Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Candida vs. Gluten-Free: What's the Difference?

A lot of people may wonder what the difference is between cooking for candida and cooking gluten-free. IS there a difference?

Stock photo from stock.xchng
The answer is emphatically YES! Though all candida-safe foods are gluten-free, foods labeled "gluten-free" are not always safe for those with candida - in fact, most of the time they probably are not. Why not? Let's do a little comparison:

• Gluten-Free foods are just that - foods that have no gluten in them. This is all fine and dandy; but someone who is gluten-free can still have dairy, sugar, yeast, and any gluten-free starches (potato starch, corn starch, rice flour, etc.). This is why there are so many gluten-free baking mixes out there - they can still make a relatively "normal" loaf of bread or batch of cookies, by simply substituting out the wheat flour (containing gluten) for one or a mixture of gluten free flours (I am oversimplifying that statement a little - some flours will require some significant ingredient modifications to get it to taste right). Gluten-free also allows for all fruits and veggies, and has no meat restrictions.

• Candida-Safe foods have a lot more limitations. I know. It's annoying. Candida is basically an overgrowth of yeast in the body and so you want to eliminate or avoid foods that will feed that overgrowth.  These include gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, fungi (like mushrooms - except shitake) and most starches. Later on in your candida diet you may be able to add in some starches like rice flour and potato starch, but it's not a recommended food and you certainly shouldn't eat it if you are just starting out. With candida, fruits and starchy vegetables (such as squash and potatoes) are off limits, though you can treat yourself to some berries once in a while. Where gluten-free doesn't have anything to say about meats, if you have candida you should stay away from pork, as well as shrimp and other "scavenger" fish.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion you had regarding the differences between candida-safe and gluten-free... and I hope you didn't get too depressed by reading everything you can't have. Check out the recipes on this blog - you can still eat good food!

*P.S. I am tired of apologizing for not posting... so... I now apologize for all times when I leave this blog hanging in the future. :-) Which I warn you, and you have probably figured out by now, is more often than not! :-/

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Italian Salad Dressing

One of the most difficult things about having candida is the limitations in salad dressing. Your most natural thought is that salad is a safe option for candida, but if you dig deeper, you'll see that most dressings are full of no-no's like sugar, vinegar and dairy.

But be comforted! Your salads don't have to be plain lettuce. This is a fast and easy Italian style salad dressing with a zippy, vinaigrette-like flavor - without the sneaky ingredients.

The only thing to watch out for in this recipe is to make sure your dried spices are under 6 months old to avoid mold growth!

¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp. sea salt
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed/minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
¾ cup olive oil

Mix lemon juice, sea salt, garlic, oregano and basil. Gradually whisk in olive oil, until emulsified. If spices settle to the bottom, stir before serving.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creamy Spiced Squash Soup

Here's a delicious recipe for you on a chilly autumn or winter day. I've been very negligent about updating this blog, and I apologize. I promise to try to be better about it... the key word there being try. :-)

This is a completely original recipe created by my sister and me. We love squash soups, but usually they use all kinds of ingredients that are incompatible with candida, like brown sugar and heavy cream. So we set to work to create a squash soup that would be safe for the candida-afflicted! It has coconut milk to give it a creamy taste, and spices and yacon syrup to give it a subtle sweetness. We'd love it if you try the recipe and come back and comment on how you liked it!

The only limit ingredient is the coconut milk (milk - not cream!). Make sure you read your labels and that it has no sweeteners added. Just don't eat this soup more than once or twice a week and you'll be set!
Make sure all your spices are less than 6 months old to avoid mold growth.
Read your labels on chicken broth!

1 large spaghetti squash (approx. 5-6 cups cooked)
3 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
½ tsp. salt or to taste
5 cups chicken broth
1 (13 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 Tbsp. yacon syrup

Prick spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Boil in a large pot of water for around 20 minutes to a half hour. Cut open and remove seeds. Using a fork, shred the flesh of the squash into "noodles."

While the squash is cooking, melt butter in a deep skillet or large saucepan and saute onion with about ½ teaspoon salt over medium heat. When onions are tender and translucent, add chicken broth and coconut milk and stir.

Place about 2 cups of the shredded squash into a blender. Strain out the onions using a slotted spoon and add the onions to the blender. Put in some of the broth/coconut milk mixture to make it easier to blend. Blend on medium to high for one to two minutes, until smooth and creamy. Pour into a separate pot, and repeat until you have pureed all the squash. Add any remaining broth to the pot and stir.

Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 1 tsp. salt, and the yacon syrup. Whisk until combined; taste and adjust spices if needed. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

• Make this a vegetarian soup by substituting the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
• Make this more of a main dish soup by adding some cooked chicken.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kitchen Gadget Giveaway!

Erica of Cooking for Seven is hosting a great giveaway for a $30 coupon to Frigidaire Accessories! If you want a chance to win some nice kitchen gadgets, hop on over there!

*Note: Erica's blog is not a candida recipe blog. I would not advise those with candida to make recipes from her blog until they have checked that all ingredients are safe. :-)
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