Here are some ways to make your life a little easier.
If you are new to SCD and looking for suggestions, see this post.
Read food labels. All of them. Every time. Don’t assume you already know what’s in a food. I was eating chicken breasts for six months before I read the label and realized that they contained broth which is illegal. Just because a label says ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ does not make it legal.
Cook extra portions for freezing. There will be plenty of times when you’ll be glad to be able to just microwave something from the freezer rather than cook from scratch.
Always have legal food on hand. If you don’t you might feel compelled to cheat.
Watch food TV. You can get new ideas and learn some cooking techniques.
Don’t watch food TV. If you are having problems with cravings, don’t watch TV at all or at least eat first.
Cook when you’re not hungry. When I get hungry, I get cranky. Cooking when I’m not hungry is less stressful for me and those around me then when I’m starving.
Use your butcher. If you don’t know your cuts of meat ask your butcher. They can answer questions about which cut to use for your dish and how to cook it. They have a lot of knowledge in an often confusing arena and are most likely willing to share. They can even help you economize.
Try to think ahead in your cooking. My biggest difficulty is remembering to take meat out of the freezer two days before I want to cook it.
Keep eggs and cheese on hand. They both keep pretty well and you can always fall back to an omelette if necessary.
Dry your own fruit. It keeps a long time at room temperature and is highly portable. Bananas tend to go on sale at the grocery at just the right time to be legal for the diet and make a super delicious treat when dried. As sweet as candy. Note that dried fruit is considered advanced.
Learn to preserve foods by canning. I have been so happy to have canned tomatoes in January, not to mention peaches, pears and nectarines. I’ve done dill pickles and also preserved large batches of barbecue sauce and ketchup. An excellent book for canning is the Ball Blue Book of preserving.
If you don’t know how to cook, get some instruction. Check your family and friends for personal help or your larger community for cooking classes. Ask a lot of questions. Talk to the instructor about your restrictions. Don’t be shy.
When unsalted butter is on sale, buy lots. It freezes well.
Buy unsalted butter instead of salted butter. It makes it easier to season your food when cooking.
Visit your local restaurant supplier. You can often find good deals on things like paper baking cups or equipment you can’t find elsewhere. I love yonana muffins and would hate to think how much the cups would have cost me at the supermarket rate.
Treats are important. If you have a sweet tooth like me, having treats available is almost as important as a meal for keeping a good attitude.
If you don’t know your wines, go to a wine shop. Some wines are legal, some are not. The only guidance from the BTVC book is to only use very dry wine. Any decent wine seller will be able to help you get what you need.
When bananas go on sale, buy lots. They are great for making dried banana chips and they also peel and freeze well for yonana muffins.
Keep a journal. The first couple of years on the diet, I kept a detailed journal with what I ate, when I ate it, when I went to the bathroom and what it was like, how much pain I had, my mood and how much sleep I had the night before. It was helpful tool to see how the diet was helping and what legal foods I couldn’t tolerate.
Fix heartburn. If you have the occasional heartburn or sour stomach, you will have realized that remedies like Tums or Rolaids contain illegals. There is an alternative though. Baking soda can cool that heartburn just as well as those chewables. Carefully read the label on a box of Arm and Hammer and you’ll find directions. Keep in mind however, that baking soda contains a lot of sodium and you wouldn’t want to use this remedy frequently.
Vanilla extract. Maybe you can’t find any legal vanilla extract in your area and would like to make your own. You are in luck. Just Google vanilla extract and you’ll get a ton of help and it’s easy to make. Shop around for your vanilla beans though. I’ve found the ones in my local grocery store to be extra expensive and I’m guessing they are pretty old. I like Penzeys. They are reasonable, responsive and their product is good.
Peanut Butter. Natural peanut butter is legal, but not all that great if you ask me. My solution is to mix in some honey for something closer to that stuff we ate as kids. A spoonful of sweetened peanut butter can be a good stop-gap when you need a sweet, but have nothing made.
Medical History. Keep as complete a record as possible. See this post for more detail.
Want to peel garlic super fast? See this post.