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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » SCD and Paleo Diets » Specific Carbohydrate Diet Support


 
02-21-2012, 02:22 AM   #1
David
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Specific Carbohydrate Diet Support

About
Please see our wiki entry on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for full details as to what it is. But in short, it is a diet developed long ago by Elaine Gottschal that theorizes that certain carbohydrates (sugars and starches) should be avoided as they can lead to or greatly exacerbate digestive problems due to bacterial overgrowth. The SCD looks to starve those bacteria of their food sources (the carbohydrates) so the gut can begin to heal. Many with Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease, and other digestive disorders have had success with it. Others have not. This thread is dedicated to those of us on or interested in the diet.

Books
- Breaking the Vicious Cycle
- Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Eat Well Feel Well - 150 SCD Recipes

Research

This study found 100% of the test subjects had improved symptoms and 9 of 11 were able to avoid biologic therapy on a diet derived from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Recipes
Please share your favorite recipes and I'll add them here.

Safe and Unsafe Foods List
Please note that you should avoid anything you already know is a trigger for you. I personally avoid eggs and anything coconut despite them being on the legal list.

The Legal / Illegal list

Success Stories
Has the SCD helped you a lot? PLEASE share your story and I'll link to it here.

No matter how successful your experience and no matter how good you feel, please be sure to continue to receive regular checkups at your doctor.


This original post will be a work in progress. If you have additional information you feel should be in this first post, please let me know.
02-21-2012, 02:42 AM   #2
David
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I personally have a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease called, "Lymphocytic Colitis". In short, I have a ton of lymphocytes hanging out in my gut and it sucks. I've made a lot of lifestyle changes, tried various diets, and I'm doing better but I want to be in remission. As I've learned more about IBD and the digestive/immune systems, I've begun to ponder my condition (there's very little info about it out there). Here's my very simple thinking: I have a bunch of lymphocytes (white blood cells that go after viruses and bacteria). So my gut must have a bunch of those buggers and my body is trying to get rid of them. So let's help it out by starving them (the bad bacteria) of their primary energy source: carbohydrates.

I'm an emotional eater. If I get emotional I eat crap. Fast food, sugar, you name it. Food is my cigarettes or alcohol. I feel that some of this is due to a bacterial overgrowth that, when it starts to get starved, does everything it can to get me to eat the crap that they need. No more. NO MORE!

I've been on the diet for about 10 days now. The last few days I've begun to get emotional and have motivational issues. This thread is, in part, an exercise in overcoming that. I'm not surprised by the last few days, in fact, I'm kind of excited as I feel it means that I'm pissing off the little jerks I'm trying to starve out. I'm having INTENSE cravings. There was quite a battle as I checked out at Home Depot (chips and candy) and when I was at Whole Foods today, but I won! Out of curiosity, those of you on the SCD, how many of you have gone through an emotional/cravings phase? And how long did it last?
02-21-2012, 03:42 AM   #3
Grumbletum
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All the best with the diet, David :-) You know I'm a big sugar junkie too, but I have to say when I started the diet it was when I was at my worst so don't think I went through the emotional/Cravings, because I was getting relief from following the diet. It's now that I'm better and able to tolerate more that I am tempted to fall off the wagon.
I did feel pretty yuk for the first two weeks on it and, as a non D suffering Crohnie, was annoyed to have it badly. But like you describe, there is a 'die off' period and those bad bacteria sure fight to get their fix!
Being a Scot, it's quite hard to give up bread and potatoes. Like, we have no canteen at work and you have to be resourceful, organised and inventive when you can't just grab a sandwich for a packed lunch.
One thing I would add to your initial post, is not to forgo medical checkups etc.
I had a colonoscopy 6 months after sticking closely to the diet, but still had severe inflammation despite being on it and several meds.
I'm going to try to stay on it cos it did help and hope it will help me maintain my recent remission.
What are you doing about the yoghurt, curd cheese etc, cos aren't you lactose intolerant?
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02-21-2012, 03:45 AM   #4
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Thank you Helen! It's interesting that you mention that you don't normally have D as I'm the same way but boy howdy did that change yesterday! Heheheh. So the diet gave you D initially? Do you think that was the bacterial die off? Did you eat the homemade yogurt as I was wondering if that might have been the culprit and didn't think of the possibility of bacterial die off (though that makes sense).

