk yogurt at 95 degrees. There are ways to culture yogurt without a machine - you can use your crockpot even!
- Safe cutting board (wood or bamboo, no plastic!)
- a good knife!
- a stainless steel large mesh strainer (for broth)
- a Stick blender - we have a cheap one ($15?) and it works great!
That's all (as if that's not enough) I can think of right now. I might have left something important off, but I just wanted to share what we use most on intro (and actually on full GAPS as well!). Don't be overwhelmed! :-) Soon I will share my favorite websites/blogs/etc for helping with GAPS eating.