Home   >   Blog   >   Vegetarian SCD

Vegetarian SCD

August 11, 2003

People frequently ask how to follow a vegetarian version of the SCD diet. Because grains are not allowed on the SCD diet and a vegetarian diet restricts many protein sources, it is more difficult to be an SCD vegetarian. I don't follow a vegetarian diet but several months ago I sent a general question out to the e-mail list in search of advice from vegetarians. The following paragraphs give Elaine's answer to the "protein question" as well as the experiences of two people following vegetarian and near-vegetarian versions of the SCD:


The following question and answer is from the SCD Wisdom section of

Question: I have a urgent question for you vegetarians... how do you manage to stay vegetarian on the SCD diet and still get enough protein?

Elaine writes: In the book, I say to vegetarians: do not go on the diet unless you will eat one egg per day or more and some cheese. You can get enough complete protein if you eat these foods. But if you do not, you will have a hard time and it is not healthful with IBD. Please reread the book.

Advice from Johanna

Here's what I often eat, more or less:

  • Breakfast: yogurt and bananas
  • Morning snack: cheese or nuts
  • Lunch: cheese omelette or SCD bread and eggs or dinner leftovers, plus carrots, fruit/dried fruit
  • Afternoon snack: same as morning, or maybe a spoonful or two of peanut butter or some frozen yogurt
  • Supper: Veggie pizza or crustless quiche or Asian-style veggies sautéed with an egg or with peanut or sesame sauce
  • Evening snack: cookies or a piece of fruit or frozen yogurt

I could get more elaborate, of course--I just stick with what's quick most of the time. During the winter I sometimes go through soup phases--there are numerous good ones--carrot/squash, etc. Plus one can make dishes with certain beans, properly prepared, when sufficiently healed.

My advice to incoming vegetarians is to try to think freshly about what foods are good for you. I was sure that whole grains and soy were the way to go. It helped when I realized that the way I'd been eating had made me sick--a largely vegan diet for 8 years (and vegetarian for 15 years before that). I'm sure my UC was a result of the vegan years.

The intro diet is tricky for vegetarians, since chicken soup and gelatin are both out. I've just looked back at my food log and seen that I didn't actually start with the intro diet, but I did begin with a fairly small range of foods. I'd suggest people eat the vegetarian parts of the intro diet--eggs, yogurt, cooked carrots, cheesecake, diluted juice, and if necessary, add a few other things so they are getting enough to eat--maybe some well-cooked squash, ripe bananas, and/or homemade apple sauce.

I wouldn't recommend some obvious vegetarian snacks, like nuts, dried fruit, or raw fruit (except banana) early on, as they are not so easy to digest. Better just to eat more of the intro diet foods when starting out.
(end of Johanna's advice)

Belinda's notes

  • Breakfast
    I do banana pancakes most mornings. I usually drizzle with a teaspoon of honey and serve topped with sliced fresh strawberries. Sometimes, I grate a bit of nutmeg over the top too. A week or so, I posted my "tips" on the banana pancakes, essentially:
    • (a) Keep the heat low
    • (b) Make 2 small pikelets instead of one big pancake from the basic 1 egg to 1 banana mix (c) use two spatulas to "flip"—one under each end.

    Other days I have my version of Bircher Muesli (which is a Swiss classic). You can play around with the ingredients, but this works:

    • 1 or 2 SCD muffins (carrot or banana muffins are good) from whatever batch you've made recently—crumbled and crisped up under a griller (UK and Aust) or in a "toaster oven" (USA)
    • 1 handful or so of nuts (e.g. home-roasted hazelnuts (filberts), almonds, walnuts or whatever is around)
    • 1 grated apple (just peel and grate coarsely on a cheese grater)

    When the "cereal" crumbles have cooled, mix all ingredients together and top with a couple of dollups of yogurt.

  • Lunch
    I generally have a cheese and salad sandwich made with SCD bread or two avocados, sliced and topped with a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice, salt and cracked pepper.
  • Dinner
    I will have a mushroom omelette (or omelette with some peppers or something like that), or slices of roast chicken* or oven-baked fish "parcels" with lemon and dill. I have some green and yellow veg with dinner too.
    (*Almost veg version of the diet &nbsp-rp)

I would seriously consider whether you can continue such a restricted diet. Since so many people have trouble with nuts, almond flour, fruits and veg at the beginning, vegetarian SCD makes for a very restricted diet without the nuts, fruits and veg. I never thought I would eat meat before I started SCD - I was the "fussy eater" since childhood, hadn't eaten meat for about 10 years, but I am getting used to it and have fish or chicken for dinner about 3 nights a week, and maybe lamb one night a week. I don't eat meat other than at dinner, it's too much hassle! For a vegetarian SCD, I think one would have to really emphasize eggs, cheese and lentils / pulses otherwise, lack of protein would be an issue.
(end of Belinda's notes)

Last note
If you would like to contribute vegetarian advice for posting on this site, please send me an e-mail. (scdrecipe (at) gmail (dot) com)