Tag Archives: GAPS

Chocolate Chip Cookies


This is our go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.  We made them today for a community benefit.  They are good.  The original recipe hails from God’s gift to grain-free bakers:  Elana Amsterdam, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.  The woman Is a baking genius.  She has a blog site, also:  Elana’s Pantry.  Since we have changed ingredients and changed instructions, I figured I’m far enough out from the original recipe to put it here on the blog.  But, Elana’s Pantry is an absolute must-see site for helping you come up with recipes that will help your family transition or stay on a new eating lifestyle that cuts out flour.

When you display your baking prowess , don’t call them “gluten-free” cookies.  Shameful.  Don’t give flour the upper hand that way.  Call them “Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies”, and I promise they’ll get a fair shake.

Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups Honeyville almond flour
1/4 teaspoonful salt
1/2 teaspoonful baking soda
2 tablespoonsful of cocoa powder (my daughter says this makes them taste more like “dairy”, by that she means “real cookies”)
1/2 cup of oil (we have used olive oil and coconut oil, both successfully)
1/2 cup of honey
1 tablespoonful vanilla
Generous amount of Enjoy Life chocolate chips, about 1/2 a bag

You may do the old-fashioned “mix the dry ingredients together, then the wet ingredients together, etc.”  However, I just dump it all together, except the chocolate chips, in a large bowl.  Mix very well using an electric mixer.  Add chocolate chips in last and quickly mix in on low.  Scoop out balls of equal amount using a teaspoon or tablespoon and place on a cookie sheet.  Use a nice cookie scoop if you have one.  The cookies do not spread out much, so flatten them out just a bit with the back of a spoon so they look more like “normal” cookies.  I can fit about 12 on  sheet or 14 if I have to.  This recipe makes us about 16-18 cookies.

Bake about 10-12 minutes on 350 degrees F.   But watch out.  Do not overbake.  The almond flour will burn.  I like the very edges to be just a smidgen brown–that is, the “tippy edges.”

I hope you enjoy them.  Elana’s Pantry is a great site, and I have used her recipes for biscuits, pot pie, cupcakes, and coffee cake with great success.  We modify most of her recipes to make them more compatible with the special diet I am experimenting with right now called GAPS.  Chocolate is not technically GAPS legal, especially when you add in a little sugar with the chocolate chips.  So you have to decide what’s best for you and your family.

Almond flour and Enjoy Life chocolate chips are expensive.  It sounds harsh, but I use this to remind myself that these almond flour recipes are really treats.  I have used them extensively over the last year, and I am now weaning my kids away from them.  Ever so subtle.  Ever so slow.

For us, finding recipes that simulated “old recipes” helped my kids’ mental attitudes, particularly in the sweets department.  I would love for you to list a favorite recipe you turned to so I can add to our repertoire and other readers can build on theirs.  I’m all about helping each other through this process!  Got any ideas to share?  Have a wonderful weekend!


Posts in the draft bin:  Short Chain Fatty Acids and My Metametrix, Pigeon-holed Physicians Continue reading

Abundance of Pears

Dried pears are probably our family’s favorite dried fruit.  When we made them for my daughter’s preschool snacks, they were even a hit with the kids there.  They are super sweet and keep that crunchy grit that great pears have.   You don’t have to be too worried about how you cut them before dehydrating them, either.  I’ve cut them thick and thin.  I’ve cut them in rings and strips.  No matter what, they’ve turned out delicious every time.


You’ll see that we used nice, red pears that we bought from the Azure Standard organic truck that rolls through town once a month, and we also used mottled, ugly pears from my in-law’s tree.  No matter.  As long as they’re soft, just yielding to thumb pressure, and sweet, you’ll get a delightful dried pear.  Don’t try to use a hard, unripe pear.  Yuck.  Wait on them.  They’ll soften up.  To make our dried pears, we simply:

