Saturday, 27 October 2012

GAPS hot chocolate

Cocoa is not on the list of GAPS legal foods.    However, Dr. NCM says it can be used on the full diet. I purchase organic full fat cocoa powder from the bulk store.  It's a deep rich reddish brown unlike what you find at the grocery store.

GAPS Hot Choc - or 'Ho Cho' as my friend calls it.

Heat a can of coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder, honey, salt, and vanilla to taste.

GAPS and the common cold

Last winter, when I was actively doing GAPS, I did not get sick at all.  Of course, this year, after reprehensible eating habits all summer, the season hits and I'm down for the count.  The following are some observations re: GAPS and the common cold

Observation 1: seem to have cured my cold with coconut oil

This is burying the lead, of course, because I think this is a big deal!  I got mildly sick Thursday night, was mildly sick Friday all day, and woke up Saturday feeling like hell (of course).  I was having broth, carrot juice, oranges etc. on Friday but on Saturday had no strength to cook.  Then I thought I would put the purported antiviral properties of coconut oil to the test.

I made a pot of GAPS hot chocolate with coconut milk (next post!), and then remembering something in Dr. NCMs FAQs about drinking carrot juice mixed with coconut oil I tried that too (2 heaping tbsp).  After about an hour my sore throat is gone, my cough has loosened, I'm sneezing less, and my nose has more or less opened up.

I was expecting to languish like this until at least Monday morning but it looks like tomorrow I will be up and about.  Probably making another batch of broth. :)

Observation 2:  Intro is pretty easy to do when you have a cold

If you are GAPS-enlightened, what would you really want to consume with a cold other than stock, soup, and ginger tea with honey?

Of course, in the case of a single person living alone, all of this is provided that you have a crock pot full of broth going, and you have organic carrots in the house for juicing, and other semi-prepared foods ready to go.

Right now I am sitting here hungry, as I have not eaten all day, and dying to order in for dinner, but not wanting to spoil my two days of quasi-close-enough-intro, especially since I am struggling to get myself back on the full diet.  I had planned to have mustard seed crusted salmon and lightly grilled asparagus tonight but I don't feel like cooking or eating that.  I suppose I will lurch down to the kitchen and make myself a vegetable soup of sorts, since all the meat I have is frozen.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Going back on GAPS

Earlier this year I posted about how it`s difficult to maintain GAPS in summer months.  Now that it`s fall, and squash and apples are in season, and I`m actually looking forward to eating soups and stews, I`m still finding it tough to stick with GAPS.

I was very lenient with myself over the summer, eating pretty much whatever I felt like or had time to pick up.  Now that work has calmed down and the leaves are changing color I`m still struggling.

I actually think it may be harder to stop and restart GAPS, than to initially start it.  I`ve noticed some other blog posts about struggles with restarting as well.  The reason I think this is true is that when people first start GAPS they are often desperate.  They may have tried typical Western medicine options, naturopathic options, other dietary options etc. I can say personally that when I started GAPS I was at the end of my rope.  I was so desperate to feel better, I didn`t believe the diet could help me, but I tried one more thing just to say I gave it a shot.

Now I find myself in a position of relative health, but wanting to go on GAPS again because I want to push myself through to a higher degree of health (my thyroid still slows me down sometimes, and I believe some hormonal imbalances need to be corrected).  Its also convenient in winter months, keeps my blood sugar on an even keel, and makes me loose weight without regaining (despite my debauchery this summer).

I`m also already educated about the diet.  So I`m not in a process of indoctrinating myself with Dr. NCM`s presentations, the GAPS book, and other resources.  This means that I`m perhaps not as excited about the diet and the benefits to health are not front of mind.

My solution is to phase myself in for the rest of October and start fresh in November with extreme discipline.  This way I will have good habits in place before the holidays.  I may have to place my debit and credit cards in a bowl of water and freeze them to achieve this, just so I don`t give in to the temptation to buy lunch, but that`s a sacrifice I`m ready to make. (At the end of the day I will save money.)

Has anyone else restarted GAPS and found it hard....leave a comment if you have tips!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Fall and Winter GAPS Meal Plan

This plan should serve my needs from November to March.   Once a week I bake, make a ferment, and do prep work and chopping so its done early and relatively easy.  My lunch is always leftovers from the night before.

*ingredient re-used that week
^ingredient re-used the following week

Week 1

Tomato jam/relish^

Weekday Breakfasts:
Chia seed cereal with dried cranberries and bananas.

Weekday Meals:
Butternut squash, thyme, and leek soup
Ligurian Ministrone (vegetable minestrone with basil and spinach)
Tomato, coconut milk*, and tarragon soup
Pumpkin^, coconut milk, cinnamon soup
Trout with green beans and carrots

Weekend Brunch:
Pear 'sauce' [applesauce made with pears]

Weekend Meals:
Portobello, watercress, lentil soup
Roast chicken^ with sweet peas

Week 2

Pumpkin tarts with walnut crust


Weekday Breakfast:
Applesauce with nuts

Weekday Meals
Cabbage rolls
Thai cashew chicken on spaghetti squash*
Spaghetti squash with bell peppers and feta
Taco salad
Whitefish with capers, olives and tomatoes with beans

Weekend Brunch
Smoked salmon cucumber^ lettuce wraps with horseradish

Weekend Meals:

