Intro x 5: Gains

We are intro nuts! Over the course of three and a half years, my son and I have done: a different elimination diet, then SCD’s intro, then PecanBread’s, then GAPS’, then GAPS’ again. Love it! Here are the gains we experienced this time:

Six Year Old

  • eliminated insistence on scrambled eggs being very dry – now receives them cooked to any degree
  • after a three or so year battle, now dresses himself upon waking each morning with no instruction from me
  • sleeps long and deep, with far fewer wakings and sounds
  • affection and expressions of gratitude, while previously very present, increased exponentially
  • eliminated dependency on sweet fruit for breakfasts, snacks, treats; now seeks out meats, eggs, raw vegetables
  • eliminated the expectation/request for conventional foods (introduced in limited amounts after 2+ years on GAPS)
  • stool became consistently excellent (had been becoming fluffier as his fruits increased)
  • now requests fermented fish, saying it’s one of his favourite foods
  • can be in the same room as Larabars, etc, and asks for none
  • is fully satisfied with non-sweet treats (texture and name have become more important than sweetness)
  • can shop with me without requesting anything beyond meat and vegetables
  • increased physical energy and endurance (his has always been below that of many kids his age)


  • learned how to eat yolk in soup and soft-boiled eggs
  • learned how to eat soft parts of animals, skin, etc
  • eating soups daily again
  • elimination of menstrual and foot symptoms that had returned upon reintroduction of some conventional foods
  • dandruff eliminated (as usual, this became much worse before it disappeared)
  • learned how to access marrow, make a casserole, roast a chicken, cook lamb, turky and osso bucco
  • changed cut of bones to access marrow more easily
  • developed several new habits in cleaning, living, preparing food, etc
  • developed amazing new soups!
  • small patch of eczema, which surfaced after a cleanse two springs ago, disappeared; identified the trigger (anything sweet)
  • made and started regularly eating fermented fish, which I was so scared of the first time
  • fermented fish became a favourite and craved food
  • started relying again on deep nutrition, meditation, counselling, etc, instead of sweets to get through stress
  • found I can fulfill my tactile needs through rubbing flavours onto chicken, rather than through baking
  • learned all my favourite dishes, including chilli, can be just as divine without including carrots
  • successfully learned how to use fresh vs dried herbs in cooking
  • can visit with my family without gorging on sweets
  • can do a road trip without relying on sweets and baking
  • learned I can do two-hour sport intensives without sweet snacks
  • affirmed that my best diet is Stage 4 + raw veggies, with everything else taken only irregularly
  • found that honey all alone or in tea satisfies me in very small quantities, while other sweet treats trigger binges

To me, this list is incredible. I had done SCD and GAPS intros three times before, had already experienced incredible gains from each of those, and had subsequently done over two years of full GAPS strictly -with awesome health.  Before starting intro this time, my belly was quite healthy and just returning to full strict GAPS -about a month earlier- had resolved most of the menstrual and foot pain that had returned upon including too many conventional foods over the previous six months. And yet, even so, I experienced all these gains! You’ll notice that many of the gains this time were in lifestyle, beliefs, habits. It’s like the first time, I was just focused on adopting the most critical pieces to heal the really concerning symptoms of ill health, whereas with that out of the way, I this time got to access gains in more subtle -but still important- aspects of living.

Intro, you rock!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this group intro, who submitted questions and comments to this and other blogs to keep the effort alive, and who created and maintained their own blog. We now have one more resource -”intro blogs”- for people to access in addition to the books! Yay! I think this was so successful on so many counts…Perhaps we’ll do it again!

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23 thoughts on “Intro x 5: Gains

  1. This is the type of post I should print and hang on the wall. I pray with all my heart that something like that will happen to me one day.

    I am having a rough week and this is the first thing that cheers me up. I went to the doctor who told me “how can you be so strict with your diet!” (and then she was telling me how her health is excellent eating tons of pasta), then some colleagues told me I should stop eating that soup and put on some weight (in the meantime they were eating all sort of junk food), and I also hurt myself once again. So I am taking pain killers and praying it will all go well, but am sad that my intro might be spoiled by having to take medication. I wish there were already Gaps B&B where I could go and be pampered, I wish I had a proper job instead of being an exploited intern (so that I could go and stay in a Gaps B&B), I wish I stopped feeling like the ugly duckling always struggling to sort out some health problem. Is there a post-Gaps reality where these wishes come true?


