When my family committed to trying the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for two months, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. We had a pantry full of carbs, grains, starches and sugars and nary a nut flour in sight. But, ladies and gentlemen, we could rebuild that pantry! We had the technology! We could make it better....better, stronger, faster...LOL! (For you youngin's out there, watch the video below if you don't get the joke.)
Ultimately, I decided to purge, restock and reorganize. That may seem drastic for a two-month test, but it had to be done. The mixing and mingling of SCD-legal and illegal foods on my shelves was confusing me. And as you can see from the photos below...my pantry was in need of some lovin' anyway! LOL.
My mission was, of course, top secret and highly classified. I tried very hard not to let my daughter see all of the carbs I was kicking to the curb, as that would have just been salt in the wound. After taking a mental inventory of what was in my pantry, I devised a plan to eat down as much of the the non-SCD pantry (including the fridge) as we could in the month leading up to our start date...also being mindful of my daughter's delicate GI tract. Then I gave away any remaining non-SCD foods that would spoil or go stale during our test period. The rest I boxed up and stashed away, so I would not have to look at it. If the test was a flop, I reasoned, I could just pull it all back out again and we'd be back to normal.
What was left after The Great Purge were some pretty bare shelves...some beans, some lentils, a few raisins...LOL. But I have to say, I liked the simplicity. It was a lot less cluttered, to say the least. ;)
Now it was time for some bionic food replacements. I hit Trader Joe's for nuts, nut flours, nut butters, dried fruits, aged cheeses, fresh juices and coconut oil. For dried beans, lentils, honey, dried coconut and coconut flour I hit the bulk food bins at my local food co-op. Yup, even for the honey, which is much cheaper in bulk.
Reorganizing my pantry shelves was kind of fun. I've been collecting and using vintage wire bale mason jars for years, so I stashed my newly aquired bulk ingredients in those. I love the way they look...so simple and pure. Plus, it's super easy to see at-a-glance what I have on-hand and what is running low. If you don't have vintage jars or don't want to spend the time looking for them, an assortment of pint, quart and gallon size canning jars or even recycled condiment jars will do the trick for bulk ingredients. If you do use vintage jars, be sure to check the rims for cracks or chips and don't use any that are damaged. (I know you know that, but I felt compelled to mention it anyway. Safety first!) And, pick up new rubber gaskets for them so they will seal air-tight. If you've never bought canning supplies, you can find them at most grocery, kitchen supply and hardware stores. That's some of my collection below...ignore the trashed walls...emergency kitchen remodel in progress...
Time Saving Tip: I didn't bother to label any of my jars, even though there are about a gazillion cute ways to do so. I just didn't see the point because it's very obvious to me what everything is when I look at it...and when in doubt, I just give a sniff or taste to identify...bionic powers, yah know? It's also easier to wash the jars and swap them around as needed if they aren't all labeled. In a pinch, you can always use a sharpie to write directly on the glass or lid...most of the time it will scrub off when you wash them.
If you don't want to bother with jars at all, just organize your new pantry staples in a way that makes sense to you and is easy to access because you will be using this stuff all the time from now on.
At the same time I was re-stocking my pantry in August, I was also doing a lot of canning. Don't freak out...it's not that hard. Time consuming, yes, but just like this diet, anyone can do it. Aside from the satisfaction of being able to enjoy homemade goodies in the middle of winter, these canned goods have become my own versions of "convenience" foods. I canned tomatoes, dilly beans, relish, salsa, pickles and sugar-free fruit sauces, jams and butters. I'll definitely be talking about canning more in future posts, but for now, just know that canning and preserving foods is a great way to supplement an SCD pantry. And once you learn how to do it, its really pretty fun.
By the time I was finished, my pantry looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie, and I have to tell you, I am very proud of it. I worked really hard on it and after all the initial feelings of helplessness surrounding my daughter's Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis, this felt like a huge accomplishment. Finally, something I could do to help her. Every single jar in my pantry represents a bottle of pills she won't have to take, drug infusions she won't have to endure and hours spent just being a kid instead of being sick and in pain. At least that's how I see it. Only time will tell whether or not all the hard work will pay off, but if dedication and commitment counts for anything, we are in it to win it!
At this point, we have surpassed our two-month goal and are half-way through month five! We had a flood of sorts in our kitchen this fall and have been enduring a seemingly never-ending emergency kitchen remodel...unplanned, but not unwanted, I like to say. I will share more about that drama another day...including how to survive and thrive on the SCD...WITHOUT A KITCHEN...heaven help me. My pantry has continued to evolve and we recently gave away the remaining stash of carbs I had packed away. Here is what my pantry looks like today...big difference from when we started.
The top section holds most of my canning supplies, "backstock" of some canned goods, and my black box of wine, which, mercifully, is SCD legal-ish...can Merlot be considered a dry wine? The middle section contains my dry and canned goods. And in the bottom section, I placed open bins for snacks, nuts, dried fruit, the few select "processed" canned goods I have, tuna, etc. There is one bin dedicated to snacks so that my daughter can easily grab something she likes when she wants to. I was never a huge fan of pre-packaged snacks, but we have found a few that are safe and I think they make my daughter feel like she is eating "normal" food, so I keep them on hand more than I used to. I'll talk about those items in another post, but here's a close-up of what that bin looks like.
Maintaining my SCD pantry is a lot easier than maintaining my old pantry. There are so many less options, so it takes less time to shop and less time to put groceries away...good thing, because of course, it takes ten times longer to cook everything from scratch. ;)
So that's the Bionic Pantry story. The next post in the SCD 101 series will include The Fighting Flare Guide to SCD Pantry Staples, which includes a printable check list you can take to the store with you. If you are just tuning in, you can find the rest of this series by clicking the SCD 101 link in the top navigation bar on my home page...or click here: SCD 101
Thanks for stopping by. I hope this post was helpful. Please feel free to leave comments or ask questions if you want to know more about how I transitioned us to the SCD. I'd love to hear from you! I can also be found hanging out around the web, so maybe you'd like to join me elsewhere...click the links below to connect. :)
If you or someone you know has IBD I hope you'll come back often to join me in Fighting Flare. XOXO, Cindi
Bionic Woman Photo via Pinterest