Welcome back to my self-interview about this voodoo diet called GAPS–
Wait–why do you call it a voodoo diet? Ha! I took to calling all this alternative stuff “voodoo” because, as a conventional medical doctor, I didn’t believe in it. It seemed like tricks and magic without real, tangible evidence and results. (Snake oil. Voodoo. Quack, quack. $Ching, ching, ching. All these people seemed in cahoots together.)
The GAPS diet especially seemed like spooky voodoo because it repeatedly talks about making and drinking broth from bones–bone broth– and eating animal organs. If that ain’t “voodoo” sounding to a refined, civilized girl who eats cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch…
Do you still think it’s spooky? Nah. Now I realize it’s just a traditional way to recoup the needed minerals, proteins, and vitamins that are stored in bone and the organs of animals. It’s basically just using the whole animal, as cultures historically did before us.
I mean, it seems even a generation or two before us, kids were still forced to eat their liver. Not “their” liver, but the cow liver on their plate. They didn’t all run to the store to pop some vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C pills. And ask the grandparents! You’ll find some of them who have an affinity for an organ they haven’t eaten in years!
My dad loves liver. My father-in-law heart. I remember eating the tongue with my own farming grandparents when I was a kid. Each meat cut and organ has its own vitamin, mineral, and amino acid profile! So by only eating white meat or steak, we are completely missing the gamut of beneficial nutrients, due to our snobbery and “advancement.” It’s a sad misuse of an animal. I’m so sorry to be perturbing my vegetarian friends’ sensibilities. I know it sounds yucky.
Well, it does sound a little gross, I have to say. Anyhow, I have read some bad things about the GAPS diet? Can you mention some of those concerns?
Yes, well, there’s the concern of lead toxicity in the daily broth requirement. If the animal is raised on a bucolic, yet lead-laden farm, then the animal can have a higher concentration of lead in its bones, seeping into your broth. I’ve read you can’t really predict which land will be high in lead levels because the lead can permeate the air, travel, and settle in a different area, remaining for years and years. Remember, we used to use lead in gas for our cars. So I’m not sure you could predict without testing, which farms will have higher lead than others. But I’m no expert. So, sure, there may be an unpredictable risk of lead.
Another concern is the effect of a sudden carbohydrate drop on the body. GAPS doesn’t have to be a low carb diet, but the introduction diet is way too easy to be almost no carbs at all! Most people just enter ketosis with uncomfortable symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and a little nausea.
Other people, and kids are pretty sensitive, react violently to the ketosis transition, with horrible nausea and persistent vomiting. This really puts them at risk for electrolyte disturbances, which could land them up in the hospital! Most likely, and I’m not a GAPS provider or expert and you shouldn’t use my blog for medical advice, this could be avoided by making sure to eat carrots, winter squashes, pumpkin, and honey in the recommended tea. I personally think a slower transition to a low carb diet is much safer. When I transitioned, when I felt that low-carb feeling, I eased it with some cooked carrots and honey in my tea. I’m a weenie. But a safe weenie.
Food obsession is a definite concern too. The GAPS food list becomes a Bible. I remember my husband coming home when I was doing GAPS and showing me an article about orthorexia. This is an eating disorder where people obsess about eating healthy, judge themselves and others by how they eat, develop anxiety due to food choices, and basically, their whole life simply become wrapped up in food. I was glad he showed me this article. We talked about it together, decided no, that’s not where I was at, and then I proceeded with a new awareness of something that can easily afflict health-conscious people–myself included—if awareness is not high.
And then we get into raw eggs and raw milk and raw fish…
Oh, uh, yummy…by the way, what do you eat on GAPS? Well, the book has a whole list of do’s and don’ts. But, basically you eat lots of vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, squash. Meats, trying to incorporate grazing animals that roam pretty freely outside–and not just eating one cut of meat, but the whole animal, including organ meats.
Eggs, seafood. Fruits. lentils and specific beans, soaked. Nuts. Honey. Peanuts are okay, too. And then daily consumption of fermented foods for probiotics and homemade broths (using leftover scraps and bones) for the minerals and amino acid profile.
But what shocks most people is that there are no grains or potatoes allowed. Not even sweet potatoes. GAPS’ carb foods are things like carrots, squashes, lentils, honey, navy beans, fruits, peas.
Did GAPS “cure” you? No. It did improve me, though to the point that my GI symptoms were very tolerable. It also showed me that the many headaches I was getting wasn’t just my kids. (Love you, girls!) Ha! I had some sensitivities to particular foods, like eggs, which give me headaches. But I had to carefully do and re-do the introduction, elimination type part of the diet to figure that all out.
What do you mean? Sensitivities? Geesh! You had to take out MORE foods? Yes! A full GAPS diet would have been disastrous for me, but because I went through the introduction and followed the author’s suggestions on watching for food intolerances, I was able to identify problem foods I had: dairy, nuts, eggs, chicken, coconut. After 18 months on GAPS, those foods still bothered me (and still do). GAPS helped me but did not cure me.
But the GAPS diet is laden with foods that will bother many autoimmune-ish people, like dairy, nuts, eggs, and legumes. All very “healthy” foods that I think should be in a person’s diet if they are tolerated.
WAIT a minute. Are you kidding me? Some people have to take it further than GAPS or Paleo?
Well, nobody has to do anything! Right!? It’s important to remember that! This is always a choice! But, yes. Some people will find much relief in taking their diets down to whole food and then further eliminating nightshades, legumes (beans and lentils), all nuts and seeds, all dairy, eggs, all grains (wheat, soy, corn, even rice and quinoa). Also, watching out for reactions that are very individual, like avocados or shellfish or coconut, etc.
But remember, the goal is not to be a martyr or to be “cool,” the goal is to feel better, to feel like yourself. And your own diet tailoring will take you there, not somebody elses.
Are you sure this stuff, it’s not all in your head? Or those people’s heads? Could be. But my head really wants it to be okay to eat pizza. I’d love me some pizza. My head wants pizza. It’s my favorite food. But when my head starts eating pizza, my body gets mad. My head is like, “Ah, see! That wasn’t so bad, and it was delicious.” And my belly is like, “What did you just do to me?”
Would the “you now” recommend the diet to the “you back then”?
