Category Archives: Product Reviews

My Word of the Year is Habit

I had heard of people  picking a word of the year, but had never done it myself. What about you? Do you choose a word of the year?

I had always been resentful about establishing habits, thinking it was boring or too controlling, not to mention it reminded me a little bit too much of my teen years when I lived with a foster family.

Besides my life seemed to be going along pretty well without habits. But then I realized, “Wait a minute, I do have a lot of habits that I just don't realize are habits!” And I started to think that maybe my life could be enriched by habits. Not only my life, but also the way I feel every day. I even discovered that thinking negatively is an established habit that you want to stop reinforcing if you ever hope to stop.

In January I decided my word of the year for 2019 would be “habit” because I was learning all about establishing habits. It started with reading Atomic Habits by James Clear which led to reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and then Getting Things Done by David Allen… the more I read, the more I realized I had been fighting against myself my entire adult life! I decided it was time to try building habits and it has definitely been a learning curve!

Make It Easy

One important component to establishing habits is make sure they are easy to incorporate, and you should always clear the path to establishing the habit. Take a few minutes and think about the behavior you want to change, the new habit you wish to adopt. Let's say you want to establish the habit of putting your clothes in the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor. The dirty clothes hamper is in the bathroom, so why don't you just put your clothes in the hamper? Well, first the bathroom is down the hallway. And secondly, there's only one bathroom for your family of four, so you typically undress in your bedroom to limit your time in the bathroom. Does anyone use the bathroom laundry hamper? If some of your family do, buy a second hamper and put it in the bedroom nearby so you can easily toss your clothes in. This will help immensely with establishing this new habit.

I am super sensitive to anything blocking my path. One of the habits I wanted to establish was to swish the toilet every day. I don't like to use harsh chemicals but I think vinegar is great for cleaning so I bought an extra gallon to keep in the bathroom, instead of having to run into the kitchen to get it. I have learned that I am more likely to establish a habit if I set myself up to win.

Stack Your Habits

Another tip I learned is when you get one habit established, “stack” another similar one that you do right after that one. In addition to swishing the toilet, I wanted to scoop the cat litter box every day. So I'd do the toilet, then the cat litter box. It becomes like second nature after awhile.

Use a Habit Tracker

Another helpful tool for establishing habits is to use what's called a habit tracker. If you use a planner, you probably already know about habit trackers or the planner company may offer habit trackers included as bonus printables. I use the Passion Planner and that's one of the printables available for download. It's usually a group of squares and you check off each one.

My friends and affiliate partners at Ultimate Bundles have put together a free PDF called Five to Flourish: Simple Daily Habits to Help Cultivate a Healthy Lifestyle which includes habit trackers for five habits to establish for 30 days. There are five habits included, or you can create your own.



GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Energy Course

How to Manage Your Home Even with Low Energy (The Energy Budget: Time Management for the Chronically Ill or other Long-Term Roadblocks)

Energy Budget

I've had low energy my entire life. As a child, I spent a great deal of my free time reading books. I needed glasses from the age of nine and I can still remember the optometrist saying “There's more to the world than one square foot” meaning I should stop reading so much.

I had an extreme dislike for physical education. I still don't like exercise to this day. As an adult, I've struggled to keep my home in order. As a young mother I found the SHE (Sidetracked Home Executives) System and could really relate. A couple decades later I tuned in to FlyLady, who is licensed to use Pam and Peggy's SHE system. Eventually, I realized these systems only worked for me during the times when I had “bursts of energy” which were far and few between. When I finally felt energetic again, it was so overwhelming that I didn't know where to start. And things were so far out of control that I knew my energy wouldn't last long enough anyway, so I ended up feeling hopeless.

In my mid-30s, I remember being at a friend's home… her daughter and I were trying to solve a computer issue. After not too long, the young woman stood and stretched, claiming she had to get up and move. I remember thinking “kids these days” and how they have no staying power… thinking I had a lot of stamina for staying planted in that computer chair and doggedly pursuing the solution.

Enter GAPS… my energy levels improved, which made me realize it wasn't stamina that allowed me to sit at a computer for hours on end, but low energy!!

I do have more energy, but not as much as I need. I still struggle with housework and getting everything done, and am always looking for help with staying on top of housework. Recently I've been working my way through an e-course which is designed specifically for those of us struggling to get what needs to be done in spite of our low energy. One thing I can tell you from living with low energy – some things are best tackled daily, even if they seem low priority.

