One year later: The foods I stopped eating in 2014

SugarCoated

In an effort to find an eating plan that helped me manage my IBD, I tested a lot of different healing diets in 2014 (hence this blog). Turns out, there was no one specific diet that gave me the answer. I had to tweak my eating plan to add and remove foods that my body did and didn’t like, and to find a way of eating that suited me. Here’s a list of what didn’t work for me – it might help you to pinpoint your problem foods. Lower down is a list of all the things I can (and am) eating and drinking now, a year later.

Artificial sweeteners. I used to drink a ton of diet cooldrinks as well as multiple cups of tea and coffee every day, each sweetened with low-calorie sugar replacements. I knew that they were causing me intestinal discomfort, but I ignored it until I was incredibly ill, and then it was the first thing my nutritionalist cut from my diet. The carbonated drinks caused bloating, and aspartame – the main ingredient in many sweeteners – is known to cause GI distress in those predisposed to gastrointestinal disorders. Meanwhile, sorbitol – an ingredient in gum, some diet drinks and even fruit like apples, peaches and prunes – is hard to digest and can cause gas, bloating and diarrhoea. Some researchers have gone a step further to say that sweeteners can cause IBD – just give this scary article a read if you needed any more convincing.

Processed food. I’m hardly an angel – I definitely slip up from time to time, and even since my diagnosis have been known to indulge (one time) in Nutella cheesecake. But for the most part, I avoid anything packaged (unless it has just one or two ingredients, like tomato paste made only from tomatoes and salt). I don’t eat takeaways, sweets, chips or cheap chocolates (when I do have chocolate, I usually go for good quality bars with a high cocoa content). Again, there is the occasional instance in which I slip up, but the norm is for me not to include these items in my diet.

Most dairy. I am lactose intolerant, and when I found out, about two and a half years ago, I cut out all dairy immediately. When I let some sneak back into my diet, I’d have terrible flares. Now that my IBD is under control, and I’ve been lactose-free for so long, I’ve found that I can eat certain dairy products in limited amounts without experiencing horrible side effects. Cheese in small quantities is fine, as is butter and very limited amounts of cream cheese. I still avoid milk, cream and yoghurt, and feel that I’m getting the best benefits of dairy from the items I can eat, and avoiding the dairy products that are usually laden with unhealthy additives (ie, sweetened yogurt).

Sweetcorn. I seldom, if ever, eat sweetcorn. This is because it’s aggravated my belly in the past, so instead of taking a chance, I skip it (and don’t miss it). Baby corn seems to be okay in small amounts.

Bran flakes. If you have IBD, chances are you don’t need much additional bran in your diet. I only realised this well into my second bad flare. These days, if I need a little ‘help’, I drink more water and eat more vegetables. I LOVED bran flakes (especially with milk and sweetener) and I miss breakfast cereals. But believe me, it’s better this way.

Gluten. Both nutritionalists that I’ve been to have strongly recommended I remove gluten from my diet, even though I’m not coeliac. When I’ve tested it, I haven’t had a problem with it, but that said, I’m trying to eat clean, and without gluten in my diet, I feel healthier, lighter and less bogged down. Also, by avoiding packaged foods, I’m automatically avoiding 90% of gluten. I won’t lie – it’s hard to resist the other 10%: the bread basket on a restaurant table, or the birthday cake calling my name. But I do, as much as I can.

Sugar. I have a serious problem with sugar – my problem being that once I start, I can’t stop. No one should be consuming sugar in large amounts, but lots of people can have a slice of cake and stop. I can’t – which is a particularly serious problem for someone who shouldn’t be eating most of the constituents of those two three six slices of it. Sugar is responsible for all manner of horrible illnesses, and for me, given the fact that my GI tract is already compromised, there’s no need for it.

So what do I eat? Everything else!

Healthy Snacks

It might seem like I’ve cut almost every type of food from my diet, but that’s really not the case – not if you know how to eat clean. I eat meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, cheese and all the delicious dishes you can make from those ingredients. My diet sustains me, makes me feel full, healthy and, most importantly, not bloated and kak (that’s a wonderful South African term for which there isn’t really a translation, but look it up anyway).

And what do I drink?

It’s a very common concern: what can I drink on SCD/paleo/autoimmune paleo, etc. For a start, everyone should be consuming at least two litres of water a day. It’s much easier than you think if you keep water with you all the time.

