Thursday, July 12, 2012


This post is dedicated to Oma who inspired a trial run of what has become a new favorite.
Thanks Oma!!! 

   SCD, GAPS, and Paleo friendly!
Mmmmm...  Beachcakes!
In early June we went to the beach with friends who were previously on the GAPS diet to heal a milk allergy for one of the kids.  This is a fab mom friend of mine who has been the source of many inspirational recipes to try and while we were at the beach she was making banana and egg pancakes.

Hm.  My brain didn't know what to do with that combination.  After all, the only two ingredients she was using were bananas and eggs.  "A little yuck" was what my brain decided, although I did take note of the four year old happily wolfing them down every morning.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was cooking for Oma who was (keyword here is was - huzzah!) really struggling with digestive issues.  To help her I whipped out all my best intro-style recipes, the foods which are very healing and easiest to digest:  homemade broth, butternut squash soup, boiled/broiled meats, etc..

Well, one morning after the worst seemed to be behind us but Oma was not yet ready for Opa's famous breakfasts (English muffins, pancakes, french toast, etc.) she seemed to need a little something besides one more cup of broth.  I wanted to make our favorite pancakes but I didn't think her digestive system would appreciate the coconut flour.

Then I had an "aha" moment and remembered the egg and banana concoction from the beach and I figured it was worth a try.  The ingredients were simple and easy to digest.

NOTE:  Although bananas are not on the earliest stages of GAPS intro they are on the earliest stages of SCD intro.  

So I mixed it up in a 1 banana : 2 eggs ratio.  Using a potato masher (one of many alternative uses for an old potato masher) I mashed a couple of bananas into a mixing bowl.  Then I added eggs and vanilla and mixed it well.

I put the griddle on the stovetop and melted some butter and pan-fried my first beachcake.  It was fantastic.  It had even browned up and looked like a real pancake.

I sometimes like to sprinkle a little sea salt on top of a beachcake but mostly I stick a big fat wedge of butter on top of every beachcake as I build a layer of 4-6.  They swim in the butter and I am one happy Mama.  Both of my girls are happily eating more butter and eggs than ever before, cleaning all the butter off their plates by sopping it up with the beachcakes!

The beachcakes are SCD / GAPS / Paleo friendly and if you eat them and then go do an hour's worth of ab crunches...  well, maybe it'll work better for your abs than mine but they are ridiculously yummy and my kids, who have been on a scrambled eggs strike for awhile, are now again happily eating eggs every morning.

Beachcakes (serves 4) 
4-5 bananas (depending on size - if they are huge I use 4, if small I use 5)
12 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla

Mash bananas
Add eggs and vanilla
Stir well
Pan fry in butter, lard, or coconut oil
Serve with butter, berries, melon, bacon or perhaps just a sprinkle of Celtic Sea Salt.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chinese Beef with Broccoli

GAPS, Paleo, GFCFSF, and LOD Friendly!  

I'll admit it, I've been excessively spoiled by homemade Chinese Food.  My husband's family is half Chinese, as in born in China and immigrated to the US, and his grandmother Nancy and late grandfather Alex loved to cook for us while Alex was still with us.  At one point, we lived around the corner from them, and it was amazing!  We were given recipes so we could make some of it at home, especially Chicken with Broccoli, which is my favorite.  We did make it, oh how we did!  That, however, was before we knew our son needed GAPS and the Low Oxalate Diet.  We wanted to make Chinese food that was GAPS legal, but GAPS has us soy-free and bottle from the Asian Market-free, and the LOD limits our spices, so I was stumped on how to do it for quite some time - until now!  I present you the closest thing I can make to my beloved Chicken with Broccoli, Chinese husband approved.  This recipe calls for beef and broccoli, but you can substitute any meat and vegetable you'd like.  I'm actually am making it with chicken tonight, and I've been told that it works great with turkey and turkey broth as well by my guinea pigs on the GAPSdiet Forum fellow GAPSters who tried it out to let me know if they felt it could be improved.  

I adapted this from a free online website with a Chinese brown sauce recipe, but I can't for the life of me find the recipe now.  If this seems like it is adapted from your recipe, then please let me know so that I can give you credit.

This recipe serves 4 and takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete.  You can add more meat to the recipe if your family eats more meat than we do.


1 lb beef, preferably steak, sliced thinly (If you can't get organic, grass-fed, then choose a lean cut and trim off the fat.)
1 TBSP Organic, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TBSP White Wine or Broth (I've used both, and both work wonderfully)
1/4 tsp white Pepper
Salt, 1/2 tsp for marinade, and more to taste
2 cups beef or chicken broth, homemade (I usually use bone broth, but you can use a meat stock)
2 TBSP Coconut Aminos (Or Additive-Free Soy Sauce if you are not on GAPS, the LOD, or Soy-free)
1 TBSP honey
1 garlic clove, pressed (If not LOD, 1 tsp of garlic powder would probably provide a better flavor)
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp grated ginger (Again, if not LOD, then I'd use powdered for better flavor)
1 TBSP Butter, Beef Tallow, Lard, or other saturated fat COLD
1 TBSP Fat to cook beef in, preferably organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil or tallow
2 cups broccoli, steamed (boiled 10 minutes if LOD) or other vegetable of your choice


Before cutting up all your vegetables and doing the rest of your prep, put your cut up beef in a bowl and add the wine (or broth), apple cider vinegar, and white pepper, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Mix well to coat. It should marinate about 30 minutes before you start cooking.

Start cooking by getting the fat you are using to cook the beef very hot and close to smoking, preferably in a wok. Cook the beef until it is brown on high heat. Remove to a plate and keep warm. If there are juices from the beef in the wok, leave them.  Get your vegetables cooking if you haven't already.

Stir together broth, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), honey, garlic, red pepper, salt to taste and ginger and dump it in the wok, scraping up brown bits. Boil and reduce the sauce by half, stirring and scraping down brown bits occasionally. This takes awhile. It's a great time to make a side dish while you're waiting, like cauliflower rice.

