Beet Kvass Recipe: The Ultimate Fat Digestion Aid

I’ve been meaning to write this article forever because I hear these questions a lot:

  1. I can’t eat that much fat without feeling sick, how can I do GAPS?
  2. I/ my kid threw up yesterday, why?


Well, in my experience, the answer is Beet Kvass.  Especially to Q #1 (#2 is more nuanced).  Here’s why.  Beet Kvass thins bile.  Bile needs to flow from your gallbladder to your liver to digest fat. 


At the beginning of my healing journey, my bile was pretty thick and stagnant, which is a very common side effect of growing up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). I would get nauseous when I ate too much fat and was bummed I couldn’t absorb all the healing goodness that fat had to offer!


Dr. Natasha says that the more animal fat she sees people eat (pastured sources, of course), the quicker they heal.  So I knew I wanted to be eating as much fat as humanly possible.  That’s where beet kvass came in. 


I drank small amounts of beet kvass every time before I ate, and I increased the amounts of both kvass and fat simultaneously.  Now I don’t really worry about being able to digest fat. I’ve worked up to eating about a cup of fat per day!


So beet kvass is how I could do GAPS even though I couldn’t digest fat very well at first.  And what I tell people about Question #2? Well it could be low blood sugar, it could be a detox reaction, or it could be ‘you can’t digest fat that well and you ate more than your body could handle.’


So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

  • 3 small-to-medium sized beets with tops on
  • 1 quart sized mason jar
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 quart filtered water
  • 1 fermentation weight (optional)


First, chop the beets up so that they are about 1 cubic inch in diameter (2.5 cm).  Make sure you leave the tops on the beets, not the stems, but the part where the stems connect to the root body of the vegetable.  That’s where all the best bacteria is! 


Fill your quart jar with about 1 inch of headroom to spare.  This is where you can put your fermentation weight on top of your veggies if you want.  I like doing this so that the beets don’t float to the top, get exposed to air and get moldy. 


Now take your half quart of water (2 cups), and dump your salt into it.  It works best if you use a mason jar for this tactic because now you can just put the lid on and shake it up to mix up the salt.  Now you have your brine!


Pour brine over your chopped up beets up to the lip of the mason jar they are in, or a little bit below. Make sure your brine covers all the veggies.  Screw on the lid tight and don’t open this jar for at least a couple of weeks!  The fermentation time will depend on where you live.  But generally, the more humid and warm an environment is, the faster things ferment. 🙂  You’ll know it’s done when you try it and it has a sour taste.


Then introduce a small amount into your diet (ideally before meals) and work up from there!


Die Off Guide Part 2: 9 Ways to Deal with It

More die off does not equal better.  A pretty common misconception about die off is that ‘the more miserable I can be (aka the more symptoms I can put up with) during die off, the faster I can heal.’ But that is not the case. When I have too much die off at once, not only do my symptoms get way out of control, but these toxins overwhelm my body (you can read more about this process in my article, What is die off, Really? if you haven’t already) causing more harm than good.  


Basically, in die off, you want to go low and slow. Ultimately, you want to feel ‘off color.’  Not on top of your game, maybe a little fuzzy/tired/experiencing mild symptoms of what you typically deal with, but not completely wiped out.  And yes, some days will be more intense and difficult than others. 


But if die off is happening to quickly or intensely, or if I just want to have some ‘insurance’ against this happening, here are some of the strategies I immediately turn to:

1. Eating Building Foods

This is the first strategy I ever go to when I feel like my die off is getting too out of control.  It takes nutrients and strength to detox, as this process is very energy intensive.  The top building foods on GAPS are:

  • Animal fat (1-4Tbsp per meal, or more if you so desire/ can tolerate it)
  • Meat close to the bone (1 inch or less away from bone)
  • Organ meats- this one is SUCH a game changer for people, including me.  I used to have to get B12 injections 2x/ week to detox properly because I have the MTHFR mutation, but now I just eat liver (one of the best kept secrets in the world, in my humble opinion).
  • Bone marrow
  • Egg yolks if you can tolerate them.  I eat as much as my body desires of these foods if I’m feeling drained, overly hungry, or am feeling haggard from die off. 


2. Decrease Ferments + Probiotics

Probiotics kill pathogens. If you want less pathogens to die and release toxins, decrease the amount of probiotic microbes you ingest. I always go back to a level that I know I can tolerate.   Sometimes this means eliminating them completely for a little bit and adding them back in very slowly, carefully watching for a reaction. 


3. Decrease Meat Stock Consumption

GAPS blasphemy, am I right? Haha.  Here is the thing though, meat stock kills yeast.  So when yeast became systemic in my body, which it does in a lot of GAPS people, that means that it grows tendrils that burst through the wall in my small intestine.  Meat stock is so gelatinous and glue-like that whenever I drink it, it decapitates the tendrils! Killing the yeast, yay! But if too much yeast dies at once, this can cause too much of an intense reaction.  Dr. Natasha wants everyone on GAPS to drink at least 5 cups of stock per day. So if I have to cut back for die off reasons, gradually I work my way back up to at least that amount. 


4. Detox Baths

I use epsom salt, dead sea salt, seaweed, apple cider vinegar, bentonite clay, or baking soda- ideally rotating their use as they usher out different toxins.

