GAPs Day 2~ Ginger for Days

GAPs Day 2 Recap: Today, I had a marked decrease in my energy levels. However, it could be attributed to the fact that ran and swam yesterday and only got about 6 hours of sleep last night… eh, probably not. I am feeling good otherwise, and haven’t had any digestion issues, which is very encouraging! I hope to God don’t think I’ll be on this stage for more than three or four days unless something major comes up tomorrow or the day after. I just have to take it one day at a time.

I also put a little yogurt in my soup for lunch, without any side-effects so I can add that back to my diet already! Yay!!! That was one thing I was really missing already. I’ll probably only have one or two tablespoons a day for a few days just to make sure there isn’t any delayed reaction, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

On day 5 of our countdown, I present ginger-squash soup. This isn’t my absolute favorite because it isn’t hardy enough for my taste, but it is still delicious and I will often eat in between meals when I’m looking for a snack but am not really hungry enough for a full soup. It also is great for breakfast with a couple fried eggs if you are able to eat them.

So without further ado…


Ginger Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 medium yellow squash, peeled
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (or whatever you prefer, I love my garlic!)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger root, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock
  • celtic salt to taste

How to prepare a squash:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice squash in half long-ways, scoop out all of the seeds and place flesh-side down in glass baking dish with enough filtered water to cover bottom. Place in the oven for 50 minutes, until very soft. If you are making it for other recipes where you aren’t pureeing the squash, leave it in the oven for only 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and scoop all of the flesh from the shell.

Slice the yellow squash and put it in a pot on the stove with onion, garlic, ginger, and stock. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes until the veggies are cooked thoroughly. Add squash and let simmer another 10 minutes. Use immersion blender or food processor to make into a puree.


This also tastes great cold, especially with some yogurt, which is so nice that there are options if you don’t have access to a stove for lunch. Sorry I don’t have any pictures up yet. I will work on them soon!

Today, I got to make a bunch of awesome recipes with my sister (Who is also on GAPs) that I am so excited to share with you later! It was so rough smelling all of that delicious food and not being able to eat any of it, but I survived and have something to look forward to in a few weeks when I am back on the full GAPs diet. I guess smelling it will have to be enough to satisfy me for now…

I hope you all had a fantastic day and make sure to check back tomorrow for another wonderful recipe and update on how I am faring!

GAPs Day 1… Top 6 Countdown

Happy Hump Day!!! We have officially made it through the better (or worse, depending on your perspective) half of the week and we have a lovely weekend to look forward to! And it is going to be gorgeous, let me tell you! I mean, have you seen the trees lately? Here are a few shots I took walking to class the other day…

photo 1 photo (6) photo 2

How amazing is that! I am so blessed to live in Colorado!

As I informed you all, today is officially my first day of re-starting the GAPs intro diet. Today has gone well so far! No sugar cravings, no dying without coffee (one of the foods I let slip into my diet more often than I should have), and no pining after fruit, which is usually my hardest thing to give up. I have had the energy to go for a run, meet with a friend for lunch, and go to class so far, although I am getting ready now to take a nap because I am working the night shift tonight. I am determined to not cheat one little bit for at least a month as I want my body to heal in the most efficient way! Feel free to ask me about how it’s going!

As I am working my way through the first stage of the diet, I wanted to give you guys the recipes for my top 6 favorite soups that are GAPs approved. These soups have gotten me through many months of a nourishing traditions diet and I still enjoy them in spite of the weeks where all I ate was soup. I will share them in order from least favorite to most favorite.  I got the ideas for the recipes from other online resources and I will share links to those resources because they have many great ideas for GAPs approved foods! So here is number 6 on my all-time favorite soups list…

 


Stage 1 Chicken “Noodle” Soup

Adapted from this blog

  • 1 whole organic, cage-free chicken
  • 6 organic carrots, sliced
  • 1 organic onion, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, shredded into noodles
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic, chopped coarsely

Place entire chicken (including giblets), carrots, and onions into a crock pot with enough water to fill. Cook for two-three hours on high. Pull out chicken, let cool, and debone. Place chicken, carrots, onions, zucchini and garlic into a large pot and fill with stock from cooking the chicken. Let simmer until zucchini noodles are desired doneness. Salt and pepper to taste


 

There you go! It’s really pretty simple, and most of the steps are not labor intensive, just deboning the chicken. If you already have the stock and chicken made, feel free to saute the onions and carrots together then add the broth and chicken. You are going to want to add the zucchini just 15 minutes before you are ready to eat it or they will become very limb and unappetizing (I learned that the hard way).

If you are just cooking for one or two, this will definitely leave left-overs for you to freeze or keep in the refrigerator to re-heat for later! Also this tastes really good with a little pickle juice in it for your probiotics.

