To New Patients & Supporters,
Congratulations on taking a step to take control and improve your health! With this diet and a good attitude, you can work toward the health you want and deserve.
This packet will teach you about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, SCD for short. Basically, this diet excludes dairy, refined sugar and grains. So it’s not just “gluten-free”, it’s “grain”-free. This means no typical rice, pasta, breads, cereal, ice cream, chips and cheese. However, there are plenty of amazing foods you can have that consist of veggies, fruits, meats and nuts (very similar to the Paleo diet, if you have heard of it). There are some specific rules and details that will be explained later, but this is the general idea. Now, you might be thinking, this sounds crazy or what do you eat? I remember feeling that way as a sixteen-year old girl who initially resisted this diet and would throw little fits in the grocery store. However, I have learned to approach the diet as I’m just REPLACING these typical items, not cutting them out. I’ve now been on the diet for five years and am now very healthy and on no medications. Everyone who has done this diet says that the initial transition stage is hard, but when you get past that point it really does become a way of life. I have learned to truly love and embrace this diet and look at food as my new medicine. The earth has some pretty great foods to offer!
So back to the diet. In terms of replacing things…instead of regular pasta, you could make noodles out of veggies (spaghetti squash, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.). Instead of cow’s milk or soy milk, you use almond milk or coconut milk. Instead of typical loaves of bread, you make your own out of coconut flour or almond flour. Instead of soy sauce, you use sesame oil. I’ve made a resource that continues this pattern on the website under “Products/Places” and it’s called “Grocery List”. It’s an excel document where I made a list of typical grocery items and next to each one, wrote what you would eat instead with either a recipe (on the website database) or a product. This can help you get an idea of this replacement approach. You can still enjoy pancakes, cookies, ice cream, pasta and more, it will just be made with different wholesome ingredients and it’s likely you won’t feel so poorly after eating them.
You must get very familiar with the official legal/illegal list of what you can and can’t have on this diet. When shopping, I recommend sticking to the perimeter of the store, fruits, veggies, meats. If you go up and down each isle reading the ingredients on all the items, you’re going to feel like you can’t eat anything. This isn’t where we should be looking for food whether we’re on this diet or not anyways (side note/my opinion). There are some veggies like potatoes and corn that you cannot have on this diet and you may wonder why. Ultimately, certain items are excluded from this diet because of their structure. This is explained more in the Breaking the Vicious Cycle summary later. As far as eating out, you can never really be 100% SCD safe unless you’re back with the chef and looking at everything that is used. But if you must eat out, it’s easiest to tell them you have a severe food allergy and need to modify your meal. Get some sort of pure meat grilled with salt and pepper (a lot of mixed seasonings typically used have sugar or starches in them) and ask what fresh veggies they have and ask for them steamed. There are more ideas on other blog posts and feel free to contact me for further ideas (hamburger wrapped with lettuce instead of bun, salad, but be careful on the toppings and dressing, burrito bowl, etc.).
This leads to me pointing out that being on this diet requires more prep work than normal. Always have bagged snacks with you to prevent having to eat out. Good options are chips (made out of veggies with a dehydrator, recipes are online), mixed nuts and dried fruit, sliced raw produce, etc. I strongly recommend setting aside a few hours a week as your prep time to make breakfast, lunch and snacks for the week. On the website under “Resources” and “Other”, there is a PDF/PowerPoint about how to do this. This will help you feel like you aren’t in the kitchen all day, every day and it will make sure there is food that is ready to grab and eat when you’re hungry to prevent cheating on the diet.
For many people, this diet is very different from what they’re used to in terms of taste, how to shop, preparation, etc. Therefore it can be very overwhelming at first. I strongly recommend keeping it simple and taking small steps at first. Transition into this diet in a way that’s realistic for you. Start with one week just being about breakfast, then snacks the following week, etc. Or come up with some plan of how you want to go about it, but again, transition by chunks so you can figure out what recipes you like and nail down your routines for those meals. Before you know it, you won’t think twice about all of this preparation and you’ll be able to see how you can easily mix things up and create some variety within what’s being prepared and how to make those elaborate recipes you might come across. Again, keep it simple in the beginning. The recipes will taste different if you’re not used to eating this way, but give it a fair chance and know that overtime your taste buds will change and you’ll start craving broccoli! There are more lifestyle tips posted on the website under Resources, but people often ask if the whole household goes on the diet and it varies family to family. Generally there is a transition in the household, but not maybe 100% SCD. (Family members who change to this diet tend to lose weight and feel healthier). But typically dinners are usually SCD & people are on their own for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Okay, there’s the general sense of the diet and the rest is a lot more detail to really iron out the details for you. If at any time something is not clear or more questions come up, feel free to contact me (text/email/call). Also, I have tried to make this packet comprehensive, but if you have a recommendation for another section I could add, or how I can improve other sections for future patients, I would greatly appreciate it. I remember feeling helpless and lost when first starting this diet and I don’t want others to feel this way, which is why I’ve created these resources. So please give me feedback!
Now, the decision. To do the diet or not? First of all, the patient has to want to be on the diet. If it’s a family member or doctor just forcing the patient to eat a certain way, it will be quite a struggling transition. The discipline has to come within because it will be the patient’s choice to say no to the orange chicken at the mall with their friends, or to want to eat their own baked good that they brought to a party. I know what helped me decide was thinking about my long-term health and not wanting to be on medications or sick the rest of my life. This seemed like such a traumatic option at first, but I soon realized what a great option it was compared to other kids and adults with even worse medical conditions and treatment options. Always keep the big picture in mind and realize that you can still enjoy food eating this way, and feeling awesome! I am happy to share more of my experience with this diet (call/email/text), but my main message is to just have the patient be a part of the process and first help them get on the page of wanting to try the diet.
Again, I’m always here to address your questions and concerns. I wish you good health and an awesome journey. Let’s get started!