Although I don't usually get on well with meal planners, when I go away on holiday I do find it essential to have done a lot of preparation beforehand to make sure that I can spend more time out of the kitchen than I do when we are at home. This includes having a meal plan in place and ordering the week's groceries to match the menu.
Having just been away, to an unknown kitchen and area, I found myself doing more work than I did when I knew what to equipment to expect in the kitchen and where to source my food. In case anyone else is interested, I have written it all down in a convenient form and humbly offer it to you.
This plan will take the hard work out of the thought of eating real food on a special diet while you are self-catering. It assumes basic cottage equipment of a cooker and basic cooking utensils. It does assume you will take a small , unless you are happy to make broth on the stove. It also requires a hand blender.
The menu ideas are just that - ideas, or you could use them straight. they might just give you a basis on which to tweak them here and there a bit to suit your family's likings. They are all simple meals, often with bulk cooking to save time in the kitchen, while remaining true to having plenty of broth/soup from meat/bones and all sugar and grain free.
I have given it a small price of £2 to reflect the amount of time I have put into it (rather than giving it away free, as it has taken time!)
If you would like more information please contact me.
How was Easter this year. I mean, how did you cope with seeing all the chocolate eggs right in your face everywhere you went? Last year Husband found it very difficult to cope, especially when he was walking past the shops and seeing them on his way to and from work, as he loves his chocolate (as you know!).
It seems that many people struggle with this one when they try to eat more healthily. Maybe it's not just chocolate, or maybe not even chocolate at all for you. Maybe it's party food at work, or other family gatherings. Whatever it is, it's so easy to feel despondent and think 'It's not fair I can't eat it!'
If you have just started the GAPS diet then take heart...it will get better. This year, Husband reports that he has hardly noticed them. A year on and we can hardly remember how we used to eat as we are so used to meat and veg all day long with few puddings and snacks. We would never have dreamt it possible to forget. Do remember though that cocoa is only allowed on the full GAPS diet, after all digestive issues have ben sorted out.
Megan Stephens sympathises. In her book 'Eat Beautiful' she says that it is often difficult for families trying to transition on to a healthier diet like GAPS to struggle when all the baked goods are suddenly removed. So she has written her book with many delicious grain-free/refined sugar-free recipes to help with the transition. She reassures her readers saying that after a while you do lose the cravings. Then you may find you can start to naturally cut back on baked goods, reserving them just for treats.
We have certainly found that to be true. Our cravings are kept at bay by plenty of fat with our meals and we never feel hungry as our blood sugar levels are on the whole stable. My biggest weakness is when I get dehydrated, when I have to confess to snacking on a few too many raisins, my one short falling. This is one to watch - when you feel like snacking, check your hydration levels first as you probably don't need the snack at all.The rest of the family are very good.
We all need a good healthy snack now and then. Last Easter I made Easter egg replacements (See picture above). We had only just come off the intro and it was a little too soon, but they were nice!
Find the recipe here if you fancy trying them out.
So don't despair! Keep going and don't quit just because of a few set-backs. It really does get easier!
Spring is here! Not only am I spring cleaning the house but I've been spring cleaning my recipes. I'm on the look out for some new ideas for easy snacks. I don't know about you, but I seem to tire easily of making the same thing over and over again. I also need simple snacks, as I spend enough time over the hob and sink making our main meals.... and maybe things that are simple enough for the Sons to make. I keep threatening that if they want snacks they will have to make them...no one has volunteered yet, their minds are busy on other things, like train spotting or bird watching! I also like simple ingredients - nothing fancy, just what's already in my cupboard - which admittedly is rather limited anyway by the GAPS diet, and simple equipment - i.e. no dehydrating!
So here are the results of my latest search. I haven't tried them all yet, but I will be soon. It's not easy finding recipes to fit the above criteria and which are not on dodgy websites, but these seem to.
No Bake, Coconut Bars
If you are doing GAPS, then use honey as the sweetener and omit the chocolate chips (sadly for now!). A simple recipe and one that is set to become a favourite with us.
Star rating: 5
You could use milk kefir in place of coconut milk.
A bit more fiddly, but still do-able.
Star rating: 3 as more fiddly
For GAPS, substitute carob for cocoa powder.
Star rating: 5
Fruit Cake Bites
No-bake, but you don't get many for your efforts. I'd double the recipe!
