One Week’s Kitchen – Results

The experiment turned into a giant “stone soup”, with us eating very well for each of seven days while still having tonnes of food leftover! Amazing! While supplies have definitely dwindled, we could easily feed ourselves for at least several more days, if not another week. We did eat two meals at my partner’s place, but we also fed him twice from our supplies, so I think it evened out.

Finishing the week with eggs, onions, cheese, butter, honey, etc -all items we had limited supplies of- to spare and nary an optional cauliflower purchased has left me somewhat bewildered.

Besides enjoying generous helpings of squash in a pie, a big change was that we ate two meals of fermented lentils, a food we love but generally skip in favour of fatty meats. Per GAPS, we soaked them for twenty-four hours in water with a tablespoon of kefir before rinsing and preparing them. Another difference is that we used a lot of coconut oil where we’d normally use butter, rationing our 1/4 pound of the latter for dishes expressly wanting that specific flavour.

Friday through Monday morning my son’s behaviour was off-kilter, several times resembling a non-GAPS countenance. My intuition is that this was due to the copious orange squash (a bit too high sugar for his body) eaten Friday afternoon and evening. Perhaps for the same reason, or because of the vastly increased amount of coconut oil (an awesome die-off trigger for many), my tell-tale patch of eczema returned with a vengeance. Two nightly doses of Oil of Oregano largely resolved that.

A highlight was making a snack from on-hand supplies that totally delighted not only us, but two non-GAPS, processed-food-addicted kids! What was it? Unmeasured amounts of butter, cocoa (advanced GAPS), shredded coconut, honey, salt. I mashed it together, rolled it into little balls, and refrigerated. They tasted just like nanaimo bars!

Using just what we (or, in the snack’s case, my partner) had on hand definitely saved us money while also igniting creativity. Instead of buying a chicken roasted by Whole Foods (a single mom’s respite), I prepared our own purchased at half the cost. Bored of roasted chicken, but being required to use what we had, I rubbed it with different spices than usual for a delightful change. We also had other delicious new snacks and a soup previously frozen during intro which did indeed prove as yummy as I’d thought it was when I first set it aside.

Surprisingly, my six year old proved totally game, completely eliminating his daily requests for pepperoni sticks from the local deli as well as his rarer requests for things like Lara Bars. (Because he no longer needs to be on strict GAPS, I did let him use his own savings to buy a single, non-GAPS cookie at a garage sale.) He seems to have enjoyed the week and appreciated the value of the experiment.

As for me, I feel I’ve re-set my spending habits and become more conscious of what I’m doing, and what my highest priorities need to be. I plan to focus the next two weeks on comparison shopping, learning which nutrient-dense foods bring the most bang for my buck. For example, if butter is more costly than coconut oil, what amount of butter can serve our butter-specific nutritional needs (eg. Vitamin A), allowing us to rely on the lower cost coconut oil and drippings for the rest of our fats? As always, I’ll report back here.

What are your favourite savings approaches? (To learn how one large family does GAPS on a budget, be sure to read the comment from Cris on this experiment’s original post. You gotta love that girl’s commitment to her family, their health, and their budget! And the results?! Yeah…Seriously, don’t miss her note!)

5 Replies to “One Week’s Kitchen – Results”

  1. Hi Baden,

    After 4 months on Gaps Intro I calculated that I actually saved money. I try to do all my shopping at a farmers’ market where I can also find chicken, eggs, beef and organ meats, and of course plenty of vegetables. I go to the store for epsom salt, water, ACV, baking soda and some cleaning products (which I reduced dramatically). In this way I am less tempted to buy things I do not need just because they are on display and perhaps discounted! I use much less toothpaste (I learned that a tiny bit works even better) and am slowly switching to tooth soap (eventually I’d like to make my own but have not found a good recipe yet). I try to stock up on things like ACV and epsom salt when there is some promotion. I learned, as you say in your book, that stocking up too much can be counterproductive, but those things last a long time and I keep using them.

    There is something where I keep failing (but getting better): I often have to throw away stuff (especially fermented food, but also small cuts of meat I thaw and forget…and I have a small fridge!) because of mistakes in the process. I know it is all an investment in learning, but I still feel bad since I try hard but always makes such a mess! I think part of it is resistance and it also makes me aware of how little I stand errors – I tend to feel so bad, almost to punish myself. So, I guess I need to go inside and find out how I can be gently more effective!

    So, in summary, I’d say avoiding the big stores helped me save money and being very frugal in my eating needs contributed too. I tend to make one big pot of chicken soup (with a whole chicken in it) and one of beef soup and this last me for the whole week. In this way I have the meat and the broth, which I cannot get tired of even after 4 months. Then I am creative with vegetables – I can start digesting more varieties than before – and add kefir, eggs, liver and sauerkraut to the mixture. With juicing and a tiny amount of fruit this is my ideal type of diet! Oh forgot: I do buy fish once or twice per week, mostly wild-caught salmon and even here I try to buy it when its price is low and freeze it.

    I’d love to hear more saving ideas…

    All the best,

    Jo

  2. Baden, I clarify most of our butter and mix it about 50/50 with heat-processed coconut oil. It melts together well and stores on the counter in a jar. It’s my standard cooking oil now (also great as skin cream!). I tried it with expeller pressed CO but felt the flavour wasn’t suited to everyday cooking. When KerryGold goes on sale I grab a bunch and either clarify it or freeze it for later; either way it keeps for ages.

  3. I know I’m very late to add to this conversation, but I’m happy to have found your site. We started GAPS as I realized that improved digestion would stretch our limited food budget much further.

    As for your quandry about how much butter to eat for vitamin A needs, I figured this one out a while back. Fermented Cod Liver Oil has a whole lot more vitamin A for the same cost as butter. I keep the FCLO on hand (happy discovery – the cinnamon tingle flavor doesn’t taste like rotten fish!), and I use butter or ghee for some things, but I’m glad to know I won’t be deficient in vitamin A when I rely more on meat drippings & other fats for cooking.

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