1. Cold turkey or gradual both work. If you do it gradually, you will reduce the severity of the die off symptoms, but on the other hand, you also prolong them. I sort of did it gradually. I decided in late October that I would start the diet on December 1st, because I needed time to learn everything I could about
it. Over that month, I started dropping things (Boost, ice cream, pop, etc).
2. I'd avoid anything raw for the time being. Cook, peel, and deseed all of your fruit and veggies. You may even want to puree them in the begining. I'd avoid real fibrous foods as well (like celery and spaghetti squash), even if they are cooked. You can still put celery and whatnot in your soup to flavor it, just pick it out before you eat. If you have really bad issues with fiber, you can run your cooked fruits/veggies through a foodmill. It pretty much removes all the fiber, and you're left with a smooth baby food consistency. Stay away from nuts too (except in butter form).
3. Yes. If you have a stricture, and eat something that doesn't agree with you, you could obstruct. The key is to not eat advanced foods until the inflammation is healed. In the case of scar tissue, you may never be able to eat certain foods (raw celery, raw grapes, a lot of raisins, spaghetti squash, peels of veggies and fruits, whole nuts) unless you get the scar tissue surgically removed (I did this last fall).
4. You don't need to worry about
vitamin supplements too much. For starters, if you have a bad gut, you probably aren't absorbing them much anyway. Also, it shouldn't be too long before you have enough foods in your repertoire to have a balanced diet. I'd say the most important supplement to take in the beginning is vitamin D3, and you can also look into taking a multivitamin and b-complex.
5. I waited a long time, just to be cautious. People tend to rush the advanced foods (especially almond flour), and then have setbacks. At a 1 1/2 years on the diet, I'm still on my first bag of almond flour. I stick to almond butter for the most part. I also don't eat much raw yet. My intestines are in good shape, but my stomach sometimes has issues (probably due to low stomach acid, which is probably due to hypothyroidism). I'm hoping that once my thyroid is fixed up, I'll be able to enjoy more raw foods. I did have raw cucumbers last night, and raw strawberries today, and was okay. I just try not to overdo it.
6. Honey and saccharine (the pure stuff) are the only legal sweeteners. I love honey! People that don't usually sweeten things with applesauce or something similar.
One other thing to look out for is additives in meat. Always look at the ingredients. Chicken and ground meat (turkey, chicken, beef) or the most likely culprits to have something illegal in them (natural flavors, broth, etc.).
I was very lost at first too! Now, it's all second nature. You'll get there
. When you officially start the diet, do at least 2 days of the intro diet. Then, only add one new food at a time (at least 2 days apart). If you add 3 new things and then feel bad, you'll have no idea which of the 3 is the culprit. Keep a food journal to keep track of your symptoms and BMs. You'll be able to figure out which foods work for you and which ones don't a lot easier that way.
Good luck! If you have questions, Emom, David, and I are 3 SCDers (there are others too) at this board that can help. There is also a very active yahoo group at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/BTVC-SCD/ that has many SCD veterans.
35 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Resection of ileocecal valve on 09/22/09
Current Meds: LDN, Pentasa, Effexor XR
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin D, Calcium, CoQ10, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods