I’m Mathilde, I’m 29, French. I’m a PhD student in Psychology. I wanted to share my story with you because it’s first coming across this website that I learnt about the SCD diet. It’s been 7 months I am following it, I have been free of symptoms since September. I have no doubt the diet help me and I don’t see a better way to thank you than to share how it went for me. I hope this will help those who currently encounter the same nightmare.
Some more about me: I enjoy hiking, horse riding and playing guitar.
Current Symptoms: I have Ulcerative Colitis but currently free of symptoms.
My Ulcerative Colitis Story:
First, all of this started with a parasite infection in August 2018. I was found with Anasakis parasite after the consumption of raw salmon (homemade type). Although, it seems I had IBS before.
After a long antiparasitic treatment, my symptoms stabilized but soon it all started again (lots of blood, cramps and shap pain in places, tenesmus, muscle weakness,etc. you know them). I couldn’t even go to my office anymore (500m from the house).
I was diagnosed with UC early December 2018 and got prescribed Pentasa and Prednisolon for 8 weeks. The treatment relieved me very quickly, and by the end of January 2019 I was feeling great, with only some bloatting problems.
In February, I cut off gluten of my diet because I felt especially bad when I would eat something wheat based (such as a croissant or similar things) my belly would triple size each time (I kept a food diary). I was only taking Pentasa 2g/day at that stage. I also stopped lactose thinking it could perhaps help too.
Although, after a period of acute stress in March I felt symptoms were coming back again. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I don’t think so! Despite what doctors said. In April, I had it all again and was in tremendous pain. Doctors increased my Pentasa dosage to 4g/day. After a week of that, I had back pain, headaches, was unable to feed at all and felt just so terrible that I decided to stop everything. I fasted for 3 days. Only drinking lots of clear soup and a little avocado and olive oil and I felt much better! Even my bleeding had stopped by the 4th day on which I could finally see another doctor.
The doctors said that I might have became intolerant to Mesalazine (Pentasa) and so they decided to start me on Adalimumab (Humira) at the end of April 2019. I got the first injections. For two weeks, I was not improving at all and still felt very crappy so then they prescribed me an other course of steroids.
About that time, I got suddenly really scared, I had only been diagnosed and was already on the second course of action of treatments. So I started to searched for other kinds of approaches to the disease. I read about the SCD and started to implement it. I was eating solely some chicken or salmon (very well cooked!!), zuchini, and carots, and veg soup for many weeks. But to me, these still are the best meals ever, since I had finally found some food that felt bearable.
This was a scary time because my symptoms where still active although slowly getting better. A dietician had advised me in the meantime to only eat pasta and rice for 3 weeks at least!! I could not do that. I felt this person was a fool and I started to solely rely on my “gut feeling” (this expression make a lot of sense for me today!). I followed my own instinct, and it was telling me to try the SCD, along with the treatment. I was 57 kilos before and by the end of June I had lost more than 8 kilos. I was really friking out then and I nearly gave up on the diet.
I decided to take a long break from my studies over the summer and autumn in order to focus on getting better. By the way, summer is a super convenient time to start on this diet! And finally, by doing enough resting and feeding, I regained some weigh, some strength, and some muscles. I followed the SCD diet very scrupulously, the only exception is that I would take a tiny bit of cashew nuts and almond butter (and also some dates and cashew nuts bars) after a feww weeks on it in order to help with the calories intake.. But only a little bit here and there, preferably along with other gentle food and making sure to chew as much as requiered. Also, I would drink fruits and vegetable juices that I made myself from a juice extractor every morning.
I also got rid of all my stress factors including big life changes (I was living in Ireland and I decided to go back to France). I took up yoga, and worked hard on my psychological heath. I have also been to several types of alternative medicine (osteopathy, magnetism). All at once, because that’s what you do when you’re deperate. So, I am not really sure of what exaclty did it for me, maybe all of them.
