If you’ve ever followed the GAPS Diet, you know that it’s a lot of soups, broths, cooked veggies and healthy fats. In the beginning, as you start healing, you find that you have cravings for different things; usually, at first you crave your old “sinful sweets” (like chocolate, sweet coffee drinks, etc.). You may even feel slightly crazy about it at times. Gradually, you’ll find that your body starts to crave healthy foods, and finally, you can finally start to really listen to your body.
A lot of us in this modern world have forgotten what it’s like to listen to our body. We tend to eat because it’s “there” (as in, the fast food restaurants on every corner, right next to the coffee shops) or because we’re filling an emotional need. We rarely eat because our body is telling us what nutrients we need. We tend to shut up that little voice with more doughnuts, cookies, and carbs.
As you get away from the foods that override our body’s subtle messages, though, you’ll find yourself craving things that you never thought you would. For example, a few months ago I was craving homemade sour cream in the worst way and would eat it straight from the fridge with a spoon, several times a day. I started worrying that maybe my body was out of balance again, and I was having issues with dairy and that’s why I was craving it. However, after a month or so, this craving passed, and now I just add it to my soups instead of eating it by the liter. I listened to my body, and whatever nutritional deficiency I had at that time was filled.
With time and healing, you may find that sweet things can once again have a (balanced) place in your diet. On the Full GAPS Diet, baked goods and sweets are allowed as an occasional treat after healing has taken place on Intro (or after several weeks on the Full GAPS Diet — try to limit baked goods in the beginning of the diet).
However, you won’t be eating the sweets that you had before. Maybe you liked to stop somewhere for a donut on your way to work; or even if you liked to bake at home, the sweets that you’ll be making on GAPS will be quite different than what you made before. The biggest difference: No wheat. No sugar. No grains.
Without grains, though, you may say it’s impossible to bake. Even those who followed a gluten free lifestyle before GAPS (like us) used grains in their baking, like rice flour, bean flours, sorghum and teff. Now, however, grains are not allowed, which means learning a new way to make your treats: grain-free baking.
Using nut flour (especially almond flour and coconut flour), you can make many different tasty baked goods. I find that some do tend to have a nuttier flavor and texture and really don’t seem much like I remember. Other recipes, though, come very close to having a texture of old favorites.
This last month, Kelly Smith of The Nourishing Home released a new cookbook “Everyday Grain-Free Baking” (available at Amazon). In it, you can find recipes for breads, cookies, cakes, muffins, cupcakes, frosting and more … all grain-free. She also gives many tips for how to successfully bake grain-free. Like I mentioned, these sweets should not take up the bulk of your diet but are meant for an OCCASIONAL treat. However, my thinking is, if you can only have your treats occasionally, why not make them memorable? 😉 I highly recommend looking into this cookbook.
The other day I made my first recipe from her book, the Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake on page. 118. De-licious! What’s more, my husband came home and had a piece (and he’s a huge grain-eater, a.k.a. “not GAPS”) and he commented, “Wow! You can’t even tell there’s nuts in this flour! Well, I mean, except for the nuts on top.” 😉 It really does have a lovely texture and a comforting taste.
** A quick note on nuts: To make nuts more digestible, it is important to soak them before eating them. Nuts contain phytic acids and other compounds that can make digestion difficult.
Place your nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, etc.) in a glass Mason jar along with some sea salt (about 1-2 Tbs.) and fill the jar with water. Cover with a cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Let them sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
When they are done soaking, rinse them well. You can either proceed to make nut butter out of them at this time in your food processor, or you can dry them in your dehydrator or oven and store them for months. After they are dried, you can also make nut flour out of them by grinding them in your food processor or blender. I will be posting soon on how to do this step-by-step. 🙂
I love how Kelly Smith states that even when you live grain-free, your kitchen can still become a gathering place for friends and family; you don’t have to sacrifice good taste to live healthy! Her cookbook really shows how this is possible. Thanks Kelly!