Below is an email I received from Sarah who also submitted her story in the Colitis Venting area a few weeks back. I wrote her to ask how things are going, and she had some questions. After she agreed for me to answer them with a video response, I shot a quick video for everyone to see. The video part is two short movies you can see below. I think you should read Sarah’s email first so the video responses below make more sense. (Thanks Sarah for submitting your story, and I hope this helps to give you some ideas on some of your questions) Now for the email from Sarah and the video responses:
I’m going to Borders tonight to look through/buy Breaking the Vicious cycle. I’m also going to ask my new dr. if he knows anything about it. My last dr. told me on several different occasions that it doesn’t matter what you eat (other than if you’re in a flare, foods with seeds etc aren’t good). To me this is crazy, but that’s what he said! I’ve been sort of a picky eater my whole life and only within the last few years have I become less picky, so I’m a little worried about whether or not I could even DO the SCD. I don’t even know what types of foods it allows you to eat, but how do you have dinner with your wife or go out to eat on such a specific diet? Do you feel like it controls your life? I LOVE food, I don’t know what I’m willing to give up. And if you can’t have cheese then there’s no way I can do it. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?
On another note, you’ve traveled many places. Before you were diagnosed did you travel somewhere and get sick? Because that’s something that happened to me 7 or 8 months before I was diagnosed, and there were also several other people who experienced the same thing that commented on my blog post. I just find this really interesting.
Have you traveled anywhere since you’ve been on the diet? How easy is it to do when you’re not at home (whether it’s just another city or even another country)?
You also say you don’t drink anymore, which I’m struggling with as I’m in my early twenties with friends who like to drink. It’s been easier since I moved from Missoula (my college town). My boyfriend and I RARELY go to the bars here, mostly because we don’t know many people, we hate hangovers and I really shouldn’t drink. But, there’s always those occasions like when we visit Missoula or go to a wedding or whatever and EVERYONE is drinking. (Lately I’ve been saving myself for these few occasions). Sometimes I’m completely fine with going out and not drinking but it’s difficult sometimes to be the only sober person. It’s also hard to explain to people why I don’t want to go out or why I can’t drink. Even people like my sister who was with me in the months I was sick still insist on going out to drink. It’s easy for people to say I should still come and not drink. They’re not the ones that have to be around a bunch of drunk people. What do you do in social situations? How do you handle big events like weddings or halloween (I had 4 beers Saturday) where EVERYONE is drinking (a lot). I’m definitely the kind of person that can have fun sober, most of the time I’d rather NOT drink. But if I’m around people that are drinking, I’d like to as well, ya know? Otherwise I’ll just get annoyed by people’s drunkenness.
I hope these aren’t really random and sorry if it’s sloppy and sounds like I’m rambling. Thanks for all of your help, Adam! It’s nice that there’s someone out there like you to help all of us!
Here are the two video responses to Sarah’s questions from me. I am hoping that there are quite a few other types of ideas or answers that others might have which differ completely or are similar to mine. Do me a favor, and please post any ideas below in the comments section if you like.
Thanks so much Sarah for writing in some great questions. I am just guessing that a whole bunch of others have similar ones right now as well.
I want to sum up in writing some of the answers from the video again for anyone who can’t watch the videos. Here were your questions:
Q: How do you have dinner on such a specific diet?
A: After you learn the rules of the diet, it becomes much easier than you would maybe think to go out to dinner. Your eye becomes trained on looking at a menu and knowing right away if any particular plate is something that your diet allows or not. Also, you become an expert in asking the waiters or restaurant staff if they can make slight modifications to items so they will suit your diet. I would venture to say that nearly half the time I’m in a restaurant, I have to ask the server to make some small modification to suit my needs, and it is rarely an issue.
Q: Do you feel like is(the SCD diet) controls your life?
A: No. The diet is an important part of my life, but its not the most important part of me or who I am or what I want to do. I don’t make decisions on what to do for a weekend based on my diet. I don’t cancel plans to meet some friends at a certain restaurant because of my diet. I do however plan out camping trip meals more than I used to. But I don’t feel like the diet controls me or my wife for that matter.
Q: Did I travel somewhere before I was diagnosed with UC?
A: Yes, I travelled to Prague, Czech Republic and lived there for about one year. I don’t feel that this travel contributed to me having UC though. I was dealing with undiagnosed symptoms of UC for several years before going overseas.
Q: Have you traveled anywhere since being on the SCD diet? How easy is it when you are not at home?
A: Yes, I have done some simple traveling within the US. Nothing international though. Travelling is a little bit more difficult with regards to the diet, but mainly because its too hard to bring your refrigerator. I am used to having most of the foods I eat at home stocked most of the time(probably the same as for normal non SCD people) When on the road, it just takes more time and effort to hunt out a grocery store and find the things I want to eat. Going to restaurants while on the road is pretty much the same as back home though. Although I am away from home, the rules of the diet remain, so I use the same process when ordering from restaurants while away. My advice would be to bring some snacks with you on the airplane if possible, as it is sometimes difficult to find SCD legit food in airports(and aren’t airports some of the most expensive places to eat nasty food anyways?!)
Q: How do you handle social situations with regards to not drinking anymore?
A: I decided to tell all of my friends and family about my disease and how I am treating it with diet. I also told everyone that alcohol is not on my new diet menu, so I will not be drinking anymore. I’ve told them the idea that if I start drinking, I will start bleeding out of my butt once again. They all seem to have done an excellent job in understanding this. My own personal urges to have that after work beer, or celebration shot of vodka or tequila still exists, but it is never a strong enough urge to get me to actually do it. I have realized that it is just not worth it with alcohol for my body. What has been really interesting to me is that back in my drinking days, I would always seem to be the person who was getting kicked out of the bars when they were closing. I was the one who was starting the night out with money in my pockets, and ending the night completely flat broke. But now that I have stopped drinking, I am finding myself actually leaving social events/bars/parties earlier than before while I am still having a great time, and also I obviously don’t have the big alcohol related expenses or worries about how to get home safely etc…
I started site and the eNewsletter(you can join that below) shortly after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (when my whole colon was inflamed).
For me, it was a very rough start with severe symptoms. Getting bounced from medication to medication was not easy or too helpful. But, I did meet another UC’er, changes several parts of my diet, and of course the rest is history.
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