fermented foods

How to Make Almond Butter

Ingredients for Fermented Almond Butter

  • 3 cups Almonds

  • ½ cup Whey

  • Filtered Water

  • Salt

Directions for Fermented Almond Butter

Place your almonds in filtered water with whey. Allow to soak for 24 hours.

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Drain the almonds in a colander and rinse with filtered water.

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Place almonds into a food processor. Pulse them consistently until you get almond butter.

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Once almonds are the consistency of almond butter, add four shakes of salt. Pulse for several more seconds. Add four more shakes of salt.


Almond Butter

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 3 cups Almonds
  • ½ cup Whey
  • Filtered Water
  • Salt

instructions:

How to cook Almond Butter

  1. Place your almonds in filtered water with whey. Allow to soak for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the almonds in a colander and rinse with filtered water.
  3. Place almonds into a food processor. Pulse them consistently until you get almond butter.
  4. Once almonds are the consistency of almond butter, add four shakes of salt. Pulse for several more seconds. Add four more shakes of salt.
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DIY Almond Flour from Nuts

Any seed wants to be a plant. Seeds include nuts, seeds, beans, and grains. To protect itself, a seed has phytic acid and other enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients. These substances attack the body of the animal that ate the seed, preventing the digestion of the seed. This is why we see whole seeds in bird poop.

Manually grinding seeds into flours does nothing to negate these enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients. We may not necessarily see whole seeds in our stools but we don’t need to for our bodies to experience the effects of these substances. Inflammation, poor absorption of foods, and leaky gut are some of the effects on our bodies of eating seeds that are not properly prepared. To learn more about properly preparing grains, check out my video.

HOW TO PREPARE GRAINS PROPERLY

When we properly prepare our grains however, we begin the germination process, which changes the seeds chemical structure. It neutralizes the anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors, and the seed prepares to bring life. When we eat a seed in this state, it’s nutrients are available to us and it brings life to our bodies.  

All seeds can be prepared in three ways - soaking, sprouting or fermenting. Fermenting is by far the most simple and the most beneficial. All it requires is whey. These directions are for almond flour but you can use the same concept to any nut, seed, or grain. For specific instructions on how to do this with whole seeds, see my recipe on trail mix.

The other benefit of using fermented almond flour is that it makes a much lighter end product. The fermentation process acts somewhat like a baking soda or powder, increasing the air space as your treat bakes, making it less dense.

This is a great way to make fermented almond flour if your recipe calls for a very specific ratio of wet to dry ingredients. It’s also great for recipes that call for frying, like these onion rings!

You can also make fermented flour with almonds already made into flour. See the recipe here.

Ingredients for Making Almond Flour from Fermented Nuts

  • 3 cups Almonds

  • ½ cup Whey

  • Filtered Water

Directions for Making Almond Flour from Fermented Nuts

Place your almonds in filtered water with whey. Allow to soak for 24 hours.

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Drain the almonds in a colander and rinse with filtered water.

For the easiest almond flour, peel the almonds by squeezing them between your fingers until the skins pop off.

Drain the almonds well. If you don’t drain them well, your flour will be wet.

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Place almonds into a food processor. Pulse them consistently for about 60 seconds in one second pulses. Scrape the sides of the food processor consistently to ensure almonds are all blended to the same size.

Don’t pulse for too long or you will get almond butter!


DIY Almond Flour

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 3 cups Almonds
  • ½ cup Whey
  • Filtered Water

instructions:

How to cook DIY Almond Flour

  1. Place your almonds in filtered water with whey. Allow to soak for 24 hours.
  2. Drain the almonds in a colander and rinse with filtered water.
  3. For the easiest almond flour, peel the almonds by squeezing them between your fingers until the skins pop off.
  4. Drain the almonds well. If you don’t drain them well, your flour will be wet.
  5. Place almonds into a food processor. Pulse them consistently for about 60 seconds in one second pulses. Scrape the sides of the food processor consistently to ensure almonds are all blended to the same size.
  6. Don’t pulse for too long or you will get almond butter!
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How to Make Cabbage Tonic

Fermented cabbage is very high in vitamin C which is essential for healing a leaky gut. This cabbage tonic can be taken from the beginning of the Intro Diet of GAPS. Use this tonic daily to help change your gut flora. As with all probiotic foods, make sure you begin with only a small amount, about a tablespoon at a time, keeping an eye out for symptoms of die off. If none are present, you can continue gradually increasing your daily amount and the frequency that you consume this tonic throughout the day.

Fermented cabbage is very high in vitamin C which is essential for healing a leaky gut. This cabbage tonic can be taken from the beginning of the Intro Diet of GAPS. Use this tonic daily to help change your gut flora. As with all probiotic foods, make sure you begin with only a small amount, about a tablespoon at a time, keeping an eye out for symptoms of die off. If none are present, you can continue gradually increasing your daily amount and the frequency that you consume this tonic throughout the day.

