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

three-colorful-juggling-balls-isolated-on-white-background_bv-teknjyl.jpg

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”:

Biokult

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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Why Train to Cook for the GAPS Diet?!!

As you may or may not know, cooking for the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet is not the same as traditional food cooking, a la WAPF or the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon. In fact, may people who implement the diet from Nourishing Traditions miss many important differences between GAPS and NT. They also make mistakes in the implementation, which may delay healing and actually aggravate symptoms. Some of the symptoms can be severe, like seizures, if you are prone to them! Lesser symptoms include migraines, headaches, nervous tics, rage and outbursts, stimming, brain fog…eczema…!

The GAPS diet is a therapeutic diet…with very specific techniques that were developed to achieve therapeutic results.

One of the biggest mistakes in implementation of the Intro part of the diet is people making bone broth instead of Meat Stock. Bone broth is not part of the Intro Diet. It is not mentioned anywhere in the Intro. (And, in fact, should not be served until AFTER the small intestine, aka the “leaky gut” has been healed. Stay tuned for my new book on the subject–on the how and the why…the Ultimate Guide…!)

For years I have been on list serves for the GAPS diet, and I have read horror stories about well-meaning moms who were trying their best to implement the diet for their severely autistic children and others. The children were refusing to drink the bone broth and their mothers were trying to sneak it in wherever they could. And the children were having severe symptoms, mothers often reporting that symptoms were getting worse, not better. Much of this could have been avoided if there had been a clear understanding of how to cook for the diet.

So…….if you would like to Heal Your Leaky Gut…you must do the Intro of the Diet. All six stages. No bone broth!

I will be teaching the techniques you will need to implement the Intro THIS MAY, Saturday and Sunday, the 16 and 17, in Fort Collins, CO. I have priced the weekend very reasonably so that many can join me!  I hope you will attend!

Here’s a quick testimonial from a Certified GAPS Practitioner who took my training last year:

“I recently attended Monica Corrado’s GAPS cooking series and was blown away by how much I learned (and how much I have been doing and teaching incorrectly), even after being involved in GAPS for almost a year! Although I have been constantly learning since being introduced to the GAPS diet, my certification training did not prepare me nearly enough to guide my clients in the intricacies of food portion of this healing protocol. And as food is the primary healing means of this protocol, it is vital that we understand it well. I now feel better equipped to assist my clients and myself through this healing journey.

I also enjoyed Monica’s high-energy, down-to-earth teaching and techniques. Because of her passion and her clear, memorable explanations, I will be able to remember and pass on what I learned. This is worth just as much as the content, in my opinion. Any resources invested in learning cooking with Monica is well worth it–whether going through the diet yourself or assisting others through it. I would recommend this course to anyone!” Amy Mihaly, FNP, Certified GAPS Practitioner, Loveland, CO of Wholly Guts.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, is very familiar with and supportive of my work of training people to cook for the GAPS diet. This training is not currently offered in this way elsewhere. Since Food is the Foundation of the diet, knowing how to cook the food for the diet is absolutely necessary.

I invite you to attend this GAPS Cooking Weekend so that you may deeply and fully know the secrets to implementing the diet and you may implement it with the knowledge and tools you need, as well as the confidence to do so!   Cooking for the GAPS Diet, Saturday and Sunday, May 16-17, 2015…Fort Collins, CO. More information HERE. And for those of you who cannot attend, I happily guide folks through the implementation, in a Wellness Consultation. Find your time here: http://simplybeingwell.com/Consultations.html

be well, all!

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“Mom! Is that butter?!”

Was the call from my eight year old son this morning. I had just offered him a graham cracker that was covered with what we call “Nature’s frosting”: butter. Organic butter, that is…a good half inch high. Why did he question whether it was butter, you ask? Ah, the tale I will tell! Can anyone guess?

Organic butter: White :(

Organic butter: White 😦

The COLOR. The color of the butter was very light yellow to almost white. The color my son is used to seeing is YELLOW. Is this significant? YES. The color of the butter will let you know that the cows ate GRASS. We KNOW that what cows eat is highly significant: to the cows, the Earth, and our bodies.

