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Health, Home, and Happiness: GAPS Recipes and FAQ

Monday, March 8, 2010

GAPS Recipes and FAQ

I wanted to post some questions about GAPS that I get, as well as links to my GAPS posts and recipes all together, so here it goes.  I'll be still going grain free every once in a while and trying new GAPS friendly recipes, so more will be added in the future as well.  I was glad that I was both able to re-create bread like recipes (the coconut flour bread) and venture into other food that I hadn't tried before GAPS (like more fish!)

I think I'm done with GAPS for right now.  I seem to be completely rid of my milk allergy, and my breastfed son (who eats solids too- he's 15 months) doesn't seem to react to it any more either, which is awesome. He used to get eczema from it and I used to get sinus infections.  I feel a little less scattered, a little more organized, but my handwriting didn't improve much (if at all).  I'm glad we did the trial of the GAPS diet. Don't let the name fool you; Gut and Psychology Syndrome isn't just for psychological issues, but it clears up allergies and general chronic conditions too, like eczema.

FAQ down below

General info:
An overview, and what I got together to Start GAPS
How we modified the intro because I felt it was too low carb
My guest post at Cheeseslave's blog; How GAPS is helping our Family
Stephanie of Keeper of the Home talks about Starting GAPS and  why she decided to do GAPS in her family

What do you eat on GAPS? (A shopping trip)
Bulk cooking on GAPS saved me lots of time
Kitchen Tools  Having some help in the kitchen by way of appliances and other tools makes work so much easier both on GAPS and whole foods cooking.  These are some of my favorites.

Menus- Just outlines of meals for a week.  These are more winter menus, since I did this during winter time.  Lots of links to recipes or descriptions of how I cook things in here.
Menu 1
Menu 2
Menu 3
Menu 4

Beef Sausage
Easy Balanced and Filling Smoothies
Squash Pancakes
Coconut flour muffins
24-Hour Yogurt

Coconut flour bread
Butternut Squash Soup
Cooking Squash
Chicken Stock
Chicken Salad Wraps
Meatballs and Apples
Chicken Pancakes

Fish Cutlets
Fish patties (my favorite!)
Hamburgers on Portabella Mushrooms with Squash Fries
Spouted Lentil Soup
Fresh Wild Trout
Onion Soup
Liver and Onions (and why you should consider eating liver)

Snacks/everything else
Soaked/Dehydrated Almonds
Homemade Almond Flour
Easy Homemade ketchup
Cooked Apples
Dried Fruit
Berry Cobbler
Almond Brittle
Strawberry Almond Bars

A big part of GAPS is reducing the toxin load in the home, here is what I use for soap and hair/body/tooth care.  I use soapnuts as a 100% natural laundry detergent now.  Oil pulling is something else that some GAPS-type people find useful.  And Epsom Salt Baths are another part of the GAPS protocol.


Do you have enough energy?
I felt like I had more energy on GAPS. I felt great the whole time I was on it, though I never really had a huge die off.  I feel better on GAPS.

Is it safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding?
I personally will make a point to be on GAPS for at least part of my next pregnancy, should we be blessed again.  It is a very healthy 'clean' diet and I feel like it would be a great pregnancy diet!  I would just do what's called 'full gaps' and take it really slow introducing probiotics.  The intro (as opposed to full gaps) is a little to restrictive for what I'm comfortable doing while pregnant or breastfeeding, but that's a decision you have to make for yourself.  By delaying things that trigger die offs (coconut oil, probiotic, fermented foods, limiting carbs) you can lessen the impact it would have on your baby in utero or nursling.

Is it expensive?
Yes.  Not to scare you off, but because you're eliminating potatoes and grains from the diet, and I really think the meat you eat needs to be organic, it is more expensive than not being on GAPS.  We are a single-income family, and my husband is in construction so the income we do have right now isn't huge (being honest...) and we still made it work, but it takes some planning.  You can see some things that have worked for us in Paying Cash for Groceries and 10 ways to Find More Grocery Money

Is it time consuming?
No. It takes some planning, but it's not too bad.  Mostly, you can't just grab something quickly when you're out- I don't think there is any prepared food even at our health food store that is GAPS friendly.  I quickly learned that before doing errands I needed to hack a squash in half and stick it in the oven (at 250 degrees) so something was ready when we came home. I bulk cooked meat balls, apples, and dehydrated lots of fruit at one time.  It requires organization, but I didn't find it took really any more time than regular cooking from scratch.

Do you miss grains?
I'm not going to lie... I like bread.  I didn't find that I had overwhelming cravings for starches, though.  There are lots of good foods you can eat on GAPS. So, I found that I was easily able to adapt to the diet but I don't think I'd choose to be on it for the rest of my life without a good reason.

