Inbox: Starting the Diet
Hi My 9 year old has UC (diagnosed 2/07).We started SCD yesterday but she is finding it hard. She yearns for something crusty or crunchy but I don't want to even give her a wide range of cooked legal fruits and vegetables until she has been on the restricted diet for a few days. She has eaten Lois Langs bread and if not for that she would have been even more dispirited. Any suggestions? DS
Thanks for writing! I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's UC. That is hard. I can completely understand the beginner's diet being boring for her. I can't think of anything crunchy or crusty on that diet, but if she can stick it out for a few days the Cheese Lace recipe is one of my favorite crunchy things to eat. Also the Easy Sandwich Bread is so great for making sandwiches with. The pizza is also very crusty and yummy. Those are the recipes that I can think of off the top of my head. If you can just make it through these first few days, things will open up a lot for her.
Hope this helps!
Hi Erin, What an awesome story you have. I am 21 and I found out recently that I have leaky gut. I'm very thin and have loose stools all the time. To try and heal I have been eating lots of bone broth soups, probiotics, and no gluten or dairy. I want to start the SC diet but will it help me even if I don't have Crohns disease? Also is the raw dairy okay for me to consume? My ultimate goal is to gain weight and absorb nutrients through my gut....and to finally feel healthy. Hopeful
Thanks for writing! I'm sorry to hear you're having problems with leaky gut - that is no fun!
Yes, the SCD has helped other people with leaky gut...actually it has helped people with all sorts of different digestive diseases as well as disorders. I was unsure about whether I could have the dairy myself when I started the SCD, because I was lactose intolerant before I even got diagnosed with Crohn's. I was surprised to find out that there are some dairy products that don't have lactose in them, which is the main problem people have with dairy. There are many cheeses such as cheddar, jack, and fresh parmesan (more listed in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle"), and the homemade SCD yogurt contains no lactose because it is aged for 24 hours instead of 4 hours. So, yes, I would go ahead and get on the SCD and try the dairy. Some people notice they still have problems with dairy, so if you do then eliminate it and do the rest of the SCD without the dairy. You can keep a food journal detailing what you ate each day so you can trace back any symptoms that might occur back to what you ate that day.
The SCD gets to the root problem of digestive illnesses of all sorts by eliminating the bad bacteria that attack the gut. Try the SCD for one month 100% and see how you're feeling at the end of the month...I bet you'll be feeling much better! It is important to do the SCD 100%, though, I have to add. It would be a good idea to just eat the SCD yogurt instead of the probiotics, since you don't know what fillers they might add to them.
The Long Island Listserve is a great way to talk to others about their experience with the SCD and leaky gut, etc. Here is the link to find out more about it: http://breakingtheviciouscycle.info/support/support.htm and click on Long Island Listserve.
I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and crohn's. I also have a 5 year old son with autism and our DAN! doctor is HIGHLY recommending the SCD. I have gotten several cookbooks from the library but they all make it look so hard... I have been putting off trying this diet until I came across this website tonight. I printed several recipes and we're going to order the yogurt maker tomorrow and get going. Thank you for making it seem possible, and I'm praying that I can send you a message in a month or two to update that I am feeling better!! (I have been on Pentasa for 4 months now and still have chronic diarrhea and horrible stomach cramping) I am also looking forward to calling my mom tomorrow and having her check out your mom's article on here about her perspective. Thank you so much!! RD
This is Robin, Erin's mom, giving her a hand because she has her hands full with two very little ones. I'm so GLAD you found Erin's website! It is totally doable to be on the diet, although of course it's something you have to think about and plan for. There's a learning curve, especially at the beginning, but it's really worth it, because the diet works.
It's very encouraging to hear about a doctor who promotes the diet. This is unusual, so you're blessed to have him as a resource. If you talk to him about it, you might ask if he would be willing to be mentioned on this site. Some people would feel much better about following a diet if a doctor tells them to do it.