Tackle Some Things Even Though They Seem Low Priority

Three examples:

  1. Brush my hair daily (7 minutes): I have long straight hair. Low energy is one of the main reasons I allow my hair to grow long. It's the easiest way for me to manage my hair. Twist it up in a bun every morning, takes 10 seconds. Voila! I wash my hair once a week. I don't have to fuss with blow drying, styling or going someplace to get my hair cut. However, it tangles easily, especially if I wash my hair and don't brush after it's dried. Brushing my hair is something that I need to spend 2 minutes on every morning and 5 minutes in the evening (brushing and braiding, yes, I timed it). It's so easy to twist my hair into a bun every morning (without brushing) and then let it down to sleep. But doing this means my hair bevomes more tangled each night. THEN it hurts to brush! When it gets to this point, I have to wait until I'm in the right mood to be able to handle the inevitable pain from removing the tangles. For me, it actually causes me to feel stressed and depletes my energy to have to remove tangles.
  2. Swish the toilet every day (under 1 minute): I have finally learned that due to our hard water and the fact that we allow “yellow to mellow” I absolutely must swish the toilet bowl at least once every day. Even with scrubbing the bowl daily, calcium and lime begins to take hold so once a week I pour in a couple tablespoons of vinegar and leave sit overnight. Doing this under 1-minute chore once daily prevents me from having to scrub by hand (since I refuse to use toxic chemicals).
  3. Rinse pots, pans, dishes immediately (3 minutes): Making dinner from scratch (as we do much of the time on GAPS) can take a lot of energy leaving one exhausted when it comes time to do the dishes. At minimum, rinse dishes, pots and pans as soon as you are done with them. Otherwise the food sticks and now you have to scrub, or leave them soaking for awhile. I don't recommend filling the sink with water and dishes – if you run out of energy, the water can become gross and stinky before you get to it.

The Energy Budget: Time Management for the Chronically Ill (And Others With Long-Term Roadblocks)

Energy Course

The Energy Budget e-course was created by Rachel Ramey, the blogger at Titus 2 Homemaker. Here's what Rachel says in Module 1: “I suffer from chronic illness myself. It wasn’t too bad at first, so I just slowed down, but over time my condition became worse – and so did the condition of my house. One day I looked around and thought, “this isn’t working“. See, I had a plan for keeping my home running (fairly) smoothly, but I was no longer able to work the plan. I needed to find a new plan that was designed to work around my unpredictable energy levels.” 

Reading Rachel's words… that could have been me. When I entered the workforce again after being a stay at home mom for five years I started out working three days a week, now I'm working five days. My job is stressful and I often feel drained emotionally and physically and I definitely need to make adjustments for my energy levels. After a particularly grueling week, I sometimes find it's necessary to spend all day Saturday or Sunday (sometimes both days) in bed, which is incredibly frustarting but occasionally that's what I have to do in order to recover for the past week and regroup for the upcoming week.

Maybe you don’t have a chronic illness. Although this course was written with the chronically ill in mind, there are others in similar situations who may find some of these strategies useful. Hard pregnancies, recovery from injury, lengthy-but-not-chronic illnesses such as mononucleosis, parenting chronically ill kids, even being a first-time parent and learning this very important job on the fly, managing a full-time job with low energy and keeping a home in order, etc. – these are all situations where the standard methods don’t always work.

In the Energy Budget e-course, Rachel is going to guide you through figuring out what needs to be done in your home, how important it is for you and your family and most importantly taking your energy levels into consideration.

The Concept of an Energy Budget

Most households have financial budgets, but the idea of an “energy” budget is a concept that is rarely considered. Most of us recognize that we typically have a finite amount of money to work with, but we seldom recognize that our energy has varying levels. Especially if you have low energy, I've noticed that most of us with chronic illness or low energy work ourselves to exhaustion, but continue to push ourselves, trying to meet certain standards.

The Energy Budget e-course takes your level of energy into consideration when determining what needs to be done to keep your home comfortable. Rachel also realizes what needs to be done vs. what can slide a bit is going to vary from one home to the next. For example, maybe dusting and removing cobwebs is something that you can put off for awhile; unless you're one (or maybe has a family member) who has an allergy to dust mites. Then it will need to go much higher on your priority list.

Rachel is going to help you figure all this out in the Energy Budget e-course. Here are the modules you're going to see along with a brief description:

Why This Course? Minimum Maintenance and Budgeting Strategies

Strategy 1: Fixed / Variable Fixed / Optional Expenditures
Determining what MUST be done (fixed) vs. what can be done sometimes and what is optional.

Strategy 2 – Prioritizing
What's most important for you and Tweaking the Method

Strategy 3 – Minimum “Income” (Energy)
Figuring out your energy levels

Strategy 4 – Dual Budgets
Two strategies for low energy vs. higher energy times

Strategy 5 – Saving Excess
Using the energy surge on the “good days”

Strategy 6 – Budget Cuts
Minimize the effort for getting chores done

Click here to check out the Energy Budget.

Energy Budget Rachel Ramey

Do you have a chronic illness and low energy? Do you find it a challenge to get everything done? What has helped you? 



GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Food Allergy Freedom Collection Bundle

The Food Allergy Freedom Collection from Ultimate Bundles

Food Allergy Freedom Collection Bundle

The Food Allergy Freedom Collection is a brand new bundle that is on sale for only 2 days, Monday November 13 and Tuesday November 14 2017. This bundle is 8 e-books and 1 meal plan, collated especially for the holidays!

Let me highlight four of my favorite resources in this bundle. Note: the first two are 100% GAPS-Legal but the other two you'll need to pick and choose recipes.

Christmas Border Bottom



Monday and Tuesday (November 13 and 14). Ends at midnight!

“Pay What You Want” Bundle!