    • Hi Jo,

      I’m so sorry you are having such a rough week.

      I love how you put it about the ugly duckling scenario -that is exactly how I felt for ages and ages!

      There is indeed a post-GAPS reality where these dreams of yours come true! I think I will never be a super speedy, go go go person like my partner, for example, but when I ponder my own ‘before and after’, I’m amazed at my personal difference!

      I don’t think the painkillers will wreck your intro. Certainly they will impact your body to some degree, but then so would pain! The body can accommodate some degree of stress -pain, painkillers, etc. The idea is just to minimize the amount of stress, and in doing intro you’re doing that.

      I wish I could put you in a GAPS B&B right now :)


  2. Hi Baden,
    this is very encouraging.. I have only been doing GAPS for about 2 months.. 1 month of intro and 1 month of Full GAPS.. I am still experiencing menstraul issues.. Ie PMS
    wondering when that will diminish.. my husband and I are both very tired.
    I also wanted to know.. how often are we supposed to be eating the GAPS bread??
    I make a mixture of almond/sunflower and sometimes add pecans… I have about 1/2 inch slice 3 times/day w/ my main meals.. that is probably too much right??
    I am not doing fruits or sweet things.
    I am also not sure how often we are supposed to be doing the butternut squash pancakes… once a day.. or less?
    Good luck and thanks for all your help!

    • Hi Kim,

      Personally, I would aim to include nuts and/or seeds only 1-2x per week, one serving each time. (I this week reintroduced nuts for me and quickly started eating too much of it. I’m already experiencing reduced benefits as a result.)

      Your body is focused on healing other things (vs PMS) right now. Only your body wil decide when that heals.

      If you like, you can write in a comment all of what you are eating/taking/bathing in each day. We might be able to get the fatigue reduced.

      All my best,

  3. Hi Baden,

    I just wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your book and I LOVED it. I have to admit, the last part, where you talk about OUR OWN story, made me cry! I loved hearing your story and the other stories too. I have just subscribed to your blog too. This diet is going to be my life!

    I have been on full gaps for 10 weeks. I just wanted to start by getting off grains and sugar. We did use honey. I am transitioning my three daughters, my husband, and myself to the intro this week. We’ve had chicken and beef soup for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the past 3 days. I’ve allowed my girls a few raisins and fruit and told them once it’s gone, that’s it! I think it’s all gone now.

    So your book is VERY INSPIRING. Thank you so much for writing it. I appreciate you making gaps a little more approachable. I don’t know your blog very well, but I am going to start reading it a lot!

    Oh, one question– does the gapshelp group still exist? I would love to join it.

    Thanks and love,

    • Suzy, thank you *so much* for all your kind and supportive words!

      I’m very excited for you…

      Yes, the GAPShelp group still exists as does a *new* one just for newbies!! All groups and other support options can be found on the ‘Support’ page in this blog’s navigation. These lists will amaze you!

      All my best,

  4. Baden,

    Thank you for posting your recent intro experiences and progress. You are inspiring!

    Please do let your son know that he is an inspiration to other children who are on GAPS as well! My sons are 8 and 12 and I was dreading telling them that I thought it would be beneficial for us to go back on the intro (for the third time).

    At breakfast this morning, I casually shared with them some of what you had related, especially regarding your son’s reactions and responses. At first, they were defensive guessing that I might want them to go back to stage one, but as I went on, they began to have a change of heart. By the end of breakfast, it was THEIR idea to begin again. That makes things so much easier!

    • Hi Tammy,

      Thanks so much for these words!

      I did indeed read your message to my son, and watched a huge grin spread over his whole face!

      I so love that your boys have decided for themselves to re-do intro. That’s way too awesome!!

