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Specific Carbodydrate Diet Seminar (part2)

June 15, 2008

(continuation of part 1)

For the most part, most of my ""IBD/SCD communication" takes place through email or the phone. In one sense, I'm behind the screen, away from the "action." However, June 1st was a much needed eye-opener.

In 2001, members of the orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn invited Elaine Gottschall to speak about inflammatory bowel disease and the specific carbohydrate diet. At the time, in 2001, the gastroenterologists literally laughed at the idea of intestinal flora playing a role in IBD*. However, Elaine had talked with many members of the orthodox community over the phone, helping them use the SCD to regain control of their health. When she arrived at the podium, nearly five hundred people sat before her.
(* Intestinal flora is now viewed as a key factor in IBD.)

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entrance to SCD Seminar

Nearly seven years after Elaine spoke, I found myself driving from Boston to Brooklyn, in order to talk about my experiences with ulcerative colitis and finding the SCD. Traveling a similar distance, Raquel Nieves, an Air Force physician using the diet and promoting its use, drove up from Delaware. In addition, Rochel Weiss had scheduled Dr. Weissman, a gastroenterologist, to speak on IBD. Several people who had severe Crohn's and were helped by the SCD were also scheduled to speak. (Having witnessed Elaine's energy first-hand, I hoped that the combined speakers would make up for her not being there.)

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Women in the audience . . .

The people helped by the SCD included the event's energetic MC, a former Crohn's sufferer, who used the diet to get better. He has even been able to introduce "regular food" into his diet. He wanted to have the chance to talk, to pass on his experience:

"I've helped 7 people start the diet and made them better too. So many people think there won't be enough food for them on the diet. I invite them to my house, for dinner, and serve them SCD food. I tell them, see if you're hungry after eating this food. They all leave quite happy. No one leaves hungry."

Ten minutes before the 5pm starting time, only 40 people sat scattered among the hundreds of chairs. However, people continued to stream into the doors, picking up event booklets, standing in smaller groups, talking about their experiences with the disease. At 5:25pm, with everyone settled in their seats, approximately 450 people sat in the audience.

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Men in the audience . . .

Dr. Weissman covered the pathology of IBD, IBS, and celiac disease. I spoke about IBD demographics (How many people have it? Who are they? Why do they have it?) and a typical patient's journey (including some seldom talked about "benefits":) I also shared personal experiences (and partially broke down while reading about some of them:)

Dr. Nieves presented a well-researched, concise talk on why the diet makes sense, how it works scientifically, and her vision for the future--where dietary treatment is used for IBD the same way it is used for diabetes. In addition, she envisions more comprehensive treatment for IBD patients:

To develop an integrated approach for treating patients with IBD in which nutritionists, psychiatrists, and gastroenterology doctors all come together to treat the entire patient.

source: Dr. Nieves presentation, slide 28

In between the main talks, other Crohn's patients spoke of their successful experiences with the SCD diet--and were greeted with rounds of applause.

During breaks and after the seminar, dozens of people came forward with questions or talked informally to compare notes. The event was recorded and hopefully some of the energy of the people attending will come through on tape.

Note: the writer received 7 packets of SCD sample cookies--a total of 28 cookies which were happily consumed.