Saturday, June 30, 2012

Husband's Guest blog 5- Ups and Downs

My dear wife has badgered me to write another post, and to be honest, I have no idea what to say. Twice she had suggested that I record my progress, and I actually realise now, sitting here writing this blog that that isn't something I have done yet. Facebook friends whom I have bored to tears with my constant status updates would know how my health is going, and no doubt they think things like "wow, you're health is getting better! Woohoo, that status update just rocked my world". I do believe however, that marking time is an important part of getting well. So let me start at the start.

When I started this diet I was 26 kilograms heavier than the upper limit for a male my age, I suffered from back pain often at night and I often suffered from headaches. I regularly had mouth ulcers, I had a constant band of pain in my stomach both day and night. I also had immunity problems. In the six to nine months before the GAPS diet there was seldom a week where I wasn't sniffling, had a cold or was just feeling tired and rundown. In addition to this, my head was in a bad space. Not only from being chronically tired, I seemed to have a brain fog, and a sensitivity in my ears. Often when someone would try and speak to me, or when someone was trying to teach me something new, I would struggle to understand. I was often in a daze, and I had to strain to understand difficult concepts. This lack of concentration also had a deadly edge. twice in recent history I was nearly run over by cars because of my head being in a fog-like condition. Some days the brain fog was so bad that I had a job to understand basic things and I would worry that I would not understand at all. Being tired all of the time means that it was difficult to not be grumpy, and grumpy I was!

This is a picture of me, during the weightiest times.

I always remember visits to the doctor for one thing or another as a child, and I was the sickly one in our family. I can't remember a time when there was nothing wrong with me. Only in the last 10 or 12 years has the problem been really bad. And we went to oh-so-many doctors about it too! One doctor, a flamboyant russian one said. "You're constipated... you need more fibre in your diet- you eat this bran for breakfast! One week of this and you'll be shitting like a rocket!". I could see where he is coming from, but the bran didn't help. Another doctor we went to looked at my bloodshot eyes after I'd explained my situation and she said as if struck by some amazing revelation "I think you are depressed..." I felt like saying "OF COURSE I AM FLIPPING DEPRESSED! I CAN'T SLEEP BECAUSE OF MY ACHING STOMACH YOU SILLY WOMAN!" She was kind enough to go through a short mental illness test with me asking things like "if I felt sad often", and whether i'd been "seeing things that weren't there". I aced the test, but only because the voices in my head told me the answers! But in all seriousness, something inside me knew that this was another thing causing the problem. I do realise that a mental illness could actually cause other problems in the body, but I knew somehow that it was the other way around for me, and I had to get my stomach somehow straightened out. One doctor even sent me to an ultrasound to check if I had a hernia. Not only did I not have a hernia, but I also found out that I was just fat, and not pregnant at all.

In light of all of this, what has changed in 72 days?
Once I had lost ten kilograms, my back pain completely ceased. Also, instead of sniffling most weeks, I had my first cold last week. We got through the vast majority of autumn without a sniffle. I very rarely get headaches now (maybe one in 3-4 weeks), and if I do, it is usually just tired headaches to remind me to go to bed. My weight loss has slowed considerably, but I have lost 16 kilograms and feel better about my weight. I had an amazing breakthrough two days ago when my stomach felt about 60-70% less pain during the day. I think I may have been detoxing, because the pain level went back up during the night. My stomach pain hasn't stopped, but is generally 20-40% better than when I was eating rubbish often. I think I have had one mouth ulcer since the GAPS diet, and it seemed to go within a day, not a week as they usually did, but I think one of the biggest transformations has been in my energy levels. I would sleep during the day nearly every day before the GAPS diet. Now it is very rare that I do that. I find I can get through the day and tiredness only happens every now and then. The brain fog is almost completely cleared up. I don't find conversations nearly as difficult to follow now, and I don't get confused as easily. I am still grumpy, but I live on a more even emotional keel now. Things that were impossibly frustrating to deal with, especially with my children are now a lot simpler, since I am thinking straight. I never thought I would be speaking about health in a positive sense so now, I feel the need to encourage people that it works, and that especially men should do it, because there really is no greater gift than feeling well.

