Sunday Brunch Surprise!

We stopped by our friends place across the city this past Sunday to visit their 2 week old son. It was a lovely surprise to be greeted with a newborn to hold and fuss over. At the same time, our hosts had fussed over us and prepared us an SCD-legal brunch, that ranged from fresh fruit-vegetable juice to baked Cauliflower Hash Browns to dried fruit.

The centerpiece of this meal came out of the oven hot and ready to tuck into – was the egg-in-a-hole, except instead of cooking it within a bread piece, our hostess used avocados.

She gently dropped the cracked eggs into the avocado hollows (where the seed would have been and was removed) and sprinkled it with a bit of salt, pepper, and chives. It was baked in the oven till the eggs were cooked through. Super-delicious!


SCD Cashew Bread

My mom, Sue, came up this past week to visit us for a few days – to help prepare and stock the house with SCD goodies. She has always been an amazing presence in the garden and kitchen, but I was still surprised (after all these years on SCD) to watch her quickly whip together this delicious cashew bread one afternoon.

3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups cashewnut flour (we got ours from Trader Joes)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix all the above together in a processor, and pour in a baking pan in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Enjoy!

SCD & Teens

The following Q&A session is our interview with Gil Guday. Gil is a teen who is a long-time user of SCD, and is dedicated to helping other teens adopt and practice this challenging diet. We wanted to share his unique perspectives on how he manages his normal but busy SCD-friendly teen life to give others hope and inspiration. We had the good fortune of meeting him when we attended the SCD Symposium at Seattle Children's Hospital in January 2014 (he was the youngest attendee by far :)

1. When were you diagnosed with IBD/Crohns/Colitis?

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 11. During the months leading up to the diagnosis, the only symptoms I had were some pain in my stomach and rapid weight loss. Eventually when symptoms persisted I was referred to Seattle Children’s hospital for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. A week or so later we got a call at home from Seattle Children’s; the results of the colonoscopy and endoscopy confirmed a diagnosis of Crohn’s. 

2. How did you find  the diet?

Following the diagnosis, my parents were looking for options to move forward with treatment. With doctor approval we opted the Elemental Diet instead of steroids, with the intent of quieting down the symptoms and inflammation. Parallel to this my parents were researching the different treatments for Crohn’s, wanting to educate themselves as to what would have to come next. Amidst concerns over the various potential side effects from the array of different medications that were generally used as the standard go-to’s, my mom found discussions on online forums where people shared their success with the SCD diet without medications. Partially out of what made sense and partially out of desperation to avoid the meds if at all possible, my parents showed me the diet, showed me the stories of success, and together we decided to give it a try. Thankfully, I achieved remission following 7 weeks of the elemental diet, and from that point we transitioned gradually to SCD.

3. How long have you been following SCD? How was the beginning part of the diet and how long did it take you to stabilize?

I have been on the SCD diet for about 5 years, and just finished my sophomore year in high school. To be completely honest, the beginning of the diet was rough. The lack of diverse food options during the intro phase of the diet left me craving foods I couldn’t have, and I would occasionally “cheat” and eat illegal foods at friends’ houses. However, every time I did this I physically hurt soon after, so at a certain point I decided to commit fully to the diet because I came to realize that I wasn’t helping myself at all by being only partially on the diet, and I had to try it fullheartedly if I wanted to give it a proper chance. Once I made that decision, it was only a matter of a week or two before some of the more acute symptoms began to lessen, and within the first two months I not only felt significantly better, but my weight rose back to where it had been previous to the Crohn’s diagnosis and the inflammation in my digestive system decreased based not only on the symptom relief but also based on lab results. 

4. How have your parents/family supported you during this dietary implementation?

The diet would not have been possible without the support from my parents. A majority of the food preparation is done by my parents simply because I have been kept extremely busy academically. Although I do find time to cook and bake, the daily availability of food is possible because my parents step in to help make sure I have what to eat. In addition to making much of the food I eat, one of the critical components of their support has been helping me learn my way around the kitchen so that I’m able to cook and bake foods I want, which will be necessary as my life progresses and I become more and more independent.