      All my best,

  5. Baden…
    Thanks sooo much for offering me to write what I am eating, bathing, etc each day.
    I really really appreciate your generosity.. that really means a lot to me.
    I usually wake up and have ACV 10 min prior to my morning meal.. I cant seem to juice because I have been having such blood sugar issues ( lows). I find I have to eat w/ in a half hour of rising.
    I will scramble 2 eggs in either lard or butternut squash, have a piece of almond/sunflower seed bread and butter, try to get some veggies in, kraut, and some kind of meat w/ broth.
    snack.. I find I need to eat at least 2 to 3 hours or I feel shaky- I will eat some kind of meat or a semi hard boiled egg, then lunch is veggies, meat, some kind of fat, kraut, and broth, then I have to eat again in like 2 to 3 hours… maybe chicken/egg pancake or lamb sausage, then dinner.. same as lunch.. I know I need to get more veggies in and it is hard..especially when I am tired and working full time as a RN.. it was soo busy today at work I barely had time to eat or drink. I am drinking one cup of rooibus tea during the day, and ginger water. I also take zoloft 25mg for pms/depression. today I had such a horrible headache over my left eye.. I hardly have time to eat at work… easy stuff.. I did discover making chicken/egg pancake w/ lard and lamb sausage was a good quick snack. I was also eating the GAPS bread w/ lunch and dinner. I am thinking about adding the BEE’s milk mixture to my day so I can get more fat in.. having a hard time getting enough fat.. as I really dont know what enough fat is for me.
    I am not taking any supplements either.
    I just started today.. a teaspoon of homemade yogurt.
    I had to take extrastrenght tylenol today .. my head was soo painful..I did try activated charcoal w/out relief… I am trying to incorporate ACV before lunch and dinner but at work I never know when that will be so I have been unable to.
    I try to take a detox bath every night.. I am alternating between epsom salt, baking soda, ACV.. I just bought some seaweed to try.. I think I am really struggling w/ adrenal fatigue.. I crave celtic sea salt.. I am not eating any fruits…I am staying away from honey..not really craving sweets. ..sorry for the typos.. it is late and I am tired… my hubby and I are having a hard time w/ this diet, working full time, and other life things, and finding time to rest…I drive to work just wanting to lay on God’s lap and just rest.. and I am craving physical rest.
    I really appreciated your comment /blog from today (5/20) about perfection.. I used to belong to OA and love a lot of their slogans.. like one day at a time or one minute at a time… just to get thru the day.
    I appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.
    Hugs to you

    • Hi Kim,

      I’ve been sitting with your words.

      What comes to me are the following thoughts (presented in a rather random order):

      1. You are really doing an amazing, smashing job of GAPS!!! Well done!! You are eating an amazing menu, doing the baths, keeping unnecessary supplements out, avoiding sweets… Really, you’re doing a great job! And yet, I totally hear your well-worded craving to lay your head on God’s lap and rest. Yes.

      2. Please eliminate all coconut stuff. Coconut stuff is too powerful (die-off, etc) for most people during intro, so it’s not included.

      3. Rooibus, too, is detoxing and could possibly be exacerbating the fatigue.

      4. It’s possible your body is becoming increasingly sensitive to the Zoloft. (As a nurse, you’ll know not to reduce it quickly, but to consult with your doctor about what steps to take.) The pain above your eye may not be related but it jumped out at me because this is something I had -the only time in my life- after starting Paxil at too high (for me) a dose. I had to cut back to 1/4 of the normal “minimum dose” (for a total of 5mg) -and this was pre-GAPS!

      5. The above items noted, it is however common for intro’s fatigue to last a good month, and also, you are a very busy person: working full-time, cooking everything from scratch, having to grab a bit of food at random times as opposed to when your body would necessarily prefer it. All of these will of course impact your energy. It’s always preferable to be able to rest and sleep long during intro, but few have that option (and heal regardless). If you do, though, have the option at all of vacation time, leave of absence, etc, please consider taking it.

      6. It’s great to eat shortly after waking -not everyone can do the “juicing til 10am” and that’s okay- as well as at least every two to three hours. Try for every 1-1.5 for awhile if possible, especially a fat + protein mix preceded by the ACV in water (more on the latter shortly).

