Marilyn Alm doesn't have diagnosed ulcerative colitis, Crohn's, IBD, IBS, although her grandmother did have diverticulitis. She does have a B.A. in psychology and special education, as well as a M.Ed. in Learning Disabilities. She taught two years in the public schools and got out because of frustration with school bureaucracy, switching to individual tutoring.

So why would a person in seemingly good health, barring the fact that she was extremely overweight, go on a diet designed for gut health? As it turns out, the overweight was a symptom of undiagnosed IBD.

That was a shock when she realized the urgency and soft, mushy stools she had suffered with for 25 years weren't "normal" as she had been told by various physicians.

Marilyn actually came to the SCD backwards. With her husband Harry, she has had dachshunds and cats (moggies) for most of their married life.

In 1998, they became mom and dad to a pair of gorgeous long-haired red dachshunds, Shadow and Sunny. They were determined they would get the best food money could buy - and their vet and the breeder recommended several kinds of kibble. But despite really small servings of this premium, and mostly grain kibble, Shadow and Sunny both ended up very overweight. Marilyn was frustrated, because this was the same situation she was in - eating very small amounts, continuously hungry, and still gaining weight. Through the recommendation of a holistic vet she found when my regular vet had no answers, Marilyn learned about species-appropriate diets, that is diets made of the kinds of foods an animal evolved to eat. Sounds logical, doesn't it?

The dachshunds lost weight on a grain-free diet. Marilyn and Harry attended a seminar during Easter of 2001 by the Australian vet, Dr. Ian Billinghurst, who is one of the advocates of the bones and raw food diet. Dr. B was a fascinating speaker. He noted that as a vet, he wasn't licensed to prescribe for humans, but that he had come to believe that humans needed grain about as much as dogs did, which was to say, in very small quantities, if at all. He also indicated that he and his wife had gone grain free and felt much better for it.

So, Marilyn began a search for a grain-free diet for humans. She found it in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Reading Breaking the Vicious Cycle made a number of things she had observed about her body over the years fall into place. Suddenly, she had an explanation for why some foods might agree with me one time, and not agree another. This was a diet which didn't tell her she had to give up everything delicious for life. She didn't have to accept tasteless food substitutes. She could have real food.

There's a problem with real food, though. It takes time to prepare. Modern lifestyles are fast-paced and frantic. It's so easy to stop at a fast food joint for burgers or fast-Mex or MSG-laced fake Chinese. Real food requires a bit of planning, and knowing your way around a kitchen. Marilyn's object is to spend as little time in the kitchen as she can, although she currently spends a lot of time kitchen-testing her recipes. One skill is the ability to adapt many standard recipes to SCD, although she acknowledges that she has trouble thinking egg-free. She's figured out recipes for hot dogs, recipes for pepperoni (for the all-important pizza!) and nut-free crisps, and also does Gourmet Meals for her parents.

Marilyn can be reached at: M_Alm@ ...