GAPS Kitchen Tools – Stock Pot

TOOL: Stock Pot
NECESSITY: 5 out of 5
COOL FACTOR: 1 out of 5
FREQUENCY OF USE: Weekly or Bi-weekly
LOOK FOR: Stainless Steel

I am starting a new series of posts. My GAPS Kitchen Tools. It was going to be one post, until my list got so long that I didn’t want to scare anyone away from changing the way you eat. A good percentage are found in almost every kitchen so you may have some already!

When we first started GAPS we went through our pantry and cleared out all of the items that were no longer allowed. We saved a small stash in an out-of-the-way place for when my stepsons are over. There’s no reason to torture them with no grains just because the rest of us are on a crazy food plan. Although, we do buy the best quality grains available for them to eat. The next thing I did was evaluate which utensils needed to go; non-stick pans, BPA filled plastic containers, etc. And I made a list of the items I needed to buy. Slowly. One at a time, because let’s face it this food plan isn’t cheap.

The very first thing I bought was a big stock pot. The amount of meat stock or bone broth we consume in a week was greater than the capacity of my largest 8 quart pot. It can be done in a smaller pot, it just has to be done more often. Bone broth stays on low heat for 12-24 hours, and there’s no way I feel comfortable leaving my gas burner on that long more than once every two weeks when I can be home the entire time and monitor it. I tried making it in a crock pot. I tried every way under the sun with the crock pot, begging and praying for a way to make it work. It kinda worked for chicken broth, but every batch had a flavor of burnt or rancid fat. No thanks! Back to the stove! Stock and broth freeze beautifully. I store it in lots of different size containers so that they are easy to pull out for drinking or for cooking. Sometimes I need 2 quarts of broth for soup, and sometimes I just need a mugful.

You’ll hear me say over and over again that the best cookware is Le Creuset. It’s the safest, it’s cast-iron, and they have enameled and anodized pots and pans meaning food won’t stick. If you check out the link you’ll see why I don’t have a Le Creuset Stock Pot…. yet. It’s a bit pricey, but it is something you will pass on to your children. It will last forever. Like Legos. The next best is All Clad. Again, a little pricey, but lower than the Le Creuset. The important thing is you want to get stainless steel. Not aluminum. Most stainless steel pots have an aluminum induction base to help heat the pot, which is fine but the part your food touches should be stainless steel. I have heard that one way to tell if your pot is stainless steel or aluminum (if it doesn’t say on the bottom) is to see if a magnet sticks to it. If it does stick than it is for sure stainless steel. However, if it doesn’t stick it does not mean that it isn’t. Some stainless is magnetic and some isn’t, but aluminum will not hold the magnet.

Ok. Here is the pot I bought. It’s 20 quarts, which means I can easily make 2-3 gallons of stock/broth at a time. Yup. Two to three GALLONS. That will last us about 2 weeks with cooking and drinking. It is lightweight, which is good, because I add a couple of gallons of water and several pounds of chicken and pouring just the broth out takes a little muscle. I don’t use the lid often, but it is nice to have when I need to divide my cooking time. (When I have to leave my house during a batch of bone broth, I stick it in the oven for quick trips, or in the fridge. When I return I bring it back to a boil, skim the scum off and reduce to a simmer for the remainder of the cooking time). I purchased this one for around $50.

Chefmate 20QT Stainless Steel Stock Pot from Target

Chefmate 20QT Stainless Steel Stock Pot from Target

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GAPS Meatloaf – Grain-free

GAPS Meatloaf

I tested this meal on a Standard American Diet friend, and he said it was really good. Of course he’s a young man, and they’ll eat just about anything. He could have just been saving my feelings. Try it for yourself and see. I think it would go nicely with Nourishing Traditions Fermented Ketchup. I haven’t made it yet myself.

I used 3 loaf pans, because I was in a hurry, and also to keep the loaves short and keep them together. If you make one big loaf the cooking time will vary. This recipe does not include garlic, but you could add garlic powder or fresh garlic with the spinach for your tastes. Printable recipe card at the bottom.

