It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted and this is mostly because I had a bit of a mental breakdown. The pressure of getting my work done for my Master’s degree coupled with the insane amount of will power and time necessary to do the SCD diet eventually got to me. I have always been a perfectionist and a bit of a worrier. This caught up to me and I ended up having many panic attacks over the past few weeks. I’ve never had panic attacks before, and of course thought I was having a heart attack and going to die. A trip to the emergency room only calmed my fears temporarily.
I didn’t just sit back with all of this, but decided to finally ask for help; something I realize I have never really done. The entire time on SCD I have never asked my parents to help out with cooking, grocery shopping or dishes. Finally I told them I was exhausted and needed them to help. They were glad I finally asked them too. I also started going to see a counselor at school. So far I’ve only been twice, once for an initial visit and one full session. It has been helpful but once again I find myself searching for my own way to make myself better. While seeing my naturopath, I searched and found the SCDiet myself and then went on it with her approval. Similarly, I feel like I’m searching for techniques to get over this panic, worrying, pressure feeling on my own, while seeing a counselor to sort of ‘check in with’ and get approval to make sure I’m doing the right thing. Either way, it seems to be working for both my diet and mental health to search on my own, so I guess I’ll continue. I realize health in general requires a lot of self searching, and being somewhat selfish in devoting a lot of time to yourself.
I have still not strayed at all from the SCDiet and continue with the very basics, yogurt, cheese, meat, broth. I have stopped following the Pecanbread guidelines however. I just wasn’t seeing any improvement trying to follow those stages. I think Pecanbread doesn’t place enough emphasis on broth. I’ve been having 1-2 cups of broth per day and it’s helping. I’ve been eating stewed vegetables (any kind) in small amounts. It doesn’t seem to be what vegetable I eat, more like how it’s prepared and how much. I have also been juicing vegetables with my new juicer for a few weeks. It’s nice to have something ‘raw’ and refreshing. So far I’m just sticking with carrots, celery and cucumber because I’m enjoying the taste. I have been looking around at other dietary advice as well to get a broader look at food and health. I’m reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price and it’s fantastic. I’m also looking into the Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet but don’t have the book yet (library doesn’t carry it, and hey, I’m too cheap). The GAPS diet is like SCD but places more emphasis on juicing and broth. I may try the fermented veggies soon.
To anyone not having success with SCD, realize that you may need to customize it for yourself. This doesn’t mean adding in illegals, but more like figuring out what foods really are healing for you and what you really can’t do with. Don’t kid yourself, you’re the one suffering. Take the time to find your safe foods. Now if I have a touchy stomach day (so tame now compared to pre-SCD) I can rely on chicken broth, stewed chicken or beef, baked fish, homemade yogurt made with whole milk or cream, and natural cheddar cheese. That’s my base diet I know I can fall back on no matter what.
For mental health I have been practicing some relaxation techniques like breathing. I practice the breathing when I’m in panic mode, but also just at a random time of day when I feel fine. It’s amazing the more you do it, the better you feel, and the easier you can calm yourself down. I’m doing belly breathing and counting 4 counts in, hold for 4, then 6 counts out. I also do some gentle exercise and get lots of sun. Bike riding, rollerblading and volleyball are my choice activities because I enjoy them and they don’t take much effort.
I cannot believe how tanned I am getting this summer. It’s only June, I’ve been out tanning in the sun a handful of times, and I’m darker than I’ve ever been. There is definitely a diet component to this. I have not burned once nor turned pink, while my friends around me are all complaining of burning. Also, I haven’t used sunscreen AT ALL. The most I’ve been out at one time is probably about 1 hour, which doesn’t sound like much, but last summer I’d be burnt to a crisp if I did that without sunscreen. Some of my friends have burned with only 1 hour outside while I developed a nice bronzed tan. Some things I attribute to this: eating tons of homemade yogurt made with cream, cheese, butter, and coconut oil. The fats and fat soluble vitamins are so protective against the sun. Vitamin A specifically seems to help and has some relationship with vitamin D. The more vitamin A, the less I burn. Another note, my elbows are about as soft as a baby’s bottom. No joke. Those normally wrinkly dry itchy patches on my elbows are completely soft and supple. And tanned too.
I’m still dealing with acne pretty bad, and I do realize now it’s so much worse when I’m stressed out. Hopefully working on the panic attacks and worrying thoughts will help clear that up. In the meantime I’m trying a few home remedies. I’m putting SCD homemade yogurt on my face as a mask, I use my dripped whole milk yogurt with no honey added. I’m putting coconut oil on my face at night, helps moisturize and keep it soft. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that this helps acne too. Also I’m juicing vegetables, I heard this helps acne too, certainly can’t hurt. I only juice about 4oz per day, because I’m lazy, but I’m enjoying it.
I hope to post soon about some of the books I’m reading, although I’m not putting any pressure on myself to update really often. Plus it’s summer, we should all be outside enjoying the weather, not stuck inside looking for blog updates, right? lol
The picture for this post is my bicycle. It’s a new bike, but an old ‘cruiser’ style. I love it! Not super complicated (only 7 speeds) and such a comfortable ride. No sore crotch/butt/hands on this one. I have used it probably 3 times a week to go to the store for groceries or the library for books. It’s fun!