When the sauce is reduced, add in the cold fat and mix. This should help thicken it. Taste it to make sure it is salty enough and add more salt if necessary. Add the beef and the cooked vegetables, but not the juices from the beef unless if your sauce is too thick.  If your sauce is too thick, add 1/2 tsp of beef juice from the plate at a time until desired consistency is reached. Serve over cauliflower rice if you are grain-free, or over soaked brown rice. (A great recipe is available in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell, or you can find one on a Google search if you need to!)

I hope you enjoy it!  There is no need to be deprived, no matter what the needs of your family are!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Belated Mother's Day

Another apology from me, a non-professional blogger, with a post-holiday post!

I missed Mother's Day.  Actually, I didn't miss it since I was busy reveling in my sleeping in, card/gift opening, and generally accomplishing nothing day.  But I didn't post anything on that day, the day of celebrating all Mamas and for that I am sorry.  So now that I've had some time to think about it, here is what I would have said if I were a professional blogger posting on the actual day!!!

Happy Mother's Day, Mamas!  For you, on this amazing day, I have a beautiful quote from David Orr:

The plain fact is that the planet does not need more “successful people”.
But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind.
It needs people who live well in their places.
It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and human, and these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.

YOU are the one David Orr is talking about in this quote.  You live with the moral courage it takes to buck the system and you are living well in your place.  Even if it doesn't always feel like living well, what better description than eating the healthiest, healing foods could there be than "living well?"

YOU are the healer who did not shy away from the initial symptom(s) and instead started to dig in and figure out what was wrong with your baby.  Your gift of love is half of the healing this planet needs in the first place and your actions to heal your child are above and beyond the call of duty but speak volumes about the Mama you are inside!

YOU are the lover, who loves so deeply nothing else matters beyond the health of your child.  How many Mamas have cut back on work, quit jobs, taken unpaid leave, or reinvented a life so the child will have what (s)he needs?  Plenty!

So keep up all your hard work.  You are the truly successful one, or you will be soon when all the hard work pays off.  You know, all that work that will make you crazy but will improve the health of those around you.  Only the Mama who loves SO deeply can give this depth of herself in an act as simple as cooking for her family.  It is a truth we have lost along the way and it is a valuable activity that goes largely devalued in our modern society.

What you do matters.
Who you do it for matters.
The fact that it will get results is just the bonus.

In this lifetime, seek that which you are to learn and make sure to share that which you have to teach.  

Happy Mother's Day, Mamas!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fabulous Fats

The girls: "Mom, We're huuuuuuungry!"

Me: "Augh! Again?"

This is a conversation we frequently had at the beginning of our time on SCD/GAP and it has reared its ugly head again recently.  Maybe it's the spring weather.   Maybe someone is growing (oh please, Lord, let it be this).   Maybe, just maybe, it is because I have been so distracted lately as we get the house ready to sell.  My mind has been on decluttering rather than blogging, paid work, local politics, or cooking. I keep promising the kids I will make cauliflower pizza / jello / herb sausage "tomorrow" and I need to start delivering on that promise!

Anyway, a friend of mine, Elli Sparks, just posted a gorgeous bit of wisdom on the GAPSdiet Yahoo group and I thought it was worth reposting here for anyone googling "Fat, Fat, and more Fat." LOL!

Image from

Elli is a local "wise woman" here in Richmond, Virginia and if you live or are visiting the area you should check out her website for a cooking class at What's Cooking Richmond.  So, if you are having a hard time feeling full or finding enough good nutrients for healing (or flavor for enjoying a good meal), this advice may be for you too!

Dear ______,
Fat, fat, fat, increase the fat. Fat is good for you. Here's how I do it:
  1. Chop up tallow in penny sized chunks and store it in the freezer. I eat this like candy! Pop a few into my mouth just prior to eating a meal. Add a few at the end of a meal. Eat some before bed. Tallow is raw beef fat. Rendered beef fat is suet. Beef can be eaten raw, so can beef fat.
  2. Render lard. Spread it on everything! Scoop out a dollop, add salt, and enjoy. Dip raw veggies into lard, sprinkle some sea salt, and enjoy.
  3. Eat the cracklings left over from rendering lard. mmmmm... these taste good with, you guessed it! Sea Salt!!
  4. Make duck fat using duck skin. Chop up the skin into small chunks, like you would with lard, plop it into a crock pot. Turn on to low. Render until skin is small and crackly. Eat the skin like you eat the lard crackings. Use the duck fat like you would use lard.
  5. Fry two or three or four or five or six egg yolks (this is where the fat is in the egg). Fry 'em up in lard or ghee or duck fat. Serve with a dollop of fat.
  6. Add raw egg yolks to soup or smoothies. Again, the yolk is where the fat is. Eat a lot of yolks!!
  7. Always add fat to stews and roasts. Serve the sauce with the melted fat floating on top.
  8. Always eat the fat attached to stews and roast. Big hint on eating chunks of beef or lamb fat: it taste better slowly cooked as in a pot roast in a crock pot on low all day. Fat on a quickly cooked steak is usually chewy and hard to eat. Slow cooked fat is much softer and really delicious, I think.
  9. Make or get ghee, which doesn't have the milk solids in it as butter does. Smother everything with ghee. Enjoy!

Here's another tidbit of information. There was a time when people all over the world lived close to the land. They ate what nature/God intended people to eat. They knew what they were doing. If you had asked them what they eat and why, they would have told you what they eat and how they prepared it, and they would have said, "We eat this way to make healthy babies."

In those cultures, 30% - 80% of the calories eaten by these wise people were made up of animal fats from healthy pasture raised or wild animals. That's much more fat than us sickly Americans are used to with our Standard American Diet (and terrible modern "nutritional" advice).
So, guess what, you get to have fun with fat!!!

