GAPS recipes for helping with learning disabilities, psychiatric disorders and physical problems, such as autism, hyperactivity and attention deficit, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, epilepsy and more

The main list of recipes you will find in the GAPS book, as well as many SCD books and websites. In addition to those I will describe a few more recipes here.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods are essential to introduce, as they provide probiotic microbes in the best possible form. Supplements of probiotics settle in the upper parts of the digestive system and generally do not make it all away down to the bowel, while fermented foods will carry probiotic microbes all away down to the end of the digestive system. Fermentation predigests the food, making it easy for our digestive systems to handle, that is why fermented foods are easily digested by people with damaged gut. Fermentation releases nutrients from the food, making them more bio-available for the body: for example sauerkraut contains 20 times more bio-available vitamin C than fresh cabbage.

You can ferment any food. Here I will put a few recipes for you to consider (you do not have to introduce them all). Try to experiment and make your own recipes. You can ferment by adding kefir or yoghurt culture to food or using traditional methods, such as the one for making sauerkraut.

Fermented foods should always be introduced gradually: they are teaming with probiotic bacteria and live enzymes which may cause a “die-off reaction”. You’ll meet people who will tell you that they “cannot tolerate” fermented foods: the reason is that they suddenly had a sizeable helping of a fermented food and got a serious “die-off reaction”. Never start from more than 1 teaspoon of any probiotic food per day. Depending on the severity of the condition, different people can introduce fermented foods quicker or slower. If on 1 teaspoon per day your patient gets a “die-off reaction”, let him or her settle for a few days or longer, then increase the amount to 2 teaspoons per day. Once 2 teaspoons are well tolerated, add another teaspoon. Continue increasing the daily amount of the fermented food gradually keeping the “die-off reaction” under control. It is a good idea to introduce no more than 1 or 2 fermented foods at a time. I usually recommend to start from homemade yoghurt and juice from homemade sauerkraut, which in many cases can be introduced at the same time.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is an ancient digestive and detoxifying food, very popular in Eastern Europe. You have to make it at home as commercially available sauerkraut may have been pasteurised or processed in some other way, which will make it much less potent. Initially just add juice from the sauerkraut into your patient’s meals; then gradually introduce the cabbage itself. Sauerkraut stimulates stomach acid production and is a great ally in digesting meats. Majority of GAPS patients have low stomach acid production, which starts the whole digestive process from the wrong foot. Regular consumption of sauerkraut over time will help your patient to restore normal stomach acid production. Please follow the instructions for making sauerkraut in the recipe section of the GAPS book. Sauerkraut does not require adding any fermenting bacteria to it, as cabbage and other fresh vegetables have these bacteria naturally living on their surface. Do not forget to add natural unprocessed salt before kneading the cabbage: the salt will stifle any putrefactive microbes until the good bacteria produce enough lactic acid to kill them. Another important point is to knead the mixture very well in a large bowl using your hands; you may want to ask somebody with strong hands to do that for you. Knead until the cabbage and carrots release a lot of juice (salt in the mixture will hep to do that), so when you leave it to ferment, the cabbage is completely drowned in its own juice. If for whatever reason there is not enough juice in the cabbage, add some water to the mixture. Fermentation is an anaerobic process: if the cabbage is exposed to air, it will rot instead of fermenting. Having made the sauerkraut once you will see just how easy it is to do and how little time it takes to make this wonderful healing remedy.

Homemade yoghurt and kefir

You can get a commercial starter in a sachet or use some live commercial natural yoghurt or kefir as a starter. Please follow the instructions for making yoghurt in the GAPS book. You can make kefir following the same instructions using the kefir starter or commercial natural kefir. From your first batch of yoghurt and kefir you can make many more, just leave about a cup to use as a starter for the next batch. If you make yoghurt or kefir from organic unpasteurised (raw) milk, then do not heat it, just add the starter and ferment. Only pasteurised milk needs heating, as pasteurisation makes milk vulnerable to contamination by pathogenic microbes. Raw milk is usually well protected by its own probiotic bacteria and other factors.

