Autoimmune paleo recipe: Butternut and sweet potato soup with carrot, coconut and ginger

It’s been freeeeezing in Cape Town, the perfect weather for soup. But I’m not one to slave over a pot for hours on end – not after SCD anyway! I’m all for quick, easy soups that taste like they’ve been bubbling away for hours…

My sister served us a delicious cauliflower soup yesterday, when she and her husband had the family over for Father’s Day. Feeling inspired, I decided to see what kind of soup I could come up with using ingredients I already had at home, and this was the result.

AIP butternut & sweet potato soup with carrot, coconut and ginger

AIP butternut & sweet potato soup with carrot, coconut and ginger

It’s tasty, filling, easy to make and totally budget friendly 🙂 Plus, K said that it tasted like ‘restaurant quality’, which is high praise considering that a) she hates butternut soups and b) we have amazing restaurants in Cape Town!

This recipe can easily be made SCD-friendly by omitting the sweet potato. Simply add extra butternut.

Butternut and sweet potato soup with coconut and ginger

Yields 3 to 4 servings


  • 500-600g butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 200g sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks (omit for SCD)
  • 1 medium-large onion, quartered
  • 1 medium-large carrot, sliced into rings
  • 6 or 7 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • Garlic salt
  • Knob of ginger, grated
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt & a good crack of black pepper
  • 250ml coconut milk or coconut yoghurt


Preheat oven to 200C/390F.

Place all the vegetables (except the ginger) on a roasting tray, drizzle with coconut oil and season with cinnamon, dried rosemary, mixed herbs and garlic salt. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.

A trick I learnt recently: If you want to know whether your vegetables will taste good after roasting, run your finger along the bottom of the roasting tray after seasoning, and give it a lick. If it tastes good, so will the veg!

A trick I learnt recently: Run your finger along the bottom of the roasting tray after seasoning the veg, and then give your finger a lick. If it tastes good, so will the veg!

Just before the vegetables are ready, place the ginger into a large pot and saute in a little water for 2 or 3 minutes. Add two cups of boiling water, plus the salt, pepper and bay leaves. Add the roast veg along with any juices/seasoning. Bring to a boil.

Allow the vegetables to simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves and add the coconut milk/yoghurt. Blend using a stick blender. Add a little extra boiling water if it’s too chunky to blend – I found that I needed another cup or so.


Add a little extra water if it’s too chunky to blend

Return to the heat for a minute or two before serving.

Slurrrrrrrp! Enjoy 🙂


Day 91: Crispy butternut chips (step by step) & almond nuts


I found a recipe for butternut chips ages ago, but I’ve had to wait until I was at the right phase of the diet before trying them. Today was the day!

Although they’ll require some perfecting, they were pretty good. Next time, I think I’ll use a lower heat setting on the oven and cook them for longer – I think that might help them to get even crispier without charring.

Here’s what to do:

Peel a long, thin butternut and cut into very thin half-moon slices (2mm or so). I didn't use the 'bulb' part, but if you do, remove the seeds.

Peel a long, thin butternut and cut into very thin half-moon slices (2mm or so). I didn’t use the ‘bulb’ part, but if you do, remove the seeds.

Boil the butternut in batches for a minute or two, until just softened. Remove from pot with slotted spoon

Boil the butternut in batches for a minute or two, until just softened. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Place the butternut pieces onto a clean dishcloth in a single layer and allow to dry completely. I patted mine dry with paper towels.

Place the butternut pieces onto a clean dishcloth in a single layer and allow to dry completely. I patted mine dry with paper towels.


Place in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and brush with oil of your choice. I used coconut.


Season with coarse salt and anything else you fancy, like cracked black pepper, garlic or onion seasoning, or fresh herbs like rosemary.


Bake at 180C for 10 minutes, then check on the chips and remove any that are already cooked. I left the remainder in the oven for another 10 minutes.