In saying that, I am not out of the woods yet. Yesterday we visited my mother in law and she cooked us a casserole, and she told me "You can take the casserole in the container home, or you could put it in a plastic bag..." (of course meaning that I should put the container in the bag). I proceeded to scoop the contents of the casserole into the plastic bag, obviously thinking it was 'a bit of a strange request, but Okay' No. I don't have autism... but sometimes I wonder.

Oh, well...I am getting better. slowly.
Anyway, blessings.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Gaps Dream.

Over the last couple of days I have been taking a walk down memory lane. Talking with a friend over some of our shared experiences with Prem babies. Our latest addition Xavier was born 5 weeks early, with a hole in his lung and blood infection, and then went on to develop phenomena. So he spent 5 weeks in Special care nursery. That time was a hard time for our family, in that we were separated for most of that time. My husband isn't able to drive, so we only were together as a family on two occasions during that 5 weeks. We were very blessed by friends that helped care for my family while I was away. However being apart from my family was not the hardest part, for me the hardest part was seeing my baby being given needle after needle to help fight infections and the only thing I could do was hold is hand and talk to him. Not being able to just pick him up and feed him, whenever we both wanted is really hard. I feeling of not belonging is really hard as well. After day 5 I was no longer a patient, so I didn't belong, the only care I could do for my baby was express milk, so I didn't really feel needed, but I didn't really belong at home either without my baby.

I do believe that the state of my mind and body contributed to the early arrival of my son a great deal. I started the pregnancy at my heaviest weight and was really not in the best condition to have a baby. (I will talk more about what happen in his birth story). So for me, one big part of this journey is correcting those things, so that I can go on to have more healthy pregnancies. Yes you heard me right I do want more babies. I am aiming not be pregnant for 6 months at least to give my body a good chance at that. If you have read my other posts of family planning you will know that we choice to trust God for our family planning, and we will continue to do that. I also really believe that the Lord lead us to do this diet. I am still pinching myself at the fact that we are even doing this, I think it's by his strength that we are and we haven't given up. We have only being doing it for two months but have already seen so many good results, and looking forward to seeing more.

So one of the major things that I really look forward to the most, is being able to have a health pregnancy which ends in a peaceful water birth at the birth centre. I would love to strive for home birth, but will settle for a birth centre birth first. :0)

That is my dream that I want to make reality.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 64 Moving forward

During my last post I mentioned how Ben was having increased pain. Well over the last few days that has come back down. We think that he was having a detox dump, and literally once he cleaned out he was feeling a lot better.

Over these past few day we have decided to move forward in to full GAPs. We have add a little raw fruit and veggies. so far so good. I'm really looking forward to be more creative in the kitchen in the weeks to follow. Once we have raw fruit and veggies in and are handling them well, we will look at add cheese I think, as this is an ingredient that we have missed over the last 2 month. Wow it feel strange to be able to say that we haven't had cheese for 2 months.

I'm also planning this fortnight on taking the leap into fermented condiments more. I hope to make fermented mayo, maybe so ferment ranch dressing, Fermented bbq sauce. We defiantly need more salsa as that was a favorite for everyone.

Would love to hear from you about what your favorite fermented foods are? so please share. :0)

Related Posts
Gaps Diet

Sunday, June 17, 2012

GAPS intro Day 61

Wow, and double wow. We have been doing this now for 61 days. 2 months! It's almost hard to believe that it's only been 2 months!. It really feels like a lot longer. Not because it has been a really hard chore or task, but I'm starting to forget what it's like to order take away, and all the other things that we used to do pre-GAPS.

This is becoming so much a part of our way of life at the moment. I don't need to think about how I'm going to feed our family as much as when we first started. I'm almost at the stage hwere I can go to the shops or markets and I know which food we are able to eat, and how much I should get to last the fortnight. Which was one the bigger things that I had to think about when we first started.

We are now starting to venturing out into more full GAPS foods, we are mostly still on stage 4 foods, with a few added things like Dates, and berries. We haven't tried raw foods yet, but hopefully not too far away.

Our weight loss has slowed down, but we are still losing steadily which is nice. I'm currently 2 kgs away from my pre pregnancy weight with my first child. My body shape is obviously quiet different from then. But I'm glad that each week the numbers are coming down. Ben is around 10kgs away from his weight goals.

