Gastrointestinal Disorders and Seasonal Change


Have you ever wondered why, after months of eating the same thing and not having a reaction, that you suddenly have a painful bout of gastrointestinal upset? On the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, have you ever suddenly become sensitive to a food that is considered 100% legal?

I have, and it was confusing until I started seeing a pattern.

You see, every year, approximately between August and October, my sensitivity to food escalates. When I first started eating the SCD way, I was always in the hospital within that time period.

My first gastroenterologist explained to me that it is often the case that the change of the seasons affects our immune systems. One of his patients was always in the hospital in August, every year, without fail.

Thank God I am no longer in that boat. Two years ago September 15th, I paid my last visit to the hospital.

So what have I done to prepare for this seasonal sensitivity? I keep (or try to keep) to the diet diligently, and perhaps limit my intake of certain foods I know to be more hazardous at this time of year.

Let me give you an example. For me, fibrous foods have always been hazardous if overdone. For the most part, I watch my fiber carefully, but at this time of year, I would perhaps pick a non-fibrous food over a fibrous one, or cut my portions even more than I do on a regular basis.

Everyone’s situation will be different. It’s all part of learning to read your body correctly and plan ahead for the times when you are weakened.

Going Gluten-Free


If you are anything like me, you will at some point come to a fork in the road during your SCD journey. For me, I met that fork in the road back in June. I’d been almost 100% faithfully devoted to the diet for over three years, and I was fast approaching the second year-marker for complete health. The temptation to veer off my restricted dietary track became nearly irresistable.

I began letting some gluten-free foods into my diet. I still restrict myself, only allowing a special gluten-free treat about once a week. Twice if something special is going on. I found a gluten-free cookie at our local health food store that is sweetened with fruit juices, and I sometimes (though not as often) indulge in a gluten-free english muffin. These things have helped me deal with the difficult times.

At this point in the healing process, I feel comfortable with this slight variation in my diet. However, for others, this change might not be advisable. Like I’ve said before, each individual must learn to read and understand his or her intestinal disorder and know when it is okay to add something in (or vice versa). It took me almost four years to get this point. It may take others shorter, or longer periods of time.

Travel, Curious Peoples, and Whatnot


Good afternoon!

*ponders* Hmmm… my title was rather random, but I shall try to compose this post in a not-so-random way.

First things first. You’d probably think I was crazy if I told you that I plan to travel again in 4 days to a place 2,000 miles away, on the SCD, right after my trip to New York.

Well, I am. Travelling, that is. I am travelling again. Being crazy is a matter of opinion.

I shall once again keep a food log for you. This trip I plan to refrain from anything that is not on my diet, except for some gluten-free pretzels I will be taking on the airplane as a precaution. No more wheat pretzels, thank you very much! I did not get sick last time, but I’d rather not take the chance again.

Now, onto my next topic. Curious peoples.

Whether it is about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or about the reason I am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I am asked questions, without fail. When I first discovered that I had a gastrointestinal issue, I didn’t want to talk about it at all, but that’s all my mother wanted to talk about. To me, and to other people. I got used to it over time, and so did my closer friends. But new acquaintances and new friends understandably want to know.

I learned to minimize my answers as much as possible. One thing that has continually concerned me is that I would sound like some sort of invalid. My mother gave me a great starting point, which could even possibly stall further questions. “I am on this special diet for my health.”

Some people will leave it at that. Others will press. Still, I try to make my answers simple. “I have Crohn’s. It is a gastrointestinal disorder I control with diet.” Most people won’t ask for more detail than that.

In addition to answering their questions, I make sure to tell them how healthy I am. Not to sound vain, or anything, but to impress upon them that I am not abnormal. I just have a small problem that I can control. Everyone has problems, just not always the stomach kind.

Friends have been greatly surprised when I show up and play freeze tag only days after an episode. “I pictured her in a wheelchair, or something!” This only reinforces my claim that I am a healthy, able person.

How do you answer curious peoples?

Recipe Ruination


Yes, you read that right. My recipe remedy for this week bombed miserably.

Lesson #1: Never experiment when you are tired.

Lesson #2: Never measure vinegar *over* the other ingredients.

What was supposed to be deviled eggs turned into a rather doubtful honey mustard salad dressing. Thanks to my mother for whipping my disaster into something which just might be edible. 😉

Perhaps this post will still inspire SCDieters to experiment in their own kitchens. Here are the ingredients which I used and/or was supposed to use for my deviled eggs:

  • egg yolks
  • SCD-legal mayonnaise
  • SCD-legal dry mustard
  • white vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika

Experiment, if you dare! 😀

TTFN! (Ta Ta For Now!)

