Question for the SCDers Out There

My Bio:
23 year old male living outside of Washington, DC. Diagnosed with UC 7 years ago, started SCD diet two months ago and seeing small improvement.
My Symptoms:
Frequent urge to go, and lots of gas. 2-4 BM a day on SCD, 5-6 BM a day prior to starting UC. Very little bleeding. The main symptom is a constant, nonstop need to use the bathroom.

My SCD Diet and Colitis Story:

I was diagnosed with UC when I was in high school. It wasn’t so bad at first; my symptoms were almost non existent, just a few drops of blood in the toilet, but nothing that impaired my every day activities. When I got to college, I found myself struggling to get my work done, because when my friends would be doing homework, I would be stuck on the john. I was going between most every class and I had almost no social life. Things got really bad when I started graduate school. I was experiencing a lot more pain, a lot more bleeding, and a lot more BM/day than I ever did in college, and I decided to try to the SCD which got some really remarkable reviews online.

I’ve been on the diet for two months now, and I’m not sure what to make of my progress. On the one hand, I went from 5-6 BM a day to 2-3 a day in the a month. However, I still have days where I go 5 or 6 times, in spite of the fact that I have been eating foods which I tolerated before. The biggest problem though, is that I have a constant urge to use the bathroom. This never happened to me before I started the diet. Before SCD, I was able to use the bathroom and feel relieved for at least an hour or two. Now, after I use the bathroom, I can’t go ten minutes without feeling some pressure. In spite of this, the pressure is never enough to cause me to go again, and so I end up going fewer times a day, but the feeling is incredibly annoying and disheartening.

I’m not sure if I should stay on the diet given these circumstances. Yes, I am eating only SCD legal foods, including the homemade yogurt, and introducing them one at a time, but it doesn’t seem to be working the way it should. Has anybody else had similar experiences? Is it normal to be on SCD for two months and not feel any better? My biggest question is: if I struggle along on this diet, eating only SCD legal foods, but not feeling better, is my body still healing? Does there come a point where I suddenly start feeling better?

Thanks for any and all help!

Where I’d Like to be in 1 year:
Ideally, completely healed of the UC. Practically, I would just like to not feel a constant urge to use the bathroom.

Colitis Medications:
I’m not taking any probiotics. Just taking Lialda, which I believe is completely ineffective.

written by KK-SCD’er

submitted in the colitis venting area


18 thoughts on “Question for the SCDers Out There”

  1. Hey man,

    I’m almost 2 months into the SCD diet and I ran into the same problem as you. My problem is that I didn’t introduce things slowly and cautiously. The intro diet worked miracles. I saw nothing but solids and very little red, but then I got so tired of such a limited diet and went overboard with smoothies!

    One thing I’ve learned is to not introduce veggies and fruit unless they are cooked. So apple sauce, pear sauce and such, should be a start as well as well cooked carrots and squash. I’m really not a big meat fan at all. I used to have very little in my diet, but now I’ve found it to be the most effective in warding off flares and promoting solid BM’s.

    During my most recent UC symptoms before the SCD diet, I was having 3-8 BM’s a day and they were mostly liquid…with no solid consistency. Now, I have 1-2 a day and a good amount are solid. I still see red crap in there but it’s a big improvement. I’d be very careful for added sugar to beverages and I’ve heard peanutbutter is something to avoid during the beginning stages.

    My advice. Stick to cooked veggies and fruits and lots of meat for now until ya feel like you’ve got things handled and then slowly introduce things raw. The diet really sucks for the first while for me, because I like raw foods….they are much more nutritious and often I feel sick and malnourished to the point I just want to quit the diet all together. It’s a struggle, because there are many little things that can play a role in your symptoms and at times you just can’t keep track of it all especially if you have a busy life. I try to write down everything I eat and give my BM’s a grading system. Like 7/10 4/10 and how many I’ve had in a day.

    Good luck. I’m even newer to the diet and honestly….I still have a LOT to learn. It’s an additional homework assignment for you man.

    Adam has been on this diet for much longer and could tell you much more on how to master the SCD lifestyles.

  2. Hey man I agree with Trevor, you gotta re introduce foods in slowly. For instance I always steam all my veggies. You can buy frozen steam able bags in the froen veggie section, its easy as can be just toss them in the microwave for like 5 mins and boom, good shitttt, dont eat too much peanut butter or too much fruit. Maybe lay off the yogurt for a little while? Ive been on it for 19 months. I actually bought some fresh peaches at the farmers market two days ago, man they are so damn good, but I ended up eating like 5 in one day, not a good idea man. It gave me the runniest stool I had in a while, besides that Im on a schedule for when I eat, so it just takes time to get used to it and get on track.
    Good luck bro and I know you can do it.

