"You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters are continually flowing in." -Heraclitus

Healthy Testimonials:

The following testimonials give a good picture as to how healthy living translates into healthy feeling. Those of us who choose to become responsible to our health can make a difference. We feel that personal stories are the most effective way to reaching out to others. If you have an experience you would like to share please email us at:
testimonials@healingcrow.com

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I developed ulcerative colitis halfway through my second pregnancy. My first and second pregnancy started off much the same. I had what is called "hyperemesis", which means I threw up constantly, even unable to keep water down. I lost 15 lbs. with the first pregnancy and 16 lbs. with my second pregnancy in the first trimester. I had to be hospitalized a few times in order to be rehydrated. I was placed on medication with both pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, I pulled through after a very rough many months, although I still was throwing up occasionally even in my 9th month. However, with my second pregnancy, doctors put me on a new medication to control the "morning" sickness. The medication was working. I regained my appetite, although the only foods I ate for about one month were vanilla pudding, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese (one quart a day) and juice and hardboiled eggs. It was around my 4th month that the disease started. All of the sudden, I had no feeling of needing to go to the bathroom, even though days had passed. Then, when the BM finally did come, it was small pellets which then turned into green mucus-covered pellets, and then BLOODY mucus-covered pellets. This scared me to death, but I attributed it to a hemmoriod or something. I thought it would go away. Of course, it didn't. It only got worse. What it turned into was a nightmare. Instead of diahrea like most people have during a flare up, I still had formed stools, but they were increasingly covered in blood and streaked with blood and soon the water in the toilet would be bright red from all the bleeding. I would strain and strain at the toilet, dripping blood all the while, but not able to get off the toilet because my colon was still contracting or spasming and I still needed to go. Having a BM almost felt like childbirth. It took forever for it to happen, and all the struggling and straining left me so weak and nauseated that I would throw up while still on the toilet. I had to place a trash can in front of me so I could vomit into it. I did go to a GI who performed a sigmoidoscopy when I was about 7 months pregnant. It was barbaric. I was so inflamed and had a big baby stuffed in me to boot, so there was really not much room for his instrument. It was just awful, but he confirmed I had UC. Later, after I had my baby, he did a full colonoscopy and confirmed that my entire colon was ulcerated. I chose not to take any oral medication at that time because I was too worried about the effect on my unborn son. I did take the enemas however but they did not help at all. Anyway, about 3 weeks before my due date, my colon simply shut down. I went to my OB and told him that I was in severe pain, that normally, with this disease I was going to the bathroom about 10 times a day, and was passing a huge amount of gas. I told him that I was filled with tons of gas and other stuff, but that I couldn't get any of it out. It hurt just to breath, with all that gas inside of me. I was in extreme pain. I don't think he believed me. Anyway, late that night I was in agony and my husband drove me to the emergency room. They found out that I was in labor, which I guess in part is why my colon shut down. They gave me an epidural which finally took all my pain away. I delivered my beautiful baby (perfectly healthy!), but then when the epidural wore off, I was in agony again. Upon my GI's instructions, nurses gave me a huge water enema. They said to try to retain it for 10 minutes. I was unable to even get it out after more than 12 HOURS. I just had no sensations there, my colon was not working. Finally, the next day, my colon started working again, though very slowly at first. That was when I had full blown diahrea. From there on, I went on prednisone, asacol, enemas, etc, and eventually got better. I asked my GI repeatedly if diet had anything to do with my disease. NO, he said. I asked if there were any foods I should avoid. NO, except fresh fruit and raw veggies when diahrea is present. But that's it, eat whatever you want. That never made any sense to me. But I believed him anyway, he was a doctor after all, and I wasn't. Finally, after three years of suffering, 4 hospitalizations, still throwing up when going to the bathroom, still seeing blood, despite being on medication, I searched the internet and found Elaine Gotschall's book. I went to the library that night and got it! It has saved my life. It was helping within the first few days! I use to walk around looking so bloated that I honestly looked like I was 6 months pregnant. Now, I am not bloated, the vomiting has stopped, the bleeding is gone. I am improving a little each day. My insides don't ache anymore. I have regained my life and have hope for my future. I went from seriously considering having my colon removed to good health again. Elaine saved my life, and I will forever be indebted to her. Thank you Elaine! Sarah
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It has taken me over 3 years to feel confident enough to write to you all with my story. Here it is:

