Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why no grains?

So, all the time we hear about how great whole grains are for us. But to those of us doing or considering the SCD, they are off limits.

It's really pretty simple. When someone has Celiac, or any other sort of intestinal disorder, the enzymes that would normally break down food molecules are severely damaged, impairing the intestines ability to do what it is made to do: digest. And complex carbohydrates, such as those found in grains, are difficult to digest. With a less than perfect intestinal tract in place, it becomes nearly impossible. What happens then?

When the carbohydrates aren't digested properly, they just kind of sit. The harmful bacteria that normally stays in check in our guts then have a feast. So they feed on the undigested carbs, and then produce by products that just make things worse. Thus goes the cycle. Undigested carbs become food for harmful bacteria, harmful bacteria produce harmful by products which damage the intestines more and so on. From there you go to malabsorption, which causes fatigue and all other sorts of things.

The ideal behind the SCD is getting the bad bacteria under control by limiting the amount of carbs and eating easily digestible food. Once the bad bacteria are under control and the good bacteria are back to normal, often grains can be reintroduced into the diet.

So far, I can tell a difference when I eat grains and when I don't. This is definitely going to take some practice, it's definitely harder than just being gluten-free.

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