Bone Broth

4 lbs beef, lamb bones OR 3 chicken carcasses & 4-8 chicken feet

2 tbsp applecider vinegar

1 large organic white onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch organic celery, roughly chopped

2 bayleaf

1 tbsp black peppercorns

Place bones and vinegar in a large stock pot (mine is about 3 gallons) and let it sit as you roughly chop and prepare your seasonings. Cover the bones and vinegar with water and bring to a boil (usually takes about 45 min). Impurities will start to float to the top during the boiling process so be sure to skim a few times during the initial hour. (I use my fine mesh strainer). Once the bones and water are boiling, place the remaining ingredients in the pot. Turn down to the lowest simmer and cover. After 24 hours for chicken broth and 48 hours for beef/lamb broth take off the lid and allow to cool (I wait about an hour). Place your fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl and pour the bones and broth over the strainer into bowl. (I do this in the sink because I inevitably make a mess every time). After the broth is cooled I use a liquid measuring cup and pour it in quart sized mason jars leaving about 2 inches of room to allow for expansion in the freezer (If you fill them too full the glass jars will break in the freezer). Enjoy!

Okay so broth has been a VITAL part of my success. It is amazingly healing with all of its amino acids and vitamins as well as incredibly delicious and soothing. Consuming broth also increases the bioavailability of the protein you eat. In essence your body more efficiently uses protein so you don’t need to consume a huge piece of meat to get adequate protein benefits. It flavors any soup to perfection and if you do consume grains feel free to replace your water with homemade broth – your rice will be super flavorful! You can freeze it in ice cube trays to easily plop in your pot when making grains too. I began getting my bones from Whole Foods but have been fortunate enough to find an amazing butcher here in Santa Ana called Electric City Butcher who provide me with all of my meat, bone and feet needs!

*Also, be sure to make broth when you plan to be home so you can have consistent heat i.e. weekends. I leave mine simmering through the night but make sure to turn off the stove if I leave for a quick errand during the day. 

Soaking Nuts & Seeds

What is a soaked nut/seed? Why would you soak them? How do you soak them?

A soaked nut/seed is one that has been soaked in filtered water w/ salt for anywhere between 4-12 hours. You do this in order to remove the naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor that acts as protection in nature but as a tough digestive obstacle for compromised guts. Essentially you’re starting the digestive process and giving your body a break. Soaked nuts/seeds would benefit anyone but are necessary when dealing with IBS or IBD. I soak all of my nuts/seeds always.

2 c. nuts/seeds

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Filtered water to cover

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Set aside. (If it is pretty hot in your kitchen, place the bowl in the fridge. You don’t want your nuts/seeds to start fermenting!) I tend to soak my nuts over night (about 12 hours) and seeds about 6 hours. Then I dehydrate for 16-24 hours @ 125deg F. You can dehydrate in your oven if you do not have a dehydrator. The only problem is ovens lowest setting is usually around 180deg F so you would need to place a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to prop it open and decrease the heat.

Pesto

2 c. organic basil

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/3 c. sprouted walnuts

3 large garlic cloves

dash pink himalayan salt

dash pepper

Using a small food processor pulse walnuts a few times before adding basil and garlic. Pulse. Slowly add olive oil in a constant stream. Add cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

This is such an easy and basic pesto recipe. Add sun dried tomato and lemon to change it up. I generally steer clear of all cheese but occasionally I’ll use a SCD legal (low lactose) cheese like parmesan. 

What do I eat?

I love food. I’ve always loved food. I’ve always tried to find my relationship with food. My parents raised us on home cooked, healthy and fresh meals so their heathy lifestyle has always been ingrained in my mind. I stopped eating fast food in High School. My Environmental Science degree inspired my increased sustainability awareness and I became vegan for a year and a half during college. It wasn’t until the lamb of New Zealand allowed me to immerse myself in Kiwi culture during my study abroad adventure that I jumped ship. Fast forward to last year when I sought a more holistic, diet-centered treatment after my UC diagnosis. In order for me to maintain my sanity during this past year I’ve learned to not only discover and create old favorites in the kitchen but I’ve taught my body to learn to love healthy, real, simple food.

