SCD Testimonials & Success Stories

  What if I get frustrated?       

The following discussion is a wonderful example of the loving, supportive, and diverse group of members on the SCD listserve. One "newbie" posted a letter about her frustration with starting and sticking to the SCD; many others replied.

Note: One SCD webmaster particularly enjoyed Mark Dodson's "tough love" message :-)



Melanie's original post to the SCD listserve       

Subject: New to SCD diet and having trouble.
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001

Hello, My name is Melanie. I've had Chrons [Crohn's] for 2 1/2 years. When I heard about the diet I checked out the website and was very excited. I bought the book and talked to my G.I. He said that he had others try the diet and was very happy that I wanted. He said that it would help. I went on the diet for about 2 weeks and had mass amount of improvement, but Thanksgiving and Christmas came around. Now I just can't seem to stay on the diet even though I know it helps. I love food and I just don't want to miss it. I also have a small son and a husband. I feel left out when they get to eat something and I don't. I don't know what to do. I just bought Lucy's cookbook hoping that if I have more recipes that I will stick to the diet. I'm trying so hard. My Chrons has been so bad that I have had 5 surgies in the last 2 years. I'm looking at a 6th. I'm scared. I don't know what to do. I know I should just buck up and do the diet, but that is easier said that done. Thank you for any advice.
Melanie Rogers - Arvada, Colorado Chrons Disease 2 1/2 years


Replies to Melanie's message       

From: Seth

Melanie, Congratulations on finding and trying the diet. That is a major feat in itself! Now if we could only get you over the craving hurdle. Everyone has there own ways of staying on the diet, but here are mine: When I started the diet 2 1/2 years ago, I had two major motivating factors at the time.

1) My Crohn's Disease wasn't responding very well to my current medications. I knew that if I continued down the path I was on that I would need surgery at some point. Also, I suffered from terrible peri-anal fistulas that weren't getting any better. If my fistulas got worse, I was facing the fact that I might have to lose my entire colon etc from them. So before I even found the SCD, I made a pact that with myself that my health would be my number one priority and that I would do anything to help improve it. I would no longer worry about being ashamed or embarrassed of my condition ( I was very ashamed at having CD at the time and thought I was defective, etc....). Two weeks into the diet I felt amazing and I knew the diet would work its wonders for me. Within a month I was off of all meds. Staring in the face of certain surgery and the health pact I made with myself gave me the motivation to continue on the Diet.

2) I fought off my cravings with knowledge. This may seem corny, but I researched and read as much information that i possibly could find on the Standard American Diet (SAD). I have learned so much about nutrition and our current foods in the US, that I cringe everytime I see someone "enjoying" a piece of cake etc. I am no longer tempted at all.

Books that really helped me learn more about the ill effects of the SAD were: NeanderThin by Ray Audette
Protein Power Lifestyle Plan by the Eades
Life without Bread by Wolfgang Lutz
The Sugar Blues by William Duffy
Fat of the Land by Viljamur Stefansson (the artic explorer - you will have to get this one through the library, it is old).
The Stone Age Diet by Walter Voegtlin (another old book - Dr. Voegtlin was a GI that prescribed an all meat diet for IBD).

I also have some articles documenting the slow deterioration of the Eskimo as these tribes introduced "modern" foods into their diet. In less than twenty years, the Eskimo went from one of the healthiest people on this earth to the worst. They now have one of the highest incidences of disease - it is amazing stuff that isn't publicized very much.

So if you think knowledge will help combat your cravings, as it did for me, I recommend any/all of these books which you should be able to get for free from your local library......And there's no reason to feel deprived on this diet. There is so much good food. Just make SCD legal food for the whole family, and if your husband wants something else, make him fend for himself ;)

This diet isn't just healthy for those of us with IBD - it is healthy for anyone......
Good Luck, Seth

Editor's note: Seth runs, a wonderful site for SCDers and non-SCDers alike.

From: Josh Brownell

Melanie, I think we all wish there was an easier way and I am sure there are many SCDer's who share your same fears, myself included. This list has been an incredible source of help, I can always log on with relative assurance that I will have SCD mail, this is one of the things that keeps me going on the bad days when it would just be easier to have a piece of chocolate cake. The reality for me has come over time, it feels so good to feel good. I don't want my intestines to run my life and that was what was happening before I found the SCD. They controlled where I worked, where I took vacations and pretty much my day to day life. After three months on the diet I no longer have the cravings, it's not easy and I still have some healing to do but the future once again looks bright. There are a lot of wonderful people here willing to offer help and support. Good luck. Josh UC 96

From: Michael Windrim

Melanie: We are all individuals - motivated by different things and with our own individual strengths and weaknesses but, frankly, the thought of exposing myself and my poor tortured intestines to the open air and general anaesthetic (and the significant death rates from that alone), staph infections (common at hospitals), a life of wearing a colostomy bag and finally, (but not least) having a BIG, uncontrolled D event in a manager's meeting - all keep me on the straight and narrow. I don't know what motivates you, but if you know about the diet and are facing another surgery, it might just be time to sit down and have a LONG talk with yourself. The diet is not difficult once you get into the swing of it, the food is diverse and flavorful and the results are spectacular. There are really no negative trade-offs. I wonder what other motivation you could possibly need. I hope, for your sake, you find out and then get with the program and stick to it. The other options are not acceptable.
Regards Michael Windrim

From: Katie

Melanie, I have to agree with Seth. In fact his story is almost identical to mine except he has been on the diet a lot longer. I had horrible per-anal fistulas that were not going away and was extremely sick and facing losing my colon. Feeling unable to take care of my children and the fear of losing my colon were great motivating factors. I felt better almost immediately upon starting the diet, that in itself was very motivating. I suddenly realized playing with my children wasn't like a huge task that I just did with no enjoyment because I was so miserably sick I started enjoying life again. I never want to go back to the way I was. I have only been on the diet 3 and 1/2 months and I can honestly say I don't even feel tempted anymore. I think just recently I began to feel that way. I was the biggest carbohydrate fiend that there was. I didn't think I could live without pizza, the real stuff, or a lot of other foods. I never cared much for meat, or vegtables or salads. I have found that over these few months my tastes have changed. I enjoy things that I never had particularly enjoyed before. Fruit tastes better, vegtables taste better. I have found that cheddar cheese on anything (just about) makes it taste better, vegtables, chicken soup etc. I also make sure that I am never hungry when other people are having pizza or cake and it doesn't bother me. When I am hungry I feel the most resentful that I have to be on this diet. There are plenty of good things to eat on this diet and I enjoy them more and more as time goes on. Your taste really does change. I hated the yogurt at first but now it is my favorite treat. I just love it mixed with bananas. I eat a lot of that. I like cashew butter right out of the jar. It tastes like peanut butter fudge to me. I love all the nut recipes but at present I find I do much better without them. They irritate my system too much. Lucy's cookbook is great. There are so many good recipes and you are right, the more satisfying recipes you can find the better. I have come to consider other food as poison, as it truly is to my system. Why would I want to eat poison? I equate it with that and it truly helps me.

It is frustrating to have all that food around you. I usually make at least two different meals every evening. I have three small children and only the baby isn't tainted by all the other sweet food and loves my food. I have one very picky daughter and sometimes I am making three meals. I try to incorporate some of my food into their meals. We can always incorporate the vegtables. Butternut squash is a favorite with everyone (well except the picky one). It really can be frustrating but I will tell you that it is 1000 times better than being sick and unable to even make dinner. I count my blessings for what I do have instead of focusing on what I can't have. I have my colon and a lot of good food I can eat. I can go out without worrying about a bathroom the whole time. I can take a walk with my family through the woods and enjoy it. What a miracle! Thank God for Elaine and this diet. Sorry for rambling. Good luck to you. Just take it one day at a time and make sure you are never hungry. You know how when you are hungry in the supermarket and you buy more than you can eat because you are starving and then when you aren't hungry or very full you can pass up everything but what is on your list? I think that is one of the most important things. Never let yourself get hungry.

From: Mark Dodson

Melanie, Of course, I second everything that Katie, Josh, Michael and Seth have said. But at the risk of becoming the List's Unofficial Tough Love Guy, I just like to say...what the hell's the matter with you?

You had "mass amount of improvement" after just a couple of weeks on the diet? You've had five surgeries in two years and you "don't know what to do?" Really, what the hell is the matter with you?

You feel left out when your husband and son eat food you cannot, but you don't feel left out when you're staring at the parade of life passing by outside your hospital window?

The fact is that you do know what to do. Buck up, indeed! You can do whatever you want. The question is, do you want to do it? I'll never understand why people fail to realize just how much they are capable of. For crying out loud, Melanie, you did the diet for two weeks. If you can do it for two weeks, you can do it for two weeks and one day. And if you can do it for two weeks and one day, you can do it for one day more than that. Remember, life isn't lived all at once. Life does not fold in on itself to produce one big omelet of time. Every moment is separate. And every second is an opportunity.