  •  Wash pears and dry.
  • Cut or core out center ( I used a corer and my mother-in-law used a knife).
  • We do not peel them, and we do not place them in any preservative, not even ascorbic acid.  You could to keep them from turning brown and to add some vitamin C, but if I have to add an extra step–I probably won’t get something done.  So I skip it.  I think brown is a fabulous fall color!
  • Slice as desired into rings or strips.  Most of ours were about 1/4 inch thick, but some were thicker and some thinner!  ALL were good when dried.
  • Lay on dehydrating racks, leaving space around each pear.
  • Dehydrate at desired temperature.  I did a batch at “live foods” temperature (105 degrees F/ 40.6 degrees C), and they were too moist for my taste.  So I cranked the dehydrator up to 135 degrees F (57.2 degrees C).  I dehydrate them until they are the dryness I desire, about 8-10 hours.  We like them quite dry, and they keep longer this way.  Even still, they are not “chips.”  They are a little more chewy.

I bought a large Excalibur dehydrator and have made myself use it.  We like it a lot.  We make dried bananas.  I have the kids do it when we have a bunch of bananas going South.  We make beef jerky.  We make dried pears.  Fruit leathers.  Oh, and it’s absolutely awesome for yogurt.  Just the best.  So for us, the Excalibur was worth the investment.

Anyone else dried any fruit?  Like it?  Any thoughts on dried fruit in general?  Pears?  Give us your tips, your pearls, your ugly thoughts!


Related post:  Making Applesauce
In the draft bin:  Short Chain Fatty Acids on My Metametrix and Pigeon-holed Doctors

Keep That Wagon Rolling: My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks


USPosterFoodIsAWeapon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The humble, perhaps slightly insane, tips that allow me to stay on the diet that keeps me feeling the best:

Rank absolutes:  Absolutely not.  Should not.  It’s okay but not great.  Yes, I will!  As in, I absolutely won’t eat that.  I shouldn’t eat that.  It’s okay that I eat that, but not ideal.  And, yes, I will eat that, pass it my way–give it here–yeah–the whole plate–it’s on my diet…

Define when to break the “absolutes” and “should-nots.”  It could be never.  Or maybe it’s Christmas Day.  Or maybe it’s holidays and birthdays.  Or the first Thursday of any month after a full moon.  Maybe it’s 30 days after you start the Whole30 or 1 year after GAPS.  Just name breaks ahead of time and be resolute to make it to those times.  And don’t sneak in other times as “just this once.”

Decline people’s offers of food.  And don’t feel guilty about it.

Don’t eat at parties.  And don’t feel guilty about it.  Usually, it’s just easiest for me to say I ate right before I came and eat nothing at all.  Choosing ahead of time to just not eat at the party is simpler for me.  As I always used to eat at parties, I never really noticed that some people don’t.  There are other people who don’t.

Find a friend or two who eats similarly to you and doesn’t think you’re crazy.  Gluten-free, dairy-free eaters have learned to navigate the waters.  They’ve learned how to say, “No, thank you.”  They’ve learned to socialize and skip the food.  They know their “absolutely nots” and stick to them.  They’re reassuring to stand next to at a party with a glass of water, although they may wonder why you keep saying, “I looove you.”  (Actually I have a couple of friends, and we meet for coffee and talk honestly about how we are doing with our eating.)

Get out of the kitchen.  If you feel the “crazy, grazy” feeling, get out.  GET OUT, I SAY!  Just get out!  Clean kitchen or not.  And run fast and far.  Don’t look back until in the morning.

Focus on bodily symptoms that plague you when you eat certain foods and make it a goal to keep these symptoms GONE.  Weight shifts too slowly.  Try to find something like a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, sinus congestion, headache, migraine, dry/itchy eyes, bloating, constipation, etc.

Read the book or internet site of your chosen regime again.  “Yes, Robb Wolfe.” (Paleo)  “No, you’re right Dr. Wahls.”  (Terry Wahl’s MS diet)  “Oh, Melissa and Dallas, I meant to do it that way.”  (Whole30)  “I should know better than that Dr. Atkins.”  (Surely you know him.)  “Dr. Cambpell-McBride, I so missed that point the first time around.”  (GAPS)  And so on.  Just get motivated by reading the experts and the science again.

Know how YOU best handle treat (cheat) foods.  Are you a “just-a-teensy-smooch-here” kind of person–just a little treat with every meal?  Or are you a “you’d-best-be-prepared-to-bring-me-two-more-baskets-of-corn-chips-if-I-even-get-my-hands-on-one” kind of person?  I’m the latter.  A little treat here for me turns into treats all day, all night, tomorrow, the next day, and the next day, too.

