Yogurt Delight

I spend a good deal of time fasting nowadays. In a typical week I fast Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 15-24 hours each day. It's not hard to do, and honestly I appreciate not having to concern myself with food. I don't have to think about what I should eat, or what I want to eat. I don't have to consider the nutrients in what I'm thinking about eating, or the amount. I certainly don't need to keep track of anything. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are more of a challenge. I tend to eat, frequently. I suspect the problem is that food is readily available (it's just a few steps away in the refrigerator whereas when I'm at work I typically do not have food available).

I try to wait to eat until 6:00 pm on the days I'm home, but so far that has been unattainable. I also have the problem of once I start eating, I continue to eat. Frequently. I haven't quite figured out how to succeed, and I suspect the problem is habit more than anything. I have given in to eating frequently so often on the weekends, that it has become habit. I need to strengthen my habit of not giving in to eating so frequently!

I have a few favorites for my weekend eating, and one is pictured above. It is very simple, but quite delicious.

Yogurt Delight

Serves 1

  1. Place 1 cup of yogurt into a bowl.
  2. Using a sharp knife, shave the chocolate into small pieces
  3. Chop the nuts into small chunks
  4. Add the collagen.
  5. Add your sweetener and mix together. Honey is the only GAPS legal sweetener but if you are at a point where your healing is significant you can try using other sweeteners like stevia.

Yogurt Delight
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
Delicious yogurt treat for dessert or a snack. Nutrition count calculates using stevia in the recipe.
  • 1 cup GAPS legal yogurt (the safest way to ensure legality is to make your own)
  • 1 serving (typically one square) of 100% cacao or Baker's chocolate (unsweetened)
  • 1 ounce walnuts or pecans
  • 1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen (this is the kind of gelatin that can mix into cold foods without hardening into an inedible gummy blob)
  • Sweetener of choice (honey is GAPS legal)
  1. Place 1 cup of yogurt into a bowl.
  2. Using a sharp knife, shave the chocolate into small pieces
  3. Chop the nuts into small chunks
  4. Add the collagen.
  5. Add your sweetener and mix together. Honey is the only GAPS legal sweetener but if you are at a point where your healing is significant you can try using other sweeteners like stevia.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 456 Fat: 35 Carbohydrates: 21 Sugar: 12 Sodium: 164 Fiber: 4 Protein: 24 Cholesterol: 20

Oh, and by the way, yes we can have chocolate on the GAPS diet. Click here to learn more: Can I Have Chocolate on the GAPS Diet?

Let me know what you think of this dessert in the comments.


GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

My Word of the Year is Habit

I had heard of people  picking a word of the year, but had never done it myself. What about you? Do you choose a word of the year?

I had always been resentful about establishing habits, thinking it was boring or too controlling, not to mention it reminded me a little bit too much of my teen years when I lived with a foster family.

Besides my life seemed to be going along pretty well without habits. But then I realized, “Wait a minute, I do have a lot of habits that I just don't realize are habits!” And I started to think that maybe my life could be enriched by habits. Not only my life, but also the way I feel every day. I even discovered that thinking negatively is an established habit that you want to stop reinforcing if you ever hope to stop.

In January I decided my word of the year for 2019 would be “habit” because I was learning all about establishing habits. It started with reading Atomic Habits by James Clear which led to reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and then Getting Things Done by David Allen… the more I read, the more I realized I had been fighting against myself my entire adult life! I decided it was time to try building habits and it has definitely been a learning curve!

Make It Easy

One important component to establishing habits is make sure they are easy to incorporate, and you should always clear the path to establishing the habit. Take a few minutes and think about the behavior you want to change, the new habit you wish to adopt. Let's say you want to establish the habit of putting your clothes in the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor. The dirty clothes hamper is in the bathroom, so why don't you just put your clothes in the hamper? Well, first the bathroom is down the hallway. And secondly, there's only one bathroom for your family of four, so you typically undress in your bedroom to limit your time in the bathroom. Does anyone use the bathroom laundry hamper? If some of your family do, buy a second hamper and put it in the bedroom nearby so you can easily toss your clothes in. This will help immensely with establishing this new habit.

