3 Healing Case Studies: How Long Does it Take to Feel Better?

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of questions along the lines of: “When am I going to get better?”

I get emails like this all the time:

“Hi guys, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 5 years ago and I started SCD 2 weeks ago.  So far my energy is better and my diarrhea’s been cut in half.  My only question is: when am I going to heal?   Do you think I even will be able to?  Right now I can only eat 8 foods.” – Christina

I love this question.  Mostly because when I was sick 7 years ago I spent endless hours trolling Google trying to find the answer myself.  So I’m going to share some of the writing I’ve done about this before… because I could reply back with any number of cliché inspirational sayings we have, like:

  • “It took a long time to get sick and it takes a long time to get better”
  • “This healing process is a marathon, not a sprint – you’re doing great!”
  • “Everyone has a custom diet that works for them… you just have to keep testing until you find yours”

Each of these reassuring clichés is completely true, but what I love about Christina is: she already started the diet. She already accomplished the most difficult part of taking control of her health by overcoming thoughts in her head like “What if it doesn’t work for me?” or “I don’t have time to cook all this food.

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Starting the diet is not only the first step, but it’s the most important one.  Christina is going to be just fine.

How do I know? 

She cut her BM’s by 50% in two weeks.

50% Improvement is Dramatic

Sure, she’s isn’t healed yet, but let me put 50% improvement in perspective for you.

Imagine you finished a new project at work and it was fantastic… a total home run.  The following week your boss calls you into his office and says, “You did such a good job on the last project I’m going to double your salary and give you a 200% raise.”

What would a 200% raise do for your life? 

Doubling your income would be pretty awesome, right?  Maybe make things a little easier…

Well, so would a natural 50% reduction in your symptoms.

We want you to be your own health engineer… and to think like one too.  A 50% reduction in symptoms in 2-weeks is just as powerful as a 200% rise in your salary from one project.

 [It’s kind of a big deal]

Christina’s 50% improvement in 2 weeks tells me she’s on the right track and with a few more tweaks she’ll be in total control of her health.  I expect another email from her anytime with an update on her improvements.

So When Will You Get Better?

One more cliché response for you: “it depends…

Have you ever heard that no two snowflakes are exactly alike?

It’s fascinating.  My 5-year old has a book about it that we read together.  No two snowflakes have ever been found to be the same. They do all have commonalities.  For example, most have six sides and there are three common shape categories that 99% fall into (if you were wondering it’s needle-like shapes, columnar shapes, or irregular shapes).

But in the end, they are all unique, just like your diet.

Here’s the bottom line: This diet works … we’ve seen it work over and over again with thousands of people over the last three years.

But no two versions are exactly the same, just like the snowflakes.  And the analogy continues: there are common types (like the tough case or mild case versions)… but each will be subtly different in the end.

Your past lifestyle choices, genetics, and current lifestyle choices are all unique to you, and each has an impact on how you’re going to heal.

It doesn’t stop with food either.  Typically, the diet only goes so far – supplement and lifestyle changes help solve the complete puzzle.  So, there’s a lot of factors that play a role in this process.

For Example, Let Me Show You These 3 Case Studies:

Case Study 1: Crohn’s Colitis and Diarrhea

Nick* has been on Prednisone ever since he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Colitis 2 years ago.  He averaged at least 10 BM’s a day.  He was exhausted and the blood was getting worse. 

A few years before, he tried following full SCD for a few weeks and didn’t see any improvement, so he gave up.  His doctor was pushing for Humira, which motivated him to give SCD one last try.

He started SCD by properly doing the intro diet for 3 days and then tried adding in new foods.  Everything he tried made his diarrhea worse and it seemed like this diet was making him sicker!  After two weeks of horrible D he knew a flare was coming fast.  The first tweak he made was to start taking digestive enzymes and within two days his stools started to take better form and the urgency was less. 

Next, he was frustrated because his stools were still mushy and 4-5 times a day.  He decided to test dairy-free because he saw an article that it was one of our “four horsemen.”  Four days after eating dairy-free, his BM’s were down to 2-3 soft stools a day…  HUGE improvement for him.  Not only that, but during his 2nd month of SCD his energy doubled and he finally slept through the night without waking up to go to the bathroom. The next six months were gradual improvement…

*Name changed to protect identity

Case Study 2: Constipation and Bloating

Joanna* has been sick many times during her lifetime, she’s taken many antibiotics and always seemed to have irregular bowel habits. Most days shed used laxatives/enemas to get by, especially when the bloating got unbearable. 

She’s tried several other natural diets and supplements without any improvement. She finally decided to try SCD for 30-days.

