Monday, June 7, 2010

Hanging in There!

I had a rough day last Thursday. I sent my husband a text telling him I was angry about my food and wanted to cry. I don't know what happened, but I just felt so negative and like SCD was "too hard" and I wanted to quit. I told him I knew I was being a big baby, but I couldn't help it. His reply was exactly what I needed to hear: "I don't think you're a baby. This stuff is tough, but so are you!" Ok, back on track. I'm happy to report that I didn't eat anything I shouldn't have while I was having this crisis of willpower and resolve, so the only damage that was done was mental. Once I broke through that day, I've really felt a lot more positive and like I can do this for the long haul. I've begun to look at "illegals" in a different way now. It's kind of the way I've come to see corn. SCD or not, I've not been able to eat corn since my diagnosis. I've tried it a couple of times (sometimes by accident or out of "politeness") and it messes me up badly. In fact, I blame this most recent flare on being too embarrassed to tell a friend I couldn't eat the Amy's burrito she made for me because it had corn in it. At any rate, I used to love corn on the cob but there is no way I would touch it now. I see corn, or foods with corn in it, and my automatic response is, "I don't eat that." That's where I am getting with the foods that aren't SCD legal. I'm making my way to the place where it's not that I can't eat a certain thing, but that I don't or won't. It's a big shift in attitude!

I'm also thrilled that my weight has gone down a couple of pounds and stabilized. I was having trouble controlling my weight gain over the last month or so of this pregnancy and I was up to 35 pounds gained which was a bit ahead of where my OB and I wanted me to be. I've dropped a couple of pounds down to a total gain of 30.5 pounds and I've been stable there for about a week now. I've done this while eating well and never going hungry, too. The foods I'm eating are very satisfying to me and I feel like I'm doing great things for my body and the baby I'm carrying by cutting out the junk and eating real, nutritious foods.

Saturday we had a family function to attend at a park. The menu was supposed to be a cookout but I wasn't sure about the food being prepared, so I packed my own lunch. This was my first time doing this for a family event, and I wasn't sure how it would go. I finally decided most people probably weren't paying as much attention to me as I thought and I just needed to do my own thing to stay healthy. I packed a salad with grilled chicken, cheese and homemade dressing, a small can of Dole pineapple chunks in juice, a small container of yogurt with honey, a packet of my Trader Joe's in the raw Trek Mix, a banana, and a Lara Bar in case I got the urge for something sweet while they were having cake. I ended up bringing the Lara Bar home with me because I wasn't that hungry, but I was glad I had it. I've determined that I need to take my own food places so that I'm not stuck worrying about the food or whether or not there are things I can eat. I plan to do this from now on for parties, events, etc. I'll be the weird one with my mini-cooler, but I'll be healthy!

I have two food dilemmas I'm working on right now. The first is how/what I'm going to eat while I'm in labor and during my hospital stay when the baby is born. The second is how to eat for distance running when I start my half marathon training this fall. The hospital situation will be able to be resolved through a lot of help from my wonderfully supportive husband. He will have to make trips home in the evening to give our three year old his injection for his arthritis, so if we have foods ready he can bring me a cooler to the hospital with whatever I need. I also plan to create a stash of stable, easy to transport stuff like fresh fruits, nuts, trail mix, and canned pineapple. I figure if I have that stuff in the room and he brings me a cooler each day with things like salads, boiled eggs, grilled chicken, yogurt, and cheese then I should be able to get by until it's time to go home. Somehow I have a vision of him ending up at a local grocery buying me a rotisserie chicken!

The distance running thing is a bit of a different obstacle. I need to come up with some options that are portable, stable, and will replace the nutrients that I used to rely on in things like Gu energy gels and Gatorade when completing long runs. I actually went the geek route and started a spreadsheet that analyzes the nutrition in a Gu gel and 8 oz. of Gatorade and then comparing some SCD friendly options that I can replace them with. So far I've come up with two different options:

1) The Close to Home Option: this would work well assuming a "home" race where I'm at home the night before and have easy access to my kitchen, fridge, etc. I was reading a Paleo/Crossfit nutrition blog and came across a suggestion to use squash as a carb for cardio and endurance events and it inspired me to create this recipe for Squash Shots. My plan would be to whip these up and put them into individual fuel belt flasks. The recipe:

1/4 cup pureed cooked butternut squash
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
2 Tbsp. honey
dash salt

I have yet to actually try this, so I can't vouch for how it tastes or anything, but I think if you liked squash then it would be ok. It can't be worse than the commercially available gels that are out there! Nutrition breaks down as follows (based on stats at Calories-208, Carbs-39 gm, Sugar-35 gm, Sodium-105 mg, Potassium-233 mg.

