The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

I stumbled across the SCD when learning more about grains. I had read online on numerous sites about how the gluten-grains can cause digestive problems for some people. After I eliminated these grains I had a lot of relief. No more bloating or pain! It was great, but I still didn’t get more energy or gain weight. So I continued searching, this time specifically to find other people who had tried a gluten-free diet who initially had good results and then started feeling worse. Just to clarify, I do still feel better on gluten-free (no bloating, pain) but I still don’t seem to digest food completely and do get sick too often for my liking.

I found a few sources online where people say they felt better after removing gluten but then old symptoms came back. Some of these people had tried eliminating all grains and had lots of success. Then I found the SCD.

The SCD is a diet that is completely grain-free and added-sugar-free. Foods on the diet consist of fruit, vegetables (no potatoes), meat, nuts, seeds, some beans, and honey. Have a look here at the legal/illegal list if interested. Basically the idea is to starve bad bacteria and yeast by not eating foods that can feed them. Foods that feed these organisms are ones that contain complex carbohydrates. Our bodies don’t digest these carbs completely and the bacteria/yeast are left to feast off them. By avoiding complex carbohydrates, the bacteria and yeast starve and die off. Simple carbohydrates are allowed since our bodies use them all up and nothing is left for the bacteria and yeast.

The SCD sounds like a daunting task for me to take on. All foods are basically homemade from scratch – a process requiring many hours in the kitchen. I’m somewhat used to this already since my current diet is a very natural one. I will have to get used to less easily-prepared grain foods though. I will be looking forward to reincorporating some red meat into my diet and hopefully the yogurt. I also am hopeful that this will be a temporary diet. Most sources say that after 1 year of no symptoms, you can start reintroducing the eliminated food.

Things I have bought and/or plan on buying – a yogurt maker, a crockpot/slow cooker, something that will make nut flour from whole nuts (nut flour is used in many baking type recipes instead of grain flour), a juicer, and maybe an ice cream maker (eventually, if the yogurt works out well).

Update March 2010: It feels strange to read through this post 2 years later. I remember being almost scared of this diet. I had no idea this would be my last day experiencing the type of stomach discomfort that makes you feel lethargic and anxious all at once. To anyone considering the SCD, GAPS or Primal diet for digestive problems (Celiac, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, GERD, IBS) just go for it. Jump right in and reap the rewards. Oh and have a look at the recipes section, they are all gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free and personally taste-tested :).

** This post is part of the Get the Gluten Out hosted by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free


I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.


  1. Thank you for posting this! My 4 year old has been gluten free for 7 months now. Her symptoms cleared up immediately, but they are returning now. I'm not sure if it was becuase of cross contamination. We are getting much stricter now. I've also started researching the GAPS diet. SCD looks like it might be more doable for our family. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this!

  2. Glad you found it. I didn't know about GAPS when I started on SCD. I feel like SCD is a bit easier to start with, but many have credited GAPS with quick healing. Regardless of which way you go, lots of broth, organ meats, good quality meats and fats will help with healing.

    I know how frustrating it is to worry about cross-contamination. I too thought that and wondered why I was starting to see symptoms creep up again. I was so diligent that I know now it couldn't have been cross contamination. I just didn't do well on any grains.

  3. I just picked up this book and it makes complete sense to me now based on all my research and experience going gluten free and grain free, now going carb free. I will not go back. I detest stomach and gut troubles!! 😉

    by the way I like your ‘support the bacon habit’ – ha ha!! That’s classic!!

  4. @lydia Yep I won’t go back either. I’m managing on moderate-carb but will most likely stay grain and sugar-free.
    I buy some pretty nice pastured, honey-cured bacon, it’s expensive! lol

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