So why the grain-free crust and sugarless filling for the Squash Pie? Besides the obvious trendy health reasons, I was moved to figure out how to make low-carb desserts because of a nasty little thing called H-pylori.
Long tedious story made short: Rick got diagnosed with an H-pylori infection a few months ago and research told us that while nuking it with antibiotics was in order, so was starving the little beasts. As you might suspect, what they like most are starchy carbs. He found something called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that seems to be the answer for people suffering from a whole host of gastric disorders, everything from Crone's Disease to celiac. It also seems to really help in the eradication of H-pylori overgrowth. Not too long ago you could get rid of an infection like he had with diet and supplements alone, but apparently it's a fiendishly clever bacteria that has learned to make a special impervious coating that makes it antibiotic-resistant. You have trick it out of hiding by reducing your stomach acid and then deprive it of food while giving it the one-two punch of strong antibiotics.
Mostly what's out on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet are grains and some of the more starchy vegetables like potatoes. At first this felt draconian but if Rick was to have success in killing off his colonizers then drastic was what we'd do.
Since I'm the main food procurer and preparer in our house it was up to me to figure out what was left to eat. It turns out there was plenty.
Ever since I read The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein (find the post here) I've been a food agnostic. I can't claim that many books changed my life, but this one did. His premise is that we need to listen to our bodies about what we need to eat rather than listening to the many shouting voices hailing the next miracle food fad. Rick and I have tried most of the more popular diet trends (read about it here and here) and always ended up either run-down or bored. So now I don't subscribe to any particular food rules except these three: no Big Ag-produced vegetables; no factory-tortured animals or animal products; and no sugar (this last one gets fudged a bit from time to time, but mostly I avoid it.)
Oh and yes, I eat gluten-free for the simple reason that I felt a profound change in my digestion after I got rid of it. That one feels medical to me, like having a nut allergy. I may not blow up and need to be taken to the ER, but if I eat it I do end up on the couch clutching my intestines and moaning a lot.
Ditching the grains and sugar was actually pretty easy because we love to eat mountains of vegetables already and now we just add a little chicken or fish along with them. That, and the addition of ghee and other healthy fats like avocados and we don't miss all the rice.
Desserts however, were another thing entirely. I wasn't about to give those up.
There is always fruit but it's winter! Not much available that hasn't been picked unripe and shipped up here to New England. Tasteless and expensive berries? No thanks. Pie is what you want when it's 20 degrees, sweetened winter squash pie.
For inspiration I turned to the paleo people. Essentially we're eating paleo but since we don't subscribe to any set diet, I don't identify. They do know how to make grain-free, sugar-free desserts however! The raw people do too. Nuts and ghee were the answer for crusts, the fillings were easy since we eat eggs. Dried fruit for sweeteners. Coconut oil whipped into a topping (this is AMAZING, find how to do it here). I pulled from both diets and started experimenting. And I'm still tweaking. The recipe for squash pie is rustic, which suits the whole winter squash thing but not so the delicate fruits of spring and summer. So I'm working on refining the crust, plus thinking up things like parfaits and other lighter desserts.
I'll post here what works and what fails and if you try and then tweak something let me know! I'm all about open-source recipe building. If you are eating vegan, it'll be easy to swap in coconut oil and egg-replacers. Obviously everything will already be gluten-free. And out of respect for all my vegetarian yogi readers, I won't be posting meat recipes. Horrors!
I don't claim to be a super cook, but out of necessity I've developed a free-form style in the kitchen that sometimes produces interesting things. I cook like I knit with the recipes being more suggestions than rules. Improvising is where the creative happens.
We also pickle a lot, so stay tuned for kraut and kimchee and cucumbers swimming in brine. And we make our own yogurt. And grain-free cereal. So lots to come.
But what about Rick's H-pylori? Well he just got re-tested and he came back clear! Death to the wee beasts!