I also drink good quality black coffee (without sugar – takes some getting used to), but this isn’t allowed on autoimmune paleo. Herbal teas are good, as are pure fruit juices on SCD, if you aren’t avoiding fruit sugars. Sparkling water with berries, lemons, cucumber or orange slices added is a delicious alternative to a fizzy cooldrink, and you can also make your own iced teas and coffees. Play around with the ingredients you’re allowed to have/can tolerate, and avoid adding anything processed to your drinks. Sweeten with honey.

As for alcohol, this is a very personal choice. I’m not a big drinker and I’ve never enjoyed beer, ciders, etc. Some diets will tell you that dry wines and vodka are okay (this is the only spirit I drink), while others (autoimmune paleo, for example) will ban all alcohol. If you are flaring, you should definitely avoid alcohol. If your IBD is under control, test it carefully. Here’s a detailed piece I wrote on what to drink on a healing diet.

What diet am I following now?

I tend to jump around and try different eating plans that work for me, so there isn’t one specific diet that I’m following. It’s not SCD, paleo or AIP. If anything, at the moment, it’s a low carb high fat diet (LCHF). But mostly, it’s a clean, healthy diet devoid of unhealthy packaged foods and excess sugar. And it’s working for me, which is the most important thing.

You need to find a diet that works for you, and if it doesn’t fit into the framework of any specific healing diets, make it up. Tweak, change, add and remove according to want your body likes and wants, and call it your specific diet 🙂

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Day 96: The most amazing 100% SCD burgers!

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My 100% SCD legal plate on the left; K’s 75% SCD legal plate on the right 🙂

Just look at these babies! I made them tonight out of a recipe I concocted in my head, and the results were far, far better than I expected for a first attempt.

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I ate the patty with home-made guacamole and steamed veg on the side, and K – oh she of healthy gut – had hers drenched in cheese, topped with red onion and gherkin, and served on a bun with chips on the side (neither of which are SCD legal of course). Cheese – dairy – is legal on SCD but I haven’t covered it much on this blog because I’m lactose intolerant and hence avoid it at all costs.

I haven’t introduced any new foods in a while, so tonight I experimented with spices (which I finally feel comfortable to do now), and I also ate a few slices of gherkin, which I’ve always loved. I need to keep introducing foods but I’m making such amazing meals from my existing options that I keep forgetting!

It’s really late and my internet connection is a little cranky so I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

Day 90: SCD challenge complete – a review of the past 90 days (but it’s only the start!)

Today marks 90 days on SCD – the goal I set out to achieve based on the challenge in Surviving to ThrivingJordan Reasoner and Steve Wright – the authors of the book and founders of SCDLifestyle.com – used the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) to help heal their guts after being ravaged by IBD, and continue to survive – and thrive – on the diet today.

I came across this diet last year, after researching alternative ways to fight my ulcerative colitis. I was newly diagnosed and my symptoms were under control thanks to steroids and chronic medication, but I knew I wanted to take a more active role in healing myself, and I knew that diet was integral to that. Most importantly, I knew I didn’t want to be on meds for the rest of my life.

Fast forward to January 2014, and after reading the book, I finally made the commitment to do its 90-day challenge. And here I am, 90 days later, having followed it to the T (albeit cheating once!).

Why I decided to document my 90 days

I started this blog for others who may have wanted to take up the challenge but who, like me, were unable to find any resources that explained, on a day-by-day basis, what it would be like to be on this diet. After all, the idea of the diet is terrifying! It’s extremely difficult, it takes a TON of patience, willpower, perseverance and commitment, and it’s definitely not easy – at least at first.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I went for it. And what I can tell you is that:

  • It is difficult
  • It is doable
  • It is absolutely worth it
  • YOU can do it

Apart from anything else, knowing that you are taking an active role in your own health, and discovering that you have the stamina to stick with something really hard, even in the face of daily – hourly – temptation – gives you a sense of accomplishment that is hard to beat.

Many of us fighting IBD got here due to poor diet – at least in part. I don’t know about you guys, but prior to SCD, I never met a sweet treat I said ‘no’ to. In fact, I discovered on this diet that saying ‘no’ is the best yes you can give your body (read about that here).

I realised that I needed to take responsibility for my health, so that if I ever end up facing surgery one day, at least I’ll know I did everything in my power to prevent it. How could I allow myself to continue on my unhealthy path knowing that I might be throwing myself under the bus? Moreover, I really hope to get off the meds one day – who wants to spend their life on Asacol and steroids?

After researching SCD for several months, I decided it would be worth a try – thousands of people swear by it. I finally took the leap and I’m so glad I did.

Did SCD work for me?

