The Specific Carbohydrate Diet
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2002, at the age of 41.
I’m second-generation—Dad had it, too—so I’d seen (and smelled) the effects of runaway Crohn’s up close and personally. No offense to Pops, but I didn’t want to live my life that way, having doctors alternately cut things out and shoot me full of drugs. Western medicine is great for some things; you don’t want to visit an herbalist when your appendix explodes. But for chronic illnesses, I’m of the school that you do as much as possible first via diet and lifestyle changes.
The diet I went on is called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, as refined by Elaine Gottschall in her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. There’s some crazy science in there, and the list of legal and illegal foods is not very intuitive, so it’s important to read the book through at least once, and preferably two or three times, before starting the diet.
I am happy to help people out and to answer questions, because I know how tough it is to get started. But unless it’s a dire emergency, please read through the links, etc. as directed before emailing me with more questions. There’s a bit of a learning curve w/ SCD, but it will make sense after you do some reading and digest it a bit, no pun intended (I hate puns).
And if it is a dire emergency, you’re probably better off dealing with a medical professional than a lone blogger in Los Angeles, however well-meaning.
While we’re on that topic, please remember that the closest I came to being a doctor was dating one in my 20s. Nothing I say constitutes medical advice or should be taken as such. This diet has worked for me, as well as thousands of others before and after me. You must decide for yourself or in partnership with your doctor(s) what is best for you.
Also, while I appreciate that because of its restrictiveness, SCD is not for everyone, it has worked for me. If other methodologies, diets, treatments and the like work for you, great! I’m an SCD gal and that’s what I’m sticking with. So please do not email me back with other treatments, supplements, protocols, voodoo practices or what-have-you. I appreciate the spirit of helpfulness, but in the words of the old adage, it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Thank you! Good luck and best wishes for great health.
SCD: The book
SCD: General info on the diet and how to follow it
- A website some of Elaine’s loyal adherents set up for newbies. [link]
- A good, comprehensive website with some archival info, too. [link]
- Links to SCD community support groups, including the famed “Long Island Listserv.” I’ve found it (and others) invaluable, especially in those first months of starting the diet. [link]
SCD: Food & recipe linkage:
- Jill documents her yummy meals with delish pictures. [link]
- Raman Prasad has a terrific recipe site, and is the author of two terrific SCD cookbooks. [link]
- Lucy’s Kitchen Shop is where SCDers buy their supplies. [link]
SCD and Crohn’s disease posts on this site
- My five-minute Ignite talk on how my life changed for the better post-Crohn’s [link]
- My posts on the flare-ups I’ve experienced since [2004 | 2006 | 2009 | 2011]
- My own SCD recipes (such as they are) [link]
- All of my posts that have anything to do with Crohn’s disease [link]
- All of my posts that have anything to do with SCD [link]
Photo of the author’s interior by Graham Woolf, MD.