If you’ve ever considered making dietary changes for health reasons, you probably have come across the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
For those of you who haven’t, I should mention that this isn’t a weight loss diet; it’s aimed at gut healing and can be a real lifesaver for those with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Celiac Disease, and many other diseases that are related to gastrointestinal issues. It’s a gluten-free and grain-free diet so it’s great for those with food intolerances and allergies as well.
Erica Kerwien’s blog Comfy Belly is one of the first resources you are likely to stumble on when looking into the SCD diet. Her site is truly a wealth of recipes for those embarking on this new way of eating, so I was very happy to learn that she was coming out with a book with over 100 SCD friendly recipes! Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is her new book and she has graciously taken the time to answer a few questions about it and her own family’s experience with the SCD diet. Please welcome Erica!
1. Can you briefly explain the principles behind the SCD diet?
Sure. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) guides you to eat certain kinds of carbohydrates and other foods that aid in digestion and healing. By removing grains, processed and complex carbohydrates and eating nutrient-dense foods, you can repair your digestive system and improve your overall health. By healing your digestive system you improve absorption of nutrients and alleviate bodily inflammation. What this translates to food-wise is a lot of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein sources like fish, chicken, beef, eggs, and fermented foods like yogurt that help with the natural balance of bacteria in your digestive system.
2. Can you tell us how you found the SCD diet?
When my son Max was first diagnosed with an autoimmune and digestive disease (Crohn’s) in 2006 I started to do research and connect with anyone who could help and share information. I was talking to another mom at a meet-up for kids with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and she mentioned SCD but warned me that kids have a hard time following it for many reasons: there’s a lot of cooking involved, their lunch looks very different at school, it’s not palatable to kids when they see what others are eating, and it doesn’t go over well at birthday parties.
3. What other diets or treatments had you tried in the past?
Back in 2000, before my son’s Crohn’s diagnosis, he had shown signs of illness and distress but we couldn’t figure it out. I took him to several physicians and naturopaths, and some had suggested food or environmental allergies were at play. He had his first of many food and allergy tests which showed a strong immune reaction to gliadin, a protein found in gluten, as well as about 40 other foods he had at least some reaction to. It was overwhelming to say the least. We tried eliminating many foods, but he was young and I was very new to the elimination diet concept and the healing process, so we stumbled along without knowing what was helping or harming him.
4. What was the hardest part about making the switch?
I think the hardest part was that it was so different from the way most folks eat so there wasn’t enough of a support system or public awareness. And the gluten-free awareness campaign hadn’t kicked in, which would have helped. I find it so much easier now that a variety of eating lifestyles have more coverage and consideration in the press and in markets and restaurants. It has eased the burden of finding healthy foods and allowed us to feel that we have a place at the table.
5. Did your entire family adopt the SCD diet? How did they feel about it?
Well, that’s always been a tough issue, but since I cook a lot and do most of the food shopping, many of our meals are SCD when we are following it. Max and I have come back to SCD several times after struggling with it. Early on we modified and experimented with SCD, and we now make choices that we’ve found work for us. While my husband and other son didn’t follow SCD, many of the foods in our home were SCD by default, and then they added bread, brown rice pasta, and rice to their diet. Ironically, my younger son never ate much bread anyway. I focused strongly on eliminating gluten first and the rest came over time.
We rely on SCD principles on a regular basis, and I’ve learned so much since we first started changing things up, such as how to eat well without relying on processed food, how to make good food choices, and how to listen to your body in relation to food. My boys are older now (17 and 19) and they make their own food choices. I believe we’ve all learned a lot from our experiences. Certainly Max is careful of the foods he eats and we’re still working on finding absolute health for him.
6. What led you to write your own cookbook?
I started Comfy Belly with the intention of wrapping my head around blogging technology, food, cooking, and Crohn’s, but as I became more engrossed in writing and reading food blogs the idea of a cookbook crossed my mind. Last year a publisher contacted me with an idea for an SCD cookbook and the rest followed.
7. What kinds of recipes can readers expect to find?
The recipes in Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet follow SCD principles of course, and I’d like to think they have an updated spin on it. For example, I have reduced my consumption of dairy considerably and I think others see an improvement in this technique as well, so I’ve offered recipes for creating dairy-free meals and have focused more on plants, nuts, and seeds as part of the overall diet. I’m also an avid baker, so I offer baked treats that are nutrient dense, gluten-free, and use additional ingredients such as eggs, coconut flour, and dairy-free milk for promoting healing and good health.
8. Name three favorite recipes from the book you think everyone should try first.
Well what a reader chooses will probably depend on what foods they like in general. My current favorites are the dirty rice, banana bread, and a bowl of ratatouille with some capers, marina sauce, and goat cheese or goat yogurt on top.
Want a sample of what you’ll find in the book? Check out this recipe for Tortillas (Soft Tacos) and these Parmesan Crisps below:
THANKS TO ERICA I HAVE A COPY OF THIS BOOK TO GIVEAWAY TO ONE LUCKY READER!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
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Giveaway starts on 4/29/2013 and will run until 5/6/2013 at 11:59 pm PST. Open to US residents only. (Above link to purchase book is an affiliate link.)