Common Questions


1) Q: GAPS FIRST EDITION BOOK Dairy order: I noticed the order for dairy in the introduction diet is different to the order in the GAPS book first edition. The book explains a gradual introduction to dairy but the introduction diet allows yoghurt from the very beginning.

A: Yes and I am glad you noticed.  This question is often asked and here is what Natasha has to say about it.

“In my experience large percent of GAPS people can tolerate well-fermented homemade whey and yoghurt right from the beginning. However, some cannot. So, before introducing dairy, do the sensitivity test. If there is no reaction on the sensitivity test, then try to introduce some whey from dripping your homemade yoghurt (dripping will remove some of the more difficult to digest proteins): start from 1 teaspoon of whey added to the soup or meat stock per day. After 3-5 days on 1 teaspoon of whey per day, increase to 2 teaspoons a day and so on, until your patient is having ½ a cup of whey per day with meals. At this stage try to add 1 teaspoon per day of homemade yoghurt (without dripping), gradually increasing the daily amount. After yoghurt introduce homemade kefir. Kefir is far more aggressive than yoghurt and usually creates a more pronounced “die-off reaction”. That is why I recommend introducing yoghurt first before starting on kefir. If your patient had no reaction to the yoghurt, then you may be able to introduce kefir almost from the beginning. For those who skipped the Introduction Diet and who clearly react to dairy, please look at p.95 in the GAPS book” (Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride).

Basically the introduction diet was an additional component to GAPS after the first edition was written.  The dairy protein protocol in the book was written to ensure that people with severe sensitive digestive disorders were considered.  I find that many people starting GAPS and the introduction diet are very concerned about introducing dairy from the beginning and many choose to implement fermented diary after the introduction diet when their gut lining has had a chance to heal a little more to better cope with it. For those who are confident that they can tolerate fermented dairy, then they can introduce it when implementing the introduction diet from the beginning.  The slow gradual introduction to fermented dairy will ease you into it at a level you can manage. Therefore, those who are very sensitive to fermented dairy or have skipped the introduction stages should introduce dairy as per page 98 in the GAPS book if you have the first edition, however if you have the second edition you will need to refer to the ‘Dairy Introduction Structure’.  Dr Campbell McBride has found in her clinical experience that only 10% of GAPS patients are sensitive to dairy from the beginning and that these people should introduce dairy as per instructions outlined in the ‘Dairy Introduction Structure’.  All others can start with whey followed by yoghurt and kefir whether it be from the beginning as shown in the introduction diet or shortly after.  How you wish to introduce it is up to you but it is advisable to do the sensitivity test first (as outlined in the GAPS Introduction diet).


2) Q: GAPS SECOND EDITION BOOK (2010) Dairy:  I have the GAPS Book Second Edition and I am a little confused with all the dairy advice, how should I procede.

A: The GAPS protocol has two options to introduce dairy.  The first and most common option is outlined in the ‘Introduction Diet’ (which is where most people will start) and the Second option is outlined in the ‘Dairy Introduction Structure’ which is for those who have shown an allergic reaction after doing the ‘Sensitivity Test’ or for those who for whatever reason, have chosen to follow the Full GAPS Diet.  The sensitivity test will allow you to determine which approach you will begin with.

Some people are concerned to introduce dairy right from the beginning however let me reasure you why fermented dairy is well tollerated by the majority of people who follow the GAPS protocol with the introduction diet containing fermented dairy.   The 24 hour  fermentation process will allow the majority of lactose to be consumed (virtually lactose free), whilst digesting the proteins (including the breakdown of casein) and breaking down immunoglobulins.  In addition to this, the lactic-acid will sooth an inflamed gut whilst providing many beneficial vitamins and active enzymes that are essential to the GAPS program.  This is why it is important to ferment yoghurt or kefir for 24 hours minimum.  If you can get your hands on raw milk, this will be even better because raw milk maintains its live enzymes which also help to predigest the proteins found in milk.


3) Q: How can I get my child to take Fermented Cod Liver Oil liquid?