That’s okay; I’ve learned to accept that tidbit of knowledge about myself.  I just know that, and so I don’t treat myself very often, and when I do, if the floodgate opens, I don’t beat myself up too badly.  It’s a little sad that I can’t be that “Don’t deprive yourself or you’ll ruin your diet” kind of person.  Let’s just choose to say that when I do something, I give it gusto.  Gusto…gustar…to eat.

Every person is different, and only YOU know which process suits you best.  Be honest and move forward.

Finish it, let it go, and start with vim and vigor in the morning.  Sometimes you fail.  You don’t leave the kitchen.  You take the first bite that you know will avalanche, and it does.  You don’t put the cookie down, the butter away, or the peanut butter back on the shelf.  You don’t leave the kitchen as mentally directed.  You don’t get the faucet shut off that night.  I unfortunately cannot leave a job unfinished either, and so I usually find it reassuring, for some reason, to just finish that food off there and then.  Because if I don’t, I’ll finish it off in the morning.  Why ruin two days?  And then I stand there, screaming insanely at my diet, “Look.  I am in charge here.  And I did it because I CAN.”

Failure can only occur if you’re not willing to try again.  I always try again in the morning and point out the bodily damage–but let the psychology of it go.

Loosen up on my family’s eating while I focus on myself.  This keeps me out of the kitchen until I get back on track.  I can’ t be all things to all people, and when I’m trying to get my eating on track, it takes all of my focus.  “Yeah!  Hot dogs again, mom?  We love hot dogs!”

Screw the breakfast rule and wait until I’m actually hungry.  “Experts” say to always eat breakfast.  Sometimes, I’m just not really hungry!  So I skip it.  Then make sure I have good, wholesome food around so I eat as I should when I am actually hungry around 11 am or so.  I’ve never read much on intermittent fasting, but I like to call this my version of it…

Admit when something about your nutritional program isn’t sitting well.  Maybe you have to add in a potato to feel good or keep the program together.  Maybe you can’t eat the sauerkraut or seaweed.  Whatever it is, always step back and ask yourself if “the rules” may need to be changed to suit your case.  Just as medicine is an “art”–I think nutrition is, too.  But make sure you’re being honest and have researched your change, and that you’re not just doing it out of a discomfort that will pass.

Remember when you felt the best.  And that’s your goal way of eating every day.  When you FELT your best.  Not your skinniest.  Not your most miles jogged.  Not your most strict.  Just when you felt good physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Make sure you really are getting nutrients.  Maybe you’re having cravings because you’re eating too many nuts and neglecting vegetables and fruits.  Maybe you’re really not getting enough calories.  Examine what you’re eating on the basis of nutrients.  A nutritionist can help immensely here!

Urge surf.  From another site:   “While reflecting on an urge, such as smoking a cigarette or eating junk food…we should first make note of all the physical and mental sensations that create that craving experience – these craving experiences will often vary depending on the person and the object of desire.  For example, you may identify a twisting sensation in your stomach whenever you crave another piece of cake. Learn how to tune into that feeling – step back and observe it – but don’t act on the impulse. Just watch your desires almost as if you are passively watching a movie.”  Very interesting and helpful, I think.

You are great, special, unique, wonderful, and have lots to give to this world.  Eat to make your system (your body) the best it can be at giving what only you have to give.


The Best Zucchini Ever

My spontaneous Romanian-Italian-American friend, married to a French-Camaroonian-American occasionally visits me, bearing gifts because she knows I’m on this crazy GAPS diet.  She grew up with traditional Eastern European food, spent her formative cooking years in Italy, and has the frenzied pace of an American mother.  “The Best Ever Zucchini” is one of many of her delicious recipes that such a diverse background allows her to cook up out of nowhere; raciti, chicken livers, and goat stew are others!  I feel so Italian when I eat this dish.  When I asked her how to make the zucchini, she said, “Oh.  It’s nothing.”  But, let me tell you, it’s something, and it’s great!

