Tag Archives: Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry (Review and Giveaway)

Amst_Paleo Cooking from Elanas Pantry

I was excited to receive an advance copy of Elana Amsterdam’s new cookbook, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes – her third cookbook, it is one I’ve been looking forward to since last year when she announced it on her blog Elana’s Pantry and on Twitter. Available now, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry is on sale wherever books are sold!

Elana’s cookbook is packed with lots of great, everyday recipes, including savoury. There are some baking recipes but most of the emphasis is on cooking. The very first recipe, and the one I’m most excited to try (once I’ve found a donut pan!) is for bagels, which can be seen on the cover.

All the recipes are easy and use simple ingredients to impact the most flavour. It’s the kind of cooking I like best and how my family eats as well. For lunch last week, I made the Honey Lemon Chicken (using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken); with crispy skin and a lemony, sweet flavour, it was a hit!

All of the recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and also nightshade-free (nightshade is a diverse family of plants that include tomatoes).

I’m pleased to announce that on behalf of the publishers, Ten Speed Press, I am giving away 1 copy! To enter the giveaway, please click after the jump (click “read more”). Giveaway details and guidelines are found after the recipe for Colorful Winter Salad.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

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Sometimes I’ll make a recipe for the first time and it’ll be perfect.

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Other times I’ll make a recipe and I can’t stop myself from playing with it. Case in point: these chocolate cupcakes from Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Cupcakes. It began as a simple affair, with mixing wet and dry ingredients together. The cupcakes, as they stand in the original recipe, are already great. I just couldn’t resist putting my own spin on it.

So I began to play with the recipe.

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I had used butter and melted it instead of grapeseed oil, because that’s what I had on hand. Then I read that using melted butter in a cake recipe can give it a muffin texture and that it’s better to cream to the butter, as the pockets of fat are distributed and melt while baking – resulting in a fluffy crumb. Well, the cupcakes with the melted butter were soft but were also kind of dense. Point proven.

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Saccharides, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and the Meaning of Sugar-Free

I got a comment nearly two weeks ago on my sugar-free meringue recipe, saying that it is not sugar-free because honey is also sugar:

this is not sugar-free!! Honey is also sugar…Sugar is more than sucrorse (glu-fru)
Honey contains 40% fructose and 30% glucose -> so certainly not a sugar free recipe

This isn’t the first time I’ve received comments/queries about this. I responded:

This recipe is refined sugar-free, i.e. granulated sugar. That’s what sugar-free usually means in recipes. Please refer to Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, in which she explains the different forms of sugar. Honey is a monosaccharide or single cell sugar. To be technically sugar-free means using no form of sweetener at all, including fruit since all fruit has naturally occurring sugars and no starches as well because they convert to complex sugar, which is why they’re forbidden on the SCD. I hope that this addresses your concern.

In this post, I wish to expand a little on my comment. If you’re a longtime and regular reader of Z’s Cup of Tea, you’ll know that I use honey a lot in my recipes, whether they are ones I’ve created or adapted from other sources. I label these recipes as sugar-free, as by definition of majority “sugar-free” usually means being made without refined sugar, just as the labeling on a food item’s packaging at a grocery store would indicate, and then one would read the label to see if there were any other sweetener as a substitute, and if so, what was used. Other sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar, tapioca syrup, etc., are known as “alternative sweeteners”, as the food industry identifies them that way, which is why most people are used to reading the packaging to discern what specifically is being used in order to identify whether or not they will decide to purchase it. All of these alternatives to refined sugar are still sugar, yes: but what makes them different from refined sugar are their cell structures.

If we were to be technically correct, if one was to be truly sugar-free, that would extend to avoiding fruit since all fruit has naturally occurring sugars. Starches would also have to be included in this abstinence from sugar as they convert to complex sugar, which, as I mentioned in my comment, is why it’s forbidden on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. All of this is explained and laid out in Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall.

Honey is unique from most alternative sweeteners in that it is single-celled, or a monosaccharide: it is a simple sugar. Other sweeteners are either disaccharides or polysaccharides. Refined sugar is a disaccharide, or two-celled sugar. (Polysaccharides, multiple-celled sugar, are also what comprises starches, including wheat.) Because of this unique status, honey is the only allowed sweetener on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD): a diet that only allows simple, specific carbohydrates and it is similar to the paleo or caveman diet. The introduction of Breaking the Vicious Cycle, the book that explains the SCD, explains how the body digests these various forms of sugar. Since honey is a monosaccharide, it is the easiest for the body to break down and digest.

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