I have been on the SCD for three years and four months. I was diagnosed with Crohnís colitis in March of 1988, having had symptoms years prior, which were now progressing. Diarrhea, fatigue, blood in stools, cramping, and lots of gas. Mornings were especially troublesome. It seemed there was a revolving door which stopped at the toilet. I did not have severe pain and was always functional, being able to continue to work, participate in sports and exercise, have relationships, and travel. However all these things were becoming more challenging, as the disease became more debilitating. I grew more concerned about my deteriorating health and so I made an appointment with my good friend who was also Naturopathic Physician. He mentioned a diet he had discovered and gave me the first Elaine Gottschall book to read. "Rick, (the name of my friend and Dr.) I canít give up bagels, pasta and rice, no way, no how", I replied in protest. And so I let many more years pass  by, gradually worsening but still functional. Then one day while playing  basketball, I fractured a rib, took ibuprofen for pain, and had a flare-up. It was bad. I knew during this time I would either have to choose powerful drugs and itís ramifications with side effects, and possible eventual surgery, or opt for that diet that I read about years before. I said good-bye to bagels and rice, and began my "healing journey".

Although I did NOT begin the SCD with the introductory phase of the diet as prescribed, I did find enough initial improvement that I was encouraged to continue. For example, I noticed that I wasn't as gassy, especially after a meal. However the first year was very frustrating with constant ups and downs, and uncertainty as to whether the diet was REALLY WORKING. After about a year of being on the SCD with 100% faithfulness, I felt frustrated, as it seemed I couldn't hurdle this plateau. Filled with and doubt and desperation, I phoned Elaine Gottschall. She was just wonderful with me. She gave some general SCD advice, clarified a few key points, and asked me to consider trying azulfidine(I was not taking any medication while on the SCD and for years prior). So after one year on the SCD, with marginal improvement, I began using Azulfidine while continuing the SCD.

My second year showed slow but steady progress. I grew more hopeful and confident. I would notice that improvement would come in a 2 step forward, one step backward fashion. Also I would regularly experience "mini flare-ups" lasting sometimes days and even weeks, (generally they were 2-5 days in duration). Although these flares were never severe, they did "throw me for a loop" psychologically. It was as if someone was telling me not to get too cocky about my improvement. And so I didn't. In my third year, feeling significantly better, and growing with confidence, I took myself off Azulfidine (total time on this medication- 15 months).

Forty months later and feeling perhaps 75% better overall, I continue to stay with the SCD and continue to improve. MY LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER. I no longer have the fear of losing my colon or being on powerful drugs. I Ďm not concerned about the location of the nearest bathroom, deodorizers, or passing gas during intimate moments. This summer I bicycled in the Canadian Rockies for 2 weeks and felt just great. I occasionally miss the "forbidden foods", but soon come to realize that the most important things in our lives are being as healthy as possible, so that we can love and be loved. Put in this context, my choice is clear.
Here are some of the things I learned during this time that some of you may find helpful:

∑ The SCD works.
∑ Healing takes time, so be patient.
∑ Surround yourself with supportive people and things.
∑ Donít let the negative few bring you down.
∑ By and large the medical community will not be there for us so donít expect it. This is not to say that you canít find a supportive physician however.
∑ Drugs are valuable in that they buy us time, but ultimately, donít heal.
∑ Eating a variety of SCD foods makes it easier.
∑ Folic Acid supplements and Ginger seem to help.
∑ Body-Mind or relaxation techniques are helpful. This might include Yoga and meditation. I think they are powerful ways of modulating our breathing, which normalizes/relaxes nerve pathways throughout our body, but specifically, for us, in the gastro-intestinal neighborhood.
∑And finally, If youíre a single guy--find a girlfriend who can cook.

