Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Trying the SCD Diet

I have a couple of clients who are in various stages of following the SCD - Simple Carbohydrate Diet, ala pecanbread.com. On this diet, one foregoes all gluten, most milk products, all starches and sugars. A few exceptions: aged cheeses. goat yogurt and honey. One boy's mother, Colleen, gave me a half-inch stack of written material about the diet. I immersed myself in it to the point of actually trying it out. I did so with little preparation (other than going shopping). A sane family (Colleen's, for example) spends several months getting ready for the switch by trying new foods and recipes and checking for food allergies.

The diet moves through stages. First there is a 2-3 day cleanout period in which just chicken, hamburger patties, 2 cooked fruits, very ripe bananas and 4 cooked vegetables are eaten. After that, one adds more cooked fruits and vegetables slowly and then eventually adds raw fruits, raw veggies, nut butters, nut flours, goat yogurt, aged cheese, etc.

I stayed on the diet for 3 days, before I was forced to cry uncle, first from symptoms of low blood sugar and then second from fear of gall bladder complaints from too much oil. Let me explain.

I ate lots of meat, veggies and fruit. However, nothing seemed to fill me up. (I heard that one mother lost 15 pounds in the first week or so.) I am not overweight. I was starving. I ate a banana (legal) as a snack, but became very light-headed. Later I took a nap. Low blood sugar in action. Alarmed, I searched the pecanbread web site and looked for a solution. Sure enough low blood sugar is a known complication, and bananas are known to cause "drunken" behaviors. I found advice to eat blacker bananas (in which the starch was already broken down) or get more oil-laden foods into my body such as avocados, nuts and peanuts. I decided that the bananas would still have too much sugar, and so opted for the second solution.

Avocados and nut butters/flours were not legal in my beginner's diet, but I followed the advice anyway. I made a quick batch of hazelnut flatbread and combined with some turkey bacon (my personal cure for all that ails me) I felt better. Now, however, my stomach felt oily. I began to wonder if my gall bladder could keep up with this. I realized that I, for one, could not follow the diet as it was meant to be followed. Not all bodies can do all things. I skipped ahead and tried foods from stages 3 & 4. I added nuts, cheese and peanuts to my diet. However, I continued to have low blood sugar symptoms.

I finally had to give up and eat a sweet potato to help provide some balance. I am now re-introducing foods back into my diet (but no gluten or casein for now!) to get a better understanding of what effect each has on energy levels, yeast levels, gas, stools, etc in my body. By eating starches, I won't get the same results that others will get - and in fact, I am defeating the purpose of the diet. But I hope to mimic enough of the experience to provide support to my clients. Presumably, their constitutions are better suited to the diet than mine is.

1 comment:

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