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Princess Friends

Princess Friends - November 29, 2010

A New SCD Cookbook!

My mom Beth Spencer recently published a wonderful SCD cookbook called Turtle Soup: Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet from an SCD Mom. It's full of yummy SCD friendly recipes (muffins! taco salad! pumpkin pie!)—and what SCDer doesn't long for a wider selection of delicious legal foods? Thanks, Mom!

Also, check out Beth's very helpful SCD Resources website.

Goals For 2011

What I love most about New Years is making resolutions. It's so empowering to feel like the slate is clean and anything is possible. I usually spend most of December planning out what I want to accomplish in the next year. I don't always reach all my goals. Sometimes it's lack of planning and accountability. Other times I have a shift in focus during the year. I thought I would share some of my health and fitness goals for 2011 here in hopes that they will be more tangible.

Increase Mileage

In 2008 I ran 563 miles. In 2009 I made a commitment to increase my mileage and I hit 1,241 miles. In doing so I dramatically improved my finishing times. For 2010 I had planned to break 2,000 miles, but with Leo's birth I pulled back on my schedule and only ended up running 1,801 miles. More importantly though, I accomplished my goal of not getting injured at all this year. I attribute most of that to switching from a heal strike to landing on my forefoot. My goal for 2011 is to increase my mileage again. My stretch goal is to run 2,500 miles with a secondary goal of 2,200 miles. The reason is that I think it will improve my running times and better prepare me for my longer races, which happen to be some of my other goals.

Sub 3 Hour Marathon

One of my goals this past year was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I managed to do that at the Detroit Marathon with a time of 3:08:19, just a few minutes under the qualifying time for my age group. It was a lot closer than I had planned. With a half marathon best of 1:21:16 I should be able to run under a 3 hour marathon. So for 2011 I'm again setting a goal of breaking 3 hours in the marathon. To do it I need to keep my pace up after mile 18, which running more should help with. I'm planning on running both a spring and fall marathon to give myself more than one chance.

Run an Ultra Marathon

For the past few years I've been thinking about doing an ultra marathon. With my increased mileage I think I can handle a 50 miler.

Lower My Body Fat Percentage

I bought a body fat scale a few months ago and it's great to finally see the data that's important. For several years I've been weighing myself daily, but I didn't have any idea what my body composition was. I can now set a weight goal based on body fat percentage rather than total body weight. Currently I'm at 13.5% body fat and I want to get that down to 8%, which is at the bottom of the healthy range. That works out to about 10 pounds of fat that I'm going to try and drop over 10 months. To do it I'll need to maintain an average 120 calorie deficit each day. I think this will be my hardest goal to meet. Because of that, I would still be happy if I could get down to 10% and be able to maintain that for the rest of the year.

Strength Training

I decided that I would also try maintaining a strength training program to improve my endurance. The plan is to do 3 sessions a week until summer and then scale back to maintenance levels. The goal isn't to get a six pack or bulk up. The idea is to strengthen the parts of my body that are yelling at me 20 miles into a marathon. But if I ended up looking ripped I wouldn't mind ;-)

Here's to an awesome 2011. Best of luck meeting any of the goals you set this year.

In The SCD Spotlight

Check it out! I've been interviewed by the nifty SCD guys Steve and Jordan from Their site is a really great resource for the whole SCD community, and I'm happy to help them spread the word about the benefits of this awesome diet.

My friend Emily is pregnant and, like myself, is on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). She recently went through the routine gestational diabetes (GD) testing that all pregnant ladies are "required" to undergo. What she found was that being on the SCD, which is pretty close to a GD diet anyhow, can really skew the test results. Here is Emily's story:

"When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2007 I discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet towards the end of my pregnancy. I didn't need to navigate the whole 'what to do about the gestational diabetes testing.' This time around (after almost a year and a half break from SCD), my ulcerative colitis has not been behaving. So at 24 weeks pregnant I started back on the SCD. I felt immediately better. But I knew that the gestational diabetes test was coming up. I asked my regular OB, and they said there was no alternative. I scoured the Internet, and the only alternative I could find was jelly beans. And while they are far more delicious than the nasty orange drink, it didn't help my case.