A: Initially, it can be difficult to administer, however, they often soon learn to take it without a fuss.    Try using a motivating reward systems to get them to take it initially which requires your commitment and persistence.

I am aware that the taste of the oil can be quite ghastly for some and this is where the capsules can be an option but this is not suitable for small children who cannot swallow them.  One successful intervention that has worked with many is the coconut oil switch method.  You start with one teaspoon of coconut oil for a few days and slowly increase it to approximately two teaspoons with a dash of FCLO.  Gradually over time, you can increase the FCLO added to the coconut oil until you reach the desired dose.  At this stage you can choose to reduce the amount of coconut oil until it has completely been switched by FCLO or you can continue with the combination of both.

Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil is far easier to digest than regular CLO because the absorption is increased and it becomes easier to assimilate.  It contains 2 1/2 times more of the available vitamin A and D than other brands and therefore retains its precious enzymes, vitamins and nutrients that would normally be destroyed during manufactured processing.  It is a concentrated bio-available source of nutrition complete with EPA, DHA, Vitamin A,D,E & K, omega 3,6 & 9.

It is bestl to administer CLO with food or after food.

We asked our parents on the GAPS Support Forum ( how they managed to help their children to take Fermented Cod Liver Oil.  See below

Make a yummy treat that they never get otherwise and only let them have it when they’ve had their clo. I make something out of coconut oil with nuts and dried bananas and honey. Coconut oil works synergistically with CLO. Have them put the spoonful of clo in their mouth and have a glass of water or other suitable drink ready to wash it down with. It gets easier with practice to swallow the CLO without tasting it much.

We use capsules – no taste, noproblem!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Shelly

Capsules – and they can swallow these from very early on – just to be like Mummy and Daddy and for myself which could also work for children – I add a small amount of pear juice to liquid CLO, knock it back and then have a nice drink of something to follow.                                                                 Jo Douglas

Well I wondered how I was going to achieve this with my 2 and a half year old boy, and was amazed to find one day after leaving it on the table in a syringe, that he was gesturing for it (he is non-verbal).  I put it in his mouth and he sucked the whole lot up like it was honey! and has continued to do so every day since.  Makes him cough but he still wants it. This is the spiced apple flavour. So as a wise person told me once (you know who you are) ‘don’t project your opinions onto your child, they might have a different taste perception’.  Give it a shot just in case it works.

Khali takes fermented CLO in an ice-block that she has each morning, along with some other supps. The cold masks the taste of some of the bitter supps and seems to work for the CLO as well.  I put 2-3 avocados depending on size and 1 small tin ayam brand coconut cream (the green one with no additives) in the blender. You can add 1 raw egg yolk, a pinch of stevia if needed (but I haven’t done that for ages. Freeze and give 1 each morning 45 minutes after the probiotic drink which is first thing.                                                                                                                                                   Tracy

I find that a small amount of fresh squeezed orange juice (1/2 orange per child) with lots of ice and a straw works – they just suck and suck and suck and no more CLO

It took a little practice with rewards in the beginning at age 3 but my son now takes it straight and enjoys a teaspoon of the high vitamine butter oil (from the fridge – cold) as his reward.  CLO and High vitamin butter oil are known to work better together than on their own, Dr Weston A Price is quoted as saying that “One without the other did not do his patients justice, but the two together worked like magic”. If you have plenty of organic cultured butter or homemade Ghee, you can supplement this at the same time as CLO to maintain these beneficial affects.


4) Q: I find I am sensitive to nuts, should I avoid them?

A: Dr NCM advises people to only avoid certain foods if you have a true allergy to them, however nuts are not introduced in the introduction diet until stage three and four.  The introduction diet aims to heal the gut lining first, before adding the nuts.  If you find that you are still a little sensitive you can leave the nuts out for a few weeks (at stage two) and try again to introduce them slowly.

Another thing about nuts and sensitivities is that they contain, phytates, phenols, oxolates and fibre etc.  If nuts are problematic, you can try soaking them for 24 hours first so that they are easier to digest, soaking also inactivates the enzyme inhibitors contained in nuts with brown skins like almonds.  Some people go a step further and peel the almonds after soaking.  This is easy if you place them in boiling water for ten minutes – you just have to pinch them and the nut slips out of its skin.

