Live Your Life. Love Unconditionally.

Life has its challenges. It throws you for a loop when you least expect it. It’s unexpected. It’s real.

When your world turns upside down and you feel like all you want to do is stay curled up in your comfortable bubble, you push yourself to face reality. You have to move on because life goes on.

don't forget

This isn’t to say that you forget about the challenges you were faced with; you don’t. They become a part of who you are. They strengthen you, and they make you a better person a lot of the time.

hardships

These times in our lives make us more gracious. They make us look at what is truly important and they open our eyes to the important people in our lives. The people who lift us up throughout times of struggle, who are by our side whether we need a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with, or a person to simply sit with in silence. I know I say this often, but my family and friends are my world. I feel so lucky to have such an incredible network of people who love me unconditionally and who are there for me day and night.

I am so gracious for love that I am able to give and to receive.

On this beautiful Saturday, think about all of the amazing people in your life. Give gratitude for the ability to love and to be loved.

Live your life. Love unconditionally. Be hopeful for good things.

nurture

 

Currently…Survey Time!

I found this fun little survey on Julie’s blog the other week and saved it for another day because it looked like fun! The survey is titled “Currently,” and asks about things I’m currently loving.

Feel free to play along in the comments section!

Current Book(s): I was trying to read Under the Tuscan Sun but I’m having a really hard time getting into it so I have given up on it and am looking for a new book to read. My friend Kalley recommended The Fault in Our Stars so that may be next on the agenda. Any other recommendations?

Current Music: This is completely dependent on my mood. If I’m feeling calm in the morning I prefer contemporary christian or country, if I’m trying to get pumped up for a workout or feel like dancing around the house I like some pop, hip-hop, or rap, if I feel like singing along in the car I will go for the 90’s hits or musicals, if the sun is shining and it’s a summer day I will usually turn on Kenny Chesney. It all depends!

Current Guilty Pleasure: I wouldn’t say I feel guilty about it, but I am really enjoying dark chocolate. We have a bag of Dove Dark Chocolates at our house right now and I love unwrapping them and reading the inspirational words on the wrapper before I savor the chocolate.

Current Nail Color: My hands and toes are actually totally naked right now! I just took my toenail polish off yesterday, but it was bright fuschia pink. Up next, I’m not sure. Red, light pink, neon pink…

Current Drink: Medium roast coffee with coconut creamer and a touch of stevia. I am a huge water drinker too.

coffee

creamer

Current Food: Carrots and hummus, bananas and almond butter. Same old same old.

banana with almond butter

Current Favorite Show: So You Think You Can Dance, The Bachelorette, Modern Family

Current Wish List: Cute summer shorts, a summer dress, and to be fully and completely healed and off meds. I realize I’m all over the place here on this one.

Current Needs: I’m in need of a haircut and finally made an appointment for next week. It’s been a good six months or so now, so it’s time to get it cleaned up. I could use a pedicure too but I don’t NEED one.

Current Indulgence: If we’re referring to food it would be frozen yogurt on Monday night…

cherry berry

If we’re talking anything else it would be my new black maxi skirt from Victoria’s Secret.

piccolo

Besides that, I bought some expensive cod liver oil that supposedly is like liquid gold for the body but that’s not exactly what I consider an “indulgence.”

Current Blessing: My body that keeps on moving. My family. My friends. My passion for healthy living.

Current Outfit: As in what I am in right now? Sweatpants of course. Sweatpants and an old turquoise t-shirt from a dance recital in 2002. Keepin’ it classy.

Current Excitement: I’m excited for some warm summer weather! I know it’s coming. We’ve waited a long time around here for it and had little sneak peeks here and there, but I’m ready for the real deal.

dana and melanie

Now it’s your turn!

  • Current Food…
  • Current Wishlist…
  • Current Blessing…

Zucchini Bread & Adjustments for Health

Goood morning to you all. Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.

I have some news to share. After my colon “procedure” vaguely mentioned a couple of weeks ago here, I have not been feeling well on the U.C. front. My body is having a hard time recovering from the invasiveness of the procedure and I feel like my progress in feeling better was set back about a month. Besides that, I have deviated further than had planned from the SCD and/or Paleo diet, specifically on the added sugar part.

After Friday’s absolutely amazing date night, I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty darn sick. I felt awful all day. My body was not happy with me.

It’s time for change folks. I am regaining control and made a decision Saturday morning that I was going back to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I am not starting at day 1 and beginning the whole thing from scratch, I will beginning somewhere around 1 month in. My body is used to the significant amounts of fruits and veggies. The biggest part I will be focusing on is watching the added sugars and starchy ingredients on food labels.

mellys kitchen

For any new readers, I tried giving the SCD a try a couple of months ago. You can read about some of it here and here. I did my very best to stick with it, but then decided to go the gluten-free route instead because I felt like I wasn’t seeing the progress I had hoped for especially given all of the effort I was putting into it.

This diet involves A LOT of food prep, and I think with all the activities of summer, wanting to be outside all of the time (versus in the kitchen), and the immediate stress of beginning the diet, I just couldn’t keep up with it.