When you read a list of everything you can’t consume your mind immediately puts up a huge barrier between you and happiness. You immediately go into this sort of defense mode – this feel sorry for myself mode. How long is it maintainable? How long can I beat off the feeling of deprivation? Fortunately for myself, by ignoring those thoughts I used it as an opportunity to challenge myself. I sure do love a challenge.

I think the reason I was able to commit so wholeheartedly without wavering was simply because I had experienced something so severe. I was SO sick. I saw the ugly side of living to eat rather than eating to live. To me the option was either accept lifelong handcuffs or don’t. Accept no control over your life, unwarranted side effects from harsh medications and uncertainty OR commit like nothing else to hope. Commit to the hope that my health meant freedom. Commit to living fully – fully free, fully healthy. Without health you have nothing. Without health you suffer. Maybe not as severely as I did but you slowly accept fewer and fewer possibilities. You slowly begin to lower your expectations for life. You slowly begin to stop living fully. I could not accept that. I will not accept that. I have too much to live for to live everyday with the fear a flare up will keep me from not only functioning normally but from living my life how I want to live it.

So with all of that out of the way, what do I actually eat?

Coconuts are my best friend. Turmeric/ginger tea is an everyday ritual. Broth/Soup have become the most soothing, comforting and healing aspect of my diet. Vegetables and healthy fats show up in every meal. Sprouted nuts/seeds mold themselves into my most delectable treats. Honey is my savior and fruit keeps me happy. That’s what I eat and I seriously enjoy all of it. If a year and a half ago someone told me I’d look forward to a hot, brothy soup for breakfast I would have laughed in their face. Fuck soup. I want substance. Give me some damn sough-dough bread to dunk in my soup at least… Welp if I can change this much in a year surely anyone can. And no I don’t eat soup for all of my breakfasts – only occasionally.

PASTURED RAISED Eggs. Unprocessed, GRASS FED meat. WILD fish. ORGANIC Veggies. ORGANIC Fruit. RAW (UNPASTEURIZED) Nuts. RAW Seeds. Old/young Coconuts.

You’d be wildly surprised by how those few items above can transform into really delicious granola bars, pizza crusts, pasta, ice cream, cookies, cake etc. Now, the one thing I have learned more recently has been to not simply try to recreate every cookie and pizza crust into a SCD legal/GAPS version but rather to reteach my body to not need a bunch of flour-based foods. Learn to love soup. Without the chunk of bread. That is the groundwork.

I will post as many of my favorite recipes as I can! Please give me feedback. Let me know if you’re looking for a healthy version of something I haven’t posted. Have fun cooking!

What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)?

SCD: Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The specific carbohydrate diet can seem so arbitrary and confusing but it really is pretty simple and basic – only consume monosaccarides. No polysaccarides or disaccarides. What is a monosaccaride, disaccaride and polysaccaride you ask? And why only monosaccarides? And why have you never heard of this diet before now? Well let’s see if I can break this down and clear some questions up!

A mono-saccaride simply means single sugar and is the most basic unit of a carbohydrate. Di-saccaride is two sugars and poly-saccaride is multiple sugars. The basis of the diet explains that when you have a diseased and inflamed gut your body is unable to break down the more complex carbohydrates including disaccarides and polysaccarides. It makes sense – the simpler the molecule is the less work your body has to perform to digest it. With that said processed foods, all grains, dairy containing lactose, refined sugar and some seemingly random vegetables and fruit are considered illegal under the diet. See the complete list of legal and illegal foods here.

The specific carbohydrate diet came to fruition around the early 1980’s when the mother of a young girl suffering from terrible stomach pain, bloody stools and other GI issues took the initiative to find the root of her daughter’s diagnosed Ulcerative Colitis. She found a doctor who was researching gut health in young children and who mentioned the SCD as a way to decrease inflammation and subsequent disease and possibly reach remission. After implementing the diet with her daughter, herself and her husband and seeing amazing results previous medications did not provide she went back to school and wrote a book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle. The book not only details her daughters experience and remission but provides a more scientific breakdown explaining the reasoning behind only consuming monosaccarides.

