Less-Meat GAPS (With Photos!)

I received this inquiry: “The GAPS diet is so meaty. If Martin is eating only one meat serving per day plus broth, what all is he eating?”

Fair question.

I’ll use today as an example, and as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that, depending on how you define “meat serving,” he might have had two.

For breakfast, Martin drank a 12-ounce glass of homemade bone broth and ate a small dish of fermented vegetables—today, eight string beans. Some weekday mornings Martin takes only broth. I prepare a full breakfast only on the weekends, when Adrian eats at home and we have more time.

Martin’s school asks that we send two snacks each day, and a lunch. Today I packed both snacks into one container. The morning snack was homemade protein bars. That recipe varies every time; this version had organic SunButter, chia seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, honey, and sea salt. For afternoon snack, he got gummy treats, which I made by heating and pureeing strawberries, then adding pure bovine gelatin and pouring the mixture into silicone candy molds.

photo 3

Did you catch that? Bovine gelatin in the afternoon snack. If you count that as meat, because it comes from a cow, then Martin had two meat servings today.

As for Martin’s lunch, if you read yesterday’s post, you already know what it was: meatballs that were actually half-vegetable.

photo 2

When Martin arrived home from school, per his custom he immediately wanted another snack, which he was allowed to select from his snack drawer. Today’s snack choices looked like this—

photo 1

Martin went with a cappuccino Lära Bar. (Yes, that has a small amount of coffee.) Per my custom, I asked Martin to finish his camel milk before eating the snack. I added cinnamon to the camel milk.

An hour later, when we were leaving for his piano lesson, Martin demanded yet another snack. As I rushed to get him out the door, I came up with some leftover freeze-dried blueberries. He arrived at the music school with purple hands and a purple face.

For dinner, I gave Martin the choice of pasta, which I would cook with veggies and olives, or “cheese and crackers.” He decided to have the latter, Dr. Cow fermented nut cheese paired with New York Naturals kale crackers. With dinner he had another 12 ounces of bone broth.

photo 1photo 2

Then, of course, it was time for dessert. Martin got a quarter-cup of “chocolate ice cream,” a cashew-based product sweetened with raw agave. Agave is not GAPS-legal! But there was very little agave, and I decided we would all survive the experience. While I was serving the ice cream, Martin asked, “Mommy, why don’t you put some chocolate chips on it?”, which I did, in the form of raw cacao nibs.

photo-9

Throughout the day, including at school, Martin drank Fiji water from a Lifefactory bottle, into which I mixed a splash of juice and his MitoSpectra powder.

No day is perfect. Today Martin had too much sugar (from honey, strawberries, dates in the Lärabar, blueberries, juice, and “ice cream”) and one non-GAPS ingredient (raw agave). And it’s probably apparent that I don’t have big oxalate concerns at this time; with all the nuts and cocoa, it was an oxalate-heavy menu. Still, he had his camel milk, 24 ounces of bone broth, and veggies in reasonable quantity.

Then he went to bed, and I had wine.

More Praise of Friends

I have eleven close girlfriends from my high-school class. “The twelve,” we call ourselves. We’ve had bumps in the road, big ones, and yet 21 years after graduation, we’re more or less intact.

And when it comes to Martin, these friends have joined the struggle in ways I could have not imagined.

It was a high-school girlfriend, an EI practitioner, who first identified Martin’s disorder as autism and got us started in the road to intervention and recovery. It was another, a chef, who recently came to stay two weeks with us when Martin started eating meat, to prepare his special meals. It is others who read this blog, who offer listening ears, who email regularly just to ask how he’s doing.

Now comes yet another debt of gratitude. A high-school friend, who still resides in my hometown, sent a Facebook message, asking after Martin and what she could do to help. I hesitated, then reminded myself that I’ve decided to accept as much help as I can get, and made a request:

“I could use some venison.”

That must have sounded strange to my friend, who knows me as a long-time vegetarian. Probably it sounds strange also to anyone who doesn’t know that, in the semi-rural area where I grew up, people hunt. A lot. Before I became a vegetarian at age 16, I ate venison by the pound. It’s so lean and protein-dense, just what we’re seeking for Martin these days. It’s also difficult to procure, in Manhattan.

My friend responded that getting venison might be tough; the economic climate right now means most folks eat all of what they shoot.

I know, I said. No expectations.

Let me see what I can do, she wrote.

A couple weeks passed. I’d nearly forgotten the request when this friend’s chat box appeared on Facebook again, to say she had venison for me, stored in the freezer on her family’s farm.

As luck would have it, one of my brothers happened to be visiting our hometown last week, and then coming down to New York City on Monday to help my mother with Martin while we travel. I dispatched this brother to meet my friend and retrieve the venison, which now is snug and secure in my freezer.

“Hand-off was a success?” I texted my friend after she met my brother. “You rock so much. Thanks a million.”

“Yup…. No prob. Hope he enjoys. Mainly spiedie meat…hope that’s ok.”

Spiedies are a dish regional to the area where I grew up. They consist of intensely marinated meat skewered alongside vegetables and grilled. I panicked, briefly, my mind on the myriad non-Martin-friendly ingredients that might be in marinade. “Is that the cut, or has it been marinated?”

“Not marinated! I believe it is the cut but not cubed.”

“That is so ultra-perfect I can’t even say,” I texted, relieved and grateful to the point of effusion. “You are the bestest.”

“Nah…just a friend.”

Your blogger, headed from Israel into the Kingdom of Jordan.

Your blogger, descending to the ruins at Petra, Kingdom of Jordan. And thinking about Martin.