Co-Founder of SCD Lifestyle Steve Wright has finally broken down and started his path to intestinal healing. After many years of undiagnosed digestive warfare in his body, these series of weekly posts will take you through his experiences, thoughts, and struggles on the SCD diet. Check back and follow his progress:
Week 11 Summary
Happy Easter and Baseball Season everyone! Hopefully you were all able to spend some meaningful time with your families this last weekend like I did.
As you know broken records repeatedly play the same tune over and over. Well I’m approaching that same song, with this post. I committed to writing this journal to help others and to use it as tool and for me to stay committed to the SCD diet. Unfortunately to stay true to you and to myself I need to come clean on a few accounts.
Well, first things first, I ate some illegal foods this past week, mainly Easter candy. Secondly I got into the wine pretty heavy several times last week, obviously not helping my health. Lastly, this isn’t exactly a bad thing but I do feel like it needs to get out in the open, over the past couple months I’ve been following Brad Pilon’s Eat-Stop-Eat book and completing occasional intermittent fasting.
I purposely do not keep any SCD illegal foods in my apartment because I don’t want to have the temptation to try and cheat. However, in a bout of cravings and feeling sorry for myself, I bought some candy late in the week and devoured the whole bag even though while I ate it I was disgusted with myself and it didn’t even taste good after the first couple pieces. Then I did it again once I got around my parents house which was chock full of Easter candy.
Did the wine and candy make me feel awful mentally and physically? Well of course it did! I experienced the usual extreme energy surge and then crash, I had smelly gas and I didn’t have a solid poop for a couple days. To some people that sounds horrible but to me those are short term consequences that I’ve been living with for so long that I’m not afraid of them. What I can’t handle and hate with a passion are the mental side effects I get like a horrible attitude, lack of energy and zero focus or clarity. The cheating always launches me into a depressed, lethargic former state of myself. Which makes the vicious cycle worse because then I am unhappy and looking for quick gratification sources of happiness.
So Why Did I Do It?
That’s the same question I’ve been wrestling with all week. Especially when I can freely admit to myself and Jordan that as I ate the candy I didn’t even like how it tasted or how it made me feel. I think it has a lot to do with two things. The first of which is that I’m stuck in limbo land; I don’t have a disease diagnosed by a doctor to relate my problems to. All I have is a list of symptoms that I’m not happy with. I’m reaching, guessing and going after these problems on my own. I don’t have a doctor helping me or much support from family or friends to fall back on.
Jordan has talked about his non-wavering ability to stay committed to the SCD diet as a result of his Celiac Disease diagnosis and the long-term health consequences that will result from not taking care of himself every single day. For him, a decision to deviate from the diet carries much more scary, long-term consequences than just a day on the toilet. I think this is the disconnect in my mind, I currently don’t have or know what to expect in the long-term and so all I can focus on is the short-term consequences. Which is obviously not the way to approach the SCD diet as it is not a “quick fix” gimmick diet but rather a whole health approach way of living.
Secondly, I’m only in the preliminary stages of research into what is happening between my mind and body, but I did locate a study showing that sugar elicits a pleasure response higher than cocaine in rats. Also, there is some interesting links between yeast/bacteria overgrowth and sugar/alcohol in the small intestine. These articles at this point are a little over my head but from what I understand the toxins released by the bad guys negatively effect neurotransmitters in the brain. This happens when the bad guys release salsolinol which affects levels of dopamine (Reward system) and serotonin (related to addiction) causing opioid (hard core drugs) like responses in the brain. What that all means is that the yeast and bacteria are releasing chemicals into your body that trick your brain into craving more fuel for them to live on (sugars and starches).
Based on the list of symptoms that indicate Candida overgrowth I exhibit almost all of them including: mental symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, quick to anger for no reason, worry, loss of interest in activities, and bouts of mini depression cycles.
I’m not inferring that my actions last week or any previous week were uncontrollable. Only that I wasn’t totally in the drivers seat and that the “bad guys” in my gut have been, and continue to, cause the release of very addicting chemicals in my brain that take my focus off of my healing and drive me to find a quick fix for the withdrawal symptoms.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
My plan is to get back to the basics. Get back to my goals of mental and physical health and to achieve them by following a strict SCD diet. I am also going to continue my path deeper into the research on yeast and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (which I believe is my biggest problem). I’ve already ordered some natural herbal anti-fungals that should be arriving soon and I’m planning to start them in the next week or two. Additionally, before I start any anti-fungals I’m going to try out some digestive enzymes.
In the coming weeks, other than adding a few simple things to my diet such as butter and possibly some new vegetables out of phases 1 or 2, I’m going to be restricting all honey intake and cutting out almost all fruit. Once the anti-fungals kick-in with a strict SCD diet I’m expecting a significant “die-off” and will probably return to the intro diet soup as needed (this should be interesting to monitor because if you remember during my initial into diet experience I didn’t experience too many “die-off” symptoms).
I have finally made it back into the gym this week and the stress relief it brings me is something I’ve been missing the last couple weeks. This one thing in and of itself may be what I have been missing lately. I think cravings, whether societal or chemically induced, produce great amounts of anxiety in me. My constructive outlet for all this energy is weightlifting.
I hope everyone continues to follow my journey even in these trying times and that I can still contribute to others by sharing my struggles. Till next week….