I’ll be the first to admit it isn’t particularly FUN to eliminate foods you once loved….
But when you see the impact it has on your health (like I did) you’ll be more than happy to stick to any dietary change.
Our friend Jennifer knows this all too well.
She helped her 8-year-old daughter overcome neurological issues, digestive complaints, chronic fatigue and headaches with the SCD diet.
And while the diet wasn’t always easy and her daughter struggled to give up certain foods, she could see the impact it had (and still has) on her daughter’s life.
My Daughter Struggled From the Time She Was Born
I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment when things went awry. Was it the constipation at birth (even though she was breastfed exclusively)? Was it the chronic reflux for the first year of life? She was always shorter and seemed to grow slower than the rest of the kids. I find myself looking back and wondering a lot.
In any case, at 8 years old, my daughter was definitely not well: Bloating, diarrhea, terrible stomach cramps, amazing amounts of gas.
We Removed Gluten and the Results Were Remarkable
On a whim (providential?) we removed gluten and dairy. The results were nothing short of amazing. She seemed to lose inches of bloat overnight. Symptoms that I never in a million years associated with food disappeared as well:
- Chronic fatigue
- Foot pain
After 30 days of these amazing results, we decided to see what would happen if we added gluten back into her diet. The symptoms came rushing back and were worse than before.
Clearly we found our problem. But what to do now?
We Assumed She Had Celiac Disease… But We Were Wrong
At this point, we found out about the dreaded gluten challenge. To be tested for Celiac disease, you need to be consuming gluten… a LOT of it.
So we jumped through the testing hoops, DID NOT get a Celiac diagnosis, DID get a SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) diagnosis, went through the course of antibiotics, and were sent on our merry way. We were told that when the SIBO cleared she could probably go back to eating gluten again.
How nice, everything back to normal…
But “normal” never returned.
Neurological Symptoms Started to Appear
Clearly she needed to stay very far away from gluten. The most troubling symptoms were neurological. She was unable to use her right foot and right arm, had terrible headaches, lost her balance, at one point could not see.
And the SIBO symptoms kept creeping back.
The Standard Medical Advice We Were Given Made Things Worse
The standard advice at this point was the following: go gluten free if it bothers you (but everyone kept insisting it was probably the FODMAPs and not really gluten, even when I tried to say otherwise). Take the antibiotics if you have SIBO. Easy as pie. Look at all of the amazing gluten free options available now, you are told! This was definitely the worst advice we could be given….
The SIBO returned, the gluten free foods were so full of starch that she felt worse with them, gluten cross contamination was a major problem.
I Found the SCD Diet… But Had A LOT to Learn
Luckily, early on (again, providential?) we had found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. At the very beginning of going gluten free, when I had no clue about any of this, I had no idea what to feed my family. What do you eat when you are lactose and gluten free? I was completely stumped. I attempted being creative in the kitchen and completely failed at gluten free baking magic.
When scanning the internet for ideas, I came across SCD. I did not read Breaking the Vicious Cycle. I had no clue why it was supposed to work, I just knew it eliminated the foods I needed to avoid so it was a lifeline.
These Three Concepts Helped Us to Stay On Track
Little did I know what a lifeline it truly was. It gave us, early on, a taste of what worked. Because whenever I went back to SCD, things seemed to get better. After a year of chasing the SIBO symptoms and having terrible gluten contamination reactions, a couple of patterns started to emerge:
- My daughter was truly better grain free.
- Whole foods were less likely to be contaminated with sneaky gluten contamination.
- This was a lifestyle change, not a “fix it and go back to normal” type situation.
Our old normal was completely thrown out the window.
We Had Our Doubts About SCD and Knew It Would Be Challenging
Not being able to get a referral back to her GI doctor because of insurance issues, I gave it everything I had. I researched, read Breaking the Vicious Cycle, read research papers, spent many hours searching websites. I embraced SCD like it was everything. It helped that she was at her breaking point too. We had discussed SCD from time to time but never really wanted to stick with it because she felt it was so restrictive. She was still mourning the loss of food as she knew it.
We Started to See the Power of SCD… And Never Turned Back
But at some point she also recognized that she wanted to feel better and that lifestyle changes were needed. SHE wanted it and that made all of the difference in the world.
Together, the family changed everything… again.
But by this time we were pros at elimination. No longer just gluten free, but now grain, lactose, and sugar free. And it was the best this little girl had been in years.
It was the answer we were looking for.
SCD Provided Answers and Gave My Daughter Her Life Back
It took some years of muddling around, not believing that this diet could be curative. It took recognizing the “four dark horsemen of SCD“, it took the acceptance of a permanent lifestyle change.
It took my daughter acknowledging that she had a role in this. Her acceptance of her dietary limitations has been critical. But she has also learned how amazing simple food is and how to prepare nourishing, healing meals.
We Feel So Grateful to Have Found SCD When We Did
As we move forward on this journey, I can’t help but think that the SCD lifestyle has stopped her movement down the track of additional autoimmune diseases. Even though she did not test positive for Celiac disease, clearly the protein gluten harms her body. What other damage would have been caused had we not figured this out when she was 8 years old?
Our entire family is SCD with her. What future health problems have we averted because we have eliminated harmful foods? I shudder to think and am happy to be on this journey towards wellness.
What I absolutely love about this story is that Jennifer not only was able to help her daughter regain her health, but they are equipped for life.
The SCD diet has given them the confidence and tools they need to maintain a healthy and vibrant life.
We want the same for you.
Whether you have neurological symptoms or just flat out don’t feel well, our eBook will walk you through how to successfully complete the SCD diet and get your life back.