When you do ferments, your intention and energy really does affect the taste of the ferments. If you’re stressed, it will show in the food. Do ferments at a time that you’re relaxed and enjoying being in the kitchen. If this is not your mindset, take a couple minutes to reset, thinking about how this work is bringing such amazing health and healing to your body and your family. After your mindset is set, smile and preparing your ferment!

When doing ferments, it is important to hand wash your jars. A lot of dishwashers leave a film of soap, even if you’re using a natural soap. Make sure you rinse your jar well with hot water. It’s not necessary to sterilize your jar; we’re not canning. Fermentation creates a live food that will take care of the bad bacteria.

Tidbit from Nourishing Traditions: “Add ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper to 4 ounces of cabbage tonic for a gargle and sore throat remedy.

This recipe is based on the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon on page 614.

Ingredients for Cabbage Tonic:

  • ¼ Organic Green Cabbage

  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

  • ¼ Cup Whey

  • Filtered Water

Directions for Cabbage Tonic:

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Shred cabbage finely with a knife. You want small even pieces so it ferments evenly. (Similar to cutting onions for even cooking.)

Add cabbage and salt to a bowl.

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Using your hands, squish the cabbage for about a minute.

Let the cabbage sit for five minutes.

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Squish the cabbage again for a minute.

Put cabbage in a 2 quart jar with whey.

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Add enough water to fill the container.

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Cover tightly.

Leave at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the fridge.


Cabbage Tonic

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • ¼ Organic Green Cabbage
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ Cup Whey
  • Filtered Water

instructions:

How to cook Cabbage Tonic

  1. Shred cabbage finely with a knife. You want small even pieces so it ferments evenly. (Similar to cutting onions for even cooking.)
  2. Add cabbage and salt to a bowl.
  3. Using your hands, squish the cabbage for about a minute.
  4. Let the cabbage sit for five minutes.
  5. Squish the cabbage again for a minute.
  6. Put cabbage in a 2 quart jar with whey.
  7. Add enough water to fill the container.
  8. Cover tightly.
  9. Leave at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the fridge.
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How to Properly Soak Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be a good alternative to eggs as a breakfast in the morning, when eaten with plenty of fat like butter. There’s nothing wrong with eating oats, properly prepared, as long as your gut can handle it.

Oats are not part of the GAPS Diet but once you graduate to the well diet recommendations of the Weston A Price Foundation, this is a great breakfast for a cold morning.

I like to add raisins, butter, and a little sweetener, either honey, maple syrup, or date syrup, to my oatmeal.

Properly prepared oatmeal includes soaking it overnight. When you do this, it becomes a quick breakfast food to make in the morning.

You can be dairy free and still eat oatmeal! You can use lemon juice or vinegar in place of whey. If you can tolerate whey, this is the preferred way to consume oatmeal.

Your oats don’t need to be steel cut but you want whole oats. Steel cut or whole rolled oats are fine for this recipe but not quick oats. Quick oats are not whole; they are processed to cook more quickly and have often have preservatives on them.

This is based off the recipe in the Nourishing Traditions book by Sally Fallon.

Ingredients for Nourishing Traditions Oatmeal:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Filtered Water

  • 1 Cup Gluten Free, GMO Free Oats

  • 4 tbsp Whey, Yogurt, Kefir, Buttermilk, Vinegar or Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions for Nourishing Traditions Oatmeal:

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Add oats, whey, warm water and sea salt to a bowl.

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Stir to combine.

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Cover and leave on your kitchen counter overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.


Properly Prepared Oatmeal

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Filtered Water
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free, GMO Free Oats
  • 4 tbsp Whey, Yogurt, Kefir, Buttermilk, Vinegar or Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

instructions:

How to cook Properly Prepared Oatmeal

  1. Add oats, whey, warm water and sea salt to a bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover and leave on your kitchen counter overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.
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The Best Way to Add Fermented Food to Your Diet

Fermenting - one of the best things I discovered on my journey of healing!

The process of preserving food by fermenting it is something that’s been around for centuries and is practiced all other world. It’s not just the process of creating alcoholic beverages like beer or wine, or creating different types of dairy like cheese or yogurt.  Eating fermented foods is a huge part of the GAPS Diet, but anyone who adds fermented foods to their diet will see some benefit.

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There’s so many benefits to fermenting!  Fermenting food means you’re helping beneficial bacteria and yeast grow that aid in digestion. Fermented foods are packed full of probiotics, which helps your gut health. It also boosts immunity by producing lactic acid, which pathogenic bacteria cannot live in the presence of. It allows you to preserve food longer which means that you’re throwing less away! It also increases the nutritional availability without adding anything extra.

While any type of ferment that you consume is beneficial, there are good, better, and best ways to ferment.

Good: Buying a Ferment at the Store

There are a variety of common ferments that are available at most grocery stores. Starting small and adding just one ferment to your diet will bring some benefit to your gut health and overall wellbeing.

While purchasing a ferment from a store isn’t the most beneficial for your wallet or your health, if you want to dip your toes into fermented foods, purchasing one can be just fine. Find one that has the least amount of ingredients possible and has the least amount of processing. Fermented foods should be as close to the source as they can be.

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Better: Buying Multiple Ferments at the Store

There are many kinds of fermented foods so experiment! Adding a variety of ferments to your diet is important because you and your gut will get a much wider variety of bacteria, all naturally. Fermented foods come in many different varieties, like pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, or even liquids like kombucha and kefir.

A better option for getting ferments into your diet is to purchase a variety of high quality ferments from the store.

Best: Making and Consuming Your Own Variety of Ferments

Making your own ferments is absolutely the best! I love making my own ferments because I can buy large quantities of food in season and locally and preserve it for a long time. I also know what I’m eating because I added it myself!

Consuming a variety of different kinds of ferments is important for our gut health. By making your own, you can save a lot of money and get all the variety you need!

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When you make your own ferments, you’re intimately connected with what you’re eating. This is important for thoughtful eating.

If you’re interested in fermenting your own food, I’ve shared a lot about fermenting over the years! You can see more on the process of fermenting here and here, and specifically about lacto-fermenting here. Whey is a great way (get it!) to start the fermentation process for many ferments. You can learn about making your own whey here.

For recipes on fermenting food, check out my beet kvass recipe, my recipe for fermented garlic (learn more about the benefits of fermented garlic) or learn how to ferment almond flour for baking.

Swedish Gravlax Recipe

This meal is adapted from GAPS Cookbook by Dr. Natasha Campbell

This is a brined fish meal legal on GAPS stage 2. You eat little pieces, one small piece a day.

Swedish Gravlax Recipe

Ingredients for Swedish Gravlax:

  • ½ lb Fresh Wild Caught Salmon

  • Fresh Dill

  • Freshly Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

  • 4 cup Room Temperature Filtered Water

  • 1 tbsp Honey

  • 1 ½ tbsp Salt

Directions for Swedish Gravlax:

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Thinly slice the fish.

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Place fish slices into a deep tray.

Sprinkle with dill sprigs and pepper.

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Dissolve honey and salt in water to make a brine.

Pour brine over fish.

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Leave at room temperature for 1 - 1 ½ hours.

Pour the water out.

Serve on lettuce or eat alone.

Store in refrigerator and consume within two days.


Swedish Gravlax Recipe

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • ½ lb Fresh Wild Caught Salmon
  • Fresh Dill
  • Freshly Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 cup Room Temperature Filtered Water
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 ½ tbsp Salt

instructions:

How to cook Swedish Gravlax Recipe

  1. Thinly slice the fish.
  2. Place fish slices into a deep tray.
  3. Sprinkle with dill sprigs and pepper.
  4. Dissolve honey and salt in water to make a brine.
  5. Pour brine over fish.
  6. Leave at room temperature for 1 - 1 ½ hours.
  7. Pour the water out.
  8. Serve on lettuce or eat alone.
  9. Store in refrigerator and consume within two days.
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Almond Flour Cookies with Cacao Nibs

GAPS Legal Almond Cookies

Adapted from The Paleo Plan Makes 24 Cookies GAPS Legal on Stage 4

Ingredients for gaps legal chocolate chip cookies

  • 2 cups Almond Flour

  • ¼ cup Whey

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/3 cup Room Temperature Coconut Oil

  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

  • ½ tsp Vanilla

  • ⅛ tsp Salt

  • ¼ cup Honey (or ⅓ cup date syrup)

  • ⅛-¼ cup Raw Cacao Nibs

Directions for chocolate chip cookies on the gaps diet

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24 Hours in Advance

Add whey to almond flour. Stir to moisten.

Leave covered on counter for 24 hours to ferment.

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The Next Day

Preheat oven to 350. Add your baking sheet to the oven to preheat. These cookies bake better on a hot dish.To fermented flour, add eggs and stir.

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Add coconut oil to mixture. The coconut oil should be room temperature. If it is melted, you won’t have the right consistency.

Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and honey (or date paste) to the mixture. Mix well.

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Add cacao nibs to dough mixture.

Remove baking sheet from oven. Line with parchment paper.

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Spoon approx. 1 tbsp size rounds of dough onto parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cookies seem firm. Watch them closely after 8 minutes. They will go from raw to burnt quickly!

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Almond Flour Cookies with Cacao Nibs

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • ¼ cup Whey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Room Temperature Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Honey (or ⅓ cup date syrup)
  • ⅛-¼ cup Raw Cacao Nibs

instructions:

How to cook Almond Flour Cookies with Cacao Nibs

24 Hours in Advance
  1. Add whey to almond flour. Stir to moisten.
  2. Leave covered on counter for 24 hours to ferment.
The Next Day
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Add your baking sheet to the oven to preheat. These cookies bake better on a hot dish.To fermented flour, add eggs and stir.
  2. Add coconut oil to mixture. The coconut oil should be room temperature. If it is melted, you won’t have the right consistency.
  3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and honey (or date paste) to the mixture. Mix well.
  4. Add cacao nibs to dough mixture.
  5. Remove baking sheet from oven. Line with parchment paper.
  6. Spoon approx. 1 tbsp size rounds of dough onto parchment paper.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until edges are golden brown and cookies seem firm. Watch them closely after 8 minutes. They will go from raw to burnt quickly!
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How to Use Trunk Rolls to Improve Reflux and Colic Symptoms in Babies Naturally

What are trunk rolls and why do we use them? I'll give you a hint. They have to do with reflux and colic.

Unfortunately, having a baby with reflux or colic is becoming a common parental experience. But just because it's common does not mean it's normal!

Colic (severe, fluctuating abdominal pain that causes crying and screaming in an infant) and reflux (leakage of stomach contents into the esophagus through an open sphincter causing pain and spit-up in infants) are challenges for parents and caregivers, not to mention the babies! But these conditions don't have to be tolerated!

They are symptoms, signals from the body that something is wrong! And when that root cause is addressed, the symptoms of reflux and colic will go away! Addressing the root cause of colic or reflux takes at least a few days, and in some cases (like prematurity) it may need to be managed for a little longer.

While you are waiting for the root cause to be corrected, trunk rolls can be a helpful tool to keep your baby comfortable and hopefully reduce the frequency of these symptoms. Simply put, trunk rolls are blanket splints placed on either side of the baby before they are swaddled. They keep the abdomen from getting "squished," which reduces the likelihood of reflux (a cause of colic crying).

Watch the video demonstration to see how to use these correctly for your baby. Because of all the extra blankets, it's important to keep the blankets away from the baby's face, and monitor their blanket position frequently. This technique is most helpful when holding, picking up and moving the baby around, and may not be as needed during longer sleeping periods (like at night). Also, the trunk roll should never be used inside the buckles in a carseat, as this would prevent the carseat from doing its job in keeping the baby safe and secure.

The trunk roll is a helpful tool, but it is not going to fix the root cause. If your baby is struggling with reflux or colic, please contact me so we can eliminate the underlying problem that is causing your baby pain!  

GAPS Friendly Waffle Recipe

Recently the idea struck me to try to make a GAPS waffle. I had made many GAPS pancakes, so I thought maybe it could be done. And it turns out... it can! It was not a simple task, however.

The ratios are fairly different than a GAPS pancake... for one thing, putting in too many eggs caused it to overflow and made quite a mess. But after some trial and error I found a recipe that is delicious, and delivered consistent results (which is a big deal when cooking without flour).

I was also excited to make this a dairy-free recipe (except for the whey). Unfortunately, I can't make it nut free, the almond butter is essential! I hope you enjoy them!

GAPS Friendly Waffles

(makes about 8 waffle squares or 2 full-size waffles)

GAPs legal waffle Batter Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash

  • 4 TBS fermented almond butter (see note)

  • 1 TBS melted lard

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Additional Ingredients

  • About ¼ cup melted lard or butter to grease the waffle iron

Tools for gaps legal waffles

  • Food processor or high-powered blender

  • Waffle iron

  • Chopsticks (this is very helpful to get the waffles off in one piece)

Directions for gaps legal waffles

This recipe is quick to put together if you do a little prep work first!

Prep the Fermented Almond Butter:
At least 24 hours in advance, ferment the almond butter. Add 2 TBS whey to 1 cup almond butter. Stir. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Prep the Butternut Squash:
Cut the butternut squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 min until soft. Remove the squash flesh and place in a bowl.

For the GAPS Waffles:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth and mixed.

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I recommend pouring the mixture into a bag and using it like a pastry bag. The more quickly you can get the waffle batter on the iron and close the lid, the better it turns out!

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When everything is ready, and the waffle iron is hot, use the pastry brush to spread fat on the upper and lower waffle irons. Do this as quickly as possible.

Add batter to the waffle iron, then close the lid.

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There is a lot of moisture in this recipe, so expect a lot of steam!

Wait for the green light to go on, and then another 30 seconds or so.

Slowly open the waffle iron.

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Remove the waffles from the iron, using the chopstick in the groves in any areas it is sticking.Top with fried eggs, honey, date syrup, berries, homemade whipped cream, or anything you want to!

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Enjoy!


GAPS Friendly Waffle Recipe

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

Waffle Batter Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash
  • 4 TBS fermented almond butter (see note)
  • 1 TBS melted lard
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
Additional Ingredients
  • About ¼ cup melted lard or butter to grease the waffle iron
Tools Needed
  • Food processor or high-powered blender
  • Waffle iron
  • Chopsticks (this is very helpful to get the waffles off in one piece)

instructions:

