Day 86: My 100th post and FORTHWITH with Phase 4! (plus a new SCD/paleo recipe)

This morning while deciding what to cook for dinner tonight, I suddenly realised:

WHERE IS PHASE 4?!?!

I frantically scrolled back through this blog to figure out when I started Phase 3… and it was 39 days ago – eek! If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I have no problem eating the same food over and over (and over and over) again, which is probably why I got stuck on Phase 3 without even really realising that I was stuck.

In the early phases, I was eager to test food and move through the phases because the choices were so limited. But once I hit phase 2, and even more so phase 3, I got comfortable and complacent in my little ‘safe food’ bubble. I got into a habit of cooking butternut, green beans, tomato and gem squash every Sunday, and I was quite happy with my little routine.

Until I suddenly realised that I could be eating so much more! And, after 39 days on phase 3, I SHOULD be.

Phase 4, forthwith!

So I immediately made the decision to start phase 4, and tonight I began with pineapple.

Even though you can eat raw fruit and veg on Phase 4, I decided to cook my pineapple in a sweet and sour-type dish for tonight, to which I also added chicken, ginger, veg and tomato. It’s packed with (well-cooked) veg (I’m still hesitant to take chances with raw/undercooked veg) and it’s oh-so-healthy:

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Here’s the recipe:

‘Sweet and sour’ chicken, pineapple and ginger pot

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2-3 baby zucchini, grated
  • 1 small knob ginger, grated
  • 2-3 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp minced garlic (depending on taste)
  • A few glugs pure tomato puree
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 8-10 baby tomatoes, halved
  • A generous handful broccoli florets
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of pineapple, chopped into small blocks (soft parts only)
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Method

Place the grated onion, carrot, zucchini, ginger, leek and garlic in a pot, add a splash of water and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour in the tomato puree and mix well, then add the chicken and cook until white – 2 to 3 minutes. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients, turn down to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure it hasn’t dried out (it shouldn’t).

I served mine with gem squash and fresh avo slices. Delicious!

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And my belly?

My tongue is singing, but my belly is growling. It’s bloated, tight and gurgly. Cue sad face. I loved this dish!

Vegetables makes me bloated, full stop. I don’t eat them before I go out, for example, and I know when I have a veggie-based meal, I’m going to blow up like the Michelin Man.

Yes, the whole point of SCD is to be able to accurately identify the foods that make you bloated, but it’s not as easy at it seems. Even though I introduced foods 3 days apart and monitored my symptoms, it was still tricky to pinpoint exactly where the bloat was coming from.

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To be honest, I got lost somewhere along the way. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, because I tried to be so careful in my testing. But I do know that sometimes I get more bloated than other times – which leads me to believe that while food plays a big role in my symptoms, it’s not the only contributing factor.

[NB: I’ve just had a brainwave: SALT?? I eat loads of it. Doesn’t salt contribute to bloating? Perhaps I need to seriously consider reducing my intake].

What I do know is that my bloating was quite under control until Phase 3, so I think it was the introduction of the more ‘advanced’ veg that put me back a few steps. I know if I cut every vegetable back out, except for the squashy veg, the bloating would pretty much disappear. But do I want to do that? Of course not. So this is a choice I make – squash only and no bloating, or a variety of veg and bloat.

Tonight's selfie (okay *yes*, you got me - I'm sucking in)

Tonight’s selfie (okay *yes*, you got me – I’m sucking in)

SIGH.

Why can’t I just live on nut butter?

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A week’s supply

PS: After my 90 days + 10 extra on SCD, I plan to transition into paleo, which is supposed to really aid in bloating. Now that SCD had healed my GI system, I’m hoping that paleo will be able to target the bloating.

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 49: Facing a few terrifying foods

On SCD, there are quite a few foods that scare me:

– Foods that other people have cooked (I don’t eat them)

– Foods that are cooked in restaurants (I am very reticent to eat these too, no matter how clear my instructions have been)

– Foods that I haven’t phased in yet

– Foods that stand too close to me

– Foods that look at me funny

– Foods that are not bananas

Fear of food was not something I thought would ever happen to me. But when you’re faced with a health crisis, I guess things can change.

