fermenting

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.

gaps-legal-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-for-the-gaps-diet-paleo-waffles-butternut-squash-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-gaps-legal-waffle-recipe-waffles-for-the-gaps-protocol-healing-gut-waffles

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!

gaps-legal-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-for-the-gaps-diet-paleo-waffles-butternut-squash-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-gaps-legal-waffle-recipe-waffles-for-the-gaps-protocol-healing-gut-waffles

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.

gaps-legal-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-for-the-gaps-diet-paleo-waffles-butternut-squash-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-gaps-legal-waffle-recipe-waffles-for-the-gaps-protocol-healing-gut-waffles

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.

gaps-legal-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-for-the-gaps-diet-paleo-waffles-butternut-squash-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-gaps-legal-waffle-recipe-waffles-for-the-gaps-protocol-healing-gut-waffles

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!

gaps-legal-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-for-the-gaps-diet-paleo-waffles-butternut-squash-waffles-how-to-make-waffles-gaps-legal-waffle-recipe-waffles-for-the-gaps-protocol-healing-gut-waffles

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!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Buckeye Cookies {GAPS Legal}

Another one of my favorite Christmas cookies are Buckeyes. These delicious cookies are traditionally peanut butter and powder sugar balls dipped in chocolate, made to look like the buckeye nut. The buckeye nut is commonly found back East, like Ohio and Michigan, where my family is originally from.

The roots for this recipe go deep in our family. Much like the Force.  

Ok, maybe not the Force (although I am excited for the new Star Wars movie that comes out this week!)

But we do make Buckeye cookies a lot. Since powdered sugar is hardly GAPS legal, I haven't had these cookies for a while either. But all that is about the change!  

Introducing GAPS legal Buckeye cookies!  

These no-bake cookies are egg free, and casein and lactose free (contains whey and butter). They are also coconut free!  

Please note that while cassava flour is not technically on the GAPS-illegal list, it is still quite starchy. These cookies should be a special treat, and consumed infrequently and in small amounts. Same with cocoa powder. And, as always, observe if YOUR body is okay with this particular food at this time. Just because something is "GAPS legal" does not give you a free pass to eat it! Pay attention to what your body is telling you. But if it's telling you that these cookies are okay for you, then by all means ENJOY THEM!!!

GAPS Legal Buckeye Cookies

Makes about 48 cookies

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 2 cups cassava flour

  • 8 TBS whey

  • 1/2-1 cup honey

  • 8 oz butter

  • 2 tsp vanilla

Coating:

  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa butter chips

  • 1/8 cup raw honey

  • 1 TBS cocoa powder

Directions:

Prep time: Need to start this recipe 24 hours in advance, 5 minutes prep time. Then it takes about 30-45 minutes to finish on the following day.  

Filling:

Twenty-four hours in advance: mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4 TBS whey, and 1 cup cassava flour together until everything is moist and crumbly. Try to eliminate as many clumps as possible. Leave on the countertop in a glass container with a lid. This is to give the legumes and cassava flour a chance to lacto-ferment. This makes them more digestible and increase the nutritional value. For more on why we should only eat nuts and seeds that have been properly prepared, watch my video on this.

After 24 hours, the mixture should look something like this...just a little more moist than what you started with the day before.

Add to this the vanilla extract, honey and 8 oz of softened butter (it's not the end of the world if you melt it, but try not to).

I used 1 cup of honey for this recipe, and to my non-sugar eating palate they are very sweet (which is the point, I suppose)! I plan to reduce the honey by about half the next time I make this. The mixture just needs to be formed into balls.

Mix well, and smooth out as many clumps as possible. You should be able to easily for this mixture into little balls.

Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper

Place the balls in the freezer to chill (about 10-15 minutes)   Next, make the coating   The most important part of making the coating is to heat things just hot enough to melt. Nothing should be cooked here! You are gently heating them up to mix. Then gradually cooling them back down again.  

Using a double boiler (or as I just discovered, my glass 2 cup measuring container fits perfectly into a medium saucepan) On low heat, melt the cacao butter chips.

