A friend of mine asked me this week how my GAPS diet was going. “I hope it’s going well,” she said. I had to think about my answer, because I didn’t feel like it was going well, but it wasn’t exactly not going well either. In my mind, GAPS was taking the form of a stout German nurse. I’m sure you know the stereotype. They showed up in a lot of old black and white films, were very solid and burly women who never smiled and man-handled their patients into the necessary treatments. They didn’t exactly offer comfort or gentleness, but they were firm, unyielding and got the job done. My new pet name for my diet is “Krankenshwester GAPS”
I spent week 4 in Stage 3 of the Introductory Diet. The foods in Stage 3 all sounded delicious and I had hoped that they would add a greater variety to what I was eating. As it turns out, my progress through Stage 3 has been pretty slow.
I began the week by adding avocado. I love avocado, so this was a most welcome addition. I ate one avocado per day, adding a portion of it to each bowl of soup or stew. If you’re unsure how to pick a ripe avocado, you want it to be firm, but just a bit soft when you squeeze it–kind of like a peach. I mash the avocado into the bottom of my bowl, stir in the egg yolk (continued from Stage 2) and then ladle my warmed soup or stew over the top of it, stirring it all together. No problems with the avocado, so I moved on to the next thing…
Okay, so they’re not real pancakes, like you’d get at IHOP (and I’m not one of those people who’s going to try to tell you that they taste just as good as “real” pancakes) But since I can’t eat fluffy, buttermilk pancakes, and I can eat GAPS pancakes, I’ll take the GAPS pancakes. And they are pretty tasty.
The GAPS Guide says to make these with three ingredients: pumpkin (or other winter squash), eggs, and nut butter. But there is no “official” recipe for these pancakes. It took a lot of experimentation for me to find the best ratio of those ingredients. But by the week’s end, I had my ingredients fairly settled, and I’ve posted the recipe below. My recipe uses egg yolks (no whites), and makes a small batch. My pan gets pretty gunky from the almond butter after two rounds and I have to wash it out. Making a large batch hasn’t really seemed any easier than making a small batch.
These pancakes burn fairly quickly, so keep the heat low and be watchful. You must also be quite generous in the amount of fat you use for frying them. Use a lot. I liked using coconut oil, but you could also use ghee or any other animal fat.
It also took some trial and error to find the right size. At first I was making them quite large (picture a normal pancake size) and they were impossible to flip. I finally settled on making them about 3 inches in diameter, so that I could fit 3 of them in my frying pan. They were easier to flip this way.
Just because I get to eat pancakes now, doesn’t mean I get to eat them all the time. No siree. I start with one small pancake per day and increase the amount gradually. And it’s best to eat them with some soup or broth, which helps digest them. Soup is still the basis of my diet, followed closely by stew. The pancakes fill in as afternoon snack.
Up next was scrambled eggs. Since I hadn’t been successful in my earlier attempts to incorporate egg whites, I decided that I should start with soft-boiled whites (easier to digest) and went back to adding soft-boiled eggs to my soup and stew, eating one per day. The first day was fine, the second day was fine. The morning of the third day I had noticeable symptoms of digestive distress. ~sigh. I went back to separating eggs.
The end of the week I devoted to nothing new. I backed off from dietary challenges and spent those few days recovering from the egg whites and allowing myself to settle into the pancakes.
Here’s what my diet looked like for Week 4 of Intro (Stage 3)
- continued all foods from Stages 1 and 2 (soup, ginger-lemon tea, “juice” from fermented veggies, egg yolks, stew, fermented fish)
- ripe, smashed avocado, mixed into soup and stew
- squash and nut-butter “pancakes”
I began to reintroduce some of my former supplements. Here’s what my supplements looked like:
- Hydrochloric acid before meals, to aid in digestion
- Probiotic–half dose in the morning and a half dose in the evening
- Prescription meds for ulcerative colitis
- Trace minerals, added to a cup of water every morning
- 1 spoonful cod liver oil, every morning
The cod liver oil is a GAPS recommended supplement. The trace minerals were recommended by my naturopath. Once I started adding in all these supplements, I had to make a chart for myself to remind me what to take and when to take it. I check off the boxes everyday and it’s so much easier than trying to keep track of it in my foggy, crowded brain (along with the day’s math lesson, dinner plans, what time soccer starts, and putting the laundry in the dryer)
I continued my daily detox baths, alternating baking soda and epsom salts. Pretty soon I get to add to my detox regimen with freshly pressed juices (my new juicer just arrived today and I’m so excited! More on that later.)
During week 4 I noticed an ever-so-slight increase in energy, and seemed to be a little less foggy-brained. This was the first week that I didn’t feel it necessary to take a nap every afternoon. Although I greatly enjoy taking naps, it’s hard to fit in an hour for napping every single afternoon. So at the end of week 4 I’m feeling like GAPS is still getting the better of me, but maybe I’m starting to close in on it a little bit.
GAPS Pumpkin Pancakes
There are dozens of variations of GAPS pancakes. This is mine.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
- 1/3-1/2 cup fresh cooked pumpkin or butternut squash, or kabocha
- 2 Tbs organic almond butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- In a food processor or blender, combine squash, almond butter, egg yolks, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Melt coconut oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-low heat. Spoon batter into frying pan to make small, thin pancakes (about 3″ in diameter) Fry on one side until lightly brown and pancake holds together well enough to flip. Flip the pancake and fry on the other side, until light brown.
- Remove from pan and serve warm.