Inbox: Flare Ups
I stumbled across your site last week and I am so thankful. My wife has colitis and is on the SCD since the beginning of 2007. She was doing well for quite a while, but is currently in the third month of a flare-up. What makes the diet a little more difficult is that she is allergic to chicken. We have gone back to the beginners diet substituting beef stock for chicken stock and eating lots of yogurt. I am so thankful I found your website because I was able to send it to our family. Now they have a much better understanding of the diet and struggles that we face. I also printed out all the recipes for my wife and she is so excited to try the fluffy pancakes and the pizzas. The pictures of the food help us out a lot. I have a couple of questions you may be able to answer. My wife is in the middle of a flare-up and is having a lot of lower back pain. Is there anything we can do for that? Another question I have is about relapses. Since my wife was doing well for a while we became very hopeful, but this flare-up really has us down. Did you experience flare-ups after being on the SCD for an extended period of time? What did you do besides the Intro diet to help with those flare-ups? Thank you so much for the website. It has been a blessing. Grace and Peace. DC
Thank you for writing. I'm so glad to hear that the website was such a help to you and your wife! I'm sorry to hear that she's been having flare-ups again for so long.
I did have several flare-ups even when I was 100% on the SCD. One was from eating too many dried apples, and that lasted just a couple of days until it was out of my system. The last one was a couple of years ago, and I think I can trace it back to drinking a beverage that contained "essence of orange." That lasted just a couple of days as well. I have learned my lesson now, and always read labels very carefully and suspiciously! When it says something fuzzy like "essence" I stay away from it. Another thing to look for on labels is "natural flavors." That can mean sugar, since sugar is natural. There is the 2% rule where companies don't legally have to list on the label ingredients that make up less than 2% of the total product. So I stick with prepared products from health-food stores like Sprout's and Trader Joe's, since they are more conscious that people are buying it because they have a health issue, or are more conscious of what goes into their food. Still, I don't buy many canned things at all; just things like applesauce that specifically says "unsweetened" or freeze-dried fruit from Trader Joe's with just the fruit listed and "no sweeteners" specifically stated on the label. (See our website page that has photos of prepared products that have worked for me...)
It sounds like you're doing the right thing with eating beef broth and yogurt...When I had my flare-ups, that is what I did. The yogurt really seemed to help.
What you might do is keep a food journal of everything she eats throughout the day for a couple of weeks. There might be something she's eating that is causing her body to react. Also try to remember if you added anything to her diet when the flare-up started. Even something like a spice mix can contain some starches that are not on the diet, and those could cause a flare-up. Any canned foods you're using? Any drinks? If you would like to, you could email me the list of things she eats regularly and I can see if there's anything that jumps out at me as being a possible problem...
I haven't experienced lower back pain myself with my flare-ups. You could try anti-inflammatory foods. I take flax seed oil every day in my morning shake (about a teaspoon) and that is supposed to be anti-inflammatory as well as high in Omega-3's. Here is a link I found to an article about anti-inflammatory foods...(of course not all are on the SCD but it's a good guideline)... http://nutrition.about.com/od/dietsformedicaldisorders/a/antiinflamfood.htm .
So glad you were able to find the website and it has been such a help to you both. I'm glad it can help your family understand better, too. I have found it handy myself when going to people's houses to eat. Now they can just look at the website and know exactly what to make for me.
First of all, I just want to say thank you so much for your website! It has been so helpful to me, and a source of inspiration and motivation during some pretty hard times. My family was pretty skeptical of the SCD diet, but they have become more open to it after seeing how healthy I became and how quickly I began to recover from my Crohn's.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's this past fall and really struggled until I found this diet. Your own story really resonated with me because I am currently a student, and had to take a medical leave of absence this past semester. I was very strictly on the SCD starting in October and stayed strong through mid-December. When the holidays and my birthday passed (it is in mid-January), I fell off the wagon, started eating unbalanced meals, and cheated a couple times.
Now, I have been having the longest flare-up since I started the diet. I know it's my fault, and I am back on a strict SCD and seeing small improvements. I don't really have many people around me who are particularly encouraging in regards to the diet, so I would really, really appreciate any words of encouragement you might have.
Thanks again for your website and for the hope it gives me! All the best to you in this coming year.
I am so glad to hear that you found the SCD! The fact that you have been improving so much shows that your body is responding well to the diet, and as you stick to it you should see big improvements in your health.
You might want to try going onto the intro diet for a few days to clear your system out. The homemade chicken soup is particularly healing for many people. Then I would try eating things that are easier on the stomach, like smoothies, SCD yogurt with honey, the chicken soup, homemade applesauce, etc...anything that you handle really well. Also make sure that you keep a food journal so you can identify if any legal foods are causing you problems, as well as identify any illegal foods that may accidentally slip in as you are learning the ropes.
If you stick to the diet 100% you should see yourself continue to get healthier and healthier...just imagine how much better you'll be feeling a year from now! Don't give in to what anyone else tells you - this is your body and your health and no one cares as much about it as you do! I'm glad your family is starting to see the positive changes that the SCD is bringing to your health, and over time they will see even more.
Please feel free to write any time and keep up the good work - it WILL pay off! :)