On a recent visit to her house, with 9 kids running around, she showed me how to create this awesome zucchini.  If you like Italian antipasti type stuff, you will LOVE this.  If not, may not be your thing.  It seems a bit complex for kids’ tastes, but it’s a real hit with my husband and I.  Refrigerate a day or two for optimal flavor.

The Best Zucchini Ever

Indoor grill, grill pan, or outdoor grill.  (I use my Panini press.)
1-2 zucchini (Of the size before it gets all seedy inside.  Smaller is better.)
1/4 cup of olive oil, high quality, extra virgin
1/4 cup of vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
1-2 cloves of pressed garlic

Prepare dressing/marinade:  Combine olive oil and vinegar in a container with a lid you can mix well or shake.  Add 1-2 cloves pressed garlic.  If you don’t have a garlic press, slice it or dice it as much as possible and add.  Add a few turns from a sea salt grinder (or a couple pinches of your choice of salt).  Shake well.

Prepare zucchini:  Slice zucchini thinly.  Small, young zucchini really work the best.  A mandolin is nice, but NOT a must.  Cut either long ways or diagonal.  Place on a hot grill with NO oil.  Place the zucchini on there “dry.”  Grill until there are nice, golden lines on the zucchini on both sides.  Place a layer of the grilled zucchini in a smaller sized casserole dish (perhaps 8×8 or smaller).  Drizzle some of the dressing over it.  Grill more zucchini.  Layer over the previous layer.  Drizzle with more dressing.  Repeat until all of zucchini is grilled and dressing all drizzled over it.  Then mix gently.

Place in fridge, covered, and allow to marinate.  Keeps for several days.  Alternatively, you may eat it warm and fresh when made, too.

Family “gustar” report: It is not kid-approved at my house but my husband and I devour this stuff!  If your child likes marinated things, like olives and artichokes, this recipe will probably go over great, even with kids.



Posts in the draft bin:  Ways I “Stay on the Wagon”, Doctors are Pigeon-Holed

Related posts:  Multiple Ways to Use up Zucchini

Snack Policy Changed

“It sounds so harsh when it’s in writing like that,” I said to my husband.

“Well, sometimes you get what you ask for, don’t you?”


Sometimes you get what you ask for.  Several months ago, I wrote a letter to our church requesting a change in our children’s snack policy.  There are a lot of issues facing our children, but here is one you can take control of.  Don’t bury your head in the sand thinking you can’t make a difference.  Food colorings, sugar, preservatives, and refined flour products are not good for us and our children.

They may whine and fuss, but we bring home the groceries.  I’m sorry, if you were a parent who washed (maybe you sterilized) the pacifier off when it fell on the floor, you are so accountable now.  (Mine just got the dirt popped back in, especially the first one.  She was so noisy.)


The church’s reply to my letter:

Terri, first of all, thanks for bringing this concern to our attention.
We want to do whatever we can to make sure that our kids are safe.
Here is what has been approved for Sunday School & Children’s Church. 
The nursery will have its own policy.
Sunday AM Food Policy:
Due to an increase of many food allergies among young people, we are requiring that no food/snacks be served during Sunday morning children’s ministries for children age 3 through the 6th Grade. (effective September 1, 2013) .
Thanks again for sharing this concern with us.


As a fun-loving mom, I feel horrible about being the movement behind this decision.  As a doctor who is aware of our skyrocketing childhood obesity, food allergy, and inflammatory problems, I feel at peace.  As a God-fearing woman, I know we are to take care of this fragile, yet hardy (or is it hardy, yet fragile), vessel of ours.

Thank you church, for responding.

It’s not about low-fat.  Low-calorie.  Vitamin C.  Fiber.  It’s about whole foods.  Real foods. And watching for food intolerances.

I would be happy if you took my letter and made it your own to implement change for your child.

Sincerely with my whole heart,



Related posts:

Don’t Make Me Sick:  Raising Food Allergy Awareness
Poisoned at Church (Frustration with all the candy at church)
Poisoned at Church, Sequel (A letter requesting change)
The Sunday Scoop, Asking for Change in Church’s Snack Policy (6/30/13) (First response to letter)

Posts in the Draft Bin:  How I try to stay on the wagon and a great zucchini recipe.

