# 2 - HOW TO BEGIN "SCD" > * HOW TO BEGIN THE SCDiet - Part 1

This way of eating is really very simple and extremely healthy for the whole family; although very different from the Standard American Diet (S-A-D).  It will soon become second-nature to you as you learn which foods are more digestible and "SCD legal". 

Since most of us have to "unlearn" old habits, it is strongly recommended that you read the first 60 pages of BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE  several times until you have a thorough understanding of how and why the SCD works to heal so many illnesses. Then read it again after following the diet for a while, to refresh your memory.  Some of you may have few symptoms, but many will have mild to severe symptoms. You must  “FANATICALLY” adhere 100% to the legal foods for this way of eating to “perform its miracles”.  If you “ease” into the diet, you will see little to no improvement and likely become discouraged. 

Mild to severe digestive/intestinal symptoms

indicate inflamed intestines

and the need to proceed slowly and cautiously

when adding new foods. 

Some of the "Permitted" foods listed in BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLEmay not be

tolerated well in the beginning until healing has taken place. If a food doesn’t agree with

you, leave it out of your diet for a week or more and then try again. If a food specified in the

diet is known to cause an anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction), eliminate it

permanently from the diet. If, in the past, an allowable food did not digest well, eliminate

it and try it again in small amounts after some healing has occurred. If, after a week of

eliminating it, a food continues to cause problems, do not include it in the diet.


For those who have multiple food allergies and intolerances, it may take time to nail down all the problem foods. Introducing ONE new food at a time in two to four day intervals is a great (but not mandatory) guideline for introducing new foods. This will make it possible to determine whether each new food can be tolerated. Those individuals often take a few steps forward and some back as they work to define which foods are best for them. Since every body is different, it's typically "trial and error" for them; but definitely worth the effort! It's important to remember that the "Not Permitted" foods listed in BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE are always illegal, and that tiny mistakes can cause major flares for those who have food intolerances, sensitivities or inflamed intestines. 


* Note: For those with strictures (narrowed ileums) certain foods may aggravate the narrowed portions of the ileum. These foods include raw grapes, lots of raisins, spaghetti squash, celery, vegetable and fruit peels, and whole nuts. Nut flour or nut butter seems to be okay. Please also see Obstructions and Resections from Elaine's website.

It's important to remember that should you "cheat", even once in a great while, you will likely experience setbacks and never experience the healing that strict adherence can bring about. If you experience painful diarrhea at any point, drop back to the Beginning Diet (below) and inch forward again, very slowly. Remember that it took a while for the intestines to become damaged and it will take time for them to heal. That also holds true for rebuilding the immune system as you focus on balanced nutrition. 

It's not unusual to drop a few pounds in the beginning. Again, don't worry! Stress can slow your healing. You will regain those later, if you need to. You will likely feel tired and perhaps achy and grouchy as your body detoxifies the first 3 -10 days.  Eating often and eating plenty to maintain caloric intake and sustain energy and strength is very important. Also drink lots of water to flush poisons, and get extra rest to get through this time easier.


Time and patience are of utmost importance the first few weeks. It is unwise to undertake this regimen unless you are willing to follow it with fanatical adherence. Keep reading on this website or join a listserve so you will continue to learn, feel hopeful, and keep healing. Rereading the first 60 pages of BTVCycle several times will help to reinforce all the information. The FAQs at http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.org/  are also very informative.

What are the benefits of the SCD? The success stories are numerous!  Please read Our Family Success Story on this site to learn how five of my family members and I have benefited. You will also find many other testimonials at www.amazon.com 



1.  Order the Yogourmet Yogurt Maker & Starter from Lucy at  www.lucyskitchenshop.com  by calling 888-484-2126. The SCD yogurt is a critical part of your healing. It contains higher probiotics than supplements and will aid in healing the intestines and maximizing digestion. PLUS it is free of additives (sugars, gums and preservatives that perpetuate damage  to an already damaged digestive tract). Be sure to follow instructions for making lactose-free yogurt in BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE and below, rather than the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your yogurt maker.

2.  Get the book, BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE from Barnes & Noble (call 1st to make sure it’s in stock) or order from Amazon.com or Lucy at (888) 484-2126. Unless you have a biology background, you will likely need to read BTVCycle several times to really ‘get it’.

3.  Read all of page “#2 – Beginning SCD” of this website and visit www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info to find answers to your questions from Elaine Gottschall, the author of BREAKING THE VICIOUS Cycle.

4.  Subscribe to one or more of the SCD List Serves and monitor the questions and answers of other participants and ask the questions you didn’t find answers to on this or other SCD websites.

5.  Print out the “SCD Complete Food List” on page “#2 – Beginning SCD” of this website and carry it in your wallet until you KNOW how to shop.

6.  Go shopping for you first week’s groceries (shopping list below).  

Everyone should begin the SCD by following the introductory diet one to five days, depending on the severity of symptoms.      