This diet is extremely new and young considering how long humans have been around. Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis are also fairly new diseases in comparison to other autoimmune diseases like say Type 1 Diabetes. Why is it that in our societies as our technology and intelligence increases we get sicker? It seems as though many of these autoimmune diseases and sicknesses are becoming an epidemic in fully developed countries that should be at the top of the health and wealth spectrum. Maybe this epidemic is so evident in developed nations because our food industries are driven by money rather than health. If humans need food to survive then we should eat what makes us healthy, right? So why is it that our food is making us sick? To start maybe the genetically modified, pesticide laden ‘food’ isn’t actually food at all. Maybe because there isn’t money to be made in healthy people. The money is to be made off of sick people. But oh man is that a whole other story…

So if you haven’t already noticed but it seems as though the Specific Carbohydrate Diet has roots in a more commonly known Paleolithic diet. Although there are similarities there are quite a few differences as well. I’ve found it interesting that a paleo diet that I scoffed at a couple years ago is so similar to the very diet that is currently healing me. Ironic.

Diet has been the main reason I am fully functioning without medication. My doctor at Cedars Sinai Hospital supported my decision to choose diet over medication and I have stuck to it like glue since the day he informed me he’s seen the most healing in his patients through this diet. December 2015 I stopped taking the anti-inflammatory he still insisted I take (precautionary reasons I assume) and I kind of jumped into this weirdly, scary abyss of taking sole control over my health. After being diagnosed with a life changing disease and choosing to abandon modern medicine to embrace real, simple food as medicine I simply cannot state the amount of gratitude and love I have for my parents who have not only supported me and cared for me during this experience but cleaned out the kitchen pantry and fridge, spent hours researching blogs and diets on their own and actively tried to heal me. I went from an extremely anemic, vitamin D deficient, sickly skinny, muscle-lacking, lying-in-the-hammock-all-day-trying-to-save-my-energy-so-I-could-possibly-make-it-to-restorative-yoga-class (which entails lying on the floor in stretching positions) 23 year old woman to a ‘normal’, active, working and seemingly healthy 24 year old woman. All through food. Real food.

 

Granola Bars

Granola Bars

1 c. sprouted almonds

1 c. sprouted walnuts

1 c. sprouted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

½ c. dried apricots

½ c. raisins

1 tsp cinnamon

dash Himalayan pink salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

7 dates

1/3 c. raw honey

1/3 c. cashew butter

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Heat oven to 350 deg F. Using a small food processor, pulse almonds until they are broken down. Pour into large mixing bowl and then pulse walnuts and pepitas a few times. (I like to leave chunks of nut in my granola bars). Transfer the walnuts and pepitas into same mixing bowl. Add all wet ingredients to food processor and pulse until well combined. Add wet ingredients, apricots and raisins into mixing bowl and using your hands mix all ingredients together. Place a piece of parchment paper onto cookie sheet and pour mixture onto parchment paper. Using another piece of parchment wrap it around the top of the mixture and form into a solid ball. Keep parchment on top of mixture and take a rolling pin to roll out the mixture to about ½ inch thick. Take off top parchment and bake for 18 minutes. Allow cooling before you cut into squares. Store in fridge for 1-2 weeks. Enjoy!

These are a staple for me – easiest breakfast and/or snack to grab when I don’t feel like cooking. Feel free to swap out various nuts and seeds. I love to add dehydrated blueberries and swap out cinnamon. 

Coconut Milk

1 Old (husked) coconut

2-4 dates

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

1 tbsp Vanilla extract

2-4 cups water (depending on desired thickness)

 

Open coconut with hammer. I simply place it on the grass and smash it a couple times to break into about 6 pieces. (I do not drink this water because occasionally it’s rancid). Bring your water, dates, cinnamon and vanilla to a boil. Using a butter knife carefully wedge out the white meat. Wash to clean and place small pieces into high speed blender with water mixture. Blend on high for about 3 minutes. Strain through nut milk bag (Mothers Market/Sprouts Market). I like to tie the bag on a cabinet knob to hang over bowl of milk to let it cool. Once cooled squeeze out remaining milk. Save in mason jar for about 3-4 days. Enjoy!

