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FOREST INK: Not just another diet book

“Breaking the Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall is a hard to put down book
Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.

As has been the case in some of my articles this one does not have much to do with forests but when I read a book that I think may be useful to the readers I want to pass on the information.

Once I started reading Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, I couldn’t put it down especially the section on testimonials of people who had been helped by the information.

If you know of anyone suffering from the following medical conditions I suggest you at least do a quick review of SCD on the internet.

Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea and the latest on the gastrointestinal problems that some children with autism have. As the name suggests, the diet allows some carbs and bans others, based on how hard they are to digest.

You can have items including fresh fruit, most vegetables, meat without additives, and homemade yogourt, but NOT starches, grains, and processed or canned foods.

This weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a number of retired doctors, nurses and a practising nutritionists about the book. Their reaction was similar to what I found on the internet when I did a search on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

A number of well-known medical centres have done recent reviews on SCD with mostly positive comments but the following probably sums up the reviews.

Several small studies have shown that it can improve symptoms in children and adults with inflammatory bowl disease and Crohn’s disease but more research is needed to get a better understanding of how effective the diet is before doctors can routinely recommended it.

Maybe it was because the original research was from the 1920s, the authors book was first published in 1987 and updated in 2004 after 11th printing making it 20-plus years old.

While I can appreciate the cautious approach of the medical community with the shortage of family doctors and nurses along with the strain on the health care system I would hate to see someone suffering with something that could be improved with a reasonably simple change in life style which is what SCD is promoting.

According to her book, Gottschall’s young daughter had been diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis. Gottschall reportedly used the diet as successful treatment and then did further research on nutrition and gastrointestinal health before writing the book. The theory behind the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that certain carbohydrates are not fully digested, so they remain in the gut and must be broken down by the bacteria there.

This can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, and waste products of the digestion process can set off a chain reaction, or “vicious cycle,” of irritation in the intestines.

There is a small but growing body of research that supports SCD for treating inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as other gastrointestinal problems which are implicated in brain development and function.

If anyone is seriously thinking of trying the SCD I would recommend the book since it provides more details about support groups, tips on how to get started on the new lifestyle, many recipes as well as updates on the connection between gastrointestinal issues and brain function including autism.

There is also an excellent YouTube video of the author before she passed away in 2005.

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About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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