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SCD Experiences So Far

When I last posted, I was having some decent success with the SCD intro diet. But the next few days really went downhill. My body seemed to rebel and I couldn’t keep any food in me. And to make matters worse, my energy levels were at an all time low. I really wasn’t able to get enough calories in to fuel my cycling training. I was hungry all the time and when I did eat, the food seemed to run right through me.

Perhaps the worst day was Thursday. I had a specific work-out to do, which I managed to get through but then I was about 30 minutes from home, I completely ran out of energy. In cycling we call this “bonking” – very similar to runners “hitting the wall”. I could barely make it home – what normally takes me an easy 30 minutes of pedaling, took an hour of very forced and lethargic pedaling. This was when I realized that I simply couldn’t keep going with this diet.

I know that many of you are wringing your hands and shaking your heads – ready to post a comment telling me that I need to give it time and eventually when I’m in phases 1, 2, and 3 I’ll be able to add in more foods. But the same problem still exists – there are not enough carbohydrates to fuel my cycling training. A banana or liver is not going to help me out. On an average 90 minute ride, I burn 1,000 kilojules – I need to replace these kilojules with foods that will restore my glycogen stores, repair my m muscles and help me benefit from the hard training sessions.

I truly believe that the only reason I was going to the bathroom less is because I was simply eating less food. My body basically didn’t have anything to process…. I do recognize that I do react to large amounts of carbohydrates. I don’t have a gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, or any other food allergies. I’m one of the lucky ones in this regard.

My decision to go on SCD was an attempt to heal myself so I wouldn’t have to take the steroid medication. My doctor agreed to let me try SCD and if I wasn’t feeling better and my quality of life was not improved, then I would have to make the decision – maintain status quo (of going to the bathroom all the time) or taking the steroids (Budesonide). Well, I have decided to take the Budesonide. I’ve researched the drug – the side effects are minimal and at this point, I don’t have much choice.

I need to get myself healthy so I can focus on my job. Yes, my job is racing my bike. I don’t have the time to eventually get into phase 3 of SCD where maybe I can start eating some carbohydrates. I need to be out riding my bike, pushing my body and getting ready for my upcoming race season. My first race is in early September so unfortunately I’m not afforded the luxury of time.

This being said the one thing I have learned from being on SCD for a week is that I do react when I eat a bulk of carbohydrates. So I’m focused on better carbohydrate timing and learning which carbohydrates I tolerate best. I have read the Paleo Diet for Athletes(thanks Kat for the suggestion) and this book does follow the SCD principles but also includes important information for people like me who are elite athletes and need to fuel their bodies for performance. I recommend this book to anyone who is an athlete – great information about how, when, and why to incorporate carbohydrates into your diet with still maintaining a diet of primarily lean meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

Maybe in the future, the SCD path will be the right path for me . But right now, I simply can’t follow the restrictions and perform at the level I need to.  I think it is great that so many of you have found success with SCD – I guess it really does go to show how individual and specific ulcerative colitis is for each of us.

I’ll continue to post here about my experiences – I’ll let you know how I’m feeling with the new medicine as well as let you know what changes I have made to my diet and how I’m doing. Oh, I’ve also started using a free iPhone application called Crohn’s Diary. While not specific to ulcerative colitis, this application works for us – you can use it to track your diet, bowel movements, symptoms, energy level, etc – all with some simple clicks on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Alright, well, I best be off and get out for my ride. If you’re interested in my bike racing life, check out my website. Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “SCD Experiences So Far”

  1. Hi Vicki,
    I can’t imagine being an athlete with this condition. I had no energy by the time I came to SCD, so I wasn’t working out or getting any exercise at all. I realize that your sport is your life and work, so it’s not something you will give up.

    I do know of endurance athletes who follow a very low carb paleo diet, but they are healthy to begin with, not suffering from UC, so I can’t see that working for you. Once the gut is healed and the body is working well to convert energy into what’s needed, you can be a bit more liberal with carb/fat/protein ratios.

    I’m glad you’ve learned some things from SCD and hope you can continue some of them. Homemade yogurt and broth are so nourishing, it would be helpful to keep that in your diet going forward. I would also suggest keeping wheat out of your diet for a long time. Rice and buckwheat would be my first choices for grains if you have to have them, and potatoes to round out some carb choices.

    Look forward to your posts on your site, but hope you continue to post here. You’re an inspiration for many people dealing with this disease.

  2. HI Vicki,

    It’s pretty much a cliff hanger movie watching your story unfold. For the past two days I’ve been thinking about your situation and talking with my wife about how difficult times are for you righ now. Having UC and dealing with the symptoms is something that most people on this site can imagine, but the extreme demands you have on your body with your career is almost unimaginable. And of course the combination of the two is insane. I think everyone can agree that for you to make it this far with all of your physical demands, and still being able to perform is truly AMAZING!!

    Just as Kat wrote, you are a BIG inspiration for many, especially me.

    Also, I hope that all of you competition knows that they should be super scared, because someday soon, you are going to be free of UC symptoms, and if they are having a hard time keeping up with you now, they are going to be crying when they see you whiz by once you’re past the UC.

    Thank you for explaining to everyone how things are unfolding for you, and please, please keep up posted. You’re amazing. The dedication you have to your sport is like nothing I’ve seen before.

  3. Hi Vicki
    I was diagnosed 12 months ago, and I have had 3 flare ups since and had to increase prednisone.
    I dont like taking meds, so will try anything to get my relief and if food will do it then so be it.
    I was on the scd for 14 weeks and had my last flare up during this time, I felt that I should be showing some progress in that time frame, but wasn’t and on more increased steroids, so I thought I would look around for more options. I found Sherry Brescia website and am in my 3rd week of her food plan. Have a look there somtimes what is good for some is not the answer for someone else.The food suggestions are nourishing too. I cannot see yoghurt being very substantional
    I can feel your anxiety. All the best
    Shirley NZ

  4. Wow – thanks so much for the positive comments. I must admit I was a bit nervous about the reaction/response I would receive from my post. I really appreciate the suggestions and positive encouragement. I have discovered that really I can’t seem to tolerate wheat right now – so looking for something for breakfast – was having an Ezekiel tortilla with peanut butter and a ripe banana… Perhaps it is back to puffed Kamut and almond milk..
    All this to say – thanks for the encouragement. I find this site to be an excellent “community” for those of us with uc.
    We have to remember that we aren’t defined by ulcerative colitis. It is easy to forget this when times are tough, but everyone does have “something” – it is how we deal with our “something” that sets us apart.

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