Tag Archives: GAPS Diet

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Nourished Living Summit – FREE Online Conference

I’d love to share a great opportunity this week for you to tune in for free and listen in to some of the best experts in the area around in the area of natural health.

The Nourished Living Summit brings together 69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally.

Nourished Living SummitThe Nourished Living Summit is a FREE online event and launches 24 March 2014.

The Nourished Living Summit is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including:

  • Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18
  • Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family
  • Care and Nurturing For Mothers
  • Education for Natural Minded Parents

Beginning 24 March, you will have 48 hours to listen to 3-5 presentations. Each track is divided over the course of two 48 hour periods. Presentations will stream live Monday-Saturday with Sundays off. The Summit ends on 29 April.

IMPORTANT: You need to be registered in order to listen to the presentations. You can register on the home page of the official Nourished Living Summit website.

Speaker Line-up

Pregnancy

Infertility and Preconception Health
Donielle Baker
Natural Fertility and Wellness

Natural Family Planning and Ecological Breastfeeding
John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning

Birth Choices
Nicole Deggins, CNM, MSN, MPH
Sista Midwife Productions

Carrying and Parenting Multiples
Trisha Gilkerson
Breastfeeding Place

Preventing Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies Before Conception
Jill Baumann, BS, NC
Guided Path To Health

Herbs and Oils for Pregnancy and Birth
Jessica Aveni
Natural Health and Prevention

Eating For Two
Courtney Hillis
THRIVE: Natural Family Living

Family Oriented Bonding
Guggie Daly
The Guggie Daly

Breastfeeding

Supporting and Boosting Milk Supply Naturally
Diana West, BA, IBCLC
Low Milk Supply and Mahala Lactation and Perinatal Services, LLC

Building Blocks To A Healthy Breastfeeding Relationship
Dionna Ford
Code Name Mama

Back to Work Breastfeeding
Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC
The Second Nine Months

Breastfeeding As A Source of Joy
Christine Poirier-Brotchie
Momzelle Nursing Wear

Donor Milk
Emma Kwasnica
Human Milk 4 Human Babies

Nutrition and Breastfeeding
Becky Webb, NTP, CD (DONA)
Rooted Blessings

Inducing Lactation – One Mother’s Story
Millie Copper
Real Food For Less Money

Tongue Tie
Jennifer Tow, B.F.A., IBCLC
Intuitive Parenting Network

0-3

The Vaccine Decision – What Parents Need To Know
Jessika Bailey
Natural Mother Magazine

Gentle Sleep Solutions
Elizabeth Pantley
The No-Cry Solutions

Baby Led Weaning and Starting Solids
Kate Tieje
Modern Alternative Mama

Co-Sleeping
Laura Schuerwegen
Authentic Parenting

Newborn Decisions/Newborn Care
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D
Author of The Business of Baby

Proper Care of Your Intact Son
Jennifer Andersen
Our Muddy Boots
and
Larissa Black
The WHOLE Network

Cloth Diapering
Miriam J. Katz
Author of The Other Baby Book and Intuitive Life Coach
and
Megan McGrory Massaro
Author of The Other Baby Book

Elimination Communication
Marija Mikolajczak
EC Wear

Babywearing
Jennifer Wenzel
True Confessions of a Real Mommy
and
Julie Mangan
A Little Bit of All of It
and
Shannon Riley
The Artful Mama

3-6

Autism
Dr. Jay Gordon, MD FAAP
Dr. Jay Gordon

Childhood Development Disorders
Dr. Jamie Oskin, N.D.
Arizona Natural Health Center

Chiropractic For Children and In Pregnancy
Dr. Staci Borkhuis, D.C.
Cornerstone Chiropractic

Children’s Dental Health
Will and Susan Revak
OraWellness

Extended Breastfeeding and Tandem Nursing
Lauren Wayne
Hobo Mama

Potty Training/Learning
Robert Edwards
Squatty Potty
and
Moorea Malatt
Savvy Parenting Support

Fostering Healthy Independence
Ariadne Brill
Positive Parenting Connection

Children and Reading
Elaine Krishnan
Usborne Books and More 
and
Jana Kemp
Jana M. Kemp

