Breaking the Vicious Cycle:Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elain Gottschall

fpoBreaking the Vicious Cycle. Finished 11-4-15, rating 4.5/5, health, 205 pages, pub. 1986/2012

It is a strict grain-free, lactose-free, and sucrose-free meal plan.

Of all dietary components, carbohydrates have the greatest influence on intestinal microbes (yeast and bacteria) which are believed to be involved in intestinal disorders. Most intestinal microbes require carbohydrates for energy. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet works by severely limiting the availability of carbohydrates to intestinal microbes.

When carbohydrates are not digested, they are not absorbed. They remain in the intestinal tract, thus encouraging microbes to multiply by providing food for them. This can lead to the formation of acids and toxins which can injure the small intestine.

Once bacteria multiply within the small intestine, they can destroy the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface, preventing carbohydrate digestion and absorption. At this point, production of excessive mucus may be triggered as the intestinal tract attempts to “lubricate” itself against the irritation caused by the toxins, acids, and the presence of incompletely digested and unabsorbed carbohydrates.

The diet is based on the principle that specifically selected carbohydrates, requiring minimal digestion, are well absorbed leaving virtually nothing for intestinal microbes to feed on. As the microbes decrease due to lack of food, their harmful by-products also diminish. No longer needing protection, the mucus producing cells stop producing excessive mucus and carbohydrate digestion is improved. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet corrects malabsorption, allowing nutrients to enter the bloodstream and be made available to the cells of the body, thereby strengthening the immune system’s ability to fight. Further debilitation is prevented, weight can return to normal, and ultimately there is a return to health.  from Goodreads

I left the whole description in case you wanted a more detailed overview of some of the science behind the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  Now let me tell you what has led us here (by us I mean me and Gage).  Gage stills has terrible reflux, even on Zantac, and it’s been going on since July.  But even before that his stomach was a mess.  He was on Zantac pretty much for 3 years before which I am positive led to his gut being in such bad shape now.  He isn’t growing up or out much either. All of these things led me to this book, but there is one more important reason I know about this book.  This is the foundation for many kids on the spectrum being recovered, ie. losing their diagnosis. I know people don’t like to believe things without a ‘study’ behind them, but all you have to do is talk to parents.  I mentioned to Gage’s teacher yesterday that we would be starting this soon and she said her friend started the GAPS diet (similar to SCD and the other game changing diet for kids with autism) for her son on the spectrum and he lost all of the problems that gave him a diagnosis in the first place. I’ve resisted this diet to this point because I was hoping gluten/casein/soy free would be enough.  I don’t think that anymore.

So, that’s how we got here and I’m so glad that we are finally taking this step, for our whole family. I’ll be starting the intro diet this week, chicken, chicken broth, and eggs and Gage will start next week.  The first week or two might be a bit rough and make us sick as we kill off the bad guys but as we slowly add foods back in we should start to feel better.  It works much like the elimination diet that I talked about from a book this summer only carbs will be gone for the duration of the diet.  To cure things like colitis or Crohn’s disease it takes a year or two and then you can try adding forbidden foods back in.  If your gut is properly healed you should be able to tolerate them better.

The science, studies, personal stories of success and details of the diet are included in the book.  The updated version even includes a chapter on autism because it has become such a savior to many parents with kids with autism or related conditions.  It’s not an easy diet and I’m nervous.  I had to tell Gage he wouldn’t be able to eat chocolate for awhile and that did not go well.  If you are interested in learning more you can visit the website.  This book is a must read for those with gut diseases like Crohn’s, colitis, CF, and yes, I consider autism one of those that starts in the gut.

8 thoughts on “Breaking the Vicious Cycle:Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elain Gottschall

  1. rhapsodyinbooks says:

    You are so inspirational! You have so much determination and willpower- and I know you will say well you have to, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from not having the strength to do what they need to do!

    • stacybuckeye says:

      Jill, I can’t thank you guys enough for always making me feel better than when I posted 🙂 I wasn’t going to say that BUT I was going to say that you’ve given me too much credit with the willpower talk. I am terrified that I won’t have enough willpower to do it for the first 6 months (the amount of time we have told Gage). Chocolate, fast food and wine are my go-tos in time of stress so this diet will be a game changer for me. I hope you are right and I truly appreciate the support 🙂

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