Friday, February 19, 2010

A Surprising Easy Everyday Lunch

Hey, GAPS people! Squash idea! Although I'm sure it's been done before. I've always avoided it because it takes so long to prepare. It's also a bit testy on the digestive tract for me, but this version is bathed in good fats. The ghee and coconut butter formed a kind of creamy sauce, which is very tasty and seems to be acting a bit more kindly going down.

So, I peeled a whole delicata squash, scooped out the seeds, and cut it up into about 1/2" squares. I steamed it for 8 minutes in a metal steamer. Then I added about 2 teaspoons of ghee and one of coconut butter.

Super delicious - and the one issue, for me is that it's a bit low on protein. But then, we don't have the butter, nut or egg options and we're between batches of soup and meat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kitchen Sink Soup - GAPS style

I know it looks like all I make is desserts, but really, that's what I do for fun and many of them I can't even sample because they have too many disaccharides.

Okay. So this is what I eat for two, sometimes 3 meals in a day, in as many variations as is possible to come with over a year and 3 months.

This version was started with bone broth from buffalo ribs that had lots of meat on them.

Then I sauteed a whole yellow onion for 25 minutes. Generally I use ghee, but I thought I'd take a break and use grapeseed oil and drippings from yesterday's chicken. Then I added chopped spring garlic and continued until they were almost transparent - just a few minutes more. I added vegetables I had around - a bunch of chopped spinach, some peas, about five stalks of celery chopped and continued to saute it until everything was coated and the spinach was slightly wilty. I stuck a sprig of thyme, a pinch of oregano and a bay leaf in a bouquet garni bag and tossed it in, then added 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then the broth. It boiled, then settled to a simmer until done. I think this one took 15 minutes. Remove bouquet garni. Put in bowl. Add either kraut or coconut milk kefir. Eat. Enjoy.

Oh, I forgot to mention that somewhere along the way I like to add a bit of Bernard Jensen's gelatin. Generally about a tablespoon for a large pot of soup. I look to see if it gels when it's cold. If it's hard or almost hard after a night in the fridge, it's enough gelatin. If it's watery, add more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another Realization


I never talk about stews and all the meats I cook. They're just too banal-seeming for that, I guess. But next time...

Maybe I'll talk about the joys of a good bone broth stew or something? *Snort* Especially since that's pretty much what I'm eating two and three times a day right now. :)

An unintentional cavewoman.

Last week I saw John Durant on The Colbert Report and a lightbulb went off. Sort of. I mean, diets are all in the eye of the beholder, and the eater, to a certain extent. I'm sure that there are some folks in the world who are better adjusted to a menu that contains grains and vegetable matter than I am. I just don't know where or who they are, necessarily. I remember, as a youngish dancer meeting a colleague who was actually raised vegan who was in excellent shape, not counting some laugh lines that could be chalked up to a smoking habit. On the other hand, then we were 20-something. Now we're all nearing or in our 40s and I don't see her much, (although she's still dancing, as far as I can see) so I don't know what her health is like. I also have a friend who is amazingly creative in the kitchen as a vegan and manages to make some spectacularly varied macrobiotic meals for her family. She's also from an ancestry that ate lots of vegetables and rice. So perhaps that's a good fit, as well.

I do know that my years as a vegetarian helped to ruin my health. I lost several years just trying to get my life back. First there was the wild moods of my adolescence - I'm sorry, folks, but that kind of emotional mess is NOT normal for a kid. Then there was my back injury, constant rashes and infections. My gut was a mess, too. I had chronic dysbiosis. I've been allergic to gluten (perhaps Celiac's, I'm not sure...) all my life, but my childhood and later vegetarian diet was full of it. This was on top of the routinely overused antibiotics given to kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s and too many foods that came out of boxes and cans. At least I ate fish, eggs and dairy.

My ancestors ate meat, including organ meat (during lean periods in the form of stews, most likely), fresh and preserved fish, poultry, bone broth, roots, fermented drinks, dairy and vegetables. They had soured breads, black breads and kasha, nuts, honey and probably some dried fruits. In the summers they had whatever vegetables they could grow. My great grandmother had 7 children, six of whom lived. Two of her children she birthed in her forties - at the turn of the century. My mother tells me that her favorite part of the chicken were the feet. She was also unusual in that she was a birthing assistant, basically what we now call a doula. She believed in nursing, rather than the bottle feeding that was forced on mothers at that time. She nursed all her babies. So did my grandmother. My mother nursed me until about 16 months. My maternal grandmother lived to a ripe old age of 97 with little illness and amazing bones. The fact that my mother nursed me as long as she did probably saved me from even more difficulties.

Since the turn of the century, the health of my extended family has suffered as the diet changed to packaged and processed foods. Few people actually die of old age. Instead, we have cancer and diabetes. Many of the women have fibroids, including me. (I currently live with nine of varying sizes. It was a bit like having a multiple pregnancy, with only one coming out at the end. We named them after the Seven Dwarves with two extra whose names changed often - Annoyance and Irritation were my favorite.) I have a theory that there are lots of unnoticed food sensitivities and allergies, especially gluten.