Meatloaf

2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 can organic tomato paste
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 pastured eggs
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
4 cups organic baby spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare loaf pans with ghee or parchment paper.
  2. In a large pan cook onion, celery, carrot, salt and pepper until softened.
  3. Add zucchini and spinach until wilted. 1-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl add remaining ingredients. Add vegetables. Mix gently until well combined.
  5. Divide into loaf pans and bake in oven about 30 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

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An Interview With Our Nutritionist- Anna Hammalian

I get the opportunity to introduce you to our Nutritionist today! Anna has been a lifesaver for our family starting us on the road to better health, and keeping us on track along the way. I asked her a few questions so she can explain in her own words what she does. One of the questions is on the GAPS diet, which you can learn more about HERE.

annaPhoto by: D’Avello Photography

Anna Hammalian attended Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA where she completed rigorous training in the school of Nutrition and Dietetics. The program concentrated in the areas of nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, community nutrition, food production and administration of food service operations, chemistry, physiology, plus a variety of supporting coursework in related disciplines. She achieved her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in June of 2009. Anna received her certification as a Board Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) from the Nutritional Therapy Association, Inc. (NTA) in 2010. This training has given her the ability and knowledge to specialize in digestive health, blood sugar management, heart health, and hormone balance using Nutritional Therapy.

Anna is also among the few health care advocates that are Certified GAPS practitioner. As a certified GAPS Practitioner, she works closely with children and adults with Autism ADD, ADHD, Asthma, Allergies, Schizophrenia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, autoimmune disorders and much more. Through Diet, Detoxification and Supplementation Anna has seen beautiful transformations in her clients while healing through the GAPS program.

Q: What exactly is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner?
A: A Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) addresses nutrition from a holistic perspective. An NTP offers a clear alternative to the grain-based, low-fat nightmare that is the official diet of America. NTP’s address weaknesses in the body’s physiological foundations brought on by poor nutrition.  The alternative I offer goes beyond just diet and exercise, offering customized and highly effective natural approaches to each client’s specific needs. Nutritional Therapy can be applied to all areas of health, including: weight management, constipation, IBS, gallbladder problems, acid reflux disease, hormone health, infertility support, autism, depression, mood disorders, athletic performance, allergies/asthma, endocrine support and so much more! We strive to reverse the tragic and unsuspected effect of the modern diet for our clients. We also teach the importance of properly prepared whole foods that are delicious, nourish our bodies, and restore good health.

Q: What made you become a NTP? 
A: After working as a clinical dietitian while attending Loma Linda University I saw the need for more answers. Telling my patients to eat low-fat foods, 6 servings of adulterated grains per day, soy, and sugar-free foods was making the disease process worse. I saw patients decline at even faster rates. I sought out a few of my mentors in the medical field and nutrition field who are holistic oriented; to get a clearer understanding of healing with whole foods and natural remedies as opposed to the food guide pyramid and pharmaceuticals. As soon as I completed my degree at Loma Linda University  and came out from under the food industries umbrella, I started the NTP program and not only did my life change for the better, but every client I come across has a new and clearer perspective of real nutrition and its healing benefits!

Q: What kind of services do you offer?
A: Where Western medicine focuses on treating symptoms, Nutritional Therapy stresses a root cause approach to health. As a Nutritional Therapy practitioner, there are a variety of evaluation methods and techniques used, including a complete review of a client’s health and diet history, a 3-Day Food journal, and a through evaluation of the individual’s nutritional weakness in the body, utilizing the hands-on Functional Evaluation. Each individual possess different nutrient deficiencies, different toxic burdens, different eating habits, and different physiological functions. Therefore, each person needs a customized nutrition plan that will yield quick results.  Through carefully designed bio-individual dietary, lifestyle and supplement recommendations Nutritional Therapy promotes optimal health; along with advice and tips for adequate hydration, rest, and stress management. This will effectively balance body chemistry, and reduce, or even eliminate dysfunction. I also offer group workshops and seminars on educational topics regarding real food nutrition, detoxification, healing the gut and brain through the GAPS Nutritional Program, preconception nutrition and hormone balancing.

Other services:
  • Detailed client history via written intake form and lengthy personal interview
  • Blood chemistry analysis, optional
  • Comprehensive three-day stool analysis, optional
  • Salivary hormone testing, optional
  • Hair mineral analysis, optional
  • Other specialty testing analysis available

Q: GAPS is not well-known, why did you become a GAPS Certified Practitioner?
A: We live in a world of unfolding epidemics. Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD), Schizophrenia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder and other neuropsychological and psychiatric problems in children and young adults are becoming more and more common. I have been practicing the GAPS for the last 2 years, but decided to become certified so doctors don’t think I am crazy. Well, they still do; however, it enables me to work in a clinical setting guiding families through the program.

