Specific Carbohydrate Diet Friends Spotlight: Amy from RoboRanch

by Steven Wright

We make it a priority to highlight SCD personalities from across the internet.  We love hearing success stories and want to spread the knowledge of those brave enough to share their specific carbohydrate diet stories.  

This week we are extremely happy to have interviewed Amy from Roboranch.  She is an amazing woman who blogs not only about her battles with Crohn’s and SCD but about her family, her city, and general musings on life.  It is a wonderful source of all things fun and exciting if you live in Ann Arbor, MI.

She features some great recipes, such as this one SCD Chicken Cordon Bleu anyone? But what we think is truly the gem of her blog are several articles in which she provides her experiences and advice to others who are doing SCD while pregnant.  There are not many examples or stories about SCD and pregnancy and Amy’s posts are filled with several helpful hints and great advice.

Her blog post detailing the lack of knowledge in the current medical community and gestational diabetes testing is a must read for anyone who is pregnant or thinking about it while following SCD.  She has another great post about breastfeeding on the diet here.  But all of these posts in my mind are overshadowed by her pregnancy tips post which is the best one on the internet for SCD and pregnancy in our minds.

All together Amy’s blog is a wonderful resource to all of us in the SCD community.  Her SCD success story is inspiring and her advice is spot on as far as we are concerned!  Also make sure you check out her mother’s website and SCD cookbook!

1: Why did you start the diet (symptoms, health problem)?

Growing up, I was a skinny kid who often complained of stomachaches and feeling “yucky.” In high school I began to have issues with rectal fistulas, and a tissue sample revealed the possibility of Crohn’s Disease. But I was young and in denial, and my disease wasn’t severe enough to stop me from living a pretty normal life. College, marriage, and my first real job–an office job that involved a lot of sitting and not much time for bathroom breaks. Slowly my disease crept up on me until I began experiencing daily bouts of stabbing stomach pain, endless gas, stool frequency, and bloating.

In 2000, a colonoscopy confirmed my diagnosis: incurable Crohn’s Disease. Part of my intestine was so narrowed and inflamed that I was not far from needing resection surgery. A short-term dose of Prednisone eased the pain and gave me back my appetite, but the maintenance drug Pentasa didn’t help me. So the docs brought in stronger artillery, an immunosuppressant drug called 6MP, which helped get me into remission.

In 2004, feeling pretty good and ready to get on with my life, I decided to stop taking 6MP in order to get pregnant. Thankfully, my body maintained remission throughout the pregnancy and for several months postpartum. But by the time my baby daughter was a year old, I desperately needed meds again. After several months of remission on 6MP, the drug began to lose effectiveness for me. My gastro told me that next up would be infusion therapy. I really didn’t want to go there, especially since I was hoping to have more children and this line of treatment wouldn’t allow for it.

I was feeling pretty depressed about the unfortunate state of my gut, when my mom told me about a friend who was on “a crazy diet” for Crohn’s. Supposedly, this woman hadn’t needed meds for years and had experienced successful pregnancies without complications. I was skeptical, but I talked to this woman about her diet called SCD. I listened to her story of a wildly successful recovery and remission. And then I looked up “Breaking The Vicious Cycle” on amazon.com (something I always do before making a purchase) and was amazed by the hundreds of glowing reviews. That same day, I ran out to buy a copy of the book, a yogurt maker, and the ingredients for chicken soup.

A month-and-a-half later I was off my meds and feeling better than ever (oh yes, and pregnant with baby number 2!).

2: How did the SCD Diet change your life?

I am in remission from Crohn’s Disease and haven’t needed medication for over 3 years. I have three beautiful, healthy, amazing young children. The youngest two are SCD babies; my oldest would probably be an only child if I hadn’t changed my eating habits. The SCD has given me control over my body–all I have to do is eat foods that my body can handle and avoid foods it can’t. How wonderful is that?

3: What was the biggest challenge you faced on the diet and how did you overcome it?

During my third pregnancy, I was horribly nauseous all of the time. Most of my go-to SCD meals and baked goods made me want to gag. All I wanted was mashed potatoes and soda crackers. So I ate them and felt pretty much okay, maybe because I had been on the diet for a couple of years. But let me tell you, when I started to eat a couple illegals here and there, it became really easy to start adding more of them back into my diet, and eventually I was eating illegals every day. How was my gut? Well, I wasn’t feeling horrible, but I wasn’t feeling great either. I went back to SCD 100% a few months ago, when my baby was a newborn. This has been an especially challenging commitment because I’ve had to give up dairy (no homemade yogurt or cheese) since my baby doesn’t tolerate cow’s milk protein in my breastmilk. Although it has been difficult without dairy options on the SCD, I’ve been feeling much healthier than when I was eating illegals; more energy, less gas, and no stomach pains.

4: What is the number 1 piece of advice you would give someone thinking about starting the diet?

When you are starting out on the SCD, I highly recommend asking a family member or a friend to go along for the initial ride. My mom was my diet buddy. Although she didn’t have IBD, she tried out the diet with me during the early months. It was wonderful to compare notes and share recipes; and it was invaluable to have someone who fully understood the ins and out of the diet and who knew what I was going through on a daily basis. Now Mom doesn’t eat SCD all the time, but she knows how to prepare meals I can eat when we visit. Plus, she’s developed a great online SCD cookbook called “Turtle Soup.” Check it out at http://bethsblog.typepad.com/bethsblog/turtle-soup-scd-recipes.html

 

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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