Sunday, December 30, 2007

SCD Adventures of 2007

Looking back over the past year I am astonished at how far I have come. In September 2006 I was "released" from the prison that was my hospital bed and went home determined to manage Crohn's disease by trying every available option before medicine and more surgery. I weighed 88 pounds, desperately needed to gain weight, worked full time, traveled for work, and basically had no idea where to begin other than my well read book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall.

So it was there that I started, with the help of my husband, mother, and father-in-law who all spent lots of time cooking for me in those early days when I still had visiting nurses. We made loads of mistakes (mostly with the yogurt). I had to throw out some disastrous dishes. But we had fun. Called it our "test kitchen" and kept on going because there was never a choice in our minds. We were going to do this.

When I first arrived home I was still on leave from work so I spent many hours reading and re-reading the SCD blogs including,, the BTVC site, and Mike Simmons SCD Flog. These bloggers and websites were my inspiration through the rocky early stages of healing and learning a whole new way to eat. I also met Jill from the SCD bakery who helped me to put on much needed weight the fun and yummy way!

In late 2006 and early 2007 I spent lots of time on every SCD listserve that I could find. It was so unbelievably priceless to have the free and 24 hour advice of those SCD experts known as the Moderators of these listserves. Now that I have observed them for over a year I marvel at their patience, wisdom, and volunteerism. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Though I am by no means an SCD expert, I do feel like I know what works for me (SCD YOGURT!!!) and sadly what does not (anything too spicy). I know how to travel like a pro with packed yogurt, beef stew, muffins, cookies, crackers, cheese. Oftentimes the person sitting next to me on the plane looks quite jealous indeed! I know how to eat at a restaurant, make my way through a business luncheon, enjoy the holidays, and satisfy any type of craving I have e.g., Mexican, Italian, Indian, and even chocolate (the Easter Candy is as good as chocolate to me. In fact I think it tastes like a peanut butter cup).

In the past year I have traveled (from Massachusetts) to Arizona, California, Michigan, Kentucky, and Chicago for work. I enjoyed time basking in the sunshine of the Florida Keys, shopping in New York City, and skiing in Maine. I have educated countless others about the diet. Some have even decided to give it a try. I have gained about 25 pounds. It was fun to gain much needed weight but now I have to limit my cinnamon cookies and get myself to the gym! I have enjoyed cooking lots of recipes from the wonderful SCD cookbooks and adapting others from cooking shows and magazines. I have devoured new SCD related blogs and websites like Beth's Blog and as well as new SCD cookbooks like Eat Well Feel Well and Healing Foods.

I have made new SCD friends who I cherish including Beth from Beth's Blog, her daughter Amy, Raman Prasad from, Jill from the SCD Bakery, and many more who I met on the listserves. I even started my own blog as a way to record my experiences and share with others.

Wow, what a year. Did I make mistakes? OK, a few. Do I ever have a set back? Oh yes, from time to time. Do I panic? Nope. Can you say intro diet! Do I ever get frustrated? You know it. Do I ever want to give up?
No way.

Happy 2007 and Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

I am back from California after a long, long trip with lots of driving and very little dining. The excuses are boring as can be so I won't subject you to them but let's just say I lost a few pounds living on salads and fruit. However, I made up for all of that last night at my mom's annual Yankee Swap. It was a great time, as always, with lots of friends, family, and food including SCD legal options.

Today it is off to the in-laws for another great two days full of friends and family.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours


Brunch- Wonderful frittata with eggs, onion, pepper, and cheddar cheese
Dinner- I hear we are having a yummy Yankee pot roast

PICTURE- An excuse for a kiss

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh The Weather Outside is [still] Frightful...

"Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

The weather outside is frightful. I woke up this morning determined to go grocery shopping, go to the gym, and finish my Christmas shopping before I have to leave for California this week (four days on business).

When I walked out into the living room and took a look out the window all of my plans came crashing down. We had a full snow storm last night again and the roads seem impassable right now.

The good news is:
1. I am going to go shopping after all via the wonderful world wide web
2. We do have wood for a nice deligtful fire
3. I can get in one last blog before my trip to Southern California.

The not so good news is that I will have to do all of my standard food preparation for the trip e.g., yogurt, beef stew, etc. tomorrow.

Oh well. I look at it as forced relaxation time.

