Getting Started on SCD Part 5: Illegal and Legal Foods – Meat and Cheese

Illegal and Legal Specific Carbohydrate Diet foods can be very confusing when you’re just getting started. The best rule of thumb is to stick to single ingredient foods as much as possible. The most important thing to do is read the labels.

This might mean not being able to eat any food other than what you make for yourself for a while. I recommend doing that until symptoms have subsided. The reason being is that even simple seeming things can have a lot of added ingredients. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been offered “plain” roasted chicken. “Where’s it from?” I’ll ask.


Costco roasted chicken, as with a lot of other grocery store roasted chicken, is full of things we can’t eat on SCD. The good news is I’ve found honestly plain roasted chicken at a few places and it’s very convenient. You just have to be careful.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle has a comprehensive list of what foods are allowable and which aren’t.

This week I’m going to concentrate on proteins.

Allowable proteins include fresh and frozen meats. Naturally processed meat like lunch meat, hot dogs, and smoked meats aren’t allowed.

Canned meats aren’t allowed except for fish like tuna or salmon. With fish you need to make sure to look at the label and make sure there isn’t broth in the ingredients. It should just be water and salt – or oil if you use a canned an oil fish.

That brings us to bacon!

Bacon is allowed on the diet, which is nice because you may feel like you’ve given up everything, but then bacon is still there!

Finding bacon that is completely SCD-friendly is difficult. One thing I always make sure of is to buy uncured bacon. Nitrates are bad and can cause stomach upset. Most uncured bacon has sugar, but I haven’t found it to be a problem for me.

Even in BTVC it says regular (that’s cured) once a week if it’s cooked crisp.

All bacon should probably be cooked crisp.

Turkey bacon is harder to find. It usually has extra ingredients that don’t work. That being said, I don’t really eat a lot of pork so after many years on the diet, when I started adding other foods, I switched to turkey bacon most of the time. Just like regular bacon, I buy uncured turkey bacon with few ingredients. It’s more expensive, but I prefer it over regular. If you’re following SCD 100% you probably won’t be able to do turkey bacon.

Cheese is where it gets a little confusing:

Natural cheeses are allowed, however there are few things that aren’t allowed. It’s easy  to forget sometimes which ones are okay and which aren’t.

BTVC has them also listed and I have also made this handy chart. Note that my edition of BTVC has gruyere listed as illegal, but I have heard later editions don’t so I’ll leave that up to you.

A good rule of thumb on cheese is to remember that soft cheeses are pretty much not allowed at all – cream cheese, goat cheese, ricotta, and quite sadly mozzarella.

Stronger cheese like asiago and blue cheese, among others, should be used sparingly, while milder cheeses like cheddar can be used pretty freely. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the cheese list because when all else fails, cheese makes a good snack when there’s nothing else around.


Eggs are a staple of SCD and are permitted in any form  as long as you’re not adding an illegal ingredient to them. I eat eggs fairly often – I love making a scramble for dinner. I don’t really have much more to say about eggs, except that they are great for SCD.

Sherry Lipp
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