This post is long over due but I've been formulating my thoughts for a while now and feel compelled to write. For the past year my husband and I have been on a "walk-about" of sorts, a journey towards health, one which I must share with you today.
It was ten years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an auto immune disorder that affects the colon. As an adult he has had relatively minor symptoms and flare ups, most of which went undetected. Despite his lack of symptoms, a routine colonoscopy last year revealed a significant amount inflammation in his colon and large intestine. At this time we were eating very healthy, all organic, whole grains and little to none processed foods or sugars. Jordan's doctor assured us that food had nothing to do with this ailment and that changes in the diet would not alter anything. We disagreed and asked for a recommendation for a doctor who took a more holistic approach to health. We were given the contact information for a naturopath here in Seattle who specializes in auto immune and digestive disorders. After our initial visit I knew he was an answer to prayer, someone who truly cared about Jordan and his healing. And so it began...
He put Jordan (and myself) on the specific carbohydrate diet. Pioneered by author and biochemist, Elaine Gottschall, this particular diet focuses on the foods that promote restoration in the gut and cut out all foods that encourage inflammation and are difficult to digest. Elaine's book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, is a must read for anyone suffering from Crohn's, colitis, IBS, or celiac disease. After reading the guidelines of the diet we threw out all grains, gluten, starches, dairy (except for a few allowed cheeses), sugar (except honey), most legumes and hauled in an insane amount of fresh fruit, vegetables, leans meats, raw goats milk cheeses, eggs and a load of raw nuts, nut butters and nut flours.
I will never forget the day we purged our kitchen. My head was spinning. What are we going to eat, how do I prepare our meals, can we afford this diet? We were young and newly married and I felt I had finally gotten the hang of preparing meals for two, now I had to learn a whole new way of cooking AND eating. All of the conventional wisdom about eating whole grains was tossed out the window. All these questions and thoughts were swimming in my head, but with a lot of prayer we submitted ourselves to a healthier lifestyle and agreed that we are not just doing this for ourselves, but for our children that we hope to have one day.
Each day grew easier, working from home enabled me the time to research recipes, gather inspiration and test original creations on my very patient husband. Believe me, I had SEVERAL grain free blunders in the kitchen and despite my desire to toss the whole thing, Jordan would eat it with a grateful heart.
Later in the summer we started incorporating more raw dishes (since so much of the summer bounty should be enjoyed raw anyway). We splurged on a dehydrator and high speed blender to make most of our treats and snacks and what an absolute necessity these tools are in our kitchen! We experimented with nut flours, introduced ghee and coconut oil into our diet and brought in a slew of supplements from L-Glutamine to digestive enzymes. Our friends were so gracious and catered to our crazy eating habits. Our family accommodated all of our needs and every restaurant we went to made each dish special. We finally got to a point where we stopped referring to this as a diet and just accepted it as a new way of life. We were both feeling great, had lost those "early marriage" pounds, and prayed that all of this would pay off in the end.
This past December(2010) marked 6 months on the diet. We were told the earliest to see if the diet had helped Jordan's colon would be 6 months. So we scheduled a colonoscopy and prayed. All of the work and high grocery bills.....was it all worth it? What if the diet didn't change anything? What if it made things worse? What if Jordan can't get off of his medicine (which is a main goal with this diet)? What if the doctor is right, food can't help heal this type of disease? All of these questions went rampant in my head for days as we prepared for the outcome.
The day had come, and we were now subject to one doctor and his little camera.....the suspense nearly drove me crazy as I waited for the two hour procedure to finish.
I picked Jordan up and was handed a handful of papers that said EVERYTHING IS MUCH IMPROVED!!! His inflammation had improved by 85% and that was just with 6 months of this diet under his belt. Imagine what a year would do, or two years or ten?! I immediately started crying and praised the Lord for such good news. 85% improved by diet alone. That has to tell you something!!
So this brings us to present day, we remain on the SCD diet and Jordan has been given the green light to get off the medicine he has been taking for the last ten years. My own naturopath has seen a remarkable difference in my overall health as well and we are looking forward to starting a family one day soon!
I share all of this with you as a powerful testimony of the healing power of food and the benefits of submitting your body and preconceived notions about health to God. Although I wish so badly my husband had never been diagnosed with Crohn's, I am so thankful to be dependent on the Lord and trust that He is the ultimate healer. I firmly believe that what was created for bad can be redeemed for good. We will not allow this disease to rob us of joy, we welcome it as a catalyst to grow as individuals, as a couple and ultimately share the good news that we are witness to something said to be incurable cured.
If any of you are struggling with an ailment whether it be digestive disorders, cancer, or a common cold I challenge you set aside some time to research and learn about how the foods you are eating affect your health. We have gotten so wrapped up in what tastes good and what comforts us that we have abused one of the few remaining freedoms we have....the freedom to chose what we put in our bodies. Now, Im not saying I have everything figured out, because I definitely do not. We just want to give hope and encouragement to those who struggle...just as we have.
To our friends, family and the thoughtful women who have intentionally encouraged me here on Roost...thank you for your support and continuous affirmation. The outpour has been overwhelming and for anyone out there who struggles with Crohn's please be encouraged that there are alternatives and you have our full support and love.
If anyone has any questions or insight about our journey or your own please send me a note! I would really love to hear from you.