FAQ

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that I have come across over the past few years from SCD mailing lists, Yahoo groups, blogs, email and Twitter. I give answers based on my own personal experience and these should not be viewed as strict facts or ‘the only answer’. Please see my SCD Resources list of groups and blogs where you can get other opinions if mine doesn’t work for you.

SCD/GAPS Diets
Q. How long until I should expect to see improvements?
Q. How long do I have to stay on SCD/GAPS?
Q. Should I stop my medication before starting SCD?
Q. Can I eat at restaurants?
Q. Is this [insert food item here] legal?
Q. I keep messing up my SCD yogurt. Help!
Q. Can vegetarians follow this diet?
Q. What if I can’t cook?
Q. How can I follow this diet if I’m going to be away at college? I don’t have access to a kitchen.
Q. My kid only eats white bread and french fries. How would I ever be able to do this diet with him/her?

Personal
Q. Why are you on SCD instead of just a gluten-free diet? Isn’t gluten-free enough for people with Celiac?
Q. What do you see a naturopath for?
Q. What is your official diagnosis?
Q. Are you on low-carb SCD?
Q. What ratios protein:fat:carbs do you eat? How many calories do you eat?
Q. What made you give up shampoo/conditioner/soaps/lotions/sunscreen/cleaners?
Q. Do you take probiotics?
Q. Do you take S. Boullardi?
Q. What supplements do you currently take? What have you taken in the past?
Q. Do you use a yogurt maker/dehydrator/heating pad/oven for making your yogurt?
Q. What kitchen equipment do you own that has helped prepare foods on this diet?
Q. How do you deal with social situations?
Q. What is the one thing you would recommend about this diet to someone?

SCD/GAPS Diets
Q. How long until I should expect to see improvements?
I saw improvement on day 1. It may sound extreme but the uncomfortable gut feeling went away as soon as I cut out all dissacharides. I had inconsistent stool for the first year on SCD, but noticed that each episode of diarrhea was shorter and less uncomfortable. Within the first 3 months you should definitely notice some improvment in pain, bloating, cramping, diahrea, blood, and constipation.

Q. How long do I have to stay on SCD/GAPS?
A general rule is to stay on 1 year after your symptoms go away and then start adding foods back in. How long it takes to get to this point might differ for each person. For people who are on medication (especially Crohn’s & UC) it might take longer because weaning off the medications takes time. It can also take time to sort through which foods on SCD give you problems. Initially when I started I had problems with most vegetables. Once I got a bit better and could have vegetables, I had to cut down on fruit/honey/nuts to get rid of yeast symptoms. It took me just under 2 years until I was symptom-free. At 1.5 years on SCD I did not think I would be adding food back in just a few months later.

Q. Should I stop my medication before starting SCD?
No. Start the diet first. Yes it can be difficult to judge which foods are affecting you if symptoms are ‘masked’ by medications, but going off medications too quickly or without having any healing from the diet can be harmful. The diet will give you benefits even while on medication. Once you are comfortable on the diet and have seen improvements, then talk with your doctor about weaning off medication. If your doctor doesn’t support you going off, find a new doctor or tell your current doctor you are going off no matter what and ask for their support.

Q. Can I eat at restaurants?
See Dining Out – A Cautionary Tale at Eating SCD. I choose not to eat at restaurants because any time I have tried I feel terrible after and that’s even with great discussion with waiters and/or chefs. Not only is there chance of cross-contamination from illegals, but they use rancid fats and low quality food (they have to in order to afford it). Better to eat before you go. I have brought my own food to restaurants before and the staff didn’t mind.

Q. Is this [insert food item here] legal?
Please see the master legal/illegal list on the BTVC site. If it’s not listed, contact me or see the Resources Groups section for where to ask.

Q. I keep messing up my SCD yogurt. Help!
See my SCD Yogurt Tips page.

Q. Can vegetarians follow this diet?
Yes. Some people have succesfully followed this diet while vegetarian. There is a Yahoo group dedicated to it and some members on the BTVC Yahoo group are vegetarian. It might be easier to start the diet normally and then switch to vegetarian if that is your goal. Put your health first, get yourself well, and then decide what diet fits your lifestyle in the longterm. I don’t believe the diet can be followed correctly while vegan. I have not heard of anyone doing this successfully and don’t think you can get complete protein. Grains are normally used with beans to make a complete protein and grains are not allowed.