But the important thing is that by the end of September, I was having no bloatting, no pain. All was normal again if I avoided the food that caused me trouble (for instance, it took me weeks to figure out that I couldn’t bare bananas and raw apples… ). Then, I had a sigmoidoscopy at the end of September, and the doctor said that by the look of things, my physical health and the results of the biopsies, all was so perfect that if we didn’t know I was so sick a few months before they wouldn’t never have guessed that I was.
The doctor could not believe that I would be part of the 10% of people reacting extremely well to the Adalimumab treatment knowing that I wasn’t even on it for 6 months yet. So, their explanation was that they had doubts about my initial diagnosis (believe me, there wasn’t any doubt back then!!!). Anyway, they preferred to stop the treatment saying that it seemed useless to carry it on at this stage. So we are keeping an eye on it now, to see how it evolves over the next few months.
Today I am free of symptoms and I regained 4 kilos. I stopped my treatment nearly two months ago and I am still feeling great. I actually have never had so much energy in my life!! I carry on the diet with some exceptions here and there. I can drink alcohol and cafein with moderation. AND I started my studies again. I just wanted to say that no one will know your guts better than you, and it’s vital to listen to your inner feelings and feedback. Maybe I just got lucky, I guess we’ll see. But please don’t lose hope because things can change quickly in a better way.
Thank you to all of you who wrote posts on this website and convinced me that this could work for me. I’m forever grateful. <3
Medications, Supplements, Diets and whatever I’m doing right now to treat the UC:
I tried aloevera juice, I’m still not sure how much it helpt me or not. Research seems to be divided about it. But that’s definitely not what helped me in the past few months.
I drink a homemade orange juice (2 oranges, 1 lemon) every morning and I add a spoon of Baobab powder, it seems it has healing vertus (I have been taking it for 5 months). I feel this is helping me a lot. (Organic Baobab Powder (from iHaveUC’s Amazon Affiliate link))
written by Mathilde H
submitted in the colitis venting area
‘m Mathilde, I’m 29, French. I’m PhD student in Psychology. I wanted to share my story with you because it’s first coming across this website that I learnt about the SCD diet.
Pretty wild ride you’ve been on, and cruising beaches on horseback…:))
Incredible and Tre Bon…
So happy to hear from you, and to hear your story. Way way cool.
Keep up the positive thinking and good job on you for listening to your body and going from there. Way to go!
I hope many others will read your story and feel something inside of them that helps them make some positive changes if they are in a tuff spot at the moment.
Best to you and bon voyage,
Thank you for everything Adam. Très bon indeed!! <3 <3 <3
I carry on everything I do and fingers crossed that's all that it will take. :)
Best of luck.
Thanks so much for sharing your story. It gives me hope. I was just diagnosed with UC, was supposed to be admitted as it was a bad case, and dosed with antibiotics that did not make me better in the past, so I went home hoping I can treat this naturally. I am at the stage you were after your acute stress period in March, and it is very hard. I am sick all the time, and often feel so bad i can barely get out of bed, let alone eat. Struggling with this when taking care of family and trying to work a full time job can take it’s toll on someone suffering with this disease. I hope to overcome this with diet, and an overall lifestyle change. I thought my life was over, but it seems that this is a challenge to better my life and change anything that needs to be changed, not for it to end.
Thanks so much for giving me the hope and strength I need to beat this thing. I believe we all can and will.
Many thanks for your message. I am very sorry that you are going through that, antibiotics sound dreadful, although I’m happy if my story could bring you some hope. I’m very sympathetic, I remember the pain on all levels, I know how hard it is also that other people around you just don’t get how bad it is.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently on the why and how I’ve been improving while doctors said I would be on medication for life and so on. Now they sort of say, “oh well, you have been misdiagnosed”. I don’t believe in this. How convenient don’t you think?
