I told you we all had a very sweet tooth - well we've succumbed to cocoa at last! The Men wanted a cream egg, so they got one. They tucked in delightedly while I thought of all the good it was doing them! They could indulge without me having a awful nagging feeling that it wasn't good for them. Why do 'treats' always seem to be those things we know are not good for us? Not this one!
This is basically only sour cream, egg yolk and chocolate, but of course GAPS style.
Want to make one?
First you need a chocolate mould, but any small dish will do. I have a silicon Easter egg mould from Lidl.
you have a choice here. you can find a recipe like this one:
Or you could use my coconut chocolate recipe here.
I used the 'Carob chips' recipe in Nourishing Traditions, only I used cocoa powder, honey and butter melted together. I halved the recipe to make four egg halves. The butter ended up being too much, so I will only use 2 oz next time. It doesn't produce a smooth chocolate mixture, but it hardened up into the freezer and the taste was good enough. Maybe you are more proficient than I am and can use cocoa butter and do a more professional job.
Once the chocolate is set, put each 'egg - half' in a bowl and fill with a scoop of sour cream.
What better to use than egg yolks (organic and pastured eggs), whisked with a little honey and poured over the top!
You can add more honey to adjust sweetness and more/less butter to make a smooth paste.
Looks aren't everything - the chocolate didn't quite come out of the moulds properly, but it's the taste that counts, and this was .....delicious!
And so much better for you!
If I were starting out again on the GAPs diet intro, there are a few things I would like to have known, or at least have thought about in advance. So I'm going to tell them to you, so that if you are thinking of doing the GAPS intro diet, or even starting the full diet you will be prepared.
1. Make sure you have a large enough saucepan/crockpot/slow cooker to cook enough meat broth in for one whole day if not more. A slow cooker (or equivalent) is a very economical way to cook meat broth. Do some practice runs in the weeks before.
2. Make at least two 1 litre jars of Sauerkraut before you start, (that's for four adult sized portions - we have two strapping lads to feed). You only take the juices until stage three, but it starts to disappear fast after that and I unfortunately ran out as I was so busy trying to cope with the new routine and couldn't find an organic cabbage in time! If you make it before hand, it will keep and you'll be spared a job!
3. Buy enough storage containers to store the broth/yoghurt/sour cream/soup in the fridge. Glass is best. One litre size is best to fit in the fridge easily.
4. Have a selection of soups written down that you can rotate. You won't have time to keep reinventing the wheel. Some ideas: Pea (use frozen peas - quick and easy), carrot, spinach, tomato (organic Passat is a life saver - use straight from the bottle for a speedy soup they will all love), watercress, leek and onion. Always use onion as a base and vary the meat broths.
5. Think about the meats you will use to make meat broth. You will need a variety, or else after a few days you'll be sick of boiled chicken/beef! Also, once you get to stage 4 you might all decide you really want as little boiled meat as possible, but you've got to keep making it to get meat broth. So consider where you can buy bones with lots of meat on. Low cost cuts of chicken are ideal - quarters/wings for making meat broth without leaving you with lots of boiled meat to use up.
6. Start with some sort of menu plan, if you haven't got one from elsewhere (like http://www.healthhomeandhappiness.com/grain-free-2/30-days-on-gaps-intro-e-book.) It really will make your life a lot easier and ensure you defrost the right meat and bones at the right time and don't end up with nothing for tea!
7. Read up about food intolerances and 'die-off'. Judging by the number of questions on the web-site, this is an area many are confused about. We were too and I spent a long time trying to find answers as to whether our symptoms were food reactions or die-off. I concluded in the end that most were die-off. We did have a couple of times when it was obvious we needed to hold back on a food for a week or so and try again. I'm not GAPS trained, or a doctor, but especially in the first week, expect die-off and keep going. If the symptoms don't calm down, then look to food, but stay on Stage 1 or 2 until you have normalish stools. We only spent 2 days on stage 1, but our-die off didn't start until we were on stage 2, so we stayed there until we were comfortable.
8. Think how you will introduce your probiotics. Probiotics are the most important factor other then the foods you eat (or don't eat!) on this diet. They are in the end what is going to flush out the gut to bring about healing. We start with small amounts, building up to more and more. This includes the probiotic itself - Bio Kult, or whatever else you choose to use. I didn't realise when I started out that an average adult needs to work up to about 8-10 Bio-Kult capsules a day. If you have two adults, and two 12 pluses that works out to approx. 30 pills a day. We bought a box of 120 which will only last four days when we all reach therapeutic levels. That is very expensive! My main point then is count the cost!
