Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Today, I made GAPS food.

Sauerkraut- with red onions, Ghee, and the one in the back is the beet kvass refilled. The ghee shown is from 1 pan; I actually did 2, so had double that. From 4lbs of organic butter, and it keeps for 5 months in the pantry. We'll see how fast we go through it when the rest of the family is eating it. I'm not yet. I'm putting off the dairy and eggs until I'm done with the intro at this point, just because I've had so many issues with eggs and dairy in the past.

Sauerkraut is really very easy. I think I want to try it with red cabbage sometime, just to see if it has a different flavor.
1 cabbage, sliced thinly
1 onion, chopped fine
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1-2 Tablespoons of coarse sea salt.
Put it all in a Large bowl, wash your hands, and start kneading. Knead until the cabbage is fairly soft, and there are juices coming out when you push or squeeze.  Spoon the 'kraut into a glass jar, and with a "pounder" (mine is a 1.5" dowel cut and sanded), pound the 'kraut down to get all the air out. Add more and repeat until all the 'kraut is well pounded in the jar. Cover with a bit of cabbage leaf torn off to fit the jar. Cover snugly, place in a warm dry place (with a dish under in case it foams out of your jar) for 5-7 days, then put it in the fridge. (not in the back, as it may freeze and kill all the good bacteria.) Enjoy!  You can also add different spices. I do one where I add shredded carrots and finely grated ginger. You can also add pepper. I've heard of a curry one that is supposed to be quite good. Not being a fan of curry, I haven't tried it. The kids prefer the basic 'kraut, I like the ginger. I may try one with thyme at some point, as I really like thyme. It's an easy one to play with and find what tastes good to you. :)

I'm doing all this now in preparation. On Saturday, we become a GAPS family, instead of just a GAPS mom. My family is so great, and I have the most supportive husband ever. I am very interested to see just how this diet affects the rest of my family!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Post Thanskgiving

Thanksgiving has been so much fun! We are all a bit worn out from the festivities....
But that just makes for jammy days with lots of snuggles.

It was a great day- lots of food, and most excellent company. And of course, at our house, the traditional "Feats of Strength":

(Which is really just a contest between brothers in an attempt to burn off some of the food and energy- but we all enjoy watching.)

Everyone had a great time. My niece expressed it best:
A day of big smiles. :)

And lots of food....
I made 2 of Lobug's Ultra-Rich Chocolate Pies. Recipe below...

In a mixer,
3/4 c butter (or margarine)
3/4 c sugar
Whip together well.
In a Pyrex 1 cup measuring cup, put 6 oz of Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate pieces. Fill in the cracks in the cup with sugar. Melt in a microwave for 2 minutes- 1 minute at a time so it doesn't overheat and splatter.
Add to the mixer.
Add 1 tsp or thereabouts of vanilla flavoring.
Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 c of water and enough Ener-G Egg Replacer to be stiff. I never measure, but it's probably close to 4-6 Tblspns of the Egg Replacer.
Add that to the mixer and mix well.
Pour the chocolate mix into a prepared pie crust (I like the pre-made graham crusts from the store- if you really like chocolate, get the chocolate graham crust!).
Cover, place in the refrigerator for 5hrs before cutting and serving.

No eggs, no soy, no dairy (if you use margarine or oil), and super rich!!! Tons of sugar, so don't eat before bed! ;)

I hope your Thanksgiving was just as fun as ours!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

This is Thanksgiving week! Yay! I love Thanksgiving. I love gathering with the people that I love, and with new people, and celebrating all the blessings we have. And we have a lot of blessings!

Not the least of which right now is my health. I am feeling better than I have in years. Healing is a process, and I have a long way to go- but I am so excited about the progress that has already been made.

