In the past 30 days, I have been experimenting with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and have experienced some tremendous results. This is a diet protocol written by Elaine Gottschall after she dedicated her life researching the connection between diet and gut health due to her daughter’s diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. She based the principles of the diet on the work of her daughter’s physician, Dr. Sidney Valentine, who treated patients with irritable bowel disease (IBD) and Celiac in the 1950’s. The diet removes complex carbohydrates and other man made sugars because they require extra steps during the digestion process. If complex carbohydrates are not digested properly, then they can potentially remain in the intestinal tract and create bacteria and yeast overgrowth. This can then cause issues with food absorption and irritation in the small intestine. Monosaccharide is the only type of carbohydrate allowed to be eaten because the body can easily break it down. The SCD helps to restore the normal gut flora and promote intestinal healing.
On the SCD, almost all grains (i.e. wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa), processed foods, canned fruit, commercial yogurts and dairy, starches (i.e. potatoes and sweet potatoes) are all eliminated. I know what is going through your mind right now, “what can a person eat on this diet?” That is a great question and at first it seems like there is a lot to learn, but after awhile it becomes quite simple. The SCD diet allows you to eat meat, most vegetables, and some fruits and nuts. Also, a limited amount of quality dairy (i.e. aged goat cheese, grass fed butter and ghee) is allowed, but only if tolerated. I do not tolerate dairy so I do not add it into my daily nutrition. For a complete list of allowed and not allowed food, visit http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/legal/listing/.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I have recently experimented with this style of eating and I’ve experienced some positive health benefits. However, I went on vacation for a few days and strayed from the eating guidelines and suffered some ill effects. It was a good lesson though because it allowed me to see that these nutrition principles work for my body. The book recommends following the diet for at least a year or two to receive the best health benefits and restore gut health. I am going to initially commit to six months on this diet and see how I feel. I will blog about it frequently so be sure to check back. In the mean time, if you are interested in learning more, I suggest picking up the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle.