We often receive questions like: “What are the best veggies for early intro?” And, “What are the best veggies for a person especially concerned with candida overgrowth?” Although it is different for everyone (see Naomi’s comment below), here I present sample lists for each angle.
The GAPS intro progression suggests starting with “non-fibrous” veggies or parts of veggies, so that the digestive tract is not irritated. What are those? Well, cabbage and the stalks of broccoli, for example, are said to be more fibrous. Some people’s systems also struggle with onions and leafy greens, even when very well cooked.
Which veggies work is totally different for everyone. One is fine with peas, one is not. Many are fine with carrots, some are not. Etc.
Much of SCD/GAPS is trial and error. This is not, though, unfortunate – The process teaches us how to listen to our body, which is frustrating at first but serves us very well in the long run.
That said, I know that people like to hear what worked for others. So, without knowing the fibre content of each GAPS veggie, here are the ones we did fine with as we progressed through intro. Note: Unless specifically noted otherwise, all our veggies were well cooked for the first several months.
If you wish to be very careful, start with just broth and meat for the first few days, then add one vegetable at a time, every few days. Personally, I needed the carbohydrates that a range of veggies could offer, but the slower approach might be a better fit for some.
From The Beginning We Used, Without Problem, The Following
Broccoli florets (no tough stalk)
Cauliflower florets (no tough stalk)
Peppers (green, yellow, red, and orange)
Squash (summer and winter)
Why did I start with these? Some of them I knew to be very gentle on my system; all were easy to incorporate into a soup without overwhelming it; all were available in organic; out of the organic aisle, these were the veggies I was familiar with.
Interestingly, broccoli and cauliflower had always in the past given me gas, but this was not so on GAPS’ intro. Perhaps this was because I was not using the fibrous stalks. Perhaps the broth helped the digestion.
I avoided tomatoes because I’d heard that many people react to these, so opted to intro them later.
I avoided garlic because I wanted to pace our die-off.
I had no access to green (string) beans.
After Several Weeks We Tried, Without Problem, The Following
At about six weeks in, we tried lettuce and cucumber raw and carrots juiced. I was fine with these; my son was not. Thus, we removed them and tried them again later.
After Several More Weeks We Tried, Without Problem, The Following
Why didn’t we try the first three earlier? I simply didn’t get around to it. Would they have been okay earlier? I can’t know, but I’m betting that for us, they would have been.
Not Yet Tried (Only For Lack of Getting Around to Them)
Spinach [this one is problematic for a number of children]
Tried With Problematic Results
Cabbage (even when cooked for ages)
Celery (even when cooked for ages)
Early on, juiced veggies (now fine)
Early on, raw veggies (now fine)
Except in the case of fermented cabbage, which he tolerates well, cabbage and celery are still problematic for my son.
In most people, SCD/GAPS as presented heals candida overgrowth. That is, many people will dramatically reduce candida numbers while eating reasonable amounts of SCD’s honey, fruits, sugary (orange-fleshed) veggies and nuts as complements to its copious other foods. Some, however, have found increased success against candida overgrowth by removing these (indeed, some have found this approach to be critical). In terms of veggies, this means removing beets, carrots, orange-fleshed squashes (butternut, etc). There are copious veggies left, though, most of which can be had well-cooked, raw or anywhere in between:
Ginger root, fresh
Mushrooms (some say folks with candida overgrowth should avoid)
Peppers (green, yellow, red, and orange)
Turnips (caution re: fibre)
As one proceeds on the diet, raw GAPS veggies (cucumber, lettuce, etc), will also be added.