ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

When My Children were on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Updated on November 18, 2015

How the Specific Carbohydrate Diet Saved My Children

My husband and I were thrilled to be parents. Our long -waited firstborn arrived after seven years of marriage. We were blessed with a second baby a short time later.

However, we soon realized our children weren't healthy. Developmentally, our oldest wasn't on track. Her speech was delayed and she had very poor social skills.

At one point, she was formally diagnosed with autism. Our youngest was an outgoing little guy. In the beginning, he was ahead of the curve. But, by the time he was 18 months old, he was losing weight and he had little energy. Big black circles had formed under his eyes, and his distended belly made him look pregnant. He also developed breathing problems.

My husband and I took him from doctor to doctor, but no one could tell us what was wrong.

In searching for a solution to my daughter's problems, I realized that the Standard American Diet was our enemy. Also, my children had been vaccinated and they'd both taken multiple courses of antibiotics to treat their chronic ear infections. All of the above had made them sickly.

Grain-free grilling.
Grain-free grilling. | Source

The Internet was Our Lifeline

Fortunately, this all happened a couple years after it became easy to go online. I was able to tap into a lot of information about autism, and how it could be helped by a milk-free, gluten-free diet. With little to lose, I immediately stopped giving my daughter milk. Within about a week, she started talking in sentences.

However, she then hit a plateau. That's when gluten had to go too. We saw more rapid improvements, until she hit another plateau. That's when we realized corn was also fueling her autistic behavior. Taking that away helped immensely.

But we were very distressed that as our daughter improved, our son began to regress. His physical health also began to decline after he accidentally ate a wheat cracker at the playground. This, however, was a blessing in disguise.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet

Help Arrives in the Mail

After my son, who was doing fairly well on a strict gluten-free diet, ingested the cracker, his health slipped again. His breathing was labored and I was more worried than ever. Despite bringing him to his pediatrician, and the various specialists we were referred to, no one could find the cause of his problems. He was tested for cystic fibrosis, which, fortunately, he didn't have.

The doctor wanted me to feed him wheat again, to test him for celiac disease. But I refused, as he had such a bad reaction from eating just one cracker.

However, my mother ended up coming to the rescue. She happened to meet a woman who suffered from inflammatory bowel disease, which she kept under control by adhering to something called the SCD Diet. This is a grain-free diet that many people has found extremely helpful in controlling their symptoms of ulcerative colitis and celiac disease.

Amazingly, the woman who spoke to my mother took it upon herself to send us a book on the SCD diet calledBreaking the Vicious Cycle, written by Elaine Gottschall, whom, many years earlier, had cured her daughter's ulcerative colitis by putting her on this diet.

Eating without grains.
Eating without grains. | Source

Tips and Tricks for Following the SCD Diet

Planning ahead is essential. Changing your diet can be daunting at first. But many people have done it. Here are some tips to get started.

  • We found it easier to simply bring food from home for my children to eat whenever we were invited elsewhere. Restaurants were very accommodating.
  • If you are going to a restaurant, simply order a big salad without dressing or croutons. Add chunks of chicken you bring from home for a more filling meal.
  • Order a plain hamburger, with lettuce, tomato and onion, with no dressing. Ask the kitchen to prepare a baked potato.

I Knew it Was the Right Thing to Do

After reading the book, and learning that people was once used as a cure for celiac disease, I knew we needed to try it. Since I was now desperate, I was willing to try just about anything. It also seemed to make sense to put my daughter on this diet as well, even though there was practically no information about how eating SCD-legal foods would help a child with autism. But I made an educated guess based on new information about the potential role of a leaky gut in autism spectrum disorders.

Back then, there was also not a lot of recipes available on SCD meals and snacks, as there is today. The book Eat Well, Feel Well: More than 150 Delicious Specific Carbohydrate Meals and Snackswould have made life much easier.

At first, both children lost a little weight on the diet. This was frightening to watch, especially for my son.

But this was because many types of carbohydrates were not allowed, and their bodies were apparently adjusting. Sugar was a type of carbohydrate they couldn't eat.

The diet is called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet because only simply and easily digestible carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits, nuts and vegetables were allowed. All types of meat were legal as well. After six months on the diet, we could also incorporate legumes, provided they were well-soaked beforehand.

