California-Travels, Thoughts and New Ventures

Dear Readers,

So I left you quite some weeks ago in Dixon Lake, CA. Since then we have criss-crossed the center of California – Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Madera, Fresno… Hearst Castle on the central coast was also fascinating, although we forgot the camera so we couldn’t document being at a mountain-top castle, overlooking the Pacific Ocean! Then a good decision was made to go to Sequoia National Park (Pictures below).  After thrilling to the giant Sequoias and a winter wonderland in the mountains we then moved up the coast to Monterey, Santa Cruz, and finally outside of San Francisco.

In February we recieved many positive responses from California farms, but for one reason or another none panned out. So we took the time for self examination and dreaming for the present and the future.

Out of that planning came a decision we made for the present. We decided that we would take the plunge and embark on a healing protocol I have studied and ruminated on for three years now. It is the GAPS protocol, short for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, created by Russian neurologist, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. When she moved to the UK and started a family, all of her medical training and degrees still left her ill-equipped to help her son who was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. So she dove into studying nutrition and through her trial and error was able to CURE her son of autism, largely through healing his gut with diet. She has subsequently healed many children and their families from her clinic in the UK. Her premise is that healing the gut (our “second brain”) can therefore heal numerous diseases and illnesses. If I am stating this correctly, her belief is that abnormal gut flora manifests itself in many ways, as the bacteria in our bodies is diverse and different in everyone, therefore abnormal gut flora in one person may manifest itself as depression in one person and Crohn’s in another. For more on her protocol look here. For a list of conditions that GAPS has addressed look here.

There is a lot going on in the Airstream Kitchen

So we are now almost done with the Intro Phase. In the first week we felt the detoxing effects pretty miserably, especially the poor kids. I felt some minor effects, but I had been off grains/carbs for a while, so I think that helped. It was hard to do right now, but the more we are into it we feel there couldn’t have been a better time to start. We have no commitments, no job to report to, and can be stationary if we need to. I am glad we stuck it out and even though we had some crappy days I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to learn new skills…like making ghee, squash and cashew butter pancakes (they taste like “normal” pancakes), improving my lacto-fermented sauerkraut, learning new ways of preparing certain foods and new soup combinations, chutney making, juicing… For a long time I thought it would be impossible to do the GAPS in an Airstream travel trailer, but we just keep our little kitchen humming! Even the kids have taken an interest in making foods. Our eldest, 11, now makes our nutbutter bread and has learned a couple of baking tricks.

We have a little piece of the puzzle for the near future as well. We were invited to come work/learn at Chaffin Family Orchards in northern CA. This has been a farm that has been on my ultimate list for a couple of years. It’s a third generation organic family farm on 2,000 acres, with features such as 100 year old olive trees, a lake, waterfalls, fruit trees of all varieties, cows, goats, sheep, chickens. They are into old ways of eating, Nourishing Traditions, and the lady of the farm also teaches classes on GAPS (healing protocol mentioned above). So they connect stewarding the land and the food they grow with the nutrient dense feeding and healing of our bodies. They want us to come (yeah!) and help out. I am excited because they are a busy organic farm that is established and making a living from their farm…hard to find these days. We anticipate arriving there in about a week…meanwhile we finish up being tourists. San Francisco, watch out for our soup thermoses!


About Melanie Christner NTP, CGP

I am a Nutritional Therapist & GAPS Practitioner in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I help families gain back their energy, digestive health, and robust immune systems...using targeted lab testing paired with nutrient dense whole foods. Find out more at
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2 Responses to California-Travels, Thoughts and New Ventures

  1. Aunt Sally says:

    Wow! I looked up Chaffin Family Orchards and they sound awesome. You should be able to learn a lot from them. But, I’m glad you’ve had a little time to enjoy the vacation side for the last couple of weeks. I think of you often and really enjoy your posts!

    Love ya!
    Aunt Sally

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