6-18

Puberty
Dr. Sherrill Sellman, N.D
What Women Must Know with Dr. Sellmen

Adrenal Health For Children
Michael Smith, N.D. BHSC
Planet Naturopath

Teen Health
Lydia Shatney
Divine Health From The Inside Out

Posture Makes Perfect: The Benefits of a Physically Balanced Life
Elizabeth Eckert
Word Cures

Parenting Without Stereotypes
Paige Lucas-Stannard
Parenting Gently

Raising Your Children To Know Where Their Food Comes From
Abbie Walston
Farmer’s Daughter

whole Family

Common Childhood Illnesses
Dr. Mary Bove, ND
Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic

Skincare for Families
Jennifer Saleem
Hybrid Rasta Mama

Food Allergies
KerryAnn Foster
Intentionally Domestic

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Joy Moeller, BS, RDH
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Gluten
Joe Rigola
Wellness Punks

How Candida and Parasites May Be Harming Your Children’s Health
Amy Love, NTP, CGP, CILC
Real Food Whole Health

Environmental Toxins
Andrea Fabry
moms AWARE

Kombucha for Families
Hannah Crum
Kombucha Kamp

mama care

Preventing Postpartum Depression
Amanda Rose
Rebuild From Depression

Herbal Support for New and Overwhelmed Mothers
Carol Little
Studio Botanica

Self Care For Moms
Lauren Luquin
Spiral Elixir

Healing from Trauma and the Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation
Stephanie Brandt Cornais
Mama and Baby Love

Getting Centered
Amy Phoenix
Presence Parenting

Mommy Tummy and Diastasis Recti
Bethany Learn
Fit2Be Studio

The Babywearing Workout
Kelly Stewart
The Babywearing Workout

Parent Empowerment

Managing Anger and Overwhelm as a Parent
Dr. Laura Markham
Aha Parenting

Attachment Parenting: Creating a Foundation for Healthy Child Development
Kelly Bartlett
Author of Encouraging Words for Kids

Becoming Aware of Possible Toxins Around your Children; Choosing Safe Products for Your Children
Dawn Lorenz
Raising Natural Kids

Holistic Fathers – Engaging and Including Dad
Billy Bradley
Holistic Dad

Creating a Natural Medicine Cabinet
Rosalee de la Foret
Herbal Remedies Advice

Sneaky Nutrition
Lisa Herndon
Lisa’s Counter Culture

Real Food For Families
Kimi Harris
The Nourishing Gourmet

Finding Community
Chara Shopp
Stitching Hearts Together
and
Judy Tyler
Living Healthy ‘n’ Happy

REGISTER HERE

I am all for getting equipped to live a life that co-operates with how we were created.  There’s a number of these that I’m going to listen in to myself.

I hope to see some of you there!

Victoria

{Shared at Teaching What is Good}

A New Year and Renewed Health

A new year and renewed health

**THESE SPECIALS HAVE NOW FINISHED**

Friends, I’d love to share with you a couple of opportunities to start the new year off with a kick-start to your health.  Take advantage of a new year to set some goals and grab hold of these resources to see you on your way.

  • The good people at Food Matters are running 3 days of FREE guided detox from 3rd to 5th Jan.  Kick start your health and join in the community for recipes, discussion, and your questions answered.
  • Harvest Your Health have decided to do a re-run of the popular October sale, in which 8,865 of these super bundles were sold.

This sale will run from 3-6 January in a 90 hour re-run, and then will be gone for good!  It’s live right now!

There are a handful of products that aren’t returning on this one, but it’s still AMAZING value at $886.78 for the whole bundle.  Here’s what you’ll find:

  • 52 ebooks
  • 5 meal plans
  • 1 private kitchen community membership
  • 3 ONLINE magazines
  • 1 ONLINE fitness plan (1 month for 1 penny)
  • 20+ discount codes

The one thing I’m excited about the most in this bundle is the resources and recipes for helping us on our wheat-free journey.  When you’re armed with recipes and resources like this, it makes the transition so much easier and your long term success in changing your diet SO much more sustainable and possible.

