There is a wonderful song written by Bilbo Baggins about roads and journeys. It comes to mind as I start a new chapter in my book of health adventures.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
It has been a while since I’ve blogged about my journey. During this time I’ve been diagnosed with another autoimmune disease (more on that to follow soon), gotten settled into our new house, written some more wonderful liturgical music, and planned a world music unit study for the students I will teach in the fall. It’s been a full month or so, and because keeping stress levels down is important to my road to remission, I decided to put blogging on hold for a bit. But now I am back!
I have decided to follow the SCD lifestyle. Why switch it up? AIP has done wonders for me, yes, but there are some symptoms that eating AIP hasn’t been able to address. One of them is SIBO. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth happens when there is an imbalance of bacteria in your gut. Here is a very helpful article from the Paleo Mom describing SIBO, the symptoms, and a few recommended courses of action. One of these options is a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I have been curious about SCD since January, when I bought the book Breaking The Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. In her book, Elaine describes how the gut absorbs food and how an imbalance of bacteria in your small intestine is often what causes such annoying symptoms! It is a lot of science to take in, so if you are interested in reading about it I recommend the BTVC website – www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info
I am on day 11 of this “new” diet. I put new in quotes because it is basically the same way of eating and the same way of looking at life as AIP. The difference? A few foods on the legal/illegal lists of both diets are different, the main emphasis with SCD being to avoid ALL starches (including tapioca, arrowroot, and plantains) and ALL sugar in the form on polysaccharides. The only sweetener allowed on SCD is honey, taking out the maple syrup I used so frequently. Another major difference with SCD is that is starts SLOWLY. There is an introduction period where you eat only a few foods (bone broth, chicken, carrots cooked for 4 hours) and then slowly introduce one new food at a time to test your bodies reaction. SCD was developed specifically for people with IBD, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns, ect, and it is very tailored to the symptoms that we tend to have. AIP was for autoimmune diseases in general and while it helped immensely, there are a few foods that a person suffering from IBD should not eat that are considered “safe” on AIP.
All this to say, either diet would probably work. Either diet requires tweaking, tailoring, fanatical adherence, lots of cooking, and patience. Switching to SCD was a personal choice because I am specifically suffering with Ulcerative Colitis, there are more support groups our there for SCD, it has been around longer with more proven results, and (if I’m very honest) it is less restrictive in the end.
After 11 days I have seen improvement in my symptoms, especially the number of times I have to use the restroom. It has gone down from 8-10 to 4-6. I have less urgency to use the bathroom, I am sleeping better at night, and I don’t have as many sugar cravings. Sugar was my downfall on AIP – in the form of fruit, maple syrup, honey, you name it. Sometimes even justifying the occasional raw cane sugar in foods. SCD forces me to kick my sugar habit, because if I consume ANY sugar other than the monosaccaride honey, all will be for nothing.
This is truly a journey, and the road does go ever on and on, but my feet are slowly becoming steadier as I go.