I had a very short relapse in February this year 2020, after a big flue with lots of fever (maybe corona ^^ ouch), my symptoms started again (bloating, bleeding, bathroom running, etc.) I think that my immune system was so rushed out by that flue that it is why it started to attack my guts again. I was back in Denmark then, so I went to my gastroenterologist there to make sure this doesn’t get out of hands. An endoscopy showed that the crisis was actually super mild. They proposed to put me back on the medicine I was just before (immuno-modulator Adalimumab), in my guts, in my heart I heard “NO WAY” “NO F. WAY”, not with the Covid threat growing, no way, no way, no way! I just told them I would rather try again the first course of treatment I had before and verify if I was really intolerant to Mesalazine (Pentasa + cortisol). They said “sure” (I couldn’t believe how easy it was) and they gave me solely suppositories of both types, I had to start with the cortisol ones and then switch to Pentasa when I felt better. Within 3 days, I had no bleeding, and things started to be “normal” ish, within a week most symptoms had passed. I had to be careful with what I eat, but also, that’s also the time where shops started to get empty because of the Covid panic. I thought to myself, I need to be able to eat everything, I need to be ok no matter what happens, and so I started to reinclude SLOWLY everything, VERY slowly (one pasta at a time). And since, I am more than well, just like I’ve never been sick. But I think the diet is what allowed my immune system to “forget”, and just helped my body to heal on the long run (along with medicine at the beginning).
The more it goes, the more I realise how my emotional health has power on my physical health. Each time I get slightly stressed out or upset, I get an acute pain in my left lower bowel, I can identify it even more when I meditate. And I KNOW, that’s where it hurts, I know this is the place it all starts. I remember telling my body “ok, I’m listening now, you got all my attention” (quite literally because there is nothing else you can do when you’re that sick) and asking “what is not going through? What is ripping me out inside?” and passing all in review the emotions I denied for so long.
I would recommend reading a lot about your guts, there are many popular books such as “Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ” by Giulia Enders. You learn then how connected the guts and the brain are. And doing, everything you can, no matter what other people say, get help on all levels.
Today, I am very grateful for having been sick because I made very radical changes in my life, in my relationship with food, with my body, my emotions, my mind. I am so much happier, and I still cannot believe that I would never had done all of this if I didn’t get so sick in the first place.
I hope you find your way in this maze, best of luck with everything. Don’t lose hope, don’t let other people tell you what’s best for you. We can chat more if you wish. Take care.
Your story is inspiring!!! After 5 years of being diagnosed with UC, 2019 seems to be the year I seem to have things under control.. however I’m a little skeptical, because yes all is well but I am currently on a lot of meds. And I’m afraid if I stop things will go back to bad, However I also do not want to be reliant on solely medication to be symptom free. This thought scares me! If there’s any advice on a way forward, I would highly appreciate it.
Dear Meevar, I’ll do my best to answer with my short experience. I started to be treated for UC in Ireland (where my PhD was based) for my first crisis, then I moved to Denmark (for the PhD again) and I got treated there for my second crisis, then I went back to France.
So, I met several gastroenterologists in Europe, and I feel this really helped me to figure out different approaches to the disease. For instance, my gastroenterologist in Ireland was very excited about that diet and was going to start research on diet and the microbiota.
Back in France, I met a first gastroenterologist who basically laughed at me when I explained that my second crisis started after an event that caused me a lot of stress. I didn’t trust that person for many other reasons. They told me that I was going to be on this medicine probably for life and I refused to hear that. So, I looked for another gastroenterologist specialised in UC and I found one that is a professor as well (so doing research). We had a very interesting interaction, he didn’t think that stress or a diet change could influence my symptoms, but he was very respectful of my experience as a patient and very humble, solely supporting the currently scientific knowledge (as he should).
I don’t know your experience or what you have been through to get where you are, but the only thing I could recommend is either to find a specialist that you really trust, or to get an alternative opinion on your case (or several). You don’t belong to a doctor, it is your health at stake so it’s in your hands, not in theirs.
