A copy of the New Yorker magazine from mid November has been sitting on my bedside table, waiting for me to get around to reading an article about Steve Jobs by Malcolm Gladwell (author of Blink and The Tipping Point) called “The Tweaker”. I have a passion for all things Apple, and mourned the recent death of Steve Jobs. My heart sank this morning to read Gladwell’s account, based upon Job’s biography, of how terribly limited Jobs was emotionally; his penchant for humiliating others, his legendary rudeness and entitlement.
This, of course, is not a new story, that someone who is so gifted and brilliant acts like this. It may sound silly to you, but it somehow shocks and saddens me. Last week I wrote about wishes. I wish there were more heroes and heroines, but people are complicated. A patient in my office said something really funny the other day. It’s funny because it’s so paradoxical. He quipped, “Once I gave up hope, everything was much better.”
The reason that I am sharing my early morning disappointment, is that one of the ways that I deal with difficult feelings, and which I recommend to you, is by participating in soothing rituals. One ritual that I cultivate is juicing every morning. Juicing is something that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends for detoxification, which is an important component of the GAPS healing protocol. Juicing is a time honored practice for healing and promoting optimal health and vitality.
Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends something that she calls “GAPS milkshakes”, which are an especially effective remedy for constipation. Juice stimulates bile production, and as many cases of persistent constipation are due to poor bile production, this is helpful. A GAPS milkshake is a combination of juice blended with egg yolks and a healthy dollop of fermented cream (sour cream). The high fat content of sour cream lubricates the bowel wall and softens the stool. I make my own sour cream. The recipe is a pint of raw cream mixed with 2 tablespoons creme fråiche, kefir or yoghurt as innoculent. Mix the ingredients together in a glass jar, put on the lid, and let it sit unrefrigerated for 24-36 hours. Voilå. Delicious sour cream.
I find the ritual of juicing comforting, and it starts my day on a good note. It is energizing. I had an old Omega juicer that was expensive and made of stainless steel. It was very inconvenient to use. The mouth where the vegetables and fruits were to be inserted was narrow, and thus it was necessary to cut everything into small pieces. It often balked and got stuck in the midst of juicing, and it was difficult to clean up afterward. It was a guilty decision to buy a new juicer when I had one that functioned, albeit with little ease. I bought an inexpensive largely plastic juicer, The Hamilton Beach Wide Mouth Juicer available from Amazon for $50, about a quarter of the price of the Omega. It works amazingly well. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I cannot recommend this machine more highly. It extracts the juice out of the produce very efficiently, and has true to its name, a very wide mouth which allows insertion of big pieces of fruits and vegetables, and cleans up really easily. It makes juicing effortless.
The juice is beautiful as it flows into the beaker, creating frothy layers of color; vibrant orange of carrots, lively shades of green from different leaves, and the deep magenta of the earthy beets. The smell of making juice is freshly lovely too, especially if you add herbs like mint, parsley and basil. The process gives me satisfaction and pleasure every morning.
Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends beginning with carrot juice as a base, and then adding fruit, as well as therapeutic ingredients, such as various greens; swiss chard, kale, lettuces, spinach, beet and radish tops, bok choy and cabbage, etc. The ingredients in my juice is more heavily based on greens, and less on the sweet ingredients, because of my relative carbohydrate intolerance. Over time I have become accustomed and really like juices that are more green than sweet. Adding fermented cream and egg yolks adds healthy fat and protein to the mixture, and lowers the body’s insulin response to the juice. A GAPS milkshake is more satiating and satisfying as breakfast, than plain straight juice. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends drinking the juice on an empty stomach. For GAPS patients who do not tolerate the juice well initially, she recommends having a few teaspoonful of carrot juice a day, building up the quantity slowly as tolerated.
It is important to use organic produce, which can be expensive. I recently found bags of very small organic green apples and celery at Trader Joe’s, for an excellent price. Celery is one of those vegetables that is especially important to buy organic, as it is typically very high in pesticide residue. COSTCO does not carry much organic produce, but it does have 10 pound bags of organic carrots for $6. That is a deal.
This morning my juice consisted of chicory, celery, carrots, and a small apple. I added fermented cream, (No egg yolks for me because of my allergy. For those who can tolerate raw egg yolks, they are purported to be extremely nutrient dense and uniquely healing to the intestinal lining) and half a cup of beet kvass, a fermented beet drink, that is tasty and very easy to make. Here is link to a beet kvass recipe from a blog called the Nourishing Cook, where the author cooks all 773 recipes from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, a la Julie/Julia style. Sally Fallon writes about beet kvass:
“This drink is valuable for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.”
Both the fermented raw cream and the beet kvass add probiotics to this meal, which is necessary for healing GAPS conditions, as they provide needed repopulation of beneficial gut flora.
I also add a teaspoon of Spirulina, which Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends for some cases of constipation. Spirulina is a blue green algae, a super food which is a complete protein, and contains many vitamins and minerals, most notably Vitamin B12, one of the few non-animal sources of this vitamin. I also toss in a few ice cubes before I turn on the blender and mix all the ingredients together.
In summary, GAPS Milkshakes: a satisfying ritual, a balm for disappointment, a remedy for constipation, a feast for the senses, a tonic to detoxify and promote healing, and the best breakfast ever.