Steve’s SCD Diet Healing Journal: Week 18 – Is Almond Flour Like SCD Cocaine?

by Steven Wright

Co-Founder of SCD Lifestyle Steve Wright has finally broken down and started his path to intestinal healing. After many years of undiagnosed digestive warfare in his body, these series of weekly posts will take you through his experiences, thoughts, and struggles on the SCD diet. Check back and follow his progress:

Week 18 Summary

Steady Eddy, that’s how my digestion was last week.  My BM’s are continuing to jump around on the Bristol Stool Chart between 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s.  All other digestive symptoms seem to be staying relativity stable (on a weekly time frame) for now.  Everything is not quite where I wish it was but I’m still light years ahead of December of last year.  My hypothesis is the last phases of healing and optimizing digestion will take the longest.

As for changes in my diet, I did try my hand at baking some of Elaine’s muffins from the recipe section of BTVC.  Over the course of the week I made 3 different batches of muffins, each time getting better and having the muffins turn out tastier.   But more on that later, the exciting thing was eating one or two muffins a day (Okkkay I did some other taste testing) didn’t negatively impact my digestion!  I also tried broccoli for the first time this weekend, I loved broccoli before starting the SCD diet so I’ve been itching to add it back in.  Unfortunately the jury is still out on whether my body totally agrees with it. I’m going to continue eating it over the next couple days but I did notice much more gas and bloating than normal the day after starting the broccoli.

I’m not ready to toss my steamed broccoli out just yet because my symptoms may be caused by another change I’m currently making.  After my long awaited appointment with a Pro-SCD naturally-minded doctor in my area he gave me a Genova Stool Test Kit.  Fortunately for me I get to do this sweet test that is finally going give me a much better understanding of what is happening in my body.   Unfortunately, to take the test correctly you have to stop all supplementation for 3 days prior to the 3 day test (total of 6 days with no digestion helpers).  Yesterday was my first day of no pills and also the day after broccoli so therefore I’m in a bit of conundrum.

My new found ability to smell is amazing and its continuing to improve, even though my allergies are killing me and my nose is like a faucet right now.  Since I won’t be supplementing with anything this coming week, I will test my zinc levels next week but I’m still planning on at least one more week of supplementation.

Going To The Doctors Office

As I mentioned earlier, I finally got in to see a Pro-SCD doctor (Dr. Will in East Lansing, MI), and being that this was my first appointment with a pro-SCD doctor I figured I would let everyone know what tests I asked for and which ones he recommended.  Remember I’ve been self-diagnosing and self-supplementing since January when I started the SCD diet.  The appointment went really well and we were both basically on the same page.   He agreed to check everything I requested and also brought up a couple good points (like if I continue the zinc supplementation he wants me to go get some copper) and urged me to start supplementing with Iodine.

So what did I end up getting tested for?  As I said above, I left his office with a large Genova Stool Test kit (like the size of 4 bricks!) this will give me very good snap shot of all my gut flora levels.  I also wanted to get into to see an allergist to check for food and environmental Igg allergies (delayed onset), for which he agreed to.  I also wanted to check my Vitamin D3 levels as well as just get a regular comprehensive panel to make sure all my regularly checked health markers were still in the good shape (comp panel checked out great Oct. 2009 when my blood test for Celiac disease came back negative and I was diagnosed with IBS again).  In addition to those blood tests mentioned above the Doc wanted to check my Magnesium and Vitamin K2 levels.

Introducing The Star Of The Show

I’ve been on this diet over 4 months and this is the first time I’ve tried almond flour, and lets just say I’m a better artist (cook) than I am scientist (baker).  For my first go round with this new found food I decided to try and perfect Elaine’s muffin recipe.  So I jumped right in and preceded to burn the first batch I made :).   It is true what everyone says you have to watch almond flour like a hawk, at 15 mins the muffins weren’t done but at 20 min they were 4 min over-done. Bummer but a good learning lesson (burnt or not I still ate them).

The next batch I tried to make the recipe to the exact specifications listed in BTVC.  I have absolutely no baking experience but after overfilling the muffin cups again and having them turn out looking like rocky mountains, I was getting the picture that my batter wasn’t the right consistency.  I was also really overfilling each muffin cup and only getting 9 or 10 cups full (I used a 1/3 measuring cup the first time and 1/4 cup the 2nd).  This 2nd batch was another FAIL not because I burnt them (17 mins was perfect) but because they were drier than the Sahara Desert.

