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Top 10 SCD FAQs

What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet™?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet ™ is a scientific diet based on chemistry, biology and clinical studies. It is detailed in the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, written by Elaine Gottschall, M.Sc..

The selection of foods that are allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet ™ is based on the chemical structure of these foods. Carbohydrates are classified by their molecular structure. The allowed carbohydrates have a molecular structure that is small enough to be transported across the surface of the small intestine into the blood stream. These carbohydrates do not need to be broken down by various processes of the digestive organs such as the pancreas or the intestinal cell surface enzymes.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet ™ was very successfully clinically tested for over 50 years by Dr. Haas and biochemist Elaine Gottschall.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet ™ was designed for patients with intestinal diseases, but has been "found" by parents of children with autism. The kids on the diet are doing very well.

In order to effectively implement the Specific Carbohyrdate Diet ™, it is necessary to read Breaking the Vicious Cycle. The diet is not merely one of substituting one group of foods for another. The diet begins with a limited number of foods and gradually adds more foods as the intestinal tract heals.

How does the SCD ™ work?

When the diseased intestines are inflamed from the effects of dysbiosis, they cannot break down the molecules that are too large to be transported across the small intestinal surface into the bloostream. Instead of entering the bloodstream, the undigested starch and sugar molecules serve as a continual source of food for bacteria and fungi. The premise of the SCD ™ is to remove all sources of carbohydrates whose molecular structure is too large for direct entry into the bloodstream. By removing starches and sugars, dysbiosis is corrected. The result is a decrease in intestinal inflammation and healing of the intestinal tract.

Can a child remain Gluten Free and Casein Free while following the SCD ™?

The SCD ™ was originally developed as a diet for celiac disease. The SCD ™ is completely gluten free. Dr. Haas, the doctor who pioneered the SCD ™, spent many years investigating which foods people with celiac disease could tolerate. He found that they could tolerate lactose-free dairy products. So, certain dairy products, such as properly prepared homemade yogurt, are allowed on the SCD. However, some of the parents of children with ASD are reluctant to try any kind of dairy products and avoid them even though they are lactose free. There are children who remain strictly casein free while following the SCD ™ and still comsume a well-balanced diet packed with needed nutrients.

The parents who decided to try the homemade goat milk yogurt were surprised by the dramatic improvement seen in their children. Yogurt is a remarkably healing food. The decision to try the homemade goat yogurt remains completely up to the parents.

Where do I find an SCD™ cookbook that is casein free?

There is an SCD™ cookbook called SCD with Taste and Tradition that contains mostly dairy free recipes. There are more than 150 recipes in the book. Only about 12 recipes contain dairy products and they are in a separate section of the cookbook. The cookbook can be ordered from Digestive Wellness. Telephone (845) 356-4557.

Also, there are many dairy-free SCD recipes on this website.

Why is the SCD™ a good choice for a child with ASD?

Gluten sensitivity and intolerance to salicylates are symptoms of a damaged digestive system which is overrun with intestinal pathogens. When the health of the gut is restored, these symptoms disappear. It is better to cure the underlying cause than to just try to treat the symptoms. Because SCD™ reaches to the root cause of these problems by restoring the helath of the digestive system, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet™ is the optimal choice for a child with ASD.
For a more detailed explanation of why the SCD™ is the optimal choice for children with ASD, click here.

What is the protocol for implementing the SCD™ for a child with ASD?

The Elaine's Children ASD/SCD™ Protocol

  1. Serve only food that is allowed on the diet. Use only foods that the child can tolerate and digest.
    When initially starting the diet, many children cannot tolerate all of the SCD legal foods. Carefully introduce permitted foods one at a time to determine if the child can tolerate the food. Add new foods slowly. A food journal is very helpful to determine if there are any reactions to new foods. Following the intro diet even for a day or two yields better long term results.

    Keep in mind that as the yeast and bacteria begin to die off, there may be an initial bad reaction to the diet.

    NEVER give a child a food which has previously caused an anaphylactic reaction.

  2. Use probiotics and/or homemade goat yogurt.

    Probiotics should be introduced slowly, gradually building up the amount given. This helps prevent die-off from happening too quickly.
    Implement a dairy-free SCD™ for at least several weeks prior to the introduction of the homemade goat yogurt. This gives the gut a chance to heal. This period of time may need to be longer if there are dietary infractions. 100% compliance is necessary. When the SCD™ is started, there may be an initial bad reaction in some children due to microbial die-off. So, waiting for a few weeks before introducing the yogurt makes it possible to determine the source of the bad reaction. Keep in mind that the only yogurt that is allowed is properly prepared homemade yogurt. The yogurt should also be introduced slowly, beginning with 1 TBL per day and gradually working up to 1-2 cups per day for a child. If the yogurt is introduced too quickly, there could be a significant die-off reaction.
    For complete directions on how to make homemade goat yogurt, click here.

    Non-dairy yogurt starter and non-dairy acidophilus can be purchased from Custom Probiotics.

  3. Use SCD™ legal vitamins such as Freeda (as mentioned in BTVC) or another legal brand (see Supplements page).

  4. If there are still digestion problems, consider using SCD legal enzymes (see Supplements page).

  5. B12 shots can also be quite helpful when dealing with intestinal problems.

Where can a complete list of legal/illegal foods based on the SCD™ be found?

Go to Elaine Gottschall's Breaking the Vicious Cycle website. The legal/illegal list can be found there as well as an enormous amount of helpful information about the SCD™.

Where can a list of legal supplements be found?

Go to SCD™ Supplement List. This list is kept as up-to-date as possible.

What online support groups exist for parents of children with ASD?

There is a Yahoo Group Pecanbread, which is a support group for parents of children following the SCD™. The majority of the children on the list have ASD, but not all. Some have GI problems, seizures or serious food allergies. It is a very supportive group made up of parents of children following the SCD.

For information on how to join the Yahoo Group Pecanbread, please click here.

Where can SCD recipes and products be found?

Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall contains many recipes.

A compilation of recipes from members of various SCD Groups can be found at:

Mike Simon has a running daily "Flog" (food log) on his site as well as recipes:

The Upper Canada Lower Bowel Society (UCLBS) webpage.

Recipes from the SCD™ Organization Web Library can be accessed at:

Pictures of some fun SCD™ kid-friendly foods along with the recipes can be found at:
SCD Kid's Foods

Lucy Rosset's Book is profiled in Breaking the Vicious Cycle.
Lucy has a kitchen shop with many helpful items for following the SCD Diet.
Lucy's Kitchen Shop

Rochel Weiss's cookbook is called SCD with Taste & Tradition.
Her cookbook and other SCD™ items can be ordered from:
Digestive Wellness

J-Gourmet ready-made SCD™ products are available in Southern Ontario, Canada.

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