When I started this nutrition stuff, I needed an extremist to bring me to my eating knees. All my food came from a box. It all had dairy and wheat. And I didn’t really see anything wrong with that. Mostly, I’m not extremist in anything. I always thought that a really good diet (and life) allowed absolutely anything in moderation. But my gut and headaches didn’t agree, and food definitely played a role. I haven’t read a better book at explaining how to eat 100% unprocessed food than Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book.
I mean, she taught me that even tea bags were processed and that “whole food” tea would be the loose leaf tea, or even better, the mint you grow in your garden. However, the GAPS book is not really written in a scientific manner, it is more evangelical–and maybe even fanatical?
It is written to drive things home and to allow for no exceptions. I needed Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s unique, rigid approach. There’s no looking for GAPS-legal processed foods because honestly, none exist. (Heck, even nuts are supposed to be soaked!) If I had a loophole, I would have wriggled my logic right through it.
Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet book breaks things down in a simple, general way for pretty accurate reading–but could definitely be considered reductionisic or “fruity” by anyone with a medical or scientific background.
I would recommend to myself back then that I not be afraid of any real, whole food, and that I introduce it slowly, seeing how I do. Not just follow the GAPS list of foods. Start with those, and then not be afraid to journey forward.
Do you believe everything in the book?
No. Not as stated. But yes, I do see now with my research that the gut and its bacteria play a huge role in the body’s pathology. I see where soaking nuts and beans helps. And where eating organ meats and bone broth supplies needed nutrients.
I do not find her “allergy testing” on the skin to be useful or practical. It may even be dangerous. Someone with a severe food allergy may think, because their skin doesn’t have any changes after putting some of that food on their skin overnight, it’s okay to eat a known allergenic food.
I’m still not a fan of raw milk. Sure, if it’s my cow, I wash the teats, and I milk the animal.
Mostly, I know that one plan will NOT fit all. Ever.
Well, let’s stop talking and see if anyone wants to comment. Okay. Good. I hope people remember that this blog is a place of sounding ideas, sharing ideas, not one of guidance. Ha! “Like the blind leading the blind, shan’t they both fall in the ditch…”
Questions? Comments? Gripes? Complaints?
Terri, this very informative post reminded me of a friend who recently was tested for food intolerance. Which, I was told, is completely different to food allergies. There were three different lists of food that he could take, based on his intolerance to them.
About the GI and bacteria in the gut. Years ago, I gave my son – I’m trying to recall right now – some friendly bacteria – I think it was lactobacillus though I can’t be sure – capsules to help his very dry skin from breaking out in rashes.
Oh, and my hubby eats raw egg after biking for two hours (says it’s high protein). Raw fish – that’s only palatable if it’s freshly caught. We ate raw fish last week because someone gifted us with a cooler full of fish.
Keep up with all these posts. It feels like we’re just having a conversation over coffee in my ktichen. 🙂
Yes, food sensitivity is different than allergy. Most conventional MDs only check for true allergies. That leaves a lot of people with sensitivities in the dark. I think with time, sensitivities will come to light more as we delineate the (patho)physiology behind them. For example, some foods trigger a mast cell response there in the immune cells lining the GI tract, and they make cytokines which can make people feel bad distant from the gut. Or there’s histamine release. Or maybe people don’t break down oxalates right. ALL kinds of REASONS for food sensitivities!
Ooooh! I wonder how the probiotic helped his rashes? Good? Or no?
Well, lots of people have eaten raw eggs! And raw fish—-but if I come to coffee in your kitchen……
Ha! Have a good one!
Probiotic – that’s the word I was trying to remember! Well, I don’t know how much it helped because at that time I stopped all those anti-allergy meds – again, can’t recall the exact word, sorry – that he was prescribed with and chose instead to focus on making him eat less dairy, more fresh fruits and vegetables and moisturizing his skin around the clock. Only used meds when he developed an infection from his skin cracking due to the extreme dryness.
Have a happy day!
I will! You too!
Terri- Are you back at the blog? Just got a lot of updated notices. If so, that is great! Missed you. Mary (MEH)
Greetings! I’m gearing up to come back. Hope I make it! And I hope you are well.
I took all comments off the blog some time back, and I’ve been reviewing them and putting them back on in batches slowly. Unfortunately, when I do that, they show up again for you.
May life be good for you. We are well here.
Thanks for your honest, heart felt post.
As a nutritionist for over 40 years, I bought the book, read it contemplated following the protocol.
Even made some bone broth, but knew that at this time in our lives it would be too stressful.
We had been eating very healthfully for years, and I had been raised by parents who believed in home remedies, a very healthy lifestyle and actually working out of doors. A good night’s sleep and exercise.
Our two adopted children had both been MSPI babies. What a roller coaster ride that had been.
My momma “antenna” was on high mode and I couldn’t learn enough, read, research and my health was going down hill.
The lack of sleep is one of the worst things that can happen to send you over the cliff.
Back then the gut was not even discussed unless you had IBS, or some other “horrible” symptom.
Today everything is tied to the gut.
Optimal nutrition for life should be on the forefront of every mom’s agenda.
It should be taught in preschool, and kids need to have gardens in schools, harvest and cook their own lunch. Japan is so much further ahead in this area. In fact I was told that every school in Japan has their own nutritionist.
The “huge” turn around for us was learning what our food and chemical sensitivities were. What a shock, and when we planned our menus around not eating those identified foods and chemicals, wow, it was amazing.
My anger was off the charts, why had my Allergist never spoken to me about Histamine Intolerance, sensitivities to nitrates? Allergy shots, meds, office visits and no improvements. Scream!
And years of sinus infections, and drug pushing?
No wonder I had been so inflamed, and felt like crud all of the time.
You can eat organic, out of your garden, pure wholesome home cooked meals, and still not be well.
Healing ones gut is so important. Inflammation impacts so many areas of our bodies. Learning to read the signs of dysfunction are never taught, so we just keep on abusing our bodies. People are so busy, they eat on the run, buy junk food instead of really cooking. Ranchers know that a healthy cow can make it through the winter, produce a healthy calf and sustain it in cold winter weather. Nature counts, but so many shove nature aside and eat pure junk, then are shocked when their bodies fall apart.
A study I would love to see is one on Neonates. They are bombarded with EMF’s, meds, electodes attached 24/7 and many or C section births.
