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- to 70-hour workweeks were taking a toll on my health.
My gastroenterologist suggested I change careers since I wasn’t getting better. Devastated, I stepped down from my position and switched industries. But I still had this lifelong culinary passion I wanted to share.
Over the course of several years, I tried many diets to help my UC symptoms. None was successful until I found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). This diet was designed especially for those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and, in addition to medication, has helped my symptoms tremendously.
This led me to find my new culinary dream and passion, which is creating and sharing classic dishes SCD-style. When starting this diet, I had a hard time finding my favorite recipes, so I decided to make them myself. I then started my blog to raise awareness, share my journey, and, of course, share my recipes.
I have met so many amazing people from the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) community and am honored to be able to share my recipes and journey with you all.
I start my morning with a weak cup of black coffee. SCD does allow coffee, but it has to be watered down or very weak to minimize the effects of caffeine on the digestive tract.
I fill my cup halfway with regular coffee and then fill the rest of the cup with hot water. Then, I transfer it to a thermos so I can sip on it for a few hours.
I choose to do daily intermittent fasting. This means I can have my black coffee whenever I want after waking up, but I wait until noon to have the rest of my breakfast. Over a period of 24 hours, I fast for 16 hours and then have whatever I want in an 8-hour period. For me, that period is from noon to 8 p.m.
Intermittent fasting allows the gut to have time to focus on healing and repairing itself instead of always having to focus on digestion, and it has helped my UC symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor to see if it’s right for you before trying it out.
At noon, I have 1 cup of my SCD 24-hour 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 some magnesium.
Fermenting the yogurt for 24 hours causes all the lactose (milk sugars) to break down, making it easier to digest. Good bacteria help with gut health and are a cornerstone of SCD.
If you’re dairy-free, you can make almond or coconut yogurt.
I have lunch at about 2:30 p.m. and usually have something lighter like this tarragon chicken salad. Because it was one of my favorite lunches of all time, I had to make an SCD version.
I like to pair this chicken salad with arugula since it’s less watery than romaine and I tolerate it better. Plus, arugula has more nutrients than romaine. Everyone with IBD is different, though, so find which lettuce works for you or forgo the lettuce altogether if you can’t tolerate it.
The chicken in this salad is rich in protein, and the grapes and celery count as a serving of fruits and vegetables. The mayonnaise adds fat and, most importantly, chicken salad’s classic flavor. The tarragon brings an herbaceous and bright note that rounds the dish out perfectly.
My husband isn’t a fan of grapes 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 at about 4:30 p.m. I love having smoothies, as they offer easily digestible nutrients and are quick and easy to make.
This super green smoothie offers a sweet and 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.
The green apple adds a tart punch, and the ginger brings a fresh zing of antioxidants and vitamin C. Blended all together with creamy almond milk, this smoothie is a real treat. I find that using frozen fruit as the base instead of ice makes for a thicker and more satisfying smoothie.
If you aren’t fond of 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 vegetable, but who says it has to be boring? This cheesesteak stuffed bell pepper is anything but boring and hits the spot when I’m craving a cheesesteak.
I’ve kept the same timeless flavors but removed the bread and stuffed a pepper instead. Sweet bell pepper surrounds the flavors of caramelized onions, savory steak, and melty cheese for — in my opinion — one of the best flavor combinations of all time.
Classically, the meat of choice for a cheesesteak is rib-eye steak, but top round and flank steak work just as well and will save you a few dollars. You can top these bell peppers with Swiss, provolone, or mild cheddar cheese. Filling and satisfying, this is one of my favorite go-to dinner recipes.
Some people with IBD do not tolerate red meat. Feel free to substitute chicken or turkey as a lighter option.
As the day winds down, it’s nice to finish it with a sweet treat, and this lemon blueberry mug cake is always a home run. I have this between 7:30 and 8 p.m.
Made from only 10 ingredients you probably already have and ready in 7 minutes flat, it may become one of your most loved SCD desserts too.
Be sure to check your microwave wattage in reference to cooking times and adjust if necessary. You could also use any other type of berries you like. You can even use dried berries instead of fresh ones. Just be sure to read the label of your dried berries, because many contain added sugars that are not SCD-compliant.
After much experimenting, I was finally able to achieve the perfect moist cake texture in the microwave.
Thank you for coming along with me to see what I eat in a day while living with UC. IBD can be a different experience for everyone. SCD has been a good fit for me, but it may not be right for everyone.
Talking with a registered dietitian can help you individualize your nutritional approach. A consultation with a dietitian can also help make sure your diet doesn’t contain any foods that may trigger food allergies or sensitivities. This way, you’ll have a better chance of managing your condition successfully.
Abigail has a background and degree in culinary arts in addition to living with ulcerative colitis. She spent many years struggling with her health until she decided to consider 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 set out to make SCD versions using her culinary talents and hasn’t looked back! You can follow Abigail on her amazing journey managing IBD on her blog at https://abigailmariethechefwithibd.com