I’ve Started the SCD Diet, But Need Some More Help

Hi Adam,
I started SCD about two months ago. I have noticed that it has helped minimize my symptoms quite a bit. I was diagnosed about five years ago, rarely had flares, but over the past year (my second year of law school) I noticed that bleeding was becoming more common. I was off meds and tried some holistic approaches, one which included a form of SCD. I am currently on 6 Asacol a day and Canasa every other night. I am slowly weaning off of it. I also do acupuncture which used to seem more effective than it is now. I occasionally have cheated on the diet whether it be because I don’t have the proper foods in my immediate grasp or because I am in a setting where I really don’t have much of a choice and cave from pressure or convenience.

Earlier today I had a small bag of chips and as soon as I ate it I started to feel off. I ended up bleeding tonight after not having bled for a good month and half. It’s just so up and down. I know I did it to myself, then I get mad at myself, and think was it worth it? Anyway, I just feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Does this mean I should start the diet all over again? Also, how often is too often to be having the legal alcoholic beverages? Elaine’s book says occasionally but I don’t want to overdo it. I know a lot of this has to do with listening to your own body. I’ve also found that nuts irritate me as does almond flour. Are these things I should be reintroducing later on? Another thing I have a lot of trouble with and foresee being an issue when classes resume is not being able to drink coffee. I need an energy boost for the nights I don’t get enough sleep due to my demanding schedule. Any ideas? Sorry for the essay. I just have nobody to ask these things from and came across this site. Your advice/guidance would be appreciated.

Submitted by “Tiffany”

22 thoughts on “I’ve Started the SCD Diet, But Need Some More Help”

  1. Hi Tiffany,

    Thanks for asking all your questions. You have some really good ones, and one’s I’ve asked myself before too. Like you already guessed, the exact answers are all individual, but there are some good ground rules to follow. Here is how I approach your questions:
    As for when is it time to start over and begin the introductory diet(SCD Introductory Diet) again? Well, I have started over on the intro diet three times now. The first time was when I was in a mini flare after drinking way too much alcohol(and non-legal alcohol) at that. The second time was when I was in a more severe flare after eating small amounts of non legal food for a long period of time that gradually moved into a flare. And the third time was about 4 months ago when I was feeling pretty darn good, with very minor symptoms like small amounts of blood on the toilet paper every once-in-a-while, semi hard stools sometimes as well. So that time was the most recent I pressed the RESET button and started over the intro to the SCD once again. Since then I have been feeling the best I’ve felt in two years now with no blood for maybe about 3 months now, meaning no blood at all(the toilet paper is either white or brown.)
    So, I would say that since you have obviously survived the intro diet before, you may want to consider doing it again and start with a clean slate if you feel you may have contaminated your gut bacteria with some illegal foods/ and since you still have symptoms that are lingering(even though they sounds much more mild than you previously had which is GREAT).

    Now, you ask about alcohol. This is something that I cut out completely from my diet once starting SCD. I have only RECENTLY, (like in the past month) began to drink Vodka on ice occassionally. For example, I have not had any over the past 7 days at all, but the week before I probably had about 3-4 during the weekend. I usually drink alot of water when I do drink the vodka, and I only mix it with ice(on the rocks). Again, I have limited very much what alcohol I drink, because if I was mixing all kinds of things up, and then noticing symptoms, it would be much more difficult to pin-point what the issue is and where its coming from. I recommend to everyone to drink water instead of alcohol until you have found your symptoms are gone for several weeks/months. I know it’s hard to do, but believe me, I was a drinker for quite some time until I was diagnosed, and it was doable to stop the drinking until I healed my colon. And plus, once you’re healed, the drinks will taste even better since you won’t be sipping them freaking out if you will get sick from them…