What is beyond so sad today is that my grandparents and parents were so much healthier than today’s adults.
Today my family is on a different path to healing the gut, we continue to learn, try and change and have hope.
We homeschooled for over 17 years, and boy did I ever learn. Loved it, and often wonder where I would be today, had I been homeschooled.
Have I made tons of mistakes, yes, have we suffered, yes, are we perfect no!
But we are on the pathway.
I tell others, our bodies and lives are all part of a puzzle, each puzzle piece is so important, and none of us are born with the specific directions, (just for each individual), to put them all together in the correct order.
Every child should be given the knowledge of how a body works. They would love it, if presented in an interesting and clever manner.
I volunteered to teach nutrition for Free, in our local small elementary school. No one ever called me back.
All humans eat, so thus they feel they are experts when it comes to food. How amazingly incorrect.
I so enjoy your posts, but they come so infrequently, have a blessed Christmas, and keep up on the “Learning pathway”!
PS. I have even made Buffalo bone broth, but fear that even they may have been fattened up with corn.
$10 a # for range free, GMO free chicken is beyond my comprehension!
We need a “Healthy Mom’s Conference” in KCMO. Have speakers, cooking demos, resources and camaraderie.
Hi! Thanks for your note! I hear you!
Re: The lack of sleep is one of the worst things that can happen to send you over the cliff.
I ABSOLUTELY, 100% agree!!!! I protect my sleep firmly. My mom actually taught me that one! LOL! I can still hear her! “Terri, just go to bed! You need sleep. You look like the last rose of sharon.” LOL! Fond memory.
Re: Optimal nutrition for life should be on the forefront of every mom’s agenda.
I know. I know. But I also know the challenges. Many don’t know how to cook or combine ingredients to make fantastic food. A friend has told me, “When I cook healthy, it’s boring. When you cook healthy, it’s exciting.” Learning how to cook and combine is so important. And chop! Even that can be overwhelming to kitchen novices!
Re: The “huge” turn around for us was learning what our food and chemical sensitivities were. What a shock, and when we planned our menus around not eating those identified foods and chemicals, wow, it was amazing.
My anger was off the charts, why had my Allergist never spoken to me about Histamine Intolerance, sensitivities to nitrates? Allergy shots, meds, office visits and no improvements. Scream!
And years of sinus infections, and drug pushing?
No wonder I had been so inflamed, and felt like crud all of the time.
You can eat organic, out of your garden, pure wholesome home cooked meals, and still not be well.
YES! YES! YES! That’s what I can’t scream loud enough! That even healthy foods can make a person feel bad. But with so many processed foods, the ingredients are SO intertwined. Not until you take it down to whole, 100% real food, keep food diaries, exclude foods knows to be problematic, eliminate, re-introduce, do you even have a chance! And it can take time, but the freedom of knowing what sets you off is amazing and worth the effort it takes up front. And it’s better and easier than running to this doctor, that lab, this medicine.
Re: I tell others, our bodies and lives are all part of a puzzle, each puzzle piece is so important, and none of us are born with the specific directions, (just for each individual), to put them all together in the correct order.
Every child should be given the knowledge of how a body works. They would love it, if presented in an interesting and clever manner.
Lovely and I think true. That’s disappointing the school didn’t call back. I think the place to really address this real, whole food stuff is IN the schools! They have EIGHT stinking hours a day. Darn it. Don’t get me started on education.
Thanks again for your comment. I have made a goal of posting more. We’ll see how I meet this new challenge. 🙂
calle, the problem is appropriate diet and nutrition has gone political. In grade 8 (here in Toronto) at the school the son of a friend attends, whoever was teaching health put up videos promoting veganism. Her son reported back to his mother because he could see that this was some sort of propaganda promoted by the teacher and it is actually not part of the health curriculum. Unfortunately different diets are polarizing. You’ve got groups of people who declare that what they do is the best. They are all doing the best but they are all doing different things. It’s getting to the point of ridiculous but I guess it has replaced religion as a bone of contention. In polite conversation these days, talking about politics and religion is frowned upon so the only thing left is food fights. Basically what you are eating is declared as a poison upon humanity by others. It’s that bad.
I’m learning on this one. I don’t know much about GAPS except for what I have read on here-mainly due to the meat thing. 😉
Yep. GAPS is what I started this all on! It was good in that it taught me very traditional food preparation (minus the grain prep). It taught me a lot about vegetables. Having read this diet first and followed it’s forum first really exposed me to lots of nutrition ideas. Really setting me up to be very curious in what the HECK these people were talking about! WHY doesn’t everyone do well on the same kind of “healthy” diet?!
I think these type of food restriction diets make people think they are doing something wrong if it does not work. They then try to GAPS harder, or keto harder, or Paleo harder, etc. In the end, they are eating just chicken breasts and rice or some other unrealistic food choices for the long-term, and even end up with more food intolerances and health issues.
Eating right can be a challenge, for sure. But it always needs to start with a long-term avoidance of the highly-processed shelf-stable boxed foods that so many have come to rely on as staples. And fast food, snacks, etc…
Yes, there is diet-shaming, isn’t there? Got to be a member of the elite club.
Just to note, I think the author of GAPS notes a couple of things of interest. I think, if I remember correctly, that she says that people who don’t follow the introduction/follow the introduction diet correctly can end up with worse issues later. I don’t know what I think about that. And the second thing, she also does point out that many people have tons of sensitivities and that they could eliminate till the cows come home (okay, those are my words there, not hers), but sometimes they just have to incorporate certain nutritious foods and carry on. Which in some cases, may be true.
Anyhow, YES. Make day-in, day-out whole, real food choices rich in roots, tubers, greens, vegetables, berries, fruits (yes, I know I’m overlapping foods/food groups), nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, seafood, eggs, and that’s awesome! For most people (not necessarily all), there’s room for those other foods. Just not as large caloric portions of their diet, day-in, day-out. Which, I know you know, Tim. Just typing it here. (I learned SO much from blog comments on blogs out there.)
I think once I’m done breastfeeding I may do GAPS although not sure about all that offal! My dad used to make lambs fry (liver) and bacon when I was young and I actually loved that but I don’t go much for anything else. There is a lady here in AUS who has set up an online GAPS course to walk Yu through t step by step so I would probably follow that if I was to do it. I don’t go much for raw milk either. Every now and then I hear about a kid dying from drinking the stuff. I think we will just leave well enough alone and mostly avoid dairy and have the homogenised and pasteurised version when we indulge!