I started GAPS diet over a year ago and watched as layers of dysfunction peeled away, sometimes painfully, usually with relief. I still have a few, but I have hope that these will go at some point, as well. One thing that hasn't happened is true relief from my food allergies. I still can't have peach, honey, salmon, oranges, ginger or nuts. I have occasional problems with nightshades, broccoli and can't eat any vegetable raw. The diet doesn't allow any soy or starches, so I don't know (and actually don't care) if I can eat grains, soy or corn. My child is off of eggs and dairy. Since we're still nursing, so am I.

That leaves meat. Lots of it. It's my main protein since legumes are more of a starch. Then there's ghee, drippings, well cooked vegetables, fruits that aren't from the peach family, herbs and spices. I did discover that although I couldn't really eat nuts that I could eat coconut so I do, although my great grandmother probably would have thought it a strange food. I'm suddenly remembering that coconut was a favorite food of my maternal grandmother's. Go figure. I like to think that's a sign. Of something. I'm not sure what, though.

Since the GAPS diet, I'm physically much stronger than I was. I've always built muscle quickly - a curse to a ballet dancer - but now that I'm in my 40s and eating more or less a paleolithic diet, I'm finding that the extra muscle mass feels good and is probably good for the rest of my body. I digest fats well and definitely use them for energy, although small amounts of GAPS-legal well-soaked or sprouted beans or fruit give me a little extra when I need it.

Little Moo is definitely a carnivore, as well as a what...a lipidivore? She likes fats. She's never liked grains or starches all that much. If her preferences indicate what sort of instinctive diet our genetic makeup should eat, then we're definitely talking caveman here. That is, if cavemen enjoyed mustard and kraut.

I just looked up some of the offshoots of this food movement and thought that at least on the surface it was a bit simplified and also on the macho side. There's lots of talk about what the body looks like, weight loss and ketosis, building muscle (yep, that's a man typing) and lots of pictures of well-muscled male abs and arms doing pull-ups and the like. I read a little more on the Primal Blueprint site and found some deeper analysis, but not quite as much as on the Weston A. Price Foundation's or Natasha Campbell-McBride's.

One thing I just love...and it has nothing to do with food, so please excuse this digression...I adore the idea of barefoot running. I have terrible feet. Always have. My theory is that when I was born with inwardly rotated femurs that from then on doctors insisted that my feet be shoved into hard little "supportive" shoes. I don't think that my feet fully developed. The ligament that runs around the arch on both feet is lax and the tendons on either side of the foot work too hard. My talus doesn't move very well. I have all kinds of foot pain and have needed orthotics all my life. The only place I don't, though, is when I'm dancing and warmed up. I do my best to get to that state these days and to take off my shoes whenever I can. I love wearing sandals that let my feet move, even if I can only tolerate them for a short time. I do think that I'm doing myself a favor.

Little Moo, on the other hand, has great feet. From the time she started walking my instinct was to let her go as barefoot as possible. I loved the Robeez shoes that were like soft little sheaths for developing feet. I wish there were similar shoes for older kids! I let her take off her shoes (always as soft as I can find, but with protective soles) at clean parks and climb things while her toes wrap around bars and ropes. Two days ago we found an empty dance studio. We took off our shoes then ran and danced together until we fell down laughing and that's a great time!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

GAPS Apple Pie

We've been finding that the squashes are getting sort of late-season unpredictable. I finally made another squash pie, but it just wasn't quite as spectacular as past pies. That was when Little Moo made some suggestion about apple pie.

So I thought about it.

It would be great for Little Moo who is right now GF/DF/EF/CF/SF.

I'm off nuts, so, no crust.
I can't have honey, sugar or syrup, so that's not an option, either. Of course, I'm always one for the low glycemic option.

The doctor suggested that I eat cinnamon, so that's a go. No cloves or allspice, though.

I cut up a bunch of apples and pears and layered them deeply in a pie pan (that's a buttload of fruit, by the way), sprinkled it generously with cinnamon, then poured over it a small amount of water mixed with lemon juice, vanilla and about 4 drops of stevia.

I stuck the thing in a 350 oven for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

It's basically a cross between a baked apple and a pie, or a crisp, or something. Only there's no crust and no crisp.

It's actually seemed to form a sweet syrup, even without added sugars.

It's even better cold! I tried it a few days ago with cold coconut milk kefir and it's super that way. It would even be better if the kefir was turned into ice cream. (Can you tell it's warm here now? Heh.)

Monday, February 1, 2010


I can't eat these, since they're made from garbanzo flour and have tapioca in them, as well, not to mention maple syrup, but they're fine for Little Moo, who managed to fill up on them for one day, then wouldn't touch them again.

Recipe to come...