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DAY ONE: Scattered Thoughts re: SCD

Today's the day I try to tackle the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  I'm already thinking about giving up.  I'm terrible!  It hasn't been a day and I'm already throwing a fit for some chocolate.  But cocoa, like cocaine, is addictive, and I would be doing myself a disservice to not at least try to quit it.  Anyway, that pot up there is the start of my first batch of starter soup.  But am I getting ahead of myself?  I don't think I've explained the SCD regimen in any previous posts, so let me get you up to speed.

I'm still weaning off of Prednisone, and last I saw my doctor (on Monday) we discussed diet.  I've been a little crampy and have been farting like crazy this past week, which has me nervous that the lowered dose of Prednisone is allowing some symptoms to come through.  I really, really don't want to go on Remicaide, so I figured I'd try changing my eating habits.  My first change, as I believe I've discussed here, was to cut out processed sugar.  No easy task for someone who could eat sourpatch kids three meals a day, but I did it and I was super proud.  I also spent a butt-ton of money on alternative sweeteners, like stevia, pure maple syrup, and molasses.  I had cut down on red meat, and was relying heavily on soy.  I discovered a recipe for a decadent soy "dream" pie, which basically tasted like chocolate mousse, but without any junky ingredients (well, save for chocolate).  I was pretty happy with my ability to change my eating and shopping habits, and was enjoying my new recipes.  I thought, "Hey, maybe I should try that crazy diet I read about as a kid."  I don't mean "imbalanced, fad diet" crazy, so please don't let that fool you.  By crazy I mean crazy disciplined, as the SCD is an extremely restricted diet that many people with IBD praise for easing and even "curing" their symptoms (it has also developed a following among parents of children on the Autistic spectrum).  I have two friends that have tried the diet with temporary success (both eventually relapsed for different reasons). Little did I realize I'd have to give up half the stuff I'd just retrained my tastebuds to celebrate, but oh well.  My doctor does not particularly endorse the SCD regimen, as it is based mostly on theory and anecdotal evidence, but he conceded that he has had patients follow it with success and advised that if I do it, I start while still on the 'roids. 

When I first heard of/tried the SC diet I was about twelve or thirteen, and I lasted all of one day. The diet is outlined in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, by the late Elaine Gottschall (see link on the Amazon sidebar). You can visit the official BtVC page here.  In addition to learning more about the diet, you can find a comprehensive list of foods that are SCD "legal" and "illegal" and while there are many wonderful foods that are legal (including bacon and shellfish) there are some real whoppers that are not.  Potatoes, all grains and wheat, rice, and soy are forbidden.  No more soy milk, soy pie, brown rice bread, all of the staples and crutches I've been leaning on these past few weeks are now out the window.  Thankfully, whereas the one and only resource for SCD recipes sixteen years ago was the BtVC book, there are now whole online communities devoted to sharing SCD recipes which also offer support and guidance.  It seems like a good time to give the diet another go.

So today is Day One- it's also Valentine's day which makes wanting chocolate even worse!  I can't complain though, I had my "last supper" to celebrate last night.  J took me out for a nice little dinner at a local tapas joint, finished off by a decadent dark chocolate souffle...mmmmmmm.  But today is a different story- back to the starter soup.

They say for between one day and the first week of the diet you should limit your intake to homemade chicken soup (following the recipe in the book), broiled beef patties, broiled fish, eggs (if you don't have the runs) and watered down 100% grape juice.  So I made a huge thing of the soup, but am really only planning on doing the starter diet for today and maybe tomorrow.  The thing is I'm still on the 'roids so I don't have the runs or any of the other symptoms that others may have when they first start the diet.  I do want to take a day or two to let some of the residual crap in my system to clear out, but I also don't think I can make it a full two days just eating the same bland stuff.  I'm ready to try some recipes!

I found this website, Comfy Belly, which has some scrumptious looking treats on it.  I plan on making the Parmesan Thyme Crackers and Cinnamon Cookies so I can snack.  Snacking and lunches are probably the most important things for me, because those are the foods that will get me through the work day.  I also love the way the author writes- she's great about communicating when a texture or end result might not meet your expectations and I appreciate the candor and honesty.  I can't wait to start testing out some of the recipes.  I just ordered a cheap video camera to document the event, but the stupid thing hasn't shown up yet so you may have to bear with still photography for a dishes.

I also want to point to SCD Lifestyle, a great resource for starting the SCD diet and knowing what to expect. These guys recently added me on Twitter and have been very friendly and helpful.

So stay tuned for my (mis)adventures in the kitchen...

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