Sunday, March 11, 2012

Progress on SCD: Year 1


     SO I made it through one whole year on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Yay! I am writing this post about a month premature, but it's close enough. And I will be moving soon so I do not know how often I will be able to write in the near future.
    We've all heard the story of the turtle and the hare. Timeless principal that slow and steady wins the race. There really is not much in life that this cannot be applied to, finding a balance in everything and pursuing goals at a steady pace is really vital to keeping motivation up and being able to maintain sustainability.
     This is true if you have been on any diet at any point in your life. Perhaps you had a meat-free phase in your life, maybe you have tried to gain weight, maybe you wanted to see how long you could go without drinking soda. These situations have much more in common than one would think. They all involve willpower and the ability to force oneself to do something that is contrary to what we have been taught, what we have become accustomed to.
     Now, if you are not familiar with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet then you do not know just how many things you refrain from eating. There are many: All grains including wheat, barley, oats, and so on, any lactose- so milk, soft cheeses, partially fermented yogurts, creams, etc. Sugar from sugar cane, agave, so on, and anything processed, artificial, or pretty much if you cannot pronounce the ingredient or do not know its origins, it is off limits. Most people say, well what do you eat? Which is a much shorter list. But my point here is that extreme self denial is the key to sticking to SCD. Some may argue and say, 'well you can make anything with nut flours and yogurt that you could previously have, like SCD donuts or ice cream' and those people are kind of right. But if you think that the cupcakes that I make with almond flour and yogurt taste anything like Krispy Kreme down the street you are out of your mind. And we do a good job telling ourselves that it's close enough, because that is what you have to do to keep from making a mistake and ruining all the progress you have worked so hard to earn. That is why I say the first few months on SCD are the absolute hardest. To cut yourself off completely from the things that you grew up eating, enjoying, and socializing with, completely just in one day and to go to only whole, homemade foods, is hard mentally and emotionally. There are many studies that show how closely food relates to our emotions and the way we feel; think about it- when you are attending a happy occasion like a wedding, baby shower, or the like what is there? Food, cake. What about at a funeral, the exact opposite? Well, in that situation "comfort foods" are brought to the grieving family. When you hang out with friends what do you always do? Share a meal, go out to eat and drink. When you are trying to meet new people or rekindle old relationships, what is the first thing usually extended? "Can i buy you dinner, or would you like to come over for dinner?" We don't really associate so many things with food, but in the American culture, and frankly, across the whole world food is how we bond with other people, food makes us happy. Being on SCD is more than just telling yourself, no i'm no longer going to eat this or that, it's almost like you have to break up with food. That relationship that you've had with food since the first day you were born is now being broken into little pieces and you have to throw most of that much worked on puzzle away.
     If you are contemplating SCD I do not want this to come across in a negative way, just realize that hard work is going to have to be put forth and your entire life is going to change. Personally, the hardest part was not being able to really eat with other people. I've mentioned before that my husband and I would do date night every week just going out to eat was a treat for us, that no longer can happen. Any time there is an even like a graduation, or party of some sort I either stay home, awkwardly bring my own food, or go for a very short amount of time and leave super early because it's always timed around meal-time and I can't eat just any food. I could not have people over for the first few months on SCD because I was only eating about 5 foods- meat, cooked carrots, grape juice, cooked broccoli, and eggs, and I knew I couldn't cook for other people with that blandness, nor could I make something for just them or order pizza because I did not want that temptation in my house nor did I want to have to explain over and over again why I am not eating like you. In addition, when SCD is first started its obviously because you are having symptoms, so you are still in pain, struggling to have any energy, and to get through the day as normally as possible.
     When I first started SCD I did so in phases, adding only one new food every three days, and of course it was cooked, skinless, and seedless. I thought that by about the third or fourth month I could incorporate raw foods- WRONG. I tried over and over again, eating raw apples, salads, and veggie sticks. I kept getting sicker and sicker. I knew the diet was helping but it wasn't enough and I was getting more impatient as each day went by. So about 6 months in or so I found a natural doctor who gave me some whole food supplements and put me on the Page diet which is very similar to SCD. I follow a combination of the two diets together, and when there is a food in discrepancy between the two I chose the stricter course.
     I still find myself thinking that I am not getting any better, that this is taking way too long. But then I remind myself- it took me years to get this sick, it will take just as long, if not longer, to get better.
     But then lately I have been feeling a bit more "rebellious" against the standards. I am nowhere near eating something illegal, nothing like that, but I will add two new foods into my diet on the same night, the risk being if I feel sick I will not know which one is the food I should stay away from- but what can I say, I'm throwing caution to the wind. I also have been sneaking in raw fruits here and there, even eating fruits with seeds. It's wonderful. I have not felt any terrible consequences from this, so every couple of days I may have 1/2 of a raw grapefruit, or 3 or 4 raw dates. It's heavenly. The fact that I can do this though is encouraging enough to keep me going on the diet. As stated above I tried this 6 months ago and it made me even more sick- now my body can handle it.
     Although I expected to be in a totally different place one year from my start, I cannot say I am entirely disappointed. I cannot specifically remember the last time I had a stomach pain from Crohn's- maybe a month or so? I can't say that I've called off work recently from Crohn's pain, or that I have had to spend all day in the "sick chair" at home because of how I feel. It makes me smile to be able to say that. Compared to a year ago I felt sick everyday, to go back to those terrible pains, I don't know how I did it. So as I continue on SCD I hope to be, in one year from now, that much better than I am today. So in the end of this analogy I like to think that I am the turtle on the dirt road to health, and Crohn's disease is an ugly rabies rabbit being beaten on the sidelines.


  1. Congratulations for sticking it out! You set a good example for others who are struggling with it =)

    1. Thank you! So encouraging to hear that there are others out there like your husband who are doing so well with scd too, and even back to somewhat of a non-scd diet! & thanks for visiting my blog :)

  2. Thank you for writing this! I am about 3 weeks in, only doing beef, chicken and acorn squash so far....sigh, I am reading your recipes and dreaming of 4-12 months down the line :) Hope you continue to feel better. My hubby eats anything and everything he wants, so temptation is hard, but being this sick is not worth it. So thankful for your blog!

    1. Congratulations on making it this far, you are in the most difficult part right now, it only gets easier once your initial symptoms subside. My husband was the same way, eating bread, and pizza, and the like.. make sure to be very open with him and don't feel bad to ask him not to eat that stuff in front of you, at least until you get really comfortable with your diet and are not tempted just by the smell ;)
      You will be "down the line" before you know it~ and feeling much better. Don't be discouraged by any bumps in the road either!
      I wish you success on the rest of your SCD journey & thank you so much for being a fan of my blog. It's encouraging for me to know that there are others out there who value health as much as I do!