Hi everyone! My name is Jennifer and I'm a wife and mommy to two little kiddos. I'm a lover of yoga, reading, shopping, and good food!
Back in 2009 I started experiencing severe abdominal cramping that would come on after I ate. I would literally be doubled over in pain.
Shortly after that I began experiencing urgency to use the restroom. During one of those potty breaks I noticed blood. I immediately did the thing you're NOT supposed to do; googled and went on WebMD! Within 5 minutes I was convinced I had colon cancer. Sigh. I know we've all heard it before but seriously...don't look up your symptoms online. It's just terrifying!
So, at the age of 27 I made my first appointment with a gastrointerologist and had my first ever colonoscopy. The diagnosis was ulcerative colitis, which is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in your digestive tract.
A "flare" for me typically consists of severe abdominal cramping (it's worse than the pain I experienced during child birth!), fatigue, bloody diarrhea (gross I know), and significant weight loss.
The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. However, it's thought that a combination of genetics, overactive immune system, and environmental factors play a roll.
Unfortunately it is a chronic life-long disease and one that I'm still trying to manage. If you'd like to learn more about ulcerative colitis, you can find information at The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.
At the time of diagnosis my doctor informed me I would have the disease for the rest of my life but it could be easily managed by taking a few daily pills. No need to change diet or lifestyle. Looking back on it, I don't think I was ready to accept that I had a chronic illness.
The next four years brought more than seven hospitalizations. Throughout this time my GI doctor was still telling me that I should eat whatever I want. I was also told "two hospital visits a year for someone with my condition wasn't bad". I disagreed!
Multiple hospital stays a year should not be the norm for someone under the age of 30.
I began doing tons of research on ulcerative colitis, looked into different diets, and exercises. I went to a nutrionist, saw a functional medicine doctor, and found a new GI doctor that I love! For me he is the perfect combination of traditional medicine and natural/holistic methods.
I've seen improvement since becoming his patient but I've yet to achieve long term remission. I'm sure having two kids 17 months apart has played a part in delaying my healing and at times making symptoms worse.
My current GI doctor believes that food does have an impact on the symptoms of UC (makes sense to me that what you eat can have either a positive or negative influence on your gut). He suggested I try The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, also known as SCD.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
I've been following the SCD diet for the past five years and have noticed a lessening of symptoms. The diet can be difficult to adhere to at first, but with time this new way of eating becomes second nature.
Over the years people have commented that I'm so thin and they don't understand why I'm on a diet! The name is a bit misleading. I'm not on this "diet" to loose weight but to try and heal my gut. It's truly a lifestyle change.
In a nutshell, the specific carbohydrate diet eliminates complex carbohydrates from your diet because they are difficult to digest. Gluten, grains, starches, sugars, soy, and some dairy.
In many ways, it is similar to a Paleo diet. Instead of focusing on what I can't eat, I prefer to think about what I can eat! Lots of delicious fresh fruits and veggies, homemade yogurt, a good variety of cheeses, chicken, pork, beef, seafood, honey, nuts, and nut flours!
How I'm currently feeling
My health is still a work in progress and I'm taking steps everyday to try and get myself into remission. I'm currently using a combination of diet, medicine, and lifestyle to help manage symptoms.
There is certainly a lot more I've experienced on this journey. I hope that what I have shared thus far is enough to let anyone else who might be suffering from an autoimmune disease know that they are not alone.
Whether you're on a restricted diet because of an illness or just striving to eat healthier so you can be the best you, I hope you enjoy the recipes I share! They come from a place of love and with the hope that I can help others get excited about eating healthy food that tastes delicious!
These are all recipes that my family and I enjoy. I hope you enjoy them as well!
Thanks for following along!
If you'd like to learn more about the specific carbohydrate diet, their website, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, has a plethora of information. Remember, what works for me might not work for you. We're all different so please consult your physician before making changes to your diet!
This post was last updated July 2019.