Well, you’ll have to keep me posted if you do that (GAPS) and what you think.
I like lamb liver better than cow liver. And pastured, grass-fed cow liver is much, much more edible than conventional liver (which tastes bad and I don’t recommend anyhow due).
That’s about how we handle dairy, like you said. However, I’ve found that we do well with goat and sheep cheeses. Which is nice!
Been following a rather strict diet for just over a year now due to previous rectal cancer treatment that left my body very broken. Found a functional doctor to run labs and guide my diet. The diet got to the point of being unappetizing…no grains, sugar (ok!), no gluten, low carb, no legumes, etc. I lost 35lbs and felt better. My liver profile has been slowly improving. The chemo made it very unhappy! I have switched to a LOW FODMAP.SCD which has opened the door to fruits and a better variety of vegetables. The problem is that my primary who is a DO believes we should all be vegetarians.(When she sees my labs of elevated liver profiles and damage, she especially mentions this.) Sure wish I could find an MD who practices integrative/functional medicine. Best of both worlds!! Sure enjoy your candid and informative posts.
Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m sorry you had rectal cancer. In my limited cancer reading, many plans do lean towards vegetarianism. And I get that. Plant matter is huge. (Is FODMAPS making that hard for you?) My concern with meat (and I do eat meat and feel good eating meat, although I eat tons of vegetables) and the colon is the thought that if we “out-eat” our stomach and small intestines digestive and absorptive capabilities, then protein is left for the colon’s bacteria to ferment—leading to detrimental compounds for the colon cells to deal with. So in my mind, I haven’t decided that one needs to be an absolute vegetarian with cancer/certain kinds of cancer, but may need to make the consumption at a time smaller so as to not “overwhelm” the digestive capabilities. I don’t know. Just thinking aloud. The cancer alternative health docs probably all have their opinions, obviously much more experienced than mine. So meat maybe okay, but not too much. (?)
I’m glad your liver tests are coming down. Were they high from the cancer? The chemo? Fatty liver? Combo of all?
I know you’re doing well with your current plan. And that makes me very happy. Have you read on butyrate? (I have a page on it.) The colon cells love that stuff. One thought of colon cancer is that the distal colon cells aren’t getting enough of it (butyrate). It comes from eating certain carbs mostly. I don’t know. Might be something to read on if you haven’t and talk about with your functional doctor. But it would require a carb intake adjustment, and I could see if you’re doing well where you wouldn’t want to rock the boat.
We do need more MDs who are integrated! I agree.
BEST wishes to you. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Not 100% sure why my liver decided to not like me anymore. Did some research on the specific chemo/radiation I was on in 2000. The second round of chemo almost killed me in a couple of days. Stopped treatment. They added leucovorin to the 5FU which can devastate the liver. In 2013, I needed surgery to correct a herniated incision from the CA surgery. At that time my enzymes began to climb. Alk P, Alt, Ast too high. I opted out of a biopsy and chose the alternative Liver FibroScan offered at some of the Liver Hospitals around the country. Have had 2 of them. Glad my functional doctor runs tests to determine underlying tendencies to GI issues. Found out I am gluten intolerant, casein allergic, prone to other GI issues. Candida also an issue. That’s a hard one!!! My goal is to stay off as many pharmaceuticals as I can and modify my diet to improve my health. There are still some very difficult days mainly because the CA treatment broke so much of my insides. I am a meat eater. If not, I gain weight and feel terrible. 50-60gms of protein is what has been recommended for me. Don’t always get this.
As a side note: saw the post about taking time to eat sitting down and in a restful atmosphere. I had to actually have my doctor write a note to my employer stating I must have 20 min of uninterrupted meal breaks away from my immediate work area. Did wonders for me!!! I understand the homeschooling issues. I homeschooled my kids all the way through HS. Worth it!
Thanks for your blog! Glad I found it!
I haven’t heard of the Liver FibroScan. That sounds interesting to check out. Thanks for letting me know so I can check it out sometime to know of it.
That’s cool about the note to sit and eat. I’m so glad it helped and that your employer respected that! I tried really hard several months back to do this, and I think it helped bloating. But it wasn’t sustainable. Not till the toddler is potty trained, able to get her own food, etc.! Ha!
Glad you survived homeschooling! I need to hear that from people! LOL!
Take care, MEH!
I use the pressure cooker to make broth with bones. It’s faster and I don’t think the slow cooker technique is any better.
When it comes to fermented foods, my guts say ‘no’. Decisively. So even though it’s highly touted, I don’t think it’s a ‘fix’ for everyone. I was lactose intolerant for 29 years. And then this year in March, for whatever reason (and I stopped making kefir since September 2015 and could be bothered buying yoghurt.) I can now drink regular milk. This came about by accident because I went shopping and the supermarket I visited did not have lactose free. So I thought, heck with it, I will buy lactose free on the week-end and maybe I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with gut cramps and diarrhoea, maybe not. I didn’t. I finished the 2 litres and since then it’s been regular milk. I even girded my loins and drank 3/4 of a litre one day…. nothing happened. Whatever has changed, it’s good. If I eat yogurt or any fermented dairy, my guts doth protest. when before they didn’t. Go figure. I’m not eating fermented dill pickles or sauerkraut anymore either. To heck with it. I cook fresh whole foods and recently added 3 rounded teaspoons of psyllium per day spread out during the day. (Teflon poops. Incredible. I should have done this years ago.)
Last week I pressure cooked pig hearts. When they were cold, I cut up the muscle meat into thin slices and made a meat salad. Excellent!
Speaking of pressure cookers, GAPS suggests they not be used. All kinds of rules. Some rules I end up finding the sense in. Others, I find it’s not so important at all.
That is super interesting about the dairy situation I have. One day, I know that’s going to happen to me! 🙂 (Okay. I hope so.) But, for now, I love fermented foods! I find them delicious.
I have no idea why a pressure cooker would create something negative. It’s fast and uses less energy (and the electric around here is astronomical!) Plus because it doesn’t smell up the house, the flavour stays in the broth. Professional chefs pressure cook their stocks.