5. As a teenager, how hard has it been to implement the diet in a school setting? Are the administration and teachers aware of SCD?

Although the answer might surprise you, it has actually not been challenging to implement the diet into school settings. One of the most common concerns teens starting SCD have is that it will be “weird” if they bring their own food everywhere, however it is mostly just worry. In this day and age many people are bringing their own food due to increasing interest in dietary adherence to treat common conditions such as diabetes, as well as pursuing overall health. People may ask why I bring food the first time they see it, but a simple explanation revealing whatever I’m comfortable with is enough of an answer. Besides peoples’ initial curiosity, I’ve never been bothered by anyone about bringing my own home-cooked food and it’s never become an issue socially. If there’s any problem, it’s that people often want to try my food and then I get swarmed with requests to share my food again! In terms of the administrative purposes surrounding the diet, schools and programs have been very accommodating towards the diet. I have a 504 plan in my school for these purposes, and teachers and staff are made aware of the diet.

6. What are your recommendations for carrying quick SCD snacks or healthy lunches to school? What do you enjoy taking the most?

My favorite school lunch has changed periodically. During the winter I liked to take a thermos with hot soup, foccacia bread from your book, fruit, and a muffin. In hotter weather I like to bring cold smoothies and fruit, sandwiches made with foccacia bread, and cookies and juice. When it comes to quick on the go SCD snacks,  whether for sports activities or going to the movies, I pack SCD-legal fruit strips, home-made crackers, and honey candies.

7. Are your peers supportive towards the diet? Is there any social pressure to conform and eat non-diet food?

My friends and peers are supportive of my diet. As I mentioned earlier, it generally becomes  a non-issue for my friends and peers, becoming as normal to them as it does to me.

8. Tell us about some of the SCD activities you have been involved in, such as being a spokesperson for SCD at CCFA conference (where, when, what). How have you gotten your local CCFA chapter to work with the SCD?

In the past few years, my family has been mentoring new SCD families, and I often share my advice and perspective when new families have questions about the implementation of the diet from a teen’s perspective. In addition I have had the opportunity in April to talk about SCD and answer questions on stage at the CCFA NW yearly conference.  This was following the SCD presentation that was given by naturopath Christine Bowen. She knew my story and thought that the audience would like to hear my perspective. I’m very fortunate to live in Seattle. The GI team at Seattle Children’s Hospital is amazing. They are at the forefront of IBD research. Our local CCFA NW chapter is also following the latest research and presenting it in their yearly conferences, as is demonstrated by the fact that this year they had SCD presenters for the second time in a few years. 

9. Please tell us more about the CCFA camp you have attended while implementing SCD while you were there. How many times have you been there, and what has been your experience?

As I said, our local CCFA is doing an amazing job supporting people with IBD. Their summer camp, Camp Oasis, has been an enjoyable highlight of my summer for the past 5 years. Interestingly enough, the first summer at Oasis I met an older teen that was on SCD, and the opportunity to talk to him and see that he managed a complete teen life while on the diet was an instrumental support to my success in the following years. Since then, every year there are more and more kids in camp on SCD, both our CCFA and the kitchen staff at Oasis are doing an amazing job supporting kids that must maintain therapeutic diets. We each bring a week’s worth of food to camp, and it is warmed and served to us daily. This allows many kids that must maintain all kinds of therapeutic diets to enjoy the experience of summer camp.

10. Tell us more about the Leader-in-Training role you will have this summer at camp Oasis(?) where there will be 13 other kids expected to be following SCD? Did you help organize this situation?

[I would be happy to share this summer’s experience after camp]

11. What are some of the fun teen activities you do? Do you feel that the SCD has given you an opportunity to lead a "normal" teen life?