How to cook GAPS Friendly Waffle Recipe

  1. This recipe is quick to put together if you do a little prep work first!
  2. Prep the Fermented Almond Butter:
  3. At least 24 hours in advance, ferment the almond butter. Add 2 TBS whey to 1 cup almond butter. Stir. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. This will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.
  4. Prep the Butternut Squash:
  5. Cut the butternut squash in half and place face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 min until soft. Remove the squash flesh and place in a bowl.
  6. For the GAPS Waffles:
  7. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth and mixed.
  8. I recommend pouring the mixture into a bag and using it like a pastry bag. The more quickly you can get the waffle batter on the iron and close the lid, the better it turns out!
  9. When everything is ready, and the waffle iron is hot, use the pastry brush to spread fat on the upper and lower waffle irons. Do this as quickly as possible.
  10. Add batter to the waffle iron, then close the lid.
  11. There is a lot of moisture in this recipe, so expect a lot of steam!
  12. Wait for the green light to go on, and then another 30 seconds or so.
  13. Slowly open the waffle iron.
  14. Remove the waffles from the iron, using the chopstick in the groves in any areas it is sticking. Top with fried eggs, honey, date syrup, berries, homemade whipped cream, or anything you want to!
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Immunity: The Best Defense is a Good Offense {Part One}

Fall is coming! I hope you have been enjoying the cooler nights (and sometimes day) like I have! The onset of cooler weather also means that cold and flu season is coming!

Is your immune system ready? We often respond to illnesses defensively... waiting until we catch something before we take care of it. But there is another way... a way to go on the offensive and give your immune system a running start! The food we eat (or don't eat), our obsession with cleanliness, the frequency medications are prescribed, and the environmental toxins we are exposed to can lead to our bodies being run down, and our immune systems functioning below peak performance level.

In fact, it's pretty amazing that we have any immunity left! I'm thankful for the incredibly complex design of our bodies, which allows them to compensate and continue working, even in sub-optimal conditions. Here is a fun video that explains the workings of the immune system. But doesn't it seem like a good idea to support our bodies—and our immune systems—the best that we can? The good news is that there are ways to support our immune systems!  

  • Eat a diet rich in nourishing foods

  • Support the good microbes in your body and environment

  • Detoxify to give the inflammatory arm of the immune system a break

  • Use essential oils and herbs to support your body's natural defenses

Today let's talk about the first two, and next time we will talk about the other two.  

Nourishing Foods

Eating nourishing foods is a topic I talk about often. If you haven't heard much of what I have to say about this yet, you can check out some other posts like this one and this one. Today I'm going to share with you the nutrient dense foods that your immune system LOVES!

Your immune system is a very hungry organ. It is overseeing the entire body, and needs lots of little soldiers to work properly. For a strong, well-staffed immune system, the body needs to be well supplied with cholesterol, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and more. These nutrients can be found in the same nutrient dense foods that I am always recommending... meat stock, butter, fermented cod liver oil (source), liver (you can get it in a capsule), caviar, egg yolks, full-fat yogurt or kefir, grass-fed beef, and some others. Important minerals can be found in whole salts (sources).

When these types of foods are consumed on a regular basis, the immune system will have enough building blocks to make itself strong. While you are increasing the amount of nutrient-dense foods you are eating, it's a good idea to decrease the amount of empty, processed foods you eat. These foods are mostly empty calories, and any food that contains processed sugar depresses the immune systems for hours after it's eaten. As you fill up with real, whole foods, phase any sugar-containing, processed food out of your diet.

Support Good Microbes

Another reason why our immune systems are struggling is because we have declared a war on microbes. Since the days of Louis Pasteur we have been sterilizing and pasteurizing everything in sight. Even if you don't take antibiotics, you are still getting exposed to them through the food you eat, the water you drink, and often even the soap you wash your hands with. Additionally we obsessively use hand sanitizer, bleach and other cleaners that kill 99.9% of germs. But these sanitizers aren't just killing germs.

They are killing the good microbes as well—microbes that keep balance, and even health, to our bodies and the world around us. Another theory emerged around the time of Pasteur, and with our growing knowledge of the human microbiome, it seems to be the more true of the two. Antoine Bechamp created the cellular theory, with the main hypothesis that it is the environment that causes disease, not the germ. A short recap of these two theories can be found here.

If Pastuer were right, then our bodies should do better and better as we "cleanse" and reduce the number of bacteria and other microbes. But we have found that the opposite is true. Research has shown that those people with fewer species of microbes in their gut are actually more prone to illness and disease, including chronic disease like obesity, autoimmunity and cancer. So stop killing things! Get rid of your antimicrobial soap and Clorox spray! When you need to clean your hands, wash them instead of sanitizing. And expose yourself to the good and helpful microbes that help keep the bad ones in check. you can do this by eating fermented foods, taking a probiotic, and getting into the dirt sometimes. Eating the nourishing foods we talked about will also support helpful microbes in your body.

That should get you started, but come back to learn about the other two ways you can support your immune system. Remember, the best defense is a good offense!

Onward!

Spring! And Natural Allergy Management

Spring has come to my neighborhood! Over the last week, things have been budding and growing. Green has been showing, and flowers blooming. The sounds of spring have been happening for awhile, but are now in full force—birds chirping, squirrels chattering, and children playing. I took an sunset tour around my neighborhood to enjoy the spring evening, and I want to share with you some of the pictures I took. Then keep reading for some natural ways to manage your spring allergies!