Let me know what you guys think of the soup! Also, if you have any other soup ideas, I am always open for suggestions and I would love to be a guinea pig for you!

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed day! Happy Cooking!

Healthy or healed? The “leaky gut” problem

Do you know what I don’t understand sometimes? My body. One minute it’s doing one thing, and the next it’s doing something completely different. Take Sunday for example. We were enjoying a wonderful family lunch, complete with hamburgers, a salad, and fresh vegetables, when all off the sudden my stomach decided to hurt for no reason. Like not just ached a little or felt nauseous, but it legitimately hurt like I hadn’t eaten all day! Thinking back to dinner, the only thing we could come up with that was different for my diet was that I had a couple dried cranberries in my salad which usually have sugar in them, and there was a slight chance there was MSG in the onion powder in our hamburgers. Both of my other sisters who struggle with health issues also didn’t feel well after dinner, each in the way our bodies normally tell us we’ve eaten something we shouldn’t have.

So, needless to say, I had a rough evening. I was in the bathroom a lot, I was not the happiest person to be around, and I just felt crappy. But just as I was thinking that it wasn’t fair that I had reacted so poorly to such a small amount of sugar or whatever else I ate after being careful for so long, I got to thinking. I realized that just because I have been careful to eat foods that are supporting my body in the healing process, doesn’t mean that I am completely healed yet. It takes much longer than a few months for the body to reverse two decades worth of food assault to my already worn-down body. But I am 100% percent confident that I will get to that point one day.

You see, some people were born with really great guts. Those people are blessed. They are able to eat whatever they want and their body can digest it without issues. Other people were born with some not so great guts. And you would be surprised at how many people there are in that camp. I feel like every day I talk to someone who has some kind of food intolerance or digestive issue that I was unaware of. The people weren’t born so blessed, or there were some circumstances when they were young that led them to having a poor digestive system. When our enterocytes, the cells which line the intestine walls, become damaged and are unable to reproduce as fast as they are worn out, they no longer are can be a good barrier to keep toxins from entering our blood stream. This condition, called “leaky gut syndrome,” plagues numerous people today and is one of the reasons why food allergies, mental disorders, autoimmune diseases, hormone imbalances, infertility rates, and obesity as well as obesity-related diseases are on the rise today. Our poor westernized diet that consists largely of unsaturated fats, simple carbohydrates, and chemically enhanced everything has played a role in this epidemic as well. If this is something that resonates with you, never fear! There is hope for you!

I was in the same boat once. I noticed that as I got older, my acne never really went away, even though I was very careful about what I ate. I also was sensitive to wheat and dairy, could never get my hormones in balance, struggled with depression, and had a foggy mind often. Just before I started the diet, I also would word-search in the middle of sentences sometimes. This scared me the most because I had always had clear thoughts and was able to articulate myself well before, but this seemed to come up very suddenly. These are all symptoms of having a toxic overload in the body and brain. In May, I initially started the healing protocol which consists of six stages of foods accompanied by many detoxifying recommendations which lead into the full GAPs diet. It was wonderful (mostly). Some days were really hard, but most days I felt wonderful! I have been following the full GAPs recommendations with plenty of probiotic foods with awesome results. However, after thinking for many weeks about whether I have seen the results I was hoping for (hormone balance being one of the main ones), I was convinced on Sunday after my awfully wonderful meal that tomorrow, I am going to start over on day 1 of the intro diet again, and take it very slowly.

Don’t worry, I will keep you updated and I expect you all to keep me accountable for my second go-around on the Intro diet. I will be eating a lot of soup, like ONLY soup for a few days, and sharing my favorite recipes with you. But never fear, I love soup! Plus I will be getting the nutrients my body needs to fully heal. I may be grumpy for a short number of days, but I will compensate for it in the coming weeks when I expect to have extra energy because my body will be getting exactly what it was designed to receive to nourish it.

And to answer my own question, when I am eating healthy, it doesn’t mean that I am healed. It takes a while of being very careful about what I am putting into and onto my body for it to heal completely, but when I get to that point it will be totally worth being able to enjoy pizza or pie again every once in a while without negative side effects.

For more information on the GAPs Diet, my GAPs journey, or if you should look into the GAPs diet, you can always email me or visit http://www.gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html

Five Ways to Save Money (and Time) in the Kitchen

How is it possible to save money in the kitchen you may ask? Especially while eating a whole food diet? Well, I can tell you that it’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It takes a lot of planning and prepping, but it is possible!

