cooking · food · GAPS Diet · healing gut · recipe · Uncategorized

GAPS Intro Diet Carrot “noodle” Soup

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Ahhhh soup, it is the basis of your GAPS diet experience.  You will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner….and then eat it some more.  That rich broth will be working all the time to heal and seal you while providing your skin with the most anti-aging beneficial glycine and collagen.  Think of that good stuff while you force yourself to overcome soup over load.

You have limited ingredients to use on GAPS Intro Stage 1.  However, limited ingredients doesn’t have to mean boring and tasteless.  Here is a soup that I made for our crew that even the Dad raved about(and he hates butternut squash).

Carrot Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 whole chicken shredded
  • 3 quarts of broth (from that chicken you just shredded, preferably with fat from the chicken…..you need AlL THE FATS)
  • 2lbs of carrots cut into noodle shape. I use a spiral cutter for mine.
  • 2 onions
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 1 TBS of minced garlic
  • salt to taste

Combine all but the carrot noodles into the stock pot, cook til the squash has softened a bit, add the carrot noodles.  Serve when everything is softened and the flavors are on point.  It isn’t an award winning soup, but it is fun and tasty and gets the job done.  You can pour a little sauerkraut juice from fermented sauerkraut on top.  Intro stage says only a teaspoon or two.

After a couple of days of chopped veggies, meats, and broth soups….my kids were happy to see some “noodles.”

cooking · GAPS Diet · healing gut · nutrition · Uncategorized

Gaps Diet Week 1 (Kids and All)

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This week, I made the absolutely crazy decision to put the whole family on the GAPS diet. Before I delve any further, let me pause here and thank my mother for the king of all kitchen appliances…..the instant pot! For without it, I would have lost my sanity completely.

What is the GAPS diet?

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  The diet was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, and addresses nutritional deficiencies in people who suffer from digestive disorders such as crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, IBS, IBD, severe constipation, candida, and more.  It also addresses issues like autism, adhd, depression, anxiety, apraxia, learning delays, and other psychological problems that are plaguing people by the millions.

Did you know:

  • In 2000 1 in 150 people had autism. In 2010 1 in 68 had autism, and the number just keeps rising. (source)
  • 9.4% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD (source)
  • The number of children ages 2-5 who have been diagnosed ADHD rose more than 50% from 2007 to 2008 (source
  • 16.2 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode last year.  That is 6.7% or all US adults. (source)
  • IBS affects 11% of the world’s population. (source)

The theory behind the GAPS diet is that so many of these issues are caused by a leaky gut.  Essentially, the gut flora is made up of trillions of microbiomes.  If a person is lacking in these beneficial goodies or over loaded in the bad guys, their gut may be damaged, allowing toxins to go undigested and leaking into the blood stream. This would cause a whole host of trouble in the body.  The goal of the GAPS diet is to heal the gut, replenish the much needed good bacteria, and get the body in optimal working order.

Why are we doing this diet?

In a word….John.  Over the last year, since we came home from Ethiopia, John has been having severe stomach pains as well as pain in the groin.  Grace’s eczema has spread to her arms.  Zeke is always catching a cold.  Andy was formally diagnosed with high functioning autism.  The other three were orphans and could use better gut health overall.  I have to say though, I did this for A&T years ago, and as long as they eat gluten free, chemical/sugar free, they have regular bowels.  Now Down syndrome bowel agony for us yo.

Back to John….he has been to doctor after doctor getting the ole colonoscopy, ultrasounds, etc.  Nothing has showed up.  This is good and bad.  No cancers is good.  No answers is bad.  Our bio kids have developed severe food intolerances to so many foods over the last year, and honestly, we are open to anything that will help with the anxiety that is HFA (high functioning autism).

GAPS has A LOT of anecdotal evidence of success.  I have been considering it for years and years…..and year.

So why not do this earlier?

It is a lot of work.

When I say a lot of work, I mean OH MY GOSH just give me a bed in the kitchen already.

How-to GAPS

To start GAPS, there is an intro phase.  This is where we are at right now.  The intro phase is very basic foods such as homemade broth, stewed grassfed meats, non-fibrous vegetables, and animal fats.  The full list is here.

The intro phase is divided into six stages and can be completed in a month up to six months.  It really is unique to each individual and the level of damage they have to their gut.  We have moved through 2 phases this week.

What did we eat?

Soup….soup….more soup…..egg yolks

In order to make this higher carb, you must consume a lot of carrots and butternut squash.  These are higher carbs veggies that are necessary for small children especially.

Squash Soup

Fill a pot with carrots, a chopped butternut squash, chicken broth, a little grated ginger and cook til soft.  Use an immersion blender to puree this mixture and serve with a drizzle of raw honey.  My kids LOVE this and it is a great source of carbs.

Effects?

When healing the gut, there may be a side effect of die off.  This is the bad bacteria dying off, these nasty suckers do not want to die and will cause all sorts of havoc in your body to try to convince you to give in and give them the garbage foods that will keep them alive.  We have had a few die-off symptoms.  One kid peed their pants, one barfed, a few have been overly tired.  Thankfully, they whisked right through those ugly symptoms within the first couple of days.  John has had a lot less pain in his stomach, but also experienced more tired feelings than usual.  It is coffee free….oh coffee.

