Tuesday, November 26, 2013

GAPS Thanksgiving

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving on GAPS this year like we are, then you want to check out this special at The Well Fed Homestead. She has a holiday cookbook that will make your life easier and your holiday much tastier.

We will be enjoying fauxtatoes, apricot rosemary turkey, and of course some pies. The cookbook includes a recipe for green bean casserole, the fauxtatoes, a variety of other sides, and some yummy-looking desserts.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lovin' It!!

After over four months on the GAPS diet, I am loving it. Some days are tough, because this lifestyle is truly labor intensive and unforgiving. But, even when it is difficult, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. I am almost halfway through my fifth month being migraine-free. I have lost forty (yes, FORTY) pounds! And I feel better than I've felt in years. No more cravings, no more addictions to bad food, no more temptation to eat I know I shouldn't (who would want to eat something that can cause migraines? It just isn't worth it). And I can enjoy yummy food without guilt. It is awesome. And the results can be multiplies times ten, because every single member of my family is benefitting, too. 

It is remarkable to see the improvement in my dyslexic daughter. She still struggles, but life is markedly easier in so many ways. And, she is reading! All of my kids are showing improvement, actually. Attention is improved, behavior is relaxed, volume is decreased, and though this diet has not been a cure-all (my little guy with CP still has CP; my sensory kids are still sensory kids; my Autistic kid is still autistic), their struggles are less and life has definitely improved. Even my daughter who hates the diet is beginning to see benefits; already very smart, she is thinking faster and playing games more successfully (which means she is winning more often) since beginning this "psychotic diet" as she calls it.

And, I am still learning, which I love. Probably my favorite new trick is baking "pancakes." Instead of frying individual pancakes, I pour all the batter in the pan and bake it for about thirty minutes. Saves me a TON of time, and tastes great. 

We have found some amazing desserts, too. My favorite is peanut butter pie, from the Internal Bliss cookbook. We've modified it by adding cocoa powder (which is legal on full GAPS) to the crust. White bean cake is AMAZING, but for breakfast we call them "white bean muffins." After all, no self-respecting mom will serve cupcakes for breakfast, lol. We also really like ground sunflower seeds for baking, rather than almond meal or coconut flour. The best part about that is, sunflower seeds are cheap!

The GAPS lifestyle may not be cheap, easy, or quick. It doesn't fit very well with our go-go-go 21st Century culture. The benefits, however, have far outweighed the difficulties, and I am even more committed to it than ever before.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Getting in Stride

We are rapidly approaching the three month mark of our GAPS diet journey. And while it is still a lot of work, and it is more expensive than how we were eating before, the overall gains far outweigh the costs!

The biggest blessing is, I have been migraine-free for almost three months. That is truly miraculous and amazing, considering how debilitated I was just a few short months ago. The other thing is, we've seen a slight improvement in our anxiety and sensory kids. It isn't huge - not a transformation like I'd hoped for or miraculous like my migraines, but definitely improvement. Let's just put it this way; we can see the difference if they get foods they aren't supposed to have.

And, we're figuring out how to cook grain-free, which has been a huge transition. I probably miss grains more right now than I have at any other time since we started this. Overall, I'm missing "regular" food more; I think we all are. But, most of us are also convinced that cheating is just not worth it.The consequences are too great - we don't feel good when we eat foods that we shouldn't. 

Our kitchen has changed, dramatically. The microwave is gone. We have two dehydrators, three four crock pots (that are going almost all the time), I've started ordering coconut in five pound boxes, and I know how to plan a menu, prep food for two or three days in advance, and we're figuring out some convenience foods, which make life MUCH easier.

My two biggest tips are, keep broth going, all the time. When you empty a crock pot, fill it again with fresh water, a few new bones, and start it simmering again. And, keep a small crock pot filled with bone broth and carrots. The carrots are a great snack, filled with nutrients that have kept our little ones from getting too hungry or frantic about food, and they simply taste great. If you keep them going all the time, you always have snacks on hand.

