You might motivate your child by pointing out that SCD is the type of diet that helps with enhancing athletic performance, avoiding obesity and reducing wrinkles. This would not only help with motivation but might solve the problem of how to explain to others the reasons for the diet. Many teens and children do not follow the diet because they are embarrassed to admit that they have a digestive problem. It is a lot cooler to say " I am doing a diet that enhances athletic skills" rather than saying " I am doing a diet because I have Crohns".
SCD is very close to being a paleo type diet. Paleo type diets are diets that try to emulate the diet of primitive people because primitive people have excellent physical endurance, more youthful looking skin and are free of most chronic illness including obesity. Paleo type diets eliminate the foods that were developed after the advent of agriculture. Paleo type diets avoid wheat, rice, sugar and potatoes because these foods are not part of the diet of
Paleo type diets are now being used to enhance athletic performance.
Link for the book: The Paleo Diet for Athletes. A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance
Please be aware that although the diet in this book does resemble SCD it is not as strict as SCD. The diet in this book does not replace SCD for digestive disorders or for other serious chromic illness.
Avoiding Weight Problems
SCD will help normalize body weight; people who are underweight will gain weight while overweight people will lose their extra pounds. The fact that sugar and starches are fattening is becoming more accepted.
The connection between bacteria and obesity is also being recognized.
Link for the article: Research Links Obesity to Mix of Bacteria in Digestive Tract.
SCD is a great diet for healthy skin because it eliminates pathogenic bacteria. Toxins from pathogenic bacteria increase MMP-1 expression. MMP-1 degrades collagen;
collagen breakdown leads to wrinkles. Sun exposure and tobacco smoking also increase MMP-1 expression and it was found that MMP-1 might be important in the skin-aging effects of tobacco smoking and sun exposure.
Link to the research articles about this topic.
Other methods for motivating children to comply:
daughter was 11 when she started
the diet, and she fully understood
why she needed to change her eating
habits. She knew that her options were
go on a liquid diet (tube feeding) or
try SCD. That was the first thing that
really motivated her to give it a try-
but I also explained to her that she
would start growing normally again.
She was starting to get really tired of
being the shortest, while all her friends
zoomed past her. After growing 4 inches
in one year on SCD, she can see the results
of sticking with the diet, and she is reaching
her goals. Her goal this year is to get past
the 5' mark. But if your son does not feel
well, you can explain to him that this diet
will help him to feel better.
You can show him this explanation for kids
to help explain the diet:
Link for comic book explanation of SCD
Child's story about gut bugs:
Link to the story
Also, even though you won't be eating meat,
you can eat all the other SCD foods along with
him, just give him the meat in addition.
Many people find that their food sensitivies go away
once their guts have had time to heal. So please tell
your son that he may be on the diet for a while, but
that may help him to be able to eat more foods in
"Honestly, the kids adapted very easily and quickly to the food. Our
biggest issue was/is that he does not want other kids to know that he
has Crohns, so we came up with a reason why he has to eat home
brought food for everything - His mean mom is making the family eat
only Organic food, and he can't eat anything else. This helps him
fit in with the other kids, and puts the blame on me, which I think
he enjoys a little too much!!! :-). "
Other options for this strategy:
My mother who is turning into a health food fanatic put me on this diet to enhance my health. She promised me a new bike if I comply. Through careful observation, she has figured out the signs that indicate that the diet has been broken. She can tell when I am breaking the rules of the diet even when she is not around when I eat the forbidden foods.
Diet Motivators for Older Verbal Children
by Francie Poirier
Our 14yr old son (Regulatory Disorder: SI issues, explosive, inflexible) has been 100% SCD for 7 months, and except for a few "moments" of frustration, is really being a trooper about it, but we put a lot of prep into it.
Here are some of the things we did in case some of the ideas may work for your family:
1) Took him out of school one afternoon to introduce and teach him about the diet (we NEVER take him out of school, so we really had his attention!). I thought, at his age, the only way I'm going to get "buy-in" is if he totally gets why he needs to be on this diet. I hadn't gone through all this with him when he was just GFCF, and he cheated quite a bit, because he never really understood why not cheating makes such a big difference.
2) I had prepared a fun lesson plan for him that afternoon. I was worried he would get distracted, so to keep his attention, I operated the lesson like a game show: Throughout the teaching, I would stop every so often to ask a pop question, to see if he was following. If he could answer, he would get a token towards trading in for a larger prize at the end of each of 3 parts to the lessons (so had 3 prizes ready in gift bags). The prizes were things he was really into that week, (e.g. bike magazine). I alternated giving tokens with giving new SCD food incentives that he could eat right away (like a small handful of deep-fried carrot chips), to really keep things hopping - he never knew what was coming at him, but he had fun, and was able to absorb a lot more of the information than I had expected.
3) The lesson had 3 parts to it:
PART A: What a healthy digestive system looks like, and how it functions: Used the "Magic School Bus for Lunch" video to explain this.