SCD Success, 1900 Miles From Home


As I promised, I kept a faithful log of what I ate on my trip to New York, except for the last unexpected couple of days, because I was so out of it (read about that fiasco here). I was able to remain almost 100% SCD-legal. I say almost because I did indulge in an occasional treat that was not on my diet. Wrong, yes. I will dispense with the excuses which are rising to my lips.

*Beginners, take heed: Since I am so far into the diet, these minor “cheats” didn’t affect me. However, for those just starting the diet or who haven’t been on the diet very long, I would advise you not to cheat at all.*

6/15: I never did make the cookies I’d planned to bring on the airplane. I brought a jar of yogurt, storebought applesauce cups, some Larabars and other packaged treats. I got through security at the airport with no problems. Thank God! I ate my yogurt just before boarding, so that I could take my medications. On the plane, I experienced some severe motion sickness, most likely because I hadn’t eaten enough beforehand (after all, we’d only left the house at 4:30 am). I was forced to eat some pretzels, the only thing I knew which would settle my stomach. I didn’t even touch my other snacks, I felt so terrible. The thought of fruity foods made my stomach even worse. Perhaps if I’d brought the cookies, I could have avoided the pretzels.

When we arrived in New York, I was woozy from hunger, and still a little nauseous. My grandmother took us out to Red Lobster, which I felt was perfect for my first night away from home. Fish would be easy on the digestive tract. I did eat some of my snacks later on.

6/16: My mom’s sister had made yogurt for me, but it wasn’t ready to eat yet, so for breakfast on Wednesday morning, I nibbled on some cheese and some of my snacks. For lunch, we went to a diner in my grandmother’s village. I ordered “Texas Chicken.” Ha! I went all the way to New York to have Texas chicken. 😉 It was grilled chicken smothered with melted cheddar cheese and crisp bacon. Delicious, and filling. For dinner, we went to my aunt’s house, where she served fresh cod (which my uncle had caught). I brought the yogurt that my aunt had made back to my grandmother’s house and ate some before bed.

6/17: Thursday morning I ate my yogurt sweetened with pure local honey. I also had some yogurt at lunchtime. In between I ate my snacks. We went to my dad’s sister’s house, and I had some fruit and cheese. For dinner, all of us Hogans (except my dad’s parents, who we’d see at the surprise party on Saturday), went to Oysterman’s. That restaurant has to be about the best restaurant I have ever been to. They had a gluten-free menu. I ordered almond-crusted salmon with spinach. Heavenly. I stuffed my face. The waitress also brought me some gluten-free muffins. I think they were corn muffins, and I knew they wouldn’t be legal on my diet, but I indulged.

On the way home, I felt strange. I’d been stuffing my face ever since we arrived in New York, and every night I was so full I’d get nauseous at bedtime. But this was a little different. I was experiencing some mild pain. Praying it would go away, I was glad I’d brought some prednisone and planned to take it if the pain persisted. By the time I reached my grandmother’s house, the pain had ceased, but I was still extremely uncomfortable. I told my parents that I thought it would be best not to go out for dinner again tomorrow with the Hogans. I told them that it was not necessarily the food I was eating, but the amount I was eating. I was in party mode, and I needed to stay away from any place that might tempt me to overstuff myself. I planned to starve myself on Friday. Well, not actually starve. I was just going to eat enough to keep my stomach from growling, and no more.

6/18: Friday morning I felt fine, though not very hungry. I ate some yogurt and applesauce before we went on the excursion planned for that day with some of my mom’s family. I stayed away from my snacks all morning. At lunchtime, we went to a diner, which I hadn’t really wanted to do, but I simply ordered three eggs–no bacon or anything. In the afternoon, I ate some snacks, and for dinner I ate eggs again. I went to bed that night with a satisfied stomach.

6/19: Saturday morning I ate some applesauce and a couple of my snacks (I think I’d run out of yogurt). We set off for my grandfather’s surprise party. He will be turning 85 in July. At the party, I tried clams for the first time. Wow. I hadn’t known what I was missing. However, I did not over-do. I knew there’d be more food coming. I did indulge in a few devilled eggs. They didn’t have legal mayonnaise, but I couldn’t help myself. Later came scallops and shrimp wrapped in bacon. Oh boy. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. For dinner, one of the caterers took me aside and asked me just what I could and couldn’t have. He even gave me a choice of meat! He made me grilled chicken and veggies, completely SCD-legal. I ate a Larabar for dessert, but couldn’t resist one bakery cookie.

