30-Year Vegetarian Remedies Constipation, Skin Rashes and Joint Pain with SCD

by Steven Wright

We have a thriving community on Facebook that routinely brightens my day.  About a month ago, a member named Melody posted a glowing statement about her health and our eBook. Then, she stuck around and started helping others with their questions. As I saw it unfolding, I had to know more…

“Wow you just look fabulous. What are you doing?”


Well, I was vegetarian for about 30 years. And things were okay, but I was heavy. I was a lot heavier than I am now. And I was starting not to feel so good. So I did some research, and I went raw for three years. And I felt even worse, but people in the raw community tell you how great they’re feeling, and how their skin is clearing up, and how everything’s moving and everything. But maybe the first month I felt like that, but then afterwards things were clogging up, if you know what I mean. And my face was broken out. My hands were cracking.

“I had a huge rash along my neck and down my arms. I just felt horrible.”

But I stayed with it because I really believed in the raw lifestyle. I really believed in it.  And then I went to a Chinese doctor, and she started telling me to eat a little meat. And that I should steam my vegetables. And it’s like, “No, I can’t do that.” So, I stayed with that for awhile. I went to her treatments, got my acupuncture and my herbs, but things weren’t progressing as well as I expected. I was still constipated. I still had a lot of rosacea in the face. And I just didn’t feel terrific.

“No, I can’t because I’m a raw foodist. I can’t eat meat.”

And so I was talking to a friend who has, I believe he has Crohn’s. And he was telling me that he’s on this diet for people who can’t digest their food very well. And I said, “That’s me.” And I said, “Well, what are you eating, mostly vegetables and fruit?” And he goes, “No, Melody. It’s mostly meat.” And so I bit the bullet and I did my research. I got on your website, and I got the book. And I fixed my chicken soup, and cooked my fruit. And things were clearing up…

“But I was still constipated, so I contacted you guys.”

I said, “You know, I’m doing this, but I’m still constipated. What can you do?” And someone wrote me back. I don’t know if it was you or Jordan, but you wrote me back and said, “Take some fat. You’ve got to have some fat in your diet.” So, I bought some coconut oil and I started scooping it in my mouth.

“It really worked. And I ended up losing 37 pounds so far.”

Yeah, I just feel fabulous. And the big deal is that my joints don’t hurt. At the end it was getting so bad that standing on my toes, bending my toes really, really hurt. I mean, I would do it just because I knew that those joints needed to move. But oh my gosh it hurt. My knees hurt, bending and stuff. And this is, I mean it’s such a big deal for me. I mean, I’m stronger in my yoga practice now at age 60 than I was at age 40 when I was a vegetarian.

So, for me, this works. There’s no inflammation. My face is cleared up. My rash is gone on my neck. My rash is gone on my arms. My skin is clear and soft. And I really, really feel good, so I know that my digestion is working now. Yeah, it’s just fabulous. And people ask me,

“Well, you know you don’t have to do that forever.”

And it’s like, well I don’t know why would I want to eat any different? Right now, this is really working. I’ve been on this diet probably since March. And so it’s been pretty quick, I think. The first month I started noticing my joints. And I started losing weight. I probably wrote to you right away, because I knew that that’s what I needed to do was I needed to poop. And so I’m sure I wrote to you right away. And so things started moving. And I didn’t do things perfectly, but I figured that’s okay too. If you don’t do things perfectly and it still works, gosh that’s pretty cool.

I don’t eat any crap, I mean, I’m not eating any flour, or gluten, or grains or anything. But I have my date nut rolls that I like. And those are my sweets. And I probably eat too much bacon now because it tastes pretty good.

So, you saw significant changes within three months?