Ben's stomach pain has been increased this last week, with him spending several nights awake unable to sleep. Which has been a good reminder of life before Gaps. We are wondering several things, whether the pain is due, to bowel build up, or foods that don't agree, or detoxing. We aren't exactly sure, but we will keep plugging along. We do think he is having some reactions to nuts, and are trying to stay away from them a little unsuccessfully as the desire to branch out into new foods is quite inviting.

We are currently doing a fruit and veggie juice daily, to make GAPS milk shakes, with milk kefir, egg, and avocado. Yum! I actually really enjoy these, and it is becoming one of my favorite things. It is a double bonus for me because it is generally the one things that Ben makes on this diet, so I get a rest and a treat at the same time. :0)

As you can see from some of the recipes that I have put up on the blog lately, I am enjoying experimenting and trying out new things in the kitchen, and look forward sharing them with you.

Ben will be due to write again soon so keep a look out for that one, and don't forget to send me a message if there is a topic that you would like me to write on.
Til Next time

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blueberry, lemon,coconut, kefir cheese cake

We have just finished devouring this tasty little treat. Oh it is so nice! i highly recommend you give it ago. Now there are a few steps to making it that take time, but aren't difficult, and once you give it ago you, like me will wonder why you didn't try making it before. :)

2 cups of Almonds, or almond meal
3 tbs of melted butter.
1 cup of dates

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, until fine crumb had developed.
2. Press into a well greased spring pan. Refrigerate until firm.

First Layer.
2 cups of Lemon Kefir cheese. - Instructions below
1 cup of Sour cream - Instructions below
Juice of one lemon
The flesh of a young coconut.
Beans of 2 vanilla bean pods.

Mix all ingredients together in a blender or with a hand blender, making sure all the coconut flesh is broken up. Pour 3/4 of the mixture over the base. Put in the freezer to set.

Second layer.
1 1/2 cups of blueberries
Remain mixture.

Blend mixture with a blender. I used a hand blender. Pour over the first layer, and set back into the freezer to set.

Within two hours your cheese cake will be set and it's time to enjoy. At room temp it will be a little runny, but still very enjoyable. Best served slightly frozen.

Lemon Kefir Cheese
This product is easy to make. Simple take you kefir once ready, Add the peel of a whole lemon, and store in the fridge for a second ferment over night. The next day, simply strain and hang through cheese cloth, tea towel, nut bag or pillow case. Let drip for around 8 hours.

Sour cream
Using 500mls of cream, pour into a glass jar, and stir in 1/4 of a cup of Kefir.
Leave at room temp. for 24 hours. Stir at least once or twice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Husband's Guest Blog #4 Running

The Bible says the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. To be honest I think mine was a megachurch.

When I set about this radical lifestyle I didn't do it to lose weight, Altough it is one of the more pleasant side effects of doing this diet. You do tend to lose weight. We have been doing this diet for 56 days (i think) now, and I think we are slowly adding the physical exercise component to it now. Our family have been going on sporadic walks and we are trying to keep that as a regular thing. But one very odd side effect is happening now. I have a desire to run.

Now this is only odd when you consider my background. As a child I HATED sports. I was uncoordinated, was always picked LAST at sports and wasn't even on the charts in the beep test. (For those who aren't aussies, or don't remember, all of the primary school children had to do a certain amount of sit ups, running exercises etc, and were timed by beats to get an average). I was always encouraged to "have a go" at things, which I did, and my teachers commended me for it. That doesn't mean I saw the point of it though. Doing things like the hurdles scared me. The athletes in the class would jump over them easily, and speed up to get over the next one. I always slowed down because I thought "WHAT IS THE POINT OF PUTTING BLOODY OBSTACLES IN THE WAY! I'M GOING TO TRIP OVER!" Even when I did slow down to get over the hurdles, my trailing leg would sometimes get caught on the top and i'd still fall over. And don't get me started on high jump. What is the point of high jump? using a freaking pole to jump over a bar to win a ribbon? I perhaps saw javelin as a real skill, since you could potentially take out school bullies from several yards away; but that's only if you could hold the blasted thing steady.