How long into the diet did you start to experience symptom relief? And how long have you been on the diet? How much of your "feeling better" do you attribute to the diet?
02-21-2012, 03:59 AM   #5
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Sorry, I posted too quick and went back and added a bit! Are you doing the initial, prep diet with the chicken soup etc? I only lasted a few days on that cos I don't like jelly and was having problems tolerating red meat. After about 2 weeks of D, I noticed a real difference, mainly the reduction in stomach pain and also in UTI symptoms caused by a fistula.
02-21-2012, 04:06 AM   #6
David
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I am not doing the initial prep.

Being a Scot, it's quite hard to give up bread and potatoes. Like, we have no canteen at work and you have to be resourceful, organised and inventive when you can't just grab a sandwich for a packed lunch.
I'm 1/4 english and 1/4 scottish. I was RAISED on meat sandwiches. God do I love bread. That's by far the hardest part of this diet but hey, I get to have all the good meat I can eat so it's all good

One thing I would add to your initial post, is not to forgo medical checkups etc.

I had a colonoscopy 6 months after sticking closely to the diet, but still had severe inflammation despite being on it and several meds.

I'm going to try to stay on it cos it did help and hope it will help me maintain my recent remission.
Added, thank you!

What are you doing about the yoghurt, curd cheese etc, cos aren't you lactose intolerant?
I don't know that I'm lactose intolerant but I know dairy tends to give me mucus that contributes to problems breathing through my nose. I HAVE been making the homemade yogurt and eating a TON of cheddar cheese (it has been one of my quick go-to's when cravings hit) and so far, so good. I rather like the yogurt in fact

One of my big issues with the diet is I recently found that eggs (even from my girls in the yard) are a trigger for me. So that cuts out a lot of recipes
02-21-2012, 04:30 AM   #7
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Yes, I like the yoghurt too. Took a wee bit of getting used to, but I'm sure it's cos our palates are attuned to the oversugared, additive riddled versions! Pity about the eggs: I have one or two every day. Still can't do red meat or pork ( except bacon! ) but eat a lot of chicken and seafood.
This book really helped on the 'what to cook' front when I first started. Written by a guy with severe UC.
'Recipes for the SCD' by Raman Prasad
02-21-2012, 05:22 PM   #8
David
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YES! I bought that book too and am enjoying it a lot. I've made half a dozen things so far and they've all been good.
02-22-2012, 02:01 PM   #9
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I was on the SCD for several months several years ago, and it had some positive effects, but it never fully put my condition into remission. I always had some mucus as well as bleeding (even light) after being on the diet.

To go "off" the diet, I began by eating "simple" carbs, but not everything. I started with Rice and Potatoes, and quickly noticed an improvement as the bleeding stopped (though it has since restarted).

The other thing I've noticed is that I'm not sure if the Bifido-bacterium are nearly as bad as they are made out to be in the book. For the longest time I avoided any commercial yogurt, and did have problems with it but I discovered it was because of the Whey / Lactic Acid byproduct from the yoging process.

Also, if you have trouble with the yogurt, because it's too strong try straining it. Straining is how greek yogurt is made, which basically gets rid of much of the acidic part of it, and also gets rid of any potentially left-over lactose. You can strain it either for a couple hours, or overnight depending on the consistency you want. If you strain it overnight it will be like a very thick cream-cheese substance, which is something that you might also be craving. Straining can be done in cheese cloth in general, or the little bag that comes with the Yogourmet yogurt maker kit.