I am going into it this time with a different mindset. I already know what I “can and cannot eat,” I am aware that more time will be spent in the kitchen, I learned last time that I need to make large batches of foods and freeze them to cut down on future kitchen time, and mostly, I need to remember WHY I’m doing this. I want to be healthy again. This flare has lasted way too long.

This time around I will not be so hard on myself if I slip once and a while. I’m not perfect and it’s bound to happen. I also am going to be aware that this diet may not work for me, and if it doesn’t, then that’s okay, I will continue to adjust my diet so that I figure it out one day. I sure hope it works though!

Prior to the colon procedure a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling so much better. At that time I was following a mostly SCD and slightly Paleo diet, the only thing I was slipping up on was the chocolate. I was eating it daily. It’s one of my favorite treats and I’m hoping in the future I will be able to incorporate it into my diet again.

So that’s what’s happening over in my Beautifully Nutty home. Basically I spent a lot of time in the kitchen Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday

On Saturday Dana and I went grocery shopping, went to the Farmer’s Market, got the car washed, did laundry, and cleaned all of the windows in our house inside and out. It was a busy active “rest” day. I also made some “fauxmeal” raisin cookie bites. Num.

Breakfast: 1 egg and egg white omelette with sautéed bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, topped with avocado, cilantro, and salsa.

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Lunch: Sugar snap peas, an apple, and homemade zucchini bread (SCD) with homemade cashew butter and honey…recipe at bottom of post!

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Dinner: almond crackers that I burnt to a crisp(!) and tomato and olive bruschetta topping that we bought from Target a while back. All ingredients on the label are SCD friendly.

Such an ugly photo! Bleh! But it tasted great!

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Sunday

Breakfast on Sunday looked like Saturday’s with another piece of zucchini bread with cashew butter and honey.

I made my way to the gym (haven’t been there much lately) and jogged for 35 minutes on the elliptical then hit the weights for a back and bicep workout. I managed 6 hands and toes push ups yesterday! Just 4 more to go to reach my goal of 10 normal (non-knee) push ups before the end of the month!

Lunch: Apple carrot salad with a homemade rosemary honey mustard vinaigrette. Then a large spoonful of cashew butter.

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While I ate my salad I got to working on making some homemade apple sauce. This was so incredibly easy and I will share the recipe with you soon.

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In the afternoon I brought up the fall stuff from the basement and realized I have about 5 fall items to decorate my house with. Lame. I just may need to hit up the craft store with my coupons and get some more??!

I took the pup for a 3 mile walk around our neighborhood in the afternoon.

Dinner:

For dinner I headed over to mom and dad’s which is always such a nice treat. Mom and dad made pork chops, asparagus, and summer squash. I made myself a honey mustard topping for my pork chop.

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It was a really amazing weekend once again. I have the day off work today and plan to do some more food prep, hopefully relax a bit so I can HEAL, and run a couple of errands. I had planned on running today but am going to keep that tentative and see how I feel. I need to learn how to RELAX.

Here is the SCD Zucchini Bread Recipe!!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread (SCD Legal): Makes 2 Loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded and drained of liquid
  • 2 over ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two standard bread loaf pans; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add remaining wet ingredients; mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. Divide batter into each prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean and top of bread begins to brown.

The bread tastes great toasted, plain, with cashew butter, peanut butter, butter, apple butter…get creative!

Have a happy, healthy day.

Prescribe Myself Some Rest

Hi friends! I had so much fun reliving my weekend at the Healthy Living Summit, but I am happy to now be back to normalcy again. In case you missed it, you can catch up on my most recent HLS Boston trip.

Destination Boston HLS12

Shake Out the Nerves: HLS Day 1

Cheers to New Friends: HLS Day 2

Decisions, Decisions: HLS Day 3

It’s time to get back into the groove. You remember how this works right? It’s time for a breakdown of my Wednesday. Here we go.

Breakfast

Overnight Chia Bowl made with:

  • Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • stevia
  • blueberries
  • strawberries

I let all of the ingredients except the strawberries mingle together over night, and topped the bowl with fresh strawberries in the morning.

DSCN5201

Lunch

Curry turkey salad over a bed of lettuce. I wrote down the recipe for this one but haven’t decided if I want to share or not because I wasn’t over the top thrilled by it. It was good though don’t get me wrong.

In the mix: celery, onions, turkey breast, grapes, Greek yogurt, and spices.

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Dinner

I stopped at mom and dad’s after work to hang out with them before heading over to meet with some girl friends for So You Think You Can Dance? I munched on some trail mix while relaxing, and then made my way to the table for dinner.

I had a very random, yet delicious dinner: spinach, green beans, and tomato…

photo

And a half of a banana with peanut butter for some protein which went unphotographed so I used an old photo instead. Perfect!

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The rest of the evening was spent with my girlfriends Amanda, Jules, and Sara. We girl-talked it up, watched SYTYCD, and ate M & M’s (BTW I have been over-doing it on the chocolate lately) while lounging on the couch. I had a great time with them, and always do. Kate, we missed you!