Anyway, the odd thing about where I am at now is that I have just started running. Now as my wife will testify, I don't run. In fact, I think runners are extremely weird. They go out in all weather, wearing lycra in enthusiastic colours usually, and just run for the sake of getting fit. Some runners may as well have a neon sign over their heads saying "I'M RUNNING! I'M GETTING VERY FIT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SLOB!" Peasants. Anyway How weird is that? Why would you voluntarily run? Fair enough, if you were being chased you might run- even I would run then, but voluntarily? My experience with running as a boy was one of sheer obedience. In my committment to "give something a go" I would run for my teachers. Perhaps they got some sick satisfaction out of getting children to run, because I never saw them doing anything. In cross country and even sprints I always came last. Dead last. Actually that isn't true. Once I actually came third in a running race, which I was rewarded with a coveted green ribbon for. I think the disappointment revolved around the fact that there was only three people running in the race!

Another classic memory is when an important assembly was called, and I was not listening to a word the teachers were saying, basically because I was bored out of my tree. The teacher asked a question and suddenly everyone started to shuffle off, leaving me on my own with them wondering what was going on. One of the teachers and a few fit looking kids looked at me. "So did you want to be part the interschool cross country competition this year. Ben?" Too embarrassed to say I wasn't listening, and piecing enough of the assembly speech together to realise they didn't have enough runners, I nodded dumbly, I think saying something like "I can't guarantee the school will win if I join". Eventually when I did run in the competition, I had completed half of the track, when they started packing up the witches hats to mark the course (I kid you not!), and I was overtaken by a child who was running with his trainer, because he was a severe asthmatic. Once I had finished the course I noticed all of the other runners were already waiting in the bus. These experiences may have put some negative associations in my mind about running.

Two days ago though, I had decided I wanted to run again. Why? I don't know. Perhaps because I am insane. Perhaps because I wanted to see if I could do it, or maybe because I wanted to create some positive associations between myself and the action of running. I didn't want to be the "running joke" anymore. I did pretty well for a first run, but I am still not as fit as I thought, and my body was screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" Ignoring these signals I walked, jogged and ran around a circuit in my neighborhood. I find that having my music on helped me too. In my opinion this is just the beginning.
I am absolutely no expert in exercise, but could I make a suggestion to you, if you are going on the GAPS diet that I got from someone else:

* Do what makes you feel good, and works for you- walking, running, dance etc.
* Find a time that works for you.
* The Australian Government recommend you find half an hour for exercise. This might be tricky for some people but it's worth it.
* Don't bash yourself up for not doing enough exercise, just make a determination to do better next time. Every day is a new day.
* Make it a routine. If I have learned anything from the GAPS diet it is that once a routine is in place everything works much more smoothly

Anyway, be blessed, and don't forget to comment, question, follow and / or subscribe! (I was going to say donate too, but that might be a bit cheeky).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 56 - weight loss

I love waking up in the morning and seeing that I have lost another kilogram. As of today Ben and I have both lost 15kg. You can really see that weight loss on my husband well, because he has less to loss. He now only has another 11kg to go before he reaches a healthy BMI. My weight loss is not as easy to see, because I have a lot more to go, around 53 kgs to within the healthy BMI for my height. However I am no longer worried about that, in that I know on this diet my body is going to get to it's own normal size. Plus I love that we aren't exercising like crazy (insert picture of the biggest loser ad, with the commando yelling at you) for the weight to be falling off us. We may loss weight a little faster if we were, but spending 4-6 hours a day training is not a natural way to loss weight.

On and interesting note research has shown that over weight women that loss 15% or more of their body weight will double the chances of dying with in the next 5 years. Men will increase there death rate by 1.5. So lets say you weight 130 kgs and you loss 50kgs then you have probably brought your funeral forward. Why is that? Now depending on your age you body will adjust to those changes slightly differently, the younger you are the better your body can adapt to those changes. But generally speaking those that are overweight, obese, and morbidly obese, have got that way by consuming food that aren't good for you, or empty calories, devoid of micro nutrients. Which leaves the body nutritionally deficient. This is where we start to see the body breaking down, cause many of the modern illnesses that we see today.

We are now seeing a whole new generation of malnourished people that are being told to eat less, to loss weight. The answer isn't to eat less the answer is to eat more, more nutrient dense foods, but also more natural good fats, found in coconut oil, olive oil, butter, cream, animal fats, avocados, eggs, and so on.