Not sure if this really helps any, but those were my experiences. I just wanted to let you know that the diet can be worth modifying if it doesn't work perfectly for you, rather than just throwing it out altogether. My rule of thumb is to stay away from any processed or pre-prepared foods that have more than 3 ingredients, as well as anything that has any form of added sugar or "natural"/Artificial flavors.
02-27-2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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I have been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for about two weeks now. I am feeling SIGNIFICANTLY better. I am not symptom free, but it feels like I may be headed in that direction. Interestingly enough, my costochondritis is feeling even better as well. Days 3-10 or so I experienced massive cravings and my emotions got a little out of whack. I am still getting cravings (especially when my wife eats cookies in front of me!), but nowhere near as bad.
02-27-2012, 02:27 PM   #11
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That is really good news :-)
02-27-2012, 06:44 PM   #12
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Glad to hear that you're feeling so well, David!

I felt significantly better after being on the SCD, but I could never seem to get full since starches like rice and potatoes are off the table. I think I'd have to up my portions to compensate.
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02-28-2012, 10:05 PM   #13
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I DEFINITELY have been eating a lot bigger portions and eating many more times during the day. That full feeling isn't something I'm feeling very often but that's a better feeling than that of swallowing crushed glass
02-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #14
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lol good point, good point!
02-29-2012, 02:26 PM   #15
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I understand that this diet is designed with the idea of controlling symptoms, and I'm glad that you are feeling better David. But there is something about it that worries me. (I have only had a quick look over this, so please correct me or whatever).
I don't like the idea that you can't eat starchy carbohydrates, as this really should be where about 37% of your energy comes from (UK dietary reference values). If you are not eating these then presumably a high percentage of your energy is going to be coming from fats and proteins. I know a lot of weight loss diets would also support this, but this is not what would normally be considered a healthy diet, as it increases the risks of heart disease.
So is this diet designed to start up a relief in symptoms and then to re-introduce foods as you go along, or is it supposed to be long term?
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02-29-2012, 02:46 PM   #16
Grumbletum
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I saw a dietician after going on this diet and she was pretty dubious. But she had me keep a diary for a week which she then analysed and said that actually, it was well balanced.
The diet's founder designed a starting programme and then reintroduction of allowed foods. It was useful for me in identifying what my trigger foods were.
02-29-2012, 03:45 PM   #17
David
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I understand that this diet is designed with the idea of controlling symptoms, and I'm glad that you are feeling better David. But there is something about it that worries me. (I have only had a quick look over this, so please correct me or whatever).
I don't like the idea that you can't eat starchy carbohydrates, as this really should be where about 37% of your energy comes from (UK dietary reference values). If you are not eating these then presumably a high percentage of your energy is going to be coming from fats and proteins. I know a lot of weight loss diets would also support this, but this is not what would normally be considered a healthy diet, as it increases the risks of heart disease.
So is this diet designed to start up a relief in symptoms and then to re-introduce foods as you go along, or is it supposed to be long term?
Thanks LMV, I appreciate you chiming in

That UK dietary reference is for healthy individuals, people with perfectly functioning hepatopancreatobiliary, endocrine and metabolic systems, people with intact microvilli in their intestines that are able to break down and digest starches, people who don't have to take cipro and flagyl to kill bacteria that is potentially being fed by those very undigested and now fermented starches. Just as people with Celiac Disease need to maintain a strict altered diet, I feel there will one day be strict guidelines that people with inflammatory bowel disease should follow. Not to cure the disease, but to, in conjunction with other lifestyle and treatment options, reduce symptoms substantially and subsequently induce and maintain remission.

I don't feel that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is perfect for people with IBD but I feel that it and the Paleo Diet are the best systemized diets to date. There's room for improvement but I think they're on the right track. And as Grumbletum said, as you begin to heal you can very conservatively reintroduce some foods in moderation. But only after you've made significant progress.
02-29-2012, 04:46 PM   #18
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http://www.consumerhealth.org/articl...19990303154953

I found this link online just now and it talks about a mother with her young daughter suffering from U.C. and they're findings with the SCD diet. It's really quite interesting and I hope somebody has time do read it.


Personal question though for those who are on this diet. Do you find this diet to be more expensive then it would cost if you weren't?
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02-29-2012, 05:31 PM   #19
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Personal question though for those who are on this diet. Do you find this diet to be more expensive then it would cost if you weren't?
I think that would depend on your normal eating habits but for me, it is more expensive.