Q. What if I can’t cook?
Well you will have to learn to prepare your food. You can try just eating at restaurants but it will probably get frustrating pretty quickly. Learn to make the basics first: broth, yogurt, and a meat dish. Get a crockpot, it makes cooking a lot easier. Make the homemade ketchup early on. If you mess up a meal or get sick of eating plain meats, just douse ketchup on it and it will taste good. Plain baked chicken, pork chops, fish, beef patties and squash are all simple starters.

Q. How can I follow this diet if I’m going to be away at college? I don’t have access to a kitchen.
I actually followed this diet for a few weeks without a kitchen. It wasn’t tons of fun and my meals were not the most exciting, but it was certainly doable. Get a mini-fridge, 2 crockpots (small and big), an electric wok, a yogurt maker (or heating pad), and a toaster oven. These items are pretty easy to buy second hand. Make meals/soups/broth in the crockpot and use
the toaster oven to bake meals and reheat food. An electric skillet or wok is great for making eggs. Most fruits and vegetables can be kept at cool room temperature for at least 4-5 days to free up your fridge space. Buy small amounts of food 3 times a week. Make yogurt by heating the milk in the electric wok/skillet and then placing it in the yogurt maker or wrapping it in a heating pad.

Q. My kid only eats white bread and french fries. How would I ever be able to do this diet with him/her?
See the Pecanbread – Kids & SCD site, especially for ASD kids. Join the Pecanbread and BTVC SCD Yahoo groups. Ask questions, you will get answers. See How to get your kids to eat anything by Cheeseslave and What makes kids picky by Health, Home & Happiness.

Personal
Q. Why are you on SCD instead of just a gluten-free diet? Isn’t gluten-free enough for people with Celiac?
Before starting SCD I was gluten-free for 6 months. I used rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa and potatoes in place of wheat. I noticed some improvement but over time realized there had to be something more. I was having upset stomachs too often, discomfort, bloating and gas. I was having urinary urgency, strange fever-like symptoms and joint pain. The amount of relief I got just one week on SCD was more than I got in the 6 months gluten-free. I believe people with Celiac should initially follow SCD to heal the digestive system before testing out how gluten-free grains affect them. That is my experience anyway, and the experience of a number of others with Celiac, gluten-intolerance or “IBS”.

Q. What do you see a naturopath for?
I see my naturopath for guidance with nutrition, supplements, Chinese Medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture. I find it very useful to see her on a regular basis to keep myself from freaking out about symptoms or problems that arise. I just keep track of how I’m feeling and tell her once a month or so, without worrying about it in between visits. I highly recommend seeing a naturopath while following this diet. I also recommend trying acupuncture espcially for pain management and fertility issues.

Q. What is your official diagnosis?
I don’t have a diagnosis. I was labelled as IBS but never had through the necessary tests to diagnose this.

Q. Are you on low-carb SCD?
Not at the moment. I have done low-carb off and on as symptoms varied.

Q. What ratios protein:fat:carbs do you eat? How many calories do you eat?
15:60:25 with around 2000-2200 calories per day (I try to get more calories but have a hard time getting enough without baked goods)

Q. Do you take probiotics?
No. I have off and on but never noticed any benefit from them. My probiotics now come from the SCD yogurt and fermented foods.

Q. Do you take S. Boullardi?
No. I have never tried it.

Q. What supplements do you currently take? What have you taken in the past?
I currently take vitamin D, cod liver oil and melatonin. In the past I took various supplements on and off: B-vitamins for a specific deficiency in B12 and folate, liquid minerals, extra zinc, fish oil, ginger capsules, and peppermint capsules.

Q. Do you use a yogurt maker/dehydrator/heating pad/oven for making your yogurt?
I currently use a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator for large batches (more than 2 liters) and a Yolife yogurt maker for small batches.

