A huge part of my treatment protcol for healing Lyme disease has been therapeutic diets. I always knew that diet was an important part of our total health picture, but I didn’t quite realize that the food we eat (or don’t eat) can literally be medicine until I had a group of health care professionals who were interested in treating my specific case of Lyme with (among other things) dietary changes.
The first therapeutic diet I went on back in September 2017 was the Autoimmune Protocol (or AIP for short). I didn’t have a Lyme diagnosis yet, and the prevailing theory at the time was that I was fighting an autoimmune thyroid disorder. While I was waiting for test results, I took things into my own hands and decided to start eating an autoimmune diet. My thyroid wasn’t the issue—a raging Lyme infection was—but in the end, the dietary changes I made were right in line with the changes most Lyme-literate medical doctors prescribe.
I stayed on the AIP for about three months, and then, right around Christmas 2017, I had a pretty nasty Lyme flare-up that sparked my naturopath to recommend a change in my treatment protocol. She recommended I change diets from AIP to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or SCD for short). I’ve been on SCD since January 11, 2018.
Since this is primarily a food website, I figured it was high time I explain to you guys what the SCD is, what it’s like being on it, and what I’ve figured out about it. Let’s dig in!
So what exactly is SCD?
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a short-term (most folks are on it for a few years, but not lifelong) therapeutic diet that was originally designed to cure intestinal bowel disorders like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It was originally designed by Dr. Sidney V. Haas, but popularized by the mother of one of his patients, a medical researcher named Elaine Gottschall. She devoted her entire life to investigating and advocating for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet after it cured her daughter of severe Ulcerative Colitis. She quite literally wrote the book on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
If you want to know more about the science of the diet, you can read this here—it’s way too complicated for me to dive in here—but the basic idea is pretty simple: certain kinds of carbohydrates are not able to be fully digested by everyone’s bodies. Not everyone can digest complex carbohydrates well. When we have undigested carbohydrates in our gut, we’re overfeeding the bad bacteria and yeast in our intestinal tract. Feeding these bad guys dinner triggers a vicious cycle of excess toxins, acids, and gasses living in our guts, which causes irritation and disease.
How does it work?
Simple: you remove the foods that feed the bad bacteria and yeast. And this means any kind of complex carbohydrate: grains of all kinds, sugar, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and most dairy products (see a full list of legal/illegal foods here).
By giving your gut a break from complex carbs, your gut flora begins to stabilize and the body begins to heal. It’s not a quick process, but it’s effective and 100% natural.
Um, Cass, you don’t have intestinal bowel disesase—so why are you on this?
True. I don’t have UC or Crohn’s, but you know what I do have? A rampant bacterial infection—Lyme (and it’s co-infections). And the whole idea behind SCD is to stop feeding the bad bacteria living your body. We’re starving out the Lyme. It’s not commonplace to treat Lyme with SCD, but it is common for Lyme to be treated with a strict paleo diet (no grains, no sugars, no legumes, no dairy). The SCD is just taking the standard dietary treatment for Lyme a step further by eliminating all complex carbohydrates. Read the post »