Even if you’ve been cooking all your life, you probably haven’t been fermenting foods or cooking with bones or organ meats. Almost everyone has to learn new cooking skills for the GAPS Diet™ and that can make it extra intimidating.
Think back to when you learned how to drive a car. You may have been excited about all the places you were going to go, but you were really nervous the first time you got behind the wheel. You put your foot on the gas with hesitation, you slammed on the brakes, and there were so many mirrors to pay attention to all at the same time. But after a few trips out, you felt like you were getting the hang of it. Fast forward to today, and driving is second nature for you and you don’t have to think much about how to drive. You just need GPS to tell you how to get where you’re going.
Cooking for the GAPS Diet is a lot like that. You probably feel unsure about which bones to use for broth, where to get Celtic salt, when at add meat to your soup, how to get the bones out when it’s done, and the best way to store it. That’s just one of the new recipes you’ve got to learn!
Here are 3 reasons that learning the GAPS cooking before you start the GAPS Diet will take some of the ‘overwhelm’ out of getting started:
You’ll learn before your dinner depends on it.
It’s a lot less stressful to make your first batch of soup, yogurt, or bread, when it’s not critical that you be able to eat it right away. Especially when it comes to fermented foods, it’s common to mess them up the first time you make them.
Give yourself a break by trying one new thing at a time or turn your kitchen in to a ‘test kitchen’ for a weekend – whatever suits you best. That way if when something doesn’t work out, you can still eat your normal food today and try again later.
You’re not going to feel like learning anything new the first week you’re on the GAPS Intro Diet.
Even in the best case scenario, the first week of the GAPS Intro Diet will leave you feeling fatigued, and this is not a time when you’re going to want to learn new skills. This is a time that you’re going to do the bare minimum, like go to work, and watch movies or read a book on the couch when you get home. Don’t add extra stress to this week by promising yourself that you’ll make your first batch of ghee or sauerkraut. This is a week that you should rest as much as possible so that your body can focus on healing.
Your GAPS cooking will be quicker and more efficient.
Once you’ve made soup a couple times you’ll feel a lot more confident and you’ll get in to a routine. It usually takes some trial and error to figure out what your personal system is. Make it easier on yourself by figuring that out in advance so when you actually begin the GAPS Diet you’ve got it on repeat. Recipes will be a lot quicker than the first time you tried them and you’ll figure out how to best store your leftovers. When you need to make another batch of ghee it’ll be second nature rather than something you dread.
There’s a few different ways that you can go about learning GAPS cooking:
- If you’re already very confident in the kitchen and experienced with different types of cooking, you might be able to learn by just following the recipes in the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book.
- The Heal Your Gut Cookbook has recipes listed by Stage. They take liberties with some ingredients (tomatoes and mushrooms, so be mindful of that.)
- The Complete Cooking Techniques for the GAPS Diet book is in-depth about all the basics, and written by a chef.
- If you have friends or family members that are familiar with the GAPS Diet or traditional cooking methods, you can ask them to give you a little tutorial or do some cooking together.
- You can search YouTube for videos.
Only a handful of years ago I was a vegetarian who only made salad, food that came from packages, and cookies. Through trial and error I’ve learned how to cook in a way that doesn’t require me to use a recipe for most things. I look in the fridge and make things happen from whatever is in there, which makes cooking a lot more pleasurable and creative than I ever thought possible. What I cook isn’t fancy. You won’t find anything I make on the cover of any magazine, but it is tasty, and it gets us eating real foods 95% of the time. If I can learn to cook GAPS foods, you can too.
Here’s how to start right now: choose one GAPS recipe, add the ingredients to your shopping list, pick a night that you’ll have time to try it. Then let me know how it went!