Day 77: SCD hot toddy (alcohol optional)

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So my knifey throat has progressed to a full-on phlegm fest, and I am in the throes of a very unpleasant head and chest cold. And oh! How I hate being sick. Medicating myself would be unavoidable, I realised.

Most OTC drugs make you drowsy so you can’t take them during the day. I also don’t like overdoing it with drugs, so I decided to rustle myself up a hot toddy, without alcohol (if there’s one thing I hate more than being sick, it’s warm alcohol).

I was a little concerned as I hadn’t yet introduced some of the ingredients (lemon and ginger), but since my health had already taken such a dive, I figured lemon and ginger could only do me good.

You can use the recipe from the image above, or check out my simplified version below. I am also not a fan of adding spice to my hot drinks, and I think my version works just as well!

SCD-legal hot toddy 

Ingredients

– Half a lemon

– 2 tsp honey

– a few slices of ginger

– boiling water (herbal teabag optional)

– a tot of alcohol if you like (probably whiskey if you can handle it)

Method

Squeeze the lemon into a glass/mug and add the honey and ginger. If you’re not using alcohol, you can add a herbal teabag.

Pour in about 250ml of boiling water, and stir vigorously to dissolve the honey (otherwise it just sinks to the bottom). Allow to cool a little, but try to drink as hot as possible – you want to sweat the bugs out!

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This is what happens when no one at work will take a sick day. Thanks colleagues. THANKS

I don’t seem to be having any adverse reactions to the lemon or the ginger. Lemon can in fact be introduced on Phase 3, as long as it’s cooked. However, I feel that using just the juice and adding it to hot water should be fine. As for ginger, it’s SCD legal but there’s no indication of when to introduce it on the phases list. Hence I regard it like honey – introduce it when you feel you’re ready.

Honey, lemon and ginger are all known to have amazing healing qualities, and the combination, steeped in hot water, just feels like it’s giving your immune system a massive health boost. I’m also dosing up on vitamin C, eating loads of veg (as usual) and trying to take it easy this weekend.

I can’t ignore, though, that as a person who seldom gets sick, it is noteworthy that I’ve been ill twice on this diet so far. I have read that people with IBD have compromised immune systems. So I really can’t say at this point whether it’s that, or the diet, or simply a coincidence. I can say, however, that it’s REALLY fucking annoying.

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Day 76: Thoughts on introducing lightly cooked and raw fruit & veg on SCD

Nearly 3 months into this diet, I’m getting pretty tired of eating (not to mention preparing) peeled, de-seeded and cooked-to-death fruit and vegetables. But more than that, I’m starting to detect noticeable improvements in my GI health. So, I’m slowly taking steps towards eating food that is more lightly cooked, and which may still have its skin and/or seeds. 497cfd13f9573104af6aa46246cbb2f2

If you’ve closely followed the SCD phases, you should (theoretically) be able to handle your fruit and veg in a less and less cooked state as the phases progress. That said, I’ve been warned by a nutritionalist to stay away from raw vegetables, as they’re very difficult for the gut to digest.

I’ve never been sure whether you need to re-introduce foods when you start eating them without peeling and de-seeding them – for example, what if you react to tomato seeds but not to the flesh? That said, introducing each item in the first place is time-consuming enough. Imagine doing it all over again!

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Since I haven’t found much guidance in this regard on SCDLifestyle.com, I’ve had to figure it out for myself, and here’s what I’m doing:

  • On days that my belly is feeling happy, I am starting to test unpeeled/non-de-seeded foods that I’ve already introduced – for example, adding whole cherry tomatoes to my meals, or eating baby gem squash with skin and seeds. So far, so good.
  • I’m starting to cook my veg for shorter periods of time – ie, green beans until just soft; not falling apart.
  • I’m drinking juice with pulp in it to acclimatise my gut to fruit. So far I’ve introduced very little fruit to my diet.
  • I’m (carefully) introducing vegetables that caused me problems in the past, prior to SCD, such as onions and broccoli. Progressing the right way

To my mind, the aim of the first 90 days of SCD is to heal the damage that’s been caused by disease. That’s why we treat our guts like babies’ guts, feeding them only the most basic, easily digestible foods. But as our guts begin to heal (and this is where you need to pay attention to your body and your symptoms/lack thereof), they should be able to handle SCD-legal foods in a less pulverised, more natural state.

