Customer Reviews: Healing Foods: Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn's and IBS
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on October 24, 2007
I just received this cookbook today and I am thrilled. I was looking for some inspiration in the kitchen. My family has been doing the SCD since June of 2006 (treating autoimmune disease in myself; ADHD and chronic diarrhea in my son) and we were getting bored with our current recipes. I really needed something to get me excited about cooking again. This book has done just that. The pictures alone are worth the price of the book! It is breathtaking. They make me want to start organizing, planning, and cooking in the kitchen again!!!

And this is quite a hefty book, there are so many recipes in here, I'm having trouble deciding what to try first! One thing I noticed right off the bat, is that there are plenty of recipes that don't depend on almond flour. Sure, there are plenty that do take benefit of this wonderful alternative flour, but not an overabundance of the book like some SCD cookbooks that I have. Also, there are a wide variety of recipes- scrumptious gourmet dinner party looking stuff right down to your basic everyday stuff. There is a nice balanced feel to the range of recipes overall. There are tons of condiment and sauce recipes as well. It looks to be a very versatile cookbook. I'll update this again once we've tried some of the recipes.

I've got some more book ordering to do as this cookbook will definitely find its way into many Yule presents this year for my friends and family.

As for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, SCD, itself (which this cookbook is aligned with):
Elaine Gottschall's book, Breaking The Vicious Cycle, which details the SCD, saved my life. I was lost in chronic pain, brain fog, insane exhaustion-- unable to enjoy life. SCD has given back the joys in my life. I've lost 80 pounds and am at a healthy weight. I have so much more energy to live, not just physical energy, but mental energy as well. I can keep track of what chores need to be done and don't feel overwhelmed or daunted anymore. I can discipline my children and actually be effective. I can follow conversations. I can move and walk and even dance pain free. I feel connected to the world around me instead of lost in fuzzy brain fog. I can enjoy my children, my husband, my friends, my family and my life once again.

My son has been pulled from the brink of Asperger's by this diet. His ADHD has also been slowly fading. Emerging is this sweet, calm, focused, articulate little boy. SCD also gave him the first solid stools of his entire life. His little body is rapidly healing on this diet.

SCD is a healing diet and this cookbook is definitely all about "Healing Foods." If you are looking for a cookbook that will help you reclaim your health, this one is a winner, along with Elaine's book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which the author of Healing Foods also highly recommends.

UPDATE: We have tried some of the recipes now, and WOW! Yummy! We have tried the Lamb Koftas, Beef Lasagna, Yogurt Raita, Dijonaise, and Spinach Roulade. My husband, who has been reluctant to eat SCD wise, has been amazed at how great he feels eating this way with me and how yummy the food is! He thought eating healthier would be boring and unappealing. This cookbook has helped me to show him that isn't the case. Our kids love the recipes as well! Now my entire family can enjoy eating the same meals together and I don't have to spend time cooking separate meals. Woohoo! The recipes are also fairly easy and not too fussy. It strikes the perfect balance between gourmet taste and practicality! And we are finding many recipes that will work well given that we are only stage 2 right now (we redid the intro this past summer). This is not one of those cookbooks that is only useful once you are in advanced stages of healing; it has much to offer those still in the early phases. If you only buy one SCD cookbook, I highly recommend this one. It has brought new joy and appreciation to family mealtime!
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on December 8, 2007
I don't think that I'm a celiac, and have never been diagnosed with colitis, crohns or ibs, but I love this book. It's just that I often got bloated and lethargic after eating pasta or bread. Maybe I fall under the ibs or celiac category as a mild case, but it doesn't matter. A friend had a copy of this book and after a quick browse I decided to get a copy for myself. After following the recipes in this book for only a week I felt SO much better. Gone was the bloat and in was a sense of vigour and energy.

I'm not one to spend hours in the kitchen getting dinner ready. And as a bachelor I like to make a big batch and have enough for leftovers. Well, the zuchini lasagne is fantastic and I make a double batch for about 6 meals. It only gets better reheated. I make the frittata verde in muffin tins and zap a few for quick breakfasts during the week. Awesome. There is something in this cookbook for everyone. Ms Ramacher's cookbook offers everything from the simple to the gourmet.

The book does recommend starting out with the Vicious Cycle book for those with serious gut issues, but I've just jumped into this one and am really benefitting from it. It probably would be a good idea to get the Vicious Cycle book and do the detox diet.

I have joined the ranks of home-made yoghurt fans, and though I'm still trying to perfect the ideal texture, am enjoying the flavour and satisfaction of home-made stuff. Banana-cherry or banana-blueberry smoothies are now morning insitutions.

The weekly and monthly preparation guides are a bonus. And the garnishes and sauces are better tasting than the sugary storebought stuff by a long shot. Once your first batch of yoghurt is ready, and you buy your bulk almond meal from the wholesalers, you're set! The creative recipes and tantalizing photos have really sparked my culinary imagination. I've even come up with my own pancake recipe with ground macadamia nuts, almond meal, sliced bananas and eggs. I use date molasses instead of maple syrup. Simple, but bloody good eating!