It is absolutely amazing how the body works together. How one thing being off affects every other aspect of the body. Things you don't expect- like the gut affecting the muscles. One of the benefits I am finding already is that my carpal tunnel problems are gone. Just gone. My arms used to ache- from my fingertips to my elbows- all the time. It was getting hard to open jars. Knitting actually hurt at times. But now- nothing! I peeled squash and beets for almost 2 hrs yesterday and normally, it would have been absolutely painful. It wasn't. My muscles got tired, but there was no pain!  And it's not like I've done anything consciously to help my arms. I just realized one day last week that the pain was gone!  Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for!!!

The kids are excited to only have 3 days of school this week. I am looking forward to the long weekend too. :)
We get to have family at our house all weekend, and I have the energy to enjoy them. :) God is good.

I hope your Thanksgiving week is full of joy and thankfulness too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Starting to Find a New Me

I am so amazed at the change in my body in just over a week on the GAPS diet!  I was emailing a friend of mine the other day and listing how I feel different- and the list just kept going on!  I told Joel the other night, "I feel like a completely different person!". His response? "You're acting like a completely different person."

Not only had I not had an allergic reaction to any foods since starting this (I say had- because last night I did have one- but it was nothing compared to what I usually experience, and I'll get to that later.), I have so much energy!!! I had forgotten what it was like to have energy. Getting out of bed in the morning is not the intense struggle it has been for so long (like over 7 years long, we're talking about here); I feel awake and ready to deal with the day long before noon; it is actually almost hard to sit and knit at times because it's not active enough. I honestly have not felt this energized for many years. I would venture to say- since before I had kids.

Granted- this does seem like an excess of energy. I feel "keyed" up.  But at the same time, it doesn't seem like a bad kind of "keyed" up. When it is time to sleep, I am able to go to sleep. And sleep better and feel more rested by my sleep than I have for a very long time. My nutritionist and I think that this hyper-energy is my body ping-ponging- trying to find stable ground. After being down and empty and toxic for so very long, it's pretty natural for my body to "flip out" and try the opposite aspect now that it's getting what it needs and not getting toxified (yes, I made up that word. Just now. Don't you like it?).  Eventually, a balance will be found. But I confess, I am truly enjoying this excess of energy right now!

I am using some of the energy for the prep and cooking required to eat what I need right now. Last weekend, Joel visited my parents to do some work for them, and he brought home bounty from Mom's garden.
Take a look at this:
This is a beet. With the root and top cut off. That jar- is a half gallon size. That beet was just about the size of my head! With that one beet, I made a half gallon of beet kvass:
And had enough left over to freeze 2 quart bags full of chopped beet:
And there is still a box of beets for me to process and freeze for later. :)  I get to try the kvass this afternoon- it will be done fermenting then.

So on the intro of the GAPS diet, you start with very basic healing foods: bone broth, boiled carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, onions, and any kind of squash. Then you gradually add in specific foods and see if your body has healed enough to tolerate them. By the time you go through all 6 stages of the intro diet, you've added in a lot of foods, and the full GAPS includes even more. It just doesn't have starches, grains, or sugars, because those are the most difficult to digest- and the ones that bad bacteria and microbes feed on the most and produce toxic byproducts from.

I'm just in stage 2 at this point. It's time for me to add egg yolk and avocado. It's best to take a day or 2 for each food, just to be easy on your body.  So last night, I tried egg yolk. For the first time in 15 years. I did this very carefully, as egg is one that I was told years ago that I am "allergic" to. So first, I broke open a yolk and smeared some on the inside of my wrist and left it for hours (it's supposed to be overnight- but I always forget and go to bed without it, so I just did it in the morning). This is the Sensitivity Test. It was fine. There was a touch of itching, but I think that was just the feel of the yolk drying.

However, when I ate the yolk last night, I could tell my body was not ready for it! Normally, I would have an allergic reaction requiring Epi-Pen. Last night, my stomach was a bit upset, my asthma was annoying (not an attack, just needed an extra bit of inhaler), and I got an itchy throat. Oh, and a back ache (weird, huh? Never expected that!). And this morning, I was exhausted. It's crazy how FOOD affects the body!!!!!

