Ep: 23 Top 3 Reasons Why NOW is the Best Time to Start the SCD

Do you ever think about the people who have come before you? The people who paved the way for your life to easier in some way.

When we think about the people who have come before us in the world of Crohn’s and colitis, we can’t look back without remembering the work of Dr. Sidney Haas (a pediatrician with ahead-of-his-time ideas about the healing power of food) and Elaine Gottschall (a devoted and scrapy mom turned biologist who found a way to heal her daughter’s struggles with colitis and then spread the message about this method to the world to give us all a plan for recovery).

These two unsung heroes are at the heart of why we all can have hope when it comes to quieting our IBD with food and why there’s never been a better time than NOW to start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

If you’ve been on the fence about when to start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or any other gut healing diet for that matter), it’s time to hop off and get started.

Today on the podcast, I’m giving you 3 reasons why there’s never been a better time in history to get started on putting food at the center of your IBD healing plan.

We’re talking about:

  • Unsung pioneers of the healing IBD with food movement who paved the way for your healing journey
  • Why waiters and flight attendants might just be the right people to help us on our quest to eat IBD healing food
  • How quarantining is the key to getting you off the “Eating for IBD” fence and ready to take action
  • How I will be by your side every step of the way

And so much more!

After the episode, you’ll be motivated to get started on your food is medicine IBD healing journey. Or, if you’ve already started using food to help you heal, you’ll be ready to kick that journey into high gear! Now is the time mom friend. Now more excuses. You can do this, and I’ve got your back!

Episode at a Glance:

  • [02:39] An inspirational story for everyone in gut healing mode (it’s full of heroes, a tragedy, and a triumphant ending for everyone with IBD).
  • [06:00] The “banana diet” that led to a gut healing revolution  
  • [07:32] How a chance encounter between Elaine Gottschall and Dr. Sydney Haas, pioneers in the food is medicine movement, led to the SCD being known throughout the world
  • [09:39] The miracle little girl who is at the center of healing with food movement
  • [13:17] Does it matter which gut healing diet you choose?
  • [13:59] Reason #1 why NOW is the time to start the SCD (it’s all at your fingertips)
  • [16:02] Reason #2 why NOW is the time to start the SCD (the one upside to the trauma of this past year)
  • [23:53] Reason #3 why NOW is the time to start the SCD (we go together like “rama-lama-lama…”)
  • [27:48] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Mentioned in This Episode:

Start your gut healing journey with Karyn today

The Gut Love Community

Additional Resources from the Episode:

A Brief History of Celiac Disease

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: About the Author

Sidney V. Haas

Against the Grain Podcast with Samir Kakodkar

Judy Herod Episode (Jan 18, 2020)

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is Backed by More Than 124 Years of Research & Testing

Episode Transcript:


INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.


[00:50] Hey, dear one! Karyn here, your fellow IBD mama. Are you ready for a stellar, move the needle episode? This is a good one. Let’s get to it. Have you been thinking about starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, but holding off because you just don’t know if it will work, or you don’t know how to get started, or you don’t know if the time is right?  Trust me when I tell you,  I get it… before I started the SCD I felt all of these emotions and more. I even waited 5 years after hearing about the diet and reading the pinnacle SCD book: Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. So I know all about putting off starting the SCD.

But here’s the thing about 2021, and it’s just so key, so critical, so important to keep in mind if you’ve been on the SCD fence. It’s something that’s different about this specific year, more than any other year that’s come before it. There’s actually 3 things that are different about 2021 and they are things that have never happened before in the history of the SCD.


Today, I’m going to share these 3 reasons with you. But I want to start this episode with a story because there’s a story that drives these 3 reasons home more than anything else I’m sharing with you today. And it’s a juicy, pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, get cozy, put your feet up, type of story because it’s a moving story with a couple heroes, a tragedy, and a triumphant ending. All the best stories have those elements, don’t they?

