In 2014 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC). I have a culinary arts degree and spent many years in the restaurant industry after my diagnosis, but the 60-70 hour work weeks were taking a toll on my health.
My gastroenterologist suggested that I change careers since I was not doing better. Devastated, I quit my job and changed industries. But I still had this lifelong culinary passion that I wanted to share.
Over the years I have tried many diets to relieve my UC symptoms. None were successful until I found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet was designed specifically for people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and, along with medication, has helped my symptoms immensely.
This led me to find my new culinary dream and passion, which is to create and share classic SCD-style dishes. At the start of this diet, I had trouble finding my favorite recipes, so I decided to make them myself. I then launched my blog to raise awareness, share my journey, and, of course, share my recipes.
I’ve met so many great people in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) community and I’m honored to be able to share my recipes and my journey with you all.
I start my morning with a weak cup of black coffee. The SCD allows coffee, but it must be diluted or very weak to minimize the effects of caffeine on the digestive tract.
I fill my cup halfway with regular coffee, then fill the rest of the cup with hot water. Then I transfer it to a thermos so I can sip it for a few hours.
I choose to do daily intermittent fasting. This means that I can have my black coffee whenever I want after waking up, but I wait until noon to have the rest of my breakfast. In a 24 hour period, I fast for 16 hours, then I have everything I want in an 8 hour period. For me, this period is from noon to 8 p.m.
Intermittent fasting allows the gut time to focus on healing and repair instead of always focusing on digestion, and it has helped my UC symptoms. Be sure to check with your doctor to see if it’s right for you before trying it.
At noon, I have 1 cup of my SCD 24h fermented yogurt with 1/2 cup of fruit, 2 tablespoons of honey and 9 or 10 unroasted cashews. The fruit provides antioxidants and the cashews add magnesium.
Fermenting yogurt for 24 hours causes all of the lactose (milk sugar) to break down, making it easier to digest. Good bacteria contribute to gut health and are the cornerstone of SCD.
If you don’t eat dairy, you can make almond or coconut yogurt.
I have lunch around 2:30 p.m. and usually have something lighter like that tarragon chicken salad. Because it was one of my favorite lunches of all time, I had to make an SCD version.
I like to accompany this chicken salad with arugula because it is less liquid than romaine and I tolerate it better. In addition, arugula contains more nutrients than romaine. However, every person with IBD is different, so find which lettuce is right for you or forgo lettuce altogether if you can’t tolerate it.
The chicken in this salad is high in protein, and the grapes and celery count as one serving of fruits and vegetables. Mayonnaise adds fat and, most importantly, the classic flavor of chicken salad. The tarragon brings a herbaceous and luminous note that rounds off the dish perfectly.
My husband doesn’t like raisins in chicken salad. If you aren’t either, feel free to omit them. The key is to make these recipes work for you.
I like to have my afternoon snack around 4:30 p.m. I love smoothies because they offer easily digestible nutrients and are quick and easy to prepare.
This great green smoothie offers a sweet, tropical treat with frozen banana and pineapple as the base. Spinach and avocado add iron; potassium; vitamins A, C and K; and more easily digestible fiber.
Green apple adds a tangy kick and ginger brings a fresh zest of antioxidants and vitamin C. Blended with creamy almond milk, this smoothie is a real treat. I find using frozen fruit as a base instead of ice makes for a thicker, more satisfying smoothie.
If you don’t like any of the ingredients, feel free to swap them out and get creative. You really can’t go wrong with smoothies!
I usually have dinner between 6:30 and 7 p.m. I like to include protein and a veggie, but who said it had to be boring? This pepper stuffed with cheesesteak is anything but boring and hits the spot when I crave a cheesesteak.
I kept the same timeless flavors but removed the bread and stuffed a bell pepper instead. Sweet bell pepper surrounds flavors of caramelized onions, salted steak and melted cheese for – in my opinion – one of the best flavor combinations ever.
Classically, the meat of choice for a cheesesteak is the ribeye, but the round and flank steak works just as well and will save you a few bucks. You can top these peppers with Swiss cheese, provolone, or mild cheddar. Filling and satisfying, this is one of my favorite dinner recipes.
Some people with IBD cannot tolerate red meat. Feel free to substitute chicken or turkey as a lighter option.
As the day draws to a close, it is pleasant to end it with a sweetness, and this lemon and blueberry cake is still a home run. I have this between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Made from just 10 ingredients you probably already have and ready in 7 minutes flat, it could also become one of your most beloved SCD desserts.
Be sure to check the power of your microwave according to the cooking times and adjust it if necessary. You can also use any other type of berries you like. You can even use dried berries instead of fresh. Just be sure to read the label of your dried berries, as many contain added sugars that are not SCD compliant.
After many experiments, I was finally able to achieve the perfect moist cake texture in the microwave.
Thanks for coming with me to see what I eat in a day while living with UC. IBD can be a different experience for everyone. SCD was a good choice for me, but it may not be for everyone.
Talking to a dietitian can help you personalize your nutritional approach. Consulting with a dietitian can also help ensure that your diet does not contain any foods that may trigger food allergies or sensitivities. This way, you will have a better chance of managing your condition successfully.
Abigail has a culinary arts background and degree in addition to living with ulcerative colitis. She spent many years struggling with her health until she decided to consider her diet and lifestyle in addition to medication. After much trial and error, she found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Missing some of her favorite recipes, she took to making SCD versions using her cooking skills and hasn’t looked back! You can follow Abigail on her amazing IBD management journey on her blog at https://abigailmariethechefwithibd.com