I'm hoping that my article about being a support person will be an encouragement to your mom and give her some ideas. Having Erin on the SCD has opened many new areas of interest for me and I've really enjoyed being able to work on the recipes for the site. I also totally enjoyed producing the six magazines that we have available on our site... I do them with Erin in mind, (she contributed too) plus others, like yourself, who would like to get their life back and THRIVE. You might be helped by our Starting the Diet page, if you haven't seen it already.
Do let us know how you're doing, and feel free to write in with questions. Erin normally answers, but I help her out once in a while.
Thanks for writing!
Hi, My daughter was diagnosed with UC in 5/09. We have quickly blazed through the medications for treatment with very limited results. Our last hope was with Remicade, where she received almost immediate results, but then became symptomatic by our third dose. Our gastoenterologist is now suggesting we speak with a surgeon. Before we go to this, we have decided to try the scdiet. We started sampling some of the recipes right away while we were getting our kitchen prepared and vitamins ordered. During this time she was on a low dose of prednisone 20mg, as symptons had returned. We are about 2 weeks into the diet and 10 days off prednisone. Liquid stools have increased, but no bloody diarrhea. Should we go back to beginning phase of diet or continue?? Savannah is 18yrs and seems discouraged as she is not seeing more results from the diet, but remains hopeful/willing to keep going. She's applying to colleges and has decided to stay closer to home because of the disease. Not where she wanted to be close to home! Any advise or encouragement would be greatly appreciated I guess for both of us! I want this diet to work just as much as her!
I'm so glad that you and your daughter found the SCD! It really does work and although it is overwhelming at the beginning as you learn the ropes, it does get much easier after the initial learning curve. Keep up the good work! It takes a little time to see substantial results, but as long as she stays 100% on the diet, your daughter's symptoms should keep getting better and better.
I would not feel like you have to go back on the beginner's diet in order to keep getting better. The beginning diet is mainly meant to clear the system and prepare it for the change of diet when it will only be getting short-chain carbohydrates.
I would probably just keep on trying new legal foods, avoiding the fibrous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, cooking all vegetables and even fruits if you feel that is necessary, I peeled my apples in the beginning, for example, to cut down on extra fiber that could bother the gut as it heals. She could eat foods that are easy on the stomach, for example the chicken soup, SCD yogurt, homemade applesauce with peeled apples, fruit smoothies, etc. Whatever she can easily handle right now...keep a food journal so you can identify which legal foods might be causing symptoms/problems for her, and which are tolerated well. Also a food journal is a good way to make sure no illegal foods have accidentally slipped in.
If you have any questions about what she's eating and want to send me a list of all foods she's eating, I'd be happy to look it over to see if anything jumps out at me as being a possible problem for her.
If you haven't seen it already, I have a Starting the Diet page where I give some tips on starting the diet, as well as a food journal page that you can download and print out copies of to make that easier.
Also, just a word of encouragement on college...I have been able to live away from home pretty easily while on the diet. Once my symptoms were completely gone, it was just a matter of making sure meals were planned and shopping lists made regularly so I was always sure to have enough legal food on hand to eat. I have given some advice on dorm living in the "Peek in our Inbox" section of the website, as well as an article in the Sept/Oct issue of I Want to Thrive! web magazine, if you want some further ideas on this.
I hope this helps and that she will be feeling much better soon!
My daughter started the diet about 3 weeks ago. She has ulcerative colitis. Since she started, her diarrhea has increased considerably and she is very fatigued. Can that be normal? We are putting in effort to keep to the diet 100%. We thought perhaps it was the almond meal. Of course I just got a delivery of 25 lbs! Any suggestions? She is very discouraged. Thank you for any suggestions you might provide. BB
I think you're right to suspect the almond flour. It can be hard to handle for many people at the beginning of the diet. But as time goes on, and your daughter's body heals more you should be able to try small amounts at a time and see how she handles it. Also, pecan flour is handled by some more easily than almond flour so I would try that after a little while and see how she does.
At the beginning of the diet, I would stick to easy-to-digest food like homemade applesauce, SCD yogurt (if she can tolerate it well), fruit smoothies (see breakfast section for recipe), eggs, cheddar cheese, avocado, homemade chicken soup....peel apples and other fruits and veggies with a hard peel for a while and also be sure to cook veggies (and some people have to cook fruits too) for a while until she is more well-healed. See our "Starting the Diet" page on the website for ideas on starting the diet, recipes to try at the beginning, etc.