[06:00] Our story begins back in 1870, yep we are going way back in time, with the birth of a man that, even though I never knew him, transformed my whole life and I want you to know about him because it’s possible that he’ll change your life too. Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas, one of the heroes of our story, let’s call him hero #1, was born that year. Haas, who grew up to become a pediatrician, was studying celiac disease. Now, this was the 1920’s, and knowledge about celiac disease was in its very primitive stages. Even though thoughts about celiac actually began creeping up in the first century AD, by a Greek physician named (and I just love saying his name) Aretaeus Cappadocia. When we look back at Cappadocia’s teachings and writings in that time period, they show he was looking into a disease where, and here’s a quote: “the stomach is irretentive of the food and it passes through undigested and crude…” “we call such persons coeliacs.”


Well, since the first century, a variety of scientists and doctors had dabbled into this unusual stomach condition, and although it was known to be a food disorder, no one knew exactly how to treat it, until in 1924, when Dr. Haas described his successful treatment of eight children with celiac disease. He said they were “clinically cured” (those are his words) with an eating plan called the banana diet.

Now, even though we know today that staying away from gluten is the crucial component to keep Celiac at bay, this banana diet was inadvertently free of gluten. It was also free of grains, and after the first few early attempts, it wasn’t a diet of just bananas. It was a diet where the patients ate bananas and other fruit and vegetables, but they also stayed away from breads, crackers, potatoes, and all cereals. It was a diet low in carbohydrates, and it was the earliest version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.


By the 1951, Dr. Haas had put his findings in a book called Management of Celiac Disease. And through trial and error over the years, Dr. Haas had realized that the positive results he was seeing in Celiac patients was actually more about specific carbohydrates, and not just low carbohydrates. Hence the name he came up with, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Although initially there was appreciation of Dr. Haas’s work, soon after, the medical world did what the medical world often does. It dismissed Dr. Haas’s work as quackery in favor of medication, hospitalization, and surgery. That must have been a difficult time for Dr. Haas, knowing he was onto something, but just not able to get the diet the attention it deserved.


Can you imagine what an impossible time it would have been for you and I back then, not just for those with Celiac, but also for us with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis? The SCD was definitely not a mainstream option for us either.

Take a pill.

Have surgery.

We have no other options for you.

Malnutrition was the norm.

Possibly death if your condition was left untreated.

The 1950’s was a tough time for someone with IBD.


[09:39] And here’s where our second hero enters our story—Elaine Gotschall. In 1958, Elaine was a young mom with two little girls. One of those girls, Judy, was a very sick little girl. Judy had been diagnosed with a severe case of Ulcerative Colitis. According to the Breaking the Vicious Cycle website, she suffered from chronic intestinal distress and rectal bleeding. She didn’t respond to any of the medical interventions that were offered to her.

After seeing doctor after doctor, and you know that drill, Elaine and her husband Herb were at their wits end. No one could help them. Every doctor told them food couldn’t help. Food had nothing to do with her gastrointestinal illness. Judy continued to be malnourished and weak. The family even went to a doctor who told them Judy’s only options were to remove her colon and collect her waste in a bag for the rest of her life, or wither and possibly die.


Again, as this is descried in the BTVC website, this news was, of course, shocking and Elaine who was visibly distraught and began to sob. Any of us would, wouldn’t we? I know I’ve cried a river after many doctor’s appointments. The doctor, quite the bedside manner this one, told her “What are you crying about, you gave this to her?”

Can you imagine being told that? Can you put yourself in Elaine’s shoes, as the mom of this little girl in the 1950’s with little to no options? Thankfully, blessedly, our story doesn’t end in tragedy. I promised you a triumphant ending, didn’t I?

As fate would have it, Elaine and Dr. Haas’s path crossed. And Dr. Haas, who was 92 years old at the time, had a whole different approach for Judy. An approach that included food at it’s core. Dr. Haas had a simple question for the Gottschall’s, “What has this child been eating?”


Within 10 days of eating Dr. Haas’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Judy began to improve. Her neurological problems lessened, and a few months later, there were intestinal improvements and Judy started growing again. After 2 years, she was symptom free.

Amazing, right? Triumphant for sure.

Just like all of us who try the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and find success, we can’t keep this information to ourselves. Elaine knew she had to spread the word and help others. She went back to school where she earned a degree in biology, nutritional biochemistry, and cellular biology. Elaine consulted with other families dealing with these types of medical challenges, she wrote about the SCD and in 1987, she self-published her book, Food and the Gut Reaction. It was the first publication of her book that would later be called Breaking the Vicious Cycle, a book that has sold over 1 million copies. A book that changed my life. A book that continues to change the lives of many all over the world.

