This is what an SCD plate of food looks like

Just 53 days in (which, I promise, goes quickly 🙂 ), you can look forward to this kind of meal:

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It’s grilled chicken with gem squash, butternut, onion and green beans, topped with a tomato and garlic sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro (corianda/dhanya). And of course, a lovely, super creamy avo half on the side. SOOOO delicious. This kind of meal makes me feel like I am not missing out at all, and it’s taken less than 2 months to get here.

Remember, of course, that you’ll need to figure out what foods do/don’t agree with you. So far, I know I can’t eat mushrooms and apples. But everything else is okay – some of it in moderation (like bananas). I am still testing onions but I suspect they’re not doing great things inside my belly – and during the night, when I’m fast asleep and not holding things in, I think K is the one suffering!

If you’re doing SCD, what’s your plate looking like at the moment?

Day 38: Green beans and work blues

It’s been a stressful few days at work, which I know is not good for my gut. It’s always the first place I feel stress, anxiety or unease: Those horrible knots, the nausea, the jolts of adrenaline. I try to be very aware of it and to manage it as far as possible.

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I keep reminding myself that I was offered this job when I was very happy (and successful) working for myself as a freelancer. I took it because the remuneration was attractive and because it was offered to me just as I was recovering from my last flare. I was on cortisone and I felt like I could conquer the world! No, but seriously, I thought that maybe the stability of a ‘9-5’ would be good for my health, as opposed to the uncertainty of freelance work.

So I keep telling myself that I can always go back to it. At any time, I can pack it in and return to my little home office, and to the foreign students I taught English to as well. It helps to keep me calm and to consider this a ‘favour’ I’m doing for the company, rather than the other way around (even if it’s not true!).

Does your job stress you out? How do you cope with it? It’s so important for people like us, with IBD, to find productive ways of handling it.

Oh but OH! There was one bright spot in the black hole of my work day today: One of the offices newbies asked me if this was my ‘first job out of varsity’. Considering that I graduated 10 years ago, my entire week (and possibly 30th year) was made.

But back to the food

Doesn’t it always come back to the food? 😉 The green beans are going surprisingly well. I am never quite sure after supper whether I’m bloated or just full, because I tend to eat my biggest meal of the day at night (BAD, yes, I know). I just hate feeling too full while I’m at work, or in the middle of the day. It makes me feel sluggish and unproductive.

Anyway, I had some beans at work today, and suffered zero ill effects. I’m pretty shocked that I’m handling them so well, but I’m so happy about it. It’s yet another food I can add to my diet.

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And the wine?

No wine. Despite how lovely it would’ve been to knock back a glass or two after work last night and today as well, I have resisted and I must say, I can feel a difference. I don’t have any cramps or bloating. Wine is going to have to be consumed in serious moderation, and that’s okay. I can handle it.

M&M?

No, not that kind of M&M! EMINEM! He’s coming to perform in Cape Town tomorrow and K got us last minute tickets! I’m beyond excited, and the best part is that we live right opposite the Cape Town stadium, so we can just stroll over when we’re ready, and stroll back home. The crazy part is that the tickets were sold for just R99, which is about $9. Originally, they ranged from about R500 to over R1000 ($50 to $100-ish), which is really expensive for us.

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I’m sure the vibe is going to be INSANE and I’m sooooooo excited! So if I don’t post tomorrow, you’ll know it’s because we got home super late and with our heads full of expletives 😉

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Day 36: Let’s try that again

So I got a bit ahead of myself yesterday. Today is day 36 🙂 Either way, it’s going well.

Today I spent around 3-4 hours cooking. That’s the thing with SCD. It’s not just a psychological commit; it’s a time commitment too. There’s no ‘quick grabbing’ of snacks – unless you’re talking about bananas (which I eat in unashamed abundance – and even bananas need to be bought in advance to ensure they’re ripe enough).

You need to have at least one day a week, but preferably two, when you can set aside at least a few hours to cook. And while it sucks at the time, you’ll thank yourself when you get home late from work in the middle of the week and most of your food is already prepared. Here’s what I cooked today.

Tomatoes

These guys are a mission because you need a lot of them to yield a fairly small amount of workable food. I cooked up 2kg today. I started by dunking them in boiling water for about a minute, to make it easy to peel off the skin. Once the skin has been removed, you need to cut them open and remove the seeds. It took me almost an hour to get through 2kg (but I’m pretty pedantic). That said, the results were worth it.

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Because I’d already tested garlic, I tossed the peeled, de-seeded, chopped chunks of tomato into a pot with some chopped garlic and boiling water. Cooked for about an hour on med-high heat, then pureed with a hand blender. It makes a beautiful sauce that goes fantastically with meat and veg. I froze some and have about 3 days’ worth in the fridge.

