How to make your favourite dishes SCD legal/paleo

paleo-pancakes

When you tell people that you don’t eat dairy, grains or sugar, they often stare at you incredulously (and a little pityingly), before gasping, “What do you eat?”

The problem is that so many people have fallen into a groove of slapping together a toastie for lunch or a pot of macaroni cheese for dinner that thinking about creating a meal without bread or cheese or pasta or sugar (tomato sauce, I’m looking at you) seems virtually impossible. Pasta and puddings are easy, cheap, convenient and delicious to make, and without them… What will we EAT??

Here are some ideas: any kind of meat, basically any fruits and veg you can imagine (with the exception of one or two, like potatoes and bananas, if you’re doing paleo), nuts, nut milks, nut butters, seeds, honey (sparingly on SCD) and, once you start thinking a little more laterally, a ton of amazing desserts and treats made with these ingredients. If you’re doing SCD and you aren’t lactose-intolerant, you can add dairy products to this list too.

Of course, if you’ve become accustomed to eating pasta and bread-based meals, as well as the odd pizza cheat on weekends, it can be daunting to make the transition to ‘cleaner’ eating.  Yes, it’s a mindshift, but you’d be amazed at how quickly your thinking changes.

To help you along if you’re new to this, I’ve put together a list of some of the easier and more popular everyday meals that you can turn into SCD legal or paleo dishes.

Pancakes

Traditionally, these are made with milk, wheat flour and butter, so it seems almost inconceivable to make anything resembling a pancake without these ingredients.

Think again: For SCD pancakes, use eggs, almond flour and coconut oil – try this recipe or this one – or attempt an even easier 3-ingredient pancake that’s super light and quick to make.

Smoothies

Bought smoothies are often made with frozen yoghurt or ice cream and loaded with unhealthy sweeteners or sugar. Often they’re just as kilojoule-dense as milkshakes, and we’re tricked into believing that they’re healthy because they have a berry or two thrown in.

Make your own paleo or SCD smoothies at home by throwing your favourite fruit into a blender with a dash of pure fruit juice or a squeeze of lime, and instead of frozen yoghurt, use SCD yoghurt, coconut milk or coconut cream. Don’t forget to add a spoon of your favourite nut butter!

Get creative and come up with your own combinations – you really are limited only by your imagination (and taste buds).

Here’s a collection of great paleo smoothies and shakes to get your creative juices flowing.

Lasagna

This is an awesome hack for dairy, grain-free lasagna: Instead of pasta sheets, use slices of zucchini in between your layers of meat. You could also use butternut or even egg-white crepes that mimic the texture of pasta.

As for the sauce, use substitutes like cashew cream or cashew cheese. These ingredients may sound totally exotic to you now, but I promise that after making them once or twice, they’ll be old hat. If you told me three months ago that I’d be making my own yoghurt using nut milks and non-dairy cultures, I’d never have believed you. Now I do it once a week, and start to panic when my stock gets low!

Anyway, here and here are some fabulous collections of SCD/paleo lasagna recipes to try.

Spaghetti bolognaise

This one is super easy: The trick is not to be fooled by unhealthy packaged ingredients that you’re so used to adding to your bolognaise. It’s okay to use tomato paste, but make sure it has no added sugar. I’ve just about perfected my bolognaise recipe – it’s easy, affordable and totally more-ish. Here’s the recipe.

Instead of spaghetti, serve with cauliflower rice, roast butternut or – if you enjoy the ‘taste’ – shirataki noodles. This is actually a plant product that has a similar consistency to noodles, but zero calories and little-to-no taste (though I definitely detect a vague, odd flavour). It’s quite strange and expensive, but some people like it. Buy it here in South Africa.

Burgers

The only real problem here is the bun, so omit it and, if you like, wrap your pattie in lettuce. Of course, if you’re not doing dairy, omit any cheesy toppings. Bacon is also ill-advised because unless you’re buying organic, it’s usually laden with sugar and unhealthy additives and preservatives.

I have an amazing burger recipe that I’m super proud of – try it here.

