Today I feel moved to write just a little bit on the subject of navigating Thanksgiving while still caring for yourself and your health!!
When we face any type of gut issue or imbalance, the process of loving ourselves and our guts begins to include making changes to the foods we eat on a regular basis. As we tune into our bodies, we begin to become aware of the damage that certain common foods can do.
For many of us, cutting out sugars and adjusting our carb intake becomes the key to regaining balance in our guts.... and in our lives too! It becomes a matter of life and health! This can make Thanksgiving and other holidays a difficult time to navigate because of all those lovingly made sweet treats. It's hard to turn down Grandma's pumpkin pie, which was made for us with every intention of generosity and love!
Over the past number of years where sugar, wheat, and dairy weren't on the docket for me due to food intolerances, sensitivities, and a systemic candida infection, I have found that the easiest way to do good by your belly is to have an alternative to the traditional treats without having to miss out entirely.
Ultimately the goal when giving up sugars is to get our bodies and tastebuds to the point where they don't crave the sweet taste in the same way they do when eating sugar and carbs regularly. But when it comes to holidays, I think it is a great occasion to make a sugar free, wheat free treat so that you don't miss out! Also, it is healthy to give yourself some extra allowance in the carb and sweet taste department from time to time to support your adrenals, and this pie fits into that category containing some carbs in the form of pumpkin itself and arrowroot/tapioca flour. It is a small amount though... just enough to make you feel like you're getting away with something!
Below, you will find a relatively quick version of a recipe for a grain-free, sugar-free pumpkin pie. Some may consider it to be dairy free as well, depending on how you classify eggs. I use liquid stevia as my sweetener of choice, as it has been shown to help break up biofilms, in addition to not feeding any nasty microbes, yeast, or parasites that are causing issues in the gut. I find that the SweetLeaf Sweet Drops don't leave that unpleasant aftertaste that some stevia brands can lend to a dish.
In the past, when in a rush, I have used a Gluten Free crust from our local co-op to make this recipe instead of making my own crust. It's not ideal for a sensitive gut, but at times we can only handle so much. It's the holidays... sometimes you can't do everything. Banish guilt and shame around these subjects... it's ok to not be perfect! That being said, every effort that you can handle to make your holiday more gut friendly is worth your time.
Grain Free Pie Crust (the latest iteration)
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot (or tapioca) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons egg replacement of choice or 1 egg
2 tablespoons cold almond milk or water
1/4 cup cold coconut oil or grass-fed butter
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, cinnamon, and salt until all clumps are broken up.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg (or egg replacer) and almond milk or water.
Add the butter/coconut oil and cut the butter into the flour until it is broken into clumps slightly smaller than a pea.
With the processor running, add the egg/water mixture in a thin stream until the dough begins to form a ball.
Place dough ball onto a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with arrowroot and press into a thick disc. Sprinkle the top with a little arrowroot, cover with another piece of parchment paper, and roll into a flat disc about 11"-12" in diameter.
Loosen the parchment from both sides of the dough and then carefully slide the dough into a greased 9" pie pan. You can also choose to put the dough directly into a greased pie pan and use the heel of your hand to gently spread the dough. Fix any cracks with your fingers. I like to make mine with the crust only reaching to the top of the pan and not covering the edges, which prevents over-browning of the exposed edge.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to overnight) before using.
When you are ready to add the pie filling, pre-bake by baking 10 minutes at 375 deg F, or until edges are a slight golden brown. Let completely cool before adding filling and completing the baking process.
Sugar-free Pumpkin Pie filling
3 Large Eggs
1 cup of canned, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk (without guar gum if possible)
1 15 oz. can organic, unsweetened pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia (I prefer the SweetLeaf brand)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
a pinch nutmeg
a pinch ground cloves
a pinch of salt
(You can sub 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of these spices if you prefer)
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs lightly.
Add pumpkin, stevia, pumpkin pie spices, and vanilla. Whisk until evenly combined.
Open the coconut milk after shaking and stirring well to combine. Add 1 cup coconut milk to the pumpkin mixture and whisk again to combine.
Whisk in the coconut flour.
Check the taste and adjust spices if need be. It should taste sweeter now than you want it to be in the finished product.
Pour into prepared pie crust. Cook for 40-45 minutes. The filling should have firmed up a decent bit from its previous state and the crust should be a golden brown. The center will be set with just a slight jiggle if you shake it. Check with a toothpick to be sure it doesn't stick when removed.
Allow the pie to completely cool before serving or store covered in the refrigerator. You can freeze the pie if need be.
Enjoy at your holiday festivities!
I hope you enjoy this pumpkin pie recipe this season! I have learned many tips and tricks from wonderful recipe designers out there in the paleo and keto world, and I just want to acknowledge that without the pioneering spirit of others, my kitchen life would be much less colorful and diverse than it currently is. This season, I am grateful for the creators of wonderful, innovative foods that nourish and for all that I have been able to learn from them.