It has been a difficult journey, to a large degree because of how overwhelmed we were, but I am so glad we took that first step.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Plugging Away

We have passed the official two month mark on the GAPS diet. Storms have been weathered, lessons learned, mistakes made, and tears shed. But, I am very happy with our decision to begin this sometimes arduous, overwhelming, worthwhile journey. Though we haven't seen marked improvements in our youngest children, we have noticed definite improvement in two of our older children; the clearer-thinking, less-sensory-sensitive/defensive, better-able-to-cope kind of way. And, my migraines have been all but completely eliminated! That is definitely worth the investment.

And, I have learned to make MANY new things, like:
  • yogurt
  • nut flour
  • nut milk
  • coconut milk (way too easy - check out recipes here and here)
  • grain-free scones (that are amazing, I might add). 
  • jerky (from marked down buffalo - and it was yummy, too.)
  • fruit leather
  • "crispy nuts"
  • mayonnaise
  • pancakes from squash (who knew - you will hardly notice the difference)
  • "cali-spuds" also known as creamed cauliflower or "fauxtatoes" like these
  • homemade marshmallows
And, though it is definitely an uphill climb, it hasn't fixed all the problems I hoped it would, it is expensive, difficult, and a heck of a lot of work, this diet/lifestyle change has tremendous benefits. If nothing else, I have more energy than I've had in years, and I haven't had a migraine in almost two months!! But even more than that, my sweet four year old, who has struggled more than anyone else with this lifestyle change (we have to feed her every couple of hours, or her anxiety and sensory issues are much worse), told me yesterday that she likes the diet. Before the diet, her tummy hurt all the time, but it doesn't hurt anymore since we started the diet. 

Unfortunately, GAPS isn't intended to address either anxiety or sensory issues. And, for us, it hasn't helped. Honestly, I was hoping it would; really hoping. Even so, it helping many issues that we didn't even know needed to be addressed. And, I'm starting to really have fun with the process. Never what one could consider a "domestic goddess" before, it is very fun to be able to make so many items for my family. It is fun to be learning more about nutrition and health, and to see the direct connection between what I eat and how I feel. 

In the next few days, I'm hoping to post photos of some of what we've made recently. And, I'll be sharing my adventure with making kvass, borscht, kefir (which I'm a little nervous about trying).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Three Steps Forward...

We enjoyed fresh kiwi tonight, and it was so yummy. But, one of the girls didn't do well with it, at all. Shortly after savoring the rare treat, she began having terrible stomach pain. Dissolving into tears, it was obvious she was miserable.

Having taken out our microwave, I didn't have a great way to heat a rice bag. Fortunately, I discovered that a warm over does work, it just takes longer. Since we were baking macaroons and coconut shortbread in the other oven (I have the most amazing oven ever, a Frigidaire Flair with two ovens) I was able to make use of the heat in the smaller oven and get heat the rice bag.

I also used some doTERRA DigestZen layered with coconut oil, to see if that would help. Thankfully, it did! In a fairly short time, the tears stopped and my sweet daughter was feeling much better. 

Though I never want any of my children to suffer, it was definitely good to find out that kiwi is not on the approved list, at least for now, and that DigestZen helps in such difficult situations.

Other than the little hiccup with the kiwi, I think our GAPS journey is going quite well. We've basically adjusted to cooking this way, and I'm gaining confidence in shopping. With the completion of the Intro Diet, our choices have opened up significantly, making snacks and menu planning much easier. And, it seems, we picked a great time to begin our GAPS journey; many people have journeyed before us, so the resources online are amazing. I'll be posting a list of my favorite recipes pages in the next couple of days. Some of them get visited every day, even multiple times a day.

We still aren't seeing dramatic improvements in our youngest kids; their anxiety and sensory issues actually seem worse. But, other issues are definitely improving, like my migraines; I haven't had one in almost two months. We've also noticed a dramatic reduction in our daughter's migraines. The learning struggles that prompted us to begin this crazy, psychotic, therapeutic diet have improved dramatically. In many ways, we have a new kid. And, our youngest son, though still struggling with anxiety and sensory issues, has been making great strides forward with his expressive language; that is a blessing I didn't really expect.

