Let them eat pie…
Being on a restrictive diet; albeit a healing one can be daunting, especially if you’ve never been much of a cook. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was not a natural Suzy home-maker. I was not raised being taught how to cook, sew and garden like the generations before mine. I found these acts of empowered survival to be tedious chores. It was not until my 2nd child, Aydan regressed into autism and severe gut dysbosis after vaccination that I began to re-think my position.
When we started our journey into gluten and dairy free back in 2007, it wasn’t the high profile diet it is today. There weren’t GF versions of everything from panko crumbs to oreo cookies. It was just beginning to boom in popularity and I was willing to partake in whatever short-cut was available to me, until I realized this didn’t work. Unless you’re a severe celiac, gluten is just a minor part of the problem. As described in this article by SCD lifestyle, the 12 billion dollar gluten free fad has expanded from “health” food stores to everything from Wal-mart, Domino’s and gluten free Dunkin’ Donuts. How can any of that be healthy? It isn’t and it never was. To think that the mainstream medical and agricultural industries are the only ones to want to make a buck off of sickness is pretty naive. I was this naive at one time and loved the idea of a quick an easy gluten free waffle from Trader Joe’s but healing does not take place this way.
Leaky gut and dysbosis is epidemic and at the root of many autoimmune and neurological issues, as Natasha McBride explains in her book, the Gut and Psychological Syndrome. Even Dr. McBride describes the non-cooks and how if you are one of these, it’s best to start with the full diet before doing the stages as it will help ween you into the habit of cooking everything from scratch.. the way people did before ‘food’ came in boxes and bags. This is exactly what I did.
Before I knew anything about GAPS or Paleo, I read a little book called, Breaking the Viscous Cycle by Elaine Gottschal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which would become the basis for GAPS. Elaine was not a scientist nor a doctor, she was a mom.. which made me trust her even more. She was not selling anything, she was just trying to make sense of a diet that had been introduced to her by a doctor many years prior in order to prevent major surgery and heal her daughter from Ulcer Colitis. Her daughter healed and I wanted in.. I wanted my son to heal too. The science made sense to me.. monosaccharides or simple carbohydrates won’t aggravate the gut as complex (di/poly-saccharides) would. I used to think of it as trying to walk on a broken leg, the leg could never heal that way and thus same is true for the gut; it could never heal were it constantly working to break down complex foods… Aha!
From there I was off… With a single cookbook and several printed recipes I went from never having made a pie-crust in my life to creating an entire SCD Thanksgiving dinner including pie.. Pumpkin and pecan (in case you were wondering).
My family was supportive though maybe not as enthusiastic about the outcome and for years would always ask me if they could just cheat a little.. just one frozen pie, just one batch of stuffed mushrooms with Philly cream cheese..
Over the years under the consultation of nutritionist and doctors, I would change the diet several times, experimenting with Body Ecology, Low Oxalate, etc etc… but NEVER going back to the old pre-made way.. Once you know there’s no way to unknow.. This sounds easier than it is.. Several years ago, I wrote an article Autism, Cooking and Most of All, Love where I go into greater detail about the aches and pains of cooking on autism. It hurts.. it does.. the social stigma, the friends, family, therapist and teachers.. even when well meaning can question, derail and just drive you nuts. Eh hem….
So, here we are in 2016, back on SCD /GAPS having gone through the stages last Summer, we are in full swing. For this month of February, I needed a birthday cake.. two actually. My oldest son and my biggest food critic was turning 13 and when I asked him what he wanted a couple weeks before the big event, he let me know in no uncertain terms ‘not an Aydan friendly cake and not a cake at all.. but rather a pie.’ At first not caring what type of pie but later driving inspiration from the hit indie game, Undertale, he requested a Butterscotch cinnamon pie… Now I had gotten better over the years; not only was my cooking good, it was damn good and I could bake the grain free with the best of them.. Though maybe not as pretty as the average food blogger, it was served up fresh daily with lots of love and hard work. Very little have I accomplished in my life that I am more proud of then learning to cook wholesome foods for my family. But pie???? Oh my… And something I had never even thought of butterscotch… Well.. Approximately 10 days before the venture, my husband suggests I go on an experiment, ‘try making a pie everyday up until his birthday.. a count down..’ I took the challenge and have compiled a list of the recipes I tried.. And as for Aydan he loves it when he finds me in the kitchen often combining two of his favorite ASL signs, ‘make’ and ‘eat’ to let me know I’m on the right track. He’ll even volunteer assistance which I LOVE!!
