“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces,
just good food from fresh ingredients.” ~ Julia Child
Now that you’ve read up on the 3 healing diets and are ready to begin, you may be asking yourself, “What on earth do I eat, if I can’t have grains or packaged foods?” Here are some menu ideas and recipe links, to get you started. They’re just examples, and with time you’ll find your own favorites. Each diet contains room for lots of diversity. The hard part is learning new habits: finding new foods you love to replace your old standards.
With these menus, I’ve tried to capture the unique spirit of each of the diets, but there is a lot of overlap, so many of the meals and snacks are interchangeable between them. On the Paleo menu, I showed how creative this community has been in coming up with paleo-friendly versions of traditional favorites. On the GAPS and Paleo Autoimmune menus, I stressed their emphasis on healing foods, such as bone broth, organ meats and fermented vegetables. On the Wahls menu, I showed how to acheive her recommended 9 cups of vegetables daily, for the micronutrients they contain. If any of these meal plans seem intimidating, take a deep breath, go to my Getting Started page, and just take it one step at a time.
- Breakfast A: Fritatta made with sweet potatoes, spinach, chorizo sausage and salsa.
- Breakfast B: Grain-free waffles with strawberries and coconut whipped cream.
- Lunch A: Kale cobb salad, with chicken, hardboiled eggs, bacon, scallions, cucumber and a mustard vinaigrette.
- Lunch B: Chicken tortilla soup, with plantain chips subbed for the tortillas; side salad with lots of raw veggies and olive oil vinaigrette.
- Dinner A: Slow cooker pork ribs, sautéed kale with cranberries, and a raw cocoa date-nut ball for dessert.
- Dinner B: Italian bolognese sauce over zucchini “noodles”, coconut flour bread slathered with coconut butter, and a glass of flavored kombucha.
- Snacks: Fruit in moderation, paleo trail mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit and coconut flakes), beef jerky, kale chips, pork rinds and paleo cookies (as a special treat once or twice per week).
- Recipes: These websites have Paleo-friendly recipes: Against All Grain, Nom Nom Paleo, The Clothes Make the Girl.
- Breakfast A: Chicken soup made with bone broth, organic chicken, ginger, carrots and peas. Some fermented veggies on the side.
- Breakfast B: Breakfast burgers with a side of shredded kale & butternut squash hashbrowns, fried in coconut oil.
- Lunch A: A large salad with your choice of greens, vegetables and meat, tossed with an olive oil vinaigrette.
- Lunch B: Liver and onions, with a large bowl of fresh berries and coconut whipped cream (as a reward for eating that liver!)
- Dinner A: Baked salmon, winter veggies in spiced coconut milk, and fresh fruit for dessert.
- Dinner B: Steak, honey mustard broccoli salad, bone broth, and one of these cookies for dessert.
- Snacks: Smoothies made with homemade coconut milk, avocados, winter squash (cook big batches and portion into bowls to grab for easy reheating), cooked chicken, and fruit in moderation.
- Recipes: These websites have recipes for the Paleo AI Protocol: Autoimmune Paleo, A Clean Plate and Paleo Mom.
- Breakfast A: Smoothie: made with homemade kefir, organic berries, 1 raw egg yolk, 1/2 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil, 1 Tbsp. ground flax and 1 cup of fresh-pressed juice.
- Breakfast B: Bacon (no additives and sugarfree), 2 pasture-raised eggs fried in bacon fat, a cup of fresh-pressed juice, and a side of fermented vegetables.
- Lunch A: Warm chard salad, topped with chicken, bacon, pecans and dried cranberries.
- Lunch B: Harvest stew (with grassfed bison, spinach, butternut squash and tomato), and an almond flour honey muffin (slathered with plenty of butter or coconut oil).
- Dinner A: Simple tender pot roast with holy grail gravy, mashed cauliflower, sauerkraut and homemade juice jello.