Fat helps us digest fat soluble vitamins - A, E, D, and K. Only way to assimilate those vitamins is to eat them with fat. Absolutely no point in eating a carrot if you don't eat it with butter or lard or duck fat or ghee. The vitamin K will pass right on through to your poop if you don't eat your carrots with fat!!
Fat also satiates us. It makes us feel full. This is a big reason you need to up your fat intake.
And, best of all, fat makes food taste good! Fat carries flavor!!!
So, enjoy and indulge in fabulous fat!! Make sure it comes from pasture raised animals!!!! No point in getting all those nasty chemicals and such from factory farmed feed lot sick animals!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It is pollen season here in Richmond, Virginia. And seriously. I. Mean. Pollen.

Image from

At an old home we had a screened porch off the back and every year I *dreaded* this season because it meant the weather was gorgeous but you couldn't go out on the porch and enjoy it until you spent nearly a full day scrubbing / hosing down the furniture, walls, screens, and floor. Being the lazy, I mean time management expert, woman that I am I would always wait until pollen season was over and then do the deep clean. I learned this one the hard way the first year we were married when I cleaned for a neighborhood party on our porch before the end of pollen season. After that I swore to only do it once a year from that day forward. Note: We will never again have a screened porch. LOL!

Anyway... all of that is just to say that pollen is a part of life here during our gorgeous Virginia spring.

This time of year is particularly difficult for my older daughter who has "Oral Allergy Syndrome" and reacts to the birch family of foods + birch pollen. If you feel the SCD/GAPS diets are restrictive, go look at the list for the birch family and layer that onto the diet (this child had various degrees of IgE allergies to about 78 of the 92 foods we tested). LOL! Anyway, her allergies in the spring are brutal and many days her eyes are so swollen it looks like she spent time in the ring with a prize fighter. Not to mention her panic of waking up unable to open her eyes in the morning because they have a nice layer of goo gluing them shut.

So imagine my sheer delight this spring in finding a few little extras that would help her out!!! I started working on her spring allergies last fall because we had been on SCD/GAPS for over a year and I felt like something was still missing for her.

My younger daughter seemed to be thriving on the diet but my older daughter was just treading water. It seemed as though she had stopped growing and her allergies were still present and I suspected a few new allergies could possibly be playing a role (asparagus happened to catch my eye). So I did what every good mother who is freaking out does... I started trolling online forums looking for tidbits I missed and I reread my GAPS book looking for any hints about her health issues since previously I had always focused so heavily on the needs of my younger daughter.

I did my usual SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) with the ideas I had written down and decided to try two new things: camel milk and NAET. If you have not read about NAET previously I have two words for you: voodoo works. Just kidding. Kind of.

When I was traipsing around the internet looking up data points this was my favorite camel milk article, written by Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope. I am a big fan of hers and if I was in California I would at least try and take her out for coffee to thank her for writing this article. We have found that the camel milk has been very helpful from the perspective of helping with bacteria in the girls' bellies - they both *finally* have flat bellies more often than not. Finally. We've been doing SCD/GAPS for just over 20 months and the flat bellies had been hard to keep consistent. The camel milk has also been good for extra calories and nutrition. My mother-in-law even tried it for awhile as she recovered from chemo and felt she had an energy pick-up from drinking it versus the days she didn't. I will write more about camel milk another time. The thing I really want to talk about is NAET and homeopathy...

If you have not already considered NAET, I cannot recommend it enough although I will throw out the caveat that I think the practitioner is very, very important. It is energy work and you can read more about it on the NAET website. On that site there is a great report (quite a few, actually) about data/stats related to NAET treatments for various medical conditions. When considering NAET I first had to clear the hubby hurdle. So we agreed I would experiment on my own body before taking the girls.

The first couple of appointments shocked me. How one earth did she *know* some of that stuff about me? The emotional releases were great and I would have plenty to think about after an appointment. My body was also changing, particularly how grounded my feet felt. I was able to hold a standing yoga pose longer as a result. Weird yardstick, I know. But it was objective data indicating that *something* was happening. I felt the results were worth a bit of time/money to see if it would help the girls and they have been going almost weekly since February.

In the past month we have seen tremendous gains for ZiZi. They seem to be related to a few specific treatments and the improvement is noticeable enough that her teacher commented on it. Also, ZiZi has not lost her balance in a very long time and after a particular treatment (it was for some sort of bacteria if I remember it correctly) she told me that she didn't feel dizzy anymore and she hasn't felt dizzy since. Howzabout that??? Voodoo? I'll take it!

But Ani... my dear, sweet Ani. Possibly my tougher case to manage. Because she didn't have something big like ataxia and neurological symptoms of a communication issue her progress on NAET has been a little tougher to quantify. Until now.

Last week I took her for her usual appointment and the pollen had just come out. Our practitioner already had the pollen jar out when we arrived as I am certain many of her clients have needed it lately! Anyway, Ani was treated for Richmond pollens and the official pollen mix. The next day we went to a picnic on our Capitol steps and by the end of the picnic her eyes were swollen in a way I had not seen since the day she was born. Poor kiddo.

Luckily her sister had an appointment that afternoon so our NAET practitioner gave her a boost on her pollen treatment while we were there. Her allergies calmed down a bit and I dropped her off for art class. When I picked her up 2 hours later I could hardly believe how bad it was. Her eyes were back to being awful!

Fast forward to the next day. Things were better but her eyes were still swollen. So, inspired by this awesome blog post I filled a jar with filtered water, went outside and swiped my finger along my car and stirred it in well. I then diluted it ten times as described in the blog post.

I put some drops on the outside of her eyelids and a few drops under her tongue every 15 minutes for about an hour and a half or so. By the end of it her eyes were back to normal. My parents were shocked and the quote of the day goes to my dad, "I have no idea what your mother is doing but it is working."

