Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I survived stage 1

Green Eggs and Ham book cover, from Wikipedia
Green Eggs and Ham
book cover, from Wikipedia

I like ginger. I use piles of fresh ginger in stir fries and other dishes; I like dried ginger in gingerbread, I like ginger ale, I like candied ginger. So I thought I'd love ginger tea. I tried it hot, I tried it cold, I tried it diluted. I do not like ginger tea.

I do not like it, Dee-I-be.
I do not like this ginger tea.

I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.
I will not drink it in the rain.
I will not drink it on a train.
Not in the dark! Not in a tree!
Not in a car! You let me be!
I do not like it in a box.
I do not like it with a fox.
I will not drink it in a house.
I do not like it with a mouse.
I do not like it here or there.
I do not like it ANYWHERE!

<Forrest Gump voice> That's all I have to say about that. </Forrest Gump voice>

caffeine issues

Caffeine withdrawal was my big issue this week. Painful headaches, unable to focus, feeling blah. I decided to cheat to the tune of half a cup of coffee whenever I feel bad enough to need it. I used coconut cream instead of dairy to avoid casein and stevia herb instead of the refined stuff (this is where having the book and knowing the principles pays off, when you cheat, you can do it as minimally as possible).

In retrospect, I should've weaned off caffeine before I started stage 1. Really, it is just too much when there is so much to do and change to also feel this badly.

Since the ginger tea was a bust, I found chicken broth filled my need for coffee beyond the caffeine itself. Beef and pork broth don't work the same, but a mug of chicken broth hits the spot the same way coffee does.

I had one other minor cheat. I had told hubby in advance that I could not fix food for him. I planned meals, I shopped, but he'd have to actually pack his own lunch, etc. I just nibble the entire time I'm cooking, whether I think about it or not. Well, I proved myself right! One day, I noticed the lid on some cherry tomatoes in the fridge was askew, and when I went to fix it, one of them went into my mouth before I thought about it.

food: soup, soup and soup

So I thought the simplest thing for stage 1 would be to just make 3 big batches of soup and eat that for the week. My chuck roast made 6 servings, my chicken soup made 10 servings and my meatball soup made 4 servings, for a total of 20 meals for the week.

As I said in my planning post, I was aiming to keep carbs at least 100 grams/day and calories at least 1500-2000, to avoid problems. My plan for the week should've resulted in an intake of around 65 grams carb per day, which I thought was low, so I made my lemonade with honey instead of stevia to up the carbs a bit.

But I didn't do the math for the calories ahead of time, so didn't realize this was just too much food. I did the math right now, and if I ate all this food this week, I'd have averaged 2200 calories a day. As it happens, I have 2 servings of chicken soup and 2 of chuck roast left, so averaged more like 1800 calories. I'm not actually intending to track calories, except to make sure they don't go too low. But having made too much food this week, I am going to be on stage 1 an extra day or two as I'm not throwing this yummy food out!

The food has been good. I haven't felt like I was missing anything or deprived in any sense.

The meatball soup, which I thought would be my favorite, was just OK.

The chuck roast was pretty good.

But it was really the chicken soup that was best. This surprised me, as when you grind all this stuff up, it looks like baby food, not very appetizing. And chicken is not my favorite meat.

But it was AWESOME! And hiding the chicken liver in the soup was a GREAT idea. Because I have always used giblets to make broth for my stuffing, the soup tasted like stuffing to me!

To the soups, you are supposed to add garlic and either whey or sauerkraut juice. I generally press garlic, to extract as much juice as possible to add as much garlicky flavor as I can, but I don't generally eat it raw. My first bowl of soup about set my mouth on fire!

I decided to roast five heads of garlic, to make it more palatable. Unfortunately, the same thing happened as every time I roast garlic, I think it will be nice to have around, but then I just eat it in a couple days and stink! A Facebook friend suggested I just cut the garlic up and put it in the bottom of the bowl, and kinda swallow it whole with the last swallow of broth, so I switched to that method.

As for the whey/sauerkraut juice, I made my first batch of GAPS yogurt with half-and-half, as I had lots leftover from before GAPS. I don't know what you'd call this, as it should be halfway between yogurt ans sour cream.

This produced much less whey than one might've hoped, so gradually as the whey ran out, I just started adding the yogurt. This adds a wonderful creaminess to the soups. It occurs to me that one could make awesome gravies using broth and sour cream, with nothing but some ground meat or veggies to thicken it.

I am adding sauerkraut juice also. I have never liked ferments much except for yogurt, and believe a wider range of bacteria would be good. One of the ideas I really liked in the GAPS book was that of adding a teaspoon of sauerkraut juice to a bowl of soup. Dr. Campbell-McBride suggests this as an idea to gradually add probiotics; I like it as an idea to gradually change my tastes.

Overall, the food has been very satisfying and I feel quite nourished. I am enjoying it much more than I expected. Everything just tastes so good, from the soups to the garlic to the honey.

