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SCD Isn’t Actually The End of the World

So I have been on SCD for almost a month.

It all started when I began to flare in January of 2010. The worst flare I’d had since the summer of 2009. I’d had mini flares, but this one I just couldn’t shake. Nothing was working. I tried cortisone enemas but I couldn’t “retain” them long enough to help. I tried going back on 6MP but it didn’t help either. I had to go on prednisone and was taking 40mg a day.

One night during a prednisone-induced mania mixed with insomnia, I decided that I was going to find a cure. And I was sure that the cure was on the internet somewhere. I found what I was kind of hoping not to. Hundreds of people having success with SCD. I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Now, I’d heard of SCD before 5 years ago when I was first diagnosed. At that time it seemed like a death sentence and I wanted to see what Western medicine had to offer so I wouldn’t have to give up pizza, processed convenience foods, and high fructose corn syrup (that stuff is in everything). I also asked my then doctor about it and he said it didn’t work, and that only those who happen have success with it speak up about it, but you don’t hear from the ones that it doesn’t work for, and that there are more of those, spontaneous remission, it’s not the diet blah blah. I guess I just wasn’t desperate enough to try it at that point.

So now I’m hearing about SCD again years later, and it’s either remicade, surgery, or this crazy diet. Suddenly it seems do-able. The final push I got to try SCD was when I ended up on ihaveuc.com, watching Adam’s videos, and he seems happy! He doesn’t seem to be held back by the diet at all. He’s finding plenty of stuff to eat. Most importantly he’s healthy and still has his colon. All the negative thoughts I’d had about the diet faded away because I could see people living within the means of the SCD and enjoying it. Adam, I hope you realize the positive effect you have on people!

My last SCD illegal meal was some super cheesy, creamy, shrimp and scallop ravioli with asparagus. It tasted amazing but I spent most of that night on the toilet. The next day I was actually excited to start the diet hoping to get some relief from all the pain the ravioli caused. I also successfully employed some classical conditioning and the mere thought of pasta now makes me think of pain. Anybody else have a final meal? Did it result in a lot of pain?

I started out by making the chicken soup, which I pretty much lived on for a week. The other intro foods weren’t appealing to me at all but I thought the chicken soup was delicious. If I was hungry between meals I’d drink a hot cup of chicken stock from the soup. I was kind of used to being hungry because I don’t ever eat very much during a flare. I had really bad headaches the first week or so. I used to be a sugar junkie so I suspect that was sugar withdrawals.

Since then I’ve been spending a lot of my time in the kitchen and looking for new recipes to try. (More time in the kitchen is less time in the bathroom, after all!) Lucky for me I already love vegetables. I made some muffins with almond flour and wasn’t that impressed. I don’t really miss muffins though. I feel too good to miss anything non-SCD really. I love the yogurt. It’s great in smoothies and as a snack. I like to mash up a super ripe banana and have banana yogurt.  I made my yogurt with half and half and it’s pretty thick (pic included). I also made some butternut squash sauce (pureed butternut squash, some yogurt, some butter, parmesan cheese, garlic, onions) to put over spaghetti squash. Yum! And tacos are just fine as a lettuce wrap to me. I am really happy with this diet. I have really enjoyed everything I’ve cooked and I am learning about how to use and enjoy real flavors instead of fake processed stuff. I did have kind of an “ooops!” moment today when I was rereading BTVC and was reminded that you can’t have sherry on SCD. I tend to cook with sherry A LOT, so I will be switching to some dry white wine and see if I have even more success with the diet. Speaking of alcohol, it seemed sacrilegious to not have a beer or 5 at the roller derby game I went to a couple weeks ago like the good old days but I resisted.

SCD half & half yogurt

it's kinda lumpy, is that normal?

On Valentine’s day, I wasn’t brave enough to go out to eat yet. My boyfriend and I stayed in and had our own grilled steaks with sautéed mushrooms and LOBSTER! It turned out delicious and we both liked eating at home all cozy instead of going to some crowded restaurant. So you can still splurge that way. I’ve gone out to eat twice. The first time was at an Italian restaurant (don’t even look at those bread baskets and dipping oil!). I ordered pork chops and they were happy to switch the mashed potatoes out for sautéed spinach and leave the questionable “glaze” off the chops. The second time was an Italian sub from Jimmy John’s but I had them make it a lettuce wrap and leave the dressing off (I had my own). The meats and sliced cheese were probably of questionable SCD legality but I didn’t seem to have any problems. I will probably be more careful once I’m weaned off prednisone.