After the party, we went out with my cousin, her husband, and their baby son out on their boat. We motored to a dockside cafe. By that time, I was hungry again, so I ordered some scallops with tomatoes. Before bed I ate a few more snacks. The entire day I made sure I wasn’t stuffing myself.

6/20: I ate yogurt for breakfast Sunday morning. After church, I ate a Larabar, followed by a small piece of salt bagel. I know–another cheat. *hangs head*

We went to my dad’s parents for the father’s day meal. No one was much interested in eating, after the feast yesterday. My dad’s mom gave me control of the salmon she had bought me. I also had some applesauce, fruit, and some of my Lettuce-free “salad.” I didn’t list what I had for dinner Sunday night, or if I ate dinner at all.

6/21: For breakfast Monday morning, I again ate yogurt. We again went to my grandparent’s house, where I ate some of my snacks, some cheese, a couple of slices of homemade roast beef, fruit, and my salad. I ate homemade chicken and green beans for dinner.

6/22: For breakfast on Tuesday, I ate–you guessed it–yogurt. We went to see some old friends where we used to live. I succumbed to the pretzels they set before us. There were also blackberries and strawberries, which I ate in abundance. Later on, we had dinner with some more friends. I ate some cheese, grilled chicken, green beans, and drank an SCD-legal soda. I had some of my snacks before bedtime.

6/23: On Wednesday morning, I mixed my yogurt with some berries. I also had some eggs and a piece of crisp bacon. On our way back to our relatives, we stopped for lunch at our former pastor’s home. There, I ate some roast beef, carrots, and cauliflower, all made to my specifications. The pastor’s wife also made us some strawberries sweetened with honey. We dranked sparkling apple cider. We went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner with dad’s side of the family. I ordered some grilled shrimp as an appetizer and some chicken with cheese, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms.

6/24: On Thursday, I ate some eggs and fruit for breakfast. We met my mom’s side of the family at a diner for lunch, where I ate some more eggs with sirloin tips and sauteed onions. I ate snacks the rest of the day, waiting for an airplane that never came.

6/25: Friday I ate some yogurt and eggs, some snacks in the afternoon, and some chicken with cauliflower for dinner. Because I was having such a difficult time resisting sweets, my mom let me pick out a gluten-free cookie at the health food store.

6/26: On Saturday morning, I again ate some yogurt, before heading back to the airport. I ate my snacks on the plane, though I did find that I needed the pretzels to calm my nausea. When we returned home, I ate some chicken, then finished the day with a humongous bowl of yogurt.

And there you are. My SCD journey in New York. Not perfect, but better than it might have been if I hadn’t had my parents to rein me in when I was about to quit the diet completely. New York has amazing bakeries, amazing deli’s, and amazing pizza. No wonder I was struggling the whole time! Praise God I got through without falling for the pizza.

😀

I hope that by sharing my food log, I have inspired you to look at your future travels as something that is possible and that can even be enjoyable in the food realm.

A Yummy Alternative


Good evening!

Tonight, my mom decided not to make dinner. On such occasions, we pull anything we want out of the refrigerator–usually fruits, veggies, cheese, and the like–and eat with a minor amount of clean-up to see to afterwards.

I was in the mood for my “salad” when dinnertime came around tonight. My salad is lettuceless, because I cannot tolerate large amounts of fiber. And lettuce is very fibrous. Perhaps some of you who have gastrointestinal disorders also cannot tolerate much fiber. I know I can’t because I have a particularly severe case of Crohn’s Disease.

My salad consists of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, grated cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Simple and easy, and so flavorful! I know most people like their salad with dressing, but please try my salad just the way it is! You’d be surprised at how tasty it is.

Recipe Remedies: Blackberry Thumbprint Cookies


Good afternoon!

My family is having some friends over for dinner tonight, and I decided to make some cookies for dessert. I’d been thinking about thumbprint cookies for some time and finally tried them out with SCD restrictions.

Thumbprint Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves, any flavor

Now, at first glance, this might not seem like much of a remedy. Replace the sugar with honey and the flour with coconut flour. However, coconut flour is drier than regular wheat flours. I discovered, with my first attempt at thumbprint cookies, that you can’t just substitute the same amounts for all-purpose.

So, I started with one cup, stirring it in gradually. After that, I used 1/4 cup measures. I only used slightly over one cup, instead of the 1 3/4 cup the recipe calls for.

As for the preserves, I substituted crushed blackberries, blended with unflavored gelatin and honey.