My life is in essentially every way like any other teen’s life. I go to a public highschool, carry a very heavy academic load, and I do after-school sports and other activities, all while strictly adhering to the SCD diet. I will be taking all my food to Camp Oasis and when I come back I will be participating in a four week pre-college game design course at Digipen. Although the four week course is catered by the Digipen kitchen, I will be bringing my own SCD food daily, while sitting in the cafeteria with the rest of my peers. As the diversity of my activities show, adhering to the SCD diet has not hampered me in any way and I am able to follow my passions and interests, not despite, but thanks to the diet.

12. You seem like a great spokesperson for the SCD diet for your age group. Do you ever consider writing about your experiences so that others will have better insight into this challenging diet?

I feel that right now, just like I was helped by talking to older teens on the SCD, I should be mentoring and helping others that may benefit from it. While I’m committed to mentoring other kids and teens on SCD, I also have many interests and hobbies that I’m pursuing at the same time. I’m not sure whether or not a book will be in the cards so to speak, but I am talking with sources at Seattle Children’s Hospital about ways to reach out and create a forum for kids and teens that must maintain therapeutic diets.

Nutty Bakery, an on-line SCD baked-goods shop

We recently discovered Nutty Bakery, an online shop that strictly follows the guidelines of the SCD/GAPS/Paleo diets. Although it is physically located in New Castle, Indiana, Amy, the founder of this lovely bakery, says that she receives orders from coast to coast. She ships baked goodies every week for shipments twice weekly to happy recipients.

We were lucky enough to receive a shipment last week from this delicious SCD shop. In a regular-looking mail-stamped box, after pushing the biodegradable packaging peanuts to the side, we unveiled an assortment of goodies that included peanut butter cookies, cashew muffins (honey free), gingerbread cookies, pina colada muffins, and nutmeg muffins; and some of these others we are writing about in more detail below:

The Lemon Cookies that Nutty Bakery offers (and that we were lucky enough to sample) are created by using home-made lemon reduction by cooking down lemon juice, pulp and zest on the stove-top. The result is a really strong lemon sauce that one knows is SCD compliant. 

The Coconut Medallion cookies that were included use raisins to help as a binder and have a bit of a crunch on the outside from the rolled coconut. They are made to be egg, dairy, and nut free, for those on very restrictive diets.

The Fruit & Nutmeg Muffins that are baked will rotate the type of fruit used depending on season.  Our shipment contained a blueberry version. Amy told us that she has her own apple trees and in the fall these muffins will be baked with her very own home-grown apples!

Nutty Bakery buys their honey from local beekeepers, and source their eggs from a farm where the hens are free-range. They are constantly on the lookout to ensure that the ingredients they use in their baking are local, organic and high quality as much as possible. All Nutty Bakery goods are allowed on SCD and GAPS diets.  All items are grain free, gluten free, and refined sugar free; and many items are also allowed on the Paleo or Vegan diets.  You can check specific products for full ingredient listings.

From left to right: Nutty Bakery's Fruit & Nutmeg Muffins, Coconut Medallions, and Almond Loaf.

From left to right: Nutty Bakery's Fruit & Nutmeg Muffins, Coconut Medallions, and Almond Loaf.

From Amy of Nutty Bakery:
"My daughter has been on the SCD diet for two and a half years. The impact it's had on the development of my daughter has been truly remarkable. Nutty Bakery just seemed like a natural development from the baked goods I've been cooking at home. Future plans included expanding my menu – I would like to try some new SCD legal flavors. I'm also experimenting with ways to make granola, I find that "crunch" is a challenge to achieve."

You can find out more about this lovely bakery at

SCD Kids Lunchboxes

An SCD-cooking mom, Cindi, wanted her little girl who has been following the diet to have lunchboxes incomparable to other children so she would not feel left out. On those school morning that we have to get up and send our kids on their way, waking up a bit earlier to prep a delicious lunchbox is well worth the effort: when your child opens their lunchbox, all the non-SCD kids want to eat her/his lunch.

You can read about Cindi's efforts as an SCD supporter (we need those people in our lives) to have her daughter follow the diet at . She is also a member of the Facebook SCD group SCDFamilies.