U.C. Update

I was going to end this post with a recipe, but decided to wait on that and give you an update on my Ulcerative Colitis instead. It has now been 3 months that I have been sick and unfortunately, I have to report that I’m still not feeling well. Certain symptoms have subsided such as bloating, which I can mostly attribute to removing gluten from my diet, but other symptoms (which I’ll spare you the details of) are still not under control.

I go through peaks and valleys where I am feeling fairly well for a few days, and then something happens whether it’s stress or a busy weekend, and I am thrown off again.

I am finding my energy level to be very low, so much as I am not working out nearly as much as I used to and it’s becoming less and less of a priority. Sleeping has become the priority, and I am truly trying to honor my body’s request for it.

I am seeing the doctor regularly, eating a very healthy diet, taking my medications as prescribed, sleeping, being active when I can, but the one thing I know need to work on is rest. With the summer being so busy, it is hard to rest. Maybe I should give myself a prescription to rest, then maybe I’ll do it? I’ll work on that. I think this is something that most of us could probably work on, am I right?

My mom reminds me that in the big picture of life, this time in my life is just a small little nick in the frame. With that being said, I must remind myself that not working out is not a big deal right now, and that rest is okay and saying no to invites is okay and that friends will understand. It’s hard to remember that when you are so used to the opposite.

I don’t mean to be a downer but I really wanted you all to get an update because it’s been a little while since I’ve given you one. I continue to try to stay positive, but this is really taking a toll on me. I won’t be sick forever, I can promise you that. I was just hoping to have fought this off already. I’m still me, just a more delicate me. I can’t wait for the day when I can tell you I am in remission and feeling fabulous. Let’s hope it’s soon.

Thank you all for letting me vent. I feel much better. I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to catching up with you again soon!

The Modified Diet

Hi there! How is everyone holding up this Monday? More importantly, did everyone have a great weekend?

I already filled you in on my wonderful Friday dinner date and Saturday Farmer’s Market adventures, so that leaves us with Sunday.

Breakfast

Toasted almond bread with almond butter and honey, eaten while reading the Sunday paper and clipping coupons with my honey. Eating honey with my honey! Ha!

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It was a rainy morning, and we were feeling pretty lazy. It took us a while to get up and moving, but eventually we pulled ourselves together and hit up the grocery stores for our usual Sunday shenanigans.

Lunch

Running errands really gets my appetite bumping, so when we got home I immediately started heating up leftover Pablanos in the microwave. I dolloped mine with salsa and had a side of cooked carrots with cinnamon on the side.

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I also had an apple without the skin, and a bite or two of almond butter for dessert.

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Then I was off to the gym. I jogged on the elliptical for 40 minutes, changing the incline and resistance every 5 minutes to keep my body guessing. I watched the Olympics and read my magazine during commercials. How perfect!

Dinner

I made baked chicken with cherries and olives in a wine sauce. I’m hoping to share this recipe with you soon; most likely this week at some point. It was very good!

My cooking process could be tweaked a little bit, because it can be made faster than the way I made it, so I think I will provide you with the revised version of the recipe; the way I would make it if I made it again.

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With dinner, I served myself a side of quinoa, yes quinoa a whole grain which is not SCD legal, which leads me to my next topic…

************

Specific Carbohydrate Diet and My U.C.

Moving on to more serious matters. If you have been following my blog lately you know that I have been trying my darn best to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to try to help regulate my current ulcerative colitis flare. If you are new to my blog, welcome!, and you can get caught up on this U.C. stuff real quick (click on the hyperlinks below):

Starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Day 2 of the SCD

Feeling Overwhelmed with the SCD

I am going to be completely and 100% honest with you. My journey with this diet has been has been a bumpy one. After deciding that I was going to give this diet a try, I dove in headfirst. At only 1 week in, I was feeling about 80% better compared to before I began the diet. I was thrilled to be feeling so much better, and although I was finding meal and snack preparation very tedious and challenging being that I leave the home for work, I had decided it was worth it and I was going to stick it out.

Over the course of time however, I had multiple breakdowns. It was mostly because I was absolutely exhausted from all of the food prep and finding myself spending every minute, no more like hour that I had, in the kitchen when I would have much rather been hanging out with Dana or enjoying the weather outside. There were multiple times where I said I can’t do this, but then I continued on with it.

At about week 3-4, things really started to fall apart for me. My symptoms beginning to worsen, and I was beginning to feel very sad and down. I felt like that with all of this work with maintaining this strict diet, that there should be no reason for me to be digressing with my healing. But, I have done plenty of research on this diet and know that these symptoms are very common around this time while on the diet, and that they get better. I do believe this, but I also know that I need to make some changes, because this is not working for me.

What I’m realizing now, is that this diet is actually stressing me out more than I can handle. I have become lethargic and finding myself hesitating to reply to social obligations because I don’t know if I will have enough energy at times. The preparation and strict guidelines are exhausting me and also not fitting in with my lifestyle.

