Easy One-Pot Chicken Dinner


This post has moved to my new blog, Paleo Diet Basics.


Click here to read it.



GAPS Intro: Stage 1

I previously gave a description of what the GAPS diet is all about here and an explanation of what you can eat on the diet here. So let’s talk about the introduction to the GAPS diet.
I have a sneaky suspicioun that the real purpose of the intro is to be extremely restrictive, so that once you get to the full GAPS you’re not going to feel that it’s a regular smorgasbord!
But seriously, the real idea of the introduction is to pare down your diet to a very few, very easily digested and gut-healing foods. This way, people suffering from constipation or diarrhea can first of all alleviate that problem. You then slowly introduce new things to the diet and watch for reactions. If the new food is well tolerated, you can add another one. It’s an opportunity to really find out what is upsetting your system.
Why do we need to do this? Sometimes you eat something and it gives you a reaction five hours later, or the next day. You might never make the connection that it was Tuesday’s tuna that gave you Wednesday’s headache. But with a diet as simple as GAPS intro: Stage 1, it’s easy to make the connection.
The introduction had 6 stages. How long you stay at each stage depends on your individual situation. So what can you eat on stage 1 of GAPS?
GAPS Introduction Stage 1
  1. Start day with a glass of water.
  2. Eat meat or fish stock (and meat, marrow and soft tissue from bones) with all the fat: with every meal.
  3. A few teaspoons of juice from fermented foods with each meal.
  4. Soup made from stock: onions, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, cabbage, carrots, greens, peppers, and other vegetables allowed on the diet - not but not parsnips, potato, yams which are forbidden.
  5. Homemade whey/sour cream/yogurt/kefir: Add gradually.
  6. Ginger tea – can be sweetened with a little honey.
What’s it like living at GAPS intro stage 1?
I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but in the past, I have missed my morning coffee when I couldn’t have it. For some odd reason, I’m not missing it at all now on GAPS. What I am missing is variety. Soup, stock, boiled vegetables, and boiled meat get tired very fast, even though I’ve tried to mix it up as much as I can. Honestly, nothing that I ate tasted bad, but a crunchy salad without a boiled texture is looking good right now. No spices are allowed at this stage, but generous use of fresh herbs is saving the day. What encourages me is that by the 4th or 5th stage of the introduction, it becomes more varied.
Advice for anyone considering GAPS
GAPS is a complete change from your regular diet. If you don’t know how to make bone broths or prepare soups from fresh meat (sorry, soup powder isn’t going to heal your gut) you’ll need to learn. You’ll also have to figure out how to get or make homemade dairy products and fermented vegetables – and that’s only for stage one. I suggest spending the few weeks leading up to a start of GAPS preparing and freezing and stocking up on some of these items. When it’s soup morning, noon and night, it goes pretty quickly! It’s good to have some on hand.


This post was shared on Whole New Mom, GnowfglinsReal Food Freaks, Real Food Forager, and Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

What Can You Eat on Gaps?

In my What Is GAPS? post, I explained briefly what the diet aims to accomplish and who it is intended for, but what exactly does one eat on the GAPS diet?

First of all, there is an introductory period and then there is the full GAPS diet. Let’s start with a description of the full diet. Monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and glactose, are easy to digest so they are permitted. In practical terms, this mean that honey, fruit, vegetables, and homemade fermented milk products are fine. What you are trying to avoid is disaccharides: sucrose (table sugar), lactose (the sugar found in dairy), maltose (the sugar found in starch). Digesting these is hard work for the body, and GAPS is all about giving your gut a vacation. By the way, fermented dairy is permitted because the sugar that’s naturally in milk gets consumed in the fermentation process.

Eliminating disaccharides means cutting out all grains, sugar, some root veggies (potato, sweet potato) and more. This allows the enterocytes – enzyme producing cells found in the small intestine and colon - to recover. Removing disaccharides from your diet means abnormal gut flora doesn’t get fed. When the gut has a long enough break from disaccharides, it’s able to heal. After full recovery, these foods can be introduced without harmful effects.