Maybe you should go see another specialists and make sure you understand why they recommend you staying on all the medicine you are. I was advised to stop my treatment solely because they became unsure about the initial diagnosis (because it so recent). But since you have been sick for several years, I still think only consulting with a UC specialised gastroenterologist could advice you best on what is the next course of action for your case. My gastroenterologist really reassured me back then on the secondary effects of Adalimumab. But of course, I understand very much that it is frustrating and scary all these meds.
The way I see medicine is to get me out of crisis. But I try to do anything on the side so that my body recovers a normal functioning. But again, I got lucky in some ways, I don’t think I would have taken the initiative myself to stop the treatment, not yet anyway.
If the secondary effects of the treatment bother you in anyway, the best is to ask all the questions and find someone who can bring you suitable answers. For instance, I asked my French gastro (the good one) why I should carry on the treatment if in the next few months everything was fine. He said that it was because Adalimumab takes up to a few months to be fully active, hence there is no way to take it here and there, it’s a long process with dosage adjustments. Also, he said that if inflammation was not kept under control, things could go very wrong when my next crisis occurs and that it could be much harder to manage it than if I had kept it under control (even lead to surgery..). So, I was happy with this answer because he really knew what he was talking about and conveyed it in a very respectful way. Also, he didn’t discourage me to try anything else on the side.
Beside the diet, I feel my psychological health helps a lot too. The first job was to accept my condition, accept that I am sick, and sort of be grateful for it because it was pushing me to change things in my life that I wouldn’t have changed otherwise. But I also strongly knew this was a temporary thing. It had to be. For me, my body was expressing that “something wasn’t getting though and that was ripping me inside ”, hence I started to work a lot on personal development and on reconnecting with my body.
Hope, this helps…. Good luck to you.
Hey, thank you so much for your reply! I shall give the book a try, however one curious question, what type of foods do you eat, as majority of the foods are “illegal “
Hi Meevar, yes I understand it seems hard at the beginning. But it’s only a matter of getting into it. It takes some time, research and commitment at the beginning, but then you start having new habits of food and cooking and it’s much much more easy than it seems!! I even can eat at restaurant most of the time (as long as you are not a vegetarian too, it’s quite easy).
So, first, Adam’s cooking ebook helped me a lot to start the diet. (Lots of carrots, zucchini, and chicken based meals)
Also, you can check out this website: https://healthygut.com/about-the-healthy-gut-company/
They provide a free chapter of their book that helps you start things right at the beginning as well.
I also LOVE this website for all sorts of recipe: http://www.cantillonkitchen.com/
My diet is mainly based on cooking vegetables (carrots, zucchini, leeks, aubergines, broccoli etc. ) steamed or fried. I eat that with home-made pesto, LOTS of olive oil, or coconut creme. I make also a lot of omelettes with all sorts of things in them (mushroom, sundried tomatoes, olives). I also use a lot of lentils these days (pink or green) or Pumpkins/ butternut squash when I need something a little more heavy with the vegetables (but you need to bath them and rinse them in water before cooking them in order to avoid discomforts!).
To snack at parties, I make home-made guacamole that I eat with slices of cucumber or raw zucchini. My new favourite kitchen tool is a “mandolin”, it’s a tool that allows you to cut vegetables very quickly and thinly, it’s very quick to wash as well (basically just a little board with a very shape blade). I also make a LOT of soups, zucchini soups, carrot soups, green veg, tomato soup, pumpkin etc. And of course, many fruits.
If you are not doing well with onions like me, I use leeks to replace them in my recipes.
For dessert, I make home-made apple compote (with lots of cinnamon and a bit of honey, very tasty, and a good snack as well), and I buy organic yogurts (cashew or coconut based) to which I add some almond or cashew butter, and some honey. I also snack a little bit on dates and cashew nuts or brazil nut (careful with the nuts at the beginning it is not advised).
