Friday, October 30, 2009

Trader Joe's canned pumpkin

I received a response from Trader Joe's regarding their canned pumpkin.

Looks like the news is good, SCDers. *grin*

Hi Susan,

There are no allergins present in the facility where our Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin is manufactured.

Our statement is voluntary, and just because another retailer or manufacturer doesn't have similar statements on their packaging doesn't mean they have separated their manufacturing processes.

Every supplier of Trader Joe's will follow a ten step cleaning process in between each production run. This includes breaking down the equipment and cleaning with a solution. They are very careful to process products that contain allergens separately then other. However this warning is on these products because there still is a chance of cross contamination.

We require FDA regulated GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) program of our vendors. HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating and controlling food safety hazards. In addition, our Quality Assurance Team audits our vendors to monitor their facilities and practices.

Also, please know that all of our TJ'S labeled products will always have all ingredients used fully disclosed under the ingredients panel.

This is the only form of response we can give you to your inquiry,
therefore a company letterhead cannot be possible.

Thank you,

Nicki K.
Trader Joe's
Customer Relations

So according to Miss Nicki, there is nothing in the can other than pumpkin (as listed), and it's produced in an allergen free facility. If a Trader Joe's brand product is produced in a facility that has allergens, it will be clearly denoted on the label.

As she stated, she cannot provide me a letter on letterhead, so please use your best judgment when deciding if this product will fit your needs.

Hope that helps! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

mechanics and nutritionists

OK, I admit -- I've been saving up a bunch of links to post for you guys, once I get my act together.

But today, I have to give a big grinning round of applause to Mr. Tom Naughton of Fat Head fame.

Go ahead and give it a read. I promise it's worth it.

What if mechanics and nutritionists switched jobs?

Friday, October 23, 2009

silicone and egg bread

I am sure at least a few of you out there are a little confused about silicone. I know I was!

First of all, you may already be familiar with silicone if you have parchment paper. Parchment paper is paper that has been dipped in silicone. This is in stark contrast to waxed paper, which has been dipped in -- duh! -- wax.

Silicone has some advantages over waxed paper, though. For one, you can make egg bread on it! Let me repost the recipe here. I am trying to get organized, I swear I am, but I just haven't had a chance to go back and make a cleaner recipe archive yet.


Five eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup well cooked vegetables

Separate the whites into a large bowl and put the yolks into a smaller bowl. Beat whites with a pinch of salt until glossy and fluffy.

Squeeze the water out of the vegetables with some paper towels. They don't have to be dry, but using two to three paper towels folded over will allow you to get a substantial amount of water out. Plop them into the bowl with the egg yolks. Beat the yolks with the vegetables until the vegetables are nearly pureed. You can use a stick blender for this if you like.

Fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites, mixing well. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dump the mixture in, spreading around with a spatula.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The bread will puff up a little and settle as it cools. You can carefully flip the whole bread over and bake the other side for an additional 10 minutes if you like, but it doesn't seem to make all that much difference so I don't.

I cut it into 12 square pieces and sprinkle with sea salt. You can use them for sandwiches or snacks.

Here's a tip: DO NOT USE ANYTHING OTHER THAN PARCHMENT PAPER. I tried. I used foil with olive oil, foil with lots of olive oil, and wax paper (which melted and stuck to the pan) before I gave up and just bought the damned stuff. It's like magic. Food does not stick to it AT ALL. Comes right off. Parchment paper is full of win.

So! As you can see, parchment paper is necessary for this recipe.

One small problem -- I moved.

And none of the stores near me had parchment paper!

I finally gave up and purchased silicone pan liners at Target... these ones.

If you click on the link, it will take you to Amazon where you can read more about them. I got two of these, and now I don't have to buy parchment paper anymore.

Anyway, another way I was using the parchment was to cook pineapple. Before this, I was just cooking it by lining a pan with foil, then lining the pan with parchment, and covering the whole thing with more foil. The reason for my crazy double layering? Well, you don't want the pineapple acids to leach aluminum into your food.

So, silicone pan liners to the rescue! I do have the size listed above, and it fits in a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan pretty well.

You will notice that my Pyrex pan looks dirty. That is because it is. See, I have rheumatoid arthritis, which makes it not so easy to scrub stuff off pans like this. I am also just a teeny bit lazy.

I never plop anything directly into a Pyrex pan for this reason -- it's always lined with foil, sometimes double lined, so I never ever have to scrub the inside out. :D Unfortunately, stuff does still get on the outside sometimes, and that is where the lazy part comes in. :)

Also, be warned that the silicone liners do stain over time. It's not dangerous or anything -- just be sure to wash them as thoroughly as possible between uses.

Oh, and I also bought these to make almond butter brownies for my son:

I totally LOVE these. Fair warning -- the first few times I've used these types of molds, I've noticed a distinct plasticky flavor, despite washing them. My son doesn't seem to mind. But after the first few uses, they're completely fine. I have several different ones and I usually buy a new set or two yearly.