"After finding no answers I decided to just suck it up and take the test. This was quite possibly the worst idea ever. Yes it messed up my stomach a bit, but I failed the test, though barely, with a number of 156. I couldn't believe it. I thought I would be able to know if I had GD! And I had been feeling quite great! So they told me that I needed to do the 3 hour test. I called my high risk OB at that point because I had begun to wonder if being on the SCD had changed the way my body processed things. I was unable to get a hold of her, so foolishly I decided to go through with the 3 hour test the next day. I knew I didn't have GD. I guess I just wanted to prove them wrong. So I went in and drank an even more nasty concoction of orange drink and wasted 4 hours of my time. I passed, though barely.

"Still skeptical about whether this test was really accurate for me, I decided to do a more thorough search of the Internet. I found a few places in which they revealed that the sweetener in the drink is not pure glucose. It is corn based, and the typical body breaks down the more complex sugars into glucose. So I felt like I had my answer. I do not eat corn or any other starch for that matter. Wouldn't my body be confused as to how to break it down and what to do with it? Wouldn't it take longer to convert to glucose and then show an inaccurate reading in my blood? And the answer is yes. I finally got a hold of my high risk OB. She specializes in diabetic patients (in addition to a few of us with IBD's). And she was absolutely frustrated that I had been given this test. She said that the diet I am on would definitely interfere with the test and that I should not have taken it. She must have apologized 10 times!

"So lesson learned. SCD and the standard gestational diabetes testing do not mix. Now I do not know what the alternative would be. Amy's OB let her eat a "sugary" SCD breakfast instead. So perhaps that is something that can be brought up with your OB well in advance of the testing. And I hope that some of you can avoid the hassle, worry, frustration and discomfort that I experienced!"

Thanks, Emily, for the details of your experience. If any readers are looking for related information, check out my SCD Pregnancy Tips and SCD & Breastfeeding. And you can find some great SCD recipes to fulfill those pregnancy cravings at bethsblog.

Back To SCD

I have decided to go back on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) 100% (well, maybe I'll still eat a bit of chocolate?). For the past year, especially during my pregnancy with Leo when morning sickness practically forced me to ingest soda crackers, I've eaten many "illegal" foods and luckily the Crohn's hasn't been really bad...but I haven't felt as good as I did during the previous two years on the SCD with no cheating. My biggest symptoms have been slightly increased stool frequency and bloating. But nothing bad enough to make me completely stop eating grains and sugar. Once you start again, I warn you, it's pretty darn hard to stop.

Our pediatrician thinks that 2-month-old baby Leo may have a milk protein intolerance (fussy, spitting up, flecks of blood in his stool), so I have had to eliminate dairy from my diet since it passes through my breast milk. The good news is that after three weeks, Leo's symptoms are nearly gone. The bad news is that it's hard for me to get enough calories if I'm eating SCD without the legal yogurt, cheese, and butter. And most of my go-to SCD recipes contain some form of legal dairy, which means I need to rethink my meal repertoire once again. As a quick fix for this problem, I've been trying my luck with a more traditional dairy-free diet minus wheat. I have been eating oat flour bread and some rice, potatoes (usually in chip form), sugar, and corn products nearly every day. I've still been eating SCD legal almond flour muffins and cookies, made with coconut oil instead of butter. (If I eat the legal stuff it will negate the illegals, right?)

Although I am not feeling really bad, I am starting to worry that I'm on the path towards it. The past couple weeks I've started noticing more mucus in my stool and some small streaks of red blood in the mucus. Also, my tummy is pretty tender if I press on it; if I have baby Leo stand on my belly it feels bruised, for lack of a better description. I could continue to eat this way and see how I do. My gastroenterologist says he can give me a round of prednisone if I have a flare while breastfeeding. But I worry that if I end up with a bad flare, I might have to go back onto the heavy meds like 6MP, and I'd have to wean Leo. I hated how I felt on 6MP. I don't want to go there again.

So, now it's back to SCD for real but MINUS dairy for Leo's sake. It will take some creative thinking. It was hard enough to do SCD in the first place, but once it became my norm it was much easier. Without yogurt, cheese, and butter, I will need to eat more meat, eggs, avocados, and olives to get the calories. SCD legal deli meat for lunch and a veggie and a fruit, and a couple legal coconut macaroons seem to fill me up. Also, I'll need to bake more almond flour treats, like the yummy muffin recipes on bethsblog, to curb my cravings for the "real" baked goods that my hubby and kids eat (and maybe I'll come up with a decent dairy-free SCD bread loaf). And eat more larabars and peanut butter. I know I can do it, it's just especially hard because I'm really hungry from breastfeeding and really tired from having a new baby, and because I've had a taste of all the yummy illegal foods that I hadn't eaten for so long.