    As for the nuts and almond flour, if you find your body is not tolerating them well, and that kind of thing happened to me before with almond flour, I would stop eating it and re-introduce at a later date once you are totally healed. Nothing wrong with cutting out legal SCD food if it doesn’t work for you. No matter what anyone things, everybody’s individual gut bacteria community is different. That is the reason that no two of us are alike with this disease.(You can watch the gut bacteria movies I filmed with one of the world’s leading Micro-Biologists who does research at Stanford University for more information on that, https://ihaveuc.com/category/science/ )

    Now for good old coffee. I love it too. That’s for sure. I ONLY drink Decaf coffee. If its not available I pass on the coffee. I did not drink coffee though when I was in an active flare with colitis symptoms present. I waited until things were healed(or almost healed, I may have cheated on this by a few days/weeks) Coffee is crazy, it is so good for those of us who love it, but I think its also best to introduce once you are healed in my experience. Also, I only put HONEY in my coffee, and tons of it.

    I hope this helps you and anyone else who is looking for someone’s experience with SCD. I know I’m a broken record on this, but it’s the reason I started the site initially, SCD has gotten me where I am today. I put the page up: https://ihaveuc.com/the-diet for others to learn about getting started on it with the goal of it helping other UC’ers too.

    I wish you the best Tiffany with your UC and SCD, and with LawSchool…. WOW, that just sounds hard. Good Luck,

  2. Hi Tiffany, Adam’s suggestions and points are spot on. Only thing I can add is for an alternative energy boost, can try Wheat Grass shots or fresh vegetable and fruit juices in the morning, preferably homemade with a juicer. You can drink like a whole plate of fruit and veggies that would feed two people and get an insane amount of vitamins and nutrients, giving you great energy.

  3. Wow, thank you so much for the comments! This is great information. I will be sure to try the wheat grass or fruit juice idea. Do either of you have any suggestions regarding eating out? I feel like it’s hard to know what is really going in the kitchen, even if I ask. However, there are some circumstances where I have to eat out.

    I used a suppository both last night and the night before (after bleeding) and so far, no blood so I think I may be ok for now. I am working on going off of it within a month (per my GI’s suggestion). I almost like to use it as preventive mechanism when I have cheated to avoid any issues.

    Adam, I read on another post of yours that corn tortillas don’t irritate you. I too, have found that they don’t bother me. If there is a food that I know doesn’t cause me any issues that may be illegal on Elaine’s list, is it ok to have in moderation? Also, have you tried acupuncture? If so, what was your experience? With regard to the alcohol, I have found that vodka doesn’t irritate me at all and I have it with club soda, muddled mint (which helps with digestion) and lime. Again, if it isn’t negatively affecting me is it ok?

    Lastly, I went to a gentle restorative yoga class a few weeks ago (I have been trying yoga, meditation, working out regularly, the scd diet, acupuncture, etc., which I highly suggest to everyone), and I would like to share something the instructor said that really struck a chord with me. She had us each be thankful for our bodies and everything it provides for us. She then said, for those of you who have any ailments or issues, thank your body for what it has taught you. I never thought to perceive my UC this way as I was only 20 when diagnosed five years ago and have always viewed it as a nuisance or I have always in a sense, pitied myself for not being healthy. I think we can all agree that this diet makes us all healthier, will allow us to live longer as we’re staying away from processed foods, and has taught us to explore ourselves and become resilient.

    Thanks again for the support. This is a wonderful site and I am very grateful to have the ability to interact with others with UC and on the diet. These questions are also open to anyone else who has any info to share!

  4. Tiffany I cannot agree with your yoga instructor more. While UC is deemed an ailment, it has taught me so much. Just the fact that you are able to see the positive out of it means it’s worth it. The world works in mysterious ways…it is up to us to find the opportunity to work it! And you are clearly well on your way.

    BTW i have found Boswellia really effective for me when i first see blood. I also get more strict when i see it. Usually it’s because of carb overload due to travel or circumstances so i just ease up and take a few Boswellia.