I’ve read most of these books, and there’s something here for everyone – whether you’re planning a baby, needing some fresh recipe inspiration, needing some guidance on children’s health, or wanting to step your wheat-free (or grain-free) living up a notch.

I encourage you to take advantage of this offer, and set some goals for the new year to move into greater health for you and your family.

cooking and preparing paleo

cooking and preparing real food

home and personal care

fertility and motherhood

inspiration

Informational

fitness

Detoxify

Intentional Simple Living

There is currently a giveaway running, with currently over $2,200 in prizes and more being added as the giveaway runs.  Make sure you ENTER HERE for an opportunity to win an i-pad, Kindles, gift cards, and much much more.

So there you have it!  Some super opportunities to boost your health and set you on a path for wellness in 2014.

I hope you’ll jump in with me!

Victoria

{This post contains my affiliate links}.

Coming off the GAPS Diet

Coming off the GAPS Diet

This is my long overdue post on coming off the GAPS Diet.  We haven’t actually been on the GAPS Diet for some months now.  Unfortunately we had an onslaught of illness that took out 4 out of 5 members of my family, and it was an enormous burden to manage, let alone having to continue making stocks and doing all the various food prep. The illness lasted months, and the children’s bodies are still continuing to heal even now, 6 months later.  Vitamin C was a life saver, quite literally.  But we survived it, and one day they will be glad that their immune systems got such a working-out!

How we came off GAPS

The recommendation in Dr Natasha’s book is 1 ½ to 2 years on the Diet, and following it strictly without compromise.  When coming off the Diet, she recommends introducing fermented millet, buckwheat and quinoa, and potatoes first.  Because of our circumstances, we didn’t manage to do it this way.

The way we came off GAPS was to re-introduce fermented sour dough bread, sweet potatoes, and then white potatoes and other starches such as chick peas.  The kids were started with having just one slice of bread per day.

I think perhaps because we weren’t on the GAPS Diet for more than 6 months, we didn’t notice any reaction to coming off the Diet, and in fact I found I had more energy with the introduction of extra carbs that I’d missed through not having grains.

What I Learned

I found that I’ve become much more sensitive to how my body responds to particular foods.  I discovered that too much meat makes me feel sluggish and tired, and I craved raw food over all the stews and meat dishes.

I noticed that too many nuts, such as the large amounts of nut flours in many GAPS recipes, adversely affected my digestion, as does coconut flour (too fibrous).  Small amounts of coconut flour fare better for me than gluten flour, but really I’m better off without too much of it.  Unsoaked nuts I also found much better, so I suspect that it is the phytic acid that is the issue.

I also noticed that taking HCl was a beneficial supplement, and were it not for all the other supplements that leap ahead of the budgetary queue, it would be one I’d continue to take.

One observation I’ve made in myself, and also amongst the various food communities that I’ve engaged with online, is that many that are attempting changes in their diet are still holding onto their old habits as they go into a new way of eating.  Changes in diet should not just be about re-arranging the furniture, as such.   For instance, if you eat too many sweet things when you are eating the less-than-healthy varieties, coming onto GAPS or any other diet, and indulging in too many sweet things, is not going to improve your health overall to the extent it would if you just follow common sense and get the balance of those healthy foods right.  Changes to our diet often involve a complete overhaul of the thinking behind our eating.

That said, I’ve discovered that my tendency was/is to grab whatever I can food-wise to supplement my low energy from lack of sleep and just plain ‘Mummy’ exhaustion.  Unfortunately that has meant that although I’m eating healthy food, the balance hasn’t been quite right.  Toast and butter is not the answer to my waning energy levels!  I really do just need to eat more fresh and raw vegetables, and find creative ways to enjoy these more with the limited organic varieties that our local store has, and with managing my time on a daily basis much better.  My children’s leftovers are not adequate to meet my nutritional needs, and I really do need to make the time to prepare fresh raw food for myself.

I felt I was never eating enough alkaline foods due to the increase in meat and dairy and cooked foods, and as a result the acidic load on my body increased.  This has affected my teeth, where now I have another problem to sort out.  The ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ protocol is currently something I’ve had to turn to.  My dentist told me I have acidic saliva, and a ph test confirmed this.  This has been a little frustrating to say the least, and although the problems with my teeth have occurred previously, too much acidic food appears to be part of the problem.