Your link is actually written by the author of the book for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet so, while informative (thank you for sharing it!), it would be a biased source
02-29-2012, 05:39 PM   #20
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Yes, more expensive for me too.
02-29-2012, 06:10 PM   #21
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Ah, damn. I didn't even realize. Although it would be considered biased, its still pretty interesting to think that it helped her daughter. It would be the same as someone on here sharing their experience. I'd love to see how you guys make out with it.

What do you think this diet would do for someone without crohns? My fiancee and I eat pretty healthy (especially her) but were always looking for ways to improve. Would this diet be something that would cause weight gain/loss, provide a healthy person with the proper nutrients (like L.M.V.) Said, etc. I'm really sorry for my ignorance. I should do some of my own research. We try to budget no more than $300 a month for just the two of us, so I know that's nothing compared to your $600+ grocery bill, but do you think that would be achievable? I guess its common sense that a lot of the stuff with carbs are the cheaper stuff (pasta, potatos, etc)
02-29-2012, 11:15 PM   #22
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haha.. Here I am participating in this chain.. Good times.. :)

Not to sound like a smart-a$$, since we are all on this boat with various forms of this disease.. If your gonna practise the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, you have to do it religiously or don't attempt it at all. The whole theory is to starve off pathogenic bacteria and this will not be accomplished if your gonna do the odd cheat meal, here and there. Everyone must read and become educated on the differences between polysaccharides, from disaccharides to monosaccharides.. The whole point of the diet is eliminating the polys and di's because they are the most complex to break down - eliminating the source of the undigested molecules which is the source of food for the pathogenic bacteria.

The diet taught me how to cook, eat natural foods and it also kept me in remission for 3 years. It also taught me how to be disciplined when my friends would feed their faces with booze, processed foods - those ba$tards! haha :) I had went off the diet because I thought I was cured after 1 year on it religously. After enjoying all foods, booze, and fully formed stool for 2 glorious years (med-free and all since diagnosis).. My symptoms are returning - so hence back on the diet I am. Everyone will know if the diet will work with them in the first 3 -4 weeks. The initial program MUST be followed and the diet must be adhered to 100%. If symptoms reside, I promise they only get better the longer you stay on the diet.

In my own opinion, I honestly feel this disease is all about an imbalance of natural flora within our guts. Correct the balance, correct the issue. Our bodies are fantastic things, they will heal, it just takes time. :)
03-01-2012, 12:02 AM   #23
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Welcome to the forum Gstar and thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge We're sponges - any information you want to share is greatly appreciated.

You mentioned that the diet taught you to be disciplined when others were eating junk. Care to share those tips?
03-01-2012, 05:04 AM   #24
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Interesting!
I don't think I would be disciplined enough to follow this diet though I would obviously never say never.
Good luck with it though
03-01-2012, 09:37 AM   #25
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I am slowly working up the *courage?* to attempt this diet. My Crohn's isn't giving me problems right now, but my short bowel and lack of ileo-cecal valve have gifted me with SIBO. 2 weeks of terrible antibiotics helped, but I have to do something to keep it away permanently. I was so distended I looked identical to my sister, who is 5 months pregnant.

The hardest thing for me is that I have a husband and two children to feed as well. Poor hubby and I are so mismatched, he loves Chinese food and Mexican, anything with corn, black beans and spicy, spicy, spicy. He puts tabasco sauce on everything. If I ate like him, my guts would probably spontaneously combust.

I get fatigued and don't want to spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen, so I often grab something quick that I know isn't the best thing for me.

What to you guys eat on this diet?? I looked at the list of legal and illegal foods....good grief! I want to believe that I can do it, but it looks very daunting.

I desperately want to feel better though. It doesn't matter if I don't have active inflammation, I'm still on the toilet 15+ times a day. That's no way to live.
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03-01-2012, 09:45 AM   #26
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SarahAnne,

I eat tons of meat, salad, and fruit. My "go to snacks" are sugar free beef jerkey, pemmican, liverwurst slices, and fruit. The two things I miss are chocolate and bread, that's it.