Q: What are 3 things you wish everyone would change about their nutrition?
A: 1. Eat real butter
2. Cook at home
3. Cut grain and sugar intake by half

Q: If someone wants to make a nutritional change what is the first thing they should do?
A: Look to the Weston A. Price Foundation website to help one understand the truth about whole food.

Q: What is the difference between therapeutic supplements and store-bought vitamins/supplements?
A: Pure, therapeutic remedies/supplements contain the total complex family of micronutrients (just as they are found in nature) with a potency that is highly effective. These micronutrients are indispensable for proper vitamin absorption and maximum utilization. Most stores are not allowed to carry therapeutic supplements because a health practitioner must dose them according to the bio-individuality of each person. This is to your benefit considering you might have to go through several bottles of a store-bought vitamin D vs. going through only 1 bottle of a therapeutic vitamin D given to you by your nutritionist.
Are the ingredient’s vital factors retained? The manufacturing process of store-bought products has been handled poorly and exposed to an undue amount of chemicals.  Along with the added toxic substances, supplements undergo high-heat treatment, which destroys enzymes and phytonutrients that are vital for your health; not to mention the reason you bought that particular product. Supplement manufacturers often add in a variety of fillers to their vitamin and mineral supplements for numerous reasons:
  1. Easier and faster production
  2. More appealing to the eye (colorants)
  3. Easier to swallow (coatings)

Could that supplement you bought be harmful? Don’t be fooled by “organic” or “natural.” Look at the ingredients listed on the label. Can you pronounce them and do you recognize them? Common chemicals and toxic substances found in most supplements that you can buy from health food stores, pharmacies and grocery stores are listed below:

  • FD&C Red #40 Lake, FD&C Blue #2 (links to cancer, ADD, ADHD, headaches and allergies/asthma)
  • Hydrogenated oils (encourages heart problems, strokes, nervous system problems, block the absorption of essential fatty acids, upset blood sugar regulation and more)
    • Soy (high levels of phytic acid that reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D).
    • Gluten (causes inflammation, intestinal damage, heartburn, constipation, and headaches)
    • Corn starch (headaches, gastrointestinal damage, allergies and much more)
    • Sugar (blood sugar irregularities, headaches, obesity, tooth decay and much more)

These preservatives and chemicals are stored in the liver. Your liver is your largest detoxifying organ. Keep it clean so it can do its job of detoxifying on a daily basis. Just like a recipe, the quality of the ingredients you use affects the quality of the final product. The final product being your health!

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I have two!
1. Educating people about what real food is, and how we can find true healing and joy from eating the foods which we are designed to eat!
2. Hearing about the leaps and bounds of improvement in my client’s health. When I hear, “My doctor let me stop all my meds.” I am satisfied!

To learn even more (or to contact her) visit her website at www.selahwellness.net

GAPS Diet On A Budget

When I explain our food plan to inquiring minds I get, “You must spend a fortune on groceries.” Yes, it can get a little pricey at times, and there have been trips to the grocery store that have left my bank account weak in the knees. (Like the time I did all of our Christmas meal shopping at Whole Foods… and bought a goose.) Overall, I’ve found that with an eye on the mailers and shopping at 4 stores instead of one I can keep our groceries bills reasonable; if not low. A few things first before I get into the lists of what I buy where.

1. You should buy the best quality you can afford. If you can’t always get organic ingredients, fresh is still better than processed. I read in the GAPS FAQ’s that if you have to choose between organic meats and organic produce that you should always buy the produce organic because animals have immune systems to fight off what the farmers feed them, but vegetables can’t fight the pesticides. That being said, I try to stick to the less expensive meats and continue to buy organic. When I am making our bone broth I use only the best quality ingredients. We do save a bit of money by eating more veggies at mealtimes than we used to. Print out (or save on your phone) a list of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen produce items. The Clean 15 are the ones you can get away with buying non-organic. The Dirty Dozen are the most contaminated and should always be organic.