Curry

Curries are GREAT for paleo and SCD, because they’re easy to serve without grains, and the recipe doesn’t usually call for dairy. This means that it’s so simple to make SCD/paleo curries. Simply omit any yoghurt and replace with coconut milk or cream, and for sweetness, add a dash of honey instead of sugar.

Make sure that any spices you use are good quality and don’t have any anti-caking agents or other additives in them. The best idea is to buy yours from a spice market, if you have access to one, or simply make your own spice mixes from scratch. This is more labour intensive but definitely worth the effort.

I’ll post K’s Thai green recipe soon, which ticks all the right boxes. In the mean time, browse this selection of paleo curry recipes. I’m also dying to try this SCD roast cauliflower soup recipe – it’s on my list for this winter (by the way, The Tasty Alternative has the most amazing SCD recipes).

Dessert

There are SOOO many healthy, clean SCD and paleo dessert recipes out there – do a quick Google search to see what I mean. Things you’d never even imagine existed. So you never need to feel like you’re missing out just because you can’t have caramel whip or cream cakes. In fact, because these desserts are so kind to your belly, you’ll finally get to enjoy a sweet treat without the awful after effects you’re so used to experiencing.

Here’s a baked apple crisp I made last weekend that was very easy to throw together, and enjoyed by everyone who tried it. My favourite review came from my mom, who said, “You can actually taste how healthy it is.” But yet, super delicious. Win!

Happy cooking, guys – and don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

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Day 99: Introducing new foods & a tip for overseas travel

I’ve been wanting to add olives to my diet for a while, so today was the day! They’re not a food I eat in great quantities, but they’re a ‘nice to have’ now that I’ve introduced so many basic foods that I’m happy with.

On phase 4, olives still need to be cooked – so have them on top on an SCD pizza, or as part of a sauce, stew, etc. On a diet that can be quite bland (at least in the beginning) they provide an awesome new flavour that adds a new dimension to your same-old foods. They seem to have treated me fine.

100 days tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I’ll reach my 100 day challenge. The thought is actually quite daunting – what will I do about my diet after 100 days? Well nothing radical, I can tell you that much. I think I’ll continue to eat a mainly SCD diet, but as I’ve mentioned previously, I’ll be transitioning more towards paleo, which I’m hoping will suit me well.

Bali, baby!

So I’m off to Kuala Lumpur on Friday, and Bali next Monday. It’s going to be an amazing trip and I LOVE Eastern food, so that will be interesting too. In fact, I’m even considering doing a cooking class while I’m in KL.

Eastern food really agrees with me and I find I have little trouble when I’m visiting that side of the world. That said, I did ask my doctor for a dose of cortisone, just in case. If you’re travelling abroad and aren’t going to be back for a couple of weeks, it’s a wise idea to have some back-up steroids with you.

You may not have flared in months or even a year or two, but you never know what could happen when you’re away from home and out of your regular routine. Our guts have a mind of their own, after all, and it would be terrible to be stuck in a foreign country and flaring! So back-up meds are a MUST – rather safe than sorry, after all 🙂

Breakfast in Koh Phangan, Thailand, 2013. My kind of food!

Breakfast in Koh Phangan, Thailand, 2013. My kind of food!

Day 98: What to eat (and what to avoid) when you’re having a ‘bad GI’ day

After everything my poor GI system went through last night with the nuts, it was still feeling very fragile today… and the legacy of the assault remained. I spent more time than I’d have liked to in the bathroom, but I didn’t panic, unlike the times before.

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There’ve been about three occasions on this diet when my stomach has reacted quite violently to something. The first few times I freaked out, thinking that it was a sure sign of a flare. Slowly I came to realise that a) sometimes your system just has an ‘off’ day, due to any number of factors from food to stress to hormonal imbalances or state of mind, and it doesn’t mean you’re flaring, and b) there’s no point stressing about potential flares – you’ll only make your symptoms worse.

Instead, it’s about eating (and drinking) right on those days to ease the symptoms instead of exacerbating them. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you, and if your GI system is out of whack, treat it delicately to help restore it to health.