Would I do it again?

Admittedly, it wasn’t the cure-all I was hoping for.  I was extremely optimistic that it would iron out the issues that GAPS Diet had been known to deal with.  It didn’t for us.  Perhaps this was largely due to the fact that we weren’t on it for long enough.  It might also be that I didn’t have the balance of foods quite right.  Some sort of results early on would have been motivating but I didn’t see any noticeable changes in any of us. :)

What it did show me is where I do have some dietary changes to make that I hadn’t noticed, in terms of ‘healthy’ foods I’d just downed with no thought that I could be one of those people who shouldn’t have it (eg. coconut flour).  It also was a tremendous educational experience in terms of monitoring and managing mine and my children’s reactions to food.  I learned that my eldest child is better off without gluten, my middle child is better off with limited starchy foods, and my youngest is better off with limited cheese.  I should not eat gluten, but I more or less knew that already.  Now I know for certain.

So we won’t be doing GAPS again, but there are many things about it that I feel drawn to.  We continue to eat a traditional diet, along with fermented foods and homemade stocks, but for our particular family we have learned that we are much better off eating larger amounts of raw plant-based foods.

I found these two posts good to read about coming off the GAPS Diet:

This is also a helpful post on the GAPS Diet at Body Ecology Diet.

Here are my other posts on the GAPS Diet that you might be interested in.

{This post was shared at Healing with Food Friday, and Wellness Wednesday}

GAPS Diet Tips for Gut Health

GAPS Diet tips for gut health

The GAPS Diet is not going to be the right path to health for everyone, nor will it work for every time in your life.  But there are some helpful principles from the Diet that might help improve general digestive health when added into a balanced diet.

If for some reason you have to come off the Diet temporarily, you might find just doing these things alone will help continue to heal your gut.

Here’s my top 5:

  • Take a quality probiotic if your budget can manage it.  You might want to consider adding these in gradually, so as to not end up with any uncomfortable reaction.
    Some good brands I have personally used at different times are Lifestream ‘Advanced Probiotic Capsules’ (BioKult formulation in NZ), Garden of Life ‘Primal Defense’, Ethical Nutrients ‘Inner Health Plus’, and Nature’s Way ‘Primadophilus Reuteri’.
  • Adjust your Diet according to what your body is saying.  This has probably been the single most helpful thing I’ve done.  Whether or not a food is GAPS-legal or not, is it right for you?   Can your body handle unsoaked nuts?   Too much coconut flour?  Too much dried fruit?  Make gradual changes so you can monitor reactions, and adjust your diet accordingly.

I would also add (whether you’re doing GAPS Diet or not), avoid highly processed packaged foods, even if they say ‘gluten-free’, ‘dairy-free’ or even ‘organic’.  Many of these foods contain processed and hydrogenated oils, synthetic food additives and vitamins, heat treatment and the extrusion of grains, and even the organic juices you can buy often contain fluoridated water.  Opt for fermented, fresh, sun-dried, raw and traditionally prepared foods.

Please share if there’s anything that you have found helpful for digestive health.

For my other GAPS Diet posts, see here.

{Linked up at Peeling Back the Onion Layers – Healing with Food Friday}

GAPS Post-Holiday Restart

Some of the essentials on the GAPS Diet: Fermented cod liver oil, squash, kefir, sauerkraut and avocados.

Some of the essentials on the GAPS Diet: Fermented cod liver oil, squash, kefir, sauerkraut and avocados.

How did you survive the holiday season on the GAPS Diet?  I have to admit, we didn’t fare as well as I would have liked.  The lead-up to Christmas became very busy, with preparing to go away for a week and making a lot of presents (including two beautiful wooden dolls houses for our girls) so I didn’t put the time into food preparation.  Shawn finished work, and the following day we were away for a week.  As much as our wonderful host bent over backwards to accommodate us, there was still sugar (in the form of organic sugar, but sugar nonetheless :)), starches (hummus and new potatoes from the garden), processed foods (organic corn chips just to name one) and other Christmas treats that we wouldn’t normally eat.