I am down to 15mg of prednisone and my symptoms are cleared! I didn’t have instant results like some people get. It took 2 or 3 weeks for me to feel completely better. There is also the weight loss. I am 5’6”. I was a little heavy before around 163 and now I seem to be hangin out pretty stable at a healthy 148. I don’t usually lose much weight when I flare, especially on prednisone, so it’s all the diet. It’s so healthy. I ate very unhealthy before, thinking about the stuff I used to eat makes me want to throw up now. People have been telling me how great I look and want to know how I did it. Yup, just give up processed food, sugar, soda, milk, pasta, grains, rice, bread, oats, potatoes, all fast food, and pizza and you’ll be on your way.

Yesterday I went ROLLER SKATING. Which is pretty much my most favorite thing in the world. But lately I’ve been too scared to go (roller skates + urge to poo + 50 kids on skates around you = not fun) or just didn’t have the energy. I used to play roller derby but I quit because I just never had enough energy and just couldn’t keep up with the other girls L I’m sure everyone here can relate to giving stuff up because you are just too tired. Lately I seem to have more energy than I usually would weaning off prednisone.

Anyway, long story short I am very happy with my results so far with SCD. I told myself I’d try it for 3 months and then decide at that point to stay on or go off. If anyone out there is starting SCD and having a hard time, just keep hanging in there and give the diet a chance to work and time for your bowels to heal.


Steph’s story is now entered into the 2011 Ulcerative Colitis Writing Contest!!! You Can Join too, click here for details

 

The 2 Best Ways to Get Started with this diet:


1) Read the book (about $15.00) written by the scientist who invented the SCD Diet from Amazon, there is a big section filled with SCD recipes included in the book:

Breaking the Vicious Cycle Colitis Diet Book From Amazon Click Here!


2) A more comprehensive introduction, overview, and getting started guide is also available from this site ( I used this guide to get out of my last flare in Dec. 2010):

Specific Carbohydrate Diet introductory guide.

This guide walks you through starting the SCD diet if you are in a flare. It’s less then $30.00. You Can Buy it HERE. This one has a 365 day money back guarantee return policy.




14 Responses to SCD Isn’t Actually The End of the World

  1. Adam
    Adam February 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Yo Steph,

    So happy you are having fun with the diet, and that you had an open mind (after 5 years to give it a go.) That’s great. And for your yogurty! ain’t nothing wrong with a little lumpies right!!

    i’m going to have to give the half an half a try, need some more lumpiness out this way.

    I know this diet doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does, its friggin awesome. Good luck with the prednisone taper, and soon enough you’ll be on your own it sounds like without the steroids. You and I both, i’m down to 5mg/day right now.

    GOOD LUCK, you ROCK!
    -Adam

  2. Jen March 1, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    Every time I read another post by someone successfully using the SCD I feel a bit more hopeful. I’ve been on every drug the most intense being prednisone, Remicade, Humira and Imuran. Currently, I am on the Humira and Imuran. Twoo weeks ago I had a colonoscopy that revealed my pancolitis was getting worse. The doc scheduled me for blood work and an appointment to further discuss surgery. I went home to find the shock of my diagnosis hitting home for the first time. I had to find out if there was anything I could try to gain some control. I went home and researched diet and ulcerative colitis. I had heard (as you did) from my doc that diet had nothing to do with UC, but I just couldn’t believe it didn’t. I found Elaine and BTVC and pecanbread.com and Adam’s site and I felt excited to have something to try. The first two days I was super excited, but on the third I wanted something sweet so I had a banana with almond butter and nuts. It was a bit too early. I was terribly sick that morning. I cried the next two days, but stuck with the diet. My diarrhea is not as bad as it was, but its not gone. I want to move on from chicken soup and ground beef patties, but I want to do this right and I want to be better. I swear the day this diet gives me a hard poop, I’m going to take a picture and post it on facebook! It’s been three years. I hope to God I get there soon.
    Thanks for your post and to Adam for being my unknown source of support this past week. I posted the first part of my story last night and intend to share more. This disease is lonely and difficult, the support I’ve found in strangers is helping me to stay strong. I only hope one day my words can help someone else.

    • Steph March 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      Hey Jen! I was so disheartened the first week of the diet. I was hungry all the time, had headaches and was still not seeing much improvement in my bleeding and diarrhea. It seemed like I’d read so many other stories about people having overnight success with the diet. I think I’ve had only one hard poop, they’re usually like oatmeal consistency now (lol i can say this because I don’t eat oatmeal anymore) but they are getting better and better. The cramps and bleeding stopped a while ago. I know my guts and I can tell there is some major healing going on even if I can’t see in there. I hope my post will encourage people to keep trying SCD even if they aren’t seeing results right away! Like Elaine says, if your UC is really bad, it will take longer for the gut to heal.