Also, be sure to keep a food journal with all she is eating and any symptoms she might have to narrow down which legal foods might bother her at the beginning. Also, to make sure no unknown illegals slip in.
If you ever need it, I'd be happy to go over a list of all she is eating to see if anything jumps out at me as being a possible problem.
I hope this helps and that she'll be feeling much better soon!
I'm on Day 21 of the diet and my main questions surround how to keep adding stuff into my diet. I heard about the diet from a woman on a UC forum who had luck. She's in the 5th month and still mostly eats only meat, eggs, almond muffins, small amounts of veggies and yogurt. I can't do that! I've been eating mostly meat, eggs and cooked veggies with an occasional almond muffin, but i'm starting to go crazy. I eat a little home made applesauce... but usually feel like I can't have more than a few bites a day b/c of the sugars in it...
I want to add yogurt into my diet, but I had it the first week I was on the diet and it caused really bad diarehha the next day, so I stayed off of it. A similar thing happened with bananas, i think, but its hard for me to tell if I had a bad day b/c of yogurt and bananas or if it was just random, b/c UC is kind of random sometimes. BC
Adding foods is really an individual issue, as people respond differently to various legal foods. For me, I was able to start on most everything right away. I don't think that there is one right way to do it - just keep a food journal so you can see how you are reacting to all foods you're eating. Also try introducting only one new food every 2-3 days so you can narrow down symptoms to that food. If you don't respond well to a food, omit it from your diet for a few months and retry it again...often foods can be tolerated after you are more well-healed.
I personally wouldn't avoid foods based on natural sugar content, etc., just avoid legal foods that you had a reaction to (i.e. symptoms of UC) and try them later. Try to eat a well-balanced diet so you're getting the best nutrition possible.
Take care, Erin
I have several questions I wondered if you could answer...
Pickles--any legal styles or brands?
Spices--are there certain brands that are best?
Lemon juice--is bottled okay?
Do you put a limit on how many almond flour products you eat each day?
What is the best type of oil for sauteeing or frying?
Water: do you use filtered or bottled? If bottled, which brand do you like?
Have you ever had to go on antibiotics since being on the SCD? If so, how did it affect you?
Thank you so much for the time you put in to answer so many questions! It is largely because of you that I feel confident that I can really do this. Thank you again! Wondering
For cooking spray, I use a Misto can filled with olive oil, but any oil is legal. (The soy lecithin and other additives in the regular cooking sprays aren't legal......)
Bubbie's Pickles are legal....I have found them at Sprout's and some grocery stores. I'm sure there are other legal brands, but you want to look for one that just has spices and pickles and vinegar - no sugars or starches, etc....
I believe most canned black olives are legal - just look for one with nothing illegal added....
I don't think there is any certain brand(s) that is better for spices. But you want to avoid any spice that says "powder" in the name, for example chili powder, curry powder (can make own legal kind; see our website), onion powder, garlic powder....Also avoid spices that are mixes as they tend to have added starches to prevent the spices from clumping. (Like steak season mix, taco mix, etc.)
Bottled lemon juice should be ok if it only has lemon juice and ascorbic acid or other similar preservative. I use the RealLemmon and RealLime brand and have had no problems with them.
I don't formally put a limit on how many nut flour products I eat in a day, but I do limit it mainly for the calories that are in them. At the beginning, you might want to eat just a small amount each day if it bothers you, and in general try to get a wide variety of food in your diet.
I use either olive oil or sesame seed oil for sauteeing or frying.
I use regular tap water.
Just when I was diagnosed in the hospital 8.5 years ago, I had to go on a lot of antibiotics. I have only been on antibiotics a few times since then and for other reasons. The heavy dose when I was diagnosed caused a yeast infection but once I got off of them I was ok.
I hope that helps you out!