Yesterday's Fare

Breakfast- SCD yogurt with honey and a blueberry muffin with butter
Lunch- Picked off of a buffet at a holiday party e.g., brie, gouda, cheddar, grapes, broccoli, carrot sticks, sliced cucumbers, yum
Dinner- Artic Char with lemon, thyme and butter. Out to eat with friends before going to see A Christmas Carol at our local play house.

PICTURE- More Snow!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

White Thursday

Well it isn't Christmas yet but it sure is white. The snow is coming down full blast and has blanketed the neighborhood in a thick layer of beautiful white snow. It is beautiful because:
1. I am inside of my house toasty warm
2. I don't have to go anywhere tonight
3. I have no plans to shovel

Talk to me tomorrow though. In the meantime, have a white Christmas and enjoy this fabulous little ditty that one of my friends sent me today.

Breakfast- SCD yogurt with banana and honey
Lunch- Leftover gourmet salad from last night and an apple with SCD legal peanut butter
Dinner-We are planning some roasted pork chops with butternut squash, green beans, and apple sauce.

PICTURE- White Thursday

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

SCD Explanations

Ahh the business lunch. One thing that I thought I had basically mastered. Usually the lunch is with an associate or two and located at a restaurant. If you are in charge you can steer it towards an establishment that you are family with or one that you are pretty sure will have a legal selection e.g. a nice steak or seafood place.

If this does not happen, you have to study the menu as if you were taking the bar exam while acting very nonchalant about it and being an active and engaged participant in whatever conversation is occurring. Your goal is to quickly identify a lunch entree that is actually made out of real, honest to goodness food and not otherwise smothered in some type of totally illegal gravy/sauce/marinade concoction.

On most of these occasions I find something that is both legal (win) and satisfying (jackpot!). At the worst of times I have to settle for an iceberg lettuce excuse of a garden salad with some less than stellar olive oil and explain that I am trying to keep it light. This line REALLY drew peculiar stares when I still weighed about 90 pounds. Now, thanks to a totally gluttonous year in 2007 having fun going from 88 pounds to about 115, people actually buy this.

Well sometimes it is a bit different. I have been at a buffet style lunch where absolutely nothing was legal. Usually I can get away with that old garden salad trick but the salad this time had some sticky raspberry dressing poured all over it. Now I was not panicked because I knew I would be able to eat after the meeting. All would have been good in the world except that as soon as I sat down without a plate the comments started fast and furious.

comment #1- Where is your food?
comment #2- Aren't you going to eat anything?
comment #3- Our food is not good enough for her (yes, I am serious here)

Sooner or later the comments stopped and I made it through without answering one of them.

I wonder what would have happened if I just said "Oh, yes well you see last year I got really sick and had to have several operations including some drains put into my abdomen. I think there were three in total and also a fistula. What is that you ask? Oh, let me explain during dessert. Well then I had to have part of my small bowel removed from my body, resectioned and then put back in. What an inconvenience. In order to avoid these types of minor unpleasantries in the future I am opting to follow a diet that consists of actual food unlike that sandwich of processed meat and processed cheese on that nutrient-free excuse for bread.
Maybe in my next life.

Breakfast- SCD yogurt with a banana and honey
Lunch- Sauteed Broccolini with chicken in a white wine, tomato, mushroom sauce
Dinner- Spinach salad with roasted chicken, pears, blue cheese, red onion, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, olive oil and vinegar


Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Buffet Challenge

With the holidays approaching my hubby and I are seeing more and more of our family and friends and the non-SCD food that accompanies them. Now this does not bother me as much as it does said family and friends. I can see the look of anguish when they find out that I cannot eat the cherry squares, or the chocolate chip cookies, or the taco salad with Doritos, and no, not the Bailey's Irish Cream or the light beer either. The tension slowly begins to spread across their foreheads as they scan the buffet table calculating how many legal calories I will be able to consume. For people who are not on the SCD, and maybe those who are new to it, the focus is most always on what cannot be eaten. For those of us who follow the SCD we are much more prone to target what can be enjoyed. It goes something like this:

Friend/Family (scanning the spread at last night's party)- On no, she cannot have the chips and salsa, the fried rice, the Chinese food appetizers or the apple crisp. She will starve to death at this Christmas party!

Me (scanning the spread at last night's party)- Yum, look at that vegetable platter full of carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers. And let me make sure I take some of this Brie, and Gouda, and Cheddar and put it on an apple. Yippee! My mom made the broccoli salad that is both SCD legal and delicious. I'll also eat a healthy portion of the Mexican Meatballs that I made in the slow cooker. Finally for dessert I can dig into that fresh fruit platter of pineapple, blueberries, grapes and strawberries. Should I try this lovely Chianti or this nice dry Chardonnay? I had better get myself to the gym tomorrow.
See the difference here?

