Gastrointestinal Disorders and Seasonal Change


Have you ever wondered why, after months of eating the same thing and not having a reaction, that you suddenly have a painful bout of gastrointestinal upset? On the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, have you ever suddenly become sensitive to a food that is considered 100% legal?

I have, and it was confusing until I started seeing a pattern.

You see, every year, approximately between August and October, my sensitivity to food escalates. When I first started eating the SCD way, I was always in the hospital within that time period.

My first gastroenterologist explained to me that it is often the case that the change of the seasons affects our immune systems. One of his patients was always in the hospital in August, every year, without fail.

Thank God I am no longer in that boat. Two years ago September 15th, I paid my last visit to the hospital.

So what have I done to prepare for this seasonal sensitivity? I keep (or try to keep) to the diet diligently, and perhaps limit my intake of certain foods I know to be more hazardous at this time of year.

Let me give you an example. For me, fibrous foods have always been hazardous if overdone. For the most part, I watch my fiber carefully, but at this time of year, I would perhaps pick a non-fibrous food over a fibrous one, or cut my portions even more than I do on a regular basis.

Everyone’s situation will be different. It’s all part of learning to read your body correctly and plan ahead for the times when you are weakened.

Mountain-Moving


“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them'” Mark 11:22-24.

As Christians, we talk about the faith that can move mountains. We say we believe the promises of God. We say we trust in Him to take care of us. But deep down, I don’t think we get our mind fully around the idea fact that faith can move mountains. Often we say to the mountains in our lives, “be moved and cast into the sea,” not really believing that it will actually happen. We “hope” it will happen. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful–a miracle!–if such and such would just disappear from my life forever.”

“…Believe…and you will have.” How much plainer could Jesus be? Jesus will grant our requests if we truly believe they will come to pass.

This doesn’t mean that, if it isn’t the Lord’s will, our requests will still be granted. The Lord decides what is good and right for us. But if we are living in God’s will for our lives (obeying His commands), and if our requests are in accordance to His will, why wouldn’t He grant those things which we so desire?

The gospel of Matthew gives a clear example of faith becoming reality.

“When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’ And their eyes were open” (Matthew 9:27-30a).

Because the two blind men did not doubt that the Lord could heal their eyes, Jesus granted them their sight.

Why can’t we believe that the Lord will heal us of our maladies? Lord willing, it will be, if we believe without doubting.

Amen and amen.

Travel, Curious Peoples, and Whatnot


Good afternoon!

*ponders* Hmmm… my title was rather random, but I shall try to compose this post in a not-so-random way.

First things first. You’d probably think I was crazy if I told you that I plan to travel again in 4 days to a place 2,000 miles away, on the SCD, right after my trip to New York.

Well, I am. Travelling, that is. I am travelling again. Being crazy is a matter of opinion.

I shall once again keep a food log for you. This trip I plan to refrain from anything that is not on my diet, except for some gluten-free pretzels I will be taking on the airplane as a precaution. No more wheat pretzels, thank you very much! I did not get sick last time, but I’d rather not take the chance again.

Now, onto my next topic. Curious peoples.

Whether it is about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or about the reason I am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I am asked questions, without fail. When I first discovered that I had a gastrointestinal issue, I didn’t want to talk about it at all, but that’s all my mother wanted to talk about. To me, and to other people. I got used to it over time, and so did my closer friends. But new acquaintances and new friends understandably want to know.

I learned to minimize my answers as much as possible. One thing that has continually concerned me is that I would sound like some sort of invalid. My mother gave me a great starting point, which could even possibly stall further questions. “I am on this special diet for my health.”

Some people will leave it at that. Others will press. Still, I try to make my answers simple. “I have Crohn’s. It is a gastrointestinal disorder I control with diet.” Most people won’t ask for more detail than that.

In addition to answering their questions, I make sure to tell them how healthy I am. Not to sound vain, or anything, but to impress upon them that I am not abnormal. I just have a small problem that I can control. Everyone has problems, just not always the stomach kind.

Friends have been greatly surprised when I show up and play freeze tag only days after an episode. “I pictured her in a wheelchair, or something!” This only reinforces my claim that I am a healthy, able person.

How do you answer curious peoples?

SCD Success, 1900 Miles From Home


As I promised, I kept a faithful log of what I ate on my trip to New York, except for the last unexpected couple of days, because I was so out of it (read about that fiasco here). I was able to remain almost 100% SCD-legal. I say almost because I did indulge in an occasional treat that was not on my diet. Wrong, yes. I will dispense with the excuses which are rising to my lips.

