Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New life in the kitchen

I’m not going to lie. Doing GAPS has seriously messed with my love of cooking. My love of food, even. Early GAPS was tremendously overwhelming. Not only was I dealing with a sick child and a very irritable self, I was constantly cooking. And I was cooking foods I wasn’t particularly enjoying. The amount of time I had to spend in the kitchen was really hard on Ellie. There were times she’d just stand in the kitchen and cry while I was too busy balancing three things on the stove and two more in the oven while chopping yet another thing – unable to pick her up or play with her. It wasn’t long before I was resentful of the diet and dreading my time spent in the kitchen.

This summer I acknowledged that the form of GAPS I was currently practicing was not working. While of course GAPS had done wonderful things to help heal Ellie, I also saw that it had created a major rift in my relationship with her, and I had to take a step back from the insane amount of work I was putting into preparing our food. Summer was such a gift. The bountiful produce available in summer became a lifesaver. We started making green smoothies for breakfast, which saved me so much time every morning. I started tossing hearty salads for lunches and dinners and finding time for Ellie again. Snacks are usually an apple with nut butter these days, which takes just a minute to peel, slice and present.

I do still roast a chicken and make stock now and then but often I’m doing a quick sauté of chicken thighs or broiling a piece of fish. Not being able to eat beef, lamb or pork seemed like a hardship when we had to take those foods out of the rotation, but the change also greatly simplified life in the kitchen.

And being able to take that break has given me enough space to find the energy and enthusiasm for cooking again. I’ve had some fantastic successes recently. Last week I made this recipe for fermented nut cheese (I made the recipe at the bottom that doesn't use Rejuvelac). I’d heard about making cheese out of nuts but always felt pretty grossed out about the idea. Turns out I’m kind of a purist about food. Just because you can make pizza crust out of almonds doesn’t mean you should, as far as I’m concerned. But after 9 months on GAPS I was truly sick of chomping on nuts so I thought I’d give it a go. And lo and behold, fermented nut cheese is fantastic!!! Ian declared it the best onion dip he’d ever tasted.

This week I got the cookbook Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods from the library and made the recipe for Fiery Sun Dried Tomato Crackers. The crackers are made of sun dried and fresh tomatoes, flax seeds, garlic and Italian herbs. They are amazing! I used to love baking and preparing the crackers, spreading them out on sheets and putting them in the dehydrator felt like the next best thing.

Because of my new projects today I got to snack on cheese and crackers even though I’ve been dairy-free for 1.5 years and gluten free for a year. It was divine.

Yesterday we trialed lentils, which was a huge moment because we haven’t had legumes in over 9 months. I was nervous, but Ellie did great! I soaked the lentils and then sprouted them for two days to make them as easy to digest as possible (there is great information about sprouting in Living Cuisine, fyi).  

As we are able to add new foods – especially foods that can be prepared in advance and pulled out for a snack or quick meal – I feel happy and optimistic that we are going to make it through this crazy, crazy experience.

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