What can you eat on the full GAPS diet?
  • Meat, and fish – preferably boiled stewed, or poached
  • Eggs 
  • Honey  
  • Ripe fruit 
  • Most vegetables 
  • Homemade soured milk products, like yogurt or kefir 
  • Healthy fats including animal fat, butter, ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil. 
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lentils and a select few beans and pulses are allowed 
  • Pressed juices 
  • Weak tea or coffee (not instant) without milk  
  • Sea salt 
  • Occasional alcoholic beverage, such as wine or vodka

What isn’t allowed?
  • All processed foods 
  • Grains of any kind 
  • Rice 
  • Sugar and most other sweeteners -agave, maple syrup, molasses (only honey is allowed) 
  • Some root vegetables 
  • Most beans 
  • Commercial yogurt 
  • Unripe fruit 
  • Soft drinks 
  • Milk
  • Beer
  • How long does the diet last?

For people with seriously compromised guts, Dr. Campbell-McBride suggests two years, or however long it takes to heal the gut. Since I don’t believe my gut is very compromised, I’m planning on sticking to the diet around six months.

In my next post, I’ll describe the Introduction Diet: Stage One and my thoughts on what it’s like. This is the most restrictive part of the diet. Ugg.

What is the GAPS diet?

GAPS (Gut and Psychological Syndrome) is a healing protocol for your gut.

Let’s start from the beginning. Why would someone need a healing protocol in the first place? Well, if your gut isn’t healthy, you aren’t healthy. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychological Syndrome, gut dysbiosis – an imbalance of the gut ecosystem - is the root cause of such diverse illnesses as autism, anorexia, eczema, schizophrenia, asthma and more.
Understanding the human gut
As Dr. Campbell-McBride explains, “the human body is like a planet inhabited by huge numbers of various micro-creatures.” 
They are everywhere in our bodies, but the largest colonies are found in the gut. They can be categorized as either:

1. Beneficial Flora – the bacteria that keep us healthy

2. Harmful Flora – microbes capable of causing disease if they get out of control

3. Transitional Flora - that enter our bodies with food and drink, and usually leave without doing any harm. 
The key to health is maintaining equilibrium between the beneficial and the harmful flora. When the ecosystem is in balance, the body can successfully handle harmful transitional flora and toxins. 
What causes gut dysbiosis?
It isn’t one event that upsets the balance of the gut, rather it’s a combination of events and habits. You inherit gut flora from your parents, so some babies are born with their guts already compromised. Then in addition, some combination of the factors listed below damage the gut flora further, until illness slowly - or suddenly- sets in. Note: the list below is only a partial list. 
  1. Antibiotics – While antibiotics have saved billions of lives and clearly are sometimes necessary, they also kill the good flora along with the bad. They should be used only when truly necessary. To help the beneficial flora recover, probiotics supplements or fermented foods [http://www.ruthsrealfood.com/2011/07/for-love-of-fermented-foods.html] should be given whenever antibiotics are prescribed.
  2. Birth Control Pills
  3. Other medications
  4. Chronic stress
  5. Infections
  6. Vaccinations - Like antibiotics, vaccinations have saved many lives. However, when they are given - often a few at a time - to a very young child who already has gut dysbiosis, a vaccination can often be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. What the parents see is that the child suddenly shows signs of autism following a vaccination.
  7. Poor diet: starting with bottle feeding in infancy and young childhood and then continuing with a typically unhealthy Western diet.