2) The On the Road Option: this option assumes I am traveling for a race and possibly staying in a hotel the night before without the ability to cook or prep food.

Ella's Kitchen Organic Baby Food Stage One baby food packets. I'm thinking the Apples and Banana would be great. It provides about the same calories and sugars as a gel and they are in cool twist off top packets like a giant energy gel. I think it would be easy enough to twist one open and suck it down on the run or at a water station. Ingredients for this flavor are apples, bananas, and a dash of organic lemon juice concentrate. I know SCD purists would probably frown upon the lemon juice concentrate, but I'm comfortable with it. I actually use bottled lemon juice for my recipes that call for it with no problems.

Along with the baby food packets, I would take S-Cap electrolyte supplements from Succeed! These have proven reliable for my running friends that use them and I am comfortable with the ingredients: Sodium Chloride, Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium citrate, Sodium phosphate, Potassium Chloride

Under this option, I probably would want to put some orange juice in a couple of fuel belt bottles, too since there aren't as many calories/carbs readily available versus my at home option. I'll have to test both methods out in training to see what works best. It will be some fun experimentation and I'll be sure to share my outcomes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SCD, Day Two

Greetings! It's a great day here so far today. Woke up starving but had a couple of quick phone calls to make before I could make breakfast, so I munched on a banana while I took care of that. I'll also need to mention that I had a right before bed snack last night (seem to need that with this pregnancy). I had some cold grilled chicken with a dab of SCD mayo to dip it in and a couple small chunks of colby.

Breakfast: Today's breakfast looks a lot like yesterday's. I'm pretty much an egg eater anyway, so SCD breakfasts are perfect for me. Today I have the leftover egg whites from the mayo recipeplus on egg (I can't stand just egg whites--blech!), onions, mushrooms, one crumbled piece of bacon, a scattering of my black beans, and colby cheese. Drinking weak black coffee, my diluted orange juice, and some water. I'll be taking my 4 Lialda, 4 Prednisone, and prenatal vitamin. No Metformin this morning as we have to leave the house right after breakfast for the kiddo's swimming lesson and I don't want to get low blood sugary while we're out.

Snack: I'm planning to walk on the treadmill while my little guy is swimming, so I'm taking a snack with me for right after because I'm sure to need something. I'll be taking along a to-go mug of my coffee, my water bottle, a Lara Bar, and an apple. Great portable choices that should keep me alive until we get home.

Survived swim lessons. I walked on the treadmill which actually helped a lot with the Prednisone shakes as that was kicking in around the same time. We stopped at Whole Foods on the way home and I finally found the vanilla I was looking for. I wasn't sure mine is actually SCD legal, so I wanted a new one. I also picked up some local smoked cheddar and more flavors of Lara Bars.

Lunch (pictured above): Big salad of salad mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, the smoked cheddar, boiled egg, a little grilled chicken, and a dressing I mixed up of olive oil, lemon oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Served with a side of fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, and cherries) and water. Good stuff!

I had a bunch of great stuff written out about dinner, but Blogger decided to eat it and I'm not in the mood to retype. I guess I need to draft these in Word and then come paste in here because I had the same problem yesterday. The main point I want to carry over here is that our food does not have to be boring. We can come up with many new and delicious ways to combine our SCD legal foods into things that even our non-SCD friends and family will sit and watch us eat with envy! Don't be afraid to try new things. Think about the foods you used to love and then start thinking about ways to substitute and change the ingredients to make them work for your new way of eating. You can do it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

SCD, Day One

So, here we are. I swear I was in "Last Supper" mode last night as I made my poor husband run out minutes before the local ice cream shop closed to get me a hot fudge sundae. I just freaked out knowing I wouldn't be able to eat something like that again. I know there are recipes for SCD ice cream I can make, but there is no hot fudge least not that I've seen. It was good, but the whole time I was eating it I knew it was going to make me sick and I did wake up this morning with some stomach cramps. It's ok though, that's all behind me now. I'm moving on!

What's Day One look like? Well for me:


2 eggs scrambled with butter and sauteed mushrooms, onions, one slice of bacon (sugar free), and some fresh grated colby cheese. Cantaloupe chunks, weak coffee (black), orange juice diluted with an equal amount of water, 4 Lialda, 4 Prednisone, my prenatal vitamin, and 1/2 a Metformin.

