A night in late November that fits no better description than balmy. All the windows of the house are open wide. A slight breeze pushes the mosquito net to and fro above the sweat-damp, milkily sleeping children. A moth beats itself, whap, against the window. Small and smaller creatures shrill into the night. Cicadas, crickets, frogs, and the deeper whoop-whoop-whoop of a mopoke calling her mate. Outside, there is yet no moon. Living many miles from any large source of light, the sky is absolutely bristling with stars. On this glorious night, I am feeling happy.
Tonight I made lotion for the first time. Magnesium lotion. There are lots of places online that explain why magnesium is a good idea; better sleep, improved detoxification, reduced muscle cramping among them. We have used magnesium oil for many months and find it very helpful, but it itches and stings and so my kids despise and avoid it. Hence the lotion, designed to nourish the skin as well as deliver the wonderful salt. What I hadn’t considered was how wonderful it would feel, just the making. The sweet, warm scent of the beeswax as it melted into the coconut oil and shea butter. The stirring, stirring, watching it become opaque as it thickened again. And the magic of taking a liquid – salty, salty water, and blending it with an oil to become a creamy, delicious-smelling, healing lotion. Crafted with my own hands.
Earlier this evening I used the same process of emulsification, to make mayonnaise. I’m always looking for more ways of getting healthy fats into my family. My kids will happily devour ghee, lard or tallow by the spoonful, they have even grown to enjoy cod liver oil, some of the time. Thus far they have vehemently resisted the nut and seed oils that I have tried; coconut, olive, hempseed, all of which offer so much great nutritional benefit, and such wonderful flavours. But my picky six-year-old in particular has rejected them all as ‘yuck’.
Tonight, I found the key. In our pre-GAPS days I made mayo with rice bran oil, which was creamy, smooth and mild. All attempts at making mayonnaise with olive oil produced bitter, inedible mayo. I’m yet to find an explanation of why delicious EVOO turns into bitter horror when emulsified with egg, but it does. Tonight, I blended two eggs with a solid squeeze of lime, generous pinch of himalayan salt, a few tablespoons of juice from my latest batch of sauerruben, and a tablespoon or so of raw honey. In a jar I mixed around half a cup of olive oil, a few tablespoons of hempseed oil, and a little more than half a cup each of sunflower seed and coconut oil. Dripped the oil bit by teensy bit into the running blender, spattering oily egg all over my self and the kitchen in the process (there has to be a better way.. but my carpal tunnel won’t allow me to do mayo by hand), until it thickened into a beautiful, thick, cream. Right at the end I added a few tablespoons of pesto that I made earlier in the week. Super delicious, super nutritious, and my kids LOVED it. Not only devoured it, but also ate twice as many sticks of carrot and cucumber as they usually would. WIN!
I haven’t yet described what life was like for us before GAPS, and I will at some stage, and then this will make more sense. Today, I am happy because of what my daughter ate today. In no particular order, it included: freshly squeezed carrot and cucumber juice, black sapote, hamburger, pork cracklings, scrambled eggs, sauerkraut, pickled green beans, banana, apple, ORANGE, (yes, orange!! anyone with salicylate/amine/glutamate intolerances will know what i mean!), apple-juice jello squares, “GAPS Hot Chocolate” jello squares, roast chicken, carrot and cucumber slices, shredded cabbage, pesto mayonnaise, cherry tomatoes. Less than a year ago, her diet consisted of Neocate formula, rice and rice products like crackers/pasta/syrup/puffs, chickpeas, nuttelex, sugar, and very small amounts of pear, occasional carrots and peas, and buckwheat. That was it. The variety of foods she can tolerate now fills me with joy. Being able to play with flavours and textures, knowing that her body is being nourished by whole, organic, real food, gives me so much hope.
When we started GAPS almost 11 months ago, I promised myself I would keep a blog about it. Here I am, posting my second post. That says all kinds of things about not only how intense and all-encompassing GAPS is, but about how much I avoid writing, even though I enjoy it so much. So here it is, I’m not even going to re-read it.. I’m just going to hit ‘publish’, and hope that I’ll be back again soon.