Day 14: Something unexpected

Last night I went with my mom and her cousin to the theatre. Pre-show, while enjoying some drinks (and sparkling water for me), the two of them were discussing their skin – I guess as older people do. Suddenly her cousin said, “Debby, you have lovely skin.”

No one has ever said that to me about my face. I had relatively tenacious acne as a teenager and battled with pimples for years – and the resultant scars. I use foundation every day and am very aware of small pock marks and imperfections. But the compliment (from a woman in her 60s) seemed completely genuine. But perhaps just a flook.

Then today, while out shopping with my sister, she turns to me and says, “Your skin looks amazing.” If there’s one thing I know about my sister, it’s that I can trust her implicitly. She’s a straight-talker and always tells it like it is. Plus, the comment was not made in context of any conversation we were having – it really was just a throw-away.

Oh you know, me on an average day

Oh you know, me on an average day

What conclusion can I draw? Well, the only thing I’ve changed lately in my life is my diet. And while it’s undeniably limited, it is extremely healthy. I’m taking more vitamins and I’m eating good quality food that is carefully prepared. Most importantly, it’s helping to heal my gut and, no doubt, flush out my system. Oh, and I drink tons of water each day.

Could SCD really be helping to improve my skin? Just maybe…

Quick note about sparkling water

Water is the only thing I’m drinking at the moment, and it can get a little a LOT monotonous. When I want to ‘treat’ myself, I have sparkling water. But I must say that I am convinced it makes me bloated, so I’d suggest that you test it, just like you test anything else, to find out whether it has the same reaction for you.

We all know what happens when these bubbles hit a belly with the tendency to bloat...

We all know what happens when these bubbles hit a belly with the tendency to bloat…

Testing, testing… come in, Butternut

So today was butternut day. I totally overcooked them (turns out small butternuts can be cooked sufficiently for the SCD over high heat for about an hour, but obviously it will vary based on the size of the butternut). When I took them off the heat, they totally feel apart, rendering it extremely difficult to de-seed and peel them. I had a mini-meltdown in the kitchen, borne of total frustration. It was a complete overreaction brought on my 2 weeks of nothing but eggs, carrots, bananas, meat and more bananas.

K immediately dashed off to the shop and returned with two whole butternuts of different sizes, a bag of pre-chopped butternut (“to make it easier for you”) and a bag of butternut ‘chips’ – raw butternut chopped like fries (“so that when I have chips, you can too”). It was the sweetest thing she could have done – AND on top of me acting like a total loon over a couple of spilt butternuts.

Pretty much how today's butternut experience felt

Pretty much how today’s butternut experience felt

This is why I say that EVERYONE doing the SCD needs to have someone supporting them – even if they’re a phone call away. Your person doesn’t have to run out to the shop every time you overcook a vegetable, but they do need to be understanding, and willing to lend a supportive ear when you need it. There are going to be days when you are sad, frustrated, angry or disappointed – it’s the nature of the diet.

Do you feel like this too?

Some days, like today, I feel like I’ll never get to enjoy food again. Last night I threw most of my dinner away because I just couldn’t stomach the taste of plain chicken any more. Plus today, I’ve been bloated and constipated – the type of constipation when you go but never feel like you’re completely ’empty’ – and I’ve been gassy. It makes me want to throw in the towel because, for fuck’s sake, the reason I’m suffering through bland food and water for dinner when I go to a restaurant is to prevent these symptoms.

... or HELL?

… or HELL?

But when I stop, breathe, and consider why I might be experiencing these symptoms, it’s clear: The bloating is probably thanks to the litre of  sparkling water I drank today. And the constipation is a known side effect in the earlier stages of the diet. I bought some magnesium tablets today so I’ll start taking those (take them with meals) and adding butternut will probably help too.

While researching this post, I came across a blog called eatingscd.com. I’ve bookmarked some pages because I’ll certainly be sharing them with you in the future. For now, though, this is the one sentiment that really stood out. It was from an article that gives tips to new SCDers (give it a read).

Be patient – it took a long time to get sick and you will not get completely well quickly. 

Patience is key on this diet. I’m an extremely IMpatient person, which makes it an even greater challenge. But I’m FOURTEEN days in. Two weeks! That’s pretty good going and things are only going to get better after this (phase two has tomatoes and avocado!).

Keep at it, guys, keep at it. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it. And you know what? Even if it isn’t the right diet for you, at least you’ll prove to yourself that you can commit to something challenging, if only for 90 days.

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2 thoughts on “Day 14: Something unexpected

  1. You really hit on everything I needed to hear right now. I just started SCD (day 4 tomorrow) and so far I’m still having bloating, constipation, just feeling generally crappy. I bought an SCD-legal Magnesium supplement and took it today and it helped SO much. Multiple times a day I start to crave or even just mourn other foods and I find myself thinking “But what if I just had some pizza?” or “I’ll make chocolate cake tonight and then I’ll go back to SCD tomorrow”. Mentally, it is a huge challenge! (I’m only a few days in but I don’t know if I can stomach any more chicken…) I’ve been searching desperately for blogs and websites like this. I need to read about other people’s experiences and know that they did it and I can, too. Good luck and keep it up! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

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    • Hi Heather, thank you so much for your response, and your kinds words. Gosh, this diet IS hard! But today (day 16) I’m feeling more positive and the cravings are under control. I don’t think they ever go away, but they definitely get easier. I haven’t tried the Welch’s with gelatine because we don’t get it here in South Africa, but if you can get your hands on some, perhaps it’ll help with the cravings – or just some plain organic grape juice (but apparently gelatine can cause bloating – and the bloating you’re experiencing now might be from the carrots. Try cutting them out when you’ve added some new things and see if it helps).

      I’m glad the magnesium is helping you so much. I started it two days ago and I think it’s making a difference. BMs do a ton of crazy things in the beginning but it’s all to be expected. Good luck! The first few days are definitely the hardest so it’s awesome that you’re over that first hurdle. You can do this! We both can 🙂

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