      7. I’m not sure if food being cold would impact things at all. I mean, I believe that in general this is fine. I just wonder if the body is better able to assimilate room temperature to warm soups, etc. Again, though, you can only do what you can do given your work demands, etc. Can you take at least a soup hot in a thermos? It should stay that way for a good six hours or so.

      8. How much fermented veggies do you take each day? (Even a teaspoon can trigger a lot of die-off fatigue in many people, and then some also add to that a commercial probiotic and/or fermented dairy, etc, which can cause major overload.)

      9. You don’t necessarily need to get more veggies in. Some people do well with lots, some do better with very little. It depends on the person.

      10. The ACV in water makes a world of difference to my own digestion thus energy. Could you put some in a water bottle and sip on it throughout the day? Then whenever you happen to get to eat, your body is ready for that food.

      11. How are your bowel movements? Few or small can cause fatigue.

      12. Yes, I believe most GAPSters suffer from adrenal fatigue. Definitely take the salts -especially the salty water recommended for AF- you crave.

      13. Fats – I literally slather big globs of butter or pate, etc, onto every food I eat, add a couple of tablespoons to a finished bowl of soup (on top of that used to start the soup).

      Kim, I hope any of these thoughts might prove helpful. Please sit with them and let your intuition guide you as to what step to take first, second, third. Please let us know how you’re doing…

      All my best,

  6. Hi again Baden… sorry
    My food mostly is I dont have a way to heat it up at work.. and I am averaging 7 hours sleep/day.
    Thanks again

  7. Hi Baden..
    This is a lot and I will sit w/ this.. thanks soo very much.. just a question.. Just a reminder is that I am on Full GAPS for at least one month after doing intro for about one month.

    When you say eliminate the coconut everything.. you mean cooking w/ coconut oil.. etc. coconut bread…..
    I had also started oil pulling.. did that one day and have been too busy to get back to that.. I guess that was good.

    I have been thinking about INCREASING my zoloft because I am weepy, shaky, feeling more depressed and anxious…??
    But I hesitate to do that..I was wondering myself if I need to get off of it. My husband and I both want to know how my body could become more sensitive to the zoloft.. from GAPS?? I would like to come off of it also .. because I am hoping some day to have a baby.. I am 43 and got pregnant 2 years ago w/ twins and miscarried them … so I am sad a bit every time I get my period…

    I am taking about 1 cup of Rooibus tea/day to help w/ reflux… the ACV water you suggested could help w/ that as well as helping w/ getting more water in .. I know you suggest to not drink fluids w/ meals other than broth.. but I am having a hard time getting enough fluids in because of how frequent I need to eat… so today I just had tea w/ one of my snack meals… I also cheated today.. went most of the week w/out any nut things.. and I had a small ripe banana w/ a chicken and egg pancake, and some organic (no sugar) peanut butter and some raw milk .. never had raw milk before… shortly after ingesting this I got a bit cranky.. It could just be that I am feeling more tired today and had a huge cooking task in front of me.

    I am trying to get more fats in .. mostly it is lard and then any animal fat from cooking..I am trying to find some duck fat to purchase on line but what I am coming up w/ … they are free range but also fed on corn and I am not sure what to do about that.

    My stools are mostly fine.. usually one to two /day.. occassionally constipated.. but mostly they are soft/formed and a moderate amount w/out foul odor.

    I did start on yogurt this week… took yogurt made from raw milk/free range cows.. used that as my starter and put in dehydrater for 24 hours.. yummy.. did not think that it would cause more die off.. but now that I think about it.. it is a lot of good bacteria! I am up to 1/2 cup/day..but had diarrhea will stop for a day or so and see what happens.

    I am also having kraut.. it is store bought mostly.. but the brand is the kind that is naturally fermented ( not heated) from a local health food store.. I did make my own yesterday and am waiting for it to be ready.. I have 1 to 2 tablespoons 3 times/day w/my main meals.