I roasted a fresh duck two days ago and now the leftovers are pressure cooking for broth. The stuff like carrots, onion, garlic, parsley, celery…. they get binned along with the bones. And I find the broths are clear without having to be skimmed. When cooled, they gel. Don’t know about the duck. Yet.
Well, one group said it destroyed nutrients. I read, though, when digging that it actually preserves more vitamin C than boiling. And I read that some people who do pressure cookers get more gelatinous broth than boiling. Like you mentioned yourself. And some said they didn’t get a rancid flavor from overcooking the fats.
Micromanagement, I suppose. I don’t have a pressure cooker. But if my mom bought me one, I supposed I’d give it a try!
Terri, I use a Hawkins Futura which is silent. It’s also very aesthetic. I didn’t know when I bought it that there’s one on display at MOMA. One big problem with pressure cookers is getting a new gasket. I don’t know about the ones in the US but this one is proving a little bit challenging. My gasket is fine but I like to keep spares of important ‘bits’ whatever they are for. Like for the vacuum cleaner. Machines have to work well or if something happens, replacement parts must be to hand or I get very disheartened by it all. I think I’ve managed to rustle up a new gasket and the place is here in Toronto…. optimism reigns.
Is there any evidence (laboratory type) to prove an adverse effect on nutrients or is it one of those speculative opinion pieces?
Yeah, I have some gaskets and pieces to stuff sitting around. I lose track of what the heck they’re all for!
Mostly, it’s opinion pieces on the nutrients.
Here pressure cooking did a really good job decreasing anti-nutrients in legumes (important idea), although decreased some micro-nutrients, but so did boiling. It’s on cowpeas. There’s a link to full text PDF at the bottom of this link I give:
Broccoli vitamin C retention was great! (But who pressure cooks broccoli??? Maybe when I freeze, I should use a pressure cooker to blanch????) Full text at bottom of the link too: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2006.00258.x/abstract
So if I had a pressure cooker, I would keep it in my repertoire. Good luck with parts!
I can’t imagine blanching broccoli in a pressure cooker.
Tim’s blog entry about oil pulling is interesting where he mentions the vagus nerve and chewing. Vagus is parasympathetic: the rest and digest. Which is why, when I see co-workers standing in the kitchen eating their lunches, I always tell them ‘put your bum on the chair! You can’t digest food properly if you are standing around and swallowing!’ I’ve got a personal policy that I sit down at the table when I eat.
I am anti-smoothies. Or even worse: juicing. No chewing means no vagus stimulation, no appropriate salivation, most smoothies are too high in sugars and acid so they coat the teeth without the appropriate churning movements which would normally clear ‘real food’ out of the oral cavity. Smoothies ‘on the run’ are even more disastrous. Supposedly we have teeth for a reason.
I agree with this. I’m even mulling over this idea when it comes to females’ GI health. I know, as much as I want to sit down and eat, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE with four kids. Sometimes I have a temper tantrum, and I make it clear I’m not moving until I relax and enjoy my meal. But, how relaxing and how good do I really chew when a two-year old is whining or an 8 year old is asking for help with something for school…
Hey Terri, as usual a post that makes me think, rethink, research and adjust as well as tidy up my master plan. I have finally gotten to the bottom of my issues. Would it be possible that you could quickly walk us through a day of eats for you. A few sample breakfasts, lunches, dinners and any snacks. It would be soooooo very helpful to me, my health and my sanity in this one big crazy pick-a-diet country we live in. I say that because Europe is so different and I feel so much better when I travel their. They are so true to their roots and cultures without a lot of room for crazy fads( although the younger generations in the city are changing that). Just returned from three weeks in three different countries and what a rest to be bombarded constantly with all the hyped crazy commercial “crap”. You are definitely my favorite blog friend. You are like me a mix of Lucy and Ethel. Now I am giving my age away. Hope you can supply me with those examples at your convenience. You have been so much help and can’t thank you enough. Peace😍
Oooh. I love Lucy and Ethel. Love ’em.
Anyhow, welcome back to the States.
What I do and eat is what I suggest for me, and I don’t suggest that it is “right.” And I don’t honestly think that people are “interested in what I eat”—LOL, as my mother likes to complain about Facebook posts, but since you asked…
I usually wake up and have my two cups of black coffee as I check in here at The HSD, read e-mails, and read on topics.
Breakfast: I then do not eat until between 10-12, depending on when I feel hungry. I do not feel hungry in the morning, so I go with this “intermittent fasting” thing because I seem to feel best doing this. For breakfast I usually have a leftover baked potato covered with salad leftover from the day before and/or onions and fresh parsley/cilantro. If I let myself run out of potatoes or intermittent fasting just doesn’t feel right, I might eat some bacon or sausage I make for the girls. Or some sardines with onion and parsley/cilantro with toast. Rarely, I might eat some “rice porridge” or teff sprinkled with hemp, walnuts, maple syrup, and raisins. I usually eat two main meals a day. So what I just described is my first.
Main Meal: Then, we usually have a meat (a beef oven pot roast, fish like smelt or salmon or cod, pork chops, a pork roast, ground beef, we eat stir-fries, curries, “pulled meat” in the crock pot, or soups too, etc—-I cannot eat chicken or poultry and feel all that good—so I don’t eat those much ever), a starch like white rice (sometimes with peas, spices and herbs in it like cumin and/or saffron, onion in it, garlic in it, chopped carrot—like an Indian rice) or green plantains (something called mofongo, Puerto Rican style) or a potato dish or cassava (yuca), and then with a red cabbage (we eat this about every day, everybody in the house, kids included have found it very pleasing so for the last year or more it has been a staple!) salad mixed with something green like spinach, arugula, kale–always with fresh cilantro or parsley and then with mix ins like grapes, oranges, raisins, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, etc and drizzled with fresh lemon juice and olive oil mixed with some garlic. We keep carrots, celery, broccoli, and asparagus in our veggie rotation, mixing them either in the salad, soups, or with the roasts or curries. I use lots of spices. I love herbs and spices. I maybe eat lentils or beans about once every ten days or so.
