Begin the Diet
SCD is a versatile diet that can be custom tailored to your child.
Start with the intro diet and gradually introduce new foods.
The best strategy is to have patience and be cautious. Don't rush into using advanced foods before your child's gut is ready. Remember that as bacteria and yeast die, detach from and leave the gut lining, they leave behind tender new tissue that must be treated gently as it heals. That is why EASY TO DIGEST foods are best. Respect the healing process and give it time. Going to more advanced foods too soon may undermine all your hard work and trigger a set-back.
SCD is predicated on the idea that when we are taking in the type of carbohydrates that can't be broken down and absorbed, remnants of those foods stay in our guts, feeding bacterial overgrowth; as a result our guts suffer further damage. Prior to starting SCD, a person with IBD and/or ASD has so much gut inflammation that very little food is properly digested or absorbed. The "indigestibles" will still continue to feed gut pathogens until more healing can take place and even some SCD legal foods may be too difficult for the damaged intestines to absorb. The same applies to legal foods intended for those who are more advanced.
Gradual and timely introduction of foods is critical because healing is a gradual process and must be given ample time to take place.
FAQ: About the intro and gradual introduction of foods
What is the purpose of doing the intro diet?The intro diet helps get a head start on clearing the harmful microbes out of the body by starving them while at the same time feeding the body nutritious foods that are easy to digest.
How long should I stay on the intro diet?The intro diet should be done for two to three days, four to five days for those with diarrhea. Some people end up staying on the intro for weeks and wonder why they experience extreme fatigue etc..FIVE DAYS IS THE MAXIMUM.
During those two to five days the person can eat as much of any of the foods that are on the intro diet. Some eat the chicken soup for the entire time others just stick to meatballs and carrots for their snacks and meals. It isn't a healthy thing to do long term but for the short time period it provides some nutrition to the person while starving out the pathogens.
What should I do if my child refuses to eat the foods on the intro
Are there any foods that are strictly forbidden for beginners?Lentils, beans, dried fruits, seeds, cashews and peanut butter are very advanced foods. These should only be introduced three months after the gut has significantly healed and digestive symptoms have disappeared.
A parent should usually wait several months before the introduction of raw fruit and vegetables. (However, juice made from raw fruit and vegetables might be introduced sooner when digestive symptoms seem to be improving a bit. Do not use a Vita Mix or a blender but a juicer that filters out the fibrous pulp from the juice. Also, be sure to dilute the juice with water). Blenders/vitamix can be used with cooked food (or with raw foods after significant healing has taken place).
Nut butters are easier to tolerate than nut flour. Whole nuts are the most difficult to digest. Baked goods made with nut butter are an "intermediate" food. Children with extreme gut damage may need to wait several months before tolerating any foods made with nuts.
If you rushed into SCD, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your child if you remove nut products or other more advanced foods.
How long does a reaction happen after the wrong food is introduced?A negative reaction might happen right away or after 2 days. Sometimes it might occur after a week. Keeping a food journal really helps to see the connections.
Are there negative symptoms at the beginning of the diet?Yes, it is common to see some uncomfortable temporary symptoms in the beginning. This is usually due to toxins released by gut pathogens as they die off and leave the body. Some people also go through "withdrawals" when they stop eating the starchy carbs and sugars they had been used to eating.
There is a section about about these temporary initial symptoms at the end of this webpage. You should read more about the temporary initial symptoms and learn how you can lessen their effect.
How can I tell tell the difference between die-off symptoms and an intolerance to a new food?One indicator is the length of time the symptoms persist. Most die-off symptoms last less than three weeks. Some report that if a negative behavior is due to die-off, the behavior stops or improves about one to two hours after giving activated charcoal.
If you think a particular food is possibly bothering your child, you can certainly remove it for a short while and see if things change. If the symptoms abate, you may have found the culprit. Re-introducing the food a little later is a way to verify this.
If your instincts tell you it's die-off... then ramp up epsom salts baths and/or the charcoal supplements and see if that helps.
During the detoxification period your child's body has to process the waste products of dying gut pathogens. Children will need plenty of fluids, rest, patience and support... just as when sick with the flu.
Parents frequently report that they are seeing some positive changes (in attention, behavior, etc.) at the same time, usually a clear sign that the other negative symptoms are due to die-off. If the die-off symptoms last longer than a month or are severe, please seek help from a SCD counselor.
Die-off symptoms and food sensitivities are two separate things... but it can be difficult to tell one from the other.
Try not to worry; you are making progress. Soon the symptoms of die-off will lessen or stop, and the picture will be a lot clearer.
You may be able to reintroduce some of the foods that you had pulled when mistakenly thinking they were not being tolerated .
How can I accelerate the rate of tolerance for new foods?
The SCD goat yogurt supports the body's ability to tolerate new foods for 2 reasons: It increases the rate of gut healing and the probiotics and other healing qualities of the yogurt help to decrease food allergies.
Digestive enzymes have also been found to be helpful for some children.
How can you tell if a new food is OK?
Observe both digestive and behavioral symptoms.
Well-formed stools are the goal.... and a good indicator that the gut is functioning *better*. Loose or mushy BMs are better than diarrhea... but still indicate that there is much healing to do. Changes in stool color in the beginning are common, and indicate lots of changes are going on! Strong odors can indicate that there is an increase in gut pathogens. Pale stool means that there is a lack of bile.
Look for behavioral changes.
Hyperactivity, dark color under eyes, anger, irritability, inability to focus, increased stims...etc... Keep a journal. Note any changes that follow the introduction of a new food within 24-48 hours. It's best to introduce just ONE new food at a time, so you'll know exactly what is causing what.
How much of the new food should I introduce?Introduce only a small amount every other day. If you are introducing a food that needs to be cooked or baked then freeze it and take out a small batch and thaw it before giving it.
Why is chicken soup important during the early stageChicken soup is highly recommended but not required. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and can also help to balance your gut chemistry, keep you hydrated, and get protein and good minerals into your system.
If you are eating the chicken soup, try eating just the broth without
the carrots - not everyone tolerates carrots early on. Some people actually
have trouble with the soup itself, but try taking out the carrots first.
If you aren't eating the soup, then you SHOULD try it.
Any other tip?
Try the electrolyte drink
It is a big help in the beginning. It doesn't taste great but you
can add a splash of juice to give it a better flavor. It is also helpful
for those who are constipated, another common beginner's complaint.
Initial Bad Reactions.
Why do the die off reactions occur?
They WANT TO SURVIVE.... so they are sending your child
messages to GO GET FOOD. Meaning, they want their Nutrigrain bars and
their sugary cookies and all the other stuff that they've been thriving
on all this time. They KNOW they will DIE if they don't get it.... so
they are willing to go to desperate measures to influence their "host"....
and break down your will to defeat them. This is a life or death struggle
for them and they mean to win. You must make up your mind that your
plan is to erradicate them from your child's body once and for all.....
and determine you won't give in to them!
How to decrease the severity of temporary initial symptoms.
Gradually decrease the amount of starches and sugar at least a week before starting
Do not use antifungals at the same time as the beginning of SCD
Take a chelation break if you are doing chelation.
List of possible die off temporary symptomsMost children will not have these symptoms.
Things you can do to make it more tolerable:
Directions for doing the Epsom Salt baths:Start with 1 cup of salts in waist deep water and soak for at least 20 minutes. If this is tolerated go up to 2 cups of salts per bath. If it is not well tolerated (hyperness, irritability, whining), cut the dose to 1/2 a cup. or less until you get to a point it is tolerated. It indicates the person is detoxing too fast.