What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

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Let’s Get Specific!

In the past 5 years, I have given my quick 30 second explanation of the SCD diet countless times. Honestly, I have only come across a handful of people who have ever heard of it before. I do wish it was more well known though: the food is exciting and delicious plus it is such a clean, healthful way to eat! The meals are so colorful and gorgeous! I have heard dozens of adults AND KIDS say over and over how “Kylie gets the best food”.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is just as it sounds. You are allowed to eat only specific carbohydrates. In a person with IBD, the digestive system fails to digest certain foods/carbs. These lingering, undigested foods cause the immune system to believe there are intruders in the gut and thus starts attacking. By removing those ‘offensive’ foods, and eating only food that digests properly, the immune system is put at bay and the body can rest and heal. You can read a more in-depth summary here.

If you are beginning or interested in the SCD Diet, Elaine Gottschall’s book Breaking the Vicious Cycle is an absolute MUST! The book explains the science behind the diet, why it was developed and why it works. It gives you easy to follow guidelines on how to start and exactly what to eat. Most importantly, there are recipes and a very comprehensive, alphabetized list that tells which foods are ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’.

The SCD Legal/Illegal list is a necessary tool and should be referenced often. In general, the diet allows for whole, unprocessed foods and avoids starches and complex sugars. Read on for a short list of allowed foods or click the button below to see the full list.

What to eat:

  • Fruits (but there are some limitations as fruits are sugars)
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts, nut butters, peanuts
  • Beans, legumes (only certain types are allowed)
  • Hard cheeses aged over 30 days (only certain types are allowed)
  • Unprocessed animal proteins
  • Honey (the ONLY sweetener allowed)
  • 24-Hour fermented yogurt (homemade)

Homemade is the best way to know exactly what is in your food!

What NOT to eat:

  • Grains of any kind (wheat, rice, corn, barley, quinoa, etc)
  • Added sugar (including cane sugar, coconut sugar, agave, maple syrup, dextrose, etc)
  • Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Plantains, Yucca or other starchy vegetables
  • Soft cheeses, processed cheeses, any cheese that has not been fermented for less than 30 days
  • Dairy (except for allowed cheeses and homemade 24-hour fermented yogurt)
  • Soy
  • Processed meats (most hot dogs, sausage, bacon, deli meat. The reason is not the meat itself but all of the things that are added to the meat in processing)
  • Any additives, emulsifiers, preservatives or fillers