I did my best, but I had to balance wise food choices with my children getting to enjoy themselves.

We all enjoyed Christmas very much and are still enjoying our summer holidays for another week or so before we launch into the year.

Now I have to think about re-starting the GAPS Diet for our family.  The thought of having to get organised again doesn’t exactly get me leaping off the walls, so perhaps writing this will help stir up that motivation again!

Doing a stocktake

First of all, how are we feeling after having strayed from the GAPS path a little?

Well I’m feeling a little foggy-headed and am also getting an unsettled stomach as soon as I eat anything with grains (including fermented and gluten-free grains).  Or cheese.  I think I had this before but I was so used to it that I ignored it.

Husband?  His eczema has flared up in the last few days and he has some uncomfortable blisters on his hand.  His excesses were far worse than mine, and unfortunately he has found out the hard way that health of one’s digestion is undeniably linked to the skin.  It’s been more obvious than ever.

Kids?  They seem mostly OK, although I can see my 3 year old has been a bit floppy and tired during the day which is not usual for her.  My 7 year old has tiny bumps on her cheeks (she’s always had them) which I also have on my arms, and which I understand to be keratosis pilaris.  They seem worse on my daughter this week than normal.  I’ve always suspected gut issues as the cause (or more specifically, gut issues causing absorption issues).  I need to do some more reading on this one (and I’m also going to try this).

It’s amazing that only 2 or 3 weeks of not being consistent has been enough to highlight these issues again.  They almost seem worse than before, perhaps due to our increased awareness of the direct connection of these things to our diet.  So perhaps straying a little has shown us a thing or two that makes this part of the journey worth it!

My Plan Going Forward

  • Make plenty of stock and freeze
  • Stock up on homemade sauerkraut and fermented carrots.
  • Top up our supplements, as they’ve gotten low so we’ve been having less of them to make them last longer.
  • And add in an HCl with pepsin supplement, which I have delayed adding into my current regime – simply due to the extra expense. :)  But after re-reading the chapter on ‘Digestive Enzymes’, I undoubtedly need this one.  Husband doesn’t seem to.  Gladly.
  • Research some local sources for organic vegetables – our local organic shop doesn’t have as much variety and as a result I’m finding that we are getting bored very easily.
  • Source some raw cream so I can make my own raw butter.
  • Research some new recipes to liven up our diet a bit.
  • If I manage to get some fresh recipes into our diet (especially vegetable-based ones), then I won’t feel the urge to snack on dried fruit so much.  So less sweet things for us, and more healthy hearty food and fresh summer salads.
  • Also, less baked things, especially those with coconut flour in it as it’s still too fibrous for me.

And after writing that, I feel better about kick-starting the Diet again.  It sure helps to have a plan – less overwhelming!

Here are some other posts on the GAPS Diet:

Our family’s journey into the GAPS Diet

vege boxWhy we’re doing it

Although neither of us are chronically ill, my husband and I both have some niggling health issues that we’d like to eliminate altogether rather than just continue to manage.

Shawn has had bouts of eczema in the past which he is currently managing to stay on top of through diet and lifestyle, and he also had learning difficulties as a child so was given the label ‘dyslexic’ (which after researching this, I believe was not quite right).

Where I’m concerned, I can see that a series of bad choices about 10 years ago has undoubtedly left me with gut damage: I had a number of vaccinations before going to India (I wish I’d known better!), and shortly afterwards we spent some time in the US where I ate the Standard American Diet for a time.  American ‘cuisine’ (such as, some concoction called cool whip and fake blueberries muffins with a shelf life of years) left me feeling ill, exhausted, and intolerant to gluten.  The gluten intolerance wasn’t picked up for a number of years, but in hindsight I can see that my health never really picked back up completely after that time in the US.  Gluten usually gives me a stomach ache almost immediately, followed by a foggy head.  I also have to watch what food combinations I put into my stomach.

So, although Shawn can stay on top of his eczema by keeping away from triggers such as sugar and coffee, and I can simply avoid gluten, we both desire a greater measure of health and vitality that we’re hoping this Diet will help us achieve.   When we read Dr Campbell-McBride’s description of how unhealthy gut flora is passed to children and grandchildren, we see the scenario having taken place in both our extended families and are aware that we can change things for ourselves and our children.