Dr. Sydney Haas… Elaine Gottschall… pioneers in the world of food as medicine. Exceptional people who took the road less traveled and walked a dark and solitary path so that we can walk together in the light.

This story is inspiring for all of us struggling to find relief from our gut disorders. It shows the power of perseverance and conviction with what you know to be true, even through a time in history when those around you said you’ll never succeed, you are less than, you are a quack.  

I took us through this pivotal story in our IBD history to remind all of us that sometimes to be successful in where we want to go, we have to know where we’ve been. It’s like the character lovable Mater in the Cars movies are kids watch saying— “I don’t need to look where I’m going, I just need to know where I’ve been.”


Look at your history with IBD. Then, look at the amazing heroes who have paved the way for you to fight to live a better life with Crohn’s or colitis. Without Dr. Haas, and without Elaine Gottschall, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You wouldn’t get such a beautifully laid out path to where you want to go either. And even though this is an SCD story, it doesn’t matter if you choose the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the GAPS diet, the Paleo diet, a gluten free diet, or another gut healing diet to help you on your journey to remission. They all have their roots in the work of these early food is medicine pioneers. They are all so similar in many ways anyway, and there’s never been a better time to let their struggles, challenges, and triumphs pave the way to your success.

And why now, why has there never been a better time in history to begin the SCD? There’s never been a better time and I can prove it to you with three reasons. Three reasons why there’s never been a better time in all of history to start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Let’s start with reason # 1.

[13:59] #1-100 years ago, like in the case of Dr. Haas’s work, and 50-60 years ago, where Elaine Gottschall began studying how to best use food to heal digestive disorders, even 12 years ago when I began my gut healing journey using the SCD… no one outside of a handful of early adopters had any clue what dry curd cottage cheese, or almond flour or gluten was. There was no gluten free section in the grocery store. The waiter would look at me like I had two heads when I asked, “is this chicken gluten free?” There was only a handful of store-bought SCD legal foods I could buy. My friends had no clue what I was doing. They didn’t get it because diets like Whole 30, Paleo and Keto weren’t being talked about like they are today by the media, celebrities and your next door neighbor. The internet being used as a search engine of endless possibilities was in its infancy. You couldn’t just hop on, do a quick word search for “dairy free SCD breakfast” or “gluten free vegetarian dinners that are soy, lactose, and nut free.”

Today, we can.

That’s why, reason #1 why there’s never been a better time to start the SCD is because there’s never been more information available to us, information right at our fingertips. Information just a couple clicks away. And there’s never been a time where family, friends, workplaces, restaurants, airlines, hotels… are all knowledgeable and open to food sensitivities and special diets.


[16:02] Want to know 1 more reason why there’s never been a better time to start the SCD. It’s reason #2: And that reason is quarantining. OK, let’s get this out of the way right now before you send me your hate mail. Covid sucks, quarantining sucks. What this past year has done to our lives sucks. It’s cry for days unimaginable when you think of all the sickness and death Covid has brought. I know we’ve all been affected by it.

If there’s just one glimmer of hope here, one upside to this world tragedy, it’s that it’s created space for new SCDer’s to practice tweak and refine on their own terms. There’s never been a better time to start SCD than in the middle of quarantining. I can’t tell you how many clients starting new gut healing diets have told me this very thing. They’ll tell me they feel so grateful that they can just concentrate on figuring this new life out. Or they’ll tell me, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to do this while running in 15 directions. Truth be told, I know they’d could do it, but those challenges do make it harder.


Starting a new diet like the SCD is hard mom friend. It’s not the kind of thing you take lightly or go into without a game plan, at least if you want to be successful. I remember for me, in the early stages, going to a friend’s house with my food tote in toe. So many questions about what I was eating, why I was doing it. And the truth was, I was so topsy turvy myself, that I really wasn’t prepared for it. I was getting used to all of this for the first time myself. I didn’t really know or frankly want to explain it to others while I was going through it.