*Beginners, take heed: Since I am so far into the diet, these minor “cheats” didn’t affect me. However, for those just starting the diet or who haven’t been on the diet very long, I would advise you not to cheat at all.*

6/15: I never did make the cookies I’d planned to bring on the airplane. I brought a jar of yogurt, storebought applesauce cups, some Larabars and other packaged treats. I got through security at the airport with no problems. Thank God! I ate my yogurt just before boarding, so that I could take my medications. On the plane, I experienced some severe motion sickness, most likely because I hadn’t eaten enough beforehand (after all, we’d only left the house at 4:30 am). I was forced to eat some pretzels, the only thing I knew which would settle my stomach. I didn’t even touch my other snacks, I felt so terrible. The thought of fruity foods made my stomach even worse. Perhaps if I’d brought the cookies, I could have avoided the pretzels.

When we arrived in New York, I was woozy from hunger, and still a little nauseous. My grandmother took us out to Red Lobster, which I felt was perfect for my first night away from home. Fish would be easy on the digestive tract. I did eat some of my snacks later on.

6/16: My mom’s sister had made yogurt for me, but it wasn’t ready to eat yet, so for breakfast on Wednesday morning, I nibbled on some cheese and some of my snacks. For lunch, we went to a diner in my grandmother’s village. I ordered “Texas Chicken.” Ha! I went all the way to New York to have Texas chicken. 😉 It was grilled chicken smothered with melted cheddar cheese and crisp bacon. Delicious, and filling. For dinner, we went to my aunt’s house, where she served fresh cod (which my uncle had caught). I brought the yogurt that my aunt had made back to my grandmother’s house and ate some before bed.

6/17: Thursday morning I ate my yogurt sweetened with pure local honey. I also had some yogurt at lunchtime. In between I ate my snacks. We went to my dad’s sister’s house, and I had some fruit and cheese. For dinner, all of us Hogans (except my dad’s parents, who we’d see at the surprise party on Saturday), went to Oysterman’s. That restaurant has to be about the best restaurant I have ever been to. They had a gluten-free menu. I ordered almond-crusted salmon with spinach. Heavenly. I stuffed my face. The waitress also brought me some gluten-free muffins. I think they were corn muffins, and I knew they wouldn’t be legal on my diet, but I indulged.

On the way home, I felt strange. I’d been stuffing my face ever since we arrived in New York, and every night I was so full I’d get nauseous at bedtime. But this was a little different. I was experiencing some mild pain. Praying it would go away, I was glad I’d brought some prednisone and planned to take it if the pain persisted. By the time I reached my grandmother’s house, the pain had ceased, but I was still extremely uncomfortable. I told my parents that I thought it would be best not to go out for dinner again tomorrow with the Hogans. I told them that it was not necessarily the food I was eating, but the amount I was eating. I was in party mode, and I needed to stay away from any place that might tempt me to overstuff myself. I planned to starve myself on Friday. Well, not actually starve. I was just going to eat enough to keep my stomach from growling, and no more.

6/18: Friday morning I felt fine, though not very hungry. I ate some yogurt and applesauce before we went on the excursion planned for that day with some of my mom’s family. I stayed away from my snacks all morning. At lunchtime, we went to a diner, which I hadn’t really wanted to do, but I simply ordered three eggs–no bacon or anything. In the afternoon, I ate some snacks, and for dinner I ate eggs again. I went to bed that night with a satisfied stomach.

6/19: Saturday morning I ate some applesauce and a couple of my snacks (I think I’d run out of yogurt). We set off for my grandfather’s surprise party. He will be turning 85 in July. At the party, I tried clams for the first time. Wow. I hadn’t known what I was missing. However, I did not over-do. I knew there’d be more food coming. I did indulge in a few devilled eggs. They didn’t have legal mayonnaise, but I couldn’t help myself. Later came scallops and shrimp wrapped in bacon. Oh boy. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. For dinner, one of the caterers took me aside and asked me just what I could and couldn’t have. He even gave me a choice of meat! He made me grilled chicken and veggies, completely SCD-legal. I ate a Larabar for dessert, but couldn’t resist one bakery cookie.

After the party, we went out with my cousin, her husband, and their baby son out on their boat. We motored to a dockside cafe. By that time, I was hungry again, so I ordered some scallops with tomatoes. Before bed I ate a few more snacks. The entire day I made sure I wasn’t stuffing myself.