1. Meal plan: This can be hard to get into but has been the biggest time and money saver for me! One thing that I noticed when looking over a week of groceries was the less I planned, the more times I went to the store, and the more money I spent there. I don’t know if you’re like this but it usually happens that I have to run to the store for just one thing and I end up with way more than I needed. So even if you end up with more than what was on your list, if you only go to the store once, you will inevitably spend less on those extra things than if you go three or four times that week. Also, I have found that if I were to eat chicken say, three times one week, and hadn’t meal planned, I would have only bought enough for two and a half meals and would have to go back for way more chicken than I had planned for. So, plan once, shop once. Easy as that. (Hah! If only that were true!)

2. Cook in large quantities: This is especially helpful if you are only cooking for yourself. I usually only have one day a week that I really cook, then I will bag and freeze the extras. If you like soup, this is always a great option, otherwise you can do simple things like cook meat and cut up into smaller pieces, slice fruits and vegetables and put in tupperware, and start any fermented foods you need to make. This would be a good time to get grains, nuts, or seeds soaking for that week and make any baked goods. I have also found that if I have an allotted amount of food for the week, I do a better job of portion controlling and not overeating.

3. Always have yogurt, kefir, and other fermented vegetables going: This is more for time than money, but that way you never run out of anything at the last second. My new favorite fermented vegetable are these Lacto-fermented Ginger Carrots. They taste great with pretty much everything and take only three days to ferment!

4. If you are making your own stock and broth (which I highly recommend you do), make sure you prepare them properly and separately, unlike my mom taught me. The best way to make stock is to put it in a crock pot with carrots and an onion filled with water for 2-3 hours. Then, take out the chicken, debone it, and put the bones back in the crock out with a new batch of water and apple cider vinegar. This pulls out the good nutrients from the bones. If you do them separately and mix later, you will have twice the amount of broth, which usually makes three batches of soup for me, or two batches with plenty to drink on the side. I will post recipes soon showing my favorite GAPs approved soups to make.

5. Use your resources: Do you have a farmers market somewhere close by? Go to it! At my last trip to a farmers market, I left with two zucchini, a spaghetti squash, a yellow squash, and a fresh cantaloupe for $5! That is WAY cheaper than I could’ve gotten them at Sprouts! Do you have a friend with a big garden? Ask if you can get any produce from them? Chances are, they have more squash than they know what to do with right now and they would be glad to get it off their hands! Is there an apple tree somewhere nearby? Go pick some apples for applesauce (only with permission, of course)! If you live around Northern Colorado, there is a farm in Platteville called Miller Farm where for a low cost (I think $15 a person), you can gather up to 5 bags of produce. We used to go there as a family and always came home with plenty of food for the winter (imagine 6 people gather 20 lbs. of carrots each… and that was just carrots). Opportunities are everywhere, especially at this time of the year, if you just keep your eye out for people and places that are giving away food for free (or cheaply). It really pays to have friends. Just don’t seem like a cheap-skate or you may not be invited back next year.

So there you go! Five ways to save money in the kitchen. Do you have any other suggestions? I would love to hear them! I am always looking for ways to save money on good, wholesome foods!

Have a blessed day!

Getting Out of a Rut

I’ve been feeling stuck in a rut lately. Like nothing I’m doing is helping me get closer to my goals and I have no idea how to change things. But I discovered something yesterday that could be just what I’ve been needing.

If you guys haven’t read the book The Slight Edge By Jeff Olson, stop everything you are doing and go get it now. Seriously. I wish I had heard of it much earlier in my life because it would have saved me a lot of heartache and frustration. It talks about how every decision you make either brings you closer to success or closer to failure, even when you don’t see it right away. For example, one extra slice of pizza today won’t kill you. If people dropped dead after eating a piece of pizza, there wouldn’t be 70,000 pizza parlors in the USA today. However, if you eat an extra slice of pizza every day for a year can have some serious health consequences. Now you might say, “Alyssa, I would never eat pizza every day for a year!” which may be true, but it doesn’t have to be just pizza! It could be something different every day: pizza today, macaroni and cheese tomorrow, a Big Mac the next day… you get the picture.

This principal doesn’t just apply to food though. What about exercise? Most people know that to see health benefits from exercising, you should exercise at least three times per day fro 20-30 minutes. But why do so many people have those gym memberships and never use them? Because they subconsciously make a choice to ignore the recommendations and say “I’ll go tomorrow… I’m just too tired today.” And three years and 40 lbs down the road (maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration), people are too discouraged to ever go back and lose those extra pounds.