Between meals/snack: Then, for later, I will eat some leftovers. Fruit, depending on what’s on sale, in-season, or in my freezer or have a snack of “junk food” like peanut butter and rice crackers or a trail mix of nuts and Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Sometimes I bake fruit. I don’t eat many baked goods because I don’t feel good from something in them. 🙂 (I think you’ll get this, Lesq. But others are probably like, “What the heck? How does she ‘know’ something doesn’t make her feel good? Loco..” But I’m not, really! No more loco than anyone!) We’ll occasionally have popcorn or a Manchego cheese or chevre cheese. If the girls make some rice pasta, I might have some if there’s any leftover after they’re done. We make that all kinds of ways–white wine reductions, simple olive oil and herbs, mixed with cheeses I mentioned, red sauce, tons of steamed veggies tossed in, etc.
Well, there you go. More than you ever wanted to know or read on the internet!
Currently I am on auto immune paleo and fodmap diet due to GI issue. I used to have a lot of gas and struggle with gas pain everyday and I never thought that it is not normal until when I am on this diet, my belly is flat and I don’t struggle with gas pain anymore.
Sometimes I think GAPS and paleo are not just diet, it is a lifestyle. You can only be as healthy as your food can be. You can only be as healthy as the environment can be. If the chicken, beef, pork are loaded with growth hormones, antibiotics and all raised in a stressful environment, I don’t feel like eating those meats will be healthy.
Of course, I had my grief period. I grieved about not able to eat chocolate. I grieved about not able to drink wine. Then a moment of clarity came, the desire to be healthy is stronger than chocolate and wine. The resistance was gone. Actually, I feel my friends are grieving too. They grieved about not able to enjoy the favorite food with me. They tried to convince me to eat cake.
There is a lot of foods I cannot eat. So I try to expand my food list. Actually, there is excitement when I search for new food to eat like bison, elk, rabbit, fish roe, which I normally won’t eat. I have to think of ways to cooking them which is exciting too.
Thanks for your post and sharing. I am forever grateful for your blog.
Hi! I’m glad autoimmune Paleo and FODMAPs is helping! Yay! I’m like you; I enjoy branching out. I don’t have to view myself as stuck just because my usual route had a mudslide! There are other roads with perhaps nicer views, eh!?
I related very well to this:
“Of course, I had my grief period. I grieved about not able to eat chocolate. I grieved about not able to drink wine. Then a moment of clarity came, the desire to be healthy is stronger than chocolate and wine. The resistance was gone. Actually, I feel my friends are grieving too. They grieved about not able to enjoy the favorite food with me. They tried to convince me to eat cake.”
Thanks for your comment. Makes me enjoy writing even more.————-Terri
Hi Terri –
I’ve been on a new study recently. You know about the start of it, looking into the mind. The interaction between the unconscious and the conscious minds. I’d discredit myself with my current views, but there is a well-known study suggesting that our unconscious minds process millions of bytes per second while our conscious minds process something like 7 bytes per second. I might have the numbers wrong, but the proportions are right. Moreover, those 7 bytes are preprocessed, filtered, and biased by our unconscious minds. This seems uncontroversial.
My dad suffered from an injury in the Korean War. It was exacerbated by negligence on a job site. He fought for decades to receive compensation. His doctors told him it was all in his mind. I loved him, and supported him. But based on what I know now, maybe his doctors were right. I understand the reluctance to accept that pain and illness can be in the mind. But all pain is truly in the mind, so this fact does not make the pain fake or unreal. Pain in the mind and pain in the body are one and the same, and both deserve equal attention.
I read the book “Cure: The Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body” by Jo Marchant and was floored by the chapter on IBS. The cure? Hypnosis. Reintegrating the subconscious (the gut, being the second brain, part of the unconscious) with the conscious. It was a matter of teaching the unconscious to behave properly with the conscious wishes. From what I’ve read, it’s not really enough to consciously wish away problems, you have to work from bottom up, not top down.
For example, I’m known for liking lots and lots of garlic. And onions. It hurts. It burns. I sometimes smell. But these experiences are filtered by my unconscious. They are good things when they reach my conscious. A different filter would make the same things bad.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe something like the GAPS diet needs a retraining of the unconscious mind. I’ve had good experience with self-hypnosis.
Glad you addressed this. It is a difficult thing to address without minimizing people’s issues. My husband, a doctor who deals with pain every single day as an orthopedic surgeon, and I have talked about this at length when I started reading mind-body stuff. We have had some lively debates because I suggest that he should bring it up to his patients or have them read some Sarno, and he’s like, “Yeah. That’ll fly…Do you know how mad they’d get at me?”
I think you said it best when you said that we must reintegrate things from the bottom up, not the top down. Working from the top down, I believe, is actually detrimental. It belittles the deeply rooted “being(s)” in the subconscious. Tells it to “shut-up.” I like Sarno’s idea that we don’t know what’s “buried” in there, but we get clues from what bothers us. Those times that we get angry, sad, frustrated, irritated, depressed, volatile, tell ourselves to stop talking, tell ourselves we’re being silly, tell ourselves to let that dream goo, tell ourselves someone doesn’t love us, etc, those times are telling us the alignment of the exterior world is at odds with our interior. It’s in those slammed doors that pain and suffering is rooted, that the brain cannot produce its milieu of chemical compounds that can bring about healing of the body and even its own self as an organ. A bad marriage. A bad childhood. A dead-end job. To open that door and look at the “being(s)” inside there, allow them to pop up to the surface like a beach ball, to just say, “I see you. I hear you. Yes, let’s work on that together,” I think that is huge in getting better and staying better forever.
However, I think our conscious thoughts can guide us there. When I acknowledge that my GI has a problem and I seek to heal it, if I don’t stop seeking, eventually, I think it’ll lead us to where we’re supposed to be. Woo-woo. I KNOW. For example, when I was a child, I was in gifted and talented writing class. I loved to read and write. I wanted to be a writer right up until junior high school. My high school was not strong in language arts, but it was strong in math and science. So I dove into math and science, went to pharmacy school, went to medical school, etc. I used to read medical stuff and think, “Geesh. Why don’t they write this so people can understand? This is ridiculous.” [See that. See that irritation? What was it telling me? It was telling me a part of myself I had shut down! My “unconscious” was speaking! I could have written it so people understood!] So life passes on. I love to teach and teach a lot in residency. But career comes, kids comes. No teaching. No writing. No reading. Just screaming kids. (I say that with love. But it IS reality for primary caretakers!!!!) My gut shuts down. My headaches worsen. All a reflection of what’s happening inside. (Woo-woo. Woo-woo. So sorry to whoever is reading this.) However, I kept looking for an answer to what I thought was my GI problem…
And where did it lead me? Right back to the beginning. I love writing. I love teaching. My constipation problem led me to do something entirely foreign to me, start a blog where I read, write, and teach what I learn. Coincidence?