Serve! I made one batch with salt and the other (the first pic at the top of this post) without salt. I think salt wins 🙂

Introducing almonds

On phase 4, you can introduce blanched almond pieces. This afternoon, desperate for some sort of ‘fun’ snack, I decided that today was the day. I didn’t have blanched… or pieces… so it ended up being whole almonds in their skins. However, I introduced almond pieces months ago when I used unstrained almond milk to make yogurt. I have also been symptom-free for about 5 months now, so technically long enough to reintroduce nuts to my diet.

I of course couldn’t limit myself to a handful or two so I may have overdone it. However, due to my lack of self-restraint when it comes to nuts and nut butters, I’ve decided never to buy nuts for myself, but only to eat them if someone else buys them for me (that’s not a hint, guys!!). My dad bought me this bag but nuts are something I’m seldom given as a gift so I think this is a good strategy.

Today’s BMs

I am actually okay today after last night’s restaurant meal, but my tummy had a bit of a wobbly after the butternut chips, sending me to the loo with very runny stools. I tolerate butternut well so perhaps it was the coconut oil that I used.

To be honest I’m not feeling amazing now so perhaps today has just been too much fat, too fast. In my typical style! I have a weird burning sensation in my abdomen. Does anyone else ever experience this?


Day 73: Broccoli, bloating and 5 awesome phase 3 treats

I introduced broccoli yesterday and, as with most things I’ve introduced, I’ve followed best practices by eating it at dinner on the first night, lunch and dinner tonight, and I’ll do lunch and dinner again tomorrow.

Unbelievably, I seem (so far) to not be reacting to it. Could it be because I’m cooking it until it’s properly dead, or is it because 2 and a half months on SCD has really started to heal my gut? I like to think it’s the latter.

As for the bananas, I’ve been sticking to my limit of 2 per day, and it’s making a huge difference to my bloating. Right now, it’s 9pm and I’ve eaten all my food for the day, yet I don’t feel uncomfortable, bloated or particularly gassy. Portion control is going well too, and I think all of this is contributing to overall feelings of increased comfort.


5 Awesome phase 3 treats

I tend to forget that  I can ‘mix and match’ the ingredients that I’ve already introduced to my diet to create some pretty amazing snacks. Here are 5 yummy things I can eat right now:

  • Banana and egg pancakes/scramble drizzled with honey


  • Butternut roasted with garlic, tomato, onion and coriander


  • Yogurt, banana and honey smoothie (with optional nut butter)


  • Soups: Carrot soup made with homemade coconut milk, garlic and coriander; tomato soup with black pepper, garlic and coriander


  • GUACAMOLE! (mashed avo mixed with garlic, tomato puree, coriander, salt and pepper). Use as a sauce with any meat – works particularly well with fish.


There are lots more I could make based on the food I’m able to eat, so I really need to experiment a bit more. I’ve splurged on fresh stashes of macadamia butter and almond butter, with which I’ll also need to practice serious portion control. I also discovered that the shop downstairs has started selling freshly pressed apple juice! Life = made. Always such a treat when things just work out!

I’ve been thinking about buying a juicer. Anyone with IBD/IBS  have any experiences to share?

Day 57: Food and symptoms

Today I took it very easy on my gut and didn’t introduce anything new. I also didn’t have any honey or yogurt, and I avoided all drinks besides water and one cup of weak filter coffee.

Today I’m constipated, bloated and still a bit crampy. It’s not surprising, I guess, considering the ordeal I’ve put my belly through over the past week, but it is always strange to go from crazy diarrhoea one day to constipation the next. It seems the balance eludes me for any significant period of time.

Found at, where they echo the exact sentiments I had last night: 'Ever had such a bad stomach that you're convinced you have monsters in your belly? They're probably in there planning their attacks, being devious, and dancing around trying to stir up trouble. Wear this shirt to your next doctors visit and see if he can prescribe something for your bad stomach. HA!'

Found at, where they echo the exact sentiments I had last night: ‘Ever had such a bad stomach that you’re convinced you have monsters in your belly? They’re probably in there planning their attacks, being devious, and dancing around trying to stir up trouble. Wear this shirt to your next doctors visit and see if he can prescribe something for your bad stomach. HA!’

