The First Five Days Of GAPS Intro

The first five days of GAPS Intro can be the most challenging. Here is my checklist and menu for getting started with a plan.

When our family first started GAPS years ago, it was the first five days of GAPS Intro that were the toughest to wrap my mind around and the hardest for how we were feeling as a family. Now, as a GAPS™ practitioner, I find this to be true (more or less) for many families I help through Intro.

The toughest part about the GAPS Protocol is typically the Introduction part of the diet. I put together this 5 Day Checklist and Menu for Intro that can be easily scaled up or down (depending on family size), or spread out over more days if needed.

If you can be completely prepared with everything on hand ahead of time, all the better! You can do this.

First Five DAYS OF GAPS INTRO: Checklist

{ For a Family Of 4 }

You’ll Need:


  • 1 Qt Ghee
  • 1 Qt Other – such as duck fat, beef tallow, lard
  • Container of extra virgin coconut oil

Meat Stock:

Enough for at least 2 cups per person/per day + more for misc

  • Day 1 – 3 Qts meat stock
  • Day 2 – 3 Qts meat stock
  • Day 3 – 3 Qts meat stock
  • Day 4 – 3 Qts meat stock
  • Day 5 – 3 Qts meat stock

Meat for Boiling: Stages 1 – 3 (approx. 5 days of snacks & meals)

  • 2 whole chickens
  • 14 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 – 3 lbs chicken legs
  • 1 lb. wild halibut
  • 1/2 lb. wild cod
  • 1/2 lb. wild shrimp
  • 8 lbs. ground meat for meatballs (lamb, beef or pork)
  • 2 lbs. stew meat
  • 1 lb organ meat, diced to mix in with meatballs & sausage


  • 5 lemons
  • 2 – 4 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 4 heads cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1 lbs green beans
  • 10 lbs carrots
  • 8 leeks, sliced
  • 2 shallots
  • 1- 2 bags of onions
  • 6 bulbs garlic
  • 2 winter squash of choice, peeled & diced
  • large bulb of fresh ginger
  • turmeric root (optional for tea)
  • 1 bunch each fresh dill, cilantro, basil, parsley, marjoram, basil
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1.5 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 – 2 avocados
  • 12 – 16 tomatoes, or 8 jars of diced tomatoes (glass jars)

Fermented foods

  • 1 qt. sauerkraut (juice 1/2 jar for stages 1 – 2)
  • 1 qt. beet kvass
  • 1 qt. pickles


  • Honey
  • Ginger root (see produce list)
  • Chamomile
  • Mint
  • Turmeric root (see produce list)


  • Crispy nuts (2 cups worth)
  • Pastured eggs: 5 – 6 dozen
  • 2 – 3 lb. plank of salmon (for making Swedish gravlax – optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Raw honey

Detox bath ingredients (for a rotation)

  • 4 cups epsom salts
  • 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups baking soda
  • 4 cups seaweed powder
  • 4 cups sea salt


  • Magnesium (chelated form), like Biotics Mg-Zyme, to help constipation
  • Virgin Cod Liver Oil by NutraPro or Rosita
  • Probiotics (see The Mother’s Guide to Probiotics)
  • Biotics Hydro-Zyme (Betaine HCl if needed for digestion)


  • 1 – 2 enema kits (in case of constipation, and for general health they are VERY useful)
  • Juicer – for carrots & lemons, in case low blood sugar is an issue


First Five Days Of GAPS Intro: Menu

Day 1: Stage One

Filtered water + squeeze of lemon
Ginger root & turmeric root tea + coconut oil + tsp honey
Chicken soup (omit parsley) + 1 tsp sauerkraut juice
Broccoli simmered in meat stock

Chicken soup (omit parsley) + sip of beet kvass
Veggie of choice, simmered in meat stock

Lamb + garlic meatballs
Mashed cauliflower + garlic
Mug of meat stock with garlic + sea salt + tsp sauerkraut juice

Detox Bath: 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Day 2: Stage Two

Filtered water + squeeze of lemon
Ginger tea
Carrot ginger halibut soup + tsp sauerkraut juice

Egg yolk drop soup
Veggie of choice, simmered in meat stock

Chicken thighs simmered with leeks + mushrooms (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Mashed cauliflower + garlic
Mug of meat stock with garlic + sea salt + tsp sauerkraut juice

Detox Bath: 1 cup Epsom salts + lavender essential oil

Day 3: Stage Two

Filtered water + squeeze of lemon
Hamburgers w/ Intro gravy
Veggie of choice, simmered in meat stock + ghee
Mug of meat stock w/ garlic + sea salt

