A friend of mine has recently started Intro, and she had several questions for me based on our family’s experiences going through it.  So I thought to myself, I should turn this into a blog post!  Because I’m sure other people probably have the same questions!

So here goes nothin’ …


I think you told me chicken fat is not the best fat to eat, correct? Should I skim off and discard some from the chicken feet soup (and esspecially the broth made from backs?

From what I’ve read, yes, chicken fat is not an ideal fat for human consumption.  In moderation now and then, it’s not a problem, but the omega 3 : omega 6 ratios are much better in fats from grass-fed beef and lamb.  That being said, you’ve got the fat now, I would just eat it.  It’s more important to get lots of healthy fats on Intro, and even tho it’s not the healthiest, chicken fat is definitely still a whole lot more healthy for you than SO many other options!  You can discard it if you want, and if you have plenty of other fats to keep you going, but personally, I would probably just use it up.  Even tho the necks and backs are really cheap in comparison to a whole chicken, since I learned about the omega ratios for chicken fat, whenever I make chicken broth, I just use a whole bird, plus a bunch of extra feet;  that way, I don’t get a couple inches of fat on top of my broth — just a reasonable amount!  But if I had a bunch of necks and backs still in my freezer, I’d use those up first.

So basically, what I guess I’m saying, is don’t worry too much about it.  Just make sure you’re getting some beef or lamb tallow or butterfat or fish oil at the same time, or with alternating meals or days, and it should be just fine.


What joint cuts do you use for your broth?

With the beef bones, I just order a bag of them, 5 or 10 lbs at a time … I honestly am not sure what all I get!  They’re usually mostly bone, with a bit of meat and fat still stuck to them, but not enough to make more than a few bites.  There are usually a number of marrow bones that have been cut in half cross-wise, so I can easily dig the marrow out, and there are also usually a few giant joints.  I don’t know that it matters a whole lot which joints you actually get — all joints have cartilage in them, which is what you’re going for.  Also, when I want some meat along with the bones, I’ll get shin bones — these are very tough, meaty slices of the leg, with the bone sliced as well, so the marrow is easy to get to.  I’ve seen these called “soup bones” elsewhere, altho if you order “soup bones” from our farm, you might get just the bones, like I mentioned before, or a mixture of cheaper cuts like ribs and shin bones, if they don’t have any of the plain bones in stock.


Is butter oK in the first stage??

Dr. Campbell-McBride does not recommend butter on GAPS at all, even after the intro stages are completed and you’re on full GAPS.  From what she said at the WAPF conference last fall, my understanding of her perspective is that for someone who is sensitive to the lactose, butter can be a problem because usually butter is made in a way that the milk is not soured or cultured first, and thus lactose is still present, even tho in very small amounts.  However, she does strongly recommend ghee, from the very beginning of intro, in copious amounts!  Furthermore, I haven’t found her opinion on cultured butter, which theoretically would have some of the lactose converted, altho I’m not sure how much.  The butter that we get is cultured, but I’m not sure for how long, and generally a minimum of 24 hours of fermentation is preferable for full lactose conversion.  J and I stayed off butter completely for several months — altho we ate a lot of ghee!  And I reintroduced raw butter, well after finishing intro, for about a month, but decided it wasn’t sitting well for me.  It’s going to be up to your body to figure out what it likes, tho!


How about raw liver in the first stage?

This was a big question for me as well — since I need my raw liver!!  There’s nothing in the book about when to introduce raw meats on Intro — probably because the book was generally intended as a guide for parents feeding their kids — and I don’t know any kids who willingly eat raw liver!  :)   But what I decided was that I would introduce it in Stage 3.  My reasoning was that raw, fermented fish was part of Stage 2, so it seemed logical that introducing raw, non-fermented meats could be a good option at Stage 3.


I am hungry!!But have some bloat with the broth and veggies…could that possibly be die off? Am I supposed to wait until I have no bloat, or gas after eating before moving onto stage 2?

Ok … one thing at a time now :)   Yes, you will be hungry, very, very, very hungry!!  That’s probably the biggest thing people first notice when they go on Intro.  I personally found that ground beef helped a lot with this.  We went through at least a pound of ground beef every other day, if not every day, that first week or so on Intro.  Whether or not this works for you, it’s important to have lots of food prepared and on hand so you can eat it when you are hungry — and not have to worry about where the soup or other intro-safe food is going to come from when the next hunger episode strikes.  Make two or three times what you expect you’ll eat.  If you don’t eat it, you can always throw it in the freezer for later.

