I have officially completed the Intro Phase of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and am a little over a week into my gut healing protocol. Aka, a little over one week closer to healing my gut.
The Intro Diet is meant to be followed for 2-5 days & while I was originally planning on following it for three days, I decided to follow my gut instinct (literally..) & go for another day. So Monday – Thursday of last week my diet consisted of carrot baby food, chicken soup/broth, and homemade gelatin gummies. Basically I got a sneak peak into the dietary joys of a nursing home.
But in all reality, it wasn’t really that bad. Sure I was a little hungry. Ok more like ravenous. But the week went by quickly. And turned out to be well worth the deprivation because it helped. That’s right, one week in & I am seeing progress. And man does it feel good. My symptoms have not completely gone away but they’ve gotten significantly better.
First, I’d like to briefly outline what I did/ate for the Intro Diet (as well as the days following)..
Monday – Thursday all pretty much looked like different variations of this:
Wake up & first thing take my Probiotic with a big glass of cold water
Next, dissolve 3-4 grams of L-Glutamine in around 8 oz. of water & drink that while boiling some hot water
Once the hot water has boiled, fill a mug of half bone broth with half boiling water (& some salt & sometimes powdered ginger), Take a Digestive Enzyme & drink the hot bone broth during my morning meditation/stretching routine
Meditation/Stretching Routine: It’s pretty simple. Basically I begin seated or standing (whatever I feel my body needs that morning) with my hot mug of bone broth at my side & dab a little bit of Peppermint Essential Oil into both palms. I rub my palms together & spread the Peppermint Oil all over my lower stomach/belly area. I then close my eyes & focus on breathing deep & sending positive, healing energies towards my gut. After a few minutes of this I cup my palms underneath my nose & do a few rounds of inhales & exhales, making sure to make my breaths as deep as possible & using the peppermint scent to clear out my head & awaken my body. Depending on my mood I will then engage in some light yoga or stretching movements (seated, standing, or a combination of both). I usually drink my bone broth throughout the session & once it’s done & I feel complete I will go & fix my breakfast.
Breakfast: Chicken soup* with small amount pureed Carrots (either mixed in or on the side) –
Lunch: Usually a grass-fed beef Burger with a small amount of pureed Carrots & homemade Gelatin Gummies**
Snacks (if needed): Gelatin Gummies, a can of Sardines with Lemon Juice, another Burger, or a a mug of hot tea or large glass of iced tea (usually Peppermint or Licorice Root)
Dinner: Chicken Soup (+ another burger or small amount of pureed carrots if needed)
*Chicken soup was made by cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot for 4-5 hours then shredding/storing the chicken meat & adding the chicken carcass back to the crockpot covered in water & to simmer down. After 12-24 hours, I strained & discarded the carcass & added the chicken meat back to the broth, letting it all cook together for about an hour before cooling & storing it in the fridge
**Gelatin gummies were made by steeping tea bags (usually a combination of Licorice Root, Peppermint, and/or Ginger) in 3-4 cups of boiling water & then re-heating the water to a simmer while whisking 5-8 tablespoons of Gelatin into the tea one tablespoon at a time until all incorporated. Then pouring the mixture into a pyrex baking dish, refrigerating it for 3-4 hours (or overnight), and then cutting the gummies up into individual squares.
Overall what I noticed:
- My symptoms seemed to get a bit worse before they got better. The first 2-3 days I definitely saw an increase in my predominant symptom
- I was very tired. But despite how tired I was I was not experiencing very high quality sleep. I’m not sure if it was due to my nervousness/preoccupation with my digestive issues or my hunger resulting from the diet switch (or a little of both) but for some reason I experienced some trouble sleeping during my first week. I’m usually pretty good about sleeping throughout the night but I would wake up a couples times a night & would have trouble falling asleep & getting back to sleep after these interruptions. I also was not able to sleep in past 6:30-7:00 am despite still being tired.
- Slight symptoms of what could’ve been die off – the body’s reaction to the shift in bacteria & killing off of bad bacteria. The symptoms of die off can range from an increase in your negative symptoms (such as diarrhea or constipation) to headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, brain fog, intense cravings, etc. For me, I think the die off came in a couple different forms – my symptoms increased (& both my stools/pee began smelling pretty awful), I experienced anxiety/restlessness, and on the 4th day I experienced some serious fatigue/brain fog/flu-like symptoms.
- While it was hard, I think it was definitely a smart decision to take time off from CrossFit during this first week. Rather than my normal exercise routine I chose walking, light yoga classes, and meditation classes over going into my CrossFit box. I simply was not eating enough calories to support this type of activity & I think this type of stress would’ve hindered my progress.
Progress/Benefits seen thus far:
- An improvement in my urgency/frequency to use the bathroom. That is all I will say.
- My skin looks healthier. I have psoriasis, and luckily I’ve been able to put it into remission & get most of it all cleared up but there were a couple remaining faded spots on one of my legs and arms that I’ve noticed have gone away even more so over the past week! My skin also looks very hydrated & smooth and is overall glowing. Get at me, bone broth.
- The vibrating/rumbling sensation in my lower abdomen has disappeared! I began experiencing these odd vibrating sensations in lower left abdomen shortly after eating & also throughout the day/night that were beginning to concern me, but about two days into the Intro Diet these went away completely. I take that as a good sign.
- My sleep has improved now. I think seeing some sort of progress has settled my anxiety about my gut issues & with that I’ve been able to settle into a deep sleep almost every night following the four initial days on the Intro Diet.
- I finally went to a guided meditation class at this meditation center nearby my house that I’ve been wanting to check out for months. Meditation is intimidating & can easily be put on the back burner especially when there is so much else going on in life that you’d rather prioritize such as exercise, studying, hanging out with friends/family, sleeping, etc. But taking this time to slow down & heal opened up the opportunity to finally check out a lead meditation class. The class was an hour & a half long (with a quick potty break in the middle) and while it did seem pretty long, I loved it! And since then I’ve successfully started my own daily meditation/breathing/relaxation type practice. Every morning I begin my day with a few minutes of deep breathing, body/mind scanning, and positive thinking. I like to take this time to start my day off focusing on both myself & my own personal healing as well as on others in my life who I feel could benefit from some positive vibes & good thoughts sent their way.
Soo with that being said, what’s next..?!
I’m going to continue with the SCD/Paleo approach to healing my gut. I’ve now added zucchini back into my diet successfully (in the cooked & pureed form) & have also increased my fats (mostly in the form of coconut oil & animal fat) which has helped with the hunger pangs. Oh & I’ve also added a Kombucha or two (exclusively in the form of GT’s Organic Raw Gingerade) – girls gotta have a treat! I’ve kept everything else the same & am still seeing progress! I plan on sticking with this for the next week & then reintroducing a safe vegetable or fat back in every 3 days or so to provide more variety & nutrients to my diet. I think next on my list will be either cooked/sauteed spinach or cooked/steamed green beans. Hopefully all goes well. I will be posting my week two progress next week!
Oh & a quick tip for anyone out there wanting to try out this type of gut-healing protocol – preparation is key!
Made a quick trip to Whole Foods to get stocked up on some essentials – Ginger Kombucha, Whole Chicken (for soup), a portion of Salmon (on sale baby!), some Marrow Bones (for bone broth), & a can of Salmon (for quick protein in a pinch!)
Prepped for the first half of the week. Left to right – a batch of Licorice Root/Ginger Gummies (before being cut up), Pureed Zucchini & Carrots, Shredded Chicken, Shrimp, Beef/Turkey Burgers, & plenty of Chicken Stock/Bone Broth.
A few meals from the first week: