Summary Bio

I have a long list of illnesses (see it here). In 1995 at age fifteen I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (a disease of the large intestine), and I lived with it for seventeen years. In 2010, it spread and advanced to a severe diagnosis. I spent a year on a roller-coaster of intensive immunosuppressive drug therapies, only to end up requiring surgery to remove my large intestine and replace it with a j-pouch. After surviving three surgeries, I developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, the most debilitating illness of all. (Read "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" and "The Spoon Theory" to understand more.) Below are the detailed accounts of my ups and downs on this journey.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nuts About SCD

I have a million things I need to catch up on around the house and on the computer that I REALLY should be getting to, but instead I'm sitting down to write this blog post because I can't help myself.  I have been so pumped about cooking on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) that I have to get it all written down.

I've been on the SCD diet for about a week and a half.  I've been using all organic, free-range, whole ingredients which has me feeling amazing.  I lost about ten pounds in my first week, and then as I added more fats and fruit to my diet during week two, I started to stabilize.  Keep in mind that the actual SCD diet calls for a very gentle intro stage for people with a lot of inflammation (Crohn's/Colitis), but since I don't have the bleeding, cramping, diarrhea, etc, I decided to skip the intro.  Therefore, some of what I was eating (whole nuts, dried fruit, certain veggies) are advanced stages of the diet meant to be introduced well after all symptoms disappear.  Here's what my diet looked like during week one:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (sometimes with spinach added) topped with melted cheddar and salsa.  Sometimes I would add avocado.
  • Lunch:  Wholesome stew.  I browned a pound of ground turkey and put it in the crockpot with celery, carrot, broccoli, zucchini, onion, cauliflower, and a whole jug of what is basically an organic version of V-8.  Nothing but nutrition in this puppy.  Served with melted grated cheddar on top.
  • Dinner:  Grilled chicken with sides of peas and acorn squash.
  • Snacks:  Apple chips, a handful of nuts, or a Larabar.

Then as I noticed how much weight I was losing, I tried finding ways to add more calories back in.  I started browsing Pinterest SCD recipes and getting inspired.  I started thinking about how to adapt some of my favorite comfort foods for SCD.  I joined an online SCD support group where I could turn to with questions, frustrations, or victories.  And I started getting pumped up about it.... and motivated to get creative in the kitchen.  And every creative recipe I tried turned out wildly successful, which has only fueled my enthusiasm.

First off, I should inform you that I am no whiz in the kitchen.  I know the basics, and I cook for only myself, so I generally don't have enough time or interest to get creative with the measuring cups and spatulas.  However, since SCD mandates that almost everything be made from scratch at home, I have been experimenting more in the last two weeks than I have in the last decade.

Most of the meals I've been making are not off of any specific recipe; they are just combinations of whole ingredients I already have in the house that sound like they would work.  Usually I get an inspiration off of some food photo or scrap of recipe and then change and adapt it to fit my needs.  Regardless of all this, everything I have made so far has turned out absolutely amazing.  Super tasty comfort foods that don't make me miss sugar or carbs at all.  In fact, I often can't even tell there's no sugar or grains in most of what I make.

I have found that with all the condiments and batters and mixtures and concoctions I'm making, having a high-quality, high-powered food processor makes things much easier and quicker in the kitchen, so yesterday I invested in a $200, 1500 watt, 2 horsepower Ninja food processor.  It comes with all the attachments I need for all my mixing, processing, and smoothing demands and has made a big difference.  If you're going to try this diet for any serious length of time, I would recommend getting something similar.
Becuase I'm already developing a collection of hit recipes less than two weeks in, I figure I should start a page on this blog of all my favorite SCD concoctions.  Below are some photos of a few of the meals I've made so far.  (I'm not photographing EVERY meal I make.)  If any of them look appetizing, look for the recipe in my new resource page called Favorite SCD Recipes.

Healthy, yummy snacks easy and in sight.

Grain-free pancakes with butter and homemade jam.
I made a huge stack of them, but this is all I could eat at once.

Zucchini Fries with homemade honey mustard dipping sauce - YUM!

Cheeseburger Casserole: childhood comfort food.

Homemade Ketchup - almost like Heinz!

Banana Bread Muffins - Serve warm with a little butter: DELISH!

Feel free to leave reactions and comments below...
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  1. This is so cool, thanks for sharing all of your recipes!

    I have been trying to switch to a lower carb, more SCD-like diet, mainly to lose weight (my pouch function is pretty good). However, whenever I remove starchy carbs from my meals, my pouch goes crazy! My frequency goes up a lot and I get a lot of urgency too. I'm guessing from this post that you don't have that problem with SCD at all? Have you found that there are any SCD-legal foods that are better/worse for the pouch? I would love to stop eating so much bread/rice/potatoes but when I skip them at a meal I pay for it... a lot.

    1. Liz, thank you for your comment. Those are great questions.

      I had a lot of problems (pain, difficulty emptying, constant feeling of urge to go) from the increased fiber the first couple times I tried to go carb-free... I was very discouraged about this until I finally found out that I had undiagnosed cuffitis that whole time (almost a year). As soon as I got that treated, all those issues went away, and now I can eat carb-free with no problem. Sometimes (especially when I eat a lot of whole nuts) my output is a little too thick, so I just have to remember to drink a lot of water during/after the really dense, high-fiber foods, and that does the trick.

      In my opinion, if you're at least a year out from surgery, then I think you should be able to handle most fibrous veggies without needing the carbs to slow things down. If removing carbs causes problems, I would have your GI check for cuffitis or pouchitis, both of which would make you more sensitive to dietary changes. You can also use Metamucil psyllium husk powder 2-3x a day (not SCD-legal, but if the diet is mostly for weight-loss, that may not matter). I have found it to be a cure-all with anything j-pouch related: diarrhea, constipation, butt burn, etc. If you haven't tried that yet, you should.

      SCD foods that J seems to like in particular are squash, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, cooked cauliflower and carrots. The eggs are a pretty easy-to-digest protein (big hunks of meat can be difficult to digest if your GI tract is sensitive). Cheese and peanut butter tend to help slow things down a bit, and the cooked cauliflower, carrots, and squash are soft enough that it's kind of soothing (sort of like mashed potatoes). There are lots of different ways you can prepare those. Another trusty go-to that is soothing on the gut is slow-cooked shredded chicken soup with chopped carrot, pureed celery & onion (no noodles). If you use slow-cooked bone broth to make the soup (whole stripped carcass in the crock-pot overnight: bones, skin, tendons, ligaments), it will contain some pretty powerful gut-healing nutrients while you're at it.

      Keep checking back to my recipe page periodically, as I will be adding a lot more recipes over the next several months! :-) Good luck, and please keep me posted on how things go!

    2. Thank you for your reply!! You described my symptoms when I up the fiber *exactly*. My GI has always said that I have mild cuffitis but she didn't think it was worth treating (since it wasn't causing problems... except with fiber, apparently). May I ask what treatment you used for your cuffitis? Do you have to use a maintenance treatment to keep it at bay?

      I'm only about eight months out from takedown, but aside from the fiber issue, my pouch has been very consistent for the past six months or so. I like to think that I just need more time, but I think I need to look into treating the cuffitis more seriously.

      Thanks again!

  2. How are you doing with the diet and sibo? I've followed your story and have checked back periodically to see how you are faring. Our adult son had his j pouch constructed around the same time as you. I hope you are doing well.

  3. Are you OK? Long silence - I do so hope you've left all this behind and you're totally well!!
    Jonathan - a fellow SIBO sufferer, every symptom in the book


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