Balance. I think it’s something we all strive for in our diets, though doing so can require constant work and attention. It’s not always easy to monitor our sugar intake while diversifying the color of our vegetables, or the types of protein we’re eating. After cutting animal products from my diet earlier this year, I’ve sometimes found myself over-doing it on the tofu, or eating too many grains. It’s not that a gluten-free, vegan diet is necessarily difficult for me, it’s just that it’s easy to fall victim to the allure of continuity and convenience. To me, being healthy means putting in the extra effort to diversify, to remain flexible. To be balanced.
Perhaps more difficult to maintain than a healthy gluten-free, vegan diet has been my adherence to the Anti-Candida Diet. For those fortunate enough to not know about Candida overgrowth, you can read about it here. For those familiar with candida, its manifestations and its treatment, you know that treating an overgrowth can be a painstakingly long process requiring patience, perserverance, and even a little faith. One problem I’ve had with following the Anti-Candida Diet is that it’s so damn strict. No fruit (except lemon and lime). No grains. No sugar. No alcohol. No mushrooms. Nothing fermented. No caffeine. In addition to that, the diet can also be confusing. Depending on who you listen to, fruits are O.K. in moderation (wait, I though they weren’t?), whole grains are O.K., low glycemic sweeteners are O.K. sometimes. Are we following this?
Perhaps in part due to the confusion, in part due to sheer rebellion, I’ve been a less-than-stellar pupil of the Anti-Candida Diet. I’ve continued to drink coffee. I haven’t given up all fruits. I eat carbs. I drink wine on occassion. I spent a good year sweetening everything with agave (true, it’s preferable to sugar for these purposes, but it’s not necessarily ideal). While my diet has changed for the better since my blood results, it’s still far from perfect. Still, every time I try to commit 100% to the diet, I can’t help but think that by pressuring myself to be perfect, I’m sort of setting myself up for failure.
Balance. It’s the only way I think I can maintain a long-term adherence to this diet. I’m just trying to do the best I can. If I eat a carb-laden lunch, I’ll enjoy a light salad for dinner. If I eat something agave sweetened, I’ll limit my fruit intake for the day. And if I decide to make something with fruit these days, I try to make stevia my sweetener of choice (a good choice for anti-candida purposes). I’m taking this thing one day at a time, trying to make my health a priority (law school didn’t exactly make the latter very easy).
Trying to put my approach toward balance into practice, I developed this cornbread while craving something carby but not too sweet. It’s stevia-sweetened, speckled with lower glycemic green apples and fruit-sweetened dried cranberries. I found this combination unique and surprising, while the overall flavor was still reminiscent of a traditional cornbread. Best of all, it is easy, easy, easy to make this. One bowl. One skillet. No electric mixers. No gums or starches.
Any candida suffers out there want to share their successes, opinions or approach? I can only assume I’m not the only one who has struggled to be perfect, while falling short of that ideal.
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Corn Flour (not cornmeal)
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk (shaken)
2 droppers (about 1/2 teaspoon) NuNaturals Liquid Vanilla Stevia
1 cup green apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup fruit-sweetened dried cranberry
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. Add oil, coconut milk, applesauce and stevia and whisk until smooth. Fold in apples and cranberries until evenly distributed through batter.
3. Pour batter into pre-greased 9″ skillet. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until cake is firm to the touch and golden brown on top. Let cool on a wire rack for 25-30 minutes before slicing.