Tag Archives: lacto-fermented vegetables

The Juggling Act that is GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome™) or, “Keep these three balls in the air”


As many of you know, I have been teaching how to cook nourishing, traditional foods a la Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions Cookbook for more than 11 years now, since 2006. I started teaching how to cook for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ (GAPS) Diet in 2010, and have so far published two of my four part series on Cooking Techniques for the GAPS Diet–Meat Stock and Bone Broth, and Culturing Dairy. (Lacto-fermentation is due out by the end of this year…to be followed by Nuts and Seeds). I wrote the books with the aim to help clear up confusion about the diet and make the cooking “GAPS-style” easy. I took the training to become a Certified GAPS Practitioner in 2015, and have been working with people to heal their guts for years–young, old, and in between.

(I would like to say one thing clearly here, before I continue with this article on juggling: The GAPS diet is about the FOOD, folks. The food. Before you try all sorts of supplements and vitamins and healing modalities for your or your child’s symptoms, try the diet first. Give it time to work. Hang in there. Ask for help if you need it. It took time to get this far out of balance in your body, it is going to take time to bring it back on line. And we have seen tremendous healing happen by following the diet, by the food alone.)

Okay, back to the Juggling Act that is GAPS!

While implementing the GAPS diet, I have found that there are 3 things that you must juggle at once as you go through it—it is a balancing act, and all three parts must be maintained (kept in the air, if you will), if you are going to succeed. I am writing this article to bring this to your attention…because I know it will help in implementing the nutritional protocol, and ultimately, bring relief and speed healing.

First, Stop Injury. That means to remove all of the foods and ingredients and toxins that could further damage the lining of the small intestine. These are gluten, casein, and complex carbohydrates (aka starches), fibrous vegetables, as well as dyes, preservatives, soy, GMOs, and other food fractions that could be problematic. (For a full list, see Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book.)

Second, Heal and Seal. Healing and sealing is the role of Meat Stock, that delicious, nutritious “one pot meal that heals™”. Put very simply, the amino acids provide the building blocks for healing, and the gelatin does the sealing. (In my classes, I have often used the loose analogy of a brick wall: the amino acids are the bricks and the gelatin is the mortar. You get the idea. If there are holes in the mortar, things are going to get through–in this case, into the bloodstream. Need to Heal it and Seal it!) For more information about the role of meat stock, how to make it, and why it is the only stock used during the Intro of the GAPS Diet, see my article here. (Heck, it’s so important that I wrote a whole book about it!) In order to work its healing magic, it is a good idea to drink what I call ” a therapeutic dose” of meat stock every day–at least three, but better 4-6 eight ounce cups per day. (You will drink less when you have Healed and Sealed…that is, once you graduate to the Full GAPS diet.)

Thirdly, Repopulate the Gut with Healthy Microbes. One must turn the tide of dysbiosis, a situation where pathogenic bacteria reign supreme in the intestine.  In the GAPS diet, one repopulates the gut with beneficial bacteria with FOOD. It is the role of lacto-ferments (beet kvass, cabbage tonic, sauerkraut, fruit kvass) and cultured dairy in all of its forms (yogurt, cultured cream, sour(ed) cream-raw only- and kefir). People also use probiotic supplements, to increase the number of microbes in the system quickly. (It is very easy to add another 10, 20, or even hundreds of billion lacto-bacilli when taking a pill or a powder. There is only so much kraut one can eat in a day!)

I have no problem with probiotic supplements, in fact, often the addition of a good quality probiotic can help to clear tenacious symptoms when used in concert with the food. There are even a few that I recommend (see below), specifically because they are “clean” (contain no fillers and are “GAPS compliant”). Remember that when on GAPS, a probiotic may not contain FOS, inulin, or other prebiotics. They are starches or fiber, and will either “feed the bad guys” (pathogenic bacteria or opportunistic bacteria) or they will damage the gut. (See step one above: Stop Injury. Fiber can be like sandpaper to the gut wall. Since food travels down our alimentary canal, it will hit the damaged area first–the duodenum of the small intestine–before it gets to where it can be used, the colon.) So once you have found a probiotic without prebiotics in it, be sure that it has multiple strains (more than 12 is a good place to start).

I encourage you to keep these three things in mind–in balance, actually–as you travel along the road of healing your leaky gut with the GAPS nutritional protocol. One more time with feeling, here are those three things: 1. Stop Injury. 2. Heal and Seal. 3. Repopulate the Gut with Beneficial Microbes. These three things are all equally important. For example, if you are taking hundreds of billions of probiotics every day (which I don’t recommend–more on that later), but not drinking a therapeutic dose of meat stock EVERY day, you may be winning the battle of dysbiosis, but you won’t be Healing and Sealing. If you drink your meat stock every day, but don’t cut out all the foods that are damaging, (potatoes, or grains, or sugar, for example), you are continuing to blow holes in the small intestine, and continuing to feed pathogens. The gut will never seal, (like a wound that keeps getting the band-aid ripped off) and the bad guys-pathogens-will win. Makes sense? So GAPS is a juggling act, my friends. Keep all three balls in the air, and you win. It has been my experience, as I work with all sorts of individuals wanting to heal all sorts of symptoms with this diet, that if you can keep all the balls in the air, mindful of all the pieces at once, you will have a much better chance at moving through the protocol with ease and with better returns, faster.