Though I get tired, and this diet is a tremendous amount of work, the benefits are outweighing the challenges, which makes it easier to stay the course. Seven weeks down...ninety-seven left to go.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Learning Curve

We are almost two months into our GAPS journey, and considering how daunting this adventure is, it is going very well. That is not to say that we haven't seriously contemplated quitting more than once. But things are getting easier, and now that we're basically past the Intro Stage, a little less expensive. And, as a home educator who loves to learn, the educational aspect of this whole experience has been rather exhilarating. 

Over the last six weeks, I have learned to make yogurt,
whey (one of my new favorite drinks), almond and coconut milk, cheese (that was an accident, lol, but a good-tasting one), almond meal, bone broth, homemade gummies (though mine haven't turned out that pretty), fruit leather, an incredible variety of soups, gluten-free bread, pancakes with squash instead of flour, smoothies from juice that has as many veggies as fruit (and we love them?!), make "ice cream" with my Omega juicer, soak and dry my own nuts, and even (though not very successfully, yet) kefir. My daughter has taken care of the sauerkraut, but we're eating homemade now!!
Cheese - an accidental success...

Our children still get very hungry, and not having any "cheap fillers" like rice and potatoes to extend meals and fill tummies has been exhausting as well as expensive; we are, it seems, constantly preparing or cleaning up from preparing food. If you are considering the GAPS diet, a factor you definitely need to consider is the cost, both financially and in time. And going anywhere is extra complicated, because (at least from my experience) there simply are no GAPS convenience foods. Everything takes advanced preparation and a level of intentional planning. The good news is, it gets easier as you go.

Another really neat aspect of what we're doing is what our children are learning. My son (who is six) had enough money to buy a cantaloupe at the fruit stand we buy our fruits and veggies from. He brought it home, cut it up, shared some with his brother and sisters, then froze the rest for later! I was so proud of him. 

Though the journey has been very difficult, and not very fun on several occasions, I am loving the lessons I've learned, and am incredibly thankful the learning curve is not quite so steep.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 25

It is hard to believe how much time has passed since my last blog. Quite exciting times we've had around here, too. Because of our cheat day, we took a few steps backwards on the stages, which I expected. Then we progressed a little too quickly, and a few kids had both tummy aches and extra trips to the toilet. Good ol' bone broth and very very cooked veggies with sufficient probiotics fixed everyone right up. 

Having been at this for almost a month, the family is settling into a fairly comfortable routine. It is still pretty busy in the mornings, getting everyone their probiotics, making juice, scrambling eggs, then cleaning up again in time to rest a little before jumping into lunch. But, it is getting easier. So much easier that we've started adventuring out a little ways from home. It isn't too adventurous; my parents' house, or the local park, but still, we're gaining confidence and that is fun.

Having gained a little bit of confidence, and having cheated without too much difficulty last week, I decided I'd try it again. A friend and I met at the local public market, where a gentleman makes the most amazing scones you have ever tasted. Even though they are chock full of all the foods I've given up, the temptation was just too great. I bought a scone. And every last crumb was savored. 

But, the delight didn't last that long. After visiting for a bit, I began to feel less than great. Then, I began feeling pretty crummy. Before too long, I was downright miserable, not sure I'd be able to drive all the way home. When I did make it home, a brief trip to the bathroom was my only stop on the way to bed, where I promptly collapsed.

This morning, thankfully, I woke up feeling fine. Other than taking a few steps back on the Intro diet (by choice, because my tummy needed a break after its assault), I didn't notice any lasting effects from my dalliance, by God's grace. And, knowing that neither milk nor sugar caused a similar reaction (I ate both on the Fourth of July), I am fairly confident that wheat was the trigger for my misery. So, even if I do fall off the wagon again (which I doubt, because I am feeling much better in many ways), it certainly won't be with a scone made from bleached white flour, or anything with a grain in it at all!!

One positive benefit of having been through my adventure yesterday; I know how much better I feel now; it hasn't even taken six months, like Dr. Campbell-McBride recommended. It is a gradual change, so you don't realize the transformation that is taking place until you add something back in that is bad. Then the light bulb goes on. It is an easy decision at that point to avoid the triggers!!