6/20: I ate yogurt for breakfast Sunday morning. After church, I ate a Larabar, followed by a small piece of salt bagel. I know–another cheat. *hangs head*

We went to my dad’s parents for the father’s day meal. No one was much interested in eating, after the feast yesterday. My dad’s mom gave me control of the salmon she had bought me. I also had some applesauce, fruit, and some of my Lettuce-free “salad.” I didn’t list what I had for dinner Sunday night, or if I ate dinner at all.

6/21: For breakfast Monday morning, I again ate yogurt. We again went to my grandparent’s house, where I ate some of my snacks, some cheese, a couple of slices of homemade roast beef, fruit, and my salad. I ate homemade chicken and green beans for dinner.

6/22: For breakfast on Tuesday, I ate–you guessed it–yogurt. We went to see some old friends where we used to live. I succumbed to the pretzels they set before us. There were also blackberries and strawberries, which I ate in abundance. Later on, we had dinner with some more friends. I ate some cheese, grilled chicken, green beans, and drank an SCD-legal soda. I had some of my snacks before bedtime.

6/23: On Wednesday morning, I mixed my yogurt with some berries. I also had some eggs and a piece of crisp bacon. On our way back to our relatives, we stopped for lunch at our former pastor’s home. There, I ate some roast beef, carrots, and cauliflower, all made to my specifications. The pastor’s wife also made us some strawberries sweetened with honey. We dranked sparkling apple cider. We went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner with dad’s side of the family. I ordered some grilled shrimp as an appetizer and some chicken with cheese, bacon, and sauteed mushrooms.

6/24: On Thursday, I ate some eggs and fruit for breakfast. We met my mom’s side of the family at a diner for lunch, where I ate some more eggs with sirloin tips and sauteed onions. I ate snacks the rest of the day, waiting for an airplane that never came.

6/25: Friday I ate some yogurt and eggs, some snacks in the afternoon, and some chicken with cauliflower for dinner. Because I was having such a difficult time resisting sweets, my mom let me pick out a gluten-free cookie at the health food store.

6/26: On Saturday morning, I again ate some yogurt, before heading back to the airport. I ate my snacks on the plane, though I did find that I needed the pretzels to calm my nausea. When we returned home, I ate some chicken, then finished the day with a humongous bowl of yogurt.

And there you are. My SCD journey in New York. Not perfect, but better than it might have been if I hadn’t had my parents to rein me in when I was about to quit the diet completely. New York has amazing bakeries, amazing deli’s, and amazing pizza. No wonder I was struggling the whole time! Praise God I got through without falling for the pizza.

😀

I hope that by sharing my food log, I have inspired you to look at your future travels as something that is possible and that can even be enjoyable in the food realm.

A Yummy Alternative


Good evening!

Tonight, my mom decided not to make dinner. On such occasions, we pull anything we want out of the refrigerator–usually fruits, veggies, cheese, and the like–and eat with a minor amount of clean-up to see to afterwards.

I was in the mood for my “salad” when dinnertime came around tonight. My salad is lettuceless, because I cannot tolerate large amounts of fiber. And lettuce is very fibrous. Perhaps some of you who have gastrointestinal disorders also cannot tolerate much fiber. I know I can’t because I have a particularly severe case of Crohn’s Disease.

My salad consists of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, grated cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Simple and easy, and so flavorful! I know most people like their salad with dressing, but please try my salad just the way it is! You’d be surprised at how tasty it is.

Giving Thanks… In Everything


“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Is that verse up there saying what I think it’s saying?

Yes. I kid you not. I quoted that verse word for word. I even emphasized that one certain phrase in every way possible so that y’all are sure to see it.

I’ll quote it again for good measure.

In everything give thanks.

What does that mean? Does it mean we should be thankful for all the good things God has given us, every gift Christ has bestowed on us through His precious blood? Well, yes, of course it means those things.

Does it mean being thankful for the whole earth, all the resources available to us, all our family, friends, etc? Again, yes.

Does it mean being thankful in the midst of dealing with a gastrointestinal disease? Cancer? Death?

Yes.

I don’t say that flippantly. I am scared of these things. While life has its blessings, life is also a tragedy, stained by sin. Just as there are good things in our lives, there are bad things that disrupt our lives and, sometimes, alter our lives forever.

Our natural instinct is to loath these things, to ask God why He ordained such things to happen to His children. To rebel against them with all our being.

In everything give thanks.