American Amazon Link to video
Had previewed the video, and knew where to do quick "stops" of the video, to ask him a question about what was just explained, to check for comprehension. Especially focused on the part about the small intestine.
PART B: My son is mostly a tactile learner ("hands-on"), so I had him do a hands-on activity to explain what was currently happening in HIS small intestine:
--Gave him a "pink finger sponge" (the kind that you use to separate your toes when you paint your nails, found in the Cosmetics Department) to represent the villi ("fingers") of the small intestine, and reminded him about what he saw on the Magic School Bus video, that describes how food molecules are absorbed through the little holes.
--I had placed sewing pins, with round, coloured heads, on the tips of the sponge fingers to represent the enzymes that break apart the food molecules. Then I gave him tiny Lego pieces (2, 3, & 4 "head" pieces), attached together in "strands". I told him the little pieces represented the food molecules that needed to be broken apart by the enzymes, to be absorbed through the holes in the villi. So I had him touch the Lego strands to the enzymes (pin heads), and break the Lego apart. Of course the little pieces were actually still too big to go through the little holes in the sponge, but he got the idea.
--We then used a small white board with the outline of a body drawn on it, to show how the tiny molecules, like protein, carbs, vitamins would then travel along the bloodstream to be delivered to different parts of the body, to where they were needed (just kept this part quite general).
--Then I talked to him about the yeast, and how people with healthy guts have a very small amount of yeast in the small intestine, but that in his and mine, the yeast levels are too high (showed him our Arabinose lab results from Great Plains Lab).
--I had bought a package of the tiniest, plastic hair clips I could find (the kind with the spring, that you open and close to clamp into hair). I told him that these represent the yeast, and had him clamp a whole bunch of them all over the sponge fingers (I explained that the colonized yeast actually look like a vine growing spread out on a wall, but that I was using the hair clips, so that he could get the idea of how they "hook" into the gut wall, and make bigger holes.
--Next I explained that this "hooking in" of the yeast was hurting the tissues of his gut, and that his body responds by covering the tissues with extra mucous to try to protect the gut. I then had him squeeze green toothpaste all over the "fingers" to represent this. He thought this was great.
--Then we talked about how this makes it difficult for the enzymes to do their job, and how the molecules then don't break down very well, but provide food for the yeast, which makes them colonize even more (gave him more hair clips to clamp in). I explained that scientists believe that some of the unbroken down milk and wheat protein strands are leaking out through the larger holes in the gut, created by the yeast, and are travelling along the blood stream, and then likely crossing the blood-brain barrier, and interacting with receptors in the brain, making it more difficult for him to use self-control to focus, problem-solve, stay calm, etc. (notice how I didn't say "impossible"!)
PART C: Presenting the SCD:
--Had made up mini posters to be able to explain mono, di and polysaccharides (copied the simple drawings on the pecanbread website). We used Lego pieces again to have something concrete to explain the differences (again, because hands-on is the way my son learns best, as opposed to auditory or visual prompts): a single piece to represent single molecule sugars (monosaccharides), two pieces stuck together to represent double molecule sugars (disaccharides), etc. I thought I would really have to work hard at this stage to help get this information across, in preparation for presenting the SCD. However, surprisingly, by now he was fascinated, and was following quite closely.
--I can't remember all the details of how I presented the SCD, but basically, helped him to understand why the monosaccharides were beneficial to his body, but the di and polysaccharides didn't get broken down properly, and stayed to feed the yeast. At this stage, you can set out real food, and together, group them into 2 groups according to whether they are monosaccharides or not (i.e. SCD Legal or not). I was surprised at how quickly my son was able to predict which food would go into which category, once I told him the "sorting rules".
--We talked about how with no di and polysaccharides to feed them, the yeast would slowly die off: I had him slowly remove a lot of the hair clips. And that as the tissue healed, the extra mucous would fade away: I had him wipe off the toothpaste.
--I really made sure I had his attention when I explained that even one BITE or sip of something with di or polysaccharides dropping down his esophagus into his gut would be like a huge air lift of "yeast food" descending upon the yeast that were left - that they'd have a huge block party in celebration and make lots of "baby" yeast, starting problems all over again!
4) Once he started the diet, I also knew I needed to find a way to put some fun into it, or I wasn't going to get anywhere with him. At the time, he was really into reaching new levels on one of the few computer games we had in our home, and loved getting extra points and extra game "options" (like upgrading to a better race car). So I decided to take the game "levels" concept, and use that with the "levels" of the diet. I titled it THE GUT HEALER GAME. I had made up a small game poster, listing the LEVELS of the diet as they are outlined on the casein-free SCD diet page of the Pecanbread website
Link to the stages
Intro Level: SCD Intro Diet (3-5 days)
1st level: Cooked Fruit & Veg Level 1
2cd level: Cooked Fruit & Veg. Level 2 with Nut Butters, etc
This also served to lay out the stages of the diet ahead of time for our son, so that he would know what to expect along the way, and so he would know that things would get better as we worked up to each new level (e.g. that the variety of food options will improve!).