While the phases on Pecanbread.com are an excellent guideline (and I’ve adhered to them closely), it’s also important to remain actively aware of your progress and your body’s individual needs, preferences, dislikes and idiosyncrasies, and to take conscious steps to tweak the diet to these needs. Sure, it’s okay and even recommended that you follow the diet to the T for the first few months, but it’s vital that thereafter, you adapt it to be optimally effective for your body.

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For example, some people may never be able to handle tomato seeds, no matter how healthy they may be. Other people may battle with foods while they’re sick, but once they’re healed and in remission, they may find they can eat those same foods without adverse effect. Keeping a food diary is vital and being actively aware of your symptoms at all times is ESSENTIAL.

I’m still eating fewer bananas (so far only ONE today!) and as I sit here after supper, which included cherry tomatoes complete with seeds and skin, I feel okay. I am however still struggling with BMs and finding it hard to figure out exactly why. Constipation has set in once again, even though it feels like I haven’t changed much in my diet. Time to scrutinise my food diary!

Do you have any thoughts or advice on progressing to unpeeled, lightly cooked or whole fruit and veggies?

Day 75: 4 natural sore throat remedies – SCD legal/paleo

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I’ve had a sore, scratchy throat for the past few days, and when this happened to me at the start of SCD, I made the mistake of taking OTC lozenges. They caused me a lot of bloating and they’re probably packed with illegal ingredients.

This time, I did a bit of research to find out what I could legally use on SCD to soothe my sore throat, and I found some really easy, effective fixes. These work for paleo too:

1. Gargle with apple cider vinegar mixed with water. I did this today and it tasted revolting (careful of gag reflex!) but it works. I found this remedy at Austinscdfriends.com, who also say that you can swallow the concoction, if you can stomach it, for a potassium boost, and that you should also rinse your mouth out afterwards to prevent the vinegar from damaging the enamel on your teeth. There are lots of other SCD legal remedies on the site – check them out.

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2. Gargle with salt water. I found this tip at Paleoinpdx.com, where the author says, “I always use this tactic at the onset of a sore throat. It’s known to draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, which makes it hurt less. It’s also beneficial during a full-blown cold because it helps break up mucus. Be sure to use warm filtered water and sea salt, not iodized table salt.” I haven’t tried this yet but it sounds easy and effective. Read the post for more SCD legal natural cold remedies.

3. Honey and lemon. This is obviously phase-dependent. If you’re able to tolerate both these foods, drizzle honey over lemon slices and suck on these to soothe your angry throat. Thanks to Pecanbread.com for this great tip – just thinking about it feels soothing! You can also squeeze the lemon into a mug, add your honey, fill with hot (not boiling) water and drink. Thanks to Drflock.co.uk for this remedy (click to see more).

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4. Drink lots of water. Often, a sore throat is accompanied by dryness, irritation and tickles. Keep water on hand at all times and drink whenever needed or as often as possible. Not only does it instantly calm your throat, but you’re drinking more water! This was a lifesaver for me today (since I couldn’t, obviously, have an actual Lifesaver 😉 )

Do you have any tried-and-tested, SCD legal sore throat remedies? Please share! 🙂

Day 74: What to do when food boredom sets in

It’s inevitable that on a diet like SCD, which is so incredibly restrictive (at least for the first few months) food boredom will set in – even for someone like me who doesn’t mind eating the same thing every day. It’s in fact one of the most common reasons that people either stop the diet or don’t even try in the first place. It’s hard to eat the same few things all the time – meat, veg, fruit, eggs if you’re lucky, honey if you’re lucky. And by ‘lucky’ I mean ‘don’t react’.