The gut is supposed to be a closed system from the mouth to the exit hatch. In a compromised gut, the gut wall isn’t protected by beneficial flora so it is constantly vulnerable to attack by pathogenic microbes. The result is that the gut wall becomes permeable. 
With a permeable gut, called leaky gut, partially digested food, which was meant to stay in the closed system of the digestive tract, enters the blood stream. We experience this as food allergies and intolerances. These are the substances that create havoc in the body. Different substances cause different problems. This is explained in detail in the book. 
Other protocols concentrate on removing these foods from the diet, and this may bring relief, but the GAPS protocol goes to the root of the problem and heals the integrity of the gut. After a period on the GAPS diet, food intolerances should disappear.
It isn’t only undigested food that exits the digestive system through the holes in the gut wall. Microbes and toxins enter the body, causing other types of damage. This is why, though the root cause is one, namely gut dysbiosis, the resulting symptoms and illnesses can be extremely varied. Often, gut dysbiosis leads to multiple problems in the same individual.
In day-to-day life, the gut is unable to heal because it is constantly dealing with an onslaught of those very factors - such as unhealthy food and antibiotics - that damaged it in the first place.

How does the GAPS protocol heal the gut?
GAPS is a sort of vacation for the gut. 
  • All potentially harmful substances are temporarily removed from the diet. This includes foods that a person with a balance gut ecosystem would be able to eat with no problem.
  • Large quantities of foods that heal the gut are consumed daily. These incluce such as bone broth and fermented foods, are consumed daily.
  • Probiotic capsules
  • Supplements: These are kept to a minimum, and are supplement that are basically food, such as cod liver oil.
 Who is the GAPS diet for?
The diet was created first and foremost for children with autism, but what manifests itself as autism in one child, may appear as asthma or learning disabilities in another or schizophrenia in a young adult.
Dr. Campbell-McBride explains the connection between the gut and many physiological and psychological disorders. While she talks about more extreme cases of gut dysbiosis, virtually no one living in the Western world has a gut in optimal condition. This suggests that the GAPS diet may be helpful for just about anyone.

Why I’m going on the GAPS diet
By cutting out all processed foods and learning to cook and eat in traditional ways, I have become much healthier and now feel much better. I would like to discover what further healing could come about from going on the GAPS diet for a period of time.
I’m planning to provide more information on GAPS in future posts, including posts on the connection between gut dysbiosis and specific illnesses such as autism and anorexia. I’ll also report on what I’m eating and any changes - good or bad. 
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can purchase Dr. Campbell McBride’s book:

Gut and Psychological Syndrome

Feed a Fever, Starve a Cancer

There’s an interesting post in Ramblings of a Carnivore on the connection between carbs and cancer.
“Cancer cells are normal cells that grow too fast and the cells need both energy and growth factors to grow at an increased pace. A logical theory of treatment would be to take away the energy and growth factors and starve the cancer cells.”
It certainly isn’t the first time I’ve heard that cancer cells feed on sugar (and therefore carbs as well), but I’ve never heard an oncologist suggest that a patient reduce sugar/carb intake.
Rambing of a Carnivore's post provides reports on interesting research, such as a study done by Nakamura et al.
The Japanese researchers hypothesized that increased fat intake drove up colorectal cancer rates. In other words, they though fat was to blame. To test this, 373 former cancer patients were advised to restrict fat. After four years, they found that fat restriction increased the risk of the cancer coming back. Oops.

For more details and references, check the original post.

For more info on the wonder that is sugar and sweeteners, see
Sweets and Sweeteners: White Sugar
Artificial Sweeteners: Something for Nothing
High Fructose Corn Syrup
All About Honey

Guest Posts in Green Prophet

I’m honored to have three guest post currently appearing in the food/health section of Green Prophet, “the leading source of environment news on the Middle East region.”

As a friend said today, I’m now blogging for fun and prophet.

Check out these posts:

Parsley, Dill, Coriander Herb Omelet 
Fermented Foods Can Heal Your Gut

5 Steps for Eating a Paleo Diet

Are Fermented Foods Fast Foods?

The great thing about fast, processed foods is that you can think to yourself, gee, I’m hungry, and within
minutes, the dish is on the table.
You may find it odd to call something that takes days to prepare a fast food, but consider this. After you prepare your pickles, sauerkraut, or salsa, they’re waiting for you, ready-to-eat.
Right now I have 3 different types of fermented vegetables in the fridge. Instant food!

Shared on  Whole New Mom Around my Family TableGnowfglins, Real Food Forager, and Day to Day .

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