Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I was so excited when Raman Prasad asked me if I would review his new book, The SCD for Autism and ADHD: A Reference and Dairy-Free Cookbook for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I've been pouring over the pages and sampling recipes. This book does not disappoint! It is so much more than a cookbook. It has appeal to both critical thinkers and visual learners. I also appreciate that they took into consideration that not everyone will have an unlimited budget and how to set priorities.

There is a wealth of information in the first half of the book: scientific research, references, resources, practical guides, personal stories, and most of all support. They have really tried to help you navigate implementing the diet. How to prepare food is covered as well as how to prepare your social network, your child's institutional settings, and care for the caregivers.

Nothing is minimized or trivialized, which is a relief in and of itself to have the challenges of dietary changes acknowledged and honored in a way that assists you to address them. You are dealing with many challenges, they are surmountable, and you will be more likely to succeed with help and understanding from people around you. There are so many tools in this book to facilitate an actual lifestyle change that is manageable and permanent. Best of all, you will have an understanding of how diet is linked to symptoms, which is empowering.

Another aspect of this book I really appreciated is the aesthetic approach. Sections are limited in scope so you can easily partition off a little bit of learning at a time if you wish, then digest the information before moving on to the next bit. If you can engage in a magazine article, you can read this book in the same manner of fashion. Pick it up, read a few pages, feel enlightened and educated. Of course, you can read it as fast as you are able and willing!

There is space to breathe, images that correlate with information, diagrams to illustrate things simply and quickly, as well as a variety of text inserts and offshoots for quick tips. Visual learners will find it appealing as well as approachable in the way information is parsed and presented. The pictures of the food are beautiful, too.

You don’t have to invent the wheel with this book. You’ll find easy to follow and appetizing recipes, a day in the life of prepping SCDiet food timed out for you to follow, themed menu plans, two weeks worth of meals in a simple plan, lists for organizing and outfitting your kitchen to cook SCDiet, "yes" and "no" foods listed, and how to deal with holidays, events, and school.

It’s challenging enough to change a diet and lifestyle without having to figure out everything from scratch by yourself, so it’s nice that you don’t have to. This book is such a huge prop. I feel like they have taken a load off for people new to this way of living and finding health through food. I don’t have a child with autism or the need in our family to be dairy free, and I still find great value in this book. While the audience intended is targeted, I think anyone using SCDiet or following a GFCF diet will find it highly beneficial.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cooking Old School with Roxalana

Yay! I have found a whole new resource for cooking and how to look at food. While romantic notions of Paleo diets are all the rage right now, perhaps we need not reach back so far to something largely unattainable in today's world.
Indeed, I had never contemplated period cooking before I met this lovely lady. I think you are going to love her site as much as I do. Roxalana's Redactions is a wonderful resource for recipes, how-to preparation with illustrations, and general cooking knowledge. She has opened up a wealth of new information to me about food, so I hope you find her site just as inspirational! Just think of all the new flavors, preparation and presentation methods! YUM!!!
To get you started with something practical, here is her entry on how to debone a bird...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Connections and Support

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Also, if you value the information and inspiration that I offer through this blog, won't you take a moment to make a donation? Help me to keep devoting time to sharing my research and experiences with food and disease intervention! Thank you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Microbial Ecosystem Biology Paper by a friend