By GNOME icon artists (GNOME SVN / GNOME FTP) [GPL (], via Wikimedia Commons
By GNOME icon artists
[GPL (],
via Wikimedia Commons
BTW, did you know raw pumpkin can be used as a face peel? I didn't!

I mentioned in my planning post that I wanted to process a bunch of neck pumpkins. These suckers weight around 20 lbs each, they're HUMONGOUS!

My first week on GAPS, they hadn't come into season yet, so I just grabbed a couple butternut squashes. But then when we went to the grocery last Friday, they were there, so I bought 8 (I want 12, but there were only 8 large ones, so I'll pick up another 4 next week).

Normally, I only buy two a year. I bake them, then scoop the flesh into containers and freeze. But since I was planning to do so many, I figured I'd cube some and shred some as well as baking.

It turns out that one episode of Battlestar Galactica is just long enough to peel and cube a leftover butternut squash and one neck pumpkin.

So when I got up to package the stuff, my hands had a weird coating on them, which I assumed was a starchy residue, so I washed my hands. And then I noticed it again, so I washed my hands again. Then I noticed it was still there and my fingers felt tight. And I looked closely and realized the "residue" that was all over my hands was skin!

Basically, the enzymes in the pumpkin had dissolved the top layer of skin from my hands. I've never actually had my hands in raw pumpkin for so long, so had no idea this could happen. I Googled and discovered that pumpkin is used as an enzymatic face peel.

So... I have younger and tighter hands. Or something.

detox baths and what Steve did

I'm finding the detox baths very relaxing. I am using baking soda one day and Epsom salts the next (and am mostly skipping using my magnesium oil because of the Epsom salts).

I didn't think soaking in them would actually get me clean as the book says, I assumed I'd need real showers with soap also. But a pit check indicates I am getting clean from just the detox baths after all.

I took an esp om salt bath with hubby one day; that was nice and friendly. Except when he farted.

prep work - OHMIGAWD!

Everyone says how GAPS is so much work, and I didn't really see it. I figured that I'd been cooking from scratch forever, had been making broth, was used to cutting up piles of vegetables, and so on. Yeah, all that is NOTHING compared to doing GAPS.

I'm well-prepared for week 2, but noticed am low on chicken broth. I thought I made lots. Well, I did make lots, but it turns out, you can't make enough in advance. Gallons upon gallons is not enough.

Luckily, I have lots of pumpkin and garlic peels to make veggie broth one night, and then I'll make a batch of chicken broth. I ordered another 20 lbs chicken necks & backs from my local farmer so I can start it soon.

Going into stage 2, the primary additions are eggs and ghee. I find I am looking forward to eggs very much. I have this feeling they are going to be much yummier than expected as everything seems to be right now.

I made the ghee very simply. Basically, when you cook butter low and slow, and let it settle, it forms 3 layers, the bottom being milk solids, the middle being ghee, and the top being a watery foam. I heated a pound of butter in a saucepan over very low heat for about a half hour, then poured it into a pint-sized mason jar and stuck it in the fridge. When the layers settled, I removed the top layer and discarded it. I just left the bottom layer alone, on the theory that I just won't eat it. Easy.

When I get to stage 3, I will be allowed to have "pancakes" made with squash, nut butter and eggs. Of course, GAPs being all traditionally-food oriented, the nut butters should be made from soaked and dehydrated nuts to reduce the phytic acid, lectins and enzyme inhibitors.

The cost of these nut butters is CRAZY, and even nuts that have been soaked and dehydrated have nutty prices!

So though I hadn't intended to do it myself, I decided to. I order a pound each of raw brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias and pistachios as these are my favorite nuts. Each will soak in 1 TB sea salt and water overnight (pistachios for under 2 hours), then get a tray in my dehydrator until nicely crispy.

And then a few minutes in a food processor to be buttered.

The amount I'll be saving doing it myself makes it seem a no-brainer, and it really isn't much work.

health update

Not much to say here. I'm still diabetic.

I lost 5 lbs beyond the 45 I lost on the ThreeLac experiment. I expect it is water though as I'm a good bit lower-carb than before I began GAPS.

One of my cats gave me poison ivy. I realized I do not have any "good" hydrocortisone cream, just stuff with bad ingredients. It was use it or scratch my skin off, so I used it.

The kewl thing is my feet seem better. They are the same size when I wake and when I go to bed. I am still sleeping with them elevated, but have taken NO potassium this week! WOOHOO!

upcoming episodes...
screen capture of the title card for Batman, via Wikipedia
screen capture of the
title card for Batman,
via Wikipedia

So I seem to have survived stage 1 intact.

But what will happen in stage 2?

Will I tolerate eggs well?

Will I drown in squash?

Will I break down and steal Steve's chocolate chip cookies?

Will he fart in the tub again?

"Tune in next week — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!"

I shared this post at Sunday School, Make Your Own Monday, Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Scratch Cookin' Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Creative Juice, Keep It Real, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fight Back Fridays, Fresh Bites, Freaky Friday

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