When they are fully melted, turn off the heat and add the honey.

Next, stir in the cocoa powder (I recommend using a whisk to mix well.) 

Finally, remove the mixture in the top half of the double boiler to the coating is allowed to start cooling   Continue whisking the coating mixture occasionally. The honey cools faster than the cocoa butter, and you need to keep them mixed.

When the mixture is cool enough, remove the dough balls from the freezer. Stick a toothpick (or broken-off bamboo skewer in our case) into a ball and dip it into the coating. Depending on the temperature of the coating, you may need to dip more than once to achieve a satisfactory coating. After allowing the extra coating to drip off for a few moments, return the ball to the parchment paper.

Maintain the coating within a narow temperature margin. Keep the water from the lower part of your double-boiler ready. If your coating begins to cool too much, slip the top of the double-boiler back on top of the hot water for a minute or so to warm it back up (you probably don't need to turn on the heat). Do not let it cool too much or reheat it too quickly or too much—these can cause the chocolate to clump (this happened), and there's not going back from this. You would just need to start over making the coating.  

Traditionally the coating is darker than this recipe. I originally made a darker coating, but more cocoa powder required more honey, which seemed to throw everything off balance. I think this is part of why it clumped. Once you master the basics of temperature and consistency, you can try increasing the cocoa powder to darken the color. I will be doing that myself. In the meantime, even though this isn't as dark as traditional Buckeye cookies, the coating dries hard at room temperature. I'm calling that a win!

When they are all dipped to your satisfaction, use a toothpick to roll over the holes, filling them in.

There you have it! Rich, delicious Buckeye cookies.

Enjoy!


Buckeye Cookies

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

Filling:
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups cassava flour
  • 8 TBS whey
  • 1/2-1 cup honey
  • 8 oz butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Coating:
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa butter chips
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder

instructions:

How to cook Buckeye Cookies

24 Hours in Advance:
  1. Twenty-four hours in advance: mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4 TBS whey, and 1 cup cassava flour together until everything is moist and crumbly. Try to eliminate as many clumps as possible. Leave on the countertop in a glass container with a lid. This is to give the legumes and cassava flour a chance to lacto-ferment. This makes them more digestible and increase the nutritional value. For more on why we should only eat nuts and seeds that have been properly prepared, watch my video onthis.
The Next Day:
  1. After 24 hours, the mixture should look something like this...just a little more moist than what you started with the day before.
  2. Add to this the vanilla extract, honey and 8 oz of softened butter (it's not the end of the world if you melt it, but try not to).
  3. I used 1 cup of honey for this recipe, and to my non-sugar eating palate they are very sweet (which is the point, I suppose)! I plan to reduce the honey by about half the next time I make this. The mixture just needs to be formed into balls.
  4. Mix well, and smooth out as many clumps as possible. You should be able to easily for this mixture into little balls.
  5. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
  6. Place the balls in the freezer to chill (about 10-15 minutes) Next, make the coating The most important part of making the coating is to heat things just hot enough to melt. Nothing should be cooked here! You are gently heating them up to mix. Then gradually cooling them back down again.
  7. Using a double boiler (or as I just discovered, my glass 2 cup measuring container fits perfectly into a medium saucepan) On low heat, melt the cacao butter chips.
  8. When they are fully melted, turn off the heat and add the honey.
  9. Next, stir in the cocoa powder (I recommend using a whisk to mix well.)
  10. Finally, remove the mixture in the top half of the double boiler to the coating is allowed to start cooling Continue whisking the coating mixture occasionally. The honey cools faster than the cocoa butter, and you need to keep them mixed.
  11. When the mixture is cool enough, remove the dough balls from the freezer. Stick a toothpick (or broken-off bamboo skewer in our case) into a ball and dip it into the coating. Depending on the temperature of the coating, you may need to dip more than once to achieve a satisfactory coating. After allowing the extra coating to drip off for a few moments, return the ball to the parchment paper.
  12. Maintain the coating within a narow temperature margin. Keep the water from the lower part of your double-boiler ready. If your coating begins to cool too much, slip the top of the double-boiler back on top of the hot water for a minute or so to warm it back up (you probably don't need to turn on the heat). Do not let it cool too much or reheat it too quickly or too much—these can cause the chocolate to clump (this happened), and there's not going back from this. You would just need to start over making the coating.
  13. Traditionally the coating is darker than this recipe. I originally made a darker coating, but more cocoa powder required more honey, which seemed to throw everything off balance. I think this is part of why it clumped. Once you master the basics of temperature and consistency, you can try increasing the cocoa powder to darken the color. I will be doing that myself. In the meantime, even though this isn't as dark as traditional Buckeye cookies, the coating dries hard at room temperature. I'm calling that a win!
  14. When they are all dipped to your satisfaction, use a toothpick to roll over the holes, filling them in.
  15. There you have it! Rich, delicious Buckeye cookies.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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.