For some reason I have this feeling of entitlement, like I've paid my dues and now I should be able to eat what I want. But I have to keep telling myself that being healthy is the most important thing. Especially since I've got three young kids to take care of. I wish to be lucky enough for SCD to heal my gut. To be able to return to a healthy version of "normal" eating. Now I'm realizing that I may have to eat SCD indefinitely...this is hard for me to swallow.

Leo Owen McKenna was born on April 2, 2010 (8 days past my due date) at 9:40pm. He weighed 8 lbs 14oz and was 20.75 inches long. Now he's 2 months old and weighs 12 lbs 3oz and is 23.5 inches. He was pretty fussy and spitty as a newborn, but I've recently eliminated dairy and soy from my diet, and he is MUCH happier. Leo is starting to babble and smile and be awake for more than 5 minutes without crying. It's great! I promise we will post photos of him soon (there are already some on Flickr). Having three kids under age five takes A LOT of time and energy. :)

Gender Results Are In!

I'm 22 weeks along with baby #3, and we recently found out it's a BOY! So come March, we'll be upping our household ratio of females:males to 3:2. Sophia and Cassidy are very excited that they will be getting a little brother. Many of Sophia's girlfriends have baby brothers, so she'll finally be in that club. And I think Cassidy might have an easier adjustment since she won't be losing her little sister status; she'll still be the youngest girl in the family.

Here are a few ultrasound photos of our boy. The "boy -->" photo was one of the first images we saw during the ultrasound. I was surprised by how obvious it was!

Our Little Housefull

Our house is small. About 1200 square feet. We love it and have made it our own, but with the upcoming addition of another baby in March, it's beginning to feel smaller.

Our house has two small kid bedrooms on the main floor, and soon we will have three kids. The plan is for Sophia, who will be 5 when the baby is born, and Cassidy, who will be 27 months, to share Sophia's current room. The baby will acquire Cassidy's. Sophia likes the idea of sharing her room, and with some rearranging it will just barely fit two junior beds. We'll have to put the bookshelf in another room (baby's room?). I'm annoyed about that. I want the books in the big girls' room. But it's really the only feasible solution. We thought about bunk beds for two seconds and then the vision of daredevil Cassidy swinging from the rafters of the top bunk slapped us back into reality.

Into our house, small house that it is, we will welcome another wee one. I think we can make it work. We'll be ever so cozy.

Oh Baby!

I am pregnant with baby #3! Due on my birthday, March 25! We are all excited, especially the girls who love to pat and kiss my tummy. At my 12-week OB appointment last week Cassidy got to hear the "swoosh-swoosh" heartbeat. She got a real kick out of it, and even though she's just 21 months old I think she's starting to make the connection.

The first several weeks of this pregnancy were very nauseating. But now I'm beginning to feel better, which is such a relief. Especially since the Specific Carbohydrate Diet I follow for Crohn's disease doesn't allow soda crackers. Over the past weeks I've eaten a few illegals here and there when nothing else has sounded good. I've noticed a little bloating and gas but other than that I think my body is doing ok with grains and sugars in small amounts. I suppose it's possible that the pregnancy hormones are helping my condition. And maybe following the SCD quite strictly for 2+ years has healed my gut to some extent. That would be lovely!

Sophia: "Want to see my teeter-totter eyebrows?"
Daddy: "Teeter-totter eyebrows? Sure!"
Sophia: "It goes like this." (She closes one eye and then the other, which makes her eyebrows go up and down in an alternating fashion, kind of like, um, a teeter-totter.)
Daddy: "Cool, Sophia. Where did you learn that?"
Sophia: (In a most serious and important voice) "Oh, I've been doing it for YEARS...even before Cassidy was born."

It was hard to hold back our giggles. Fortunately, Sophia was in just the right kind of mood to giggle along with us.

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Race Schedule

Swim Meet 1650,500,200,100 fr West Bloomfield, MI 11/9/08
EMU Swim Meet Ypsilanti, MI 1/11/09
Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K Ann Arbor, MI 3/15/09
Martian Meteor 10K Dearborn, MI 4/9/09



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