The following is a paper written by a friend of mine, Dominique Vyborny, for her biology class at college. I am encouraged for our future as she is of a younger generation, does not have a serious gut condition, and she is evaluating our human relationship with microbes as a complex and delicate interwoven system! This is a wonderful introduction to a breadth of topics surrounding our ecosystem. I am publishing this with her permission. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Our Inner Ecosystem:
How Our Microbiota Affect Our Health And How Probiotics May Have a Positive Impact
Dominique Vyborny Bio1323
Section 1: You Are Not Alone
With the popularity of antibacterial soaps, household cleaners, 
disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and the all too common view that germs cause disease, it’s difficult for us to conceive that our bodies are living in a healthy symbiosis with many trillions of bacteria, fungi, archaea and protozoans, both on our skin and inside our bodies. Many of these are beneficial to our wellbeing, though some are pathogenic if given an opportunity overpopulate inappropriate locations. Some beneficial bacterias in our GI tract produce nutrients such as biotin and vitamin K which can be absorbed by the body(1). Under normal conditions these microbiota live in harmony with each other, but occasionally an outside factor such as antibiotics, surgery, or immunosuppressive medications can kill off some of the good bacteria causing an opportunity for the pathogenic bacteria to flourish in unhealthy numbers. (2)
Probiotics are becoming a more popular way to help reclaim a healthy internal bacterial balance. Probiotics are defined as “live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit for the host”(2). Common probiotic cultures that have been proven to provide some health benefit include lactic acid bacteria, specifically, strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A type of yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, has been shown to have health benefits, such as anti- inflammatory mechanisms.(3) There is also a specific strain of E. coli, specifically Escherichia coli Nissile 1917, that has been shown to have a highly responsive effect on some Crohn’s disease patients. (4)
Germ-free mice, born and raised in the absence of all microbes, suffer from several physical developmental issues: “The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the first line of defense for the intestinal mucosa, is defective in germ free mice....Besides the developmental defects in tissue formation, the cellular and molecular of the intestinal immune system is also compromised in the absence of symbiotic bacteria.” (5)
Section 2: Every Culture Has a Culture
In countries and countries across the world we consistently encounter foods that have been fermented with non pathogenic bacteria into a stable state for storage and usage. Examples of these are brined olives, yogurt, kefir, Kim Chi, cheese, sauerkraut, sourdough, . All of these have been cultured using a variety of Lactobacillus bacterium, and until our relatively recent shift into homogenizing foods, they would contain active cultures up until the time of ingestion. Lactobacillus Plantarum most often occurs in fermented foods that are based on plant material.(6) This strain may have highly beneficial properties for those suffering from obesity, as we shall see in Section IV.
Unfortunately, with modern pasteurizing requirements, most of these foods that would normally be rich in probiotics have been stripped of their beneficial bacteria. Certain companies will reintroduce a limited amount after pasteurizing. One such company is White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt. They then reintroduce the bacterial strains L. Acidophilus, L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus and B. Bifidum. (7) The Gold Mine Natural Food Company sells a raw organic sauerkraut which is publicized to contain 7.8 million CFU’s of live lactobacillus and bifidobacterium species per gram.
We’re also seeing more options for pill-form probiotics at the local health food store. Many companies have a minimum potency guarantee, but it’s difficult to maintain appropriate conditions ideal for the health of the bacteria from manufacturer to consumer. Quite a few of these products ideally need to be refrigerated during transport to keep the bacteria alive, dormant and inactive. Some companies have come up with interesting ways to present their product, from a vegan coconut kefir that is appropriate for vegans, to a capsule that doesn’t need to be refrigerated because the bacteria is stabilized using other methods. One such company is Jarrow Formulas. They have a product called Jarro-Dophilus EPS® which is advertised as a “stable- dophilus”, meaning that it’s a shelf-stable formula and doesn’t need refrigeration, although refrigerationwillhelpextendit’sshelflife. Italsohasanentericcoating,whichwillhelpit resist the acidic environment of the stomach in order to populate the small intestines.(8) Let’s take a look at the challenges probiotics face after we ingest them.
Section 3: The Journey Home
For probiotic bacteria to be of maximum benefit, the specific strains must posses certain traits.They must either be able to survive the acidic stomach on their own, or be in a capsule that allows them to pass through the stomach and into the intestines. They must be able to colonize and reproduce in the intestines, then attach to the lining of the GI tract and become stabilized with the rest of the bacterial population. (1)
It has been suggested that, because our bodies evolved in the presence of a wide variety of bacteria and the gut microbiota evolved with our bodies, our bacteria that populate the alimentary tract have the ability to engage in cross-talk with the human host that involves several mechanisms. The host’s innate immune system is able to recognize the molecular structures of both non-pathogenic and pathogenic bacteria.(7) Basically, the body can distinguish between friend and foe. Another way that host and bacteria communicate may be through the use of hormones on the hosts end, and hormone-like chemicals produced by the bacteria. (9)
Depending on the type of bacterial probiotic that’s ingested, the cultures may colonize different parts of the GI tract, and play different roles in maintaining the health of the human host. Certain types of bacteria can withstand the highly acidic environment of the stomach, some of them pathogenic such as Helicobacter Pylori, These bacteria use interesting methods to stay alive, such as producing large amounts of urease, which causes urea to break down into ammonia, thus buffering the stomach acid in their direct vicinity. (10) Bacteria will also colonize the small intestine, but are found in the largest numbers in the large intestine.
Section IV: Our Mirco Minions
The role that our mircoflora play may be more extensive than simply helping to crowd out pathogens. According to S. Possimiers et al:
“It is estimated that the collection of all microbial genomes in the gut comprises between 2 million and 4 million genes, which is 70-140 times more than that of it’s host. This “microbiome” encompasses all genes that are responsible for for numerous processes such as substrate breakdown, protein synthesis, biomass production, production of signaling molecules, anti-microbial compounds, and encodes biochemical pathways that humans have not evolved. Thus the intestinal microbiota can be regarded as a separate organ within the human host, which is capable of even more conversations than the human liver”.(9)
There are several diseases of the GI tract that have become more prevalent since pasteurization, irradiation, and sterilization of our foods has become the norm. Obesity has been sharply on the rise since 1980. During the 1980s and 1990s hospitalizations for peptic ulcers was on the decline but rates still remained high (11), Diagnoses’ of Crohn’s Disease(CD), a type of Irritable Bowel Disease(IBD), have been on the rise as well. There have been several studies involving these diseases and their responsiveness to probiotic treatment, or the role that gut microflora may play in causation and prevention as well as in active treatment.
In America, cases of obesity are at an all time high, with clinical obesity effecting 1 in 3 Americans. Recent studies have shown that there may be a strong link between obesity and gut microflora in animals and humans. The internal microbial balance of people suffering from obesity shows a much different bacterial profile than their more slender counterparts. (12) A study conducted by student Caroline Karlsson at Lund University in Sweden shows that in rats, an L. plantarum probiotic administered from birth until adulthood may help in controlling obesity and also seems to reduce low-level inflammation. According to Ms. Karlsson: "Rats who were given this specific lactic acid bacterium from their time in the uterus up to adult age put on significantly less weight than other rats. Both groups ate the same amount of high-energy food". There was a control group which wasn’t given any bacterial supplement, and then a third group which was given an amount of E. coli bacteria in their drinking water. The third group experienced distinct changes in their gut flora and an increased weight gain. (13) It’s been suggested that the unhealthy microbiota have the ability to increase the Caloric intake of their host, and may signal for the excess energy to be stored nearby, causing a larger amount of central body fat. (12)
The pathogenic bacteria Helicobacter pylori has been implicated in several conditions effecting human health, most commonly peptic ulcers, and as a risk factor for gastric adenocarcinoma(stomach cancer) and lymphoma. The most common to treatment for this bacteria utilizes antibiotics but due to moderate patient compliance, high cost of treatment and a resulting resistance of the bacteria, this solution is often not 100% effective. H. pylori is one of the world’s most prevalent pathogens, infecting up to 50% of the world’s population. Low socio-economic level and bad hygenic conditions are implicated as the main risk factors. Studies have been showing that the natural actions of Lactobacillus bacteria may help keep H. pylori populations in check. The suggested naturally occurring mechanism is the production of specific short chain fatty acids(SCFAs) and bacteriocins. The SCFAs lower the pH level of the gastric environment and help keep numbers in check. Bacteriocins are compounds that are small heat-resistant peptidic structures with antimicrobial activities. (10)
Crohn’s Disease(CD) is a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD). Recently it’s been supposed that some cases of Crohn’s will respond well to a treatment of probiotics and prebiotics, if the common steroidal treatment shows no response. In a study done by S. Fujimori et al, ten active CD outpatients without history of operation for CD were enrolled in the study. Their ages ranged from 19-42. Their main symptoms were diarrhea and abdominal pain. They were put on a daily intake of both probiotics (75 billion colony forming units [CFU] daily) and prebiotics (psyllium 9.9 g daily). The probiotics were mainly comprised of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Over a 21 month period, 7 patients showed a complete response to the treatment, one patient showed a partial response, and three patients showed no response. It can thus be concluded that this treatment is safe and effective in treating active Crohn’s Disease.
Section V: In Conclusion
The microbiota and flora of the human alimentary tract are complex and interesting to study. They serve many purposes, and it can be safe to say that the human species may not have made it so far with out the help of our inner ecosystem. Preventing pathogenic disease is an important goal for our society, but learning to recognize that not all bugs are created equal, and that not all are enemies, may be the next important shift for our medical future. I hope you enjoyed learning about your own inner world, and I hope you have an opportunity to try some actively cultured foods sometime, they’re quite delicious!