Pay as little as $1 $3* for 8 e-books, 1 meal plan and if you pay at least $20 you'll gain access to Traditional Cooking School's Master Class on Allergy-Free Cooking.Holiday Buy Now

Christmas Border Top

Baker's Dozen Holiday Quick Breads

First up, Baker’s Dozen Holiday Quick Breads. This is Volume 3 in the  Coconut Flour [affiliate link] Baked Goods series. Inside you'll find a baker's dozen worth of baked goods recipes that are suitable for holiday gatherings, or maybe you just want a loaf for breakfast or to take with you on the long trip to Grandmother's house! These loaves are grain free and gluten free with honey [affiliate link] for the sweetener so they are suitable for GAPS.

Coconut Flour Baked Goods Volume 3 Holiday Breads

Holiday Buy Now


Nourishing Holidays

Nourishing Holidays contains over 50 GAPS diet-friendly, grain-free, gut-healing recipes that your family will love! It has every recipe you need to get a “traditional” Thanksgiving Dinner on the table. You'll find recipes like: perfect cauli-rice and homemade cream cheese, on down to pecan pie and honey “wheat” dinner rolls. This book (normally $24.97) is part of the Food Allergy Freedom Bundle which is only available for 2 days.

Nourishing Holiday e-book



Paleo Vegan Sweets and Treats

Do you miss sweet treats especially during the holidays (which are RIGHT around the corner!!)? This Paleo dessert book has more than 30 delicious holiday recipes for cakes, cookies, ice cream and more. Note that not all of them are GAPS legal but most of the recipes will work for those on full GAPS.

Holiday Buy Now

Traditional Cooking School‘s Allergy-Free Cooking Masterclass

Are you wondering how to prepare traditional foods when you have to work around food allergies and can no longer serve wheat or dairy products? Wardee of GNOWFGLINS will show you how in a Masterclass, presented in  a 5 part video format. Her easy to understand presentations will answer many of your questions.

NOTE: Not everything in this presentation is compatible with the GAPS diet, but it is easy to adapt the principles to GAPS legal foods. This class is only available to those who spend at least $20 on this bundle. Considering this class normally sells for $40, this is a deal!

This sale is on for just 48 hours, head over and get your bundle now while you're thinking about it! 🙂

Holiday Buy Now

*I'm terribly sorry, we were told the amount would be as little as $1 but at the last minute Ultimate Bundles realized they needed to make the minimum at least $3. You're still getting an amazing deal though. My sincerest apologies as I didn't get the notification in time to make changes to my posts and newsletters. ~Starlene

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Are Your Shoes Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

My back was strong all my life and never gave me any problems. I was proud to have such a strong back. I could lift just about anything I set my mind to – within reason, obviously I couldn't lift a car! I should shove a refrigerator into place bracing my body against it and not give a second thought. At the age of 21 I could lift a 70 pound tank of gas onto the back of a forklift. That was pretty impressive for a 5'4″ 125 pound young woman.

And then one day in 2014 for no good reason my back started to hurt. Real bad.

And I did what I had always done with pain. Of course I powered through.

When it comes to back pain, I discovered that was the WRONG tactic. That evening I was in an extreme amount of pain, so much that I was unable to find a comfortable position to sleep. It took another time or two of my back “going out” to learn to NEVER power through with a back that's “gone out”.

I first blogged about my back “going out” in conjunction with sharing about my current chiropractor experience which continues to be a very positive experience. Today I want to elaborate a bit more on this whole back pain situation as I've had a few more experiences that are helping me to get a more in-depth understanding of what's going on with me.

Stress – A Factor in Back Pain

I have read that stress can be a factor in back pain, and I know from recent personal experience that it is a factor in my own back problems. July was a very stressful month for me. We have our annual dance for clients at my job and I also had decided to go to a line dancing convention at the end of the month. (What was I thinking? Actually take a vacation?!) Between my normal tasks, the preparations for the dance and working overtime trying to make up in advance for missing five days at work I was very stressed out. I was waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I started each day feeling panic that the day was already getting away from me.

My back had been hurting for a few days and it had been getting progressively worse. And then, the morning of the dance I woke up with my back hurting really bad. I was terrified that something internally was in trouble, like my liver or a kidney. I decided to see if my chiropractor could fit me in and thankfully (of course) she was able to put my mind at ease by telling me exactly where those organs are located (duh).

Anytime my back starts to hurt I can't help but feeling scared that it might “go out” to the point where I'll be incapacitated. On this particular day, I worried because there was no one to take my place as the coordinator of the event. My back has gone out to the point where I can't sit or drive, let alone walk or stand so that had me feeling very concerned.

Massage Therapy Alleviates Back Pain

I decided to get a massage before the adjustment and thankfully the massage therapist had an opening.

I was very surprised afterward to discover that the pain had almost completely disappeared.

I was a little nervous for the remainder of the day that my back would erupt with full blown pain, and “go out” but it didn't. I felt extremely grateful that I had been spared, and happy to learn that a massage can relax me enough to prevent worse pain.

The next week I went on my vacation, and I lined danced and had a great time and my back was pretty good but still a little cranky. I had been worried it might go out while I was gone! I don't know what I would have done!

