Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Sit & Rise Test - TSL (English subtitles) Nov2011





I think being able to sit down and stand up perfectly is a wonderful goal for the year! I have a coworker who can sit and get up without using her hands or knees and without crossing her legs and doing some weird manipulation. I can do it already with one point knocked off for using either a hand or a knee to get up, but would love to have the body strength/power ratio to do it perfectly without any assist from a hand or knee or leveraging my crossed feet!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UnFuck My Gut

 I'm segregating out all of these GAPS diet, recipes and food posts to a TUMBLR called UnFuckMyGut. The name is an homage to two groups of people- the Brits I worked with years ago that always used the term "unfuck" to my unending delight, and then mainly to the group writing one of my absolute favorite tumblrs: Unfuck Your Habitat

UFYH, which provides inspirational tweets, advice, and delightful dirty-mouth prodding is perhaps the most useful tumblr in existence. Sometimes, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, I'll pop over there and get an idea about how and where in my house to refocus.

One of the notable, and wonderful, changes to my behavior since going grain free is that I want to clean up my physical spaces all of the time. It's more than just having better and more any energy. It's a psychological shift. It felt as if it emerged, after lying dormant for most of my life!I had read someone else saying they'd had a similar experience- for her it was an extreme desire to get rid of excess junk. She felt compelled to lose weight not only from her body but also from her life and house.

Anyway, go fucking read my new tumblr! http://unfuckmygut.tumblr.com/








Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Pillars of Gut Healing

I'm not saying this is the best way to begin with GAPS, SCD or some other restrictive, yet healing diet. In fact, I have ZERO medical expertise of any kind! But, it's the way I began. My egg and chicken allergies made it extremely hard for me to even wrap my mind around a food plan like this, yet they are also the reason I'm going after it. But, even though avoiding these foods has helped me immensely, I am not healed. I cannot recommend enough that you go read The Paleo Mom's article about leaky gut. I believe that leaky gut is the core issue with my health problems. Like, ALL of them!

The Pillars of Gut Healing:

ELIMINATION

NO: GRAINS, SUGARS, LEGUMES, SOY!

All grains including and not limited to amaranth, corn, rice, barley, wheat, etc. etc. etc. And yes even quinoa! Other than soy, this has actually been the easiest thing for me to eliminate from my diet, and it was very surprising. Maybe years of semi-clean liberal living in Portland and Olympia have led me to this quite naturally. It also can't hurt that I'm no stranger to gluten free cleanses and other types of elimination diets.

Ah sugar, how I love thee! This remains the most difficult for me. I have a sweet tooth, and I am totally addicted to sugar. GAPS and other diets allow for honey and other very natural sugars such as those found in fruit. But, I have found that I need to avoid it all as much as possible- at least for now. I strongly recommend researching leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and gut ecosystems to learn more about how and why years of eating shitty food, and particularly sugar, will ruin your gut.

Legumes and soy (even edamame) were a bit difficult to give up. Having been a vegetarian who firmly believed in a high fiber diet, I had made tofu and beans a staple in my restaurant, food cart, and home cooked meals. I gave these up last of all, and once I saw how they nearly IMMEDIATELY affect my gut negatively, it was much easier to give them up.

I have come to believe that my reaction to legumes and grains is made worse by my body's inability to handle antinutrients which are natural or synthetic compounds that interfere with digestion. It is one of the reasons that it is so beneficial to soak your grains once grains are tolerated. Fermentation is believed to help break down antinutrients as well.

FERMENTED FOODS

YES: KIM CHI, PICKLES, SAUERKRAUT, YOGURT/KEFIR!

Check out my post about our pickle party, which includes a round up of favorite recipes and techniques. It was so wonderful to do this with a group of friends! Peruse the books Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation for some wonderful and simple recipes. Then if it still feels too overwhelming, go look for some jars of Bubbies pickles or kraut. They may seem pricey, but you really need just a bit of this stuff to yield some wonderful benefits. In fact, it is recommended to start introducing just a teaspoon a day of the juice of fermented veggies to your diet when starting out. It is through lacto-fermented foods that you gain the highest level of beneficial probiotic to start the gut healing and sealing process. Go to http://www.wildfermentation.com/ and just read everything this awesome hippie has to say!

Yogurt and kefir, once tolerated, is an easy way to enjoy something fermented. But, it should come later on, when you are sure the gut is out of total distress. And, it needs to be truly fermented and without sugars, sweeteners and types of processing that destroys beneficial cultures. Although most people say to go only with home made yogurt, I have found an abundance of hippie yogurt available where i live for pretty reasonable prices.