Until next time, keep those balls in the air, folks!


Probiotics that are “GAPS legal”:


Gut Pro

Gut Pro Infant

Custom Probiotics

My Books:

Cooking Techniques for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ (GAPS) Diet, Part I: Meat Stock and Bone Broth

Cooking Techniques for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ (GAPS) Diet, Part II: Culturing Dairy

Recipe for Fruit Kvass

More information on the GAPS Diet: www.gaps.me

To work with me on implementing the GAPS Diet, schedule a free consultation here:  http://simplybeingwell.com/Consultations.html

Weston A. Price Foundation

Note: Some of the above are affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my writing.


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Teaching in Michigan!

Hello all,

I will be offering a class in Michigan, just outside Detroit, on Monday, August 1, from 7:00pm-9:30pm, at the Oakland Steiner School: Family-Friendly Ferments! You may register HERE

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Fermented Roasted Garlic Sauce. OMG, I just tasted nirvana.

Yep. Sure did. Unmistakable. I had some leftover turkey (who didn’t)? and wanted a little-special-something sauce. So I grabbed my mayo and I grabbed my FERMENTED ROASTED GARLIC and mixed them together in a bowl and dipped my turkey in and viola’! DELISH.  This sauce would be GREAT with roast beef, pork, or lamb. Just delightful! If you like horseradish sauce, you’ll LOVE this fermented roasted garlic sauce!

As you know, garlic is especially balancing during the season of autumn…and it is warming through the winter. Garlic is specifically healing to the lungs and respiratory systems…So be sure to include all types of garlic in your diet at least until springtime!

The fermented garlic recipe came from Nourishing Traditions. Sally calls it “pickled garlic”. I have to say, it IS one of the more tedious ferments, not because you have to roast the garlic first. It’s all that SQUISHING the roasted garlic out of the head that is messy and time consuming. That’s the hardest part. But then, it’s as easy as any ferment…a little good salt, a little whey, a couple of herbs, and a few days at room temp and you’ve got fermented roasted garlic.

…and you know what else you’ve got? …lactobacilli, the” gut good guys” and enzymes just to start. And you thought all  you were doing was making a dipping sauce for that left-over cold turkey.  Enjoy.  😉

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Chefs Move to Schools…The Revolution Continues!

Hello all,

Just wanted to share with you something I am thrilled to be a part of. The REAL FOOD REVOLUTION continues!!

Ruth Gresser, friend and chef/owner of Pizzeria Paradiso and I are participating in the Chefs Move to Schools initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama. We are adopting Takoma Park Middle School and will be there all day Monday, Nov 30, teaching 6th, 7th and 8th graders about REAL food. ..and yes, we’ll be MAKING THE KETCHUP!!! Fermented ketchup, of course. Teaching about the difference between REAL food and fake food, LIVE food and dead food…My favorite subjects! HOORAY!

Look for an article in the Gazette-they’ll be interviewing and filming us that day. I am always happy when I get to do something to positively impact children and their relationship with food. I’ll keep you posted!

For more information about ferments, see the Washington Post article September 18, It’s Alive!

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woo hoo! A week ago today…!

… I was featured on the front page of the Washington Post Food Section! It has been a busy and crazy one—which is why I am just posting today! …answering emails, being the Guest Chef on the WPost Food Chat…riding the crest of the wave I have been dreaming of  for a while now…I made it! HOORAY!

So for those who haven’t had a chance to read it, here’s the link to the article on Wednesday, September 15, 2010:

It’s Alive! Monica Corrado tasting her fermented salsa. DELISH!!!!!! Fermentation: A Wild Way to Make Food Come to Life

It was a great article, and a great first splash for lacto-fermentation. The FRONT PAGE of the Washington Post Food Section! WOOO HOOO! We did it! Keep on eating, folks, and keep up the FERMENTUM!! Thanks to Kristen Hinman who spent two and a half hours interviewing me. YES, I DID teach an entire fermentation class! She even made her own fermented ketchup. (and LOVED IT, btw!!) There was a lot to cover, and I think the article did a great job showing what I call and teach– “jar fermentation” a la Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and what Mike Henry practices and teaches “crock fermentation”, a la Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation.

Also, thanks to Kimberly Hartke, a REAL Food Media Blogger and publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation, for her wonderful article: Lacto-ferments Make Front Page of Washington Post Food Section.