1.    2 quarts SCD legal milk with no carrageenan – an illegal ingredient (read label) and starter (order from Lucy) for SCD yogurt (see details below)

2.    Chicken (whole or parts) – Buddy’s chickens are available in Austin. They are free-range and organic!

3.    Carrots

4.    Onions

5.    Celery

6.    Dry Curd Cottage Cheese – Central Market sometimes carries it – ask for "Friendship Dairies Farmer’s Cheese" (it should be very dry and somewhat grainy, and fall apart when opened) or you can substitute your dripped homemade SCD Yogurt. Other sources: http://www.scdiet.org/8resources/drycurd_sources.html 

7.    Eggs (preferably yard eggs)

8.    Welch’s purple Grape Juice or Tropicana Orange Juice (in the carton or jug – not "from concentrate" and not iron fortified) or Apple Cider (no sugars!)

9.    Honey (clear as possible) or 'legal' saccharin (read the label - some brands are, some aren't)

   10. Unflavored gelatin (Knox or other brand)

   10. Ground beef (100% beef – no fillers)

   11. Fish (from deep sea waters is safest)

   12. Lemons (use fresh-squeezed juice only)

Prepare to follow the introductory diet below (also on pages 50-52 of BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE) for two to no more than five days if having pain and/or diarrhea; or one to three days if there is no pain or diarrhea. 

While waiting for the book, yogurt maker, and almond flour to arrive, continue reading the website information and make the delicious, nutritious chicken soup and prepare to make the 24-hr lactose-free yogurt (recipes below).



1.    Get your biggest pot and make a lot of soup. You can always freeze what you don’t eat.

  2. Fill half with chicken thighs and legs (they make the most flavorful soup) including 

      bones; but you may skin them if you want, as it will save you from having to skim the

      soup after it has cooked.

  3. Peel about 10 medium-sized carrots and throw in pot. 

  4. Throw in two peeled whole onions and a couple stalks of celery.

  5. Fill the rest of the pot with water, leaving 3 inches at top so it does not boil over.

  6. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours.

  7. Pour contents through a colander or strainer, letting it run into a very large bowl.

  8. Throw away celery and onions - the fibrous parts of these vegetable may cause

      digestive problems.

  9. Let soup cool and skim off excess fat from top.

10. Pour carrots and a cup of broth into blender or processor (may be too much for one

      spin) and process until smooth.

11. Add to soup.

12. Salt and pepper to taste.

13. Add some chicken (as much as you want, removing the bones and skin).

You will be getting protein from chicken, sugar from carrots, and some fat.  This is a good, natural fasting diet to clear and soothe your intestines while still nourishing and sustaining you. The amounts of the specified foods to be eaten depend upon your appetite. Eat as much as you want and often for 1 to 3 days, depending on the severity of symptoms. Don't let yourself be hungry.



Yogurt-making is fairly foolproof, as long as you respect the fact that the process involves a living organism that is temperature sensitive; too hot and you kill it; too cold and it won't grow/multiply the good bacteria. SCD™ yogurt is also an important part of the SCD™iet. You will be starving the harmful bacteria of foods they thrive on (so they die), and replacing them with live culture yoghurt to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria. This will decrease toxins that continually inflame and damage intestinal walls.

The flavor and texture of the yoghurt depends on the kind of milk you use. The richer the milk, i.e. the more butterfat or milk fat it contains, the less tart and the thicker the yogurt will be. We prefer using the Yogourmet Starter, but, if in a bind, you can use a cup of commercial yogurt. No matter what kind of milk, cream, or yogurt you use, make sure that they have no additives such as flavorings, carrageenan, xanthum gum, dextrose, or other emulsifiers or sweeteners. They should contain nothing but milk, and sometimes cream. If you cannot find regular commercial dairy products that are additive free, you may need to use organic products. Unpasturized milk would be even healthier; if you have access to a local dairy.

I, personally, recommend not using powdered milk to make yogurt because of the chemicals used to make the powder. Also, do not add gelatin to the yogurt batch (as is suggested in the yogurt maker manufacturer's instruction manual) . . . and do not use previous SCD yogurt to start a new batch; as there won't be any lactose/sugar to grow the healthy bacteria. 

For those who know they are sensitive to cow milk, you may find that you tolerate homemade yogurt made with goat milk; since the protein is quite different. Instructions for making cow milk yogurt are below.  For those who find that they are sensitive to both types of yoghurt, you may try draining/dripping the liquid out of the yogurt, then eating a tablespoon daily and working up to a cup a day (very slowly) to build a tolerance for it. Instructions for dripping cow milk yogurt can be found in BTVCycle on page 134. Once drained, the yogurt is referred to as dripped yogurt, yogurt cheese, or SCD™ cream cheese. It can be eaten plain, sweetened with honey or legal seasonings and used as dips, spreads, and toppings. It can also be used in recipes as a substitute for dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC).

Both cow milk and goat milk must be heated to just past 180 degrees F, in order to sterilize them. However, cow milk can tolerate temperatures up to about 212 degrees F, while goat milk is more delicate and should not be heated above 185 degrees F. Click here for more details on making goat yogurt.