Making the Vegetable Medley

One of the most important ferments in the GAPS™ diet is the vegetablemedley. You can find this recipe in Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride's book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Her recipe is for a bowl ferment, but you can also make it in a jar, which is how I prefer to make it. And this is the recipe we are going to do today! This recipe contains five different vegetables: beets (good for liver and blood cleansing), cabbage (stimulates digestion), carrots (contain vitamin A), and cauliflower (makes it taste better, believe me), and garlic (good for immune support). It makes a very rich and flavorful liquid, which is also a wonderful probiotic drink.

No matter how delicious this is, and how much you like it, drink only a little bit in the beginning to avoid die-off. Respect the ferments, man!

Gather your ingredients and supplies

  • Glass jar, 1/2 gallon

  • Sea salt, 3-4 TBS

  • Medium beet

  • Carrots (3)

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Garlic (5-7 cloves), fresh or fermented

Instructions

To a clean half-gallon jar, add about 1/2 cup of each vegetable.You can add them in any order you like. The main purpose of the vegetable medley is to drink the liquid, so make sure the ingredients you add only fill the jar half way (or a little more). This will create enough liquid to make it worth it!

Add the beets

And carrots

And so on...

Last of all, garlic and salt

When all the ingredients are in the jar, it should be less than 3/4 full. Add filtered water, to the shoulder of the jar. Finally, add a cabbage leaf or two to hold all the ingredients under the water. I add a pinch of salt after the cabbage leaves are in place to discourage bad bacterial growth. All that's left is to tightly screw on the lid and leave it on the counter.

After 7 days, move the jar to the fridge and consume the liquid until it's gone, and eat the vegetable pieces. This can be a perpetual ferment. To do this, daily drink what you need, then replace that amount with filtered water, and continue to leave it out on the counter. Keep up with this process until the vegetables are spent (they turn grey and tasteless).

Before

[Pictures missing in transfer*]

One week later

That's it! You have successfully made the veggie medley! Once you get the basics down, you can experiment with different vegetable combinations (eg. broccoli instead of cauliflower). Let us know your favorite combinations!

Onward!


Vegetable Medley

Author:
prep time: cook time: total time:

ingredients:

  • Glass jar, 1/2 gallon
  • Sea salt, 3-4 TBS
  • Medium beet
  • Carrots (3)
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic (5-7 cloves), fresh or fermented

instructions:

How to cook Vegetable Medley

  1. To a clean half-gallon jar, add about 1/2 cup of each vegetable.You can add them in any order you like. The main purpose of the vegetable medley is to drink the liquid, so make sure the ingredients you add only fill the jar half way (or a little more). This will create enough liquid to make it worth it!
  2. Add the beets
  3. And carrots
  4. And so on...
  5. Last of all, garlic and salt
  6. When all the ingredients are in the jar, it should be less than 3/4 full. Add filtered water, to the shoulder of the jar. Finally, add a cabbage leaf or two to hold all the ingredients under the water. I add a pinch of salt after the cabbage leaves are in place to discourage bad bacterial growth. All that's left is to tightly screw on the lid and leave it on the counter.
  7. After 7 days, move the jar to the fridge and consume the liquid until it's gone, and eat the vegetable pieces. This can be a perpetual ferment. To do this, daily drink what you need, then replace that amount with filtered water, and continue to leave it out on the counter. Keep up with this process until the vegetables are spent (they turn grey and tasteless).
  8. That's it! You have successfully made the veggie medley! Once you get the basics down, you can experiment with different vegetable combinations (eg. broccoli instead of cauliflower). 
Created using The Recipes Generator

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!