Convinced to read the book yet? Here’s one more example: Imagine how your life would change if you read just 10 pages of a book that was geared towards changing your life, books like The Millionaire Next Door, How to Win Friends & Influence People, or Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success. It’s so easy to read just a few pages a day, and it’s just as easy not to, which is why so many people are stuck in a rut with their careers, school, relationships, etc. just like I was. You probably won’t see a difference right away, but over weeks, months, and years, the things you do will compound and your life will be changed whether you know it or not. Jeff talks about how most people do these things when they hit rock-bottom to go from failing to survivors, but the people who continue to do them after they are surviving are the continually successful ones, the people who seem to be succeed in whatever they do.

So, from now on, I am going to ask myself this question whenever I am faced with any decision, whether big or small: “If I did this every day for the next year, how would it affect my life?” and similarly, “If I DIDN’T do this every day for the next year, how would it affect my life?” These simple questions apply to everything from academic work to exercise, eating, spending money, and any other decisions you make every day. I challenge you to try it and see how your life changes. I cannot wait to see how it changes me. Also, just get the book. It’ll be well worth your money.

Speaking of being in a rut…

You guys should know that I eat a lot of soup. Like A LOT of soup. Like usually one or two times every day. I just love soup. It is so nutritious for you and delicious, especially now that we’re getting into fall. I usually have three or four different kinds of soup made up in the fridge to heat up. Today, I was heating up some GAPs approved chicken “noodle” soup (find the recipe HERE) and I wasn’t as excited about it as I usually am. I’ve been eating it quite a bit because it’s starting to go bad and I still have a lot of it to eat. Then I came up with the best idea to spice it up a little bit and make it a little differently. Ready for the big secret? It is…

soup

Green onions and an egg! This makes the soup into something similar to an egg drop soup. I cannot believe that something that simple (and cheap!) could change the soup so much! It definitely made this soup much more enjoyable.

So, if you are stuck in a rut today, try making just one or two positive decisions about your health (what you eat or exercising), your relationships (saying “I love you”), or your personal development (seriously, get that book). Then keep doing that every day for the next month and see the results. You can also ask those who love you most what differences they have seen. Chances are, they’ve seen results more than you have! Then keep up the good work!

If you have any more ideas on how to get out of that rut, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

Have a blessed day!!!

My Life… And A Delicious Banana-Nut Bread Recipe

Do you ever wake up thinking that you’re late for something? Where you wake up in a complete panic and your brain automatically goes through each worst case scenario if you were late to your meeting/work/class/whatever? Well that was me this morning. I work up at 5:30 AM thinking that I had missed an early morning shift and seeing I had missed a call from my work didn’t help at all. The good news: my shift is actually tomorrow. The bad news: I had so much adrenaline pumping through my body, I had absolutely no chance of falling back to sleep. More good news though: this has been one of the most productive mornings of my life. I decided to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water and found three bananas sitting on the counter and decided they needed a little TLC. So what do I naturally make? Banana bread, of course! (recipe to follow later in this post) I have also gone for a run, picked up my room, showered, finished chicken bone broth, oil pulled, eaten breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen after myself, worked on some homework, read a little, and now I’ve written a blog post, all before 9 AM! If the rest of my day continues like this, I could be ruling the world by dinner time!

Okay, maybe not, but I’m guessing I’ll definitely be able to finish the two projects I have due tomorrow before my class at 2 today, and who knows what else? I love mornings like this, and I wish I could force them to happen more often. Don’t get me wrong, I also love lazy mornings where I have the time to drink my coffee on the front porch and watch the sun rise, but I try to reserve those for weekend mornings. Today, I did get to watch the sun rise, or rather squint into the sun as I was running, and I am so thankful for that! I am also thankful that I have gotten so much done!

Well, enough about me… Here’s the delicious and super easy recipe I whipped up this morning! It turned out delicious and wasn’t too sweet, which made it a perfect addition to my eggs for breakfast. It’s banana-nut bread made GAPs/Paleo/SCD friendly with no grains, dairy, or sugar! The honey is optional if you like your bread a little less sweet. So enjoy it without guilt!

P.S. Make sure you don’t open the end of the salt shaker that’s used for measuring spoons if you were planning on shaking it into your palm. It’s bad news bears.


One Bowl Banana-Nut Bread:

Ingredients:

  • 3 over-ripe bananas (the more brown, the better!)
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I use Celtic Sea Salt®)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Mash bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Add all other ingredients except nuts and stir until there are no lumps in the batter. Fold in walnuts. Pour into greased cake pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.


 

There you go! It will take about 5 minutes to mix together and then you can do other things while enjoying the wonderful scent of the bread filling up the house! If you’ve never cooked with almond flour before, beware that it doesn’t rise. However, I have heard recently that if you properly soak your almonds and make an almond flour from them, it does rise like regular bread. I’m very excited to experiment with that, I just haven’t had the time to yet. If you have any tips, feel free to post about them in the comments below!

I hope you all have a blessed and productive day!