There’s nothing quite like reading a success story and thinking “That sounds just like me!”
When Jordan and I first got sick with digestive problems, there weren’t any stories like ours out there – we were lucky we found each other.
So when we launched SCD Lifestyle, that was a big part of our mission – to connect with and inspire people like us to take their health back.
Josh is one of those people – he started SCD after connecting with my story on the blog.
Today, I’m really excited to be able to share his story – and hopefully keep the inspiration going.
Starting college, I thought I knew what was in store for my life. I was strong, healthy, and in great shape physically and mentally. I thought I was just a few months away from playing college baseball. But, things worked out a little differently.
My second year of college I started to struggle both in school and athletics. I was severely fatigued and burnt out. I began having nasty symptoms like constant gas and bloating, and diarrhea. I was dragging myself to practices and found myself trying to figure out what to do to feel better.
I went to one doctor after another. Most of them labeled me with IBS and prescribed medications that didn’t do much. I still felt like there was something wrong that they were missing. I was weaker than before and less energized. It was like I had an infection that wouldn’t go away. I felt like food just sat in my stomach after I ate.
I Was Frustrated Doctors Weren’t Helping…
My doctor’s didn’t seem to know why I felt bad. I started researching on my own and learned about SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). The symptoms that they described for patients with SIBO were exactly how I felt: excessive gas and bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and brain fog. I even read that researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center now believed SIBO was the underlying cause of what a lot of doctors called “IBS.”
The next time I saw my gastroenterologist I told him about SIBO and that there was an antibiotic treatment for it. He agreed to let me give the treatment a go.
The first day I started the antibiotic protocol for SIBO all my symptoms vanished. It felt like a miracle to me. I knew that I had at least found the issue I was dealing with..
Unfortunately, what I didn’t know was that SIBO has a nasty habit of coming back…
SIBO, Round 2
Yep, as you may have guessed – my SIBO symptoms all returned just a few months after I finished my first antibiotic treatment. My doctor prescribed another round of antibiotics… and then another. Eventually, they stopped working entirely.
I started having to miss class because of all the symptoms: terrible gas, bloating, and diarrhea anytime I ate. Sitting in class was scary because I never knew when my SIBO would “attack.” I felt isolated, frustrated, and anxious all the time.
There would be days where I would get back to the apartment and just lay on my bed, forcing myself to find the strength and courage to take on each day.
I decided I needed to take a year off of school to focus on healing, once and for all.
I was struggling with bad gas and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, weight loss, anxiety and depression, restless leg, and brain fog.
I Started Looking For Alternative Treatments
I started researching again and tried everything. I worked with a naturopath who wanted to treat me for candida. I tried a parasite protocol. I tried a countless number of different supplements to clean up my gut and support my body.
Unfortunately, nothing really worked. Looking back, I can tell I was at “rock-bottom” and trying so many different supplements was only stressing my body even more. I knew I needed to try something else, but if it wasn’t a supplement or a pill, I didn’t really know what.
I’ve always been an optimist, but during this time I did wonder if I would ever get better.
And Then I Found Something New…
I was researching on my own again after doctors, my naturopath, and tons of supplements had left me feeling worse than before. That’s when I found SCD Lifestyle and learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
SCD Lifestyle stood out to me from the start. I felt like I could really connect with Steve and Jordan. They were younger guys who also struggled with digestive problems and were on a mission to do something about it.
I started reading the SCD Lifestyle blog and listening to the podcasts. I had a new sense of hope that I could get better, and that changing my diet was the place to start.
Finally, Changing My Diet
Despite everything I had tried, changing my diet hadn’t really factored into my healing journey yet. I was still eating processed foods and too many carbohydrates. Shifting from my Standard American Diet to SCD was a huge change. But, I was inspired by the success stories on SCD Lifestyle – and convinced by the science behind SCD – so I decided to give it a try.
I went all in with the SCD diet the first time around. I cut out all starches and dairy. I started cooking all my own food in my tiny apartment. Even from the very first day, I noticed a change. My symptoms of gas and diarrhea improved. SCD was helping.
Finding The “Josh Diet”
After just a few weeks on SCD, I knew I was onto something. My gut symptoms were definitely improved, but they weren’t gone yet. Following Steve’s advice, I started tweaking the die to customize it for me. I found that when I did a strict no-starch SCD diet, I felt weak and malnourished. So I experimented with small amounts of safe starches – potatoes or rice. I felt stronger immediately.
I also realized that too much fruit – what Steve and Jordan call one of the Four Horsemen of SCD – was not good for my gut.
The other missing link was finally learning about FODMAPs from Jordan’s article – which caused a lot of my symptoms.
During this time, I used the SCD recipes that Jordan and Steve posted to help me come up with meal ideas. For the first time in my life, I had to cook for myself!
After tweaking SCD to my own custom version – the “Josh Diet” – my body really started to improve.
I’m so thankful I discovered SCD Lifestyle. I was on my own in college and needed help – the blog and the podcast were a huge support to me. Finding SCD Lifestyle and tweaking the SCD to my own version has been the foundation of my healing.
Taking The Next Step
With SCD as my foundation, I began working with a functional gastroenterologist. She was open to the different strategies I had learned, like using a customized SCD diet and other natural protocols. In fact, she also prescribes the SCD diet to her patients!
With my doctor, I began experimenting with additional therapies like medicinal teas, herbal tinctures, IV therapy, low-dose antidepressants, and other supplements. With my customized SCD diet as the foundation, I finally started making improvements. I got my health back under control and was able to finish college.
What I’ve Learned
I’ve learned a lot of lessons through my journey – but the biggest one was that you can’t just take a pill to be healthy. Treating illness (and preventing it) is a lifestyle.
I had to change my diet to a customized SCD, watch the carbs I put into my body, manage my stress, surround myself with loving people, and find medications and supplements that were the best for me. I also had to give my body lots of rest, and cut out any late night partying.
These are the biggest lessons I learned:
- You need to take your health into your own hands through self-education
- You need to continually seek doctors who care and are willing to try different things
- It is important to find your escape from the daily stressors of life
- Surround yourself with loving people
- Healing takes time – a long time
- Develop the courage to talk about what you feel and follow your dreams – I truly think anyone who is suffering can turn it into their biggest strength in life
- Your symptoms are going to fluctuate through time
- Digestive enzymes, Magnesium, and Hot Tea help
- Epsom salt baths are great to calm down your gut
Today, I use a holistic approach and stick to a SCD Diet, herbal teas, medicine, and other natural supplements to keep my symptoms at bay. Sometimes I relapse and go through periods where my symptoms flare up but overall the low points are much less devastating than before. I try and take each day with a positive attitude and be grateful for everything I have been blessed with in my life.
I’ve learned so much about SIBO, and living with digestive issues, that I decided to start my own blog – SIBO Survivor – to share my story and what I’ve learned with other people, too. I hope it can be a resource for other people the way SCD Lifestyle was for me.
While each journey is unique, it’s powerful to know you’re not alone!
Are you ready to get started on your own journey? Get your copy of our “Surviving To Thriving” eBook here.