She did the intro diet for 4 days and didn’t have a BM the whole time.  As she introduced new foods on the 5th day, she was feeling really discouraged that the diet wasn’t going to work like all the others.  She read a post we did on Constipation and decided to start eating more coconut oil and made a batch of sauerkraut.  When the sauerkraut was ready, her BM’s started to be more regular every other day and things stayed that way through her 30-day anniversary.

It was nice, but she was still frustrated.  Her acid reflux, frequent burping, and stomach gurgling made her think more about trying Betaine HCL and she did the HCL Challenge.  The challenge made her feel so much better she knew it was the right tweak to test next.  Over the next 7 days, HCL improved her BM’s to one solid movement everyday for the first time in her life… and she never looked back, but stayed on SCD for the next year.

*Name changed to protect identity

Case Study 3: Celiac Disease and Malnutrition

Sue* struggled with undiagnosed Celiac Disease for many years, she alternated between horrible diarrhea and mild constipation.  It was very frustrating for her and she’d been to many doctors over the years.  They could never figure out why she was malnourished and had elevated liver enzymes.

She tried their recommendations to take more fiber and it didn’t help her stomach pain and even made her diarrhea worse most days.  She followed a strict, gluten-free diet for 3 years without an improvement in her symptoms.

7 days after she started SCD her diarrhea stopped completely.  But after that it seemed like once a week she would have diarrhea really bad and it never seemed like it was triggered by a food.  Her blood tests still showed many nutrient deficiencies.  After hearing my story, she tried digestive enzymes and within 2 days her stools seemed more well-formed and her energy levels improved.  But she still had diarrhea randomly once or twice a week.  It seemed like she was stuck and afraid to introduce new foods. 

As it turned out, she was an overworked, stressed-out mom with a history of depression.  She also just moved to a new city and the stress from the move was pushing her to the edge.  She decided to try our 7 day stress challenge and take stress management seriously, just like taking a pill or making a diet tweak. After two weeks of doing a few minutes a day of deep breathing and yoga – she started to notice she felt “more alive.”  And after 30 days of taking her stress seriously, she finally realized the random diarrhea was gone and she was starting to try new foods.  She finally felt like her life was turning around, but had her ups and downs over the next nine months.

*Name changed to protect identity

Each of them had to make different tweaks.  Some couldn’t tolerate foods that others could.  And in the end, each solution was unique, but the formula to get there was the same:

They properly started the diet, discovered their “food safe zone,” made the right supplement tweaks, and used lifestyle changes to help them heal.  But each one had different results over different time periods.

Here’s what this all means for you:

  • I can’t give you a guaranteed template that will heal you
  • I can’t tell you when you’re going to heal
  • I can’t tell you exactly what to eat
  • I can’t tell you how long it takes before you’re ready to try a new food
  • I can’t tell you exactly when you’re going to control your symptoms

But there’s good news:

So Here’s What to Expect as You Heal:

Starting this diet isn’t the easiest choice, but reclaiming your life is, so it’s worth it in the end.  Expect that this journey isn’t going to be the same as anyone else and understand that it doesn’t mean it’s not working for you or that you can’t follow our guidelines.

Use these case studies as a reminder to ask questions and always listen to your body.  It’s giving you subtle clues all the time about what to do next.  It’s also giving you signs about how well you’re healing.

Here’s what you can expect as you re-engineer your health:

Expect to customize…

Expect to tweak…

Expect to have ups and downs…

And expect to feel better over time…

Accept nothing else.

I’ve seen it work and it will work for you… stay focused on finding your custom version of the diet and you will heal over time. I believe in you and I know you can do this.

More than anything, I’m excited for your new life.

– Jordan

P.S. – In the comments, let me know how long it took you to realize your first improvement on the diet.  For example: “In 3 weeks I went from 8 BMs to 3 BMs” or “In 3 days I stopped having D for the first time in years.”

I look forward to hearing from you…

Jordan Reasoner

About Jordan Reasoner

Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started HealthyGut.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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8 thoughts on “3 Healing Case Studies: How Long Does it Take to Feel Better?

  1. Avatar

    I was diagnosed with “gluten-enteropathy” at age 2; however, due to misinformation and lack of scientific research, ate a “normal” diet from age 5 – 26 when I underwent re-diagnosis of celiac disease by endoscopy + biopsy. I also have osteopenia. I have been on a strict gf diet for 14 years; but, have recently been experiencing increased food sensitivity and diarrhea. I went through the 5 day diarrhea protocol and felt better (more energy) but still having diarrhea daily and still have severe headaches every couple of days. I am supposed to start the tough case diet today and am afraid to do it b/c of the diarrhea. I am trying to stay strong but finding the mental motivation difficult to come by right now.