SCD has definitely helped to reduce some of the discomfort I experience, but more to the point, it’s helped me to pinpoint what is causing it (veg, mainly. Sob).

It’s also helped me to look more closely at some of my ‘less ideal’ eating habits, like binge eating, over-eating at meals, eating too fast and not paying careful attention to everything that I put into my body.

It’s allowed me to overcome my fear of flares. As you’ll know if you have IBD, the thought of flares is terrifying: you never really know when they’ll hit, but you may know that certain foods can trigger them. On SCD, I’m not eating ANY foods that are known to cause my flares (this is different for everyone). It’s great to not live in fear of the next flare striking.

It’s also taught me (out of necessity rather than choice!) how to make the most amazing foods at home – like nut milks, 100% natural meals and YOGURT! I make my own yogurt, guys (recipe here). I mean, that’s insane! It’s taught me how to pay even closer attention than I did before to food labels; it’s taught me how much crap can be found in foods that we’re tricked into believing are good for us. And it’s opened up a whole new world of fresh, natural, organic foods (including desserts!) that actually help to heal my body as I’m eating them.

Has SCD ‘healed’ me? Well I can’t say at this stage. I’m still taking my meds, as it would be silly for me to come off them without the green light from my doctor. However, at my last check up in February, there was ZERO sign of inflammation – something that I’ve had since 2012!

Also, I was really hoping that SCD would help me overcome bloating, but that’s still a work in progress – as is the quality and consistency of my BMs. But again, this is okay – there’s no blanket cure that works for everyone, which is why any diet such as this must be tweaked over time to meet your body’s needs.

What next?

I’m going to do another 10 days on SCD, and then I’m rewarding myself with a well-deserved holiday to Malaysia and Bali (actually, the timing is purely coincidental, but I like the way it worked out).

I plan to transition to a paleo diet, as I feel that my body copes better with meat and protein than with veg and carbs, and also, I like the idea of paleo – I’m hoping it’ll work for me. It’s also grain, dairy and refined sugar free – items I intend to avoid indefinitely (plus I’m lactose intolerant) – and I love that it’s so clean. When I get back from Bali, I’m hoping to turn out whole apartment into a paleo zone! It’s going to be so much easier if we’re both following the diet.

Today’s meal

Did I cheat today, on day 90? Nope! Although I did do something naughty that I warned you guys about waaaaaaaay back in the early days: I ate at a restaurant (probably only the third or fourth time I’ve done this on SCD), and I didn’t ask them to cook my food without seasoning (here’s what not to do at a restaurant if you’re on SCD).

I ordered steak and veg, and luckily all the vegetables had already been added (successfully) to my diet: zucchini, green beans, broccoli and spinach. The steak, too, was fantastic, though it all came with seasoning and I suspect the veg had butter on it – eek! Bear in mind that dairy is totally fine on SCD after about 30 days, IF you can tolerate it. Butter is SCD legal, as are certain cheeses.

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This photo was very hurried as we were in a trendy restaurant and I didn’t want people thinking me a hipster

And of course, you’ll see the stem of my wine glass – we had the most delicious merlot to accompany our meal, and I toasted to the final 10 days on the diet. So cheers to that!

Day 89: A typical daily meal plan on Phase 4 of SCD

Now that I’m so close to the end of my 90-day challenge – which I will be extending to a nice round 100 – I thought I’d share with you what I typically eat on an average day on SCD.

I’m currently on phase 4, and I’ve properly introduced in all the foods that I eat, except for ginger and lemon, which I added by default when I was ill a few weeks ago and relied on hot toddies to get me through!

Phase 4: Typical daily meal plan

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Upon waking up

500ml water (tap temperature – I can’t drink it ice-cold!)

Breakfast

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, pure ground coffee (diluted) and sometimes a banana if I’m still hungry, or
  • SCD pancakes (egg, banana, coconut oil) or
  • a few bananas if I’m not too hungry yet (this is extremely rare!)

Lunch

  • A mix of any of the following vegetables: gem squash, roast butternut, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and leeks, served with homemade tomato sauce (tomatoes, garlic and onion) and half an avocado.
  • Sometimes I add leftover meat from the night before (ie: grilled chicken breast).
  • Sometimes I have leftovers from the night before, but usually I freeze my leftovers for nights when I’m too lazy to cook!
  • I always round off every lunch with a banana.

Snack

  • one or two bananas (I try to eat no more than 2 or 3 per day) or
  • Pineapple pieces or
  • Nut butter – my two faves are cashew and macadamia, but I’ll also eat almond

Dinner

One of my fave meals: gem squash, roast butternut and avo with ostrich 'bolognaise'... and a glass of vino!

One of my fave meals: gem squash, roast butternut and avo with ostrich ‘bolognaise’… and a glass of vino!

Dessert

  • SCD yogurt: either almond milk yogurt or my amazing coconut and cashew yogurt (recipe here), drizzled with honey or
  • Nut butter, or
  • a few spoonfuls of honey

Things I eat every day:

  • eggs
  • bananas
  • avocado
  • vegetables
  • scd yogurt
  • honey

Occasional treats

  • Nut butters (as I have no self-control when it comes to them)

Drinks

  • Every day: 2 litres of water – this is so important and if you’re not sure you’re drinking enough, use a 500ml bottle to keep count (that’s what I do)
  • Every day: 1 cup of pure ground coffee (occasionally two but never more)
  • Most days: pure apple juice
  • Most days: wine (1 – 2 glasses per evening)
  • Occasionally: herbal tea
  • Occasionally: vodka with apple juice or soda water

What do I still want to add to/remove from my diet?

I can’t wait to introduce salad, though an entire completely raw dish is likely to be a challenge for my gut. I’m also looking forward to introducing whole nuts, though I have zero willpower so it’s probably a good thing that I can’t eat them right now! (plus they can be rough on the gut).

I’m also looking forward to introducing more spices.

There’s nothing I really want to remove from my diet, because I’m loving all the food I’m currently eating. I do know that I need to cut down on vegetables because they make me very bloated. I might also need to reduce my salt intake.

What do I miss?

Nothing… any more! It was hard at first and I can’t lie, I felt like this every night for the first few weeks:

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(here’s a short clip of me eating intro food):

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But now, it’s much, much easier. I really enjoy this diet, my cravings are gone and I feel so good. I can’t wait to get to a point where I can add SCD desserts made from nuts, dried fruit, honey, etc (like Larabars for example, and SCD-legal cheesecake!).

yum

What I miss the most, to be honest, is convenience! On a diet like SCD or paleo, you need to plan ahead to make sure you always have food prepared – there’s no quick ‘running into a store’ to grab a sandwich or something horribly processed. You also need to cook in advance and often you need to take your own food with you when you go out.

How do I feel about day 90 tomorrow?

I can’t believe it’s here – but more to the point, I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone! Honestly, It. Has. Flown. 30 days, 90 days, 1 year – your life – it all just flies by so make TODAY the day you do that thing you’ve been putting off.

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Current diet round-up

Since I’ve been on the SCD for 32 days, I thought I’d give a quick overview of all the things I’m eating and drinking right now, as well as the supplements I’m taking, to give you an idea of where you might expect to be at a similar point. Of course, it’s different for everyone and you must go at your own pace. I’ve introduced all new foods (starred*) at an interval of 3 to 4 days.

Meat:

Chicken (grilled; skinless and boneless OR with skin removed after cooking; boiled or baked)

Beef (mince/steak; lean, with fat trimmed off; grilled)

Fish (baked)

Venison (steak/mince; grilled/grilled meatballs)

Ostrich (mince; grilled meatballs)

Vegetables:

Carrot (cooked until very soft; pureed)

Butternut*

Gem squash*

Zucchini* (peeled and seeds removed)

Garlic*

Mushroom (tested; doesn’t agree with me)

Fruit:

Apple (tested; doesn’t agree with me)

Bananas* (very ripe, with brown spots)

Pear* (cooked and pureed)

Avocado* (raw; ripe)

Seasonings:

Salt (pure; no additives; no anti-caking agents)

Black pepper (ground; no additives; non-irradiated)

Drinks:

Water

100% pure apple juice with no preservatives

Rooibos tea

Rooibos tea with vanilla

Coffee (ground; weak/diluted; one cup per day)*

Wine (dry; max one glass per day)*

Supplements:

Probiotics

Calcium

Vitamins B, C and D

Magnesium

Introducing next:

Tomatoes

Herbs

This is only Phase 2 and already my diet is fairly varied (all things considered), so be positive and have hope because it gets easier and easier 🙂

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Day 19: Good sources of protein

Day 19, and I’m still not entirely satisfied with my BMs, but as I know so well by now, patience is key on this diet. This morning was great; this evening… not so much. But I’m excited to move onto phase 2. Today my diet has consisted of boiled eggs, bananas, gem squash, butternut and meat, and I’m not having any bloating.

I’ve decided to try the pear puree that I made (and froze) a few weeks ago. Once I’ve tested it, I’ll be moving onto phase 2. I can’t wait to add things like avocado, garlic, tomato (carefully), pineapple and mushrooms.

Yesterday I spoke a lot about carbs. Today I want to focus briefly on protein. On the SCD, it’s important that all meals contain a mix of protein, fat and carbs. Protein keeps us feeling full and is essential to rebuilding body cells.

So for breakfast, you could have eggs and banana, for example, or meat and fruit sauce. It takes some getting used to, eating meat for breakfast, but it’s really not so strange after a while.

Benefits of eggs and how to cook them

Eggs are an amazing food on SCD, if you can handle them. Not everyone can, but I seem to be fine with them. They offer a solid dose of protein and fat, and they keep you feeling full for a long time.

If you hard boil them, you can take them anywhere for an easy snack in a cinch. I take boiled eggs to work every morning, and sometimes, if I have a leftover egg in the fridge, I’ll snack on it before exercising.

You can also scramble eggs with no added fat if you have a non-stick pan and watch them carefully. I simply beat them with a little water and then scramble them. I haven’t tried frying them without fat, but I’m sure with the right equipment, one could.

Something to look forward to in Phase 2

Something to look forward to in Phase 2

Meats I’m eating, and how I’m cooking them

As for meat, it’s always best to stick to lean cuts (fatty meat is simply not healthy for anyone). This is especially true in the beginning phases when it’s particularly hard for your gut to digest fat. It’s recommended that you cook your meat in a way that draws the fat out – like grilling, broiling or boiling (and then skimming the fat off the top, as you would do with bone broth).

I’ve been eating a lot of chicken, which I either boil (if it has skin and bones) or grill (if it’s skinless and boneless). I also love steak, though I usually stick to thin, mini cuts – called “minute” steaks because they literally cook in one minute – which I grill. Every now and then I’ll grill a nice juicy rump as a treat, but this is at most once a week.

I haven’t yet tried fish on SCD, as I’ve always needed my fish to be very well seasoned if I’m going to enjoy it. That’s obviously not an option right now, so perhaps I’ll wait until I’ve introduced more herbs and spices.

Lastly, I’m eating a fair amount of ostrich. An ostrich is a large, ugly-looking bird that is indigenous to Africa. It’s so big that an adult can ride it – and they do, for fun, in some towns.

An ostrich. Tastier than it looks.

An ostrich. Tastier than it looks.

Tenderising the meat prior to eating

Tenderising the meat prior to eating

Unlike chicken, ostrich it is a red meat. It is considered extremely healthy because it’s high in protein but very lean. Ostrich meat is definitely an acquired taste and due to its low fat content, it can be very dry. Luckily, I’m becoming accustomed to it and I make meat balls from ostrich mince, which are nutritious, quite tasty, and quick to defrost. Fun fact: One ostrich egg is equivalent to 24 regular hen’s eggs and has 2000 calories! If you need to gain weight, I’d go with one of these babies each morning 😉

An ostrich egg. We do things properly in Africa!

An ostrich egg. We do things properly in Africa!

How to choose meat

When it comes to buying meat, try to choose organic, and always ensure that it has NO ADDITIVES. Some farms inject all sorts of crap into their meat, like hormones, ‘natural’ flavourants, colourants and so forth. I’m extremely fortunate to have a good quality butchery right downstairs from my apartment. I trust them completely and I can see (and taste) that the meat is of a superior quality.

The also sell grass-fed beef, which is rare in South Africa. It is recommended that you always buy grass-fed (as opposed to grain-fed) whenever possible. Makes sense for us grain-challenged peeps!

Organic, grass-fed meat will cost you – especially as more and more people cotton on to the health benefits of eating it. But it’s worth it. It’s an investment in your health, after all.

SCDelicious! Who said you couldn't have any mouth-watering meals on this diet? :-)

SCDelicious! Who said you couldn’t have any mouth-watering meals on this diet? 🙂

One of the things I’m most excited about is finally getting to a point when I can eat biltong again. Biltong is a South African delicacy that is sometimes compared to beef jerky, but is really nothing like it.

Basically, it’s highly spiced raw meat that is hung up to dry. Once dried, after a few days, you eat it just like that, without cooking it. Sound disgusting? I promise it’s not! K and I even make our own. Come and visit me in SA and I’ll make some especially for you 🙂 We’ll tuck in once we’ve hit the 90-day mark 🙂

This is how happy any meat-eating South African will look when you put them in front of a rack of biltong

This is how happy any meat-eating South African will look when you put them in front of a rack of biltong

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.