That means just what it says–everything. Although I suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder–which I would give anything to be rid of–I give thanks, because I know the Lord is challenging me, as a Father to His child. He is asking me a question. Do I trust Him with my life? Or do I lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)? Do I depend on my finite knowledge or His infinite knowledge?

God is challenging me for a reason. I may not know what that reason is, but praise God that He sees in me something worth challenging!

Amen.

Tuning In


Our bodies can tell us a lot about what we are eating. When I first began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I just ate what I was told and avoided what was “illegal.” This was exactly what I should have done, of course. However, with gastrointestinal disorders, sensitivities to certain foods can vary drastically from person to person. One person may be able to eat such and such, while another person can’t.

I began to discover this fairly early on in my SCD journey. One thing I knew bothered me (but was allowed on the SCD) was pork. I couldn’t eat it without getting nauseous before, during, and after. Yes, I said before. The mere thought of eating pork sent my tummy into turmoil. I knew it wouldn’t be wise to eat it, so I stopped.

As I learned to tune in to my tummy more and more, I began to realize that it wasn’t only what I ate that might bother me, but the amount of food I was eating. For instance, I know I can eat seven strawberries in one sitting. However, if I go beyond seven, I know I may be in for some discomfort later on. The seeds in strawberries will begin to bother me if I go above this amount.

As I continued to learn about my gut, I further realized that my body could tell me when eating certain things wouldn’t be a good idea at the time. Foods I love can become detrimental if my gut is not 100% ready for it. I will actually get nauseous at the thought of favorite foods if I have overindulged in another area. An example would be beef. I love beef, but since it is harder to digest, I eat it occasionally. If I’ve had beef recently (as in the last few days), my stomach will tighten and feel heavy, like it does after I’ve eaten beef. I’m smiling now, because even simply writing this is giving me these sensations (I had beef only a few days ago).

So, as you can see, learning to listen to your body is extremely important. Just eating what you are supposed to might not be the wisest course. Examining what you are eating and knowing how each food affects you is taking one giant step toward taking better care of your gut. It might mean narrowing down your choices for a while. Note that I said “a while.” Never give up hope that you’ll be able to try certain foods again, provided they are SCD legal.

A suggestion would be to make a food log for a few weeks of everything you eat and any symptoms/sensitivites you experience.

Tune in and eat wisely!

Speaking of Meds…


Today I went for my annual check-up. First off, I want to spread the good news: my blood work is absolutely, positively, happily NORMAL. NORMAL! God has certainly blessed me in the past year.

As I mentioned previously, I asked my gastroenterologist about tapering off one of my medications, a steroid I have been taking since I was first diagnosed. He gave me the go-ahead. Praise God! He suggested a quick taper, one that would only take a couple of months, but I have the freedom to decrease the dosage at my own pace.

I figure that in a year’s time, I should be completely off my steroids! Of course, if at any time I feel a negative change in my system, I will be readjusting my dosage. I am not as concerned as I was about remaining on the medication; my doctor assures me that it will not adversely affect future pregnancies. Even so, I’d rather not be on them when the time comes to have children.

Tapering off my meds, I realized, isn’t as easy as it seems. I have several considerations to take into account.

  • First, my system has to be stable. Well it is, and has been for nineteen months, with only a couple minor relapses.
  • Next, I have to consult my schedule. This year, I have three major trips coming up: one to Houston, Texas, one to Long Island, New York, and one to Moscow, Idaho. With all that travelling and changed eating habits (eating out, having limited resources, etc.), my digestive tract may not be ready for a decrease in the meds.

Those things considered, my family and I have decided that it would be best to wait until I am back on a normal schedule. Our travelling should be done by mid-July. I plan to start tapering my medications in mid-August, after I’ve had sufficient time to re-acclimate myself to home life.

Please keep me in prayer as I prepare to decrease my dosages, not only that I would not be affected by the change, but that I will persevere even more to remain strictly on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Oh, and P.S.: In case you were beginning to wonder, my first recipe “Remedy” should be making an appearance either by the end of this week or the beginning of next. So stay tuned!!

😀

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet


When I first discovered that I had Crohn’s Disease, a friend from church and a relative 1900 miles away suggested the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), almost simultaneously. My family and I stepped out in faith to try it out, believing that God was pointing me in that direction. I have not regretted our decision, though the struggle has been hard.

