I came to the SCD diet through figuring out that grains were causing me digestive problems (yeah it took a few years to come to that conclusion). I found the diet literally by doing a Google search for “rice causing stomach upset”. Somehow in the dozens of hits returned that preached the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) there was a blog or message board post about SCD. I clicked on that and finally felt like I was reading something that would actually help. My naturopath at the time agreed it was the best thing for me to try, but that’s it’s a hard diet to follow. It certainly was a change from the current diet I was on, which was mostly grains, some vegetables and fruit, lean meats only (chicken breast & fish) and very low fat. I don’t think I found the transition as hard as most people and that might be because of the support I found on the Internet. The Yahoo groups for SCD are wonderful and people are literally right there to answer your questions within a couple hours. With all the blogs around, I felt like at least I wasn’t alone.
And then I found the Primal/Paleo blogs (first one I found happened to be the best, Mark’s Daily Apple) and couldn’t believe my eyes. People were following this diet (well, very similar diet), not because of pain, stomach upset, digestive diseases, autism, or other autoimmune illnesses. People were actually choosing to do this diet because it’s the right diet to have. It helped them lose weight. It helped them get stronger. And for that they stayed on it. I found it easy to have motivation considering eating a bowl of rice would leave me curled up in a ball in pain all evening. Here was a group of people who liked feeling better, losing weight, and being generally healthier and that was enough motivation for them to eat this way. At first most blogs I found seemed to be of healthy people who didn’t need to ‘diet’ and as I found more of these blogs, I realized some people were in fact coming from backgrounds of dealing with some difficult illnesses. You wouldn’t even believe it upon first sight because they all look so healthy.
For those who aren’t familiar with the terms, Primal and Paleolithic diets refer to eating the way humans did for millions of years, before the neolithic agricultural revolution some 11,000 years ago. The fact is, humans evolved on a diet of mostly foods they could find including meat, fish, tubers, vegetables, berries, fruits, some nuts, and a bit of honey infrequently. Sound familiar? It’s pretty much SCD minus the yogurt and cheese. The idea is that we have only been eating grains and sugar a very short period of time in our very long history as modern humans. We may have adapted to live on grain-based diets but in terms of evolution I don’t think our biological make-up has caught up yet. Some people seem to do ok with grains, but are they really part of the ideal diet for humans? I know I have answered that for myself and don’t need a scientific study to prove it to me. I do like the fact that logically this all makes sense.
I have been following these Primal blogs for a while now (there’s a lot, will post a list soon), enjoying the recipe ideas and stories of achieving health goals. It has formed me a bit in my ways of thinking about how we should be living our lives, how we should be playing, and what we should be eating. While everyone starting SCD or GAPS is already asking when they can ‘go off the diet’ I have been considering the possibility of never. I’m even at a point now where I am adding food back into my diet (and I have done a couple) but I’m hesitant. Why? Because deep down inside I know this is the right way to live. It certainly doesn’t feel like I’m trapped in a diet, when I can eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and feel great. Who would trade that for a ‘biscuit’? I realize some people just read that and said to themselves “mmm a biscuit” I guess they would be the ones to want to go off this diet! I honestly won’t judge anyone for going back to what they consider normal foods. At least they could fall back on SCD if (when?) they need to. I don’t understand people who would want that, but I’m not about to think any less of them. I just hope everyone realizes they can be on this type of diet forever if they want to. I certainly don’t feel like I’m missing out on much considering every meal I eat tastes wonderful.
I will continue adding new foods and playing around with tolerances. I’m mostly excited about potatoes just because it makes it a lot easier to eat at friends and parent’s houses. That being said, I think I’ve had sweet potato a grand total of 3 times in the past 4 months. Maybe I’ll eat more since I’m still hoping to gain more weight, so adding in some starchy stuff might help. Part of me wants to try each and every food just to see what I react to. I’m just about the most sensitive person I know to dietary changes, so it would be a fun experiment (even cooking in vegetable oils instead of saturated fats seems to cause problems). It would be nice to be able to eat at a friend’s house or a restaurant and not get sick. I haven’t eaten a salad since starting SCD. Hmm I realize maybe only the UCer and Crohnies would understand that one. Might be a good thing to try salads so I can eat everything my parents serve for dinner at their house. Meat, potatoes and multiple salads oh my. My mom does make the best salad dressing ever!
I’m probably going to be more focused on other aspects of my life too. Fitness is something I have been interested in since University but has been on the back-burner while I have been healing. I do enjoy walking, yoga, and playing volleyball and tennis as well so I want to do more of that this summer. Notice how I’m not mentioning gym? I do have one at work that I go to for walking and stretching when the weather’s bad. But reading all these Primal blogs about more natural ways of working out (think run, jump, swim, play, carry and throw heavy things) has made me change how I think about being fit. I’m planning to start out slowly since I don’t want to overdo it, just ease into it. These are lifelong changes, no need to rush!
I will be sharing recipes, I still have a bunch in my head somewhere that I’ve never written down. I’m continuing to try and sort through advice I would have for people following the SCD or GAPS diets. Snacks, traveling, feeding kids, eliminating/introducing foods, cooking on a budget, these are all common questions people really need answers to. If I plan on sticking very close to SCD long-term, I think I’ll have to figure all that out one way or another.