Zucchini

What would summer be without zucchini?  It is the most popular summer squash in both America and Europe. 

All of the squashes belong to the Cucurbitaceae plant family which includes the winter squashes, melons, and cucumbers.  Zucchini squash has a thinner skin and higher water content than its winter squash cousins.  It cooks much more quickly and all of its parts are edible; the skin, seeds, and flesh!

Interestingly most of its nutrients are found in the skin.  Zucchini squash is packed full of Vitamin A, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin C.

Although it did not make the dirty dozen list for 2017, it is a crop that has likely been genetically modified, so I would recommend you buy organic zucchini.

The best way to store this squash is in the refrigerator.  It will stay fresh for up to 5 days.  And quite frankly, I’ve had it for even longer than that.

The great thing about zucchini is its versatility.  You can roast it, fry it, sauté it, or grill it.  You can also make fritters, bread, or you can zoodle them and use as a replacement for pasta.

My two favorite ways of cooking zucchini is to either roast it or grill it.  But I do love to fry it for a treat!

Fried Zucchini
  • 2  Zucchini squashes , use three if they are too small
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I made some from my homemade sourdough bread)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Coconut oil
  1. Wash and slice the zucchini into half inch slices.
  2. In a shallow dish combine the flour with the salt and pepper.
  3. Put the beaten egg into another shallow dish.
  4. And in a third shallow dish combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, paprika, onion powder, and the garlic powder until well combined.
  5. Arrange, in assembly line fashion, the zucchini slices, flour, egg, bread crumbs, and a baking sheet.
  6. Coat a zucchini slice with the flour using your designated “dry” hand, dip it in the egg using your designated “wet” hand, and coat with the bread crumb mixture, again using your designated “dry” hand.  Place the well coated slice on the baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  8. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  9. When ready to fry, heat about an inch of coconut oil in an iron skillet or in a frying pan until the tip of a wooden spoon dipped in sizzles.
  10. Fry each slice on both sides until golden brown.
  11. Keep warm in a low oven until all are finished and you are ready to eat.
  12. Enjoy!

This is a fun and versatile recipe.  Don’t hesitate to mix up the seasonings according to your tastes.   If, for example, you want more of an Italian taste you can use Italian seasoning and basil instead of the smoked paprika.  You can even take it in a Mexican direction by using chili powder and cumin.  And you don’t need to use cheese or you can use a different variety of cheese.  As with any recipe, use it as a guide and then add your own touches to make it yours.

You can also make a dip if you’d like.  A simple marinara would be good.  Or a mayonnaise based sauce.  Maybe a ranch or blue cheese dressing.  Something really simple to do is to mix mayonnaise with pureed chipotle peppers.   The choice is yours!






Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is my go to recipe for sourdough bread.  I make at least one loaf a week.  It is delicious when toasted and slathered with real, grass-fed butter!

Keep in mind that this will be a two day process.  The first day is spent developing the dough.  It sits in the refrigerator overnight and is baked the next day.

Ingredients

 Procedure
  1. Mix the flours, starter, salt and water together in a large mixing bowl.  Don’t try to get them “well combined”, just make sure that the flour is moistened.  At this point it will look like a mess.  Nothing like bread dough.
  2. Cover the bowl (I like to use a shower cap) and let it sit for 30 minutes.  This is called the autolyze technique.
  3. Move the dough to a different bowl and knead inside the bowl for about 30 seconds.  Cover again and let sit for another 30 minutes.
  4. Pull the dough 4 times and cover and let sit for another 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for a total of 4 times.
  6. Let the dough sit, at room temperature, in its covered bowl for 3-6 hours.  This is called the bulk fermentation.
  7. Move the dough while it’s still in the covered bowl to the refrigerator and keep in there for 8-24 hours.
Baking
  1.  I like to bake my bread on my stoneware baking sheet.
  2. About 1-5 hours before you are ready to bake; take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit, while still covered, on the counter.
  3. At least 30 minutes before you are ready to bake; place the stoneware baking sheet on the middle rack and preheat the oven to 475 F. 
  4. Before putting your bread in the oven, fill a shallow pan with water and place it on the lowest oven rack.
  5. Shape your dough into a long loaf and place on the stone that is already in the oven.
  6. Bake at the 475 F temperature for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn the oven down to 450 F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  8. Take the stone out of the oven and remove the bread loaf from the stone.  Cool on a wire rack for at least one hour before slicing.
  9. See my French toast post for further instructions on bread storage.