Our favorite milk and starter:  2 quarts half & half; which makes a very creamy, and less tart yogurt than just whole milk yogurt. Both are SCD legal.


Yogurt Starter:  You will need starter to introduce the good bacteria to the milk. Elaine was very particular about which bacteria should be introduced. Yogourmet Starter was her choice and makes a wonderfully tasting, creamy yogurt. It can sometimes be found at Austin Whole Foods on S. Lamar. . . call before you go, in case they are out. However, it costs less to order it from www.lucyskitchen.com by calling 888-484-2126.




1.    In a double-boiler, you can turn the burner on high and bring the milk to a boil quickly, without scorching. If using a single 2-qt. pot you will need to heat milk on a low temp and stir often to prevent sticking and scorching. I heat mine in a double boiler (and don’t have to stir it at all) while I'm fixing a meal or cleaning up the kitchen. After bringing it to a boil (180 F), turn off the burner and sit it on a cool burner to let cool to room temperature. I sometimes forget mine for an hour. 

2.    After the milk has cooled, pour the Yogourmet Starter packet (both halves of 1 packet if using 2 quarts of milk) and 1 cup of the cooled milk into the milk bucket and blend/beat well to desolve the powder well. A stick blender is very handy for this. Then add the rest of the milk and mix/blend again. Place the lid on the bucket.

3.    Put water in the electric bucket, up to the mark at the bottom, and float the milk bucket inside the electric bucket. Put the lid on, plug it in and forget it for 24-30 hours. Do not move or open the yogurt-maker during this time. 

4.    In 24-30 hours, remove and dry the milk bucket and gently place it in the refrigerator to chill for 8 hours, so it will set up nicely.

5.    Pour it into the bag that comes with the Yogourmet Yogurt Maker, hang it over a bowl (in or out of the refrigerator) and let the liquid drip from it overnight. Throw the liquid away and refrigerate the dripped yogurt. Your yogurt will stay fresh for three weeks if kept cold. After bleeding and diarrhea are gone, you may try the undripped yogurt, if you prefer.


To my knowledge, there are no commercial yogurts with the right bacteria introduced, which are fermented over 24 hrs. to make them lactose-free (sugar-free). Some of the commercial yogurts and many of the probiotic supplements have had strains of bacteria introduced that Elaine says can mutate into bad bacteria in a bad gut. The Yogourmet Starter introduces the proper bacteria. Also, the probiotic count in SCD yogurt is much higher than you can get in any supplement.


Refresher:  Diarrhea and/or constipation are indications of yeast/Candida/unhealthy bacteria. The yeast/Candida/unhealthy bacteria (whatever you prefer to call the  bugs/critters - Elaine said they all ride piggy-back on each other) thrive on sugars/starches of all kinds, overpopulate, produce toxins that cause inflammation and damage to the mucosal lining of the intestines and destroy enzymes which break down/digest foods. Undigested foods sit in the intestines and continue to ferment, giving the critters a feast . . . and overpopulation continues. Your body eventually becomes starved of nutrients, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms, a weakened immune system, and, eventually, debilitating disease . . . the VICIOUS CYCLE!


When there is mucosal damage, one of the first digestive enzymes to disappear is lactase that digests lactose (dairy sugar) . . . thus, we only eat lactose-free daiiry products:  the 24-hour lactose-free yogurt with no sugar and hard cheeses with no lactose. To balance the intestinal flora and heal the intestines, you must not only starve the bad critters of the foods they thrive on (so they die off), but you must also replace them with the good critters from the homemade yogurt. It's the age old battle of good over evil . . . so, what else is new?


Most people who have yeast/Candida/unhealthy bacteria problems also have arthritic-like pains and swelling in their joints, stay very tired, suffer brain fog and allergies, and eventually develop many other very serious ailments. In time, those symptoms typically greatly improve or go away completely when the intestinal flora becomes balanced and nutrients are again being absorbed for a while.


We go through almost four quarts of yogurt a week! Don fixes it if I don't get to it. We are so hooked on it and it really fills a lot of holes in the menu, too.  A cup a day keeps the doctor away!    J   It’s still hard for me to believe that I gagged at the thought of yogurt when I started the SCD.

Q: So, what happens if the yogurt bothers you?  

A: Leave it off a few days. Check to make sure your milk does not contain gum additives. Make sure to drip the yogurt (in the cheesecloth bag that comes with the machine, or use a coffee filter, or purchase a Donvier Cheese Maker/dripper) and start with a teaspoon per day and work very slowly up to about a cup per day.  If at some point it bothers you, drop back again. Most who do have problems can build a tolerance for it this way. If it continues to be a problem, see “MAKING YOGURT & OTHER FERMENTED FOODS” for probiotic alternatives. Some can tolerate goat milk yogurt better than cow milk yogurt.  You can find a goat milk yogurt recipe also on “MAKING YOGURT & OTHER FERMENTED FOODS”.  One, but no more than three cups of yogurt daily is recommended.