As for bloat … there could be a number of factors at play.  It could be related to die-off.  It could also be a reaction to particular vegetables.  It could be a result of an inability to deal effectively with the increased protein load.  It could also be something else I’m not familiar with — but those have been the major bloat- and gas-causing issues for me.  Here’s how I’ve dealt with them:

With die-off, it may help to actually just decrease the amount of probiotics your consuming for a short while, and then gradually upping them again.  If decreasing them by half, or even more, helps, then you know it’s probably die-off related.

With veggies, it likely could be related to three different categories of veggies.  1) High-carb/starch veggies, like root vegetables (carrots, beets, etc.) and orange squashes.  With these veggies, the bloat is probably related to yeasty-beasties feasting on these sugary treats.  However, even if you know you have the yeasty-beasties, this may not be the issue.  You may have an issue with 2) Nightshades, instead.  Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are well known to cause serious bloat issues in some people — I have a friend who, whenever she eats peppers, within a very short amount of time looks like she’s got a baby coming!  And, as I have recently (happily!) discovered, there’s a whole category of foods known as 3) “FODMAPs which can cause serious bloat.  I’ve found that elimination of this somewhat random assortment of veggies (and fruits too, altho that doesn’t apply on this phase of Intro), especially onions and garlic, has led to dramatic improvement for me of bloat and burping issues.

With increased protein load intolerance, the keys are Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) and digestive enzymes.  I found that the bloat and gas issues with protein were very different from the bloat and gas issues associated with the previous two categories.  For me, if I didn’t have enough stomach acid and digestive enzymes to process the protein I was eating, the room I was in could get really stinky really quickly.  I also had dramatic heartburn issues.  I highly recommend trying out some Betaine HCl with meals, and digestive enzymes as well, to see if they improve things.  The digestive enzymes might work best for you taken 1/2 an hour before eating, or right after eating — different people have different experiences with them.

However, I wouldn’t recommend trying to do all of this right at once, all together!  Then you won’t know what actually worked!  So if it were me, I would pick the option that seemed the most likely, say the HCl/enzymes route, and try that for a couple of days, and see how I felt.  Then I’d try eliminating one of the three veggie categories and see if that helped.  And so on …

As for moving on to the next stage, it’s a very personal and tricky decision.   I don’t think you need to wait until all bloat and gas are gone;  if I had done that I would have taken months to move off of Stage 1, which I couldn’t have done, even tho I think we spent about 2 weeks on Stage 1.  I’ve read that Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends moving to the next stage of Intro once any diarrhea or constipation has passed — once things are moving relatively regularly.  Personally, that wasn’t as much of an issue for either of us on Intro, but we were very careful to only introduce one new food each day through the whole of intro, to observe how we reacted (altho we weren’t aware of how potentially serious some of our issues with veggies were, so we weren’t so strict about their introduction), so it did take us a long time to get through each stage.  You’re going to have to decide when you feel ready to move on to Stage 2, because you’re the best one to know what your body needs.  If, when you do, you decide you moved too quickly, you can always go back to Stage 1.  Also, a lot of people choose to go through Intro more than once, as a sort of “reset” to their system;  knowing you have this option can sometimes be helpful in deciding to move on to the next stage.


I’m afraid I am going to loose weight not drinking the milk products…any suggestions??

You don’t need to cut out the milk products, even on Stage 1 — unless you have reactions to them.  You just need to be careful about what you introduce, and about observing how you feel after you introduce them.  If I understand the program correctly, dairy can be introduced right from the beginning of Intro in the form of whey, yogurt, and sour cream (also creme bulgare, which is the cream that sits on top of yogurt).  These products have been fermented for a lengthy period of time, and any lactose that was in the milk should have been converted prior to consumption, and should probably not be a problem if you don’t have dairy issues — i.e. with the casein, which does not change in the fermentation process.  In fact, if dairy is well tolerated, Dr. Campbell-McBride highly encourages its consumption, as grass-fed, raw (fermented) dairy is an extremely healthy, beneficial source of both nutrients and happy, live bacterial cultures.