Coconut milk is half of my blog’s name for good reason. This stuff is INSANE. Nothing like homemade, fresh coconut milk made from the real thing.

 

   

Ginger Turmeric Tea

Ginger Turmeric Tea Concentrate

2-3 in. organic turmeric root

2-3 in. organic ginger root

dash black pepper

2 Quarts filtered water

Peel and dice roots. Bring about 2 quarts water to boil and place grated roots and dash of pepper in water. Turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through fine mesh strainer and enjoy! Store in quart size mason jars for up to 2 weeks.

***Use 1 part concentrate with 2 parts water/coconut water/coconut milk/almond milk. Add a coconut cream to sweeten.

I drink this highly anti-inflammatory drink every day. The curcumin in turmeric is best absorbed with fat (i.e. coconut/almond milk or coconut cream) and black pepper (the reason for that dash of black pepper). In the colder months I mix 1 part tea with 2 parts hot coconut or almond milk and drop in a coconut cream. During summer I mix 1 part tea with 2 parts fresh coconut water and pour over ice. Dissolve 3 tbsp honey in the concentrate if you would like a sweeter iced tea. 

Coconut Cream

1/3 cup solid coconut oil

1/3 cup raw unpastuerized honey

Dash Himalayan pink salt

Mix all ingredients in small bowl until thoroughly combined. Spoon dollops onto parchment paper or into ice cube tray and place in freezer. (If honey is very thick, heat for a minute to thin out before mixing with coconut oil). After about 10 minutes they’re frozen enough to maintain shape but chewy enough to act as a candy. Stays in freezer for at least a week.

These are great as a candy or as an addition to hot tea! 

My Story

Rough

This is me a year and a half ago a week out of the PCU at Cedars Sinai severely diseased, anemic and sick. I was told by doctors that I had an incurable autoimmune disease called Ulcerative Colitis and would need to accept a life of steroids, immunosuppressants and other harsh drugs. Without taking these medications, they told me, I would no doubt have to have my colon removed. There was nothing I could do and I would need to learn to just accept it.

Fuck. That.

This past year and a half has been a bit of a roller coaster to say the least. My rapidly declining health forced me out of my job and out of my apartment, into the hospital and helplessly living back at my parents. I’ve spent the last year changing my lifestyle. I make everything I eat and I invest in real food rather than harmful prescription drugs that ultimately mask your disease rather than treat it. I am lucky enough to have parents who stood by my side and fought for my health too. My dad found a well respected integrative gastroenterologist who believed diet could be a game changer for IBD and my mom spent months cooking up a storm trying anything and everything to make me better. My family and friends are the most supportive, amazing, caring group of people in the world and I really have no idea how I would have dealt with this without them.

If I’m not proof you can treat and heal yourself through food than I don’t know what is. I was literally on my potential deathbed bleeding out any and all of my nutrients. Here I am 1 year later striving to get into the best shape of my life, healthier, happier and the best part – gaining control over my body and health. I still have a lot of figuring out to do with this disease but at least I know there is a bright light showing remission is maintainable. It goes without saying but nourishing, real food now means everything to me.

Autoimmune diseases are becoming rampant across our nation. We have to ask the question, why? Why here? Why are they substaintially more prominent in developed countries? Why are our own bodies attacking themselves? Step back and observe our food industry and take initiative to force change through your everyday purchases. Genetically modified organisms, growth hormones, heavy metals and other engineered chemicals in our food are exponentially increasing disease in each generation. Don’t accept disease as a consequence of ignorance. Choose your health and the health of your families. Buy organic. Support small, local farmers who aren’t being lobbied like Monsanto. Invest in sustainable environmental practices and humanely raised meat and animal products. Don’t accept the status quo because it surely isn’t in our best interest.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

The awesome blog SCD Lifestyle posted an article about my journey. Check out the link below! 

SCD Diet Relieves Extreme Diarrhea and Fatigue, Fuels Recovery from Ulcerative Colitis