    Check out Jini Patel’s book Listen to your Gut. You definitely have to work through what is most effective for you since everyone is different. This process is really about learning about yourself, your triggers etc.

    Good luck and you will be FINE!


    p.s. maybe try herbal teas, decaf coffee and green or white tea or yerba mate as energy boosters. much lower on the acidity front and you may be able to tolerate them and use them strategically.

  5. My suggestions, strictly no alcohol, avoid gluten during flares so no wheat grass, avoid raw veggies and citrus fruits,which will irritate the colon,eat only cooked vegetables and last bot not the least take a probiotic every day and drink plenty of water.Good luck.

  6. I also do not drink any alcohol. I just don’t think it’s worth it. I wasn’t a big drinker before the diet, so cutting it out completely wasn’t too big of a deal. I know that can be a change in social life for a lot of people, but once you get used to it, it’s just becomes a part of life.

    I know SCD is not convenient, but since you are only a couple of months in I really recommend not cheating particularly with junk foods. I always try to have something I can eat with me so I am not tempted by hunger to have something else.

  7. Hi Tiffany. I second everything Adam has said – go back on the intro SCD whenever you have a flare. I would do it for three days and only then introduce other things. Wheatgrass is not allowed on SCD, but you can juice other fruits, especially kiwi (one kiwi has the same Vitamin C as five oranges). Also, consider joining the forum on http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/ – there is a wealth of knowledge there, and links to places where you can buy SCD-legal acidophilus capsules, electrolyte drinks, etc, a list you can print out to take to restaurants, etc (my go-to restaurant meal is a 100 per cent beef burger with salad, and take your own dressing, followed by fresh fruit or the cheese course). I buy my yoghurt starter and Lyosan capsules from Lucy’s Kitchen Shop (www.scdkitchen.com), and have her recipe book – some REALLY good recipes. I followed SCD for three years and then weaned off it (I have UC), but am now going back on it due to an antibiotic-induced flare. Also, in the past two years that I haven’t been on SCD, I really have not been as well – it’s not worth it, just for the ability to eat bread and pottoes! I do not get on with the SCD almond flour products – I find them bitter. In this house during those SCD years we stuck to grilled fish and meat, stir fry veg or steamed veg, and my DH had his rice/pasta/potatoes on the side, so this is what we’ll be going back to, as it is very easy and quick. Dessert is fruit and SCD yoghurt, or dates and honey, etc. You DO have to wean off sugar, which is hard, but only for the first few weeks – then sugary things begin to taste disgustingly sweet. It is a very healthy diet that anyone would do well on. Do avoid alcohol for at least three weeks (and expect a bit of a flare after three weeks as the bad bugs in your gut fight back), but eventually I was able to drink a dry white wine at the weekend. All is not lost!! Good luck with the diet. And keep up the yoga – it lowers cortisol, and therefore lowers inflammation.

  8. Thank you all for the suggestions! Mel, is yerba mate allowed on this diet?

    Trish, do you know where on the site they have the restaurant list? I’ve had trouble locating it there. I bought all of my supplements from GI Pro Health and they have been great. I also tried the some baked goods from Jill’s. Just working on weaning off of the medication. Sorry to hear about your antibiotic induced flare. Hope you get well quick. I have been good with the meals and desserts so long as I have the time and control over my day but as soon as exams or deadlines come my way, it becomes much more of a struggle. You were able to get off the diet completely and eat normally? Impressive. Also, do you have any energy booster suggestions? I used to drink a lot of coffee and have stopped but could use the additional boost every now and again.