The third time was the charm, because finally in the last battle with the almond four I was able to bake some moist, properly sized muffins!  I ended up using the standard amount of honey called for in the recipe but I upped the butter to a whole stick.  This made my batter much easier to work with.  In order to get properly sized muffins I used a large spoon and spatula to fill each muffin cup up to the 1/2 way mark.  By just eye-balling the muffins I was finally able to get 12 muffin cups!

So what is my almond flour muffin recipe verdict? It was a great treat, especially warmed up in the microwave and coated in butter.  But I was a bit let down, I found that I needed to treat them more like a snack than a main course or a substitute for meat or vegetables.   Almond flour seems to be like cocaine in the SCD community, on the web it gets the most attention (good/bad), recipes, and seems to cause the most problems in beginners.  Because of all the attention, I had it built up in my mind that adding this nut flour was going to be an earth shattering experience.

I had this picture in my head that it was going to provide me with an extra dimension to my diet or that I needed to add it because of all the reports of how good of a fuel it would be for my body.  But when the dust settled I found myself sweating, burnt and craving my meat, veggies and fruit.

Now don’t get me wrong, almond flour seems to have its place as a great tasting/nutritious dessert/treat, but I am not convinced that I NEED it in my personal version of the SCD diet.  What’s your relationship with Almond Flour like?

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Frilegh May 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm

At Pecanbread, http://www.pecanbread.com, we always stress the fact that SCD is not a “nut” diet. When Elaine left Dr. Haas’office she realized she needed some ideas for desserts and then recalled a friend who baked Viennese tortes using nut flour and Pandora, the Nut Queen was released from the box into every SCD kitchen where nut allergy does not exist. I have little or no control over a perfect batch of SCD muffins unless David Copperfield is lurking somewhere and making them disappear. The dog around here is only nine inches tall and cannot reach the counter top so who do you should get the blame?

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Steven Wright November 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

@ Carol – If you don’t have any control after like 10 years with this stuff, then I’m done for sure!!! haha I agree Elaine probably meant for nut flours to be “desserts” which back when she created her book “desserts” normally were not eaten at every meal or for that matter sitting on every corner in the office like they are today. Moderation is the key!

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Amy June 14, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Unfortunately, I love almond flour but it doesn’t love me back. I end up visiting the restroom way too many times after eating it. The SCD pancakes were definitely a favorite of mine, but I’m doing just fine without them. I also don’t eat eggs or casein due to delayed food allergies. Life is just great with meat, ghee, vegetables, and fruits. It seems boring to other people but I’m not bored yet (and I’m a foodie!).

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Steven Wright November 15, 2010 at 11:50 am

@ Amy – I couldn’t agree with you more! Almond flour is just to dangerous for me to resist, so I only use it and eat it on very special occasions such as holidays. That way I limit myself. Besides I feel so good without it and I use my fruit as my dessert who really needs it?? I think Elaine meant it to be more of an occasional use product.

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Kate November 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Just tried almond flour muffins and did not realize they were a tricky later in the diet thing. I have painful gas -I’m sure from eating 1+per day for the last week -AHHHH. Is this true?
-Kate

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Steven Wright November 15, 2010 at 11:48 am

@ Kate – Yes unfortunately your gas is most likely due to the almond flour. Gas is one of the first problems I notice with almond flour. I would suggest you give up all nut products for at least a week, probably 2 (you want to be feeling really good) and then slowly try them again to test and see if the gas returns. Good Luck!

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Lia February 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm

This was kind of my down fall is eating goodies made of nut flours. Anyway going to start from the beginning and will be more diligent this time. I’m flaring right now. I just tried a muffin that I baked today made fr almond flour, it’s SCD-legal. I could tolerate it before but today it gave me really bad gas. So I’m backing off for now. Back to the basics.

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Shannon February 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm

I agree. Nut flours are not easy to digest. I’ve been on SCD for four years now and still have problems with them. When I crave something sweet I eat honey instead. I actually eat it by the tablespoon. Sometimes up to 1/2 cup a day with no ill effect! Nuts, on the other hand, cause me to make more trips to the bathroom. Nuts were a disappointment in the beginning, but I’m now a honey connoisseur. Thinking I need my own bees…

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