-As well, I had listed GOALS alongside some of the Levels so he would know what we were working towards, body-wise. Example:
Intro Diet: Start the Yeast Die-Off;
Level 6: Add Probiotics - Bring in the GOOD BACTERIA to settle in the Land of the Small Intestine).
-I also had a few other mini posters with slogans and tips
e.g. Better to go a bit hungry until you can get to a Helper Food, than to eat a Yeast-feeding food, which can cause a long-lasting set-back right away. (included a sequence drawing to show a small yeast colony that just KA-BOOMED into a large colony again).
-To present the GUT HEALING GAME, I acknowledged to him, that at 13 years old, it's quite a pain to have to go on a special diet, and so in an effort to put at least some fun into it, we could work the levels of the diet like the levels of a computer game, and he could earn point cards each day he was completely SCD legal. I explained that as he went up levels of the diet, the daily point level would go up.
-I designed it so that he would get tons of points each day to keep the excitement up! As well, he would earn extra points for "Bonus Days" (like making it through holidays, birthdays, school pizza parties with his own food, or other "extra" challenging situations in the early days of the diet). Id have little Way to Go! 500 Bonus Points! Notes, waiting for him at the breakfast table the next day. The note also specifically acknowledged what new hurdle he had just tackled (e.g. Great attitude about substituting your own treats for Joes Birthday Party Grab Bag, last night!). When he had enough points, he could then trade in his point cards for a purchase goal he had at Wal-mart or Radio Shack (like a $12 model car, a $10 computer game CD, etc., whose point cost I had already pre-determined). Normally, I don't "buy" my kids off, but I thought in this situation, it is really hard for a teenager to have to go through this - I have to do something to lighten it up a little for him.
We're no longer doing the points. I did it for a few months just to help ease him into it. It also helped him to reconcile the feelings about his non-SCD brother, getting food treats he couldn't have - at least he was getting rewards that no one else was getting. A few months into the diet, he really noticed how much physically and mentally better he feels on this diet, and I think that's helping to motivate him. He will actually freak out if he thinks he's accidentally been served something SCD illegal, as he's worried about the yeast building back up.
5) I went on the diet for my own health, but also to give my son moral support. I believe that it is extremely important that at least one parent choose to do strict SCD with their child, so that they know that they are not alone: you are right there alongside your child, every step of the way. For me, this meant that it was vital that I did not ever cheat, even if my child wasnt around. Otherwise, I would lose my integrity with my son, and as well, not be able to truly know and empathize with what it feels like to go through those early stages and challenges of the diet. I started the diet a couple of months before my son, so that we wouldnt both be going through the low-energy grouchies of the intro stages at the same time. My husband and other son didn't start the SCD with us. In hind-sight, I think this may have actually been helpful to our son: because everyday in his own home, he's had to get used people eating different things in front of him, it doesn't seem to bother him as much, out in the "real world" when others are eating differently than he. Now however, we are reconsidering and may place our younger son on the SCD, so that he too may reap the health benefits of completely eliminating processed foods.
6) When my son was in the early stages of the diet, especially during the Intro Diet, I made it a point to make sure he never had a chance to get hungry. I didnt stop to discuss with him whether or not he was hungry: I planned it so that at several points throughout the day, I just plunked food down in front of him, wherever he was sitting, whether it was popsicles or gelatine or broiled hamburgers and honey. It was exhausting to keep up with all the food prep those first couple of weeks, and it reminded me of the constant demand of having to keep up with the feeding needs of a newborn baby! But my philosophy was that a sad, discouraged well-fed boy was easier to deal with than a sad, discouraged, ravenous boy! It turned out that the novelty of me waiting on him kind of had its appeal for him, too! He started to see it as one of the few perks of being in the early stages of the diet. Its good to clarify that, This VIP service wont be continuing forever, just in the early stages of the diet, while your body and gut are going through a lot of healing, in the same way that I would bring food to you if you were laid up trying to heal a newly broken leg.
6) As for participating in "Pizza Parties" with his peers etc., he does still have trouble with this, and wants to avoid them. It is for this reason we are having our case worker come in to our home to have a "Peer Meeting" with his new group of friends. She has been specially trained in guiding kids through this, and presents to the diet and the reasons for it (but not all the gory details - just the general info they need to know), and lets them know about ways they can support him (like encouraging him to bring his own stuff to Pizza Parties, and that they'll back him up). I was nervous about this at first, but the case worker says that in every one she's conducted, the kids end up really rallying around the kid on treatment and help him to feel more comfortable.
7) And finally, there is no doubt in my mind that probably one of the most crucial things that helped our son stick to this diet, was putting him on our church's Prayer Chain for "Willpower to stick to his treatment".