This is a tricky one because in the right concentration, detox baths take the burden of detox from my liver and instead encourage toxins to leave through my skin.  However, in my experience, I have found if I put in too much particulate, these baths can be too stimulating at times (much like taking too many probiotics).  While most people start with a 1/4 cup of epsom salt in a bath, I had to start with about a Tablespoon, making my bath water warm (not hot), and work up from there.  The baths did REALLY help my symptoms though, once I got the concentration right. 

5. Enemas. 

Enough said haha. I knew that I needed to be eliminating my bowels completely if I wanted to dispel all the toxins that got mobilized during my die off process.  In the beginning, I like a lot of GAPS people, had overspill syndrome. This is where compacted fecal matter got stuck to the walls of the colon (lovely, I know), making it virtually impossible to detox because all the toxins my body worked so hard to release would get to my colon only to recirculate into my bloodstream. Here is an article that explains more of the why and how on this. 


6. Sun bathing

Definitely my favorite! Go naked if you can, and at solar noon. First of all, the sun fried and dried out my yeast rashes in a very good way. Second, I am still discovering all the wonderful, complex things that Vitamin D does.  And its not actually a vitamin, its a hormone that regulates virtually everything, including detox.  And you can store vitamin D in your skin, so you can sunbathe every day during the summer and save up for winter!


7. Rest

When I was going through die off, I was so TIRED.  I read lots of books and watched a lot of movies in my free time because that’s all I had energy for.  Only when I was calm and resting did my body really dive into the healing process. Make time and space for this, if you are anything like me, you’ll want it!


8. Juicing and GAPS Shakes

But only if you can tolerate it. I couldn’t at first because it was ‘too detoxing.’ I love freshly made juice because it contains the nutrients to both replenish what has been depleted by my detox/ die off process as well as the nutrients to ‘ship’ toxins out of my body. 


9. Go See a GAPS Practitioner

If I am doing everything ‘right’ and still can’t get my symptoms under control, I make an appointment with my GAPS practitioner. Yes, it is an investment, but being sick costs money. I KNOW it would cost a lot more to go to a conventional doctors’ office and go through the whole rig-em-a-roll of testing, poking, prodding, etc.  My health means everything to me, and each time I see my GAPS practitioner, it’s 300% worth the money. And actually pretty cheap considering she is saving my life. <3


Alright, I think thats it! Die off is tough, but it is worth it. And its reassuring to know that when I’m going through it, it means means body is creating a healthier micro biome for itself.  Patience and compassion for myself was a absolute necessity during this process. But giving this experience to myself and getting through it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. 


If you have any questions, leave a comment below of feel free to contact me. 

Die Off Guide Part 1: What is it, Really?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about die off and detox. So let’s dive in! Being a GAPS gal myself, I was pretty toxic at first and the amount of ‘good bugs’ in my gut were extremely lacking, so I have a ton of personal experience on this topic (moreso than I would like haha). 


The Micro Biome

Now, if you are a GAPSter, you know what a micro biome is. You know that a healthy one is necessary for a healthy life and an overgrowth of ‘bad bugs’ is ultimately why you have needed GAPS in the first place.  So in my situation during this protocol, my gut flora started to shift in a very profound, healing way.  Over time, I was replacing the ‘bad guys’ with the ‘good guys’ and the environment of my gut transformed from being a complete nightmare to resembling one of a healthy person.


And frankly, when parasites started coming out of me and my ‘yeastie beasties’ (thats the scientific term I believe 😉 ) felt like they were eating me, I felt like sh*t. A big steaming pile of it some days.  So why didn’t I just give up and go back to eating potatoes and bread?


Because I knew that my ‘bad bugs’ were originally WAY overgrown due to the absence of ‘good bugs’ in my gut. And that these bad boys emitted toxic metabolites just by being alive inside of my body.  For example, Candida Albicans (technical term= ‘yeastie beastie’) alone emits 176 toxins, such as alcohol, ammonia, acetone (nail polish remover), and acetyl aldehyde (changes the shape of proteins and triggers autoimmune reactions/ disease).  So just like when I breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, my pathogens are doing the same thing in my body. But instead producing ‘waste products’ that hurt me. 


The Shift

Being on GAPS, I not only stopped feeding these ‘bad guys,’ but I also introduced ‘good guys,’ which attacked and killed all the bad ones.  And when these little crum bums died they exploded and released all of their toxins at once. So instead of getting a slow, constant trickle of toxic metabolites when my ‘bad guys’ were alive (ultimately my inspiration for going on GAPS), I got a flood of them all at once. 


On top of that, the GAPS diet encouraged my body to detox chemicals and metals.  Since pathogenic microbes need a toxic environment to survive, these ‘bad guys’ also started leaving and dying because their ecosystem had been compromised.  All of these details culminated into a rather intense die off reaction for yours truly.


There are a few things I kept in mind during this time, as it got very concerning and scary.  First of all, I knew that symptoms I struggled with were going to be exacerbated, hence the explosion vs. the slow trickle. Also, I did not want this process happening too fast because my body has to detox all of these toxin metabolites (a side effect of the ‘explosion’).  This process is a lot for anyone to handle, but especially since I’m a GAPS gal, I have a sluggish/ compromised detox system too.  And in general, bodies can only clear toxins so fast. 



Think about it as a slow drip coming out of a faucet.  If I have a rush of toxins becoming mobilized, they are only going to be able to leave my body at a certain pace.  When I mobilize more toxins than my body can handle, they end up getting recirculated and cause more harm than good.  This is the reason I want my die off to happen slowly. And there are strategies I use to make that happen if you want to keep reading in my Die Off Guide Pt 2: 9 Ways to deal with Die Off.