What to drink on SCD

For a lot of people, one of the most challenging things about the SCD is the lack of allowed beverages. Water is super healthy but it gets boring fast, and for many of us (myself included) sparkling water causes uncomfortable bloating.

There’s not a huge amount of literature out there about what to drink on SCD, which is strange because everything that you put in your body – whether you chew it or swallow it – is going to affect the outcome of this diet and your health in general. And it’s totally reasonable to want to drink other things besides water. Let’s take a look at what you can safely drink on the SCD.

Tea

Certain types of weak tea are allowed on the SCD, as long as you don’t add sugar to them. The SCD Wiki says, Weak tea is permitted on SCD, and can be consumed hot or cold or poured over ice. If desired, sweeten with honey or saccharine, or use a little lemon juice. Do not add sugar, milk or cream.” Please give the Wiki a read. It offers a wealth of useful guidance for tea lovers.

SCD kitty knows shoogar iz badz

SCD kitty knows shoogar iz badz

According to the Wiki, teas that are allowed are black, white, ginger, peppermint and spearmint teas. It also mentions that green tea is allowed, but I’ve read conflicting reports about its effect on the gut. Originally, Elaine said, “Green tea has been associated in some studies with the onset of ulcerative colitis and is not allowed on SCD.” However, she later changed her stance, saying that green tea is okay if limited to two cups a day. For those of you who are actually able to chug this ghastly stuff down, I applaud you. I don’t know how you do it! (I do know it’s incredibly healthy though).

for-all-the-tea-people

Coffee

Coffee – the shining beacon of hope at the start of every long work day. In modern Western society, many people are hooked on the stuff, and you can’t walk a mile in a city centre without coming across a java stop. No coffee on SCD?! No thanks!

I’ve cut out all coffee for the first 30 days, which is just my own personal choice. I want to allow my gut to just chill as much as possible.

Coffee, however, is allowed on the SCD. But the rule is: No instant coffee (you don’t know what has been added to it) and no decaf (you don’t know what chemicals have been used in the decaffeination process). Use ground coffee and make sure it’s weak. As with tea, do not add any milk of any kind, or any sugar.

(without the milk of course)

(without the milk of course)

Alcohol

You don’t need to be an alcoholic to miss your tipple. After a long day there’s nothing better than a glass of wine (except a glass of wine paired with some dark chocolate), and what’s a wedding, birthday party or celebration without a glass of the sparkly stuff? Boring, that’s what.

funny-drinking-quotes

Alcohol is an extremely controversial topic when it comes to SCD, as well as health in general. While overdoing it can lead to all sorts of diseases, not least of which is alcoholism, drinking moderate amounts of certain types of alcohol can actually have health benefits.

For example, red wine can help prevent cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, and it’s full of antioxidants. But moderation is key: No more than a glass a day, or two glasses every few days. Don’t drink all 7 glasses in one day!

funny-pictures-cat-drinking-wine

When in doubt, I always turn to Jordan and Steve for advice. And they’ve got some amazing insight into alcohol and exactly why you use it at your own risk when you have IBD:

“When you drink alcohol, about 20% of the quantity is immediately absorbed through the stomach walls, [and] the remaining alcohol in the stomach starts to break down with the help of [enzymes called] alcohol dehydrogenase.  The stomach contains limited amounts of alcohol dehydrogenase, allowing most of the remaining alcohol to pass through, [and] it is quickly absorbed by the upper portion of the small intestine.

“The digestive tract blood vessels transport the alcohol to the liver, as liver cells are the only body cells that can produce enough of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to breakdown the alcohol quickly. Overall, alcohol is given a first class pass through the digestive system and directly to the liver, [and] doesn’t seem like it impacts the digestive tract too bad right?  Let’s look a little closer.

“The following points are distilled (pun intended) from my research on how even the smallest amount of alcohol affects the digestion process.  See the end of this post for my sources.

  • Alcohol damages mucosa cells (special digestive cells lining your GI tract), which leads to less saliva production in the mouth, inflammation of the esophagus, and inflammation of the stomach.
  • Alcohol impairs digestive motility (muscle control and contraction), which slows the movement of food through the esophagus and intestines and usually leads to diarrhea.
  • Low alcohol content drinks (beer, wine) raise levels of stomach acid which can cause acid reflux and gastritis.
  • High alcohol content drinks (distilled) don’t raise stomach acid levels but they are more inflammatory to the mucosa cells, leading to higher amounts of inflammation.
  • Lastly, alcohol impairs the stomach acid solution by precipitating (separating) pepsin, the main enzyme responsible for protein digestion, which limits the digestion process as pepsin is activated by hydrochloric acid (main component of stomach acid).”

If you’re sitting there blinking blankly at your screen after all that, you’re not alone. I’ve had to read it several times to grasp it. But the thrust of it is: Alcohol can exacerbate symptoms such as diarrhoea and inflammation, and leave you worse off.

Is it worth the gamble? Well, if you’ve been symptom-free for three months, then you can try it out and assess the impact yourself. Try not to make it a 3-day binge. Just be moderate and see how your body handles it, and common sense tells me that you should take a break between ‘drinking’ days – perhaps limiting it to twice a week.

THIS. Is not moderation.

FYI, this is not moderation.

SCD Legal alcohol

Legal liquor on SCD includes dry wine (white and red), vodka, gin and whiskey. Those in the ‘grey’ area are rum and tequila. Elaine said light rum was okay, but not dark. However, there’s apparently little (or no) literature on tequila.

Illegal alcohol is any booze containing sugars, grains and yeast (which is illegal), like sweet wines, Passover wine, brandy, beer and cordials.

funny-drinking-wine

A note about fizzy drinks

We know that sugar-laden fizzy drinks are completely forbidden, so don’t even think about those. But what about diet drinks, without sugar?

This depends on your tolerance to carbonated drinks, and even if you can tolerate them, Elaine cautions that you should limit your intake of aspartame-sweetened drinks to ONE per week. Many people find it strange that she sanctions the use of this artificial sweetener at all, but it is legal on the SCD.

For me, personally, I will not touch carbonated drinks. No no, this is not some high horsey-type moral issue. Anyway, there are no high horses on SCD 😉 Before my diagnosis, I was basically addicted to diet drinks. I easily drank a litre of diet Coke (or similar) each day, and if I stayed at home all day, or went out for drinks with friends, that amount could easily double.

dietcoke

It caused severe, severe discomfort and endless trouble for me. And I knew it! Subconsciously – even consciously – I knew it was causing me real problems. But it was only when my nutritionalist took a look at my food diary and ordered me to cut down that I realised it needed to go. That, and the night I steadily felt my belly grow more and more distended as I sat talking to friends and drinking my diet drinks. That night, I had to unbutton my looser jeans as I drove home. I couldn’t deny the reality any more.

I don’t know if you can tolerate carbonated drinks and the only way for you to know is to test them yourself. But if you can only have one a week anyway, is it even worth it?

Other drinks

As with anything you consume on SCD, the rule is: Organic, no added sugar, no preservatives and not processed! That means that you have to be very careful about the types of ready-made drinks you buy. You can also make a whole lot of awesome drinks at home without needing too many fancy tools, such as:

  • Fruit juices
  • Vegetable juices
  • Smoothies
  • Homemade lemonade, ginger ale and ‘sodas’
  • Sparkling water
  • Sports drinks

If you’re lactose intolerant like me, you won’t be able to enjoy organic smoothies (although you could use dairy-free SCD yogurt. I haven’t figured out how to make it yet). But if you have no problem with dairy, these are a great idea, especially if you use SCD yogurt. Blend together yogurt and organic fruit for a delicious and filling drink. You can also add honey and any spices you know you can handle, like cinnamon or cloves.

Please check out this very informative and helpful link to the SCD beverages Wiki. It provides insight into these drinks and others, including electrolyte drinks and sodas, and also gives some great tips for creating your own smoothies, sodas and legal lemonade.

What am I drinking?

Until 2 hours ago, it had been water only for 19 days. I’ve just had a cup of rooibos (“red bush”) tea – a herbal tea that comes from the indigenous red bush plant here in South Africa. It has some well-documented health benefits thanks to its antioxidants, minerals, anti-spasmodic properties and potential immune system-boosting qualities.

However, I just grabbed a sachet from the kitchen here at work (there was no box so I couldn’t check the ingredients), plonked it in some hot water and drank it. I’m not crazy about the taste of tea with no sugar or milk in it, so I didn’t love it. Plus it made me feel a bit funny and nauseous, so I won’t do that again. Maybe it was all in my head though.

I have, however, ordered some organic carrot juice, apple juice and rooibos and vanilla tea from my local health shop (vanilla is legal). In South Africa, we do have cars, and I don’t have to ride my lion to the shop to collect supplies. But it’s just so much easier to buy online! I hate battling to find parking in town, then fighting through crowds and standing in long queues. So now I patiently (but verrrrrry excitedly) await my beverage delivery!