GAPS (Re)Introduction Finished

Read on if you are interested in my GAPS re-introduction post series; I am painfully aware that it is just too much information.  Otherwise, “sayonara” until next time a good-looking recipe pops up or a homeschooling post grabs your eye.  Meanwhile, question if what you feed your mouth is as full of nutrients as your body would like to keep itself free from allergies, headaches, joint pain, or GI distress.  Is it free of ingredients known or suspected by you to lead to hyperactivity, constipation, cravings or sinus congestion in yourself or those you love?  Adios.


I have officially put off re-introduction, but here is a recap:

Stage 1 consists of broths, meats, some cooked vegetables, and sauerkraut juice.  I did great there, simply omitting chicken as a source of broth or meat.  (Did you know my oldest daughter, before I believed in all this food intolerance stuff,  tested positive for a chicken allergy?  Do I think that some of those tummy aches she used to get so often came from chicken?  You betcha’.   Do you think I think that she was “allergic” to chicken because of my “leaky gut” during pregnancy…)

Stage 2 consists of broths, meats, vegetables, ghee (a type of butter that has allergenic proteins poured off), egg yolks, and sauerkraut juice.  Depending on how those go, you can add in some homemade yogurt.  I didn’t do super awesome with more than 1 teaspoonful of the ghee (headache and tiredness set in an hour or two after each time) so I never attempted the yogurt.   The  egg yolks also gave me headache and tiredness .  So I hovered on Stage 1 and 2, making sure the headaches and fatigue weren’t “all in my head.”  That’s stupid because–it’s all in my head.  Eventually, I decided  I’d have to leave them out.

Stage 3 allowed for pancakes made with nutbutter, veggies, and eggs; avocado; eggs; sauerkraut itself, and still abundant broth, meats, and cooked vegetables..  Avocado went fine overall, aside from some minor FODMAP related bloating.  I skipped anything containing eggs, including the pancakes, but I didn’t think I needed to have to forego the nutbutter; I figured if I could have it in a pancake, I could try it alone… The nutbutter went surprisingly well this time!  Actually, nutbutter went way too well this time.   After the test teaspoonful or two, I delved into finishing off the whole deal in a short time.  Physically, I tolerated the nutbutter okay.  No headaches, dry eyes, and my GI tract didn’t stop moving with the magnesium.  However, once I got a taste of that nutbutter, I ate it way in excess!  That can’t be what’s supposed to happen here in GAPS.

Stage 4 posed no issues with roasted and grilled meats, olive oil, carrot juice, and even a little ghee.  I did not eat any baked goods; no eggs yet.  I  don’t know when roasted vegetables come in, but I ate some roasted vegetables, too.  If I choose high FODMAP foods, I have lots of GI bloating and distension.  It is hard to not choose high FODMAP foods; they are some favorites (broccoli, avocado, Brussels, etc).  You can make an almond flour bread in this stage, but I am still afraid of eggs.

Stage 5 got kind of scattered with stage 6.  It is apparent that nearly all fruits give my stomach fits:  bloating, constipation alternating with diarrhea, and cramps.  Many vegetables do the same.  Juice is great, but I have the same problems.

So here I am again riding along in GAPS.  I have eaten way too much fruit lately, and I’m in a FODMAP folly.  Introduction was helpful because it really reinforced my intake of broth and helped me see clearly again weaknesses in my digestion/function with certain foods.  It allowed me to step back and appreciate the foods that I do tolerate well.  They are delicious, yummy foods, and I am glad that I do well with them.  Yes, eggs and dairy still don’t agree–and nut products need to be saved for special occasions if I care to indulge–but turkey, steak, shrimp, fish, kale,  spaghetti squash, a touch of garlic, olive oil, and so many other foods are great tasting and great for me.


What I really want you to know is this.  I got out my journals and food diaries from when I started GAPS before.  As I looked through, I saw it.  Early on I got fatigue and headaches and brain fog with chicken and eggs.  I just didn’t know that’s what it was!  So, I am NOT getting more food reactions on GAPS.  I’m just getting more aware of them.  That may not be true for some people, but that’s my case.