Hope that helps! But really, it’s a lot easier than it seems.
Also, some good advice that helped me, never go out to some events with an empty belly if you are not sure of what you will be able to eat (that’s why I always have some soup ready to go in the freezer) and if you go at someone’s place for dinner and you didn’t want to bother them with your diet bring along some olives and carrots or stuff you know you can eat. Recently, I was invited to a friend’s house. He had planned to make pasta for everyone. I kindly asked if I could possibly cook some of the carrots I had brought on the side in order to go with his dish (instead of the pasta). Boiled carrots, very easy and it was perfect!!
Best of luck <3
Thank you to Mathilde for your positive posting,your story, it give me some hope. I am tired of trying different medications and nothing seems to work for me.
Stay healthy and happy
Good luck to you Isaac. <3
Do everything it takes. Don't lose hope.
Thank you Mathilde. It is good to know that there is a possibility of a way through this. My question is at what point did you stop with the medication? Or did you taper down slowly? I have been on the mesalamine for over 4 years. I am currently on monthly Entivio infusions as well as 4 x 1.2 gm of mesalamine tabs daily. I have tapered down to 3 tabs a day in the last 3 months with no change. I honestly don’t know if the mesalamine is working anymore as I still am having mild cramping and blood. The Entivio I have just started about 3 months ago after a Remicade “fail” treatment. I also feel that my diet has a lot to do with my health and was looking at the SCD diet or a “clean” diet. I appreciate your opinion. Mary C
My doctor decided to stop my treatment. Because I had been on it for less than 6 months and already in remission. While with Humira, it seems that only 10% of the patient get such a good response, but only after 6 months of treatment. Hence he didn’t think it was likely that it was my case, and is now questioning the initial diagnosis. But believe me, I was so ripped inside back then that there was NO DOUBT on my initial diagnosis. It’s just because I got diagnosed in Ireland and my French doctor now is questioning the diagnosis I got in Ireland. I stopped all at once, not tapping it down.
For me there is no doubt that it’s my life change, all together, that allowed me to get better in the long run, the treatment was there to help while I get there, but not the final solution. Slowly, I finally started to listen to my body, or rather to hear what it was telling me, listened to my emotions, and I am sort of devoted to both of them now. Few months ago, this seemed impossible to me. I attacked that thing on all fronts, I consulted with a psychologist practicing humanistic hypnosis, various alternative medicines (osteopath, etc.). AND the diet, was the start that triggered all these life changes. I feel I’m a different person. The microbiota can influence a lot on people’s psychology, there are now scientific studies on this.
My opinion would be to try if the SCD diet can work on you. There are ways to introduce the diet with steps that are important to not overlook (for instance avoidance of nuts at the beginning). Maybe try to find on internet the way to introduce it and follow it as best as you can. I see that the “clean diet” recommends eating complex carbohydrates, this is incompatible with the SCD diet. To break the “vicious cycle” you should avoid all sorts of complex sugars, and complex carbohydrates are complex sugars. That’s what I did, and I feel so much better on this diet now. The SCD diet is drawn from a book “breaking the vicious cycle” by Elaine Gottschall. I didn’t read it fully but that’s the theory on which it is based, you can read about it online. Also check out this website: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/listing/
I were you, I would try the SCD diet along with my medication and see where I get from there. Hope that’s helps. Good Luck to you. <3
Thank you so much! I actually have this book and will start “breaking this vicious cycle”! Appreciate the insights!
