Frequently Asked Questions       

There are many questions that circulate on the SCD listserves. The purpose of this section is to organize the most frequently asked questions and their answers. If you can't find what you are looking for here, join one of the online support groups or visit one of the other SCD web sites.


Most Popular Links in This Section:
Starting the SCD
Get Support Online
Dining Out

I'm new to the SCD! What advice can you give me?

To quote Charlene, "I have been on the diet for 5 1/2 months and I can tell you that there is no looking back. I feel better than I have ever in my life and I'm not even symptom-free. If you have the book start with the beginner diet on page 51. If you have trouble finding the Dry Curd Cottage Cheese (a.k.a DCCC) go to the website: and go to Resources section or let us know where you live and maybe we can help you. The Chicken soup is wonderful.

Here is what I ate in the beginning: Breakfast: yogurt, boiled egg (if no diarrhea), grape juice lunch: chicken soup, broiled beef patty sometimes with cheese on it but be careful. Supper: a lot of the same stuff. I started to feel so much better within a week. Definitely not perfect but no more gas or bloating. Ask lots of questions and they will be answered, ok?

|> More on Starting the SCD

|> Determination

What do people do when they dine out?

Much can depend on which stage of the diet one is following. Nevertheless, you'll want to review these links:

|> Dining Out

|> Being a Dinner Guest

|> Traveling while on the SCD

What might cause a flare-up?

There is always a lot of discussion about what might have caused a flare-up. Most often it is because the patient did not follow the diet for a period of days, or ate a complete meal of non-SCD foods, or was under significant stress. Sometimes the flare-up will occur days or weeks after the "triggering event", when the mind and body relax and "let down their guard".

Where can I find dry curd cottage cheese?

Dry curd cottage cheese, also known as baker's cheese, Friendship hoop cheese, or Friendship farmer's cheese, is available in most of the grocery stores. If your local store does not stock it, ask them and they will order it on request. You may need to look around the store -- some have discovered DCCC with the gourmet cheeses! DCCC can be frozen, so feel free to buy plenty and store it in the freezer.

|> More about DCCC

|> Sources for DCCC

Are Farmer's Cheese and Hoop Cheese legal?

Yes! Many SCD-ers enjoy these two dry curd-like products. According to Deborah and Max, "The Farmer Cheese *and* Hoop Cheese by Friendship [brand] are both legal, and have the same amount of lactose. The difference is that hoop cheese has no butterfat or salt. The cream in the farmer cheese is added before the fermentation, and it tastes a lot better :-)."

|> Sources for Farmer's/Hoop cheese

How do I convert US recipes to metric?

While most of the world uses the metric system, the United States is still using what is referred to as the 'U.S. Standard' system for measurement. This causes a lot of frustration when recipes are shared between people from different countries.

|> measurements and metric conversions

What is candida?

Candida is a stubborn little fungus that creates a number of toxins in your blood stream, including manufacturing alcohol. According to the naturopaths, these toxins are responsible for a great deal of side effects, including irritible bowel syndrome and inflamatory bowel disease. Women with candida also have the unique pleasure of having a propensity toward yeast infections.

|> more about candida

Can I receive holy communion at church?

For the Catholic church-going SCDers out there, the SCD webmaster agrees with the following answer regarding receiving holy communion:
"I'm not a Catholic (nor do I play one on TV ), but am Lutheran. I still take communion with the usual unleavened bread and wine. I have faith that God will take care of this small amount of "illegals" - and that the benefit of the Sacrament FAR outweighs the risk from the starch!
God be with all of you this New Year!
Bruce Ray, Baton Rouge, LA
3+ yrs CD; 1+ yr SCD; 6+ months NO MEDS"

What about FOS?

FOS stands for Fructooligosaccharides. Here's an excerpt from Probiotics: Nature's Internal Healers, by Natasha Trenev: "Fructooligosaccharides, more commonly known as FOS, is a class of simple carbohydrates found naturally in certain plants, such as Jerusalem artichokes, onions, and bananas. A Japanese process is utilized in turning white, bleached cane sugar, by the action of a fungal enzyme, into FOS - a sugar polymer that our bodies cannot digest." FOS (in the form of inulin) is added to some commercial yogurts to make their probiotics more "bio-available". Elaine is also against FOS on the SCD.

|> FOS and probiotics

My child / spouse won't try the diet (they say it sounds too hard) - what should I do?

It's always sounds too difficult to anyone who's never tried the SCD - but to those of us who *have* tried it, and for whom it works, it's not too difficult at all.

