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Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) "slow and steady" support thread

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
I'd like to start a thread to provide support and encouragement for those of us who are following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (for healing the gut and rebalancing the intestinal flora), and who are going slowly and carefully, following the recommendations in Breaking the Vicious Cycle and on the BTVC web site. The SCD can be difficult to follow in the beginning, and many people end up abandoning the gradual introduction of new foods and just skipping straight to the full "legal list." Sometimes they'll go even further, and use packaged foods or supplements that aren't permitted on the diet, because they question the rationale for excluding them. The trouble with this approach is that, if you only have minimal or partial success, you're likely to end up wondering: "is the diet not working, or is it because I didn't really do it properly?" That's what happened to me when I first tried doing the SCD several years ago. Now I'm back for a second attempt (along with my children this time), and I'm being extra-careful and following all the advice from the old-timers that I'd previously ignored. And this time, I really am having better results.

So anyway, here's the thread. Anyone who's doing the "slow and steady" SCD (or is interested in trying it), feel free to jump in with your stories, questions, tips, etc. One request, though: if you'd like to post a recipe or meal idea, please make sure it's suitable for the early weeks of the diet; no advanced foods such as nut flour, dried fruits, beans, and raw fruit or vegetable salads. Most of us are in the early stages, and it would be good to have a place where we aren't constantly being reminded of all the stuff we can't yet eat. (For those who have made it to the point where they can have those foods , there are many other places, on MDC and elsewhere, where you can share your creations.)

And now, back to finding a storage space for all these and . The cashiers must think I have a troupe of monkeys. Well, some days, I guess that's not too far from the truth.
post #2 of 93
I'm almost a year into the diet and so I'm probably not what you're looking for. But I wanted to say that I wish there had been something like this around when I first started. I remember how strange I felt, when I first gave up grains and starchy foods. It was like I was in withdrawal, and I felt terrible. I actually quit twice, before I finally made the commitment.

Anyway, good luck and hang in there. It's tough to make the change, but it gets easier pretty quickly.
post #3 of 93
Thread Starter 
Llyra and other advanced SCDers, please feel free to join in; it would be great to have your words of wisdom. My only concern was that I'd like to avoid the posting of advanced recipes in this thread. As they say at Pecanbread, many newcomers fall into the trap of thinking that the SCD is "the nut diet." (Gee, d'you think maybe the name of their site has something to do with it?! )

Regarding withdrawal: Last time around, I sped through the early stages, then stayed on the "full diet" for a few months. I never really experienced any major shifts in symptoms (for better or worse), and felt a little healthier overall, but not enough to justify staying on it. The hardest part was that I was hungry all the time. I had to snack constantly all day, and never felt satisfied.

This time, during the intro and beginning of stage 1, I had clear withdrawal/die-off symptoms... headaches and joint aches, constant hunger, fatigue, stool changes. It was pretty bad for the first couple of weeks, then started to ease off. Now I'm about a month in, and I have a normal appetite and a lot more energy than before. I don't feel bored or deprived, as everything we eat is tasty and nutritious, and we can still have some of our favorite foods.

In hindsight, I think the starter yogurt I was using a few years ago might have had bifidus in it. If so, that could have been the cause of my failure to respond. People often talk as if the "no bifidus" rule was something that Elaine Gottschall just pulled out of her hat... but I've been reading Dr. Haas's book, The Management of Celiac Disease, and it does talk about this issue ("an overgrowth of bacteria belonging normally to the nursling period"). In fact, in the early 20th century, celiac disease was called "intestinal infantilism," because it was characterized by an excess of bifidobacteria, which are only supposed to predominate in the gut of infants who are exclusively or mainly breastfed.

Interesting stuff!
post #4 of 93
Thread Starter 
BTW, Dr. Haas's book contains several case studies of successful responses to the original diet, as it was used to help children with severe malnutrition due to bowel disease. He provides a detailed description of their daily intake, and for the first few months, these children (toddlers and preschoolers) were typically eating 14-16 bananas each day.