I have tried so hard to stay tough, but in the big picture, I need to make decisions for my body based on what my heart is telling me and what my body is telling me, not what I am reading from an online forum. Everyone is different and everybody reacts differently. I have said it a million times.

I truly support and believe in the SCD and all of the science that backs it up, but for my happiness and sanity, I have decided to deviate very slightly from the SCD. I am still going to follow a very low-carb diet and follow the SCD mostly, but I will explain my modifications.

My Modified Diet

1. Gluten-free Grains: I am going to continue to live as gluten-free as possible and eat minimal grains. On occasion, I will be including gluten-free grains such as quinoa, into my diet. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and will help me and my non-loving meat ways, to help amp up my protein intake, and hopefully improve my energy as well. This will be the biggest change I make to my diet.

2. Fruits & Veggies: These will continue to make up a large portion of my diet. I am going to continue to experiment with adding fruits and veggies back into my diet. I will see how my body reacts, and progress gradually as I feel appropriate. I may start to include soy back into my diet as well.

3. Meat & Dairy: Nothing will change from the meat category as pretty much all meat is legal. As far as dairy goes, I may be switching to non-fat Greek yogurt or a soy-based yogurt. I may also begin to incorporate store-bought Almond milk. I will mostly stick to SCD cheeses.

4. Sauces and Misc: I will continue to be cautious of ingredients listed on store-bought sauces, however I am not going to limit myself completely to every last legal ingredient in the sauce. I will do my best to find simple sauces with limited additives so as to continue to live a clean diet.

Chocolate! I am going to allow myself to eat chocolate just not in excessive amounts. It is one of my very favorite foods and treats, and it is something that I no longer want to sacrifice. I swear, one bite of chocolate every day will be what heals me eventually. Winking smile

Beverages. I am not much of a “drinker” so this one hasn’t been difficult for me. I enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and this is allowed being that I like “legal” wines for the most part. I may begin to include flavor waters again such as Vitamin Water and Powerade Zero, as I have two full bags of it sitting in the basement from prior to the diet.

Heart on the Line

Writing this plan out for you all to see is slightly terrifying. The last thing I want is for those of you following this diet to think that I am a failure because I’m not following it completely as prescribed or haven’t given it enough time. I just know in my heart, that this is not a good fit for me. I understand that with the addition of some of the illegal foods back into my diet, I am reintroducing some bad bacteria into my gut that my body doesn’t like. I really feel that with these slight modifications, and being that I am still going to stick to a very clean diet and limiting the “bad” stuff, that my body will still continue to heal and I will be able to stick this diet out and feel like myself again.

Food is my passion. I am a foodie. Having to be so selective with my diet isn’t something that fits my lifestyle. I will continue to do my best and make wise choices and will continue to fill you in on my health status along the way. I want to reiterate that I will still be following the SCD most of the time only with slight modifications.

I am tired of being an emotional rollercoaster, and not acting or feeling like myself. I need to take care of me and make decisions that support my best well-being. It’s time to be me again.

This is by far the most challenging post I’ve written thus far. Thank you for supporting me and bearing through this lengthy post. My vulnerable heart has been poured out to you.

I will catch up with you all soon. Enjoy your day!

Stuffed Poblano Pepppers

Hello there! Everyone having a great weekend? Mine has been wonderful. I have quite the Saturday recap for you, hope you’re ready.

Breakfast

I blended up a fruity smoothie packed with strawberries, banana, cherries, spinach, yogurt, and sweetener. I also ate a spoonful of almond butter to pack in extra protein.

Farmer’s Market

After breakfast we cruised on over to the big Minneapolis Farmer’s Market. Holy cow I was in fresh vegetable heaven.

It was so crazy busy but it always is. It’s always encouraging as a dietitian seeing SO many people at the Farmer’s Market getting excited about fresh produce. Let’s just hope they don’t go home and make them into fried green beans and buttered bacon mushrooms. :smile: My brother Scott would say what’s wrong with that?!

We ended up buying: onions, cilantro, carrots, Poblano peppers, grass-fed ground beef and bison.

Whole Foods

We were getting pretty hungry after all of that commotion, so on our way home we stopped at Whole Foods for their outstanding salad bar.

We enjoyed our salads at the beautiful Centennial Lakes.

On our way home from lunch we drove by a few garage sales. We are thinking about buying a book shelf for our office and ideally would like to find a cheap one from a garage sale or Craig’s List, and fix it up if need be. No such luck at the sales yesterday, but we are keeping our eyes out.

Dinner

Back at home, I prepped for dinner. It was only about 2:30 in the afternoon at this point, but Dana and I were going to church at 5:00, so I figured I would get everything prepared beforehand, so that after church, we could just finish up the cooking process and have ourselves a delicious meal in no time.

Dinner involved the fresh farmer’s market Poblano peppers. I began by cutting off the tops, deseeding the peppers, and baking them in a 400° oven for 15 minutes.