Notes: I grated my own cheese because bagged shredded cheese has stuff added to keep it from caking which makes it illegal for SCD. Also, I take Metformin because I have a history of gestational diabetes and we're trying to keep my blood sugars in line this pregnancy. I know orange juice is not the best for blood sugar, but it's the only way I can swallow the Prednisone...those pills taste so nasty! I measure out a single serving and dilute it with an equal amount of water. Between that and the fruit, I had 3 servings of carbs for breakfast this morning which is in line with what my nutritionist recommended for me.

Morning snack: Apple and a chunk of colby cheese. Water.

Kitchen victory! I tried a cooked mayo recipe I found on the pecanbread website and it turned out amazingly well. I used to make a raw egg mayo, but that recipe was very fickle and only turned out about 2/3 of the time. I would also prefer not to eat raw eggs while pregnant though I know the chances with salmonella are pretty slim. I was kind of sad thinking I wouldn't have yummy options like egg or chicken salad until I found this recipe!

by Marilyn

2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cayenne
1 cup safflower oil

In a small saucepan, stir together egg yolks, lemon juice, water, honey, mustard, salt and cayenne with a wooden spoon until blended. Place over very low heat and stir constantly until it bubbles in one or two spots. Remove from the heat and let stand 4 minutes. Pour into a blender and blend, slowly adding the oil in a thin, constant stream. Scrape down the sides as needed. When the mixture in thick and smooth, chill until ready to use.

Tip: Mayonnaise keeps 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator as long as only CLEAN utensils are dipped in it. Put a "due" date on the container.

Lunch: Reheated a grilled burger, chopped it up, topped with some SCD mayo and a sliced hard boiled egg. Paired this up with some cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, strawberries, and cherries. Drank a glass of diet Faygo red pop. Tasty! (Also took half a Metformin)

Snack: 1/2 ripe banana, honey, sprinkle of cashew pieces, 2/3 c. SCD yogurt. This is always my sweet tooth time of the day, so something like this helps me out a ton!

Dinner (pictured above): This dinner rocked! Even my non-SCD husband was impressed and ate it as is with nothing added. On the right: curry stew thingy I invented. Started with butter and olive oil in the pan and added some onions, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, and diced tomatoes and let that all saute together with some red curry powder, extra cardamom and ground chilies. Once that was all tender, I added coconut milk, black beans (prepped per directions in BTVC), and leftover grilled chicken from last night. Let it all simmer together for about 10 minutes and that was it. Served it up with some cantaloupe and cherries. The pot made two large portions for us plus three more decent sized servings. I put one in the freezer and two in the fridge for lunch for this week.

Snack: "Frappuccino"--this idea still needs work. I thought it would be good to save some of my weak brewed coffee from this morning and freeze it in an ice cube tray. I blended about 8 of these up with some yogurt, vanilla, and a squirt of honey. I didn't get enough honey and vanilla in there to balance the tartness of my yogurt, so it's less sweet than I would like for this type of drink. Maybe I'll add a few frozen banana chunks in the future to see how that goes over?

Speaking of bananas--we walked down to the grocery after dinner tonight for some eggs and Guinness (eggs for me, Guinness obviously not!) and while we were walking through the produce section I saw they had the markdown bags of bananas. I ended up getting 4 1/2 lbs of really ripe bananas for 99 cents! Woot! Three of them weren't too terribly ripe so I added them to my "to eat" pile for the next few days. The rest I peeled, sliced and placed in containers which went in the freezer. They will keep in there for quite awhile and make great smoothies with yogurt and other fruit or "shakes" with yogurt and honey (sometimes I add a little peanut butter, too). This is a great way to make sure you always have some perfectly SCD ready bananas on hand.

