Phase II update

A few have inquired as to how I’m doing in “Phase II” since I talked about my experience roughly a year ago. Long story short, I’m pretty much back on the SCD. Allow me to clarify. Remember what the BTVC book says about “fanatical adherence”? In that sense, I am no longer doing the SCD as I allow myself to digress about ten percent of the time.

It can be confusing to talk about how SCD you are when in reality you are either complying with the SCD or you are not. The people that try to do the SCD partway generally experience frustration, lack of progress and dissatisfaction. My characterization of being 90% SCD is simply a convenience of communication, not an endorsement of divergence from the SCD.

My experimenting with illegal foods started slowly with care and diligence. That control eroded and I found myself eating non-SCD a great deal of the time. I was trying to make up for lost donuts. And chocolate. And chocolate donuts.

As I was wallowing in those carbs, I experienced a year of difficult times. It was very stressful, took me out of my home and routine a great deal and I used that as an excuse to turn to those forbidden foods for comfort. I suffered for it and knew that I needed to return to the SCD. I found that I was very angry about the need to go back to SCD and being stubborn, resisted it. It took me a while to understand that emotion, but I finally realized what it was. I was mad that I had Crohn’s. I don’t remember feeling angry when I was young and so sick. I think I was just grateful at the time to have found a surgery that saved my life. I didn’t have the time to shake my fist at the sky as I was too busy enjoying being alive again. Even more than the anger, I realized that I had invested heavily in the idea of doing the SCD for 3-4 years, being healed completely and showing the world how great the SCD is. That investment did not meet my high hopes. Once I accepted the reality that I would have to be strict SCD or nearly so, I was on my way back. I had to switch from a delayed gratification mindset to a way of life mindset.

One of the things that I’ve learned about myself is that I am a weak human. My family and friends may not understand how I could say that. After all, I went four plus years denying myself chocolate, french fries and all those “good” things. My challenge is to keep the cheats to a minimum and watch out for “cheat creep”. Cheat creep is my term for thinking something along the lines of “if one taste of potato chips is okay, then two can’t be much worse, right?” After all these years and all the reinforcement the diet has given me, it’s still a challenge for me, a weak human.

To conclude, phase II was also an experiment. I learned some things about myself and now I’m nearly SCD compliant. Only time will tell if a 90% SCD lifestyle is a bad idea. Right now it feels like a good compromise. I get to feel awesome nearly all the time and I’m not mad anymore.

To read my previous update, see this post from April 26, 2009.

For my next update, see this post from January 18, 2012.


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30 Responses to “Phase II update”


  1. 1 Karen Baldwin May 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I like that you have shared your experiences. I too cheat a bit, mostly with rice, corn chips and chocolate. I would say that I adhere to the diet 95% of the time. I know when I am under stress and I cheat I really pay a price. Thanks for sharing, it helps us all!

  2. 3 NJ May 18, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I understand. Except that I was angry from the start. I had a cast iron stomach. I thought people with stomach aches were weenies.
    I don’t know if I’m still angry or not.
    I understand the creep.
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about 90% compliant.
    One question. Have you tried coconut flour?
    I tried it. Got a little stomach ache but no bleeding. Not sure if I’m healed enough for it.Or if it even works.
    Thank you soooo much for your update. It helps alot.
    I do have a future.
    Regards.
    NJ

  3. 4 Cindy May 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I get what you mean about feeling weak but let’s get real…I’m living with UC and I know Crohn’s can feel worse. You are very strong to live with Crohn’s. Weak with food? Again, I’m not thinking feeling like you want to participate in eating all the food available to us or to participate in life like a “normal” person is weak. Having to limit ourselves, even at 90%, is an achivement and makes for a very strong person.

  4. 6 Tracee May 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I hear you loud and clear. I finally got myself to only 2 non-SCD items a week. I was feeling amazing and lot’s of energy. Then I made a few cheats about 3 weeks ago and I am still tired and achey from it. And caffeine dependant! It’s so incredible what the diet can do for some of us, and how quickly we can go downhill when we cheat. And knowing this, why do we do it??? My little boy, almost 5, is SCD. I really need to be a good example for him as well.

