Saturday, January 24

GAPS Stage 4 Summary

Stage 4!  Two weeks in, and we moved all the way through to Stage 4.  It feels good to have made it this far!  We're enjoying even more of a range of foods.  The other night, I made baked salmon with roasted asparagus, both drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Mighty tasty!  We both greatly enjoyed that meal.  In fact, hubby said it needed to be a once-a-week meal!  If it's hubby approved, then you know it's good.
I tried out my juicer!  Holy cow, does that thing work.  This is my first experience with any juicing, but I'm actually kind of excited to have purchased it now!  I admit that I really don't know what I'm doing, but I made a pint jar full of carrot juice, and honestly, it was fun!  It has an incredible motor on it--I put the carrots in, turned it on, and whirrrrrr, buzzzz, the carrots were gone and juice was running!  I can't wait to try other things in there.  I was tempted to go root around the fridge and just see what else I could find to put through it, but I didn't.  I'm really looking forward to introducing fresh orange juice in the mornings (which I've missed soooo much) and making my own concoctions for beverages.  Apple juice will be especially good, I'm sure!  I'm not sure about whether to keep the pulp or not, but there are some recipes in the GAPS book that call for pulp.  I'll have to investigate further.  If you're interested, it's a Hamilton Beach 67601A Big Mouth Juicer.

I'm still having soup for my lunch every day.  I'm doing my best to make sure I drink all of the broth with the soup, but I think I need to be drinking more broth.  If I just do an 8 oz. cup with each meal, and plug my nose and chug it, I might be okay.  For some reason, I can't stand to just drink the broth on its own--if it's in soup, no problem.  I just don't find it appealing as a beverage AT ALL.  I just need to find a way around that.

I found that three (and later, two more) jars of broth cracked in the freezer!  I didn't know that they would do that.  Hubby thinks I filled the jars too full, and they expanded too much when they froze.  I think he's right.  Considering how stout Ball jars are, it was a big surprise when I pulled these out.  Needless to say, I didn't keep the jars or the broth, in case there were some little shards that had become embedded in the frozen liquid.  Not good to find in soups!

However, soup is always improved with crackers!  I mentioned in my Stage 3 summary that I had a cracker recipe that I was going to share.  I found the original recipe on Pinterest, but altered it to omit the eggs because it seems that I have a sensitivity to eggs, too.  Here's the recipe:

Almond Crackers (original recipe can be found here)
2 C almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large egg (or sub flax meal, like I did--see flax meal package for egg substitution directions)
1 TBSP olive oil
(Optional) Extra sea salt, for sprinkling on top of crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour and salt in bowl.  If using flax meal, prepare that and set aside to soak according to package directions.  Combine egg (or flax mix) and olive oil with dry ingredients to form a ball--dough should hold together and not be crumbly.  Divide the mixture into two balls, and place one ball on a Silpat mat or parchment paper.  Place a second piece of parchment on top of dough, and roll to very thin (the thinner, the crunchier).  Score crackers into squares with a knife or pizza cutter, and move baking mat to a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with extra sea salt.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until crackers start to brown lightly around the edges.  Allow to cool before breaking apart.  Store in a glass jar or airtight container.

Summary of Stage 4:
Continues to get easier.  I really like being able to add almond meal to the ingredient list.  I also like roasting meats and having that other option--boiled meats get so old!  Dinners now are consisting of roasted meats and roasted or boiled veggies, and either an addition of cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil.   I'm hoping that my insides are very happy with me!  We ended up staying on Stage 4 longer than anticipated not because of any setbacks, but rather because I used all of my grocery money buying food for Stage 3, and had to wait until we got paid again to get groceries for Stages 5 & 6.  I feel that we spend as much on groceries now as we did on groceries and eating out before, so that's probably a wash in cost.  However, our electric bill came, and it was higher than normal, and we wonder if it's because of how much we're using the stove now.  On the weekends, it's in constant use, especially if I'm making bone broth.  I think our water bill will be higher too, because I'm constantly washing dishes and running the dishwasher.  Just another expense, but if it's really helping, it will be worth it!

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