Category Archives: Carbohydrate Diet

Categories Carbohydrate Diet

Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is an elimination diet that removes certain types of carbohydrates. It is a very strict grain free, lactose free, and sucrose free diet. This diet is targeted for those with gastrointestinal disorders, including IBD, IBS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and many more. The goal of this diet is to improve the function of the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface. These enzymes were damaged from the growth of bacteria and yeast caused by carbohydrates in the form of sugar. This imbalance and overgrowth of bacteria prevents proper digestion and absorption of carbohydrates meaning this also causes a nutrient deficiency along with gastrointestinal issues. The goal of SCD is to correct the digestional imbalance by eliminating most carbohydrates and only allowing specific ones that can be well absorbed. The carbohydrates that are being removed from your diet include those that have two or more linked sugar molecules. Any food with disaccharides, oligosaccharides, or polysaccharides are not allowed when on this diet. That includes foods like potatoes, processed foods, grains, most dairy, nuts, sugar and most legumes. 

An advantage of this diet is that many people with gastrointestinal problems who follow this diet strictly will see a positive change in their symptoms. While this diet does prohibit many kinds of carbs, it does allow for unbounded sugar molecules called monosaccharides because they are easily digestible. Some examples of foods you can still eat are fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables except those high in starch, meats, eggs, nuts, homemade yogurt and natural cheeses . Fruits and low starch vegetables should be consumed as close to their natural state as possible to get all the nutrients they provide. All meat is allowed as long as it is not processed because processed foods might have added sugars and grains. While most dairy is not on the plan for this diet, there are a few cheese options that are allowed along with yogurt that has been fermented for 24 hours. 

While a SCD seems to be the answer for some people with gastrointestinal problems, it does have many negatives that deter people from trying it. The diet is very restrictive, eliminating entire food groups that could provide you with lots of nutritional value. It is very important to be aware that if you follow this diet, you will need to combat nutritional deficiencies with supplements. This is especially important for vitamin D and calcium because these nutrients are naturally in a lot of dairy and grain products that will be cut out from your diet. Since the list of foods not allowed is so long, it can be very hard to follow for most people. Ingredient labels on the back of packages can be hard to read, especially when they use hidden names of sugar instead of the common names that are easily recognizable. Another disadvantage with this diet is since it is so restrictive, a person following this plan could not consume enough calories causing them to lose weight when they did not want to. Being underweight is already a problem when it comes to people with gastrointestinal problems so restricting their foods more could cause this problem to get worse. One of the main reasons the SCD is not highly recommended to try yet is because of the lack of research. There are a few small clinical studies that have shown improvement in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis but that isn’t enough to recommend this diet to anyone who wants to try it. While most experts don’t think this diet is harmful, it is important to have the guidance of a medical professional to make sure you are getting enough nutrients, eating the correct foods and maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to note that the SCD is not a weight loss plan like other low carbohydrate diets. 

Since the SCD diet is so restricted and there’s little research on the effectiveness, people with gastrointestinal issues could try other diets like the low FODMAP diet or a gluten free diet. These diets are less restrictive and have been proven to help some people with IBS and IBD. It is important to consider all the pros and cons of any diet before starting. SCD can improve your health if done properly, given your unique health needs based on age, race, activity, health and other factors affecting your overall well being. To tailor this diet to your specific needs, contact us for further information, guidance and direct health coaching.

Categories Carbohydrate Diet


Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help your body resist and build a tolerance to emotional and physical stress. According to The American Institute of Stress, 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. The physical effects of stress on your body can affect your day to day life and while adaptogens don’t always work, it is worth understanding what the benefits of them could be. Along with dealing with long and short term stress, adaptogens can also help improve immunity and overall wellbeing. Adaptogens are starting to gain popularity now, but actually there is research going back to World War II times. When soldiers needed to find a way to deal with stress in natural ways, scientists found that adaptogens like rhodiola helped dull mental and physical fatigue that is known to cause stress. Recently, adaptogens have gone through rigorous scientific studies which have resulted in all positive results. There still needs to be more research done on this topic but for now they are seeing a correlation between adaptogens and decreased stress. 

The adaptogen herbs interact with the sympathoadrenal system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which are a part of your endocrine system. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce and regulate hormones, including cortisol. When you’re stressed, your body overflows with different physical responses that affect your immune system, hormones, cognitive function and circadian rhythm. A common hormone response to stress is an increase in cortisol levels, which is released from your adrenal glands when your body is in fight or flight mode. Excess cortisol can make you gain weight, especially in the stomach area. When you reduce stress, your cortisol levels will decrease meaning you are less likely to gain weight from being stressed. When our bodies are faced with stress, it goes through something called general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS has three stages: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The adaptogens job is to help your body stay in the resistance phase longer to hold off exhaustion. This allows your body to work through stressful moments instead of crashing in the middle of one.

Adaptogens like Holy Basil and Licorice Root can help decrease your cortisol through reducing stress. The adaptogen Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory benefits and immune modulating properties that will boost white blood cells, fight fatigue, and improve autoimmune health that decreases when stress increases. Having a strong immune modulation response is very important when fighting off cancer cells. If your body is under too much stress already, a suppressive event will occur and cancer fighting abilities will be limited. This is why controlling your stress and possibly taking adaptogens could be very important to your overall health. There are many different kinds of herbs you can take so it is best to do research to understand which one is best suited for your needs. 

There are many forms adaptogens come in and many ways you can consume them. Some herbal supplements come in capsule form you can take or break up to add to smoothies. Another way to get your adaptogens in is to eat adaptogenic foods like dried root astragalus, which has an earthy flavor, in soups. There are also stimulating teas that can be made from licorice root, fennel seed, fenugreek seed and flax seed that have many nutritional benefits along with reducing stress and inflammation. It is important to note, in general liquid versions of adaptogens are better than powder. This is because when the liquid extract is made they have the ability to pull out all the important components whereas the powder version could just be the entire herb ground up. When they grind up the entire herb, it is not as pure as when it is in liquid form therefore you don’t know how much of the adaptogen you are actually getting versus fillers. It is important to be consistent when taking an adaptogen to get the results you wish. Taking it every once and a while will not give you the benefits you are wanting. With a few exceptions, adaptogens should be taken in the morning due to your cortisol levels being the highest. Taking them in the morning when you wake up will also stimulate your body’s natural rhythm to wake up, creating a better sleep schedule. One reason you would take an adaptogen in the evening is if you are taking it specifically to calm down for sleep. Adaptogens can be taken for days up to weeks and even longer if you are going through an especially chaotic time in your life. After about six weeks it is recommended that you switch adaptogens though to experience the subtle differences and benefits they offer. Also by doing this your body won’t get accustomed to it and lose the effectiveness. Like other supplements in the US, adaptogens are less regulated than prescription medication making it harder to find reliable and pure adaptogens. It is important to do research or have a doctor recommend specific kinds of adaptogens to gain the best results from taking them.

Adaptogens are not a cure-all medicine that should replace stress management techniques and other medical care, but evidence does show it can help ease stress. If you go through prolonged periods of times in life that you are extremely stressed like during the holidays or tax season, adaptogens could alleviate some of the stress to make it more manageable. Adaptogens should not be used as a bandaid for chronic stress when a lifestyle change is needed to be healthier in the long run. While adaptogens are generally safe, it is best to consult with a doctor before taking any because it could interact with other medications you are taking. Along with that, finding the correct dosage can be challenging so having someone observe your reactions and its effectiveness will help ensure the specific adaptogen and amount is right for you. If adding adaptogens to your wellness routine interests you, contact us for further information and guidance.