Have you heard that everyone heals at a different speed?
Or maybe you’ve heard us say, “Everyone has a custom version of SCD that works and you’re just a few tweaks away from finding yours.”
Don’t get too excited, I’m not going to present any contradictory theories, because I say these things to people every day. Instead, I’m presenting a framework that we’ve been working on to help you understand what to expect and how to see the fastest results healing your gut.
We’ve noticed there’s a few patterns that are the same. Recognizing these patterns early will allow you to avoid a bunch of trial and error mistakes like we, and many of the people we’ve worked with, made. Instead, we hope this quiz will give you a head start towards being pain-free as fast as possible.
Fast Pain Relief Starts Here
There’s some debate on whether the SCD works for everyone. Even Elaine Gottschall said “only about 90% of people will be helped” however, Jordan and I think that’s a misinterpretation… as long as you believe that the things you put in your body (like food, drink, and thoughts) have a direct impact on how you heal, then you can’t deny that eating a better diet will benefit your health.
Instead, I think what Elaine noticed in the digestion community is that there is an immense range of individuality in our diseases, our medical history, our age, our genetics, epigenetics and our environment. Science is proving all of these add up to your current health and it turns out most of us need more than just diet change to get the kind of health transformations we want.
I think that statement from Elaine was the best way she could explain the results people were reporting. Her research told her that the SCD would help everyone who tried it. However, some of us need much more than just diet changes to get back to some level of normal health.
We’ve had the unique position for over 2 years now to hear from and intimately help 1000’s of people, and this what we’ve found:
Jumping head first into the full Specific Carbohydrate Diet isn’t for everyone, in fact, it turns out that taking this approach can cause many people to fail.
This Trend is Common in the SCD, GAPS, and Paleo Communities
It’s not acceptable to us that people were failing and we wanted to understand why, so we started spending more time in other natural diet communities learning and growing our knowledge. While checking them out and interacting in them, we noticed the same patterns we see in SCD.
We thought the answer was in the scientific literature, but it wasn’t spelled out there either. However, after looking at these cases from various thought paradigms, we started to see that everyone has a custom diet… a custom version of SCD that works for them at that moment in time. It’s not so much that this diet (or the others above) is right or wrong as it is about adapting what you eat to your current state of health.
For example, some people on SCD can’t eat dairy, eggs, or almond flour – while others do just fine eating all three. Others have problems with nightshades or too much fruit. Each person is a little different and they change over time. We see this with people who are able to return to eating egg, dairy or nuts after being unable to handle them in the beginning.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet provides a framework to operate within, but it needs to be individualized for your body, history, and environment. The goal should be to match the foods you’re eating to the state of health you’re at, and continue to evolve and expand your diet as you heal.
We went through the process of creating our custom diet and we’ve helped thousands of others do the same thing. This customization process has taught us a very important lesson…
People Typically Fall Into One of Two Distinct Groups: “Tough Case” or “Mild Case”
You’re either one or the other and it will dictate exactly how you should create your custom diet and get better. That’s good and bad…
It’s good because we’ve had the good fortune to figure this out and test it with many other people like you. It’s bad because you’ll likely be faced with several hard decisions once you know more about what it takes to get your health back.
But there’s more good news: we’ve created a quiz to help you figure out which group you belong to. These questions were born out of working with thousands of digestive cases and helping people troubleshoot their custom diets. It’s a compilation of the signs and symptoms we’ve found tend to indicate which path you should take to heal your gut…
The Tough Case/Mild Case quiz…
Read each of the following questions and simply answer Yes or No
- In the past 7 days, have you observed any blood in the toilet? (yes/no)
- Did you have more than 6 bowel movements yesterday? (yes/no)
- Have you ever been prescribed any of the following drugs (Imuran, Humira, Remicade, or any other TNF-alpha inhibitors)? (yes/no)
- Are you considered a “non-responder” to any drug treatments for digestive disease (for example: Bentyl, Prednisone, Sulfasalazine, Mesalamine, etc., )? (yes/no)
- Have you had surgery to remove any portion of your upper or lower intestines? (yes/no)
- Do you experience any food allergies or food intolerances? (yes/no)
- Has it been more than 3 days since your last bowel movement? (yes/no)
- Do you regularly use enemas to initiate a bowel movement (yes/no)
- Do you use any kind of over-the-counter laxatives on a weekly or daily basis in order to go to the bathroom? (yes/no)
- Do you suffer from high levels of anxiety or depression? (yes/no)
- Do you consider yourself to have moderate to bad acne or other skin issues (i.e. eczema, rashes)? (yes/no)
- Are you or have you attempted SCD, Paleo, GAPS, GFCF, or another alternative healing diet and been disappointed with the results? (yes/no)
- Does this statement describe you…“Despite trying several treatment options (natural or drug), nothing seems to change my symptoms”? (yes/no)
- Have you experienced unexplainable weight loss and can’t put it back on, or have you struggled to lose weight no matter what you’ve tried? (yes/no)
Okay, now it’s time to be honest… how many yeses did you have? If it was 2 or more then that indicates you’re a tough case. It’s that simple… no exceptions.
