Friday, January 20, 2012

Turning over a new (grain-free, GAPS friendly) pancake...

Zucchini Pancakes
(Grain-free, GAPS friendly)

It has been a while since I've posted, and I wasn't sure where to start... but pancakes seemed like a good segue, I mean, food is always a good icebreaker, right? As I've struggled to regain my health after living with undiagnosed Celiac Disease long enough for it to really take a toll on my body, I've experimented with a few dietary changes to see what I can eat or not eat to feel better (be in less pain, have more energy). I need to add here, figure this out with very little real help from my medical doctors. Not for my lack of asking, though. Some of the gems from them:

"At this point, you really know more about Celiac Disease than I do."
"I don't know what to tell you. I'm happy to keep running tests, though."
"Still can't gain weight? Isn't there, like, a cake or something you can eat?"
"My supervisor says you can't have any more physical therapy sessions - we're way over the allowance."
"Probiotics? Why would you take those?"

Those of you that are in the same boat as me are likely nodding in understanding. Those of you that haven't experienced this, well, it's pretty common.

I am fortunate in so many ways. One of those is the support of my family. My parents are great (anyone that knows me or knows them would agree)! My mom should probably receive an honorary science degree at this point. She has spent much of her free time researching how to get me healthy. If you were to add up the combined hours she and I have spent on research, it would be pretty impressive. I still have some Celiac brain-fog, so her brain-power is invaluable!

It is pretty clear, after thousands of hours of looking that unless your disease can be fixed with a pill, it's under-researched. Fortunately, people are figuring out how to get healthy anyway. There is more and more information out there, but it takes weeding through the bad stuff to find the relevant and useful information.

It is also pretty clear that there is a pretty large percentage of people with Celiac Disease who are not getting healthy with simply eating gluten-free.

Enter the GAPS diet.

First created for children with behavioral and learning disabilities, and modeled after the Specific Carbohydrate Diet , it seems that quite a few Celiac patients have had success with this diet (so have people with schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, rheumatoid arthritis and ADHD to name a few others). After much research and deliberation, we decided this was the next thing I would try. I ordered the book and recipe book, retreated to my parents house for a long Christmas break, and jumpstarted the diet there with the help of all hands on deck. More on my experiences with that later!

Fast forward one month. I'm on the last stages of the "introduction diet" and finally feeling ready to start experimenting with food and sharing my successes (well, and maybe some failures, too).

We've been making these primarily with almond butter, but if you're avoiding nuts, sunbutter works as well. Expect more in my pancake series soon. These pancakes make good plain slabs of bread for many uses: we've made mini roast beef sandwiches or added cinnamon, baked apples and kefir or yogurt for a sweeter treat. For mini PB&J type sandwiches, slather with your favorite nut butter and thin-sliced (or smashed) fruit of choice.

Zucchini Pancakes

1 small zucchini
1 egg
1 heaping tbsp almond butter
salt to taste

Mix ingredients in a blender or food processor. Spoon or pour small circles (slightly bigger than silver dollars) into medium hot nonstick pan. Turn when edges dry and a few bubbles rise.

Easy enough, right? Now some explanation on the cooking - this will likely take you a few trial pancakes. My gas stove needs to be just under medium heat - make sure the pan is hot before spooning in the batter. They turn out best in the Scanpan with no grease, however in a stainless pan or griddle I need to use lots of butter, ghee or coconut oil. They won't bubble like gluten-y pancakes, but they should form some bubbles. After you get the hang of it, it will be easy!

We tend to make big batches and keep them in the refrigerator.  Wrap in a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture before putting them in a ziplock. They re-warm well. They're decent cold, and good grab and go food when you can't just stop at a 7-11 for a bag of chips and a slurpee. In fact, I need to go package some up for tonight's chorus rehearsal!

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