Now when I say my back was cranky, I mean that it was still bothering me. The pain was concentrated mostly around my hips. It felt like cramps and hurt more on the left side than the right. It wasn't real bad, but there have been times when my back was hurting just a little and the next thing you know, it would go out. So, I'm paranoid now that any little pain could blow up into full blown pain and being basically crippled. I hate feeling paranoid like that, because I worry that I am bringing it on myself, you know?

The last time my back went out I was taking a shower getting ready for work and I promise you I did nothing out of the ordinary and BAM. My back went out. I knew better than to power through, but usually I can sit and drive. This time, I not only couldn't sit and drive, I could barely walk. It just so happened that day I was scheduled to drive the van to pick up clients at my job and someone else had to take my place. Later that day my husband drove me in to see my chiropractor (50 miles away) and I had to lay in the back seat because I couldn't tolerate being in an upright position. I don't even know how I managed to get into the back seat. That is the last time my back went out – November 30, 2016. Wow, I've almost made it an entire year this time! That's fantastic! I can't help but wonder if drinking broth almost every day of this year has been a factor?

Worn Shoes Cause Back Pain

A couple of weeks ago one of my coworkers asked me if I could look for a pair of sandals that she likes online (she is an older woman and doesn't shop online) so we were looking at Amazon. We were talking about shoes in general and she mentioned that her shoes were getting worn on the heels and she was sure her back pain was related. I took a look at my sandals and they were worn in the heels, too! Not  too badly though. I bought this pair last year in July. They are the Naturalizer Convey.

Naturalizer Convey Sandal

So I decided right then and there to stop wearing these shoes.

It only took a day for my back to start feeling a lot better. Thank goodness. Now this is one of those things that I need to pay attention to in the future. If my back starts hurting across the hips, it could be my shoes.

Back in July 2016 I bought those sandals (Naturalizer Convey) from Famous Footwear at an outlet mall so I decided to try to find them again, only this time I tried looking at the Famous Footwear online sales site. I was able to find them, this time they were $29.99 rather than $41.99. I also found a tan pair, Naturalizer Cailyn.

Style #70927 Cailyn Sandal Famous Footwear

So… now I have two new pairs of sandals. And my back feels stronger and better every day. With this in mind, while reviewing the products in this year's Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle I found Mark Sisson's Amazing Feets! How to Safely and Enjoyably Transition to a Barefoot-Dominant Life. It is a book which lives up to its title, an amazing tool designed to help anyone transition into a barefoot-oriented lifestyle. You know that saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”?

Well, Mark's book came at the perfect time for me.

In reading it I came to a deeper understanding of why my back begins to hurt when my shoes wear out. It totally makes sense!

Here's a pertinent quote, “Barefoot enthusiasts also report relief from all manner of pain and chronic injuries to the lower extremities, particularly conditions that respond poorly to conventional treatments and even seemingly unrelated conditions such as lower back pain.”

Amazing Feets by Mark Sisson

Mark says, “The human foot is a sensitive, capable, highly mobile appendage packed with an intricate network of nerve endings, muscles, tendons, ligaments, 52 bones and fascia that respond and react to the environment in order to help you walk, stand and run gracefully. The alignment and function of your knees, pelvis, spine, and upper body are all heavily reliant on the effect balance, stability, impact absorption, weight transfer, and propulsion provided by your feet.”

If the shoes I'm wearing have worn out, my alignment is going to automatically be thrown off balance. This makes so much sense! I'm so glad to have found this book.

Amazing Feets! is available for a limited time in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle which is on sale for just a few days. Inside this year's bundle (brand new, nothing from previous years!) you'll find 68 eBooks (this includes my 30-Day Broth Challenge e-Guide!!), 28 eCourses, 10 printables & workbooks, 1 membership site, and 1 summit. The bundle is a 99% savings from retail value. You would spend $3,708.80 if you went and bought all these products one by one.

However, for just a few days you can get all these items for just $29.97! That's less than 28 cents per product! Plus, there are physical bonus items – one is Fire & Kettle Chicken Bone Broth. You've got to check it out and see for yourself.

And if you purchase using my link, I'm going to gift you with my newest e-book Baker's Dozen Savory Quick Breads! Just shoot me an email with your proof of purchase (email receipt) at and I'll get a copy right back to you.

Special Offer Savory Quick Breads

Take a look at what's in the bundle and you may find just one thing that will bring value into your life. Click here to use my affiliate link: Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle

So basically here's what I'm going to try to do… go barefoot as much as I can and whenever I can, and the rest of the time that my feet have to be enclosed in shoes I'm going to make sure the shoes are in good condition and supportive.

What about you? Do you have issues with your back hurting? Do you think it could be your shoes?



GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Are Instant Pots GAPS-Friendly?

Can I Use the Instant Pot on GAPS?

This is a question that comes up a lot, so I thought I would address it.

Let's begin with Dr. Natasha's official response regarding pressure cookers:

Question: “What are your thoughts about using an old-fashioned pressure cooker to expedite preparation of meat stocks?

Dr. Natasha's answer: “I don’t recommend pressure cooker, as it destroys food to a degree. It is better to cook food slowly on lower heat.”

Notice exactly what Dr. Natasha says: “I don't recommend pressure cooker, as it destroys food to a degree.”

She doesn't actually say, “It is illegal to use a ‘pressure cooker' on GAPS.” I recognize that she is suggesting cooking food slowly on lower heat as the recommended alternative.