What you should and shouldn’t eat when having a ‘bad GI day’

Let’s start with a list of foods to avoid:

  • Avoid foods high in fibre like fruit, nuts, high-fibre vegetables (beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc) and lentils
  • Avoid dairy, as it can aggravate an inflamed gut
  • Avoid fruit juice (too much fibre) and carbonated drinks (can cause bloating)
  • Avoid nut butters
  • Avoid any foods to which you know you react badly
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid any foods you have not yet introduced to your diet – now’s not the time to be adventurous.

What you should eat:

  • Bone broth soups, which help to restore the body, especially after a bout of diarrhoea. They’re highly nutritious and packed with vitamins
  • Herbal teas – add ginger to soothe your belly
  • Starchy vegetables like squash, pumpkin and butternut
  • Your ‘safe’ flare foods
  • Plenty of water – aim for 2 litres
  • BRAT foods – this works very effectively for some people (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)

While it’s frustrating cutting back on an already limited diet, it’s worth it for the day or two that you feel so, well, crappy. If you’ve been through your fair share of flares already, you’ve probably established a group of ‘safe’ flare foods. For me, it’s basmati rice (which I craved SOOO badly today but I wasn’t prepared to cheat so close to the end!) and eggs. I used to find that crackers were also very soothing, before I had to cut out gluten.

All things being equal, your bad bout should pass within about 24 hours, if it was just something that you ate. If it doesn’t abate or if you start bleeding, suffering from bad cramps, nausea, night sweats or joint pain, it might be a flare and you should contact your doctor ASAP to get it under control.

No.

No.

Day 97: What the f@#!, nuts?

So, it’s pretty much official: my gut hates nuts. The whole kinds, anyway. It seems to tolerate nut milks and yogurts, but when it comes to actual pieces of nuts, it goes, well, completely nuts.

Last night K and I headed out for drinks with colleagues and friends after work, and we only got home at around 9. Neither of us was hungry enough for a meal, so I ‘just’ had a bowl of almonds (unblanched – silly), and some cashew pieces.

Soon after, I felt distinctly faint, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I headed straight to the bathroom, where I remained for about half an hour, wishing for death. The GI symptoms where horrendous: severe cramps and diarrhoea, and an intense nausea that had me hanging my head over the bath at the same time (though I couldn’t vomit for some reason – I think that’s psychological). Plus I was completely light-headed and drenched in sweat.

Illusion_Nuts

Times this by 100, and that’s how my head felt

When I was finally able to get off the loo, the furtherest I could manage was the bathroom floor. AND I’M A TOTAL GERMAPHOBE. I hate bathroom floors, even my own, but at that moment, it was heaven. The cool tiles helped to ease the sweating and I eventually managed to drag myself into the shower.

Guys, I have never felt like that – not even during the worst of my flares. It was scary. I even considered that my drink might have been spiked at the bar, but that had been a few hours before. How can I deny that it was the nuts – especially since this is not the first time I’ve had an adverse reaction to them?

Nut allergy vs nut intolerance

I always thought that if your body couldn’t handle nuts, you would just die. But that was silly of me. Having done a little googling, I’ve found a few reputable sites that tell me that a nut intolerance is different to a nut allergy, and can cause all the symptoms I experienced last night (but not death – even though it felt like my last moments had come).

The strange thing is, I’ve never had a problem with nuts of any kind before. But I’ve also learnt that a damaged gut may react to foods that it never used to – doh! Also, adults can develop intolerances over the years – like I developed lactose intolerance due to the fact that, as an adult, my body stopped producing lactase enzymes.

The strange thing is that my body only reacts to whole nuts, as I’ve mentioned. Not even my foray in nut butters a few weeks ago had this kind of effect on me, so it must be that my gut simply can’t break them down.

So nuts – at least in their whole form – are out. Sigh.

Seriously, what the fuck, nuts? I thought we were friends!

