GAPS Supplementation Plan

There are three powerful weapons that can be used to treat GAPS conditions:
  1. Diet
  2. Supplementation
  3. Detoxification

This post is going to focus on the second aspect.

Now before we begin, I would like to reemphasize what has already been stated in a previous post.  Diet is number one.  Of the three, it is the strongest weapon.  Damaged guts need an extra boost from supplements, but they wouldn’t have a chance of recovering without nourishing food.  There is no easy way out.  You can’t expect supplements to make up for a poor diet.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Something else to remember is that every human being is unique.  What works for one person won’t do a thing for another.  So if possible, it’s best to have the guidance of a qualified practitioner, rather than finding the perfect supplements on your own. 

If you have a basic understanding of GAPS, you know that GAPS people have too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria.  That is why probiotics are vital.  Though fermented and cultured foods and drinks are excellent for this, the GAPS diet requires a therapeutic strength probiotic supplement.  Apparently GAPS people need all the help they can get!

The commercial supplement is not meant to be taken forever, but probiotics from food and drink will always be necessary to maintain good health.

Our bodies are unable to make vital omega-3 (LNA) and omega-6 (LA) fatty acids on its own.  It’s crucial to receive these fatty acids from our foods and in the correct ratio

What are some examples of LNA sources?
  •  Flax seed oil
  • Hemp oil
  • Chia
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds

How about some examples of LA sources?
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Safflower
  • Sunflower
  • Borage oil
  • Black current oil

These parent fatty acids, along with their derivatives need to be supplemented.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says on pages 267 and 270 of her book, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, GAPS people are deficient in the nutrients necessary to convert LNA (parent omega-3) to EPA and DHA, and LA (parent omega-6) to GLA and DGLA.  This added complication means that the parent fatty acids and their derivatives will have to supplemented separately.   

One incredibly valuable source of EPH and DHA is cod liver oil.  Not only does it contain these omega-3s but it also has vitamins A and D.  Many GAPS people are deficient in these nutrients.  Since these two vitamins are a team, it is ideal to have them together

GAPS people often have low stomach acid.  Lack of acid leads to difficulties in digestion.   

There are enzyme supplements available, but it makes more sense to supplement acid because it gets to the root of the problem.  The presence of acid signals the pancreas to produce its own enzymes.  The goal of the acid supplement is to restore the patient’s ability to yield adequate amounts of stomach acid without assistance.  Once this is achieved, no acid or enzyme supplements will be necessary.

Vitamins and Minerals

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride briefly discusses vitamin and mineral supplements on pages 295-297 of her book. She believes her recommended diet will provide enough vitamins and minerals and isn’t a fan of supplementing them. For one thing, it is a very complicated subject that isn’t fully understood.  For another, many commercial supplements are synthetic  and/or contain fillers and binders that can harm the gut and hinder the healing process

There are unique situations, however.  If the patient still has unresolved issues after being on GAPS for a while, it may be possible that some micronutrients need to be supplemented.  Figuring out what that could be requires the help of a qualified practitioner.  Keep in mind that supplements should be kept to a minimal amount.

Overwhelmed?  I know I was.  Future posts will look at each of these supplements in greater detail.  It took me a while to figure this all out, and I don’t want you to have to go through it on your own.


Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family.  Its place of origin is Rome and its Italian name is “broccolo” which means “cabbage sprout”.   It was bred from wild cabbage and then brought to the Americas during the colonial period by Italian immigrants.

Broccoli is an excellent source of immune boosting vitamin C, anti-inflammatory vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and fiber.  Steaming is the best way to preserve these valuable nutrients.

It is best to store your broccoli in a reusable bag.  Leave it open slightly so as to avoid excess moisture.

When you are ready to cook, rinse the head thoroughly in cold water and cook until crisp-tender.  It should only take about 7 minutes if you are steaming it.

There are, of course, other delicious ways to prepare your broccoli…

You’ll find this nutritious vegetable is wonderful when made into a salad like this one , or simply as a part of a crudites platter.  When serving it this way some people like to blanch it because they think that it will help to preserve its bright color and crunchy texture.  Others think that it will dull the color and soften the texture.  Of course it’s up to you.  Try both ways and see which you like best.

Broccoli is also delicious when roasted.  Wash and dry and cut up into bite size pieces.  Place on a cookie sheet.  I like to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper to avoid sticking.  Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy.

Another enjoyable way to serve it, as a main dish no less, is this recipe from Sara Moulton.  I used to love watching her on the Food Network years ago and am so excited to have found her website.

And for heaven’s sakes don’t let those broccoli stalks go to waste!  You can grate them with your food processor grater blade and add to salads, make a broccoli slaw, or even fritters.

Here is a quick fritter recipe using your excess sourdough starter:

  • 2 cups grated broccoli stalks (you can use any vegetable here)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

     Combine all the ingredients and mix well.  Heat a skillet and grease with the fat of your choice.  I like to use bacon grease.  Spoon quarter cup size scoops just as if you were making pancakes and cook until bubbly, then flip and cook until done.  Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with butter.

The possibilities are endless.  How do you like to prepare your broccoli?

Meal Favorites

It’s true that we here at “Getting Real in Your Kitchen” don’t meal plan in the normal sense of what you would probably consider meal planning to be.  Here at “Getting Real…” we do pantry planning.

In a nutshell, we make sure that our pantries are always stalked with what it takes to make at least 5 of our favorite meals.  When it’s time to make that weekly grocery list we always refer to our master pantry list as our guide.

But I also keep a master meal ideas list as well.  Sometimes I just go blank when it comes to thinking of meals, so I keep a running list of my family’s favorite and easy to pull together meals.  I’ll look at that with the master pantry list when I’m making my grocery list.  Just in case there is something from the master meals list that I would really like to have that week, but I don’t have all the ingredients for, I can easily grab whatever I might need when I’m at the store.

And I also like to cook and try new recipes.  I like to search the web and read food blogs and I like to flip through cookbooks.  When I see something that catches my eye I like to print it out and stick it in my “recipes to try” file folder.  Or if it’s from a cookbook I will make a note of what it is and where it is and stick that in the folder.  Then when I’m preparing the shopping list for the week I look through the folder to see if there is something new I would like to try.  I usually try only one new recipe a week.  I like to rely on my go to ideas the rest of the time.

Now if I really like one of the new recipes, I’ll add the name of that recipe to my go to list and file it in the appropriate folder. Then I will make a note of what folder it’s in. 

My file folder names match my magnet.

I also like to include a dessert folder, because what is life without a little bit of dessert every once in a while?

Grocery List

Just to review, we use the following resources to plan meals/make lists for the grocery store:

For those of you who prefer to be paperless, you can always create a meal planning folder within your computer documents.  Included in here could be your master panty list, your favorite meals list, and your fruits and vegetables list.  And you can also create a “recipes to try” folder in your favorites and save them there.  Or better yet, you can create a “recipes to try” Pinterest board and pin them. 

I’d like to share with you all a sample of my master favorite meals list.  Just to give you some ideas.  Keep in mind that this list will not always stay exactly the same.  During the course of your life you will walk through many different seasons and as the seasons of your life change so will your tastes and the amount of time you are willing to be in the kitchen each week.  I suggest that you reevaluate your list at least twice a year.  And you might want to go through your recipes periodically and purge the ones you are no longer using.  I find that it just keeps things so much easier when you are not always faced with so many different choices.

I hope that I have been able to help you simplify the process of meal planning and grocery store shopping!