# 2 - HOW TO BEGIN "SCD" > * COMMON QUESTIONS FOR BEGINNERS (FROM THE LI LISTSERVE)


1) I read the BTVC book and my understanding was to wait to start the diet until the diarrhea is over. Just wanted to check if that's correct or if I can start the SCD before. Also I have already lost 20 lbs and don't want to lose any more. Can I actually gain weight with the SCD?

You should start now with the beginning diet and slowly inch up.  I gained over 20 pounds in the first 5 months (haven't weighed this much since I was diagnosed with CD, 16 long years ago) and I couldn't tolerate almond flour, yogurt, fruits, honey in the beginning, so I was basically living off of soup, easy vegetables, chicken, beef and fish, and oh yes, the cheesecake.  I could tolerate the yogurt if it was cooked (which kills all the bacteria. Go figure.) So, yes, you can gain weight.  As you heal, and stop having diarrhea, you become well nourished, and the weight comes on, but this doesn't happen for some people for a while. Be patient.

 

2) I ordered a prenatal pill (multi-vitamin) and it has iron in it. Is it OK to take that?

No.  If you are very iron deficient, and you cannot eat liver twice a week, you may look into iron shots, which bypass the gut.  I've been doing this with my family practice doctor (my gastrointerologist wouldn't do it), and it has raised my hematocrit from 9.8 to 11.9, though a ferretin test recently showed I was still low in iron, so I am continuing with the shots, and TRYING to eat liver (I hate it.) You will need to purchase vitamins that have no illegal ingredients in them.  The Freeda vitamins are recommended; you take 1 multivitamin and 1 Quinn B Strong a day. Don't take 3 like the label suggests.  You should be getting the rest of what you need via diet.

 

And it is important to start with the intro diet, for 5 days if you are having diarrhea, then after that, start a journal and try ONE food at a time, a little the first day, none the second, then some more the third if it seems to be agreeing with you. Zucchini, well-cooked green beans, peeled and cooked apples, ripe ripe banana (covered with spots, but not the fruit-fly stage), these are generally well-accepted foods.  But each person is different, some have found they do not tolerate eggs, or even the carrots in the soup! It is important to test things for yourself, and proceed cautiously.  Many of us rushed too fast in order for some variety, and had to back up.  (I for one, have had to resort back to the intro at least 5 times.)

 

It can be very up and down the first year; it often takes time to build up to a variety of foods, and life can be very dull and boring when eating chicken soup and homemade jello and broiled meat patties for weeks. But most people heal.  I can now eat the yogurt undripped, nut flour, sweets, and raw fruits, and none of this was tolerated in the beginning, so hang in there.  Ask as many questions as you need.  The book is often not very clear with how to embark on this diet.  This list forum helps considerably. Good luck, Debora

 

3) Has anyone that has been on scd for a long time off of medications b/c of the diet? I have had UC for 2 years bleeding, mucos. I take Asacol 2 pills 2x a day.  I am finding my hair is thining, I have a huge gall stone, just had parathyroid surgery and now was diagnosed with Hpylori and reflux.  I feel like since my diagnosis I have had so many other things go wrong.  I am on SCD 1 month and so excited b/c I have already seen results. I am also getting a lot of help from a Nutritionist.  My real goal is to be able to go off of meds eventually even if it takes a year or two.  When I have flare ups they put me on Rowasa for a couple of weeks but then the bleeding would start again after 3 months.  I have been following the diet but have not tried the yogurt yet, I am a little nervous to make it wrong and I do not have a yogurt maker yet. I saw some people have been on the diet for years but are still having symptoms?  I do believe this is the right thing to do, but are my wishes too far fetched? Thanks Lori SCD-1 month UC-2 years

 

4)Our son has been med-free for 3 1/2 years.  He has always felt that the yogurt helped him a lot.  In fact, he had the classic "3-month flare" at exactly the 3-month mark of being on the diet.  After being mildly sick with the flare from November to March or April, he decided to eat yogurt twice a day.  He ate it with honey and fruit for breakfast and in a smoothie in the evening.  By May he was totally healthy.  We have no way to prove it, but always felt that it was the yogurt that got him out of the flare. You mentioned being worried about making the yogurt.  I have made it over 200 times and have only failed once.  It is easy. 