    But I think for those of us that have tasted the forbidden “junk”, it will be a struggle, keeping the beast at bay. I hope for my son the SCD will be what he knows (and hopefully one day some gf whole grains), and hopefully he won’t get hooked on the junk like we have. It’s like a bad crack habit. But when I have been eating well, I appreciate the energy.

    So here’s to staying on the SCD wagon!!! Best wishes for a quick recovery.

    • 7 Paul Stocker May 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      Tracee,

      Thanks for the input. It’s like when I quit smoking cigars. I didn’t have more than about two a week, but I realized that I was thinking about it a lot and I figured that was a bad sign. The junk addiction is much harder. I’m the only one in my house on the SCD so there is plenty of SAD foods and food-like items freely available to me most of my waking hours. At least you can avoid crack in the grocery store.

      -Paul

  5. 8 Jodie May 24, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Our 4yr old daughter was diagnosed with colitis 2 years ago & we have been on the SCD for almost 12mths, happily sympton free for 6+. our 2 children are aged 3 & 4yrs & are on the scd 100% of the time. as far as the kids are considered mummy & daddy “only eat healthy food” too, as we eat only scd when with them. scd has seen a huge adjustment to our lifes but has also been such a wonderful eye-opener, even a blessing in disguise. the kids are soooo healthy! i am guilty of taking it a little further & have removed all processed food except for legal cheeses. i figure the less “done” to our food the better. even “lactose free” items such as milk or cream are avoided. we figure remaining on the scd for life wouldnt be such a bad thing – well for as long as we parents have a say in our kids food intake!
    but i have digressed …i want to say thank you & thank you again for sharing your journey & “your experiments”, you are helping guide the way for us novices who are trying to understand our young daughter’s body.

  6. 10 Kat May 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Paul, Glad to hear you’re mostly back on SCD. I have dabbled with trying different illegals since being symptom free for a long time. I have found sweet potato and cocoa powder to be ok, but the chocolate can only be in the morning or the caffeine keeps me awake at night.

    I also tried white rice and my stomach did ok, but I wasn’t feeling as good as usual. I was also craving it like mad, and that got me pretty upset mentally. I hate the feelings of cravings. I’m currently back on a lower-carb SCD to get over the cravings and out of balance feeling. I plan to keep chocolate and sweet potato as occasional foods. I never want to go ‘off’ SCD, I actually missed my SCD food when I was away on vacation!

    I’ll be posting soon about my China trip and how I tried more illegals, including wheat. I will never be having wheat again..

    I know my experiences are different from yours in that I have Celiac not Crohns, but I always like to see how others who have been on the diet a long time are doing. Thanks for posting an update 🙂

    • 11 Paul Stocker May 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      Kat,

      Funny you should say that you missed your SCD foods. Whenever I cook SCD in front of someone new, they often are jealous of what I’m eating.

      I’ll be looking forward to hearing how your China trip went. Unless you speak Chinese, I bet it was even more difficult to know what you were eating.

      -Paul

  7. 12 Candice June 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Paul, I am so glad I’m not the only one. I felt lonely in my 90% SCD. Adding coco powder to some of my favorite SCD sweets brought me great joy, and finding a “legal” store bought food and not bothering to contact the company has served me well. I’d say to myself it’s not hurting me so I can do it. And I was ok with the coco powder after all I deserved it for all the times I watched people close to me power down fast food or cookies. Then 10 months in I lost control and convinced myself like an addit that I could add some puffed rice cereal but it begun to take control. I’d eat a whole box in one day. But I still felt ok. A week later my hands started to ache, then my belly. I hated myself for doing it. Then last week I convinced myself I could eat a few french fries. Then all hell broke loose and the guilt was too much too bear. I was so mad at my freakin colon, and for having to go back to the intro diet. But knowing I’m not alone because of blogs like yours I can look at myself more like I’m a human, we all make mistakes. Whether we’re on SCD or not. Thank you for sharing it.