Can you cheat?
Cheating is complicated and it involves knowing your body and understanding your reactions.  You do need to be strict- fanatical adherence is I believe how it's said in Breaking The Vicious Cycle, on a day-to-day basis, or you won't have any healing.  Cheating needs to be thought through and deliberate (I know this sounds bizarre... just go with me on this).  We had 'good luck' cheating with SCD-legal foods, as I described in the post on Cheeseslave's blog.  SCD legal foods don't contain the carbohydrates that are going to feed the bad bacteria.

I tried cheating with *just a bite* of soaked whole wheat bread about a week into the diet, and reacted to it immediately; raised pulse, nausea, other tummy troubles.  I was surprised that would make so much of a difference.  I tried again after about 3 weeks onto the diet, and enough healing had taken place that I could cheat and feel not great, but not awful.  At this point I decided to just do GAPS 5 days a week, and be 'off' on the weekends.  After a couple months of this on for 5 days, off for 2, I did another full 3 weeks on, and then was done.

More about cheating:  I found that it did no good if I ate even a tiny bit of 'illegal' on the days that I was supposed to be doing GAPS.  It took me a full 24 hours of only eating GAPS foods to feel like I was actually on GAPS (feeling scattered, bloated with the illegal foods).  For this reason, I'd encourage you to not bother with doing 'mostly GAPS' and then write off the diet as 'not working'- it's not going to work unless you're not letting any trace of illegal carbohydrate into your diet.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who can't handle cheating at all.  I didn't consider myself to be in dire need of GAPS, but was doing it more as a cleanse, so it wasn't going to affect me as much.

What about going to other people's houses?

See the 'Cheating' section, above.  I elected to keep the kids on GAPS food, since I couldn't really tell how they handled non-GAPS food on occasion, so I just brought food along for them, plus some to share.  They were stuck on the only-cooked-fruit stage for quite a while, and I'll admit that I did occasionally microwave fruit to 'cook' it easily at other people's houses.   Because food allergies, special diets, and picky kids are so common now, it wasn't a big deal at all to bring different food. I'd usually just bring some sort of fruit and some sort of meat so it wasn't too messy.  If a former-favorite (pizza) was being served, I'd be sure to bring something they really liked, like fruit leathers and not stress if that's all they ate that meal.

What supplements do you take?
We started out taking Biokult.  My prenatal (which I otherwise LOVE) isn't GAPS friendly so I stopped taking that (I'm breastfeeding).  We did juicing, which I consider to be a supplement of sorts.  We eventually got Salty Cod Liver Oil from Green Pasture.  I switched over to SCDophilous for our probiotic once Bio-Kult ran out.  There is some controversy about BioKult; some of the bacteria in it are not legal on SCD, and there is some sort of corn derivative in it.  I think after reading about this I'm more comfortable with the SCDophilous, but there is no doubt that BioKult has helped many people.  That's it.  I'm not a big supplement person.

What Did You Do for Intro?
We modified the intro (added carbs (squash), coconut oil (for satiety since we were used to it), and ahem coffee for me.  Other than that we rushed through the intro described in the Gaps Guide and were through it in a week. Started with chicken broth + veggies+boiled meat, added in eggs the next day, cooked peeled fruit the day after that, then slowly added other GAPS food one at a time. We didn't add nuts, dairy, or juice for a couple weeks.

Feel free to ask me any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them or point you in a direction of someone who may know the answer. There's a GAPS Yahoo group too, and they know much more than I do.


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Anonymous Naomi said...

I didn't know GAPS could help allergies...I think I'll have to give it a try then. My youngest seems to react to so many foods with awful ugly excema, including milk. It's really hard because people are not used to allergies (the plague is on its way though) in the country where I live, and sometimes they don't respect when you ask them not to give x to your child. Especially in-laws.

March 8, 2010 at 8:27 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I understand. I have gotten quite a backbone since having children who react to things, I'd like to be a little more gentle with people but some people honestly don't understand unless you are very firm with them. Thankfully now after GAPS it's not as much of an issue.

March 8, 2010 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Susanna said...

Cara, Thanks a TON for this post (and for your whole blog!) We took your advice and started full GAPS (rather than on the intro.) It's day 9 for us and I feel like it's going really well - some die-off symptoms, so it makes me feel like it's doing something, but nothing major. And shockingly few cravings - so surprising since we're a huge bread/carbs family!!! Your post is a huge encouragement for me since I feel like my reasons for doing it are on a similar level to yours (eczema, brain fog, etc.) - not on the scale of the autism, etc. that some people are dealing with. I'm so encouraged to hear that you got results in a few months - that's much more manageable to me than a few years!! I was wondering if we needed to do the Intro at all, but perhaps we'll do it the way you did it (fly through.) We all tolerate sour kraut, yogurt, and kefir very well, so it seems strange to drop it to only a teaspoon a day. I need to figure that out. Anyway, I'll be back to your blog regularly for all your great GAPS-related ideas. Thanks for suggesting we start on full GAPS - made it much less overwhelming that way! Glad you can drink milk now. :)

March 8, 2010 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger kc said...

