What is the SCD Diet?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ has helped many thousands of people with various forms of bowel disease and other ailments vastly improve their quality of life. In many cases people consider themselves cured. It is a diet intended mainly for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea. However it is a very healthy, balanced and safe diet that has health benefits for everyone. The foods that are allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ are based on the chemical structure of these foods. Carbohydrates are classified by their molecular structure.

The allowed carbohydrates are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that allow them to be easily absorbed by the intestine wall. Complex carbohydrates which are disaccharides (double molecules) and polysaccharides (chain molecules) are not allowed. Complex carbohydrates that are not easily digested feed harmful bacteria in our intestines causing them to overgrow producing by products and inflaming the intestine wall. The diet works by starving out these bacteria and restoring the balance of bacteria in our gut.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ is biologically correct because it is species appropriate. The allowed foods are mainly those that early man ate before agriculture began. The diet we evolved to eat over millions of years was predominantly one of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, low-sugar fruits. Our modern diet including starches, grains, pasta, legumes, and breads has only been consumed for a mere 10,000 years. In the last hundred years the increase in complex sugars and chemical additives in the diet has led to a huge increase in health problems ranging from severe bowel disorders to obesity and brain function disorders. We have not adapted to eat this modern diet as there has not been enough time for natural selection to operate. It therefore makes sense to eat the diet we evolved with.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ was clinically tested for over 50 years by Dr Haas and biochemist Elaine Gottschall with convincing results. From feedback from the various lists and other information at least 75% of those who adhere rigidly to the diet gain significant improvement.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet – in simple terms – was designed to starve out the intestinal bacteria that cause many kinds of pain and inflammatory bowel diseases. These “bad” bacteria happen to thrive on starches and sugars (long-chain carbohydrates). If the food for these critters is gone, then they won’t be around to cause us pain.    

The SCD at its essence is a grain-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free diet. That doesn’t mean that dairy and sweets are out of the picture!  Although it sounds similar to a no-carb or low-carb diet, it is distinctly different; the goal with the SCD is to eliminate all long-chain carbohydrates. Short-chain carbohydrates that are allowable come from fruit, honey, homemade yogurt, nuts, and legal vegetables.

The specific foods allowed and not allowed are listed in complete detail in “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall (http://www.scdkitchen.com/elaine.html), which must be read to grasp the major ideas of the diet and specific foods allowed. However, to make the SCD more understandable to you, I’ll list some of the foods you can eat while on the diet: 
  • Meat (with no additives) such as chicken, beef, turkey, pork, and fish
  • Cheeses which have been aged long enough to eliminate lactose such as cheddar, parmesan, jack, swiss, and brie.
  • Fruit
  • Honey
  • Most vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, avocado, tomatoes, and many more
  • Lentils and Navy Beans (soaked overnight and water discarded before cooking)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Eggs
  • Homemade yogurt (incubated at least 24 hours)
  • Fruit juices such as Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, Martinelli’s 100% Apple Cider, and Tropicana Orange Juice
  • Nuts (many recipes for baked goods are made with almond or pecan flour)
  • All natural Peanut Butter (peanuts & salt)
  • Bacon (sugar free

A list of the Legal/Illegal foods can be found at http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/legal_illegal_a-c.htm.  There is also a link at the top right of our blog.  The Knowledge Base is also a must read http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/the_scd_knowledge_base.htm!  You can also find this link on our blog.

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