A Sweet Life on a GAPS Diet
The GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet is probably completely foreign to most of my readers. It is a modification of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, both of which claim to successfully treat disorders as wide-ranging as irritable bowel or leaky gut, to autism to depression. I was convinced that this was the right diet for me while reading the GAPS book and the authors explained exactly why my body wasn’t tolerating the exact foods I was struggling with. So many people these days seem to be discovering intolerances to gluten, dairy and other foods. I highly suspect that our bodies just were not designed to cope with the amount of processed material that we feed them (and probably the additional injuries of antibiotics prescribed or ingested through our foods doesn’t help, either.) The GAPS diet is extremely restrictive, but I’ve made a lot of progress on it. And while it is most definitely too extreme for anyone who isn’t suffering from leaky gut and the like, it wouldn’t hurt anyone to use more whole foods and eat less grains, especially processed grains. I imagine early man ate more like a GAPS patient and less like a modern American, anyway.
In order to make the GAPS lifestyle workable, it’s necessary to find some replacements for dietary staples, like bread, or small indulgences like cake and pancakes. After playing around in the kitchen a bit, using some of the GAPS recipes for a jumping off point, I’ve finally come up with some workable replacements that are healthier than the originals and my kids love! Note, if you have nut or peanut allergies, these depend upon these for flour replacements. If you juice, this is an excellent way to use the pulp.
Basic GAPS Batter Bread
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup pureed fruit or veg of your choice
- 1/3 cup oil (or melted Ghee, or applesauce)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 10-oz. package of finely ground Almonds (approximate 1 1/2 to 2 cups if grinding your own)
- Seasonings of choice*
Mix all ingredients in a mixer or blender until reaching a porridge like consistency. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bread should be pulling away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted should come out clean.
Banana Bread – 2-3 overripe bananas for the pureed fruit, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1-2 Tablespoons of cinnamon (we like cinnamon) and approximately 1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves, and allspice for the seasonings.
Cinnamon-Raisin Bread – Use 1 cup of applesauce or pureed pears for the bananas but use the same seasoning blend, soak 1 cup of raisins in warm water, then mix in at the end.
Carrot Loaf – Use 2 jars of pureed baby carrots (yes, I was using up jar baby food), and 1 peeled, shredded carrot. Add raisins as for Cinnamon-Raisin Bread.
Herb Garlic Loaf – Use 2 jars of pureed baby veg (garden vegetable works well), add 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic, and 1/4 to 1/2 each of oregano, basil, chives, onion powder, parsley, and dill.
Pumpkin Bread – Substitute pureed pumpkin for bananas. Add 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup for sweetness. Season as for pumpkin pie.
Zuchini Bread – I haven’t actually made a zuchini variation, but I think that you could possibly acheive a more neutral flavored bread by using shredded zuchini. I’d start with experimenting with 2 shredded zuchini and skipping other seasonings.
Cake – Add an extra 1/3 to 1/2 cup of honey to taste to any of the fruit based variations. Also, crushed pineapple with 1 cup of it’s liquid can be substituted for the pureed fruit. Bake in a cake pan. We like to use a bundt cake pan and top with a fruit compote. So far, my kids have been quite amiable to using this recipe for their birthday cakes. Each child gets to choose a fruit variation according to their tastes (though Daddy nixed one child’s request for coconut.)
Muffins – Any of these variations would make excellent muffins. I need new muffin pans, otherwise I would have tried this already. I expect one would shorten the baking time to 20-25 minutes, but depending on how moist your batter is that time might lengthen as needed.
French Toast – I have made a more or less successful French toast by dipping slices in beaten eggs with a touch of vanilla added and frying over medium heat.
The following recipe has become a weekend breakfast staple. This one is quite easy to modify from a small batch to a large one. If it is just me and the girls, I will make one jelly roll pan’s worth. If for the whole family, we make three pans. The texture is not fluffy like your typical griddle cakes, but smooth, more like a crepe or a Swedish pancake. And these are much faster to make for a large family. I serve these topped with a fruit compote (cooked down fruit, sometimes with honey added) rather than syrup. Some of my children even prefer these plain with no topping.
Naturally Sweet Pancakes
(large batch quantities in parentheses)
3 (10) eggs
2-3 (6) overripe bananas
1/4 cup (1 16-oz. jar) natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon (1 Tablespoon) of vanilla
2 Tablespoons (3 Tablespoons) of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender, pour into well greased jelly roll pan or baking sheet with sides. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until set. If the top is still creamy, let it go another 1-2 minutes. Cut into squares.
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