*NOTE: Fighting Flare has incorporated some non-SCD ingredients occasionally into her daughter's diet. By posting about this blog, we are not recommending you do that. We simply want to highlight the SCD lunches she has been creating.

Crockpot Beef

This past Sunday afternoon, with gusts of wind blowing outside, we decided to pull out our decades-old crockpot and make a beef and vegetable stew. We used the recipe from Adventures, but modified it by excluding the mushrooms and carrots, and adding in zucchini and red bell peppers instead. It came out moist and delicious. Our lunch bags are all set for the next few days!

1 1/2 pounds beef cubes, for stewing
2 onions, sliced round
6–8 cloves garlic, minced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced round
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Add oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic to crockpot.
Throw in the rest of the ingredients and stir them together until they are mixed well.
Cover and cook on low for 8–10 hours, depending on crockpot settings.
Beef should be cooked through, but not overdone.

crockpot beef

Special Diets

When we walked down to our local grocery store last night, we came upon this sign outside:


Years ago, when first starting the SCD in the mid-1990's, people would say "huh?" or "what" about special diets, food intolerances, always asking "you can't eat this or that"? Now it seems that even the local stores have caught up with health and dietary challenges by stocking items and moreover creating events that are focused on "special diets". It is very pleasing to see this change occur, albeit step-by-step over the past decade or two.

If you are on good terms with your local grocery store, you could always encourage them to host a similar event such as this. This allows other customers who might be suffering (or not) to learn about different diets, such as SCD, and what they have to offer. It is an awareness campaign for everyone concerned.

SCD mention in Seattle Times: Health & Fitness

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet got a mention in the Health & Fitness section of the award-winning Seattle Times. Below is the letter written in to the columnists from an SCD caregiver.
Originally published Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 6:16 AM

Q: My husband has had Crohn’s disease since he was 17, and he’s now 48. Fourteen years ago, just before our first child was born, he was in the hospital with a bad flare-up and was very close to surgery.

As he was recovering, the doctors wanted to put him on lifetime steroid meds. He didn’t want to go that route and did some research. He discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which would change his life forever.

His gas production significantly decreased within a day or two on the diet. He’s been med-free and has had no flare-ups ever since (14 years!).

The diet is very demanding. You essentially cut out all grains, even foods like soy and rice, and all forms of sugar except honey. I use a lot of almond flour in cooking. And yes, he eats a lot of coconut through macaroons and other baked goods I make. For my husband, the diet is not a cure for Crohn’s, but it keeps the disease in check.

A: Thank you for sharing this amazing story. A recent article in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (January 2014) offers a case series in which the SCD approach improved symptoms and lab results.

We have heard from dozens of readers that coconut can be helpful in controlling hard-to-manage diarrhea.

Kickstart the Seattle Children's Hospital's FMT/SCD Study!

The Seattle Children's Hospital is raising money to research the Specific Carbohdyrate Diet (SCD) and Fecal Microbial Transplant (FMT).

The most promising therapies for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis are the SCD (and similar diets) and FMT.  In theory and in small trials, it works like this:

  1. FMTs restore the balance of healthy intestinal bacteria, lessening or completely removing symptoms of Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.  (e.g., The gut bacteria is returned to a diverse, healthy environment.  Think rain forest)
  2. The SCD has been shown to steadily improve the balance of intestinal bacteria.  However, if an FMT has already been done, the SCD can potentially maintain the diverse, healthy flora.
Dr. David Suskind

Dr. David Suskind

Please support Dr. David Suskind's work at Seattle Children's Hospital in this endeavor.  The hospital's fundraising web page contains the studies and stories related to the work they have already completed.

For more, read the following links:



Gut Bacteria and Crohn's: It's Official (447 Patients)

Damn!  In the dark ages of IBD, doctors believed that stress was a key factor in disease control and said that my diet of 80% processed complex carbs was fine.  When exercise, sleep, and "relaxation" didn't seem to help, I took "extra measures."   By some convoluted logic born out of a fermenting gut I thought working in an Alaskan cannery for the summer (with active IBD) would be a good idea.  The extra stress would somehow make the IBD go away . . . but it was really about the intestinal bacteria.