I cook for my wife and I. She's not on the diet but she enjoys many of the recipes. And to keep her happy, I make her sandwiches, nachos, and other things that would be illegal for me but are easy to make.

If you have a confirmed SIBO, I think it would definitely be worthwhile giving this diet a shot.
03-01-2012, 10:21 AM   #27
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Hi everyone,

First and foremost, everybody needs to understand where they are with their disease. The SCD diet is not a miracle changer overnight and it takes alot of commitment but the rewards are there to control symptoms without meds.

Great strides will be made for individuals whom have been recently diagnosed but I feel it will be challenging for folks who have been battling the disease for quite sometime where a lot of scarring and deep ulceration are present but it will definitely help in reducing symptoms. At the end of the day, anything is worth a shot when it comes to your health.

This diet can be complimented with meds at first and when improvements are seen, weening off the meds can occur. In my short time with this disease and attending many forums (CCFA & CCFC) its unbelieavable how our medical professionals can prescribe drug compounds without fully understanding why the work. Prime example - prescriptions of Flagyl and Cipro are often prescribed to control Chrohn flares but the medical folks don't know why they work... Pretty straight forward to me, there's an imbalance of pathogenic to friendlies.

I could run with this for ages where I have even questioned 'Speciailists' of Gastroenterology why cultures aren't performed on our ulcer sites when biopsies are taken during colonoscopies, etc. I suggest wouldn't it be useful if we could learn what pathogenic bacteria is always present at our ulcer sites eating away our healthy cells?? Pretty straight forward to me again but questioning a 'Specialist' - whom am I to question someone who has attended the school of medicine for 8 years and doesn't have the disease themself??! haha Yeah... I get stares like if I have spikes coming out of it.. I personally believe if we can determine the genus which is the majority of times creating our ulcer issues, it is possibile in today's world to develop an anti-biotic which specifically targets that genus only! Instead of killing everything in site! This would definitely speed up our healing process to get our systems under control where we can further understand what is the true root cause of our disease.

The SCD diet is a great first step. It is a commitment and I completely understand if you live with a family, it generally has to become a family commitment. I don't not want this to sound like a simple decision because its not. But again.. Would you rather spend the time making healthy meals for all instead of spending your time in the bathroom and feeling like crap?? The SCD diet has been around since the cavemen days, unfortunately, they didn't follow the copyright laws (j/k)

Its about balance when eating the 'legal' foods within the diet. Switch up your meals and foods so you don't get bored of them. Do not go overboard with the dry curds and yogurt at the beginning since alot of people struggle with diary (it will get better over time!) Proteins are essential!! They should always be a part of every meal.

The probiotic homemade yogurt is KEY!! Flourish the friendlies in the small bowel to help ensure food is getting absorbed. Bacteria counts have been completed on 1 cup of homemade SCD yogurt and the counts are 750billion!! The strongest probiotics today are 50 billion??

Breaking the Vicious Cycle is a great read to understand the diet and its purpose. The author does have merit. A child of hers was diagnosed with UC at an early age where she could not been weened off meds. The mother (author) felt there had to be another way and began her search. Meeting specialists from other auto-immune dieases where they were trialing this diet on kids with autism (to control their erractic behaviour). Since the author was also a medical professional, she also spent a decade of her life specifically researching the effects of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in regards to intestinal absorption. To me, this person had the passion and the interest - God bless her soul!

Sorry for the novel. I am an educated person myself and it blows me away that our medical professionals are prescribing prescriptions that were initially intended for organ transplants.. Like.. wtf!? Prednisone has been around since the 1950s but hence its still the go to choice even though the side effects vary immensely from person to person. Don't you guys question - what the medical research field is doing for IBD?? The GEMS project in Canada started in 2008 and 4 yrs later.. Still no results to share with public even though millions of dollars are being pumped into it by sponsors such as M&M Meat shops, etc.. It seems you have to be your own advocate in today's age and I just want to say to you all - a honest shot at the SCD, everybody will pull out at least i improvement in your daily lives.