GAPS Probiotic Supplement

I am not a doctor and have not been professionally trained.  My writings are based on my own personal experiences and research and are not to be taken as medical advice. Please take a look at our medical disclaimer before reading the below information.

Probiotic supplements are more than just a passing trend.  They are an important part of healing damaged gutsInsufficient amounts of good bacteria allow pathogens to take over.  To fix the balance pathogens must be put back under control while beneficial flora is restored.

GAPS people often have the most damaged guts.  Probiotics, in the form of food and supplements, is a necessary component of the GAPS program.  Today we will focus on probiotic supplements, which can be a very confusing topic when trying to find the best one for you.


Before we get too deep, I want to warn you that introducing probiotics might temporarily make you feel worse.  Don’t be alarmed!  When pathogens are killed they release their nasty toxins, possibly causing symptoms such as:
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes

 This is called die off, and it’s normal.  Your body is detoxifying. 

At this point some might ditch the probiotic supplement, believing it is harming them. Those who endure will ultimately be rewarded as their gut flora improves. 

Please note that you want to control the intensity of die off.  More info on this farther down.


Be picky.  Many supplements aren’t strong enough for GAPS conditions.  GAPS people need a therapeutic strength probiotic to effectively win the war on pathogens.  Also beware of supplements that are far too strong for GAPS patients, due to the severe die off they cause. 

Be on the lookout for added ingredients that could actually end up feeding the very pathogens you are attempting to annihilate.  Avoid these at all costs.

  •  A variety of species of bacteria
  • A variety of groups of bacteria
  • A high level of colony forming units (CFU) –Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says on page 251 of her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” the probiotic should have “at least 8 billion of bacterial cells per gram”.

Nourishing Plot has an excellent post that summarizes some GAPS worthy supplements.  I highly recommend reading it if you are in the market for probiotics.

As you shop around, you will undoubtedly come across Bio-Kult.  Many consider Bio-Kult to be the GAPS Probiotic.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride was actually part of the team that created it.  That doesn’t guarantee that it will work for everyone though, as we are all unique in what strains we lack.  If you happen to be weak in the strains that Bio-Kult provides, you are in luck and it will do wonders for you.  If your body already has enough of those strains however, the supplement won’t help you.  The right product for you will contain the strains that your particular body is lacking

So when you try a new supplement and are able to increase the dose without a reaction, you should probably test another product that has different strains.   Once you find the strains you are weak in, be careful not to overdo it! I’m not advising you to purposely encourage a severe detox.  Although some die off lets you know your body needs the strains you are supplementing, you don’t want to overwhelm your detox pathways.  In order to avoid this, you must slowly and carefully increase your dose.


Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains her plan for building up to the therapeutic dose in her book on pages 251-252.  Begin with a very tiny amount.  If your symptoms worsen, stay on this amount for as long as it takes the symptoms to dissipate.  Once they are gone, or if they don’t show up at all, you can increase the dose a bit.

Continue on this pattern of increasing when there are no symptoms and staying on the current dose when there are symptoms until you reach the therapeutic level.  There are some general guidelines to help you determine how high your therapeutic dose should be, but an internet search cannot give you an absolute answer.   Your particular level, as well as the time it takes you to reach it, is very individual. 

GAPS patients need to take the therapeutic dose for approximately six months.  Then begins the process of decreasing to the maintenance dose, which is done just as gradually as increasing it was.  Once again, the maintenance dose varies from person to person.  Dr. Campbell-McBride even claims that for some, it will equal the therapeutic level.   She also says on page 253 of her book,

“To maintain the probiotic you do not have to carry on taking commercial preparations.  You can supplement your diet with fermented foods in the form of homemade yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other homemade fermented foods.”   

Having a certified GAPS practitioner oversee the procedure is extremely helpful.  It is hard for people who aren’t educated in this subject to know what supplement to take, how high their therapeutic dose should be, how long to stay at that level, and what their maintenance dose should be.  Not only that, but who really has time for all this when there are jobs to be worked, families to take care of, and other activities and obligations that require attention?

I am not a certified GAPS practitioner (though I hope to be one someday), so I can’t give you more than general guidelines.  But I sincerely hope that I was able to clear up some confusion in regards to what you need to be on the lookout for in a good supplement, and give you a starting point for finding your correct dose.