Even though a type of homemade yogurt is legal on this diet, we never made it. That's because certain proteins in milk are thought to be a cause of autism. So the way my children ate was closer to the now-popular paleo diet.

Foods Allowed on the SCD Diet

Fruit
Vegetables
Meat
Nuts
Legumes
Yogurt
You can eat as much fresh fruit as you want. However, canned fruit may contain added sugar, which is not allowed on the diet.
You'll be eating a lot of vegetables on this diet. However, the late Elaine Gottschall, who promoted the SCD, warned against eating canned vegetables, which could contain added sugar, regardless of what the label said.
Meat and fish are allowed. However, sauces cannot contain grains, sugar or fresh milk.
Nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts are allowed. However, people with nut allergies, for obvious reasons, would have a difficult time adhering to this diet.
After six months on the diet, it was alright to eat legumes, provided they were very well soaked, according to Elaine Gottschall.
A special type of homemade yogurt is allowed. However, my children didn't eat it because of sensitively to dairy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Video Testimony of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Both Children Eventually Began to Thrive

My daughter, now four, initially regressed once she started the diet. I braced myself for this possible reaction, because I had now come to learn that nearly everything that eventually helped her resulted in a healing crisis. This was no different.

Within about a week, we could see her making great strides, in language and in other areas. After about two years on the diet, her autism diagnosis was lifted.

Good things happened with my son as well. After his initial weight loss, accompanied by a darkening of the black circles under his eyes, his skin color turned from deathly pale to a healthy olive tone. We noticed his energy rebounded. He began to run around again, just like any other little boy.

During this time, I also gave my children various vitamin supplements. In retrospect, though, I don't think these helped. We also did a lot of homeopathy, working with a very skilled practitioner familiar with Dr. Samuel Hahnemann's more advanced studies, published shortly before his death.

So, to be perfectly accurate, it was the combination of the SCD diet and homeopathy that saved my children. Today, my son is a normal teenager who likes to spend time with his friends. My daughter is still a bit socially awkward, but no longer autistic. She is in college and she also has a part-time job.

Using spaghetti sauce instead of spaghetti.
Using spaghetti sauce instead of spaghetti. | Source
A grain-free recipe.
A grain-free recipe. | Source

Sticking to the Diet

My children stayed on the diet for several years. We gradually introduced forbidden foods such as rice and potatoes. Both children were gluten-free for about seven more years.

Then, as teenagers, they began to cheat. Now they eat whatever they want.

I won't lie and say this was an easy lifestyle. We had very few restaurant meals during that time. Because we were worried about cross-contamination, we didn't take many vacations. The few times we did go away, we brought food from home to cook.

When my daughter was about five, I remember going away with one of her friends and the friend's mother. We rented condos in a resort area. Most of my "vacation" was spent cooking.

Yet I never viewed the SCD diet as a burden, because it was an answer to my prayers.

Disclaimer

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition.

This article is not intended as medical advice or recommendation. It is simply a story of how my children regained their health. Anyone contemplating such a diet change should discuss it with a physician. People with health concerns should consult a licensed practitioner.

Disclosure

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    2 months ago from USA

    Make sure to work closely with your pediatrician, that's all.

  • Sehar Nadeem profile image

    Sehar Nadeem 

    3 months ago from Stoke On Trent

    Great article, very helpful just what I was searching for.. Going to put my son on SCD from today.. Thanks a lot for sharing your story

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    Hi RTalloni, I sure hope it can help someone else. It was a difficult journey, but well worth it.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    I was so thankful this worked for us.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    Thanks for reading AliciaC, this was a desperate response to a desperate situation, and, thankfully, it all worked out.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    Thanks WriterFox, it was a difficult time and a difficult decision to make. But, in the end, it all worked out.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    It was a difficult stretch with this diet, but we survived. My children now eat whatever they want.

  • ologsinquito profile imageAUTHOR

    ologsinquito 

    4 years ago from USA

    This was a very last resort. It wasn't what I wanted to do, out of sheer desperation. I also don't recommend doing something like this unless you work with a doctor.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)