I hope you don't mind if this week I share with you a few web-sites I have been finding that have helped us along the way.
The SCD website
Sometimes on the GAPS journey one or other of us has got 'stuck' and while researching for help I found the SCD website. The SCD diet is the diet that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride tweaked to form the GAPS diet. So they are closely related. The other week there was a fantastic free webinar which was very helpful.
Here are some of the pages I have found helpful:
On understanding 'die-off':
When you have a digestive issue you can't resolve:
If you are wondering if you have low stomach acid:
Another website I have got quite excited about is how to make your own shampoo and deodorant - natural and free of toxins.
Other recipes I have seen in the past have been too complicated, but these are easy and seem to work - on me at least!
Another 'shampoo' I have been using recently, is just egg - yes, all the egg, and it works very well. Just be sure not to let the water get too hot, or you'll have scrabled egg hair! I follow it with a cider vinegar rinse. The only slioght drawback is that I have found it drying my scalp, so I alternate every few weeks with the one above. It really is a case of experimenting to see what works for your hair.
Natural Remedies for a wide range of conditions
Husband sprung the most enormous cold sore in the summer after a trip to the beach - we discovered that sun exposure can activate them, but this was a whopper and he suffered it for a whole month before we finally got rid of it using natural unheated honey (not actually one of the suggestions here, but while I was looking for help I found this website and will return as needed.) I have since found help for other things.
Please remember that I am not a doctor and these are only suggested ideas - all medical conditions must be checked with a certified doctor first.
I told you I was growing squash for the first time on our allotment. Well I'll certainly be growing them again. We have had a bountiful harvest and I wish I'd grown more varieties, so I will next year. The only thing is that one variety has gone completely mad and covers a good half of my new allotment plot... added to which these particular ones are from plants my mother gave me and she can't remember where she got the seed from, or what variety it is! We thought they were marrows, but they look more like white squash of sorts. We have hundreds of them! The butternuts took a long time to get going and we do have some to harvest but they are not very big. The plot next to mine had a successive crop of courgettes of which I had to resist the temptation to be envious of, so I grew some of my own - albeit rather late in the season. I'll get a few. Next year I'll start them earlier (for lots of chocolate cake!) and throw in some cucumbers too.
I gather the secret to success is to plant them in nutrient rich soil - on a compost heap or with plenty of well rotted manure. All my plants seem to do better with plenty of manure - as long as it's applied at the right time. Some, like carrots don't like being planted in freshly spread manure or they develop forked roots, so you have to check first.
My problem now is what to do with them all! I gather I can store them in nets in a cool place until mid-winter.... that's a lot to store and we'd better start eating them soon. But how? Well apart from the obvious roast butternut squash chips I've been hunting for some more recipes. This is my collection so far. I haven't tried all of them yet, but if they are not GAPS legal as they stand they look easy to adapt.
Cut the squash into 'chips', pop them into a roasting tin, scatter
knobs of fat (I use lard) over them and bake - I use 180 deg C. and
just cook until done, but often put them in with other foods at
lower/higher temperatures and I adjust as necessary until they are
Butternut Squash Soup
Use a GAPS legal fat rather than heating olive oil in this recipe from Mary Berry
Butternut Squash Pancakes
Not just for the GAPS intro diet. GAPS legal as it stands.
Quick 'How To':
Peel a butternut squash:
The easiest way I find is to first cut off the ends and then use a vegetable peeler to peel longwise down the squash, just finishing off at the top and bottom as necessary at the end. I then cut it in 2 inch chunks. Each chunk I then slice and cut into chip shapes.
Roast a squash:
Don't peel. Cut in half longwise, Then lay face down on a baking tray with a little water. Roast for about 45 min at Gas 4, 350 deg. Having roasted it until the flesh is tender, leave it to cool and then you can scrape the flesh out and puree it. I use it to thicken sauces/soups, or we have it mashed with butter and salt.
I love September. It's always reminiscent of a new start; new school clothes, new school books...... We home-educate and it's still time for new calendars/timetables/schedules and I like to use the opportunity to look at how I spend my time too and see if there are not little changes that would make a big difference.
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes and it's very refreshing to find a more economical or time saving way of doing something. This has been more meaningful than usual to me this year being the first September on the GAPS diet.
There is no doubt about it, I can't deny it, it's hard work. You can't just have a day off and stick a packet of fish fingers in the oven with ready made chips. It's not just the meal preparation, it's the meal planning, shopping, and clearing up as well as managing the fridge/freezer flow ('I hope I can squeeze everything in the fridge!' - especially when the butcher very kindly empties his bone store into my bag, for FREE) It's the thinking ahead as to defrosting more quantities of meat than before, making ferments a month in advance of them being needed, keeping the kefir and sour cream/yoghurt in constant supply... There seem to be so many balls to juggle. So I've been having a re-schedule and finding that there are better ways to do things than I've been doing.
Firstly I had a big clear out of my kitchen cupboards - admittedly in the holidays. This made space for my jars and other pieces of equipment that had accumulated since we started GAPS and had been sitting on the counter top without a home. It gave me SPACE in the kitchen and it felt wonderful.
Then I revamped the meal plans and wrote a list of all the meals we've ever had since starting GAPS so that when I get bored of the routine (which I often do) I have somewhere to get inspiration from. This included puddings/desserts and snacks. We have a basic 2 week meal rota, but I like variety!
Next I considered my broth making. It had become very ad hoc and disorganised and in a word a big CHORE. I always use my bones twice, once for meat broth from the fresh meaty bones, and then for bone broth. Ideally, we like the meat broth for breakfast on it's own and I make the less flavoursome but none the less nutritious bone broth into soup. Too often we were having the bone broth for breakfast and the family were starting to groan! So now I have it worked out. The meat broth goes on over night. In the morning, I harvest the fatty stock (after we have taken some for our breakfast) and put it into labelled jars, which then cool and go in the fridge. I then re-fill the slow cooker and it goes on again through the day to 5pm when I turn it off and harvest the bone broth. This again goes into jars and cools ready to go in the fridge before bedtime. When I need soup, I sauté the onions and other ingredients I need if applicable, then tip in 2 litres of bone broth and add seasonings. I blend it cold and put one litre straight back in the fridge (so reducing the need to cool the broth) and we re-heat enough for our meal. The rest goes in the fridge for husbands lunch the next day. This way we make sure of having meat broth for breakfast and I get at least a day if not two off of soup making! Everyone's happy.
Then GROAN - those dread packed lunches. How is it that all too often I wake up to make Husbands packed lunch and suddenly remember I didn't defrost the meat! Fortunately he's happy with a tin of sardines - but not too often. Well, I haven't come up with a cure for that one. Never-the-less I have streamlined the process. Saturday night I hard boil a saucepan full of eggs to last the week. Then I chop up lots of slices of cheese and put them in a box in the fridge. Then I slice lots of cucumber and put them in a box ditto. I cut several carrots into sticks and bag those and into the fridge they go too. When I wake up and think 'Packed-lunch' it's a much simpler process of getting the boxes from the fridge, taking out what I need and there I'm done. Less washing up and less time doing the same little jobs every day.
How about you? What could you revamp (or already have) in your kitchen to make life easier? Do share.