Hi Mary and Mathilde,
I was diagnosed with UC back in April 2014 and after trying many medications which didn’t work, I ended up with Entyvio in May 2016. At that time I was off work on sick leave for a month and spent the time researching my illness. I too came upon the SCD and have followed it ever since along with Entyvio treatments every 8 weeks (more frequent in the beginning). I am able to live a close to normal life and the SCD has just become a (healthy) habit along the way. I am speculating about when to get off the Entyvio although I don’t really have any reason to as no side effects and potentially the UC could worsen again. When it comes to SCD then you can look up “the four horsemen of SCD” on the internet where you can find a useful list showing what to introduce in the beginning of SCD and later on (there are five stages). I only found this table later on and could have benefited from it earlier. I have learned a couple of things along the way which I have found quite useful. Firstly, the idea of eating absolutely no complex carbohydrates if you follow the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle is actually misleading. Honey is used as the main sweetener but actually 10-15% of the sugars in honey are complex carbohydrates – so if you end up eating a meal with tiny amounts of complex carbohydrates through no fault of your own then it’s probably not the end of the world (I use honey A LOT) in my cooking :) Secondly, lately I have introduced lactose free yoghurt naturel into my diet – it has had a great effect for me and seems to make my stomach more stable – I eat a lot of nuts and the yoghurt helps the stomach to cope with that.
I have some nice recipes to share if you’re interested..
All the best,
God knows I love this group! Thanks Ole, for your story and insights. The power of the cloud can be amazing . I will look into your suggestionsand I hope it also helps others . Cheers! And here’s to good health!
Hi Mathilde, my name is Katie , I am 29 also and have had UC for about 5 years now, thanks for posting your story ! I can relate a lot with all of it. I have many times mustered the energy to change things but then I sort of get tired of it all and give up. Thinking things wont get better. But I know it can and I just have to have faith and the right support and diet and mindse and yes connection (reconnection ) to my own body. I havent given the SDC diet enough of a chance but I will now bc I’m truly running out of options! So thanks again jist for sharing because its given me the inspiration to start again . Xo
Hi Katie, I’m very glad if my story could help a bit in giving you some hope, and maybe push you to try the SCD diet a proper try. Adam’s recipe book helped me a lot in the beginning. Best of luck Xx
Re: the advice for a pasta and rice only diet!!!! (insert scream face emoji here…) So glad you listened to your body and not the well meaning but uninformed!!
Hola from California
Hey Mathilde. SOOOOOO happy for you. I had a similar experience with the Gastro doctor. He tried to send me home with a “practice” injector and said they would get me on Humira the next week at my follow up appt after being diagnosed. I never went back! Went straight to my Naturopathic doctor who practices Chinese medicine and signed up for Nutrition Response testing. Here is the rest of my story: I have been living with colitis since 2015. Diagnosed via a colonoscopy after having terrible symptoms. Also ended up getting erythema nodosum (google that!) because I was having an autoimmune breakdown. Was out of work and on FMLA for 12 weeks with various horrible symptoms.. Was not absorbing protein and nutrients from food. Lost 35 lbs. My holistic doctors worked together as my “team” and helped me change my diet (and stay positive) completely to get the inflammation in my gut down. I now eat whatever I want within reason. When I have a flare, I immediately clean up my diet, practice more meditation and yoga (to reduce my stress levels) and lay off any beer or wine. To clear out the inflammation I stopped eating ALL of the trigger/allergy foods: gluten, bread, grains, pasta, dairy, sugars, and no sugary (carrots, beets) vegetables. I ate protein and cooked green vegetables. No sauces. To bulk up I made plantain bread and hazelnut flour blueberry pancakes. I basically starved the inflammation in my gut so it had nothing to eat. I cheated. Then got back on track. Then cheated again. Then got back on track again. I also took a potent probiotic called VSL#3. It’s expensive but Costco has it for a little cheaper. I think it definitely helped. I eventually stopped taking it. I also did and continue to take Vitamin D with K regularly (1000-2000) in liquid form so it absorbs easier. There are a few Chinese medicines that greatly helped me: “GI Care” and “GI Care (UC)” by a company called Evergreen. It helped me stop having to run to the bathroom. I recommend finding a good Naturopath with a Chinese Medicine background. It took me about 8 months for my system to regulate again and now I just maintain it!