***MAJOR TIP! Wear gloves or use a spoon to scoop out the seeds if you handle these bad boys. I learned the hard way; wasn’t even thinking about the fact that these were spicy peppers, and ended up with a right hand that burned for a good hour. You’ve been fore-warned.

Next, I sautéed 2 diced small onions with 3 minced garlic cloves. After about 4 minutes, I removed them, and added 1/2 of a pound of ground beef to the same pan (the less dishes the better!). I browned up the meat, then brought it to the sink so I could rinse and drain some of the fat off. I returned the meat and the onions to the pan, no longer on any heat.

I then added 1 fresh tomato—-from our garden. Our first normal tomato of the summer!

And 1 tablespoon chopped fresh farmer’s market cilantro, 1 tablespoon salsa, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and if I would have remembered I would have put a dash of chili powder in there, but I forgot. I mixed everything together to make the “stuffing” for the peppers.

I stuffed all of the peppers using a spoon, wrapped them individually in tin foil, and placed them in the fridge for later. 

Next, I made a small batch of guacamole using 1 ripe avocado, 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, lemon juice because I didn’t have lime, a dash of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. I gave this all a mix, covered it and put it in the fridge.

When we got home from church, and after running a couple of errands, we got the grill fired up. The peppers did their thing on the grill  for about 20 minutes over medium-high heat.

Transfer to your plate, remove the foil, top with guacamole and some salsa if you like, and there you have it. Deliciously healthy stuffed Poblano peppers.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Ingredients

  • 5 Poblano peppers, top cut off, deseeded
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp salsa
  • 1/4 cup cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place prepared peppers onto baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. In medium pan, saute onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes; remove from pan, return pan to heat.
  4. In same pan, brown the ground beef; rinse and drain in sink, return to pan and take off heat.
  5. Add remaining ingredients including the onion and garlic, to the pan to make the stuffing.
  6. Once peppers are done, use spoon to fill peppers with stuffing.
  7. Wrap peppers individually in aluminum foil.
  8. Place on heated grill and grill for 20 minutes.**
  9. Top with guacamole, salsa, or enjoy as they are!

**These would also work in the oven, although I am unsure of the temperature and cooking time so you may have to experiment!

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Well, hello there. I have a lot to share with you so I am going to get right to it. Today’s post is somewhat of a short novel. I apologize.

For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that I am combatting some health issues. Anyone just reading for the first time, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 12 and since then have lived with flare-up, remission, flare-up, remission, etc. etc.

I was healthy for over two years without any bouts until about 2 months ago when I started having symptoms again. Now, as a Registered Dietitian my first thought was to try to help the healing process through diet. The diet is something you can control. I began a low-residue, low-fiber diet to try and give my intestines a little time to rest. Think chicken, potatoes with out skin, apples without skin, Cream of Wheat, bananas, etc.

Along with the low-fiber diet, I also consulted my gastroenterologist who started me on medications right away. As time progressed, my symptoms only got worse. I went back to the doc who then switched my meds again. At this point, I was so frustrated with the low-fiber diet and not being able to eat the foods I love (especially raw veggies) that I kind of let loose on the whole diet thing. For breakfast and lunch I would eat low-fiber but then at dinner I was oftentimes making myself a small salad just to fulfill my cravings. Nothing was working, and I was tired of it.

Long story shorter, I was ready to try something different. Dana bought this book for me, and ironically my mom has the same one from when I was younger.

My mom tried EVERYTHING with me when I was sick as a child, but so many of these diets are incredibly hard to follow because you do have to be strict. As a teen, you weren’t going to stop me from going out with my friends and having pizza or other fun snacks. I would eat the pizza and then feel completely miserable afterwards. I wasn’t able to make smart decisions because I didn’t want to risk missing out on social moments. I will never be able to thank my mom enough for all of the time, research, money, love, and support she gave me and still does. Now that I am older though, I have a better understanding of my priorities. :smile: Also, I know that I can still be social and have fun, I just need to be careful what goes into this delicate body of mine.

So, Dana brings me this book and starts telling me about the concepts involved. I was definitely skeptical at first, but continued on to read the whole book. Here is what I learned…

I pulled this information right from their site which you can link to by clicking on the title below.

“The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ has helped many thousands of people with various forms of bowel disease and other ailments vastly improve their quality of life. In many cases, people consider themselves cured. It is a diet intended mainly for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea. However it is a very healthy, balanced and safe diet that has health benefits for everyone. 
 
The foods that are allowed on the SCD are based on the chemical structure of these foods. Carbohydrates are classified by their molecular structure. The allowed carbohydrates are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that allow them to be easily absorbed by the intestinal wall. Complex carbohydrates which are disaccharides and polysaccharides are not allowed. They are not easily digested and feed harmful bacteria in our intestines causing them to overgrow. This produces by products and inflames the intestinal wall. The diet works by starving out these bacteria and restoring the balance of bacteria in our gut. The SCD is biologically correct because it is species appropriate. The allowed foods are mainly those that early man ate before agriculture began. The diet we evolved to eat over millions of years was predominately one of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and low-sugar fruits.
 
