Progress Update + Winter Squash Love (WIAW)

Alright, so I feel that an update is in order for you all. It has been awhile since I’ve talked about how the GAPS healing protocol is going for me. If you’ve directly asked in the comments, then I’ve answered honestly, but the whole thing just seemed too big to try and tackle during a post. But I’ve decided to just give you the highlights for now until any major improvements occur.

First of all I want to say that I feel much better. That is the most important thing to remember for me. However, there have been a few instances (about twice a week) where I seriously ask myself why I am doing this. This is when I have to step back and remember that those few instances used to be a daily occurrence for me. Now, I can happily say that there are days where I feel completely normal. Like, no problems whatsoever. And that is huge!

Now comes the second part. While I am feeling a lot better, I realize that is in part just because of the limited diet that I am eating. Even though it took awhile for me to feel good on this diet, arguably most people would be symptom-free while eating just meat, vegetables, broth and oils. Whenever I try to introduce a new food though, my symptoms come back. I can manage coconut oil in small amounts if I remember to take my ox bile (which helps me digest fats), and I removed olive oil two weeks back when I realized that bloating after eating should not be my “consequence” for getting in healthy fats.

Technically speaking I am still on Stage 1 of GAPS. I tried to go onto Stage 2, and that basically failed. Stage 2 involves slowly introducing egg yolks, soft boiled eggs, and casseroles. Remember my shepherd’s pie? Ya, stomach pain (not terrible, but not acceptable either). Now for the eggs… As you know, I’m “allergic” to eggs by scientific proof of an RAST blood allergy test. My GAPS doctor believes that this allergy has been caused by leaky gut, and may go away eventually when my stomach has healed. So, I tried introducing egg yolks and I think that went alright. No noticeable problems. This made me very excited and I went onto the next step of adding soft boiled eggs.

Big mistake.

About 10 minutes after I ate the egg I could tell by my stomach that something was wrong. It just felt off. By the time that I went to bed I was in severe pain. This lasted several hours and I barely slept a wink that night.

No eggs for me! (I may try introducing an egg yolk again to see how I react. Normally those with allergies are just allergic to the egg white).

Also, I think that I am having difficulties with the sauerkraut. Even at just 1/2 tsp a day, by the end of the week things are… Just not right.

Everything went well last week though, and the weekend was awesome. That is almost a full seven days of no stomach pain or problems, just a few hours on Sunday afternoon when I had some issues. If everything goes a-okay this week I’m going to take that as a sign to try and introduce something new. I’m thinking that will be small doses of a probiotic.

You see, even though I’m feeling great on this diet, that doesn’t mean I’m “healed” or on my way to healing entirely. It may just mean that I am now tolerating these foods. To really heal, I need to get to a maintenance dose of probiotic, which will help repopulate all of the gut flora that I lost on my four year stint with antibiotics for my acne.

Wish me luck.

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Now, as fun as that was to talk about, let’s move onto the real reason that you are probably reading this post today: What I Ate Wednesday.

As you remember from last week, this month’s theme for WIAW is Love Your Veggies Month.


This week, I want to focus on a vegetable that we all know and love: Winter Squash.

acorn-squash-whole

Here a few tidbits that I learned about this awesome vegetable (source):

  • We normally think of winter squash as being very starchy, and while about 50% of its carbohydrates are “starch-like” in composition, they are not the same as the starch carbohydrates normally associated with negative effects.
  • On the contrary, these carbohydrates have been found to be antioxidant in nature as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and insulin regulating.
  • The durable shells of these squash make them great for storing, anywhere from one week to six months.
  • It is suggested that you buy winter squash from an organic source whenever possible, because it is often used as an intercrop for contaminated soils.

In my normal fashion, I’m not going to share everything that I ate in an entire day because most of my meals repeat/consist of similar things. This week though, I want to change things up even more and share some of my favorite types of winter squash.

wiaw-winter-squashes-collage-pink

I decided to make this in alphabetical order and table format, because ABCs and tables make life so much simpler (information source) (stock images from Google).

squash-table-orange-background

Here are some of the ways that I like to use winter squash:

Butternut Squash and Beef Soup.

wiaw-sweet-beef-squash-soup-close

Kabocha Squash and Chicken Soup.

new-years-wiaw-mug-soup

Spaghetti Squash and my Tomato-Free Meat Sauce.