Whilst reading up on this diet before starting it, I read a warning that you should not get stuck in a ‘safe food’ zone. Hah! I scoffed. Oh please, I thought. Me, get stuck in a food zone? Neh-vah!

I guess none of us want to be predictable, and we all want to believe we won’t fall victim to the mistakes of lessers others. But, surprised as I was to discover it, I did kinda get stuck – and I still kinda am. I’ve only just moved on to phase 3 after nearly a whole month on phase 2. I still eat butternut, gem squash, eggs and bananas EVERY day, and without them, my life – and my belly – would be empty.

Learning to cook these foods and then discovering that they agreed with me was a huge comfort after all the GI distress that came before. So I’ve grabbed onto those foods that make my tummy happy, and I’ve clung to them like a 2-year-old clings to mommy’s ankles.

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The truth is that the foods being introduced on phase 3 terrify me. They are the foods that have historically caused me some of the most trouble: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onion, strawberries, lettuce, peppers… the list goes on. I was happy in my world of butternut and rubbery ‘balloon’ meatballs, as K referred to them. It wasn’t by any means a taste explosion in my mouth – but that also meant it wasn’t any kind of explosion in my colon.

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Tomorrow, I’m introducing onions. I’m not hopeful about it and I don’t expect them to treat me kindly. Apart from green beans (which have SO pleasantly surprised me), I haven’t been reticent to try any new foods, so this is a first. I plan to cook them really well, and test for three days as I have with everything else. If I can handle them, it’ll be some kind of miracle. Onion! In my meals! Amazing! But I’m not sure it’s going to go so smoothly. I know there are loads of people who’ve been on SCD for years and still can’t handle onions and various other veg from this phase.

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Tonight’s incredible dinner

K’s really been missing eating out since I started the SCD, and in the past 49 days, we’ve only done it twice. So we decided that tonight, we’d go to the steakhouse next door to our apartment. It’s one of our favourite spots and they are absolute pros. But when I went over there this afternoon to have a very serious discussion with them about my dietary restrictions, they told me they were fully booked. We googled a bunch of restaurants and eventually decided to make an amazing meaty meal at home… and that’s what we did.

K tried her hand at carpaccio, which is her very favourite thing to eat in the whole world. We bought top quality fillet from the butchery downstairs, and it turned out superbly! I was a bit worried at first because I love carpaccio too – but I usually have it with rocket, parmesan and a liberal dousing of balsamic vinegar. After all, it’s just slices of raw meat. Tonight, having only salt and pepper available to me, I took my first ginger bite… and it was phenomenal. Here’s K’s plate. Mine was significantly less colourful but outstanding nonetheless:

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I then grilled myself a chalmar beef sirloin, which was amay-may. I still can’t tell you what chalmar beef is, but I think it may be unique to SA? When I asked the butcher what differentiated chalmar from karan beef, he said, ‘The price’, but there has to be more to it. Chalmar is also grass fed up until 20kg, and seems to be nutritionally superior in some ways.

And what did the tequila say today after last night?

Well, it wasn’t fun waking up at 8.45am after hitting the sack with a belly full of booze and yoghurt at 2am, but my tummy felt fine, and I don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects after last night’s drinking. That’s not to say I want to make it a habit – oh no thank you! But nice to know I can party with my friends occasionally and not have to swap my shooters for carrot juice.

Tomorrow will be my weekly cooking day, which is tedious but necessary. K and I also like to make our Sundays ‘facemask days’, which yes, means we put on facemasks and post ridiculous photos on Facebook, but it also just means we try to stay home, hang out in our PJs until our guilt starts feeling guilty, then shower, get into clean PJs, and watch scary movies and Grey’s Anatomy until it;s time to go to bed. We’ll be doing this for most of tomorrow, though we are joining my folks for supper. Oh, how I love Facemask Sundays!

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The closest I get to chocolate these days: chocolate facemasks