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No matter how committed you are to this diet, you are bound to get frustrated by the limited choices available to you on the first 90 days of SCD (if you’re doing it properly). I’ve taken it particularly slowly so I am only on phase 3. But if you’re following the ‘rules’ and introducing new food only once every three days, that’s only 10 (maximum) new foods a month – and that’s not including setbacks and ‘important but not actual food’ additions like honey, spices, milk, etc.

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It hasn’t really happened to me since intro, but yesterday and today I looked at my dinner plate and thought, ‘eeeeeeugh’. I was just so over it, and I didn’t want another broccoli tree or bite of butternut.

But just because the number of foods you’re eating is limited doesn’t mean that your meals have to be. Think about how many combinations of food you can make with ‘just’ 20 different ingredients! Avo and honey, anyone? I mean have you even thought of that? 🙂

Yesterday I listed a few awesome SCD snack foods I can have at this stage of the diet. Now, I want to give you a few tips for shaking up your ‘boring’ SCD meals:

1. Rotate your meats. For many people following SCD or paleo diets, meat forms the backbone of the meal. There are so many options available besides chicken and beef. Try fish, venison, ostrich and turkey with your meals, or replace meat with eggs every now and then.

2. Have breakfast for dinner. Swap your meals around. Sometimes it’s fun to eat scrambled eggs for supper (especially when you’re feeling lazy), and weird as it sounds, you can actually get used to eating ‘supper’ food for breakfast. Remember when you used to eat leftover pizza for breakfast? This is the same thing… kinda. Simply altering the time of day you eat something can make it more appealing.

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3. Experiment with cooking methods. I recently switched boiling my butternut for roasting it. WOW! I didn’t add any extra ingredients, but the taste was completely new. As you progress through the phases, you’ll have more and more cooking methods available to you. Use them!

4. Experiment with flavours. Never mixed bananas with nut butter? Carrots with coriander? Yogurt with pear? Roast butternut with tomato? Honey with ANYTHING? Some combinations will be better than others but you’re bound to discover a few you love. I add fresh coriander to almost anything savoury and I eat half an avo with my main meals in lieu of illegal sauces or gravies. My absolute favourite is green beans with avo as a snack.

5. Don’t eat ALL the foods you can eat every day. This is a mistake I’ve made. Each time I’ve successfully added a food, I’ve started eating it every day. This means that I eat about 8 or 9 different veggies a day – but it’s the same veggies every day! Rotate 3 or 4 veggies and a few fruits at a time to prevent broccoli overload – and possibly developing intolerances. You should aim to rotate all your food every 3-4 days. Not always possible at the beginning of SCD, but easier as the diet progresses.

6. Don’t forget desserts! It may seem like much of this diet is savoury, but if you can handle fruit and honey, you have so many sweet options available to you. Make smoothies or  fruit ‘ice creams’ and sorbets, or top SCD-pancakes (made with banana and egg) with baked fruit and drizzles of honey or yogurt. YUMMO! And PS: Yes, you can absolutely eat dessert for dinner – on SCD, it’s a totally healthy option 😉

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7. Remember that every day 3 days, it gets easier. It’s a slow process, but there is progress. Don’t get disheartened, and on the days you get bored, challenge yourself to experiment with a new flavour. Roast a tray of onion, tomato, butternut and garlic with honey and coriander, or make a smoothie from banana, yoghurt and nut butter. Snack on peeled, baked apples with honey or nut butter, or make cauliflower ‘rice’ for an interesting change. A few simple switch-ups can make all the difference.

Do you have any tips for shaking things up on SCD or whichever diet you’re following? Please share – we could all use all the help we can get!

PS: Clearly GIFs are my new toy! I hope you’re enjoying them as much as I am 🙂

Day 73: Broccoli, bloating and 5 awesome phase 3 treats

I introduced broccoli yesterday and, as with most things I’ve introduced, I’ve followed best practices by eating it at dinner on the first night, lunch and dinner tonight, and I’ll do lunch and dinner again tomorrow.

Unbelievably, I seem (so far) to not be reacting to it. Could it be because I’m cooking it until it’s properly dead, or is it because 2 and a half months on SCD has really started to heal my gut? I like to think it’s the latter.