As Deanna points out, ""Mom": I'm a mom, too, and if your daughter isn't interested in doing this, no amount of encouragement / cajoling / nagging / begging / pleading will make her want to give it a try - in fact it can have just the opposite effect. A while back, we on this list heard from a woman whose husband had Crohn's, and she was literally *killing* herself to prepare SCD foods for him, in spite of his indifference to the diet. Turns out he was making daily trips, behind his wife's back, to the local convenience store where he would buy candy bars for himself. Don't fight a battle you cannot win. You can lead a horse to water; give her the book, show her where the online resources are, etc, then let it go. She's an adult; the rest is up to her."

|> Critical Success Factors

Can I simply eat the SCD yogurt and get better, without following the rest of the SCD?

No. Here's what Elaine says. In relation to probiotics (and probiotics are the main reason for making/eating the SCD yogurt): "If you are not on SCD and are sending loads and loads of fermentable carbs down to the colon as most people are... the probiotic bacteria/ae will just make things worse. That is why I think it is so positively awful for the Crohn's and Colitis list to be PUSHING probiotics without the SCD. Wake up guys over there!"

|> SCD yogurt recipes

Can I follow the SCD if I am pregnant?

Yes! Here's what Elaine says. The carbohydrates that we consider legal in SCD are plentiful but are easily absorbed as they required minimal digestive capability. There have been many, many SCD babies born. Mothers were on SCD throughout pregnancy and some were big and some were normal (7-8 lbs and some were a bit less than 7 lbs). But as you know, diabetics (on insulin, not considered people in the best of health) have unusually fat babies. I understand it is because of high sugar levels. On the other side if you are pregnant and do not eat enough simple carbs, I believe it can be dangerous to the point where you will have a smaller baby and I will not go into the unending debate about just burning fat and protein. So, in summary, the SCD diet has proven healthful for pregnancy provided that you have sufficient LEGAL CARBOHYDRATES. For example, homemade applesauce if you cannot handle raw apples. Homemade muffins if you cannot eat grains. etc. etc. etc.

Here's what Karen says. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease 7 years ago, and made the decision to go on SCD at the end of August last year. I can honestly say it was the best decision I have ever made! My symptoms cleared up almost immediately, fortunately (not everyone feels so good so quickly), and I am now 8 weeks pregnant! I, too, had lots of questions about the diet and pregnancy, especially since my cravings were leaning toward "illegal" foods. That is actually how I came to the list as well. I have been assured by everyone on the list that the SCD IS THE HEALTHIEST THING I CAN DO FOR ME AND MY BABY. I also talked it over with my doctor, and after giving her a food journal of what I eat, she was amazed at how incredibly HEALTHY the diet is. So everything is a-ok, and although it has taken some time to learn about foods and how to prepare everything from "scratch", and it definitely takes perserverence and courage to maintain, I am very sure that this is the way I want to live, and want my baby to live. Remember, when you have a disease that is characterized by malabsorbtion, anything you eat that cannot be digested properly will NOT feed you, and therefore NOT feed your baby!!!!! Best of luck with your pregnancy, and I hope we will see you on this list often!

Are soy beans and their related products allowed on the SCD?

"Soy beans are not SCD-legal. Due to genetic manipulation, the nature of the carbohydrates in soy beans is unknown. Therefore, soy bean products such as tofu and soy milk are not SCD-legal. However..."

|> Read more about soy beans

Are high-calorie drinks SCD legal?

It is highly likely that any high-calorie drink you can purchase is going to be illegal on the SCD. The main reason for this is the predominance of manufactured sugar and corn syrup, which are inexpensive sources for calories. Also, these drinks typically contain lots of thickeners (such as agar-agar and carageenan), which are also illegal.

Elaine suggests the following "High Caloric Smoothie for SCDers":

|> Elaine's High Calorie Smoothie

Is vanilla bean legal?

"Vanilla beans are fine!"

What kind of vanilla extract is allowed on the SCD?

According to Deborah and Max, "Pure vanilla extract is legal - that is, vanilla extract, alcohol and water, or the same with glycerine replacing the alcohol (although beware - the glycerine variety tastes horrid).

Adulterated vanilla extract with illegal sugars [or corn syrup] are not permitted, of course. Most supermarkets and even specialty shops carry vanilla extract with sugar or corn syrup added."




Where can I buy Breaking The Vicious Cycle?