I want to take a quick moment to talk about my approach and the fact that I am not doing the Intro Diet as advised in the Breaking the Vicious Cycle book and on the various websites. If you are looking to learn how to do SCD, this is blog is not the place for you to start! You should definitely read Elaine's book, visit the website that goes with it, as well as other great sites like pecanbread which will give you all the facts you need to get started properly and make sure you get the most of the diet for your needs, current condition, and health issues. I am taking a different approach for a couple of reasons. First of all, my symptoms are very mild right now. I know I can handle some of the more advanced foods. Secondly, I am also on a course of Prednisone which will help with any healing that needs to take place. Finally, I've been through the diet before, so I know in general which foods I can tolerate and which give me problems. You will learn these things for yourself with time, too. Some purists will probably shake their heads at this and tell me I'm "doing it wrong" and that's ok. If they turn out to be right, then I'll be back here to give it another go with my 2 days of chicken soup just like the book says.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Who, What, Where, When, Why, How of This Thing

Greetings! My name is Dawn. I am a 30-something stay at home mom to a three year old son and soon to arrive baby boy. I have lots of interests but mostly spend my time playing with my son, running (or walking now that the belly is so big!), and crafting (mostly crochet, though I am trying my hand at more sewing). I have the good fortune of being married to the greatest husband in the world. I am a sucker for pug dogs and currently have two I acquired through Ohio Pug Rescue. I also happen to have Ulcerative Colitis.

I was originally diagnosed with UC in February of 2008, though I believe I had it for some time prior to that. Somewhere in 2005 I went and had a colonoscopy to investigate some bleeding and was advised I had internal hemorrhoids. There didn't seem to be much that could be done about them, so I pretty much ignored the bleeding when it would pop up and went on about my business. My son was born in April, 2007. When he was about three months old, I started having what would turn out to be my first UC flare. I was running to the bathroom repeatedly, the bleeding got worse, and I kept getting more and more sick. I was trying so hard to take care of my new baby that I didn't want to admit anything was wrong with me. I finally became so ill that I was forced to seek medical help. The GI who did my original c-scope was no longer in practice and nowhere to be found. I located a new doctor, got a new scope, and was informed I had no signs of internal hemorrhoids. What I did have was Ulcerative Colitis.

I had read about UC and Crohn's while I was waiting for my testing and wondering what on earth could be wrong with me, so when the doctor told me my diagnosis, I just started to cry. She handed me a scrip for Asacol and that was the end of it. Over the next year I would make visits to her office every 6 weeks, never seeing her but always a Nurse Practitioner. Asacol was replaced with Lialda, Rowasa enemas were added to the mix, but I wasn't getting any better. Every time I mentioned this it was suggested that I increase the Rowasa enemas to twice a day. I was taking care of a young child, going through a divorce, and working 50 hours a week---this was not an option. I finally made the decision to locate a new doctor. During this time, I made my first attempt at the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It helped me a lot, but I found it difficult to follow and soon fell off the wagon.

My new GI was a completely different experience from what I had been dealing with up to that point. He came in, sat down, and talked to me for close to half an hour. We decided on a new colonoscopy to see how things were going. The results showed my condition was worse now and we made the decision to start my first course of Prednisone. I have such a love/hate relationship with Prednisone. It works amazingly well. I can go from a full on flare to feeling perfect within a week of starting a course. Unfortunately, I also feel like a raging lunatic at the same time. There's also the fatigue from lack of sleep, the puffy face, the bottomless pit of an appetite, and all the god awful things the drug does to your body while you're taking it.

I ended up on and off Prednisone in the following year to the point where my GI told me he wouldn't be comfortable prescribing it to me anymore. It wasn't getting the job done. He felt like if I kept flaring then I needed to be on the next level of medication. We discussed Imuran and I had my antibodies tested. We also talked about Remicade. I read up all I could on both drugs and cried and cried because I knew my new husband and I desperately wanted a baby. I was scared to death of what these drugs might mean to our hopes to expand our family. Somehow I managed to stay in a near-remission state for the six months it took us to get pregnant and long enough to have a healthy first and second trimester. I am now 28 weeks pregnant with our son and at the beginning of a new flare. I am having minor symptoms and labs confirmed my CRP is elevated. The plan is to start a course of Prednisone in the coming week. My OB is confident it won't have any negative effects on the pregnancy, and the risks from the flare more than outweigh any danger from the medicine.

I've decided to take another run at SCD at this time as well. I keep reading good things about people who have managed to follow it. I'm at a better place to dedicate the effort to it since I'm now a stay at home mom. I'm also living a much healthier lifestyle overall than I was the first time around. I decided I wanted to record my adventure for my own reflection and whoever else would like to follow along. I would like to point out that I am NOT any kind of expert on SCD or the "right" or "wrong" way to follow the diet. I'll be sharing things I eat, but I really suggest you do your own research into legals vs illegals so you can make the best choices for you.

Tomorrow is Day One. I have yogurt going in the yogurt maker, lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and we just grilled a bunch of chicken breast and ground beef to get us started for the week. Wish me luck! :-)