Remember, that kefir contains more potent probiotic microbes than yoghurt, as a result kefir will produce a more pronounced “die-off reaction”. That is why I recommend to introduce yoghurt first, then start introducing kefir. Both should be introduced slowly and gradually controlling the “die-off”. Kefir, apart from probiotic bacteria, contains beneficial yeasts. That is why it is essential to introduce for people with yeast overgrowth. A healthy human gut contains plenty of beneficial yeasts, as well as beneficial bacteria and other microbes. In order to get rid of the “bad” yeast, we need to replace it with the “good” yeast.

By dripping your yoghurt or kefir through cheesecloth you can separate it into cottage cheese and whey. Pour the whey into a clean glass jar with a tight lid and keep it in the refrigerator to use as a starter for fermenting different foods, such as vegetables, fish, beans and grains (when your patient is ready to have them). The cottage cheese is delicious with some honey, fruit, soups or as a savoury snack.

Fermenting vegetables with whey

With whey (or the commercial starter for yoghurt or kefir) you can ferment vegetables. Take some cabbage (white, red or any other variety), beetroot, garlic, cauliflower and carrot, slice them into nice mouth size pieces or shred them roughly, add some salt to taste and pack loosely into a wide-mouth glass jar. Take 1/2 litre of cold water and dissolve the contents of yoghurt or kefir sachet in it. Alternatively add 4-5 tablespoons of your homemade whey into the water. Add this water to the jar until it completely covers the vegetables (if the vegetables are not quite covered, just top it up with more water). Close the jar and leave to ferment at a room temperature for 7-10 days. The vegetables will become soft and tangy to taste. Introduce the juice from these vegetables as soon as they are ready. Start from one teaspoon of the juice added to soups and stews. Gradually increase the amount of the liquid and start introducing the vegetables themselves again starting from a small amount. These vegetables and the liquid are an excellent probiotic food and will assist digestion.

Vegetable medley

This simple recipe will provide you with delicious fermented vegetables and a wonderful beverage to drink. In a 2-3 litre wide-mouth glass jar put half a cabbage roughly cut, a medium size beetroot sliced, a handful of peeled garlic cloves and some dill seeds or fresh dill. The vegetables should fill no more than 2/3 of the jar. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Celtic salt, a cup of whey and top up with water until the jar is full. Float a small dish on top of the brine to keep the vegetables submerged in the brine. Leave to ferment for 1-2 weeks at a room temperature. When ready the vegetables will be soft and tangy. At that stage move the jar into the refrigerator. Drink the brine diluted with water with your meals or between the meals and eat the vegetables with the meats. When the brine and the vegetables will start getting low, add fresh cabbage, beetroot and garlic, some salt, top up with water and ferment at a room temperature again. You can also add a few rosettes of cauliflower, sliced carrot, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. You can have this vegetable medley going forever as long as you keep feeding it with more fresh vegetables.

Beetroot kvass

Using a knife slice medium size beetroot finely (don’t grate it in a food processor as that destroys the beetroot and will make it ferment too quickly producing alcohol). Put the beetroot into a two-litre jar, add 1-2 tablespoons of Celtic Salt, 1 cup of whey, 5 cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of dill seeds and fill up with water. Let it ferment for 2-5 days in a warm place. After that keep in the refrigerator. Drink diluted with water. Keep topping the water up in the jar so your kvass will be going for a long time. When it stars getting pale then the beetroot is spent, so make a new one.

Kvass

You can make kvass from any combination of fruit, berries and vegetables; try to experiment. A good recipe is apple/ginger and raspberry kvass. Slice a whole apple including the core, grate ginger root (about a teaspoonful) and get a handful of fresh raspberries. Put them all into a one-litre jar, add ½ cup of whey and top up with water. Let it brew for a few days at a room temperature, then keep in the refrigerator. Drink diluted with water. Keep topping up your brew with water until the fruit is spent, then start again.