Since homeopathy and NAET work off the same premise of frequency / vibrations / energy I guess it is no big surprise that the combo of the two was really effective. The funny thing with NAET is it seems to take a few weeks for a treatment to get up to 100% effectiveness. So until her pollen treatments are totally effective (and we still have to do a treatment specific to birch pollen) the homeopathic remedy is my backup plan and my kiddo is finally more comfortable. Our NAET practitioner tells me next allergy season Ani may need another boost but that her body should be okay after that. Here's hoping!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Proud Mamas

Today is International Women's Day and today I choose to honor Leymah Gbowee and all the amazing Mamas from Liberia. I honor her in thought, word, and deed. I am proud to be a Mama and I am deeply grateful for the strength and courage of the Mamas around the world.

You too are a strong, proud, beautiful Mama and make sure to take a moment today to honor yourself and to teach your children to honor the powerful being called a Mama. It is by the blood, sweat, and tears of your hard work that your family is healing. You are doing a beautiful thing and you are a beautiful creature.

I can...

  • Make a potroast that will knock your socks off!
  • Advocate for the needs of my children.
  • Love my husband more deeply and soulfully than I ever thought possible, even when I am sometimes annoyed with him.
  • Express my public opinion publicly.
  • Teach my children anything they wish to learn.

Happy International Women's Day. You have it better than some, worse than others, and a profound responsibility to honor yourself.


- Kati

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hot Potato!

Sometimes when you go down the path of the GAPS / SCD list of allowed/disallowed (legal/illegal) foods you will come across someone who thinks you are *crazy* for omitting certain healthy foods. For people with a compromised gut there are steps to be taken before returning to the foods, particularly sugars and starches, we once enjoyed.

My friend, Elli, has been healing her rheumatoid arthritis for years with the Nourishing Traditions diet and has recently begun her GAPS journey. She has found a more complete healing with GAPS than she had been experiencing previously and has become a big believer in the GAPS solution. Her kids will soon be going on intro and hopefully I'll get her to write up a few posts sometime soon!

In the meantime, she has become a local cheerleader for GAPS. She is our local Weston A Price chapter leader and teaches cooking classes in her home so you could say she has somewhat of a "following" already. The other day she sent out a rah-rah-GAPS notice to her e-mail list and I guess someone responded with doubts. In particular, doubts about the need to eliminate potatoes. I particularly enjoyed the storytelling nature of Elli's response (to the full listserv) and thought I'd share it here.

Although you may not be eating potatoes today you may want to add them back in later and this will give you some things to think about when that time comes!!!

- Kati

My friend Sam responded to my email about GAPS in this way, "Those Peruvians have 3,000 different kinds of potatoes, and can outwork any white man. Explain that with GAPS."

What a fabulous question!!! I thought you might appreciate his question and my response below:


You are awesome!!

Those Peruvians started out eating potatoes with dirt. They watched the llamas, who dug up potatoes with their hoofs, rolled the potatoes around in mud, and ate them. The dirt has enzymes that helps neutralize the toxins in the old breed of potatoes. When Peruvians started eating wild potatoes, they copied the llamas, serving potatoes in a mud sauce, taking advantage of the enzymes available in the dirt.

Once the Peruvians started growing potatoes, they breed them so there were less and less toxins over the years. Even though there were less toxins in the potatoes, the Peruvians continued to ferment potatoes prior to eating.

We find that all over the world in cultures where people live close to the Earth - complex carbs get fermented prior to eating. Sourdough bread, fermented oats, and yes, fermented potatoes. Fermenting breaks down the complex carbs into simple carbs so your gut doesn't have to try to do that incredibly complex job.

Because our standard American diet does NOT require fermenting carbs, we've got gut problems and health issues that the ancient cultures lacked.

GAPS gets all of the complex carbs out, until the gut is in much much better shape. This usually takes 2 years or longer. Once the gut is healed, a person on GAPS can, if they want to, try out fermented carbs - sourdough bread, fermented oats, fermented potatoes, etc. If those fermented complex carbs agree with the healed gut, then the person on GAPS can include them in their diet. If not, the gut may still be fragile and require more healing first.

Here's an article in the Smithonian Magazine about the history of potatoes. Read it with your Weston A. Price glasses on.

I've pulled the paragraphs out about the way the ancients prepared and ate potatoes. Here they are:

Wild potatoes are laced with solanine and tomatine, toxic compounds believed to defend the plants against attacks from dangerous organisms like fungi, bacteria and human beings. Cooking often breaks down such chemical defenses, but solanine and tomatine are unaffected by heat. In the mountains, guanaco and vicuña (wild relatives of the llama) lick clay before eating poisonous plants. The toxins stick—more technically, “adsorb”—to the fine clay particles in the animals’ stomachs, passing through the digestive system without affecting it. Mimicking this process, mountain peoples apparently learned to dunk wild potatoes in a “gravy” made of clay and water. Eventually they bred less-toxic potatoes, though some of the old, poisonous varieties remain, favored for their resistance to frost. Clay dust is still sold in Peruvian and Bolivian markets to accompany them.

Edible clay by no means exhausted the region’s culinary creativity. To be sure, Andean Indians ate potatoes boiled, baked and mashed, as Europeans do now. But potatoes were also boiled, peeled, chopped and dried to make papas secas; fermented in stagnant water to create sticky, odoriferous toqosh; and ground to pulp, soaked in a jug and filtered to produce almidón de papa(potato starch). Most ubiquitous was chuño, which is made by spreading potatoes outside to freeze on cold nights, then thawing them in the morning sun. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles transform the spuds into soft, juicy blobs. Farmers squeeze out the water to produce chuño: stiff, styrofoam-like nodules much smaller and lighter than the original tubers. Cooked into a spicy Andean stew, they resemble gnocchi, the potato-flour dumplings in central Italy. Chuño can be kept for years without refrigeration—insurance against bad harvests. It was the food that sustained Inca armies.

