Established in the Fall of 1999, The Healing Crow wants you to feel your best. There are many reasons why we exist and why we
do not wish to profit from other peoples misfortunes. The trials and tribulations of our President, Seth Barrows, will give you a good starting point:
"In the Fall of 1986, I became severely ill. It started with
several months of unshakable diarrhea, followed by wrenching gut pain. It was so extreme, that I could not eat any food without vomiting it back up. I went from an overweight (180 lbs), healthy twelve year old, to an
emaciated, underweight (110 lbs), thirteen year old. I could barely make it through my classes at school and then I'd go home and collapse with exhaustion and pain. My best friends no longer came over, my mother was
worried sick, and my father thought I was anorexic. When my symptoms began, doctors could find nothing wrong except for "perhaps some allergies". And then when my symptoms grew worse I was shuffled back and
forth between doctors and specialists, each speculating on tumors, liver disease, and other life threatening diseases. I was subjected to many many different tests: MRI, ultrasounds, upper/lower GI's, blood tests, stool
samples, urine tests, X-rays, throat scopes, and others. It took nine months for a diagnosis of Crohn's disease. I was given large doses of Prednisone and scheduled to have a portion of my bowels surgically removed.
Within days of the steroids, I felt much better and the surgery was cancelled. Within weeks I was outside mowing the lawn, and eating more in a day than I had eaten previously in a month. At the time, prednisone was a
In a few months the side effects of prednisone were overwhelming. For one, it was causing me to over eat. By Christmas I had regained all of my weight back and them some. I was bloated and my joints
ached. Megadoses of prednisone can create all kinds of havoc on a body. As a result of taking this drug, my growth was stunted. I am only 5'8", but according to X-rays on my wrists, doctors predicted I should be at
least 6'2". When my doctors tried to lower my medication, my symptoms would return. I was medically labeled as steroid dependent. Other medications were prescribed to get me off of the Prednisone: 6-MP, Flagyl, and
Asacol. All of these medications alleviated the symptoms but none treated the underlying disease.
When questioning doctors, I was given unhelpful bits of data: Crohn's disease is genetic, it runs in families, Crohn's
disease may be caused by a virus or bacterium, it is not contagious, and we do not know what causes this disease. Every specialist I saw did agree that Crohn's is not diet related; I now believe this to be dead wrong
and I'll tell you why in a bit.
The medications helped me deal with the pain. I survived my high school years and enrolled in the Chemical Engineering program at Clarkson University
in Potsdam, NY. My health slowly deteriorated and I developed peri-anal fistulas. When I graduated from Clarkson with my B.S. in Chemical Engineering I decided to switch careers. I wanted to receive training in scientific research so that one day I might learn more about my affliction. I joined a Ph.D. program in Biochemistry at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was determined to find a
cure for Crohn's disease, since doctors seemed to know so little. The medications I was taking kept me quasi-healthy. However, I slowly became dependent on over-the-counter painkillers (ie ibuprofen, aspirin, and
acetaminophen). Pain killers, especially ibuprofen and aspirin, can be very damaging
to the digestive tract. I used these medications to treat my pain until my stomach could no longer stand the damage they were causing. Eventually, my Crohn's came back with a vengeance. In the fall of 1997 I became violently ill and my girlfriend forced me to the emergency room. Much to my dismay, I was told to start taking prednisone again.
During the following winter and spring, I became steroid dependent again and gained 20 pounds. I weighed 224 pounds (for a man at 5'8", this is a lot of weight). I was disgusted with my weight and started a
series of diets. I tried a low fat, complex carbohydrate
diet for a few months and lost 2 lbs. I was disappointed at this meager loss because I was not cheating and I was biking over 14 miles a day. Furthermore, the diet seemed to be making my Crohn's worse. I decided to try a different diet, one that might help me lose weight and help out my stomach. I did some internet searching and found a page about the Fruitarian Diet. I even found one testimonial about the Fruitarian Diet curing Crohn's disease. I quickly switched diets, eating only fruits and nuts. I became dizzy, giddy, and my Crohn's symptoms became much worse. The diet only lasted a week. I was still determined to lose weight.
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. I was skeptical about a low carbohydrate diet. The principles are in direct
conflict with the mainstream view of dieting: cut out fat, eat fewer calories, and exercise. I was driven by the scientist in me to test the book's ideas upon myself. The premise of the diet is that you can eat all you
want while you restrict carbohydrate intake. I was skeptical and tried my damnedest to disprove this diet by eating everything in sight (approx 5,000 calories/day). Much to my amazement I lost 7 pounds that first week.
My biochemical education was being challenged. Furthermore, my Crohn's disease symptoms were better. After a few more weeks of overeating fat and protein-rich foods, and losing weight, my girlfriend urged me to do a literature search on low carbohydrate diets
and Crohn's disease (she was worried about my health). She said something like, " All that fat and meat can't be good for you. You better make sure it is not hurting your Crohn's." Prodded by this, I did some
research. The information I found has changed my life.
While in the diet section at Barnes and Noble, I met a friendly old woman who suggested I read
I found papers written by Dr. Wolfgang Lutz, a European clinician who had treated and cured patients with Crohn's disease by using a restrictive, low
carbohydrate diet for over 20 years. Unfortunately, he is a European doctor and his science is not regarded highly by American scientists. I also found a website dedicated to a book written by Elaine Gottschall
entitled, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet
. Elaine is an advocate of a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) that has helped many people (including her daughter) with Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis to
become symptom free or even cured. In short, I quickly switched to the SCD and was off all my medication within a month. I was overjoyed and once again felt alive. I never knew how depressed I had become during those
years with Crohn's until I was healthy again. My illness, even when treated with medication, had overtaken every aspect of my life. I cannot convey the feeling of ecstacy that arrives when this burden is lifted.
Subsequently, I have done further research into diet therapies and autoimmune diseases and have found a connection. The most effective diets resemble a Paleolithic diet, consisting of foods that our caveman ancestors thrived upon. The underlying principles of these
diets make biochemical sense, but also challenge the mainstream view of diets and health. For this reason and others doctors are resisting them or waiting for a double blind study to further evaluate their
effectiveness. For years my doctors told me that diet had no connection with Crohn's disease. I now know that diet is related to Crohn's disease and many other diseases traditionally labeled as "autoimmune". I
am a living example of how drastic changes in lifestyle (through diet or otherwise) can and does affect your health. It takes a strong mind and determination to change your eating habits. However, these changes can
bring you a better life and better health, without the nasty side affects of drugs.
I have founded The Healing Crow Incorported to spread this knowledge to other sufferers of chronic illness. My only wish is that I
had found these diets sooner. I now follow a low carbohydrate version of the SCD and have been medication free for over 24 months. I currently weigh 173 pounds, 51 pounds less than when I started the diets. I hope that
you find the information published by The Healing Crow stimulating and health rewarding. If you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to contact me or our staff at the email link below.
Thank you for
supporting The Healing Crow and may you go in good health."
Sincerely,Seth Barrows B.S., M.S.
The Healing Crow, Inc.