What is very interesting to me (and should be to you also) is that the butter was ORGANIC. This is significant also… It tells you that even though butter may be organic, it in no way means it comes from grass-fed or pastured cows. (It does currently guarantee that the grains the cows are fed are organic– which will guard you from the GMO-laden feeds used in conventional dairies. ) Why should you care?

Folks all over the country are starting to wake up to preferring grass-fed or “pastured” dairy products including butter, milk, cream and cheese. Grass-fed or pastured dairy is nutritionally superior to dairy that comes from grain-fed operations. And not only that, but it also comes from cows that are raised on pasture, as Nature intended them to be… Not in the confinement feeding operations (CAFOs, confined animal feeding operations) that became so popular in this country in the eighties.

Beautiful YELLOW grass-fed butter!! Homemade!

Beautiful YELLOW grass-fed butter!! Homemade!

So in this case, “the eyes have it”: rich, yellow butter IS better. And use it liberally, folks. Nature’s frosting.

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Why I don’t like (Meatless) Mondays!

Cows on pasture at Polyface Farm

Cows on pasture at Polyface Farm

Hello dear readers! Happy New Year to all of you!

I am writing because it is Monday…a Monday suggested to be “Meatless” by Food, Inc. and others.  (Yep. All over FB today.) Heck, there’s a whole website and movement dedicated to it. It’s the start of a new year, and I’d just like to clear something up from the get-go.

I would LOVE “Meatless Mondays” if it was specified that the meat we are being asked to go without on Mondays was CAFO meat. That is, meat from animals raised in confinement–specifically, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, “CAFOs”. You see, a CAFO burger is not a burger…a CAFO steak is not a steak…one cannot compare meat from a CAFO operation with that from a pasture. CAFOs are also known as feedlots.  (There are a  lot of them out here in Colorado; I have the distinct displeasure of driving by them and the stench of them permeates the air some mornings, depending on how the wind blows. Ever put your head into a diaper pail filled with dirty diapers and taken a sniff? You get the idea. Repulsive. Hundreds and thousands of cows crowded on a dirt lot, standing in their own excrement, eating grain full of soy and corn and more–which is probably GMO. And that’s the meat we get to eat here in the USA.)

The vast majority of meat eaten in America comes from CAFOs. Yes, it does. That burger at your favorite burger joint, that filet mignon at that fancy French restaurant, the taco at your favorite Mexican restaurant…nearly all the beef in every supermarket in the country including Whole Foods Market (unless it is marked “grassfed” and “grass-finished”.) But let us not confuse meat from CAFOs with meat from animals raised on pasture as they are meant to be. Grassfed and -finished meat is good for the planet, good for the animals and good for you and your health. One just cannot compare CAFO meat with grass-fed and -finished meat. So let’s not lump them together, shall we? The health problems attributed to meat is not the meat that is raised on pasture, sustainably.

Grass-fed meat is good for the planet. Grass farming sequesters carbon! This knocks out the popular argument that eating meat contributes to global warming… “if you care about the planet, stop eating meat”. Oy.  If all cows were on pasture, we would not have the methane gas problem that we do today, nor many of the other problems that feedlots produce including runoff and water pollution. The High Priest of Pasture, one of my heroes, Joel Salatin, talks eloquently about carbon sequestration all the time.  Here’s a great talk Joel gave at TEDMED in DC April 2012.  Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards  also spoke on How Grassfed Beef will Save the World last November at the Weston A. Price Foundation annual conference.

Grass-fed meat is good for the animals because…well, duh. Animals are meant to express their “animal-ness”, to paraphrase Joel Salatin. Cows and bison are meant to eat grass. Chickens are meant to eat grass and bugs. It’s “humane” if that fits for animals, it’s ethical, and it’s natural. What’s good for the animals is good for us. Read on.