What are you drinking?

funny-tea-coffee-vodka

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Day 18: A colourful plate and a happy colon

Tonight was our Wednesday night family dinner, and the fam was most impressed by my colourful plate of food: Grilled chicken (complete with those nice griddle lines on it), bright yellow gem squash and lovely orange butternut. They kept saying how healthy and appetising it looked – and it was!

They all tucked into macaroni and cheese sauce – one of my all-time favourites. I used to have about four helpings at a time (no exaggeration).

I didn’t take a pic of my plate, but I should have. I’m not one of those ‘snap and share’ foodies like you see on Instagram, not least of all because of the snore factor of my current plates. But tonight’s dinner looked something like the pic below (just with gem squash added), which is pretty tasty looking if you ask me 🙂

roasted-chicken-breasts-butternut-squash-herbed-wine-sauce-oh-l

Which means that I’m just a few additions and some honey away from THIS deliciousness:

Cheap-healthy-meals

The days really do pass so quickly, and I’m guessing that it’ll just be a few weeks before my food looks like the plate above (without the sweet potatoes though). SCD really is a great diet once you get past the baby steps and start to crawl 🙂

Today’s round-up

My body is doing well with the starchy veg, and it’s so exciting to be growing my list of ‘manageable’ foods every few days. Apart from the apples that didn’t agree with me, everything else has been fine. I still have some frozen pear puree so I might try that this weekend before moving on to phase 2. I think I will because I want that tuppaware back.

BMs

These are improving, are slightly more forthcoming, and definitely better formed and quite soft. I’m still taking the magnesium so I’m sure that’s helping, along with all the veg.

Today being day 18, I’ve only 12 days left until COFFEE AND WINE!! I’m no alcoholic but WATER ONLY for 18 solid days is driving me a bit batty. I’ve imposed this 30-day ban myself, as I haven’t found any formal guidelines about drinks on SCD (ie, when to introduce them). I do know that wine should be limited to dry varieties, and coffee should be ground (not instant) and weak.

Bring it oooooooooooon!

43725099

Day 17: Squashy belly

Today I introduced squash to my diet and so far, so good: I have a belly full of it and no bloat. And by ‘squash’, I’m referring to these babies:

Gem_squash

I’m not sure what you call it in other parts of the world, but here it’s just ‘squash’ or ‘gem squash’ if you’re being fancy.

I cooked up 12 relatively small ones so that I’ll have enough to test it over three days.

Remember that a good way to test a new food is to consume it like this:

First day: Eat 1/2 a cup of the new food at one meal of the day

Second day: Eat 1/2 a cup of the new food at at least 2 meals of the day 

Third day: Eat at least 1 1/2 cups of the new food on this day, but don’t exceed 2 cups

Easy peasy! And by cooking up a big batch, you’re prepared for all three days. I also made double the amount of meat tonight so that my lunch of chicken and squash is ready and waiting in the fridge for tomorrow.

I skipped my post-dinner banana to properly gauge any bloaty side effects of the squash, and 2 hours later, all seems fine. I still consume about 6 bananas a day even though I know they sometimes cause mild discomfort. The side effects aren’t severe enough to make me stop, especially when they’re the only sweet thing in my diet, but I will take a break from them when I’ve phased more foods in.

The evil Lord Bloat Banana. But they aren't all bad.

The evil Lord Bloaty Banana. But they aren’t all bad.

I’ve also been using a griddle pan to cook my chicken and it makes SUCH a big difference, taste wise. I’m still not ready to go back to boiled chicken yet, but grilled is quite delicious.

Current round up

I’m still not happy with the state of my BMs. They’re not as regular and happily forthcoming, once or twice a day, as they were before I started this diet. I’ve been taking magnesium for about 3 days and I’m eating more veg but I don’t think there’s much roughage in my diet. That said, roughage and I have a rather, well, rough history (as I’m sure most people with IBD do), so I’m always happier with less of it in my life. Will keep investigating ways to improve my constipation.

I’m pretty moody. I mean, I’ve always been a moody person but I’m particularly snappish at the moment, and K bears the brunt of it. Amazing how food not only touches but influences every part of our lives, and even our personalities. All the more reason to take control of it and STOP it controlling us.

I get joint pain occasionally – in my knees mainly – but so infrequent it’s hardly worth mentioning. I’m still about 2kg down so feeling less bloated and unccomfortable all round, and I’m still exercising with success, although I definitely have less energy now that I’m virtually carb-free.

I continue to feel very positive about this diet and believe it is only doing me good. I regret not getting a measure of my inflammation before starting, but I think the proof will be in the pudding. Very excited to move on to Phase 2 after I’m done testing squash.