There is another way I know that spring is here… my allergies have started to flare. Since going through the GAPS diet, my allergies are mild compared to what they used to be, but they still cause minor irritation—enough that I need to address them. So today I am going to share with you what I do to manage my allergies naturally. But before we discuss management techniques, let’s review what allergies are. Allergy symptoms are a product of the immune system. And we can think of them as a signal from our body to let us know that something is going on. Basically, they signal two things:

The first is that an allergen (a protein chain that is usually referred to as an antigen) has bypassed the body’s protective mechanisms. When this happens, the body mounts a non-specific immune response (an inflammatory response) against that allergen. In this process, certain cells (called mast cells) are degranulated, and release things like histamine into the bloodstream. Histamine travels to receptor sites in the GI tract, respiratory tract and the skin. These receptors then trigger a further response to the allergen, and we see symptoms like hives, mucus production, and swelling.

The second is that our liver is unable to keep up with processing mediators (like histamine) that have been released in the inflammatory response. As we saw above, histamine triggers the symptoms we are accustomed to in an allergic reaction. Histamine is not a problem when it is being processed and removed by the liver fairly quickly. But when it continues to circulate (because the liver isn’t pulling it out fast enough) it will continue to cause unpleasant symptoms—sending you signals that your body needs some assistance.

Okay, now that we are on the same page about what allergy symptoms are, let’s talk about ways to support your body so you don't suffer from them! Again, these symptoms are signals that your body needs some help. So what can we do to help support the liver and immune system?

Feed it Fat

The immune system is a very hungry organ, and what it likes best to eat is fat! Especially the Vitamins A and D that it contains. These are both found in abundance in butter, as well as lard, fermented cod liver oil, and other animal fats. The cholesterol found in these fats also plays an important role, for it is cholesterol that helps the body repairdamage from inflammation (watch this video for more on this).

Eat Sauerkraut

There are two benefits to eating sauerkraut (or fermented cabbage any way). The first is the probiotic benefit. The root cause of allergies is a leaky gut. Bad gut flora has everything to do with this. (This is too much to discuss in this post, so if you have further questions, I recommend chapter 6 of my book Notes From a GAPS Practitioner.) So eating probiotics will help the allergy problem, both long-term and short-term. However, if you are unused to eating large amounts of sauerkraut, I recommend you work up to it slowly. The second benefit of sauerkraut is the high amount of Vitamin C available in it. Lacto-fermenting cabbage increased the bioavailability of Vitamin C by about 4 times. Our immune system also needs Vitamin C to function well. So consuming large amounts of sauerkraut is like taking Vitamin C daily (which you could take in other ways, like arceola cherry powder). I enjoy sauerkraut, and find that if I eat between 1-3 cups a day (broken up with meals, or as a snack), my allergy symptoms are fairly well managed. I generally feel that my itchy eyes and throat are calmed down within about 20 minutes of eating it.

Apply Lavender Essential Oil

This is my quick-acting go-to if my symptoms are overwhelming. Lavender is a powerful antihistamine. If I run into a situation where my allergies flare up quickly, like having a cat rub against me, or when the cottonwood trees are seeding, I pull out my lavender oil. There are several ways to use it. You can apply it topically near the area that is affected (best for skin issues) or on the bottoms of your feet (if you don’t like the smell). You can diffuse it, so you breathe it into your mucus membranes and calm the histamine response there. Or (if you have a pure and safe brand like the one I use), you can take it internally. I prefer to place a drop or two under my tongue and let it absorb sublingually. This is the quickest way to get it into the bloodstream. Lavender tastes about like it smells, but the quick relief I get far outweighs the bitter taste it leaves. I usually feel relief from my symptoms in 2-5 minutes, but for most people it may take 10-20 minutes to feel the effect.

Support Your Liver

There are ways to help the liver when it is overtaxed. First, reduce the amount of toxins you are asking the liver to process, thus adding to its workload. In the spring I am more careful about what I eat. There are some foods I have “graduated” to that can be too much for my body to handle when it also has to deal with extra histamines in my “allergy season.” In the same way, it is good to be cautious about other toxins from chemicals in the environment (or on our skin) that are overloading the body. It is also important to use other methods of detox, such as detox baths and juicing, to help remove toxins and thus reducing the workload of the liver. Finally, eating liver (consuming the animal organ that matches our struggling organ is always helpful) regularly can be helpful. If you don’t like it, you can take desiccated liver. And for a little extra support, I will sometimes take the Standard Process supplement Antronex.

Try Something New

I have not tried this yet because I just learned about it, but this season I am going to try lacto-fermenting honey! Most of us have heard that honey can help with allergies, but it turns out that lacto-fermenting the honey increases these benefits even more! I’m interested to see how it turns out, and if it helps. The honey does have to be local to have a strong effect, and I fortunately have a little honey left over from the year I tried beekeeping. If you want to learn more about it, I would recommend starting HERE.

If you have tried lacto-fermenting honey, found success with any of these natural means, or want to share other things you have found helpful with the community, then leave it in a comment below!  

