GAPS Diet Day 4: Passion for Creativity in the Kitchen

I fell asleep last night on my couch while drooling over recipes for Coconut Curry Lamb and Honey Marshmallows in the GAPS Diet Internal Bliss cookbook.  I am very much looking forward to completing the Introduction phase of the GAPS Diet and getting back to having creative fun in the kitchen.  I mean, who wouldn’t get sick of a regimen of bone broth, boiled vegetables and fermented foods?  But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself – there are still many foods to introduce as my body adjusts and heals. In spite of the fact that I woke up last night at 1 a.m. drenched in sweat – a detox symptom I used to experience regularly when I first cut grains out of my diet, but had since forgotten – I woke up again this morning feeling fairly energized.  Unfortunately, the body aches and sinus congestion kicked in quickly after I got out of bed, but they weren’t enough to squash the inklings of hope and happiness that are starting to creep up.

The happy chef at Vivacious DishFlipping through those recipes last night, I was reminded how much I love cooking.  It is my creative outlet.  And it is especially rewarding when I am cooking with the best ingredients I can find.  Even better when I know exactly where those ingredients come from, by talking with my local farmers – getting to know them and their principles, and how these translate to the ways they grow their vegetables and nourish and slaughter their animals.

A perfect example is my egg man, Curtis, from Womach Ranch Farms, whom I visit every Sunday at the Hillcrest Farmers Market.  There are many farmers there whom I respect and adore, but he is my favorite.  Why?  Because when I talk to him, I can feel his love for his animals.  He is always telling me stories about his chickens and how they don’t like the cold, and all the ways he takes care of them and how they live in harmony with his goats, ducks and sheep.  It’s no surprise that his eggs are the best I’ve ever tasted.

When I come home from the market on Sundays and start thinking about all the wonderful dishes I can create from these beautiful, fresh ingredients, it makes my heart sing.  My kitchen is my creative space.  There’s nothing more grounding for me than using my hands (and a little chemistry) to transform raw ingredients into something uniquely my own yet intrinsically connected to mother earth at their source: mixing flavors, heats, spices, textures and aromas to create art and gratitude on a plate. Cooking is the way that I honor the farmers who have put such care and love into providing me with nutrients. It is the way I give thanks to the animals and plants who have given their lives to make these meals possible.

One of my favorite passages in the Omnivore’s Dilemma comes in the final pages, where Michael Pollan describes transformative grace in the kitchen:

“Putting a great dish on the table is our way of celebrating the wonders of form we humans can create from this matter [raw ingredients taken from the earth and from animals] – this quantity of sacrificed life – just before the body takes its first destructive bite [and starts the process of returning these materials back to the earth once more].”

I had forgotten, in the midst of the stress of the last year, just how great I feel when I take the time to honor my passion for beautiful foods that nourish my body and mind.

Today I am grateful for the wonder of cooking, for farmers committed to sustainable, humane agriculture, and for the delicious chicken soup I made yesterday that has helped to brighten my mood.  And I am excited for my body to heal enough during this Introduction GAPS Diet so I can start exploring the whole range of menu possibilities on the full GAPS Diet.

Sitting here in my condo alone this evening, writing and sipping my ginger tea with honey, I feel truly happy for the first time in months.  Not the fleeting (although still lovely) happiness that comes from time well spent with good friends or after the successful completion of a goal.  Oh no, this is the real deal.  The kind of happy that gives life meaning in the long term. The happy that creeps up from deep in my insides and pours out over my fingers on the pages of my blog.  The kind that reminds of me of my calling, of my lifeblood, my energy, my passion.  The kinds that brings me in (and stems from) alignment with the universe.  For me, that happiness arrives from a love of nutrient dense foods that nourish our bodies, our spirits and the earth, and the gift of sharing this love with others.  Joy abounds when I am occupying this mental, physical and spiritual space.

Today I arrived at my first mantra for happiness: 

My passions, actions and intentions are in alignment with the universe.

This GAPS Diet is looking up!

Day 4 Foods:

The same as yesterday, since I forgot to do my sensitivity test for egg yolks.  I have yolk drying on my wrist as I type, so hopefully tomorrow is sunny side up.

Day 4 Symptoms:

  • Night sweat and restless sleep
  • Good energy to start the day
  • Sinus pressure, congestion and runny nose
  • Itchy sinuses, skin and scalp
  • Feeling heavy in the abdomen and ovaries
  • Muscle aches and pains throughout the body
  • Foggy brain, lack of focus and heavy head
  • Minor stomach cramping following heavy probiotic intake (1/2 cup kefir)
  • Sinus symptoms improved from 8-9:30 p.m.
  • Improved mood, feelings of joy