by guest blogger Wendy Donley
Nine months ago this week, we took the plunge and started as a family on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). It was our stop-gap attempt to bring healing to our daughter’s thoroughly confused GI system. We called it “Bad Bugs Be Gone” and approached it with gusto.
How many efforts have I made at writing this blog post in my mind since that time? I have wanted to send out an update on our growing-up girl for months now, but every time I think about how to communicate the changes in Caris since beginning the SCD in November, I come up short on words.
It hit me today why that’s true - and it’s the very best reason of all to write! Caris leads an ordinary life. She plays like an ordinary eight year-old, she sleeps like an ordinary eight year-old; she reads, rides, runs, jumps, and oh, so many other ordinary things. And that’s extraordinary!
The more I think about just how remarkable “ordinary” is, the more it brings me to tears. Caris is experiencing ordinary days for the first time in six years. The constant groaning is gone. There are no long faces; no lengthy visits to the restroom; no tears at mealtime. Her days are amazingly, breath-takingly ordinary.
There was a lot of hard work to get here, but now that we’re coasting with this SCD lifestyle, I can honestly say the late nights and early mornings of food prep and research seem like a distant memory. What began as a family commitment (offering moral support to our girl) evolved into a strict adherence to the SCD for Caris and a nearly grain-free diet for the rest of us.
In the nine months since beginning the diet (though I like to think of it more as a “lifestyle” than a diet), Caris has experienced five birthday parties in our immediate family; Christmas and the festivities surrounding the holiday season; Valentine’s Day; Easter egg hunts; summer camp; two weeks of Vacation Bible School; overnights with grandparents; and many social gatherings. We have never once heard her complain about what she can’t eat. Remarkable! That in itself if evidence of the clear changes that have taken place in her belly that make her willing to happily pass over certain foods.
One of my favorite memories is of making “monster cookies” for the girls’ Bible study leaders. Caris helped with such joy in her heart. Rather than lamenting about not being able to try them, she absolutely beamed as she poured and stirred, talking about how much her teachers were going to enjoy them.
Another time, my mom reported that Caris had taken a piece of candy. She was concerned she had secretly eaten it. I assured my mom I didn’t think so, but inquired with Caris about the candy anyway. She produced it from her pocket “for dad.” This scenario has repeated itself again and again with Valentine’s candy and VBS snacks. The adults around Caris worry . . . she simply smiles as she lovingly seeks out someone else to bless with the special treat.
What has developed in her is amazing as we see her serving in the kitchen, preparing snacks for her younger sister that she won’t be able to share, or planning ahead for what might be part of her next meal. In the past, even talk of food made her anxious knowing there would be pain and discomfort. She was always either begging to eat (confusing pain and hunger cues) or begging for relief (doubled over on the arm of a chair). Now, she is my joy-filled grocery assistant and my servant-hearted kitchen helper.
These glimpses into our “ordinary” girl are evidence for us of the extraordinary changes that have come about through the SCD – all by God’s tremendous grace in our lives. We are grateful!
p.s. It looks like we’re not the only ones who have found success on the SCD. Check out this article.
And since some of you may be considering a GAPS style diet such as the SCD for yourself or a family member, I’ll put together a separate post with weblinks and resources we have found most beneficial on this journey.
If you have not read Caris' story, part one, please do so now. You will be amazed at how far this girl has come in 9 months - with the help of real food.