Hi Erin, My 11-yr old daughter has Crohn's, and we are considering starting the diet soon. I have been reading information on the PecanBread website and email group, though most of those parents are dealing with Autism. They have categorized the SCD foods into "stages" that they suggest you add one food at a time until you have advanced through the stages. Did you gradually add new foods until you are eating as you are now? I know some of the legal foods on the list are suggested to wait, but other than that, how long did you wait before adding things like the nut butters and nut flours? I am just concerned that my daughter will get enough calories during the beginning weeks if we can't eat all of the legal foods for awhile. I love all your recipes and photos of the food. Thank you for any input!
Thanks for writing! I'm glad you're thinking of starting your daughter on the diet. I didn't have to add foods in stages myself. I didn't have any problems with the nut flours, either, although I have heard that some people do. But I wouldn't worry about stages unless you see that something isn't agreeing with your daughter, then you can take it out until she's healed more and try to add it back later and see how that agrees with her. The book talks about specific foods to avoid at the beginning like the navy beans and lentils, plus coconut and possibly raw fruits and veggies (you can cook them at the beginning if you need to).
Cheese and SCD yogurt made with whole milk are both good sources of calories if she needs some. And of course the nut flour baked goods are also full of calories if she can tolerate them.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!
Report on 11-year-old Daughter
Just wanted to send you an update on my daughter.We started SCD on Dec 20, 2007. She was still on antibiotics at the time. We decided to stop the antibiotics on Dec 27. As of today, she has gained 8 lbs! This for her is a lot. She started at 62 lbs. She hadn't gained any weight for 3-1/2 years until now. We are going for bloodwork next week, so I hope to see significant improvements in that. Once I have that information, I hope we will be able to be a "success story" too, but time will tell I suppose. I am very optimistic, but know that others, including the doctors, will be looking for the long-term success. TS
My husband who is 50 years old went in for a first time routine colonoscopy and endoscopy last summer. He was first diagnosed with colitis . . .then after a second colonoscopy and a camera capsule colonoscopy . . . .he has now been diagnosed with Crohn's. The strange thing is . . . .his insides look a mess . . . .but he has FEELS FINE! He has tried Lialda twice and Asacol once and within a day he becomes totally incapacitated! Have you ever heard of anyone trying the diet who has no symptoms? I do not know how we would know if it was working . . . . other than having another camera capsule. From reading all the testimonies on your amazing website, it seems like most folks feel they have really turned the corner after at least a year on the diet. Do you think that's true or is it longer?
Anyway. . . . . just curious if you have heard of anyone else with Crohn's disease who has no symptons. . . .and tried the diet.
CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby . . . .praise God for the GIFT of children! Treasure every minute . . .they grow up fast! LL
Thanks so much for your note! I'm so glad to hear that you and your husband found the SCD.
That's really interesting about him not having any symptoms - I haven't heard of that, other than people with Crohn's usually have periods of feeling fine and then flare ups in between. I think that I woud still go on the SCD because Crohn's can cause serious complications that you don't to have if you can possibly avoid it. And, the drugs prescribed for Crohn's are very strong and often have bad side effects. I would just stick to it 100% to ensure that he doesn't have symptoms in the long run and doesn't have to be on the strong medications.
Most people see results from the SCD within 1-3 months and really get 100% better by about a year, depending on how severe the disease was for them or how long they had it. I personally felt much better by about a month later and just kept getting better and better over time.
I think that the only way your husband would be able to see progress would be as you say - to have another colonoscopy.
I've heard about the capsule cameras - did you have to ask for it specifically, or did his doctor just automatically do it for him?
I hope this helps!
I have been following the SCD diet to help my 15 year old son who was diagnosed with Crohn's 12/31/09. He's been fairly good working with me and adhering to the diet but we have days where he falls apart because of all that he can't have, ie. eating out with friends at places that serve only pizza, McDonalds, etc. Basically, the most difficult part is how he feels left out because of how he is so limited in what he can eat out in public, in school and at friends' houses and it makes him feel like the odd-man-out. Anyone else have this problem and how do we handle it? Do I let him 'cheat' every once in a while? I am also looking for packaged foods and lunch ideas to put in his school lunch.
Thank you. GC
Thanks so much for your email! I'm really glad to hear that you and your son found the SCD!
