Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Notes From Gapslandia

When I work out I'm a terrible clock watcher. I know you're not supposed to do that; you're supposed to focus on your workout and be mentally present. Well, some days being physically present is the best I can do. And I look to the clock to help me get through the workout. I break things into fractions.

My mental conversation for the cardio portion of my workout goes something like this:
  " It's only 5 minutes in. I can't quit yet! I know my calves hurt, but they always hurt 5 minutes in. It'll get better. Keep going."
  " Oh boy, 10 minutes in. I'm a third of the way through!"
  " That particular move (bang, bang) means we're halfway through. Hooray!"
  " I'm tired, but there's only 10 minutes left. I know I can do 10 more minutes."
And then, I'm done. Sweaty and weary, but I made it all the way through!

It was something of a shock when I counted it out on my fingers to realize that we're already 6 months into GAPS. If we go the full 2 years, that means we're 1/4 of the way through. Hooray! I think we can do this thing!

Here are a few thoughts for those who are interested in GAPS, contemplating doing GAPS, or know someone who is on GAPS.

1- GAPS is not a "gosh I need to lose 10 lbs for swimsuit season" diet. It's a tough life-style change and not to be undertaken capriciously. Read up. Get all the information. If possible, talk to others who've done it. That might need to be online, as not a lot of people have heard of GAPS. My naturopath hadn't. (I'm no longer seeing that naturopath.)

And if you know someone who's on GAPS, please don't say things like, "Oh, you're so skinny, you don't need a diet!" "You can eat anything you want and not gain a pound." "Go ahead and live a little. You know you want it....." That's not helpful.

The decision to go on GAPS is motivated by serious health issues. Unless you want to hear a whole rundown on how that seemingly healthy person isn't, don't ask. It's a big decision that they've made for big reasons. Respect that.

2- If you've been convinced that you or your family would really benefit from doing the GAPS diet, look at where you are now and be realistic. If you're eating the Standard American Diet (aka, crap), then it will be brutal to jump to go right into the Intro Diet. Take some baby steps. Work towards it. Start reading labels and eliminating all the junk from your food. Clean out your pantry. Make the choice to stop buying soda, candy, chips, and junk. You know, if it's not there, you can't eat it.

After you've purged the pantry, start cooking. For some folks, this is no big deal. They already cook everything. But for some people, this is huge. There are families that never cook. Never. They either eat out, go get fast food, or pull something out of the freezer. The oven and stove are not used, other than for reheating. For that kind family, the intro diet would make their heads explode.

If you are that kind of family, start by making chicken broth. Broth is the backbone of the GAPS diet and you'll be making LOTS of it. And it's not hard at all, but if you've never made it it might seem daunting. I'll break it down for you below. Try it! Once you see how easy it is, you'll be motivated to try making other things.

3- Keep your reasons in front of you. It's easy to have a pity party about all the things you can't have, but you can change your attitude and be grateful for all the positive changes you are seeing. When the pounds come off on the Intro Diet, rejoice in that. When your picky eater husband tries green vegetables and likes them, get excited about that. When your picky eater child says, "I love this! Can you make it again?" to a dish he previously wouldn't have touched, throw a party! And when your skin clears up, your hair stops falling out, and your chronic stomach ache disappears, shout it from the rooftops!

Chicken Bone Broth

1 organic whole chicken
1-2 onions
4 (or so) organic carrots
4 (or so) organic celery stalks
4-6 peppercorns
Filtered water
Organic apple cider vinegar

What goes into a bone broth is really subject to what you have on hand. The only non-negotiable items are the organic chicken and the filtered water. The chicken needs to be organic as arsenic is routinely added to chicken feed to keep parasites away. That arsenic ends up in the non-organic chickens. Ick. And the water needs to be filtered so you don't make broth that tastes like a swimming pool.

Prior to making the broth, you can keep a scraps bag in the freezer. Bits and bobs of vegetables can go in there to save for broth - carrot shavings, the last 1/4 of an onion, etc. Then when you get around to making broth, you can dump it all in. If you don't have that bag in your freezer, no worries. You can still make great broth.

1- Pull the chicken out of the packaging, removing the giblets (the neck and organs, usually stuffed into the cavity of the chicken) and any non-chicken bits (the little chicken Pampers that soak up blood). If this sounds too icky to you, recruit a child to help. They'll think it's cool in a gross kind of way. Set the giblets aside.

2- Place the chicken in a stock pot. At least 4 quarts in size. Roughly chop up the vegetables and throw them in with the chicken. Cover the chicken with water (cold or room temperature) and set the pot over medium heat.

3- Bring the water to a boil, then place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let the residual heat continue to cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, replace the lid, and let it sit for another 15-20 min.

4- Take the chicken out of the water (carefully, so you don't burn or scald yourself!) and remove it to a cutting board. If you poke it with a knife, the juice should run clear. Pat yourself on the back. You just poached a chicken!  Remove the meat from the bones and toss the bones back into the pot. Save the meat for other meals (chicken salad, chef salad, enchiladas, etc).

5- Add the giblets to the pot. Add more water, if necessary to bring up the water level.

6- Pour in 1/4 cup (or so) of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. You need to ad an acid to draw the minerals out of the bones. Bring the broth to a boil over medium heat and turn it down to just simmering. Simmer for 24 hours. (This part can be done in a crock pot for safety and convenience)

7- Strain your lovely broth. It should be a dark, golden brown now and smell amazing. The bones should be soft and the cartilage dissolved. Toss all of the chunky bits your strained out and put your lovely broth into quart containers to freeze. Be sure to label the contents and put the date on it. It will keep in your freezer for at least 6 months, but if you're on GAPS, it won't last that long!


hobby baker Kelly said...

There is nothing like homemade broth. Lately I can't keep enough stock in the freezer. Since my eldest has decided to be a soup chef, I'm glad I've started using the pressure cooker to turn out gelatin rich broth much faster. With her being a line/sous chef, I might be able to consider taking on GAPS in the next year. Need to go get a second batch out of the chicken feet and thighs on the stove right now!

Brooke (Crackers on the Couch) said...

Congratulations on your progress so far with your regimen! I had no idea the GAPS diet was a two year commitment. As a vegetarian, I can't do it anyway, but I know to give props when I see it! Good job!

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