This is a question asked by many when they consider embarking on the GAPS Diet. I believe that for most of us it is going to be a huge adjustment to begin with full GAPS.
If you are eating a “SAD” (Standard American Diet) or even a “traditional foods” diet, this is going to mean a significant change in what you eat.
These diets include a lot of grains (“whole” and “soaked” if you're eating traditional): wheat, corn, rice, etc. and this can make up the bulk of what you eat on a regular basis. I loved these high carbohydrate foods with a passion. My husband loved to cook them for our family and it was a huge adjustment for not only me, but for him as the main cook to have to stop making homemade baked macaroni and cheese, rice, homemade noodles, homemade bread, etc.
Beginning full GAPS means you will be removing most commercially prepared foods which will allow you to easily avoid “illegal” items like food coloring, artificial flavoring, sugar and all its form, corn which is in almost everything, etc.
Tip: It's easier to focus on what you CAN eat, rather than what you cannot.
I felt like full GAPS was a huge learning curve and I was familiar with cooking from scratch and making broth. It can be very difficult for people who are accustomed to eating on the go who don't cook much. When I was active on the Yahoo GAPS Group I would suggest to newcomers that they start with full GAPS but I always felt a little bit uncomfortable doing that since on Dr. Natasha's site she makes this plea:
However, please do not be tempted to skip the Introduction Diet and go straight into the Full GAPS Diet, because the Introduction Diet will give your patient the best chance to optimize the healing process in the gut and the rest of the body. I see cases where skipping the Introduction Diet leads to long-term lingering problems, difficult to deal with.
So even though doing full GAPS first and then Introduction after four months had worked for me, I thought I had better submit a question and make sure it was okay! Here from Dr. Natasha's FAQ page:
Question: I know you say we should not skip introduction, but can you clarify for us if it is OK to do the Full GAPS Diet first and then do Intro after a few weeks of transitioning the body to lower carbohydrates, lower fiber, higher fats and the addition of probiotics?
Dr. Natasha's answer: Absolutely! Some people start from the Full GAPS Diet, and then later on, if there is a need, they do the Introduction Diet. Some people, particularly those without severe digestive symptoms, never do the Introduction Diet; they get well with the Full GAPS Diet alone. It is very individual. Generally, the Introduction Diet should be followed if there is diarrhea, other serious digestive problems and food intolerances. Children and adults with severe learning disabilities do well on the Introduction Diet. But if we have an adult without much digestive trouble, and who finds it difficult to change their diet at all, they often start from the Full GAPS Diet. An adult with chronic persistent constipation usually does well starting from the Full GAPS Diet; later on many of them find it very useful to do the Introduction Diet, when they are mentally ready for it.
Whew, I was really glad for her confirmation that there are specific situations where one should start with Introduction first, but for the rest of us we can begin with full GAPS.
If you've been on full GAPS for awhile and looking for help with the Introduction Diet, my friend and affiliate partner Cara from Health, Home and Happiness has a very helpful guide which will take you through 30 days of Introduction. You can click here to read my review or click here to buy it: What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on GAPS Intro
Have you started GAPS? Did you begin with Introduction or Full GAPS?