Sometimes I feel like no matter what food I eat or what supplements I throw at my gut, it’s just going to do its own thing regardless, and I’m just along for the ride. I know it’s not really like that, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing SCD, but it’s just how it feels.

Selfie of me in 100 years from now, still trying to figure out why I'm bloated

Selfie of me in 100 years from now, still trying to figure out which foods are causing me to get bloated

Today I cooked up some big batches of veg – butternut, green beans, tomato and garlic sauce, gem squash and onions, which I’m testing again this week. My beautiful jar of cashew nut butter is staring at me, just waiting to be unsealed. I’m so keen to try it so I may introduce it from tomorrow. Though what I’m really needing is more sweet stuff so I can kick the bananas. They’re doing me no favours but as the only bit of sweetness in my diet, I’m struggling to give them up.



As an interesting aside, the guys say that berries are well tolerated by most people with GI disease so they should be one of the first raw fruits you introduce. I’ll try to get them into my diet ASAP. Raw fruit can be introduced from phase 4.

How’s your diet going? What’s working for you and what’s gotta go?

This is what an SCD plate of food looks like

Just 53 days in (which, I promise, goes quickly 🙂 ), you can look forward to this kind of meal:


It’s grilled chicken with gem squash, butternut, onion and green beans, topped with a tomato and garlic sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro (corianda/dhanya). And of course, a lovely, super creamy avo half on the side. SOOOO delicious. This kind of meal makes me feel like I am not missing out at all, and it’s taken less than 2 months to get here.

Remember, of course, that you’ll need to figure out what foods do/don’t agree with you. So far, I know I can’t eat mushrooms and apples. But everything else is okay – some of it in moderation (like bananas). I am still testing onions but I suspect they’re not doing great things inside my belly – and during the night, when I’m fast asleep and not holding things in, I think K is the one suffering!

If you’re doing SCD, what’s your plate looking like at the moment?

Day 36: Let’s try that again

So I got a bit ahead of myself yesterday. Today is day 36 🙂 Either way, it’s going well.

Today I spent around 3-4 hours cooking. That’s the thing with SCD. It’s not just a psychological commit; it’s a time commitment too. There’s no ‘quick grabbing’ of snacks – unless you’re talking about bananas (which I eat in unashamed abundance – and even bananas need to be bought in advance to ensure they’re ripe enough).

You need to have at least one day a week, but preferably two, when you can set aside at least a few hours to cook. And while it sucks at the time, you’ll thank yourself when you get home late from work in the middle of the week and most of your food is already prepared. Here’s what I cooked today.


These guys are a mission because you need a lot of them to yield a fairly small amount of workable food. I cooked up 2kg today. I started by dunking them in boiling water for about a minute, to make it easy to peel off the skin. Once the skin has been removed, you need to cut them open and remove the seeds. It took me almost an hour to get through 2kg (but I’m pretty pedantic). That said, the results were worth it.


Because I’d already tested garlic, I tossed the peeled, de-seeded, chopped chunks of tomato into a pot with some chopped garlic and boiling water. Cooked for about an hour on med-high heat, then pureed with a hand blender. It makes a beautiful sauce that goes fantastically with meat and veg. I froze some and have about 3 days’ worth in the fridge.

Green beans

Now this is a real test. I’ve suspected for years that green beans don’t agree with me, but when I went through the list of foods to introduce on Phase 2, this was one of the remaining few that appealed to me. I topped-and-tailed about 6oog of green beans, sliced them into about inch-long pieces, and boiled them for an hour and a half. They smell amazing when they’re cooking! I’ll be testing them from tomorrow. I made enough for the next three days, plus some have gone into the freezer.



I peeled and de-seeded three medium-sized butternuts, and cut them into small blocks. I also removed as much of the ‘stringy’ bits in the bulb part that I could, just because I want to limit any possible digestive hurdles. Once chopped, they only take about 45-6o minutes to cook (and less if you’re cooking a smaller batch). I’ve also found that you can cook pre-chopped butternut in the microwave and it only takes about 12 minutes. Of course, you can cook butternut with the skin on, but I find that it’s harder to peel them when they’re super soft. Again, I put enough in the fridge for about 3 days, and froze the rest.