Where our kids are concerned, we want to restore full health to their little guts and set them up for life.  It’s part of our desire to steward well what we’ve been given – including the precious time we have with our precious ones.

butterHow we’re doing it

We’ve been mostly following a traditional diet for some time (eg. fermented foods, no processed food, plenty of fresh organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy), so the change isn’t too severe so far.  The Intro Diet has been challenging (more on that in another post), but the transition into Full GAPS, which we’re currently doing, is becoming much more enjoyable.  I’ll post about our progress in the future.

Our time on the early stages of the Intro Diet has been short, mostly due to the fact that  I’m still nursing a one-year old and my husband works in the trade industry.  Our energy needs are more than what the Intro Diet foods can adequately provide.  So we’re currently sitting about Stage 4 of the Intro Diet and will continue to add in foods according to our individual needs.

I’m not doing the Intro Diet with the kids, but they are on the Full GAPS Diet.  In all honesty, I think they haven’t noticed the difference to their diet– they haven’t whined for toast and crackers yet.  I’m trying to keep things yummy and varied so they don’t learn to resent missing out on things they enjoy.

They don’t have any severe behavioural or development issues, or else they’d be on the Intro Diet along with us.  But after reading the GAPS Diet book, I have noticed minor behavioural issues in my 3 year old that become more pronounced when she’s eaten too much starchy foods like potatoes or too much bread.  It will be interesting to see how her behaviour continues to settle down in the coming weeks and months.  Gladly, she totally loves sauerkraut.

A Couple of Thoughts

The main tip I would have about changes to your diet and your family’s, is that your focus be about adding in foods, rather than taking out foods.  Eventually, the undesirable foods should just get pushed out.  This way, you will hopefully not grieve the changes if you were just to cut things out of your diet.

You might consider easing into the GAPS Diet over a period, so the change isn’t too dramatic and the die-off symptoms also are not too aggressive.  Personally, I would consider this approach if I was coming off the standard western diet that is high in processed foods.  If you’ve been eating a traditional diet for a while, you might consider beginning with the Full GAPS Diet and then transitioning to the Intro Diet.

For more info on beginning the GAPS Diet, read my other posts The GAPS Diet and Getting Started on the GAPS Diet.

My health disclaimer here.

Sauerkraut

sauerkraut

I made this sauerkraut with purple cabbage.

Sally Fallon’s book ‘Nourishing Traditions‘ has the best write-up about the benefits of fermented vegetables and fruit that I’ve found anywhere.  I encourage you to get hold of this fantastic resource if you can.

Fermented vegetables foods should form part of your daily diet, and if you’re on the GAPS Diet they should be served with every meal.  The great thing is, they are easy to make.  You should introduce them into your diet slowly, starting with one teaspoon a day and gradually increasing, as your digestion will need to adjust to the change.  Your gut will thank you for it. :)  As well as the probiotic benefits, sauerkraut is also high in Vitamins A and C.

There is no need to add vinegar or any preservatives to your cabbage, as the naturally occurring lactic acid keeps your vegetables preserved as well as promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut.

GAPS Diet

Traditional foods on the GAPS diet – sauerkraut, fermented carrots, eggs and unsalted butter.

Ingredients

1 medium cabbage (core removed)
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons of liquid whey drained from homemade yoghurt (or an additional 1 tablespoon of sea salt if unavailable)

Method

1)  Finely slice cabbage.

2)  Pound with wooden hammer to release juices for about 10m.

3)  Place in mason jar and press down so the juices rise to the top.  There should be about an inch from the top of the jar.  Too much space and there will be too much oxygen and the fermenting won’t work.  Too little space and it will overflow.

4)  Cover tightly and leave in a warm place for about 3 days.  Store in the fridge.

If you are concerned as to whether it has worked, you will know by whether it smells OK or not.  The sauerkraut should be a little pungent and will taste fizzy.  If it has gone bad, you will surely know as nothing will convince you to eat it. :)  It should last for many months in the fridge.