Grapefruit dill perch with puréed carrots
Roast chicken with mashed cauliflower

Week 3

Lemon Raspberry Loaf 
Almond apricot* muffins


Weekday Breakfast:   
Banana bread with blueberries or walnuts

Weekday Meals:
Antipasto and lentil salad
Sesame chicken thighs with shredded veg salad
Apricot pork with green beans
Thai coconut chicken soup

Charcuterie, cheese^ & sauerkraut

Weekend Brunch
Bacon^ and eggs

Weekend Meals
Mustard seed crusted salmon with mashed cauliflower
Roast beef^ with mushrooms and bell peppers^

Week 4

Date brownies
Cinnamon bun muffins


Weekday Breakfast: 
Bacon, egg, and cheese muffins

Weekday Meals:
Spaghetti squash* with pomodoro sauce
Beef pad khing (ginger stir fry) on spaghetti squash
Sausage, cabbage, and bell pepper stew
Tikka masala on spinach^
Sesame salmon with broccoli

Weekend Brunch
Scrambled eggs

Weekend Meals
Mussels in marinara sauce
Roast chicken with grilled eggplant 

GAPS Butter Chicken

Simmer chicken, coconut milk, tin of tomatoes, butter or ghee, indian spices, onion, garlic, ginger.  Serve over raw spinach instead of rice.

Adventures in fermenting

I posted some time ago about never having attempted to make a home made ferment.  I tried a few this summer and fall with varying degrees of success:

Pickles:  this was the first ferment I attempted and it went ok.  They were over salted and not as tart as I would like, so I think in future I would limit the amount of salt and let them sit on the counter longer.

Turnips and Beets:  accidentally spilled too much salt into the jar, so, like the pickles, these are not tart enough and are over salted. They look pretty though.

Carrots:  these worked really great.  I shredded about four carrots in the food processor, added about a teaspoon of salt and filled the jar up with water.  After about five days on the counter they were perfect, probably because of all the sugar in carrots.  They make a really tasty crunchy topping for other recipes. I'm really enjoying them.

Sauerkraut:  I just made two jars today with the remainder of a cabbage I bought for another recipe.  (One cabbage is way too much for one person without at least three recipes in mind.)  I added a little bit of liquid from the carrot ferment to the sauerkraut jars, and very little salt. We'll see how it goes.

Processing a cabbage

It's harder than it seems.  I bought a cabbage to try out a braised cabbage and sausage recipe, which was great, but then found myself with scads of leftovers.  For next time, here is my plan for using a cabbage in a one person GAPS household:

Outer third - GAPS cabbage rolls, which I would cook, freeze, and bring to work for lunches.  I still need to come up with a good substitute for rice to soften up those little rolls of ground beef...perhaps cauliflower?

Middle third - shred using food processor for sauerkraut.

Inner third - braise or boil for an immediate meal.

This allows me to use a large vegetable in a way that (i) makes best use of all of its parts and (ii) not eat the same thing for a week!  Sauerkraut takes a couple of weeks, cabbage rolls can be thawed much later than that, and I have one immediate meal.  This is important to me with regard to cabbage because I am on GAPS because of a thyroid problem.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Monday, 1 October 2012

GAPS Intro

I'm starting intro again.  I've been really bad all summer due to overwork and I'm pleased to see that my damaging diet over the last few months has not hurt me too badly.  I have decided to reboot and restart intro.

Last time I did intro I wasn't blogging yet (that seems to happen a lot with GAPs - probably because when you start it you are ill and desperate, you have no energy for blogging).

So this will sort of chart my course over the intro.  Will do my best to post meal plans etc.

Intro Day 1

Day 1 got off to a rocky start.  I pulled a jug of broth out of my fridge that had been there a little to long, heated it up for breakfast and lunch, tasted it, and realized it had gone off.   I pulled a new container of stock out of the freezer and left it on the counter to thaw.

Walked to work and had a few almonds and several mugs of green tea with honey.  Not intro, certainly not phase I but it could have been worse.

Lunch was a quinoa chilli.  Very bad, but could not pack a lunch that morning and forgot my cash cards at home.

Dinner was 2 avocados with salt and a squeeze of lemon juice, mixed with sauerkraut, and a mug of stock.  I heated up the thawed stock and poured most of it in a thermos with a clove of garlic for lunch tomorrow.

I will be finishing off the last of a tray of strawberries for dessert.  Or perhaps freezing them for later.

So, here is the meal plan for the next two weeks or so.   Note that one day's dinner is the next day's lunch (the joys of cooking for one!).

Oct 1 - Oct 4

Breakfasts: broth

  • Broth, avocados
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Bok choy soup with egg yolks
  • Scrambled eggs with tomato
Oct 5 - Oct 8

Breakfasts: scrambled eggs, carrot juice (weekend is a great time to use the juicer)
  • Roast chicken (will freeze the breasts)
  • Vegetable soup with zuchini walnut bread
  • Roast turkey (thanksgiving!)
  • Chicken 'noodle' soup
Oct 9 - Oct 12

Breakfasts:  slow cooker applesauce
  • Pumpkin soup with zuchini walnut bread
  • Salmon and mashed cauliflower
  • Chilli (no beans!)
  • Ceaser salad
This takes me to the end of Intro - so then it's on to full GAPS (Minus dairy, in my case.  Post on that to follow)