Friday, July 29, 2011

The First Five Days

Stage one of the GAPS introduction diet was a lot rougher than I expected.  I knew how to make good meat and bone broth and yummy soups with them.  I am used to eating lots of vegetables, the kids are too.  We had just never eaten them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Not to mention snacks, which we needed plenty of.  Newsflash; when you are only eating things that are really easy to digest, you are hungry every other hour.  I felt like I was fasting.

The second day the kids rebelled.  I was glad I could empathize with them.  I kept telling them "we can do hard things," explaining what this was doing for our bodies and most importantly that it wasn't permanent, we are going to eat our favorite things again eventually.  The oldest two totally balked at having soup for breakfast, but number 3 did fine eating consistently through the day.  By dinner the other two were eating good sized portions and feeling more chipper.

Day three started out absolutely horrible.  All three of the kids refused to eat breakfast.  Number 2 cried that his belly hurt and they were all downright lethargic. My resolve was wavering.  I introduced egg yolks, not because my kids we big fans, but because I wanted to get moving through this intro because I didn't know how much more I could take.  I started offering drops of honey for eating portions of soup, which got us through lunch, but Number 3 had no appetite.  He had eaten only a few spoonfuls all day, I offered a wide variety of things and wasn't the least bit interested.  I didn't think he would even notice the diet change because he only asks to eat what he sees other people eating.  He always ate soup and cooked vegetables so well on a regular basis.  He puked that afternoon.  His belly was thin and was looking sickly.

The next day, I was so worried about my youngest. He threw up two more times and only drank water all day.  His balance was worse than normal, he took a 5 hour nap and he didn't smile.   I forced a bit of chicken stock to keep his electrolytes up.  I scoured books and the internet, trying to figure out if he had a stomach bug, if he was detoxing or if he was making himself sick by refusing food.  Looking back, he is not characteristically stubborn at all, has not had any detox symptoms since and did run a fever two days before we started, so I'm thinking bug.  The other two barely ate anything for breakfast, but did do well with lunch and dinner and were upbeat all afternoon.

After the kids went down, my husband tempted me with a bowl of gelato and I was ready to partake.  I started going through the past few days in my head and realized how important it has been to be able to completely empathize and know that a body can exist on these foods alone.  I denied that gelato in all of it's mulberry glory.  Dang, I am disciplined!  That night I made a pureed, super carrot-y ginger soup for breakfast in high hopes of winning over the kids.

Day five was a turning point.  They ate breakfast!  All of them!  Carrot ginger was a hit, along with the yogurt cream I served on top.  I made small "pancakes" with ground, soaked almonds, zucchini and eggs, which put us in Stage 3.  They each got one and were super excited to have something other than soup.  Number 3 had definitely lost weight in the past few days, but ate small portions throughout the day and had a really good dinner.  I had a good talk to them about the only way we can add new foods is if we eat really well every day.  I think they got that, and just as I thought, my youngest was not rebelling because of the food because the very next morning when the kids asked "What's for breakfast?"  Number 3 happily replied "soup."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Decided to do a little journal of our experience on the GAPS diet.  The diet promotes bowel cleansing, which lessens the toxins in the blood, while allowing healing to take place.  You can read more about it here.  We are working on a case of ADHD for number 1 that almost had us filling a script for Ritalin last school year.  Abnormal bowels for number two, who is really gassy and takes a long time in the bathroom.  Possible food allergies for number 3, he gets a rash around his mouth regularly and with our varied diet, it has been hard to pin point the culprit.  We suspect strawberries.  Number 1 and 2 also have dog and cat allergies that I am hoping to clear up, though I have not come across any information that would suggest this is possible.  I am doing the diet as well, mostly because it is easier that way.  I am sure my gut is not in perfect working order and can benefit.  Now that we are 8 days in, I know that it was important for me to start this with them so that I could feel how they felt.