As for the bananas, I’ve been sticking to my limit of 2 per day, and it’s making a huge difference to my bloating. Right now, it’s 9pm and I’ve eaten all my food for the day, yet I don’t feel uncomfortable, bloated or particularly gassy. Portion control is going well too, and I think all of this is contributing to overall feelings of increased comfort.

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5 Awesome phase 3 treats

I tend to forget that  I can ‘mix and match’ the ingredients that I’ve already introduced to my diet to create some pretty amazing snacks. Here are 5 yummy things I can eat right now:

  • Banana and egg pancakes/scramble drizzled with honey

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  • Butternut roasted with garlic, tomato, onion and coriander

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  • Yogurt, banana and honey smoothie (with optional nut butter)

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  • Soups: Carrot soup made with homemade coconut milk, garlic and coriander; tomato soup with black pepper, garlic and coriander

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  • GUACAMOLE! (mashed avo mixed with garlic, tomato puree, coriander, salt and pepper). Use as a sauce with any meat – works particularly well with fish.

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There are lots more I could make based on the food I’m able to eat, so I really need to experiment a bit more. I’ve splurged on fresh stashes of macadamia butter and almond butter, with which I’ll also need to practice serious portion control. I also discovered that the shop downstairs has started selling freshly pressed apple juice! Life = made. Always such a treat when things just work out!

I’ve been thinking about buying a juicer. Anyone with IBD/IBS  have any experiences to share?

Day 72: Practicing portion control

With 18 days to go on my 90-day challenge and 28 days on my personal 100-day challenge, I’m turning my focus now to troubleshooting the elements I covered last week  – all the issues contributing to my bloating. I feel that the discomfort is my own doing and that I have to power to change this.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • Getting back into exercise. It’s been about a month and today I picked up my dumbbells again. I can’t believe how much muscle strength one loses in a few short weeks. I think the exercise – apart from all the amazing health benefits – is also the best thing for constipation (still a frequent problem).

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  • Practicing portion control. Not my strong suit, but I’m working on it. K joked that I can have ‘lots of small portions’… but I’m not sure that’s the same thing 😉
  • Cutting back on bloating food. Okay okay, we all know I mean bananas. I’ve made a rule that I can only eat 2 a day – one after lunch (as ‘dessert’) and one as a snack when I get home from work. Honey and yogurt can be my sweet fixes.
Can totes identify

Can totes identify

  • Slowly switching supplements for real food. Now that my diet is expanding, I’m relying less on supplements and more on my food. Fibre is still a big problem: I’m terrified of it because it can aggravate a flare, but too little is not good either. I want to find something I can eat that’ll fill the gap. All suggestions welcome! Also, bear in mind that if a damaged gut can’t absorb nutrients from food, it won’t absorb them from supplements either.

This week’s new food: Broccoli

Tonight I introduced broccoli. Yes, I made an intentional ‘error’ and ate baby gem squash last night and today for lunch, and then introduced broccoli tonight, without waiting for 3 days. This is the first time I haven’t followed the 3-day rule, and I do seem to be okay but my results will be skewed if I react to either of those foods.

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K’s been nervous for me to try broccoli because she thinks I’ll definitely react to it and she’s the one who has to share a bedroom with me 😛 I’ll let you know how it goes…

 

Day 69-71: A successful SCD weekend away

The weekend away was a (dietary) success! Turns out it wasn’t the nightmare I anticipated, and for the most part, eating was easy. I consumed almost all the food I took with, I didn’t starve, and I even managed to eat my own food at the wedding. I also discovered that I can navigate 2 days away from home with no means to heat my food, no cutlery and a black-tie event to attend. Go me!

Here’s where we spent the weekend:

Morgansvlei Country Estate, Tulbagh

Morgansvlei Country Estate, Tulbagh – absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it?

And here’s what I packed:

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Perfect amount of food for the weekend. Apart from a few boiled eggs, 3 bananas and an avo, I ate it all

Friday night supper

I earmarked the mince ‘bolognaise’ for Friday night, but when we arrived at our guesthouse, we discovered that it indeed had a fridge… but no microwave. K suggested I fill a metal box with boiling water (the box was next to our kettle, holding the teabags and sugar) and then place the tuppaware into it to heat it. That was a disaster, because the metal box leaked and we managed to completely waterlog our room!