      I agree that this site is amazing! I have been on other colitis forums and support groups online but the people here are the most fun and supportive people I’ve found so far. I hope you feel better soon. I am convinced diet has everything to do with UC in some cases. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a hard poop soon. I think when you have a hard poop on the diet, instead of putting a pic on facebook you should send it to your doc and let them know you are respectfully declining surgery at this point. ;)

  3. Jen March 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Good idea on the picture! I’m still waiting for my stinkin YoGourmet yogurt maker to arrive. I tried to make it in the oven according to a youtube video I saw. She said all ovens are fit with a 60 watt bulb which typically maintains the temp between 100 and 110. My thermometer kept saying that the temp was 85 but I figured it was broken. Past experience told me it was a bit unreliable. But, it looked alright. Anywho, I made cheesecake with it.Then I looked in the oven and saw the bulb is a 40 watt. Maybe the thermometer was right! Si I chucked everything. Do you really like the homemade yogurt? I’m afraid it’ll be gross. I loved Activia and I hope I can make mine taste somewhat like that. I hate the tartness of unsweetened yogurt.

    • Steph March 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      I do like the yogurt! It’s a great filling snack for me. I used half & half and it makes a very thick yogurt, but whole milk yogurt is just fine too. I will admit, it is very tart on it’s own. Unfortunately that tartness due to us having to incubate the yogurt for 24 hours. Normal yogurt only gets 6 or 7 hours! I don’t mind the tart flavor. You should be able to hide it with honey and in smoothies though.

  4. stephanie March 3, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Hi, I just want to say something about the yogourmet. Be careful with it since it is not perfect for the kind of yogourt we require on scd. The temperature stays fine for about 6-7 hours, then it gets too hot. This kills the friendly bacteria. I use a large electric heating pad, I wrap my bowl in it with the termomether showing and once I find the right setting, it stays at the same temperature for as long as I need. I have to ferment my yogourt for 36 hours for it to not give me symptoms, and this method has worked fantastic for me. I can use my oven, and do not have to keep on checking the temperature… Scd has been very good for me. It took 3 months before I started seeing major improvements, and still, I cannot have everything legal on the diet, no nuts, and if I eat beans, I have to soak and sprout them in order to be able to digest them properly. My savior is coconut flour, I love it and use it for many things. The downfall? It is pretty expensive (but worth it!)… Good luck everyone!

  5. Jennifer March 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm #

    Hey Gang –
    I just want you to know it gets better!!! The food gets better – going out to eat gets easier -I have been on the diet for a year and I eat so very well. I make almond flour scones that kick ass (elena’s pantry blog – she is the bomb) I make recipes from eat well feel well and raman prasad’s cookbook- and there are great blogs out there – I use coconut flour and almond four and cashews for pancakes, muffins, foccacia – and I make lasagna with zuchinni for the noodles -oh man it gets better!! Get a food processor if you can – you will use the hell out of it!

    The beginning is hard and I was not totally symptom free for about 6 months – in fact once a month I would have a very bad day – but the next day I was fine and each month I got better and better. I just went to Mexico for 6 days and ate guacamole, ceviche, fresh fish, fajitas with no tortillas and fried pork skins for chips – and fresh watermelon and pineapple! And I eat bacon like nobody’s business!

    Once you can eat raw fruits and veggies a whole new world will open up. But do take your time – mashed carrots and squash were my best friends for awhile – and of course homeade yogurt – which I like better than any store bought. You want to introduce hard cheese slowly but I now buy the best cheese around – a cheese/apple/prosciutto plate is my favorite snack!

    Do take your time introducing foods but I just want you to knwo it will get so much better!
    I was so sick with UC feb of 2010 I could barely function and was 25 pounds underweight. I am now healthy – and not eating processed sugars decreases your chances of all sorts of diseases!
    Here is to your health! You can do it!

    Jennifer

    • Steph March 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your words of encouragement. It’s great to hear SCD has been working for you. I am going to have to look up that scone recipe. It seems like almond flour would lend itself well to something like scones. Do you have any advice you could share about going out to eat? That would be great! Right now, going out to eat makes me so nervous. I love the diet too, I feel so much healthier on it.

  6. Kristen April 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I’ve had UC for 12 years and really need support/advice from fellow UC’ers. I have a busy career at an interior design firm with about 10 people- 1 bathroom. Fun, huh? I started the SCD diet a little more than a month ago and it’s been quite a roller coaster. I’ve been following it fanatically. I’m really starting to think I’m one of those people it’s not going to work for. This makes me :(. I’ve been flaring up for the past 2+ years and haven’t been able to get myself under control without prednisone. The prednisone rollercoaster of tapering until my symptoms return up to 30mg and then back over and over again. This time 30mg isn’t working and hasn’t been working for about 2 months. I’ve seen myself steadily decline. I don’t have a lot of blood, but my stools are all over the spectrum from D to pretty semi-formed stool. I have noticed that I’m having a stronger cringing feeling when I have stools that are more formed. It seems like things are not improving…but I don’t want to totally give up on SCD. Did any of you have similar experiences on SCD where you really didn’t see any improvement in the first month and then started getting better after?