I had been thinking about undertaking this huge project for a while,  contemplating how I would keep others from feeding my kids.  Before I had even read the book, I got a spiritual prompting that I needed to set a date.  3 weeks before school starts gives us time to get through the toughest part of the diet and find our groove.

It was the scariest thing for me.  I love food, especially variety.  I struggled through the first few days, then I embraced the challenge to make these same foods day in and day out taste different and yummy.  I wasn't planning on blogging about this, but if I didin't, I might have fallen off of the face of the blog-o-sphere.  Truly, if I ever find myself needing to go back and do the GAPS introduction diet again, I want a record of past mistakes and successes.  If anyone else gets inspiration by what I write, that would be an added bonus. And if anyone feels inclined to share their wisdom, or encouragement, double bonus!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saving Seeds

It was sure sweaty in the garden this week, but I got a lot accomplished.  Found some huge cucumbers that were hiding under fallen vines, those are fun surprises.  I pulled up a bunch of plant that were past their prime and was able to save lots of seeds.

My green beans had a few dried pods on every plant, I probably have a couple year’s worth.  Just cracked open each pod and picked out the beans.  Some of them were not completely dry, so I left them out to do so before storing them.  Also, the cilantro and parsley had gone to seed a while back, but they were finally starting to dry out.  When they dry out, they are so much easier to collect.

I have had quite a bit success with saving seeds and it is a great habit for saving money.  You want to be sure that the vegetable is not a hybrid, because those don’t breed true and you will get a variety of inferior crops from them.  You also want to store in paper envelopes, seeds will mold in plastic.  Those are my two simple rules for saving seeds.  Do you have any tips or tricks?
links; Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Works For Me Wednesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sourdough Banana Bread

Remake recipes.  This is what I do.  I love sourdough.  It is so basic and traditional and completely opposite of the modern food ideal.  Sour, dense, slow verses sweet, light and fast.  It really doesn't take long to get your tastes to change and there are many tricks to get you over the hump.  Some of my ideas are; add more sugar to start our and ease back slowly, use white flour to start and slowly start substituting whole grain flour for more and more, let your dough sour for 8 hours, then add conventional yeast for a fast final rise.

I am still new at this, however, so when I want to make sourdough banana bread for the first time, I need a place to jump from.  In this case, I used my super yummy Sourdough Chocolate Cupcake recipe.  Cut back on the oil and sugar because bananas are sweet and moist, then add more flour to compensate for the liquid the banana puree contributes.  Obviously there is a longer bake time, so I had to play around with that.  Now I don't mind when the bananas get old.

1 cup freshly fed sourdough starter
1 cup raw milk
3 cups spelt flour
3/4 cups coconut sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups over ripe banana puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Mix starter, milk and flour. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 6-8 hours. Don’t worry if it doesn’t get really bubbly. Cream together sugar and eggs. Add oil, banana puree, vanilla, salt and baking soda smooth. Add half of sourdough mixture and pulse 3 times. Scrape out remaining mixture and pulse until thoroughly mixed but do not whip vigorously. The texture is quite gloppy. Ladle into 2 small, greased (with coconut oil) bread pans and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan to cool. Delicious to eat when it is still warm with a pad of butter, but if storing, it is best to cool completely before slicing.
links; Pennywise Platter, Things I Love Thursday, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Foodie Friday, Finer Things Friday, GCC Recipe Swap

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden Plans

The older boys are on off on their trip to visit their grandparents.  Just my little sweetie, my husband and I for one full week.  I foresee this being more of a vacation than a vacation!

I do have plans, however, to get out into the sweltering garden and pull out the plants that are done for the season.  I am planning on shutting down a few of my water lines to save $$.  My green beans have started drying up and I have been collecting the seeds.  I have plenty for the next season now, so compost time for what’s left.  I got all my onions and garlic out and dried.