Onward!

References: McCance, K. and Huether, S. (2006). Pathophysiology: The Biologic Basis for Disease in Adults and Children. Elsevier Mosby. Philadelphia, PA. Pg. 249-255. Lavender and the Nervous System. Koulivarnd, P. Ghadiri, M., Gorji, A. (September 4, 2012) Retrieved March 20, 2017 from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/681304/

Consistency... It's the Secret Sauce

Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new year, making resolutions and stuff... And I think we should ask ourselves the question: Should we? As we all know, most resolutions don't stick around past the first few weeks of January.

Why?

Because we didn't remember to put the secret sauce into the recipe. We can make goals. We can make them SMART goals. We can think through the ways we want to be different and come up with actions steps to achieve them. And these things are the meat and potatoes of change. They are important and we need them. But nobody wants to eat plain meat and potatoes all day long. Why not? Because it gets boring and monotonous. Meat and potatoes are made to be eaten with something more.

Enter Secret Sauce...

Do you have a secret sauce, one that makes food so good? Don't you wish you could put it in and on everything? It just makes everything work! (My secret sauce is fermented garlic juice.) The secret sauce for achieving goals is consistency. It's what just makes it work! The best-written list of habits will not help you achieve your goals, even if you do all 75 of them on January 1st (we all do it).

Every goal you have successfully reached was brought about by doing a few small habits consistently for a period of time.

Consistency is subtle.

When I add fermented garlic juice to a pot of soup, or my spaghetti sauce, I couldn't tell you why it tastes better. It just does. The change brought about by consistent habits is like this. Most of the time you do not see the results "As Seen On TV," but change is still taking place! Taking probiotics every day for a year will cause a significant change in your gut flora. Writing down three things you are thankful for every day will change the way you see life. Walking for 15 minutes in the sun, 5 days a week, will result in 65 hours of sun-exposure and exercise a year! Little things like this can make HUGE differences in your health. And these changes usually last, which is more than can be said for most "fad diets" or "get rich quick schemes."

So what should you do this year? Keep that habit list short!

1. Write down a few goals–the most important changes that need to happen in your life.

2. Come up with one (or maybe two) habits related to each goal that you can do consistently.

3. Prioritize and group them. Some go together, like drinking more water and less soda.

4. Startsome of those habits. Most experts recommend starting only one or two habits at a time.

5. When those are established, then you can start another one or two. Remember that consistency, not numbers, is your secret sauce!

Accountability helps consistency. 

It's much easier to be consistent when someone else knows what you have committed to do. Share with the community! Tell us one or two of the habits you are committing to in a comment below.

Vintage Food Hack: Fermenting (Part 2)

Recently we talked about why I love fermenting so much. If you missed the post, you can read it here. Today, let’s talk about what in the world lacto-fermentation is, and how you can start doing it yourself!

First, what lacto-fermentation is NOT:

  • It is NOT making an alcoholic beverage (necessarily)

  • It is NOT taking rotting vegetables and facilitating more rot (that is composting, and it belongs in the garden)

  • It is NOT (necessarily) making things with dairy or into a dairy product

  • It is NOT something only hippies do, modern-day people all over the world continue fermenting in the traditions of their ancestors

  • It is NOT something new, it has been done for centuries, likely as long as humans have been around

And here is what lacto-fermentation IS!

  • It IS a process of preserving food in a way that keeps the enzymes alive and the nutrition in its natural form

  • It IS a way to eat those beneficial bacteria, which have been shown to aid in digestion, boost immunity, regulate metabolism, facilitate weight loss, and more

  • It IS facilitating the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast that produce lactic acid (a substance that pathogenic bacteria cannot live in the presence of)

  • It IS easy to “put up” ferments, and very difficult to mess them up

  • It IS safe to eat your own fermented foods, because if they turn rancid instead of fermented, there are obvious signs which clue you in that you should throw it away!

  • It IS inexpensive to make ferments, your only recurring costs are the food you are fermenting, salt and water

  • It IS a lot of fun, and an activity you can do as a group with other interested people

Have I convinced you yet?

Yes?

Good!

How do I get started?” you might ask.

I’m glad you asked!

There are a lot of resources for fermenting.

  • Books and blogs: Katz is a leader in the fermentation world, but there are many others as well

  • Online groups: You can join the very active Wild Fermentation facebook group, and there are others

  • Websites: Cultures for Health is a website I visit often. They offer instructional videos, a blog, books and other fermenting supplies, and different starter cultures for purchase.

  • Classes: There are a variety of classes offered if you like the hands-on approach of fermenting. Many people, including myself, offer these classes. A real-foods chef, Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well, regularly offers and other classes--both locally here in Colorado, and around the Americas.

  • Friends: Fermenting is becoming more popular, so ask around. Someone you know may already be fermenting, and probably would love teaching you as you do it together!