Get this book. You won't regret it. And your family and friends that don't have gut issues will love the meals too.
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on January 5, 2010
Please note this cookbook is for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Many (perhaps even the majority) of the recipes contain dairy. If you're doing strict Paleo, Danielle Walker's book would be a better option. I've used this book (Healing Foods) every day for over a year. I've been through most of the recipes in it and it's never off the bench top. I got a few cookbooks when my daughter started the specific carbohydrate diet. This one has the edge because it covers absolutely everything: the introductory diet, yoghurt making, snacks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, packed lunches (Children at my daughters' school are envious of their SCD lunches). This book also gives substitutes for staples like rice, mashed potatoes, so that you don't feel you have half a meal in front of you - you have a full, normal, tasty meal.

Friends were shocked when I said I was taking my daughter off complex carbs. I think they expected her to be miserable or fade away but she has positively thrived on this food. This diet is not nearly so brutal as I thought it would be and that is mainly because of the imagination and intelligence that have gone into devising these recipes.

I could not have kept my daughters (One diagnosed with severe Crohn's, the other with ulcerative colits) inspired without this book. Most of the recipes are idiot-proof and turn out great. I'd say the best ones are the sticky date pudding (right up there with the best of the non-SCD ones I've had), the lemon tarts, the homemade lemonade (We live on it), the fruit roll ups (Children at my three daughters' school are asking for the recipe), the homemade baked beans (You never, ever want to have the canned version again), the spice crusted salmon (It's difficult to find recipes for salmon that aren't bland). If you want to try what my non-SCD friend called 'a real gourmet lunch' (when mangoes are in season), put the prawn and mango salad together with the spice crusted salmon -- serve on bed of spinach. Pretty much all the meat and fish recipes turn out well (Chicken tagine is a big family favourite). The crusty onion rolls are sensational and my daughter was pleased that she could have burgers and rolls like everyone else. My daughter has lived off the good morning breakfast bars and the coconut and date rolls; they take just minutes to prepare and they're a convenient way to throw in lots of extra virgin coconut oil, which is especially beneficial for people with IBD. I agree with the reviewer who said the book was worth it for the cheddar crackers alone. They are easy to prepare -- just minutes once you've done them a couple of times; they just take a long time in the oven. Once you have these, you have a great, versatile snack for travelling because they stay crisp in an airtight container. My elder daughter has them with goat's cheese (dripped goat's yogurt), sundried tomatoes and basil. They're also nice with cheese and pesto or you could add olives - whatever you like. Also, the pancakes turn out well once you master the knack - you can cook two at a time in a frying pan with a lot of butter and over a really low heat. Most importantly, the pumpernickel bread always turns out well and toasts nicely, so my daughter can take a sandwich to school like everyone else (It does hold together well and although you may not like it much to begin with, it does grow on you). My daughter started the SCD in the summer holidays and I was dreading the start of school and the lunch boxes but it has not been that hard.

A year ago I said to my daughter, "Try this diet and I promise you will look forward to every meal." At the time I said that, I really didn't know how I was going to deliver because I'm not that great in the kitchen. I have followed this book heavily (also Raman Prasad's and Kendall Conrad's) and I have proved to her that giving up pasta, bread,rice, potatoes doesn't mean she can't eat like a king.

I would advise anyone to get at least a decent blender. A food dehydrator is useful too (for the roll ups and dried fruit) but not essential.

