SCD — Intro Phase

So a few weeks ago I committed to starting the Specific Carbohydrate diet (SCD), a grain free diet low in processed foods, added sugars, and food additives. This is a diet many of my patients use to help manage their Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It’s supported by preliminary evidence showing clinical remission in pediatric Crohn’s disease (see my page on Nutrition for IBD for references) upon following the SCD. It’s not a diet for everyone, but I find that my patients who choose to follow this diet (under medical guidance) can do really well, and it’s a nice way to integrate nutrition into their IBD management. Please know that eliminating food groups (grains, most dairy) can lead to malnutrition (especially of the B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D and E), so I can’t emphasize enough the need to talk to your MD and RD if you choose to use this to compliment your IBD treatment regimen.

Over the past few weeks I have been accumulating SCD legal pantry items I would need to successfully start and continue my diet. I ordered a yogurt maker online, as well as some almond and coconut flours, gelatin, yogurt starter (which, OMG, is impossible to find a bifido free version in the stores; YoGourmet is a nice freeze dried option), and a little special something (cocoa butter) to help keep me on track (I am a huge fan of dark chocolate which is not SCD legal).

Tonight I am prepping for my Day 1 Intro Phase, which will start tomorrow. The intro phase consists of chicken, beef, fish, homemade broth, gelatin, apple cider or grape juice, carrots, dry curd cottage cheese, eggs, and SCD legal cheese cake (see Breaking the Vicious Cycle, or BTVC, book). As a dietitian, I know my nutrient needs, so I’ve planned my menu to ensure that I’m getting everything I need to stay nourished and feel energized. If you’re not a dietitian, connect with one that your IBD MD recommends, otherwise weight loss and nutrient deficiencies are likely to ensue.

A few tips for the intro phase:

  • Plan ahead! This will make the intro phase SO MUCH easier.
  • Make space in your fridge for the broth, gelatin, juice, and other SCD essentials.
  • When making the chicken/beef/fish/veg broth, use carrot, onion, celery and herbs(!) for a flavorful broth, but only reserve the meat, carrot, and broth for eating during the intro phase.
  • When making gelatin, I used the grape juice (it seemed sweeter to me, and I would be less likely to drink it during the intro phase), but you can use apple cider as well
  • Prep ahead! You’re not going to want to do anything else during the intro phase. Batch cook and portion out meals for the next few days. You will thank yourself! I cooked my chicken stock/soup and gelatin at the same time to prep for my next few days.
  • Be as strict as possible. The full benefits of the diet are really seen when the diet is followed fanatically.

Intro diet (per the BTVC):

  • Breakfast:
    • Dry curd Cottage Cheese (moistened with homemade yogurt)
    • Eggs
    • Apple cider or grape juice diluted 1:1 with water
    • homemade gelatin
  • Lunch:
    • homemade chicken soup
    • broiled beef/fish
    • cheesecake (see BTVC for recipe) without lemon rind
    • homemade gelatin
  • Dinner:
    • variations of breakfast/lunch

The intro diet is meant to be followed for 2-5 days. Here’s my menu:

Sample Intro Menu:

  • Breakfast:
    • farmer cheese moistened with homemade yogurt and sweetened with honey
    • hard boiled eggs
    • apple cider
  • Lunch
    • grape gelatin
    • chicken broth
    • chicken, pureed carrots, farmer cheese
    • apple cider
  • Dinner
    • SCD soup version 1.0 — chicken, pureed carrots, chicken broth, farmer cheese
    • apple cider
    • grape gelatin

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