    I did nothing but rest yesterday.. besides make the kraut..stayed up a bit late… then drove an hour to a farm to get raw milk, lard… met a wonderful woman who lives about 30 minutes from me who is doing NT.. and getting great results.. she is aware of GAPS but could not do it.
    It was an answer to my prayer as I drove out to the farm.
    I said “God please let me know if you really want me to keep doing this diet…”” among other things I was asking Him.. and this woman really encouraged me.. she said the same thing you did and what some others have said.. she said this is hard .. but will get better… and we should give ourselves credit for jumping from SAD to GAPS….I really felt that was a swiftly answered prayer.. her husband has had cancer twice and it getting great results…

    Anyway, I came home exhausted from running errands and had to take an hour/half nap before doing big cooking..( had the day off ) I think part of my problem this week is that I am either pregnant or getting my period.. I have been spotting for 3 days now and having some cramping..I think it is just period coming..

    I will try to arrange my schedule so I am not working soo much.. but it is hard because it is expensive here in Mass and my husband does not make a lot of money.. this is an area where I need to give over… and allow God to take that my part, but not over kill..
    Sorry I am rambling.. Thanks soo much for taking the time out to ” listen and sit w/ my words” it’s a very loving thing to do.
    Bless you and your son

    • Hi Kim,

      Two months into GAPS is quite early for coconut stuff. The oil will trigger tremendous die-off (fatigue, anxiety, etc) and the flour is very fibrous and can aggravate a GAPS gut.

      I definitely can’t advise about the Zoloft. I can say that it is very common that when a person begins to heal, we become more sensitive to everything we put into our bodies, whether that be home-fermented probiotics, a chemical anti-depressant, anti-fungals, raw veggies, you name it. The body will often behave in a way equivalent to receiving a higher dose. Think of it this way: A hefty, strong, healthy man will metabolize an anti-depressant very differently than a petite, sensitive, young woman will. When drugs are tested on the former, the doses tested don’t correspond well for the latter. In healing, our bodies shift from being toughened, masked, compensating systems to more natural ones, which feel more the effects of anything coming into it. Also, as we heal, the body becomes in less need of support aids and it will naturally start to let us know that. Whether your Zoloft at this point needs to be increased, decreased or maintained only you with your doctor will know. Two months in, though, would be quite early for the first reduction.

      I am so, so, so sorry about your miscarriage of two babies :( I know this pain and grief personally. Unfortunately, miscarriage (and pre-term birth) is all too common in women with compromised guts. Hopefully your healing will one day bring a gorgeous pregnancy and birthing.

      Yes, on GAPS the ACV is more suitable than the detoxing Rooibus for reflux.

      When you say you have trouble getting enough fluid in, what is your sense of how much you need? What is this sense based on? Often when we transition to a healthy diet like GAPS, we need less fluid than conventionally presented. If you do need more, what about using a Camelpak at work?

      Personally, I haven’t looked into what the ducks whose fat I eat are fed. You might just try a small amount of the duck fat available and see what your body says about what the duck is fed. It might not care.

      I can see that you are starting and increasing probiotics at a phenonemally fast rate. This, then, is my primary suspect in what is causing you trouble. Getting to 1/2 cup of yogurt within the first week is a LOT. As is (three to) six tablespoons of kraut per day. It would be worth reviewing the sections on probiotics, die-off, etc, in the GAPS Guide book, to see starting amounts, increments and frequencies for increasing, etc.

      That’s very cool about meeting this woman and hearing those words shortly after putting your question out there :)

      Yes, rest and healing is so important. We simply can’t work, make money, etc, if we’re crippled with debilitating diseases or dead. I don’t say this facetiously, of course -I was horribly debilitiated and, through suicidal thoughts, was in a sense near dead for a long time. Sometimes we really don’t have the resources to do more; sometimes we do and we really have to take the opportunities. When I started GAPS as a single parent, no child support, etc, I refinanced my house three times to make things work, and ultimately sold it and moved into a small, cheap rental apartment. Every time I look at my son, I’m totally glad I did. So yeah, I definitely believe in getting some preemptive rest and care, even if it means really downsizing and simplifying our lives.