I am super sensitive to anything blocking my path. One of the habits I wanted to establish was to swish the toilet every day. I don't like to use harsh chemicals but I think vinegar is great for cleaning so I bought an extra gallon to keep in the bathroom, instead of having to run into the kitchen to get it. I have learned that I am more likely to establish a habit if I set myself up to win.

Stack Your Habits

Another tip I learned is when you get one habit established, “stack” another similar one that you do right after that one. In addition to swishing the toilet, I wanted to scoop the cat litter box every day. So I'd do the toilet, then the cat litter box. It becomes like second nature after awhile.

Use a Habit Tracker

Another helpful tool for establishing habits is to use what's called a habit tracker. If you use a planner, you probably already know about habit trackers or the planner company may offer habit trackers included as bonus printables. I use the Passion Planner and that's one of the printables available for download. It's usually a group of squares and you check off each one.

My friends and affiliate partners at Ultimate Bundles have put together a free PDF called Five to Flourish: Simple Daily Habits to Help Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle which includes habit trackers for five habits to establish for 30 days. There are five habits included, or you can create your own.



GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

10 Natural Ways to Help Your Body When You Have a Cold

Help your body with natural remedies when you have a cold

I strongly believe in our bodies' abilities to heal itself. Using over-the-counter cold medications masks symptoms. They may stop your nose from running, or stop you from coughing. But the symptoms you are experiencing, although annoying or uncomfortable, are your body's way of moving toxins, germs and bacteria out. Shutting down your body's natural response to sickness can make it worse.

When you're sick, try to do natural things to help your body to heal, instead of making it work harder. Try to avoid taking aspirin or pain killer because your body has to work even harder to process those chemicals. I personally avoid doctors because I don't want to fight regarding antibiotics because they will often suggest them. At the very least they are not required for a mere cold, which is always a virus and viruses are not affected by antibiotics.

Here are my top 10 suggestions for helping my body fight a virus:

  1. Gargle with warm salt water. I recommend strong salt water using a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt to 1/2 cup of water. Back in the 90s when I first got onto the Internet, an online friend recommended gargling with salt water to prevent tonsillitis. This was an amazing tip for someone who had had many occurrences of tonsillitis since my teen years because once I incorporated this practice – gargling with strong salt water at the first sign of a sore throat – I have never again had a tonsillitis infection. For a little extra help, add a 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne. If you use the cayenne, use a straw to get the mixture into your mouth to gargle. Consider gargling in the bathroom to confine your germs.
  2. Stop eating sugar and all its sister forms. As soon as you feel you are getting sick, stop eating all sugars. This includes regular white sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, etc. It is a well known fact that sugar hinders your immune system function and makes it harder on your body to heal itself. I also recommend avoiding juice unless freshly squeezed. If you must drink juice, dilute with water.
  3. Make a pot of chicken soupChicken soup is healing to the digestive system and it's easy to digest. It's also soothing to eat when you are sick. You can also sip on plain broth. This recipe of mine links to how to make stock or soup from turkey, but you can do the same with chicken.
  4. Eat raw garlic. I consider raw garlic to be a very important food in my wellness toolkit. Try to eat one or two cloves [affiliate link] each day when you are sick. Try garlic crushed in your soup or broth. It is delicious. Another great way to get raw garlic in is to mix it with butter and slather onto vegetables. (Spiralized zucchini is AMAZING with garlic butter.)
  5. Drink water to thirst. If you are having soup and broth, you'll be getting good nourishing liquids but you should also drink water. Sometimes I do add juice in because it helps me to drink more water.
  6. Take extra Vitamin C. It's really important to get more Vitamin C when  you are sick. Your body needs it in greater quantities. My favorite way to take Vitamin C is to use Liposomal C. I have personally tested using Liposomol C and can ingest much more Vitamin C than than when taking regular tablets. I have also decreased symptoms and days of sickness so it is worth trying out for yourself. I also highly recommend Linus Pauling's How to Live Longer and Feel Better to learn more about Vitamin C. He actually outlines a method for preventing colds so you don't even have to get sick at all. Wouldn't that be great?
  7. Take the herb Echinacea. I have taken this herb in tincture form (Zand Echinacea Extract) for years on the advice of the lady who I bought my mobile home from many years ago. She told me she took it at the first sign of a cold and hadn’t been sick in years. Echinacea should not be taken all the time, but only at the beginning of a cold as it has the effect of boosting the immune system. I will also take it while I have a cold, but it is less effective while you are sick. The important thing to know is you shouldn’t take it all the time.
  8. Take the amino acid L-LysineL-Lysine helps the mucous membranes to heal and anything to do with my mouth or throat I begin taking L-Lysine. Sore throat, chapped lips or cold sores – I’ll take L-Lysine.
  9. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep as much as you possibly can, and preferably at night in total darkness. Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival explains how important sleeping in total darkness is for our health and well being. This is the time to take one a sick days and stay cozied up in bed for most of the day, napping as you feel tired, and then stay in bed all night.
  10. Take detox baths. I am not one to take baths, much preferring the time and water savings of a shower. However, when I’m sick, I always make it part of my routine to take a nice hot bath. I will usually add Epsom salts, or baking soda [affiliate link]. Both are said to help to draw toxins out of the body.

