The Alchemy Cookbook

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Looking for simple, easy and delicious GAPS meals made with heart and soul? Look no further than the beautiful Alchemy Cookbook by Nicole Azzopardi.

One of only a handful of books endorsed and loved by GAPS Diet author, neurologist and nutritionist Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, this stunningly photographed love letter to Nicole’s children takes readers through a family healing experience of GAPS

“This is our healing journey stepped out in pictures” Nicole explains.

“We put this book together so that people would feel comfortable making all the GAPS staples like 24-hour yoghurt, chicken stock and fermented food but also - fall in love with their kitchens and gardens.

“Most people going through what we did are exhausted, worried and feel very alone. This book is something you can give to your mum or best friend and say: “help me” and know you can hand over the cooking for a moment to someone who loves you and your family, can make you something nutritious, celebrate an occasion with you in a delicious way and take some of the confusion out of the question: What can you guys eat?”

Most recipes in The Alchemy Cookbook are GAPS introduction friendly and allergy conscious as well as being suitable to bring to a family gathering without feeling like the odd one out.

“Some people have a choice about how they wish to eat, when you are severely allergic or intolerant that choice goes completely out the window,” Nicole says.

“Our little girl Stevie Rose was diagnosed anaphylactic to egg, nut and sesame at 11 months old. As time went on we discovered that the hives she kept presenting with were also intolerances to a whole range of foods. Stevie began to display what I can only describe as autistic-like tendencies – banging her head on the ground, terrified of noises, melt downs all day and night - but at the same time she would have these hives everywhere. I knew that it had to be food related for her.”

Stevie Rose began the GAPS Diet without egg, nuts or sesame at age two. Her family were astonished to see Stevie improve steadily as time went on.

“I can’t explain this phenomenon and indeed I think there are a lot of scientists doing their best to get to the bottom of this immune system related disorder,” Nicole says.

“However, as a journalist, research came naturally to me and we tried to educate ourselves as much as possible. I watched numerous lectures and read peer reviewed paper after peer reviewed paper on how our gut microbiome could possibly influence a number of functions within the body. I also learned that 80 per cent of the immune system was found in the gut wall. So I asked myself, if the gut wall was under less stress, could that benefit then flow on to the immune system?”

Fast forward two years and Stevie Rose is a happy, healthy 4.5-year-old. She displays no autistic tendencies, no longer requires epipens, has no known food intolerances and on last check with her paediatric allergist in 2014, had only a 2mm peanut allergy.

“What happened to Stevie was frightening but her gift to us was that we discovered cooking from scratch, the joy of getting into our garden, the creativity of making our own veggie ferment combos and the soothing qualities of a good home made chicken stock,” Nicole says.

“We went back to the age-old tradition of lacto-fermenting our vegetables, we enjoyed the Sunday roast and meat and three veg. Desserts were simplified, fruit-based and delicious.

“I was amazed to see our daughter begin to thrive by eating this way and I could not in good conscious not begin to chronicle the experience for anyone who might need to see it in pictures. I hope this book offers hope and courage and inspires all people to get back into their kitchens and really enjoy making beautiful, home cooked food for their families.”