      All my best,

  8. Hi Baden,
    I am just used to the world saying ” drink at least 10 glasses of water per day to help your energy level stay up.”
    I am very very discouraged.. before doing GAPS.. I as svelt, worked out, had some aches and pains, and was dealing w/ PMS… now I am just utterly miserable all the time..I am gaining weight, and can only have energy to work out 15 to 20 minutes every other day.. I dont know if I want to continue this diet… I got up today and ate breakfast which consisited of 3 scrambled eggs made in lard w/ veggies and broth.. I can tell by how my body feels that this is not enough food or type of food to give me energy.. I did some dishes and swept the floor, rested for about 30 minutes and then took a shower.. I am exhausted all the time, weepy, depressed.. I dont think this diet is good for me.. I am thinking maybe we should switch over to nourishing least I have energy to take care of myslef.. I dont have it now.. I have to work because my husband makes very little money.. I cant make it to see my 3 1/2 year old nephews.. today because I am very tired.. am I am disgusted on how my body looks right now… I feel like i am getting fat and I will not let that happen…I will push myself to make sure I work out each day to not let that happen.. it in the past had also increased my energy level.
    any thoughts? I am just very very discouraged

    • Hi Kim,

      I’m so sorry you’re feeling so awful!

      Re: Water. The conventional idea of how much water does not apply to many people -people eating well, etc. Don’t worry about that.

      Personally, I don’t believe in working out either! The Primal/Paleo community has a lot of great information about exercise in relation to optimal diet. Regular “programs” of exercise (as opposed to play) has its own impact on the body. Even professional triathlete and educator Brendan Brazier notes this, saying that people with cortisol issues, for example, need to rest rather than exercise.

      As we noted in my last reply (the one to your daily details), my sense is that the volume of probiotics so early on may have triggered issues, especially fatigue.

      If I were you, I would consult at this point with a GAPS practitioner.

      If after a consult adding some NT foods feels like it would be a positive thing, I would go ahead and do so, starting with those recommended as the first transitioning-from-GAPS foods, such as fermented buckwheat, new potatoes, etc.

      Kim, I’m confident that with some additional steps, your body will be on track soon and I so look forward to that for you. Please let us know how things progress for you, with what steps.

      All my best,

  9. Hi Baden,
    Thanks much for your help.. I have cut down on the ferments a lot.. I am also adding more fat.. but just terrified of gaining weight..have had eating disorder and weight issues most of my life.. and before doing GAPS as happy w/ how my body was looking..I am thinking that intro and working put my adrenals over the edge.
    How do I contact a GAPS practitioner?
    Thanks much.

    • Hi Kim,

      I hear you about the intense fear that can arise when one has had past issues with weight and/or eating disorder, yes!

      In unwanted weight gain in GAPS, I tend to suspect hormonal issues, which fits with your theory.

      Practitioners we know to be knowledgeable in GAPS are linked to from this blog’s ‘Support’ page.

      All my best,

  10. Hi Kim, and Baden,

    I’m a newbie just began the GAPS intro 100% on my 4th day. I just read your correspondence with Baden. You might get tested for thyroid antibodies. I many of the symptoms you mentioned, got tested at a friend’s suggestion, and found I had Hashimoto’s disease which is an autoimmune condition that masquerades as depression, anxiety, and causes major fatigue. I have since been told that “you don’t mess around with thyroid.” It is worth getting the test, if only to rule it out.

    My quesiton for Baden: how do I join the new Intro GAPS group? I still don’t understand how to do yahoo groups, so if you could please spell it out for me, I would greatly appreciate it, or direct me to where I can find out how to join STEP BY STEP. Thank you so much!!!


    • Francesca: Thank you so much for posting ideas/support to Kim!

      I’m sorry that I no longer remember how to join the groups. Generally it’s just a matter of clicking on the link for the group you want to join (as found at this blog’s Support for You page) and then clicking ‘Subscribe’. There is usually a link on the group’s home page allowing you to contact a group moderator for more assistance in accessing the group, if needed.

      All my best,

  11. PS — to Kim, thyroid issues also affect fertility. Sorry about the above typo, I meant to write, that I HAD many of the same symptoms as you describe having. I hope this helps.

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