Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breaking the Vicious Cycle, by Elaine Gottschall

I could not find the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) anywhere, so I finally ended up buying it. I'll post on that later, as I borrowed it to a friend.  Natasha Campbell-McBride's son was autistic, and she read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Elaine Gottschall, along with all of the medical history behind it. After reading it, she decided to implement it, with some changes, to her son.  His symptoms disappeared and she started treating autistic and 'spectrum' kids at her clinic with her modified SCD diet. 

As I always like to get to the source, I decided to try to find a copy of the SCD book. Lucky for me, that was easy to get. And easy to read. 

There was not a lot of new info that GAPS did not provide. A little more history on the diet, and somewhat different take on what causes some of the issues in the gut. But mostly it's similar to GAPS.

Elaine's daughter had ulcerative colitis and they took her to Drs. Haas, who in 1951, had published a book on using diet (restricting carbs) for healing celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and other diseases.  Withing 2 years of going on the SCD diet, she was free of symptoms.

She quotes a doctor from the early 1900s', a Samuel Gee.  'We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his power to digest does harm.'  Ahh, to live by such simplicity today. Wouldn't it cure so many of our issues-mental, physical and emotional?

Past and current research provides ample reason to believe that the gut's health is first in importance in our health, and when it suffers, the rest of the body eventually suffers as well. It has been proven that within the digestive system (everything from where it goes in to where it goes out of the body), there are billions of varying microbes or bacteria that work hard at digesting our food. Breaking it down so it's usable to the body.  And if those bacteria are out of whack, they can't do their job.  Elaine blames this on improper acidity of the stomach, malnutrition and antibiotics (put directly in the body and from animal products and contaminated water) mostly.

"A sensible and harmless form of warfare on the aberrant population of intestinal microbes is to manipulate their energy (food) supply through diet. Most intestinal microbes require carbohydrates for energy, and the SCD limits the availability of carbs.  By depriving intestinal microbes of their energy source, their numbers gradually decrease along with the products (toxins) they produce."  How well stated is that?  :)

It's so sad. The gluten free/casein free diet of today started off as the SCD diet. However, gluten was clued in on and decided to be the only real culprit in grains and casein for dairy, so doctors decided it was less restricting to only keep those 2 items out, and the SCD diet was lost to the general public.  Even though it helped cure so many people for almost 100 years!

She goes into great detail as to how this works, and why. I found the diagrams to be helpful, and the wording simple enough to easily understand. Again, it was mostly a repeat of GAPS, but I need to hear things repeated, repeatedly, to really grasp something, so I was happy with the recap. 

The diet took out all grains, starches and most dairy. No sugars of any kind except honey (and saccharan?) are allowed.  Nothing processed or canned.

She is big on 24 hour cultured yogurt and a dry curd cottage cheese (farmer's cheese it seems).  Lots of protein, fats, nuts, vegetables and fruit.  And eventually certain cheeses.

It has a great recipe section, and I hope to try some of them. The web is full of SCD friendly recipes and even some SCD specific sites.

I think that GAPS addresses more issues then 'Breaking the Vicious Cycle/SCD' does, but they are the same in concept and make so much sense!

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