I remember reading somewhere that Elaine G. didn't recommend eating more than two bananas a day, but I'm guessing that's for people who can tolerate a wide range of foods. If you're in the early stages, and have picky or sensitive children, it seems as if it won't hurt to give them several bananas, if that's all they'll eat by way of carbohydrates.

In case anyone is interested, here's our current menu. Still mostly intro & stage 1 foods, with a few additional vegetables.

Last night's dinner: sliced turkey, cheese, avocado, bananas, diluted apple cider/carrot juice blend

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, diluted apple cider, bananas, yogurt with honey, and sliced cheddar (b/c children ate all the eggs and yogurt, and were still hungry )

Lunch will be: meatballs, well-steamed carrots, pureed asparagus, diluted grape juice, and "magical green pudding" made from avocado blended with honey & yogurt

Dinner will be: braised lamb shoulder chops, well-steamed artichokes, butternut squash puff, and baked peeled apples with butter, honey, and a tiny bit of vanilla

My 3 and 5 year olds turn up their noses at all green vegetables, even guacamole. This will be my first time making the avocado pudding. I think it might go over okay, since it doesn't really have a bitter taste.

Hope you all have a great day.
post #5 of 93
hey there! We are no longer on the diet, but I have to say that I did feel that Dr. Haas' book was a great asset in embarking on this journey. It did explain quite a bit.

We have 3 people in my house that actually have a celiac diagnosis, one who was never tested but cannot tolerate gluten at all and another who was never challenged.

I'm curious, and pardon me if I'm not remembering correctly, you seem to be very well versed in homeopathic medicine. Are you using it at all in your healing process?

Your menu looks lovely by the way!
post #6 of 93
Subbing but not quite joining yet as I'm on a TED for 7 week old son who is having issues with what I eat. Still trying to get a baseline for the diet. I dont know what to do and its starting to compromise my breastmilk. But as soon as I do and figure out what he's intolerant to, then I'm going to start on this as I have some leaky gut/intestinal issues. I have a lot of problems and want to get better before my next pregnancy.
post #7 of 93
Thread Starter 
Hi, Panserbjorne!

I've been interested in homeopathy for years, but really buckled down to study it seriously after DD2 was born with serious congenital problems (in spite of my doing "all the right things" prenatally). Her holistic pediatrician is trained in homeopathy, and often suggests remedies for acutes. I've been self-prescribing for everyone else, which I know isn't recommended, but I stick to low potencies and it seems to work out okay. My biggest successes have been with DS's croup and my own menstrual problems. Food intolerances and behavioral issues seem to be much harder to deal with.

I haven't really been following the homeopathic threads, but I seem to remember that there was some discussion of the bowel nosodes (remedies made from abnormal gut flora). That's something I'd like to look into more, especially for DD1 who has had digestive problems since birth. She's already had noticeable improvement after just a couple of weeks on the SCD, but I think the right remedy would be a very helpful adjunct to the diet.

Jewellz, your children are very close in age to mine. (We're expecting #4 in a few months.) I'll say a prayer for you and your little guy. I hope you can figure out what's bothering him soon.
post #8 of 93
well, this is exactly us too! Thanks for starting this. We are on about Week 7 by now. Taking it very slowly.

Originally Posted by hummingmom View Post
And now, back to finding a storage space for all these and . The cashiers must think I have a troupe of monkeys. Well, some days, I guess that's not too far from the truth.
This is so funny to me. I started going to the grocery store late, late at night, so I don't have to take my kids and tell them we can't buy pineapples or frozen blueberries or whatever (it's not like they are even begging for candy in the checkout! it's just easier this way). Anyway, there is this same woman who has been at my favorite store to get organic bananas, and I buy literally 8 or 9 bunches of bananas at a time. She first asked me, what I was doing with all those bananas. I just said, My kids eat a lot of bananas.
Now she knows me when I come in the door! It's kind of funny but I literally plan everything around the various ripening stages of the bananas. I have to plan ahead, so we aren't left in the cold without any at the right stage! So I always have bananas sitting around everywhere at various stages of ripeness! I'm so glad you understand!