The most important thing about getting started is to just DO IT! There is an aspect of fermenting that can only be learned by doing, feeling and trying it out, and failing! And, because it doesn’t cost much, you can throw it away and try again! Next week I will post a simple ferment recipe--it’s an easy one to start with!

Disclosure: I am not an affiliate of any of the above resources, I just like them!

Happy Fermenting!

Onward!

Beet Kvass

Beet Kvass is a liver tonic. Anyone can make this simple fermented drink! It requires only a few ingredients, and only a few minutes to "put up."

Want to learn how? Good!

But first, some definitions:

  • Kvass: beverage

  • "Put up" a ferment: combine ingredients and set it aside to let it ferment

  • Sea Salt: unrefined salt, salt that is the same way it was found in nature

    • contains many trace minerals, depending on which type it is

    • Celtic Sea Salt, Real Salt, Himalayan Salt, others

    • most fermenting enthusiasts prefer Himalayan for fermenting (it's a taste thing)

  • Shoulder of the jar: the area of a jar where the jar narrows to become the mouth

  • Whey: the slightly yellow, watery stuff that is on the top of yogurt or sour cream

    • you can get your own whey by straining yogurt through an old cotton napkin, or several layers of cheese-cloth

Ingredients & Supplies to make beet kvass

  • 1/2 gallon glass mason jar

  • 1 medium-large beet

  • 2-4 TBS sea salt

  • cold, filtered water

  • 4 TBS whey (optional)

Directions to Make Your Own Beet Kvass

Cut the beet into 1-2 inch cubes. Do not cut too small or shred the beet! Too much surface area and the beets will ferment too fast and create alcohol!

You do not need to peel the beets, just wash fairly well and cut off the top. A little organic dirt will add minerals and soil bacterium.

Place the cut beet in the mason jar. The beets should fill the jar about 1/4-1/3 of the way

Add salt to the jar. 4 TBS is the traditional amount if no whey added, see tips below

Add optional whey. If whey is used, you can decrease the salt by half.

Fill the jar up to the shoulder with cold, filtered water.

Seal the jar with a metal lid and ring, closing tightly.

Gently tip and swirl the jar to help the salt dissolve.

Set on the counter for 3-5 days, until the kvass is a rich purple color.

Move to the fridge (the beets stay in the liquid)

Consume daily!

You can use the beets for two batches

  • when the liquid is almost gone (about a pint left) then refill with water and salt

  • set on the counter for another 3-5 days

  • when the liquid is gone the second time, discard the beets and start fresh

Tips and Tricks for beet kvass

  • My beets are floating!

    • It's okay if the beets are floating-they often do, but will eventually sink. You don't need a weight for this ferment.

  • How much salt?????

    • The amount of salt largely depends on you--your taste, and your climate.

    • The salt is there to inhibit bad bacteria growth until the good bacteria are strong enough.

    • Beet kvass doesn't seem to go bad often, especially in the dry climate of Colorado.

    • I use about 3 TBS salt and no whey, with no problem. No whey! Ha ha ha, get it?

    • People like their kvass with more or less salt, so see how it tastes best to you.

  • I have a white film on the top and/or the bottom of my kvass.

    • DON'T start over!

    • This is merely the hard working lactobacillus bacterium thriving!

    • You can shake or stir in the white film, or skim it off, if you prefer.

  • I have blue or black, or another color of mold!

    • This is NOT okay. If you find this, throw it out and start over!

  • How much do I take each day?

    • It is generally recommended that you take up to 4 ounces 2x/day.

    • As with all ferments, it is important to START SLOW and increase gradually.

    • It's best to take this on an empty stomach, like first thing in the morning.

Love beets?!?!?!?

Can't get enough of them?!?!?

Learn about other great ways to eat beets here!

Happy fermenting!

Onward!


Beet Kvass

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon glass mason jar
  • 1 medium-large beet
  • 2-4 TBS sea salt
  • cold, filtered water
  • 4 TBS whey (optional)

instructions:

How to cook Beet Kvass

  1. Cut the beet into 1-2 inch cubes. Do not cut too small or shred the beet! Too much surface area and the beets will ferment too fast and create alcohol!
  2. You do not need to peel the beets, just wash fairly well and cut off the top. A little organic dirt will add minerals and soil bacterium.
  3. Place the cut beet in the mason jar. The beets should fill the jar about 1/4-1/3 of the way
  4. Add salt to the jar. 4 TBS is the traditional amount if no whey added, see tips below
  5. Add optional whey. If whey is used, you can decrease the salt by half.
  6. Fill the jar up to the shoulder with cold, filtered water.
  7. Seal the jar with a metal lid and ring, closing tightly.
  8. Gently tip and swirl the jar to help the salt dissolve.
  9. Set on the counter for 3-5 days, until the kvass is a rich purple color.
  10. Move to the fridge (the beets stay in the liquid)
  11. Consume daily!
  12. You can use the beets for two batches: when the liquid is almost gone (about a pint left) then refill with water and salt, set on the counter for another 3-5 day. When the liquid is gone the second time, discard the beets and start fresh.
Created using The Recipes Generator