Trial and Error


What do you do when you’ve been feeling GREAT on the SCD for a long time? Do you go off the diet, do you stick with it, what?

I find that I tend to get confident in my health and indulge in things I shouldn’t. Sometimes I don’t have a reaction, sometimes I do. It really depends on the person’s convictions on the subject of diet. Some of you may balk at the idea of trying new, “illegal” foods because you are doing so well. THAT is GREAT. To maintain your determination can be hard when you are feeling so good you almost forget you even had a gastrointestinal disorder.

For others, like myself, I grow weary of my restrictions and look for something outside the diet to satisfy my cravings.

That is not to say I shelved the diet. Not at all. Instead, however, I allow gluten-free products in OCCASIONALLY… and I try to keep them sugar-free as often as I can, too.

Unfortunately, my way of handling things I would not suggest to anyone who is still very new to the diet, or who still has frequent relapses. I cannot judge how your body reacts to food as opposed to mind, so advice is out of the question. 🙂 All I can say is to read your body, understand how it works, and move on from there. It’s a matter of trial and error, and some people understandably don’t wish to take the risk. I didn’t either at one time!

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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.

Yes, I’m Still Alive


…And busy! I apologize for my silence the past few weeks. My mind has been spinning since I returned from our last trip.

Besides falling back into my regular routine, our family had a bit of a surprise a few weeks ago. Our cousin, who was to be getting married November 2011, moved his wedding up to November of this year. And we just couldn’t stay home for this wedding. So, we’re off to New York again. We’ve been loony ironing out all the details. But I look forward to it.

Besides that, I am working on a small enterprise to earn some pocket-money (and perhaps a little more–who knows?). My sister and I have to decided to put our knitting and crocheting skills to good use. Our father is funding us, and I hope to get started mid-October. We are thrilled! When I have our account up on Etsy, I will certainly share so that you can see all the work we have done!

But please don’t think I’ve forgotten my blog. I will admit, for a while, I did neglect it. When I did start thinking about it again, I was at a loss as to what to say. Recipe Remedies have eluded me. But I shall try harder, and maybe I shall actually come up with some fall-time goodies!

Thanks a bunch for your patience!

SCD and the Common Cold


I am shamefully aware of how neglectful of my blog I’ve been these past couple of months, what with my family’s trips to New York and Idaho. Then, on top of that, I had to get sick. Wonderful.

Praise God, I wasn’t *that* kind of sick. No, just an ugly sore throat and cold.

Sometimes it can be difficult treating colds and such when you are on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. If I catch it in time, I use various natural remedies with all legal ingredients.

However, this time, my cold/sore throat came upon me so suddenly and so powerfully that I had to seek stronger types of antibiotics. (EDIT: I meant to say medicines :-/)

Having been on the diet for almost four years, I didn’t have as many qualms about Zicam’s cold remedy spray. It’s got sugar, but since I am only using it for a couple of days, I am hardly concerned. However, for those in the beginning stages of the SCD, I would suggest you avoid all medicines that are not legal.

I admit that I don’t have nearly enough knowledge about what to use and what not to use on the SCD against the common cold. What do you do?

Idaho: A Wonder for the Palate


So, I was not as strict as I’d planned when I vacationed in northern Idaho. I did my best, and I am at such a point in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that I can stray from its strictness from time to time without effect. However, I would not had I only been one or two years on the diet, or if I had not seen much improvement in my system.

I forgot to keep a log, I was so busy. I will just highlight my favorite meals here.

Picatta Steak from Scratch, a restaurant in Coeur D’ Alene which makes everything fresh, right there. No pre-mixed ingredients. A perfect place for someone on the SCD. This dish came with linguini, so I asked if the cook would omit it. He did, and added extra veggies to make up for it. Magnifique!

Our pastor’s son was getting married in Idaho, and he  and his fiancee invited my sister and me to their rehearsal dinner at West of Paris, a French restaurant. The family who runs it comes from France. I chose the roast duckling, and I was not disappointed. It was incredible. It was not completely legal, but I decided to enjoy myself and not overdo. Definitely a meal to remember.

Au revoir!

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.

Home in San Antone


I’m baaaaaaack!!!

After nine days in New York, and then a 48 hour nightmare driving back and forth from the airport (I will elaborate in another post), my family and I are safely back home, enjoying sweet relaxation.

As I promised, I kept a faithful log of what I ate on this trip, and I will share my journey soon. We had a wonderful time, seeing relatives and old friends and driving around the island, the first home I ever knew.

*yawns* Oh my. Look at the time. G’night, and stay tuned for my New York story!