It definitely can be hard in social situations, and I can understand especially as a teenager how hard that must be for him! I think that sometimes just having some perspective can help people on the SCD. Instead of thinking of all we can't eat, it helps to think of all we CAN eat, of how healthy we are because of the diet, and how many things we can do that we wouldn't otherwise be able to do if we were sick all the time (i.e. going out with friends, etc.). If he can learn this way of thinking and realize that if he doesn't stick to the SCD he will be facing a life of pain, strong meds, hospitalizations, and possibly even a lot of seclusion from friends and fun events, this might help him turn the corner and be more enthusiastic and grateful for the SCD. Also, if he can think of himself as one of the "pioneers" of the SCD and see himself as a bearer of good news to others who haven't yet heard about the diet and are desperate for help, this may help his perspective too.
It is nice to have some "normal" looking pre-packaged foods, when he is around his friends, and the ones I'd recommend he try (if he can tolerate them of course) are LaraBars (see prepared foods section of website for legal flavors), if you have a Trader Joe's nearby you can find quite a few legal pre-packaged foods like Freeze-Dried Mango, Vacuum-Fried Pineapple, Just Banana Flattened, fruit leather with fruit and preservative like ascorbic acid only (no natural flavors, which are not legal). Also Stretch Island Fruit Leather (legal flavors: blackberry, grape, raspberry, apricot). Cheese Lace (see recipe on website) is a great carry-along food, as are dates stuffed with pecans or walnuts. You can also see our "Mix and Match Easy Lunch Planner" at this link.
Also, I've noticed that if I am confident and happy about the diet in social situations then those around me are fine with it too. They will even say that they admire me for sticking to it, or mention that they know someone who has a digestive illness and want to know more about the diet.
I hope this helps! Please feel free to write any time you need help!
I have suffered with Crohn's now since 2001. I started on BTVC about 6 months after diagnosed and was really successful (no pharmaceuticals) for 3-4 years. However, as time went on, I slipped away from the diet. I got married, moved away and lost my close support system.
I have tried repeatedly to get back on track but now that I have tasted all the "normal" foods again, I am having a heck of a time getting back. I would really love any advice you could give. Any support groups would be great.
My symptoms are affecting my intimate/personal life, my job, my energy level/exercise, etc. I am so frustrated and fear depression isn't far away. To make it worse, I can't stand the thought of chicken soup again! It makes me nauseous to think about it!
Thanks so much. Any help is great!! TS
Thanks so much for your note! I'm sorry to hear how much you are suffering from your Crohn's right now. I was diagnosed in 2001 also, and I can imagine how hard it must be to be away from your support network (my husband and I moved to another state in 2004 and it was very hard to be away from family and friends, and definitely more of a challenge to stick to the diet!)
My first thought is to create a weekly menu with all of your meals listed out. Look at our site, any SCD cookbooks or any of our magazines or booklets you might have to get ideas. List out breakfast, lunch and dinner and maybe a snack or two, and then make a shopping list to go along with it. Make food in double or triple batches and freeze them for whenever you don't feel like cooking so you will always have something SCD legal on hand. If you look under "What's For Lunch?" on our website, you'll find a "Mix and Match Easy Lunch Planner" that gives you ideas for food to pack in a lunch if you're going out to work, etc. Also see the "Menus to Get You Started" page under Delicous Recipes for ideas and even if you just want to follow those menus.
Then I'd get onto our facebook page if you're on facebook to get new ideas regularly and also connect with others on the SCD (you can link to it from our homepage). Also, see the online support groups here.
And then probably the most imporatant thing you can do is to decide to commit to the SCD no matter what and to try to develop a positive attitude about what you CAN eat, rather than focusing on what you can't eat. The SCD is such a healthy way to eat, and there are many yummy recipes out there. It does take some time to get set up and learn your favorite recipes, but if you focus on the good health you are going to have and the better quality of life you'll be getting in return it is totally worth it!
I hope this is an encouragement to you. Please feel free to connect on FaceBook any time you need more help or ideas!