2. In the beginning I spent a lot of time, effort and money trying to replace the foods we were missing; like baked goods, breads and desserts. Most of them did not compare to the real thing (which only made me miss it more) and the ingredients for baking are on the higher priced side. Forget about bread, there isn’t a good replacement. There are some crepe recipes that make a decent sandwich wrap or tortilla substitute, but they use a lot of eggs. Unless you’ve got a good line on pastured eggs for cheap I’d save this for a treat also. Lettuce is great for wrapping around meat for sandwiches. Experiment with different kinds. I like to use romaine hearts for tacos, red leaf for sandwiches and boston for egg burritos. Mix it up!

3. Check online for bulk items and dry goods. I was buying our almond flour from Honeyville online, until I realized they have a store near me. Now I’m saving on shipping! I always check online for items like: tea, kombucha, flour, nuts, fruit leather, coconut oil, raw cider vinegar, etc. And there are quite a few companies that ship perishable foods like: meats, dairy, starter cultures, honey, etc. Amazon surprisingly has quite a bit of food stuffs.

4. Farmer’s Markets!! Usually lower prices than a grocery store; if you live near one make it a habit to stop once a week. The farmers that come won’t always have certified organic produce (it costs a lot for the certification and many small farms just can’t afford it). Ask questions, because many will be practicing organic farming. Some of the big markets will have eggs and occasionally pastured chickens. Bring a cooler with you just in case. Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated right away, but it’s always good to keep your meat cold if you are lucky enough to find it at a market.

Below is a list of what I buy and where I shop. These stores are regional, so Southern California residents are going to have the best odds for this working for them. Start taking notes on your local stores for the best deals near you if you don’t live close by any of these stores.

Sprouts

This is where I buy the majority of our groceries. They have raw milk and cheese (but not cream), pastured butter, organic eggs, grass-fed meats and the largest selection of fresh organic produce in my area. They have everything on my shopping list, but not always at the best prices. Their regular (non-organic) chicken is hormone-free and free-range so when I need to save some dough I will buy this. Their sausages are hand-made and they have a variety of chicken that are nitrate-free and made with the same chicken. Most are gluten-free as well.

** I always stop by Sprouts on Wednesdays. It is the day their weekly deals overlap so you get the sale price on everything from the previous week and the next week. When their grass-fed beef goes on sale it’s always a good idea to go the first day because they run out.

  • Grass-fed steaks/roast (ground beef only when it’s on sale, which is often)
  • Organic produce
  • Organic spices
  • Organic eggs
  • Raw milk
  • Raw cheese
  • Applegate products
  • Purified/Spring Water (I buy the big jugs and then take them back to refill)

Trader Joe’s

The one by us is small and doesn’t carry everything. I go specifically for these items because they are less expensive here:

  • Raw nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans) We make our own nut butter because we like cashew butter better than almond and I can’t find one made with raw cashews. (And it’s cheaper to make it ourselves. It takes 15 minutes)
  • Organic, free-range chicken. Whole chicken is a better buy than individual pieces and is easier to prepare. Also, they include the giblets, which the whole organic chicken at Sprouts does not. (I like to add those in our broth) If you are making bone broth regularly roast a chicken for dinner and save the remainder to make broth from.
  • Grass-fed, organic ground beef.
  • Organic, no additives fruit leather (No added sugar, 100% fruit puree). I don’t give these to Cullen often.
  • Trader Joe’s brand Organic Diced Tomatoes in juice. (We don’t notice any adverse reaction when we use these)

Mother’s Market

I would probably shop more here if it was closer to us. Their produce section is awesome. Watch out for their restaurant and deli case as most of it has some type of soy or vegan substitute.

  • Raw cream (can only get it here)
  • Organic Pastures raw cheese  (can only get it here)
  • Ghee (can only get it here)
  • Evolution Juice – for when I am lazy and don’t want to juice it myself. It’s cold-pressed and unpasteurized. They have it at Starbucks too, but not the organic kind.
  • Celtic Sea Salt
  • Organic, unrefined honey

Costco

  • Wild salmon – sometimes they have a good deal on fresh, but I usually buy the 3 lb. bag of frozen for $28 (less than $10/lb). They come individually sealed so I can grab them out of the freezer and thaw what I need.
  • Wild shrimp – frozen, not always in stock
  • Canned wild salmon
  • Organic coconut oil – giant Costco size, organic, cold-pressed for $10. GIANT
  • Lamb – from New Zealand or Australia. (I was told that lamb from “Down Under” is always 100% grass-fed)
  • Organic baby carrots
  • Any other organic produce they might have (I don’t buy the sliced organic apples though.. the preservatives worry me)
  • There is supposedly organic chicken breasts occasionally, but I have never seen them.
  • Aidell’s sausage for our non-GAPS kids.