BONE BROTH

YES: GRASS FED BEEF BONES!

This has been the most immediately noticeable helpful, healthful and satisfying aspect of starting this process for me. My favorite recipe is here.

 I found a wonderful ranch here in Oregon that is willing to sell giant bags of grass fed beef bones for around $2 a pound. We also eventually bought 1/4 of a cow from them.

Some of the broth I made was so thick that I thought it was incredibly fatty. But, after seeing the fat rise to the top and turning white (sealing in the gelatin below,) I realized the broth was a thick gelatin concentrate filled with the rich collagen, minerals, and the broken down material from cartilage and tendons like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine.

The sensation of gut soothing and sealing is palpable. If I'm experiencing any gut distress, a cup of broth will sooth me within a half an hour!

I love this article by Sally Fallon: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/broth-is-beautiful
about the beauty and history of broth.









Bone Broth Recipe

There are many ways to make a beneficial bone broth to heal and seal the gut. This is my favorite, and I vary it by changing up vegetables as I receive them from my CSA or what I have on hand. I make this recipe with beef, lamb, and pork bones. I have yet to make fish broth because it grosses me out. I eat fish, don't get me wrong, just don't really like the broth. Basically, what makes this recipe taste better than the others I have tried is the ROASTING of the bones!

Almost any butcher, even at grocery stores, will hook you up with marrow bones. The key for gut health is to ask for grass fed or pastured only meat. Grass fed red meat is naturally leaner than grain-fed beef. Omega 3s in beef that feed on grass is 7% of the total fat content, compared to 1% in grain-only fed beef. Grass-fed beef has the recommended ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats (3:1.) It is loaded with other natural minerals and vitamins, plus it's a great source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) a fat that reduces the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders. And, you want to make sure it is 100% pastured- no grain finishing to fatten them up!

if you're in or near to Oregon, you cannot go wrong with Rudio Creek Ranch who sells very reasonably priced beef in packs, by whole or part cow, and even sells bags of the best marrow bones I've ever seen.

INGREDIENTS

  • beef marrow bones- a few big ones (I just grab enough to kind of partially fill up the bottom of my crockpot)
  • 2-3 big red onions, quartered (vital for tasting like something)
  • 4-8 cloves minced garlic (play around with amounts, can make broth bitter if cooking for a long time or making "infinity broth")
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • filtered water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (This is seriously MOST important as it helps to leach minerals from the bones.)
  • Optional- parsnips (can sweeten), a carrot or two, celery, shallot, seasonings like oregano
  • Optional: salt & pepper (I don't add any while cooking the broth so that I can use it more universally in other recipes. So, if just drinking broth I add salt and pepper to taste. Adding smoked salt is delicious!)
INSTRUCTIONS

ROASTING
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place bones and veggies on a baking sheet and thoroughly coat in olive oil. Roast in oven for 20-30 minutes until you see just a bit of browning which will yield some color and flavor.

SIMMERING
When roasting is finished, place all ingredients from the oven into a slow cooker. Add the apple cider vinegar, then cover all of it with water. Bring to a boil, then switch it to lowest/warm setting. Simmer for a minimum of eight hours and up to forever. OK- I'll explain that forever part next!

HARVESTING
I like to use a combination of a large glass measuring cup, metal mesh strainer, and a Pyrex pouring bowl to harvest my broth.  I simply scoop out the water with the measuring cup and pour it through the strainer into the bowl. Then, re-straining if needed, I pour the broth from the bowl into freezer safe mason jars or freezer safe containers of some kind. A disc of smooth, whit fat will rise to the top. This fat is super beneficial, so use it. If you don't drink it, then cook with it! Also, that fat creates a naturally protective barrier/seal to the broth that helps keep it fresher longer. Under that seal of tallow, there should be a nice, thick gelatin broth concentrate that you can heat up and even add water to later. It will keep in the fridge for about a week- longer if you reboil it, and for months in the freezer.

INFINITY BROTH
If you want to either make a marathon batch of broth from the same bones, or just keep this around all of the time, you can have a continuous broth going. Those bones and connective tissue you have there have something to offer until they are pretty much falling apart and melting away into powder. Granted, the first and second run stuff is the thickest and best, but the remaining broth is fantastically healthful, and it is great for making other soups and recipes. So, the way I do this is by harvesting as much as I can from the slow cooker without removing the bones. Then, I add more apple cider vinegar and water. Voila! As you go, you can get a feel for it and play around with replacing the veggies, adding a bone or two, taking one out as you notice it not having any marrow and tissue left, etc. And, be careful with your veggies when doing infinity broth. Some, like garlic and root veggies will turn the broth bitter somewhere between hour 24 and 36.