So now, what I do is quit with the yolk (duh, right?), and go back to what I was eating before. I'm going to give my body a couple days to recover, then I'll try a different food, and keep working on advancing through the stages of the diet. In a week or two, when I feel like I'm doing well, I'll revisit the egg yolk- again with the Sensitivity Test first.

In the meantime, I am eating Ginger Squash Soup, Cauliflower with Beef soup, and soups that I just kind of throw together with the ingredients I am allowed. Add to that sauerkraut, beet kvass, and homemade carrot juice for probiotics and digestive support. This weekend, I'll add roast and avocado. I don't anticipate trouble with avocado, as it's a food I've never really eaten much of, so my body has no negative reactions to it at this point that I know of. :)

The diet is pretty intense, but wow. I'm serious, I'm starting to find a new me, and I am so excited about it!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Knitting and Teaching and Cooking, Oh My!

I find it hard to believe it's been over 2 weeks since I posted. What a crazy 2 weeks.

I have another pattern for sale in my Ravelry store.
These are the Kinara Gauntlets:

Glittery black with silver lace-up details. The black makes the lace stand out more against the skin. These were fun- and a pretty quick knit once I actually concentrated on them. Too bad they sat in my knitting bag for 7 months.... :)
The pattern is available for $5.                            

Other than that, I've been very busy with school- and dealing with my health issues.

How good God is. Through a series of blessings from our amazing church and equally amazing friends, I was given the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome- and the funds (and some food) to start the protocol outlined in the book (mostly diet changes).

It's been a week, and I am feeling much better! I have gone a full week without an allergic reaction to my food- and I am starting to feel like I have more energy.

The diet (GAPS diet- you may have heard of it....) is pretty simple for the most part- no starches, grains, or sugars (except natural sugars from fruits and raw honey). Basically foods that are easiest to digest- plus a lot of natural probiotics from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, beet kvass, pickles, kimchi.... All homemade from natural, organic ingredients. (I made sauerkraut! And it's yummy!)

However, while the full diet is not too bad (much less restricted than the one I was on previously), there is an introduction diet to get you started and get your body healing quickly. That's the one I'm on right now. It's a bit more challenging. Mostly homemade broths (bone broth), a few specific vegetables, and sea salt. That's how you start, then gradually add in specific foods (starting with probiotic foods) as your body tolerates it.  My stove has been on 24/7 for the last 7 days making broth.  I've learned new recipes for soups, as I had 1 or 2 basic soups I knew, and I got tired of them on day one!  So I'm making soup from butternut squash, carrots, and cauliflower, as well as my staple soups.  Eating squash is interesting, as it's not a food I've ever really enjoyed- good recipes are a must!

Originally, I wasn't going to start this until January, but a series of events made it not only necessary, but possible (where it really wasn't possible before) for me to start early. I say me, because I intend to put the whole family on this in January. I won't ruin Thanksgiving and Christmas for the kids, but we all need this. I'm watching the kids' "minor" health issues grow just like mine have over the years, and I want to help them actually heal now while they are still resilient and young. It's going to be a journey. We need to be on this for 2 years minimum (me probably for the rest of my life), and it's expensive. I don't know how we're going to do it, but God does. He's already starting to provide for it, so here we are!

It's also a lot of work. I'm finding myself in the kitchen cooking and prepping for 6 or more hours a day some days.  Not being one that has ever really enjoyed cooking for the sake of cooking, it has proven to be quite a challenge for me. But as the week goes on, it has gotten easier, as I have the energy to be capable of doing it. That alone is enough to keep me in the kitchen!

In the time I'm not in the kitchen, I'm teaching the kids- and occasionally knitting. It's a crazy time, but this is where we're at. So, if in the year to come, this blog becomes more about cooking than about knitting.... this is why. This is where my attention needs to be at the moment.