  3. Hey KK…

    Do use a probiotic. Lialda (or asacol) was useless for me as well. A good probitic, with at least 50 billion dealies in it. Or, you can just buy Kefir where the yogurts are in your supermarket…it has 50 billion dealies per tablespoon, and it is just a runnier yogurt. Organic, too, by the way, so it may be okay on your diet? It may help with your urgency, but it takes a couple months…so be patient. I took probiotics for two months and saw so much improvement, that I got completely off of all meds. Weaned right off of them. Yep. I’m in remission now. That;s just me…I’m not telling you to get off them, but if they aren’t doing anything at all for you…well, I’m just sayin’.

    Adam, do you know if Kefir is alright on the SCD?

  4. Hey Johnny, I know exactly what you were going through after making that visit to the farmers market. “Damn these peaches are so tasty! They are SCD legal too! I could eat these all day!!” That’s exactly what I did with the smoothies. They were so tasty and nutritious but then it ended badly with frequent visits to the john and major gas pains. It’s torture….you see all this good food you wanna at my new job, my employers bought all this food for everyone to eat and I couldn’t have anything…raw fruit, processed meat and breads! I felt like such a party pooper! Had to politely tell them I have an assortment of intolerances to food. Great intro to the new job eh? heh

  5. Hi,
    I have been doing SCD for 4 months and was doing great on it until a few days ago. The BTVC book says to expect a possible set back between 2 and 3 months. I’m guessing mine is a little later. I am very discouraged so I went back to the Intro diet and am going to do that for a few days. I am on no meds now and don’t want to go on any.When I started the SCD 4 months ago I also started on 60 Mg of prednizone but tapered off of the over 3 months. So now I’m not sure if just the SCD will work w/o meds. I would love any input from this group from people who have been on SCD and stayed on it after a set back.

  6. I think that’s why I’m having problems too…fruit! We have a farmers market in town and bought apricots yesterday. They were so sweet, ripe and wonderful and I’ve been in misery since then. Truly painful, bloody, diarrhea, cramps…ugh! It sounds so easy to say DON’T, but honestly, the diet is SO restrictive. I know it’s better to be symptom free tho, so I’m going to say no to fruit and any uncooked veggies and see how the next few days go. It seems like everyone who’s had good results on the SCD is very disciplined!

  7. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the feedback! I haven’t really been eating too many vegetables. The only veggies I’ve been eating are avocado (although I’m not quite sure if its a veggie or a fruit), carrots and spaghetti squash, but I do want to introduce veggies more since it would make going out to eat a lot easier. Right now I’m just eating lots of meat and fish.

    I am curious to know about Kefir. Is it SCD legal? I can’t imagine it is, but I’ve seen a lot of people mention Kefir, and I’m wondering if you made it yourself or you bought some SCD legal kind (and if the latter, then where?)

    Also, has anyone noticed if they tolerate meat better if it’s well done rather than on the rarer side? I’m wondering if this is just the case for me or if this is generally true?

    Thanks for your comments everyone! I’m definitely seeing some improvement, especially the last couple days, so I am encouraged, but also seeing some symptoms I’ve never had. If anyone has/had a similar situation I’d love to hear about it!

  8. Hi KK-SCDer,

    I just started with the diet for 4 weeks ago, the same day I found it… But it has taken me quite some time to really figure everything out so I would say that now I start to be better at following the diet. Without being too explicit I at first saw big improvement but then it started to be worse again, but anyhow I believe in this diet.

    These are the points I am juggling:

    -Die off symptoms from candida and for the moment really reducing the carbs for them to eat.
    -Low level of digestive enzymes, I believe I have some problem with protein and got much better with taking a mixture of enzymes.
    -Probiotics, fermented stuff and kefir. Makes me a bit gassy due to the low level of digestive enzymes but I am trying to introduce these slowly.
    -Taking supplements to heal better/faster: L-glutamine, Zn + B-vitamins, C-vitamin (this is probably the one vitamin which is low when eating only fats, meat and fish).
    -Juggling stress and depression symptoms: I believe it is key to also increase the calming “good-feeling” hormones in the body. I take 5-HTP for increasing the amount of seratonine in the gut. Also for relaxing the body it is important have something for this. Doing stuff you like, have fun and do some exercise is of course also important, as can stuff like acupuncture, yoga and all of those things be. But for the body to heal I believe it is important to have good levels of “good-feeling”.
    -Anti inflammatory: For the moment I am only using cats claw. Considering to introduce turmeric, but I want to be complete bleeding-free first since I tried it before and it increased the bleeding.

    So as said I am juggling this, trying to listen to my body and adapt to the diet and all of that. Seeing progress and feel a change but realizing that it’ll take time but I rather take this journey than the one of medication, which I took so many times and worked so-so and not long term. I can recommend you to also look at the introduction diet to GAPS, there is a sensitivity test which can be a helpful tool. But yes, I am also struggling just like you I guess.

    Doing my own Kefir, and slowly introducing it. I made it from culture and not grains as I haven’t found anyone with the grains yet. But it’s easy to make.