Instant Pot “It's a Pressure Cooker” (NOPE, it's more than that)

The beauty about the Instant Pot is that you can use it to replace several appliances in your kitchen. If you feel strongly about interpreting Dr. Natasha's response as saying Instant Pots are illegal and should not be used, you can still use the 7-in-1 Instant Pot in six other ways.

#2 Replace your slow cooker

Yesterday I pressure cooked a batch of Roasted Chicken Meat Stock Broth on high for two hours, strained out the broth, then put the bones and bits back into the Instant Pot to slow cook overnight. I was playing around with the timer and discovered that I can slow cook for up to 20 hours, and then the Instant Pot automatically goes to warm and stays there for 10 hours (that's on automatic warm, it can be set to manually stay on warm for 99 hours).

You may or may not have heard that some ceramic based inserts are being found to contain lead? No worries there with the Instant Pot since the insert is stainless steel.

You can use your Instant Pot to do the slow cooking the Dr. Natasha recommends.

#3 Replace your yogurt maker

You're making your own yogurt using raw milk, right? Because GAPS yogurt needs to be made in a specific way in order to be “legal”.

The 7 in 1 Instant Pot has a yogurt setting and you can set it for the recommended fermenting time for GAPS yogurt of 24 to 29 hours. Actually, I discovered you can set it for up to 99 1/2 hours on the yogurt setting.

If you need more information on making your own, here's a blog post from my friend Patty from Loving Our Guts who can tell you more about it: How to Make GAPS Yogurt.

“So for GAPS yogurt, the recommendation is to ferment it for 24 to 29 hours. This will eliminate enough of the lactose to prevent digestive problems and yet leave a trace behind for keeping the colony of beneficial bacteria alive until it is consumed. In just a cup of properly prepared GAPS Yogurt (236ml) you’ll get 708 Billion beneficial bacteria. (source) That is a lot of beneficial bacteria. Bio-Kult Probiotic, for example, has just 2 billion CFU (cell forming units).

“Since it takes 24-29 hours to make this yogurt it may be tempting to make up a whole bunch at once and then dole it out over time. This isn’t such a great idea, however. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt don’t last very long and after 2 weeks have nearly all died. You can only expect GAPS yogurt to last 3-4 weeks in the fridge at the most but past 2 weeks it isn’t really a probiotic food, just a lactose-free dairy food.

If you're interested in reading about making yogurt in your Instant Pot, go to this post at Team Yogurt.

#4 Replace your vegetable steamer (and no more worries about burning veggies on the stove top)

In doing a bit of research, I discovered that the steamer feature does use some pressure in the steam mode when the lid is engaged. The way around this is to use the special glass lid with a vent hole that fits the Instant Pot insert.

In my kitchen, I have two different lids, both have vent holes, and they fit my Instant Pot insert so I don't think there's a need to buy a special lid (if you have one that fits already). Of course, you'll leave the big pressure cooker lid sitting on the counter when you use a different steaming lid.

I like using the Instant Pot to steam vegetables while I have a roast in the oven. I can pretty much forget about it, since I can set the timer to steam my vegetables for the amount of time I wish, then the Instant Pot automatically switches to warm mode. If I am making steamed vegetables on the stove top, and happen to forget about them, the water could boil away and start burning (ask me how I know).

#5 Sauté Foods

If you're doing Intro wait until you get to Stage 4 before you sauté. Otherwise, you can sauté (brown) meats in the same pot as you'll be cooking them. For example, if you're making a beef stew you can sauté the pieces of meat in a little fat before adding the rest of the ingredients.

#6 Porridge/Rice Cooker

You won't be making rice or typical grain-based porridge on GAPS, but here are a few recipes to help you use your Instant Pot to make porridge while on GAPS. The first recipe is actually an Instant Pot recipe, and will cook your porridge in just eight minutes so it does use pressure. If you wish to avoid pressure, I would suggest making these recipes using the slow cooker setting. I would try the recipe during the day first, and keep an eye on it to see how long it will take. Check after 4 hours, then 8 hours, etc. When you know how long it takes, you can then set your Instant Pot to cook your porridge overnight using the slow cooker option.

 #7 Warmer

I've mentioned the warming feature of the Instant Pot. I actually haven't used the manual warmer yet, and that's mostly because it hadn't sunk into my head, that “warmer” is one of the features! I will definitely consider using this option when I need to warm up leftovers.

Does Pressure Cooking Destroy Food?

The next thing I want to talk about: does pressure cooking really destroy food? If you were paying attention, the question asked mentioned “old fashioned pressure cookers“. The Instant Pot is not your mother's pressure cooker.

My mother owned and used a pressure cooker. The old fashioned kind. I can remember it rattling and hissing. Hers was actually made from aluminum! I bought my first pressure cooker in my 30s, but it was stainless steel as I already knew about the dangers of cooking in aluminum.

So, does pressure cooking really destroy food? Well, according to a report in the Journal of Food Science, an investigation was performed to learn how much Vitamin C was retained in broccoli when cooking by various methods.

Guess what? Boiling and steaming caused losses of 34% (boiling) and 22% (steaming). So the retention respectively for each method: 66% and 78%.

