Hilary Boynton and Mary Brackett have taken a diet which might seem like an overwhelming and unattractive meal plan and have turned it into art. They have celebrated the beauty of healing with the GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome, based on the book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride) in their own new cookbook, The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet. I know both women personally, and have seen what GAPS can do for someone who needs serious help.
The GAPS protocol is based on the principle that what we eat affects our health in numerous ways. Our digestive health is also our immune system and this protocol can help with not only physical but also psychological issues. Leaky gut is associated with numerous autoimmune diseases, and once the gut is healed and sealed, many people see dramatic improvement in their conditions. Similar results have been noticed with mental health, eczema and even seizure disorders while on the GAPS protocol. It’s very possible that you or someone you love could have a life-changing experience with the GAPS diet.
The book begins with an overview of the GAPS protocol and gives instruction on how to stock your pantry and make the basics like bone broth. It then dives into the six stages of the GAPS diet. Stage one starts with homemade soups, meat, chopped liver, well cooked vegetables, small amounts of probiotic foods and teas. With each stage, you gradually add in other foods like egg yolks, avocados, spices and finally, to the full GAPS protocol. Before this book, many on the GAPS diet probably felt overwhelmed, but with all of these beautiful recipes, GAPS seems much more approachable and even fun. Ok, maybe not fun, but if you have been sick and have tried many other protocols (as so many do by the time they are on GAPS), this beautiful book is just what they need for a fresh start at saving their health.
The actual recipes are simple and delicious without a lot of ingredients. Our mutual friend Kristin Canty, director of the film Farmageddon (have you seen it? It’s incredible!) recently hosted a book launch party, in partnership with the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fun, where I got to try several cookbook dishes prepared by Kristin’s Executive Chef Charlie Foster of the new restaurant coming to Concord, Woods Hill Table. Kristin will be growing and raising most of the food on her own farm, and our farm will be supplying her restaurant, too.
I loved the gingered carrots, pate, sauerkraut and especially the sprouted seedcrackers. Other recipes I’m looking forward to trying from the book include the Coconut Curry Fish Stew, the Roasted Pork Sausage with Red Onion and Butternut Squash and the Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna.
As much as I like this book and feel that GAPS can be suitable for those with digestive and other serious issues, I do sometimes see healthy people trying this as a form of restriction and I’d like to specify that, as a nutritionist, although I endorse a dairy-free version of GAPS in my practice, I do not feel GAPS is an appropriate diet long term for those who are fit, active and healthy.
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