What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet was designed to heal the afflicted intestines and control symptoms. The reasons why food is not digested properly are laid out in Elaine Gottschall’s book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle. It is necessary for any person suffering gastrointestinal disorders or maladies such as Autism to read this book thoroughly before embarking upon the diet. I didn’t, and I suffered the consequences later on.

To summarize briefly what the book details: Because many people with disorders like Crohn’s and Celiac Disease have lost the ability to digest disaccharides, a mucus layer develops in the intestine, blocking digestive enzymes from the disaccharides. There is an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines, which results in the malabsorption of nutrients.

Carbohydrates give energy to the intestinal microbes in a person’s system, continually feeding them so they grow. Thus, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet eliminates all the detrimental carbohydrates. These  include wheat (corn, as well), starches, and sugar.

So, what can you eat? Simple. Meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Bacon is an occasional treat, if fried crisply. Of course, you may be more sensitive to it than others. I can’t eat more than two slices once a week. Honey can be used in place of sugar. There are certain restrictions on fruits and vegetables as well (like potatoes), but it will be worth it cutting them out of your diet (see Breaking the Vicious Cycle for a list of “legal” and “illegal” foods). Some dairy is allowed; some cheeses and yogurt, if it is homemade, but NO milk. Instructions for homemade yogurt can also be found in Elaine Gottschall’s book. At some point, you will be able to introduce nut flours into your diet. The flour recommended is blanched almond flour (so far, we found that Lucy’s Kitchen Shop has the best deal), though I cannot handle that as well. I am on the verge of trying coconut flour, which is a little less expensive. When I’ve experimented with it, I will post my results.

This is a diet that must claim your careful attention and diligence. I realized after two years that I would never be able to completely go back to normal eating. My advice is that you don’t think ahead to the day where you can be “free” to eat whatever you please. Since you may not be able to do that, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Pray for peace. The Lord has put you in this situation. He wants to see you grow through it.

And don’t think that this diet is a burden! Sure, it’s hard at first, but once you get used to cooking in this way and reading labels, it won’t be so bad. Nowadays, I forget that I’m even on this diet, and my friends are always surprised at the wide variety of food I can make.

The Beginner’s Diet

That’s what my mom and I call the first stage of the SCD. For the first five days, the diet is extremely strict, allowing only those foods which will be easy on the system. The point of the Beginner’s Diet is to give your intestines a break. It’s a rest period for things to settle down. When I first started, my insides were so inflamed I stayed on this diet for even longer than they told me to. It’ll be different for everyone.

For a list of the SCD stages, go here. My mom found this later on, after I’d been on the diet for several months. It would’ve helped me so much more to have this at the very beginning.

I also suggest that, at any stage of the diet, if you have a relapse, go back to this beginner’s diet for a few days. I personally go on all liquids for the first two days, then I implement one solid meal on the third day, two on the fourth, and then all three on the fifth.

Above all, don’t give up. It is likely that, even if you are pain/reaction-free for months, you could have a sudden relapse here and there. Don’t be discouraged. The future results will far outweigh any relapses in between.

If you decide to embark upon this journey, I pray for your continued success. God bless!

Faithful Climbs


   A man is climbing a mountain. He stumbles, regains his footing, takes a deep breath, and tries again. Sometimes it looks as if he will never make it to the heights to which he aspires. In spite of the odds, he keeps going—he keeps climbing. Faith is the same way. As we climb to loftier heights of sanctification, God drops pebbles in our paths. Will we trip and fall? Or will we pick ourselves up and keep climbing? Over the past three years, I have come to realize that my struggle with Crohn’s Disease has not been in vain, but that it instead has encouraged me to reach for the pinnacle of faith and peace.

   December 7, 2006—that date marks the night I experienced my personal “Pearl Harbor,” as I later referred to it. Although I had been experiencing escalating abdominal pain over a period of several months, it reached a climax that December afternoon. My parents hurried me off to the hospital, and soon I was being rolled away toward the operating room. The anesthetics had begun to wear off sometime in the middle of the night when I finally asked the question my mother, who was staying with me in the hospital room, was probably waiting for: “Is everything all right now?”

   She hesitated, but answered at last, “Everything is going to be all right.” It was not her words, but her tone that struck me as odd, for she sounded sad and grieved rather than relieved that all was over and done. I asked her if the surgeons had removed whatever had been causing the pain. She told me that they hadn’t.

  Then what was it? To hear the lonely silence in the room was more than I could bear. I asked her, and she told me. I had Crohn’s Disease. Well, what was that? I had never heard of it, but it didn’t sound good, all the same. It was an auto-immune disease that could not just go away. I was “stuck with it.”