Take care everyone.
03-01-2012, 11:49 PM   #28
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Thank you so much Gstar

When you say, "Don't go overboard with yogurt" how much would you suggest someone consume? My problem with dairy is excess mucus production to the point that it gets hard to breathe.
03-02-2012, 07:59 AM   #29
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Good Morning Dave - You cook for your wife huh.. Whats with the ladies today and not cooking?? haha j/k I swear I haven't dated one yet who hasn't even offered to cook a dinner for a change.. But.. They are very well up to speed on designer labels.. haha!

I read your question and the first things that pops up in head is if you have had any scratch test or allergy test to determine if you truly have a 'dairy' allergy. These are very rare, since it creates an anaphylactic reaction. (Shortness of breath, swelling, etc.) You will notice this reaction immediately and its very serious (and you would experience this reaction on no matter the type of dairy). My strong recommendation is first to get this checked out. Your gastro specialist should be able to provide you with a referral.

Now.. If its a case if you are just sensitive.. There are many forms of 'dairy' other than cow's milk. Goat and sheep milk are the closest resemblance to the structure of human milk, so my recommendation would be trial these types of milk next.

To achieve the high bacterial counts in the SCD probiotic yogurt method it is key that the fermenting has to be done in a 'type of milk'. The starter will consume the remaining lactose sugars in order to populate - this is why 24hrs of fermentation is required and why the yogurt is lactose free at the end. I do say, I tried both sheep and goat milk in the probiotic yougurt process and its like soup at the end, a very minimal skin forms over the top since the goat and sheep milk do not contain much fat. Fat adds to how solid the yogurt will be. Hence.. Higher the fight content, the more solid the yogurt will be in the end.

Last question I have for you is regarding excess mucus production? Is this in your stool, nose?? If its in your stool, it seems you are in an 'active' state and the mucus is aiding in transportation. If your seeing blood also, you have open sores also. If so.. You need to get on a low residue food schedule until your ulcers can heal their tops. Low residue means anything that will not aggrevate your open ulcers. Examples: seeds, nuts, celery, hard rigid skins from veggies. Don't get me wrong, veggies can still be eaten, but you must cook them (steam them) until they are tender and then puree them. Puree them I mean by placing all the cook vegetables in a blender and add the water from the boling cooking process (where all the vitamins are). Your end result will be a substance that looks like baby food but I tell you brother, it is VERY HIGH in all nutrients and easy to absorb without straining your digestive tract. You may have to do this for a month or 2 but again, come on.. Its like 8 weeks of your life.. Get your girl involved and she can be the blending queen! haha j/k

I know I go into depth with these answers but I hope everybody else reads them and can pick up bits and pieces. The SCD diet is definitely the way to go.

As Socrates said back in the day... 'Let food be thy medicine'!
03-02-2012, 10:26 PM   #30
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Hey Gstar! Thank you for such a wonderful reply. We're now friends whether you like it or not.

Yeah, I cook for the wife. But she brings home the bacon so fair is fair

I have indeed had an allergy test, the LEAP test. Cow's milk is in the yellow range for me. Of course, spinach is in the red range but I get no negative affects from it as far as I can tell so I've really thrown this stupid test out the window.

Your "allergy" versus "sensitivity" is interesting to me. Do you have a reputable source where I can read about the difference? I understand what anaphylactic shock is, but I always thought that you could be allergic to something and have reactions that weren't necessarily anaphylactic in nature.

For the record, I have severe inflammation in my nose so my airway is constricted. If I eat or drink dairy, I observe that it causes mucus production that clogs what little airway my nose has and I can't breathe. I've never had stool mucus that I'm aware of. I also don't have ulcers (I have lymphocytic colitis which is microscopic in nature and can only be detected via colonoscopy biopsy).

I think I'm going to try a different kind of milk with the yogurt. I don't mind if it's a little runny Thank you so much for that suggestion!
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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » SCD and Paleo Diets » Specific Carbohydrate Diet Support
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