  9. Hi Tiffany. Where are you getting your info for SCD from? If you don’t have the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, I would definitely buy it, as it explains lots of things clearly, including the science behind the diet. Re the low energy, you DO need to eat every three hours or so (it’s a pain…) or you can feel faint – eventually your body gets used to the lack of starches and you end up back on the usual three meals a day. When on the starter diet, I found the best thing was to steam huge amounts of vegetables such as carrots and keep them in the fridge for nibbling. Also bits of chicken. Whenever you go anywhere, make sure you have a banana on you – later, I found I could eat dates and unsulphured apricots as snacks, and nuts too. Aren’t you lucky I’m so anal? ;) – I have the restaurant card text here. I used to set it like a business card and hand it to the waitress or chef. I also found it REALLY useful to phone in advance and explain the issue – at a ‘good’ restaurant, the chef is usually pleased to get a challenge like SCD and they are used to lactose-intolerant, celiac etc, and as for ‘not good’ restaurants like fast food, I would avoid those anyway! When it doubt, use the word ‘allergic’ – no restaurant wants people going into anaphylactic shock at the table, LOL. Anyway, here it is:
    I am on a restricted diet to treat a digestive disorder. Thank you for accomodating me. I apologize for the inconvenience.
    grains or flour
    cornstarch or arrowroot
    potatoes / sweet potatoes
    soy sauce / tamari
    balsamic vinegar
    milk / cream
    meat / poultry / seafood / eggs
    all vegetables (except those above)
    butter & all oils
    hard, aged cheeses
    all other vinegars, except balsamic

    Even if fresh fruit isn’t on the restaurant menu, it’s nearly always in the kitchen, or take a banana with you – I often ask the chef to pan-fry that in a bit of butter and honey.

    When you eat at friends, they often feel intimidated by SCD, so just tell them you can have a roast dinner except the gravy and potatoes – a nice roast is something most people can manage. Or say you’ll bring your own food because what you really want is their company.

    Yes, I was able to go back to eating normally eventually. I tried to wean of SCD twice and managed it the third time. But as I say, I have never been so well as when on the diet, so I have gone back to it. I have a lot more confidence in myself on SCD because I know I’m not going to have an accident or a near-miss while I’m out. And there’s no nausea or flatulence, etc. Last year, I didn’t go to a single yoga class I’d paid in advance for because I had too much wind. That’s just daft, so, it’s the SCD for me again.

    My flare has gone, thank you – which took three days – and I seem to be back to normal.

    Do get the Yogourmet yoghurt starter from Lucy’s Kitchen Shop, as it has the right bacteria. And I found a good yoghurt maker at Lakeland Plastics, and bought two of the tubs, so I can have one on the go and one in the fridge.

    Re your exams and deadlines, it’s crucial to practise yoga or meditation because stress reduces cortisol levels, and you need good cortisol because it’s anti-inflammatory (UC is an inflammatory disease) and an immune suppressant (UC comes from an overactive immune system). There are loads of good books, websites, DVDs, etc on both – start with 5 minutes a day and work up to 15 minutes. You won’t believe the difference it makes.

    Do get back to me if you need any more info.

    :) Trish

    1. Thank you ever so kindly, Trish! This is great info. I am trying to make yoga a weekly practice for now. It’s a bit of a struggle with my schedule but I know it’s pertinent to do. Have you tried acupuncture? I also do that. Wondering if anyone has had any success with it. Thanks again and glad you got your flare under control. Looks like you’re an expert with SCD!

  10. Hi Tiffany. I do find acupuncture useful, yes. Expensive, though. :) I’ve used it from time to time when I’ve had a flare up, and also for other health issues. Re the yoga, it is great to do a weekly class and it gives you the encouragement of being with others, as well as professional help (do tell your teacher you have UC and ask for specific exercises). But if you can back it up yourself with 15-20 minutes a day at home, it will make a world of difference. See here for one routine: http://www.helpforibs.com/yoga/poses.asp (there are lots of others online) and alter it as you see fit. Personally I begin with the Tree Pose and finish in the Corpse Pose, as I find this massively relaxing: for UC, I think you need to concentrate on stress reduction, not stretching, though I do stretch because I also have a back problem. I also often lie in the Corpse Pose at night, as it totally knocks you out. You might also try some relaxation music for your routine – rather than New Age music, I prefer Zen music or koto music, and current research suggests harp music is also useful (it has the right vibrations). Nah, I am not an expert, many thanks. :) But I’m a journalist, so when I got sick, I just researched it as if it was work. Hope you continue well on the SCD. :) Trish.

