This fall, Erin B., the creator of www.nomorecrohns.com launched the 5th issue of Thrive--a recipe-packed magazine for people using the specific carbohydrate diet.
Below, she shares some of her experiences with the SCD.
When were you diagnosed with Crohn's disease?
I was diagnosed in 2001, at age 22.
Why did you try the SCD?
I became discouraged by the thought of being on strong medicine my whole life. As I read more about Crohn's, the worse it seemed. I was quite sick, on and off prednisone. I didn't know what life would be like. I thought it was worth trying the diet.
After a month or two, I felt so much better. Then I didn't question whether or not to keep going.
Did you have help at the time?
I was very lucky. I had my mom. I was still going to college and I was at home.
On your website, you mention returning to health, graduating, and winning an internship at the White House. Did you use the SCD in the White House?
While I was there, I was on the SCD.
It was neat to get that big of a goal accomplished. To complete the internship, to be on the SCD, and to be perfectly healthy.
How was your daily schedule?
I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, packed my lunch for the day, drove to the metro [DC train/subway], and commuted in. My internship started at 8 am. I left around 5pm. I spent time in evening cooking, getting ready for the next day. I froze many meals--that helped a lot.
Were you asked about your food at work?
Everyone was very curious about it. It seems that everyone knows someone with digestive problems. They were interested in hearing about the diet.
I've always wanted to do something where more people can hear about the diet--to put something together that was positive and upbeat.
At first, I told some people about it. Soon we had a packet of information we would mail to people. If someone had a friend of a friend with digestive issues, we would mail it.
Later we started the website as a way to give people many resources. It makes starting the diet easier.
How many people are you in contact with?
There are 300 to 400 in my email contact list--these are mostly people who email me questions about the diet. I give them tips based on my experience.
Every week, between 400 to 1,000 people visit the website.
Of the people who contact you, what are some common questions?
People are unsure whether or not they are following the diet correctly. It helps to talk to someone who has done it before.
Often people ask, "I'm having symptoms, what do you think I'm doing wrong?"
I'll ask them to send a list of everything they are eating. Almost always there's something illegal that they didn't catch. There are so many little things that you have to know. So many people give up because they don't know something was illegal.
I encourage them to be 100% on the diet and that it's really worth it to make your own food. You don't want to get the illegals in there and mess up all the work that you've done--that's the biggest problem people have.
Do receive a lot of feedback?
I do. Recently I heard back from a lady whose son had Crohn's. The diet didn't seem to be helping. She sent me a list of everything he was eating, including store-bought tomato sauce.
I recommended she take it out--and that it was easy to make their own tomato sauce. She wrote back and said that within 2 weeks of taking out the tomato sauce he was totally better.
In her recent email, she reported that he gained 12 inches in a year. That was exciting, to help them out.
How much time do you spend each week helping people, updating the website, and working on Thrive?
Ten or more hours. My mother is also doing a lot of work on the magazine this year as well as the website.
How does your doctor respond to you being on the diet?
I explained it to my regular doctor--that I have Crohn's but it's completely controlled by diet. I've had no symptoms, no medications, no surgeries in the 8 years since I've started the diet.
When I was having my 1st baby I was concerned about getting the right nutrition. After I explained the diet to my ob/gyn, he said:
"Good girl. That's the way we should be eating anyway. You're probably eating better than everyone else is."
I felt relieved hearing that.
Is your family on the SCD?
They eat a healthier diet because I'm on the SCD. Usually the main dish is SCD and I'll add rice or bread or something for them.
Thank you for taking the time to talk.