 

5) What can I do if I can’t afford to buy a yogurt maker right now?

If you don't have a yogurt maker, just put a place mat on your countertop, then put a heating pad on the place mat and another not-too-thick place mat on top of the heating pad.  Put your boiled-then-cooled milk + starter in a pyrex casserole w/ lid on the top place mat.  Set the heating pad on a medium setting.  After 4 or 5 hours, feel the casserole dish.  It should be warm (100-110 degrees), not hot.  If I think that my kitchen is too cool, I will sometimes lay a place mat on top of the lid too help keep the heat in.  I used to measure the temp.  But now I never do.  I can make 3 quarts in my pyrex casserole w/ lid.    The yogurt gels up nicely after several hours.  I let mine "incubate" for 24 to 36 hours.  I have the electric Yogourmet yogurt maker, and I use it, too. For a starter use Dannon Natural Yogurt (ingredients are milk and the bacterial culture) or order a freeze-dried starter from Lucy's Kitchen.  Our son needed to gain weight when he started the diet, so I have always used half and half to make the yogurt.  Or you can use a quart of whole milk and a quart of half & half.  Just make sure that the only ingredients are milk and cream.  It turns out thick and creamy.  And each day, after pouring off the watery liquid, the yogurt just gets thicker. It is great for making smoothies. So don't be timid about making yogurt. 

 

5) Can the SCD really stop diarrhea and/or constipation?

I only just started this diet less than a couple weeks ago but I can assure you of this - it does stop the D.  And I didn't really believe it would at first because it is so contrary to what doctors tell us, but I was desperate.  At first I had to start without doing it all the way (which I don't recommend) because I didn't have the food to begin.  My husband has been working ridiculously long hours lately and I was in such a bad state that a trip to the grocery store was out of the question.  Fortunately for me it is the starving approach that has always helped in the past, so I am accustomed to going without food.

 

So, the first couple days I was eating bananas that weren't ripe simply because I missed that part in the first read of the book.  But even so, the D stopped quite miraculously after the second day on the diet.  In that time I reread the book and took notes this time, something I highly recommend.  We then hit the grocery store and the day after I was fully and properly on the diet, I saw even better results.  Next I was hit with C, an old IBS symptom I was very afraid of.  I considered taking Citrucel, my old helper of choice and almost caved.  But I decided to stick it out and see what happened next and after 3 days of that, on my own everything became very close to normal.  No D, no C, no drugs - imagine that!

 

My only setback was that in my rush to eat yogurt (I love dairy and have not eaten it in a long time), I ate the yogurt and the D came back almost immediately, but it was short lived.  As it turns out, you should drip the yogurt when you first begin and take it in small quantities and build up, but I goofed.  Amazingly by the next morning I was already back in good shape.

 

I have allergies to cow's milk so I cannot eat the cow’s milk yogurt or cheesecake, and I need to get all the items to make goat's milk yogurt before I can get into that.  I am sure I'll see further improvement when the yogurt cheese is part of my diet.

 

Finally, I was 106 lbs. (underweight for me) when I began all this.  I have weighed as much as 127, but should really be around 118.  I had little hope of regaining the weight I needed before I found BTVC, but now I've gained nearly 4 pounds - I am 109 in the morning, 110 at night (and pretty proud of it).  I am looking forward to gaining more as I am able to maintain the diet and introduce more foods.  Right now I am on the intro without yogurt or cheesecake and eat no more than 1 egg per day, but I have added summer and winter squash as well as avocados.  I am typically vegetarian so I have chosen to broil fish fillets rather than eat too much red meat, but I am eating and enjoying the soup and I will occasionally eat a beef patty.  Yesterday for variety I roasted a turkey breast.  The muffins have not gone over well with me yet, but I hear you should begin with a 1/4 muffin per day and add another quarter per day until you are eating a couple a day.  At that point you can get into the baked goods.  I'm hoping to start this week on that.

 

Now that you've read this long drawn out story of my first 10 days, I hope I've given you the encouragement to dive into this diet and give it a chance. The beginning is tough but it appears you have great support and before long your progress with be all the encouragement you need.  I hope you will be pleasantly surprised at your results and find new hope for a condition that traditional medicine still has little to offer in terms of long-term healing.

Best of luck, Judy