Inbox: Strict Adherance
I have had Crhon's for 13 plus years and have tried many antibotics, but things have just been ok not great. My GF came across your website and passed it on to me along with the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. I read that book and I will be honest - it seems too good to be true. But I went on some other sites and that book was mentioned so much. So, well, I am going to give the SCD diet a try but I have heard you have to give it 100% for it to work. I was wondering - I understand that one is not to eat any flour but what about rice? I love rice. Is that ok to have while on the SCD diet? Also do you know of any cookbooks which have some quicker, simplier reciepes for say breakfasts or lunches so one can make something quick before work rather than a fine meal?
Thanks so much for your note! I am so glad to hear that you were told about the SCD by your GF, because it really does work! And it is totally worth the time and effort it takes (especially at the beginning) to learn the ropes!
You're right that it does require 100% adherance to really work. The reason for this is that the diet avoids all long-chain carbohydrates, which is the type of food that feeds the bad bacteria in your gut which in turn cause the symptoms of digestive illnesses. If you eat even a tiny amount of long-chain carbohydrates, you can get symptoms again. So it's really important to stick with it and give it time to really work.
Rice, unfortunately, is not legal since it is made up of long-chain carbs. The only types of flour that are legal are nut flours (almond and pecan flour are used the most) and coconut flour (but this should be avoided until all symptoms are gone before trying it).
You can find some good recipes on my website...I usually make a Breakfast Smoothie (see beverages section of website for recipe) which is nutritious and fast and can be taken in the car with you on the way to work. Or I'll eat a bowl of SCD yogurt with honey mixed in along with a glass or Tropicana OJ or decaf black tea with honey in it, and a banana. In the Breakfast section you'll find Jim's Fluffy Pancakes recipe which can be made ahead in a double batch and frozen, then defrosted in the microwave and drizzled with honey or homemade jam for a quick breakfast.
There is also a lunch chart on our website which could help you plan your lunches each day. Print and place on your refrigerator for some fresh ideas: (Also try the Easy Sandwich bread on the same page - can also be frozen and defrosted as needed.)
My mom has put together a simple plan of meals that can be used over and over again and we have them available in our Easy Meal Packet. It has a meal for each night of the week and all the recipes on one laminated page so it's easy to manage. The packet also includes a pad of 50 shopping lists, so it makes doing the diet easier!
My favorite SCD cookbooks are Lucy's SCD Cookbook and "Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet" by Raman Prasad. Both - and others - can be purchased on www.digestivewellness.com or www.lucyskitchenshop.com.
Also, our web magazines contain a variety of very delicious, taste-tested recipes. In almost each issue is a "Shop once, eat five nights" feature so you can more easily plan and shop for your dinners.
Also, check out our Starting the Diet page for more ideas....
I hope this helps! Please write anytime you have questions!
Erin, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis--a cousin to Crohn's Disease--two years ago at the age of 62. Luckily, I have had no relapses. I have been on the SC Diet for one year with the ultimate goal of getting off Asacol altogether. My doctor's office assures me that getting off the medicine will prompt a relapse of colitis. Be that as it may, I plan to give it a "spin" after another year or so of being on the SC Diet. My concern is the adverse affect of Asacol on the kidneys and other side effects and was wondering whether you could shed any light on that concern? Moreover, I was wondering whether you still must remain on the SC Diet in its strictest sense, or can you now eat starches and added sugars occasionally without problems? Fianlly, do you have/have you ever had difficulties eating foods with high levels of acid content, e.g., lemon juice, vinegar, orange juice etc? Thanks in advance for your reply. WI
Thanks for writing! I know what you mean about wanting to get off of Asacol. I just didn't want to be on it if I didn't have to either, and I'm glad to have been off of it for the past several years. I was also concerned about the adverse side effects, and I talked to my doctor about getting off of it too. He also said I would have a relapse if I went off of it...but I decided to do so because I figured that the SCD is treating the actual root problem of digestive diseases: the bad bacteria that are overgrowing in the gut. I think that if that root problem is eliminated and the symptoms go away, then Asacol isn't needed anymore. The conventional methods of treating digestive diseases are to use anti-inflammitories like Asacol to serve as a "band-aid" to just mask the symptoms. The SCD gets rid of the problem that started the disease in the first place.