In today's society we have such a fear culture around fats. Fats have been giving a really bad rap by the Medical and Food industries. Fats are one of the major food groups that you can't live with out, but we have these whole new range of products that are no fat, low fat, reduced fat, and so on. We have a whole new industries created around producing what I call bad fats, vegetable oils, canola oil, Margarine, trans fats, etc. These didn't exist 50, 100, 200 years ago. We are told not eat animal fats, saturated fats, coconut oil, and to reduce the number of eggs, and avocados we eat, as they are high in cholesterol. Now I could write a whole article on fats, and I might down the track, but lets just leave it, our bodies were designed to be able to deal with NATURAL fats, ones that are straight from animals or one that require very little processing. Our bodies know how to use them.

See one of the reasons that people who loss lots of weight and loss it fast tend to die earlier is that there bodies have often been protecting them with that weight. When toxins (chemicals, Trans fats, colours, msg, preservatives, BPA's, and whole host of other things) enter the body, the bodies first response to to protect itself. Now it does that by binding the toxin with fat, so that is can't harm the vital organs. Now if you take away the tool that your body has been using to protect it's self then those toxins are released into the body, where they are free to settle and do harm to your vital organs, the brain, liver, kidneys, and so on. So how does one loss weight and regain really health?

This is were I think some of the beauty of the GAPS Diet is.

Step one: Remove all the foods/ or food like products that are putting toxins into the system. You need to go preservative free, chemical free (as much as possible), colour free.

Step two: Start giving the body a constant supply of good fats, and nutrient dense foods,like bone broth.

Step Three: Start rebuilding the gut flora, so that food can be digested properly. Then you can get the most out of your food.

Step Four: Start rebuilding the bodies supply of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Step Five: Allow you body time to heal, because that is what it is doing, healing from the damage we have done to it, by we I mean society, environmental, food industry, advertising, parents, and of course ourselves.

And this is another reason I love the GAPS program because it is designed for healing. I don't need to think about the ins and outs of foods, Dr Natasha has done that for us. However if you do, like me you start to see the beauty of what she has done by putting it all together for you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 53 - temptations

Wow, Day 53. I'm so glad to be able to say that we are 53 days in to this. I wish I could say more, but I'm thankful that I am not saying less, and I can say we haven't cheated. We have moved forward a little on special occasions, but never to a non legal gaps food. However today offered many temptations. We had a busy morning, today is our big shopping day, the day that I try to get everything that we need for a fortnight. I like to get everything that we need so that we aren't going back and forth to the shops all fortnight, and if there is anything I did miss, usually no more than one or two things, like running out of eggs, then we buy them from the local corner shop if we can. Anyhow, Lunch is normally very late on this day, which doesn't normally matter because we are home for the rest of the day sorting out food, making yoghurt, and all sorts of other cooking related tasks. Today however was different we had been invited to Ben's Nan's house, which was a nice treat. After buying our food we quickly came home to drop it off and then got going. We grabbed some fruit for the children to eat for their lunch in the van on the way. Ben and I weren't that hungry, we had a late breakfast, and munched on some nuts on the way.

We were having a lovely time with His family, when I was asked to get the party pies out of the oven, which I didn't have problem with until I smelt them. Wow, they smelt good, I could have totally picked on up and eat it, right there and then. No one but me would have known. I didn't in case you were wondering. I kept my self control, but it was challenging. I guess I'm not free yet. :0) Apart from that moment of temptation we had a lovely blessed time, visiting, chatting, playing, and so on. Ben's Nan is renowned for you generous nature, and kindly sent us home with some kale and silver beet from the garden. She also sent us home with a ginger bread house that was made for her, and covered in icing and treats. Oh boy, it smelt and looked delightfully tasty. Poor Ben had to be the one to break it into pieces to take home. For me the smell was enough to start sugar cravings. It would have been so easy to put a little in mouth and eat it, oh lets face it if I had it would have been a little, once I had eaten some it would have been a lot.

