Living naturally, most of the time.

Taking care of myself: GAPS diet update

Spring hasn’t fully registered here in chilly but blossom-filled Northern Virginia, but I think my stomach is finally on the mend.

I started the GAPS diet on February 6, and I am still in a modified introductory stage. I’m only just now even considering trying to eat any raw foods (besides juice, and avocado). It has taken 6 or 7 weeks for my gut to tell me that it’s starting to heal. Bone broth (so far only chicken stock) is and will continue to be a mainstay, and I can eat eggs, meat, nuts and nut butter and most non-starchy vegetables roasted and/or cooked for a long time in broth. Butternut squash never tasted so sweet!

I still have a long way to go, and I don’t anticipate eating grain or anything starchy for months to come. But it sure is nice to not be in pain!

It’s so clear that this diet is what my body needs, and I am 100% committed. But it sure takes a lot of time!

So the blog has been quiet; I didn’t get to Farm Food Voices, and I haven’t been much on Facebook. My friends’ emails often get ignored or replied to well beyond their time.  Even going to the pediatrician is a major ordeal: it’s impossible to be away from the house for more than a few hours. First there are the specifics of what I need to eat, but then there’s also the fact that eating on the go or while stressed seems just about as bad for me as eating problematic food. I can’t always be sure that eating at home will be stress-free; you never know when the baby is going to wake or change her mood! But at least here I can more closely approach mindful, intentional eating.

I’ve had questions of “what are you eating then?” and probably a lot of people wondering why I’m just MIA. This is what my days are looking like of late:

  • Wake between 5:00 and 6:50 a.m. depending on the baby’s antics during the night and morning. I can usually get up and start things moving while she remains in bed, but sometimes she accompanies me downstairs in the Pack N Play or is worn on my back in a carrier.
  • Put tea kettle on for warm water. Drink with added mineral drops.
  • Make breakfast for husband and son (egg, a healthy nitrite-free breakfast meat, some veggies — usually zucchini and spinach, or maybe green pepper and tomato).
  • Make an egg for myself and set aside with sauerkraut, avocado and olive oil
  • Take Bio-Kult probiotic
  • Bring in-process chicken stock (bone broth)from the day before back up to a  boil and then turn down to low. I have a batch going about 65% of the time and have started using the bones for a second round (and ordering necks and backs from my farmer. But I still haven’t gotten to the beef bones!
  • Warm up already-made stock and add onion, celery, spinach, carrot and whatever other veggie I want to let get good and cooked. Add garlic toward the end
  • Take my son to school
  • Hope baby transfers asleep when we get home. Or try to get her to sleep if she’s awake. Or give up and have her sit with me while I eat breakfast of broth, egg as noted above, some leftover home-cooked meat and perhaps some leftover “bread” made out of egg, coconut oil and almond flour or pancake of almond butter, egg and zucchini. Take digestive enzyme and Green Pastures cod liver oil
  • At some point have lunch. Hopefully I left myself some broth from this morning to heat up so I don’t have to chop more vegetables. And maybe I have more leftover meat (chicken, salmon, beef, pork, turkey) rather than another egg.
  • At some point maybe have a snack of apple (if I’ve been cooking out the sugar on the stove in water) and ghee, or crispy nuts, or some almond flour “bread” or pancakes with some almond butter or sunflower butter (the only packaged foods I’m eating. Sometimes a nursing mom just needs a spoonful of fat!)

    GAPS diet pancakes of just almond butter and eggs with banana. Right now I'm doing onion and zucchini instead of banana (which was Monica Corrado's adaptation).

  • Take care of the baby when she’s awake or try to nurse her back to sleep again. Maybe take a walk. Maybe get some housework done.
  • Pick up my son at 3:00 (three days a week. The days I pick him up at noon have a whole other layer to them!)
  • If we have nothing going on that afternoon, work on dinner in between giving him attention and trying to keep the baby happy. Wear her on my back in a carrier through much of dinner prep.
  • If we have a playdate or a class after school, I’d better hope I spent some of the morning chopping vegetables to make a stew in the crock pot or that there is something else ready as a leftover to have for dinner!
  • Hope my husband gets home in time for us to all eat at least part of our dinner together by 6:00. But sometimes I need to feed my son closer to 5:00 and let him eat a second time when his dad gets home.
  • Hope the baby will make it until 6:30 so she can see her dad before I put her to bed. On a good day, she’s napped enough that she can happily sit at the table with us. So far she’s tried a little broth and some very mushed veggies (tiny pieces). She seems to really love the lemon-flavored cod liver oil!
  • Emerge from darkness around 7:00 or 7:30 to clean kitchen, prepare my son’s lunch for school, and then prepare whatever is necessary for tomorrow’s food — maybe strain and jar the stock if it’s done, or make a “loaf” of almond flour bread or a batch of pancakes, or simmer some apple, or soak the nuts, or get the nuts out of the dehydrator.
  • Check email, do laundry (diapers every other day, regular clothes most other days).
  • Collapse.
  • Or, go back up to nurse the baby and then decide that since I probably two or three quiet hours ahead of me, work on the computer or on the house until way too late. Then feel hungover the next day, especially if she’s up every 90 minutes from midnight until 6 a.m. when she decides to sleep soundly after I’ve gotten out of bed.

So there you go. And it took me two days to get this post up. There are a ton of other things I want to write, but right now — especially the week after my son’s fifth birthday brought with it cleaning, rearranging, buying, baking, and more cleaning — I just am going to need to be rather than reflect in pixels, as much as it hurts to keep my fingers off the keyboard.

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