Fish soup + tsp sauerkraut juice

Tomato soup + tsp sauerkraut juice (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Simmered hamburgers + garlic/sea salt
Russian custards (2 egg yolks whipped w/ tsp honey per person)

Detox Bath: 1 cup baking soda

Day 4: Stage Three

Filtered water + squeeze of lemon
Fermented cod liver oil + pickle juice in shot glass
Butternut squash leek soup (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Scrambled egg w/ slow-cooked onion in ghee

Butternut squash leek soup (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Baked chicken legs (Bake at 350F w/ ghee & salt, until tender)
Lacto-fermented pickles

Crockpot cilantro chicken (w/ mashed avocado)
Onion soup (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Mug of meat stock w/ garlic + sea salt

Detox Bath: 1 cup seaweed powder

Day 5: Stage Three

Filtered water + squeeze of lemon
Fermented cod liver oil + pickle juice in a shot glass
Nutbutter squash pancakes with ghee/honey mixture
Scrambled eggs
Mug of meat stock w/ garlic + sea salt

Lamb + garlic meatballs
Tomato soup (Heal Your Gut cookbook)
Lacto-fermented pickles

Beef & vegetable stew
Broccoli simmered in meat stock (with broth served on the side)
“Shot glass” of beet kvass
Russian custards

Detox Bath: 1 cup sea salt + lavender essential oil

A Note On Meat Stock vs. Broth

I remember years ago, when I was transitioning my family to a Real Food diet, making bone broth or meat stock was one of my biggest hurdles. Generation by generation we have simply lost certain food arts, and this was one tradition I couldn’t wrap my head around.

As I finally made my own, I realized, it couldn’t…be…simpler. Soon I was making soups that other people raved about and that nourished the bodies of my family.

This broth & meat stock preparation would become an especially huge part of our diet as we undertook the GAPS™ protocol. Taken in therapeutic amounts daily, it is extremely nourishing and building the for digestive tract, bones, muscle, skin…with benefits ranging from stimulating growth hormone to getting rid of cellulite.

Bone broth is essentially made with bones or the carcass of the animal, and simmered for long periods of time. Bone broth is used after 30 days of being on the GAPS Introduction diet.

Meat stock is simply the liquid that you have cooked your meat in, and is a shorter period of cooking time. (Which comes in handy when you are doing so much soup making on Intro!)

Meat stock is best for:

Being gentler and less detoxifying, and is used for the Introduction diet. Has less free glutamates, and much less histamines, which can be problematic for some in the beginning. MEAT STOCK IS RECOMMENDED FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS OF GAPS.

Bone broth is best for:

Being more therapeutic, and should be eased into if you are doing the Introduction diet, especially if you are sensitive to free glutamates, as these will be increased in the longer cooking times for bone broth.

Here is an article that explains the differences further, along with some recipes:

GAPS Diet Bone Broth & Meat Stock

I hope this is helpful and takes a little stress away from Intro. I wish you the best! GAPS™ is good and nourishing. If you would like to learn more, and be supported for a full 10 weeks by a GAPS™ Practitioner (who has been there) I would love for you to check out the GAPS Class. You’ll have lifetime access to the materials and can “go through” the course live as many times as you need to.

26 thoughts on “The First Five Days Of GAPS Intro”

  1. I have just started gaps intro and noticed you have lemon juice with water upon waking. Lemons are not mentioned in the Gut and psychology Syndrome book. Can you explain please?

    1. Melanie Christner

      Hello Deborah,

      Thank you for the comment. Lemon in the morning water is recommended by Dr. Natasha in other places besides the book, like her FAQ. In the early morning water it is good for stimulating digestion and for giving the liver a “jumpstart” in the morning. Her one contraindication is if there is diarrhea.

  2. I’m getting things ready to put my family on GAPS (My seven year old son is on the Autism spectrum and my husband has chronic eczema). I notice in this 5-day plan, you move through the first 3 stages of intro in one week. I was assuming for my family we’d spend 3 days on phase one, about 3 or 4 days on phase 2 and a week each on the rest of the phases. If we could get by with moving through a little more quickly, I’d be thrilled but also want to make sure everyone’s given time properly heal. What do you advise?

    1. Melanie Christner

      Hello Arlene,

      Thanks for the comment. The 5-day plan is simply a starting point, to give some context for how a family could move through Intro. With more severe cases, more time will need to be taken on each stage and each new food re-introduction. It depends on the digestive symptoms present.


  3. This is so helpful! Thank you so much. We’ve never eaten anything remotely close to this way before and I know I’ll have to be patient as we both work full time. Our kids are all grown now, so should be somewhat simpler.

  4. This may be a shocking question, but I am wondering if there are any meat broths/ stocks that can be purchased initially. This would be very helpful for our very tight budget and a huge time saver. We currently us Trim Healthy Mama 100% all natural beef gelatin for some recipes now. Is that appropriate? We are just beginning our GAPS journey. Thanks you so much.