    • 13 Paul Stocker June 20, 2010 at 8:33 am

      Candice,

      I’m starting to believe that experiences like ours are entirely common, but we just don’t hear about them. Thank your for sharing. It helps me to hear from you too.

      -Paul

  8. 14 Nicole June 22, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Thanks for sharing! A few months I thought it was okay to begin experimenting also but found that I was moving further and further away from what I knew made me feel good. After the pain returned I realized that I needed to go back. IT IS a lifetime change and the 2-3 year limit was out the door for me! I have gotten to where I am 95% back, I am also hoping that the 5% is a good idea. Only time will tell but it is so encouraging to read everyone’s post. It really encourages me to keep pressing forward.

    Stay encouraged everyone!!

    Nicole

  9. 15 Thao July 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Thank you for sharing. My fiance has crohns and I finally convinced him to go on SCD. He has not had any pain since he started and I’ve even gotten him to look up and research recipes. I know it’s going to be a battle for him since he had very bad eating habits before Crohns but I’m trying to be supportive as much as possible. Reading your blog and all the other crohns blogs has helped me alot to know what’s to come and what to expect. Thank you!

    Question – have you heard of Salba, do you know if it’s legal?

  10. 17 Amelina July 26, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Hi Paul,
    I just found your blog today and have been reading bits here and there (mostly your story and this post). I was on SCD for just shy of two years during ’06-’08, only to experiment with illegal foods (whole grains, sugar, raw cacao…) it all got out of hand and I, too, have turned back to SCD. I know I have trouble controlling my “cheats” so I’ve chosen to go back 100%. I find that little taste here and there turns into big tastes all of the time. So for me at least, it seems to be 100% or not at all 😛 I hope your 90% version treats you right. Good luck!

  11. 19 Heather August 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I was doing the scd for 2 years from 07-09. When I was 100% I don’t ever remember feeling angry or deprived but as soon as I cheated I have never been able to go back to 100%. I also get really upset somedays that I can’t just eat a cookie or ice cream like everybody else and not pay for it later.
    Another lovely symptom as of about a year ago is I get a terrible case of insomnia if I injest even a crumb of ‘illegal’ food. One day not too long ago my little niece kissed me after eating toast and I was up for 3 nights straight. It makes me wonder what I’ll do when I have kids. I don’t want to feed them SAD junk but if they are able to have oats or rice or a cookie here and there I don’t want to take those things away.
    I believe it’s true, our struggles make us stronger. I don’t think you are a weak human .. just human 🙂

    • 20 Paul Stocker August 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm

      Heather,

      Thanks for the support. I’ve given it some thought and with the encouragement I’ve received from you and others I’ve decided to remove the “weak” from my post.

      -Paul

  12. 21 Maggie September 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Hi there. Interesting blog. I just found it today. I also have an IBD; mine is Collagenous Colitis. I controlled it beautifully for 7 years with the SCD. The last three years I started to include foods that I certainly should have stayed away from: including gluten, french fries, gravy etc. I had a recent serious flare up. I am now totally and completely back on SCD- (even to aqueezing my own almond milk for my coffee and then making crackers out of the leftover pulp). After only two months back on it; I am now symptom free again, and so grateful that there’s this diet to help me. You see, my first reaction with the BIG flare up was to do the meds. Why? I wanted an ‘easy’ fix I think; easier than SCD. Well- I had a severe adverse reaction to the drug which included an ‘exacerbation’ of the colitis. So the big flare turned into a BIG BIG scary flare. It went on and on and on. Then I just went totally back to the diet; and I am sticking with it; and gratefully sticking with it. Good luck to you, I hope 90% works. My advice would be to take care to make that 10% things you add slowly, carefully, and with caution into your diet with a wait and check it out attitude. The diet isn’t so bad- what active IBD can do to your life IS bad.
    Good luck.

