Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not missing many meals ...

Hazelnut-Vanilla Pancakes from Recipes from the
Specific Carbohydrate Diet (Raman Prasad)
Early in our marriage, Doug and I spent a year in Dallas. On our frequent trips back home to Missouri, we always stopped off in Mounds, Oklahoma for a visit with Doug's grandparents, which always included a good dinner, a sinful number of Grandma's crispy little cinnamon cookies, and often a good night's rest. 

Upon our arrival at their farmhouse near Duck Creek, Grandpa Roller always greeted me the same way: "You haven't been missing many meals, have you?" Doug and I always got a chuckle out of his affectionate salutation, always directed at me, never at Doug. "Not many," I always had to admit.

Everyday Chicken and Baked Carrot Fries
from Mary Plunkett's future cookbook.

When I developed celiac disease a few years back, my answer to Grandpa's question would have changed, were he still alive to ask. Because I became so terribly sick every time I ate, I often had to choose between eating and living my life outside the confines of the bathroom. A diagnosis and a gluten-free diet made all the difference--for a while.

Unfortunately, my symptoms returned late last year, causing me to look for new solutions. As I've related in previous blogs, I’ve been on a strict Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for the past several weeks now. The objective of the SCD is to rest your digestive system and restock it with the healthy bacteria it needs to heal completely. While the SCD looks pretty grim for people who enjoy a normal diet with no problems—no sugar, no grains (including wheat, of course), no potatoes or corn, limited dairy—for folks with chronic digestive issues, the diet offers the hope of a return to health.

Mary's Spinach Turkey Frittata.
I have been thrilled with the results I’ve experienced as I’ve navigated my way through the SCD. I’m beginning to have more energy, I’ve learned a lot of new kitchen tricks and tried a lot of new dishes, and my symptoms have nearly disappeared. Sometimes, when Andy’s Frozen Custard or some other forbidden treat is calling my name, it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude.

I’m finding that instead of focusing on all of the foods I can’t have, though, it helps to think about those things I can have. I can usually talk myself into being satisfied with homemade yogurt and berries instead of that frozen custard. And who knew that mashed cauliflower could taste so much like mashed potatoes? It also helps to think about how much healthier my diet has become and what a relief it is not to have to be looking over my shoulder for a restroom every time I leave my house.

Zucchini Lasagna from Breaking the Vicious Cycle, 
the SCD "bible" by Elaine Gottschall.

And, really, I’m not suffering at all, as you can tell from these photos of meals I’ve cooked at home over the past few days. If you’re considering a gluten-free diet, paleo, SCD or GAPS, for whatever reason, I am here to tell you that it can be done. If you experience the same success I've had thus far, you might not have to miss many meals for long!