Q. What kitchen equipment do you own that has helped prepare foods on this diet?
Yogurt maker, slow cookers, stick blender, food processor, dehydrator.

Q. How do you deal with social situations?
I bring my own food everywhere. I tend not to eat at restaurants and just sit and chat with friends while they eat. I am active in sports and enjoy movies so I tend to stick to those activities to avoid social food activities.

Q. What is the one thing you would recommend about this diet to someone?
Make your own. Make your own. Make your own. Stop searching for SCD-legal products and restaurants and make your own. It takes time and patience but eventually you get so fast at it that it really doesn’t affect your life that much.

Don’t see an answer you are looking for? Leave a question as a comment below.

10 Comments

  1. Awesome post Kat! I like your final question answer. "Make your own. Make your own. Make your own." I think that's the hardest part for people to get their heads around, if they come from a "normal" urban way of eating. So many people just don't cook almost ANYTHING they eat! But, we adapt. I don't feel like it's a big deal anymore. And I find it is a really good feeling to prepare my own food. It feels like an act of self-care that is really nourishing. 🙂

  2. I should be quoting Marilyn Alm for that 🙂 Make your own!!!

    I was under some fairy tale impression that everyone cooked at least some of their food. I'm starting to realize some people really have never cooked from scratch before. I find it feels empowering and like you say, an act of self-care.

  3. Hi Kat: Can you tell me why you are on SCD and not just a gluten free diet? I have read for Celiac's that a gluten free diet is good.

    Thanks,
    Theresa

  4. Hi, Kat. You dad gave us the address for your food blog (we are his next door neighbors). We’ve been following it for the past few months with great interest. I have a question: do you know anything about Lagois Farm (they claim to sell grass-fed beef and lamb)? The farm is not on your list of beef farmers so I was wondering if they are legitimate or not.
    Thanks in advance and best wishes,
    Dana

  5. @Dana Hi Dana! Nice to hear from you 🙂 I checked out the Lagois Farm website and they look like a great source. I’ll add them to the list too, thanks.

  6. Hi Kat: Are you in Ottawa? I am and started SCD 3 months ago. Still having problems and I’d like to get in touch with a naturopath locally. Any suggestions for one who’s familiar with SCD?

  7. @Audra I am in Ottawa. I can tell you I had the best success with a naturopath who moved to Toronto, but the woman I saw after her was good too. Colleen McQuarrie at the OIHC: http://www.oihc.ca/index.php?page=colleen-mcquarrie-bsc-ba-nd
    When trying to find a naturopath it’s important to choose one you’re comfortable with, who understands what you’re trying to do and will work with you. Don’t be afraid to do a consultation with a few different ones before deciding.

    I hear that Katherine Willow at the Carp Eco Wellnes Center is good too: http://crnhc.com/ecowellness/index.php

  8. Katie!!! You're kniillg me! I have been dealing with serious stomach issues (& several other health issues that have been cured by GAPS) for the last 6 months to a year. After reading about your family's raw food journey, we have been thinking about going raw.. But *now*….after re-researching GAPS (I used to read Keeper of the Home so I learned about it from her when she first started researching it) I feel like it would help me *a lot*. Of course it would benefit my entire family as well, but they don't necessarily have specific issues. The biggest hold up for us is the money. I have a very very tight food budget & don't have (or haven't discovered) much access to grass-fed meat, good quality eggs (that aren't $8 a doz!), etc. Do you think this diet is possible on a limited budget? The only dollar amounts I've found online are $110 a week & $500-$700 a month & I need to spend like 1/2 (or less) of that! Anyway, just curious. I think if we did do it, I would wait to start (at least with the whole family) until September because of Jacob's busy schedule this summer. So for now I'm just learning & gathering resources. 🙂

  9. @Emma Buying in bulk is the only way to do the grass-fed meat on a budget. Look around for local farmers who might have an excess of bones and organs, I did a lot of those for a while and was given them free or at a big discount. It’s also worth checking some GAPS blogs of other families. I did this diet alone so I didn’t have to worry as much about a food budget. Check out http://www.healthhomehappy.com/ and http://www.wellfedhomestead.com/ who I know are doing the diet with kids.

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