A Harvard-led study released in March examined the intestinal bacteria of 447 children newly diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD).  These children had not yet received Crohn's specific treatment.  Compared with 222 health control subjects, the study found:

  • The intestinal bacteria of the CD children was unbalanced, with pathogenic bacteria flourishing
  • The CD children had less diverse intestinal bacteria
  • The imbalance of intestinal bacteria related disease severity: the greater the imbalance, the worse the symptoms.
  • Antibiotic exposure "amplifies" the imbalance of intestinal bacteria. (57 of the 447 children were on antibiotics)
  • Compared to tissue samples, stool samples had low accuracy for reflecting the state of intestinal bacteria

The study included a large sample size drawn from 28 North American GI centers--making it the most statistically relevant study of its kind.

Gevers, D., Kugathasan, S., Denson, L. a, Vázquez-Baeza, Y., Van Treuren, W., Ren, B., … Xavier, R. J. (2014). The treatment-naive microbiome in new-onset Crohn’s disease. Cell Host & Microbe, 15(3), 382–92. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2014.02.005

SCD & India: From Elephanta Caves to Goa Beaches

This winter we spent the end of the year in India. For me, that means that my daughter and wife leave for a week before I do, so that they can prepare for my SCD arrival! (No, not really, they go so they can get some extra time in with the maternal side of the family...)

After negotiating two air flights with a pit-stop to stretch legs in London for a few hours, I arrived in Mumbai rather bedraggled but happy to enter the 75 degree weather difference. I had been accompanied (under my seat) with a packed lunch-bag containing numerous SCD snacks, sandwiches, a chicken entree, some stir-fry vegetables, and of course, fresh fruit and nuts. These items ensured that I made it through each flight with enough to eat.

At my wife's childhood home, the scents of spices and other local vegetables rose up to greet me. Rule #1: Have a home base from which one can launch off to other destinations. Without this, it would be very hard to have someone help me prepare SCD breads or bake some SCD cookies for me to snack on as I traverse Bombay traffic jams or take day trips out of the city.

For this particular visit, we managed to pack almond flour from Trader Joes in our bags and get it through security and baggage screening. This made it easier to bake with, rather than trying to hunt down almond meal in Mumbai, or grind the almond flour from whole almonds (which does not yield the same consistency). We were able to make cinnamon and ginger cookies, and savory breads. While my wife and daughter dug into homemade chapati's, poori's, and other traditional breads, I was able to enjoy fresh local (pomfret) fish, shrimps, roasted chicken with vegetables, and many other vegetarian preparations such as cauliflower with peas, string beans cooked gujurati-style, and other daily delicacies.

One of our day trips out of Bombay involved riding a 1-hour ferry to historical caves called Elephanta caves, that are rock-cut caves dating back many centuries. As we entered this small island off Bombay, we were warned about not taking any food out of our backpacks - as local monkeys would grab them! Since I was carrying SCD lunch and treats for myself, I held on to my bag with force. My wife, however, decided to take a snack out for our daughter, and promptly this male monkey was by her side trying to antagonize her and grab it away. Luckily, some local shop-vendors helped us shoo them off.

In the heat of the sun, all the roadside snacks started to look delicious and appealing. As a foreigner and someone who did not grow up in India, follow Rule #2: do not to eat roadside snacks, especially those that might involve raw foods, or having been cleansed in (unknown sources of) water. The one item I did end up eating was roasted peanuts, which seemed fairly safe as they were on a small charcoal fire and being kept fresh. A decade ago, when we travelled through Rajasthan and Northern India, a rule of thumb was to try and eat items that were cooked as much as possible - egg/omelets were always a safe option, as were fresh meat kebabs or other grilled preparations. The items to stay away from are definitely salads in local dives, or fresh gleaming cukes sprinkled with salt and chili powder. Two years ago, I made the mistake of eating one of these, and definitely paid the price for that roadside snack.

