I’m a parent and to put it lightly, it’s hard to see your child suffer and feel like there’s nothing you can do to help.
When Cindy’s son Caleb was diagnosed with Crohn’s, she felt that same helpless feeling.
Despite great physical success on the SCD diet, she could see her son was struggling socially.
Cindy found a way to turn despair into hope and I’m excited to share with you what tools she used to overcome the challenges they faced on the SCD diet and ultimately give Caleb his life back.
A Diagnosis That Changed Our Lives Forever
When my 10-year-old son Caleb was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, almost four years ago, I was heartbroken. It took a couple of days for the news to actually sink in. It took a couple more of intense research to fully comprehend the magnitude of what my son would face the rest of his life.
For the last 10 years, I had woken up every day with the goal of doing everything in my power to keep my son safe, to keep him healthy, and ensure he was happy and secure. Now, in a matter of a flash, it was all gone. An autoimmune illness had taken over, and control.
I was scared to death.
We Decided to Take a Different Approach to Healing
After visiting our GI Specialist and discussing treatment methods, I decided to pursue a different approach – one that aligned more closely with my natural and holistic instincts. This involved managing his disease primarily through diet. I decided to put him on a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which manages digestion and inflammation in his body by eliminating all gluten, grains, dairy, sugar and preservatives.
As much as this was a lifestyle change for the family, especially for Caleb, I instinctively knew it was the right decision. My GI Specialist was on board, so long as we monitored Caleb’s blood work carefully.
We Struggled, But Found the Support We Needed to Keep Going
The first couple of weeks on the diet were hard, I’m not going to lie. They were hard on Caleb and me. I was desperately trying to find recipes to cook and bake for him and he was just hungry all of the time. Luckily, there is a very strong online community of other parents on the SCD Diet who provided great support during this difficult time (and continue to do so).
We also utilized this SCD eBook, which walked us through how to complete the diet successfully and provided in-depth detail on all the necessary cooking.
We finally fell into a rhythm. We found great recipes for cookies, cakes, bread, crackers, marshmallows & more. I started making homemade yogurt and bone broth to help with the healing process (which is an integral part of the diet). It felt good to feed my son such whole, healthy foods that I knew were healing him.
Despite Great Physical Success, Something Seemed Off
A year into the diet, Caleb was doing great. His inflammatory markers had all almost normalized and he was feeling really strong physically.
But I noticed a shift in his energy (and I don’t mean physical energy). He seemed depressed and “off.” He kept telling me that he wanted to be a “regular kid again.” He was frustrated having to carry his own food, having to navigate his way around the weekly school donut sale and birthday parties. Even having his buddies over to the house to hang out was awkward and uncomfortable.
Caleb was succeeding on the SCD Diet physically, but emotionally, psychologically, and socially he was failing.
I Wanted to Do More, But Wasn’t Sure Where to Start
Every day, I was on Facebook IBD support groups talking to other parents whose children were sick. Some were using drug therapy and didn’t know about the SCD Diet. Others were on the SCD Diet, but were having a hard time finding recipes and the time to make all of the food required. There was hardship everywhere I turned.
I decided then that I wanted and needed to do something about it. I wasn’t quite sure yet what it was. It took some time to come into focus. I saw Caleb struggling, feeling like a social outcast and knew there were hundreds of thousands of other kids just like him. I saw exhausted parents, weary to the bone from all of the cooking, and I knew there must be a way to help.
It came to me.
An SCD-Based Cooking Company Seemed Like the Perfect Solution
I would create a company to make healthy fast food that any child on a special diet could eat. It would all be grain, gluten, sugar, dairy and preservative free. It would be typical kids’ food that I know Caleb would want to hang out with his buddies and eat; food like pizza, chicken nuggets, enchiladas – typical kids’ food. It would look and taste just like kids’ fast food. It would also be marketed and branded that way – with big bold colors.
In fact, I ended up creating a “marvel-esq” cartoon character of Caleb as the logo.
I would sell it frozen, so there would be no cooking involved for the parents. All a parent or kid had to do was pop it in the microwave or oven.
And Caleb’s Cooking Company Was Born…
I partnered with a chef named Travis Bettinson who specializes in cooking SCD food. Not only that, his food is kid-tested. He has been cooking SCD food for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis at Camp Oasis (camps for kids with IBD) for years.
He also did all of the cooking for a recent study at Seattle Children’s Hospital, studying the effects of the SCD diet on IBD.
An Entire Kids’ Club Evolved and Made Caleb Feel Normal Again
Most importantly, we created Caleb’s Club, an exclusive online club just for kids with chronic illnesses, where kids get together, hang out, share funny videos, images, music and experiences. Caleb runs the club and the goal is that no child should ever feel alone or like an outcast again.
We plan to launch our first three SCD kids products on the market in the coming months. Parents will be able to buy both online, on the Caleb’s Cooking Company website and over time, in retail stores like Whole Foods, Moms, Trader Joe’s and others. The foods (so far) consist of:
- Pizza (non-dairy sausage & tomato pie)
- Chicken Nuggets
- Bean & Pork Enchiladas
Success Means So Much More Than Just Physical Improvements
Success on the SCD Diet means so many things to so many people. For Caleb and other kids like him, just getting better physically isn’t enough. Their social and emotional needs are just as important, especially at such vulnerable ages.
We hope you’ll find this story helpful and encouraging on your own journey, especially if you have a child struggling emotionally while on the diet.
I hope this story gives you hope…
Hope in what is possible for you with the power of diet, community support, and love.
We know how scary following your instincts can sometimes seem, but we’re here to support you as you listen to what your gut is telling you.
If you’re the one struggling to get healthy or you’re taking care of a sick child, we hope you know there are tools to help as well as an entire community ready to support you.
Grab your copy of our “Surviving To Thriving” eBook here.