    All the best to you! And hope that your improvement has lasted!

    1. I just want to add that it might sound like I have it all figured out, but I don’t. And a lot of the time I am feeling a bit desperate in trying to found out what is not working, but for me it gets slowly easier to put the puzzle together.

      Also it is fun to read about the fruit, happened to me too…

  9. Don’t really know if Kefir is effective. I haven’t delved into that yet, but I can tell you, well cooked meat during the intro stages is much better for your digestive system then rare. I’d stick to well cooked every time.

  10. Just like to add that plain Kefir has definitely made me feel MUCH better. I drink a cup in the morning and a cup at night. Stomach discomfort and gas have pretty much disappeared. The stools are a bit firmer as well. Just sayin’.

  11. I have been doing SCD for 12 years. Kefir is not a legal SCD food. I do drink it though – once cup of plain kefir a day. I only started that a couple years ago. I also take a probiotic pill. I think probiotics can be very helpful in easing symptoms.

    The only time I ever felt pressure, but didn’t actually go is when I first had symptoms (Crohnm’s), and it signified I had a blockage – so just keep very good track of your symptoms.

    The feeling could also be a part of the die-off symptoms people talk about. I didn’t really have that myself, but I know a lot of people do experience when they first start the diet.

    1. Sherry,

      Thanks for your response! Looks like I’m getting various opinions about Kefir… After 12 years on SCD, what, if any, are your symptoms? What were your symptoms 12 years ago before SCD? And how quickly did you see a significant improvement?

  12. I can’t speak the the Kefir but I might be able to help you KK-SCDer. I am new to SCD but followed a raw vegan plan for sometime. You mentioned you have constant urges to go and that this was new and seemingly a cause of the SCD diet…as it started when you started the diet. I have the opposite experiences of many people here…where my body does tolerate meat, but too much of it causes the symptoms you are describing. On the other hand, I have eaten fruit and had no issues. Again, I studied eating raw vegan and had success with it so here is what might be happening…in my long-winded try to explain everything way.

    Meat on the raw vegan diet is a no no. It is hard for the body to digest and the whole premise on that diet is to eat foods that already have enzymes to digest them in the fruit/veggies—things ripen by themselves—why not use that to remove the work of digestion from our bodies, giving us more energy and our bodies more resources to repair itself?

    So meat is hard to digest and takes a while to move through the body. Okay. Fruit and vegetables are much easier for the body to digest and move quicker through digestion, particularly raw and organic produce if you can find it. Everyone here mentioned going more if they eat lots of raw fruit and vegetables…that is actually a good thing but it will not seem like one if your goal is to go less.

    A few things I can share that should help…

    Eat fruits on an empty stomach…this allows them to be digested properly, where as eating them while your stomach is trying to digest meat, eggs, nuts, etc…causes them to ferment, giving you the pain and urgency to go.

    The best way to eat fruits…if eating melons, eat them alone as the first meal of the day. Eat sweet fruits like bananas next, a few hours after the melons. Then sub-acid fruits like apples and pears a few hours after that. Lastly, have acid fruits like oranges and pineapples after that. They all digest at different rates…so you can eat as you wish, but combining different fruits may cause the same digestion issues and discomfort. You can add vegetables to your meals while eating these fruits—particularly green non-starchy vegetables like cucumber).

    A juicer can be your best friend. Too much juice at once can cause your body to go a lot so be cautious at first…but fresh juice is a great energy boost and gives you all the nutritional benefits without having to break any of it down in your body. I’ve had a few glasses at a time and figured I’d hate myself only to find out I didn’t use the bathroom until 5 hours later. As I said, be cautious. It all depends on your food combining knowledge and how bad your symptoms are. Orange juice, for example, may cause one to go quite a bit due to its acidic nature.

    If you are having symptoms of UC or Crohn’s, avoid raw vegetables—the fiber is too tough for a weakened gut to handle—unless you want to steam them or add them to a juice. Some sweet fruits added to a vegetable juice will make you wonder if you ever added vegetables. Carrots too.

    Buy organic produce if you can find them, but it is not required. It just gives your body less junk to get rid of in the form of pesticides. There are frozen organics out there…just have to find a market that sells them.

    If you are diabetic, juicing is still possible but consult a natural health nutritionist—I can put you in touch with one if you like.

    Most importantly, understand that all foods are different. In all my studies, processed food is bad while fresh food is good. But combining the wrong fresh foods—like a well done steak and eating a few fresh delicious peaches before or after—will probably make you wish you only had one or the other. It does not mean you can’t have whatever it is. It just means you have to more aware of how foods interact and trust me, the pains/urgency will subside. I know UCers who eat mostly raw fruit who only go a 2-3 times a day with no urgency. I have been there but due to financial reasons, I am trying SCD. Even with success, I am going to look to stay as raw as possible because as you all said, raw fresh food is so good.

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