Originally Posted by hummingmom View Post
BTW, Dr. Haas's book contains several case studies of successful responses to the original diet, as it was used to help children with severe malnutrition due to bowel disease. He provides a detailed description of their daily intake, and for the first few months, these children (toddlers and preschoolers) were typically eating 14-16 bananas each day.
I feel better now. My kids are eating a lot of bananas. Not quite that many though! I was worried, but now I am not! I have always wanted to get that book. I should look for it online. Isn't it out of print?

We are still very early in the diet, and are improving steadily, but we still have days of setbacks with looser mushier stools again. But overall, we've had more days of normal stools than not, and only a few tummyaches that didn't last long. Mostly we eat meat, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, and BANANAS. And every variation thereof. We also do several well-cooked, peeled vegetables and cooked peeled apples, Golden Delicious only. It's hit or miss getting my youngest one to eat the vegs, but actually he seems to do best on just the protein, fat, and bananas. And they have both finally gained weight. It seems like when I add in more fiber, though, even the well cooked peeled vegs, he has looser stool again. I think we just need to go very slowly. We haven't tried any dairy yet, or probiotics, and I feel like that should be our next step. I'm not sure whether to try yogurt (dairy or possibly coconut), or a probiotic supplement, or enzymes.

I have some questions to bring up, but it's late, but I'll be back.
post #9 of 93
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by momofmine View Post
It's kind of funny but I literally plan everything around the various ripening stages of the bananas. I have to plan ahead, so we aren't left in the cold without any at the right stage!
LOL... our current inventory is about 25 lb. of bananas, at 3 different stages of ripeness. That should see us through the weekend. I should probably stick some of the rock-hard green Costco ones in a paper bag, to speed up the ripening a bit. Tending the banana crop does take a surprising amount of effort. (I can't complain, though... it's much easier than applesauce. The children can eat that stuff faster than I can make it!) BTW, if you get to the store when the grocer is marking down the turning-brown bananas, you can get some really good deals. Our local Asian market had them for 19c/lb, which is very inexpensive for our area.

The Dr. Haas book was just republished a few months ago, I think, by some dedicated SCDers. It's available from Digestive Wellness, Lucy's Kitchen Shop, and a few other places.

For those who can have eggs: I just made the nut-free, dairy-free souffle bread (found under Stage 1 recipes here), and it was a big hit. The children ate the whole batch for lunch. I used half a ripe avocado, as suggested. Fortunately it didn't turn out green, more of a golden yellow. (They were highly suspicious of last night's green pudding, though they did end up eating it. It was delicious.) Since I really dislike the taste/smell of browned eggs, I used the cookie sheet method, spread the batter thinly, and baked it for much less time than the recipe said: 10 minutes on one side, then 5 minutes on the other, just enough so that the eggs were cooked through. We called it "sponge bread." It actually looked a lot like Sponge Bob.

The sponge bob... I mean sponge bread... held up well when used in sandwiches with a moist filling (we used apple butter and farmer's cheese; chicken salad would also work), but it was a bit on the greasy side when eaten with the hands. DD1 insisted on using a fork. I suspect this is due to the oil in the avocado. Other vegetables might produce a tidier, if less tasty, result.
post #10 of 93
Thread Starter 
Well, we're just coming out of a major temper explosion here. Based on past experience, I think we can reasonably conclude that too many eggs make DD1's behavior worse. It's not that surprising, esp. as I often feel kind of grumpy after eating them myself. This also supports my suspicion that she could be helped by a homeopathic remedy from the Ferrum series, probably Ferrum Metallicum ( = iron), which has "worse from eggs" among the notable symptoms. She has a lot of the other characteristics, and I've actually tried Ferrum remedies in the past, but probably didn't stick with the idea long enough.