Vintage Food Hack: Fermenting (Part 1)

Ever kept a book around forever unopened? Then you finally crack it open and realize you have been missing out?I recently had this experience with The Art of Fermentation by Katz. I loved the idea of this book, (and of having time to read all its 438 pages) but I just never did. In fact, I didn’t even open it, not once!

That is, until I had to write an article on lacto-fermentation. I opened “the book” to see if it would be useful and credible as a reference. Wow, was it ever! If I didn’t have a deadline, I would have sat down and read the entire thing cover to cover then and there!

Side note: In the category of things you should know about me. I love to read, and I am a procrastinate-until-the-last-minute-but-somehow-get-it-done kind of person. Hence, my situation. Okay, back to the point.

I wrote a pretty good article, if I do say so myself. It was informative and official and all that jazz (and you can read it here). But what I want to share with you, my readers, is the joy and excitement I get when I learn about and think about fermenting!

Why, you ask?

Well let me tell you...

  • I LOVE learning to do things that our ancestors knew how to do. I am an Old Soul, and I try to make the most of every opportunity I have to do things the old-fashioned way.

  • I HATE throwing food away. It comes from growing up in a large family, I suppose. Or perhaps my Hungarian ancestry. But fermenting allow me to preserve food longer.

  • I LOVE using fermenting as a hack! I can get more out of my vegetables by fermenting them because it increases the nutritional availability of what is present in the vegetable naturally, without adding anything else!

  • I CAN buy vegetables in season, and locally!

  • I GET probiotic benefit from the vegetables, and variety matters.

  • I KNOW what I am eating in my sauerkraut, banana peppers, etc because I added the ingredients.

  • I SAVE money by making my own ferments.

  • I GET to know and connect with what I am consuming, which is an important part of thoughtful eating.

Does that jazz you up at all?

Can’t wait to get started, you say?

Keep calm and hold on.

Soon we will talk a little more about what fermenting is and how to get started.

Stay tuned!

And Onward!

Beneficial Bacteria: Why Lacto-ferment?

Fair warning: the following post was originally written as an article. It is longer and more technical than a normal blog post. It contains great information, including the history of fermentation and some basic fermentation chemistry, but may be more than you need to know. Feel free to read (or not) accordingly!

The Benefits of Bacteria: How Lacto-fermentation is Good for You

The history of lacto-fermentation is rich and alive. There are signs of people groups fermenting their food as far back as we have found artifacts in various archaeological digs. It remains a mystery how the first people discovered fermentation.

However, as science has discovered now, a large part of “our” body’s makeup is not our own DNA, but rather a body-shaped shell containing a symbiotic environment teeming with bacteria, yeast, protozoa, and other microbes. Therefore, consuming probiotic foods is not only beneficial, but it is vital to our very life. Without the symbiotic relationships working in our body, we would be unable to function.

We often use the word “culture” to describe the ideals held in common by a group of people. In the same way, when we use “culture” to describe food preservation, we are also recognizing the grouping of different organisms, working together in symbiosis. This relationship, both inside the body, as well as out, demonstrates a beauty that not only brings tactile benefit, but is in many ways soul-soothing. You cannot ferment without paying attention to, and giving credit and help to the beneficial microbes that will, in turn, help to bring health and balance to your own body.

So what is lacto-fermentation?

