Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Helpful books

When my daughter, Kitty, received a working diagnosis of Crohn's in October 2010, we started reading right away and making changes to her diet. Two of the first books we read were The Maker's Diet, by Jordan Rubin, and Breaking the Vicious Cycle, by Elaine Gottschall. Both helped immensely.

We found that when we tried the first phase of Jordan Rubin's plan, the unpleasant symptoms of diarrhea, bleeding, and malodorous gas disappeared within a couple of weeks. As we continued, cramping and soreness diminished. Rubin recommends whole, natural foods, and his holistic approach to health encompasses sleep, supplements, mild exercise, prayer/meditation, water, high quality food sources, aromatherapy, and avoidance of toxins. We supported Kitty's health in many simple ways which, combined, led to significant improvement.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle outlines Gottschall's Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The SCD is straightforward and use-friendly. Gottschall provides a beginning diet plan and easy-to-use lists for successive stages of the diet. Because Gottschall does not share Rubin's emphasis on natural sources, enzymes and probiotics, her diet can be followed with conventional grocery items. Several foods not listed in Rubin's early stages (bananas and soft cow's milk cheeses, for example) are allowed in the earlier stages of the SCD diet.

We have found that combining the approaches of the two books according to Kitty's unique tolerances has led to good results. The first month, she followed the first and second phases of The Maker's Diet (TMD). She kept a log of everything she ate and recorded all of her symptoms. It was usually easy to trace new or recurring symptoms to the introduction of a new food after the basic first phase of The Maker's Diet.

It was intensely difficult for my candy-loving fourteen-year-old to completely give up sugar, grains, and cow's milk. When Kitty strayed from the diet that worked for her (usually at a dinner party) and symptoms reappeared, she returned to the first two phases of the diet. With each negative experience, she found it easier to limit herself to the foods that supported her health. As her body healed, we added foods from the SCD diet. She has gained energy and weight; she looks and feels healthy.

I encourage anyone with any form of IBD to read these books. They are available at Amazon.com and many local libraries. There are many other books, websites, articles, and resources available. In the coming months, I will write about the simple but effective ways we are supporting our family's health and the many resources we are using along the way. Please join us.
- Bridget

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