Ditch Your SCD Training Wheels by Creating a Food Safe Zone

What happens when the foundation is missing? Those little things we often dismiss as not important…

For example, what if you tried to ride a bike without honing your skills on training wheels first?

You’d go down hard and fast in less than 10 seconds, which is exactly the reason we all started on training wheels.

I still remember cruising around with those squeaky wheels keeping me alive. Every screech was a reminder that my basic biking skills weren’t good enough yet.

Then, the big day finally came when my Dad unbolted them and I never looked back… freedom baby.

All the greatest skills and procedures utilize foundational skills. These simple steps form the support structure for more complex skills. We don’t live in a bubble; real life is stressful and always changing. Getting the simple steps right is the most important step for success.

This is the biggest pitfall for a person who “jumps head first” into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet without any training wheels.

Is Leaky Gut Making You Sicker?


The foundation is missing.

The Foundation is Emotional

Food runs through every part of our society. Then, mix in disease and disorders that affect our happiness and it’s easy to see that SCD can be tough.

Creating a “food safe zone” gives you:

  • A deep trust in a solid foundation of foods to fall back on when you can’t afford to be sick
  • The unshakable confidence to weather any storm, like stressful jobs to trans-Atlantic flights
  • Remove the fear of introducing new foods by creating a rock-solid environment to test ANYTHING

Food, disease, and stress each affect us differently and having a “food safe zone” that you know makes you feel good is crucial to SCD success.

What is a “Food Safe Zone”?

In simple terms, it’s a group of easy to digest foods that make you feel good when you eat them. It’s typically made up of:

  • Any cooked non-processed meats
  • 5-8 different cooked vegetables
  • 1-3 different cooked fruits

Together, these foods form the foundation of SCD healing allowing for medication changes, supplement tweaks and trying new foods with confidence.

Each person’s “food safe zone” is uniquely suited for their body.

Create Your “Food Safe Zone” in 5 Steps

A “food safe zone” can be created anytime during your healing. To start one now follow these 5-steps:

  1. Cut out the four common triggers during this phase (No dairy, egg, nuts and eat low fruit)
  2. Pick one vegetable, one fruit and rotate your meats to get started (pears or apples, carrots or squash)
  3. Add one new vegetable or fruit every four days
  4. Add two vegetables for every one fruit (2:1 ratio)
  5. Track daily calories in 5 minutes a day using a free program like www.fitday.com for the first month

This is your personal bubble to protect your healing from everyday life and unforeseen problems that arise during recovery from digestive problems. Each safe zone is easily tailored to accommodate any number of dietary restrictions or special circumstances.

If you want even more help creating your food safe zone, including step-by-step instructions, our book SCD Lifestyle—Surviving to Thriving will hold your hand every step of the way.

Click here to learn more: http://scdlifestylebook.com/

In Good health,


Steven Wright

About Steven Wright

Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started HealthyGut.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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55 thoughts on “Ditch Your SCD Training Wheels by Creating a Food Safe Zone

  1. Avatar
    Peter Stevens says:

    I can’t get to a food safe zone. I am on organic meats, wild fish and ONLY carrots and still have gut pain. I have been on SCD for years, retired at age 73 two years ago – restarted Intro diet Mar 31 2017, and again a month later, I can’t shake the gut pain I wake with. I have adrenal fatigue was in catabolysis, have leaky gut. Bad candida from fruit/honey/whey protein last year, also celiac (DNA confirmed too) – Jan 1 2017 started candida diet, no dairy or fruit or honey, lots of veggies, did juicing, stopped nuts in March and eggs early April. Now its mid May – I just seem to get worse. Lost a ton of weight BMI below 10. HELP

  2. Avatar

    The fruits you have listed in the safe zone like apple or pear are as well listed as high fodmaps. So you suugest a diet different than a low fodmap diet, which is usually suggested for ibs.

  3. Avatar

    Are the fruits and vegetables listed in the safe zone diet the only ones you should try at first? Pears, apples, carrots or squashes I think it was. Are berries ok?