What do you use when you get a cold? Please share your natural cold treatment tips in the comments below. 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pecan Pie with Spiced Caramel Topping

What’s On Your Holiday Menu? (GAPS Diet, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)

Brown Butter Spice Cake

The holidays are here… you're on GAPS… what are you going to eat?

I started GAPS in early December so that first Christmas and New Year was interesting… since my feet and back stopped hurting in under two weeks, I was already committed to sticking with GAPS. It would have been a LOT easier if I'd had Nourishing Holiday, an e-book created by my affiliate partner Jaclyn Harwell.

Right now you can get 20% off with a special promo code that Jaclyn has given me for my readers. Use promo code GAPSJOURNEY and click on this link to get your very own e-copy and get a head start on planning your holiday menu: Nourishing Holiday

Nourishing Holiday e-book

You can also read my review on Nourishing Holiday here: Exclusive recipe Brown Butter Spiced Cake Recipe +  a list of all the recipes in Nourishing Holiday.

If you're not in the market to buy, but would rather have free recipes, I've  listed a whole bunch of GAPS Friendly Holiday foods:

Meat & Main Dishes

Tamales with No Corn

Savory Roasted Turkey from Real Food Forager

Mustard Braised Rabbit from Healing Defined

Honey Brined Turkey from Quietly Running the Race

Corn-Free Tamales from GAPS Diet Journey

Rubbed and Grilled Pork Loin from All  Recipes

Bacon Wrapped Turkey from Food & Wine


Cranberry Pineapple Sauce

Faux-Tatoes (Whipped Cauliflower) from GAPS Diet Journey

Mushroom Onion Gravy from GAPS Diet Journey

Fall Harvest Sauce (Dates, Apple and Pears) from Kristine Rudolph

Delicata Squash Ring Oven Fries from The Liberated Kitchen

Cranberry Pineapple  Sauce with Walnuts from GAPS Diet Journey

Whole Cranberry Sauce with Variations from The Liberated Kitchen

Spicy Pineapple Cranberry Chutney from Pickle Me Too

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon from Loving Our Guts


Faux Cornbread Dressing Poppers

Coconut Flour Bread Stuffing from GAPS Diet Journey

Faux Cornbread Dressing Poppers from GAPS Diet Journey

Coconut Flour Muffins from Empowered Sustenance

Pumpkin Cranberry Spices Muffins from Loving Our Guts

Rosemary Sage Pork Dressing from The Liberated Kitchen

PiesFaux Sweet Potato Pie

Pear Pecan Pie from GAPS Diet Journey

Deep Dish Apple Cranberry Pecan Pie from GAPS Diet Journey

Faux Sweet Potato Pie from GAPS Diet Journey

Silky Chocolate Pie from GAPS Diet Journey

White Chocolate Coconut Pie from Loving Our Guts

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Helladelicious


White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

Brown Butter Spice Cake from The Family that Heals (Guest Post)

White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles from GAPS Diet Journey