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ was clinically tested for over 50 years by Dr Haas and biochemist Elaine Gottschall with convincing results. From feedback from the various lists and other information at least 75% of those who adhere rigidly to the diet gain significant improvement.”
 
View SCD official site here

I have forever had issues digesting complex carbohydrates. I always joke about how I love bagels but bagels don’t love me. Sometimes I can eat them and feel fine, but oftentimes I eat them and regret it a few hours later when my stomach begins to bloat like a balloon. In my teen years, mom brought me to a holistic doctor. I remember him waving a bunch of scents under my nose while testing my body’s resistance at the same time—pressing on my arm and asking me to push against it, etc. I remember I was slightly intolerant to lactose and gluten. To this day I am still the same way. I am a true believer in holistic health and healing. I also know, that western medicine is a necessity in a lot of cases.

As a dietitian, this diet does make sense to me and it does sound completely legitimate. The book explains the science behind our bodies digestion process and goes on to explain that our bodies have a difficult time digesting these complex carbohydrates and we are not able to get rid of all of the sugars involved. These sugars therefore sit in our intestine and begin to ferment, which can cause a lot of gas and can cause inflammation as well. As a gal with ulcerative colitis, the last thing I need is EXTRA uncomfortable symptoms. After reading this book and talking it over with the hubs and madre, I have decided I am going to give it a whirl.

The diet begins with a 2-5 day introduction diet. You can eat as much as you want of the following foods (directly from their site and the book):

Breakfast:
Dry curd cottage cheese (moisten with homemade yogurt)
Eggs (boiled, poached, or scrambled)
Pressed apple cider or grape juice mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with water. See, SCD™ Legal / Illegal List for more information about allowable juices.
Homemade gelatin made with juice, unflavored gelatin, and sweetener (honey or saccharine)

Lunch:
Homemade chicken soup
Broiled beef patty or broiled fish
Cheesecake
Homemade gelatin made with juice, unflavored gelatin, and sweetener (honey or saccharine)

Dinner: Variations of above

I started this intro diet yesterday and bless Dana’s heart, he is doing it with me. Because my symptoms are no longer severe, we will only be doing the introductory diet for two days before moving into the next stage (which looks and sounds WAY better). To prepare for these two days we made a big batch of hard-boiled eggs, lean beef patties, 100% grape juice gelatin, homemade yogurt, “legal” cheesecake made from homemade yogurt and dry curd cheese, and allowed chicken soup from scratch. We also stocked up on Dole 100% pineapple juice. The prep is pretty tedious but if this diet works like it says, then it’s worth it.

This was my first time ever making homemade yogurt. Getting the temperatures just right was the hardest part, but I think we got it down now, and next time we make it will be a lot easier.

Homemade Yogurt: following the directions to a T is very important as you are making sure to rid the product of all lactose remains.

Instructions:

  1. Bring 1/2 gallon of 1% milk to simmer; stirring often. Remove from heat.
  2. Cover and cool until milk has reached room temperature (64-77°F).
  3.  Remove 1 cup cooled milk and make a paste with 1/2 cup good quality commercial yogurt*.
  4. Mix the paste with the remainder of the cooled milk and stir thoroughly.
  5. Cover pot and place on a hot plate heated to 100-110°F; let stand on hot plate for at least 24 hours.
  6. Remove from heat and place in fridge to cool.
*The yogurt should be unflavored and unsweetened. Buy one containing only milk or milk solids and bacterial culture. Recommended cultures are Lactobacillus bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, and S. thermophilus.
I will not lie to you, I am hating these first two days. No fruits or veggies besides those from fruit juice? I am not a meat or fish lover, and I can only take eggs in small amounts. The Farmer’s Cheese, aka Dry Curd Cheese gives me the worst after taste in my mouth. Blech. The chicken carrot soup is OK, but very bland. I tried making the cheesecake this morning hoping that would be something that I would enjoy but no, because of the cheesy aftertaste I’m not a fan. I am loving the 100% grape juice gelatin however, so I have been eating an insane amount of that. The homemade yogurt I believe needs to wait until tomorrow before I can really incorporate more of it. It felt good to complain for that brief moment. I am trying to remain positive. Tomorrow, we move on to the next phase which is slowly introducing fruits, veggies, nuts, and proteins. Considering I am not a huge complex carb eater in general, the next phase will be very similar to my pre-flare diet with tons of fruits and veggies and beans too!!
My symptoms are already improving drastically and it’s only been a couple of days. On Friday I ate low-carb all day, the only thing I ate that “wasn’t allowed” on the SCD was corn. Then yesterday of course I followed to the very strict intro diet, along with today. I have had zero bloating. You read that right. ZERO. I am utterly amazed at the progress already. I am continuing to take my medications as prescribed by my doctor as well as implementing this diet. Also, the book emphasizes the importance of supplementing with vitamins during this time. If you are thinking about starting this diet, please consult with your physician first. They will make sure this diet is okay for you and help you determine what supplements you  may need to take.
I am so excited to be sharing this journey with you all. Besides from these first two days, this will not be a major lifestyle change for me. Sure, there will be some changes: a lot of food preparation to ensure that there are no complex carbs, a lot of dishes, making smart choices when out with friends, etc. I will do my best to adapt to these modifications. The book recommends you stay on this diet for a year to increase your chances of curing the disease completely. They don’t recommend that you “give it a try” for a month and then quit even if your conditions improve. But, I am only human and although I will continue a very low-carb diet in the future, this is a diet that I will not stay on forever.
As I progress through the stages of this diet, I will continue to keep you posted and update you on the changes. There will be some seriously awesome veggie-packed recipes coming your way soon, that anyone will enjoy, even if you’re not following the SCD.
And that is the nutshell version of what is going on in our household. I am off to get a few things done around here. Catch up with you later!

