Surviving GAPS Intro: Stage 1

For the next 6 weeks, I’ll be chronicling my journey through the GAPS Intro Diet with a little self-made questionnaire.

meatballonionsoupWhat did I eat on Stage 1?

(Soup, soup and more soup.)

  • Carrot Soup (I made a huge batch and fear I may soon turn orange.)
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Onion Soup with Meatballs (pictured above and my favorite- almost like French Onion Soup, recipe below)
  • Boiled Hamburgers (not as terrible as they sound)
  • Chicken Soup with Squash and Carrots
  • Boiled Chicken or Beef with Vegetables
  • Lots of Bone Broth and Tallow and Salt and Garlic and a little Sauerkraut Juice

Did I see any changes or patterns in my symptoms?

My stomach pain was still present at times, but a lot less than normal. I was actually more concerned about my blood sugar than the pain this week because I experience a lot of tiredness, irritability (especially before meal time), and some fogginess. I think (I hope!) my body is normalizing its blood sugar after relying on carbohydrates like potatoes, sweet potatoes and rice to keep me going the past few months. Despite being worn out, I didn’t sleep too well this week; so I’ve started supplementing with Magnesium in the evenings to help me sleep.

Any practical advice from Stage 1?

Be prepared to do a ton of dishes- try to get in the habit of rinsing out your most-used pots and pans and putting them right back on the stove instead of letting them pile up in the sink. You’ll need them to heat up everything since microwaves are a no-no. My most used items were mugs, bowls, small saucepans, small spatula, spoons, garlic press/microplane (I like the microplane better because you can easily rinse it), large Mason jars and my crockpot.

Also, just a note: the seaweed powder detox bath is strange and messy. It was my least favorite (I am partial to Epsom salts). The smell reminded me of fish food/an aquarium and the powder never really dissolves like the other bath items. Make sure you are able to easily rinse your tub (and yourself) after that bath.

Any encouragement for people in Stage 1?

Try to reach out for support daily during this first stage. I contemplated quitting (i.e. spending the afternoon in the local frozen yogurt shop) multiple times during my irritable moods, but I am blessed to have great support from my family and friends and lots of people who are just a text away. You’ll need those people to talk you off the ledge when you go crazy for a minute and convince yourself that you are ruining the whole diet by eating too many carrots.

I spent most of my detox bath time in prayer, which was a great encouragement to my spirit. I also had a comforting old hymn stuck in my head for most of the week; Before the Throne of God Above. I was singing this verse over and over again:

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Crockpot Onion and Meatball Soup

Recipe type: Soup, GAPS Intro Stage 1
Serves: 4

  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 6 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb ground beef, formed into meatballs
  • sea salt
  • fresh garlic
  • tallow, grass-fed butter/ghee or coconut oil

  1. Combine the beef broth and onions in the crockpot and simmer on low for 4-6 hours or until onions are soft.
  2. About 30 minutes before you’d like to serve, add the meatballs gently into the simmering soup. Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.
  3. Add sea salt, fresh grated garlic and a bit of fat to each bowl and serve warm.

16 Responses to “Surviving GAPS Intro: Stage 1”
  1. hobbyholic says:

    How long did you stay on stage 1?

  2. Josh says:


    I am on day 12 or stage 1 and things are only getting worse.
    When do you think I should call it quits? Or should i just move on to the next stage?

    You don’t seem to have followed the intro diet correctly either. It calls for bone broth.

    • Natalie says:

      I would contact a certified GAPS practitioner with your questions, but my gut tells me to tell you to keep pressing on! I did drink broth during Stage 1 as well- I was only posting the meal recipes that I ate. I talk about bone broth in a few other posts.

    • Summer says:

      I know you are probably off of stage 1 by now and don’t need this info anymore, but just putting it out there that I’m pretty sure that in general, it is recommended to stay on stage 1 no longer than a week. Yes, you can technically get enough calories and carbs from stage 1 alone, but it doesn’t feel very good. You may find that after reintroducing eggs or nuts, for example, that it’s a lot easier to feel better.

  3. Lynn says:

    Simple, easy recipe, thanks. @ Josh, the Gaps intro diet actually calls for Meat broth, not bone broth in the early stages. Best resource is the Gaps book itself, as even gaps practitioners can vary a great deal. Good luck – we are on day 41, stage 3.

  4. Danny says:

    Josh what are you eating. Bone broth? Raw whey (liquid)? Raw sour cream? Raw egg yolks? Meat? Ginger tea? Salt? Raw honey? Ghee? Butter? Fermented sauerkraut liquid? List everything. I can help. If you’re doing everything you can w/ foods you could try some GAPS approved enzymes.

  5. Casey says:

    Where do you find all the recipes?

  6. Jackie V says:

    Can you use salt in stage 1? We are on day 3 of stage 1 and I caved in and gave my kids salt with their soup. I’m worried I’m going to ruin the results of the diet. How were your results. Thanks!

  7. Rebekah says:

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! I’m on day 2, enjoying my soups very much. Felt some die off symptoms this morning, we’ll see how long they last. I love that hymn. It made me cry. I will be meditating on that while taking my epsom salt bath later. Oh, and, I can’t wait to try the meatball, onion soup.

  8. Jess says:

    For anyone interested, you can put your seaweed and some of the salts in a sock and tie it tight and let that infuse in the water. Less messy!

  9. Izzy says:

    This recipe looks great! Can’t wait to try it. Was wondering if I could join the earlier conversation.
    I am on day 4 of Gaps intro Diet Stage 1. I added salt to things yesterday and today. Is that too early? Also, I am do you know when you can move on to stage two? Does your digestion need to even out before then? Like there has been constipation but then diarrhea when I took magnesium to relieve that…also I am completely exhausted. Thoughts?

  10. michele says:

    Hi I am really looking for some support following this diet alone, I am single, and dealing with multiple chronic illness… I feel totally overwhelmed trying to get healed on my own… all I can think of is coke!! the drink.!!

    and suggestions for support??

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