Tag Archives: digestive health

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GAPS Diet Basics & Getting Started

www.mypicshares.com

Looking for GAPS resources as a way to improve your health?

started the GAPS diet in May of 2011 as a way to eliminate symptoms of panic, anxiety, and insomnia. I’ve read and heard many, many testimonials from people who have healed on GAPS.

I’ve been health coaching for almost 3 years with an emphasis in GAPS by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and related protocols. I have also provided GAPS workshops in my local community and educating people about how beneficial the basic foods that are used in GAPS are for lifetime health.

For these reasons, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a basic reference page for GAPS fundamentals and resources.

It’s been profound to learn about the healing power of traditional foods – the very same foods that Dr. Weston A. Price discovered in his world travels to isolated cultures who were consuming nutrient-rich foods that contained up to TEN times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins that we currently consume in our modern diets – A, D, E, and K2.

My health problems were chronic and spanned for over 2 decades of time. Things only got worse the older I got, with panic and anxiety like symptoms that I was told were connected to gallbladder problems (I had my gallbladder removed in 2001), and also thyroid (hormonal issues).

It wasn’t until I started GAPS that I saw an abrupt ending come to these symptoms I’d suffered through for at least half my life: racing heart, jitteryness, chronic fatigue, digestive problems of varying kinds, general feelings of doom and negativity, muscle weakness, nausea, and general malaise. I also experienced frequent colds and flus – especially in the winter time.

What is the GAPS diet?

Dr. McBride developed the protocol out of a lack of resources and need to resolve her own son’s issues who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Through both trial and error and diligent research, she discovered that many diseases including autism happen due to digestive breakdown which leads to nutritional deficiencies throughout the body.

Starches, grains, and sugar all contribute to breaking down lining in the gut and generate pathogenic bacteria. The gut lining becomes permeable due to poor dietary and lifestyle habits – processed foods, stress, use of antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, and birth control, lack of adequate rest, exposure to environmental toxins, etc.

When undigested foods and other substances penetrate the intestinal lining and go into the bloodstream. This causes an auto-immune response. Undigested substances that reach the blood-brain barrier cause additional issues:

These deficiencies are responsible for a variety of health issues including autism, hyperactivity, ADD, eczema, depression, dyspraxia, and many others that may be seemingly unrelated.

The common link in all of these disorders is breakdown of the mucosal lining in the intestinal tract from poor lifestyle and dietary choices – stress, environmental toxins, processed foods, and a lack of essential nutrients which are necessary to maintaining overall health and well-being.

Not only do nutritional deficiencies cause a wide array of symptoms which point to various health problems, many of these problems are the same in many people yet manifest themselves in unique ways.

Symptoms include:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Thyroid and hormonal problems
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Dyspraxia (motor movement issues)
  • Autism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes and insulin- resistance
  • Digestive disorders such a colitis, Crohn’s Disease, IBS
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Joint stiffness or pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Food sensitivities

For example, a child with autism or hyperactivity could have the same basic physiological problems and experience symptoms of autism or hyperactivity, while an adult with similar issues might exhibit symptoms of chronic panic or anxiety. An elderly person could experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease – a condition that is linked to the presence of heavy metals in the body and nutritional deficiencies – especially of minerals since heavy metals displace minerals in the body. All conditions are exacerbated by heavy metal toxicity and not enough minerals in the body.

Although GAPS is an extremely beneficial and healing protocol that can help a variety of health issues, it is not a cure-all or guaranteed way to improve your health. If you have tried GAPS and aren’t healing or improving the way you need, check out these resources:

If GAPS hasn’t worked for you or yours, read this – Nourishing Our Children.

The GAP in GAPS? What you need to know – Nourishing Hope, Julie Matthews

General resource links

GAPS is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Elaine Gottschall. Here is her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.

What can I eat on the GAPS diet?  Printable sheet reference guide showing what you can eat on the GAPS diet to hang in your kitchen or keep in a place where you have easy access

FAQ GAPS diet questions - from the Gut and Psychology Syndrome site

GAPS Diet Journey – testimonials, interviews, resources, and links

Gut and Psychology Syndrome/GAPS Diet Facebook page – great resource and forum for those getting started and for those looking for a place to interact and ask questions.

