Along with SCD comes the term “fanatical adherence”. Most veterans on the diet agree – don’t bother doing the diet if you can’t do it 100%.
I think this is a wrong statement, even though the people who say it mean well. I have seen this attitude with just about every diet, supplement plan, and exercise regime I’ve followed. The people who are there to offer advice are the ones who are most adamant that this is the right (and only) way. Before being on SCD I was on a completely opposite diet, lots of white rice, white bread, sugar and very little meat. People on that diet assured me that if I followed it 100% I would not suffer. Boy did I suffer. Now on SCD I see the same thing. If it’s not working for you, it’s because you’re not trying hard enough. If you’ve had a setback on SCD, it’s the mysterious “x-month relapse” or “die-off”. Only 100% compliance will allow you to recover.
(Side note: I’m not quite sure how this 100% fanatical adherence came from Elaine’s work. For people who can’t gain weight, she even says they may need to temporarily return to a ‘normal diet’ to gain weight before continuing with SCD. She recognized that there are cases where the diet can’t be followed 100%. She did however push for people to follow the legal/illegal list faithfully.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad these people are there to help us, on message boards, list-serves, and blogs. I take their word as I would an expert’s, not only that but an expert who has personally experienced what they are talking about. I am always forever grateful to have the chance to get advice from people more knowledgeable than me on these subjects. However my own journey has taught me that no matter how much something works for someone else, I have to figure out for myself what to do, what diet to follow, what supplements to take. A lot of it is research and asking what others have done, but at least 50% of it is trial and error.
Many people on SCD don’t talk about exercise, they encourage you to reduce the number of supplements you’re taking (or the opposite, take more, try this one! or that one!), and don’t talk about psychological aspects like stress. I had noticed immediate good changes when I started SCD, but I have come a long way from simply relying on diet to ‘cure’ me. And this is where I have come to a cross roads with the 100% fanatical adherence.
In the beginning I was eating so plain. No ketchup because my efforts to produce a homemade ketchup that I liked were useless. No mayonnaise because I don’t have the patience to drip oil while stirring. No canned vegetables that make life so much easier, because that is illegal. No soy sauce, that’s illegal.
And so here are my confessions:
I eat store-bought ketchup from the natural food store. It’s unsweetened and I add honey to it.
I eat store-bought mayonnaise from the natural food store. It has no sugar in it, it lists honey. The spices are listed individually and seem legal.
I get canned artichoke hearts to make my favorite recipe, chicken with artichokes (lemon, honey, garlic sauce).
I use naturally brewed tamari sauce I get from the natural food store. No wheat added, but still illegal because it’s made from soy beans.
There you have it. I ‘cheat’. If I have any symptoms, you bet people would be almost yelling at me “But you’re eating illegals!!! What do you expect!”
Thing is, these small little cheats (the first two which may not even contain illegals) give me loads of stress relief and some degree of satiety and happiness with my food. To me, that’s worth enough the chance that the food may cause a tiny amount of harm. I feel now that if I balance my diet and my psychological stress, I will feel better. And it has worked.
I don’t encourage anyone to stray from the diet and use illegals. I highly encourage everyone to make everything themselves at home with ingredients they know. I am hopeful that soon enough I will figure out how to make a ketchup and mayonnaise that I like. In fact I really want to make a mayonnaise that uses olive and coconut oils. For now I’m happy doing what I’m doing.
I hope people don’t think I’m being disrespectful to those who follow the diet 100%. I have admiration for those who manage it and make it such a big priority.
I hope people don’t see me as lazy. I have been working harder than anyone I know for the last 7 years to make myself better. It’s not about laziness – it’s about figuring out how to make myself better in all ways. With a couple little ‘cheats’, I have just a bit more happiness, and a bit more time for yoga, reading, and spending time laughing with friends.