For further info on sauerkraut, you might like to read this article in Natural News.

The GAPS Intro Diet Summary

Squash fries baked in butter. If you’re from Downunder, we sometimes just call this pumpkin instead of squash. This variety is buttercup which is wonderfully sweet and holds its shape when cooked. Squash is allowed from Stage 1 on the Intro Diet. Butter is usually introduced at Stage 3 or 4.

First of all, please don’t attempt to follow the GAPS Intro Diet by using this summary.  The GAPS Diet book itself is essential, as each stage has specific instructions on how to prepare food, and when to proceed from one stage to the next.  It’s important that you follow these instructions for the diet to be successful, and read carefully how to introduce according to your individual symptoms.  You may also like to read this summary on the GAPS Intro Diet, which is most of the text from the book, or this one which is from the Official GAPS website.

This summary is merely to help you remember the types of foods for each stage, without having to read through all the detail in the book.

First Stage

  • Homemade meat or fish stock (keeps for 7 days in fridge and also freezes)
  • Homemade soup made with the stock (without seeds or skin from vegetables)
  • Probiotic food with every meal (start with juice from fermented vegetables)
  • Whey, sour cream, yoghurt, kefir, according to dairy introduction instructions in book (eg. yoghurt before kefir, as kefir is more aggressive)
  • Herbal tea (ie. ginger, mint, camomile)
  • Vegetables: onions, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin, etc (avoid fibrous parts such as skin and seeds in squash and marrow; stalks of broccoli and cauliflower – cook well).
  • No starchy vegetables such as potatoes and kumara

Second Stage

  • Soup as in First Stage
  • Raw organic egg yolks (start with adding one in each bowl of soup)
  • Stews and casseroles made with meat and vegetables
  • Keep increasing daily amount of yoghurt, kefir, whey or sour cream
  • Fermented fish
  • Introduce homemade ghee
  • Vegetables – as in previous stage

Third Stage

  • Foods in First and Second Stages
  • Ripe avocado mashed into soups
  • Pancakes made from nut butter, eggs, and squash
  • Eggs scrambled, served with avocado and cooked vegetables
  • Introduce fermented vegetables with each meal (after having only been having the juice)
  • Vegetables: as in previous stage

Fourth Stage

  • Foods in First, Second and Third Stages
  • Meats that have been cooked by grilling and roasting (but not fried or barbequed yet)
  • Cold-pressed olive oil added to meats
  • Freshly pressed vegetable juice, starting with carrot (‘chewed’)
  • When a full cup of juice is tolerated, add juice from celery, cabbage, lettuce, mint, drunk on an empty stomach
  • Baked bread with ground almonds (or any other nuts or seeds ground into flour): nut flour, winter squash, eggs, natural fat (eg. butter, ghee, coconut oil, goose or duck fat), and a little salt
  • Vegetables: as in previous stage

Fifth Stage

  • If previous foods are tolerated, add cooked apple as an apple puree (with ghee added)
  • Add raw vegetables, starting with lettuce and pealed cucumber.
  • Then add: carrot, tomato, onion, cabbage.
  • Juice from carrot, celery, cabbage and mint, with apple, pineapple, mango.  Avoid citrus.
  • Vegetables: as in previous stage, with the addition of raw vegetables

Sixth Stage

  • If all other foods are well tolerated, try some peeled apple. Gradually introduce raw fruit and more honey.
  • Gradually introduce baked cakes, and other sweet things allowed on the diet.  Use dried fruit as a sweetener.

Make sure you continue with meat stocks at least once a day after the Intro Diet is finished and you’ve moved onto the Full GAPS Diet.

For previous posts on the GAPS Diet:
The GAPS Diet
Getting Started on the GAPS Diet

{Linked up at Peeling Back the Onion Layers – Healing with Food Friday}

Getting Started on the GAPS Diet

I have to admit, I’ve spent most of the year thinking about going on the GAPS Diet but haven’t been able to take the plunge until recently.  Aside from all the prep that it needs, mentally I needed the time to think how on earth I was going to manage taking on another ‘thing’ on top of homeschooling, managing three young children and a home, balancing a tight budget while trying to eat healthy, already spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and all the rest of life’s busyness in the mix.  Taking the time has been worth it though, as the Diet is fairly cemented in my head now and I don’t have to think too hard on whether a food is GAPS-friendly or not.