Star rating: 2 as fiddly and does not make many
Star rating: 5
Good 2 Go Bars
Based on peanut butter.
It says it makes 6 big bars, but I think 16 small bite sized bars is better.
Star rating: 4 as takes a bit longer to make.
Honey Caramel Nuts
So simple! Very delicious!
Star rating: 5
2 Ingredient Snack Bars
Basically just dried fruit and nuts. I'm going to experiment with different kinds of nuts/dried fruit.
Star rating: 5 - very easy
Please excuse our absence, we were on holiday!
We are congratulating ourselves for having survived another two weeks travelling around while still staying true to the GAPS diet. No easy feat! This year was a lot easier than last, mainly because last year we were just transitioning off of the introduction diet and had reintroduced some foods too soon, but didn't realise it. Our week was taken up coping with all manner of digestive problems as a result! This year was much more relaxing in that respect. Also, I was already in a good routine before I went and I managed to just simplify the meals a little so that I wasn't cooking all day long!
We did have more bought treats this year - lots of Nakd bars and packets of Urban fruit! We were pleased to find two new flavours of Nakd bars that we can eat in a local health food shop.
Tips for travelling:
Whatever your 'diet', if you are seeking to eat more naturally, you will have to cook more on holiday than the average person, especially if you are on a budget. If you are planning to travel, don't panic, it's very do-able.
We were fortunate because once more the kitchen was very well equipped. We didn't know that when we left home as we had never visited this cottage before. even so, I didn't take much that I didn't need.
On the GAPs diet, the slow cooker is an essential piece of luggage. I have bought a little 3.5 litre model just for travelling. It is very compact and I can make 2 litres of broth in it at a time. I made one change to my routine while away. Whereas I would usually, at home, make the bone broth and then cook the vegetables for soup in the broth on the hob, I put all the vegetables in the slow cooker and so the soup just needed blending and it was ready to go. This saved a lot of time and I will be doing it more at home now too. It did mean that all the vegetables, including the onion, were boiled, but a small price to pay for more time relaxing!
The hand blender was also essential. From whipping up banana pancakes, to blending soup or hot chocolate and smoothies, it was in constant use.
I ordered as much as I could from the supermarket who delivered to the door the evening we arrived.
I rang butchers in the area ahead of the holiday to check availability of bones and good quality meat. We had to have supermarket meat for the first two days of the trip, but managed to get meat by Monday and bought a weeks worth as it was some distance drive away. Grass-fed meat is not essential on the GAPS diet, but it is good to source the best quality you can get and most supermarkets aim to breed/rear/ and sell meat as cheaply as they can and so their practices, though legal, do not always produce meat that will properly nourish the healing body.
Similarly with vegetables. I was unable to find local veg. and ascertain prices ahead of time so we had it delivered from the supermarket. As for meat, it is not essential to have the best organic and/or local quality, but for the healing body that needs maximum amount of nutrients, supermarket veg. is best avoided as again it is grown to maximise sales and not for goodness, often with poor farming methods aimed at squeezing as much out of the land as possible and relying on unnatural means to raise produce, thereby resulting in nutrient deficient fruit and vegetables. Unless you know that you can only tolerate organic produce, then it doesn't harm to have lesser quality food some of the time. You can only do your best.
I took my own salt/pepper/herbs etc. and herbal teabags.
Other items I found indispensable, included: my large roasting tin, for roasting the chicken for Sunday lunch, to roasting numerous squash 'chip's' (basically packets of frozen butternut squash from the supermarket!); various plastic containers of different sizes - I leant the hard way that it is not a good idea to try and travel with glass jars, though preferable as they do not leak chemicals into the food. I have done so in the past without incident, but I won't again! I also took tin foil, plastic bags for food storage, and my American measuring cup was also handy.
Both my milk and water kefirs travelled well. I packed them in a large cool bag, without an ice-block, and transported them in plastic containers, rather than their usual glass. Remember to burp them en route if the weather is hot, so keep them handy for this purpose.
Being organised is definitely the key to a successful holiday food wise. Plan the menu ahead, order the food to match the menu. Plan for easy meals so that you are not spending all day in the kitchen. I found that the family were not overly worried about what they ate as the excitement of being away took their minds off food! Plus, they were happy as long as they had their Nakd bar every day!
Leave nothing to chance, so that you are not left having to compromise. We did however have to compromise a little on what else we took with us, in order to fit the cooking things in the boot!