Steve’s SCD Healing Journal: Week 11 – Avoiding the Broken Record!

by Steven Wright

Co-Founder of SCD Lifestyle Steve Wright has finally broken down and started his path to intestinal healing.  After many years of undiagnosed digestive warfare in his body, these series of weekly posts will take you through his experiences, thoughts, and struggles on the SCD diet.  Check back and follow his progress:

Week 11 Summary

Happy Easter and Baseball Season everyone!  Hopefully you were all able to spend some meaningful time with your families this last weekend like I did.

As you know broken records repeatedly play the same tune over and over.  Well I’m approaching that same song, with this post.  I committed to writing this journal to help others and to use it as tool and for me to stay committed to the SCD diet.  Unfortunately to stay true to you and to myself I need to come clean on a few accounts.

Well, first things first, I ate some illegal foods this past week, mainly Easter candy.  Secondly I got into the wine pretty heavy several times last week, obviously not helping my health.  Lastly, this isn’t exactly a bad thing but I do feel like it needs to get out in the open, over the past couple months I’ve been following Brad Pilon’s Eat-Stop-Eat book and completing occasional intermittent fasting.

I purposely do not keep any SCD illegal foods in my apartment because I don’t want to have the temptation to try and cheat.  However, in a bout of cravings and feeling sorry for myself, I bought some candy late in the week and devoured the whole bag even though while I ate it I was disgusted with myself and it didn’t even taste good after the first couple pieces.  Then I did it again once I got around my parents house which was chock full of Easter candy.

Did the wine and candy make me feel awful mentally and physically?  Well of course it did!  I experienced the usual extreme energy surge and then crash, I had smelly gas and I didn’t have a solid poop for a couple days.  To some people that sounds horrible but to me those are short term consequences that I’ve been living with for so long that I’m not afraid of them.  What I can’t handle and hate with a passion are the mental side effects I get like a horrible attitude, lack of energy and zero focus or clarity.  The cheating always launches me into a depressed, lethargic former state of myself.  Which makes the vicious cycle worse because then I am unhappy and looking for quick gratification sources of happiness.

So Why Did I Do It?

That’s the same question I’ve been wrestling with all week.  Especially when I can freely admit to myself and Jordan that as I ate the candy I didn’t even like how it tasted or how it made me feel.  I think it has a lot to do with two things.  The first of which is that I’m stuck in limbo land; I don’t have a disease diagnosed by a doctor to relate my problems to.  All I have is a list of symptoms that I’m not happy with.  I’m reaching, guessing and going after these problems on my own.  I don’t have a doctor helping me or much support from family or friends to fall back on.

Jordan has talked about his non-wavering ability to stay committed to the SCD diet as a result of his Celiac Disease diagnosis and the long-term health consequences that will result from not taking care of himself every single day.  For him, a decision to deviate from the diet carries much more scary, long-term consequences than just a day on the toilet.  I think this is the disconnect in my mind, I currently don’t have or know what to expect in the long-term and so all I can focus on is the short-term consequences. Which is obviously not the way to approach the SCD diet as it is not a “quick fix” gimmick diet but rather a whole health approach way of living.

Secondly, I’m only in the preliminary stages of research into what is happening between my mind and body, but I did locate a study showing that sugar elicits a pleasure response higher than cocaine in rats.  Also, there is some interesting links between yeast/bacteria overgrowth and sugar/alcohol in the small intestine.  These articles at this point are a little over my head but from what I understand the toxins released by the bad guys negatively effect neurotransmitters in the brain.  This happens when the bad guys release salsolinol which affects levels of dopamine (Reward system) and serotonin (related to addiction) causing opioid (hard core drugs) like responses in the brain.  What that all means is that the yeast and bacteria are releasing chemicals into your body that trick your brain into craving more fuel for them to live on (sugars and starches).

Based on the list of symptoms that indicate Candida overgrowth I exhibit almost all of them including: mental symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, quick to anger for no reason, worry, loss of interest in activities, and bouts of mini depression cycles.

I’m not inferring that my actions last week or any previous week were uncontrollable.  Only that I wasn’t totally in the drivers seat and that the “bad guys” in my gut have been, and continue to, cause the release of very addicting chemicals in my brain that take my focus off of my healing and drive me to find a quick fix for the withdrawal symptoms.

So Where Do I Go From Here?

 

My plan is to get back to the basics.  Get back to my goals of mental and physical health and to achieve them by following a strict SCD diet.  I am also going to continue my path deeper into the research on yeast and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (which I believe is my biggest problem).  I’ve already ordered some natural herbal anti-fungals that should be arriving soon and I’m planning to start them in the next week or two.  Additionally, before I start any anti-fungals I’m going to try out some digestive enzymes.

In the coming weeks, other than adding a few simple things to my diet such as butter and possibly some new vegetables out of phases 1 or 2, I’m going to be restricting all honey intake and cutting out almost all fruit.  Once the anti-fungals kick-in with a strict SCD diet I’m expecting a significant “die-off” and will probably return to the intro diet soup as needed (this should be interesting to monitor because if you remember during my initial into diet experience I didn’t experience too many “die-off” symptoms).

I have finally made it back into the gym this week and the stress relief it brings me is something I’ve been missing the last couple weeks.  This one thing in and of itself may be what I have been missing lately.  I think cravings, whether societal or chemically induced, produce great amounts of anxiety in me.  My constructive outlet for all this energy is weightlifting.

