Specific Carbohydrate Diet - makes the gluten-free diet look like a cake walk!
I'm on my third week. No gluten-free pasta, bread, cookies, muffins... you know, the good stuff! Not a potato, not a grain of rice, not even my simple buckwheat porridge. The first 5 days I was ornery. With two weeks under my belt, I'm starting to get the hang of it.
You might ask why someone who is already on a deleterious diet might consider taking things a step further. I ask the same question. This has been prescribed to me by my naturopath, because, despite being strictly gluten-free, I'm not without ongoing health issues due to other autoimmune conditions.
The specific carbohydrate diet (or SCD) was designed by Elaine Gottschall who wrote the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle; Intestinal Health Through Diet. Essentially, the diet omits any sugars that are not monosaccharides, or single sugars such as those found in fruit, honey and certain vegetables. There are zero grains (including rice, potatoes, corn, quinoa... our gluten-free go-to carbs). There is no maple syrup (a recent addiction). There is no milk or yogurt. This also meant pulling off my milky-tea habit.
I'm in no way recommending this diet - it's a temporary move on my part to see if it can help alleviate some symptoms and give me my energy back. If you operate well on a gf diet - I'd go no further. If you'd like to read up on the SCD diet, I've linked to the official website HERE.
I'm writing about this experience because it has really helped me, once again to see that I get into a rut, and that there are some easy places to cut back on my sugar intake (like those enormous chocolate bars I'm magnetically drawn to in the grocery store). It's also always good to be reminded that there are others living on a more restrictive diet through necessity - and that gf (especially now) is pretty simple to adhere to.
Todays menu will give you a sense of what this diet looks like in action:
Breakfast - a smoothie made of spinach, a banana, frozen cherries and pumpkin seeds. I was having this for breakfast a lot last summer, but lost interest in the winter when warm carb-filled offerings were more appealing.
Lunch - tuna with green onion, parsley, olive oil and chopped avocado wrapped in radicchio leaves (image above). These were strangely satisfying and will stay on the roster long after I move off this diet. Lettuce wraps are an excellent solution when you can't get gf bread. Simply mix up tuna or egg salad and wrap into little spring rolls. Radicchio is lovely and bitter which adds a different dimension than typical greens.... plus, they look so pretty!!
Dinner - tomato and meat sauce with onion, spinach and parsley on top of spaghetti squash. While I prefer pasta, this was certainly satiating. Simply cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds and place face down on a tray in the oven for 35 mins at 375 degrees.
Remove from oven and scrape out the spaghetti like strands onto your plate and top with sauce (or just butter and parmesan cheese).
Snacks - organic apple sauce (almost everything I'm eating these days is organic), medjool dates, toasted almonds, apple slices with cheddar cheese (which is strangely allowed) - as is WINE!
When the doctor told me that wine, cheese, nuts and olives were allowed on the diet, I figured it wasn't as torturous as some others I've been on. Regardless of how this all turns out in the end, it's been an excellent reminder to think beyond the bun, pizza, pasta, muffins... and grains in general. I always eat pretty healthy - but tend to cram a decent amount of unhealthy sugary carbs in between the healthy stuff.
If nothing else, this experience will help me understand if there are foods beyond gluten that cause my system distress.
Of course - I'm chomping at the bit for gluten-free cookies. Luckily, I know I'll be able to find them pretty much everywhere these days when it's time to start slowly re-introducing foods into my diet.