    1. Melanie Christner

      Hi Gabriele,

      Hemp & chia are allowed on Full GAPS, when there aren’t digestive complaints anymore.


  5. I am in my second week of the Intro diet, and I have found that the only vegetable I can tolerate so far is carrots. Everything else I have tried so far (onions, zucchini, chard, spinach, green beans, cauliflower) causes digestive distress, i.e., stomach cramps, bloating, burping, gas. I think I am doing ok with a tsp of avocado per meal, but it’s hard to say, because I am still experiencing some gas. Egg yolks are fine, so I guess I am technically on stage 2. Help! Do you have any suggestions?! I dont know how to move forward from here.

      1. They are common to me. I’ve had a hard time digesting vegetables for a while now, especially cruciferous vegetables. I do take 2 tsp of Apple cider vinegar before meals and an Hcl with Pepsin when I eat. I’ve been doing the vinegar for a long time, to help with the bloating and gas.

        1. I am also wondering if this should affect how quickly I move through the Intro Diet. And should I avoid the vegetables that give me a lot of trouble, i.e. onions? If so, for how long? THANK YOU!

          1. Melanie Christner

            Hi Kristen,

            You may need more HCl than one.

            I would suggest continuing through the stages but avoiding your most problematic vegetables. You can try them again periodically, for example, 3-6 weeks.

            Based on your symptoms, I wonder if looking into SIBO might be a consideration for you. If you want further help you might be interested in my Adult program –


  6. Alison Van de Pol

    I have tried Gaps intro twice and only made it through the second day. I feel so discouraged when I read about so many people succeeding with it. I have a supportive husband (who is willing to single-parent our 3 yr old!) and a good understanding of the diet and I STILL cave! By Day 2 I feel like I’m going to vomit if I have to eat one more bite of chicken or cooked vegetable. When does it get easier? (I’m doing this for pretty sever food intolerances as well as thyroid and adrenal issues. Any advice??

    1. Melanie Christner

      Hi Alison,

      Have you tried backing into GAPS slowly? For example, beginning with Full GAPS first for several weeks before starting Intro?

      The vomiting is likely a symptom of low blood sugar and is fairly common, especially if beginning Intro “cold turkey”. There are a couple of remedies to try for that…tiny amounts of fresh pressed carrot juice w/ lemon, or a little bit of cooked applesauce, or a little bit of ghee with honey.

      Hope that helps,

  7. with the first stage in gaps, when I make the stock, and separate the bones and meat for later on stages, when I strain the stock do I eat the vegtables now or do you save them for a later stage also?

    1. Melanie Christner

      Hello Ellen,

      As long as the vegetables aren’t high fiber vegetables, they can be eaten with the meat and stock from the beginning.


  8. I have been on Stage 1 for 6 days, some days only the broth, but continue to have severe diarrhea with bleeding.

    How can I stop this? It has been going on for 2 1/2 weeks, and I have lost 15 pounds. I am very weak, and so need to get it under control.

    1. Hello Sonia,

      I would recommend you get in to see your doctor about what you are experiencing. I can give some general ideas of what other GAPS people have done in your situation, and you could book a Puttering Session to talk about them, but severe diarrhea with bleeding sounds concerning and I would recommend getting some medical assistance.


  9. Hi Melanie, I am on full gaps now and planning to move to intro diet. question I have is are we allowed to take Kefir in intro ?? Can we eat sauerkraut .. I am not getting much of sauerkraut juice ..any suggestions on it.

    1. Hello Sarala,

      Thank you for the question. Typically, small amounts of fermented vegetable juice and kefir are introduced right from the beginning of Intro. 1-2 teaspoons for the first 5 days, then double until you’ve worked up to a regular serving.


  10. Aimi Justinussen

    Hi Melanie,

    I have been on full GAPS for over a year now. My issue before GAPS was constant constipation. When I initially started the diet, I had very runny and pale stools. Now I do not have constipation, but I have pale, floating stools.
    I do not have any discomfort though, and my health is much better. I got rid of gout and rosacea on the diet. In the beginning I lost too much weight, and became under-weight. However now I gained a few pounds and am in the normal weight-range for me.
    How do you suggest I resolve the issue with pale and floating stools?

    Warm regards


    1. Hello Aimi,

      Thanks for the question! Not knowing your full situation, I can only give you a generic suggestion…but it sounds like you need support for your liver/gallbladder and fat digestion. I would suggest going through my free Digestive Supplements mini-class to find out more. You can find that here –
      Beet kvass & Biotics Beta TCP are supports that I think of initially…


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top