  4. Avatar

    I was doing pretty good on the scd for a few weeks. I had some rumble belly and usually 4 bm’s of formed softness. Sometimes barely formed. I added in some cucumber and beet salad anicet the same time had a horrendous day of superstress. Before the end of the day, I had bloat, pain, and noisy groaning guts. Unable to eat the next day due to the distress. The following day I had small scd meals and diarrhea but less pain, bloat, and fermenting noise. Today I can eat normal and have had formed bm’s. Little pain, bloating, and rumbling noise. Still not energetic. I had introduced both beets and cucumbers before this attack but only a little and not together. So my question is was this attack brought on by the big stress, or the larger amount of salad?

    • Avatar

      Hi Marilyn – this is a tough question!

      It’s likely that the larger amount of salad AND the stress brought on the attack – but it could have been just one or the other.

      The great news is that you handled the flare-up perfectly by going back your safe foods until you felt better. We recommend you slowly begin again with cucumbers and beets. It is important to keep servings small at first when trying a new food (especially harder-to-digest raw foods).

      If when you eat the food on a normal, non-stressful day and you still have a reaction, you should wait longer before introducing the salad again.

      Hopefully you’ll be enjoying your beets and cucumbers again in just a few days!

  5. Avatar

    …hey Steve or Jordan my problem is that Im trying to find my food zone but it literally feels like everything I put in my mouth causes me chronic diaerrhea. Yes I even cut out all dairy/gluten/sugar for a couple months now and still having diarrhea. I’vve pretty much been eating only organic lean meats and organic veggies. I’ve also taken a couple food allergy tests but the doctors keep saying ” the test results looks normal, and can’t find anything”. It has been so frustrating because im trying my best but still not getting better. Thanks for any advice

  6. Avatar

    I’m just now discovering SCD. I’ve been on anticandida diet for 2 months and not any relief. I have SIBO and major leaky gut with lots of food intolerances. I am also a vegetarian by faith. I would consider poultry but would like to know if I can heal my gut using plant based protein? Obviously not soy (although it was allowed on the anticandida diet… it makes me flare horribly). Any suggestions? I feel like I need someone to tell me EXACTLY what to eat each day. I’m so tired of research!! I’ve had these issues for at least 15 years with a dx of Ulcerative Colitis in 07 that was taken back by the doc in 09 after having a clean colonoscopy (which still baffle me…?). I’m only 34 and my father died of colon cancer when I was 19 so all of these issues are very concerning. I’ve got a great doctor I’m working with but I need more help!

  7. Avatar

    I would like to create a food safe zone. Does the list of foods disqualify known food intolerances? I think I do not have enough foods I am not intolerant to, to form a food safe zone if that is this case. Do you think my food intolerances will diminish still with easily digestible foods that I’m intolerant to, like those found on the introduction diet? Thank you for your time, and effort.

  8. Avatar

    I am on day 2 of the Intro diet and I have found that eggs in the morning make my stomach hurt. Do I have to start over and re-do day 1 without eggs? Or just proceed without eggs in the future?

  9. Avatar

    I have cystic fibrosis and was just diagnosed with UC because of bloody stools. I have a prescription for supplemental enzymes, which has always helped.

    2.5 weeks on SCD, and results have been good. I had a 2-day period of no blood and no diarrhia! But now both symptoms are back (though not as bad) and it’s discouraging. I need to experiment with the four horsemen, but it’s so difficult! I need to keep my weight up because high weight correlates with good lung function… but how do I keep from losing weight if I cut out eggs, dairy (homemade cheesecake/yogurt), nuts, and fruits/honey??

    Thanks for the information. SCD seems promising; my mental health even seems to have improved. I know it isn’t an immediate cure. I need to find this “food-safe zone” so I can start isolating food variables.