Blackberry Thumbprint Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • approx. 1 cup coconut flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup blackberries, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • honey, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, honey, and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate 15-20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes in preheated oven, until golden-brown on bottom. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks.
  4. While cookies are cooling, crush blackberries in a food processor, until smooth. Add two teaspoons of unflavored gelatin and honey, to taste. When cookies are cooled, place on a plate and fill with blackberry mixture. Chill for one hour, or until ready to serve.

Bon Appetit!

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(I entered this recipe in Sugar Free Sunday, Tempt My Tummy TuesdaySlightly Indulgent Tuesday 6/1/10, Real Food Wednesday 6/2/10, and Gluten-Free Wednesdays 6/2/10)

LARABAR, anyone? Oooh, Yes…


My week was booked with homework and housework, so I am sorry to say that I do not have a recipe for y’all. While this makes me sad, I am taking this opportunity to rave about one of my store-bought, SCD-legal snack foods.

I discovered Larabars when I was in town, having nothing to eat and feeling pretty desperate. Home was 45 minutes away, so I couldn’t go and come back very easily. I was hesitant to try one, since I’d tried one once and hadn’t particularly liked it. But in the end, I just grabbed a Larabar Apple Pie and headed for the cash register. I was HUNGRY.

Well, it was just about the best thing I’d ever tasted. And it tasted *just* like apple pie. And it was made with all natural ingredients (NO gluten, NO sugar, NO soy, NO dairy, NO grains–just fruit, spices, and nuts). And I wanted *more*. 

Right now, I am content to stick with Apple Pie, but I’m starting to drool over some of those other flavors; Key Lime Pie and Ginger Snap, to be exact.

In Texas, Sunharvest and HEB carry them. Beyond Texas, I wouldn’t know, but I think you’d probably be safe to start searching in your local health food store… and then also, they’re on the internet.

If you decide to try them, I would urge you not to just take my word for it, but read each ingredient carefully and compare it to the dos and don’ts of the SCD. This snackbar is not allowed for beginners, but it’s something to look forward to, isn’t it?

Bon Appetit! 😉

(I entered this post in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 5/18/10)

Pickiness Doesn’t Pay


If you are a picky eater, you know what it’s like to have to go on a restrictive diet. So many options that would be available on that restrictive diet aren’t because you “don’t like it.” I am (or rather, was) one of the worst picky eaters. Most of the time, I’d say that I didn’t like a particular food simply because I’d never tried it. Shame on me!

After months of eating the same old things over and over and over again, I realized that I had to get over this pickiness, or I’d die of boredom on the SCD.

Little things, like putting fruit in my yogurt (which I’d never before found appealing) and trying shrimp scampi, have made a world of difference. I actually found a recipe for asparagus (I despise asparagus) that I might actually try! Once I got over my pickiness, the diet became ten times more delicious. 

So, my advice to you picky eaters is this: STOP IT! (To quote Bob Newhart)

😀

Recipe Remedies: Pumpkin Pie


If you are anything like me, you like eating pumpkin pie any time of the year. You also like to find simple recipes, and you love it when that simple pumpkin pie recipe is adaptable to your special needs!

My remedy for pumpkin pie was easy. I had an illegal recipe, and I had an SCD recipe that was similar, but didn’t have the taste I’d grown accustomed to before I started watching what I ate. So I combined the two recipes to make one legal, delectable pie!

The Original Recipes

The Illegal Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can (29 oz) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 2 cans (12 fl-oz. each) Evaporated Milk

The SCD Recipe:

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup homemade yogurt or uncreamed cottage cheese (dry curd), pureed
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups of prepared squash or pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

I substituted the 1/2 cup honey in the SCD recipe for the sugar and the cup of homemade yogurt for the evaporated milk. Instead of 3 eggs, as in the SCD recipe, I used 4. Lastly, since I don’t care all that much for nutmeg, I used 1/2 teaspoon ginger.

I don’t make a crust for my pumpkin pie, since at the present I haven’t come up with one that’s been successful. However, I love this pie without crust. It doesn’t take away from it one bit.

Pumpkin Pie

  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 29 oz. 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup homemade yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Mix salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in small bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs. Stir in yogurt, honey, pumpkin, and spice mixture.
  2. Pour into 9 in. pie pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, bake 40-50 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Enjoy!

  •  Like “Recipe Remedies”? Don’t miss a single one! Subscribe for e-mail or RSS updates, and feel free to comment below to tell me what you think. Your feedback is much appreciated. Happy cooking, everyone!

(I entered this recipe in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 5/4/10, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, and Real Food Wednesday 5/5/10)