Apple Crisp from My Gutsy

Pepperrmint Coconut Snowballs from Simply Natural Health

Snowflake Peppermint Fudge from My Gutsy

Silky Banana Bread Bites from 20 Something Allergies

Coconut Whipped Cream from My Gutsy

Ice Cream

Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Creamy Apricot Ice Cream from GAPS Diet Journey

Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream from GAPS Diet Journey

French Vanilla Ice Cream from GAPS Diet Journey


Grain-free Snowman Cookies

Soft Vanilla Cookies from GAPS Diet Journey

Cookie Cutter Cookies from GAPS Diet Journey

Cut Out Cookies from Loving Our Guts

Light and Crunchy Meringue Cookies from The Liberated Kitchen

Snickerdoodles from My Gutsy

Holiday Roll Out Cookies from Real Food Forager

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from Tessa the Domestic Diva


Thick Pumpkin Eggnog Dairy-Free

Pumpkin Pie Spice Iced Coffee Slush from GAPS Diet Journey

Pumpkin Hot Cocoa from GAPS Diet Journey

Homemade Simple Delicious Eggnog from GAPS Diet Journey

Thick Dairy-Free Pumpkin Eggnog from GAPS Diet Journey

Hot Chocolate from Loving Our Guts

Spiced Cranberry Apple Cider from Healing Defined

Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer (Dairy-Free) from Loving Our Guts


Turkey Stock

Turkey Stock – The Best Part of Thanksgiving from GAPS Diet Journey

Turkey Vegetable Soup from GAPS Diet Journey

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk from Easy Natural Food

Creamy Carrot Chicken Soup from My Gutsy

Here's to a wonderful holiday season!

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

10 Gift Ideas For Someone on the GAPS Diet

GAPS Gifts

So someone you love is on the GAPS Diet and you don't know what to get them. What does GAPS even mean? Well, for starters, GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. Many people who come to GAPS have digestive ailments, which you may or may not have known about since a lot of the time people don't share such details. Another reason people come to GAPS is because of “psychological” issues. Maybe your loved one suffers from depression. The GAPS Diet has also been known to help children with various issues, like autism.

I thought it would be helpful to share some items that a person who is doing the GAPS Diet might appreciate having.

1. Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet Book

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Anyone who is  on the GAPS Diet should have a copy of the book that tells you all about the diet. But sometimes people can't afford to buy the book. If you discovered your friend didn't own a copy of the book, I'd suggest that as the number one thing to buy.

2. What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on GAPS Intro

What Can I Eat Now - 30 Day on the GAPS Intro ebookThere are two parts to the GAPS Diet. There is the Introduction part of the diet, then there is full GAPS. I personally feel that it is easiest to start with full GAPS because there is already a big learning curve, but sometimes people need to start with Introduction. I have written a blog post here that discusses the options: Which Should I do First? Intro or Full GAPS?  My friend Cara from Health, Home and Happiness has a great product called What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on GAPS Intro which is a great gift for someone who is planning to do Introduction.

3. Beyond Grain & Dairy: 113 recipes for GAPS

If your friend is on the full GAPS part of the diet, my e-book Beyond Grain & Dairy is going to be a great help in ideas for what to eat. I served these meals to my family and we all loved them, and didn't feel deprived at all. You can even buy this book as a gift, just choose that option after you put the e-book in the cart and hit checkout, then you can put in your friend's name and email address. And here's a coupon code for 50% off: BGDSAVE50

4. Detox Baths

You might have heard your friend talk about taking a “detox” bath. Dr. Natasha recommends that we take detox baths on a regular basis to aid the body in removing toxins.

My favorite detox bath consists of hot water and Epsom salts. When I'm really focusing on helping my body to detox I'll take one or two hot baths every week and add two or more cups of Epsom salts each time. Your friend is probably going to be taking quite a few detox baths, so she might appreciate having a bag of Epsom salts.

5. Spiralize Your Veggies

There is a lot of cooking with the GAPS Diet and lots of soup. Soup, soup, soup and more soup. One of the ways I keep soup interesting is to change up how I make it. I might make spiralized zucchini which is super easy with a spiralizer. This handy kitchen appliance is usually less than thirty dollars and is such a great help in creating substitutes for noodles or spaghetti. This spiralizer has seven blades, boasting various shapes like angel hair, fine and coarse shredding, fine or coarse “wavy” noodles, and a thicker “curly fry” blade.