Cited References
1 JS Blake, KD Munoz, S Volpe, 2010, Nutrition, From Science to You, ISBN 10: 0-321-51319-3
2 N T Williams, Probiotics. Am J Health-Syst Pharm--Vol 67 2010, March 15. Pg 449-458
3 C. Pothoulakis, Review Article: Anti-Inflammatory Mechanisms of Action of Saccharomyces boulardii Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2009, 30, Pg 826-833
5 Yun Kyung Lee, Sarkis, K. Mazmanian. Has the Microbiota Played a Critical Role in
the Evolution of the Adaptive Immune System? Science Magazine, December
24, 2010. Vol. 33, No. 6012, Pg 1768-1773
6 Edward R Farnworth, 2003, Handbook of Fermented Foods, ISBN 0-8493-1372-4 7
9 Sam Possemiers, Chalotte Grootaert, Joan Vermeiren, Gabriele Gross, Massimo
Marzorati, Willy Verstrete, and Tom Van de Wiele. The Intestinal Environment in Health and Disease-- Recent Insights on the Potential of Intestinal Bacteria to Influence Human Health. 2009 Current Pharmaceutical Design, 15, Pg2051-2065
10 M. Gotteland, O. Brunser, S. Cruchet. Systematic Review: Are probiotics useful in controlling gastric colonization by Helicobacter pylori? Alimentary Phamacology and Theraputics, 2006, 23, 1077-1086
11 Feinstein LB, Holman RC, Yorita Christensen KL, Steiner CA, Swerdlow DL. Trends in hospitalizations for peptic ulcer disease, United States, 1998–2005.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Sep
12 Abstract:
DiBaise JK; Zhang H; Crowell MD; Krajmalnik-Brown R; Decker GA;
Rittmann BE, Gut Microbiota and Its Possible Relationship With Obesity, April
2008, Mayo Clinic Proceedings.;83(4) Pg 460-469,
C. Karlsson, Healthy Gut Flora Could Prevent Obesity. Lund University Magazine,
May 25th, 2011.
14 S. Fujimori, A. Tatsuguchi, K. Gudis, T. Kishida, K. Mitsui, A Ehara, T. Kobayashi, Y.