  10. Avatar

    I have celiac and have been doing SCD on and off for about 8 yrs. I am always grain free and very limited dairy. I’ve tried to be dairy free but I don’t do as well with homemade almond or coconut milk for my smoothies (I used to use scd yogurt). I don’t have any major GI issues except bloating. I do have low T3 but no antibodies. I have trouble shaking these last 15 pounds and have pretty bad fatigue. I don’t think I feel any better since going dairy free. In fact I really miss my scd yogurt and kefir. I don’t really eat fruits or sweets. I use stevia. Not sure if the stevia is really good for me.

    How do you know if you are better off consuming limited dairy? Is the trade off of having increased pufas from almond milk any healthier? If I’m going to have almonds, I’d rather save it for an almond flour pizza crust. My tummy is really rumbly if I have coconut milk too often (even homemade). Just trying to trouble shoot. Thanks so much!

    • Avatar

      Hi AnaB, thank you for reaching out! You are exactly correct that the almonds and coconut milk will contain polyunsaturated fatty acids which we know are inflammatory. We suggest listening to your body and if you seem to do fine with the SCD Dairy, go ahead and consume it, as it contains many beneficial strains of bacteria. You may also consider a one one consult with a practitioner to handle your low T3 levels. You can find one here if you do not currently have one: https://healthygut.com/practitioners/

      • Avatar

        Thank you so much for responding! I am working with a practioner who is supportive and willing to learn. So far I am tolerating Thyrogold at the lowest dose and LDN is helpful. For the first time in my life, all my labs, even my adrenal saliva are in range (though I have gone from high cortisol to low normal so I may be on my way down) and my fatigue is still pretty bad.

        What is your opinion on stevia and ketogenic version of SCD for energy and weightloss?

        • Jordan Reasoner

          HI Ana! Stevia is not recommended on the SCD diet, as the most popular forms are highly processed and it can also help feed unhealthy bacteria in the gut due to it’s molecular structure. ketogenic diets may work for some, but they can be dangerous and we believe most people don’t need to take it that far to regain their health.

          • Avatar
            Olga J. Zahariev says:

            Dear Jordan, Can you explain me why is ketogenic diet dangerous? I have seen one of Steven’s video on Candida and he as well had a half sentence that keto diets weaken the adrenals and thyroid. Can you guys expand on this? What are the underlying metabolic processes…

            (I was trying to keto adapt but couldn t and currently seem to be struggling with adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues.)

          • Avatar

            Hi Olga – thanks for reaching out to us.

            Ketogenic diets work well for many people – but if you have thyroid or adrenal issues they might be too taxing on the body. The hormone systems of the body are very sensitive and depend on carbs to function properly. If you have adrenal issues, we recommend a minimum of 150 grams of carbs per day (from fruits, veggies, an see starches like sweet potatoes)

            I really suggest you read this article for more info: https://healthygut.com/2014/07/reasons-adrenal-program-isnt-working/

  11. Avatar

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  13. Avatar

    I feel like I’ve been eating too much protein and it makes me tired and sluggish. I’ve been doing the turkey sausage in the morning and it tastes great but I don’t think I digest it well. I just recently started strictly on the SCD diet though I have been eating gluten free for some time now. Everything still gives me gas so its frustrating to try to find a safe zone.

  14. Avatar

    One thing I totally disagree with most about steps in SCD is cooked fruit…

    fruit is cooked by the sun and is pre-digested…yes the fiber can be an issue for some, but drinking pasteurized grape juice or apple cider early in the diet is a really bad thing to do…you are consuming dead food…once you cook food…its nutrition is 50% less at least…when you have gut irritation..you need raw juices and juicy fruit

    think about it…whats the only food in nature people are most likely to eat raw? duh…fruit…its our primary food source, what we were designed to eat mostly

    veggies, meats…all have their place if you choose to eat them…BUT think about it, you always have to cook them and season them to enjoy them…duh…not #1 ideal food source…