Even today, some Andean villagers celebrate the potato harvest much as their ancestors did in centuries past. Immediately after pulling potatoes from the ground, families in the fields pile soil into earthen, igloo-shaped ovens 18 inches tall. Into the ovens go the stalks, as well as straw, brush, scraps of wood and cow dung. When the ovens turn white with heat, cooks place fresh potatoes on the ashes for baking. Steam curls up from hot food into the clear, cold air. People dip their potatoes in coarse salt and edible clay. Night winds carry the smell of roasting potatoes for what seems like miles.



Monday, February 27, 2012

A Face for Radio

I figure since I'm writing this about myself, I can say that... Seriously, this healing diet stuff is TOUGH on a Mama and I don't know about you but the dark circles from lack of sleep and pale skin from lack of sunshine (it is, after all, February) has left me with a face for RADIO. I am pretty sure I would not have agreed to do this one if it were on TV/YouTube. LOL!

Anyway, if you have an hour and want to spend it with me blathering on in the background, here it is: BlogTalk Radio with Beth Wiles. It was actually pretty fun and if at least one parent gets at a nugget of information / wisdom they needed then it was well worth my time.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sour Cream Pork Chops Braised with Cabbage

This recipe is a modified Paula Deen recipe. The woman knows her pork chops, but I had to make some adjustments to make it GAPS friendly. These melt in your mouth and are just sooo good. My husband and I aren't big fans of pork chops, but these converted us for sure. They are also GAPS, SCD, LOD, Gluten-free, and Paleo friendly!


Four thick (3/4"-1") Pork Chops
Sea Salt to Taste
2 Tablespoons lard (or ghee, butter, goose fat, any legal fat really)
1.5 cups onions cut into rings
1 cup stock or broth, preferably chicken, but any will do
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried mustard (if you have a favorite Dijon that is legal or homemade, feel free to use that instead)
1 tsp paprika
1 cup (8oz) sour cream, or dripped yogurt if you really need to substitute
3/4-1 head white cabbage, depending on how much your family likes to eat
4 - 8 oz mushrooms, again depending on your family


1) Salt the Chops

2) Heat fat over medium/high heat. Brown the pork chops 4-5 minutes per side. Place onions evenly over the chops.

3) Combine spices, and broth (and Dijon if using) and pour over chops. Place cabbage and mushrooms over chops. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4) Remove cabbage and mushrooms, or at least most of them. Turn off heat, and stir in sour cream. Do not boil.

Serves 4... or less if you don't eat a giant pork chop each!


Kai's Story Part 2

Life is returning to normal.

Kind of. I guess "normal" with the exception that we went from a low-fat diet where I cooked all the time in an attempt to get my husband healthy, to a high-fat grain-free diet where I cook all the time to get everyone in the family healthy. Not too big of a change if you really think of it. Oh, and my son who previously couldn't talk doesn't stop now. I don't mind that at all!

Now that I have the hang of Low Oxalate GAPS and a good amount of recipes that my family likes, plus a routine for getting everything accomplished, my husband and I are venturing back into the world of having a social life and friends again outside of the diet. I'm also getting my house back together room by room. It is nice.

Kai is still rapidly improving. Amongst detoxing and periodic oxalate dumps, he is shining through as the healthy, happy boy he is supposed to be. His speech therapist came last Wednesday, and she feels that when she comes back in a month to check up on him to make sure he is still progressing and has no lingering problems, that it will probably be her last visit before he is discharged and declared caught up to his peers. She is sad about this because Kai definitely is not shy about showing how much he likes her by showering her with hugs, but she is, of course, still happy to see him talk. So, can this diet help with Apraxia/Dyspraxia of Speech? Yes! It most certainly can. Especially if your child has known food intolerances and digestive issues go for it!

These days, Kai is describing pages in books to us, telling us how other people feel, telling us what he did during the day, and all the adorable little things a two-year-old should be talking about. He still has some sort of skin issue on his head (psoriasis or dandruff or eczema of some sort), but he is just about symptom free. I am amazed by how quickly he healed. There are advantages to starting before you are even two years old!

I've started reading parenting books to help me figure out how to raise this energetic, mischievous, wonderful boy. I'm also working on keeping him on a schedule, including a nap, in hopes of helping him to eventually sleep through the night without issue, and not do things like fall asleep at the bottom of the stairs by our playroom while I'm making dinner. He likes his schedule, so this is working out well. I mention this because I think too often we get caught up in thinking that the diet should fix everything, but sometimes you need to go and look into the other aspects of child rearing to truly heal your child completely.

I enjoy our diet. I am feeling the healthiest and calmest I ever have. My husband is making large strides. Now I just need to convince my almost 9 month old daughter that she wants to eat solid foods (in addition to breastfeeding of course) and my family will be on the path I'd like. My daughter, by the way, is still developing wonderfully typically.

I've become sort of a mad scientist in the kitchen. I'm having some successes. I just got some French cookbooks as they seem like they will translate well to Low Oxalate GAPS with dairy tolerated. I'll share my successes with you for sure! I've tried many times to write something for this blog, but I always feel inadequate. Recipes, though, recipes I can do. I hope you like them.

What I can say is that it does get much easier. You start to enjoy the diet. You stop being embarrassed by it. You stop being overwhelmed by it. It becomes a natural, joyful part of your life. (Except for those days when you're detoxing, or someone you love is, but even then, you know it's temporary.) Don't ever give up hope. Fight for your health and the health of your family. You will find the way.

Then life will go back to normal, or it might even be more normal than it was before if you find yourself with a child who is finally developing typically. There is no better feeling in the world!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Fungus Amungus

Last night at Tribal Council we did not vote anyone off the island. We also took a break on serving "Surviver" worthy foods challenges and just served the amazing GAPS Donuts that Saved Christmas and some coconut macaroons. Oh, and a little Sauerkraut because we just love it so!