Explanation of GAPS dietary protocol including the Intro stages – additional information to supplement the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, for the Intro part of the GAPS diet, 6 stages

5 most common mistakes made on GAPS – Healthy Home Economist

10 reasons GAPS is better than gluten-free – Well Fed Homestead

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Is GAPS safe during breastfeeding? - Health, Home, Happiness

Recipes

Internal Bliss - GAPS Cookbook

9 reasons to make bone broth  - health benefits and recipe for broth

GAPS-friendly recipes – The Liberated Kitchen

GAPS-friendly recipes – GAPS Diet Journey

GAPS recipes – MyGutsy

Recipes and ideas for what to eat on the GAPS Introduction Diet – Keeper of the Home

GAPS-friendly, grain-free pancakes w/vanilla, cinnamon, and raw honey

Cookbooks, guides, & cooking e-courses

Grain-free meal plans (menu mailers) – Health, Home, Happiness

GAPS Freezer Cooking Guide – Health, Home, Happiness

What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on the GAPS Diet – Cara Comini, Health, Home, Happiness

Beyond Grain & Dairy Cookbook - Starlene Stewart, GAPS Diet Journey

Go Grain-Free Online Class – Real Food Forager

Guide to Grain-Free, Dairy Free Baking, Sweets and Treats – Nourished Kitchen

Get Cultured Cooking Class – Nourished Kitchen (How to create fermented foods)

Interviews and related

Dr. Mercola interviews Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride

My GAPS experience for panic disorder and GAPS radio interview

My interview on GAPS Diet Journey – Empowered Sustenance

GAPS Diet Journey Radio Interview – Loving Our Guts

 

Giveaways Green Living Healthy Living Recipes Reviews

Real Food Fermentation by Alex Lewin: Book Review & Giveaway

www.mypicshares.com

I am a big advocate for fermented foods, and have committed to making them a regular part of my dietary habits. That’s why I am reviewing another great book about fermentation this week, Alex Lewin from Feed Me Like You Mean It’s recent book Real Food Fermentation.

Whether you are new to fermenting and are intrigued…or have already been doing it for a period of time, this wonderful book with gorgeous pictures (I’ve considered adding it to my coffee table collection for that reason) will delight any reader who is curious about flavors and textures, and the important role that microbes, enzymes, and bacteria play in preserving food.

It will also help you to appreciate that the art (yes, art) of culturing food is really one of the best and simplest ways to incorporate these essential living enzymes, good bacteria (probiotics), and increased vitamins and minerals in your diet for improved health.

Why make fermented foods, anyway?

You may be wondering what’s so great about fermented foods. They support digestion, immunity, and overall health by breaking down the elements in foods that our bodies might not otherwise be able to do and making nutritional elements more available. For an overview of the benefits of fermented foods, read The amazing health benefits of fermented & cultured foods & beverages. These foods support digestion, immunity, and overall health.

We are currently seeing a resurgence in interest of creating fermented foods for flavor and health, and what better time of year to learn something new like this than during the holiday season when there is so much focus on food anyway. This book would make a great gift for someone special in your life who loves and appreciates food and is perhaps thinking about taking their health to the next level.

What you’ll get out of this book and learning to ferment

In this book you’ll find basic recipes for fermented vegetable creations such as sauerkraut and pickles, kimchi, pickles, pico de gallo and more adventurous foods like hard apple cider, kombucha as well as a whole array of cultured dairy foods such as yogurt, whey, kefir, and crème fraîche, butter, and buttermilk (swoon!).

Recipes include clear instructions accompanied by images showing the reader just what his or her efforts will yield at various steps, and in effect bring to life the recipes discussed. I appreciate that, and I think someone who is just starting out on adventures in fermentation would too.

After meeting Alex in person, I have found that his book is written in a manner that is every bit as conversational as if you were actually talking to him.  His relationship with food is very comfortable and it’s evident that he’s delighted to share his knowledge with the reader.

As you read this book, you’ll discover that it’s meant to be read not at all in the way you’d approach most “cookbooks”, but as a way to become better acquainted with, enthused about, and as a way to unleash the desire to understand food and experiment in the kitchen in ways you may never have felt you could.  I hope the way he writes about food will not only compel you in this direction, but will inspire you to want to investigate this fascinating world of fermented foods, and try something for yourself.

