Steve’s SCD Diet Healing Journal: Week 1 – The Intro Diet Conquered!

by Steven Wright

Co-Founder of SCD Lifestyle Steve Wright has finally broken down and started his path to intestinal healing.  After many years of undiagnosed digestive warfare in his body, these series of weekly posts will take you through his experiences, thoughts, and struggles on the SCD diet.  Check back and follow his progress:

Week 1 Summary

Well today is day 6 on the SCD diet, I have successfully survived 4 days on the intro diet and I’m now transitioning into phase one of the diet. Other than making quite a mess of my kitchen everything went smoothly.  I started the diet Monday morning and it turned out to be a long and surprising week but in retrospect I think I got it easier than most.  My “die-off symptoms” only lasted about 2 days.  The rest of the week was an up hill battle in which it seemed like I cooked, cooked and cooked (with lots of sleep too).

Mental and Body Changes

I decided to go dairy-free for now as I’m pretty confident that I have some type of lactose intolerance and figured it best to start the diet on as simple a diet as possible.  I experienced some bad BM’s and mental fogginess / clarity problems during the first couple days.  I was experiencing some stomach uneasiness after breakfast all week so I cut out eggs for the time being to see if that would help.  I’m still not sure if they were the culprits but I will try and introduce them in early next week and how my body responds.  My BM’s were all over the place at both extremes form D to nice and solid during the week so I would say that is a improvement and I will chalk up the inconsistency to die-off and my body starting to heal itself.  Late in the week I have been starting to notice that I have a much steadier energy flow after lunch when I would normally been scrambling for a coffee (For the first month I’m giving up all caffeine and alcohol).  My sinuses seemed to start clearing up as well however the weather changed and now they are back to being plugged up.

Fitness Goals

This week I did 4 weight lifting sessions and 2 steady state cardio sessions.  This will be my blueprint for now but could change at any time.  The workouts went great and I really don’t see this diet negatively impacting my fitness goals in any way.  I actually expect it to help me by eliminating the possibility of binging on junk carbohydrates.  I am using the Freeda vitamins at full serving dosages of 3 multi-vitamins caps, 5 calcium caps, and 1 B-Complex cap.  For the week I was down 2 pounds.

Diet Details

At this point I’m only eating carrots and pears along with broiled meats, but my plan includes introducing some butternut squash in the next day or two as long as I’m still feeling good.  After that I’m looking ahead to some apples and then hopefully break into the bananas near the end of the week!  I’m also planning on starting on some probiotics this week.

I did do some experimenting this week; the third time that I made carrots I used my steamer.  I was able to produce the same level of cooked and purred consistency in 45 minutes instead of 4 hours of boiling.  Based on this test I’m going to continue trying to use steam to replicate boiling and therefore cut down my time in the kitchen when preparing vegetables.

One Line Thoughts On The SCD Diet

    • The intro chicken soup is much better tasting than I expected
    • Purred carrots taste a lot like squash and I really like them
    • Try steaming your carrots for 40-50 minutes instead of boiling
    • You really don’t need to add much water when making purred pears
    • I think it is almost impossible to understand how much meat one must consume on this diet
    • If you thought you cooked in bulk before, double that and you have SCD proportions
    • If you’ve never used your oven’s broiler check clearances before cooking things that plump up (burgers) it will save you a big headache!

Anyone else have some one line wisdom for the first week on the diet?  How about good stories?  I only set the fire detector off twice…

About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Forgie February 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Is there a vegetarian version to this diet? I am alraedy eating pretty close to no meat in my diet, but i am interested in healing my gut. Thinking bout this diet.

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Steven Wright February 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hey Susan,

Yes but eating meat is easier. To do the diet vegetarian style, you will need to supplement with lots of coconut oil (or other healthy fat) and eat plenty of lentils or beans. If you eat eggs or fish those should be consumed regularly as well.

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Jordan Reasoner February 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Hi Susan!
I suppose that you could try this diet as a vegetarian, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It is already so extremely restrictive that it would be almost impossible without meat. Meat is one of the primary cornerstones of the diet… it seems like that’s all you eat at first. I wouldn’t doubt that it’s been done, but I wouldn’t really know where to start…

Jordan

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Karen October 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Any update on a vegetarian version of this diet? A significant number of people choose to not eat meat for a variety of reasons yet would still like to manage digestive issues as much as possible. Your reply to Susan Forgie was discouraging at best. It would be wonderful if this challenge has been addressed in the nearly three years since you posted your rely. Thanks.

