Two years ago, 2-year-old Nathan Spring was coming out of a bad winter full of colds, bronchiolitis and ear infections. He then started to develop random food allergies -- one, for example, was to cinnamon.
His parents, Michele and Erik Spring, did a lot of research and decided to try the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet on Nathan. The theory behind the diet -- which eliminates grains and refined sugars -- is that certain starches and sugars feed bad bacteria in the intestinal tract.
As Michele Spring puts it: "If you remove those, the whole ecosystem of the gut goes to the good side."
The results were evident. In addition to a diminution in respiratory symptoms, Nathan's language increased markedly a week into the diet. He went from two-word sentences such as "Mama here" to "Mama drive the car really fast."
The Springs changed their own diets with their son, and Michele noticed differences for herself, as well. She says her vision, already enhanced by Lasik surgery, grew much clearer. In addition, what she describes as brain fog went away.
"The muddled thinking disappeared as well," she says, adding that she believes the diets decreased inflammation that was likely the cause of her problems.
Thinking that their gut issues might be resolved, they tried transitioning back to grains, but their son's behavior and speech went downhill, Spring says.
Firmly convinced of the importance of the diet for their family's health, the Springs set about creating a recipe app to help others like themselves. Both Michele and Erik were interested in cooking. So they systematized their recipes and photographed the results, working on the app after the kids (they also have a 9-month-old, Oliver) went to bed. The Springs also contacted several bloggers, some of whose recipes were designed for the similar Paleo diet, and asked permission to include those in the app.
Nourished Grain-Free Recipes, which launched April 30, is
the result. The app, which costs $4.99, contains 78 recipes with filters so that proportions can be changed to accommodate a different number of servings or for categories such as nut-free or dairy-free.
Some of Spring's favorite recipes are the Raspberry Chipotle Meatloaf and the Roasted Broccoli -- the family eats the latter about once a week, Spring says.
A co-worker of hers, Debi Levier, bought the app as an adjunct to the Paleo diet she has followed for a couple of years.
"I was having digestive issues. I felt like crap, basically," she says of her decision to go Paleo. "I started getting results. The more strict I was, the better the results were."
Of the app, she says: "I thought it was fabulous."
Levier adds that she is not a cookbook person and she doesn't like to plan meals in advance. Instead, she goes to the grocery store and sees something that appeals to her. It helps when she can call up the app on her smart phone and find a recipe that fits with what she wants.
One of her favorite recipes is the Blueberry Banana Bread, which is made with coconut flour.
"I put a lot of blueberries in it, and it turns out cobbler-ish," she says.
Recently, she brought it as a dessert to a gathering, and didn't tell the people that it was grain free. They gobbled it up, she says.
As of last week, 400 people had purchased the Springs' app. Almost all the reviews online are favorable. However, one reviewer thought more recipes should be included. Spring says the app will continue to grow with more recipes, allowing users to update it without paying extra to get it in the public's eye quickly.
"If we didn't put the app out when we did, we'd be putting it out in 2020," Spring says. ___