I wrote on Parenting.com today about my approach to diet during pregnancy; in a nutshell, so to speak, I'd thought, before becoming pregnant, I'd avoid all of the foods Kaspar's allergic to while baking baby #2. Not only did my first trimester cravings blow that plan out of the water (hello, junk food), but -- now that I'm in my second trimester, or will be tomorrow -- I'm not only feeling far more energetic, and 'normal' in general, including in terms of the foods I'm craving (hello, wholesome healthy stuff), but I've got a game plan for *hopefully* setting new-baby up for an allergy/eczema/reflux-free start. That game plan is the full GAPS diet. Sans the nuts and wheat, the former of which is allowed on the full diet and the latter of which is allowed (in sourdough form) if no digestive problems are present... but since neither digests super easily for anyone and since both are major allergens in general, I'm just avoiding them. Easy enough. I've read the GAPS book, which is densely packed with nutritional information; it corroborates with what I've learned over the past three years, and what's been working, overall, for Kaspar. And since we already eat nutrient-rich, real-food fare up in here, I'm only having to tweak a few things to transition into GAPS-ville. The diet basically heals and seals the gut, thus healing immune system-related health woes (of which Americans suffer many, food allergies among them). I'm planning to take Kaspar, and our family, through all of its stages once baby's here and the timing is right, but for now we're starting at the least restrictive, most nutritionally broad place -- the "full" GAPS diet -- as per the recommendation for pregnant women. Anyway, go ahead and read up via my post on Parenting, and on other blogs, like this one. Then get to your farmer's market and into your kitchen, cuz the best part of this approach to gut-love is that you get to fill your belly with good, nourishing food. 

I should mention that there's quite a bit of meat involved in the GAPS diet. I was grooving on a mostly vegan spurt a while back, which felt light and clean in my body at the time. I think I needed to detox in a major way and sort of reset once our two years of sleep deprivation resolved to some degree, and eating tons of plant matter helped get that work done. (As did an Ayruvedic cleanse I did a short while later. I felt like a whole new person after that. Still do.) But I then found myself drawn toward meat again -- high quality, locally-sourced meat that hasn't suffered, that is -- and whenever I get acupuncture I'm told I should be eating it regularly. (Something about building my blood.) Pregnancy only increased my desire for it. So, while it may feel like I'm somewhat all over the place on the subject, good meats remain a part of my, and our family's, diet. As far as GAPS is concerned, that's a healthful thing, especially for expecting mamas.

With that in mind, I made a recipe from the GAPS book (linked above) last night, tweaking it a little to my liking. Aaron and I have each made stuffed peppers before, but only vegetarian versions (they make for an attractive, and generally popular, veg dish). Thus, last night's version -- which were definitely not vegetarian -- were quite different than our previous renditions. They meat is flavorful, but dense. I definitely suggest eating these in a bowl with a good amount of the stock they cooked in surrounding them. I chopped mine up a bit in the stock so as to create a kind of soup, and that was delicious. I also suggest adding whatever vegetables you'd like to the meat mixture before stuffing the peppers, and some cumin. If you're eating dairy, throwing some shredded, raw cheddar cheese in with the meat mixture before cooking would also be kind of amazing... In short, these stuffed peppers are filling and tasty, but I could tell -- even at first glance -- the original recipe was written by a doctor, rather than a chef. I'm eagerly awaiting the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, which is due to arrive at my door any day now; it's recommended by the GAPS people and boasts an index full of mouth-watering recipes. (I peeked at its back pages on Amazon.) Anyway, I've gone ahead and written out my improved (and yummy) stuffed peppers recipe below -- feel free to tweak it further. If you do, let me know what works well!

Click "Read More" below for the recipe!

What You'll Need

  • 4 large bell peppers
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 medium carrots 
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup (or more, to taste) chopped or pureed tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons cumin powder, to taste
  • 1 lb. ground bison
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste (be generous with the pepper)
  • 3 to 4 cups homemade stock (I used stock made the previous day from chicken and vegetables)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Before cooking
What You'll Do

  1. Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a dutch oven, or other appropriately-sized pan, and set the tops aside for later.
  2. Chop the vegetables and garlic, either by hand or in the food processor. (I used the food processor for a fine, even chop.)
  3. Add the vegetables, tomatoes, cumin (or another spice you prefer), meat, salt and pepper to a large bowl. If you want your parsley cooked in with the meat, add it now. Otherwise, save it to sprinkle, fresh, on top of the peppers when serving.
  4. Mix everything together with your hands. Make sure you get it evenly, and thoroughly, mixed.
  5. Stuff the meat mixture generously into the peppers, and place their tops back on. If you have some meat mixture left over, save it and cook it up as breakfast hash in the morning. 
  6. Pour the broth around the peppers in the bottom of the pan.
  7. Cover the pan, and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Once it's boiled, turn the heat down to medium-low so the broth is simmering.
  8. Simmer, covered, for one hour.
  9. Serve the peppers in bowls with a generous amount of broth around them, so they can be chopped with a spoon and eaten in the manner of soup. You may top with homemade yogurt, parmesan cheese (preservative-free), and/or chopped parsley. Enjoy!


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