Green beans

Now this is a real test. I’ve suspected for years that green beans don’t agree with me, but when I went through the list of foods to introduce on Phase 2, this was one of the remaining few that appealed to me. I topped-and-tailed about 6oog of green beans, sliced them into about inch-long pieces, and boiled them for an hour and a half. They smell amazing when they’re cooking! I’ll be testing them from tomorrow. I made enough for the next three days, plus some have gone into the freezer.

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Butternut

I peeled and de-seeded three medium-sized butternuts, and cut them into small blocks. I also removed as much of the ‘stringy’ bits in the bulb part that I could, just because I want to limit any possible digestive hurdles. Once chopped, they only take about 45-6o minutes to cook (and less if you’re cooking a smaller batch). I’ve also found that you can cook pre-chopped butternut in the microwave and it only takes about 12 minutes. Of course, you can cook butternut with the skin on, but I find that it’s harder to peel them when they’re super soft. Again, I put enough in the fridge for about 3 days, and froze the rest.

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our new apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Green beans, butternut (at the back), tomatoes and a bowl of cooked gem squash. Plus the freakin awesome kettle my sister bought us when we moved into our apartment. It lights up in blue when it boils!

Gem squash

I cooked 5 gem squash, for about an hour. I always scrape the skin out of the shells for easy eating 🙂 It makes about 3 days’ worth of fare, depending on how much you eat at each meal. I LOVE squash so I could probably get through two whole (small) ones at each dinner.

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Venison meatballs

I bought about 1kg of venison mince and divided it into 14 patties. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, but nothing else. Weirdly, while I was shaping them into patties, a small metal ball fell out of the meat. I took a photo and sent it, along with a very displeased email, to the manufacturers. It could’ve caused serious problems! If I’d bitten it I could’ve broken a tooth, and if I’d swallowed it… it’s not even worth thinking about. So let’s see what they say.

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Anyway, the problem with venison, as I’ve said before, is that it smells terrible when you’re cooking it. In fact, we’ve just returned home from being out for several hours (at the most awesome gay comedy gig where K performed – have I mentioned she’s a comedienne? 🙂 ) and our small apartment reeks of it. I’m not sure what the solution is. But I do love the taste.

…And the one non-SCD thing I baked today

I haven’t baked in ages, and I miss it. This morning, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients, including a chocolate muffin mix, instant caramel pudding, milk, oil and eggs, and threw together a batch of chocolate-caramel brownies. I don’t know who I intended them for. K is supposed to be eating healthy. But I convinced her to have one, and she said they were ‘the best brownies I’ve ever eaten’. Yay! Except now I have an entire batch of chocolate brownies just hanging around my kitchen. Plus I got a good talking-to from K about contaminating my SCD area!

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My choc-caramel brownies – VERY SCD-illegal!

How do I feel on day 36?

Mostly fine. I do concede that I’ve had some bad bloating these past few days, and I’m pretty sure it’s the wine. Then again, it could be the tomatoes. So what I’m going to do is cut out the wine for the week, and keep eating the tomatoes. If it doesn’t improve, I’ll cut out the tomatoes. So it’s kinda like ‘backwards’ testing, I guess, but I think it’ll work. Or, as I like to think of it: Inception testing – a test within a test (within a test…) 🙂

I’m also constipated. I HATE being constipated. Of course, diarrhoea is awful. Being (figuratively) chained to the toilet for months on end is awful. The bleeding, the dehydration, the anaemia, the just-plain rawness, is terrible. But constipation… in my mind, it’s almost as bad. I hate feeling like there’s gunk inside my body that needs to come out but won’t or can’t.

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I’m still taking all my supplements, including magnesium, and I’ll keep trying to add foods that can aid in better bowel movements.

Overall, I feel good. I’ve lost about 3kg and my jeans are all hanging off my butt. My butt is always the first to go. But I love that my clothes don’t feel like they’re constricting me.

It’s gay pride week in Cape Town and I’m sooooooo happy! I’m very out and proud, but being part of an actual week dedicated to it, contrived as it may seem, brings out the happy tears in me. There’s an incredible feeling of togetherness, which is unusual because the gays are such bitches most of the time (men and women). This coming Saturday is the Pride march in the city centre, and I can’t wait to paint my face, dress in pink and march with people from all over South Africa and other parts of Africa. It makes my heart swell. And in my opinion, what makes your heart happy makes your body happy 🙂

PS: I just got changed into my PJs and my tummy is bloat central. I don’t know what it was but I’m guessing the booze wasn’t completely innocent. Back to clean tomorrow.