Thanks to Mike Henry and Nessa Richman and Reid and Sonya Kramer for hosting the Second Annual Takoma Park Fermentation Festival, which served as the catalyst for the Post article and the photo in the Takoma Voice. I was thrilled to be asked to co-sponsor the festival and to be a part of spreading the “fermentum” at the grass-roots level. We’ll look for all of you next year, at our 3rd annual event! Monica Corrado at the Fermentation Festival Sept 4, 2010

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has written and called and emailed and FaceBooked and stopped me to offer congratulations. All of your notes have touched me deeply and all I can say is that I appreciate them more than words can express. Thank you for your support and for supporting my work these past years…and let’s keep at it! Changing the world one bite at a time…with fermented salsa, or fermented ketchup, or stock that you made from scratch. With love for your family and for yourself and for the Earth…

Whenever I wonder if what I am doing really counts, somehow one of you sends a note to thank me for the class I taught or the technique I demonstrated, or the resources I mentioned or the connections you made because of knowing me and coming to a class. I thank you for being the inspiration for my work, and for continuing the work quart by quart…pastured egg by pastured egg…grass-fed steak by grass-fed steak… May it continue to ripple out to touch all your family and friends…heck, this REAL food has to move…just give them a taste of those pickles or ketchup or chutney! DEEEELISH!! A friend of mine wrote and I quote…“The (REAL food) Revolution has begun!” YEAH!

If anyone would like to take a fermentation class soon, I just added Fun Ferments for Fall to the calendar, Thursday night September 30 at 7pm in Silver Spring, Maryland. These will be new ferments for Autumn…fermented turnips, beets, ginger, garlic, carrots…apple kraut… you may REGISTER HERE.

as always, I look forward to cooking with you!

be well, Monica


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Let’s build some “fermentum”! Join me at FermFest 2010!

We knew it would happen!

FERMENTATION is TAKING OFF!!! Folks are FINALLY getting that eating LIVE, FERMENTED foods are not only good for you, but DEEEEEELICIOUS!!!

Join me at FERMFEST 2010…The Takoma Park Backyard Fermentation Festival!

This Saturday, September 4, 2010 2pm to 5pm (rain or shine)

403 Elm Avenue, Takoma Park, MD

Spread the word!

Marvel at the wonders of fermentation!

Share & taste homemade live ferments made by local enthusiasts!

Witness time-tested fermentation techniques! (Note: live ferments are made without heat or vinegar)

Exchange cultures and recipes with your neighbors!

Homebrewers, children, cooks, and chemists welcome! and if it’s in Taky Pahk, you KNOW it’s going to be a GOOD TIME for all!!

I will be demonstrating what I call “JAR FERMENTATION“…Mike Henry, a sponsor of the event, will be demonstrating “CROCK FERMENTATION“.

Let’s build some fermentum!

Please pass along this invite to everyone and anyone you know who loves to ferment, wants to learn how to ferment, or is just wondering what all this fermentation is all about!!!

***Please RSVP if you plan to bring something for sampling*** so that we know how many tables to have available. RSVP (only if you’re bringing something) to : takomafermfest[at]gmail[dot]com

I look forward to FERMENTING with you!!

and oh, BTW, rumors have it that the Post will be there…so let’s show them some homegrown, hometown hospitality! And let’s show them how much we LOVE our FERMENTS!

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Why FERMENTED cucumbers top pickles any day!

Monica Chef at Market Greenbelt 2009

Here's a shot of me at the Greenbelt Market last year, 2009!

Join me this Sunday, August 29, when I will be Chef at Market in Historic Greenbelt, Maryland at the Greenbelt Farmers Market. I will be demonstrating the age-old technique of FERMENTING cucumbers…or, shall we say, making REAL PICKLES at 11am.

You may be confused. Pickling is one technique to preserve foods–in this case, cucumbers. Fermentation is another. What’s the difference? ONE BIG DIFFERENCE is that fermented cukes are full of LIVE enzymes, and pickled cukes are not. The live enzymes in fermented cukes (or anything fermented) are not only not killed through heat like they are in canning processes. That’s why I always say, “Don’t ‘CAN’, ‘CULTURE!!'”. Read on!

Now’s the time to take all those CUKES and put them up with a process called lacto-fermentation. Lacto-fermentation NOT ONLY PRESERVES FOOD, it also INCREASES live enzymes and vitamin content, adds good gut bacteria (aka “probiotics”), aids with digestion, AND tastes GREAT! It is also fast and easy to do! I will be teaching what I call the “jar method” of fermentation.  (and for all you folks with “I don’t eat dairy” flags going up, “lacto” does not refer to milk. But you’ll have to come to get the whole scoop!) Come and learn how to ferment all those vegetables  bursting out of your garden and at farmers markets right now. And if you insist on canning, at least learn how to lacto-ferment so that you may RE-ENLIVEN what you canned later!

LIVE FOOD COUNTS to your digestive system and your overall health!

I’ll look forward to seeing you there! Be well!

Fermented Pickles and Salsa

Fermented Cukes (aka “pickles”) and Salsa!

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