I really liked your description of GAPS. I think it is expensive to do the GAPS diet, but not much more expensive than our normal diet since we are allergic to corn. Your assessment was right on the money.

For Naomi, I just wanted to mention when someone reacts to lots of different foods and has eczema as a reaction it is usually a corn allergy. It is hard to figure out a corn allergy because GMO corn is in so many things (even organic milk) and all supplements or vitamins, all enriched products and it can even be on fresh produce and organic meat. It isn't always listed on the ingredient label and when it is, there are over 100 different names for it. Anyone that is battling eczema (and so many are) should try cutting out all food additives (including hidden ones). GAPS diet cuts out most sources of corn, but it doesn't eliminate all of them: all cheese made in this country, white vinegar, corn wax on produce, cornstarch on frozen vegetables, lactic acid on meat, citric acid on bagged salads, corn derivatives in approved supplements (like Biokult), corn contaminated eggs, iodized salt, etc.

March 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Hmmm...this sounds interesting. I do have alot of tummy issues. So my interest is def piqued. I will have to check into it further. Thanks for sharing!

And thanks for stopping by my blog today. I appreciated your view as a relatively new blogger. It's interesting how we all have a slightly different view of blogging.

Hope you have a great week!

March 8, 2010 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

A couple questions... are you going to keep your kids on the diet, or is your whole family done? Also, how did you go about transitioning back to grains and other "illegal" starches? Did it take long? Any problems adding them back in? Thanks!

March 9, 2010 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

Kids: My daughter is staying on, she has some ASD-like developmental issues that I don't blog about just because it seems like a controversial subject :) But my son is off with me and appears to be doing well.

Transitioning back in grains and other illegal starches- You can see I was cheating, so that's how I transitioned them back in. With my daughter (who is on much more strict GAPS) I'll do a real 'low and slow' introduction. I think the first grain recommended to introduce is fermented buckwheat, and then slowly slowly slowly do one grain/starch at a time; doing wheat last.

I had her on GFCF before GAPS so I was really nervous about introducing the yogurt in, but she does do well with goat yogurt. So I'll just take the same really slow approach to grains like I did with the yogurt, and check for reactions. I'm confident that when her gut is sufficiently healed introducing things won't be a problem. That's just my opinion, based on how I did with my more-minor gut issues :)

March 9, 2010 at 6:56 AM  
Blogger The Sometimes Mom said...

How long can you store fresh juice? Also, how do you get kids to get on board with GAPS? I have been working towards a full GAPS diet for myself but I just can see my kids going it.

March 9, 2010 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I think you're supposed to make the juice fresh every day, but I found that it did fine in the fridge for 2-3 days. It's going to lose some of the nutritional content in that time, though.

My kids are still pretty little (1 and 3) and they're not in school or anything, so I just changed what we ate and that was that :) I don't have a whole lot of advice for older children, since I haven't been in that position. Not a lot of help in this area, am I?

March 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Susanna said...

It's me again... I wondered what you think about quantities of sour kraut juice and yogurt/kefir on intro. We're already consuming large quantities of those. When we start Intro (I think on Friday), do we really need to cut down to just teaspoons? What was your experience with that?
I'm planning to start juicing on stage 2 (day 2 hopefully!) and love your ideas for utilizing the pulp in stock and in baking.

March 9, 2010 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

Starting slow- I know that there were foods that I thought we tolerated just fine before GAPS that we ended up needing to introduce slowly. For my daughter, she is still stuck on 'cooked fruits/veggies only' when before GAPS she seemed to do just fine with lots of raw fruits and veggies.

I did re-intro the yogurt slowly since milk is a common allergen, but kraut I didn't do as slowly as they suggest since that you're supposed to do slowly to trigger die offs. I guess allergens I did slowly, but die off stuff I did quickly since we had included it in our diet prior.

Your juicing sounds great!

March 9, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Susanna said...

Thanks again for your responses - so helpful as we prepare to start the Intro tomorrow! We will start w/ just teaspoons of whey from the kefir and see how that goes (and teaspoons of juice from the kraut.) I'm going to use die-off symptoms as the way to determine our speed/pace.
I'm assuming no coconut milk on intro since it's not mentioned anywhere?

March 11, 2010 at 5:31 AM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

Sounds great!

Coconut milk- it can't have guar gum or other additives so be sure to check. It's supposed to be introed a little later. I think I waited about a month but that might not have been necessary.

March 11, 2010 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Cara, Thanks for this blog -just found it and like it. Why did you choose to switch from Biocult to Scdophilus? How are they different? (other than the obvious price difference!) Did one seem more effective in getting good bacteria in the gut/producing die-offs?

March 13, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Cara @ Health Home and Happiness said...

Glad you like it! Thanks for reading!

Both produced die off. If you look into the SCD Diet, Elaine was pretty specific about which pro biotic to use, and I'm more comfortable with her fewer strains of bacteria vs BioKult's 14 strains. BK also has a tiny bit of corn that bothers some people.

March 13, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

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