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Starting Gaps

Posted by , in GAPS 08 June 2011 · 1,340 views

The GAPS diet is a major change for most people. We get asked how to get started all the time, so we've finally worked out the basics of what you need to do to be ready for success. We were already gluten-free, into cooking from scratch, and all about whole, organic, locally sourced foods when we started. Even so, it was a huge challenge for us!

You can do it on your own, but if you'd like help, we're here! LINKS TO OUR SERVICES STRIPPED OUT.

Figure Out Your Real Food Sources
You'll need sources for:
  • organic, pastured meat, bones, and fats - if there are farmers in your area, buying direct from them is a good way to go. If you need to buy from a butcher, make sure that the meat is not cut, stored, or handled with equipment that is shared with processed meats. Also make sure that the meat has not been sprayed with corn or injected with saline!
  • organic vegetables - growing your own is the best, but for larger quantities or if you are not the gardening type, just make sure to buy certified organic. If you are going to buy from a farmer who is not certified but follows organic practices, make sure to ask questions to help you verify the claims.
  • free-range, fresh, organic eggs - again, growing your own is the best! If that is not practical in your space, see if there are local farmers or neighbors who can provide you with your eggs. If all else fails, you can buy a major brand at the store.
  • organic, pastured raw milk - you'll be using this to make dairy kefir and yogurt, so make sure you have the highest quality milk. The FDA is currently cracking down on raw milk, so it can be difficult to source. In our area, we source our raw milk through a cow-share. We own a percentage of a specific cow who provides our milk and pay for her upkeep. The milk she produces is delivered by the farmer to a local drop-site every week. You may be able to find a herd-share or cow-share, or even raise your own milk-goat or cow.
  • water kefir grains - you may be able to get these from a friend. If not, you can order them from Cultures for Health
  • dairy kefir grains - you may be able to get these from a friend. If not, you can order them from Cultures for Health
  • nuts - nuts in the bulk bins or from most manufacturers are not gluten-free due to cross-contamination. You'll want to buy plain nuts and go through the process of rinsing, then soaking and dehydrating them. For guaranteed gluten-free nuts (which you should also soak and dehydrate), you may buy them from NutsOnLine.
  • coconut oil - coconut oil is a saturated fat and and can be used as a moisturizer, salve for small cuts, and as a delicious ingredient in all sorts of recipes.
  • raw, local honey - You need pure honey that has not been heated. It's best if it comes from your own area, too, because it will have been made from the same flowers that are spreading their pollen all around!
  • fermented cod liver oil - I like this post from Kitchen Stewardship on the subject of fermented cod liver oil. You can buy it from Green Pasture's web site. Taking it from a spoon is the easiest way we've found. We take the Cinnamon Tingle flavor, but the new Emulsified Mint flavor is decent as well. Check out this video from Kelly the Kitchen Kop, where she gives her 5 year old a taste test. Super cute!

Get Your Kitchen Ready
If you weren't already cooking from scratch all the time, you're about to learn! Our LINKS TO OUR AMAZON STORE AND SPECIFIC PRODUCT LINKS BELOW STRIPPED OUT has the kitchen equipment we use most and recommend. In order to make the healing foods you need to eat on the GAPS diet, you'll need to learn and prepare for:
  • making stock - get a big stainless steel stock pot and read up on how to make bone broth and stock from carcasses. We'll have a post on that soon!
  • freezing foods - while it would be possible to do GAPS without a large chest freezer, I wouldn't want to. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve extra stock, bulk purchases of meat, and leftovers. You'll want freezer space and wide mouth, freezer safe jars.
  • dehydrating foods - while you can make your own out of a fan and a screen, it's much more practical to buy a food dehydrater. We use the Nesco FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator, but many folks swear by their Excalibur Food Dehydrators.
  • slow cooker ("crockpot") cooking - Hamilton Beach is the only brand of slow cooker that currently claims to use lead-free glaze. Their 6 quart programmable slow cooker has a temperature probe and is big enough to fit a chicken. While not quite big enough to fit a chicken, the 3-in-1 Slow Cooker with 2-, 4-, and 6-Quart Crocks is like three cookers in one.
  • fermenting food - Sandor Katz's book Wild Fermentation is a good place to start if you're new to fermentation. Mason jars and a dark place are all you really need, but a fermenting crock is useful for making larger batches of sauerkraut.
  • pure water - you'll need a good water filter. Reverse osmosis is the best, but we're making do with an under the sink carbon filter. The best carbon filters I've seen so far are Berkey Stainless Steel filters. The Berkey doesn't have to be hooked up to your plumbing to work. Bottled water is not ideal! See the documentary Tapped for more information on that!

Detoxify Your Kitchen

First, you must eliminate all gluten and known allergens from your kitchen and home. Go through every product in the house, read the label, and get rid of anything you can't have. Next, get rid of contaminated utensils and appliances. Then it's time for the first of two deep cleans. Use new sponges and clean rags for each deep clean.

I've got a big post coming with step by step instructions. Or, if you live in Portland, OR, you can skip all that work and hire us to liberate your kitchen LINKS TO OUR SERVICES STRIPPED OUT for you!

Next, take all of the foods not allowed on your current GAPS Intro stage out of sight. We designated a kitchen cabinets for foods we would get on later stages. This cabinet was totally off limits! We also moved some foods out to shelves in our garage. The main idea is to eliminate temptation in your home, and to focus yourself on what you can eat. The foods you see should be things you can eat!

Get the Food Started
  • stock up on stock - Make a big pot of stock. Actually, make many big pots of stock. Jar it up in wide mouth pint jars, put a bunch in the fridge, and freeze the rest. You will be eating soup for every meal at first, so you will definitely need more than you think! (Note: While pressure canning is not ideal or strictly GAPS legal, if you don't have the freezer space and don't have the time or space to continually have stock going, it beats not having any or buying some from the store.)
  • get good veggies - Get lots of vegetables to add to your soup. Make sure they are on the approved foods list!
  • start some kraut - Sauerkraut takes a few days, so you'll want to get it started right away. We have a day by day series on the simple process.

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