Also, I should fess up in case any stalkers are getting excited about the Tribal Council. It was really just the local monthly GAPS circle and no, nobody was sporting a loincloth. In fact, there was no skin showing whatsoever. Just a bunch of Mamas and a couple of kids in the ten-year-old range.

Anyway, I made a comment last night about "bad belly bugs" and the "dreaded yeast" controlling our brains. Any Mama who has gone through the dreaded die off on SCD / GAPS knows what I'm talking about. No, your child does not NEEEEEEEEED sugar (or cake) the way they are claiming, and don't think of that as your child. Think of your child as a puppet - it is the belly bugs talking from deep inside their gut! Your poor child is under the control of one tough opponent, the guys we affectionately call "belly bugs" in our home. It only lasts 7-10 days in most cases and then the sugar craving is gone and life gets a whole lot more healthy!

Similarly, at times when your children / significant other is making you C-R-A-Z-Y with erratic behavior, keep in mind that it just might be the bugs talking. I have started to think of my family (and myself) as some percentage of self and some percentage of Poltergeist. The percentages can change overnight and sometimes I know why they shifted and sometimes I start checking lunar calendars, Jupiter rising, mold counts, and fungal growth below the nails. Kidding again, kind of.

However, every now and then when the people I love are driving me over the edge, I stop and remind myself that it is not them I am frustrated with at the moment... It is the bacteria / viruses / fungus / parasites inside of them. Because my daughters and husband really ARE perfect. It's just those darn creatures from the other branches of the Animal Kingdom that we barely studied in school that are controlling them. Got a lot of drama? Hm, perhaps yeast. Got a child throwing temper tantrums and acting really strange? Hm, perhaps parasites / bacteria. Got a strange layer on the child's scalp? Hm, perhaps a fungus. Bizarre swelling / rash? Perhaps virus. You get the picture.

I once read about a parasite researcher with a theory that a cat-based parasite was controlling his behavior. And some of his contemporaries thought his research to be possible/credible. So it isn't just me with this "You are crazy but it's okay because you have no control over your emotions" theory.

So with this "theory" of mine backed up by an obscure researcher, I like to throw around this "zombie" theory totally irresponsibly like it might be possible and a fact to consider. Just because that's the way I roll (but always with the caveat that it is my own personal theory and yes, I know that I just my be crazy or at least obsessed, just ask my brother). And then last night, my future neighbor, Elli, threw down another piece of evidence with an AMAZING story from the rain forest for our youngest Tribal Council members who were paying any attention to the yammering ons of the Tribal Elders.

This is the story (approximately) she told:

There is an ant in the rainforest that, when under the mind control of a fungus catching a ride on its exoskeleton, will crawl all the way up to the top of the tree where it will do the fungus' bidding and die. The fungus needs to get to the top of the tree to proliferate but it doesn't have legs. So it mind controls the ant to do its bidding and the ant dies and the fungus lives.

Elli had more details but that is it as best I can remember it. So I woke up at 3 AM totally excited about this ant being remote controlled by a fungus on it's back. I mean... really... Talk about a proverbial monkey on your back! So I fact checked Eli's cool story and found it is even more incredible than she made it sound. The crazy fungus has been controlling the ants for over 48 million years! That is a lot of practice time for mind control of a group of zombie ants! And don't even get me started on the synchronicity of all the ants showing up in the same area at the same time and none of those fungi even have a watch! Shoot, my Mama friends and I can't even do that for a playground playdate. Although, in our defense, we are trying to round up multiple zombies under mind control that is, unfortunately, not our doing (as best we can tell, or the downstairs would be a whole lot more tidy).

So, if you find yourself in a zombie like state walking toward the pantry, or if your four year old is muttering about cake and lollipops 18 months into GAPs, or if you are listening on the phone to a friend's seven year old scream, "I want pizza," over and over... That may be the bugs talking directly to you, via their favorite medium, someone you love!

Zombies: It isn't just for humans anymore!

Fact Checking References:
Fungus makes zombie ants administer ‘death bite’ at noon
Parasitic Fungi and Zombie Ants

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Egads Dads!

Most of us local Mamas have spouses "along for the ride" so to speak on our crazy SCD/GAPS dietary adventures. Some spouses have been through an autism diagnosis, the biomed route (loads of supplements to heal the body), the gluten-free diet, the gluten-free + casein-free diet, gluten-free + casein-free + soy-free + corn-free diet, elimination diets for allergies, Weston A Price diet, etc.. Is it any wonder that they are beyond DONE with diets by the time they arrive at SCD/GAPS?

So for the most part they support us with, "yep, sure, and uh-huh" to our obsessive rantings about sustainable agriculture, chemical free cleaning products, clean spices, and disaccharide/polysaccharide free menu options. It is not just my husband who, although supportive, grows weary of all the SCD/GAPS talk around the house.

These are good guys. They see the positive changes in the kids. They support their wives. They think only a mother would be crazy enough to do all this work. But some have dared to wonder aloud if the kids would just outgrow their issues and if we aren't just killing our Mama selves over nothing.

Sure they would... Just like the laundry magically gets folded and messes are magically cleaned up. Sometimes what looks like a kid outgrowing something is really a testament to the mother who did not give up. In fact, it is a wonderful thing if the Mama of the house has managed to make it all look fine to the outside world. If teachers just say things like, "Wow, ________ has recently turned a corner and is doing really well," just smile and nod. Explaining that you are tired to the bone just sounds a little like whining. But I digress. Maybe I need a nap.

So... I received two coincidental phone calls this past week. Two Mamas have husbands who, after being the mostly supportive dad and eating SCD/GAPS when the kids are present, went off the wagon last week for "business reasons." At home they had been mostly eating SCD/GAPS for months, although they did sneak treats here and there (perhaps almost daily, but just a little cheating since they aren't technically required by their own Mama to be on the diet). Last week both of them, for different reasons, were eating out most of the week. By day three they cried uncle. Well, at least their bodies cried uncle. I think both men were becoming intimately acquainted with their bathrooms as a result of all the processed, who-knows-what-laden meals they were consuming.

