Mind the Gaps Diet
Our site aims to give support/information for those on or considering the GAPS diet, or wishing to improve their health through a traditional diet. All the recipes are:
Grain-free and Refined sugar free
Straight forward English Food!
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For this diet to work you have to plan ahead - there is no option. You can't look in the fridge and say 'What shall we have for lunch today?' Meat broth (broth cooked using both meat and bones) has to be in generous supply, so my slow cooker is on all day everyday. That means always making sure I have meat/bones defrosting the day before I need them.
You will need a good calendar or spread sheet in order to plan. this helps with shopping trips too, to minimise time spent shopping.
I drew up a chart for Sunday through Saturday and starting with the first day worked out which meat we would eat with which broth at which time of day - bearing in mind I made one batch of meat and broth per day - in large quantities! Some days I had to do two to keep up. For stages 1 and 2 it is boiled meat and veg and broth all day and I founds that the boys needed meat at each meal to fill them up, with lots of carbs - i.e. squash or carrots. so these were the hardest stages food preparation wise.
Generally speaking I first decided which meat we would have for the broth each day. I found that in my 4.5l slow cooker I could make enough broth for all of us to have tea that night, and breakfast and lunch the next day. Then it was on all through the day ready for tea that night. Sometimes I eked it out with a bit of water. For stages 1 and 2 breakfast and lunch were broth/soup and we relied on a lot of fish for breakfast as it was quick and easy to prepare in the morning.
For stages 3 and 4, once we were happy on eggs, then breakfast was eggs how you like them or squash pancakes, sometimes with nut butter and sometimes without. These were served with a mug of broth, or soup if I had it. This helped reduce the demand for meat. One day a week we went egg free to help prevent allergies arising, and I made home-made sausages on those days, which lasted two meals on average.
For lunch we had soup, with all the cartilage bits whizzed up and hidden in it. This helped make the meat go further, but we needed a lot of soup and lots of carrot or squash in each bowl to fill us up. Sometimes we had boiled fish and when we got to stage 4 I would roast some meat for lunch as a treat some days.
Tea was our main meal on weekdays and we tried to make it as normal as possible, with meat, veg and gravy (made of stock and thickened with blended veg - mushrooms and onion go well though we liked a stock with peppers in too with chicken.)
We kept the 'bread' as a snack to have mid-morning and some apple puree after lunch followed by and increasingly large bowl of sour cream and a drop of honey after tea or for supper. We must still have our puddings , though I intend not to go back to feeling we must have something, so some days we don't.
The hardest part was varying the meals when we were pretty much rotating chicken, pork and beef using the cheapest cuts - i.e. chicken leg quarters and mince beef and pork chops (I bought I bulk from the butchers). I tried to supplement with liver and kidneys mixed in in small quantities whenever I could. Lamb was delicious, but a luxury kept for Sunday dinner. Similarly beef brisket and on one special occasion, stewed steak and kidney - now that was a birthday treat!
How much meat?
Well, an average weekly meat shop included 8 chicken legs (thighs and legs), 8 pork chops, 3 pounds beef mince, 1 pound pork mince (I could buy all of these in trays in bulk in our butchers - who specialises in local meat, but is not organic), one joint of beef/lamb for Sunday roast.
Sometimes I needed a bit more. This provided 7 main meals. Lunchtime as I said was supplemented with the fat/tissue round the bones. and then there was fish on top of this - I bought frozen wild salmon or cod fillets from the supermarket, or fresh mackerel filleted from the fish market. He used to fillet them for me, and give me the bones to take home and make stock. I can't say we love fish stock, but we could take a little mixed into a soup occasionally.
Some of our staples were: Beef balls, chicken stew/casserole varying the veg, cod casserole, and pork chops with thick mushroom and onion gravy. Getting to Stage 3 and being able to sauté the onions made a great difference to the taste of soups and gravies. I also varied the carrots - sometimes cut in circles, sometimes chipped, other times mashed with fat. The squash was nice mixed with the fried onion and mashed - or just mashed with ghee.
Sometimes 'accidents' turned out surprisingly well - the day I hadn't planned for lunch very well so we had boiled cod with peas and the broth made it into a sort of stew in a bowl - it was actually quite delicious. Or the day the slow cooker went wrong, so I threw the chicken pieces into a Pyrex casserole dish, threw the carrots and lots of celery on top and stuck it in the oven for 3 hours at 130 deg (fan oven). With some extra veg boiled separately - again delicious - the broth had all the flavours, even though it was plain broth in a mug. (Stage 4)
Adding fresh herbs at stage 3 and dried herbs at stage 4 certainly helped to add flavour.
We are a very English meat and two veg sort of family and not into much foreign food, except pizza!
I'm not one who makes up new recipes, but have found few sites helping with ideas for trying to feed a family 'normally'.
Packed lunches on intro:
A flask of soup
A boiled egg
Cold meat (wrapped in tin foil)
Boiled carrots/peas with salt (Stages 1-4)
Stage 4 plus
A small 'cake' of almond bread with butter on top/sour cream and a tiny bit of honey
Raw carrot (Stage 5 onward once tolerated)
Raw lettuce/tomatoes/cucumber (as tolerated)
And from here on it gets easier!
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Welcome to Mind the GAPS!
Here you will find not only a record of our GAPS diet journey, with helpful hints and tips, but also mouthwatering, simple, adaptable, recipes for feeding a growing family without spending all day in the kitchen! Please stay and browse.