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Butternut Squash on top of Shepherd’s Pie.

wiaw-squash-shepherds-pie

And a new recipe to share!

Paleo Moussaka 

Adapted from Chocolate and Raspberries

Makes 6 servings

Nut-Free, Gluten/Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, High Protein, GAPS/Paleo Friendly

wiaw-trap-casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, cooked using my painless method
  • 2 zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • coconut oil
  • sea salt
  • beef broth or water

Directions:

1. Bring a pot of beef broth or water to a boil and add the ground beef. Stir and break apart as it cooks.

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2. Meanwhile, after cooking and cooling the butternut squash, cut it in half and peel.

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3. Then take the seedless half that is not hollow and cut into round slices.

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4. Next peel (optional) and slice your zucchini.

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5. The beef should be done by now (break apart as it cooks). Remove the beef, and put the zucchini slices into the leftover broth/water. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until tender.

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6. Coat a 8×10 pan (8×8 or 9×9 would work too) with coconut oil.

7. If you had a large butternut squash, start with a layer of butternut rounds on the bottom. If not, evenly distribute half of the zucchini slices on the bottom of the pan.

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8. Next put down a layer of the entire pound of ground beef. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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9. Finish with a layer of zucchini slices, and the remaining butternut squash rounds.

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10. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and place in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

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Recipe note: You can make this vegan by using 2 cups of cooked lentils or meat substitute crumbles.

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Wowee that was a long post for this WIAW. I hope you all learned a lot about winter squash! I sure did. While I don’t have access to organic squash, I buy it whenever possible. No matter if I have organic or not though, I peel my squash to get rid of any pesticides or lingering hazards on the skin.

And, for a little sneak peak at a recipe that I’ll be sharing either tomorrow or Friday, here is a picture of my Pan Perfect Pancakes. Gluten/Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Nut-Free:

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Have you ever tried to reintroduce a food? What happened?

Did any of the facts about winter squash surprise you?

What is your favorite way to eat winter squash?

What is your favorite type of winter squash? Any recommendations? I’ve been wanting to try delicata squash forever, but none of my grocery stores around me carry it!

40 Thoughts on “Progress Update + Winter Squash Love (WIAW)

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling so much better!!! I hope you continue to feel better until you reach 100%! Keep working at it- you’ll get there 🙂

  2. I have never seen winter squash around here. All I can find is hokkaido squash, which I love.
    That moussaka looks great! I might try it this weekend with tvp/soy crumbles and maybe potatoes.

    • I think hokkaido is a type of winter squash! 🙂 I looked it up on wikipedia and it sounds delicious. “…thick-skinned orange colored winter squash … that provides a very delicate and mellow chestnut-like flavor.” Does that sound like it? It also says that it is called Red kuri?

      Let me know how the moussaka turns out with your substitutions. Sounds great!

  3. Keeping you in my prayers hunnie. I truly hope you continue feeling even better as the weeks pass.

  4. I am obsessed with squash..making a version of alfredo tonight with spaghetti squash. I love your Paleo Mousaka. I might try that sometime this week, and add coconut milk to it as a ‘cheese’ layer. Great post!

  5. uck I am sorry you are still experiencing pain, I honestly don’t know how you live with such a limited diet. more power to you

  6. Happy WIAW! Great information! I love all squash but Butternut is my favorite. 🙂

  7. Aw, I’m sorry you’re still experiencing some set backs, but I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better overall! Love the squash guide, too. My favorite would have to be spaghetti, but I’ll have to branch out a bit more and try some of the others you’ve listed!

    Oh, and that gingerbread mug is adorable.

    • Funny enough, spaghetti squash is probably the squash that I use the least. Not because I don’t like it, but because it isn’t as versatile as the other squashes. I’m totally craving some now though. I’ll have to remember to cook one up and bring some with me to school next week. Add some variety to my soups!