Okay… So enough with the build up.. here we go…
Day 1: Crust less Pumpkin Pie. I did this one because it was what I had in the house to work with.. I took Aydan and the baby to the library only to return home and find the entire pie gone. The soon to be 13 year old got hungry and it was that good. I made another for dessert and served it with Coconut Vanilla (dairy free) ice-cream.
Day 2: Real Food Banana Cream Pie. Again just what I had around the house and I did not use the vanilla stevia. Instead I used honey to taste, you don’t need a lot as bananas and coconut are naturally sweet.
Day 3: Coconut Cream Pie. Also AIP friendly.
Day 4: Blueberry Pie. I got the 13 year old in on this one and made it a homeschool project. We didn’t make the top crust and used a different crust recipe which was so good it would become my crust choice from here on out: Dan’s awesome pie crust.
Day 5: Apple pie crumble. I started on a key-lime but it needed to gel overnight, so I went back to a tried and true dessert I make frequently. Super easy and inspired by a recipe from my first SCD cookbook, Cooking to Heal Little Tummies.
-5/6 Apples peeled and cored
-1-2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
-1 Stick of butter
-2 1/2 cups of almond flour or meal
Instructions: Pre-heat oven 325 degrees. Cook apples over medium heat in a skillet with coconut oil or butter. Don’t over-soften as they’ll end up in the oven. Add cinnamon, I will sometimes also add nutmeg, ginger or cardamom. Remove from heat and place into a pie pan. Blend Almond flour and butter. Add crust paste to top covering completely. Heat about 15-20 minutes.
P.S. This recipe can just as well make a pear crumble or a berry crumble just don’t skillet fry before-hand.
Day 6: Lemon Pie. This tasted a bit like yoplait yogurt and wasn’t as popular as the others so far but was still pretty good.
Day 7: Dairy Free Pear Custard. Okay this is not a pie but can be used in a pie as any custard or pudding can.
Day 8: Lemon Meringue Pie, This was a huge hit with my husband. Though my son, Aydan LOVES pecans, he is mildly allergic and tolerates almond a bit better, so I stuck with Dan’s Awesome Crust recipe and didn’t use the one described by the Nerdy Farm Wife.
My husband loved this one so much that he asked me to make this again for his birthday, also the first week of February. I made two just in case.
Day 9: Chocolate Cake with Almond butter frosting. Chocolate is not allowed on SCD but on GAPS, Natasha McBride says it’s an okay once in a while but only on the full diet and after sincere healing. Again, not a pie but I got busy and took a break to return to a tried and true recipe. This was really well received the first time I made but less so the second. I never used the almond slivers and I’m not sure what I did differently that made it better the first time. I think I added more butter and less almond butter in the frosting as the biggest complaint was the almond butter was overwhelming.
For my husband’s birthday I made this chocolate cake with buttercream frosting instead.. Yes, I made 2 lemon merinuges and a chocolate cake!! You don’t have to tell me it’s time for detox but it was a party and a great way to end the holidays.
Day 10: Birthday!! Butterscotch Cinnamon pie! Old habits die hard and for the big day my son did not want to sway his position on a non-Aydan friendly pie. He insisted upon his Undertale inspired Butterscotch cinnamon after seeing this reconstruction from Feasts of Fiction.
So in order to include everyone, I made two pies. Here’s the SCD / GAPS version.
Now I know that this is not a regular practice in the process of gut healing as explicitly described here as a common mistake in GAPS by the Healthy Home Economist. You can’t go hog-wild with baking and especially nut flours.
And I also know that for those who have been following my writing for a while this sort of thing strikes as a bit soft ball.. after all, I’ve been the hard hitting, anti-establishment autism mom witch … I assure all of you, I still got it in me.. I have not nor will I ever forgive the pharma shilling powers that poison our children but for now, I can think of nothing more empowering and healing than being a stay-at-home.. A mom who is truly present, truly listening, truly healing, truly loving (or mostly and always trying)… Oh… And not to mention gardening, fermenting, baking, doing laundry, doing dishes, nursing, cleaning poopy diapers, scrubbing toilets and all around kicking ass.. (I know.. it’s hard, I am NOT a super mom… And it’s harder than that.. I’m an autism mom and believe me I’m exhausted)..
But for now, I choose to take lemons and make lemon pie…
Happy eating and healing!!
(References in the body of the essay).