How Reid Kimball Cured his Crohn’s Disease

It’s worth taking a look at Seth Roberts’ article on BoingBoing, Grandmother Knows Best about Crohn’s Disease.
After years of taking medication with little respite from his suffering, Reid Kimball found relief by making dietary changes. He followed a protocol similar to GAPS called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. What did this involve?

“He threw out almost all his food. He had been eating Hungry Man TV dinners, Cookie Crisp cereal, Papa John's pizza, Mountain Dew soda, potato chips, gummy bears, and so on. He stopped drinking milk. He started cooking from scratch. He made omelets and vegetable chicken stir fry, for example. He made muffins with almond flour, sweetening them with honey rather than sugar. He tried to avoid restaurants. When he couldn't avoid them, he'd order a hamburger and eat everything except the bun.”
Reid Kimball’s symptoms disappeared and a new colonoscopy corroborated that he had indeed healed.

What drives me insane about his story is that after managing to cure himself of a supposedly incurable disease, he reported his success to two gastroenterologists and… his doctors showed no interest. These doctors no doubt see other Crohn’s patients every week. Those patients suffer terribly. No doubt, like in Reid’s case, for some their daily medication doesn’t really help. And when they ask, as some will, whether diet can help, they’ll hear the conventional wisdom, “There's no firm evidence that what you eat actually causes inflammatory bowel disease”.[1] And there will never be “firm evidence” because little to no research is done on search for dietary solutions.

This post was shared with Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Food Renegade and Real Food Freaks.


click clack gorilla said...

Wow, an amazing story. Shame about his doctor's though. If more doctor's were interested in talking about general health savers like real food diets it seems the world could be a much healthier place...

Ubermom said...

It is a sad truth that in the end doctors only look at prescription inserts and not at what is in front of them. They don't have the time and energy to explore it and so they don't. But whether or not his doctors every looked into, others are still finding out. This is promoting healing which is the real goal, right?

mossy_stone said...

It's true. I have Crohn's and have had a ton of improvement from dietary changes- but the doctor says no "the food you eat doesn't affect your stomach". I could believe I heard him right but I did- never been back since.

mossgrownstone said...


Jen said...

Doctors do this ALL the time no matter what the DISEASE. It is hard not to assign motive here. My hubby works in the medical industry and he sees doctors making recommendations for prescriptions all the time based upon kick backs! They are wined and dined by drug reps, given free meds, and incentives for prescribing meds. Drs don't make money off referring you to a real food diet. This is a fact. There are good doctors out there, but you have to look hard for them. Most have gone the way of the almighty dollar rather than looking out for the patients true interest.

Reid Kimball said...

Hi all!

Thanks for the support! Just so you know, I am now using GAPS and enjoying it a lot. As winter falls I'll be making more bone broth soups and I'm looking forward to it.

Jen, I think you'll like a couple books I've been reading, "Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher" by Gwen Olsen and "The Truth About the Drug Companies" by Marcia Angell, M.D.

Stay colonized,


Ruth Almon said...

Hi Reid. I'd love to hear what the difference is between GAPS and the specific carbohydrate diet.

Do you have any idea what aspect of the dietary change was most signiicant for you?

Reid Kimball said...

Hi Ruth,

Biggest dietary change from SAD to SCD was eating homemade 24hr fermented yogurt.

Differences between GAPS and SCD. GAPS is more strict in that is calls for organic, grass fed, free range food. Body detoxes through juicing and bath detoxes. Change cleaning products to more natural, less chemical toxins. Use of raw milk for Kefir and yogurt. Bone broth soup, eating bone marrow and fermented vegetables.

Ruth Almon said...

Hi Reid,
I wonder if you consider yourself cured. I was speaking to a woman whose grandson has Crohns, and she was quite surprised at my use of the word "cure" in my post.
What are the consequences for you if you eat something that's not on the diet.

Reid Kimball said...

Hi Ruth,

I don't consider myself cured indefinitely but some days I'm cured and others I'm not. The dictionary says cure is, "Relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition."

That fits me on my good days, which far out number the bad.

It's controversial to call oneself cured, especially in the IBD community when 90% believes there is no cure.

But there are cures, fecal transplants and stem cell transplants have completely eradicated ulcerative colitis and Crohn's from people.

Consequences are different depending on the "illegal" food I eat. I can't safely eat white rice without some looser stools. Bread of all kinds seems OK stool wise, but I gain weight surprisingly fast and my acne flares.

Those are the only two foods I've experimented with this year.

There are other things that cause my Crohn's to "flare" up, such as mental stress and as I found out last night, very intense workouts. But my flares never last long, only 24-48 hrs at the most.

Thanks for the thought provoking questions!

David said...

I can think of one potential problem with the GAPS diet. Some people may have symptoms specifically caused by fermented foods because they contain a lot of dietary histamine. A disturbance of the small intestine with something like Crohns could impair the production of the Diamine Oxidaze enzyme that processes the histamine, and result in diarrhea etc. So removing the fermented products might bring additional improvements to some people.

Ruth Almon said...

That's interesting, David.
If someone has an issue with dietary histamine, I wonder if eating a small amount of fermented food regularly over time would lesson the problem, or would it conversely just get worse over time?

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