We make it a priority to highlight SCD personalities from across the internet. We love hearing success stories and want to spread the knowledge of those brave enough to share their Specific Carbohydrate Diet stories. If you would like to be featured, please contact us.
This week, we are pleased to interview Sherry from SCDforLife. She may be a relative newcomer to the online SCD community, but she is no stranger to SCD. She’s been using it to keep her Crohn’s in remission for 10 years! Her blog is a good mix of recipes and SCD insights.
What I think is most interesting is Sherry’s writing perspective. I think we can all learn a lot by reading about her experience of customizing the SCD for her lifestyle. She still follows the main principles of the diet but she has started to work back in some non-legal foods. (She waited 7 years!) Because of this, she writes about interesting topics that are somewhat at the fringe of SCD. For example, we all know that fast food is not SCD legal. But, I’m sure I’m alone in dreaming of a legal fast food day. Then, I read her post on just how processed fast food is (even meat!), it reminded me that a SCD legal fast food day will probably never happen.
For those who are not big fans of pumpkin pie and are looking for a substitute, I suggest checking out her pumpkin cake recipe. It looks delicious! I’m not a big baker but I would love to hear how it turns out!
I hope you enjoy her story, I know I did, and pay special attention to question 4. She makes several very wise points!
1: Why did you start the diet (symptoms, health problem)?
I started the diet in October of 2000, about a year after having surgery for Crohn’s. Though my Crohn’s was in remission and my doctor told me I should be able to eat whatever I wanted I found myself getting an upset stomach almost every time I ate. My doctor assured me it was too soon for a recurrence and that it was probably just my body adjusting to losing twelve inches of small intestine. Still, I was scared of the Crohn’s flaring up again, and I started my own research about diet. That’s when I discovered Breaking The Vicious Cycle. I read the entire book, but didn’t start the diet right away. I think I waited about three months. The final straw was when I had to make everyone go back home when we were trying to go to a movie. I once again didn’t feel good, and didn’t think I could sit through a movie. I knew I had to try something, so I started the diet that week.
2: How did the SCD Diet change your life?
For me, the diet worked right away. I didn’t really have that many symptoms other than the random upset stomach, so as soon as I did the diet 100% I was fine. I attribute that to my Crohn’s being in remission rather than having to calm a massive flare. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I had discovered the book before my surgery, but I will never know. By the time I had surgery, I had a total blockage of my small intestine and there was no choice involved. After starting the diet, I felt liberated. I no longer worried every time I left the house. I was able to travel and pretty much do whatever I wanted. I also stopped worrying as much about recurrence.
3: What was the biggest challenge you faced on the diet and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge at first was getting enough to eat. I always liked cooking, but I realized I didn’t have much experience cooking squash or beans. The first time I baked a squash I had to call my mom to ask how! I didn’t know almond flour existed. I had to find new things for snacks and side dishes, because I was so used to grabbing chips or cookies, and making potatoes, pasta, or rice. The next biggest challenge was getting my extended family on board. It took them a long time to realize I couldn’t make exceptions for the holidays or to leave things unseasoned and un-sauced for me. My mom, who passed away last year, was always the most enthusiastic about trying my creations. She even created a few of her own SCD recipes to surprise me during the holidays. My husband has been great. He always reminds everyone about what I need, and keeps me in check when I want to eat something I probably shouldn’t have.
4: What is the number 1 piece of advice you would give someone thinking about starting the diet?
I would say to read Breaking The Vicious Cycle all the way through, and really give it a lot of thought. Make sure you are ready mentally to start the diet. I still remember making the decision and picking the day I was going to start. The night before I started, I made myself a baked potato because I knew I wouldn’t have another one for a long time. Discuss the diet with your family and make sure everyone knows that you are doing it and there are no exceptions (even on birthdays and holidays). Be open to trying new foods, otherwise you will find yourself very hungry. Be prepared that there might be setbacks and give the diet time to work. Also, be prepared that there might not be an ending point to the diet. When I first started, I thought that I would do it for a year and then I would go back to “normal.” It turned out to be about seven years before I introduced new foods, and even now (ten years later) there are foods I will never be able to eat. Restaurants are always going to present a challenge, and I will always need to be careful. I now stick to the diet for 90-95% of what I eat, and I will go back to it 100% if I need to.
Sherry, thank you for taking the time to share your story!