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.

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Airplanes, Food, and the SCD


If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t presented any recipes to y’all lately, it’s because my family and I are preparing for a nine-day trip to New York, to see our extended family.

And we’re going by plane. Ugh.

If that isn’t bad enough, airplanes don’t like the SCD. No, they like to offer pretzels and junk-filled peanuts and Biscotti (*YUM*– 😦 ).  So, I have to bring my own food in order to survive.

About two weeks ahead of time, my mom and I discussed the possibilities. Our first decision was concerning Larabars, which are SCD-legal and oh-so-yummy. They are also filling, which is important when I am taking a long trip.

I also plan to bring some storebought applesauce that I have thoroughly investigated and found SCD-legal. Applesauce is a major staple in my every day life, and the cups are small, so there should be no problem getting them on the plane.

I also decided on some cheesesticks, which we’ve found at our local health food store.

I will prepare a small jar of homemade yogurt, already sweetened with honey (and maybe some berries) to take along.

Lastly, I plan on baking a batch of cookies, so that I don’t pig out on the Larabars right away.

Everything will be stored in a small cooler, which we will substitute for one of our carry-ons.

The last time I travelled with food, I put it through the X-ray machine (ew, but it had to be done). When leaving Texas, a lady called me over and examined my food, making sure things were sealed and questioning me a bit about my homemade yogurt. She let me through after that with no issues. However, when returning from New York, they wouldn’t let me take it. I am still going to try and take it to and from this time around, and if they don’t let me take it on the airplane, I will just eat it right then and there! So there! To put it in my mother’s words, “She’s not going to blow up.”

When I get to New York, my aunt will already have my yogurt ready. We also ordered some snack foods to be sent ahead of us, so everything will be available upon my arrival. We may still have to go shopping, but for little things.

I plan on keeping a food log of my stay in New York, in the hopes that it will inspire y’all for future plane trips. I know how hard it is to go different places on the SCD, but I’m here to show you that it can be done, and safely!

Happy travelling!

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: Spicy Ginger Chicken


Good evening!

Boy, am I stuffed. My recipe remedy for this week was a huge success, and I have a happy, full tummy to prove it. I also love that this is a crockpot recipe–not as much clean-up!

The Original Recipe

  • 12 chicken drumsticks and/or thighs (2.5 to 3 pounds total), skinned
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans Muir Glen No-Salt-Added Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups hot cooked whole grain couscous
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley

Since tapioca is a starch, and since nut flours can be a substitute for starches, I used coconut flour to thicken the sauce.

I diced 5 tomatoes instead of using canned diced tomatoes, and since canned tomatoes have excess juice, I used approximately 4 ounces tomato juice to supplement the tomatoes.

Instead of brown sugar, I substituted 1 3/4 teaspoons honey.

And lastly, thanks to a suggestion from tastyeatsathome, I substituted cauliflower, chopped into rice-sized bits, for the couscous.

Spicy Ginger Chicken

  • 2.5 to 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 5 large tomatoes, diced
  • approx. 4 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • butter and salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken pieces in a 3 1/2- or 4- quart slow cooker.
  2. For sauce, in a medium bowl combine diced tomatoes, tomato juice, coconut flour, ginger, cilantro, garlic, honey, salt, and crushed red pepper. Pour sauce over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours or on high heat for 3-3 1/2 hours. Skim fat from sauce. Serve with cauliflower.
  4. For cauliflower, cut into florets and steam until just soft. In food processor, chop into rice-sized pieces. Add butter and salt, to taste.

Bon Appetit!

  • 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 5/25/10, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday 5/24/10, Gluten-Free Wednesdays 5/26/10, and Real Food Wednesday 5/26/10)

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)

Tuning In


Our bodies can tell us a lot about what we are eating. When I first began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I just ate what I was told and avoided what was “illegal.” This was exactly what I should have done, of course. However, with gastrointestinal disorders, sensitivities to certain foods can vary drastically from person to person. One person may be able to eat such and such, while another person can’t.

