All About SCD

Please consult your doctor and dietitian before using information on this page. These are medically supervised diets that should be done in conjunction with your healthcare team to ensure adequate nutrition for health and healing. Never attempt these diets without the support of your medical team.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) was originally developed in the early 1900’s by Drs. Haas to treat those with celiac disease. It was later popularized by Elaine Gottschall, who’s daughter had ulcerative colitis which improved upon initiation of the diet. The theory behind SCD is that if you eliminate poorly absorbed sugars and eat foods that are easily digested and absorbed, this will change gut microbes, allowing your nutrition status to improve and your gut to heal. The SCD is a grain free diet low in dairy, processed foods, and food additives. It includes fresh animal proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils/fats, low lactose cheeses, and 24-hour fermented homemade yogurt. Risk for nutrient deficiency increases when eliminating food groups (grains and most dairy), so it is important to work with your doctor and dietitian if you choose to start this diet. And never (even if you’re feeling good!) make medication adjustments without first consulting with your doctor — this can be dangerous. 

SCD diet phases

There are really no set rules on what or when to introduce foods beyond the intro phase. The following phases can be used as a guide for those who desire a more detailed plan. Otherwise, gradually reintroduce foods after the intro phase — pureed or soft/well-cooked, foods may be tolerated best initially, with advancement to less cooked versions as able. Limiting raw fruits and vegetables until diarrhea has resolved may help prevent worsening of symptoms.

Click on the hyperlinks to learn more about my experience on SCD.

  • SCD — Intro
    • Shopping List:
      • Meat/protein: chicken, turkey, beef, lean game, lean pork, fish, eggs, dry curd cottage cheese (choose lean/low fat proteins for good health)
      • Fruit: apple cider, grape juice
      • Vegetable: carrots
      • Other: gelatin, honey, vegetable oils (olive, grapeseed, walnut), butter/ghee
  • SCD — Phase 1
    • Shopping List (above foods, plus):
      • Meat/protein: milk (for making SCD legal yogurt)
      • Fruit: applesauce, pear sauce, banana, tomato juice, v-8 tomato juice
      • Vegetable: Spinach, summer squash, winter squash, watercress, herbs
      • Other: Nuts for making milk (coconut, unroasted cashew, hazelnut, blanched almond, pecan), weak tea/coffee; spices
  • SCD — Phase 2
    • Shopping List (above foods, plus):
      • Meat/protein: Low lactose SCD legal cheese, creamy nut butters
      • Fruit: peach, pineapple, plum, tomato, apricot, avocado, fruits canned in own juice
      • Vegetable: garlic, asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, artichoke, cucumber, bell peppers, lettuce
      • Other: Vinegar (cider or white), mustard, homemade mayo ingredients (lemon, dry mustard powder, egg, oil)
  • SCD — Phase 3
    • Shopping List (above foods, plus):
      • Meat/protein: Bacon, prepared sausage, lunch meats (without sugar, nitrates/nitrates, added hormones, or SCD illegal ingredients); lentils, lima beans, white navy beans, split peas, black beans, kidney beans, chunky nut butters. Limit intake of fatty and processed meats.
      • Fruit: Nectarine, plum, citrus, papaya, melon, cherry, fig, kiwi, kumquat, mango, passion fruit, rhubarb, berries, date, rehydrated dried fruits
      • Vegetable: Celeriac, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, swiss chard, hot peppers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beet, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, collard greens, eggplant, kale, olive, onion, dill pickle, bok choy, celery, leek
      • Other:  Nut flours (pecan, coconut, walnut, macadamia, blanched almond + hazelnut), bean/lentil flour can be used sparingly if presoaked, baking soda, SCD legal baked goods
  • SCD — Phase 4
    • Shopping List (above foods, plus):
      • Meat/protein: Whole nuts
      • Fruit: Raw fruits, dried fruits, persimmons, grapes, coconut
      • Vegetable: Raw vegetables
      • Other: SCD legal food bars and snacks

SCD Recipes:

Other SCD Resources (I do not profit from these links):