After about 15 months on the SCD I am really beginning to be convinced that it is more difficult for friends and family to accept than for the actual SCDer. I have to admit that before I knew what Crohn's and SCD were my heart would have gone out to any poor soul who couldn't enjoy a chocolate chip cookie now and then. But after understanding the alternatives to this diet for someone with gastrointestial issues, it really is a no-brainer.

Brunch- Organic SCD yogurt with blueberries and honey, almonds, an apple with peanut butter, and a banana
Dinner- All of the great SCD legal foods from last night

PICTURE- Roasted salmon with garlic and lemon and a side of fresh steamed string beans

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ode to The Sandpiper

Growing up I was surrounded by lots of fresh seafood. My grandfather had a fishing boat named The Sandpiper and he would spend much of the summer catching flounder and pulling up treasure in lobster pots. I even remember waking up in the darkness to go crabbing before the break of dawn. Other times we went digging for clams at our local beach. I have fond memories of the adults looking silly wearing plastic lobster bibs. Little white tubs of butter, shell crackers, and tea lights were scattered all over the picnic table. Oh, and probably a few beers!

In the winter my grandfather would load us grand kids into his van and drive us all to the Florida Keys from Massachusetts (boat in tow). There my family would set out on the seas once again catching Dolphin (but not the Flipper kind). Throughout all of those years the only piece of seafood that ever touched my lips was a good old tuna fish sandwich.

Shocking, I know.

I look back on those days at that little girl eating her canned tuna amid all of the fresh seafood and shake my head. What's wrong with that girl? Nowadays I love, love, love seafood. Salmon and lobster, mussels and scallops, tilapia, calamari, give me shrimp galore! I may have missed out as a stubborn and finicky child but I assure you, I am making up for lost time.

Breakfast- Organic SCD yogurt with bananas and honey
Lunch- Almonds (I know, I know)
Dinner- Cod poached in a reduction of tomato and chicken broth with a dash of red pepper, chopped garlic, and caramelized onions. (I would do my grandfather proud)


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

We spent all day today wrapping gifts, purchasing, setting up, and decorating our tree, and otherwise organizing the house. It was a lot of work but oh so worth it now that we are done. I finally get to listen to all of my favorite Christmas music like A Charlie Brown Christmas and my new favorite CD from Starbucks called Stockings by the Fire. I miss Christmas music all year long so when the season finally comes along there is no holding back. I'm not sure when or how I first developed my adoration of all things Christmas but it seems like this obsession is here to stay.
Once in third grade I even put on a candy cane ballet costume and danced to "Oh Christmas Tree" for the elementary school talent show. It was in June.

Breakfast- SCD yogurt with bananas and honey, banana bread from the SCD Bakery
Lunch- Pear, red onion, blue cheese, and roasted chicken salad with olive oil and vinegar
Dinner- That's a good question

PICTURE- My SCD Christmas tree. Why SCD? Because I say so.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

SCD Entertaining

I am a proud member of a small but very fun book club and this month it was my turn to pick the book. I chose In The Woods by Tana French. We met at my house last Thursday after work for some dinner and discussion. It was a crazy week at work but I still had time to prepare a nice simple menu. We started out with an appetizer tray of olives, Gouda cheese, and Kalamata crackers for them (SCD garlic and Parmesan crackers for me). For dinner I served one of my favorite dishes which is a pounded out chicken cutlet stuffed with Gruyere cheese, prosciutto (with only salt added), and sage leaves. The chicken is rolled and secured with toothpicks and then simmered in a tomato wine sauce. Along with that I served steamed asparagus. I had meant to pick up some spaghetti for my non SCD friends and I completely forgot. That said, they didn't seem to miss their starchy companion too much and I had some nice little desserts that I bought at Whole Foods (non SCD) for later. While they were enjoying these treats I had some of my cinnamon, pecan cookies from Lucy's Cookbook.

Yesterday's Menu

Breakfast- SCD yogurt with banana and honey
Lunch- leftover cheese and SCD crackers, pineapple slices and a pear
Dinner- Delicious salad made of spinach, red onions (cut very thin), blue cheese (just a little), and pears all tossed with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper along with some roasted chicken and avocado slices.

PICTURE- Pear Salad