Hey, everyone. I’m just tickled to introduce you to Lauren. Below you’ll read her blessed GAPS healing story, and then she shares an easy slow cooker apple pie filling made without sugar or starch. Here in Oregon, it is beginning to feel like fall already and the apples are coming on. I think you can guess what I’ll be making soon. –Wardee
Hi, Gnowfglins readers! I’m Lauren, a 19-year old real food fanatic, and I blog at Empowered Sustenance. I’m excited for this opportunity to tell you a bit about my healing journey and share a GAPS recipe with you!
No, I don’t randomly dance on the beach in pointe shoes!
It’s my high school senior photo!
My Real Food Transition
Five years ago, as a freshman in high school, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. For a while, I held my colitis under control by obliviously popping prescriptions to suppress any symptoms. Unfortunately, my colitis advanced aggressively while prescriptions muted my body’s attempts at communicating with me. “You are probably looking at a colon resection in the future,” my doctor solemnly told me. Horrified tears streamed down my face as I promised myself that I would never lose my colon.
Last fall, with that vow, I left for college — armed with potent immune-suppressing medication and a plan to eat and sleep well in the dorm. During that first semester at college, my colitis flared constantly. I struggled to mask my health issues, but I could no longer hide my dwindling energy or humiliating hair loss caused by my medication and distressed intestines. At the end of the fall semester, I signed up for online college courses, headed back home, and ditched my medication. I threw myself wholeheartedly into treating my colitis with nutrition.
I eagerly read all the healing books I could get my hands on,
in an effort to find the solution to my colitis.
The SCD and GAPS Diet
I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) after researching its track record for colitis treatment. After only two weeks, my flare stopped and I felt energy seeping into my muscles. With additional research, I realized that I was basically following the GAPS diet, since I was incorporating fermented foods, healing fats, homemade broth, and detox baths into my healing regimen. Following the SCD/GAPS diet is the most effective, important step I have made on my healing journey.
GAPS Means Cooking… A Lot
Since starting GAPS, I find myself spending exponentially more time in the kitchen. Granted, more real food resources are finding their way to grocery store shelves. I visit Whole Foods for Bubbie’s naturally fermented pickles and sauerkraut, as well as raw milk cheeses. I love Trader Joe’s commitment to purity and great prices in their store brand products. But even with GAPS-friendly store-bought foods, the concept of “convenience foods” radically changes on the GAPS diet. Now, I interpret this term as something I’ve already cooked that is available in my fridge.
GAPS Cooking Shortcuts
With a few smart moves and prudent planning, I stock my fridge with these “convenience foods” each week for an easy meal or snack. The secret to reducing GAPS food prep time? Cook in bulk and find hands-free recipes. Grain-free meatballs fit this bill perfectly, for example: I make a couple pounds at a time and cook them in the oven, instead of tediously tending to them on the stove top. My Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling also uses these time-saving shortcuts.
Creamy, GAPS coconut milk over tender apple pie filling.
Perfect Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling Sans Sugar and Starch
Slow cooker apple pie filling provides the soul-warming taste and fragrance of an apple pie without the effort of making a crust. Additionally, the slow cooker produces tender, juicy apples without heating up the house like the oven. Unfortunately, slow cooker apple pie filling recipes call for starch–such as cornstarch–and sugar. Here, I’ve subbed honey for the sugar and added the step of reducing the cooking liquid. This perfectly replicates the thick, velvety filling from a “normal” recipe.
The perfect bite!
GAPS Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling
- 8 baking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I recommend Gala or Fuji)
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil (plus more, if desired)
- GAPS Crumble Topping, optional
- GAPS coconut milk, optional
- Raw milk cheddar cheese, optional
Serves about 8.
Toss together the apples, honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a slow cooker. Dot with the butter or coconut oil. Cover and cook on High for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the apples are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove the apples from the cooking liquid.
Carefully transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan. Reduce the cooking liquid by simmering it over medium heat; it will take just a few minutes. The cooking liquid should reduce in volume by about 2/3 and should resemble syrup. If desired, stir in another tablespoon of cold butter, ghee or coconut oil for a richer dessert.
Pour the reduced liquid over the apples. Top with Crumble Topping or coconut milk, if desired. I also love this with a chunk of raw milk cheddar cheese.
For more great GAPS friendly recipes, head over to Empowered Sustenance. Eat well and heal!
Wardee: I bet this would be delicious with pears, too! Be sure to welcome Lauren in the comments and let us know what you think of this recipe when you try it.