. . . . .. . . My Mom's Perspective
My Mom shares her ideas on being a parent or support person to someone who is on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
How did you feel when you found out that your loved family member was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease or another digestive illness? For myself, on one hand, I have to admit I was glad to finally know what was wrong, but on the other hand I hated to accept the reality that she was very sick with a painful, chronic disease. I'm a person who likes to try to solve problems, but this one really didn't seem to have a good solution... the future looked dark and even the best result we could hope for was not what anyone would want for their daughter.
When Erin got home from the hospital I started reading about various approaches to dealing with Crohn's, trying to come up with a diet that might help her feel better. When our friends brought us the book, "Breaking the Vicious Cycle," by Elaine Gottschall, I looked through it and told Erin that it seemed too difficult. I wanted to try something else. But a few days later she decided to read the book and it made perfect sense to her scientific mind. She told me she wanted to go on the diet.
At that point, I became a "support person." She had made a decision that was beginning to give her some hope, and I wanted to help her succeed. I think the person with the disease has to choose to go on the diet, then after they're committed to it, we can help them. I don't believe we can put someone on this diet who doesn't want it, because what each person puts into their mouth is an individual choice and they won't choose the right foods unless they want to. This is probably more true for adults than children. And it's possible that an adult might be willing to give it a try for, say, 6 weeks if someone like you is willing to do all the work! At the end of that time, if they're feeling better, they might be willing to make that decision.
Anyway, after looking carefully at the diet, I thought it would be realistic to plan for her to be completely on the diet within one month. I could see that it would take time to get the supplies we needed, come up with recipes and really figure out what she could eat. We started immediately looking through the kitchen at what we had, reading labels and trying to find places to buy the yogurt maker, almond flour and other items. Erin didn't have much energy but was able to sit and talk about it with me while I did most of the work. From then on, she didn't want to eat one bite of anything that wasn't on the diet and we pretty much started immediately, but it did take about a month to get organized, know what we were doing and stop making mistakes.
Right away we could see that we should buy a small freezer so that we could make larger batches of things and save some for later. No sense in doing all that work for just one meal! We also used it to stockpile certain items if we found them at the store, such as almond flour, additive-free chickens and homemade broth.
Since we had other members of the household who weren't on the diet, I always tried to make normal SCD food that anyone would love. We'd just add the tortillas or pasta or potato for the non-SCD members of the family. In the recipe section I'll share ideas with you of meals you can make for your family.
Do you want to help but aren't really into cooking? Encouragement is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Encourage your family member by learning about the diet and having confidence in their ability to do it! To be sick and discouraged and then to find hope is an amazing thing and you want to feed that hope in every way you're able! Until the "patient" is well enough to do the diet on their own, maybe you could hire a friend who likes to cook to produce several SCD legal items a week for the freezer! I'm sure you'll find ways to help and encourage, and this will make all the difference to your loved one!
I'm so happy that our friends took the initiative to come to the door with the diet book! Being on this diet has given Erin her life back! As a mom, that's the best thing in the world!
After Erin went on the diet, so many people were finding out about her success and health that we were quite busy giving out information about the diet to friends and friends-of-friends. It seemed like everyone we knew knew someone with Crohn's! Erin finally decided to start this website so she could write down everything she knew about the diet, making it available to a much wider audience. I supported the effort by working to produce recipes, magazines, booklets and cookbooks that would help Erin and others as they cook for themselves day in and day out. I also rebuilt the website when the need arose and work to maintain it, as Erin is now a busy mom! Erin and I hope the website will be a rich resource for you as you help someone with the SCD.
I want to encourage you, as a member of your loved one's support team, that you can make all the difference! Put in the time and effort... it will be worth it! You can expect a different outcome than the dire one that is laid out by the medical community. What we eat DOES make a difference, and you can help make that difference in your loved one's life.