      Aren’t Christmas mugs just the best? I don’t care it it’s out of season. It goes perfectly with my green plastic reindeer bowl that I use at school.

  8. Ahh sucks about the egg 🙁 I really want to try spaghetti squash and kabocha squash it they’re quite tricky to find here in the UK. I’m liking the moussaka recipe as well, yum!

    • Yes. It does indeed “suck.” Lol.

      Do you all have any type of winter squash available in the UK? Kabocha is pretty similar to a lot of other squashes, so you’re not missing out on much there. But spaghetti squash is definitely something you need to see to believe. You may not even like it, but just the fact that a vegetables come out looking like *that* is awesome 🙂

      If you can’t find any butternut squash for the moussaka, the original recipe used sweet potato slices which I’m sure would taste great too!

  9. Hey love! Thanks for sharing the progress. I’ve never had to reintroduce a food into my diet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you that whatever you reintroduce goes well! I think the way you have stuck to this diet has been amazing, and it’s about time you get some results!

    • Thanks. I haven’t found it too hard to stick to. I’m not sure why that is, because looking at it from an outside perspective it seems that I should have broken at least once by now 🙂 Haha.

  10. I appreciate the chart all about squash. So structured and organized; it was right up my alley. I also was curious about how you were doing on the new GAPS plan so I’m glad to get an update. Just keep working it to find something, which works for you. It amazes me antibiotics did this to you; they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Ps. Thank you, thank for the FB page like. You are a total sweetheart. Much love!!

    • Glad you liked the chart 🙂 I still need to print it off for my parents. They call everything acorn/butternut. There’s no explaining to them the difference. Haha.

      Ugh. Antibiotics. Just hearing about them makes me cringe! Now whenever I hear of someone taking them I always say (whether they ask for the feedback or not) take some probiotics too! 😀 It’s kind of just a habit now.

  11. Good to hear you’ve been feeling better and even completely normal some days! Don’t let the fact of this being partly due to a limited diet lessen your happiness. Feeling good always is a reason to celebrate :). Give your body some more time and I’m sure you’ll be able to reintroduce foods and improve. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    • Thanks for your thoughts. You’re right, I shouldn’t let the diet lessen the awesomeness of feeling “normal.” It’s still a huge improvement. It’s been over a year since this all started, and time definitely makes things better (albeit some have gotten worse…). But overall I appreciate the fingers crossed! 🙂

  12. I’m such a squash fanatic too!:) Sorry to hear about the eggs:( They are my favorites

  13. I think we call squash ‘pumpkin’ here in Australia – but we definitely don’t have much variety. Wer have butternut and a few others but they don’t look the same! I would loooooooooove to be able to try spaghetti squash one time!
    Love all those quotes – very encouraging!

    • That would be so strange calling a butternut squash a “pumpkin” because I associate pumpkin with the orange puree in the can, and jack-o-lanterns for Halloween 🙂

      I hope you get to try spaghetti squash sometimes. It’s so neat!

  14. Happy to hear that you are feeling a bit better. I hope you continue to progress (in a positive way!) 🙂 Also, acorn squash is a favorite food of mine. I switch between that and a sweet potato every day for lunch and have since September. Creature of habit…

  15. Have you ever tried to reintroduce a food? —> that is what we are doing right now with our diet, we took so many things out of it for so long, now we are trying t o figure out our food culprits and deciding what to bring back to see how body does. it can be frustrating and confusing sometimes, how they body may react to some foods.

    • I hope you figure out your culprits! I’ve mostly figured out mine, but it is basically everything in a person’s normal diet 🙁 I’m just hoping to eliminate some of my reactions through a healing diet right now.

  16. Thanks for all the squash-yness 🙂 I know what you mean about food allergies. I tried to add a little wheat, corn, peanuts and such just to see if a little is okay, but damn the instant pain or sickness. Horrible 🙁

  17. I’ve seriously never learned so much about squash! I hope you’re feeling much better soon – I know how terrible these stomach pains get.

  18. That’s awesome to hear that you’ve had some success with the change in diet! I’m going through a whole slew of GI issues right now and have heard about the GAPS diet but haven’t tried it yet… I hope you continue to experience relief!

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