Jeff
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In 1930, I suffered from birth from cowís milk and was very skinny.  In the years to follow, I had trouble with colds, flu, and caffeine caused heart palpitations; hot spices caused gall bladder to act up; had my tonsils cut out twice; spastic, angry colon and was told to find psychiatric help; IBS off and on Drs. called it. Colon was full of BM, diarrhea and I vomited a lot. Couldn't eat much because of the shaking after bending over to weed the yard and had pain on my right side with a low grade fever for two years before they found by blood test that it was my appendix and they were cut out with two feet of diseased colon. There were ten teeth pulled, gums had pockets in them and the teeth were loose and gums bloody. I had dizzy spells and had a brain scan which showed a scar deep down in the brain from the lack of nutrition. Wasn't able to go to parties, work, vacations, Christmas gatherings, weddings, funerals, births, church, or family get-togethers because I was too sick to go. Began having upper itchy back in 1983. Another pain began in 1988 on the right side again, and I thought it was an ovary. My grandmother died (Dad's mother) and a letter came from her Dr. saying she had a tenderness on the right side of her gut. Dad had the same troubles as I was having. Once Dad farted so hard that water splashed his butt sitting on the toilet. I had a real bad urgency when BM hit the wall before sitting down on the toilet seat. My granddaughter was with me and I told her not to tell anyone about what happened because I will deny it. Then we started laughing as I cleaned BM off the wall. By now I was eating less and less. Seemed everything turned to gas after eating. I would have a snack of an apple and a wheat cracker-got sick. So I didn't eat either one after that. I would have a salad with dressing and got bloated, gas and pain. Didn't eat salad anymore. Instead of IBS in 1994 I had IBD-Crohn's Disease which was discovered by a GI's colonoscopy. I was given Asacol (8 a day) Zantac (1 a day)and Folic Acid (1 a day) after being in hospital because of the pain and then I was sent home. Got weaker and weaker with headaches. Was told to eat whatever didn't make me sick. (?? Who knew what to eat ??) I kept gaining weight like my body said your not going to die. Up to 170 lbs. from 120 lbs. Had urgency to the bathroom, carried clean underwear, soap,(2) wash clothes.  At 2 A.M. or so would hear a rumble and feel pain that woke me up. I went to the bathroom with a heavy winter bathrobe, a blanket and a pillow to sit on the toilet for two hours or less. Had hot sweating, vomiting and finally diarrhea. Laid on the floor - so weak - cold -stayed there till I warmed up. Sleep some hours and didn't want to get up. My husband, Gene, (my main support--I am grateful for his help) asked a nutritionist from hospital to help - a bland diet - it didn't work. Dr. sent us to a meeting on Crohn's/Colitis and they didn't help us as a support group except for more medicine; insurance disability--but you could be dead before you would get it and was told to have an attorney to help you get it; or talked about surgery; IV's for food; leaky gut and fistulas, etc., etc., etc.. I asked the library about books on Crohn's in 1996. They sent Elaine Gottschall's book, "Breaking The Vicious Cycle Intestinal Health Through Diet." (THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET.)I read it and it made sense about starch and sugar not being digested. Fermentation was causing an ulcer, mucus, and diarrhea. The book tells what to eat and what to avoid eating to get well. I had to give the book back to the library. Went to a Dr. in Fort Wayne to sew up my pockets in my gums and he told me about Vera Brueck who liked to talk about Crohn's. I stopped eating sugar and candy that very day after seeing her and that was May 17, 1997. Went to their CCFA Meetings and met John Chalmers. Asked my therapist, Donna Berwald, on the same day about the diet and she suggested that I give it a try. What would it hurt for a month? I felt better in a week and a half (not completely well however). Later I was having so much energy that I never had before that I couldn't stop myself from going places and doing things. (Living like I never did before.) I thank the higher powers for this book to be printed. Happened to find the SCD-List e-mail address in Elaine's book and got on line with everybody from all over the world that Rachel Turet had started. And Elaine learned to use a computer to correct our mistakes. After two years on the SCDiet I thought I might go off the diet but changed my mind. "Why go off a healthy diet that made me well:" cholesterol normal (stopped Prevacal), bone density increased and all things mentioned above improved as well as my immune system. So with all the information I learned from Elaine and others on the List I corrected some of my mistakes in preparing yogurt and mayo, etc.. I had not liked cooking before because I would get sick afterward. Now, I enjoy cooking and eating the food and being well. As of this writing (2000) I have been on SCDiet for three (3) years.
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I'm thirty-one years old and have been living with UC for eight years. It has dramatically altered my life by being both a burden and a blessing for me and my family. When I first noticed symptoms I had never heard of inflammatory bowel disease. Unfortunately my first gastroenterologist was devoid of a "bedside manner" and offered little comfort or hope other than drugs. Naively, I accepted his bleak prediction of my future and the opinion of there being nothing else I could do. After the passing of six years, four hospitalizations, treatments of three different GIs who touted the "changing your diet will have no effect" theory, too many steroids, and too much trust in physicians and drug companies profiting from my illness?I had enough. The time had come for me to take charge of my own healing.