Probiotic tomato juice

Blend well 1 cup of whey, 1-2 tablespoons of tomato pure, 1 cup of water and some salt to taste. Chill and serve.

Fermented fish

You can use homemade kefir or whey as a starter. For a one-litre jar you need 3-4 fresh herrings or mackerel. Skin the fish and remove the bones, cut into mouth size pieces. Put the pieces of the fish into the jar mixing with slightly crushed peppercorns, a few slices of white onion (optional), coriander seeds, bay leaves and dill seeds or dill herb. In a separate jug in ½ litre of water dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt and 3-4 tablespoons of your homemade whey. Pour this brine into the jar with the fish until the fish is completely covered; if the fish is not covered just add more water. Close the jar tightly and leave to ferment for 3-5 days at a room temperature, then store in the fridge. This fish does not keep long, so consume in the next few days. Serve with avocado and onions.

Another way to ferment fish: buy some fresh sardines (also works for herring and mackerel), de-scale the fish, cut the heads off and clean the belly out. Put into a suitable size glass jar or a stainless steel pan. Add 1-2 cups of whey, 1-2 tablespoons of salt (per 1 litre), a teaspoon of black pepper corns (freshly crushed), 10 bay leaves and ½ a teaspoon of coriander seeds (freshly crushed). Top up with water so the fish is completely covered with water, you may want to float a small plate on top of the fish to keep it submerged in the brine. Cover the pan or put the lead on the jar and let it ferment for 3-5 days at a room temperature. When the fish is ready take the meat off the bones, cut into bite-size pieces and serve with avocado, fresh dill and some chopped red onion.

Fermented grains

When you are ready to introduce some grain, first try them fermented. To ferment grains such as buckwheat, millet and quinoa wash them, cover with water and add ½ cup of whey. Leave to ferment at a room temperature for a few days: quinoa for 1-2 days, buckwheat for 2-3 days, millet for 4-5 days. When the fermentation is complete, drain the liquid out and cook the grain in your homemade meat stock or water with some salt (for 1 cup of grain 2 cups of meat stock or water). When it is cooked all the liquid should be completely absorbed and the grain should be soft and fluffy. Have it with meats and vegetables or bake with it using it instead of flour. Introduce gradually, starting from 1-2 spoonfuls a day and watching for any reaction. Do not forget to serve grains with plenty of natural fat: butter, ghee, olive oil, coconut oil or any animal fat; the fats will slow down the digestion of the grains and help to control the blood sugar level.

Baked beans

Baked beans, which are produced commercially, are full of sugar and should be avoided. You can make your own baked beans at home. Please, do not rush with introducing beans and pulses, as they are generally hard to digest.

Soak 500g of white navy beans (haricot beans) in water for 12-24 hours, drain. Rinse well in cold water, drain. Soaking and rinsing removes some harmful substances from the beans (lectins and some starches). Cover the beans with water again and add 4-5 tablespoons of your homemade kefir, yoghurt or whey. Leave to ferment for a week at a room temperature. After rinsing your beans are ready to be cooked.
In a large pan put 1,5 litres of water, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 4 tablespoons of tomato puree, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a pinch of black pepper, 5-6 bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary, a bit of thyme, couple of cloves and 100g of butter. Cover the pan with a lid and put it into an oven. Cook at 120 0 C for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally. If the water evaporates before the beans are ready, add some more. If at the end of cooking there is too much water left, just take the lid off and leave the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes at a higher temperature (150-180 0 C).

Serve hot or cold. These baked beans will keep in the fridge for a long time.

You can make a variation of this dish by adding a whole chicken or duck, cut into pieces, sausages, pieces of lamb, beef or pork, chopped onion, carrot and garlic before putting the pan into the oven. This variation makes an excellent meal.

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