I was diagnosed with Crohn's in september of '09, and have been on the diet for 1.5 months. I have become dizzy and light headed, and was wondering if you had any insights into this... I went back to the beginner diet b/c i wasn't seeing any colorectal improvement. i don't (never did) have any diarrhea, just rectal bleeding, fissures and fistula.
Thank you for having this site, and dedicating time to people trying to get better... VG
Thanks for your note!
It sounds to me like you probably have been on the beginner diet for too long. It's meant to be followed for 2-7 days, to clear the body out and get it ready to add new legal foods. I would just make sure that you're getting enough well-rounded nutrition and enough calories. I think that it's important to add as many legal foods as you can handle. Keep a food journal of all you're eating along with any symptoms you have so you can trace symptoms to any new food you're eating. Try a new food every 2-3 days to see how you're handling it, and keep a list of all foods you are handling well.
Foods that give a good amount of calories and nutrition are avocadoes, dates, cheese, SCD yogurt, fruit, honey, meat, eggs, almond flour, etc. Just try to get a well-rounded variety so you're getting enough nutrition.
That is what I can come up with off the top of my head. Does that sound like it might be true? I can also go over a list of all you're eating if you would like, to see if there is anything that might be a possible problem.
I hope that helps and that you'll be feeling better soon!
I have had Crohn's since age 18, and I am now almost 34 years old. It has become worse and now I went for my first Remicade treatment. I am afraid that my immune system will not function well, and I will not be able to fight off other diseases.
My problem is that I am allergic to tree nuts, so I can not make many of the treats discussed in Elaine Gottschall's book. Do you think that I can still be successful on SCD diet? GN
I'm so glad to hear that you're considering the SCD! It truly does work, and is totally worth the effort it takes, especially at the beginning as you learn the ropes.
I do think that you could be successful on the SCD while avoiding nuts. I actually go for days or weeks without eating a nut flour recipe. There are many foods that you can eat that are legal, and you can get plenty of variety and nutrition without the nuts. Also, once you have been symptom-free for a few months, you can try cooking with coconut flour (it's fibrous so it's not recommended at the start of the diet). We have a couple of good coconut flour recipes in the Nov/Dec issue of our web magazine "I Want to Thrive!" and my mom and I are working on another separate publication that will contain recipes with coconut flour and information on how to cook with coconut flour.
Also, Elaine did say this about allergies...see the below link....
I have had crohns since I was 13 I am now 23 and just made it through my second major flare up and I was interested in starting this diet. But I am a Vegitarian and it seems everything has a Animal derivitive from the gelatin, to the stocks. Also ever since I was diagnosed i was told to stay away from all nuts and I have seen allot of nuts in the recipes I have read about. Is there any advise or knowledge that can be shared with me that can make this transition go alittle smoother? MS
I have heard of some vegetarians being on the SCD. You might check out the official SCD website and do a search on this as well as look at the knowledge base, and legal/illegal list for ideas on how to do it as a vegetarian. I know that Elaine did say that vegetarians could go on the SCD but they had to be vigilant about getting the right balance of foods (ex: proteins, etc.) and she also said it would be important to eat one egg a day to make sure you get enough protein.
For nuts, many people who have been told to avoid them (as well as other foods like raw veggies, etc.) find that they can tolerate them fine while on the SCD.
The thinking of the mainstream doctors is that people with digestive illnesses should avoid anything that is irritating to the digestive system that is still diseased (this is kind of like putting a bandaid on the problem)...On the SCD, we get to the root of the problem by actually healing the digestive system completely by not feeding it the long-chain carbohydrates that the bad bacteria feed on. Once these bad bacteria die off, the body is able to completely heal. Once healed, the body can handle all sorts of foods that a diseased digestive tract can't...for example, the nuts.
Most people can handle nuts just fine from the beginning of the diet. Some can handle pecan flour better than almond flour. Most use blanched almond flour to make the baked goods, and pecan flour can be substituted for this if needed. (Blanched almond flour doesn't contain the skins which are very fibrous, so blanched is recommended.)
If you haven't seen it already, we do have a Starting the Diet page that may be a help to you.
Some of our Amazon picks for getting started on the SCD.