There are several things that I miss being on this diet, one of which is eat whatever you like, but look how that has turned out so far. Another is that we aren't on fruit or raw foods yet. I miss being about to grab something easy on the go, like a banana, or a quick salad, we will get there. However I'm sure today's temptations would have not been so hard if we had been able to eat before going. Mental note for next time. Don't go anywhere without eating. I normally don't, I'm normally very good at not leaving the house without being full. But today I just felt a little uninspired in the kitchen, which makes cooking a little more challenging. Well tomorrow is a new day, the house is full of food so inspiration should be easier to come by. Bye for now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Children and GAPS

I have been ask to write about children and GAPS. I can't say that I am the best person to do this. Our children are eating full GAPS 6 days out 7, with the exception of one day a week when we visit my mum and she cooks for them. Also I haven't made our children do intro. However in saying that they have done intro with fruit and carrots. We have always been a household were the children weren't allowed to be fussy. I normally keep fruit on hand, if they don't like what I am making and don't eat it, I won't make them something else, and I ask them to at least try what is on their plate. Dessert is a privilege and one that must be earnt by eating your dinner. If you can't eat your dinner you can't eat dessert. In saying that as well we don't often have dessert.

So I don't have a lot of experience with picky eater, as I'm sure some of your out there will have, please share your experience and tips in the comments.

Anyhow here are some of the things that I do with my family
- Get the children involved in the cooking process.
- Talk with the children about why we eat these foods.
- Have lots of food for children eat or snack on.
- Grow what you can.
- Try not to make a big deal out of eating.
- Have fun experimenting with a different way to cook.

Getting Children Involved
Starting a journey like GAPS for some means a heap more time in the kitchen, cooking things that they aren't use to, or not had to cook in the past. It can be very overwhelming at times. My advice, if you have children that can help, use them! Clearly some of you won't be able to do this, your child/ren are too ill, or too young. As my older children (6,7,8) love Breakfast balls in the morning I have taught then, if they want them for breakfast, they need to get the meat out of the freezer the night before. They are also capable of smooshing the meat, herbs, salt, pepper, and egg together and rolling them into balls ready for me to cook. Of course, I supervise, while doing another kitchen job. Two of my younger children (3 and 5)can get the carrots and veggies ready for our morning juice/milkshake.

I am also in the process of teaching my older children to care for the milk kefir. They love Kefir icey poles, so for them it means that they also get to make some icey poles. As they and I get used to this routine, I will get them involved in more an more.

Talk with the children about why we eat these foods
When we first started this diet I think that hardest concept for my children to get their heads around was why not these foods. After all we have spent the last several years teaching them that fruit was healthy and good for you, and now all of a sudden we weren't eating it. It took I think the first month to explain to them that fruit was still healthy, it's just that our bodies were not, so our bodies couldn't get the goodness out of food. We had to let our bodies heal so that we could eat those things again.

Also my children really love it when I can explain to them what part of their bodies each food is helping. Ie Walnuts are good for the brain, Carrot's are good for the eyes, and so on. I often find them telling me "Look Mummy I'm feeding my heart" while eating a tomato. :0)

Have lots of food for children to eat or snack on
GAPS food is easy to digest so the body doesn't have to do a lot of work to absorb it. So many people, children included feel hunger a lot when they start GAPS, especially if you start with intro. So having extra cooked veggies, boiled meats, boiled eggs(when you get that far) in the fridge is really handy. You really don't want to be a position with children saying they are hungry, when everything you can feed them takes an hour plus to make.

Grow what you can
This point has a double purpose. One it can help with the ever growing food bill, and two, much research has been done into getting children to eat veggies, and growing it themselves, along with cooking it, is seeing many parents and school succeed in this area. Even if you only start with one product, like tomatoes. The is no tomato like a home grown one, Once you eat your own you won't want to turn back. As you go along give your children a veggie that is theirs to grow, put them in charge of it. You will be teaching them a valuable life skill, and giving them something to be proud off. When we eat food that our children have grown we say a special thank you to them at the dining table. I love seeing their faces light up when we say how much we like that particular veggie.

Try not to make a big deal out of food
While we have the rule that if you don't like what your given then tough!, we try not to make a big deal out of it. The children know the rules, they don't need us repeating it over and over. If they are hungry they can have some fruit or a carrot, but there will be nothing else until the next meal time. However in saying that we do make them try what is on their plate before they leave the table, and there have been times when I know they haven't even tried the food and are just being stubborn, in which case I have made them sit at the table until it is eaten. Which in most cases has them sitting there for a good amount of time, refusing to eat it. Then they finally give up and eat it in a few short minutes. When these situations arise, and we make a stand, we don't back down. However I don't sit there talking to them about it, putting pressure on them, I simply carry on with what I am doing, until they relent. I don't think it is necessary to do this at every meal, with every child. You know your child and you know all the other factors around that moment. Be wise, pick your battles.