    It’s just really hard to deal with at work. I love what I do- but I’m wearing myself out. So now I’m thinking about starting Imuran because that’s what my doctors been trying to get me to do for the past 8 months (he really wanted me on Remicade but it’s just too expensive). I think it’s also important to mention that I’ve tried Fecal Transplant- which I know 2 people it’s worked for and I’d encourage anyone to try it who is interested in alternative therapies. I’ve tried it twice without any luck. I’m also thinking about trying it again using a different “donor” this time. My last experience with it wasn’t so great, so it does discourage me from trying it again.

    My concerns about Imuran is how long I’ll stay on it- if I feel good after a couple of years on it and I want to try to get pregnant off it…can i do this sort of thing or am I just begging to get sick again? Also, my doctor mentioned he went to a regional CCFA meeting recently and said they discussed the prevalence of studies showing UC to be more a bacterial disease than auto-immune disease…which makes me think…why the hell am I going to take an immune-altering drug for a bacterial disease.

    Diagnosied with UC pancolitis at age 16; currently 28
    Tried Asacol, Colozal, Rowasa, Cortifoam, Lialda, Prednisone,Fecal Transplant, SCD Diet
    Currently Taking:
    9 pills Balsalazide (Colozal)
    30 mg Prednisone
    SCD Diet

    • Justin August 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi Kristen,

      I’m not on SCD but it is a major diet change (no gluten, dairy, soy, or legumes (including peanuts). I recommend you go to http://www.drdahlman.com and download his report on UC/Chrones. I’m following his program (hes a holistic dr) 1:1 and having great success so far. There are tons of testimonials as well. He has same premise as Adam (fix the bad bacteria, rebalance digestive tract etc but he has more restrictions and some supplements (anti-inflammatories, probiotics, digestive enzymes) which are short term (length depending on condition) and then the diet will take over and keep you from flares ever again.

      Anyhow, maybe it will help you too since I can see some flaws with the SCD diet (e.g. it allows some dairy among other things which are highly irritable and hard to digest.

      Good luck on you journey! I recently stopped all medications with my most recent being remicade for the last ~ 2years.

    • jennifer March 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      hi, one reason I suspect can be sabotaging the SCD diet is food allergies. I got tested for food allergies and discovered that my body is producing a lot of antibodies to chicken eggs… but I hadn’t had any obvious reaction. So I cut them out, and things got better. You might consider cutting eggs, and also getting allergy tested to see if there’s anything else you’re eating on this diet that may be a problem. Good luck!

  7. Christina April 6, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    hi! Help please. I just passed S. Boulardii. How do I start taking them? how many capsules in the morning, at lunch, at night?

  8. Sarah December 5, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Hang in there everyone! I’ve been on the SCD diet for over a year and a half and have had amazing results. Even though my doctor has not put much stock in the diet, he is amazed to see my recovery and the results of my blood work getting better every time. Since starting the diet, I saw my symptoms decrease after a month, and get noticeably better every month after. I’m off prednisone, and have reduced and lengthened my remicade treatments and hope to be off of them in the next year since I am not experiencing symptoms any longer.
    The diet is hard at first, but it is SO worth the results. I feel like I can be normal again. Keep looking for new SCD recipes online, get a SCD cook book and don’t be afraid to experiment! It’s like learning to cook all over again, but as Elaine says in her book, “I’d rather be in the kitchen than in the bathroom.”
    I’m at the point now where I can “cheat” once in a while in great moderation such as, I’ve found I can tolerate some buckwheat after a year on the diet, and once in a while some non-SCD dairy. Go slow since everyone is different and be sure to listen to your body. You’ll know!
    Be encouraged, and don’t be afraid to take the plunge!!

  9. randi October 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Hey there, I just started the scd diet myself after stumbling upon the diet online. I have crohns and after recently spending the weekend in the hospital from a terrible flare up I was desperate to find something that actually helps and gets me on a path to a healthier colon and hopefully remission. Anyways,I bought a book called “breaking the vicious cycle: intestinal health through diet” by Elaine gottschall. Ifyou haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it. It has information on everything SCD and a ton of recipes to boot! The reason I’m telling you this is cause you say in your article that you tried a muffin recipe that you didn’t like, but they’re not all bad. I just made the zucchini muffins from that book and let me tell you, they were scrumptious! If you would like the recipe, feel free to email me for it, randichurko@gmail.com

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