‘Tis the season for PSL everything. While a #PSL (pumpkin spice latte, for those happening upon this blog in perhaps another dimension of time and space) has never actually graced my lips, I am an adult… who was the child… who would make herself some pumpkin goo from a can and top it with loads of pumpkin spice mix and honey and call that delicious any time of the year. Because it is. And truth be told, I’m still the adult that would do that, too! Maybe it should just be a recipe here already. But I digress.
Anyway. You may be here because you’re opting to only eat sugars from fruits, or no refined sugars at all. Maybe you’re trying to find recipes that are gently sweetened, leaving your tastebuds satisfied and your blood sugar levels even-keeled throughout the day. Well then, here’s your recipe for ya! A trail mix with a bit more texture and oomph to it than the normal mix of nuts n’ seeds.
Specific carbohydrates, sugar and starch, oh my!
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is a dietary strategy that aims to include, in addition to quality sources of proteins and fats, only non-complex forms of carbohydrates, and therefore takes out more complex forms. The idea behind this is that a digestive system that is ill-prepared to break down carbohydrates due to disease (such as autoimmune conditions like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease) or generally less-than-ideal function (like a case of small intestine bacterial overgrowth [SIBO] or low stomach acid production) needs sources of starches that are going to be easier to process by those digestives systems–not harder. So out go the complex carbohydrates like whole grains (and even plant-based starches like sweet potatoes and plantains, which are some whole food alternatives to grains that many people do well with!), refined sugars, maple syrup and more, and in come the most gentle of starches only. Remember that sugar is a form of carbohydrate, so even while we categorize it differently from a culinary and taste perspective, at the end of the day… those more complex version come out, too.
So, what do people who are on SCD use to sweeten their foods? Some fruits, their purees, and of course, honey will still fit the bill! While raw honey itself is a beautifully natural sweetener, and comes with its own nutritive profile (trace amounts of minerals, natural enzymes and local pollen to bolster the immune system, to name a few), there are times that I still invite people to bring awareness to how much honey they’re incorporating into their everyday lives. Honey is still a quick source of carbohydrates, and for some people this can contribute to an increase in blood sugar highs and lows. When people transition to a more natural style of eating, I first recommend using the sweet flavors of fruits to satisfy their desires for swet tastes, even before reintroducing honey (I know, I’m really fun like that).
Whatever will one do without sweeteners when it comes to a banging trail mix? Where’s the dried fruit? The honey? The maply syrup? Damn you Lucia, where’s the fun?
…wait, wait, here we go. I’ve got you all covered. We’re talking the banana, and we’re talking good stuff. You see, for the SCD style of eating, very ripe bananas fit the bill. As bananas ripen they lose their starch content and transform into more readily digested sugars, SCD-compliant and delicious. So this trail mix is sweetened with banana, free of refined sugars, and just darn tasty.
See what happens when you trust me?
Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes unsweetened
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix or see how to make your own below
Pumpkin Spice Mix
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix all seeds, nuts and coconut flakes. Stir to combine and set aside. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice mix and blend until smooth. Pour mixture over the mixed nuts and seeds and stir to coat the mixture evenly. Pour the mixture onto a rimmed baking tray and spread out into one even and thin layer. Bake for 15 minutes, take the tray out and stir. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the trail mix is toasted and mixture is dry to the touch. Allow to cool on the tray, then sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix evenly over the trail mix before storing in an airtight container.
In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice mix and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture over the mixed nuts and seeds and stir to coat the mixture evenly, then transfer onto a rimmed baking tray and spread out into one even and thin layer.
Bake for 15 minutes, take the tray out and stir.
Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the trail mix is toasted and mixture is dry to the touch.
Allow to cool on the tray, then sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix evenly over the trail mix before storing in an airtight container.