That being said, I’ve had some ambivalent feelings about dairy recently, well since finishing Intro.  For a while, maybe a month ago, I started noticing that every time I ate dairy (and I was not being moderate about my dairy consumption!), I got a funny scratchy feeling at the back of my throat, like an allergy kind of reaction.  Since I know that a lot of my issues are probably related to autoimmunity, I decided that I would cut out dairy completely for a while, to see how I did, since dairy (I believe it’s the casein) is known to sometimes aggravate autoimmunity.  I cut it out completely for about 2 weeks, and have only been recently reintroducing well-fermented dairy in very small portions.  So far, the scratchy feeling hasn’t come back, and I am really relishing the few bites of cheese that I’m letting myself have!!  :)

So that’s kind of a complicated answer, but basically what I’m saying is that you need to figure out if your body can handle dairy, and the answer may change over time.  Even tho you love your dairy (and I know you do!!) and you’ve been eating it a lot with no noticeable side effects, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any.  By taking a break from it, and then reintroducing it gradually, your body will have a chance to really bulk up its defenses, and mount a serious reaction, if it doesn’t like the dairy.

As for losing weight, I unfortunately am not the best person to ask about this!  What I can tell you is that theoretically, the GAPS program, including Intro, with or without dairy, should be one of the most effective, healthy methods to nourish your body with exactly what it needs.  If you’re eating (and digesting — that’s where the HCl came in for me) lots of meats (including organs), animal fats, and bone broth (and getting your fermented cod liver oil and sufficient butter fat), you are giving your body exactly what it needs to be fully nourished.  Theoretically, if that is happening, your body shouldn’t feel the need to diminish any further of its own stores.  That being said, you know your body better than anyone else, and you have to listen very carefully to it to decide what it needs to be nourished.   As far as my experiences go in terms of getting (down) to a more ideal body weight, the more fat and protein, the better.  But your body is different from mine, so you may find a different formula that works for you!


Any tips, things you want to pass on?

I guess the most important things I can pass on are

1)  Keep with it.  It will be worth it.  I have had a dramatic turn-around in terms of my bacterial cultural health in the last 8 months or so — and you know how bad I was before!!  It has felt so amazing not to be constantly daunted by brain fog, and not have that awful yeasty, icky, sour/bitter flavor in my mouth constantly.  And it no longer hurts to brush and floss — not sure if this is related to better nutrition or bacterial cultures or a combo, but I am really happy about it.  I know it’s not going to be a torture session to go to the dentist — and I’m sure that the reduced gum sensitivity is bacterial-related, even if the reduced tooth-sensitivity is nutrition-related.  This is just one example, but lots of people have done this protocol and had similar dramatic turnarounds for so many other health problems they’ve experienced for years.

2)  Listen to your body like you would to a three-year-old.  Sometimes, the three-year-old is going to throw a tantrum because you won’t give her a chocolate chip cookie, even tho she has pleaded and begged and cried for it.  Sometimes, the three-year-old is going to bounce off the walls and plead and beg and cry to go outside and play.  Let her go outside and play, because you know the sun and physical activity are good for her.  If you start craving cod liver oil (I know it sounds absurd, but I have it happen ALL THE TIME), make it happen.  If you are dying for immoderate amounts of bone marrow or gelatinous cartilage, dig in!  But if all you can think about is cake and croissants and jam and whatever else, give your body a time-out, feed it something nourishing, and wait to let the tantrum pass.  In other words, use your good judgment to listen to your cravings, because there will be lots of them, and lots of tantrums thrown.  But when the voice is screaming for what you actually need — or telling you that something is not good for you — and not trying to feed unhealthy, opiate-like-stimulation, listen to it with full attention, and try to make whatever it is asking for happen.  Honor your body and its needs, don’t just assume you know what it needs.  Just like a three-year-old.  You might think you know what a three-year-old needs, but sometimes, she just might surprise you.


Do you have anything to add, informed and intelligent and differently-experienced readers?  I’d love to hear your own experiences and thoughts related to these questions, and I’m sure my friend would too!  Also, do you have other questions?  I can do my best to answer them based on what I’ve experienced and/or read;  if this is a good feature, there can be a “GAPS Q&A:  Volume 2″!

You can email me @ yolkskefirandgristle {at} gmail *dot* com.


GAPS Q&A Volume 2

GAPS Q&A Volume 3


Photo Credit:  walknboston on Flickr

This post is part of Healthy2Day Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Pennywise Platter.

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One Response to GAPS Q&A: Volume 1

  1. rachel says:

    That’s a lot of info to help someone just learning about GAPS! Thanks for sharing with Healthy 2day Wednesdays! Hope you’ll participate this week!

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