Microwaving (I'm not going into microwaving here, but I can say I don't own one of the things and haven't for over a decade) and pressure cooking had more than 90% retention.

“Boiling, steaming, microwaving, pressure cooking, and the combined use of pressure and microwaves were the cooking methods investigated. Boiling and steaming caused significant vitamin C losses, 34% and 22%, respectively, while with the other treatments more than 90% retention was observed.” Source: Wiley Online Library

While the retention amount isn't huge, it does point toward pressure cooking actually being less damaging to food. I think that people equate home pressure cooking with commercial pressure cooking… think canned green beans. Or canned spinach. Ugh.

If you are interested to read a few more opinions, here are a few more articles on the topic:

We Do a Lot of Cooking on GAPS, Give Yourself a Little Break

Hopefully I have soothed some of your concerns about using the Instant Pot.

Being on GAPS isn't easy, there's a LOT of cooking, and a LOT of dishes. My husband and I have lived the life of eating out and eating fast food. There are a lot less dishes to clean when you eat out a lot.

GAPS produces a lot of work.

Even if pressure cooking DID damage food “to a degree” wouldn't it be worth it to regain some of time by needing to babysit food cooking on the stove? Time we could be spending with our families. The dishes will always be there, but the Instant Pot can even help in that regard, if you're sauteing. 😀

You Shouldn't Be on GAPS Forever

Finally, one day you won't be doing the GAPS Diet. Dr. Natasha does not recommend staying on it indefinitely. I personally have discovered that I feel better sticking with the full GAPS list of foods, but eventually, it will be okay to lighten up a bit on the restrictions. So maybe you'll feel okay to use the pressure cooking option of your Instant Pot then.

Crushing on the Instant Pot

Hopefully, I have soothed some of your concerns about using the Instant Pot. Even if you don't want to use the pressure cooking part, there are so many other ways to cook with it. You might clear some space in your kitchen cupboards!

My Instant Pot has a home right on my counter top because I use it quite often.One of the best parts is that you can truly set it and forget it. Slow cookers have advertised that for years, but the Instant Pot goes a step further because you can customize the time you wish to cook, and it automatically goes to the warm feature. Can you tell I love that feature?

When I made that broth I mentioned earlier? The one that I pressured cooked for two hours? Well, I didn't get back to taking care of it until six hours later. The Instant Pot just kept it warm. And really, it's not just “warm” but hot enough that there is no chance the food is going to spoil. And after it slow cooked for eight hours… it was another six hours on “warm” before I got it strained and chilled and in the fridge.

The more I use my Instant Pot, the more I love it. If you're ready to use one, check it out at Amazon:

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker


I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you want one?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Dr. Karen Lee’s Instant Pot Chicken Soup

Easy Paleo Instant Pot Recipes by Karen S. Lee
Click on the image for my affiliate link

The 7-in-1 Instant Pot is an Amazon PRIME Deal — $58.99 today, Monday July 16, 2018 for 36 hours. The sale begins at noon EST.

Dr. Karen S. Lee has written an e-book called Easy Paleo Instant Pot Recipes and she has graciously given me permission to share one of her recipes. I thought the Chicken Soup recipe would be the best since we eat so much soup on GAPS!

Click here to get yours!

If you would like to get more of Dr. Lee's recipes, Easy Paleo Instant Pot Recipes is available at her sales site. Just click here!

su-soup1931414sDr. Lee's Instant Pot Chicken Soup

  1. In liner pot, add the vegetables first, then the chicken, and the herbs on top.
  2. Add 4-5 cups cold water.
  3. Close the lid tightly and close the vent.
  4. Press “SOUP”.
  5. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally. It may take about 20-30 minutes after the timer goes off for the vent to open.
  6. Open the lid, take out the chicken and de-bone.
  7. Reserve the bones to make bone broth.
  8. Put the meat back into the pot and stir.
  9. Crush the carrots and celery gently against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Before serving, garnish with thinly sliced onions, and scallions.



5.0 from 1 reviews
Dr. Lee's Instant Pot Chicken Soup
  • 2-3 pounds pastured chicken
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 rib celery, roughly chopped
  • ¼ turnip or radish, cut into 2" cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning or equal mixture of dried parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Garnish: thinly sliced onions and scallions
  1. In liner pot, add the vegetables first, then the chicken, and the herbs on top.
  2. Add 4-5 cups cold water
  3. Close the lid tightly and close the vent.
  4. Press "SOUP".
  5. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally. It may take about 20-30 minutes after the timer goes off for the vent to open.
  6. Open the lid, take out the chicken and de-bone.
  7. Reserve the bones to make bone broth. Put the meat back into the pot and stir.
  8. Crush the carrots and celery gently against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Before serving, garnish with thinly sliced onions, and scallions.




GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

3 Important Reasons to Jump on the Heal Your Gut Bandwagon

Are random aches and pains normal as we age?
Copyright: Image by StockUnlimited

Do you see yourself above?

Shoulder pain?


Leg aches?


If you've been following my blog for awhile you know that I embarked on my gut healing journey in December 2009. I have had a lot of health improvements in these last few years, and very happy that I took the plunge.