    I know all about SIBO and Candida…and yes…until your flora is balanced you might need to cut back on high fructose fruits…but puree them or juice them…cooking them destroys enzymes and renders them useless

    i did SCD for over a year with cooked fruits…and i was so gassy and the SIBO wouldnt go away…it dawned on me..i was eating dead foods…and dead foods dont heal as fast…so i started juicing and pureeing fruits…and then no gas!! and SIBO started going away (i was doing garlic pills and raw kefir as well)

    i was keeping the enzymes in tact the way nature meant…i cant do SCD yoguart no matter what milk i use…why?? because u heat the milk…making it a dead food…

    i do raw kefir and bam!!! success!!!…

    raw is the way nature meant for us…you might have to modify until healed up..but raw is best always!

    good luck

  15. Avatar

    Am on the s c d diet not having much improvements waking up at night taking enzames I mix my meats w1b chicken morn lamb lunch beef tea is this right.
    I can’t digest veg only veg I can have is corgettes liquidise am getting worried where am I going wrong am so desperate taking saccharomyces lactobacillus ,but when I take bifidobiotics my stomach worst I told my herbalists she said if I don’t take them I won’t get well bought your book can’t seem to follow it.

  16. Avatar

    Hi Steve I am very interested in doing this SCD…and also adding both digestive enzymes to my diet as well as Probiotics. I see you are very pro Acidopholous while I have read on other sites that Bfidum is the way to go…I’m confused ha-ha…can you advise from the SCD point of view?

    Al Kero

  17. Avatar

    I have *just* started with creating my “food safe zone.” Going through the immense amount of information out there can be overwhelming. It’s “okay” to cook sparingly with oils once you enter phase I, but if we’re only supposed to be adding one new thing every 4 days, would each oil count as its own thing? Each spice? My question is, how obsessive do I need to be when it comes to adding things back? It seems like being very strict about ONE thing at a time can save you time if you have a reaction…but could also mean it’s taking much longer to include a very basic amount of ingredients. Thoughts?

  18. Avatar

    i Have had problems with food intolerances for a long time, my intolerances are now severe and in the past three days i have been using a similar principle too this on here but with the low FODMAPS diet (At the minute minute im consuming typically two – three types of food max daily) . i have definetly seen big reductions in the amount of fatigue when eating and am able to enjoy atleast half my day whereas for a long time i have been struggling, but one principle i have too hit home on is the MEAT. For a long time i have been eating meat and quite frankly my body has not been able to digest it, even with digestive supplements containing betaine hcl etc or apple cider vinegar (i even have prolonged periods of fatigue with boiled white fish but not as bad as boiled chicken). I guess not everybody is at that same stage or level and depending on the severity of your condition (or what digestive problem it is) will depend where you start and how you start, four months ago i could have probably began using meat, unfortunately i didnt understand the damage i was doing by continuing to eat normal thus the condition has got worse. I think it would be awesome too hear your take on food intolerances steve/jordan and your experiences working with the problem, As believe it or not theres a lot of information regarding chrons etc on the net and UC yet malabsorption syndrome i dont think has been covered so well (atleast from what ive found). I was following the GAPS diet and i thought it was working, yet everyday the fatigue i was feeling was unbearable, as of recently Its nice too have actually seen some sort of results (the past three or four days using a similar principle to this) whereas for a long time i have been stuck and awfully frustrated. I think a lot of people with food intolerances should get tested for chemical sensitivity too, i have read up as of recently quite a few of the people with big intolerances coming out positive for metal toxicity etc. This article is awesome information and a good place too start for most though for most, thanks guys your helping a lot of people =) .

  19. Avatar


    i found out your site just yesterday, yet I read very alternative but so to the point stuff. i already got for free the quick start guide. I want to know if between the 3 basic meals one can eat snacks? and since I am about to start the course, I really want to know if snacks are permitted straight from the intro phase, or are there strictly 3 meals?

    thank you!

  20. Avatar

    Hi Guys – me again [SMILE]

    Where can I find/purchase your menu plans for tough cases – I remember seeing it but I can’t find it… Doh’

    Can’t wait to hear from you!


