Saturday, September 8, 2012

planning for stage 1

I have set my start date for stage 1 at September 17, 2012.

some concerns

I have several concerns about GAPS stage 1.

First is that in my wanderings around the web and specifically the blogosphere, I have seen a few folks who didn't do well on GAPS. The thing they seem to have in common is going too low-carb, which is something difficult to avoid.

I consider 100 g carbohydrate daily a decent amount, my ideal diabetic diet is 20 g at breakfast and 40 g at lunch and dinner. However, until stage 5 when fruit is added, attaining that much carbohydrate daily will be difficult.

I've planned my recipes to use the carbiest vegetables: all the alliums, English peas, carrots, rutabagas and of course, that GAPS mainstay, winter squash and pumpkin.

In addition to concern about going too low on carbs, which can impact the thyroid and lower metabolism, I'm also somewhat concerned about going too low in calories, which can negatively impact sex hormones. I want to stay somewhere in the 1500-2000 range daily.

Both broth and vegetables are mostly water with few calories, so I'm looking at needing to use the fattiest meats possible to up calories until nut butters are added in stage 3.

I may be over concerned, as I expect to do each stage for one week, thus will be at stage 3 for calories and stage 5 for carbs rapidly enough. But this has impacted my thinking process in planning meals and recipes.

neck pumpkins by bgendler79, on Flickr
neck pumpkins by bgendler79, on Flickr
preparation - especially squash

Meanwhile, my preparation goes on. I've got a big batch of chicken broth and another of beef stock in my freezer.

I'm prepared to make yogurt every other week.

My sauerkraut won't be ready to sample until the end of October, so I have bought some raw, fermented sauerkraut.

I've got my supplements together.

I'm ready to go except for... the pumpkin/squash.

I moved to Pennsylvania well over a decade ago and my first fall here, I discovered the neck pumpkin. I do not care if you call it a pumpkin or a winter squash, the seeds are sold in gardening catalogs under either name.

Basically, the neck pumpkin looks like a mutant butternut squash, with a long neck that is full of meat. It's popular here because the seed cavity is so small, you get a lot of meat per squash. But it's a local popularity thing, in that you can only get them here in season, no one is growing them in California to ship here out-of-season.

Something you cannot understand from the picture above... these are HUGE. I mean, each one weighs 20 lbs. You are not going to root-cellar these babies unless you're feeding a family of 20-30! You have to process them, just cause you either do it now or when you cut them, cause you're just not likely to eat 20 lbs at once anyways.

My reason for processing them is because, aside from having a lot of meat, they are simply the most scrumptious pumpkins I've ever tasted. There is no pumpkin pie that even compares to that made with a neck pumpkin and farm-fresh heavy cream and pastured eggs...

So every year, I bought a couple, baked them until done, and froze them in 2-cup portions, just enough to make a pumpkin pie for hubby and a low-carb pumpkin custard for myself, or to make 3 loaves of pumpkin nut bread. Two of these monsters would last us until the next season.

So I'm starting GAPS, which could use lots of squash in the early stages for carbs, and requires lots of squash for breads and such as one goes along, so I think I need a lot more neck pumpkins this year.

In addition, some need to be shredded for pancakes and breads and such, rather than cooked down. And if I'm doing a lot, since only one fits in my oven at a time, I'll probably just freeze some cubed as well.

So I'm thinking - 12 neck pumpkins, 4 to bake and make puree, 4 to shred and 4 to cube, then all in the freezer.

This is a crazy amount of pumpkin! But I never claimed to not be crazy!


What Can I Eat Now?

If you are not a complete control freak like myself, you might find Cara's 30 Days on GAPS Intro e-book, which organizes the 6 stages over the course of a month, a helpful guide.

Even if you ARE a control freak who has to do it all themselves, you should download the sample to get some ideas.

My Healthy Food Club

I ran across this site a while back; they deliver real food regularly to a couple Florida locations, but they also do mail order to members.

They have everything you need for GAPS if you are too busy to cook - bone broth, all kinds of fermented vegetables, ghee, yogurt, kefir, whey, kvass, kombucha, crispy nuts and nut butters, gluten-free baked goods, soaked and sourdoughed breads and baked goods, all prepared for you.

They also sell grassfed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, duck, geese and turkey meats and organ meats, milk-fed pork and veal, raw dairy from cows, goats, sheep and even camels!

If I had not been disabled for so long, I'd likely have joined them. It is an expensive way to eat, but if your work precludes you from doing all the prep for GAPS, this is a great resource.

Dietary-induced Alterations in Thyroid Hormone Metabolism during Overnutrition

This is an unusual study as it used people instead of rodents and did both short-term and long-term studies of various diets.

The take-home point for me is this:

In short-term studies the peripheral concentrations of T3 and reverse T3 found during fasting were mimicked in direction, if not in degree, with equal or hypocaloric diets restricted in carbohydrate were fed.

It is apparent from these studies that the caloric content as well as the composition of the diet, specifically, the carbohydrate content, can be important factors in regulating the peripheral metabolism of thyroid hormones.

Diet-induced Changes in Sex Hormone Binding Globulin and Free Testosterone in Women with Normal or Polycystic Ovaries: Correlation with Serum Insulin and Insulin-like Growth Factor-I

This is another study done with actual people. They took lean normal women and overweight women with PCOS and put them on a very low calorie diet (330 calories/day). The normal women were only on it for 2 weeks, and the PCOS ladies for 4 weeks, so it's a short-term study.

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a glycoprotein that binds to androgens and estrogens, making them unavailable to the cells. In two weeks, all the women had doubled the concentration of SHBG in their serum. This continued for 4 weeks for the PCOS subjects.

They also noted much lower levels of free testosterone, though they didn't test estrogen specifically, SHBG ought to lower that as well.

Disclosure: Affiliate