“I suffer from a digestive disorder and feel like I’m constantly at the mercy of my flare-ups. My GI specialist has told me that what I eat doesn’t affect my condition but I just can’t help but think he’s wrong. Do you know anything about IBS and if so, do you have any suggestions of foods I should stay away from to avoid these awful symptoms?” ~ Stephanie A.
Stephanie, I am thrilled that you emailed me! Digestive disorders are actually something I’m really interested in and although not serious, I have personally struggled with minor symptoms all my life (I would look eight months pregnant after just a few bites of grains). But when it comes to more serious conditions, I have had many friends and family members annihilate their symptoms through diet alone and I’m excited to share their secrets with you! ~ Natasha Kay
What The Doctors Aren’t Telling You
In this very important post, I am going to share with you a secret that most doctors don’t know yet. It could also change your life if you are one of the millions of people who suffer from a digestive disorder.
Medical doctors, even digestive disorder specialists, are taught that what one eats does not affect a digestive disorder. All of my friends who suffer from IBS, Ulcerative-Colitis and Crohn’s Disease have been told by multiple health professionals that their digestive symptoms and flare-ups are not related to what they eat.
But ask yourself: does that even make sense?! I mean, they call it a DIGESTIVE disorder! So how can what we digest not matter in a digestive disorder? In a capitalist medical world, no matter how well-intended some people may be, the reality is that pills can be patented but food and vitamins can not. There is no money in disease prevention and there is certainly no money in food being our medicine, despite Hippocrate’s warnings from over 2,000 years ago. there has been breakthrough research happening for years and yet the doctors aren’t taking notice. Thousands of people have been curing their digestive disorders through diet alone while their medical doctors insist that they are destined for a lifetime of steroid treatments, diarrhea, and unavoidable flare-ups.
Let’s talk guts!
Your digestive system starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. This 25-foot muscular canal uses acidic secretions (from the stomach) and alkaline secretions (from the intestines) combined with rhythmic contractions to break down your food into smaller pieces while breaking complex molecules into simple molecules which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream and used for energy, cellular regeneration, and much more.
The large intestine/colon contains the most diverse species of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, making this organ the most metabolically active in the body. Your intestinal bacteria ferments dietary carbohydrates such as fiber and sugars (such as lactose and sugar alcohols) which your body failed to digest and absorb earlier in the digestive system. If the intestines are riddled with bad bacteria, your body is unable to do this important job and can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative-Colitis, and even Crohn’s Disease; all conditions where the body is unable to digest food and absorb nutrients properly resulting in chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. People with these disorders are often told that they will eventually lose their colon and be forced to use a colostomy (a bag on the outside of their body that collects their body waste/feces).
The Answer to Digestive Disorders
With a close friend of mine facing a similar fate and her colostomy appointment booked, I started researching food-related treatment of digestive disorders. That was how I came across the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the idea of starving out the bad gut flora and boosting the good ones. To do this, the SCD focuses on eating easily-digestible foods (single molecular structure) to starve out the bad bacteria cultures while also eating homemade yogurt to introduce billions of good bacteria cultures which will repair the damage that’s been done. Many people on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet are not only able to immediately live symptom-free (which is a miracle in itself) but can eventually heal their disorder completely and return to eating a normal diet within a year or two.
The friend I mentioned earlier? She started following the SCD and saw immediate improvement in her otherwise horrendous symptoms. She was able to cancel her colonoscopy appointment and is now living symptom-free. In the coming months, a few more of my friends (with IBS, U-C and Crohn’s) would all start following the SCD and experience the same amazing results. With stress often causing flare-ups in these digestive conditions, they had been forced to live as victims from flare-up to flare-up, interrupting some of their most important moments in life (imagine missing your own wedding because of chronic diarrhea and bleeding from the anus). Now, armed with this new knowledge, they were suddenly able to make informed choices and see exactly what was causing each flare-up. What had controlled and debilitated their lives was now completely under their control!
Stop the Guesswork
While getting a hair cut recently, my new stylist mentioned having digestive issues. By the end of our conversation, she had shared with me how frustrating it has been for her to try and decipher which foods cause the flare-ups. I’m sure those of you suffering from these conditions are feeling the same way! So I shared with her about SCD and how empowering it has been for many of my friends. I explained that it’s not as simple as “all dairy causes flare-ups” or “all alcohol cause flare-ups” and showed her how some of the foods allowed on SCD are quite contradictory to what we’ve been told (i.e. doctors suggest eating white flour if you have a digestive disorder since it’s the most simple of grains to break down…while this is true, it’s actually feeding the bad gut flora and making the condition worse in the longrun). As she quizzed me for more info, we discussed some of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet’s guidelines and I mentioned how important it is to eat nuts and seeds. She explained that she doesn’t eat nuts any longer because she realized they were causing flare-ups. This was odd to me since nuts are a staple part of the SCD diet and so I dug a bit deeper. Sure enough, my stylist had been eating mixed nuts, a no-no on the SCD because of their hidden starch coating. The starch was actually the culprit, not the nuts!
It might seem small but that one realization could make a huge difference in the life of someone struggling to figure out their digestive condition. To cut out nuts, an extremely valuable source of fats, calories and nutrients, from an already super restrictive diet was making her diet difficult to follow and also low in nutrients. Just one more example of how the SCD has empowered people to take control of their bodies and regain their health!
Whether you have a digestive disorder or not, cutting out refined grains and sugars from your diet is something I highly recommend to anyone interested in getting lean and healthy. Try it for 30 days and once you make it through the initial withdrawal symptoms (typically the first week), I promise you will feel like you’re living in a brand new body!
Do you have a personal experience with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? I have yet to meet one person who this diet didn’t work for! I’m curious to hear your story and encourage you to leave a comment below.