Just like when we actually did the intro diet for GAPS, I am slowly progressing through the stages of Intro in this blog. Part of me is kind of glad that I wasn’t blogging at the time we were going through this, because we were just so miserable and tired at the time … we watched the entire history of Weeds over the course of about two weeks … wondering what marvelously deliciously awful things were going to happen next was about the only thing that kept us going through the first few intro stages! There’s no way I could have been patient or consistent enough to blog about it!
At the same time, even though I took copious notes on how to progress through intro, it’s harder to look back, and relate to what I was going through — and to probably what you’re going through, if you’re reading this in search of help with the intro diet. But in light of that, I would tell my intro-diet self, and anyone in the intro stages reading this, that it will be worth it — both in knowing that you can do it, and in the healing that will occur from doing it. Intro by no means solved my problems, certainly, but it did give me some significant, immediate progress, led to some huge detoxing, and taught me some basic fall-back foods for keeping me going when I have felt crappy since finishing intro.
Stage 3: Additions
- Avocados, the first raw veggie to be introduced (hurray!)
- Nut Butter, all-nut (so no Jiffy!), preferably homemade with pre-soaked and dehydrated crispy nuts. This can be used to make nut butter “pancakes” once you’ve successfully added:
- Whole, cooked eggs, can be fried, scrambled, boiled, or however else you like them
- Raw fermented veggies, like sauerkraut, or lacto-fermented pickles, or (homemade) giardiniera. We had good success with Caldwell’s starter to make these. (However, I found that personally, Stage 3 was not the appropriate time for me to introduce these — the sauerkraut I ate just a few bites of caused me a couple of days of pain afterwards!)
- Fresh Raw Meats, which are not on the official list in the book, but I decided that since raw fermented fish was on the previous step, that raw, non-fermented meats could be appropriate to eat at this stage. Raw meats can actually be more digestible than cooked meats for some systems, and we regularly include them in our diets, so I wanted to pull them into the intro program as early as I thought would be reasonable.
- Pan-sauteed veggies and caramelized onions, the first non-boiled, cooked veggies. This was huge for me, as caramelized onions (I talk about how to make them here — prior to the dehydration steps) add so much flavor and sweetness to foods — and I was still seriously craving sweet things! Caramelized onions definitely helped those cravings A LOT.
- Kefir, if you haven’t introduced it yet, and tolerate dairy, should be a regular part of your diet by the time you finish Stage 3; the probiotics in kefir are so beneficial, above and beyond so many other probiotic options.
This stage was the first stage where we really felt like we had any chance of successfully feeding ourselves out of the house, either at parties (where we would take food to share) or restaurants. Foods/dishes we enjoyed on Intro Stage 3 included:
- Raw oysters. We often go to an oyster bar when we have a night out on the town; the place we go has “Buck-a-shuck” happy hour (along with a fantastic chef who happens to be super-sensitive and careful about food allergies), which means that a generous amount of oysters can be had quite reasonably, along with other foods, altho possibly not much that is intro-legal. After going whole-hog on the oysters for the first time on intro, tho, I realized that it was crucial to take some sort of high-fat, moderate-carb snack in my bag to eat as a snack before or after the meal — a dozen oysters on an empty stomach prior to a two-hour show definitely was not one of my best ideas. Even with extra HCl, my stomach was not happy about the disbalance of excess protein, even if it was high-quality, easily digestible protein!
- Almond butter and coconut oil “candies”. Mix warmed almond butter and liquid coconut oil together, pour into molds or ice cube trays. You can also add in a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream to add probiotics and tang, and a pinch of (green!) stevia if you tolerate it. Chill thoroughly. Pop out and store in a jar in the fridge to have on hand for a quick snack. Makes for a good pre- or post-oyster (or other high-protein restaurant meal) snack, particularly during the winter months, when they’ll stay solid in your bag. (With the weather we’re having now, I definitely wouldn’t try to take these out of the house outside of a very well-sealed container!!)
- Frittata. Mix leftover, chopped up meats and veggies with several well-beaten eggs, and possibly a few spoonfuls of sour cream. Pour into a pre-heated, well-greased skillet, and cook on the stove on med-low until the sides are frim and can be gently pulled away from the edge of the pan; they should look crispy and possibly browned (could take 15-30 minutes, depending), and the middle should seem relatively firm, tho not completely cooked through. Pop under broiler until top is nicely browned. Serve and top with sour cream if desired. This can also just be baked for an hour or so in the oven at about 350.
- Egg-drop soup. Beat up a couple of eggs in a bowl. Into chicken broth (or chicken soup) which you already have at a good steady boil, gradually pour eggs into soup while stirring slowly. Eggs will cook in strands as they hit the hot liquid.
- Hard boiled eggs. These made taking lunches to work much easier for J. Doing intro not at home for every meal can be a serious challenge, especially if you don’t have a kitchen at work to heat up soup, so making it to hard boiled eggs can be a very important milestone. Along with a spoonful of ghee or mashed avocado, some pepper and salt, they can make a decent lunch, especially with a cup of broth on the side. And, cut in half, they can be useful for taking to parties along with fermented veggies for finger foods. You might even try making a sort of “deviled eggs” by mixing the yolks with mashed avocado, salt, and pepper, and maybe a little warmed coconut oil or ghee if you need to thin the stuffing mixture out — that actually sounds really yummy! I might have to try it next time I need to make deviled eggs!
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