I started this blog with the sole purpose of encouraging others to not be put off by the cost and work of GAPS/SCD. A major thread within the blog is to learn how to use what you can afford most efficiently. True pasta, rice and bread go a lot further in feeding hungry kids than squash and cauliflower. And it does cost money to make meat and veggies the center of focus but with diligence one can afford these diets.
Every family has their own unique food budget and their own unique challenges. But there are some basic things that can be helpful. Start by really looking at the diet, not just what is allowed and disallowed. Look at the overall goal of the diet. It is to heal, but it is also a retraining process. Neither of these diets advocate spending two to three years of healing and then tell you to go back to eating the junk.
With that in mind, it is not all about trying to see how many alternative desserts one can make. Or how many ways we can substitute one food item for another. It is about changing our eating habits. Teaching our kids (and ourselves) to eat their meat and veggies. The goal is to create a life time of good eating habits.
The GAPS/SCD diet does not have to be excessively costly. There are ways to make it affordable for the family. One idea is create one pot meals. Not “soups” but “stews”. Soups are the broths, with a little something throw in…Stews are hearty meals within themselves and rich in variety.
I call stews, “old world” food, because they were the staple diet of our ancestors. Meats cooked in a pot with water and a variety of whatever was available. The old nursery rhyme Pease Porridge Hot, is about stew. Prior to cold storage the way to keep food safe for consumption was to keep it heated. If they had leftovers that were not completely consumed they did not throw them out, instead they kept them hanging over the fire, or off to the side. The next day they would add fresh contents to the pot and create a new stew. That is where the phrase “nine days old” comes in.
My family once tried this with our modern day crock pot. It was interesting to see how each day the stew tasted differently and just as good. We only made it six days before we consumed it all.
And no, I am not advocating that you keep your crock pot going endlessly, but I tell the story because it shows the history of Stew and how our ancestors managed to feed their families with some ease without all of the modern day appliances. The concept of stews as a filling and nourishing meals still works today and with our modern appliances, it can be almost effortless.
Stews allow you to use cheaper cuts of meats, favorite vegetables and adding in new ones that perhaps are less familiar. Things that often are not to a person’s liking can be quite complimentary in a stew. Thus stews can be packed with a variety of nutrition and flavor.
There are all kinds of recipes for stews that can be found on the internet….but the bottom line is start with meat, a lot of veggies, maybe tomatoes, a splash of wine (red for beef and lamb, white for chicken, pork or fish) add enough water to almost cover and cook. Slow cook until the meat is tender. They can be made on the stove top, in the oven, or in a crock pot…the key is slow cooking.
In my opinion, onions go in about every thing and most assuredly stews. Onions are very affordable and I use them liberally. Carrots too flesh out stews very well. But so do other things like cabbage, green beans, peas, or mushrooms. Or what about a rutabaga, at less than a dollar a pound they go nicely with stews. Or things like greens. They are inexpensive and a few collards or kale in stew adds flavor without tasting like greens.
Then there are things like Saturday Stew, which is a combination of any leftovers. Maybe adding in a few fresh ingredients.
The thing is that stews are dense in variety but also they have the broth from the meat and veggies so they are quite filling when served with an approved bread, cut raw veggies, or even boiled or pickled eggs.
One of the things that I did for my family was buy soup plates. This way I can set an elegant table with a simple meal. Stews are best served in a bowl and these flat soup plates make stew feel less like a “bowl of soup” and more like a meal.
Also stews can be made up in advance and frozen for later. What a great way to always have a meal on hand!!