one day at a time

Pumpkin pancakes – SCD legal

I know, it’s been a bit quiet around here lately. In case you were wondering what I have been up to lately: Well, I’ve been battling with quite a bit of bad health. Maybe you know that I have Celiac Disease, a chronic gastrointestinal disease that makes me highly allergic to the gluten in crops. I was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago and have been on a gluten-free diet ever since. However, it’s a genetic disorder, so I had already lived my whole life before, eating a diet that was basically poisoning me. Well, the doctors told me that it might not get better immediately, so I patiently waited. Some of the symptoms cleared up, even some that I never thought would even be related, like my migraines for example. Others stayed and I had flares every so often, especially when I was stressed or travelling. After 2 years and still not being symptom-free they told me that I had IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – caused by Celiac Disease, which is doctor’s-speak for “We don’t know what you have and there is nothing we can do”. I decided that I would have to get used to the thought of being ill for the rest of my life and to live accordingly. Not easy, but well, after another year and reducing stress things were finally looking up. At the beginning of this year I was feeling rather well, with only the occasional bad day.

As a result I was a bit less careful, ate the occasional unhealthy treat – although always gluten free – and I started to drink coffee again. However, over the last half year my health probably deteriorated again without me really noticing. I wasn’t keeping track of the bad days, so it’s hard to know. However, when I travelled again in June and July I was feeling just terrible. Since then I’ve been continually feeling quite bad again and realised that I’m back in a flare for no apparent reason, apart from eating more processed foods, like gf pasta or corn wafers and having coffee. If I think back, then the signs were there that a flare was coming on, but I just didn’t want to accept it. Well, if a bit more carbs and some rather mild coffee is enough to put me into a flare than there is still something seriously wrong with my stomach! After 3 years of mostly healthy eating, daily cooking, lots of fruit and veg? Shouldn’t it get better after all this time if these doctors really have any clue as to what I have? I could only conclude that either I have two gastrointestinal diseases at once, one caused by the other, or – much more likely – that really I’m one of those scare cases where the gluten-free diet just doesn’t work as well as it should. I read about some of those cases when I was starting my gluten-free diet, and was really glad that I at least improved a bit, but if they were really right about the causes and effects of Celiac Disease than I still should have been healed 1 1/2 years ago.

Since the flare just wasn’t going away, I decided to do a bit of research again and do my homework first before facing another series of visits to the doctor’s office. Somehow through a coincidence I stumbled over a diet called SCD – Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which seems to be especially helpful with tough cases of any kind of gastrointestinal disease, from Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, over Celiac to IBS, as well as with other types of diseases linked to chronic inflammation. Well, I was intrigued and started to research the diet a bit more. Turns out that in the US they even already conducted a pilot study into the effectiveness of the diet on IBS with really good results. Well worth a try in any case, since there is no real risk involved. It’s not a low carb diet unless you choose it to be one and it might actually help me to heal a bit more.

What’s different about this diet is that it not only forbids gluten, but also rice, potatoes, corn, pseudo crops like quinoa and a few other starchy foods. In fact all foods containing any kind of starches or complex sugars are not allowed. The aim of the diet is to restore the balance of the bacteria in the gut, and prevent them from overgrowing. Scientifically it looks sound to me and it works along the lines of what I wanted to try anyway, because it uses probiotics, i.e. good bacteria, and limits sugars to the potentially bad bacteria or yeasts already present. At the same time it also gives me the opportunity to really investigate whether I actually tolerate most of the foods that I eat. I eliminated quite a few things already when I started the gluten-free diet, because these foods just didn’t agree well with me, but I’ve been suspecting that there are still some more food allergies hidden in the mix that might have delayed reactions, for example corn and soy, both forbidden on this new diet, or maybe dairy products, with which I had a problem for a while before I started the gluten-free diet.

Well, for me it’s a big change. All of a sudden I’m supposed to eat all this meat and I find it really hard to get enough calories, although I seem to be eating constantly! It’s quite striking how much I was depending on those carbs before. However, although it’s a bit difficult I’ve already had a bit of success with it after just 5 days, which seems rather promising to me. I’ll test it for a month at first and then see whether I continue. So far the food has been rather bland, because I’m introducing only one vegetable at a time, but today I had at least one cool experiment that was less sad to take a picture of. Those were pumpkin pancakes, only consisting of mashed pumpkin, eggs and honey.

pumpkin pancakes © Verena Fischer 2012

pumpkin pancakes © Verena Fischer 2012

1/4 Hokkaido pumpkin, steamed and mashed once soft
3 eggs
2 tsp honey
2 tsp olive oil

Just mix all the ingredients and fry like a pancake in the pan.

I made them small like blintzes, because I expected them to not turn easily. They were more difficult to turn than flour pancakes, but still doable as blintzes and I managed without making a mess of them. They were quite nice, but I noticed that they still tasted quite a bit of egg (less egg wouldn’t have been possible though). I only made them with 1 tsp of honey, which is why I recommend using 2 tsp to counteract the egg taste. They’d probably be nice with cinnamon and an apple sauce – which I will introduce to my diet fairly soon.

Sadly, now that I’ve used up my pumpkin portion for breakfast already I will have to eat carrots for the rest of the day. I’m not really a fan of carrots … tomorrow I’ll try some courgette/zucchini, which is one of my staples and shouldn’t give me any trouble either.

Well, I have to get back to … cooking and eating now. I’m hungry. Again. I hope that fairly soon normal service around here will recommence. At the moment I’m just spending most of my time eating, which makes it rather difficult to go out and take pictures!

5 responses

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve not been well. Dietry problems are such a pain (- I’m allergic to cow’s milk, which means no milk, butter etc, beef or gelatine for me. I also have IBS) It doesn’t sound too bad until you start examining ingredients in supermarkets and discover they put milk and wheat in everything they produce. And it’s so easy to lapse into bad eating habits – coffee is a constant temptation for me. Anyway, good luck with the diet. I hope you get some relief from it. Your pumpkin pancakes look good!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:15 am

  2. I’m very sorry to hear how badly you’ve been feeling… sounds truly awful! Especially since I’m so careless about how I eat most of the time (and am so fortunate to not become ill from my poor habits)! I sincerely hope this new diet makes a significant change in how you feel! With all the effort/care/consideration you are putting into everything it sure seems like it could… and should! Feel better, very very soon! It’s so nice to see you back here doing what you do so well!🙂

    October 22, 2012 at 5:21 pm

  3. So sorry for your ill health hope all will rectify soon, celiac is a tough malady to live with. best wishes.

    October 28, 2012 at 11:06 pm

  4. Celiac and Allergy Adventures

    I’ll be interested to find out how this diet helps you … and I hope it makes you feel better! I rely way too much on a lot of the foods you’ve cut out.
    By the way, these pancakes look and sound amazing!

    November 2, 2012 at 1:38 am

  5. So sorry you have food issues. One takes eating an unrestricted diet for granted. Hope things settle down for you soon. These pancakes look really tasty.

    November 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

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