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!
Here’s a little bit about my health history. Back in 2009 I started experiencing severe abdominal cramping that would come on after I ate. At times I would be doubled over from the pain. Shortly after that I began experiencing urgency to use the restroom and during one of those potty breaks I noticed that there was blood. So, I of course did the thing you’re not supposed to do! I googled and went on WebMD. Within 5 minutes I was utterly convinced I had colon cancer and was going to drop dead in a matter of days. 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. Typically while I’m having a “flare” I experience severe abdominal cramping (for me it’s worse than the pain I experienced during child birth!), fatigue, bloody diarrhea (gross I know) and significant weight loss. It’s thought that perhaps ulcerative colitis is caused by a combination of genetics, an overactive immune system and environmental factors, but no one knows for sure. 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.
My doctor at the time told me it was something I would have forever but could be managed by just 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. Over the next four years I was hospitalized more than seven times because my UC symptoms would become so unbearable. Throughout this time my GI doctor was still telling me that I should eat whatever I want. I however, wasn’t buying it. The last time I saw this particular GI doctor he told me that he felt “2 hospital visits a year for someone with my condition wasn’t that bad”. I did not agree. Multiple hospital stays a year should not be the norm for someone under the age of 30. I walked out of that office with a new sense of determination to get healthy. I did tons of research on ulcerative colitis. I looked into different diets, exercises, I went to a nutrionist, I saw a functional medicine doctor and most importantly, I found a new GI doctor that I love! For me he is the perfect combination of traditional medicine and natural/holistic methods.
Since being his patient I’ve certainly improved from where I was but I’ve yet to be in a 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 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) and suggested I try The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, also known as SCD. I’ve been following the diet, on and off, for the past three years and I’ve certainly seen a lessening in my symptoms when following it. The diet can be difficult to follow at first but with time this new way of eating becomes second nature. I rarely feel deprived and when I do it’s because I’m either in a social setting where I didn’t plan ahead or at a restaurant that doesn’t cook their food fresh.
I’ve had a few people comment that I’m so thin and they don’t understand why I’m on a diet! The name is a bit misleading as I’m not on this “diet” to loose weight but to try and heal my intestines. 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, many nuts and nut flours!
My health is still a work in progress and I’m taking steps everyday to try and get myself into remission. Although there is certainly a lot more I’ve experienced on this journey with ulcerative colitis, 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 if you just want 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 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!