Starting the Specific Carbohydrates Diet and similar dietary therapies
Experienced SCD Families share their best advice and their personal beginner stories to help new dieters
This Post is a work in progress – based on continued input from experienced SCD users
Are you feeling OVERWHELMED?
If you are new to dietary therapies you are likely feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when you first try to grasp all the rules and nuances of the diet you chose. We know it is not easy, but, as thousands of families can attests, it is doable and the efforts are worthwhile. There are amazing communities of experienced and helpful SCD users who are mentoring each other, generously sharing knowledge and information and offering emotional and practical support along this journey.
Confused by conflicting advice and lack of clear guidance?
On your journey to explore dietary therapies as a treatment for IBD you will find PLENTY of information, advice and opinions. It will be challenging to navigate through this dense landscape and decide on a course of action that is right for your situation. Some doctors will tell you that diet doesn’t matter, other doctors will direct you to one of several variations of dietary therapies that are currently being researched, and then, when you join any IBD diet support group and ask a ‘simple’ beginners question you will be inundated with abundance of conflicting advice, all from experienced and well-meaning people. This will feel frustrating and exhausting.
The reality is that currently there are many diet variations around the SCD. You may have come across some of the ‘variants’ of SCD: similar dietary therapies such as Paleo AIP, GAPS, Nimbal, AID-IBD and multiple other variations offered by various doctors and naturopaths.
We will focus here on the SCD as a convenient entry point to dietary therapy, but you should know that in our pediatric group SCD Families we support families who are testing and practicing all the variations of dietary therapies, including EEN (Exclusive Enteral Nutrition). Our focus is on enabling each patient to find and practice the best-fitting dietary intervention for each individual.
So, HOW do you start the diet?
As said above, regardless of which diet-variation you plan on trying, we will focus this post on starting the traditional SCD, because, historically speaking, it is the source or the inspiration for most of the other variations currently used, it is an excellent and well balanced diet option for most people, and it is easy to start there and make dietary modifications along the way.
There are multiple good ways to start the diet, depending on your situation. For example: when starting the diet following a diagnosis of a mild case of IBD one can start the diet full-in, introducing all allowable foods fast, but when starting the diet for a highly sensitive patient who is in full IBD flare it will be advised to adopt a slow and staged introduction of allowed foods.
Regardless of how you start the diet, there will be a steep learning curve and you will need to make constant adjustments and modifications to tailor the diet to the individual responce along the way.
Is it expensive?
Some of the natural ingredients are very expensive (nut products, for example) BUT we save a lot of money by avoiding junk food and minimizing eating out in restaurants. Over time every SCD cook finds efficient ways to save time and money by sourcing foods in bulk, eating in season and buying multiples when things go on sale, cooking large amounts and freezing portions for busy times.
Can I do it if I am a lousy cook? Kitchen work sound like punishment…
Yes, you can. Most of us started as reluctant and novice cooks. This diet is based on natural foods that can be simply prepared and are delicious. We learn to make kitchen time a fun and creative activity. We now LOVE cooking and baking, although, we must admit, we still HATE the piles of dirty dishes. Amongst ourselves we SCD dieters share funny jokes about busy kitchens and dirty dishes – all while reminding ourselves and agreeing that all this effort is SO WORTH IT.
My child has anaphylactic food allergies / we are vegetarians/… can we still do the diet ?
Yes! At SCD Families we have many children with food allergies and many creative parents find ways to avoid allergens while still maintain a well-balanced diet. In the same way, vegetarian families maintain a rich and delicious diet that adheres t all the SCD guidelines.
Yogurt – Is it necessary?
Yogurt seems to be an important corner-stone of the SCD – it is an excellent source of probiotics and healthy calories, and most dieters enjoy making and eating yogurt regularly. However – nothing is written in stone, and some people decide to avoid yogurt and are doing very well with other sources of probiotics, like fermented vegetables. Many families who avoid dairy prepare wonderful variations of SCD yogurt from nut milks.
Reliable SCD Resources for Beginners
Compiled based upon the accumulated advice of many experienced families
Starting the diet
Start with these basic resources – take the time to navigate through the many pages of these sites, there is A LOT of good information that will help you start and navigate forward.
- Nutrition in immune Balance (NIMBAL) Therapy – using diet to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease/ David Suskind, MD , Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital
- Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet/ Elaine Gottschall
Popular sites with SCD compliant recipes
(note not all recipes in these sites are SCD compliant, check individual notes on each site!)
- Pecan Bread
- No More Crohns
- SCD Recipe
- Cantillon Kitchen
- Against All Grain
- Comfy Tummy
- Comfy Belly
- Elana’s Pantry
- Every last bite
SCD recipe books
- Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- A Taste of Wellness
- Lucy’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet Cookbook
- Cooking for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Eat Well, Feel Well
- Grain-Free Gourmet