  11. I have just started SCD diet and have gone through the intro diet, and I am so excited!! I feel a little overwhelmed as I am not positive which way to go next…except eat what is legal, go slow etc. My question is about coffee…….I thought it says that coffee is legal, decaf is not and neither is instant coffee.. can you help me out?

  12. Donna, has anyone given you an answer about the coffee issue as to WHY regular is legal and decaf is not? My fiance has SIBO, also a digestive condition and has switched to regular coffee, but it appears that many in the forum drink decaf. I have “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” but it doesn’t say why decaf is unacceptable.

    If anyone has an answer, it would be greatly appreciated.



    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Great question, and I don’t have an answer.

      But, I can tell you that I drink decaf everyday, sometimes multiple times a day and stay away from regular. For me, when I was (and when I’ve dipped my toe back into regular) it has made me want to drink more and more coffee like I used to (3-4 cups/day back in old days). With decaf, it keeps me at the 1-2 a day.

      I have been following SCD for nearly 4 years now, and i’m medication free, so that says alot, but again I apologize for not having a concrete answer. (Maybe decaf wasn’t invented when they came up with SCD decades ago…:)

  13. I am new to SCD. I have just completed the five day intro diet. I am feeling better and want to be successful but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about what to add now, meal planning, and breakfast recipes without eggs. I feel bad eating eggs every morning. Also, I cannot have milk. That means I cannot have the yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese mentioned in many of the recipes. Advice and input would be greatly appreciated. I guess I am just being a “Wort” but I am really excited about making this work.

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Way glad you’re feeling better and seeing some positive results. As for morning foods, one thing that I would do often is make up a morning smoothie. This is somethign that was always very simple to make, took less than three minutes to prepare and is super cheap.

      One note of caution, often it is best to start adding fruit such as the fruit I use in smoothies after several weeks of positive signs from the SCD diet. Not something you want to start making when you are still seeing signs of blood or any cramping as for most people it is more advanced and something to try down the line. So right now for you, this is probably not a good option, but I’m adding this to give you an idea of what’s possible once you’re further down the road of healing.

      In my opinion, if you’re seeing postive results with your current basic foods….THAT’S FRIGGIN GREAT and what many others who are in the middle of nasty flare ups would dream of. (SO CONGRATS AGAIN TO YOU on finding some positive ways out of the flare ups:)

      Here’s a link to one of my original posts on the site which has the smoothie recipe I use: https://ihaveuc.com/my-favorite-breakfast/

      best of luck to you,


      (and, coconut milk is also a great alternative for liquids in smoothie as long as its SCD legal and not containing all sorts of 25 word ingredients)

  14. I bet no one is going to see this, since the last post was over two years ago, but there was more good, encouraging info here than I’ve seen anywhere else! Just finished day one of the Intro Diet and fumbling around looking for any advice I can fine!

    1. Welcome to the land of a zillion we sites and misleading information. I am new to scd and fumbling with all of this. If I can help you please shout out, this is a huge undertaking . Annette

  15. Patty, i dont have UC, I have issues from surgical problems. I just started SCD on day 58. I look and read everything I can. Look up Steve and Jordan at SCD lifestyle you’ll get some outstanding help the diet still seems complicated but it is feeling more manageable as my health improves.

  16. I know this is really old, and I was actually trying to find information on Yerba Mate tea, but in response to the decaf vs. regular, the concern was about the chemicals used to decaffeinate the coffee possibly exacerbating the inflammation in the intestine. So, if you can find non-chemically decaffeinated coffee, it’s probably fine, but otherwise, it’s illegal. Hope this helps someone. : )

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