I always thought the villainization of carbs was overdramatic. When I read Flat Belly Diabetes Diet a few years ago, it seemed like a good balance. I still think it’s a great diet. I actually lost weight and felt really energized. It taught me a lot about the psychology of eating. The only downside to it was the recommended processed foods, but I always substituted processed foods for homemade. It brought my calorie count down, bad fats down, and my husband’s cholesterol down. The whole family was actually on this diet, or style of eating until I learned I had Candida.
After learning I had Candida overgrowth, it felt like the world was caving in. I had so much new information, not only on the details of my condition, but also on the new diet I was supposed to be on. Much of the information I had discovered about “healthy eating” was about to change. I had to cut carbs completely. At first, the changes were overwhelming. Honestly, any diet change can be. I’ve been through this a couple of times. Making those changes are emotional and stressful. The first phase of the ultimate candida diet is detoxing. You can find the diet here: https://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/ There are many candida diets. Choose one that works for you and stick to it. The detoxing phase was challenging because I could only eat a list of primarily greens, a few other vegetables, and eggs. I felt positive physical results within a couple of days. Even though I struggled to stick to it, I could see the benefits.
After the detoxing, you go on to the next phase of the diet. This includes a lot more choices. It got easier over time, not only because there were more choices, but also because my brain started to adapt to the whole concept. I also learned what foods personally affected my health in a negative way and others that benefitted me.
In general, cooking gluten-free was a challenge for me. I used to enjoy whole wheat muffins, banana bread, open-faced sandwiches, or whole wheat pancakes with fruit and nuts. At first, I tried to “replace” my tried and true recipes with gluten-free alternatives. When I had that mindset, it was harder to enjoy those things. They taste nothing like the gluten alternative. My kids didn’t like it either.
Now, I have learned that I don’t always need a replacement. Eating vegetables and nuts or well-seasoned meat is more enjoyable than eating a coconut bread sandwich with chicken salad on it. Instead of replacing muffins I used to make, exploring new recipes were better. There was no expectation when I never had it before. This worked so much better.
Cooking gluten-free has other challenges. Sometimes the texture is off. Having Candida, I can’t be adding sugar either. It is double challenging finding gluten-free, sugar-free recipes. I have stumbled across a couple ideas to improve my recipes. One thing I learned was when I kept the mixed dry ingredients in one bowl and kept the mixed wet ingredients in another bowl until the very last minute, the recipe had a softer texture. I made sure the glass or ceramic baking pan was well-greased with coconut oil. Then I mixed wet and dry ingredients together, put it in the pan right away, and baked it. I think the gluten-free flours suck up all the moisture otherwise which led to a drier denser product. I also learned that “sifting” the almond flour takes away some density from your finished product as well. I rub my homemade almond flour through a mesh strainer into the dry ingredients bowl. Even though I buy my coconut flour, and flax meal, I try to make most of my other flours. I also avoid gluten-free processed foods because there’s usually a lot of sugar or unidentifiable ingredients in those. On a side note, I happened to read an article about mercury and arsenic levels being linked to gluten-free diets. The findings were based on people eating a lot of processed rice products. Since rice pulls mercury and arsenic out of the soil, people eating large amounts were having high levels of mercury and arsenic in their urine or blood. It just further proves that staying away from processed foods is best. Then it is easier to regulate how much rice or other foods you are getting and be able to identify your ingredients.
“sifting” almond flour
I’d like to close with a delicious gluten-free recipe I have been enjoying. I use the gluten tips I just mentioned.
Lemon Berry Coconut Muffins:
Author: Ashley Thomas
Serves: 14 muffins (I get 12 out of this)
- 1 cup coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup non-dairy milk (coconut milk or almond milk will work)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or melted ghee (I use organic butter)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (raw, local honey is always a great alternative)
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries, pureed (I use fresh pureed blackberries or blueberries)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add the coconut flour and baking soda to a bowl and mix well. (Remember, I keep wet and dry ingredients separate until ready to bake. It comes out totally different.)
- Add the non-dairy milk, eggs, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, and oil to the bowl and using a hand mixer, mix until well combined and smooth. As you continue to mix, the batter will thicken.
- Pour the batter into silicone baking cups. (I use a greased ceramic muffin pan)
- Drop a teaspoon of the berry puree on top of each muffin. Using a knife, make a twirly design.
- Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the muffins to cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, serve.