I became a health coach partly as a way to learn the information I'd need to manage my own health. As a marketer with a big career in NYC I was overstressed, developed two autoimmune diseases and really needed to reimagine my relationship with food and, well, everything.
While my celiac disease and Hashimoto's are under control thanks to a clean diet, stress management, and a kick-ass workout schedule, I still have good days and bad. The last few months I've been working to manage a bacterial infection, parasites, and ongoing allergies thanks to a leaky gut. I've tried every supplement, every leaky gut protocol and every healer (I'll seriously spend money on anything promising to get me well!) but there are still a few niggling things that just don't feel right. Namely, mega stomach cramps and major water retention mostly in my face. And while my grandmother swears said cheeks will keep me looking younger for longer, no one wants #MoonFace. So, I decided to try a SCD or Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
"What on earth is that," you ask? As you might have guessed, the SCD is about eating very specific types of carbohydrates based on their molecular structure. While it was designed mainly for those managing conditions such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and other chronic ailments, when implemented correctly, it can be a healthy and helpful approach to eating for most people. The approved carbohydrates are monosaccharides which have a single molecule structure allowing them to be absorbed much easier than disaccharides and polysaccharides as complex carbs are not easily digested; in fact, they actually feed the bad bacteria in our gut -- thus perpetuating inflammation and harmful bacteria. Thanks but no thanks.
So, what exactly is allowed? Foods like almond butter (woo!), lentils and grapes fall in the "yes" category while agave syrup, chickpeas and pasta all fall into the "no" bucket. You can see a full list here. While I'm only a few weeks into my SCD, I already feel noticeably better and my cheeks well, smaller. But don't take my word for it. A recent study found that SCD in patients with IBD had notable changes in their microbiome—which impacts everything from our immunity to dopamine and serotonin levels. So, if you've tried everything and nothing has worked, it might be time to give up the quinoa.