Traveling with one who follows SCD and also a 5-year old can prove challenging, so when we went to Goa for a few days, we decided to go to a kid-friendly family resort. For 4 days we enjoyed swimming, beaching, and I was able to eat fresh seafood every night customized to my SCD needs. They even went so far as to bring me dessert options (mainly fresh fruit) so that I would not feel left out. Rule #3: Try to visit and stay in places where one knows the quality of food is unquestionably high/safe.

Having made it there and back safely and with a secure gut atleast 8 times over the past fifteen years, I can say that in my experience it is an incredible country to travel within and the food and flavors change so much as you go from one end of the country to another (contrary to Indian restaurants peddling the same kind of food in the Western world). Although I gew up with one Indian parent (my dad is from North India) we primarily were in touch with my Italian-American mom's side who we lived close to. Unlike some other first generation children, I did not spend time going to India while growing up, so these later years of travel have made me appreciate the flexibility (IST - indian standard time - 1-2 hour delay of arrival to a dinner party), the warmth (I am married to one of them!), and the willingness of people to participate in anything (a crowd can materialize at a moments notice in event of one car scratching another in very slow moving traffic to proclaim who's right or wrong).

Elephanta Caves, Goa Beach Dining, Mumbai Family Meal

Elephanta Caves, Goa Beach Dining, Mumbai Family Meal

SCD Symposium in Seattle

It has been about 6 weeks since this symposium took place at Seattle Children’s Hospital on Friday, January 24, 2014. Although we can be accused of being tardy, we are still figuring out what an event like this means for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet community at a larger scale.

The event was hosted by Dr. David Suskind, MD, who is an attending physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He was published in the January 2014 issue of Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and nutrition (see 9/24/2013 blog entry) with the results of an SCD study he conducted.

Back in October 2013, we had heard some murmurings that there might be a one-day symposium hosted at Seattle Children’s, and we agreed to fly out to the west coast once this was finalized.

After a busy end of year spent in Mumbai, India, for 3 weeks (and being SCD-safe the whole time there), we barely recovered from our jet lag and boarded another flight, this time heading in the opposite direction towards the Northwest. Once we passed through security with our food travel bag FULL of SCD-safe meals and snacks - we were able to sit back and relax on the flight.

The next morning, we drove through downtown into the neighborhood of Seattle that is home to UofW. The space we entered into at Seattle Children’s Hospital was bright and cheery, with stories and images lining the corridors. The symposium was hosted in a large conference room, with space for about 50+ persons around an open “U” configuration.

The room was filled with a mix of medical professionals (MDs, nurses, and others) along with SCD practitioners and/or authors. The room buzzed with anticipation. Dr. Suskind began the symposium by sharing the results from his SCD study, which was followed by a few other presenters. I had a chance to present an overview/history of the SCD from the mid-1900's till present, outlining the work of Dr. Haas, Elaine Gottschall, and to where we are today.

We were served a delicious SCD lunch (with dessert as well!) prepared locally. Towards the late afternoon, there was a chance to have an “open discussion”, sort of like a brainstorming session, where everyone had a chance to float ideas on how SCD could be propelled forward through further research and collaboration.

The best part about being at this one-day event was connecting with others in this varied and diverse community that is often only accessed online (through forums, chats, email, etc). To be there together with others who understand the SCD – its benefits, its challenges, and ultimately, its ability to make one better – was reassuring and incredibly exciting at the same time.

We hope that this next chapter of communicating together as a larger group of practitioners, will allows us to take the Specific Carbohydrate Diet into the limelight: more investigative research studies and other platforms it needs to secure its’ spot as a standard treatment for UC, IBD, and Crohn's.

Dr. Suskind (at far right) with other SCD symposium attendees (R. Prasad at back in white collared shirt :)

Dr. Suskind (at far right) with other SCD symposium attendees (R. Prasad at back in white collared shirt :)

Pike's Place Market

While we were visiting Seattle for the first-ever SCD Symposium hosted at Seattle Children's Hospital, my wife and I decided to stay on for the weekend and explore the city.

