Today, I am beginning a new batch of recipes starting with this simple carrot frittata recipe. Here's why...A few months ago, I came across the GAPS diet while indulging in a number of vegan conversations (including recipes) on YouTube. Don't try to understand the connection and don't even ask me why I was interested in the "vegans" lol. I was just interested in the back and forth conversations between the vegans and the carnivores which was quite entertaining, especially during this Covid time.
Anyway, I came across one of Dr. Campbell-McBride lectures, and she got my interest by the number of "shocking things" she said concerning autoimmune diseases and autism. That was when I heard about the GAPS diet, which has been around for a while. I could not understand why I never came across this diet before.
However, if I think back, I believe I heard a little about it, but it did not get my full attention, not until now. That is why I considered boldly going into it, more so for the benefit of my son. I will be sharing the impact it has on him in the coming months and how he is coping with it. Nevertheless, everyone at home will be eating the same thing he is going to be eating - just to give him some support.
What is the GAPS diet?
GAPS refers to Gut and Psychology Syndrome. The term was coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and nutritionist. The diet is also known as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. You can learn a lot more about this diet from her books on Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Originally, Dr. Campbell-McBride offered this diet to autistics.
But, it soon became clear that, to her, the diet was also useful in treating: ADHD/ADD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, various behavioural and learning disorders, allergies, asthma, eczema, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and other psychological and psychiatric problems (such as eating disorders). She reasoned, any one with any of these problems had underlying digestive problems.
Gut problems can affect people, especially children, in may ways. The GAPS affected person, will find their condition can worsen over time if it is not treated properly. If you wish to understand this better, reflect on the experience of the GAPS patient, or yourself if you suffer from any one of the previously mentioned ailments. Think, if your child had colic early in life or eating problems, or even suffered from malnutrition. Consider, if you suffer from bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, or even constipation.
These are the tell tale signs of digestive problems. Many of these problems begin in childhood and worsen over the years with vaccines, certain medications, drugs, antibiotics, the consumption of sugar, processed foods, and gluten products. I know what you're thinking now but yes, your, or someone else you know, problem originated in the gut and it is that serious.
Let me explain. An unhealthy gut is unable to digest proteins, ferment carbohydrates and break down lipids and fibre as needed. In this state it is unable to digest good food and even supplements easily. Bad bacteria also strive in the gut walls and thus, doctor Campbell - McBride stressed that many people with a damaged gut can also suffer from some form of anaemia.
The Gaps Diet: A Trinidadian Perspective
As a Trinidadian, I am quite aware that the standard diet we eat can damage our gut micro-flora. We eat a lot of processed and preserved foods, flour products, processed meats, and sweets. However, we also have traditional foods that we are unaware of that are very beneficial to our gut.
These are the fermented foods. Do you remember the fermented foods we indulged in when we were young, such as, the soaked fruits and chows with the lil pepper and chadon beni? e.g. (plum, mango, sour cherry, pommerac, pommecythere, and pineapple). Those snacks we ate were really helping our gut flora and we didn't even know. I guess granny had a trick or two up her sleeve when it came to maintaining a healthy gut flora.
Even broths like meat broth and bone broth are important in this diet and can also be beneficial to the gut. In this case even our favourite souses are a good source of nutrients. As I reflect on our modern day diet and the many illnesses people are being diagnosed with, to me, is an indication that we as a people are eating less and less of these beneficial foods, and more gut damaging foods. That is really sad!
Anyway, the diet can help you regain a healthy gut, where you, even the GAPS patient, can digest casein and gluten in moderate amounts without the return of symptoms. This diet can also improve your immunity and overall psychological well-being. That is the reason I am taking it seriously. If it proves to be helpful to my family, I would encourage anyone to try it out as well.
What do we eat on the GAPS Diet?
The GAPS diet is very time consuming, it could take as long as 2 years. It takes time to heal the gut and accomplish the two main functions: first, to help "clean up and heal the digestive tract so it stops being the major source of toxicity in the body" and second, to "remove the stored toxicity" from the various tissues in the body (Campbell-McBride, 2004).
In the GAPS diet, carbohydrates are limited to only a few vegetables that are easily digested; all grains are removed to make the diet truly gluten free, no processed foods are allowed, milk sugar lactose and similar products are avoided. The gut is given time away from all of this so that it can begin to heal and improve.
Anyway, the list is exhaustive, and a lot of food preparation and cooking is involved. You cannot be lazy and finicky to follow a diet like this. It would require some discipline because you'll have to unlearn what you've learnt about nutrition and basically reset your system to gain the health rewards.
Luckily for you all, over the next few posts I will explain more and more about the food we are preparing and eating. And, of course there'll be lots of recipes for you to try along the way.
And this brings us back to the recipe for today.
The Carrot Frittata Recipe
Now for the recipe today, carrot frittata. We are in the introduction stage of the GAPS diet and we have passed the difficult part already (and not a moment too soon). My son does not like soup too much, he never liked soup that much, but this time he had to consume everything because he usually leaves back all the "sauce" lol.
Now we can break the monotony of the soup meals with eggs, and he loves eggs. Who doesn't? So, how many ways can one cook eggs? Well, we had to figure out that as well because soon boiled or fried eggs gets boring. One new way we discovered was as a frittata. So why not a carrot frittata?
Carrot is the most popular vegetable right now in the household. We are juicing it, boiling it, and eating it in soups. It is a remarkable vegetable and I am not complaining about it at all. I mean, it is challenging following this diet in the Caribbean based on some of the requirements. I'll tell you more about these challenges later on as time progresses. However, we had to add carrots to the eggs . This is one of the recipes we enjoyed eating for the past week.
So what's a frittata? A frittata is an egg-based dish of Italian origin, that looks like a thick omelette or pancake and when other ingredients are added it reminds me of a crust-less quiche. So you can add your favorite vegetables, cheese and even meat to this frittata.
I added grated carrot and some spices to the beaten egg. However, you can add other ingredients. In this simple recipe, you can add a combination of ingredients that make up about 1 cup of the vegetable ingredients. So, you can mix pre-cooked vegetables, such as tomatoes and mushrooms, or spinach and tomatoes, that is up to you. It could end up looking like an egg pizza lol. So, without further ado here's our simple carrot frittata. Enjoy!
1 medium onion, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
8 small eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup carrot, boiled and grated
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons fresh or dried parsley, chopped
chive to garnish
coconut oil to grease the casserole dish
Boil the carrot until it is tender. Then grate and set aside. Prepare the rest of the ingredients as shown above.
Note: If you are preparing another type of vegetable or even meat, sauté it before you proceed to the next step.
Place the eggs in a deep bowl and beat well. Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil).
Pour into a greased casserole dish to bake. You can also cook on a hot cast-iron skillet. Cook until the texture is light, fluffy and somewhat springy. On the stove-top cook over a low flame.
You do not want to cook it too long in the oven, as it can dry out. Cook until the middle is not jiggly.
Remove from the oven and allow the carrot frittata to cool. Loosen the sides with a flat knife or spatula. Cut and serve cool.
This carrot frittata is most suited for breakfast or dinner. We enjoyed it with some extra sour cream on the top.
Before I go I'll leave you with one of Dr. Campbell-McBride's lectures. Enjoy.