I did. I did. And I still hear things from my yoga students, “Wow you just look fabulous. What are you doing?”  It’s like, I changed my diet. And I’ll tell them all about it. And then they’re going, “Oh, I could never do that.” And it’s like, yes you could. If you hurt, you could do it, because you want to heal your body. Oh, that’s the other thing is that your website, putting out those messages every day gives me good information. It taught me that when my nose drips after I eat, I’m eating something that doesn’t agree with me. If I had acid reflux after I eat, I’m eating something that doesn’t agree with me. If I can’t poop, there’s something wrong.

Yes, I’ve got to poop. Everybody’s got to poop.

I eat fabulous. I mean, I’m going to have a nice chicken breast. I’ve got some butternut squash in the refrigerator. I’m going to fix that. And I’ve got greens in the garden. I’m going to go cut some kale and Swiss chard, and stir-fry those. And it’s going to be a fabulous meal.

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Wow, seriously inspiring right? She did this at 60! It’s never too late. Huge thanks to Melody for taking time to chat with me. She is located in the Saint Louis area if anyone wants to meet up with her and take some yoga classes!

You’re next. Health is a choice. Email us your story.

-Steve

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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.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Bernard October 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

That’s great to hear she cleared up her problems by switching to the SCD. But what about those who still have constipation on it? I have gastroparesis, which is delayed stomach emptying, and I tried the SCD but the problem is that everything moves slower and is digested slower than normal, so eating alot of meat and fat is not good for me and makes me feel worse. I tried sticking to SCD approved carbs but more fruit makes me more backed up. As of now I’ve been sticking to skinless white potatoes, but am at a loss as to what else to eat to gain some weight. Any ideas?

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Joe Bernard October 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

To clarify, I’ve lost 23lbs this year from January to July, and need to gain weight back since I’m now anemic and have elevated BUN and liver levels due to being underweight at 5’10 125lbs as a 23yr old guy.

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Steven Wright October 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

@Joe – Thanks for the comment. Constipation is a tricky issue, people want to make it simple when in reality it’s not. I’m always curious what portion of the gastroparesis population has low stomach acid. Have you had yours tested? You could try using MCT oil and Coconut oil to add calories as they are absorbed very fast without much effort from the body.

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Joe Bernard October 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

Steve,

I have not had mine formally tested, but I did the test with betaine HCL that you described in one of your posts and I’m positive that I have low stomach acid. I went up to either 6 or 7 pills before I felt a burning sensation, so it’s pretty low. What would that mean then? I’ve been having some coconut oil but I cannot have much because it slows down my digestion too much and kills my hunger, which is not good.

I’m honestly thinking of ditching paleo and literally eating whatever to gain weight because the longer I stay at this weight the more stress I’m putting on my body and the more damage that happens as a result. I also am anemic and have elevated BUN and AST (liver) levels, and my doc said regaining weight will reverse them. I basically need to gain around 10lbs before I can even start working out just because what happened to my body as a result of the unwanted weight loss. As you can imagine I’m frustrated and lost and am looking for advice as to correct my problem.

On a side note: your podcast is great, I’ve learned much from it and enjoy hearing about the different facets of digestion.

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Jordan Reasoner October 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Hi Joe – definitely don’t take anything we say as medical advice because we’re not Doctors. I was scary skinny my first year on this diet, but I felt so good I didn’t care.

It took a while to get the weight back, but taking Betaine HCL really improved things. Lots of healthy fats, digestive enzymes, and Betaine HCL. The enzymes and betaine made it so I was actually started to digest food properly and absorb the nutrients… the healthy fats made sure I was actually getting enough calories each day.

Use something like http://fitday.com to see how many calories you’re actually eating.

Hang in there man, I believe in you!

Jordan

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Joe Bernard October 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hey Jordan,

I’ve been taking Betaine HCL for about two months now and it has helped me to digest things better and enabled me to eat a wider variety of food, but I still get my usual symptoms of bloating, constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain. I’ve also been logging all my food on http://www.myfitnesspal.com for awhile and my average daily calorie consumption is around 1,700-1,900 when looking at it from a weekly view. Daily, I try to hit 2,000-2,100 but I have some bad days of less than 1,000 due to the aforementioned symptoms. I’ll stick with it, but it’s very frustrating to keep spinning my wheels and go nowhere.

