“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hunger Levels and the SCD

When I first started the SCD, I noticed a difference in four days. Yes, four days. But I got lots of crazy cravings: coffee (I don't drink coffee), cigarettes (don't smoke either), sausage, sugar, you name it. It was frustrating. I didn't know what was happening to my body, but after 12 months of constant flare up, 2 rounds of prednisone, Immuran, Colazol, and Asocol (all the drugs failed by the way), I wasn't about to give up after only a week. I later learned that cravings are a normal effect of the change in diet--that doesn't mean they happen to everyone, but they aren't uncommon. Wheew, I wasn't crazy.

For athletes, we need more calories than normal folks. My first peice of advice: put 'training' aside for a while. You need time to heal, figure out the diet, and assess your progress. Exercise, by all means, but don't 'train' until your symptoms subside, and you get a handle on the diet and your health. Enjoy some time with your loved ones.

You will do better on the diet eating smaller, frequent meals. The frustrating part, is that you may not feel full like you did after a meal on your old diet. During the healing process, I would get so frustrated, because whenever I ate the amount of calories my body needed, I would get sick, but whenever I ate less so that I wouldn't get sick, I lost weight. I lost 15 pounds the first 3 months of my time on the SCD--But you don't have to. That's why I'm writing this post.

Below are some principles I've learned that may help you:
1. Rest and figure out the diet. Don't stress over not training.
2. Keep a food and symptom log, religiously. I will have one posted here soon, or the Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America has one you can download for free.
3. Eat sensibly, and don't cheat. The food log will help you to know which foods irritate you and which don't. Beware, some foods you may be able to tolerate in small quantities, but if you gorge on it...well--all things in moderation for now, okay? As athletes we tend to have addictive personalities--resist. At the height of my weight loss I paniced and ate an entire jar of peanut butter. Why not, right? It's SCD legal--I was sick for 3 days: fever, chills, shaking, bleeding, the works.
4. Exercise, but don't challenge your body like you would training for an event. It's hard, I know, but resist. You need time to heal.
5. Suplement. Depending on which you have, Chron's or Colitis, you may experience various absorption related deficiencies. True, a 'normal' person may not need to supplement, but we do. As an athlete you may already be used to this. Freeda makes SCD friendly vitamins. I've found the best prices at KosherVitamins.com
6. Be prepared for your grocery bill to go up significantly. There's no two ways about it. You're eating more fresh foods, all organic (hopefully); honey and almond flour are expensive. I'm working on getting my Flexible Spending Account at work to cover the extra since this is a medical treatment. If it works I will post guidelines and what I've learned as a seperate topic.
7. Get a nutrition book. Learn how your body works, and you'll learn faster to read the signals it's sending to you.
Below are some books that have helped me.

"Eating Right for a Bad Gut" by James Scala. Besides the fact that you couldn't have a worse or more embarrassing title, I learned a lot about nutritional suplementation in this book.
"What to Eat with IBD" by Tracie Dalessandro.

Make no mistake, however, I don't advocate any other diet than the SCD as laid out by Elaine G. in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle". with that said, I did learn from these two books.

"Krause's Food and Nutrition Therapy" 12th Ed. This is a nutrition textbook and is a super helpful reference.

Until next time...

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