So, there you have it.  A redo of GAPS Intro.  I’m still going to keep this GAPS self-experiment up with a goal of two years to see where it leaves my digestion and food intolerances.  You’ll find me hard pressed to do introduction again.  I’d rather go ketogenic…

Related Posts:  GAPS Intro, GAPS (Re) Intro, Twelve Thoughts fro Twelve Days of GAPS Intro, Random Thoughts From Day 19 of GAPS Introduction

Posts in the draft bin:  Ways I Try to Stay on the Wagon and An Update on the Church Snack Policy

I Fell Off of the Wagon

wpid-IMAG0263-1.jpgSo you fell off of the wagon?  So?  We all do, and then we let the experience fester like a pimple on our face.  We see it and feel it and pick at it.  We think our whole face is one big pimple.  We just can’t stop touching it and picking it.  How did that pimple get so big and crazy?  It started as just a tiny little red thing…

You fell off of the wagon.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Why?

Because you had old cronies around for a visit?  Uh-huh.  That’s the way it works.  Because you got tired and everybody at work is doing it?  Yep.  Because you ran out of time and it was faster?  You betcha’.  Because you allowed yourself one bite of your problem food?  (If you don’t have a problem food or substance– or two or three, you don’t understand.  Some of us just have to swear some things “off limits” or be okay with knowing we will eat/use them to excess with just one bite/use.  For some of us, moderation is not an option.)

If you try to change your diet, you WILL fall off of the wagon sometime.  All those experts, Paleo Mom, Robb Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Steve and Jordan, Dr. Terry Wahls, Elaine Gottschall, and Dallas and Melissa.  Oh, heck, Dr. Oz.  You’ve heard of him.  They all fell off of the wagon.

I’ve read of a couple of people who say they didn’t fall off of the wagon, and I think that’s absolutely great.  They have expressed extreme success with their health and eating.  I give them a standing ovation.

But to you and I, I give my heartfelt encouragement.  I give my camaraderie.  My affection and empathy.  To you I give my hand.  My e-mail.  My comments section.  (But not a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.)  This path is hard.  Your challenger faces you at every street corner, every social function, every family member’s house, every children’s event, and every store.  Your failure is only a bite away.

I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you can’t eat the way other people eat.  (But you know most of them shouldn’t be eating it either. Geesh.  Why can’t they help you out a little?  You’re just asking them to give up bread, pizza, and tortilla chips in show of support.)  I am sorry your body said, “I can’t do this.  This food you’re feeding me…it is not working out.  You keep going this way, I will fall apart on you.  I will try not to, but I will not be able to stop it.  You keep feeding me the same empty food and keep asking me to come up with brilliant ideas, energy for a jog, libido for the spouse, patience for the kids…”

I ask you.  I beg you.  I implore you.  Keep your focus.  Every day.  All day.  Ever diligent.  You will fall off the wagon, but you WILL hold onto the reins.  That is NOT the same as failing.  Ever.  As you keep holding onto the reins, remember to pull back on them and slow the horses.  Slow those horses and get back on your wagon.  It’s your darn wagon, and with trial and error, you CAN learn to control it.  But not if you quit.

So what.  You had a bad day.  It turned it to two or maybe even 7-10 days.  Perhaps it has been the last five years bad.  It’s okay.  Promise me you’ll start in the morning.  I’ll even let you finish that jar of almond butter that you added some honey, vanilla, and salt to.  But start.  You have to keep starting, learning from your mistakes, and keep trying.

You may think it’s just extra weight, but really, it is function.  Weight is a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Headaches are a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Chronic allergic rhinitis is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Being underweight is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Bloating is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Aside from your doctor’s check-ups, you MUST look at food as a culprit for dysfunction.

And if you’re a mom endeavoring to change not only your own eating, but those habits of your children, I am cheering for you even more.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.  I won’t ask you to more than I can do.  (But I used to–my poor diabetics and cardiac patients…)


Followup post:  Keep That Wagon Rolling:  My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

Related Posts:   Grain-Free DietsGAPS, SCD, Paleo, Whole30, and Primal Diets, Choosing to Move Forward With the Plan, Eating out, Ditch the Word “Healthy”, How to Choose Honest Food, Tip Number 1 to Help Restore Health