I am trying not to get a chuckle out of all this. Really, I am. But frequently the spouses give us Mamas SUCH a hard time thinking that these little changes don't *really* make that much of a difference. That cheating here and there shouldn't/wouldn't/couldn't be a big deal. We patiently explain the theory about starving out the pathogenic bacteria and that infractions, whether purposeful or not, reset the clock on starving out the bad guys. Keep in mind the size of the pathogens and that a tiny amount of cheating can feed a lot of bad bugs!

Anyway, these two dads (if they care to step back and analyze WHY they feel so badly) probably feel as though they are visiting the planet krypton. They used to have stomachs of iron and ate all that #$%^ without a problem. But now... now... Now their body has had a chance to get rid of some of the layers of toxins. Now when they put processed junk into their bodies their bodies know enough to rebel against the assault!

So, the big question is... how many times will they repeat the experience before deciding that _______________ doesn't agree with them. Or just admit that perhaps, just perhaps, their little apples didn't fall all that far from their tree. The kids being healed on this diet could come in the size / shape / ages of fathers as well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Love the Wavy Chopper

There is a lot of cooking on the SCD/GAPS diet. A lot. It is almost too much for any Mama to bear unless she really loves cooking and already knows how to cook circa 1880. Do you already make bone broth on the average day? Are you handy with fermenting? How is your liver recipe repertoire?

We homeschool our older daughter and so learning new recipes is a part of her education. It's a wonderful chance to teach her about her body, about foods and nutrition, and also a little math (measuring and fractions). I love listening to her repeat a favorite recipe (like coconut fish) to her friend or better yet to a mom at the playground.

However, I sometimes shy away from having the kids do work in the kitchen because of the supervision it requires. Cooking is not my favorite thing to do, so spending more time on it is not something I usually try to do. LOL! So with my 4.5 year old it is mostly a matter of her dumping ingredients in and turning on an appliance.

However, I have recently found that giving either of the girls a big batch of carrots / apples / pears to chop keeps them busy and gets a job done that I didn't have to do myself. A 4.5 year old (or 6 year old) with a knife? Well, not quite. I have an awesome secret weapon. The wavy chopper. I recommend it for any parent of a preschooler. See, we were a Montessori family before the homeschooling request from Ani. The Montessori catalogs are filled with all kinds of adorable child-sized housekeeping equipment. It honestly looks like you could start a preschoolers housekeeping service if you got a few of each from the catalog. Kids love to do this stuff, especially with the right equipment.

The beauty of the wavy chopper is that by its design it keep the child's fingers away from the blade/surface of the cut. So with a small cutting board and her own wavy chopper, Ani was happy to help me with the carrots. I even filled the sink in their play kitchen so they could take their time scrubbing the carrots. The beauty of the wavy chopper is they are so self-sufficient. I can do five other things while they spend 20-30 minutes on carrots and it doesn't bother me because it is one less thing for me to worry about (make that two - one is the carrots and the other is "what are the kids doing since it is so quiet").

Check out the wavy chopper if you could use a little assistance in your own kitchen and your kids are too young to use a knife (or if you are too busy/distracted to supervise knife skills). We got ours from Montessori Services. I highly recommend the one with the plastic handle but do not recommend the one with the wooden handle (the leverage is tough for a young child). The cutting boards we use are from Epicurean (we don't cut on plastic and most bamboo boards have formaldehyde in them). Also, you can find wavy choppers on!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The donuts that saved Christmas

Here is the infamous donut recipe from one of my favorite blogs.

My mom made, literally, like 5 batches of these before we came to visit and froze them. She used a mini-donut maker that made the cooking very easy and the cleanup even easier. Just do an internet search on "mini donut maker" and you'll see lots of inexpensive options. The final step of brushing with honey then coating with coconut is an extra touch that makes these look and taste fantastic, even to a non-gaps palate.

They freeze well and are perfect for when you just gotta have something "normal".

Enjoy!! Thank you Comfy Belly!!!!

GAPS through the mouth of an Italian Grandmother

The GAPS program is an honest look at what we have been feeding our bodies for so long. I find the Program fascinating, restrictive, difficult, monotonous and stressful. With that said, do I think it is effective? Yes, yes, yes! As a grandmother who likes to cook and create meal events (mostly involving refined carbs), retrofitting GAPS into my passion for Italian cooking traditions and social gatherings (of which food is a MAJOR part) has been challenging but doable. I realized a mindset adjustment was required.

My Italian cooking has always been more about nourishing the soul and keeping souls together (family gatherings)rather than stuffing their little tummies with treats that may cause long-term ill health. I can now approach any modified recipe with my previous passion. I am making this for my grand children and they will take delight in it. The end result is sound nutrition. I can have my cake and eat it too, figuratively speaking of course! I continue to perfect my “Nonnie” culinary instincts and provide the grandkids with so much more in the long run. We all win.

I use the anti-smoking campaign to help me understand the changes which will eventually have to occur in our society. In the 70’s, we all knew smoking had a negative impact on our health yet many of us continued to do so. Campaign after campaign, testimonials from people who suffered the afflictions from smoking, repeated surgeon general warning, etc. were presented to us on a daily basis. It took a very long time for that information to assimilate and for people to change. GAPS is on the forefront of change for how we eat, heal and nourish our children.

A GAPS family has to dedicate themselves to food preparation and food consumption in our crazy busy world dependent upon quick processed meals. Children will become responsible for food preparation, admittedly, according to their developmental ages. They will understand where the food comes from, how it is prepared and what the food can provide for their bodies. They can and will learn healthy habits from the get-go. Daddies must be on board (granddads too) to make this lifestyle change a success for the entire family.