Well, I’m getting off track. I like to be in control of my own mind, even at parties. So I warily walk around hypnosis, although someone sent me some GI self-hypnosis recordings, and I have listened to them! I have found meditation (no particular school, who knows, maybe it even qualifies as “self-hypnosis,” I don’t know!), Sarno, self-prayer to be very helpful. I can definitely tell a difference, but with young kids, it is very hard to make that 20 minutes to do any of that. For any Christians reading, I know meditation and this mind stuff is often scary. But I’ve wondered, what in the world was Jesus doing praying so long? I really, really don’t think He was running through a mental check-list of prayer requests for hours! And I also know the first pre-requisite to His healings was a BELIEF that Jesus COULD heal. Faith. Utter, down-at-the-bottom, nowhere-to-go, He-can-do-this mentality. The conscious mind had to step out for this kind of faith.
Bottom line: Yes, I think addressing ourselves is of utmost importance and can impact our impression of and the quality of our disease, any disease. It can only go so far, though. My two year old had severe pyelonephritis recently. Could her subconscious have altered that course? I don’t think it’s fair to say that. After a traumatic injury with physical damage, is it fair to say that a person can gain full recovery? No, I don’t think so.
I’ll have more thoughts on this issue, I know, as I continue learning. Hope you had a good trip abroad a while back, Wilbur!
I love your reply! I don’t think it’s woo-woo at all, of course. I feel the whole experience of learning about the mind to be very liberating and wonderful.
We had a great time in London! Excellent food.
I always forget that hypnosis has a bad reputation because it is associated with the stage. That’s not representative of what it is (I didn’t know until I started studying it). It’s focused attention. Everybody spends large portions of their day in a state of hypnosis.
You’ve seen an action movie I’m sure where your body has physical reactions such as adrenaline surge, sweating, muscle tension, etc. That’s a hypnotic state. Your conscious stops interpreting or critiquing what you see so the subconscious accepts it as real. There’s no loss of control.
In fact, people who like to control their minds (I do too) are apparently easier to hypnotize (I am) because the exercise mental focus more often. I think hypnosis is the learning of how to lock in attention and block potential distractions.
My conjecture is that hypnosis is the same as perfect mindfulness. I know there is at least one book on the connection, but I’m not that interested. There’s a suspension of the narrative of the conscious mind. Everything just is; there’s no why. But I’ve never really been successful with mindfulness.
I routinely hypnotize myself while driving. Dangerous? Not if my focus is on the driving. Then it’s like seeing and hearing everything. If a car cuts me off, it just is. There’s a new car in front of me. No anger, no sense of unfairness. No narrative. I could not hold a conversation in such a state. When a driver is so engrossed in a conversation that they drive automatically, that is hypnosis, just on the wrong thing from a safety standpoint. The unconscious is responding to stimuli never registered by the conscious. Note that there is no conscious narrative about that stimuli (“I can’t believe that I ALWAYS miss that green light!”) that you might have if you were conscious of them.
I could go on and on. I feel like I’m doing the simple stuff, and there’s deeper stuff to come as I continue learning, to borrow your phrase. But the benefits are fun. I have no problems sleeping, in general, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, without hypnosis it takes maybe 30 minutes to go back to sleep. With hypnosis, about 30 seconds. Plus I get some play time with some lucid dreaming (more control!).
That reminds me! On our way to London, the conditions in the plane were awful. It was loud, very hot (my pillow was soaked with sweat), and the flight attendants were bumping into every thing with their breakfast service. I hypnotized myself by concentrating on all the distractions – those became my focus. And when they occurred, I told myself that I would become even more relaxed. My wife can usually sleep through anything. At the end of the flight, my wife turned to me and asked me how well I slept. “Like a baby. I feel great.” People around us turned toward me openmouthed. It turns out none of them had slept a minute! Later in the day it was a bit of a downer being ready to go while my wife and daughter just wanted to nap.
Anyway, maybe think about studying hypnosis. It actually provides more control over your mind. I find that I benefit in general – more general focus. I never understood how mindfulness was possible until doing this. Sometimes, I can feel how well I am hypnotized. It might start slipping away. In my mind, it’s as if I can physically pull back the awareness so I don’t lose it. Or I can physically push out conscious narrative. It’s really cool.
Interesting. I never thought of it this way. I will contemplate it with new eyes, as your explanations may indicate it’s not as far away from most people as I thought. In fact, technically, it is just a “thought” (or an “unthought”) away, just repeat continuously! Yet, as it is a difficult thing in life’s distractions, it is thousands of miles away. But I think the thought I have just now is that prayer, meditation, self-hypnosis, hypnosis are just perhaps a spectrum.
A bit different gear. There are some health books which have you retrain the brain in this interesting way: As soon as you feel/think what you don’t want to think/feel. Then, remember a time that you didn’t feel that way. Remember a time where you felt exactly how you want to feel right at this time. For me, it’s going back to high school when I served the ball in volleyball matches. I was aware. In control. And beyond alert. You then recreate everything about that moment you can, the smells, the sounds, the feel of the air, the sights, etc. So by doing this, you’re basically “resetting” the brain to associate the headache/fatigue/pain/whatever with this new thought. It actually can help quite a bit. Some people have good success with it and alleviate their fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue this way. It’s called the Lightning Process.
I think that any good diet/health book really must address the mind. I’ve always endeavored to take good care of my psychology, but I see now that even at that, how far I am. But I guess that’s as it’s supposed to be. I wasn’t born walking.