6. Food Processor that slices AND dices!

Another handy appliance is a food processor that dices in addition to slicing and shredding. It really can make the different between one more boring pot of soup and one that's interesting when you change up on the way you prepare the vegetables. Dicing in a food processor is so much faster than doing it manually, you'll never go back to using your knife.

7. Natural Skin Care Products

One of the things we need to think about as we do the GAPS Diet is to decrease the toxins we are exposing our bodies to on a daily basis. Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients list on your favorite lotion, lip balm or soap? I would be willing to bet there are colorants, chemicals and things you can't even pronounce. One of my favorite companies is owned by Renee Harris. I am an affiliate for Renee but she is also a good friend, and I love her products. I appreciate that they are all-natural, most items are five ingredients or less and every ingredient can be pronounced. Her flagship product are her hard lotion bars and they work wonders with dry skin. I also love the muscle balmlip balm, and the goat milk soap. Your friend that is on GAPS should be actively working toward reducing her toxin load, and MadeOn Natural Skin Care Products can help with that.

8. Chocolate Treats (Yes, chocolate is allowed  on GAPS!)

Chocolate Treats

In Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book she stated that chocolate is not allowed; however, a couple of years after the book was published she updated her views at her FAQ, and hip-hip-hooray we can have cocoa on GAPS after digestive ailments have subsided. Baker's Dozen Chocolate Treats is one of my e-books and all the recipes are GAPS legal or can be easily modified so that they are. It was a very happy day for chocolate lovers when Dr. Natasha made this modification. Check out my post with more than 20 chocolate recipes, all GAPS legal.

9. GAPS Guide by Baden Lashkov

When I start learning about something new, like GAPS, I find it helpful to have at least two books on the subject. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Dr. Natasha's book is required reading. But I also found Baden's GAPS Guide to be very helpful. Baden implemented the GAPS Diet for herself and her son and from her experience wrote a comprehensive guide to clarify the steps for her fellow parents and others supporting those with mental and physical symptoms.

10. 24-Hour Yogurt Maker

Yogurt is one of the fermented foods your friend will want to have while on the GAPS Diet. It's very important to allow the yogurt to ferment at least 24-hoursallow the yogurt to ferment at least 24-hours which reduces the lactose significantly. My favorite appliance for making 24-hour yogurt is the Instant Pot! Your friend might have heard that Dr. Natasha doesn't approve of pressure cooking, but the Instant Pot has a lot more functions. Admittedly its biggest claim to fame is pressure cooking but most models make delicious 24-hour yogurt, function as a slow cooker, steams and sautes and more. And… your friend will one day transition off GAPS and could incorporate the pressure cooker aspect. I have done some research on using an Instant Pot and I personally feel it is a very helpful tool in my kitchen, especially for making broth.

I hope you find something you can buy your friend or loved one who is on the GAPS Diet (even if that happens to be you!).

I'd love to hear from you in the comments if you are doing GAPS. What would YOU love to receive as a gift to help you on your GAPS Diet Journey?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Add Variety to Your Soup

Add Variety to Your Soup With These Simple Ideas

Add Variety to Your SoupOne of the things you may encounter while doing the Introduction part of the GAPS Diet is that you may end up feeling bored with the food. Soup, soup and more soup. You may even begin to dread the thought of eating. This is not the best situation when you are working to heal your gut!

It is very important to enjoy the food that you are eating so here are some ideas to incorporate to make your next bowl of soup fresh and new.

Cut the Vegetables into Different Shapes

One thing you can do to  stave off the boredom is to cut the vegetables in different shapes. Slice vegetables into thin or thick rounds. Dice, coarse chop, slice, the shapes and sizes are endless.

For example, if you're putting carrots in your soup, as you are selecting the carrots you will be using consider choosing slender carrots that are finger-sized,  and then slice them very thinly.

Or you could divide the carrot in half, use the thin end to slice very thin and the thick end to cut into small cubes.

There are food processors that will dice vegetables and they are a wonderful tool to add some variety to your soup. Sometimes I dice everything going into the pot: carrots, onions [affiliate link], celery, squash, etc.