I find this extremely interesting, in that I recently read an Australian study in which prenatal iron supplements were associated with double the risk of behavior problems in preschool children. (This was a controlled study; they don't routinely recommend prenatal iron in Australia.) Of course, excess iron also contributes to gut dysbiosis, and iron is one of the forbidden supplements on the SCD. DD1 is the only one of our children with clear digestive and behavioral issues, and she's also had the most exposure to supplemental iron. I took iron-fortified prenatals starting a few months before her conception, and kept taking them all the time I was breastfeeding. Then I had a change of attitude, and didn't take any iron with my next two pregnancies. I still had a high-normal hemoglobin and hematocrit on every blood test, so the supplements were clearly unnecessary in my case.

As for why eggs might aggravate an iron-related problem, more so than other iron-rich foods (like red meat) ... I have no idea. Maybe it's something to do with whatever causes that nasty smell when they're browned.
post #11 of 93
maybe it's the sulphur and not the iron?
post #12 of 93
Thread Starter 
The green ring that forms in overcooked hard-boiled eggs is ferrous sulfide, according to this article. So, I'm guessing the problems (and the smell) are related to the combination of iron and sulphur, esp. when the eggs are cooked too long. I'll have to try raw eggs and see what happens. If those go over okay, I'll try separating the eggs and using just the whites for baking. The yolks can go in smoothies, or can be used to thicken a sauce.

Speaking of raw eggs, when I was making the sponge bread, I was reminded of an all-raw avocado mousse that I used to make. IIRC, you separate an egg, then blend an avocado with the egg yolk and a little raw honey. Then you beat the egg white and fold it into the avocado mixture. Yum.
post #13 of 93
I'm definitely curious to see what you come up with! And yes, we are HUGE fans of raw eggs over here. My kiddos ADORE raw pudding and milkshakes. We use a similar recipe to your as well.
post #14 of 93
Originally Posted by hummingmom View Post
For those who can have eggs: I just made the nut-free, dairy-free souffle bread (found under Stage 1
I made this last week too. It was a LOT of work with the separating the eggs out, whipping the whites, etc, but it was worth it. I used leftover broccoli for my 1/3 cup of mashed vegs. It was not greasy, and they kids ate it with their hands. Actually, my older child opened it up like a pita and stuffed some sausage inside. (just crumbled ground pork with my own salt pepper and sage).

Originally Posted by Panserbjørne View Post
I'm definitely curious to see what you come up with! And yes, we are HUGE fans of raw eggs over here. My kiddos ADORE raw pudding and milkshakes. We use a similar recipe to your as well.
We have been having daily either smoothies (banana, raw egg, CO, ice and water) or banana "pudding" which is the exact same thing just without the ice and water. We also put the pudding in the freezer for a short while and had an ice cream of sorts.

I introduced nut butter this week, very slowly, just one pancake the first day, two the next day, then my older child really, really wanted to make something, so I let him pick something from the pecanbread site and he chose the nut butter brownies, which I have had to ration today, because I want to go slow with the nuts. I can't tell if they are okay or not. Both kids have had stools this week that weren't totally normal, but they aren't falling apart anymore, they are just like softer and in several pieces instead of one formed stool, like they were having. But, at the same time, this has happened just from having more cooked vegs, so I don't know what it is.

One question about coconut oil: I had switched from the gold label Tropical Traditions to the regular organic expeller pressed. Then I started using the Gold Label again. Do you think the Gold Label could actually have stronger properties, and so it causes more loose stool, maybe die-off? I guess the only way to know is to switch back.

I want to try a probiotic again. I am thinking about a supp (custom probiotics maybe?) or coconut yogurt. I have mixed feelings about the probiotics, and the SCD recommendation for just acidophilus. The GAPS suggested probiotic has multiple strains.
post #15 of 93
One thing to add about myself: Since adding in the nuts, it has kicked back in my cravings for sweet stuff, and I am eating way more bananas, which isn't how I feel the best. I had really kicked the whole craving sweet after the first few weeks, getting enough protein, fat, and drinking broth.
post #16 of 93
Thread Starter 
We've also tried a few nut butter baked goods, and they really increased the cravings for me, too. Same thing with the stool changes. I guess the answer is to introduce them more slowly, but it's hard when it all tastes so good.

