Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, is quoted as saying ‘Let Food be thy medicine.’ His insight, which is over 2000 years old, still rings true today. In the modern world, we often loose sight of the power of good nutrition and diet on our overall health and well being. Food is medicine. We see this not only in diets like the SCD, which can resolve inflammation and recover a person from debilitating symptoms, but in all aspects of life. Diet and nutrition's healing effect is seen not only in inflammatory bowel disease but also in obesity, allergy, cardiovascular disease, seizure disorders, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, chronic abdominal pain, and the list goes on to cover many medical conditions. But food also transcends medicine. Food is an experience. It tantalizes the senses, you can hear it sizzle, you can see the multitude of colors, inhale its tantalizing aromas and, most importantly, taste it. When starting the SCD we sometime are so wrapped up on the medicinal and logistical aspects of the diet that we loose sight of the food experience. The SCD can introduce new and delicious foods to you and your family. As you and your family move forward with the SCD, remember that there is a rich delicious world out there which can heal you. Experiment and try new things… and should I dare say, evolve to become a passionate foodie!
Eat whole foods only
A major focus of good nutrition is to focus on whole foods. What does this mean? It means eating foods that are either not processed or processed as little possible. In our modern world, packaged foods are often manipulated to preserve their shelf life, improve their palatability and texture, and to enhance the short term eating experience. Starting with whole foods, you avoid the potential for additives which may have a negative effect on your overall health. Whole foods offers other benefits as well, providing more complex micro-nutrients, essential dietary fiber and naturally occurring protective substances, such as phytochemicals.
Text: Why organic? Organic foods are made without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic meats receive no antibiotics or growth hormones. Unfortunately, there has been no studies proving or disproving the health effects of organic foods. A recent meta-analysis noted that "there have been no long-term studies of health outcomes of populations consuming predominantly organic versus conventionally produced food controlling for socioeconomic factors; such studies would be expensive to conduct.’ So again, why organic? One clear benefit for avoiding meats with antibiotics includes the potential of transmission of antibiotic resistant organisms. The other benefit is that we don’t know the safety and effects of the synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and growth hormone on our bodies over the long term. We do know that, as these changes have occurred in our food production, we have seen an exponential growth in the number of autoimmune disease in both children and adults.
Experiment with Ethnic Cuisines
An SCD diet can seem daunting in terms of the restrictions it presents. Fortunately, many cuisines exist throughout the world that do not use the restricted foods in this diet. You might, for instance, instead of focusing on gluten-free recipes, look at cookbooks and recipe websites that feature ethnic cuisines, such as southern Italian, Spanish, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian. You’ll notice that these cuisines already have hundreds or thousands of recipes that fit the SCD diet with little or no alteration.
Use these recipes we have provided in this book as a starting point. While trying the book’s recipes, study various world cuisines and find the ones that fit the SCD and sound delicious to you and your family. Practice using that cuisine’s use of vegetables, meats, spices, herbs, and oils, as well as cooking techniques. You’ll notice that with some patience and an appreciation for whole foods, it is possible to create meals that are easy, delicious, and SCD-compatible.
Add More Flavor
The SCD needn’t be bland or boring. Here are simple tips to add flavor:
- Spices come in an amazing variety—use them! Although they can be convenient, some pre-ground spices have less flavor and aroma than if you buy them in whole form and grind them yourself, especially if you use certain ones in larger quantities.
- Invest in a good-quality spice grinder—it will save a lot of time and hassle.
- Bottles of name-brand whole and already ground spices tend be very expensive at the supermarket. You can frequently find those same spices at a fraction of the cost if you buy them in loose form at an ethnic foods store, like an Asian or Indian grocery or even at some supermarkets.
- Use herbs—a lot of them, and fresh, not dried, if possible. Adding herbs in the last minute or two of cooking will add lots of flavor, zip, and spark to meals without compromising the diet—and they are good for you, too!
- A storage tip: When fresh herbs are in season, chop them very finely, mix them with olive oil or butter, and pour the oil-herb mixture into ice cube trays. When the cubes are frozen, pop them out and store them in zipper-lock baggies in the freezer. These herb cubes are terrific and easy to add to soups, stews, stir-fries, or any dish where you want a blast of fresh herb flavor.
- And if you have space, growing herbs either in your garden or in indoor pots can be a nice way of ensuring a constant supply. It can be a fun project for you and your child as well!
- Do not skimp on salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar(but not balsamic) and butter. They are delicious, natural flavor enhancers that can make any vegetable dish more appetizing.
- When it comes to oils, there’s a wealth of choices now available. Truly good quality olive oils, even though they may be expensive, can be worth it for their superior flavor. Certain nut oils, such as walnut and hazelnut, are also fantastic in salad dressings or even as dipping oils for vegetables.
- If you do purchase high-quality olive or nut oils, remember that they are generally not meant to be used for sautéing or frying foods because of their low smoke points. Instead, maximize their goodness (and your budget) by using them as "finishing oils." Drizzle a bit over any cooked vegetable or other dish and enjoy.