I began by exercising consistently. Though I had been doing yoga off and on for a few years, I became more serious about my practice to help to manage stress. I now do yoga daily and it has played a vital role in my recovery. I started food combining which involves separating proteins from carbohydrates, like meat with vegetables or grains with vegetables but no meat and grains at the same meal. In this practice fruit is eaten alone. It improved my digestion significantly and I continue to food combine today. Though all of this helped to put me in remission for a while I still experienced another flare.

This flare was unexpected and did not accompany an unusually stressful period in my life as my past flares had. I refused to even consider prednisone again and consulted a holistic doctor who in turn referred me to an acupuncturist. Together they discovered I had high levels of Candida which is quite common in IBD sufferers and oftentimes the culprit. I had been eating a lot of whole wheat and they suspected a food allergy or at least a sensitivity. Wheat in abundance can be very acidic and cause dysbiosis?an imbalance in the intestinal flora. The holistic doctor put me on an antifungal and then suggested I try The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a diet developed by Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas and promoted in a book by biochemist and cell biologist, Elaine Gottschall, B.A., M.Sc., entitled Breaking The Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. Dr. Haas helped Gottschall's daughter recover from ulcerative colitis through this diet. The diet excludes all grains, high-lactose dairy products, and sugar. It allows fruit, most vegetables, nuts, meats, eggs, certain dairy products like hard cheeses and homemade yogurt, and honey. At the time I had been eating a borderline vegetarian diet for years, with fish and poultry only occasionally, and I liked the discipline of my dietary choices. I mistakenly shunned The Specific Carbohydrate Diet at that time in my life and instead followed an alternative diet outlined by my holistic doctor. I excluded wheat, dairy and sugar and began an intensive program of Chinese herbs and supplements. I received acupuncture treatments regularly to balance the energy, chi, in my body.

The program developed by my holistic doctor and my acupuncturist helped to keep my UC under control with minimal symptoms and I was able to avoid prednisone. I continued on my maintenance medication, Pentasa, and was able to lead a normal life and never had to slow down or take any sick days from work. I know this was due also in part to my continued exercise and yoga routines. Despite all the improvement, however, I did have slight symptoms that were insistent on hanging on. I could never quite shake them and after a year of annoyance I took a hard and open-minded look at The Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

To paraphrase Mr. Frost, I decided to take the road less traveled and this has made all the difference.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) has been the answer to all of my problems with my UC. I only wish I had found it sooner and that more people in the world knew about its healing abilities. The diet is based on sugars and how IBD sufferers digest them. There are three kinds of sugars, monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. The digestive systems of IBD sufferers are impaired and can only digest monosaccharides. Monosaccharides are found in honey, fruit and certain vegetables. Disaccharides and polysaccharides are found in grains, all other sweeteners and dairy. When we ingest these our systems can not break them down and they pass undigested, ferment, and cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria. The book further outlines the science of this process and the guidelines of the diet. It has given me my life back. It is restrictive but very do-able and once one experiences the benefits of recovery, all the sacrifices are worth it. Many people can return to a normal diet after a few years on the SCD and some never experience flares again.