    • Avatar

      Hi Amy, thank you for reaching out! Please continue on the diarrhea protocol until your diarrhea has improved and take the digestive enzymes and HCL supplements if you have not been doing so. “You should also make sure you introduce the “Mild” or “Tough Case” supplements and adrenal
      supplement packages. Each of those packages has the ability to significantly speed up your healing. Those of you who haven’t gotten your diarrhea to fully stop after day 5, hang in there and keep eating a diet close to Day 4 and Day 5 where everything is fully cooked. Make sure you’ve tried up
      to 4 digestive enzymes with your meals and have tested Betaine HCl. If you’ve done everything as the plan says, the next step is to watch the adrenal hormone training video and introduce thosesupplements.

  2. Avatar

    I’ve been sick for four years, my partner for three with the exact same symptoms (although I seem to always be worse). Reflux, extremely painful, gut ripping diarrhea up to ten times a day, sensitivity to almost all food, nausea and oh, the fatigue. I stumbled across the SCD diet and modified it for both of us…within a month, we were both doing solid BM’s for the first time in years. But this was almost the only improvement. We still both have “bouts” for seemingly no reason and I still literally pass out after each BM. Neither have been able to find a doctor that will take us seriously so we are at this very moment waiting for the results from a 3 stool comprehensive test to come back as we are convinced we have something along the lines of H. Pylori or SIBO. Solid BM’s have made us feel roughly 50% better and allowed us to sleep better but we are also very aware that after being sick for so long, it could take just as long to get better …so we’re patient. I’ve learned far more than I ever wanted to know about the digestive system and bowels over the last few years and now, seemingly, know more than my own doctor.
    I want to thank you both for your website and information; until I found it a year and a half ago, I honestly thought it was all in my head (like my doctor said).

    • Avatar

      Wow, Jedda! Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. We’re so grateful to have amazing readers like you and your husband. Hopefully your stool tests provide some answers and you can get to the bottom of things once and for all. Keep us posted… as we’d love to hear your progress.

  3. Avatar

    This was a very timely post for me. I started the GAPS introduction diet for the second time in March 2014, and I was stuck on stage 1 for 2 MONTHS. Nothing but boiled meat and veggies, bone broth, and beet kvass (and freshly juiced veggies after the first month). If I had anything else (mustard, herbal tea from Starbucks, any veggies that hadn’t been cooked an hour or two), my stomach hurt. I had a series of small breakthroughs at about 2 months and am now eating pretty much everything I wanted to – raw and roasted veggies, nuts and seeds, BEANS, even coffee! With no reactions. I thought it was going to take a year to get to this point. At the beginning when I was reacting to everything I began to wonder if I would die from not being able to digest everything ( I have a 4 year old, 3 year old, and an 8 month old nursing baby – he was only 4 months when I started intro). Progress DOES happen – take hope!

  4. Avatar
    Nancy Marshall says:

    I did so well for the first month on the SCD diet and am now establishing my safe foods. I feel the digestive enzymes have helped me the most, as my constant pain is GONE and my bloating is down 70%. Only about 4 soft stools a day, no urgency. I went to visit family on the 4th and had a burger with the bun and the next day I was miserable..headache, diarrhea, depressed. WOW, if that isn’t proof that wheat is my enemy, what is ? Nothing better to motivate me to avoid trigger foods than a reaction like that. I have been sick for many years and want to be well NOW, but I keep reminding myself that a month ago my gut was filled with razor blades (it sure felt like it) and now it is not. I am slowly adding food to my plate and already have found that I can eat some things I have not been able to eat in years, as long as I don’t over-do. And I am learning to eat new things to replace my old favorites. I am waiting for the energy to come back, but adrenal fatigue is still pretty bad. Working on that.
    BTW..I have, over the years, tried almost every one of the suggested supplements, but never all together and never with diet. I am so glad I found this site and the SCD Lifestyle. Thanks guys.

  5. Avatar

    Though my ‘food elimination’ diet of the past 18 months resembles the ToughCase diet scaled way down due to numerous food allergies and I am no less sensitive to those foods, in four days on ToughCase and your recommendations for easing the triggers of leaky gut I noticed and continue to notice I am more relaxed, getting two hours more of sleep a night, taking time to meditate and start my mornings far less action packed, much more calm to help everything heal. I am thoroughly enjoying this part of the healing process for I feel I DO have some control over these things. I have come to realize my leaky gut has been around for many years, so the diet aspect will require much more time. So I thank you both for the ideas of things I CAN do as my body heals.

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