Going Away Party and Welcome Home Party

Last night we attended a going away party for our good friend, Luke. He will be moving out of state to begin a new job and although the feelings are bittersweet, as we are sad that he is leaving MN, we are also VERY excited for him in his new endeavor and are so happy for him.

We celebrated at Bar Lurcat in Minneapolis. Our friend, Krystle did an amazing job of putting this party together. The atmosphere was very relaxed as we sipped on our wine, snacked on mini sliders and other appetizers that were served, and all mingled and chatted the night away.

Here is the man who were celebrating on behalf of, pictured with his beautiful girlfriend (and one of my best friends), Kate.

Cafe & Bar Lurcat is located in the Loring Park area in Minneapolis. I don’t go to this area often, but really should. It is beautiful and has an almost Tuscan-like feel to the side streets. There is also a nice park located right behind where we parked our car (pictured below). There are other restaurants I wouldn’t mind exploring, or it would be fun to bring a picnic. I want to go back!

It was a really great night. We haven’t been out in a while due to traveling and me not feeling the best, so it was definitely a lot of fun. Luke, can’t wait to come visit you! Congratulations again!

Although, we enjoyed going out, Moose on the other hand wasn’t the most impressed. We gave him his alone time for a few hours, and by the time we returned, he had gotten over the fact that we left him in the dust, and welcomed us the best way he knows how: smothering and kisses.

So much love from our big man, who btw is shedding like CRAZY right now.

Now, it is Saturday morning, there is a steady rain falling outside, and I just baked up a lemon blueberry treat to bring to mom and dad’s tonight in celebration of Father’s Day. Sounds cozy right? I’ll share the recipe with you later gators.

Off to take on the day…have an awesome Saturday!

Every BODY is Different

Happy Memorial Day!

This weekend has been extremely productive. It has been nice to spend a weekend at home to catch up on things around the house.

How about a recap from yesterday?

Breakfast: Cream of Wheat with maple syrup, cinnamon, and brown sugar. On the side, some cinnamon apple decaf tea.

We did our usual Sunday morning gig of browsing through the newspaper, but unfortunately we didn’t get to cut any coupons because there were no coupons in the paper yesterday! I was incredibly bummed. I love coupon cutting on Sunday mornings. We then went to the grocery store and then home to work on the yard.

It was finally time to plant our vegetable garden. This year we planted: zucchini, 4 different varieties of tomato including 1 grape tomato plant, bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, green beans, and kale.

We decided to buy the pre-grown tomato plants this year because our tomato plants were extraordinarily late last year. When all of my co-workers were bringing in tomatoes to share, mine still didn’t come up for at least another month after that. We are hoping these work out better. We also moved them to a different area in the garden, so we’ll see what happens.

On the deck in separate containers we planted a few herbs: Basil, Dill, and Mint. I have a strong desire to make mojitos this summer if we get our mint to come up!

We worked on the yard all afternoon; trimming bushes, trees, cleaning the gutters, etc. It was a hot and steamy day here in MN at about mid 90’s and very humid, so I was a sweaty mess.

I snapped a couple of photos of some beauties in the yard.

For dinner we bought very lean pork tenderloin which I had marinated in the fridge using this lovely Lawry’s Hawaiian sauce.

The description: “An enticing combination of pure honey, soy sauce and ginger blends with tangy pineapple, papaya and a touch of mango to unlock the flavor secrets of the islands.” I was sold.The pineapple from the marinade also serves as a natural meat tenderizer. I would definitely recommend this sauce.

Nutrition per tablespoon: 20 calories, 0 fat, 250 mg sodium, 5 g sugar. Although I prefer making my own sauces and spices whenever possible, I think it’s okay to “cheat” every once and a while too.

For those of you who have been following my blog recently, what you see on my plate in this next photo may surprise you due to my current health situation and low-fiber, low-residue diet that I had said I was going to try to follow. Enter: greenery.

Alongside my (awesome) grilled pork tenderloin, I made myself an experimental small side salad. No toppings except for a little of my fav Newman’s Own Lite Honey Mustard. I wanted to see how my body would feel after eating one of the most missed components of my normal diet.