I hope everyone continues to follow my journey even in these trying times and that I can still contribute to others by sharing my struggles.  Till next week….

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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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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen April 7, 2010 at 10:28 am

Your story sounds so similar to mine! Except I do actually have diagnosed Crohn’s Disease. But the symptoms, right down to the horrible attitude, lack of focus and clarity are spot on. I do not do follow a strict SCD but I am gluten and dairy free and try to keep the sugar intake very low. I eat as natural as I can, organic and whole foods. It has changed my life and I’ve been med free for 4 months and just got the ok from my doc to stay off meds as long as I’m feeling great. I do have slips especially around the holidays but I always feel that same familiar misery when I do and the food doesn’t taste good anymore anyway. I was undiagnosed for a long time and I definitely found that it was a lot harder to stick to the diet when I didn’t have an actual diagnosis to keep me strict. Now that I do have the diagnosis and am monitored by a gastroenterologist it’s a lot easier. Not saying you need to find a diagnosis, but just letting you know I totally understand where you’re at right now. Keep it up!!! You’re doing great!

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Carol Frilegh April 7, 2010 at 11:04 am

Hmm, you broke your signed contract to commit to SCD? We all err sometimes but it seems non productive and uninspiring to share the details with those who are looking to you as SCD authorities. I know, you are just human and I won’t refer you to Dr. Drew’s SCD rehab! But on the other hand you have designated SCD as the most restrictive diet you ever followed. Obviously not when you punctuate it with booze and candy!

Bad boys!!!

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Jordan Reasoner April 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Carol,
We all have our own struggles with the diet. The good thing about Steve and I is that we have very different stories and very different experiences on the diet. I haven’t had a drop of alcohol the entire time I have been on the diet because I can’t handle it, but many SCD dieters that we talk to do drink on the diet, and Steve does… so we balance each other out well. I find it valuable that Steve is being honest and sharing his unique challenges with the diet, the same experiences that many people out there are experiencing.

I have followed the most strict SCD diet since day 1 and after almost a year I am still taking it one day at a time. It doesn’t make my experience any different than Steve’s or anyone else’s because it is my body. This is real life, these are the day-to-day challenges of the diet. Support is more important than anything else, not negativity.

Jordan

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Anna April 11, 2010 at 12:51 am

Hello,
This is sort of off topic from the above comments, but I was wondering if you had noticed any improvements in your sense of smell? I have the same problem, and it’s worse in the winter because of the cold.

Thanks for this site, by the way. Though I may not always comment, I do follow it.

Anna

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Steven Wright April 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

Jen – Thanks so much for the support, its great to hear that you are doing so well!

Anna – My smelling has been getting better, but the weather has also been breaking around here as well. I always have a harder time in the winter and I’m not sure why. I have noticed that since starting the diet the amount of mucus I’m producing is greatly reduced but that hasn’t really translated into the ability to smell. 🙁 So while I’m glad to not be going through a box of Kleenex every week I was hoping I would be smelling a bit more spring time air by now. How long have you been having your smelling problems?

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Anna April 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I’ve never had the greatest sense of smell, but the last several years, my nose has started running more than usual, especially when it’s cold out. In the dry heat of summer, it’s fine, when it’s freezing and snowing out, i also require lots of Kleenex. I’ll have to start paying attention to see if anything else besides weather affects it. I have a feeling the steroids help, but I didn’t know nearly the amount of information I know now, and so I just wasn’t paying attention to it back when I was taking them. I’m very curious about the relationship to nutrition, so I was intrigued when you said you had trouble smelling, too.

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Steven Wright May 4, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Anna – My nose does the same thing, I’m always burning through kleenex in winter. I started noticing that whenever I drank beer or ate pizza I would have more problems than usually the next day. That was all before the SCD diet so when I started this I have been hoping to sort it out nutritionally. Check out my latest Journal Post I found a bunch of research on Zinc and the ability to smell. I just started supplementing so I will keep everyone infromed on if it helps.

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maria diabetes-nurse December 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Steve,
Thank you for your honesty- I fell off the bandwagon on Halloween (just one mini snickers bar… leads to a slippery slippery slope!!!!!!!!)
And besides the mental (teary/ crying daily!) & GI symptoms, I had a candida flare up to remind me that this little bit of sugar causes a cycle of terrible horrible cravings. I think once you go off the honey & fruit you’ll notice (after die off of course) your cravings to cheat will really go away.

Lastly, I would not use the words “bad” or “cheater.” you are not a “bad” person for eating some candy!
This experience will happen to 90% of people learning the SCD (or any diet for that matter- diabetes, etc) The important thing is to be honest about it, so you can evaluate what triggered it and use it as a learning experience!

I would hope to especially emphasize this to PARENTS of kids on the SCD diet. If a parent chastizes, scolds. lectures, uses the “bad” word, etc etc, will the child/ teen be honest with them? Will the child/teen be able to problem solve the situation to avoid it in the future? Or will they just think “I’m just a “BAD” kid”

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Steven Wright December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

@ Maria – Thanks so much for the kind words! Your totally correct it happens to a lot of us, I think its natural and human nature, especially for kids. I’m sorry you went through it but it sounds like you’ve bounced back and are crushing it now! Keep up the awesome work!

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