  Accepting the fact was not hard that first night. I was still groggy from the anesthesia, too tired to react. I woke when the sunlight leaked through the hospital blinds and tried not to think about it. The days passed at a snail’s pace, and neither my family nor I had any answers to my problem. I was given steroids and medications, one of which I would most likely have to take daily for the rest of my life. I never questioned God that first time in the hospital, even though my attitude was not always a good one.

  After consulting hospital nutritionists and various doctors, all with discouraging results, my father and sister visited me with new hope. My father’s exact words were, “We’re going to get you better.” We all looked at one another, willing to try anything. Friends in our church had amazing success putting two of their daughters on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. We purchased a book which detailed how to proceed, and almost as soon as I returned home, we began.

  I was—and am—extremely restricted. The SCD excludes all grains, gluten, all refined sugars, and starches. Needless to say, it was difficult. There were many times where I wished I could give up or give in to my cravings, but I forced myself to persevere. My health improved immediately, and for seven months I had no pain attacks. I was confident in the diet and myself. I suppose that was when God decided to give my family and me a dose of humbling. In late July of 2007, I became ill. It only lasted three days and I was able to care for myself at home, but about a month later, I returned to the hospital.

  A change had come over me. I was confused and angry. For the first time since my ill-fated discovery, I questioned God. “Why?” I couldn’t understand why God was afflicting me like this. I wanted to be free of my medications and my condition. I feared for the plans I had desired for my future, marriage and children. It all seemed so impossible to attain with a condition as terrible as mine stamped on my forehead, so to speak. It didn’t help that my friends knew a play-by-play of what went on, even though, at the time, I had wanted everyone to pray. I realized later that I wish I had kept it quiet as much as possible.

  My parents took me home after a week in the hospital, and we continued with the diet. This time, we saw everything differently. Not only did we have to be even more careful, but we also had to trust in God. Our trust in the diet had taken priority. Even with the question “why” still nagging in the back of mind, I prayed daily for healing and grace. I came to realize that God had been knocking at my door, and I had been too busy to realize that I had neglected Him. I needed faith not only at the foot of the mountain, where everything was smooth and easygoing, but also when the path became hazardous on the journey upwards. There was a greater purpose at work behind my condition, and all that had happened would “work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

  In October of 2007, I was admitted once more into the hospital, this time for only four days. I remained faithful, although new pebbles were thrown in my path. The doctors wished to control the disease with stronger medications, medications I had heard could possibly be dangerous. I floundered in my faith, frightened and rebellious. I did not want to go on medications that could make me sick—or worse. Even now I sometimes fear the possibility. When I was hospitalized in September 2008, the question became an issue. I didn’t even want to think about it. The doctors did not push, but I felt the pressure all the same. My parents agreed with me, but also encouraged me to accept God’s will whatever it was. My doctor understood my concern, and stronger medications have not been pushed since.

  Now, a little over three years since that first hospitalization in 2006, I still struggle. There are still times when my future as a wife and mother seem unattainable, or that I will never be able to stop worrying about what I eat. Even so, I have been mostly diligent with the diet, and I intend to keep at it for many years to come, if not always. I have not had a need for the hospital for over a year and a half. I am thankful for where I am at.

  Although my faith is not perfect, I have reached for the top of the mountain. I have slipped; I have fallen. Every day, I pick myself up and keep climbing. God gives us tests to try our faith and love for Him. If He did not, what would that say about us? If I had no struggles, if my life was easy and uncomplicated, I might fear for my salvation. The book of James says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:2-4). Those verses always give me the peace I need to endure Crohn’s Disease and all other trials that make my path rough. Do not lose faith. Have that inner peace that surpasses all understanding. Keep climbing.

  My intent for this blog is to share my knowledge of Crohn’s, the many different facets of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and its effect on various digestive diseases (including maladies such as Autism), and any tips or shortcuts within the diet that I have discovered over the past three years. If I can help even a little, I know it will be worth it. So stay tuned!

  Above all, I wish to make clear that, without the Lord on my side, I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet has taught me many things about taking care of the body God has given me, and while it has worked wonders in my life, I recognize that it was the Lord working through my diet that made the real difference.

  I will post at least once weekly, on Fridays or Saturdays. However, if inspiration strikes me mid-week, I will most likely let you know. So check back often, or sign up for e-mail updates!

   God be with you on your journey to better health.