The SCD is the best kept secret among IBD treatments, despite the fact that two million copies of Breaking The Vicious Cycle have been sold. Elaine Gottshcall has worked hard to bring it to the public but few westernized medical establishments have embraced it. The bottom line is?it isn't profitable for them. Fortunately, other research results have begun to surface concerning the role of carbohydrate digestion in IBD. Hopefully, this knowledge will begin to spread.

Living with this disease and living with this way of eating now has definitely altered my lifestyle. In the past I missed many days of work, and there are often quizzical looks at restaurants from servers and friends when I request special preparations of my food. All of this often ignites questions and I have had to learn to be open and honest about my condition. It's funny. If we had diabetes or food allergies, we wouldn't hesitate to acknowledge it. However, it is often difficult to admit that you have a problem with your colon. It immediately brings to mind a taboo subject. This is very unfortunate but realistic. I often say simply that I have a digestive disease. But recently, I have more often admitted that I have colitis and I haven't encountered any negative responses. People have been genuinely sympathetic and often are interested to learn more about my lifestyle. The more openly we speak of our disease, the less an embarrassing subject it will be. This is part of our lives and we have nothing of which to be ashamed.

I stated earlier that this disease has been both a burden and a blessing for me. The blessing has come with my appreciation for the life I live, the developed awareness of my body and health, and my family and friends who love me. I have also been blessed with being one of the growing number who have discovered the SCD and with having this opportunity to encourage other IBD sufferers to try it and recover. I will include several websites where you can find both the book and information about the diet, including the website connecting us to almost 400 users of the SCD worldwide who regularly post questions and answers and testimonials.

I am now on the road to recovery and am well enough to begin to start a family with my husband. He has been my best friend, supporter and inspiration through many years of illness. I hope others have a support system like the one provided to me by my husband and family. I also hope this essay and my experience will encourage others to take charge of their own health and start the journey to recovery?to make the SCD road more traveled. I wish you all health and happiness.


Gina
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Dear Healing Crow Inc:

Love your web site.

I too found the scd, just by fluke in a health food store, but didn't start it until three months after being put on prednisone for a mild Crohn's flare. I continued with the diet and the drugs (budesonide replaced pred. after 6 months) until I reached a state of collapse a year later and had to take a three month leave from work. I was amazed to be examined and find there was no evidence of any disease. The drugs had done me in, masking a recovery brought about by the diet.

Since being off the meds, I have mostly returned to normal. I don't think people realize how much of the recovery with the diet is hampered by the toxic drugs in use.

The amount of info on the Internet about SCD is absolutely fabulous. I stuck with the diet through thick and thin partly because I found the first scd web site an learned about other people's success. Knowledge is power. I don't believe medical practices will ever be the same with so much information so readily available, thanks to people like you.

Presently (after 3 years), I follow the SCD 90% and just don't sweat the little things. It's now a lifestyle, not a diet.

Cheers
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The Healing Crow is a nonprofit corporation. Information published by The Healing Crow is intended to expand the knowledge of the reader about health issues. It is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or replace medical care. Our mission is to educate the public about chronic illnesses and corresponding non-drug related treatments. We encourage others to critically examine all avenues of information pertaining to health including: naturopaths, chiropractors, physicians, medical and scientific papers, and others; in order to make an informed decision. We believe a patient has the right to question a health source without taking any medical advice on faith. The best patient is an informed one. Before instituting a major change in diet or nutrition please consult a worthy expert in nutrition or a doctor. Although we believe our information to be as accurate as possible, discrepancies may arise. If you have a personal story and would like to include your testimonial on our site, please email us at the link above.

 

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