Next I attempted filling the bathroom basin with boiling water, putting the tuppaware in, and weighting it down to keep it submerged under the hot water. It didn’t really work and I eventually gave up and ate cold mince.

Saturday breakfast

Thankfully, breakfast on Saturday was much easier: A few boiled eggs washed down with a mug of black coffee from the breakfast room.

My morning coffee on the pier outside the breakfast room.

Enjoying my morning coffee on the pier outside the breakfast room.

Having a Dawson's Creek moment...

Having a Dawson’s Creek moment…

... and just one more, because it's so damn pretty!

… and just one more, because it’s so damn pretty!

Saturday lunch

I kept my lunch quite protein-heavy to avoid bloat (I needed to not be blimpy at the wedding), so I had a few more eggs, a (cold) grilled chicken breast, and several spoons of macadamia nut butter. K’s lunch was a whole lot more exciting: we went to a quirky little outdoor place call the ‘Bush pub’ and she snacked on this droolicious looking chicken basket while the resident chickens clucked away at our feet! (#Awkward)

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Dinner at the wedding

I’d struggled to find the caterers for the wedding, so I filled a tuppaware with chicken and veg, stuck this note to it, and left it in the fridge at the venue:

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It worked! I chatted to the caterers once the wedding was underway, and when the rest of the table received their main course, I was served my own food. It was cold (WTF?!) but it was mine, it was safe, and I didn’t have to starve. I was also pretty happy that they’d known well enough to seat me right next to the wine 😉 It’s SUCH a treat staying at the actual wedding venue, because we didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving, and simply tottered back to our room after the event.

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I mostly avoided bananas yesterday as I didn’t want to risk ballooning in my tight little dress, but I gulped several down when we got back to our room afterwards!

K & I in our wedding rags

K & I in our wedding rags

Breakfast today

More boiled eggs, more coffee, and then home!

I must say, it was easier than I anticipated… but messier. After we drenched our room on Friday night in our failed attempt to heat the mince, everything was soggy and damp for the rest of the time we were there. Also, there was nowhere to clean my used tuppaware, and nothing to clean it with, so I had to make do with the bathroom sink and some handsoap. I wrapped all my semi-clean containers in brown bags and had to wash them when we got home today (eew).

Also, there was no cutlery besides teaspoons in our room, so I had to swindle a knife and fork from the group dinner on Friday night! (I gave them back of course).

My best food tip for a weekend away

All in all, diet-wise, this weekend was very do-able. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I took a lot of food that I could eat on its own, and without heating or preparing, such as boiled eggs, ripe avo, ripe bananas, nut butter. It definitely helped that we had a fridge in our room too. All you need to do, really, is plan ahead and plan for the worst (ie: no fridge, no microwave, etc) and you’ll be fine.

Today’s food

We got home and I had to spend about 4 hours in the kitchen prepping my food for this week, as well as a Thai chicken and coconut soup for K. I made all my usual veg, and also had a brainwave that I could roast my butternut instead of peeling, chopping, de-seeding and boiling, which is such a mission. I roasted it instead and it turned out beautifully! I’ll try it tomorrow.

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I also, for some reason, bought some baby gem squash earlier this week. I think it’s because our local supermarket was out of everything, and for some reason it seemed like a good idea. I realised today that you can really peel or de-seed it… and then I thought, what the hell? For more than 2 months I’ve avoided all skins and seeds; let’s see if my body can handle it. So I cooked them up and had a few of them with my dinner – skins, seeds and all! So far I feel okay. They’re very similar in taste and consistency to zucchini actually.

Adult gems and baby gems

Grown-up gems and baby gems

I also made a fresh batch of yoghurt and I PROMISE I will share the recipe ASAP. It’s been on my mind – I haven’t forgotten, I just haven’t had a chance!

I hope you all had a great weekend, and that your diets are going well. Amazing how such a basic thing can totally consume your life!