Most brick-and-mortar bookstores sell "BTVC". There are many online bookstores worldwide as well as other sites dedicated to the SCD which sell and distribute "BTVC". sells many copies and includes many customer testimonials. Be sure to request the newest edition (Eighth Printing, Millennium Edition - Sept. 2000). Also, check out the Resources section for more vendors, as well as our Store section for direct links.

What about Asacol, Azulfidine, and Sulfasalazine?

Elaine writes, "It has been most of our experiences that especially for colonic problems (Crohn's colitis and ulcerative colitis) the better drug is Azulfidine (salazopyrene). The discussion which I trust can be found at another website, perhaps Healing Crow will have the whole story as I have followed for a about 30 years. When you start feeling better, please try and get out of the dependent mood "I don't really know what these drugs do" and start using the Internet to find out what they do. There is so much on all this! There are wonderful sites like Mercola which should be looked at. One of the doctors in Chicago is joing this Optimal Health Group (Mercola's group) and the doctor in Chicago has been using SCD as the basis of his practice for a few years and is a certified gastroenterologist.

|> more about Azulfidine

|> more about Asacol

What about Amoxicillin or Augmentin?

Per Elaine: "I called my druggist and told him about our SCD list and the discussion on augmentin. Since we are in Canada, it was new to him but he looked it up and found it was Amoxicillin (I think it may be the injectable form). He then faxed me a page about Amoxicillin. It is a semisynthetic penicillin and acts on certain bacteria cell walls, thereby killing them (probably) or fostering a newly mutated one as a result of using it. Under "ADVERSE EFFECTS" it states: Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Severe abdominal pain with bloody diarrhea, etc. etc. etc.

Where can I get SCD-legal multivitamins and supplements?

One of the most popular topics on this list is which multivitamins are suggested, and which ones are SCD legal. Be sure to purchase starch-free, lactose-free, and sugar-free. One source that is constantly recommended is Freeda Vitamins (one of our first Community Supporters) @ 800-777-3737. Their Quin B Strong w/Zinc and Vitamin C is very popular among SCD-ers; Vitamin E is also suggested, as well as D (for those that do not live in sunny places). There is additional information about vitamins in Breaking The Vicious Cycle.

Can the SCD help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The answer is not to Elaine's knowledge. According to some researchers, the Rheumatoid Arthritis should also respond but we certainly know from messages on this list that the SCD does not help with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

|> SCD and arthritis

Can pets (dogs and cats especially) get IBD?

The answer is yes. According to SCD listserve member Deborah (and her dog, Max), "Dogs are eating the same kind of commercial cr** we are, except perhaps even worse." The link below contains some interesting links regarding this topic.

|> IBD in dogs and cats

Why is chocolate illegal on the SCD?

The chemistry of chocolate (which is cocoa) is connected in a biochemical way to cocaine. Dr. Haas said "no chocolate". It is addictive; perhaps it is because one of the physiological effects of cocoa is "local anathesia".

Why isn't the SCD more accepted by M.D.'s and GI specialists?

If the GI specialists do not believe that SCD works and want to know how it is backed by publications, what would you tell them? Would you tell them to get on the listserv and look at the recoveries? You would not have a leg to stand on.

In the same way, when I had our miracle with the SCD, I started at step one and attempted to understand it for many years, 12 of which we spent studying just about everything in medical science and in the university. I realized that we were trying to avoid fermentable carbs and thereby feed the person rather than the microorganisms. My perspective has been that basic tenet. During that 12 years, I started carbohydrate chemisty a great deal. I learned about fructooligsaccharides before it was a "twinkle in the eyes" of the present day people who are hyping it. I knew it was indigestible and I knew it was quite suspicious as a compound to be ever used with SCD. When it first began to be hyped, a few of the very conscientious GI specialists called me and we discussed it and we agreed it was the last thing we should use. Then, of course, a group of researchers in Belgium (and I di not know who supported their research) came out and said how great FOS was to grow beneficial bacteria in the gut. I think I am one of the oldtimers who is looking at this (not for research paid by those with vested interest) but by basic understanding of the SCD and food.

Each time I attend a conference (and I wasn't able to do this for the last two years with Herb and Alzheimer's) I would look for confirmation or contradiction of my understanding.

In September of 1998, I was invited to participate in the SUSTAINABLE medicine conference at Christ Church, Oxford University sponsored by the Birtish Society of Sllergy, Evnironment and Nutrtional Medicine. Dr. Hugh Dunstan of the University of Newcaste of New South Wales, Australia presented work he had done which showed that in a medium containing FOS, the growth of Clostridium was huge far outgrowing other bacteria in FOS medium. No one questioned him except me. He scratched his head when I asked "why are the Clostridium growing at this exponential rate" and he laughed and said "we wondered about it too."

