Have you started the intro diet yet?  Are you thinking hard about it, but not sure you’re ready to jump in?  Well, after a shaky start I finally feel like I’ve got the hang of things, and I’ve learned some tricks that are really making things easier.  I thought I’d share, and I’d love to hear your ideas too!  Please leave a comment if you have a trick that makes your GAPS journey less overwhelming.

Here are 5 ways to make intro easier:

Always have a batch of broth brewing in the slowcooker

It’s true: I packed a 3-quart slowcooker in my suitcase.  When I flew to Texas I was preparing for much less convenience than I now enjoy (did you hear about my full kitchen?) but one thing I knew was that my slowcooker made broth so much easier.  And even with a full kitchen, I’m finding that it’s an essential tool for my success with the intro diet.  My slowcooker has been in use ever day since I got here, because broth is the cornerstone of the GAPS diet and I have found that the slowcooker is the easiest way to keep it flowing.  I’ll be writing about this in more detail next week.

Always have a pot of soup on the stove

Last weekend I ran out of broth and soup…and I was up the creek without a paddle!  Improvising on GAPS intro can be done, but it’s not easy and certainly not ideal.  So now I make sure that I always have a pot of soup on the stove, and a batch of broth brewing in the slowcooker.  This 2-system method is working beautifully, and keeping me from having to think too hard to make this diet work.

Keep it simple (for now)

The first week on intro, I made a batch of chicken stock and a batch of beef stock.  I don’t know why, but at the time it felt overwhelming, made a mess of the kitchen, and when the beef soup turned out to turn my stomach (terribly) I realized that I had to stick to what worked, or I was going to burn myself out and flunk out of GAPS U.  So I’ve stuck with chicken stock.  It marries well to other meats (so far I’ve included beef and salmon in my soups – not at the same time of course! – and it has tasted great) and making one kind of broth makes life easier – there’s just less to think about.  I know how to make chicken stock, I know how to use the animal as completely as possible, and that is very valuable for me right now.

Intro can happen 15 minutes at a time

I thought there was going to be a ton of prep work involved in intro, and had resigned myself to hours in the kitchen.  I’ve found out, though, that my actual hands-on work only takes about 15 minutes at a time.

When I need to set up a batch of broth in the slowcooker, all I have to do is start with a clean crock, add a whole chicken, cover it with water, add a splash of vinegar, and set it to cook.

Soup?  Same thing.  I need to assemble the ingredients – pull the chicken meat off the bones or break up the ground beef into the broth, chop veggies and toss ’em in, set it to high for about five minutes to get everything cooking, and then turn it down and let it simmer.  I can go on about my business, and in a half-hour I have a delicious, nutritious meal.

Yogurt takes the same amount of time – really!  Heat the milk, let it cool, stir in the starter, and set it next to a heat source.  Then forget about it for 24 hours.  What could be simpler?

A nice bonus is that very few dishes get dirtied throughout the day, so intro even makes kitchen maintenance simpler and quicker.  Woot!

Make a chart to track progress

The first couple of weeks, I kept having to dig through books, websites and blogs to figure out what my next re-introduction step was.  Finally I sat down and made up a chart to track what I was supposed to be eating, what to re-introduce and when.  This has made life so much easier!  If you want to give this a try, click on GAPS Intro Chart and see how it works for you.