Have fun experimenting with different ways of cooking
For many moving onto the GAPS Diet, going through the stages will having you cooking things you may never tried before, or cooking in ways that you have never done before. Or in most cases cooking with out things you are used to using. Have fun with this process, if you have fun, they will have fun, and the whole experience will be much more enjoyable for everyone. There are some amazing foods that you enjoy on GAPS, you just need to be open to them, and open to the creative process.

Like I said before our children are not 100% full GAPS, however we have seen positive changes in their bodies, and minds. They have also learnt that eating junk makes them feel unwell, gives them eczema, for Elijah it induces vomiting at times. For others it can cause bed wetting, headaches, generally unwell. Which I see as a valuable lesson.

I hope this has helped you some. For more ideas, recipes, and testimonies, I will put some links below for you to check out.

GAPS Coconut Treats

These coconut treats a Full Gaps legal. As my children are coming along for the right on this diet with us, from time to time I like to make some little treats for them to enjoy. As Full Gaps has so many yummy food, and treats that they we don't normally try, so in a creative moment I put this on together. I have used a Thermomix to put it together but you could use any food processor, or some times and a good knife.

One young coconut
300grams Blanched Almonds
200grams Dates
200grams crushed peanuts.

Open a young coconut and drain out the water, drink or set aside for another use. Remove all the flesh from the coconut, and put into the blender with Almonds and Dates. Blend until coming to together and slightly sticky, add a little warm water if needed. Line the inside of a slice tin with grease proof paper, and sprinkle with half the peanut mix. Press the mixture into the tray on top of the peanuts, cover with the remaining peanuts, and press in. Put in the freezer for an hour to set. Take out of tin and slice into bite size squares.

These little squares are packed full of goodness, and a tasty little treat for young and old. Here is one of my blessings enjoying it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 48 Chicken Nuggets.

Chicken Nuggets are a favorite in most household containing children, and our home is no different. Pre GAPS our children would have enjoyed these from either KFC or McDonalds. Since we haven't eaten any food like that for the last 48 days, this tasty little treat is something that they haven't enjoyed for a little while. So tonight I thought I would brave a grain free version on them. Oh boy these were tasty, and everyone agreed that they were way better than any we had brought at a takeaway shop!.

Garam Masala
2 cinnamon sticks
8 Cardamom pods
2 Tbs whole coriander seeds
1 Tbs whole cloves
1 Tbs Cumin seeds
1 Tbs Black pepper
2 bay leaves

Put all the ingredients into a blender, food processer, or Thermomix and grind to get a powder. Put in a jar. This mix will last months, and great to add a little extra flavour to your cooking.

Chicken Nugget
1 kg of Chicken mince
1 egg
1 Onion
5 cloves of Garlic
1 TB Salt
1 Table spoon of Garam Masala
1 tsp. of Sweet Paprika
300gram of Almond meal/flour
Ghee, Lard, or coconut oil for frying.

Mix all the ingredients (except Almond meal and oil) together in a bowl. In another bowl have the almond meal ready for rolling the nuggets in. Using a heaped tsp of chicken mixture roll and then coat them in the almond flour, pressing into the nugget shape and setting aside on a tray. Once all the balls have been rolled and coated, heat a frying pan with your chosen oil, and fry until golden brown on both sides. lightly salt and serve.

My children have told me that is recipe is a new family favorite or ours. I think we will be eating this one for many years to come, even if we are not on GAPS anymore. :0)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Husband's Guest Blog 3- slowing down, relaxing, changing.

Okay so we are half way through the second month of this GAPS journey and I can honestly say this last week, in stark contrast to the week before- has been quite difficult for me. Although I am eating properly at every meal, the consequence of us going a stage further to eat a berry dessert unleashed some serious cravings for me. I literally went a bit mad, having three helpings of it! Almond bread, which I am learning I should have in moderation, I devoured like I hadn't seen food for three days. I am feeling a bit discouraged, but I have passed the point of no return now though, having lost nearly 16 kilograms, and have enjoyed various other health benefits already.