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our new apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Gem squash

I cooked 5 gem squash, for about an hour. I always scrape the skin out of the shells for easy eating 🙂 It makes about 3 days’ worth of fare, depending on how much you eat at each meal. I LOVE squash so I could probably get through two whole (small) ones at each dinner.


Venison meatballs

I bought about 1kg of venison mince and divided it into 14 patties. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, but nothing else. Weirdly, while I was shaping them into patties, a small metal ball fell out of the meat. I took a photo and sent it, along with a very displeased email, to the manufacturers. It could’ve caused serious problems! If I’d bitten it I could’ve broken a tooth, and if I’d swallowed it… it’s not even worth thinking about. So let’s see what they say.


Anyway, the problem with venison, as I’ve said before, is that it smells terrible when you’re cooking it. In fact, we’ve just returned home from being out for several hours (at the most awesome gay comedy gig where K performed – have I mentioned she’s a comedienne? 🙂 ) and our small apartment reeks of it. I’m not sure what the solution is. But I do love the taste.

…And the one non-SCD thing I baked today

I haven’t baked in ages, and I miss it. This morning, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients, including a chocolate muffin mix, instant caramel pudding, milk, oil and eggs, and threw together a batch of chocolate-caramel brownies. I don’t know who I intended them for. K is supposed to be eating healthy. But I convinced her to have one, and she said they were ‘the best brownies I’ve ever eaten’. Yay! Except now I have an entire batch of chocolate brownies just hanging around my kitchen. Plus I got a good talking-to from K about contaminating my SCD area!


My choc-caramel brownies – VERY SCD-illegal!

How do I feel on day 36?

Mostly fine. I do concede that I’ve had some bad bloating these past few days, and I’m pretty sure it’s the wine. Then again, it could be the tomatoes. So what I’m going to do is cut out the wine for the week, and keep eating the tomatoes. If it doesn’t improve, I’ll cut out the tomatoes. So it’s kinda like ‘backwards’ testing, I guess, but I think it’ll work. Or, as I like to think of it: Inception testing – a test within a test (within a test…) 🙂

I’m also constipated. I HATE being constipated. Of course, diarrhoea is awful. Being (figuratively) chained to the toilet for months on end is awful. The bleeding, the dehydration, the anaemia, the just-plain rawness, is terrible. But constipation… in my mind, it’s almost as bad. I hate feeling like there’s gunk inside my body that needs to come out but won’t or can’t.


I’m still taking all my supplements, including magnesium, and I’ll keep trying to add foods that can aid in better bowel movements.

Overall, I feel good. I’ve lost about 3kg and my jeans are all hanging off my butt. My butt is always the first to go. But I love that my clothes don’t feel like they’re constricting me.

It’s gay pride week in Cape Town and I’m sooooooo happy! I’m very out and proud, but being part of an actual week dedicated to it, contrived as it may seem, brings out the happy tears in me. There’s an incredible feeling of togetherness, which is unusual because the gays are such bitches most of the time (men and women). This coming Saturday is the Pride march in the city centre, and I can’t wait to paint my face, dress in pink and march with people from all over South Africa and other parts of Africa. It makes my heart swell. And in my opinion, what makes your heart happy makes your body happy 🙂

PS: I just got changed into my PJs and my tummy is bloat central. I don’t know what it was but I’m guessing the booze wasn’t completely innocent. Back to clean tomorrow.

Day 28: Cooking ahead (you’ll thank yourself tomorrow)

Today was a ‘home’ day – one of my favourite kinds of Saturdays. I’m not one to be filled with the joys of spring summer when it’s 31 degrees out in Cape Town (88F). The beaches are jammed, the traffic is chaos, and every cool place in the city is taken over by hipsters and shmodel types. Welcome to Cape Town 😉 Nah, it’s not that bad. We just happen to live in a trendy part of the city, so I guess it’s our own fault.

