After many years of battling GI issues, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 16. I began treatment cycling on and off of Prednisone and transitioning through many medications. I experienced negative side effects and my body stopped responding well to oral medication. I was considering beginning infusions but did not want to have to come home from college for the infusions, so I looked for alternate treatments.

I began the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) the summer before my junior year of high school. At first, it was daunting. Thinking of all of the things I regularly ate that were not on the 'legal' list was overwhelming, but I was determined to feel better. I made a decision to fully commit to the diet.

The first two weeks were rough. There were times I was craving bread and sugar. To my surprise, the cravings stopped after the first 2 weeks and I felt amazing. The best way to describe how I felt is feeling lighter. I was in a flare when I began the diet and within two weeks, I was not experiencing any symptoms. I felt that a huge weight had been lifted. I could think more clearly and I was more focused because I was no longer in pain.

As I continued with the diet, it became easier and easier. After the first month, I no longer had to pull out my legal and illegal list to check what I was able to eat. I focused on eating whole and organic foods with few processed products. My school was wonderful about accommodating my dietary needs. I went to them with the legal and illegal list and they prepared a special meal each day for lunch.

SCD changed my life completely. At this point I have been on the diet for five years. It has become a lifestyle change more so than a diet change. It has impacted me more than I could have ever imagined. I am much more aware of what my body needs now. I am more responsive to changes in my body. I try to eat only organic products because I find that it helps me to feel better. Grocery shopping can seem expensive but I know that I can spend the money on groceries or I can spend it on expensive medication and procedures later.

The SCD can definitely feel daunting at first but it really is not as difficult as it seems. Five years in, I can honestly say that I don't even think about it anymore. I know what I can and can't eat and I don't miss the foods that make me feel sick. Sure, it's hard to watch my friends eat brownies sometimes but I remind myself that I am able to manage my disease through diet while being entirely medicine free and it is completely worth it.

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