There are many good reasons to heal your gut, and I think most people could stand to go on a gut healing protocol for a period of time. Today I want to focus on the three reasons I believe are most important. I would love to hear from you in the comments if you are on this same journey. Do you agree with me? What were your most important reasons? And if you are new to this journey, what are YOUR reasons? I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Overall Feeling of Wellness

My number one reason for jumping on the gut healing bandwagon is the real possibility that will begin to feel better. Now sometimes at the very beginning of changing the foods you eat, you might feel worse. And I want to warn you if you are starting on the GAPS Diet, start with full GAPS for a few weeks before you start the Introduction Diet. It will be a lot easier on you if you take your time. But usually it doesn't take too long before you feel a lot better. You will probably sleep better, feel less nervous, you may lose the brain fog that plagues you right now for most of each day. It is a wonderful feeling to experience the brain working well! I had these symptoms and they all radically improved for me. But you won't know, unless you try. And if you're scared to start your gut healing journey, I'm here to tell you it's not that hard.

More Energy

Do you secretly think you're just lazy? I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. It makes no sense for someone who feels good to be a couch potato. I have the opinion that many people labeled as lazy are in reality exhausted, worn out from poor health stemming from gut dysfunction. For the majority of people, changing what you eat can improve energy levels. For example, when you are fueling your body with junk food, your body is not getting the nutrition it requires to work properly. Some sources report that eating empty calorie foods can cause damage to your health. Moving to “nutrient dense” real food will facilitate more energy. If those junk foods are full of sugar (most are loaded), they will cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, so you feel better for a little while, then you crash and feel worse than before. When you continue eating nourishing foods, your body can heal itself and energy levels rise accordingly. What a blessing to feel like you have enough energy to LIVE YOUR LIFE, and to actually experience the desire to do something other than vegging out on the couch. If you have children, wouldn't you love to be able to keep up with them?

Aches and Pains

Aches and pains are often caused by nutrient deficiencies. For example, gelatin gets such a bad rap but it is a very important super food. It is derived from the bones and connective tissues of animals, and people are like EWWW GROSS… but you know what? Gelatin [affiliate link] is important for OUR connective tissues. When you give your body what it needs to repair itself, you may find your pain is diminished or disappears. When I started on GAPS at the age of 46, I had accepted the fact that I was growing old and it was normal to experience pain on a regular basis. I am thrilled to discover I was wrong!

I have known many people who experience chronic pain. Pain sucks. It's hard to live with, and most people try to stick it out but eventually they reach out their physician. And he or she is likely to prescribe pain medication. Without one mention of what is being eaten. It boggles my mind to think there is the option of relieving pain by changing the diet and providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal itself. But instead, it is accepted practice to simply numb the pain with medication, which further taxes the body.

Additionally, pain can be caused from inflammation, and inflammation can be connected to leaky gut. Or maybe the foods you eat are allergens for your body. Think you aren't allergic? Did you know that people often crave the very foods to which they are allergic? And often these allergic reactions are caused by the gut leaking food into the bloodstream. That's not supposed to happen. Food isn't supposed to be directly in the bloodstream.
Those are my favorite reasons for starting a gut healing protocol. 

Take a look at some of the conditions that can be addressed by healing the gut, it's really quite amazing:


  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Brain Fog
  • Cancer
  • Candida & Chronic Yeast Overgrowth
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Inflammatory Disorders
  • Irritable Bowel & Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Skin Conditions
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Skin Conditions
  • Weight Gain

Did you know that our bodies are designed to heal and regenerate themselves?

I know that gut healing diets have the reputation for being challenging.

Okay, hard. Nearly impossible, I've been told.

But you know what?

It's not that hard. It is actually possible. It can be done, you just have to get started.

And let me tell you this right at the onset… you don't have to be perfect on any gut healing regimen.

If you can't afford the “right” kind of meat, you can still experience healing eating conventional meats. I did, and I couldn't afford all organic vegetables and fruits either. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, founder of the GAPS Diet says do your best. I did the best I could, and healing followed. Now if you have more severe issues, you will probably need to be stricter. But you won't know unless you take that first step and get started. If you haven't already, get your copy of The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet book and start reading today. Click here to get your copy: Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.




GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Vanilla Dust Natural Lip Balm

Review: MadeOn Natural Skin Care Products

Why I Prefer to Use “Natural” Products

I began using using unscented products many years ago when my children were little, and I had already noticed that I had a sensitivity to strong smelling products. I didn't get a headache, or any glaring reactions, the scents just bothered me. Whether it was cleaning products, personal care or skin products or laundry detergents, it felt toxic. I even started to avoid walking down the grocery store aisle that has all the detergents. I started to use unscented products as much as possible, and also avoided air fresheners, or anything that put a smell in the air, like Lysol.

Back then I had not yet been diagnosed with asthma, but I did have terrible allergies. And I didn't know that I had the gene mutation MTHFR. I have two copies of C677T which is the most challenging combination and my body has a harder time detoxing than other people. So what I've learned in the last few years is that strong smelling chemical laden products add to our body's toxin load, and I'm really glad I listened to my body and started to avoid “smelly” products in my early 30s. I feel I am healthier than I might be, as a direct result of decreasing the toxin load on my body.