Lately, I have been following the low-fiber diet, but the truth is, I am feeling totally crummy and it’s not just from the colitis. My body is craving green veggies and I am getting burnt out of canned green beans real fast. I have been thinking that if I feed my body a little bit of the foods that make me feel good normally, and the food my body is craving (greens), that maybe this will help me heal (as long as I don’t get too extreme about adding fiber back in). I don’t plan to slam down the raw broccoli, beans, and cabbage, but slowly incorporating some side salads and other greens may possibly be the best medicine for me. There is no significant evidence that proves that any particular diet really helps people with U.C., so why not experiment and see how my own body reacts?

I wanted to see how I felt this morning after my salad experiment and guess what? I feel no different, and that’s a good thing. Like, I said, I’m not condoning a veggie smack down by any means, but I am going to continue to experiment and learn how my body reacts to different options. Every BODY is different. I will be very careful and also continue to be cared for by medical professionals.

I am off to make a potato and chive salad (thanks for the chives, Nicole!) for a get together with some of my family and some of Dana’s family later this afternoon. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Have a great day!

The Boundary Waters

As mentioned, Dana and I took a trip up to the Boundary Waters with my brother Scott, his girlfriend Nicole, and Scott’s dog Tuner. The photos are not the highest quality because they were taken from a disposable camera, but they’re not terrible!

Here is our trip in a nutshell for you all.

Friday morning we are all packed up and about to hit the road towards the Boundary Waters.

To get to our campsite, we did quite a bit of portaging. Unfortunately for Dana, I wasn’t quite strong enough to carry the canoe so he got stuck with it every time.  I was however, able to help carry our packs!

Throughout the weekend we canoed approximately 30 miles and enjoyed the most beautiful scenery and the freshest air. The air was so pure I just wanted to bottle it up and take it home. Below is a photo of Scott, Nicole, and Tuner canoeing alongside of us. They led the way as they are seasoned BW travelers.

We finally made it to our first campsite after finding that most of the sites were full. It was a pretty small site, but we were ecstatic to find a site in general. So we set up shop, while battling the gnats and flies.

We ate SO well this weekend thanks to wonderful planning by Nicole. She made batches of dehydrated fruits including apples, bananas, peaches, and pineapples, and brought along other snacks like granola, beef jerky, raisins, nuts, seeds, etc. Dinners were seriously awesome. The first night we ate tacos, second night we ate chili, and third night we ate asparagus soup. Nicole should seriously win an award for best camp cook. Lunches consisted of summer sausage, cheese, pita bread, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, and snackies. Breakfasts were oatmeal and granola with nuts and seeds, and the first morning we had hashbrowns, bacon, and eggs. Talk about a feast.

Scotty is quite the novice camper as well. Here is using a wooden paddle as a cutting board to cut up tomatoes for salsa. Who knew a paddle could be so multi-functional?

Evenings were spent relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking views.

Day two, we packed up our stuff and headed to a campsite across the way that had recently become vacant. This one was amazing. It was huge.

We “bathed” in the water behind Dana in this photo below. The water was pretty darn cold. Doesn’t Dana look so manly? Like he could go catch a fish with his bare hands?

Day three was rainy, so we slept in and eventually Dana and I crawled out to go start a fire. We all hung out for a while, and as the rain started to let up, we decided that we would get bundled up and head out on a day canoe trip. We paddled into Canada. My first ever visit to Canada. We ate lunch on an island rock called Warrior Hill, then headed a little further to view the Lac La Croix Pictographs. The pictographs consisted of handprints, Moose, figurines of men smoking a pipe, and the letter L, among others. Very cool!

Back home, we bundled up and huddled around the campfire. It turned out to be a clear night so we could see the stars. They were so bright and beautiful and nothing like we see here in the cities.

Last morning and we are all packed up again ready to head for home. Yes, my pants are tucked into my socks. The bugs LOVE me so I like to cover as much skin as possible and stay protected.

We left for landing/where our car was parked, at 9 am from our campsite, and didn’t get there until 2 pm, so it was a long day of portaging and canoeing and we were all exhausted.

Our final photo of the journey was taken once we had made it to our final destination, the car. The last leg of the portage was a long one and it was uphill. I was carrying my pack on my back as well as the food pack on my front. All I could think about was making it to the top and not stopping until I got there (hey, that was good training for the half marathon, huh?). Also, I felt like a contestant on the Biggest Loser. You know, after they have been on the show for a while and have lost a lot of weight, they give the contestants a task of strapping on all of the weight they have lost and make them do a crazy trail trek? That’s what I felt like.

I learned this weekend that I am capable of so much more than I realize. This weekend was very challenging for me physically, but I survived. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to go up north to the Boundary Waters. Thank you Scotty for pushing me to go  and for having faith in me that I was strong enough to handle it! I will recover from the bug bites soon. :smile: P.S. I love my bed, I am fortunate for electricity, running water, food from the fridge, shelter of my home…

Happy Saturday! It’s running day for me. Catch up with you later.