Meal Planning Monday (GAPS Intro Stage 1 & 2)

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the crazy picture of my ridiculously swollen face that I posted after a week on the GAPS diet. (Read about why I made the switch to the GAPS diet here). I can’t even begin to explain the emotions that came with that flare-up—but I will say there was a lot of disappointment. I had been eating soup for a week, thinking that it would help, when really it made things worse. Instead of giving up, however, I decided to do some research, and I now suspect that I may have a histamine intolerance. Unfortunately that is still just another symptom of something deeper being wrong, so I am also now on the search for a functional practitioner who can help me get to the bottom of all this! Having said that, I’ve decided not to abandon GAPS, I just plan to make some adjustments, which are noted at the bottom of this post.

Recipe ideas for Stages 1 & 2 of the GAPS Intro Diet

I started the GAPS therapeutic diet on Monday, February 1. Some people choose to start with the FULL gaps diet and then transition onto the more restricted Intro diet once they are ready, but since I had already been following the AIP diet (which is somewhat similar to Full GAPS), I decided to jump straight into Intro. The foods allowed on the first stage of intro include:

  • Homemade meat or fish stocks
  • Soups using homemade stock, well cooked vegetables, and soft tissue meats
  • Juices from fermented foods (vegetables or whey, if tolerated)
  • Ginger, mint, or camomile tea with a small amount of honey

So I’ve had a lot of soups! I was planning to spend a full 7 days on Stage 1, but then I read that you really should only spend 1-4 days on stage 1 if you aren’t having symptoms, so I started to transition to Stage 2, which includes all the foods from stage 1 while adding:

  • Fermented Fish
  • Raw, Organic Egg Yolk
  • Ghee
  • Casseroles and Stews (Don’t be fooled by the name—it’s really just meats and vegetables slow cooked in water)

I took the liberty of adding in avocado as well, which is actually a stage 3 introduction.

I was prepared for lots of time in the kitchen, but I found a system that worked quite well. I made a few batches of broth as well as my fermented foods during January, so I would be ready to start once we returned from vacation. From there I started a giant stock pot of chicken broth, which allowed me to pull out the meat that I would be adding to my soups for the week. I made one large pot of soup each day, storing leftovers in the fridge and freezer (officially using ALL of our food storage containers and mason jars), which provided a lot of variety as the week progressed.

Here is a list of the soups that I made:

GAPS Intro Stage 1 Green Bean Soup

Blended Green Bean Soup (Although I came to realize this was rather fibrous and should probably be avoided in stage 1 by people with digestive problems)

  •             Broth
  •             Onions
  •             Green Beans
  •             Garlic
  •             Salt & Pepper

Gaps Intro Stage 1 Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

  •             Broth
  •             Chicken
  •             Peas
  •             Carrots
  •             Onion
  •             Garlic
  •             Spinach
  •             Oregano

GAPS Intro Stage 1 Blended Carrot and Ginger Soup

Blended Carrot and Ginger Soup (I was a little sad that I didn’t get to participate in National Carrot Cake Day, so I may have enjoyed a sprinkle of cinnamon on this soup to celebrate)

  •             Broth
  •             Onions
  •             Carrots
  •             Ginger

GAPS Stage 1 Blended Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Blended Cauliflower and Leek Soup

  •             Broth
  •             Cauliflower
  •             Leeks
  •             Garlic

GAPS Intro Stage 1 Butternut Squash and Broccoli Soup

Butternut Squash and Broccoli Soup

  •             Broth
  •             Broccoli
  •             Butternut Squash
  •             Onions
  •             Kale
  •             Garlic
  •             Oregano

GAPS Intro Stage 2 Meatball and Vegetable Soup

Meatball and Vegetable Soup

  •             Broth
  •             Carrots
  •             Peas
  •             Onions
  •             Garlic
  •             Spinach
  •             Meatballs (ground beef shaped into 1 inch balls, boiled in broth)
  •             Oregano
  •             Basil
  •             Salt & Pepper

GAPS Intro Stage 2 Chili (avocado makes it stage 3)

“Souperbowl Soup”

  •             Broth
  •             Onion
  •             Garlic
  •             Tomatoes
  •             Ground Liver
  •             Ground Beef
  •             Carrots
  •             Basil
  •             Oregano
  •             Salt & Pepper

Ham Casserole

  •             1 Ham Roast (uncured)
  •             Carrots
  •             Onions
  •             Garlic
  •             Peas
  •             Salt & Pepper
  •             Water to cover 2/3 roast

*Cooked in slow cooker on low and served with cup of strained broth

GAPS Intro Stage 2: Swedish Gravlax

I added cooked chicken to soups for protein. I also added a tablespoon of tallow and the avocados after a couple of days to up the fat content of each bowl of soup. I made Swedish Gravlax, which was an experiment that turned out quite well, and now I know where to go for sushi-grade salmon!

Update: After my crazy swelling, I realized that eating leftover meat, fermented fish, tomatoes, spinach, and avocados with the majority of my meals was probably what contributed to the “overflow of my histamine bucket.” For this week I will be eliminating avocado and fermented fish, cutting back on spinach and tomato, and attempting to freeze leftover meat in individual portions to slow down the histamine formation process. I’ve also decided to cut back on my probiotics. I read somewhere that you really shouldn’t start your supplements until Stage 3…and I also realized that I was adding WAY more fermented juice to my soups than I should have been. I am hopeful that this will be a great week!

Also: Successful ghee introduction today! Raw egg yolk, I’m coming for you!

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