Detoxification: 6 Stages of GAPS Introductory Diet

Detoxification: 6 Stages of GAPS Introductory Diet post image

Forcing the body to detoxify by fasting and/or using products (many of which have questionable value) can actually be harmful. If protective nutrition is not readily available, the free radicals that are produced can cause oxidation and tissue damage. A slow natural detoxification is more realistic, yet can still be very challenging.

GAPS intro is a gentle way to detox

The introductory phase of the GAPS diet is the perfect tool for detoxification and one that I use in my practice. In this protocol, you are eating food that is exceptionally easy to digest and full of available nutrients.

As you work your way through the stages, you are slowly adding more varieties of food. In this way you can see how well you tolerate the new foods and can continue with them if they are tolerated well. If a particular new food is troublesome you can eliminate it and come back to it further down the road.

Detoxification requires energy

Detoxification is a process that puts a metabolic burden on the body. Energy is required to achieve detoxification. Therefore, water or juice fasts are not beneficial because they deplete the body of the essential nutrients required for healthy detoxification.

Water or juice fasts have many adverse health effects, including decreased energy production, breakdown of lean tissue instead of fat, increased oxidative stress, and unbalanced detoxification.

Rather than decreasing nutrient support, a focused, high-impact, low allergy potential source of micro and macronutrients should be provided.

Listen to your body

It is not wise to proceed with any type of detox program if you are pregnant or nursing. Toxins are released and eliminated from your body and this may affect the fetus if you are pregnant or they may go into the milk if you are nursing.

If you feel a great amount of discomfort or symptoms on the early stages, you may have to start with the later stages and work your way back.  Some people need to start with the full GAPS diet first. If you have a great toxic burden it is always wise to start very slowly.

Rest your digestive tract

If you are generally healthy, going through the stages well, and want a greater detox benefit, you may consider a one day broth and juice fast. I would not do this right away, but some people can manage this after stage 4, when freshly juiced vegetables are included. This will thoroughly rest your digestive tract.

Alternating fresh juice and broths every few hours, for one day, will greatly amplify the detox. After the one day broth and juice fast you can proceed with stage 4 again.

GAPS Intro Stages

Stage 1

  • Meat, chicken or fish stock
  • Well boiled broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, leeks
  • Baked squash, winter and summer
  • Boiled meats
  • Sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons a day of sauerkraut juice with food

Stage 2

All of the above and you may add:

  • Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles
  • Fermented fish
  • Egg yolk: be sure to separate completely from the white (preferably pastured)
  • Homemade ghee (how to make ghee)
  • Stews and casseroles made with meat, vegetables, stock and fresh herbs
  • Soft boiled eggs if no allergy to the white is suspected

Stage 3

All of the above and you may add:

  • Ripe avocado eaten with broth, starting with 1-3 teaspoons a day
  • Nutbutter pancakes mixed with squash and eggs and cooked in fat or ghee — starting judiciously with one a day
  • Scrambled eggs

Stage 4

All of the above and you may add:

  • Freshly made vegetable juices: start with a few tablespoons of carrot juice (made with a juicer — not pureed vegetables)
  • Bread made with nut flour, eggs, squash, fat, salt
  • Cold pressed olive oil

Stage 5

All of the above and you may add:

  • Raw legal vegetables, peeled and deseeded
  • Applesauce from cooked and pureed apples
  • Raw honey, up to a couple tablespoons a day (that includes any that is in baked goods)
  • Boiled, roasted, or grilled meat (take care not to carmelize the meat)
  • Juiced apple, pineapple, and mango (avoid citrus)

Stage 6

All of the above and you may add:

  • Peeled, raw apple
  • Other raw fruits may be introduced slowly
  • Baked goods with dried fruit as a sweetener

Some people may breeze through all the stages without any problem adding the new foods. Others may take weeks or even months. If you are reasonable healthy and just want to use the stages as a detox, you will probably be able to move ahead quickly. After you get through these stages you may consider going into the full GAPS diet.

Click here to sign up for the Detox Challenge

If you would like more guidance on the intro and full GAPS diet you may want to consider the following learning tools:

Information on GAPS diet books and meal plans.

What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on the GAPS Introduction Diet
Price: $20.00 — goes on sale every month or so.
Step by Step guide to get you started and through the GAPS Introduction diet.

Where to purchase biokult probiotic

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Leave a Comment

  • France @ Beyond The Peel March 14, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Thanks so much for this and sharing it with everyone at I don’t have any digestive issues, but I get asked about it a lot. This will be a great resource for them.

  • Shannon March 17, 2012, 6:14 pm

    This was really interesting. I’ll be sharing it as well!

    Thanks for linking up to Friday Food at!

  • Amber March 17, 2012, 11:12 pm

    Hi There Jill,

    This is am AMAZING post. I’m going to add a GAPS board to my Pinterest with this post in mind. Thank you for sharing it with us this week on Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
    Be sure to check back next week for reader favorites and hostess picks.


  • April @ The 21st Century Housewife March 26, 2012, 1:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. I found it very interesting to read more about the GAPS diet, something I am not all that familiar with.

  • Kathy April 10, 2012, 6:05 pm

    My family of 6 has been doing the gaps diet for 9 months now. The healing we have experienced is amazing. It is helped with ADHD, asthma, dermatitis, abdominal pain, acne, joint pain, energy levels, anxiety, cradle cap, insomnia, dental health and the list goes on. We feel fantastic and everyone is so much happier! Be warned though – the intro can be rough, so prepare as much as possible in advance. It is well worth it though!

    • Jill April 10, 2012, 8:56 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for sharing!

  • Gloria May 24, 2012, 6:30 pm

    Hi Jill,
    My husband, son and I are currently in the introductory GAPS diet. I have read and reread all the information in the book by Dr. Campbell-McBride, but this is a great outline of what the book details.
    My son, who is 19, is doing so much better than what I expected since he takes antibiotics for acne. He doesn’t seem to have bad reactions to the milk and water kefir or to any of the foods he has been gradually introducing. On the other hand, I have been kind of stuck between stages One and Two. For three days I had to avoid the very soft veggies in the soup. Thankfully, today I was able to manage a couple of tablespoons of very soft soup veggies.
    Reading articles like this really helps and makes me feel that we are on the right track.
    Thank you!!!!!
    Gloria 🙂

  • Michele March 7, 2015, 4:57 pm

    Curious on anyone’s GAPS success since these posts are a few years old? Debating starting with my fam. Thanks!

  • tony May 2, 2017, 2:47 am

    Great post. I haven’t been able to find the steps of GAPS anywhere.

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