So that's all to say that I decided to get off of Asacol when I didn't have any more symptoms. I went off of it after a year of the SCD and I haven't had any symptoms of Crohn's since (except 2 times when I accidentally ate something not on the SCD, and then it ran through my system and the symptoms stopped).
I haven't been able to eat non-SCD foods at all. I tried a few tiny things a couple of years ago and immediately had terrible pain, and all of the symptoms back. That's enough to keep me strictly on the SCD!
No, I haven't had any trouble with foods that have high acid content. Some people say they do and so they eliminate those items from their diet. Then they try them again after a while and see if they are still bothered by them. It may be that those foods irritate your system because you are still healing inside.
Success After Eliminating Unknown Illegal Food!
...I have a 13 yr old son who was diagnosed in Feb of last year with UC. He was just released the second time from the hospital. I tried the diet before but I confess we were not doing it 100%. Now I am trying to be fanatical but I can't feel comfortable that I am doing it right. He still has set backs from eating a new food that didn't work for him. I am looking into vitamins for defincencies that I believe are causing other problems like lack of hunger, sleeplessness, weight loss and headaches among other things. I just wonder was it really hard to keep yourself stable those first months. I read what other people say and it sounds as though they are doing much better than we are. So I feel like I am doing something wrong. He just looks so weak and unhealthy right now. I would appreciate anything you can tell me. I love your website by the way and am so happy for your recovery and your sweet baby!Hi,
Thanks so much for writing! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you - I was out of town for the Holidays and am now catching up on emails.
I can only imagine how hard it must be to try to help your son and figure out what is wrong. I am so glad that you are trying the SCD. It is true that probably one of the most important things about doing the SCD is that it has to be done 100%. For example, the last flare-up I had was a few years ago, from branching out a little to see if I could tolerate a drink that contained "essence of orange" in the ingredient list. The next day I was literally on the floor in pain! It lasted for a couple of days until it was out of my system. This experience reminded me how very important it is to read ingredient labels very suspiciously. Essence of orange could mean anything! Another one to watch out for is "natural flavorings." Sugar is natural so it could very well be sugar added to the product (or anything else "natural" for that matter!).
If you would like, I would be very happy to go over a list of the things he's eating and see if there's anything that jumps out at me as being a problem. Or is there anything else you can think of that I can do that would be a help to you?
Let me know!
I think your website is excellent. Congrats on your success with the diet. I would say that my experience was similar to the featured success story you have posted currently for the 32 year old male. Differences are after 1 yr of strict adherence and 1 yr of 90% adherence my recovery is around 75% day today. These are my questions: 1. Once you have killed off the bad bacteria, I don’t understand why, if you have something with a minor amount forbidden content (i.e. sugar, soy, grain), it can affect you. It seems to me the auto-antibodies present are active and attacking your intestines when there is fermentation. Once your insides have been cleaned, why would every subsequent, minor amount of complex carb or sugar ferment or cause issues? 2. I seem to get a reaction almost IMMEDIATELY from Odwalla type drinks containing minor amounts of soy or whey. Like within seconds after ingesting. How can this be? 3. Bathroom issues like D-ria or constipation don’t affect me really, just pain, constant pain. Why? Thanks for any info you may have...
Thanks for writing. I'm really glad you found the website to be a help to you!
You have some great questions, and ones I myself have also wondered about. Not being a biologist, I don't know the exact answers for your questions... But from what I remember Elaine Gottschall explaining on the Long Island List Serve, the bacterial balance seems to be in a constant state of flux, and that is why it makes a difference to constantly be 100% on the SCD. I don't know why every small amount of non-SCD food makes a difference in pain and other symptoms, but I do know that when I accidentally eat just a smidgeon of non-SCD food, my symptoms are immediately back and I have a flare-up for a few days until the non-SCD food is out of my system. That's enough proof for me that it's important to constantly maintain the diet! So because I don't want any symptoms of my Crohn's, I just play it safe and always eat 100% SCD food.
So, I guess I’d say that the real reason these symptoms come back is because of the disease… we are actually only CONTROLLING it with this diet, we’re not actually making it go completely away.
I'd recommend eating only SCD food and then noting the change in your symptoms. For me, strict adherence is really worth the quality of life I get back.
Sorry I can't help you more with specifics! Keep up the good work and you'll see lots of results!