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Jordan Reasoner October 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Hi Karen, Here’s three things you can review today that will help you:

1) Read about Cheryl Cravino’s SCD Success story, where she was starting out as a vegetarian:

http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/05/specific-carbohydrate-friends-cheryl-cravino/

2) Listen to a specific question we answer about SCD and vegetarian in podcast 21 (9:34 The myth that a vegetarian can’t follow SCD and what to try instead of meat – especially in the beginning)

http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/04/optimize-healing-and-feel-better-faster-podcast-21/

3) Read the comments from SCD’er vegetarians Elizabeth and most especially Jenny in this podcast comments section:

http://scdlifestyle.com/2011/04/optimize-healing-and-feel-better-faster-podcast-21/comment-page-1/#comments

I hope that helps you. Let us know,

Jordan

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Kimberly December 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I’m curious about the fruit. I am fighting Candida but should I allow the fruit anyway? Also are there restrictions to portions on the fruit because of the sugar content?

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Jordan Reasoner January 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

Hi Kimberly ~ just saw your comment for some reason it got lost in the shuffle!

When I was fighting Candida I made it a point to really limit my fruit intake because of the sugar content. I found that it help me feel much better and the symptoms of Candida were much less. I would just focus on having 1/2 cup or so of fruit a day to really limit the fructose intake. It does help. Also, try and see if you can tolerate some coconut oil for it’s anti-microbial properties and the extra ketone bodies.

let us know how it goes!

Jordan

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Becky Habben January 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hi,

I am waiting to get my materials to start the diet, I suffer from UC, have you had many success’ with people who suffer from UC?

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Jordan Reasoner January 14, 2012 at 7:29 am

Hi Becky – great to hear from you! What materials are you waiting for?

I can’t wait for you to start your healing journey on SCD, congrats! Let us know how we can help along the way.

Just remember, everyone has a different “custom” version of SCD that will relieve symptoms. Don’t give up making tweaks to find your version.

In good health,

Jordan

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Donna November 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

As an ovo, lacto, pesco vegetarian who is doing the intro diet without eggs and dairy this time, should I stick with two kinds of fish for the intro -like omnivores have two kinds of meat during the intro? I am on day 4 using salmon soup, pureed carrots, and grape gelatin (do not tolerate juice plain), but I ate salmon, tilapia, shrimp, and cod so far, then my brain fog cleared, hence the question. Also at what point do die off symptoms i.e. stuffy/runny nose become intolerance to a food symptoms?

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Jordan Reasoner November 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hi Donna, that sounds like a good plan. This article will help you on die off:

http://scdlifestyle.com/2012/06/5-die-off-myths-everyone-needs-to-know-about/

Jordan

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Rebecca Efrem December 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I have never really had a problem with BMs but i’ve been dealing with chronic nausea to almost anything I eat except fruits, which I have lived on for a while now (which is probably why i’m constantly fatigued). Besides a slightly inflammed SI, all my clinic tests are normal. But I suspect that it has to do with some bad bacteria. I don’t know if it could be leaky gut, Candida, or what! I’m really at the end of my rope here. I’m considering ordering an Entero or LEAP kit. If anyone has any experience with these kits, please share your thoughts with me.
I’m on the 2nd day of the Intro Diet now and definately feeling the die-off symptoms. Can I eat the soup, carrots, and gelatin throughout the rest of the phases? How many times a week is it safe to eat fish (due to their mercury levels)? I want to eat it every day but I don’t know if that’s safe.

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Steven Wright December 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm

@Rebecca – Yes you can eating these intro foods as often as you prefer. Fish (the wild caught stuff) is fine to eat everyday if you want. The mercury issue is only for big predator fish like shark. I’d save your money on those test and invest in some good GI testing working with a good functional medicine practitioner. If you don’t know any send us an email.

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Stacey February 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hi Steve and Jordan!
I have been sick for about a year now and have spent TONS of money and seen about 15 doctors. I have ended up seeing Dr. Peter Osborne, which you all interviewed with recently. I am now feeling much better since going gluten free and being put on supplements for my vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I am gluten intolerant, have yeast overgrowth in my intestines and have food allergies. So, as soon as I heard your interview, I went out and bought the items needed to start your intro diet. I have been on the diet for 3 days and plan to do it for the full 5 days. So, my question is…..will the carrots and grape juice increase the yeast growth? According to The Candida Diet, we are not suppose to eat those items. Can you share your thoughts? I am not eating any other fruits, just drinking the 50/50 Welch’s Grape Juice and eating the gelatin with the Welch’s Grape juice. Also, where can I find the meal suggestions for the rest of the phases of the diet?

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Steven Wright February 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

@Stacey – I think as long as your total carbs are below 100g a day you are fine. The anti-Candida diet alone will not rid you of Candida, those who cannot beat this infection normally have 1-3 additional issues. 1. Hormone Imbalance (cortisol) 2. Another Gut infection 3. don’t complete a gut re-population strategy after 1-2 are taken care and the anti-candida herbal / prescription program is done.

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Laurie B March 24, 2013 at 11:18 am

Should diahrea stop before you move out of the Intro Diet?

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Steven Wright April 1, 2013 at 10:42 am

It does for some people but not all. We are looking for long term improvements, sometimes you need to use enzymes or stop dairy.

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Cindy W May 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Two questions:
1. My naturopath has me on various supps (probiotic, enzyme, vit D, calcium, a couple other “gut” things). Should I stop them during Intro and/or during the early phases?