Make sure that your nuts are raw and organic to avoid any dangerous chemicals.  A program on 60 minutes aired a shocking story on pesticide spraying nuts at a coastal Australian Macadamia Nut Farm which revealed its devastating effects on the fish farm next door.  The results killed the fish whilst producing fish embryos with two heads.   The death and crippling disease of the neighbouring farm animals also resulted.   This itself motivates me to choose organic, especially when our children have an already existing toxic overload.  You are also able to soak your nut flour by covering it with water and adding some whey to ferment on the bench top for 24 hours.  You then drain it and use in your baking.


5) Q: What should I do if I run out of sauerkraut juice when I am on the introduction diet?

A: It is always important to plan before you start but here is a simple method to use as an alternative to sauerkraut juice.

With your juicer, juice one litre of fresh organic cabbage and add one cup of whey.  Place your mixture on the bench top and ferment for a few days.  This works well in a bail top jar which is one that has a clasp or toggle, a neck tie-wire, a lever wire, and a gasketed lid with a rubber ring to make containers airtight. It should present with a few bubbles as it ferments and you may need to slowly release the lid to release some gasses to brevent the glass jar from exploding.  I do enmphasise doing this very slowly though to avoid a mess.  The finished result is an effervescent product and should be stored in the fridge.  This beverage is a good digestive tonic and will help individuals to produce their own stomach acid overtime.  Be sure to introduce in small amounts with a teaspoon at a time and gradually increase the dose so that you are having one cup with each meal.


6) Q: Should children take Betaine HCL and Pepsin to stimulate their stomach acid?

A: We encourage children to have sauerkraut juice followed by sauerkraut with every main meal to stimulate their stomach acid.  Sometimes this may not be enough in cases of excessive burbing coupled with bloated tummies.  In these cases, supplementing with small amounts of Betain and Pepsin as outlined in the GAPS book should help.


7) Q: How can I control or reduce the die off symptoms?

A: Remedies to alleviate the impact of the die off reaction during the introduction diet


1.        Enemas when constipation is persistent

2.       Detox baths with Magnesium Sulphate Epsom Salts, Seaweed or Apple Cider Vinegar.

3.       Alkalising:  a healthy body thrives in an alkaline environment: Pure Bicarbonate of Soda (aluminium free) Buy at GAPS online shop.

4.       Natural anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial/fungal remedies: Oregano oil, Olive Leaf extract or Grapefruit Seed Extract.

5.       Introduce probiotics and other supplements slowly and gradually in stage 2 or when die off settles.  If the die off is severe, wait for the symptoms to improve before you start the probiotics.

6.       Introduce probiotic foods slowly and gradually.

7.       Methodically introduce new foods one at a time so that it is easier to monitor the reaction and be sure to consume new foods with other foods, not on their own.

8.       Implement strategies to alleviate or manage either constipation or diarrhoea (see Appendix A: Constipation and the emphasis on enemas for GAPS in the ‘GAPS Companion’ Book sold at GAPS Australia

The following foods (listed on the Introduction Diet) are most likely to create a die off reaction.  If the die off is too difficult to manage, reduce the amount or stop it and try introducing it again a few days or a few weeks later in tiny amounts, increasing it gradually.

  • Eggs:  raw eggs in the initial stages nourish the body, putting all its good nutrients to work.  The body is not used to this nourishing source, thus creating a die off reaction.
  • Sauerkraut & other fermented vegetables:  fermented cabbage or other fermented vegetables will create a die off reaction because the preservation/fermentation process creates lactic acid with beneficial yeasts, natural therapeutic probiotic bacteria and active phytochemicals.
  • Whey:  the drained liquid from yoghurt or kefir will contain certain strains of probiotic bacteria.
  • Yoghurt: this is a natural dairy fermentation process with probiotic strains.
  • Kefir: fermented dairy grains will produce high concentrated amounts of beneficial yeasts which will create a more severe die off reaction than yoghurt.


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