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    Random Thoughts on the GAPS Diet

    September 19, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    I‘m not an expert {yet}, but we’re on Day 19, which is practically Day 20, which is practically three weeks, if you follow me. So I thought I’d share some of my reflections on doing GAPS in case anyone is interested in them. Those of you who have done the diet might have something to share in the comments, I’m guessing.

    In no particular order…

    • Crock Pots Are Necessities. I have two, and most days I am using both of them. In the past, I have always made broth on the stove top in a hug stock pot I own, but I just don’t have room to do that day-in and day-out. The crock pot has saved me every time. I have made all of my broth in them; I have lamb bone broth going as I type.
    • A Whole Chicken, Giblets and All, Can go from Frozen to Done in 8-10 Hours on Low. I’ve been putting mine in during the evening and turning it off when I get up to milk goats in the five o’clock hour. Then it sits there until I have time to deal with it. Ideally, this means I simply turn most of it into soup, rather than trying to store all of the broth and meat in the refrigerator. Once the chicken is cooked, I divide the unused contents of the pot into three containers: broth, bones, edibles. Notice I didn’t say “meat.” When you boil a chicken, most of the connective tissue becomes gelatinous and therefore edible. You want to eat this; it is super nourishing for the GAPS patient.
    • GAPS is Pricey. Some of our costs have gone down. Pre-GAPS I was still buying a gallon of raw milk per week, and I was still botching lunch at least once {which meant a trip to buy burritos at El Pollo Loco, my four-year-old’s meal of choice, and with five of us that always rang up to the tune of $15 or $16 dollars}. We also did take-and-bake pizza about once every other week. So all of these things are costs that have gone down. But starches like potatoes and flours and refined ingredients like white sugar are cheap when compared to eating a lot of meat and vegetables. I’m not saying it’s not worth it; I’m just saying that I don’t think I’m saving any money.
    • At Least Two Soups a Day to Survive Intro. This was my rule of thumb. I have two soup kettles: a big one and a smaller one. In the early stages, when we ate nothing but soup around the clock, I found it easiest to serve a soup and then dump the leftovers into my smaller kettle, keeping the heat on low. The children were hungry more often, so they were free to dip into that soup whenever they wanted food. In the meantime, my big kettle was able to be cleaned up, meaning that when I had time I could prepare the next recipe. This gave us more variety {because at the next meal we could choose between the two soups} and insured that we never ran out of food.
    • Your Kids Might Eat More! I have extremely thin children, and I have always felt like the littlest two really didn’t eat enough, but there was nothing I could do. Oh my. They are making up for lost time! We used to eat scrambled eggs a number of days every week for breakfast. Sometimes there was cheese on them, sometimes not. Always, they had milk or cream mixed in. These children always ate the equivalent of approximately one egg. Sometimes, they didn’t even finish that! They are now eating more than me! On Monday for breakfast, they ate two homemade turkey sausage patties {the size of a scoop of ice cream}, two fried eggs, 1/3 of an avocado, and about a tablespoon of sauerkraut. When they finished all of the food I had prepared, they asked me if there was anything more to eat! It is like they are different children now.
    • Try Not to Stall on Intro. I read a ton before we started the diet, and I think the best advice I received, which I also acted on as things came up, was not to stop progressing just because something went wrong on the intro diet. For instance, if you are in the stage where you add egg yolk, and you respond negatively to egg yolk {we had a child get a rash}, does that mean you are stuck on the previous stage? A lot of people say yes, but we decided to take different advice and introduce a different food, while skipping the eggs for a while. We came back a few days later and it was fine, but if it hadn’t been, I didn’t see the point in not giving my child avocado {which comes later} just because he didn’t pass the egg test, if that makes sense. So we moved on, adding as many new foods as we could {but still one at a time} and now we have a pretty good variety. I am slowly getting us onto Full GAPS and out of intro, though my children are unable to eat yogurt right now {big bummer!}.
    • Die-off Reactions Are Real. I had read about them before, but never seen them. I had one child in particular vomit yeast for an entire morning. It was really strange.
    • Shrimp Goes with Chicken. Sea food is nourishing because it is easy to digest and high in vitamins and minerals. I had a number of fish soup recipes, but wasn’t able to find much fish I could afford. What I figured out was that the excellent deal I got on a few pounds of tiny precooked Pacific shrimp was a nice add-on to a number of my chicken soups. So instead of making a seafood soup, I would take one to two cups of frozen shrimp and throw it in at the end. Sometimes we would eat the soup without the shrimp, and then I’d toss shrimp in for leftovers, changing the taste and making it feel like we were eating more variety than we really were.
    Soon, I am going to post my huge, extensive collection of recipe links. If you’re not on GAPS, a lot of them will still be good during cold season! It’ll be like a free, online cookbook. I’ve posted recipes on my Pinterest account, but I think that one exhaustive list might be easier to reference because it is all in one window.

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  • Reply Jen September 21, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I’m still keeping the GAPS diet in the back of my mind, so I love that you’re sharing your experience (and admire that you did it in the first place!)… sure wish I could have just snuck A. into your house for the last 3 weeks though. I’m sure she’d benefit from it, I’m just not so sure I’m up to the challenge. Maybe some day. Miss you guys!

  • Reply Kelly September 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Love your two-soup-pots tip. That will make things lots easier when we do it again in the winter.

    Also, thanks for the shrimp idea. As close to the ocean as we live you’d think seafood would be more affordable, but that’s not the way it works, is it?

  • Reply Mystie September 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I always love new soup recipes. 🙂 I need to look into making beef broth now that I have soup bones from our whole cow purchase. I’ve also not had much luck yet with vegetable broth turning out well.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts September 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      If beef broth is anything like lamb broth, you can simply cover a bone or two with water in the crockpot, add some vinegar, and let it simmer–but it takes many more hours than chicken, I find.

      Vegetable broth is something I haven’t tried. I prefer meat broths, personally…But I’d be curious if you can figure it out!

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