2. PecanBread says drinking green tea helps with die off. I haven’t found this in your eBooks. Is this OK to drink?

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Steven G August 26, 2013 at 2:43 am

Hi Steve and Jordan,

I’m looking to start this diet in coming weekend but I wanted to check with you about some of the ingredients in the intro diet. Specifically the grape juice and gelatin. With the grape juice, I’m in Australia and we don’t have the specific Welch brand so I’m just wondering if there is a general theme to the type of grape juice I’m looking for?

Secondly I’ve never used, or really heard of gelatin before but can any gelatin from the supermarket work, or is there some theme to it that i need to check before hand?

Thanks alot guys keep up the great work,

Steven

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Jordan Reasoner August 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

I’d just skip the juice and gelatin if you want. Seems like 50% of people don’t tolerate them anyways. Best of luck!

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Steven Wright August 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

No need to use either of them.

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Carol September 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

Hi, I have been thinking about doing the intro diet and continuing on to the Scd diet. I have SIBO, and have been on herbal antimicrobials since February, as directed by my naturopath. I also did the GAPS intro, and had only limited success because I can’t seem to tolerate very much vegetable matter at all. Also, I tired of the broth. Then I cut out FODMAPS, but it restricted my diet even further. I finally ended up eating very low carb to keep the sibo bloating away. I now have a fungal infection in both ears, and just read that fungi can live on ketones from very low carb diets. I have no idea how to eat small enough amounts of carbs to control sibo and also not produce ketones. In the past month I have added biofilm disrupters and rotated antimicrobials every 5 days. Do you have any ideas?

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Valerie January 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Have you ever heard of collagenous colitis? All the SCD references are ulcerative colitis or Crohns.
And being a pesco vegan for over 30 years I have grave concerns about introducing dairy and meat into my gut. Plus I question a diet that includes alcohol, a known irritant.
I was tested through Genova labs for bacteria and candida. I see a functional med doc. I do not have any candida. My good and bad bacteria levels were successfully rebalanced.
I have been off and on med for about a year since I was diagnosed.
What are your thoughts?

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Wendy Monteiro January 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Hi there,

My 11 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I found the brook Breaking the Vicious Cycle and we started eating legal foods last week. We saw an immediate improvement right away then realized when we had a set back that we needed to start at the beginning and do the intro diet. She is a very picky eater and is really struggling with the chicken broth. I made her some simple plain turkey meatballs to add to the broth to make it more bearable which has helped, some. She is eating banana pancakes with turkey patties and bake pears for breakfast. I find that this is all she wants to eat. She is definitely experiencing some die off symptoms, runny nose, weird cough, seems foggy (if you know what I mean). We still have seen a formed movement yet but there is no cramping, no blood, no urgency. They are varying in color as well, from dark brown one day to almost blonde the next day. Am I approaching this correctly? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Amanda March 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Hi Steven Hi Jordan !
So I was diagnosed UC 3years ago exactly, had a full colectomy 4mo later, numerous complications and surgeries, J pouch takedown last mother’s day, and now just got diagnosed Crohn’s a couple weeks ago! grrrr…
When I first got UC I found BTVC and jumped right into it (being vegetarian for 17 years I may add, although I reluctantly gave that up in the hospital after losing my colon.). I was SO critically sick it didn’t help.
By the way, THANK YOU for the help you give us all with this website and your insight!

Now after 3 years of diet reflecting WAPF and SCD I have decided to be fully submerged in strict SCD. Today is Day 1.
My question is, is there anything I should do different or cautiously with no colon ?
My poo is never solid and my stomach never hurts anymore so it’s hard to tell if foods are affecting my gut. Before the crohn’s diagnosis I thought I was having bad reactions to dairy- my face was breaking out super bad, the elimination of dairy has definitely improved that. I intend to make yogurt in a later phase.
Any advice? This site is so helpful!
Thanks! We love yous!!
~Amanda

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sam f July 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

So I am confused because the intro diet says you can gave things that are not possible in the strict case diet plan? can you explain for people who are doing the strict case whether or not they should be eating things such as eggs in the intro diet?

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Erin September 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm

My husband has been in a UC flare for about 6 months. We thought we’d try the diet on a whim – but went well for the first 2 days. Then he went back to “normal” for BMs, still on the intro diet, thinking of quitting. Any advice? He is drinking full strength juice, is that a problem? And store bought cider & store bought applesauce. What about adding in new foods, will that help? I am thinking it will. Thanks for your help. -Erin

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Brent Kovacs September 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Hi Erin, we suggest cutting out the full juice and anything with added sugar and/or preservatives. As for adding in new foods, check out this blog post: http://scdlifestyle.com/2013/07/introducing-new-foods/

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Erin September 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Thank you! We were following the intro diet (minus the dairy) from Breaking the Vicious Cycle. I did not know it’s recommended to skip the juice!!!!

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