Grass-fed meat is good for us to eat because it is more nutritious, leaner, and chock full of Omega 3s (those Essential Fatty Acids your brain and your body needs) and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid…with anti-cancer properties and many other good things!) Everyone knows that the nutrient profile of meat depends upon what the animal (or bird or fish) is fed. Meat from animals raised on pasture is simply more nutritious because it comes from animals that ate what they are supposed to eat. Grass.  Also, you know this food is more nutrient-dense because you are not hungry an hour or two after you eat! You are satisfied.

But again, this is America, and the vast majority of meat eaten in this country is from animals in CAFOs.  Not kidding. We can continue to patronize our crazy food system that perpetuates the confinement model, or we can make another choice; take a different path. Truth is, I would love it if EVERY day were declared a CAFO-meatless day! Can you imagine if everyone stopped eating meat from animals raised on feedlots or in cages? The entire fast-food industry would come crashing down…supermarket meat shelves would bulge with burger patties and steaks and hot dogs and sausages…and chicken tenders and breasts until they rotted past their expiration date. People would be healthier! Hospitals and doctors and prescription drug makers would have no takers! We would have more energy due to more nutrients in our bodies AND less toxins from our food. Heck, I daresay we would have a revolution on our hands!

Let’s do it.

Let’s make EVERY day a CAFO-meatless day! Or to say it differently, let’s make every day a pastured meat day! Vote with your pocket book, folks! Seek out meat from local sources (or not so local when necessary) that raise their animals on pasture. And make it a CAFO-meatless Monday! And Tuesday! And Wednesday! And…you get it. 😉 Eat Wild is a great site to find local grass-fed meat. And check with your local WAPF chapter for farmers, farmers markets, and CSAs near you.

(Don’t even get me started about all the milk Americans drink from confinement dairies. That will have to be for another time.)

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Why I Love Tom Cowan and the Fourfold Healing Conference

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend this year’s Fourfold Path to Healing conference in Baltimore this past weekend. It was my second year; last year I flew to San Francisco to attend and exhibit. This year, I was asked to teach a day of pre-conference cooking classes and make pate’ for 200 or so people for the opening reception Friday night. I also exhibited and helped to be sure the food functions went smoothly, that is, WAPF style.

Here and there I was able to catch bits of Dr. Tom Cowan’s lectures, 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and those bits made the conference worth it for me. Here’s why, and why I love this conference.

The Fourfold conference is based on the book of the same title, which Dr Cowan is the primary author. The other two authors are Sally Fallon (now Morell) and Jaimen McMillan. The book talks about just what the title says: what Dr Cowan believes are the four paths to healing-nutrition, therapeutics, movement and meditation, and the conference is built on the same. Participants have the opportunity to go deep in three of the paths with one of the authors…you guessed it: Sally talks about nutrition, Jaimen does Spatial Dynamics, and Tom therapeutics. To me, meditation, aka spirituality infuses the whole thing. That’s the point here, folks. The one that just thrills me to my core… Here is a medical doctor, looking at and talking about health, healing, wellness and dis-ease in the body through the lens of spirit. The lens he uses is called “anthroposophy“, which was brought forward by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s.

How cool is it that a MD is looking at the human body and what goes wrong with it and what goes right with it through the lens of spirit? Very cool. The only thing that is cooler is that 200 or so people came to hear him. And I was one of them.

Dr Cowan looks at patterns as he endeavors to discern what is going on with each patient. He encourages us to use “macroscopes”, not microscopes. He has no use for minutiae. Dr Cowan knows that the clues and the answers will be found in the big picture. This is why he asks his patients to tell him their story. In the story lies the clues to why particular symptoms are showing up in the body. When was the last time your MD asked you to tell your story?!

The lens or metaphor that Dr Cowan used was the Threefold plant. He likened the human to a plant, divided onto 3 sections-head or flowers, middle or stem and bottom or roots. (Here’s where I encourage you to read the book and get more information for yourself; remember, I was running in and out and coordinating food and caught bits and pieces. May this interpretation pique your interest and lead you to seek more. I do not claim that I “got it all” folks. This is my best rendering. :)) By looking at the characteristics of the symptoms and where they showed up, one could determine which plant remedies (often homeopathics) would help guide the person through the symptoms to relief. One thing that struck a truth chord for me was Dr Cowan’s statement that if acute symptoms are allowed to run their course, they will not turn into chronic symptoms. When was the last time you let a fever or pneumonia (the body’s cure for asthma) run its course?