I began to discover this fairly early on in my SCD journey. One thing I knew bothered me (but was allowed on the SCD) was pork. I couldn’t eat it without getting nauseous before, during, and after. Yes, I said before. The mere thought of eating pork sent my tummy into turmoil. I knew it wouldn’t be wise to eat it, so I stopped.

As I learned to tune in to my tummy more and more, I began to realize that it wasn’t only what I ate that might bother me, but the amount of food I was eating. For instance, I know I can eat seven strawberries in one sitting. However, if I go beyond seven, I know I may be in for some discomfort later on. The seeds in strawberries will begin to bother me if I go above this amount.

As I continued to learn about my gut, I further realized that my body could tell me when eating certain things wouldn’t be a good idea at the time. Foods I love can become detrimental if my gut is not 100% ready for it. I will actually get nauseous at the thought of favorite foods if I have overindulged in another area. An example would be beef. I love beef, but since it is harder to digest, I eat it occasionally. If I’ve had beef recently (as in the last few days), my stomach will tighten and feel heavy, like it does after I’ve eaten beef. I’m smiling now, because even simply writing this is giving me these sensations (I had beef only a few days ago).

So, as you can see, learning to listen to your body is extremely important. Just eating what you are supposed to might not be the wisest course. Examining what you are eating and knowing how each food affects you is taking one giant step toward taking better care of your gut. It might mean narrowing down your choices for a while. Note that I said “a while.” Never give up hope that you’ll be able to try certain foods again, provided they are SCD legal.

A suggestion would be to make a food log for a few weeks of everything you eat and any symptoms/sensitivites you experience.

Tune in and eat wisely!

Recipe Remedies: Blackberry Jam


Last weekend, my family and I hosted a couple of our friends from northern Texas. They love to cook and introduced us to homemade strawberry jam! Unfortunately, it had fruit pectin in it, which is illegal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Still, I fixed this recipe with very few modifications. I figured that unflavored gelatin could easily take the place of fruit pectin, and I was right. As it happened, the gelatin package had a “slushy fruit cup” recipe on it, so I combined the two to make homemade blackberry jam! (I didn’t have enough strawberries on hand)

The Original Recipes

Blackberry Jam

  • 5 cups crushed berries
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 1.75 oz package fruit pectin

Slushy Fruit Cups

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (6 0z) can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1 (20 0z) can crushed unsweetened pineapple
  • 2 bananas, thinly sliced
  • 1 (10 0z) package frozen strawberries, thawed

Well. I didn’t have strawberries, bananas, or pineapple, so of course I left those out. And I didn’t have nearly enough blackberries to make a large batch, so I used just 1 cup of blackberries in place of the five cups listed above. I substituted the 1/2 cup sugar in the slushy recipe for 1/4 cup honey, and I omitted the lemon concentrate.

Feel free to adjust the honey to your particular taste. I don’t like a strong taste of honey, so the 1/4 cup was just enough to sweeten the berries, but no more.

Blackberry Jam

  • I envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup blackberries, crushed

Instructions

  1. In large saucepan, stir together gelatin, water, and honey. Heat over low heat until gelatin dissolves, about 5-6 minutes. Add crush blackberries, stir until well-blended. Pour into mason jar and 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 5/11/10, Real Food Wednesday 5/12/10, and Gluten-Free Wednesdays 5/12/10)

Diet Experiment: A Lesson in Moderation


After four years on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I understand how tiresome the same foods can become (I wrote on this topic here). I also know how difficult it is to make yourself try new foods. I for one have always been overly cautious when I try something new (that is SCD legal, of course). Sometimes I just refuse to try it at all. 

This week I tried peanuts for the second time since I started the SCD. I’d noticed a couple years ago that, whenever I made peanut butter cookies, I got nauseous and uncomfortable after I ate. So I swore off anything with peanuts. In the last couple of weeks, I decided to try them again. I ate them every day for about a week (the time period recommended in Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the Viscous Cycle).

At first, I seemed fine, so I increased the amount I ate. After a few days, however, I started to feel queasy and got a few minor twinges. I realized that I could eat peanuts, but only in moderation.

