SCD and Dr. Hyman’s new book FOOD

A steady stream of books about diet therapies and healthy eating has been reshaping the way many people eat in the past few years. These books, published by popular doctors and bio-hackers, all teach eating principles that are very similar to the SCD. Some of these ‘new’ diets focus on disease management, and some focus on health maintenance and disease prevention.

If you already eat based upon the principles of SCD, GAPS, AIP Paleo, Whole 30, or any comparable variant, you are way ahead of the curve. However, if you want to sharpen your tools and improve your diet even more, you owe it to yourself to keep up with the current research and accumulated data.

Dr. Mark Hyman is a known promoter of ‘food as medicine’, and has already published several best sellers on the topic. His newest book was just released this week: ‘FOOD, What The Heck Should I Eat’.

Is there anything new or helpful that was not already covered in previous books?

Yes and no.

Those of us who keep up to date with most of the recent diet and nutrition books may not find many new facts in FOOD, but the book is well organized, easy to read, and combines the best of two extremes (Paleo and Vegan) into one sensible eating plan. For the general public that is less familiar with current nutrition research, this book can be helpful. It is a user-friendly guide, and has the potential to influence many more people to rethink and revise their diets.

Should you care about this book If you already practice the Specific Carbohydrates Diet ?

In one word: yes.
SCD may have been a pioneer grain-free diet therapy, but the SCD book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” (BTVC) was written in 1994, and a lot have happened since… and in many ways the guidelines presented in the FOOD book can easily be comparable to an ‘updated SCD’. As reality demonstrates, SCD has a limited outreach.

More people these days are attracted to trendy, updated diet therapies like Paleo AIP and GAPS. Many use these ‘new’ diets successfully to manage chronic and autoimmune health conditions, and the influence of these new diets is significantly out-pasting that of SCD. Let’s face it: SCD is not the diet that will revolutionize the food industry, but the new trendy diets are starting to have a positive impact on availability of healthier food options that are SCD compliant.

Examples of some helpful guidelines from the FOOD book

  • Grains should be completely avoided by those with gut disorders or any autoimmune disorders. Other people should still limit grain consumption to only once a day and choose only specific healthier kinds.
  • Poultry can be very pro-inflammatory. It is best to choose organic pasture raised whole chicken, pay attention to cleaning, and use healthy cooking methods (avoid high heat grilling and deep-frying).
  • Eggs are healthy only when pasture raised and organic. Labels like ‘Natural’ and ‘Hormone-free’ are meaningless when it comes to eggs and poultry.
  • Dairy, even in the small amounts used in SCD (milk for yogurt, butter, hard cheese) is best sourced from organically raised, grass fed cows, or better yet goats or sheep.
  • Vegetables should constitute 75% of your diet, with a focus on nutrient-dense varieties. How you prepare the vegetables makes a big difference.
  • Fruits, oils and fats, beans and lentils should be consumed selectivly – each category has some healthy choices and some that are best avoided. Amounts of the right kinds should be moderated and balanced.
  • Consumption of sweeteners should be minimized, and the small amounts that are consumed should selected from a limited list of natural options. Honey can be used in moderation, but should be carefully sourced, since industrial bee keeping is essentially insect factory farming. Bee mortality rates are growing due to heavy pesticide use and disease laden bees that are being harmed by consuming nectar from chemically sprayed crops. What kills the bees can’t possibly be good for us humans.

In Conclusion

The growing repertoire of healthy diet books is good news. The majority of these current diets are very similar to SCD in many ways, and this trend allows us to enjoy more options at the grocery stores, online markets and restaurants.

I like the FOOD book for it’s simple straight forward advice, easy to read chapters, and moderate path which navigates well between Paleo and Vegan. A few of my favorite family members will be getting this book as a gift from me. While there was never a chance that they would read BTVC, the FOOD book is much easier to read, and it aligns with the eating principles that we have adopted years ago, when we started SCD.



  1. Thanks for the review! I’ve been listening to numerous podcasts recently that Dr Hyman was on. I’m interested in reading his book. It helps bring this healthy way of eating to a larger audience. For this, I am thankful.

  2. Good luck trying to get 75% of your calories from vegetables if you’re on SCD. Most calorically dense veggie after avocados is peas at 118 calories per cup. You’d need about 16 cups to hit 75% of a 2400 calorie diet. Or you could probably go with 6 large avocados per day.

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