I always watch to see what items are on sale. I look online at the weekly deals before I go out shopping. If I can think of any more items I will add them as I go, but these are the staples. Our grass-fed beef bones I have to drive to Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods in Riverside or Loma Linda. Or I just found a new source Lindy & Grundy in West Hollywood (also a drive, but the bones were $4.99/lb).

Feel free to ask me questions or leave your money-saving tips below!

Childhood Allergies – Something in the Air or Milk?

Kids raised on farms are more likely to spend more time outside, get dirty and drink raw milk. And they are less likely to have allergies. But don’t give the kids raw milk, that’s dangerously full of good flora that helps build their immune system and thereby their allergic responses.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/12/154593662/to-sniff-out-childhood-allergies-researchers-head-to-the-farm

Every Which Way


In high school, one of our assignments in English was to journal on various topics. I typically hated the act of journaling. Not due to a lack of anything to write about, but because I felt it was intensely personal at times. I wasn’t a person who let many people close. I felt safer in relationships based on my terms. And if not for one assignment and one teacher that pushed back when I needed it I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing our adventures.

It was close to the end of senior year. We only had a few weeks left and I opened my heart in a journal entry. I did not think she would actually read it, only check that it fit the length requirement. I laid out my insecurities about my feelings of being mediocre. My friends were all accomplished in some talent or another. Some were talented actors and are now starting theatre companies, some were brainiacs and heading to Berkeley or later became PhD’s researching cures for cancer, some were wildly creative and are now making fantastic art and children’s books. I was a straight A student, but I wasn’t going to a top-notch college. I lettered in two sports, but I was far from the best on the team. Math was ok when it was just numbers, but throw in some letters and I was completely lost. I could draw a little; I was in the choir, and on the yearbook staff. I felt silly for not feeling good enough when I had so much to be thankful for. And I was good at a lot of different things.. just not GREAT at anything; unless you count not panicking or ridiculous organizational skills as something to be great at. Or my ability to always finish first on tests. When I got my journal back there was a 2-page handwritten letter tucked in at that spot of my journal. Not only had she read the entry, she had listened to my fears and responded in a way that touched me. She wrote, “You have a smile that will light up the room. When it’s gone I wonder what is happening that makes you so sad.” I still have that letter.

That was the beginning for me. She made me feel good about my well-roundedness. I didn’t need to be a rocket scientist, or a famous actor.. I just needed to be happy to be me. I’m still just ok at a lot of different things, but when you have a child on the spectrum you have to be good at a lot of different things! We have conversations about the differences between battery power and electric power. What the center of the earth is made of. What two colors make orange. Why we shouldn’t destroy Jupiter (because it saves earth from meteors). Not to mention being able to come up with creative consequence and reward systems. I also build mini Lego sets for creating pictorial instructions for him (this uses my creativity, engineering, photography and photoshopping abilities). Today, the three traits I value the most in our daily life is my anti-panic personality, my need to organize everything, and my weird ability to remember just about everything I read. (I don’t know what Asperger parents did before Google.. I guess they spent more time in the Library). Staying calm, providing structure, and teaching are the most important things for our Aspie.

I hope that relating our adventures will help someone else struggling with this new and different world seen through Aspie-tinted glasses. My goal is to teach my children (all of them) to be happy with who they are, whatever characteristics and talents they are born with. I want them to be happy being them. As a mom of course I want them to enjoy going to school and to be able to make friends, so whatever we can do to make that easier we are willing to try.

At the beginning of this blogging adventure I have so many things to share that it’s difficult to pick what to start with. I have friends and family asking questions and getting excited about changes they can make, because the diet changes are not just for those specifically on the spectrum. It will help those with anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, diabetes, asthma, eczema and allergies. We have started a healthier way of eating and are seeing the benefits (if not in behavior yet) in mood and looks.

I want to start by answering the questions I’m getting, but they are not necessarily in chronological order, or any kind of order really. It wouldn’t be an adventure without a little bit of winding road, right? If there is something you would specifically like to hear about.. like what Cullen’s behavior was like, what books I read, what a certain recipe was.. please ask!!