Thanks for the new take. I’ll ponder it as I read. I would like to point out, that meditation/self-hypnosis/whatever is challenging with children. In the case of the airplane, you were not needed. How does one separate oneself, as a primary parent, from the constant being needed? But when the screaming child is yours, it is difficult to separate oneself and focus in on something else. A friend had me try it because I told her how hard evenings were with the kids—supper, husband coming home, needing to get some kids to extra-curriculars—-and the baby was SUPER fussy at this time, screaming. She suggested that when the baby was screaming, that I just focus on sending her love and warmth. I tried it. Twice. I couldn’t do it. It was just easier to grit my teeth and feel like the victim. 🙂 Ahahaha!
“I was aware. In control. And beyond alert.” You were hypnotized! That’s exactly what it can feel like. I’m guessing “you” – your conscious thinking – felt completely separate from that awareness. The awareness emanated from within, not from consciously maintaining it. And you would have had to “snap out of it” to have any chance of having a meaningful conversation or to think about, for example, what you wanted for dinner. And despite your heightened awareness, you were probably very relaxed and felt great. And like the mindfulness people say, you were probably completely in the “now”. Without any effort.
After practicing, I can get myself in this state in seconds. Driving the car for example. Or at a piano recital for my daughter. The music became richer, and each song became a single entity – hard to explain, but it’s like the notes existed together, not at separate points in time.
Oh yeah, when you ask “where did the time go?”, you might have been at least partially hypnotized. Time seems to lose meaning in a hypnotic state.
I had never thought of the connection to prayer, but I bet you are right. Many bemoan the Catholic Church’s move away from Latin ceremonies because the rhythm together with not understanding the words would put people in hypnotic trances (a good thing if understood as heightened awareness). Prayer is probably similar.
The Lightning Process seems very similar to revivification induction in hypnosis. “Remember an event in your past that felt great.” When they focus on that and are not consciously filtering the hypnotist’s voice, “remember how you felt, what you saw, what you smelled, and how you feel that same way now…”. In my early days of learning hypnosis, the easiest way was to concentrate on recreating how I felt the first time I did it. And training myself not to slip out of it involved holding on to that feeling.
I think prayer, mindfulness, hypnosis, and others are probably very similar. Hypnosis got the bad reputation though.
I don’t know on the needy child. I think it might be useful for very quickly relaxing when the rare downtime moments occur. If the baby is playing by herself, lock your attention on her hands. The conscious narrative, a source of great stress, stops and the body relaxes. At the same time, you are beyond alert at what the child is doing. Or if the baby is sleeping and you want to too, lock in on her breathing and sounds. I’d be asleep in seconds. But I don’t know if it would be useful when you need to interact.
Many bemoan the Catholic Church’s move away from Latin ceremonies because the rhythm together with not understanding the words would put people in hypnotic trances (a good thing if understood as heightened awareness).——Huh. Didn’t know that. Sometimes, in church, I notice that certain music services are more “deep” and “moving” than others. I used to kind of get uncomfortable with that, thinking it was like a movie where without the music it wouldn’t be dramatic. Like it was the music that was making people worshipful. Perhaps the music just allows the person to get his/her mind off of himself/herself and be in the now. (Which is where God is trying to tell us He is: “I am.”).
Anyhow, good idea to focus on one piece of my child (like her hands) when I am overwhelmed with duties, whining, enforcing rules. I might try that and see what I think of that. I think moms (or primary caretakers) need good tips to help them through mundane, but challenging situations. That might be one that works! If you focus on your tweens hands, you can’t think about that snotty look… 🙂
Sorry to be so chatty, but I love this stuff.
I’ve been looking for a good book, and I think I finally found one today. “The Science of Self-Hypnosis: The Evidence Based Way to Hypnotize Yourself.” by Adam Eason.
Ironically, he wrote a book on self-hypnosis in 2004 with the word “unconscious ” in the title. He regrets it because he no longer believes there is an unconscious mind. He might be right, or not, but I don’t think it matters much for us tinkerers.
A quote in the book: “Perhaps the greatest single advancement made in the scientific study of hypnosis has been the realization that the ability to enter hypnosis is largely a skill of the patient, combining elements of focused attention, fantasy, and suspended belief.”
I got it free as part of Kindle Unlimited. I’m only 11% of the way through, but I like his approach so far, unlike some of the other self-help books.
I’m going to have a big chunk of time to read coming up in a month or two. I like to have many books to read. I’ll check it out. I see the author is a marathon runner! Tsk. Tsk. Not healthy. 🙂
Conscious, subconscious, unconscious–it’s ALL me! So probably all semantics and word management skills. Obviously, if the brain didn’t advance and/or repress parts of me, I’d still be crawling around in diapers.
I’d like to compare what this book may say with the self-hypnosis GI recordings someone sent me!
Hi Wilbur, long time no read.
What about an imbalance between the sympathetic and parasympathetics? That would seem to factor in with the unconscious and the conscious.
Hey Gabriella! It has been a long time!
I’m not very knowledgeable about imbalances like that. I think, however, that the chapter on IBS (or is it IBD?) and hypnosis in Jo Marchant’s book I mentioned above might indeed address that. These were people who were so bad off that their next option was to remove parts of their colons, a surgery they wanted. I don’t remember the details exactly (I listened to the audiobook), but the cure rate was astounding. Something like 80% had no symptoms a year later. Something like 40% of the total required no meds a year later. If I recall correctly, the establishment rejected the procedure because it’s impossible to do a double blind randomized study of hypnosis.
The basic idea was to get all of the parts of the nervous system in sync. The script was not in the book, but I remember one participant saying she was told to visualize a slowly flowing stream. There was probably more to it, and I’m not at that stage yet. Changing complex behavior patterns is best left to competent professionals, I think.
This kills me: “If I recall correctly, the establishment rejected the procedure because it’s impossible to do a double blind randomized study of hypnosis.”
I think they need a double blind study on the topic of common sense. Biostatistical analysis of common sense? Common sense in a pill form?
Oh yeah, one more detail I remembered: It seems a significant part of those not helped by hypnosis had had previous surgeries or injuries that might have damaged nerves around the colon. So as Terri said earlier, hypnosis is limited to certain types of problems.
This talk of hypnosis and getting the 2 brains in synch reminds me of the technique called “the smile”.
Short version – visualize a time you were very, very contented. While doing so, gather as much saliva as you can in your mouth (or take a sip of water). When you’re really ‘in the moment’ with the good feeling, swallow.
Huh. Hadn’t heard of that one! That’s pretty easy and cheap! Cheaper than a therapist! 😉