Moderation has always been a major part of my life since I began this diet, but sometimes I just feel like forgetting the whole thing and eating as much as I please. This is something that we all should guard ourselves against, because it could be detrimental, not just to our gut but to our weight and general health. A balanced, portioned diet can make all the difference.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that subject! It’s a lesson I’m continuing to learn every day.

P.S. My Recipe Remedy is still in progress. I should be able to post it by tonight or tomorrow, so stay tuned!

My Road Trip Food Log


This past weekend, my family and I journeyed up to the Houston area for a time of singing and dancing. Naturally, I planned my menu, understanding that exceptions and alterations might arise (which they did, in fact).

Saturday:

For breakfast, I ate at IHOP. They have this delicious new dish, sirloin tips (which were tossed with sauteed onions and mushrooms) and scrambled eggs. Heaven. On previous visits to IHOP, I had ascertained that  the meat was cooked in butter and that the eggs were, in fact, REAL eggs. So I didn’t even bother this time to ask. I understand that some of you may feel that you must ask every time. Whatever makes you feel the most secure is what is important.

Since I was stuffed from breakfast and the health snacks I’d brought along on the road, I skipped the lunch I had brought with me, and snacked on nuts after the dance. All the excitement of reuniting with old friends and dancing to my heart’s content left no more room for an appetite.

Sunday morning, I sweetened some homemade yogurt with honey and tossed some blackberries in to add a burst of flavor. Yum. I also consumed over half a dozen strawberries and a slice of cantaloupe. I was starving after all that exercise!

Since we were so exhausted after the long car trip and the late night, we decided to head on home after church. The lunch I had planned for Sunday was ignored, even though I was pretty hungry. I snacked on some cheese while we looked for a Whataburger.

A what? Yes, a Whataburger. Whataburger has real meat in their burgers. So I just asked for a plain, dry burger. It was the first time in over three years I’d been through a drive-through. It kinda made me giddy. Ha!

When I got home, I ate some more yogurt, since I’ve found that it soothes my stomach (and I also happen to really really like it). Just in case the trip was going to affect me in anyway, I’ve been taking it easy the past 24 hours.

So there’s a peek at what a weekend away from home is like for me. What do you do when you’re away from the home, but have to adhere to a strict diet like the SCD?

Food and Stress: Partners in Crime


We know what certain foods do to our systems. For those with gastrointestinal disorders, eliminating sugars, starches, grains, gluten, and dairy from our diets can squelch disease activity to such an extent that it’s nonexistent. If God hadn’t led me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I would still be sprawled across our couch, moaning and hugging my stomach.

However, illegal foods aren’t the only culprits. For many with digestive diseases, stress can make us just as prone to hug our tummies.

Being a college student, I know what it is to be “stressed out.” Whether homework is due at a certain time or the workload is overwhelming, I’ve more than once experienced the tension that comes with being a student. The tightening of the gut is just one obvious symptom. 

Stress can pervade every area of our lives if we let it. We can worry about when the housework is going to get done, when the garden is going to be weeded, or when the children are going to get over their viruses. I get extremely nervous when I have to play the piano before an audience, big or small. I even get nervous when I have to answer a question in Sunday School, among dear friends I’ve known for years.

For those with digestive diseases, we also worry about the food we are eating, or the food we are going to eat. How many of us have worked ourselves into a frenzy because we didn’t know how we were going to satisfy our appetites outside the home? “What if there’s nothing to eat at my friend’s house? What if I don’t get to the ‘legal’ food before it’s all gone? What if my friends don’t realize I can’t have this, this, and this?” 

And then, in our sinful natures, we start worrying about other people, what he or she said, did, or intend to do, or what he or she might think of something we said or did.

I say that stress can be an even bigger culprit than the food we eat. And unfortunately, they like to team up against vulnerable guts.

But what good does it do you to fret about your homework, your housework, your life? *Ding Ding* Correct answer! It does NO good. The Lord said through Kind David, “Do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:8b). What happens when I fret? That tightness in my gut sure does give me a lot of trouble. What happens when I relax and lay my future in Christ’s hands?

Freedom.