Then think about the food probiotics, sauerkraut, fermented dairy. It really does become a juggling game trying to gradually increase the different ones and introduce Bio-Kult without suffering bad die-off symptoms. So care needs to be exercised. It's more tricky the larger number of people in the family. Close records need to be kept!
We decided (after suffering) to build up the food probiotics first to a good level and then to introduce Bio-Kult, so we wern't doing both at once. This worked better.
I hope I haven't put you off, as I would recommend the diet to anyone who needs it - it really works, but always remember, it is I believe, one of the hardest diets to implement. As much fore-thought as possible will ensure success.
By the end of the third week we had all reached Stage 5. It really was a relief to say the least.
Fortunately my stomach seemed to calm down and I've never quite worked out what happened to it, but I am now consuming butter and cream liberally without ill effects, and to date all the stage 4 foods are tolerated well and I'm just trying salad - lettuce, cucumber, tomato and raw carrot in that order.
At last we are beginning to lift our heads above the parapet and feel like we are coping! It was very hard to start with, swimming in soup all day long - not our favoured food - slow cooker boiling away merrily - all day long (it still is, but is doesn't feel the same now we are eating a wider variety of foods), and it seemed like it would go on for ages! Sons happily eat their soups now and even say they enjoyed them and that helps as it's hard feeding a family when they aren't enjoying your cooking!
Fortunately we can all tolerate dairy, so we have enjoyed increasing amounts of sour cream and home-made yoghurt.
I have to say one thing - it really does make you appreciate food again! Each new taste or texture is wonderful.
We started with Bio-Kult (probiotic) at the beginning of stage 5 and Husband and Son 2 are feeling the effects of 'die-off'; tired and out of sorts! It's not easy measuring the same dose out each day when you are just giving a tiny bit on the end of a knife!
Breakfast has turned into a salad side-dish with the eggs and has three courses. The eggs, the soup and bowl of yoghurt! We have never been great salad fans, so this is good! Son1 is happy to eat lettuce and raw carrot.
Juicing tapered out a bit at this point as it is very expensive and it takes a lot of time washing the juicer (cheapy from Lidl!). I have read that it's ok to do what you can but not feel guilty about juicing if you can't do much. We will do it as we can and on our lemon - free days, but we might do more in Summer/Autumn when we have more home-grown free stuff to use. Son 1 has suffered from constipation and I was doing it primarily to help him as I read somewhere that it might help. He is now doing much better in that respect, but Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says it's the high fat dairy that will help most with constipation - butter and sour-cream. Son 1 loves butter so he uses it very liberally!!
We have an allotment, but in the light of how much veg. we get through now, we have started renting a second one! More work, but we used a no-dig policy last year and it really worked. I bought Charles Dowding's Veg journal and it's been great watching the other allotment holders all digging the hard clay while we just planted! Our planting schedule will have to be re-vamped this year to include the GAPS legal things. Our back garden is full of apples, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and rhubarb which we are looking forward to enjoying in new recipes. I'll write more on this as we go through the Spring.
We actually ate at relatives for the first time, twice in this stage. Both hosts were fantastic and very brave. They were both birthday parties - one my own! They both did a roast chicken with boiled veg and I took a flask of our soup to one party - the other the host even went and bought beef bones with lots of meat on and made her own meat broth! Thank you both of you! Stewed apple (with sour-cream and almond bread muffins for us) was the pudding with both hosts cooking a few extras for the non-GAPS participants. Both Sons (and Husband!) were stars - watching others eat things they would have loved but couldn't have, so I bought them all a little something to encourage them! It really is amazing how they have been so optimistic throughout!
GAPS intro birthday
I had to have a 'cake' for my birthday ... but what do you have on stage 5 of GAPS intro? The GAPS diet book came to my rescue with her birthday cake recipe, though I adapted it. The sponge is lovely (When you've had nothing like it for a month! I made it into two 8 inch cakes and put one layer at the bottom of a glass casserole dish, with applesauce in between with the other 'cake' on top, served with more sour cream than we had had to date! Fortunately we all survived! The cream was served separately as I could hardly give sour-cream in great quantities to non-GAPs relatives! But it made the day!
GAPS Mother's Day
Roast chicken saved the day again, with roast carrots and roast butternut squash and greens. The gravy was made from the fat and juices, with chicken stock and flavoured with sage and onion. We had a pudding - YES, we had to have pudding, an opportunity for another treat! Though we looked at the dish suspiciously as the 'crumble' topping over the stewed apple was made of carrot pulp (GAPS book apple crumble, page 202)! But we needn't of worried, it was...DELICIOUS, especially with oodles of sour cream (ordinary cream for them). Even Dad was happy after his previously sceptical comments as to what they might be served up! He even had seconds. It's amazing what you can do, even on the intro diet!
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!