Where are you on the diet, and how’s it going?

Moody Cat is ready for Phase 2

Moody Cat is ready for Phase 2

Transform your meal with spices

Last night, 16 days into this thing, I had a revelation. Well it was thanks to K, actually, who is sometimes more jacked up about this diet than I am! (“No, don’t put my food there, that’s your SCD counter,” she reminded me the other day in the kitchen when I nearly plonked her very non-SCD meal onto my SCD counter space). 

So anyway, last night we were cooking together, and while grilling my bland steak, I muttered, “I really don’t feel like plain meat with just salt again.” And she replied, “But can’t you use black pepper?”

Blink, blink.

It was like a light switch went on. I read the whole of SCD Lifestyle – Surviving to Thriving, and had somehow forgotten that black pepper is legal, even during intro! (obviously it must be pure black pepper with no naughty additives).

It totally transformed my entire meal and I highly, highly recommend you try using it. I’m not even particularly mad about the stuff, but after so much deprivation, even I enjoyed it.

“Fresh ground black pepper is an amazing spice, invest to use it right and you’ll be rewarded with more dopamine (google peperine).” – SCD Lifestyle Facebook page

quotes-02

How to introduce herbs and spices on the SCD.

I was thrilled to discover that garlic can be introduced in Phase 2, which is about a week away for me, or maybe less. It’s definitely one of the first things I’m going introduce, as it has AMAZING health benefits on top of being super, super tasty. Steak with garlic and black pepper looks a whole lot more appetising than it did just a few days ago!

I have been through the stages breakdown on Pecanbread.com quite carefully (see it here), but apart from watercress (which isn’t really a herb anyway), they don’t really say when you can start introducing fresh herbs and spices. I guess it’s up to one’s discretion and knowledge of one’s own body. Remember though to phase them in over 3 days, on their own, just as you would any other food. And ensure that they are pure spices with no anti-caking agents, no additives – nothing. Just the spice. There are lots of recipes online for making your own SCD legal garlic salt and onion salt.

Which spice am in intro’ing next?

I want to introduce coriander (cilantro/dhania) at some near-future point too. I know it’s not a herb that everyone loves – in fact it’s very much a “love it or hate it” flavour. But I really like it added to butternut, avo, tomato – anything really – which means it’s going to be great for Phase 2.

I am also keen to get cinnamon and ginger into my diet too. They’re perfect for adding to the ‘squashy’ veg and ginger in particular is incredibly healthy.

Not that kind of ginger... though they're good for your health too (if you're not allergic) :-)

Not that kind of ginger… though they’re good for your health too (if you’re not allergic) 🙂

I think it’s really important to go through the phases and decide which veggies you’re going to intro first. To go through each and every one on Phase 2 (there are about 16 fruits and veggies on Phase 2 alone, and the number increases as you progress) might not be essential – or even practical. Focus on your favourites or the ones you eat most often. There seems to be little point in phasing in an item that you eat only once a year when you could move on and phase it in later.

Also remember: A lot of people react badly to fruit, so if you think you might be one of them, skip the fruit for now and just focus on phasing in the veggies. I tested apple but I wasn’t happy with the results. For now, I’m sticking to veg and bananas.

So, now that I’m developing a nice ‘safe’ base of foods to work with, I think a little bit of flavour is definitely in order!

30909

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.

Day 12: So over the food

Yesterday I spoke about focusing on other things besides food when you doing the SCD, which is a really important coping strategy for the diet.

Today, I focused on so many things – mainly work-related – and had an active and busy day. But despite all that, one overwhelming feeling wove its way through my day: I’m so sick of this food.

When I bit into my umpteenth banana today; when I dished up my pureed carrot; when I thought about scheduling in my cooking this weekend, I just felt totally over it. While I haven’t typed “sick of SCD food” into Google, I’m pretty sure I’ll discover that this is normal, especially in the beginning.

Me in the kitchen today

Me in the kitchen today

When I spoke to an SCD nutritionalist about a month ago, she told me that the first month is the hardest. In fact, she told me that it’s very hard to do the SCD on your own, which I think was the exact type of challenge I needed to get me going.

Today, all I wanted was some nice sweet fruit – watermelon or peaches or strawberries. I wanted to be able to open my fridge and pull out whatever the hell I wanted to eat – and not have to peel it, de-seed it and cook it for a million hours. I wanted to try the Oreos sandwiched with peanut butter that my colleague told me about. I wanted… my old diet. But I also know I don’t want my old problems, and that’s what keeps me going.