Why Broth?

Broth is literally a superfood that everyone needs in their life.  The minerals and nutrients leeched from the bones of healthy animal sources provide so many health benefits to a person. The grannies from the old days were on to something with the ole chicken soup remedy.  It wasn’t so much the chicken meat as all the delicious marrow, gut soothing collagen, and body healing nutrients that came from the chicken’s bones….and feet.

I don’t use feet.

Chicken feet are caaaareeeeeeeaaaaappppppy.

John brought me the feet a few years ago from a round of meat birds he had butchered. Oh my gosh, they are HUGE, and have claws, and are just creepy.  I can’t ya’ll.

Bone broth is rich in gelatin and collagen which helps to heal the lining of the gut, soothe the stomach, and even help your hair and nails.  It helps with joint pain, I have been drinking collagen for years to help with inflammation and joint pain.  If I go a week without it, I am in agony and fatigue again.

What comes next?

After working through the initial intro phase (6 stages), you go on to eat the Full GAPS diet.  This is grain free, sugar free, and full of probiotic rich food (hello fermented sauerkraut) that are meant to help restore and replenish your gut.  While it is restrictive, the hopeful outcome is absolutely worth it to me.

  • if John doesn’t suffer the extreme stomach pain anymore….worth it!
  • if Andy is calmer and able to manage himself a bit better…..worth it!
  • if Grace’s eczema could go away……worth it!
  • if the kids have a strengthened immune system…..worth it!
  • we will always be gluten free due to true celiacs in the house but if we could heal other intolerances and have dairy again……worth it! I need cheese.
  • if I could  be free of anxiety….worth it!

Really there are so many reasons why I have finally jumped into this diet.  Medications, herbs, therapies, tests, and so sooooooo many other approaches to many of these problems haven’t worked.  This is our last resort and I’m hopeful.

I’m hopeful and tired, because seriously cooking everything very particularly and in enough quantity to keep 8 people fed around the clock….yeah that’s a lot.

Cheers to good health!

Edit to add: I will have future posts with helpful hints, recipes, and progress updates.

cooking · crafting

creative energy

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Well let’s examine my last year. I purchased yarn, and made a (somewhat successfull) crocheted blanket for my granpa. He claimed to anyone who would listen that it was his most beloved gift of the year. Oh yeah that was nice 🙂 I put in lots and lots of hours on that. I purchased scrapbooking things, and ventured into the world of scrapbooking for my grandmother’s gift. Now it was great, but I think it was only great due to the nature of it and not the design. Neither of these projects were stellar. My sweetie bought me a lovely vintage sewing machine for Christmas, and I do love it. However, my creations have not been as splendid as those I’ve worked in my imagination. It seems the only place I’ve had utter success as far as creativity goes is in my kitchen. Now, my waistline cannot keep up with this kind of success. It’s taking me a four mile run everyday in order to keep the calories from causing havoc to my body. I do have an extraordinary amount of creative energy stored up, and haven’t a clue what to do with it. I want to make things with my own hands that will look and feel splendid. So, I’ve taken up learning to knit. I’ve seen so many beautiful creations that I’m just itching to get the skills. Ofcourse I’m starting at square one, and as far as I have come to date is learning to knit and purl. None of my grandmother’s or mother have any idea how to knit so I’m on my own here. This is one of my crafty goals for the year. Other than that I need to find another venue for my energies. So lookout for random future posts on this topic.

cooking · sewing

Projects

Slowly but surely my lungs are clearing out, and I am getting back to normal. Today I decided to tackle a few projects that I’ve been looking forward to. Unfortunately my sewing machine is still breaking needles for some unexplained reason, and so I was only able to finish one little project. I decided to make an apron for my lil one. Now I must confess that I was only paying attention to the dominate color of the fabric, and did not realize until I finished that there were in fact pink polka dots on the fabric. I didn’t notice these at first glance. However, my lil one was to excited about getting his own apron for me to not give it to him. I do plan (once my machine starts working) to fix him a more masculine one in the near future. Since we’ll be getting our foster kids soon I’ll keep the girly one for future lil girls. I used my ironing board (a smaller one) to make the pattern for this little apron. It fits a 3 year old lil one.
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He was able to test drive the apron while helping me to make dinner. We made a pork loin with fried apples and peas. I was able to use orange juice and honey on the pork loin instead of using brown sugar and oil. This cut the fat and the sugar content of the meal. I was also able to use apple juice in the fried apples instead of butter, and the result was a very tasty meal. My two guys couldn’t tell it was a fairly healthy meal. Then lil one and I made whole wheat banana mini muffin cookies. This recipe is awesome, and it helped to use up the bananas I had laying on the counter in an over ripe state. We used whole wheat (gold medal brand), apple sauce, and bananas to create quite a scrumptious lil treat. Even my sweetie wanted extra to take to work.
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And the result of our efforts.
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