Lacto-fermentation is one of the ways humans have used (for centuries) to preserve food. It does not necessarily involve milk, as the lacto-  prefix seems to suggest, but it involves creating an environment that encourages the growth of lactic acid producing bacteria. These type of bacteria work symbiotically with our bodies, and have been shown in research to be helpful in metabolism, detoxification,  immunity and allergies, preventing dental caries, kidney stones and cancer, and in reducing anxiety, cholesterol and blood pressure.If that list doesn’t convince you that you need to be consuming probiotic foods daily, scientists have also found that the nutritional value of most foods is increased through the fermentation process. An additional benefit, which is decidedly less important in the American culture, is food preservation without refrigeration.

How does lacto-fermentation work?

The concept of lacto-fermentation are simple. An environment needs to be created that promotes the growth of lactic-acid producing bacteria (LABs).  Many harmful and pathogenic bacteria and viruses are unable to live in the presence of lactic acid, so in this situation the body is working symbiotically with the LABs to control the environment of the body to be hostile to unwanted microbes. When we create a correctly hostile environment, beneficial flora are allowed to flourish, and unwanted flora moves on. It is very simple to create this desired environment, at it’s most basic, it only takes salt and water. The purpose of the salt is to create an environment that the LABs, and only the LABs, can thrive in. Other bacterial growth is stunted by contact with salt, allowing the LABs to flourish, eventually producing enough lactic acid that the salt is then unnecessary. In addition to preserving the food, the lactic acid helps with other aspects of fermentation, such as pre-digesting our food (starting the digestion process before it even enters our body) and nutritional enhancement.

Why have we moved away from lacto-fermented foods?

There are several reasons why we stopped fermenting our foods, the two main reasons being refrigeration and the “sterilization” or pasteurization movement. The first is simple to explain and understand, with refrigerators, we began to have the luxury of keeping food longer by keeping it cold. Previously, with only a few exceptions, people had two options--eat the food they hunted or gathered very quickly, or find some way to preserve the food. With the advent of electricity, refrigeration became available to almost everyone in a developed country, and with it the ability to store fresh food for a longer amount of time. Spoilage happens at a much slower temperature, so even fresh meat will keep for about a week. Because of this, and the accessibility of grocery stores, we can buy our refrigerated food, bring it home to our own refrigerator, and eat at our convenience throughout the week. No need for preservation here.Secondly, since 1857 when Louis Pasteur discovered that heating (killing) bacteria created more control over the process of alcoholic fermentation, we have been using heat to sterilize, or pasteurize, allowing us to store food, even at room temperature, for longer periods of time. However, because pasteurization kills the LABs as well as harmful microbes, there is a risk of spoilage, rancidity or putrefaction associated with any pasteurized food if contamination occurs. 

Can you learn to ferment?

Anyone can ferment--the process is very simple, almost foolproof, and safe. It is also fun, relaxing, grounding, adventurous, and sometimes exciting! Even if food prep is not exciting to you, the process is fulfilling and satisfying. And when you know that you have prepared food that has numerous health benefits, costing very little money or effort, you can sit back and feel accomplished at a job well done. And as you grow more comfortable with the process, you can experiment with different recipes--some in a book, some made up on the spot. That is the beauty of fermentation! You can ferment anything! And by following some basic principles, it’s really rather difficult to mess up!

How do I get started in fermenting?

There are several good resources available as you start on your fermentation journey. Books, like Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Fermentation, will give you comprehensive instruction on this subject. There are website such as Cultures for Health, and various YouTube channels that will give written and video instructions on different ferments. Finally, there are various people (including myself) who teach the basics of fermentation in a classroom setting. Search these people out and sign up for a class--the information you will learn is invaluable to your health!

I like to call my ferments my children--because they need to be taken care of in the same way--you need to create a safe environment for them, feed them, keep them clean, and most of all, love them!

Part of the art of fermentation is the intention you put into them. When you are grateful for the health and support they are going to bring you, it will fill your soul (and usually makes them taste better). While, at times, the weight of responsibility for making ferments is heavy, it is always overshadowed by the benefits--physically and spiritually. So what are you waiting for--start on this journey today!

Citations:

  • Katz, Sandor. 2012. The Art of Fermentation: An in-depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.

  • Katz, Sandor. 2003. Wild Fermentation: the Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, VT.