Dr Campbell-McBride recommends starting with the Intro Diet. But if you’re nursing a baby, have a physical job, don’t have a GAPS-related condition, or if you some other needs that would make it either near impossible or not a wise decision, you might chose to go on the Full GAPS Diet straight away.

For getting started on either the Intro Diet or the Full GAPS diet, here are some tips that may help you before you begin.  Preparation is the key to getting that much-needed momentum at the start!

Sourcing Food

  • Source organic vegetables, or at the very least, spray-free and locally grown.  Find out where the Farmers Markets are held.  For the Intro Diet specifically, the best ones to have are cauliflower, carrots, onions, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, and cabbage.
  • Source organic (or grass-fed) meat, free range eggs, kefir grains, and raw milk if you can get hold of it (for making yoghurt and kefir).  Unsalted organic butter is better than salted.
  • Bulk buy foods such as meat bones (joint bones are the best), pumpkins (butternut is a good option), and apples, and peal and freeze meal-size portions.
  • Also bulk buy juicing vegetables, especially carrots as these are the first juice you will introduce if you start on the Intro Diet.

Dr Natasha notes that if you simply can’t do organic, then doing the GAPS Diet over not doing it is still beneficial.  But personally, I would say if you can find a way to purchase organic foods then this is a far more superior way of nourishing your body than the nutrient-depleted produce that you can get on supermarket shelves.  At the very least, find local produce that is spray-free and grown responsibly.

Food Preparation

Preparation is the key, as you don’t want to be spending bucket-loads of time in the kitchen everyday.  Give yourself a couple of weeks to prepare food and refrigerate/freeze, which will spread out the time involved as well as the possible cost to the budget. :)

The main staples are stocks, fermented vegetables (and fermented dairy if you pass the sensitivity test), butter (and ghee), and grass-fed, preferably organic meats.

Essential food preparation:

  • Make stocks every day in your slow cooker, and freeze in batches;
  • Ferment vegetables (eg. carrots and cabbage);
  • Stew extra portions of apples and freeze them;

Non-essential prep, but will help to have on-hand:

  • Make extra portions of stews and casseroles and freeze them;
  • Make basic meatballs and freeze;
  • Roast and slice beef and/or lamb roasts and freeze;

Supplements

The essential supplements on GAPS are:

  1. An effective therapeutic strength probiotic  (Dr Campbell-McBride recommends BioKult, which in New Zealand is under the Lifestream brand);
  2. Essential fatty acids;
  3. Cod liver oil (for Vitamins A and D).

For certain cases, it is recommended to take digestive enzymes as well. Read the relevant sections of the GAPS book on supplements.

No other supplements are needed, as the diet is the main form of nutrition, and many supplements contain other ingredients that irritate the gut lining.

Muffins made from a recipe in the book from only four ingredients. Surprisingly good.

Resources and Recipes

Familiarise yourself with some of the fantastic recipes and information online.  Here are some links to get you started:

Food list – Intro Diet, Full GAPS Diet and foods allowed and foods to avoid:

Find a GAPS Practitioner

How the diet works

Questions not covered in the book (very helpful)

GAPS Facebook group

Recipes

The Nourishing Gourmet – traditional/wholefood diet plus GAPS Diet recipes

Our Nourishing Roots – traditional/wholefood diet plus GAPS Diet recipes

The Healthy Home Economist – recipes, and Sarah’s site is great for heaps of other things

The Mommypotamus

Elana’s Pantry

Health, Home and Happiness  – Cara has done an Intro Diet e-book available for purchase

The Well Fed Homestead

Please note, I’m not a qualified expert on all this – I’m offering our family’s experience in the hope that it might help others.  So anything you’re not sure about, please consult with a GAPS Practitioner as well as getting informed as much as you can through your own research.  If you have specific health issues, such as medication you’re on, that is something you’ll need to discuss with the relevant health professionals. See my health disclaimer here.