I also like to use my spiralizer to turn vegetables into long thin spaghetti-like strips. My favorite vegetable to spiralize is zucchini squash, but you can also spiralize carrots, onions, beets (easier to spiralize if you steam until fork tender), turnips, celeriac, etc. Leave the strips super long or cut into shorter strips.

If you don't have a spiralizer, a julienne sliceris another great way to get skinny strips of vegetables.

Consider using a potato peeler to make noodle-like strips of vegetables.

I love cutting cabbage in wide strips – this to me is very much like having egg noodles in my soup.

Maybe for one pot of soup you will make all of the vegetables diced, another pot you will make all of the vegetables in thin strips like noodles, or spiralized. You could make your soup with big chunks of vegetable or create a mixture of different sizes and shapes.

If you're cooking for children consider using special shape cutters to make the soup especially appealing.

Change Up the Taste with Spices

They say variety is the spice of life and if you've been through my Broth Challenge you received a free download with 25 different ways to spice up your broth. This of course works wonderfully with soup!

Here are two of my favorite ways to season broth:

Taco Seasoned Broth

Cold Buster Broth Combo

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves [affiliate link] fresh raw garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger [affiliate link]

Creamy Blended Soups

Blended soups are creamy and so delicious! A stick or immersion blender comes in handy for these soups, if you're not opposed to a few tiny bits and pieces. You may even find you prefer a little texture. For super smooth soups use a regular blender. If you are blending hot soup, do not fill your blender pitcher more than half full and be sure to use the blender lid and hold it down for an extra measure of protection. Not only do you not want to be burned by soup splashing out, but it can make a huge mess and no one wants to deal with that!

Add some Variety with Dairy

If you are on the GAPS Diet, there is a limit on the types of dairy you can have. Mainly properly aged cheeses, and 24-hour yogurt. Click here for a list of cheeses you can use. Properly fermented yogurt is very tart, but tastes suprisingly delicious added to soup. If you're trying to preserve the benefits of the yogurt's beneficial bacteria, consider having your soup lukewarm.

Experiment with the Temperature

There are plenty of soups that are eaten cold on purpose. Trialing this with your own GAPS soups can lead to more variety.

Healthy fats are an important component to GAPS but once in awhile it's okay to skim off the fat, especially if you want to try eating the soup cool enough that the fat hardens. If you don't like how it tastes lukewarm or cold, simply heat it up a bit more!

Use a Variety of Meat

My favorite broth is chicken, but that can become boring week after week. You may be on GAPS Introduction for a month and you're going to want some variety. Start with an easy pot of chicken soup, or maybe you want to try making chicken soup in your Instant Pot, but remember to oncorporate a variety of meat. Beef, pork, turkey, lamb and fish are readily available at most stores. If you have access to other kinds of meat feel free to experiment. Maybe your husband hunts and you have deer on the bone in your freezer, or maybe you can get goat meat on the bone where you live. On GAPS Introduction you want your meat well cooked, two to three hours minimum. Remember to save the bones because you can use them later on to make bone broth. Remove all the little bits and pieces of skin, cartilege, etc. and if you're a picky eater, or feeding picky eaters just blend these bits up until super smooth and add back into the soup. No one will know but you.

Also remember to change up the way you serve the meat. Leave it on the bone, remove from the soup and serve on the side so the meat can be picked off or eaten like a drumstick, or cut the meat into chunks, small dice or “pull” it with two forks into strips.

Presentation and Pretty Dishes

Last but not least, don't forget presentation. If there's one thing I've learned from watching Gorden Ramsay it's the importance of not only the way the food looks, but also the dishes. One of my favorite things to do is shop thrift stores for unique and pretty bowls and plates. I especially adore oval shaped bowls and plates.

A sprig of parsley [affiliate link], sprinkle of shredded cheese or dollop of yogurt can go a long way to make a bowl of soup look much more appetizing.

Remember that silverware and napkins can also make the meal look more appealing.

I would love to hear from you in the comments, let me know if this post has inspired you to come up with some new and fresh ideas for making soup!


GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

I’m Losing Weight on GAPS Intro But I’m Thin Already


Most who embark on GAPS are going to be tickled to find clothing getting loose and baggy. The National Institutes for Health reports that 35% of American adults are obese and another 34% are overweight so 69% are not at an ideal weight. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that the remaining 31% do weigh the “right” amount; however, one thing I have learned in my experience with the GAPS Diet and gut health – a slender body does NOT necessarily mean you're in good health.

Maybe you are one embarking on the GAPS Diet already underweight, with concern at the possibility of becoming thinner. Let's see what Dr. Natasha has to say on this topic.

From Dr. Natasha's FAQ page:

Am I going to lose weight on the GAPS diet? I am already underweight and find it very difficult to gain weight.

Regular consumption of grains and processed carbohydrates causes water retention in the body. As you stop consuming these foods, you will lose that excess water and hence lose some weight, which usually happens in the first few weeks. Without the water retention, you will get to your real weight and size, which will show you the real extent of your malnutrition. As you follow the GAPS nutritional protocol your digestive system will start absorbing foods properly and nourishing you; you will start building dense bones, healthy muscles and other tissues and organs and gaining weight as a result. You may remain fairly slim for the rest of your life (as it may be your constitution), but you will become strong, vibrant and full of energy.

Water Retention

So the first thing Dr. Natasha points to is the fact that carbohydrates cause water retention in the body which is going to cause a loss in weight as your body lets go of that retained water. Now you're going to get a true picture of your real weight which indicates you are malnourished.

Are You Malnourished?

One of the things going on when you are underweight is that you are malnourished. Your body may be unable to absorb nutrients because your gut is not functioning properly. Dr. Natasha calls this gut dysbiosis. The GAPS Nutritional Protocol can benefit you by giving your gut and digestive system the chance to regain normal function. It won't happen overnight, and you will probably lose weight in the beginning.

One thing that I recommend to people when they start on GAPS is to start with “full GAPS” first. You're already removing a large variety of foods and I believe this is enough of a shock to the system. After two or three months, go for the Introduction Diet.

I have asked Dr. Natasha about this and she does say that it is okay to do full GAPS first and that some people heal only on full GAPS. However, if you have diarrhea, severe digestive issues or food intolerances, you're wise to start with Introduction.

You're Going To Be Really Hungry

At the beginning of starting Introduction, I think the hunger is strong for a couple of reasons:

  1. First of all, the fibrous foods you've been eating (like bread and pasta) are bulky and fills the stomach. The foods on Introduction aren't as “filling”. One of the things that I realized for myself personally, is that I tend to eat those foods compulsively (almost addictively)  and this compulsion overrode my ability to stop eating at satiation. I would eat to a point where I thought I felt satisfied but time and time again, I would end up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I started to suspect that I was stopping at satiation, but the food was swelling up in my stomach. Who knows?
  2. The other reason why I think that we feel really hungry is that our body is finally getting nutritious foods that we can be easily digested and hunger kicks in, in a way that it hasn't before.

Therefore, it is critically important in the first stages of the Intro diet that you eat as much as you want of broth, meat, vegetables, and good healthy fats. It may take time to get full on these foods and they tend to be more expensive than bread and pasta, but this is important for nourishment and to prevent to weight loss.

Dr. Natasha stated above that your body is going to start absorbing foods properly and you're going to start building dense bones and healthy muscles. This matches up with my experience of some who start GAPS and feel like they are famished on the diet. They can't seem to get enough to eat!

Create Variety

One of the complaints I hear regarding Introduction is that it is b.o.r.i.n.g. Stage 1 allows homemade meat stock (different from bone broth), boiled meats, and boiled vegetables (onions [affiliate link], carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, pumpkin [affiliate link], cabbage). Soup is the perfect food for the first stage of Introduction and although soup may seem boring, there is a large variety of meats and vegetables that can be added to it to make different tastes.

Something else that I find that helps to stave off the boredom of having soup, is to cut the vegetables in different shapes, or blend the soup thoroughly so that it can be sipped. If you tolerate 24-hour yogurt add a couple spoonfuls to the blended soup to change the flavor. You're also getting your fermented foods when you do this!

You can also remove the cooked meats and vegetables from the soup, slather some healthy fats on the meat and veggies then drink the broth from a mug.