Happy baking!

Monday, October 12, 2009

pie pumpkins

I sent out my letter requests this year to Libby's and to another company called Stahlbush Island farms to see about confirming the legalty of their pumpkin products. I'll keep you posted when I hear anything, but don't hold your breath with Libby's.

Two years ago, Libby's refused to provide me with a letter that said that their 100 percent canned pumpkin only contained pumpkin and nothing else.

Nice, huh?

Anyway, I cooked my first pie pumpkin the other day. I decided to try cooking it whole. It worked GREAT! It wasn't too wet either, which can happen when you cook a cut pumpkin.

I pricked the skin all over with a fork and cooked it at 400 degrees for about 2 hours, in an 8 inch pyrex pan lined with foil, just in case it leaked.

Sorry I don't have a photo. You'll have to use the magic of your imagination! Ahem. :)

The pumpkin was lightly browned all over, and was very soft and easy to pull apart with just a fork.

I know you may be tempted to cook the seeds separately after it's done baking. Seeds are legal on SCD in small amounts, but be careful.

Friday, October 9, 2009

diet soda

I've been on SCD for a long time now, and so occasionally I will indulge in a diet soda.

Just to be clear, diet sodas are NOT SCD legal. I know that Elaine (who wrote Breaking the Vicious Cycle) allowed one diet soda every so often, but she mentioned saccharine sweetened beverages, which are pretty rare these days. I'm sure she didn't anticipate the wide variety of illegal ingredients which are present in diet sodas today, either.

Understanding why these drinks are illegal, though, is important, and if you ARE going to have the occasional diet soda it's still REALLY important that you READ the LABEL.

I was in for a very rude awakening when I started searching around for a diet soda that didn't have too much bad stuff in it. Here are some of the things you should be on the lookout for:

Sugar and corn syrup: In a diet drink? Say it ain't so! However, guess what? Diet orange Crush contains sugar! Yep. Those 25 calories per serving are from corn syrup. From

"Diet Crush has 25 calories per 12oz. can due to the perfect marriage between corn syrup and aspartame."

That is an absolute no-no on SCD. Avoid!

Modified food starch or corn starch: In diet soda? Yah you betcha!

According to, Mug brand sodas contain modified corn starch. That makes them gluten free, but not corn free. So this soda (and others containing food starch) would not be suitable for SCDers.

Gum arabic or acacia gum: These can be found in many diet sodas, including Diet Mountain Dew. Here's an excerpt of what wikipedia says about gum arabic:

"Gum arabic is a complex mixture of polysaccharides and glycoproteins that is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer."

Polysaccharides, as we know, are a BIG no-no on SCD.

OK, so what should we do? Make our own diet drinks? Well...

Packeted sugar substitutes usually contain maltodextrin (from corn) as a bulking agent. If you purchase a diet drink or soda, though, this bulking agent is not present, but it IS present in packets and granulated sugar substitutes sold in stores. Online, you can find low carb people grumbling about Splenda not being zero carb -- and that's why. The corn adds about 1 gram of carb per tablespoon.

The new Truvia sweetener has erythritol as a bulking agent, and so it may be a better choice -- if you use it occasionally.

So, just to be clear, diet sodas ARE illegal. But if you are an advanced SCDer who is going to occasionally have one, steer clear of any sodas with the above bold ingredients.

You may also want to consider Zevia. Elaine approved small amounts of stevia in some things, but as with everything, try a little bit and see how you react.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So, it's official: I'm sick!

The irony is 1) I'm the only sick person in my house and 2) I'm a pretty big germophobe. How frustrating!

I keep Purell (or the generic equivalent) on my kitchen counter. Any time I'm handling raw meat, I end up washing my hands something like every five minutes.

Of course, I have been doing a lot of networking, and so I've been shaking a lot of hands. Perhaps that did it. My last meeting with people was on Sunday so... dang it!

Anyway, I'm attacking this with as much gusto as I can muster. Here's my treatment plan.

Chicken soup/stock: I am lucky that I have about four cups of chicken stock in the fridge right now for me to drink. I will likely be throwing some of my reserved chicken back pieces in the crock pot today so that I'll have a fresh batch for tomorrow.

Chicken stock is full of vitamins and minerals, and it is a natural decongestant. Pretty great.

Coconut oil and/or milk: After a big warm cup of stock this morning, I am having my morning coffee with a generous amount of coconut milk. Coconut has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties -- all very important in fighting off a cold.

Vitamin D: I haven't kept up with my vitamin D supplementation as much as I should have. Part of it was due to not being able to find an SCD legal vitamin D supplement for a while, and part of it was due to me getting quite a lot of sun exposure last week. However, I've decided that for every day I'm sick, I'll be taking 6,000 IUs. Here's the link to my blog post about vitamin D and influenza.

If any of you have some good links or remedies to share, please do! For now, I'm just going to veg out while I drink my coffee. :)