Dr Cowan also talked about the Fourfold human. Unfortunately for me, I missed the beginning of the session but what I did hear was fascinating, and made so much sense. I am eager to learn more. I look forward to finding my Fourfold book and reading it cover to cover. If you are looking for a new (though based on an old-anthroposophy) way of looking at the human body, the human being, and well-being, I encourage you get a copy and do the same!

 

FYI, Dr Cowan is available for phone consultations if you are not in the San Francisco area. He also offers his own Community Supported Healthcare program. Check it out!!

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Eggnog Made Right is a Super-Food!

Yes, it’s true! Eggnog a super-food! But this is not your ordinary, store-bought eggnog. It is not even the organic eggnog available on supermarket shelves. It is eggnog you make yourself, from pure, nutrient-dense ingredients in their most natural state: clean, pure, fresh milk, raw egg yolks from pastured hens, fresh grated nutmeg and perhaps a dash of cinnamon. Some folks like to add cream, but my experience with fresh raw milk is that it is do rich, the cream is not needed.

Let me tell you how I happened upon this: I was working at the annual Weston A. Price Foundation conference in Dallas last month, Wise Traditions 2011, coordinating all the food and acting as liaison between WAPF principles and the kitchen staff for 1200 or so participants. Long days, lots of running, to put it mildly. I needed my body to keep up the pave, and I needed my mind to stay clear. I was blessed to work with Mike Mudrak, (who was what I called a “runner”; others would call him a “gopher”, amd oh what a running gopher he was!) I got to meet Mike’s wife Judith. (Judith runs an annual tour to her native Switzerland every year through WAPF.) Every morning, they started their day with eggnog. This was a simple recipe: raw milk and raw egg yolks; often 5 yolks to about 8-12 oz. of milk. Stir. Down the hatch! I was a disbeliever-and then I tried a glass. (Truth be told, Judith took it easy on me and I started with a small glass and 3 yolks instead of their usual 5 or 6.) Wow! Nutrient-dense Nirvana! That cup of power got me through for hours! And my thinking was sharp and clear, even though I had been working for days!

So just last night, I was craving calcium and fat. I had just enjoyed a delightful meal of potatoes, onions and kale cooked in bacon fat with German sausages from our local meat market. Still hungry. Then I remembered: eggnog. I had all the ingredients right in my fridge. Yum yum. Down the hatch! Delish! That’s when it occurred to me; I started thinking… eggnog made well is a true super-food! All of the live enzymes, good fat, healthy bacteria, and available protein in the fresh milk plus all the nutrients in the incredible egg yolk! Some cinnamon for stoking the digestive fire…

If you are blessed in this country to have access to fresh, clean, raw milk and pastured eggs, make this super-food for your family! Especially your children! Don’t hold back! They need the calcium and the fat and the choline in the yolks for their brains! Enjoy! Enjoy! And happy holidays to all of you who celebrate the season!

P. S. I do not encourage you to try this with pasteurized milk or cream. Organic or not, from grass-fed cows or not, pasteurized milk is hard to digest for most people and is just not worth it. A possible compromise: use watered down organic, whole milk, plain yogurt with pastured egg yolks. Just “up” the number of yolks and add vanilla and a bit of maple syrup to counter the sour yogurt taste!

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A GREAT article on raw milk

Check this one out, by Ted Beals, MD “Those Pathogens, What You Should Know“.

I personally love bacteria, especially lactic-acid producing bacteria…the ones I teach folks to grow in the process of lacto-fermentation..and culturing!

For more great info about real raw milk, see www.realmilk.com and the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. And if you care about your right to choose what food you eat and where you purchase it, JOIN the FTCLDF!

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