Pam October 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Hi, I have gastroparesis and leaky gut, over 20 food allergies with symptoms including chronic fatigue, gas, bloating, brain fog, memory loss, fibromyalgia, sinusitis, hypoglycemia, vitamin B12 and D deficiencies. It’s been a challenge finding what to eat that doesn’t cause my body distress. For me it’s gotten so bad that drinking water gives me stomach aches, which doesn’t help my constipation. I’m back to eating basic food like chicken broth and steamed vegetables in small portions.

I’m a generally positive person and won’t quit, but just here looking for answers that my doctors haven’t been able to pin point.

Thanks!

p.s. coconut oil does not agree with me 🙁

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Janet November 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

Pam, I was wondering if you have tried ghee. I am doing a lot of juicing and vegetable smoothies (with an apple and several seeds), and I alternate with coconut oil and ghee, just for variety. I also eat meat, of course. I don’t have issues with either fat, but I wondered if you have given that a try. Good luck, and God bless.

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Stacie January 3, 2013 at 12:13 am

Since I started SCD 45 days ago, I have become irregular. BMs are now every other day on average and more difficult to pass (normally a 3 on the Bristol Chart). I’m just starting Phase 2 with avocado (approx 1 per day), so I’m hoping the fat will help. Should I up my coconut oil intake? (Just using a bit now for reheating foods.) Eat more avocado? Try prunes???
I’ve been following your plan. I drink plenty of water, I’m taking SCD legal enzymes, probiotics and multivitamins. (SCD yogurt is ready to go and will start eating that in 2 days.)
I just want a Bristol ‘4’ again…

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Jordan Reasoner January 3, 2013 at 8:43 am

@Stacie – Yes, this is very common. Start with upping the fat. You can eat coconut oil off the spoon if you’d like. And also try some Sauerkraut.

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Stacie January 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Jordan–you guys rock.

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Diana January 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hi Jordan,

Can u please explain the difference btw Bet HCL and DGL? I know you are a huge fan of Betaine HCL, how do you take it? Would I stop taking nexium with this? Thanks!
Diana

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Jordan Reasoner January 31, 2013 at 3:40 am

Yes, you will need to work with your DOC to taper off nexium over 2-3 weeks before taking HCl.

DGL can help alleviate gastritis or stomach ulcers.

Jordan

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Allie February 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

To Pam and Joe, It sounds like your gut flora is way out of whack. Look into the GAPS Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, which is a take off from the SCD Diet and which specifically targets helping you to heal your leaky gut and get your intestinal flora back intact. She recommends the SCD diet for many things, but the GAPS variation helps other things more.

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Joe January 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I read with interest your comment. If I understood well you had to give up being vegetarian is it? But I am searching every bit of info I can find cos I wont ever eat meat no matter what. Kill a creature so as to live another. This I wont accept. Surely there must be a way.

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Mariel Heiss January 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Hi Joe – while we really respect your stance, we’re sorry but we do not have any vegetarian options for SCD. Thanks for stopping by and we hope you find the path to healing that is right for you!

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Steven Wright October 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

@Joe – Sounds like you are someone who needs more advanced testing to make sure there aren’t any pathogens in your GI tract. In the meantime try loading up on the coconut oil.

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Joe Bernard October 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I have an appointment with a motility doctor at Temple University next Wednesday, so I’m hoping he knows what to do. I’ll be sure to up the coconut oil, thanks.

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joe January 5, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for your replies. Can you tell what type of flour can I use. Am using gluten and found out that it contains corn starch which is illegal. Spelt is illegal too. Help!!!!

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Mariel Heiss January 6, 2016 at 3:58 pm

@Joe – no traditional “flour” is legal – but you can use nut flours like almond flour once you’ve progressed through the diet some. Hope that helps!

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