What's the difference between Intro and Full GAPS? What do they mean?
Well, the GAPS Diet has 2 phases — the Intro and the Full.
The Intro GAPS Diet
The 6 stages of the Intro Diet are restrictive. They focus on a limited number of foods (get a list here) — all very nourishing and easy to digest — with the purpose of soothing an inflamed and tender digestive system.
As a person moves from stage to stage, they introduce new foods as long as the foods can be tolerated.
Intro jump-starts healing. However, it can cause quite intense detoxification — aka “die-off”. Bad organisms in the gut (viruses, pathogens, bad bacteria, fungi, undesirable yeasts, etc.) start to perish and give off toxins on their way out.
Unfortunately, these released toxins can cause increased allergies, rashes, headaches, fatigue, lack of energy… And on top of all that, some people also suffer extreme boredom from the limited selection of allowed foods.
Intro is typically done before the Full GAPS Diet, and probably lasts around a month. Sometimes, if Intro is too difficult, people choose to complete it more quickly, or they skip it entirely. Others stay on it for months. There's really no one-size-fits-all.
If you're interested in implementing the GAPS Diet, the book is, of course, required reading. 😉 Also, What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days On Intro eBook is an excellent resource, complete with step-by-step meal plans for all 6 stages of Intro.
The Full GAPS Diet
As you can imagine, Full GAPS is less restrictive than intro — yet still eliminates all sugars (grains, sweeteners except raw honey, and starchy vegetables).
It includes nourishing foods such as fermented foods, fermented dairy, broth, meats, nuts and seeds, pastured animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables (see a complete list here).
For the person with severe gut issue, Full GAPS can often pose a problem. This person simply has so many food allergies and reactions that they have to make their own kind of Intro diet.
Dr. Natasha recommends at least 2 years for the Full GAPS Diet, although I know people who've done it for 6 weeks. It depends on the severity and need for gut healing.
When it's time to come off Full GAPS, people may slowly introduce sprouted “grains” such as buckwheat and quinoa. They eat only small amounts, seeing what is tolerated without an onset of symptoms.
The Purpose & Timing Of GAPS
The GAPS Diet — whether Intro or Full — is not meant to be a permanent diet. It's meant for healing so that a person can eat most, if not all traditional foods, again. This doesn't always happen for everyone, but for most it is a common goal.
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