We live on this street...

We live on this main road…

Above this Italian deli...

above this Italian deli…

that sells all these amazing fresh foods...

that sells all these amazing fresh foods…

and all of these two. I don't go in here any more!

and all of these too. I don’t go in here any more!

Anyway, I also had a ton of freelance work to do today (I work full time and I freelance), so I was pleasantly surprised to be done by 3pm, and have a few extra hours on my hands to play with. If you’re doing SCD and you have a few extra hours lying around, I know that the last thing you probably feel like doing is cooking. But trust me, it’s worth it. And you’ll thank yourself on Monday when you reeeeeally don’t feel like the schlep.

What I made today

First up, I cooked up a big batch of gem squash – at least enough for 3 days – and about the same amount of butternut. I discovered that the slimy feeling I get on my hands, combined with immediate and intense peeling after handling raw butternut, happens to other people too! Check this out. It briefly made me wonder what butternut must do to one’s insides if that’s what it does to one’s hands, but I banished the thought rather sharpish. Butternut and I have no beef, so I’m not about to go looking for problems where there aren’t any.

Even though the skin it tough, I find it easier to peel butternut before I cook it - especially because it has to be cooked until it's so soft. Peeling the skin off when the whole thing is falling apart is SUPER frustrating!

Even though the skin is tough, I find it easier to peel butternut before I cook it. Peeling the skin off when the whole thing is falling apart is SUPER frustrating!

Next up was a batch of pear puree, which I made with some Asian pears I found at the supermarket yesterday. I’ve never seen Asian pears and the price was quite gob-smacking, but at this point, I spoil myself when I’m able to since my diet is so limited.

Asian pears

Asian pears

Have you ever used them? They’re harder than normal pears and the flesh is more apple-like than pear-like. I was very excited about the result, but it was disappointing. I find that plain ‘ol boring pears have a stronger and more satisfying taste. These were quite subtle and bland – plus I added a little too much water when pureeing, turning it all into a bit of a soup. Luckily I have a draw full of straws left over from my sister’s bachelorette party. Perhaps I can pretend it’s a smoothie.

I cooked up the last of my mushrooms, to continue testing tonight (third and last day). I felt fine after eating them for supper, but that was 4 hours ago and I’ve had two loose BMs since then, which is unprecedented on this diet so far, and can only be the mushrooms. This just drives home the importance of adding only one thing at a time.

Lastly, I made some roast garlic, which is the next thing I’ll be testing, from tomorrow. I learnt a really cool trick for making roast garlic paste a few years ago: Take the whole bulb and slice the top off (see below). Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a muffin tray. I didn’t do any drizzling – I simply put some olive oil on my fingertips and rubbed it over the cut ends, as I suspect oil is too much for my body to handle right now. I roasted the garlic for about 1 hour at 180C (350F). It turned out perfectly and I can’t wait to try it from tomorrow.

Roast garlic

Roast garlic

… And then I nearly cheated

These days, I barely notice when someone waves a chocolate bar under my nose because it’s just so far beyond anything I want to put in my body right now (doesn’t stop me fantasising about chocolate binges from time to time though 🙂 ).

However, I threw together this delicious fruit salad for K for breakfast, finished off with vanilla yogurt and guava juice, and all I wanted was to guzzle all that lovely looking, non-pureed, perfectly fresh fruit. It’s completely second nature to me to pop a piece of raw fruit or veg into my mouth while prepping, totally without thinking about it (I almost did it with the mushrooms too), so I really need to be careful of that. But ohhhh, look how GOOD this looks!


Watermelon, sweet melon and grapes. SOON.

Yogurt cultures??

Speaking of yogurt, does anyone know where I can get yogurt cultures in Cape Town (or anywhere in SA for that matter)? If not, where do you get them in your country? I’ve tried countless health shops but no one can help me. I’m dying to make some SCD yogurt so this is really frustrating.

Can’t believe I’m nearly a third of the way through this. Apart from a few isolated incidents, I really feel great 🙂