This is the problem: other than the Cornell study on grain-fed cows there is probably little scientific literature that supports anything but a money generating product.

Please try to understand that this list and my book are phenomenae. Without Dini Petty, a few other brave media folk and the internet, all those on this list and thousands of others would be sick as dogs whereas now they have their lives back. I do not know what else to tell you.
Love, Elaine

|> Join the SCD Letter Campaign!

|> Write your favorite newspaper!

What can you tell me about the glycemic index?

According to Elaine, "..I have been following the work on glycemic index for years almost as long as the cholesterol in diet myth!

The first report was about 10 years ago by (believe it or not) a husband and wife team, Drs. Crapo. I wrote to them and asked the question: you are determining the rate by which sugars and starches enter the bloodstream and the slower they enter the bloodstream, the better you judge them to be re raising the blood sugar levels slowly rather than erratically. However, are you ALSO testing to determine if some of these starches are being digested and absorbed at all? In other words, is it not possible that the ones you determine as the good ones since they lower the blood sugar very little, if at all, are not even being absorbed??? They answered and said they were not testing for those which may not be digested or absorbed.
My comment: Those [foods] which appear to be great according to this stupid glycemic index are probably the most bothersome for us on SCD - they are doing nothing to raise our blood sugar levels but are being fermented by our gut flora and causing them to overgrow or mutate."

I'm feeling much better on the SCD. When can I add some foods back to my diet?

"After staying with SCD for one year after all symptoms disappear, you can then introduce one food at a time in the following way...."

|> Reintroducing foods to the SCD

Why during the first week or so after I have switched to the SCD and am eating more nutritious food (rather than the food I previously had eaten which was high in many of the complex carbohydrates) should I feel fatigue?

Your thoughts about the fatigue are very perceptive. How and why can such a normal intake of food, although quite different than previous intake, create such a huge difference in how you feel? It is fascinating; is not new to us; and says to me that you are reverting back to HUMAN digestion rather than RUMEN (like a herbivore's stomach) digestion. In other words, the bacterial fermentation process is not efficient for giving you all the energy from the calories of food.

The volatile fatty acids which are produced by bacteria or yeast in the lower part of the ileum and colon are actually the part of the glucose molecule which contains the greatest amount of energy. Are they being absorbed into the bloodstream efficiently or just passing out with the feces??? I do not know. But it is not supposed to be bacterial fermentation byproducts that allow the calories of food to be absorbed; we should be absorbing them from our small intestine (23 feet of it).

For those of you who have had any biochemistry or cellular nutrition, the molecule of glucose has the potential of allowing each cell to manufacture 38 molecules of cellular energy or ATP (adenosine triphosphate). If we do not absorb the glucose molecules (from starch, disaccharides, or even monosaccharides) from our absorptive small intestine, they go down to the microbial world. There, very INEFFICIENT anerobic bacteria get only 2 molecules of the possible 38 and pass the rest off as volatile fatty acids. What is happening to these volatile fatty acids. Are we passing them out as diarrhea contents? Are some being absorbed through the ileum wall and colonic wall? I do not know. I would doubt it very much if much of them are being absorbed. Once you change the digestive process by starving out the critters and absorbing the legal sugars more efficiently, you will then be getting our HUMAN DIGESTION working correctly and our cells will get 38 molecules of ATP from one molecule of glucose.

That is the point when so many on SCD begin feeling so very energetic, unlike anything they have felt for a long time.

Why are carageenan and all seaweeds illegal?

Piles and piles of medical research data were published about 20 years ago by Drs. Watts and Marcus of UK investigating a drug which had small molecules of (hydrolyzed) carrageenan. They reported that, after testing this product (miniscule amounts in the drinking water) of many species of animals including monkeys, that they all developed ulcerative colitis. Since it is impossible for me to find the analysis of all seaweeds and because carrageenan is one of the popular ones used by people on the Irish seacost, I felt "why fool around!" Let's get better on [eating] things we are pretty sure about. Sorry about this as I like seaweed myself to be used in cooking.

Where can I ask more questions and get additional answers?

If you haven't already done so, be sure to read Elaine's book, "Breaking The Vicious Cycle". Additionally, you will find the following useful:

|> Get SCD support online

|> Visit other SCD web sites