The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

One night, my dad came home from the doctor with a new diet. His cancer was stable, but his digestive system was reeling from all the abuse it endured during the treatment and even months afterwards he was having severely painful digestive trouble, so he was willing to try anything. He had been put on a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, or SCD, which was mainly intended for those with Crohn’s disease and IBS. He couldn’t eat any starches at all, nor dairy or anything with added sugar (you’d be surprised what that can include). It was dinnertime. My mother had to cook him something.

My mother takes pride in her cooking skills– she’s an amazing cook and it’s how she takes care of people. She sends me home-baked bread while I’m here at school and she bakes cookies whenever it snows. She feeds people to show them she loves them and she takes pride in making amazing, beautiful food. She didn’t know what to do with this diet though. My dad was hungry and she had no pre-made food that complied with his diet.

She helplessly threw some ground meat in a pan with some spices and veggies and maybe a tiny bit of cheese and served it to my dad, who was exhausted from a day at a hospital an hour’s drive away. It honestly looked like dog food. My dad ate it in his room. When I went in to talk to him, he looked pathetic. I’ve seen him bedridden, I’ve seen him puking into a trashcan for days, I’ve seen him sedated and unconscious for a week. I’ve never seen him more pathetic-looking and I’ve never seen my mother more helpless. The one thing she had control over, the best thing she knew to do to take care of someone, had been robbed from her. My dad couldn’t even have any decent food. It broke my heart. That truly, to me, felt like rock bottom.

“Clocklet milk”

When I was young, about 4 years old, my parents would make me chocolate milk (which I would pronounce “clocklet milk”) before bed. They would put it in a sippy cup and heat it up in the microwave. It wasn’t anything fancy, just Nesquik and milk. I remember sitting on my dad’s lap, my little sister across from me on his other lap as he rocked in the rocking chair in my parents’ bedroom, drinking warm chocolate milk as my dad told us a story he would make up off the top of his head. I would be warmed inside and out, by my dad’s embrace from the outside and the hot drink on the inside. Warm drinks in your hands supposedly simulate the warmth of another person. With the warmth of my father enveloping me on top of that, it was safety and sleepy comfort and home. My dad is gone now–he passed away last month–but his warmth and the warmth of a hot drink will forever be intertwined in my memories.