I love the friendly, open explanations Alex provides  about how enzymatic activity and oxidation occur, and definitions of preservation and fermentation – which helps remove the mystery from the unique process of fermentation and how it can benefit health…as well as the conditions under which optimal fermentation occurs. There is also some valuable discussion of the ways in which the slow food movement has taken form and how it is affected by the mainstream, commercial food system, and genetic modification, and other factors.

In this recent radio interview, Alex talks about the qualities of fermented foods and why they are so good for our health. In a world where so many people have digestive compromise from poor lifestyle and dietary habits, fermentation reduces the stress on the body of creating enzymes for digestion. Raw foods are more difficult to digest, and fermented foods which really fall between raw and cooked are actually easier because microbes and enzymes act on the parts of the raw foods that our bodies have trouble assimilating.

Here is one of the fabulous recipes in his book:

Fermented Carolina-Style Slaw

www.mypicshares.com

Yield: 1 quart (950 ml) or 2 pounds (900 g)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 4-7 days

Ingredients:

1 pound (450 g) green cabbage

1 large onion (red, yellow, or white)

1 large green bell pepper

1 large carrot

1/2 apple (optional)

1/4 pound (115 g) celery root, or 1 teaspoon celery seed

4 teaspoons (20 g) sea salt

1/4 cup (80 g) honey (or less, if you have included an apple)

6 tablespoons (90 ml) oil (mixture of sesame, coconut, and olive oil works well)

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 piece (1/3 inch, or 8 mm) gingerroot, peeled and grated (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper

Equipment

  • Large cutting board (wood is ideal)
  • Large knife (a chef’s knife is ideal)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 2 mason jars (1 pint, or 475 ml each) or similar glass jars with tight-fitting lids
  • Colander or strainer

Preparation

  1. Thinly slice the cabbage, onion, and bell pepper. (For tips on how to cut a bell pepper, see page 65.)
  2. Grate or shred the carrot, apple, if using, and celery root, if using.
  3. Ferment the vegetable mixture with the salt using the recipe for Lacto-Fermented Vegetables on page 75 (here’s a link on his site to this recipe), to the desired degree of sourness. Four to seven days is probably about right.
  4. Once the vegetables are fermented, drain them in a colander set over a mixing bowl, and press the liquid out with your hands, reserving the liquid.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the liquid with the honey, oil, dry mustard, and ginger, and mix well with a fork, whisk, or blender. Pour the dressing mixture and combine. Add salt and pepper as needed. Add more of the reserved liquid if you want more sourness. Refrigerate.
  6. Save any leftover fermentation liquid to use as a starter for your next project. Or mix it with oil and spices to use as a salad dressing. or drink it in the morning as a digestive tonic!

Alex studied math at Harvard University before graduating from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, as well as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He also serves on the board of the Boston Public Market Assocation, and teaches people how to put fermenting into action.

You can read more about what Alex is up to by visiting his blog Feed Me Like You Mean It site or on his Facebook page.

Listen to Alex’s interview about his book with Cary Nosler on Talk 650 KSTE, on Wide World of Health (Sacramento, CA).

Win a copy of Real Food Fermentation!

Giveaway rules:

The giveaway starts today and ends on Wednesday, December 20th at 11:59 p.m., MST.
Here are all the different ways to enter:

  1. Click in the comment box below and leave a comment saying you want to enter.

For extra entries, do the following and leave comments:

  1. Subscribe to my blog. Use the Feedburner subscribe feature on the main page.
  2. Like Feed Me Like You Mean It on Facebook (blog posts on Facebook about giveaways aren’t permitted by FB rules). You’ll receive extra entries for “liking” only.
  3. Follow Lactoferment on Twitter and Tweet about the giveaway.
  4. Follow Agriculture Society on Twitter.
  5. Like Agriculture Society on Facebook (again, blog post about giveaways on FB are not permitted). Extra entries are given for “liking” only.
  6. Please Stumble my page or any other articles you want to share!

The contest is open to anyone in the U.S. If you are outside the U.S. you must pay shipping charges. The winner has 24 hours to e-mail me about the prize. If I don’t hear from the winner, I’ll pick someone else with Random.org.

Best of luck to everyone entering. I will announce the winner here on Thursday, December 20th.

Photo credit: Quarry Books