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.
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 tips?
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.
Recipes for beyond the intro diet