  13. 23 Eileen February 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Dear Paul:
    I did SCD 100% compliant for almost 3 years. I had serious myriad of IBD and probable celiac. I do fine now off the diet but I have to be 100% gluten free. I have other food intolerances which will cause bloating and and headaches and I stay away from these foods. I am planning on going back on SCD but not 100% compliant just so I can have SCD legal dairy. Just being gf has made it so I have to eliminate dairy and I miss it. So I am going to try and see if this works. The only thing I plan to cheat with is using brown rice and brown rice pasta occasionally, no junk food. Good Luck!

  14. 25 Karen April 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your blog. I was trolling the interwebs trying to keep my motivation for doing the SCD up and stumbled on your story.

    After dealing with progressively worse IBD symptoms for the past 10 years (stress induced) and what I’ve come to realize is a carbohydrate addiction from a lifelong love affair with sweets, I found Elaine’s story and book and incorporated it into my diet.

    I’ve been on (and off) the diet for about a year and have had limited success. I can finally eat food, SCD legal food, without worrying about bathroom locations. 🙂 But like you, I missed the normal foods of my childhood and this past holiday season I feel off the wagon – not to a great extent, but enough that it through my system off enough that I went through a bad craving period.

    I’ve been off the illegal foods for a few weeks now, and am fighting the little voice in my head, or maybe that’s my stomach talking to me, that’s telling me to ‘cheat’.

    Chocolate coffee is the one illegal that I haven’t been able to give up, but it does take the edge off the craving for chocolate donuts. And it doesn’t seem to bother me all that much if I use coconut oil creamer to smooth it out.

    I’ve also added Food Combining basics to my diet to see if straightening out my digestion further up in the system might help.

    Oh – and I absolutely love making my own yogurt and incorporating it into smoothies and desserts with almond flour and honey.

    Anyway, hang in there! And thanks again for your inspring story.

    Best,
    Karen

  15. 27 Robyn July 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Paul, can you give us another update. After suffering for over 40 years, I found the SCD diet in Jan. I AM ALREADY SYMPTOM FREE. Your recipes have been wonderful additions to support my journey. I only wish you would add some more. I hope you continue to do well.
    Thanks for your story and thoughtful sharing.
    Robyn

    • 28 Paul Stocker July 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

      Robyn,

      Wow, you life must be so different now. Congratulations on your healing and thanks for sharing.

      As for an update, I’m doing great.The SCD continues to control my symptoms and I do what I please. I have plenty of energy and I’m happy. I haven’t seen a GI since a colonoscopy follow up in the spring of 2009. If I had followed that doctor’s advice, I’d have been on Imuran for 2+ years by now.

      I am trying to get new recipes on my site, but I am slow and distracted by many things. I trust you have found the recipes section of my blog?

      I am doing well and I thank you for your good wishes. I hope your journey continues to feel like ALL CAPS! 🙂

      -Paul

  16. 29 lookingatunseenthings December 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Paul,
    I just read your “About” story. . That was heartbreaking all you went through. . and that it was 22 years before you found SCD. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to tell your story. Our 13 yr. old has had symptoms for almost 4 years, and pediatrician kept thinking it must be allergies, so were slowly eliminating things like gluten, dairy, soy, etc.. .In recent months, she had started waking up several times each night; she was always fatigued, underweight. . and had developed other IBD symptoms. We knew we had to get down to business to find a cure. Finally a month or so ago we found SCD. She seems to be doing a little better . I have read that progress can be perceptively slow.
    It’s wonderful people like you who are willing to tell your story that can help bring healing to so many who are suffering.
    God bless you and your family and keep up the great postings!

    • 30 Paul Stocker December 10, 2011 at 7:26 am

      Lookingatunseenthings,

      Thank you for writing. I’m so sorry your daughter is having problems and hope she can continue to improve. I’m glad to share my story as I felt very much alone in my experience when I was young.

      -Paul


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