The discipline of this diet seems very gruelling. Having been a person that was free to have whatever they want, restricting the diet, and restricting it for a (seemingly) long amount of time isn't an attractive process. But I also believe the diet has a gentle component to it that cannot be underestimated. If you are able to work with the diet, slowing down when you feel you need to, and distracting yourself with other things, it can make things easier. In the GAPS booklet we have, called "What can we eat now?", there is a few pages devoted to "other activities" which you can do instead of eating, I would humbly suggest potential GAPS people to do them! Eating as a pastime is part of our culture. Learning to do something else is a key skill to overcoming.

Relaxing is another component of this diet. If you literally "go mad for food", like I do with overindulgent passion, you have lost the gentle nature of the diet. Part of the reason GAPS food is in stages and you introduce things slowly is so that in a gentle way you can listen to your body. When you have a reaction after you eat something, you know you are going too fast to be able to eat it yet. Relax. It gets easier. Listening to your body is more difficult for men than women. Women sometimes instinctively know, whereas it generally takes a bit more effort for men. Sorry fellas "My body wants a cheeseburger" is probably not right. In fact Christina asked me whether my body was ready for the berry dessert. I said "Well, my body is having a bit of a conflict. My stomach is saying definately no, but my tastebuds are welcoming it with open arms!". The diet sometimes does that to you.

I've found that I can finally enjoy herbal tea. Caffeinated Tea my body will reject at this stage, but herbal tea I am having to no ill effect. No sugar of course. It's controversial whether I should be drinking any kind of tea, but with a bit of fingers crossed we are doing it anyway. I would hardly think we could not, seeing as I am a Tea freak.

I heard an interesting thing in church today. Over 90% of people who have serious heart conditions don't change their life after being told how serious their heart conditions are, effectively saying "I would rather die than change", and after a certain amount of time, they actually do die, rather than change. This is sad. Yes, change is very hard sometimes, but it comes with big rewards for those who embrace it.

Be Blessed.

P.s. I see this second month as a proving ground. I believe after the difficulties of this month I'm going to see a greater degree of self control and health. :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reactions day 45.

Over the last two days it seems that both Ben and I have been having reactions to nuts, and fruit, so it looks like that is our next hurdle to over come. After serving fruit and nut dessert, it seems that Ben enjoyed it so much that he had little to no self control and had three servings of it. So much for going slowly. Any how he has had an increase in pain, fatigue and fogginess, and just a sense that he wasn't ready for it. I on the other hand didn't think that I had a problem with it, I did have a head ache the next day, but I thought that was due to not drinking enough water that day, so I ignored it. There was however left overs so thought I was safe to eat some of them. Well today I have paid for it, my headache is worst. So that is a clear sign for me that my body is not ready for this type of treat, so will be stepping back from it for a little while also.

While having to move back in the foods might seem discouraging, we were talking about it today that is was only a few short weeks ago and we had the same issues with eggs, and now don't have any problems with it. So I'm sure our bodies will adjust to nuts, and fruit soon enough. I should mention that we aren't reacting to nuts in the form of Almond meal/flour, Almond bread.

Another issue that I'm having at the moment is a tooth ache. I don't know if you have ever experienced this, where I know that I need to go get the tooth out, but I just really don't want to, So I tend to wait until I don't have any choice, and can't live with it any more. On a positive not a tooth ache does help curve cravings, mostly because you don't want to eat they thing at all.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day pain wise. Tomorrow is the birthday of our lastest addition. Which has given me time to think today. This time last year I was in a hospital bed, begin told they would deliver my baby the very next day, and they weren't sure what the out come would be, He could have water on the brain, may die, we just don't know until he is earth side. I feel so blessed that I am now a year on and can say Happy Birthday to my special little guy. His birth is also a very big reason that I am doing this diet.

Food for today
Mineral water
Breakfast balls, with broth gravy
Yoghurt, Almond bread, Egg and broccoli muffins
Dinner, chicken drumsticks with broth.

So tired today and really looking forward to falling into bed tonight. I'll leave you with a picture of our breakfast balls.

And another with our special little man. :0)