One of the first places we hit bright and early on Saturday morning was Pike Place Market, the 100+ year old arcade market located downtown by the waterfront. Although part of the market has been taken over by non-edible offerings such as magic shops and touristy paraphernalia, we had fun exploring some of the foodie places, and admiring the neon food-oriented signage.

This old market is home to the original and first Starbucks coffee shop (across the street), to many eclectic local food shops ranging from sausages to dried fruits to fresh meats and vegetables. And of course, the infamous Pike’s Place Fish, where they throw and yell about fish from one end of their shop to another.

One of the first places we stumbled on when we arrived there, was a giant black and white circle with a hand pointing downstairs that led us to Britt’s Pickles. This tucked away vendor had many fermented offerings, from regular pickles to “curry” kraut that was cabbage fermented with mustard, turmeric, and other SCD-safe Indian spices. As we tasted samples, we immediately bought a couple of these offerings and lugged them back to our hotel room to enjoy!

A sampling display of kimchi and kraut at Britt's Pickles at Pike's Place Market in Seattle

A sampling display of kimchi and kraut at Britt's Pickles at Pike's Place Market in Seattle

We also ended up buying some delicious dried apple rings (plain) and beets (just oiled and salted) from another vendor shop that we chomped on as we traversed the funky artsy Pioneer Square neighborhood. When we left the Northwest to head back home on our flight, we decided that we would brave the airport security – the curry-kraut made it back to our home in Boston–and is happily residing in our fridge. We are doling it out frugally at meals to make sure this well-traveled condiment lasts long!

Bottled Soda’s made with Honey & Real Fruit

The three varieties of Green Bee Soda: Lemon Sting, Ginger Buzz, and Blueberry Dream.

The three varieties of Green Bee Soda: Lemon Sting, Ginger Buzz, and Blueberry Dream.

Ever since starting the SCD more than 17 years ago, it has always been a challenge to find alternative drink options for those following this diet. In the past, we would have to make our own fruit sodas or juices at home.

We have a new Whole Foods that opened 2 blocks from our home, and it is now so easy to just wander by there while picking up our daughter from pre-school, or when we are out for a walk with the dog. Besides offering fresh meats and groceries, you can peruse the shelves and find snacks that seem to be SCD-safe.

One of our favorite new drinks is Green Bee Soda!

When we visited WF recently, we met Chris, the founder of this small, family-run business from Maine. Being patrons of this soda for a few months, we ran up to his special promotional display, and started asking him questions about how he came up with his flavors, how he brews them, etc.

As we sipped our samples, my daughter and I chatted with him about how he went from beekeeping, to creating these delicious soda’s (initially for his own children). The idea that this next young generation can grow up with healthy fruit sodas made with real fruit and sweetened with honey seems amazing!

We were surprised to find out that he had been contacted by other SCDers who wanted to make sure his drink was legal for those following the diet. For example, if you read the ingredients label, the Lemon Sting (lemonade) has Lemon Juice, Rosemary, Honey, and Carbonated Water.  Chris sent us this letter to clarify that there were no “hidden ingredients” in his soda recipes.

Please note: The blogger has not been compensated by Green Bee Soda for this post, we just were surprised to find an off-the-shelf drink that seems to be working for those on the diet. And one that is still very delicious!

Chris, the founder, of Green Bee Soda, at his display offering samples from the different soda brews.

Chris, the founder, of Green Bee Soda, at his display offering samples from the different soda brews.

Apple Picking = Apple Crumble

Last week we visited Parlee Farms located north of Boston. This clean, well-maintained farm had apples to pick, flowers to cut, and sheep/bunnies to feed.  Needless to sat it was a hit with our 4-year old daughter. She ran across haystacks, got licked by a mother goat, and raced through alleyways of flowers to cut as many pink ones as she could find.

The best part of the visit was going into the apple orchard with our pre-paid bags and loading up on Cortland and Gala apples (we also ate a few while we sat there amongst the trees!). On returning home we made our Apple Crumble recipe (p. 121) from our cookbook "Adventures in the Family Kitchen". Enjoy your October with this delicious recipe!