Thank you so much for your email. I am sorry I have taken so long to respond. My son had a set back this weekend and after all we have been through I just lose my ability to think properly. He is better now. I am not really sure what to ask for. I am thinking from your bio that you did not come home from the hospital in remission so when you began the diet you were still not in remission. My question then is did you have alot of set backs? I am feeling the ole' one step forward and 10 steps back thing happening. He seems to make some progress which to me is no cramps but then out of the blue he has a cramping spell. This week it involved vomiting which for us is usually a bad sign. But praise God he snapped out of it. I immediately went back to the intro diet and we are still on it today.
Let's see. Things he is eating regularly are: eggs (lots of them), chicken, beef, parmesan (fresh), some Colby jack, he was drinking alot of juice with water (orange - not in the a.m.. grape, & apple cider), tomato sauce, mustard, Applegate farms hot dogs, farmers cheese, lots of banana, cooked apples, apple gate farms turkey bacon( lightly fried), he had just begun to eat spinach, carrots and green beans cooked and some cooked apples, fresh honey, he eats alot of butter and cinnamon, salt and pepper. I wonder most about the tomato sauce and mustard because I am not sure what is legal. I looked at the tomato juice and noticed it was from concentrate. Is that ok since it is tomato. I am not doing much better with the tomato sauce from the can Hunts tomato sauce. So I was going to start making the sauce. We are from Louisiana so we season things alot here. Since he can't have that he was really wanting something to dip meats with so I have made Ketchup, mayo, and he uses the mustard with honey to make honey mustard. I am working on getting him to eat the yogurt. I am just making him but I add vanilla and honey to it to make it interesting enough for him to eat.
Also, as soon as he could have the tomato sauce we started making a form of lasagna with tomato sauce and cheese basil oregano etc. The last one I made didn't agree with him. And just lately things that didn't bother him a week ago when we tried them are bothering him now. I was wondering if we are combining things too soon.
Another concern was that he was put on Prevacid while he was in the hospital. I really never wanted him on that but I was so weak emotionally that I gave in to it. Now I am wondering if that was working against us. I have heard from others to stop taking that because it works against the digestive process and can actually grow the wrong thing in the gut making the disease flare so I am wondering if that is part of my problem. So we have discontinued that. He is still taking Asacol.
Thank you so much! JS
Looking at the list of foods...Here are a few ideas I have:
-Make sure the chicken has no added broth, just water and salt. (Foster Farms and Sanderson Farms are both legal brands. If there is broth added, it may contain sugar.)
-For the tomato sauce, it's important not to use any canned veggies or sauces because they don't always state every little thing that went into it. It's safer to make your own using Campbell's 100% tomato juice and spices.
-The mustard should only contain mustard, salt, spices, and vinegar. Just check that out - you probably have already, but just an idea...
-I know that some Applegate Farms hot dogs are not legal. I believe that the only kind that is legal is the organic turkey. (These may no longer be legal either - I think they've added garlic powder, which isn't legal.)
-Make sure the vanilla you're using only contains vanilla, alcohol, and water.
-What kind of cheese and ingredients did you make the (pasta free) lasagna with? It could just be the canned tomato sauce...
I know it is very hard at the beginning of the diet to know what to make! It sounds like you're doing a great job, though. The main thing I see being a problem is the canned tomato sauce...Use only Campbell's 100% tomato juice, boiled down, to make some yourself, and that may really clear up his symptoms. And then just checking ingredients on the other products.
You could try to just make recipes off of my website for a while and see if he clears up. That way you'd know for sure you're using all the right ingredients. I don't know if mixing things really makes a difference. It didn't seem to for me. The main thing that makes a difference is just being vigilant about what you use that is pre-made. It's always better to be safe and make things yourself from scratch with legal ingredients.
Anyway, does this help? I hope so! Please write again if you have any more questions!
Well you must have hit the nail on the head. I had started him back on the intro diet because when I wrote this to you he was having trouble. Well I have removed the items you suggested and guess what! We have been cramp free for 7 days. I am not sure when was the last time he could say his stomach didn't hurt! Today I made tomato sauce with the tomato juice. So he is chomping at the bit to use it. He loves Italian dishes so he likes to make Italian sauce to go on chicken or use in lasagna (with no pasta, of course!). JS
For a sample letter you could use to write to a food manufacturer asking about ingredients, click here.