A big part of Crohn's is the daily struggle of trying to remain nourished and have a good relationship with food. It's hard because I love eating and cooking, yet food can sometimes be my nemesis. I'm lucky right now that I do have an appetite. Therefore I struggle with knowing that something which tastes so good is going to make me miserable later on.
When I was diagnosed in 2002, the first book on Crohn's Disease I got was given to me by my dad. It's called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. It is a book that outlines the principles of a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The last thing I wanted to think about at that time was a diet to cure my problems. I flipped through it and tossed it in my family's bookcase in the kitchen. I never thought I'd open it again.
Through the years I have heard people talk about SCD and every single one of these people raved about how it had changed their lives. More recently at a trip to the eye doctor, the doctor told me how his son is my age and he has Crohn's. His son has been on the diet for four years. In the doctors words, "He's skinny as hell, but he's the healthiest he's ever been."
There is no widely accepted scientific evidence that following a certain diet can put one's disease into remission. Crohn's is not like Celiac Disease where people can remove gluten from their diet and usually return to normalcy. Therefore, the SCD has faced some criticism among the medical community. However, one study suggests over the past 50 years, 75% of those who adhered strictly to the diet saw significant improvement.
With that said, if I chose to attempt the SCD, I would have to make serious lifestyle changes. I'm talking major stuff. I'd have to get my family on board to stop stocking the house with my favorites like twizzlers and lebanon bologne. Without going into too much science, the idea is that we need to return our bodies to the way we ate before chemical addictives, complex carbs, and sugars entered our diet. So basically, I need to rewind 10,000 years and eat like...a caveman? I'm not sure which phase of human evolution we were at 10,000 years ago but you get the point. It makes sense when I think about it because Crohn's is a disease of modernized countries.
Now this would be a huge lifestyle change requiring me to meticulously plan meals ahead of time, making many things from scratch. One of these is yogurt, which is a crucial part of the diet because of the benefits the bacteria in yogurt provides. However, am I really up for making my own yogurt? Am I really capable of drinking my coffee black, with only honey to sweeten it!?!? Can I give up beer????? Is this humanly possible?
I've been thinking about this for the past month and it is going to take a lot of planning and self-control if I want to do this. But like everything in life, I go balls to the wall. I know that if I commit to it I will follow through. And really, when it comes down to it, this is the only possible solution that gives me control of this situation. If there's something out there that can make me feel better, I might as well give it a try, right?
I think in the past I was always skeptical that something so minor as changing my diet could help me feel better. While SCD is beyond simply avoiding spicy foods and raw vegetables, no one wants to think that something they are putting in their body is the cause of their own misery. Especially with a disease that already faces so many misconceptions and you are already subject to feeling like other people think it's your fault for being sick. When it comes down to it, I want to be able to say that I have done everything in my power to help myself.
With the research I've done the past month and asking around, I know it will be easy to find someone who is familiar with a gluten-free diet but I'd rather find someone specifically familiar with SCD. If anyone knows someone, let me know. Also, it would be nice to even talk to someone who is on a gluten-free diet. I'd just like to get a little perspective and maybe hear for myself how much their diet changes have helped. Maybe hearing it will motivate me more.
In the meantime, I'll be hoping the increase of my injections to once a week start helping. It's been a wild one the past couple weeks.