Apple Crumble

4 large or 6 small apples
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup water (add more if required)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into big pieces
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 cup butter (softened, not melted)
2 tablespoons honey

> Peel, core, and dice apples.
> Heat butter in a pot. Add in apples and all other filling ingredients.
> Simmer until apples are cooked/softened — adding water if required. Do not overcook the apples since they will be baked in the crumble.
> For crumble, mix almond flour, butter, and honey well with fingers. Consistency should remain crumbly, not pastry-like. Add in more almond flour if necessary.
> Put the apple filling in a baking dish.  Spread crumble on top of apples. Bake at 375ºF for approximately 20 minutes, or until top of crumble starts to brown.

Fermenting with Sandor Katz

A few weeks ago, we traveled up to close to Kennebunkport, Maine, to attend a Fermentation workshop by Sandor Katz. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, he is the author of Wild Fermentation among other books.

The workshop took place at a small, lovely farm: Frinklepod Farm, operated and run by a young family. When we arrived there we were greeted by the very friendly hosts and also, in the background, a rowdy crowing (territorial) rooster! A tent for seating about 50+ persons had been set up to accommodate attendees.  Originally, only I was going to attend, but on seeing other families and kids, my partner and daughter decided to stay on.

Under the later afternoon September sun, we listened to Sandor talk not only in detail about fermentation techniques and processes, but also the story of how he came to follow the path he has and become a recognized authority on this topic nationally. He wove together stories of experimentation, foods, nutrition, to create an informative fun event. During the whole lecture he continued to drop chopped cabbage into glass mason jars as he went through the steps of preparing basic sauerkraut.

We came away wanting to ferment all the foods in our kitchen! 


Seattle Children's Hospital and the SCD

Last week the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition published a paper titled Nutritional Therapy in Pediatric Crohn's Disease: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

This paper describes how doctors at the Seattle Children's Hospital evaluated the medical records of 7 children with Crohn's disease who used the SCD.  The ages of the children ranged from 7 to 16 years old.  The authors write:

"all symptoms were notably resolved at a routine clinic visit three months after initiating the diet [SCD]"

Resolution of all symptoms?  How were these children before starting the diet?  Since SCD studies are rare, this paper is definitely of interest to parents thinking of starting the diet. 

Information below describes the children's disease severity, medications (if any), and initial symptoms.  (Note: none of the patients had "penetrating or stricturing disease.")

Based on microscopic checks of their biopsies, the severity of the children's Crohn's inflammation was as follows:

  • 2 severe cases
  • 3 with moderate disease
  • 2 mild cases

In terms of medications, none of these patients received immunosuppressants (Remicade, Humira, Azathioprine, etc).  Levels of other medical treatment varied:

  • 3 started the SCD soon after diagnosis and received no other treatment
  • 2 patients received only entereal nutrition (tube feeding) for 2 months and then transitioned to the SCD
  • 1 began the SCD when mesalamine did not help
  • 1 began the SCD when neither prednisone nor mesalamine helped.  For this patient, the mesalamine was continued with the SCD

Regarding supplementation, the study notes that 2 patients took "over-the-counter supplements" but does not mention the types.   (Were they vitamins? probiotics? etc)

A list of initial symptoms included:

  • 4 suffering from abdominal pain
  • 4 children had lost weight
  • 4 had "blood per rectum"
  • 2 presented with chronic diarrhea
  • 3 complained of fatigue
  • All had at least one granuloma (cluster of inflammatory cells that confirm CD--they don't happen in ulcerative colitis)

This is a small study but it is notable in that:

  • The symptoms of all children resolved for a disease that supposedly cannot be helped by diet
  • All children had thorough medical tests (biopsies) and record checks

Suskind, D. L., Wahbeh, G., Gregory, N., Vendettuoli, H., & Christie, D. (2013). Nutritional Therapy in Pediatric Crohn’s Disease: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 98105. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000000103