So your husband and son are sitting there chowing down a pizza. Time will erase the moment as it erases everything else. What human beings do wonderfully well is anticipate things which do not yet be. During the longing for a "normal meal" you can envision a day, not yet arrived, when you are free of surgery and you feel the full radiant power of a healed body, strong, and well.

For the love of God, quit whining about having more recipes and being scared. It's time to step up. And I know you can do it. Do the diet today. And then forget about today. When tomorrow is today, do the diet again...and then erase that day from your memory. Live in the moment. Don't add up the days or weeks or years. Just eat the right foods, for God's sake, and find the Melanie you never knew existed. She's in there.

I know you can find her.

With respect, Mark D.

From: Czcz at

Hi Melanie, I totally understand your problem, since I too have been struggling since August to stay on track. I had a good month back then, but since have been going on and off the diet like a yo yo. I love food too, and as I mentioned recently, I used to be a compulsive eater. I solved the problem, but was used to having moderate amounts of sweets on a regular basis, and limiting my options made me very angry, like a little girl being told NO!

It was driving me crazy, because until I stay on it a reasonable amount of time, how can I prove to myself that it works? I realize it has helped so many others, which is why I am eager for the same healing. I have gotten sicker over the last few months. I had one surgery in 1999, which was such a trauma for me that I never want to go through that again. I was told last spring that the inflammation has recurred, which is why I am having problems now (D, rectal pain and bleeding, low energy etc.) I recently decided to put a sincere effort to trying SCD, no cheating. I just got myself a buddy on this list, someone to write to each day. I think that will help me. Perhaps you could do the same? Only you can stick to the diet, but it helps to have an experienced person guide you through the rough spots. Of course the entire list is here for you, but maybe an experienced buddy to give you special attention will help.

Today is day 4 for me, and I am feeling encouraged. I also definitely recommend doing as much cooking of the wonderful foods that we can have, to make your meals as delicious as possible. I have decided that this is essential for me to stay on track. Also, be willing to spend the money to get yourself the best quality foods you can afford. You are worth it.

Good luck, and feel free to write me directly if you like. I am still getting my "sea legs", but I am feeling much more confident. I hope you too will find the help you need here. This is a wonderful group. Don't let the Crohn's run your life. You deserve better.

To Melanie Rogers from Elaine

Melanie, the critters contributing to your illness have physiologically made you addictive. Please don't let them subvert you. Make plenty of goodies - sweet and otherwise from the two books you have always have them on hand. Claire on the list is having the same trouble as you are. If you have stocks of legal foods on hand all the time, you can make a dash for the legals and I think it will satisfy you. If chocolate is driving you crazy, then take a half thimble of chocolate, cut it in half and reward yourself each evening after dinner with a piece of illegal chocolate. If it takes being illegal to get legal - go for it. Love

From: Johanna

Hi Melanie I think that alot of us sympathise with you. It takes some patience to stick to any diet. You will find as the months pass that doing the SCD becomes easier and easier. You learn ways of coping for different situations. For example: Eating out at someone elses place- never rely on there being food for you to eat that is legal. Either eat before you go or take your own dish. When you are at home eating with your family you may find that you will be eating something completely different from time to time. I think that you just have to accept this, but perhaps you could make something that closely resembles what they are eating. I would also suggest that you have 1-2 sessions of baking a week so that you can freeze food to use when you are pushed for time or simply can't be bothered. When you are out and about always take a snack with you e.g nuts and fruit, fruit leather, banana You never know when something is going to prevent you from getting home to prepare SCD food. For you at the moment it seems that celebations are impossible times to stick to a diet, but it can be done. For example, when I went to someones Thanksgiving meal, I first off asked what food would be available and then took along my own dishes. I took Kerrie's Green bean and Almond dish and Nancy's Pecan Pie. I was able to eat the asparagus and turkey that was already there. Everyone loved the dishes that I took along (thanks Kerrie and Nancy). Over Christmas we had people to stay. It was the first time that I was able to successfully cope without cheating or going hungry. Before they arrived I decided what I was going to cook for them for the entire time they were here (2 1/2 weeks) and also what I was going to eat. (I tried to make my dishes closely resemble theirs although I didn't always manage, but that didn't matter) While they were here I made sure that I had muffins in the freezer and that the yoghurt was in plentyful supply. When taking them sightseeing I always took snacks and soup with me just in case they wanted to stop off at a restaurant or something. If I was able to eat something at the restaurant then great, but if not, so what.

I know you have a busy life with a young family but do you think that you would be able to do some of the above? Your health is worth it don't you think?


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Updated: Wednesday, 31-Dec-69 16:25:11 PST