Nov '13 I have few minor criticisms: There are some unnecessary steps in some of the recipes; for example,the nachos recipe (my daughter loves this) calls for tomato puree. It's basically tomatoes and onions, so why would you go to the trouble of making up the puree first when you've got onions in the main recipe? Just add the tomatoes directly to whatever you're cooking. The minestrone soup is wonderful and plenty filling enough for a family dinner. I do a marrow bone stock, make up a big batch of soup and have it over several days. My children take this in a flask to school. It's a really useful recipe but if you look at the instructions, it's daunting because there are so many stages of cooking. I put all the root veg in together and half an hour before the end, I add the peas, zucchini and cauliflower.
The goat cheese tartlets look so fiddly and fussy (and they are) but anyone who has tried them raves about them. I got some of those mini cheesecake pans and I make a couple of bigger tarts following her recipe. They take minutes to make and my daughter has one for a packed lunch at school (I pack the toppings separately and a small plate and cutlery) and everybody comments on her wonderful lunch -- one person even said it's something she would order in a restaurant. I didn't think the blueberry cheesecake was very nice -- the blueberries were too mild to overcome the sourness of the cream (perhaps my cream was particularly sour). I'd recommend scaling down a recipe like that and doing a prototype in a mini cheesecake pan before you commit vast quantities of your precious cream/yogurt to something you don't like the taste of. Also, she tends to use a LOT of honey. I've found I can usually reduce the amount of honey by half without negatively affecting the taste.
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on February 7, 2010
The pictures are great and the recipes look like they will provide a yummy way to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). It's refreshing to have an SCD cookbook that doesn't rely on almonds or almond flour in almost every recipe! A couple of caveats though-if you are dairy-free or casein-free on top of following SCD as we are, this cookbook might not be as useful as you'd like because a very large percentage of the recipes contain SCD yogurt, butter, or French cream. In addition, many recipes have a large number of ingredients. For those with significant or widespread food allergies due to compromised digestive systems, this may reduce the number of recipes that are useful.
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on January 26, 2008
If you follow the SCD (absolutely miraculous help for me with Crohn's disease), you will certainly want to own this book. I haven't cooked from it extensively yet, but it's a lovely book to read through and will give you many ideas for new and delicious foods to cook when you are following the diet. As anyone on a diet knows, ideas and beauty are almost more valuable than recipes, as they make following the diet feel much less arduous. The Cheddar Cracker recipe alone is worth the price of the book. One of the best salty/crunchy snack foods ever, including "normal" foods! (I leave out the dried thyme and add onion powder and black pepper along with the cayenne pepper.) And they are incredibly easy and foolproof to make. Highly recommended.
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on September 14, 2007
The recipes we have tried from Sandra's cookbook are wonderful, everything has been YUM!!!! The recipes vary from ones that we could have when advancing from the basic diet, like the soft souffle rolls and pumpkin gnocchi to more advanced foods and recipes. This book has helped me become more enthusiastic about cooking and food. I find myself with many weekly favorites and not enough days in the week for the menu. Crusty Onion Rolls have become a staple, they are great for quick lunches, tasty and filling. This cookbook is quickly becoming a favorite.
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on December 22, 2007
Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can be a challenge, but this beautifully produced cook book both inspires and encourages those of us who like me, are not the most confident cooks on the block. Heaps of lovely recipes, beautifully presented. What I liked best of all though, was the thoughtful features like fold-in markers on both back and front covers as well as the included bookmark with all the website information.
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on July 22, 2011
The photography was beautifully done, and great images really do make you excited about cooking and eating the food.

The introductory text was also very well done, as was the weekly and monthly shopping and cooking plan pages. These pages would be especially useful if you are running a SCD household for a family, I imagine. The book is intelligently written and well put together.

As someone with allergies to eggs and dairy, and that can only eat eggs on a rotation basis, the vast majority of the recipes were off limits to me. I also need to avoid nightshades and at least a dozen other things (very high sugar recipes, almonds, peanuts, raw veggies and fruit, pumpkin, peas, etc.). I wished so much I could eat the 24 hour SCD yogurt and eat lots of the recipes in this book, as I was reading it.

I have written down the instructions for about half a dozen recipes though that I am excited about, but they are almost all desserts. (Not that there is anything wrong with that!)

Just wanted to put that comment out there for those with dairy and eggs issues, as the vast majority of recipes contain one or the other or more commonly, both.

(I'm still in the very early stages of working out fully trialling and evaluating the diet, mostly due to my allergy issues and inability to have the all-important yogurt. Nut milks are just not the same, and so hard to make. Trying coconut kefir is next on my list. Much of it is how I have been eating anyway, and so makes a lot of sense to me but I am still working out all the finer details and how to get around all the super allergenic foods that to some extent are at the core of it.)

This book is great if you are able to eat all the things on the specific carb diet and I highly recommend it, and of course the book that explains the diet Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.

If you have lots of annoying allergies and intolerances like some of us do, you may be better off checking out a copy from your library first and giving it a good look over before buying your own copy. That is what I did. If my allergies improve in the future I'll definitely keep buying this book in mind!

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
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on July 14, 2009
I purchased this book in hopes of finding some simple, every-day recipes to use for myself and my family. We have different members with a history of IBS, corn intolerance, and autism. The introduction, general info, and directions for recipes are clear, informative, and relatively simple to follow. However, since I don't care for yogurt and don't consume cauliflower, lima beans, lamb, veal, or salmon on a regular basis, the recipes were impractical for me and my family. Unfortunately one of my daughters also cannot tolerate tomatoes, which are used quite frequently throughout this book. The photos are beautiful and I did find some very nice recipes for breads, desserts, and a couple of main dishes and salads. I ended up passing this book on to someone I met that has Crohn's.
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on March 2, 2008
I am sort of collecting SCD books now! I have really been enjoying this book. There are many great, well-thought out, tested, recipes. There are comments and how-to's with recipes, which I appreciate. The recipes do not call for the dried curd cottage cheese which is impossible to obtain in Northern California--so I am appreciating that. There is a website mentioned in the book which I have checked out--it is just getting going it seems.
Oh, there are also beautiful pictures in this book. This book is really worth the price--I highly recommend it.
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