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Look how happy that bugger is

 

Recipe: SCD/paleo burger patties with guacamole & steamed vegetables

Here’s the recipe I promised you for the AMAZING burger patties I made the other night. They’re SCD/paleo/GAPS, super easy to make an they’re knock-your-socks-off good! How do I know this? K said, “I feel like I’ve just eaten at a restaurant” after finishing hers – which, let me tell you, is high praise!

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Bear in mind that the bun and chips aren’t SCD or paleo. The plate on the left is 100% SCD/paleo/GAPS

Ingredients

  • 800g mince (I used half ostrich and half venison; I haven’t tried these with beef)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic (depending on taste)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 small tin (50g) tomato paste
  • 2 handfuls fresh coriander, stems removed and leaves chopped (divided)
  • A good shake of ground nutmeg
  • A good shake of ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mixed veg of your choice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • lemon juice

Method

1. Add your onion and garlic to a pan and soften for a few minutes. This is not essential but it’s a good idea for anyone who requires their veg fairly well cooked.

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2. Meanwhile, place the rest of the ingredients, minus 1 handful of coriander, into a large bowl and add the onion mixture once ready.

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Get in there with your hands and work all the ingredients together, mixing well. I asked K to add a few more dashes of salt and pepper as I mixed.

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3. Now shape your meat into patties. I made 6 big patties, but you could easily turn these into 8 or 10 smaller ones. Place them on a lined chopping board or plate, and allow to firm up in the fridge for a few minutes. This probably isn’t essential, but I gave mine 20 minutes of chill time.

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4. While the meat is chilling, make your steamed veg. I used carrots, zucchini, green beans and broccoli. If you don’t have a steamer, simply put your veg into a colander and place it over a pot filled with about 3-4cm of boiling water. Cover the colander with a lid and steam until desired doneness. I usually cook mine for about 10 mins. Just be sure the water doesn’t evaporate, as you’ll burn your pot! (I’ve done this more times than I care to admit!)

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5. Add a drop of coconut oil to a pan, heat to medium, and add your patties. I fried mine in two batches. Because I hate using oil (it makes me a little queasy), I added dashes of hot kettle water to the pan whenever it needed moisture. I know that purists would recoil in horror at this, but it kept the patties so moist while still allowing them to brown. Cover with a lid while cooking, and cook for about 6 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

Guacamole

While the meat is cooking, make your guacamole. Place the avo and coriander in a bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and add a good crack of salt and black pepper. Mash it all up together with a fork.

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And voila! There’s your 100% SCD/paleo meal, super healthy and (I promise) totally delicious. Place 1 – 2 patties on each plate, top with guacamole and slices of gherkin, and serve with veg. If you don’t have a dairy intolerance, go ahead and add some cheese to your burger too 🙂

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K’s plates always look a little more fun than mine!

If you’re always hungry, you’ll totally get this

I’m a bit of a Buzzfeed addict and when I read this one, I found myself nodding along vehemently to each one (but especially number 18!)

’26 Struggles only people who are constantly hungry will understand’ is definitely true for me – and hilarious. Enjoy 🙂

http://www.buzzfeed.com/samstryker/struggles-only-people-who-are-constantly-hungry-will-unde

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Day 96: The most amazing 100% SCD burgers!

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My 100% SCD legal plate on the left; K’s 75% SCD legal plate on the right 🙂

Just look at these babies! I made them tonight out of a recipe I concocted in my head, and the results were far, far better than I expected for a first attempt.

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I ate the patty with home-made guacamole and steamed veg on the side, and K – oh she of healthy gut – had hers drenched in cheese, topped with red onion and gherkin, and served on a bun with chips on the side (neither of which are SCD legal of course). Cheese – dairy – is legal on SCD but I haven’t covered it much on this blog because I’m lactose intolerant and hence avoid it at all costs.

I haven’t introduced any new foods in a while, so tonight I experimented with spices (which I finally feel comfortable to do now), and I also ate a few slices of gherkin, which I’ve always loved. I need to keep introducing foods but I’m making such amazing meals from my existing options that I keep forgetting!

It’s really late and my internet connection is a little cranky so I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.