Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food Discoveries

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated my food blog. I’ve all that new energy that comes with a new year, or just a desire to share all my food adventures of late.

In brief, my biggest discovery for 2009 has been raw desserts – pies, cakes and other confections – that all share one major component they are not baked. I know this may sound more than just odd to many but it has been a boon for me and surprisingly enough, the whole family as well as various outsiders who’ve tasted some of our treats.

Raw desserts do what they need to do – they’re sweet, tasty and provide that punch of ‘fat’ and ‘sugar’ that make dessert eating so dear to many.  I have found that eating raw treats has helped me tame my considerable sweet tooth and that I don’t desire the more typical sweets that are served to me – that I generally can’t eat anyway because of the gluten or various other ingredients that don’t suit me well.

Ah, you say, she’s one of those ‘I don’t eat this and that.’ Yes, it’s true; I am one of those and have been in one way or another for many years. The good news is that I’m at peace with it.  I went predominantly raw after last Passover for about 4 months. I stuck with fruits, salads and a bit of cooked vegetable dishes. I tried not to go to wild with nuts and dried fruits – they don’t always agree with me. I felt okay but not great. In July, I started an unusual diet that should be better known for my gut – always my Achilles heel. Called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or the SCD diet for those in the know, it essentially rules out all complex carbohydrates – like grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, milk (although fermented products like homemade yogurts or Kefir are allowed as well as some hard cheeses), and all sweeteners except for honey which rates as a simple carbohydrate.  The diet, which has lots of interesting science behind it, is considered quite effective for people with Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac and gluten issues as well as all sorts of IBD problems. Of course, it tends not to be recommended by mainstream doctors – big surprise – and yet, you read positive story after story on the website, including fairly impressive ones from families with kids with Autism who adopted the diet and found their children’s issues greatly reduced and their overall health greatly improved.

It sounds horrible, right? No grains, no bread, no nothing. But there’s a lot left to eat once you settle in to the regimen; veggies, proteins (no tofu, sorry), fruits and nuts. I became very skilled at a host of nut breads and muffins (check out this blog for excellent recipes). My stomach calmed down – almost completely. Certain things still gave me pause – too many nuts (I cut back on the baked nut treats), too much raw stuff at times. I had to find balance.

And making raw treat after raw treat made me happy and reduced any real feelings of unhappiness. As long as I had something sweet to eat during the day – and I’ve found that I prefer my dessert these days earlier in the day during that mid afternoon energy lull, that I’m content. I’ve cut back and late night snacks – can’t digest ‘em and I suspect that many of us feel that way and anyway, I eat dinner too late to really have time to snack as well. I’ve kept dinners really simple since we eat late. The end result? I feel so much better. And that is truly something.

I’ll post some recipes over the next few weeks.


davidfcooper said...

Glad you're feeling better, Beth. You're diet is nearly the inverse of mine; I thrive on complex carbs, and raw produce often literally makes me vomit. Away from home (where we wash everything thoroughly) I do not eat uncooked food. My gastroenterologist says my sensitive stomach is doing me a favor by rejecting contaminated food that less sensitive stomachs do not discern leaving their owners vulnerable to more serious ailments.

Beth Steinberg said...

Hey, the beautiful thing about examining ones diet is finding what works. I've been on a food journey for many years and while I haven't figured it all out, I have discovered what works better for me. As for raw, raw - that is, lots of raw veggies, I actually temper what I do in that department as I find it tough on me. Raw desserts are prepared in such a manner that much of the digestion issues are removed - by virtue of soaking the nuts and using the right mix of nuts and dried fruit that I can manage. And the coconut oil which is often an ingredient, makes everything quite workable as well as nutritious.

Complex carbs are critical for most and my diet is unusual in it's removal of them. For me, it means no more roiling gut and nausea but I'd probably do better if I ate more animal products which, as you know, I'm just not that into. Balance is such a bitch, right?