It is important that there be at least 1 cup of broth with each meal because of the healing properties of homemade meat stock. Consider making concentrated broth by doubling the amount of meat and bones, or reducing the water. Then you can drink 1/2 cup broth instead of one cup.

Fiber Dependence

Another thing I learned that plays into early weight loss when beginning GAPS is the fact that you are reducing the amount of fiber in your diet. Either component, full or Intro is going to reduce the amount of fiber because you are removing foods that contain fiber. i.e. bread, pasta, grains, fibrous starchy vegetables.

However, Introduction reduces the amount of fiber even more so because you have now removed fruit and raw vegetables, and are consuming mostly meat, broth, well-cooked vegetables, and fermented foods.

Your body may have become reliant upon fiber in order to have a normal bowel movement. Starting on GAPS Introduction and dramatically reducing your fiber intake can cause constipation.

On the other hand, this may in part shed some light on GAPS Introduction works so well for someone with diarrhea. Perhaps the person with chronic diarrhea does not tolerate fiber well, and removing it from the diet removes the irritation to the digestive system.

In our modern world, a great number of us have been on several rounds of antibiotics throughout our life, which has likely reduced (or wiped out) your gut bacteria. If you have had your appendix removed, some experts believe your body may have an even harder time maintaining the correct bacteria in your gut.

Another thing that happens is because of eating less fiber, your stool becomes smaller which can make it seem as if you've weight. By the way, it's perfectly okay to have a smaller stool. The one little problem there is that your body has been accustomed to a larger stool and now you may not “hear” the “urge to go”. You'll have to “listen” more closely and go right away if at all possible because you may lose the “urge to go” and now you are starting on the path to becoming constipated.

Since your body now contains less stool because you've reduced your fiber intake, you've reduced the size of your stool, so you will also weigh less.

Are you on the GAPS Diet, or just getting started? 


GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Cherry Extract

Homemade Cherry Extract Using Vodka or Bourbon

Cherry ExtractI've been making my own homemade vanilla extract for years. I've also experimented with Apricot Extract and now I would like to share Cherry Extract!

I started three jars of Cherry Extract:

  1. Bourbon whiskey with cherries and vanilla [affiliate link] beans
  2. Bourbon with cherries
  3. Vodka with cherries

I am totally loving the Ball Wide-Mouth Plastic Storage Caps and these jars are just perfect – they are Ball Jar Wide Mouth Pint and Half Jars – I have never seen jars like these but totally dig them. They are super tall – I guess one primary reason is so you can can asparagus but they were exactly what I was looking for.

All three jars were tucked away in a dark cupboard and stayed there for several months until I brought them out into the light of day to see how they turned out.

The resulting extract was really good. I have a friend who likes to make mixed drinks and she loves the cherries!

Cherry Extract in Vodka

This foray into making extract started when my son mentioned almond extract. I had never used it before and barely knew it existed. I set out to figure out how to make it since usually it is so much cheaper to make extracts yourself, rather than to buy them.

I discovered that almond extract is made from bitter almonds [affiliate link], or it can be made using cherry pits or apricot pits. Some people use peeled almonds but apparently this practice comes nowhere near the flavor achieved with bitter almonds or stone fruit pits.

There is a small problem in that there is apparently is a minute amount of cyanide in the pits if you break them open. I've been researching this on and off for days, and I still can't decide how I want to proceed. Some sources state if you heat the pits you will destroy the enzyme that causes the problem, while others say the amount is insignificant unless you ingest large quantities. Some sources say crush the pits, while others say that's not necessary and avoids the cyanide issue altogether.

So in the meantime, I decided to start some cherry extract. I think it will be good in ice cream, or baked goods… like maybe certain loaves of bread.

I've read having cherry extract is a way to have cherry flavor when it's out of season.

I am having a blast making my own extracts, the options are just endless.

Here's how I made my cherry extract:

  • 1 cup vodka or bourbon
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and cut in half
  1. Place the cherries into the alcohol and seal.
  2. Place in a dark cupboard for three months or longer.
  3. Enjoy!

Here are some sites with information:

Do you make any of your own extracts?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.