First off, I just wanted to thank everyone else who has posted on this site. Reading all of your stories has helped me tremendously. I thought it was only fair to share my story in return (if you want to skip to the end I’ve written the things which have helped me).
My Ulcerative Colitis Story:
I was pretty healthy growing up even though I ate mostly crap. My first chronic condition was seborrheic dermatitis (red flaky skin on my face). I was diagnosed when I was about 20. I mention it because I found the food I ate played a big role in how good/bad my skin got. About four years later I started having bad pains in my wrists, I’m a computer programmer and type all day. I was told that I had tendonitis (there’s a trend here with the ‘itis’es). Over the next couple of years I started to have trouble with my stomach and was told that it was IBS.
Then when I was 27 I went to the toilet and notice a bunch of white stuff (which I now know to be mucus) in the toilet. I was slightly freaked out but figured I’d wait till I go again and figured it’d be fine… it wasn’t. The next time I went when I wiped the toilet paper was covered in blood. I was initially told that it was probably a parasite and was given antibiotics. I quickly went from bad to worse.
After a sigmoidoscopy I was diagnosed with UC. I had never even heard of it and turned to google to figure out what it was. What I found scared the hell out of me. I was lucky enough to come across the SCD. It took a little tweaking (at first I was eating way too much honey and fruit) but after a while I managed to find what worked for me and saw steady improvements. After about 9 months on the diet I was able to slowly add other foods and was doing pretty well.
Over the next three years my eating habits slowly got worse again. If I saw my poops get a little less solid I would use a cortisone enema and it would usually do the trick. Then when I was 31 (three weeks before my wedding) I had the worse flare of my life. I quickly lost a lot of weight, I’m 5’11” and was down to about 105 lbs. Since then I’ve been back on the SCD. It’s been much harder the second time around but I’m definitely improving. I still have small blips but I find if I go back to basics I’m able to recover in a couple of days.
My Beliefs on Ulcerative Colitis and Treatment:
My belief is that this disease is caused by combination of a genetic predisposition and messed up gut flora. As I understand it the only foods that bad microbes in our gut flora can eat are carbs, that’s why low carb diets (ie, the paleo diet) seem to help many people. The SCD goes one step further by making yogurt (probiotics) a key part of the diet.
The problem I have with the SCD is that it recommends dairy (including yogurt), fruit, nuts and honey. While these may be ok once the healing has begun, when the gut is inflamed these can be very hard on your digestive system. I think the GAPS intro diet is a much better choice when getting started http://gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html. Also, I’ve found that the SCD Lifestyle is a great site for more info on the SCD.
If I’m not 100% I try to stick to chicken/fish and cooked veggies. Bone broth soups (ie, homemade chicken soup) are a great choice. It’s nutritious, easy to digest, low in carbs, helps re-balance your gut flora and helps to heal your gut lining.
Additionally, I find supplements to be very helpful. I realize that this is a long list but here’s what I take (and why). The core problem is gut dysbiosis, to help get my gut flora back in line I take Acidophilus (a particular strain of probiotic) and S. Boulardii (a yeast known to help balance gut flora).
In order to help my gut lining heal I take L-Glutamine powder in a glass of water in the morning. To better digest my food (and leave less food for my gut flora) I take digestive enzymes and Betaine HCL. To reduce the inflammation in my body I take Omega-3 fish oil, Curcumin and Boswellia. Finally for overall health I take a multi-vitamin as well as a separate vitamin D (most multi-vitamins include very little).