Here at New York Minute Magazine, we love to showcase women who empower themselves by being healthy and sharing those healthy hobbies with the world. Not only are these ladies so much fun to follow on social media (we love watching recipes being put together on their Instagram stories), they’re also incredibly inspiring.
Meet Carmen Sturdy, the blogger behind Every Last Bite. You may have already seen her on our Facebook and Instagram stories, too. Though she is a Vancouver native, Carmen has lived in London for nearly a decade. She’s energetic, easy to talk to, and optimistic… even though she has had her fair share of health issues.
Carmen has an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis, a condition that attacks the intestines. When she was first diagnosed about seven years ago, she thought her life was over. At one point, she was taking up to 32 medicative pills per day, which was causing her to lose sleep, swell up, and gain weight.
Then Carmen discovered the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which helps prevent swelling in the body when you eliminate things from your diet like gluten, grains, and refined sugar. The SCD entails removing all carbs and processed foods that are difficult for the body to digest. The method was popularized by biochemist Elaine Gottschall in the early 2000s.
She started cooking SCD-compliant food and then created Every Last Bite to share her yummy and healthy eats with the world. The blog stayed secret for quite a while but it grew over time, until finally, just last year, Carmen quit her job to focus on the site full-time.
We had the opportunity to talk with Carmen about how she has turned her health around, how she stays optimistic, and how keeping her body healthy has empowered her.
NYMM: You post a lot of SCD-compliant recipes on your blog. How did you get into cooking?
CS: I live for food. Food is something I’ve been passionate about from a very, very young age. So when I started the diet, I looked online at the recipes that were posted for this diet and they just seemed so bland, kind of like hospital food. I realized there are actually so many options for food you can make. Why aren’t people getting a bit more creative? I’d always thought about creating a food blog, and it just kinda clicked for me. People need to realize that there’s so much more they can make on this diet. That’s one of the biggest things I was reading in all the chat rooms for the diet: “I really want to do this diet, but I don’t think I can only eat these basic foods.” So I wanted to create a website where I could encourage people that you can actually make amazing food while on this diet.
NYMM: How do you keep the willpower and positivity to stick to a diet as strict as the SCD?
CS: The way the diet works is you’re basically ridding your body of all these ingredients that are causing inflammation. If you stick to the diet for, let’s say, three months, and then you have a piece of cake, it takes you right back to day one. I think that was kinda the thing that kept me going, was knowing that I’ve come this far; one cookie is frankly not enough joy to bring me three months back.
NYMM: How do cooking and being in charge of what you’re putting in your body empower you?
CS: To be honest, before going on this diet, I really ate anything and everything. I think that starting the diet and being so much more aware of everything I’m putting in my body made me realize just how much control I have over how I feel. It’s empowering to be able to take control of your health and to not have to rely on medication.
NYMM: When did you start blogging about your journey with SCD?
CS: I started my blog in 2014, maybe 2015. I just started writing recipes, and I didn’t tell a single soul about it except my boyfriend. I kept it completely quiet for about the first year. At the time, I was still working full-time, so it was kinda just something I was doing on the weekends. The more passionate I got about it, each day after work and every single weekend was consumed with doing it. The one thing I found amazing is [that] within the first six months, even though I didn’t tell anyone about the website, people started to message me, saying, “Oh, my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and we were so worried and we found your website and it’s given us so much encouragement,” or, “We thought my son would have to get surgery and then we decided to start following the diet because of your website and delayed the surgery.” Reading things like that made me realize how it was so much more than just a blog.
NYMM: What advice would you give to other women who are passionate about something but keep making excuses that hold them back from pursuing new things?
CS: Just do it. I honestly talked about blogging and how badly I wanted to start a food blog for about four years before I actually went ahead and did it, and I would do anything to go back in time and start it right when I started talking about it.
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