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“What was your life like when your autoimmune disease was at its worst?” When Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix asked me this question during her recent Healing Stories podcast, I had to confront some difficult and harrowing memories. At its worst, Crohn’s left me fighting not just for my colon, but for my life.
However, my chat with Eileen gave me the opportunity to reflect, which, in turn, gave me an incredible perspective. I’ve come so far! Each day I celebrate living a full and happy life. And I remain ever in awe of my body’s capacity to heal.
While I now eat paleo with an AIP focus, I must credit following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for bringing me out of the horrific flare I detail in Eileen’s podcast.
Following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The SCD remains an incredibly important part of my healing journey. For seven years, I followed it strictly, without ingesting a single grain or starch. My progress was slow-going, not surprising given how deathly ill I was, and I certainly wasn’t symptom or medication free, but I was able to avoid the surgical removal of my colon that the doctors were advising.
My parents were tireless researchers in those days, endlessly investigating anti-inflammatory diets. My mom was especially hard-core. She was a food-as-medicine pioneer, grinding her own almond flour before it was readily available. (Yep, once something hits the utilitarian shelves of Costco, as almond flour now has, it’s decidedly mainstream.)
This little tale taken from the annals of our family’s lore ought to illustrate my mom’s fierceness: So that she could make almond-flour bread for me during a vacation to Florida, my unwavering mother actually brought her own food processor on the plane, jamming it under the seat in front of her. (Pre-911 days, obvi. Try getting an S-blade anywhere near airport security now. They’ll stop, drop and roll you quicker than you can say “Don’t frisk me!”)
My parents also frequently chatted with Elaine Gotschall, the woman who wrote the seminal SCD book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Elaine was a lovely, light-hearted, and encouraging woman who brought her own young daughter back from the horrid grips of inflammatory bowel disease. She provided endless encouragement to them as parents and caregivers as well as to me, a pained and sensitive teenager devastated by Crohn’s ability to mercilessly bring me to my knees.
A Special Recipe from the “SCD Days”
These Oven-Baked Apple Pancakes are a favourite recipe from the “SCD days” – a term used often in our family. I remember well the delight that came with each delicious mouthful of apple-y pancake-y goodness. I also recall the comfort of knowing that I needn’t brace myself for the pain that followed eating pancakes made with traditional, and, for peeps like me, inflammatory, ingredients. Nope, this grain-free, starch-free, dairy-free pancake was A-Okay by my digestive system.
So to honour a significant period of healing in my life, I share with you this wonderfully special and tasty recipe. These Oven-Baked Apple Pancakes (which also inspired my Flip-Free Oven-Baked Pancakes) will make a lovely addition to any weekend brunch.
One quick note: If you are following strict SCD, maple syrup is not allowable. But my mom used to mix honey with maple-flavoured extract for a pretty-darn-close and still delicious pancake topper.
Here’s to healing and happy nomming!
Oven-Baked Apple Pancakes (Paleo, SCD)
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
- ¾ c almond flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 apples, peeled and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ginger
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ c apple cider or water
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 330 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix almond flour with baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Toss sliced apples with the lemon juice, oil, cinnamon, and ginger. Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy but not stiff.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with the apple cider (or water) and the 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Mix in almond flour.
- Gently fold in egg whites and pour over the apple slices.
- Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned on top.