Before starting SCD, I was the Italian foodie to my friends and family. I was the girl throwing lavish dinner parties where pasta and pastries were the stars of the table. I was the girl with the perfect extra gluten recipe for every occasion. My friends and family didn’t get this new me at first. While I was struggling to find my new identity, they were struggling right next to me. They definitely didn’t struggle with me, it was more like next to me in a parallel universe.

I knew they were talking about it with each other too. Not in a mean way, not in a gossipy way, but me starting this diet was a jolt to their system just as much as it was to mine. And being so shaky about it myself, always questioning am I eating the right thing? Is there something in my meal at the restaurant that will make me sick? Will that friend be offended when I show up at her dinner party with my own food? Will I go out with friends to that restaurant where I know there’s nothing I can eat and just awkwardly hang, or will I sneak in my own food? These challenges were tough to navigate at the beginning of my new SCD world.

And speaking of restaurants, hoo, that was a challenge even beyond did they have any food for me to eat. Even at a restaurant I carefully selected by their menu, I’d get flustered and embarrassed when I ordered. Seriously, red in the face embarrassed. The servers and the staff didn’t understand me at all. They thought I was being pushy and high maintenance when I ordered. It made me uncomfortable and them mad. They probably spit in my food. Ha kidding! But seriously, I was a train wreck in the beginning.


And traveling? Wow, that was a nightmare too in my early days for SCD. Trying to figure out what food to bring, what would keep well in my suitcase, what could I get when I arrived at the local grocery store… Now, I’d say I’m an SCD traveling master because I’ve done it so many times. But back then? Not so much.

I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at here. Because of the pandemic and quarantining, with people staying home more, not traveling so much, not hanging out at restaurants or going to large parties, it gives you time to get comfortable and familiar with your new eating routine before taking it on the road.

Reason #2 that there’s never been a better time to start the SCD is that this pandemic has created the ability and the time for you to experiment with all your new SCD foods, get comfortable with the diet, get comfortable in your new skin, before navigating eating at a friend or family member’s house, throwing a dinner party, eating out a restaurant, or making eating our more about the company and not the food when you’re at a restaurant you can’t eat at, or traveling by car or by plane. Heavy stuff to navigate! Doable, and I know you can do it mama, but why put more pressure on yourself than you have to.

Do yourself a favor, if you’ve been on the fence about the SCD, start now before we all start really getting out, living our lives again. By the time the world opens up, you’ll be an SCD pro. Your friends and family might still need to get used to the new you, but you’ll already be there, strong and confident.


[23:53] Now, as I mentioned, there’ one last reason why there’s never been a better time to start the SCD. Reason #3- and I say this in the utmost humility and feeling of privilege. Reason #3 is that you’ve got me by your side. Someone who’s been in the SCD trenches before. A mama with Crohn’s who knows what you’re going through. In my 30 + years with IBD and my 10 years helping moms on their own gut healing journey, I’ve seen and heard your stores, your struggles, and I’m here to help whether we work together personally or not.

Helping moms on their IBD healing journey is my calling, my passion, my mission in life. Supporting you through this podcast gives me joy and feds my soul. So, show up each week. Start implementing change in your own life, and you will make progress. If you want to take our conversations further with 1 on 1 coaching, I’m here for that too. Go to karynhaley.com/coaching and get yourself on my IBD Health Coaching waitlist. I’ll be there to support you with bells on.


Let’s recap our 3 reasons real quick before I sign off. 3 Reasons why there’s never been a better time to start the SCD. Reason #1: There’s never been more information about how to start the SCD, what foods to eat, what not to eat, all available to us right at our fingertips. Information is just a couple clicks away thanks to the internet. Reason #2: Right now, you have the ability and the time for you to experiment with all your new SCD foods, get comfortable with the diet, get comfortable in your new skin, before navigating any social situations the SCD may bring. Do it now, before we all start coming out of our hibernation (from my lips to God’s ears). And Reason #3: You’ve got me in your corner. Join me on the podcast each week for tips and strategies to put your IBD in its place, join me on Facebook and YouTube for daily and weekly gut healing inspiration, and if you want to take our relationship to the next level (yes, please count me in), hit me up at karynhaley.com/coaching and let’s kick your healing into high gear together.

That’s a wrap dear one. Sending out gut healing vibes to you today and always.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.

[27:48] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.

My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.

Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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