DD1 got some Valentine's treats at one of her classes, but she was okay about trading them for a My Little Pony thingamajig. I've also promised to make some candy for tomorrow: honey meringues, jell-o shapes using Welch's red grape juice, and maybe honey toffee if I'm feeling ambitious. My big hope is that we'll be able to have some advanced treats by Easter. It's a big holiday for us, and I timed the diet on purpose so that we'd be at the 3-month mark by then.

Speaking of Easter, I wish I could find a legal ham! Last time we were on the diet, I bought a salt-cured country ham, but the site I got it from seems to be out of business. Oh well, it probably had nitrates anyway. I guess I'll have to stick with occasional treats of prosciutto and Organic Prairie bacon. (Some people on Pecanbread and other lists have checked with OP, and they've confirmed that the bacon is okay. Only organic honey is used as a sweetener, and there are no other questionable ingredients. The Organic Prairie cold cuts are to be avoided, though; they may contain corn starch as a "processing aid," to stop the slices from sticking together. Just goes to show, you can't trust the label to disclose everything.)

For probiotics, the SCDophilus from GIProHealth is legal, and there might be some others as well. Personally, I would follow the advice to stay away from bifidus; there are just too many unknowns. This book about bifidobacteria confirms the earlier reports that it can be involved in overgrowth, and apparently it can even be invasive in immunocompromised people. As far as I've been able to find, that's never happened with L. acidophilus or the other recommended organisms (L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus). I'd love to read the whole bifidus book, but it's $500... ouch. If someone has access to a medical library that has a copy, maybe they can take a look for us.
post #17 of 93
I'm so glad to be having this dialogue with you and, hopefully have PB share her comments and experience too. That would be interesting to look through that book. We do have a medical school close by, I should see if it's there and if I can go by sometime and thumb through it.

I'm conflicted about the probiotics because they ultimately caused (or contributed to irritation that was causing) blood and mucus in the stool of my 4 yo. This was before we started SCD though, and they were not SCD legal probs. BUT, I went back and looked in my notes from when we were on the diet years ago with my older child, and, I couldn't believe I hadn't remembered this, but when we started the completely plain L acidophilus from Custom Probiotics, he ALSO had blood in the stool. I wrote that it seemed to help, but at the same time, it caused the blood. That was like 6 years ago, so I didn't remember that. I am hesitant to try dairy with them.
post #18 of 93


Anytime you feel like posting what you ate in a day, I'd love to have more ideas for this early stage. My husband is having a hard time getting enough to eat and is not liking eating teh same things all the time. Bssically I think he can suck it up and deal because his kids need this and he can stop at a restaurant on his way home from work if he wants to. He totally needs the diet too, has gut issues and is one of those people that is constitutionally "grumpy". But, I feel like if I can make things a little more appealing it will make it easier for him. And I'd prefer he didn't bring other food home and eat it in front of the kids. Once we get to the full diet, he'll be fine. We did it for three years before and he was fine. He ate only SCD at home, but would eat out for lunch, etc.

Here's what we've eaten so far today:
B: runny eggs, bananas

Snack (at our Valentine's party): Almond butter brownies (with half the amount of honey called for)

Lunch: chicken *salad* made with boiled chicken, mashed butternut squash, coconut oil, a few drops of honey and a pinch of salt (it doesn't sound good but I had no mayo ready so I just used what was available, and it was actually pretty good)

Snack: smoothie with bananas, eggs, CO, water and ice

For dinner I am fixing: salmon, mashed cauliflower with broth, green beans

And there have been several bananas in between too.
post #19 of 93


Do you give the kids a vitamin? I stopped when we began SCD, and I am wondering if they need it. I'd like to get a juicer and juice some fresh nutrient-dense veggies, but they are so expensive. I take that back, I have a Juiceman Jr in the way back corner of my kitchen cupboard, which does remove the pulp. I want a better juicer like an Omega or Champion. I wonder if we're far enough along for fresh juices like that.
post #20 of 93
moving to nutrition and good eating
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