My summer squash was terrible this year, between birds and blossom end rot.  At this point there is no hope for recovery when we still have 6 weeks of treacherous heat ahead.  I have peppers in the same row, which usually blossom again in August.  So while the peppers stay, I will use some of my green bean seeds for an early fall crop next to them.

Last year I tried to keep my tomatoes going through the summer, but a little-known fact about tomatoes is that their fruit doesn't set when day time temperatures are above 90 and nighttime doesn't get below 70.  So once that last fruit was picked in the summer, or eaten by the birds as was the case this year, I take the plants straight of the ground. This gives the soil a rest and opens up space for planting in August.

I need to find a better place for my strawberries.  Not being on automated watering is not working out so well.  Also hoping my husband gets to his tree trimming project.

My cucumbers are still growing strong, though we had a little mishap with the watering this week that may change all of that.  The sweet potatoes will stay in.  Hard to say how they are doing, but what is on top of the ground looks fantastic.

What big garden plans are in your future?
links; Works For Me Wednesday, Traditional Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Success with Lacto Fermenting

Last summer I fermented the excess cucumbers from my garden as a way to preserve them.  They turned out okay, but my family wouldn’t eat them so well.  I was worried after growing mold on top of the brine they would make us sick.  I didn’t feel right insisting, even though nobody had any ill effects.  I didn’t have any confidence with it and they weren’t at all delicious, so I pushed it all to the side.

For the past year I have been researching lacto fermentation.  After learning the health benefits, I knew it was something that I wanted to push through and learn.  I scoured a lot of websites, went through some e classes, devoured the section in Nourishing Traditions and borrowed Wild Fermentation from the local library.

I jumped in with both feet. I started straining whey from my raw yogurt to make spreads, dips and thick Greek style yogurt.  With this ingredient always around, it made it easy to throw it in things that I made like hummus, salsa and mayonnaise.  I found that adding extra sweetener to strike a little balance with the sour that the fermentation creates, eased the transition.  As we all got used to the flavor it was not a problem to pull back little by little.

I decided I was ready to try vegetables again.  My intentions were to start with Nourishing Tradition's Ginger Carrot recipe, but I had 2 heads of cabbage that needed to be dealt with, so sauerkraut it was.  I used the recipe in Nourishing Traditions; it turned out so salty and bitter that it ended up being thrown out.  I learned in Wild Fermentation that using whey yields a more consistent result.  I also read some reviews on the Nourishing Traditions sauerkraut recipe and it is commonly reported being too salty. I couldn’t get too down.

Then, it was time to get my summer garden planted and I had not kept up on the beets.  I had a mix of golden and red beets that I harvested all at once, which I diced and fermented together.  These turned out really nice!  I especially loved the color.  By the third day, the brine had all turned a beautiful purple-red, the golden beets were stained on the outside, but still were bright orange-yellow in the center.  I wish I would have gotten a picture, it was really fun.  Slowly, the color penetrated deeper and deeper until they were red all the way through.

Later my green beans got out of control and I was needing a good way to preserve them.  I fermented whole beans with garlic, banana peppers, dry dill and coriander.  They took on great flavor, stayed nice and crisp and are still in the fridge doing their thing!  Now I have got cucumbers getting backed up in the crisper.  I got one jar done last week, but the flavors are not quite right.  I am going to try throwing in a few cloves of smashed garlic to see if that livens them up.  For the next batch, I want to track down a bunch of fresh dill and compare the flavor.

There is a dairy free way to get into lacto fermentation. In Nourished Kitchen's ecourse, Jenny recommends Caldwell's Vegetable Starter for consistent results.

Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS is offering a new ecourse that is perfect for those who are committed to learning lacto fermentation.  She will sell you on the health benefits of this method, for sure and is a great resource when you are ready to get your feet wet.
links; Real Food Wednesday, Traditional Tuesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Real Food Patriot

Thank those who have fought for our freedom by contributing to making our Country better.  Robyn O'Brien is one mom who is making a difference. Read more in her book "The Unhealthy Truth."  Happy Independence Day.
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