Friday, March 15, 2013

Super easy SCD ideas

I recently began following the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) to heal a bacterial imbalance, and was dismayed to find that the diet seems to disallow many of my former staples--canned coconut milk, gluten-free tortillas, sweet potatoes and others.  To further complicate matters, I have also been advised to limit my fruit consumption to one fruit per day, and to avoid even the natural sugars that are SCD legal, like honey and dried fruit. 

So, what does somebody eat when nearly all carbohydrates are off-limits?  Protein and fat, of course.

Today I'd like to share with you some of the easier, SCD-legal, dairy- and egg-free snacks and meals that have worked well for me.  Hopefully I can provide someone with ideas that will help their day run a little more smoothly.

Fruit and nut-based
If you're going to consume only one fruit per day, you'd better make it count!  I like to use fruit as a vehicle for protein and healthy fats, especially at breakfast.  Often, I also sneak in some extra veggies in my attempts to round it out.  Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
  • Scoop up sunflower seed butter with apple slices.  Melted dark chocolate is also delicious, although not SCD legal.
  • Top frozen strawberries with a liberal amount of tahini (ground sesame seeds) and coconut flakes
  • Blend up an orange, half of an avocado and a handfull of baby spinach.  I like to top this with nuts or seeds; the crunch masks any orange-bits that a regular blender might be unable to fully integrate.  The nuts also provide more protein.
  • Smash a banana with a few tablespoons of tahini and a splash of coconut water or milk of your choice.  Sometimes I also blend this mixture with baby spinach.  Top with coconut flakes and eat like pudding.
  • Dice a ripe, juicy peach or mango and pour full-fat coconut milk (not canned, if you follow SCD) over it.
I've also been told that cantaloupe is delicous with thinly sliced prosciutto, if you can find a "clean" brand. 

Since I have begun following a specific-carbohydrate diet, I have not done much legume-eating.  Lentils, peas and some beans are SCD-legal, although many SCD followers choose to eat a more paleolithic-inspired diet.  The following are legume-based recipe ideas that I have yet to try:
  • Veggies dipped in homemade hummus, made with soaked navy beans instead of chickpeas.
  • A lentil-based "oatmeal," like the recipe on Stir, Sift & Savour, but cooked with a apples or a sweet squash rather than raisins. 
Meat or fish-based
If one does not consume eggs or dairy products on the specific carbohydrate diet, meats and fish become an especially important part of the diet.  Some of the ideas and tips that I use are as follows:
  • Mix some wild-caught, canned salmon with sliced pickles, celery and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper.  Scoop into half of a pepper, and top with your nut/seed of choice.
  • Roast two chickens or a large turkey at the beginning of the week and use the leftover meat for salads.
  • For especially busy days, seek out some "clean" sausages or pre-cooked shellfish and store them in the freezer. 
  • Find new, minimally processed condiments to make luch more interesting: olive oil-packed sundried tomatoes, calamata olives, guacamole, fresh salsa and jarred curry sauces are just a few examples.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gluten, dairy and egg-free sourdough recipe

Got a sourdough starter?  No?  You might want to check out my previous post for instructions on attracting wild yeast and rejoin the rest of us when you're ready to roll.

Are we all caught up?  Ok, great!  Now here comes the part of the recipe that most heavily draws upon the ratios and instructions established in its parent recipe, which belongs to the author of the Art of Gluten-Free Baking.  The differences between the original recipe and my version of the recipe are a result of my experimentation and preferences.

To make the bread, you'll need the following Ingredients:

15 ounces of your favorite gluten-free flour
1 can (14 oz) of full-fat coconut milk plus up to 1/4 cup water as needed
30 ounces of your starter
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda (optional)

As with the sourdough starter, you can use any type of flour you please as long as it doesn't already contain xanthan or guar gum.  I often use Nourishing Foodways' flour blend, or mix together about 7 parts wholegrain and 3 parts starch, as per the Gluten Free Girl's mix.  The same flours that attract the most yeast--the flours that contain the most protein and fat--will also make your bread taste more sour. 

While coconut milk may seem like an odd ingredient, I find that it adds flavor and helps keep the bread soft and airy--qualities infrequently ascribed to gluten and egg-free baked goods.  I imagine the additional fat is what boosts the fluffiness factor, but I don't really know.  I like to use Aroy-D brand coconut milk, which you might find in the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store or at, because it contains no additional additives.  Coconut milk containing guar gum, such as Thai Kitchen brand, will also work in this recipe.

The baking soda is entirely optional in this recipe.  Add it if you wish to reduce the sourness of the bread; it will neutralize some of the lactic acid created by the yeast.  I wrote the recipe with a conservative 1 teaspoon of baking soda.  If you choose to add more, be aware that excess baking soda will also change the taste of the bread (and probably darken the color).


First measure your flour, by weight, into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the salt, xanthan gum and baking soda, if you are using it, and add the sourdough starter and combine with an electric mixer.  While a hand mixer will work in this recipe, it is far more cumbersome than a stand mixer.

Next, slowly pour in the coconut milk while the mixer continues to beat the dough. 

You'll want to keep adding liquid until it looks like the above picture.  It'll be super sticky and will cling to an upside-down spoon, but it will not hold its form.  I generally end up adding a whole can of coconut milk and a bit of water, but the amount of liquid needed may vary with the air humidity in your area.  If you think you've made the dough too thin, don't stress out!  Just add more flour until the dough feels right.  This recipe is extremely forgiving.  (Seriously.  Once I started out with about half as much sourdough starter as I needed and then added liquid until I had the right consistency.  The bread came out perfectly.)

Then, beat the dough on medium-high for three minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.  As you can see in the picture directly above, the dough will loosen a little, slapping the side of the bowl while it beats, and it will look a bit like thick cake batter. 

 Pour or spoon the dough into either two greased loaf pans or two greased 12-muffin tins.  Cover and let the dough raise for four to twelve hours, as is most convenient for you.  The dough will continue to raise a bit even as it bakes.  Loaves will require about an hour at 425, and rolls will require forty minutes to an hour at 375.  Before you remove the bread from the oven, carefully extract one loaf or roll from its pan and tap its underside with your fingernail.  If the loaf is ready to be removed from the oven, it will sound hollow.

Allow the bread to cool completely before you slice into it.  After the first day, you may wish to store the bread in a plastic bag to keep it from becoming dry and crumbly.  Generally, the bread freezes well.

Don't be afraid to experiment, and be sure to comment with your results.  Most of all, though, enjoy your bread!

Linked to Wellness Weekend 3/7/13 at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, Whole Food Fridays 3/8/13 at Allergy Free Alaska, Sunday School 3/10/13 at Butter Believer,  5 Ingredient Monday 3/11/13 at the Daily Dietribe, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 3/12/13 at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, and Party Wave Wednesday 3/13/13 at Holistic Squid