With the holiday season fast approaching it’s a great time to start stockpiling recipes for holiday treats. However, most traditional pie recipes are packed with gut disrupting gluten, blood-sugar spiking sugars, and inflammatory fats. In this article, I’ll share with you some reasons you’ll want to swap out the regular piecrust and filling for the Rawmazing Pumpkin Pie Recipe below in order to stay healthy all season long!
Why To Say No to Wheat
Over the last few years of my practice during which time many new studies and books have come out on the effects of grains on the human body I’ve discovered that there are very few compelling arguments (none that I’ve ever found, to be honest) for eating wheat.
In my experience personally and professionally, I’ve found that a large amount of niggling little health issues can easily be managed by making simple dietary switches, such as removing gluten from the diet. This means out regular flour for an alternative when it comes to making our piecrusts. I’ve got a couple of options for grain-free and bakeable crusts right here, but if you’re in the mood for raw, then make sure you scroll below!
When working with my clients, I find that little annoyances such as joint aches and pains, eczema, acne, water retention, and the dreaded spare tire around the midsection can all be associated with a wheat allergy or intolerance. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest issues below.
Blood Sugar Imbalances
- Wheat and other refined carbs cause cyclic blood sugar highs and lows, which lead to weight gain, energy crashes, and a constantly insatiable appetite.
- These blood sugar spikes can eventually cause our bodies to become insulin resistant and set the stage for Type 2 Diabetes, which is associated with many serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Digestive & Neurological Issues
Wheat contains a protein called gliadin that has opiate-like effects in the body, literally making it addictive! This may cause:
- Insatiable cravings, nausea, nervousness, anxiety, headaches, and/or paranoia if you go longer than about 8 hours without it.
- Wheat provokes the formation of small LDL (cholesterol) particles thanks to the conversion of amylopectin A into triglycerides in the liver.
It can contribute to chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases by increasing intestinal permeability and initiate a pro-inflammatory immune response.
- Intestinal permeability is associated with inflammatory conditions throughout the body such as acne, arthritis, and psychological imbalances to name but a few.
- Grains also contain phytates, which disturb digestion and block iron and zinc absorption, and lectins, which are indigestible (wheat germ agglutinin) and can damage the digestive tract causing inflammation.
You may think that if you don’t suffer from digestive issues, then you’re not sensitive to gluten or the other harmful proteins in wheat, but many people who are reacting to wheat present with no gastrointestinal symptoms whatsoever.
If you have neurological issues, inflamed skin, heart disease, an autoimmune condition, stubborn weight gain, or you just don’t feel as healthy as you should it is worth attempting a gluten elimination diet and reintroduction to see if it may be an underlying factor in your condition.
Let’s Leave the Sugar Out of It
It’s pretty common to find most pie recipes chock full of the antithesis of good health: white sugar. Sugar is a highly refined, calorically dense, and nutritionally devoid food (though personally, I think it ends up functioning more like a drug in the body!) that has no place in a healthy diet.
It contributes to conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, food additions, binge-eating behaviors, and mood swings.
Luckily for you, there are a ton of natural sweeteners that can be used in moderation to create healthier versions of our favorite treats! Honey is rich in enzymes and antibacterial compounds, maple syrup contains anti-cancer properties, dates are high in fiber and antioxidants, and fruits provide delicious natural sweetness while being packed with fiber and other nutrients.
Make Friends with Pumpkin & Spice!
Pumpkin (and other winter squashes! Try making this recipe with butternut or kabocha squashes) is definitely one of my favorite fall flavors. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant and a precursor to vitamin A.
You need both of these nutrients to help protect your cells from free radical damage and to promote immunity, respectively. Getting lots of beta-carotene will help keep your skin smooth and bright throughout the holiday season!
Though many people think of pumpkin and other squashes as being high in carbohydrates its polysaccharides, which include a fiber called pectin, have been shown in animal studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-diabetic and insulin regulating properties. These wonderful properties mean that indulging in a serving of pumpkin pie can actually help make you healthier!
And what’s a pumpkin pie without spice? In this recipe, you’ll also be including a couple of spices whose scent stirs up memories of holidays and delicious treats. Fortunately for your health and waistline, cinnamon and ginger add another punch to your smoothie by helping your body with the cellular uptake of glucose and by increasing your insulin sensitivity, respectively. By supporting your natural bodily processes, adding these spices means you’ll have less sugar in your blood stream and more balanced energy all season long.
Well, now that you know the why, let’s get to the good stuff, the how!
Rawmazing Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- ¾ cup of dates, pitted
- 1 ½ cups walnuts or pecans
- ½ cup shredded coconut (optional—can use another half cup of nuts)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1.5 cups cashews, soaked
- 2 cups pumpkin, cubed
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- In a food processor combine dates, nuts, coconut, sea salt, and vanilla together until a crumbly texture forms. You may need to stop to scrape down the sides a couple of times over the course of a couple minutes.
- Grease a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil and then press the crust mixture firmly into the inside of the pan covering the bottom and side with an even layer of mixture. Set it into the fridge.
- To make the filling, drain and rinse the cashews and combine them with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the filling into the crust and place in the fridge, allowing it to set for at least 1 hour, but letting it set overnight would be best.
- Remove from fridge and serve, topping with coconut whipped cream.
Bonus Recipe: Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon tapioca or arrowroot starch
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Place a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight.
- The next morning remove from fridge, open and pour the separated liquid into a mason jar to be used in smoothies or soups.
- Spoon out the solid cream, add vanilla, tapioca starch, and maple syrup to the cream and whip with an egg beater until smooth and firm.
Well, friend, I hope you enjoy this deliciously raw Pumpkin Pie Recipe! If you’re looking for support to make it through the holidays healthy, happy, and whole, then you can download my free Holistic Nutritionist’s Holiday Survival Guide E-Book right here!
Here are a few more great recipes to try this fall season!
- Pecan Pumpkin Pie
- 8 Sugar/Gluten Free Recipes For Leftover Pumpkin
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies
This amazing post was written by Caitlin Iles, a Holistic Culinary Nutritionist and Yoga teacher who focuses on healing the body through the latest nutrition research and time-tested, evolution-based dietary concepts. She shares recipes and inspiration at www.caitliniles.ca or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
- Wheat & Blood Sugar: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2644803
- Wheat & Opioid Peptides: http://www.jbc.org/content/254/7/2446.short
- Wheat & Intestinal Permeability: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705319/
- Pumpkin & Beta Carotene: http://europepmc.org/abstract/CBA/377467
- Pumpkin & Anti-Diabetic Properties: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-005-2536-x#page-1
- Pumpkin & Insulin Regulation: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/21158090
- Cinnamon & Blood Sugar: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0180
- Ginger & Insulin Sensitivity: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277626/
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