Eventually, I started to use products that were not only unscented, but made with natural ingredients. It's just crazy the list of ingredients, so many of them unpronounceable! My habit to use products with natural ingredients coincided with the GAPS Diet since Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride does strongly suggest that we avoid these commercially produced, toxin-laden products.

You probably know that our skin is our biggest organ, and we should be careful about what we put on our skin. I believe it is important to use simple, natural products, which do not contain strong artificial scents. This is especially important when you have health issues. Every little thing we can do for our body to ease the detoxing it needs to do is helpful.

After being on GAPS for just over one year I was able to taper off the asthma medication I'd been on for several years. I was so thrilled about that! And my terrible allergies, they are pretty much non-existent. I used to sneeze over and over and over. If dust got kicked up in the house, or if I embarked on some kind of cleaning jag, for years I had to take prescription Allegra to stop my eyes from swelling, my nose from running and sneezing. Nowadays, I don't have those problems. I still see my asthma allergy specialist once a year because I have been told once diagnosed with asthma, I could have a flare and indeed, at times when I've had a cold, I do need to use my Albuterol inhaler. My doctor is stunned that I have improved to the point where I rarely use medication. He actually told me he has never seen anyone improve from allergies without doing something like allergy shots, or taking medication on a daily basis.

Win-win! And I keep on using natural products, because I know they help me stay healthy, and I love them!

 MadeOn Natural Skin Care Products Review

Personally I'm a low maintenance gal, and use a minimum of personal care products, sticking mostly to the basics, like lip balm, lotion and bar soap. I've been using MadeOn products for just over a year. I was first introduced to MadeOn's Au Chocolat Hard Lotion stick last year in July when Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship held a giveaway sponsored by Renee. Thank you, Katie and Renee! 🙂

Hard Lotion

“Hard lotion” was something brand new to me. Basically it is lotion that comes in a bar, or it might be in a stick dispenser. I love the smell of the Au Chocolate Hard Lotion (the smell of which is naturally occurring due to the cocoa butter) and I find it to be a really nice way to alleviate dry skin. Au Chocolat Hard Lotion has only three ingredients: 76 degree refined coconut oil [affiliate link], unbleached beeswax, and natural cocoa butter. I have a bar that I keep on my night stand to use in the evening after I take my shower, and keep a stick in my purse for when I'm out and about. You smooth the bar of lotion onto your skin and massage it in. I tend to wear sandal type shoes year round, so my heels can get pretty dry. I find that the hard lotion works really great for dry heels, at least that's been my experience.

Goat Milk Soap

I have loved goat milk soap from back when we owned goats. My son and husband used to keep me stocked with goat milk soap. I love that the bars from MadeOn are a generous five ounces. I prefer the unscented, and one bar lasts me for several weeks. I recently bought two of the new white oak soap decks. They are like little pallets  for your bar of soap. These soap decks are made from a hard white oak and are very hardy. When they get goopy with soap you can just toss them into the washing machine to clean them! (Don't put them in the dryer though). You know what soap dishes often look like, and the bar of soap can get soggy. The soap decks are a great way to avoid this sogginess. The pallets actually save you money in the long run, because extend the life of your bar of soap.

Dry Brushing

Recently I started dry brushing, and you guessed it, I bought my brush from MadeOn. Why? Because I trust Renee when she says this is her favorite dry brushing brush. The bristles are the perfect stiffness and I believe I adhere to my dry brushing schedule more often as a result of simply enjoying the brush. And the cotton rope hanger allows me to hang it up on a nail in the bathroom so that it doesn't get lost or misplaced. The handle is just the right length for me. Dry brushing works to brush away dry skin cells, stimulate the lymphatic system, exfoliate the skin to allow it to breathe, and increase circulation, and it feels good. It's a good way to help our body detox.

Lip Balms

When I saw the Vanilla Dust lip balm, I had to have it. At that time, it was out of stock, since it is a Limited Edition product. I was so happy when it finally was back in stock, and I was right. It is – hands down – my FAVORITE lip balm. At the same time I ordered the Mocha lip balm – LOVE that one, too!

All of the products I have reviewed here today are the ones I use regularly, and purchased myself. Renee did send me a few samples to try but I haven't had a chance to even break the seal on some of them! 🙂 I am trying two products for my son as he has what looks to be eczema behind one of his ears. We have had a lot of biting, flying bugs lately and my husband is testing the bug block. More on that in another review post in the near future. 🙂

Now, one more thing before I commence with announcing the giveaway… Renee also has an e-book series called My Buttered Life, each one includes recipes for making your own natural skin care products! I own all four of her series, thanks to past bundles! 🙂

In addition to hard lotions, goat milk soap, lip balms and the awesome dry brushing brush, Renee has bug block, rash cream, and facial skin care products. Everything is natural with minimal ingredients. I'm pretty much in love with the products from MadeOn and am thrilled to make my recommendation to you to try them as soon as you can. And I have to say that I love being on Renee's hot deals newsletter, because I keep getting chances to buy cool new things! Stop over at MadeOn and check out the products. I am an affiliate for Renee so if you click through my link I will earn a small percentage. The Vanilla Dust lip balm is my favorite!

What natural products do you use?


GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.