The most difficult time for me understanding/accepting GAPS was during the initial stage (Intro) where I witnessed the “die-off” phenomena first hand with my young grandchildren. One child vomited and become listless. My first instinct was to give her something “sweet” to jolt her into feeling better. The second child refused to eat and looked frighteningly thin. These episodes were brief and eventually quieted down, But it broke my heart to see my grandkids so sick. It was hard for me to stay silent and supportive during the initial stages of the program. I probably misspoke on one or two occasions with suggestions like “What are we doing to these kids??” or “ Give her a popsicle or lollipop, please!!” My daughter’s confidence, calmness and resolute brought me back to earth, but I was emotionally exhausted when I returned home. My daughter’s commitment has brought us 7 months into the GAPS program. Yes, it is easier and calmer in some respects. We’ve soldiered through Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthday parties, movies, friends’ visits and of course, Christmas. Valentine’s Day is on the horizon in a month or two and presents no problem to us. Bring it on. We are ready. We are prepared. And the children are thriving. I have already thought of a food alternative rather than a chocolate piece of candy tucked into a Valentine.

I’m on board. I’m a GAPS Italian grandmother who uses coconut flour instead of white flour, ghee instead of margarine, raw honey instead of white sugar and make the most delicious baked mini donuts for my grandkids. Once I give them a catchy Italian name like my now extinct Cucidadi or Pignoli cookies, I will be happy. I’ve also learned to make the richest beef marrow stock! I grew up on bone marrow so this was not a stretch for me. And it is oh so good! No, I’m not making traditional Italian cuisine with tons of pasta anymore but the essence of Italian cooking remains. This is clean food made from scratch and with handfuls of love and shared together. I will continue this journey. I have so much to learn.

GAPS is not for sissies but I challenge any grandparent to come on board. You can create new traditions for the sake of the long range health of your family. You can do it. I cannot think of a better legacy to leave my wonderful Ryan, Mary Katharine and Ethan. But not so fast, I intend to follow GAPS for myself and the grandfather too. We want the best chance at a front row seat for our grandchildren’s future growth and development.


Anna aka "Nonnie"
P.S. The mini donuts will now be referred to as “zeppole”
(donut in Italian…) and of course, I am happy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Do you know how you can tell a professional blogger from a Mama? The professional bloggers get favorite holiday recipes out BEFORE the holidays.

Unfortunately, I am not a professional blogger. Maybe one day ;-) For now I will have to be content to share my favorite experiments AFTER the holidays. Today's recipe is a smash hit in our household and judging by the pan I brought to the GAPS circle chat last Sunday I think I'm onto something... Of course, it took me about five delicious iterations to get to this place so perhaps this will be a great jumping off place for you to do a few delicious iterations and find your own perfect blondie. I think it would be tasty with dried cranberries or something for a festive twist.

BTW, I call it a blondie (as opposed to a brownie) because it has the thick/chewy consistency like a brownie. I look forward to one day adding cocoa into this recipe (I'm sure with a heavy hand the first time I try - lol). If you try it that way definitely let us know how much you used and whether it needed more (because I am a firm believer in never needing less chocolate).


1 lb of sunflower seeds, soaked and dehydrated
1/4 cup of warmed coconut oil (or other oil)
6+ eggs (duck eggs are my choice, particularly for baking)
3/4 cup of honey, more if desired
2 tsp vanilla

Step One: Make sunflower seed butter
Put the pound of soaked and dehydrated (sometimes to save time I use the Go Raw brand instead of doing the soaking/dehydrating myself) into a food processor. Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the oil as the sunflower seeds are whirling around. If you've not made sunflower seed butter before you spin it until it eventually clumps into a big ball in the food processor. Stick with it through this phase and it will smooth out afterwards. Sometimes I stop the food processor a few times and scrape down the sides but with the oil it is less necessary to do that step.

Step Two: Add everything else
Add the rest of the ingredients to your sunflower seed butter and run the food processor again. The perfect batter is one that is not sticky and firm but instead one that pours easily / drips from a spoon (although it will still be a little sticky from the honey).

NOTE: In my egg count, keep in mind I am using duck eggs which are a little bigger than chicken eggs. The most important thing to pay attention to is the viscosity of your batter - is it dripping off a spoon easily or is it thicker? If you are using chicken eggs you may find 7 or 8 eggs is the ideal number. Also, if you use chicken eggs when you pull it out of the oven and it cools, it may sink compared to how fluffy it looked when hot. That is not a "problem" it is just because the chicken eggs do not have the same quantity of raising / levening agent in the duck eggs. If you want baked goods to be the ultimate in fluffy you'll have to give a duck egg a try!

Step Three: Bake
Grease an 8x11 pan (I particularly like duck fat but have also used bacon grease and plan to try palm shortening next), pour in the batter, lick the spoon, and put it into an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Step Four: Catch it when it's perfect
The key to a good blondie is to cook it just perfectly. You do not want to overcook it or it gets quite dry (and these ingredients are just a little more expensive than the average experiment I care to throw out). Start checking it around 30 minutes by putting a knife in the middle and pulling it out. If it pulls out cleanly then you are done. If it is not done, check again in the next 3-5 minutes or so. Don't go by visuals since sometimes it can look a little "wet" on the top but actually be finished - I got fooled with one batch by the dessert mirage so just throwing that out there.

So how is THAT for a whole food? Five ingredients or less? No problem! This is such a tasty option filled with protein that I wouldn't have a problem giving it for breakfast on a special day. Maybe the next sleepover we won't have to serve butternut squash soup to some kids who look at me like I'm crazy.

This is a large batch so be sure to show a little restraint since eating the whole pan *might* be a little much unless you are a family of 12. I think it would freeze pretty well but we've not yet had an opportunity to test that. Again, if you do let us know how it goes.


p.s. If you are comfortable with your egg source enjoy licking the pan, the spoon, and be careful with that food processor blade as you lick it too.