- Dinner B: Roast whole chicken (pasture-raised), its organ meats sautéed in ghee, steamed veggies tossed with a generous amount of fresh herbs and olive oil, a large cup of bone broth and a piece of coconut-almond fudge. (Save the chicken bones to make bone broth later.)
- Snacks: Fruit in moderation, organic nuts (soaked and dehydrated), avocados, hardboiled eggs, and grain-free baked goods (as a special treat once or twice per week).
- Recipes: These websites have GAPS-friendly recipes: Liberated Kitchen, Loving Our Guts, Empowered Sustenance.
The Intro Diet has 7 stages. Whatever is allowed in the early stages is automatically allowed in the later stages. Here are typical daily foods for each stage:
- Stage 1: This stage is all about the soup. The goal is nutrition and easy absorption of homemade broth throughout the day, with no fiber to irritate the gut lining. At this stage, there are no specific breakfast, lunch and dinner foods. Many people have soup every hour or two. Meat and non-fibrous vegetables are added to the stock and cooked until very soft. Just before serving, 1-2 teaspoons of raw sauerkraut juice is added, to introduce the body to probiotics. Also, 1-2 teaspoons of chopped garlic is added, for its health benefits. Ginger honey tea is recommended between meals.
- Stage 2: In this stage, egg yolks, ghee and casseroles are introduced. Soups are still part of the menu, with a raw egg yolk stirred in just before serving. Well cooked vegetables can now be seasoned with ghee and sea salt. One casserole example would be butternut squash and beef. Sauerkraut juice is increased to a few tablespoons at each meal. Ginger honey tea continues to be recommended between meals.
- Stage 3: At this stage, avocado, whole eggs and a special recipe for pancakes is introduced (the pancakes are made from nut butter, squash and eggs). A little avocado gets added to the soups (along with the egg yolk and garlic introduced in prior stages). Whole eggs are now scrambled with ghee. Casseroles continue. Sauerkraut juice is replaced with 1-2 tablespoons of fermented vegetables (which are higher in probiotics). Ginger honey tea continues to be recommended between meals.
- Stage 4: At this stage, roasted meat and vegetables are introduced, along with olive oil, fresh pressed juices, and homemade almond-flour bread. Sample meals: butternut squash pancakes, eggs scrambled with well cooked vegetables and ghee, chicken soup, egg drop soup, pot roast, lamp chops, roasted vegetables tossed with herbs and olive oil, almond flour bread (slathered with ghee or butter). For the juice, start with just a few tablespoons and slowly increase to a cup per day; also, juice vegetables only to start, adding fruit juice in later stages. Broth is recommended with every meal (with raw egg yolk, garlic and avocado stirred in at the end). Continue with the fermented vegetables and ginger honey tea.
- Stage 5: At this stage, raw vegetables, homemade applesauce, and fruit juice is introduced. Otherwise, the menu is very similar to stage 4. For the raw vegetables, begin with lettuce and peeled cucumber (the easiest to digest). If those are tolerated well, than add in other raw vegetables, having a salad daily with olive oil dressing. For the juice, slowly increase to 2 cups daily of 50% vegetable and 50% fruit juice. One recommended combination is carrot, ginger, celery, beet and apple. Continue with the broth and fermented vegetables at every meal, and ginger honey tea between meals.
- Stage 6: This is the last stage before moving onto the full GAPS diet. In this stage, you introduce raw fruit and baked goods (made with grain-free flour and sweetened with dried fruits). Otherwise, the food recommendations are the same as stage 6.
- Stage 7: Move onto the full GAPS diet. 85% of your daily food should be meats, fish, eggs, healthy fats, and vegetables (some well-cooked, some fermented and some raw). Continue with 1 cup of bone broth and 1 cup of fresh-pressed juice daily. Fruit and baked goods should be eaten between meals and eaten in moderation.
- Recipes: This website has an e-book that will guide you through the GAPS Introduction diet, including preparation (a week or two ahead of time) and daily recipes: Health Home & Happiness.
