Friday, December 30, 2011

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

After 2.5 years on a strict gluten-free diet and showing only marginal improvement to my skin condition of psoriasis, (although pain free from psoriatic arthritis), my naturopathic doctor has recommended the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

I had grown frustrated with the worsening allergic reactions I was having to several new foods, and went in for a checkup about two months ago, seeing both my naturopath and a new acupuncturist.  For me this reaction is severe joint pain and swelling on my right side, and I am so sensitive to gluten that now anything made in a factory with gluten - as well as all "inflammatory" foods such as soy and the "nightshades" family now - gives me this reaction.

Both docs agreed I should go off the nightshades, refined sugars, and soy, and add some acupuncture, Chinese herbs and natural remedies (aloe juice, apple cider vinegar, and more) to my daily rituals to enduce some intestinal healing.  Since then I have seen a 50% reduction in the psoriasis and little-to-no pain, but not a complete disappearance as we'd hoped.

So now I begin the SC diet- which cuts out all processed foods and most specifically all carbohydrates.

Being gluten-free for 30 months, I have tried every other flour to replace the favorite foods I miss - bread, pizza, cake, muffins,etc. and this has perhaps hindered my progress of "healing the gut," in the words of my naturopath.  If we have "bad bugs" in our intestinal lining like I apparently do, our allergic reactions will never improve. We have to clean these out and start over, and when we do, we can actually go back to eating "whatever we want."  Now, I'm sure that I won't go back to eating "whatever."  Soda and store-bought pizza will probably never be on my shopping list again.  But those homemade herbed bread sticks from a local favorite restaurant, that smell heavenly as the basket approaches the table, just one of those would be nice in a few years -or sooner! 

For me the SCD makes sense, albeit a strict lifestyle, it's going back to the Paleolithic Diet, before we started processing everything.  I've always prided myself on eating natural and organic foods, but of course have some "cheats."  First and worst, I was a sugar-haulic. And as soon as I cut out refined and unnatural sugars I noticed an immediate difference.  I thought this would be the hardest step to take for me, and after the first week, it turned out to be the best one. I no longer crave anything sweet, and appreciate natural sugars much more. I can eat raw peanut butter without gagging, in fact, I now notice that it should taste like peanuts and not sugar. And getting through the holidays was much easier than I'd feared; Santa filled my stocking with treats from the healthfood store- like ginger chews and natural gummies- and I felt better for it!


That's not to say I won't miss my baking cabinet's array of flours for a year.  I will.  But I made my first batch of grain-free muffins this week and was extremely impressed.  I hope to buy a dehydrator and start making kale chips and fruit I can trust.

If you feel like being gluten-free is only kind-of working for you, start with Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall.  For me, this is a perfect time of year to be trying something new, and I will be welcoming in the new year with some of Elaine's and others' great recipes- trying homemade versions of the American staples like yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, and ice cream- and changing my line from "I'm gluten-free to I'm grain-free."  

For now here are some great blogs and links and recipe sites I've found, and I'll be sure to write some more when I know more...

Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet - scdrecipe.com
SCD Web Library - www.scdiet.org
Nourished and Nurtured: Easy Grain-free Breakfasts for Weekday Mornings - nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com
The SCD girl -
scdgirl.blogspot.com/
Misty's SCD Blog -
mistyonscd.blogspot.com/
http://www.newtreatments.org/doc.php/WisdomExperience/182


All this goes without saying but I must, thanks to all those sweet ones that have and will support me through this, Michelle and Kate, the best doctors a girl with bad bugs could have, dear Mom, who always jumps on the bandwagon with me and sends things I can't find in Steamboat, my sweet husband who never acts like he is suffering through whatever is on our plates, and all those friends who send links, leads, and more (thanks Lisa for Nourished and Nurtured, what apt timing you have!).  I am blessed to have your help through this, because as everyone else with intestinal issues knows, sometimes it really isn't easy to be strict in a world of wheat and sugar.


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