  21. Avatar
    christineschildmeyer says:

    Hi, I have been on the scd diet since I found out about it and read Elaine Gottschall in September 2011. I have read lots of info on digestive probs. and also a lot of your advice on website and emails. It’s nice to know that I am not alone in my suffering. I was diagnosed with uc in 1990 and unfortunatly have been one of those who ended up having ‘the op.’ I have had a ‘J’ pouch for over ten years. Although you guys give lots of good advice…I am always thinking that as I have already had the op how much of it will apply to me. I wondered if you know of other scd’ers with a pouch that could give me any advice at all. Thanks for all the good work you do…it’s all very much appreciated. Chris xx

    • Steven Wright

      @Christine – It will totally apply to you. We have many poeple following our blog and SCD who have had various surgerys to take out most or some of their intestines. Turns out the surgery dosn’t cure them… Sad but we can’t cut this problem out. Food is either helping or hurting you. SCD will help, but most effecitve is creating your own custom diet. Because you did have the surgery it might mean you can no longer do dairy, eggs or nuts. I’m not sure and you won’t be until you test them. But that’s where I would start.

  22. Avatar

    Love your information guys. I’ve been teaching the same type of eating philosophy for years (I’m a member of Weston Price Foundation), but people resist giving up flour and sugar to the detriment of their health….it appears that the body must scream very loudly before they listen. Very frustrating. Glad to have found your facebook page, which led to your site.

    I have also found avoiding excess fiber extremely helpful for my own healing; consuming flax meal for chronic constipation was harming my gut, and making the constipation worse. Fiber is not for everyone; this site very helpful: http://www.gutsense.org/

    Thanks for all you do to educate those suffering with digestive disorders.

  23. Avatar

    Even without being on the SCD (although following a diet very much like it), I have inadvertently already created a safe-food-zone for myself.
    I don’t have the typical Crohn’s symptoms and feel no gastronomical discomfort or symptoms (as long as I avoid unsoaked raw nuts) and I think my problems deal mainly with leaky-gut which is causing food intolerances due to eating wheat.

    If any here is still on the fence about giving up wheat (I hope not), here’s a great description of what it does to you which I found:
    “Wheat has a lectin [a type of food chemical] that binds with the mucus lining in the small intestine. Once this happens the mucus exits the body. If the body can’t replace the mucus at the same rate it is being stripped away it will cause inflammation in the intestine. At this point, with a compromised small intestine, almost everything you eat becomes potentially toxic. Not only that, Serotonin production stops. Most of the serotonin you brain uses for neuro-transmissions comes from your small intestine…

    There are other foods with toxic ingredients that your small intestine keeps out of your blood stream but most of them break down into simple proteins and carbohydrates when they are cooked or fermented. Wheat lectin is very resilient and doesn’t break down easily. Once if strips away the mucus lining in your gut it has an open door to your blood stream where it attacks other areas of your body with concentrations of fluid like your joints and your BRAIN.”

    • Avatar

      Thanks for that detailed breakdown of what happens. I’m just changing to SCD eating as I have LOTS of signs of leaky gut and my blood tests show inflammation on the rise. Will be interesting to see my next test results.

    • Avatar

      Awesome explanation! What kind of attacks on the brain? The doctors can’t explain the waves of dizzy spells and have reffered me to Mayo Clinic after being non responsive or allergic to medications. I notice them after drinking water and needing to be ‘ on my toes’ in thought process throughout the day. They are brief yet at times I need to sit down or pull off to the side of the road till they pass. SCD is helping.

      • Jordan Reasoner

        Hi Jill, I’m so glad they are helping! If you deal with headaches, our friend Chris Kresser recommends eating a version of the diet that is free of tyramine, histamine, and arginine.

        In general, I’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence that removing all grains, legumes, and dairy improves brain function and issues like depression or anxiety.

        In good health,


  24. Avatar

    Thanks for the above post. I have Crohn’s and have been on the diet for 7 months now, but never did the intro diet as I don’t have D (just severe stomach pain and inflammation). The diet has helped tremendously – my CRP blood test has gone from 34.8 to 0.79 in 6 months. However, I still have some days where I don’t feel as great as others, so am going to take your advice above and get a “safe list” to fall back on. Thanks also for taking the time to do this website – I have been following for a few months now but this is my first comment.

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