I’m a Tough Case, Now What?
If you’re a tough case, the questions reveal that your current health situation is complex and it’s likely you have a combination of problems. The quiz screens for problems like: full-blown leaky gut, high inflammation, gut dysbiosis (bacterial, yeast, or parasite), immune system dysregulation or autoimmunity, intestinal damage, and hormonal imbalances. You might be suffering from any number of these conditions and the quiz helps identify that.
The fact that prior treatments haven’t succeeded in controlling your symptoms is a strong indicator that you have multiple problems contributing to your current condition regardless of what you’re clinical diagnosis is. The combination of these indicates that you need a more thorough and customized healing protocol than the regular “sick” person that makes natural diet changes to help their digestion. Many Tough Cases start full SCD , GAPS, or Paleo and still struggle with their debilitating symptoms and give up. Here’s a couple examples of Tough Cases:
Tough Case Example 1:
John* has been on and off Prednisone and Asacol ever since he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 2 years ago. He’s currently on Imuran but most days he goes to the bathroom at least 8 times. Lucky for him, there’s hardly ever any blood, but his acne is still as bad as ever, which drives him nuts. Overall, he feels lethargic and depressed. He tried following full SCD 6 months ago and didn’t see an improvement, so he gave up and went back to eating his old diet. His doctor is concerned and is recommending he start Humira, which is driving him to find other solutions to his problems.
Tough Case Example 2:
Sue* has been sick many times during her lifetime, taken lots of antibiotics and always seemed to have irregular bowel habits. She has eczema that seems to come and go just like her unstable bowel movements. She has a cupboard full of laxatives and enemas and tries not to use them but once she starts feeling bloated she can’t help it. She’s done a lot of hard work to take responsibility for her health including trying several natural diets, cleanses, and health food store supplements. She seems to slowly be getting better, but is left wondering if this is all even worth it.
Both of these are examples of Tough Cases that are unlikely to quickly respond to a generic natural diet and supplement change, even full SCD. Hopefully you’re starting to see how the questions in the quiz help identify the complex and subtle combination of problems you might have.
While the “Tough Case” group might sound dark and gloomy, it’s actually not. What it really means is we know how to stop your pain extremely fast! Typically it takes a few supplements and a custom introductory SCD protocol. Then, once you’re in a pain-free food safe zone… we can focus on rebuilding your health by expanding your diet and addressing additional needs.
The bottom line is: you need to follow a different protocol with more customization than a mild case does.
I’m a Mild Case, What Does That Mean?
A Mild Case means you answered yes to less than two of the questions above. You can be grateful that your digestive pains are likely stoppable in a shorter period of time. Like we said, our first objective for you is to adopt new behaviors that will relieve your pain and address the common root causes of digestion trouble.
You’re likely dealing with mild leaky gut, mild inflammation, an overactive immune system, and some degree of gut dysbiosis (either bacterial, fungal, or parasite in nature). Many Mild Cases start full SCD, GAPS, or Paleo and see immediate improvement in all their symptoms. Here are some more examples:
Mild Case Example 1:
Deb* has struggled with IBS for many years, she seems to alternate between diarrhea and constipation. It’s very frustrating for her and she’s been to the doctor several times. She’s taken their recommendations of more fiber and saw some improvements in consistency but it doesn’t help her with the bloated stomach and random gut pains. She even had a Celiac blood test, which came back negative. Other than being a normal stressed-out mom who has good and bad days, she hasn’t ever thought of herself as depressed.
Mild Case Example 2:
Chris* lives a highly active life and the high stress corporate lifestyle. From time to time he gets awful stomach pains, gas, and sometimes diarrhea. It’s starting to happen more frequently and about once a week he has a bad day. He knows he can’t tolerate dairy. In fact, he hasn’t eaten it in years. Overall, he eats what he believes to be a very healthy low-fat diet based on what he’s read in mainstream health magazines. Every time he goes to the doctor they tell him not to worry, there isn’t much he can do about his random gut pains. He’s starting to become more concerned because last week he missed his flag football game and guys night out because he was stuck on the toilet.
In both of these Mild Case examples, these people will likely respond very quickly to the full SCD or Paleo diet. If this sounds anything like your situation don’t think you can just stop there. You’ll still need to add some supplements and adopt other healthy behaviors like managing your stress, but when it comes to your food choices, a highly nutritious low-toxin diet will really help.
Which case are you?
Tell us how you scored in the comments and what you thought of the questions. We’d love your feedback on our ideas!
DISCLAIMER: This quiz isn’t intended to diagnose your problems nor does it provide a comprehensive health analysis. Only your Doctor can do that 🙂
*Names changed to protect identities