As great as the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet are, they are not perfect and ideal for everyone.
Many patients with digestive conditions and other health issues need to tweak these healing protocols to remove additional food or include other healing tools.
This is especially true for those with Crohn’s disease because the nature of the disease, if it takes place in the small intestines is that once these diets kick in, inflammation dies down and then turns into scar tissue.
This scar tissue tends to narrow the small intestines and that can cause partial or full bowel obstructions. These obstructions are… one of the most dreadful things a person can experience. 80% of Crohn’s disease patients need surgery to fix these obstructions.
What many don’t know is that the surgery then creates further scar tissue and obstructions, leading to more surgery and it’s a vicious cycle.
Based on my experience with bowel obstructions, I found several ways to deal with them. One way was to modify the SCD/GAPS diets to get excellent nutrition without blocking the intestines with roughage. Another way was to heal the scar tissue.
Low Residue SCD/GAPS
First, lets talk about modifying SCD/GAPS to a low residue version. It comes down to how one prepares vegetables and fruits to be eaten safely.
- De-seed vegetables, such as cucumber.
- Skin vegetables, such as carrot.
- Cook thoroughly to the point of being mushy.
- Puree mushy vegetables and fruit.
- Juice vegetables and fruit and if you want to, filter the juice through cheesecloth to be extra sure fiber/seeds are removed.
Based on the above suggestions, you can combine them to eat your vegetables and fruits in a variety of safe and nutritious ways.
One option is to make a soup with thoroughly boiled vegetables that have been skinned and deseeded. What’s great about this is that even though the vegetables are being cooked, the nutrients stay in the broth. I personally love freshly juiced vegetables and fruit in the morning.
Heal the Intestines
The above approach of preparing your food differently to decrease the chance of rough food plugging up strictured sections of your intestines is not sustainable forever, I don’t think.
Fortunately, there are two supplements that I believe can significantly heal your intestines and reduce bowel obstruction pain, if not eliminate it, all without surgery.
These are not officially part of SCD or GAPS, but that is because the authors of either book had no knowledge of what happens in Crohn’s patients after the inflammation dies down and scar tissue forms.
Glutamine is regarded as a non-essential amino acid that in my opinion, for anyone with a digestive condition becomes essential. Most studies on it have shown it helps seal intestinal permeability, which is a condition I’m willing to bet most Crohn’s and colitis patients have. In fact, most immune disorders such as diabetes, autism, obesity, celiac, fibromyalgia have intestinal permeability as one of the key factors.
My naturopath told me that Glutamine helps keeps small intestinal cells healthy and therefore, scar tissue becomes more flexible during peristaltic motions when trying to move food through.
It really helped decrease the pain I having from rough food. What I did was take 12g a day. That came to 3 teaspoons of free-form powder (from a 16 oz tub) mixed with food. If mixed with water and drank on an empty stomach, it does a super job firming up stools.
But this didn’t cure my problem, as when I stopped, the pain would come back.
CS gets a bad rap by the media because of a few famous cases of people drinking excessive amounts, over several years and their skin turning gray-ish blue, as if they were a cast member in a sequel to Avatar.
I believe if you drink quality CS that is clear as water and only occasionally, there is very low risk for harm.
CS is a natural antibiotic and anytime you drink it, you need to follow up with probiotics.
When I took it, I drank 8oz as if I were drinking water. After that night, I was able to eat whatever food I wanted without any problems. It was amazing. That was in July of 2010 and one year later, I am having slight increase in bowel obstruction pain, but it is very slight and doesn’t interrupt my sleep. I will keep my eye on it and considering drinking more CS if it gets worse.
Hopefully, the combination of a low residue SCD/GAPS diet, glutamine and CS can help you overcome your Crohn’s partial bowel obstructions.
-Reid B. Kimball