Right now I'd eat a terracotta tile if it were covered in peanut butter

Right now I’d eat a terracotta tile if it were covered in peanut butter

One day, hopefully on day 90, I’ll look back on this and be so proud of myself for pushing through. 12 days is nothing to sneeze and and I am proud. But I’m also bored with my diet and frustrated!

For me, it’s more about the long-term benefits: I wasn’t in a flare when I started this. My symptoms were completely controlled by meds. But I want to get off the meds, hence the diet. So if I am improving, I’m not necessarily going to know about it until I try to ease off the Asacol. There’s no immediate gratification that so many other SCDers experience, which makes it a bit more difficult to persevere. HOWEVER, I love the feeling of less bloatedness, so that is definitely an improvement and a step in the right direction.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t kill for a slab of chocolate, an icy drink and a giant handful of peanuts right about now!

Day 11: Finding joy in things *besides* food

Just for a moment, I want you to take food out of the equation. I know that sounds ridiculous, considering that 99% of the focus on SCD is food – preparing it, finding time to prepare it, monitoring its effects, talking about its effects, feeling its effects, DREAMING about its effects – but hear me out.

During my research into SCD, before I started it, one thing in particular stood out. It was when Jordan Reasoner from SCDLifestyle.com said (and I’m paraphrasing hugely here) that you have to learn to enjoy things in life other than food – you have to make a conscious effort to find the happiness and enjoyment in activities and social interactions without the food element.

“Happy… whatever. Where’s the food?!”

This was a revelation for me. I’m your typical read-the-menu-for-weeks-beforehand type of gal. I’m ashamed to say that I remember more about the food served at social occasions than the actual occasion itself – who was there, what it was for, or what gift I painstakingly chose for… whoever.

Starters - amazing!

Oh, you made starters

For me, food was LIFE. I loved it and I hated it in equal measure, but the hating never stopped me from gobbling it all up (and feeling hugely remorseful afterwards). I often think this is the root of my problem: I always enjoyed my food, but when I hit the teens, I realised that it tended to stick to my belly a little more than I liked. Cue a few years of severe dietary restriction to maintain a stick-like figure (I basically starved myself), and then the ultimate surrender after I realised that eating a single ice cream wouldn’t instantly turn me into the Michelin man.

So I started eating more ice creams… and chocolates, and cookies, and chips, and cookies that fell on the floor, and chips that I didn’t even like. Even other people’s food. Slowly the weight started creeping back, and the guilt-diet-guilt-binge cycle continued. I seemed to have an insatiable sweet tooth that was constantly scavenging for sugar, and which was particularly aggressive when I was inebriated.

My poor gut. I really treated it terribly.

An average Saturday night

An average Saturday night

The cookie monster

Anyway, over the past few years, I settled into a fairly stable eating pattern, though found it impossible to resist chocolate and other moreish foods like peanuts, cookies and the colourful spreads at parties. I was always eager to tuck in, and I always did. It’s a wonder my weight only ever peaked at about 58kgs.

Don't worry honey...

Don’t worry honey…

...we've all been there.

…we’ve all been there.

So for me, it’s always been about the food. When I discovered SCD and really started to understand it, I realised that I was going to have to shift my focus drastically. On the SCD, the most interesting thing about an event can’t be the millionaire shortbread or cocktail sausages – it actually has to be the people, the conversation and the surroundings.

A family dinner with a difference

Tonight I went to my folks’ place for our weekly dinner. I took my own food for the first time – last week they made me some boiled eggs. My parents cook the most amazing food and it’s often my favourite meal of the week, but 11 days in, I realise I’m no longer feeling deprived.

And tonight, I enjoyed myself more than I have in ages. I mean, I always enjoy seeing my folks and my sister, but tonight just felt… different. Maybe it was the gorgeous weather, or the fact that all four of us bonded as our ‘original’ family unit unlike we have in ages (my sister is married but her husband wasn’t there, and K has other commitments on Wednesday nights).

I didn’t crave the food as much as usual, though it was pretty hard watching them eat the mint chocolate I brought for them. But despite all that, I really enjoyed the evening and – BEST of all – didn’t leave feeling bloated, sore and gassy like I usually do. Supper was pureed carrots, minute steak and zucchini. I skipped the post-dinner banana and voila, no bloat 🙂

A vital SCD tool

So I guess the take-out for today (oh, I’m sorry about that pun) is to find joy – and enjoyment – in other things besides food, be it people, a hobby, a pet, a sport or whatever. Shift the focus off your taste buds and what you’re shoving down your gullet, and make a conscious effort to enjoy the here and now – without food. It’s worth it and it’s a vital survival tool for the SCD.