AND, one more thing- I also love to keep a covered ice cube tray filled with broth cubes to cook with and add a little extra flavor to greens.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GAPS Diet 6 months in!

1/8 of a grass fed cow in our freezer- my, how things have changed!
Guess what gluten-free friends? There is a next level to this game, and it is called grain free! It's certainly not easy, but in my quest to get over my food allergies and gut problems, I have come around to something beyond cleanses and elimination diets, beyond quitting sugar and alcohol. The particular form of this I'm following is called the GAPS diet, but you may recognize most of it if you've ever looked at the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, going Paleo, Auto-immune Paleo, ever read or owned Nourishing Traditions, had Crohns, IBS, Graves, Hashimoto's, and/or a whole host of other problems that may arise out of or go in tandem with having a compromised gut.

The GAPS diet is based on the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She discovered the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and took it a step further by describing the gut-brain connection in the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Some Background

OK, let's rewind. I think about this all starting for me around the time I buckled over in the worst pain in life one night while at work on a video shoot in the middle of nowhere a couple of hours North of Seattle. Sparing the incredibly gory details, I turned out to be suddenly and inexplicably severely allergic to chicken. I had been taking medication for MS, which was a misdiagnosis. I was told that this medication could be rough on the gut, and then told I should avoid meat. I blindly followed this advice and became a vegetarian. Later, I would find out that I was also extremely intolerant of eggs. But, not until after I was taking Imodium on a daily basis for a year. I was in a state of chronic inflammation, constant body pain, had vision problems, sleep problems, vertigo that lasted for more than 2 months at a time and more. With the help of a very insightful, brilliant hippie Doctor, I was able to start down the path to health. After elimination diets, cleanses, tests, and more, I was able to start to live a normal life, provided I avoid eggs and chicken and really pay attention to what things in my life affect my health. I also started to see and take group classes from a fantastic fitness trainer to help me rebuild my strength. I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to access these resources, and how fortunate I am to live in a city where resources like these are affordable, often covered by insurance or sliding scale fees, and abundant in choices. And now, almost six years after first visiting Dr. Nigh, I feel ready to level up and start exploring how I can really truly reverse the damage done- move beyond the food and seasonal allergies where possible, gain more energy and fitness, and simply feel even better. His advice I am taking- give the GAPS diet a try.

Starting Out

I'm going to write a separate post about my thoughts on getting started with GAPS in more detail. I started by rising to these challenges:
  • Eliminate grains from my diet. (Yes all grains including and not limited to amaranth, corn, rice, barley, wheat, etc. etc. etc.)
  • Eliminate sugars and fake sugars. (Sugars are really hard on the gut and help nasty bacteria proliferate.)
  • Start making and drinking/using bone broth.
  • Add more fermented foods to my diet- pickles, kraut, kimchee and yogurt.
After about a month, not only had I not noticed much of a health improvement, but I had gained ten pounds and had a constant, severe pain and swelling in my lower gut! It was horrible, and I was PISSED OFF!

But, I had learned a few things during that time, like how to make broth and pickle things quickly and efficiently. I also ate my first egg yolk in seven years! Well, intentionally and without a horrible reaction, that is! So, I circled back around and decided to go for it and do the full intro, which I will get to later- it's complicated. Luckily, it doesn't last too long!

Six Months Later

I am the first to say that for the amount of work this requires, I have not had a simply amazing, magical, transformational experience the way many people seem to have. I haven't shed 50 pounds and starting doing cartwheels and become a 9th level yoga wizard master. But, I have:
  • stopped wanting to go to bed the minute I get home from work
  • started doing circuit training classes and yoga very regularly several times a week
  • started cleaning my house and picking up after myself all of the time (a first in life, really!)
  • started feeling better physically
  • lost 12 pounds very gradually
  • started eating more than the FDA recommended servings of veggies every day
  • stopped having severe gut pain
  • started seeking out more adventures!

 

Going Forward

It was such an arduous task to come at this new diet and make meaningful changes. I'd like to move forward through it, but also see that it takes recommitting to the basic ideas over and over. Sometimes I forget to drink broth or eat fermented foods for days. For some reason, the elimination aspects are easier for me. I'll be developing more recipes and exploring more ways to do this in a way that is the best for my body and health. I'm thrilled to have the support and camaraderie of my friends who are going down the same path. We have a pinterest board to share ideas and recipes from around the web: http://pinterest.com/number1lauren/gaps-specific-carbohydrate-diet-recipes/







superphoebe