If you’re suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and are looking for non-pharmocological treatments, then you should give serious consideration to the specific carbohydrate diet, or SCD. The diet has thousands of adherents, who swear that it changed the course of their debilitating illness and got them feeling normal again. I’m not going to go into the diet and its history in this post, since you can find out all you need to know by visiting the Breaking the Vicious Cycle web site. Also, in 2002, I wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, called Eating is Believing that explained the idea behind SCD in more detail, including why it was, and still is, controversial among the medical establishment. The story is currently behind the WSJ’s subscription wall (Mr. Murdoch, tear down this wall!), but you can easily find the full text by searching for the title and SCD on the internet.
The latest entry in the SCD library is a cook book titled, simply enough, Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, written by my long-time friend, Raman Prasad.
Raman has had ulcerative colitis since he was a teenager. I’ve watched him battle the illness through the years. I have visited him in hospital rooms, taken note of his extreme swings in weight, observed the side effects of prednisone as they played out in his behaviour and appearance. And I watched as he ultimately learned to manage his colitis using SCD.
Raman can’t expunge the illness from his life, so he’s settled for the next best thing: he’s mastered it. The man has an encyclopedic knowledge about IBD and SCD. He’s been able to capture reams of information on his illness, and focus it through the lens of one who is afflicted by it, evident in a moving autobiography of his experience, called Colitis and Me.
This deep knowledge surfaces in his other writings, his blog especially. Readers will find dozens of thoughtful, well-articulated posts on a range of topics: analysis of science research papers, interviews with movers and shakers in the SCD community, news about clinical trials, and critiques of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
His new cookbook is gorgeous and easy to follow. My wife and I use it to plan meals a few times a month. That neither of us has IBD really doesn’t matter, since the SCD is first and foremost about eating healthy, nutritious meals. I’m a mess in the kitchen–if I can find a way to ruin a recipe, it most assuredly will happen. But everything in the cook book is so well thought out, and designed so cleanly, that even I manage to prepare something edible. Delicious even.
You can buy the books via links on Raman’s web site, or just click on the images shown here.Tags: book review, crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, specific carbohydrate diet, ulcerative colitis
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