In this phase, you can eat largely the way you did before, but you’re avoiding sugar and processed foods, while adding 9 cups of vegetables per day (3 cups greens, 3 cups sulfur-rich vegetables, and 3 cups brightly colored vegetables and berries.)
- Breakfast: Cinnamon-raisin oatmeal, with fresh-blended juice (1 cup greens, 1 cup chopped beets and carrots, 1 cup berries, and just enough unsweetened fruit juice to blend.)
- Lunch: Large salad with 2 cups of greens (a mixture of lettuce and power greens such as baby kale, chard, spinach, arugula) and 1 cup sulfur-rich vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, onion, cabbage). Add your choice of protein on the top (meat, fish, tofu) and your favorite salad dressing.
- Dinner: Lasagna, with bread and 2 cups brussel sprouts sautéed with garlic and bacon.
- Snack: 1 cup of berries with unsweetened whipped cream
In this phase, you give up three of the most common food allergens: gluten, dairy and soy. You continue to avoid sugar and processed foods, and eat 9 cups of vegetables daily. Gluten is a widely used ingredient in many foods you wouldn’t expect: sauces, french fries, ice cream, and more. This article helps you recognize gluten on food labels.
- Breakfast: French toast made with gluten-free bread and served with coconut butter and real maple syrup; fresh-blended juice on the side (1 cup greens, 1 cup chopped beets and carrots, 1 cup berries, and just enough unsweetened fruit juice to blend.)
- Lunch: Nori rolls, made with seaweed, salmon and rice and dipped in tamari (gluten-free) soy sauce, and a bowl of onion soup.
- Dinner: Hearty beef and bean chili, with a side salad of 2 cups mixed greens, 1 cup broccoli florets, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and your choice of gluten-free salad dressing.
- Snack: 1 cup of berries with coconut whipped cream
In this phase, you go paleo: no grains, legumes or high-starch vegetables. You continue to avoid gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and processed foods, and eat 9 cups of vegetables daily.
- Breakfast: Smoothie made with coconut milk, 1 cup greens, 1 cup peaches, and enough unsweetened juice to blend.
- Lunch: Hearty chicken soup with carrots, peas, cauliflower and pearl onions.
- Dinner: Steak salad (on a bed of 2 cups arugula), and a bowl of broccoli soup.
- Snack: Paleo cherry cobbler: cherries baked with a little raw honey & toasted nuts.
In this phase, you personalize the diet for you. You get tested for food allergies/ inflammation triggers, or self-test through an elimination diet. You continue to avoid grains, legumes, high-starch vegetables, gluten, dairy, soy, sugar and processed foods, and eat 9 cups of vegetables daily. She also suggests you see a functional medicine practitioner, to see what steps beyond diet will aid your personal healing the most. For this menu, I’m going to give an example of a menu for someone who discovers that nuts and nightshades are inflammation triggers for them. I’m also including nourishing foods, such as fermented vegetables and bone broth, which Wahls includes in her protocol.
- Breakfast: Eggs baked with spinach, garlic and onion, with 1/2 cup lacto-fermented beets on the side.
- Lunch: Carrot ginger soup made with bone broth as the base, and a massaged kale salad (topped with strawberries, sunflower seeds, avocado, and a lemon/honey/olive oil vinaigrette).
- Dinner: Pork chops with sweet & sour cabbage.
- Snack: Apples fried in coconut oil and topped with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.
You can get Wahls recipes at her website, by signing up for her newsletter, browsing her blog, or visiting her forum. She also has 100 recipes in her book. This website also lists Wahls-Friendly recipes from the paleo community.
Now that you have the big picture, look forward to future food posts that will focus on the details: profiles of healing foods, exposés on fake foods, recipes, as well as posts that cover topics beyond food: such as meditation, detoxification, and simply enjoying life. Stay tuned!
This post is linked to the following blog carnivals:
Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Sunday School, Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Tasty Traditions, Gaps-Legal Thursday, Keep it Real Thursday, Weekend Whatever Link-up, What I am Eating,