Tuesday, January 13

GAPS Diet, Stage 1 & 2

The GAPS diet is supposed to be a really good diet for healing and sealing your digestive system, especially if you have (or have developed) problems like I have.  I believe that I have leaky gut, which has led to an inability to eat anything dairy-related (a good description of leaky gut can be found here).  I needed to heal my dairy allergy and prevent new ones from developing, so we started the Intro Diet on January 1.  I have to say, I thought I was somewhat prepared, but I knew that it was going to be a lot of work.

That was the understatement of the year (so far).

Meatball soup
The first stage might be considered the hardest; however, there's little difference between the first and second stages, so maybe they should just all be one looong stage.  But it seems to be the foundation for healing, so I won't complain.  We spent a total of 3 days on the first stage, and then four days on the second stage, which consists of eating lots of homemade broth, soups made from the broth, meat, certain veggies, and a lot of fat.  In the second stage you can also add egg yolk to the soups for more protein and nutrients.  I ended up ordering leaf lard online from Tendergrass Farms, and have been using it faithfully to add fat to the already fatty soup stocks--you're supposed to have a large amount of animal fat along with the homemade broth, as both are supposed to contain a lot of healing minerals and nutrients essential for the intestinal lining.  The high fat content also helps to keep you feeling full after you've eaten, and it really did seem to do that for both of us.  In fact, we really had little appetite when we started!  We've come up with several recipes for soup, all of which contain meat, carrots, zucchini, squash, yellow squash, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and leeks.  Soups do get old when you have to use the same ingredients over and over again, but we did come up with one that we really liked: meatball soup!  Recipe at the bottom.

We experienced some die-off symptoms over the first three days, but they seem to have leveled out.  We're both ready for "real food" instead of soup for every meal, but it's so important to remember that this is good for us.  I've had success making sauerkraut, and will be adding the juice to our diet to up the probiotics.  Thanks to my sister for an Amazon gift card and to a friend for recommending the Picklemeister (left)!  It's a great invention, and I had sauerkraut on my first attempt using it.

My summary of Stage 1 & 2:
It's very tough.  It's especially hard when you are completely changing your eating to reflect this healing mindset.  I don't know how families do it together, because it's also incredibly expensive (and we've only been doing what we can, so not 100% following the guidelines), it's time consuming, and the food really isn't that great.  However, my hubby and I have already lost some weight, and and I think I've felt a little better.  Dairy still doesn't agree with me, though, as I found out when I thought it'd be fun to try and add some clarified butter to a bowl of soup one morning.  Oh well.  I think that if you can make it through the first and second stage, you'll be okay. 

Okay, running out of time.  Here's the recipe for the meatball soup:

GAPS-friendly Meatball Soup (still good if you're not on GAPS)

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 qts. beef stock
1 qt. water
1 C (8 oz) broccoli florets
1 C (8 oz) cauliflower
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2-3 TBSP lard
Salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, dill to taste
4 cloves chopped garlic

Combine stock, water, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion in a large (7 qt) pot and cook veggies until soft.  While veggies cook, combine ground beef and pork in a bowl with plenty of salt and pepper.  Form into one inch balls and set on a plate.  When veggies are semi-soft, add meatballs, one at a time, to boiling stock.  Allow to continue to cook for another 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.  Add salt, pepper, herbs and garlic and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Yields approximately 6 servings (approximately 12 cups).

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