Sekita, T. Seo, C. Sakamoto. 2007. High dose probiotic and prebiotic cotherapy for remission of induction of active Crohn’s disease. 2006, Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 22, Pg 1199-1204

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spinach Tomato Beef Chili Recipe & How-To Video


2 pounds ground beef

1 bag frozen spinach

1 quart tomato soup

2 medium onions

6 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon each dried oregano and paprika,

1 teaspoon gray coarse Celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon each cayenne and chili pepper flakes

2 large cast iron skillets

Large glass pot
2 Spatulas

Cutting board

Small glass bowl

Measuring spoons



* Melt butter in iron skillets over medium low heat, one for the ground beef and the other for the onions.

* Chop onions and start sautéing adding butter as needed.

* Start browning your ground beef.

* Mix your spices making sure they are well blended with your fork before adding to beef.

* Fold in the spices as you brown the beef.

* As your onions start to turn translucent, add in your tomato soup and frozen spinach and stir.

* Once beef is cooked combine with tomato, onion, and spinach in a large glass pot and simmer for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Tip: This dish gets better with marinating, is great to freeze, and once you graduate to advanced foods you can add in nay beans to hearten it up some more! Top with a dollop of French cream and extra salt, or shredded cheese, or guacamole…

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Constructive Criticisms of BTVC

Constructive Criticisms of BTVC

Now that you know how grateful I am to Elaine Gottschall and her work, I would like to share some constructive criticisms of her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle. These criticisms do nothing at all to undermine her work, they are just indicators that she was a real human being and none of us are perfect.

There are a few things that somehow she writes as permissive items to ingest even though they all go against the diet and the diet premises. Here are items that she says it’s ok to consume that I completely disagree with:

1) “Artificial sweeteners other than saccharin should be avoided… Low calorie diet foods often contain sorbitol or xylitol as sweeteners. Occasionally low calorie diet chewing gum or candy containing these sweeteners may be used. However, excessive use of these products can cause diarrhea and bloating. Pg 44

My counter is NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS INCLUDING SACCHARIN. Saccharin isn’t good for you. Get over your mental need for hyper sweetening everything and your taste buds will follow, I promise. It’s amazing how sweet a piece of fruit is after you haven’t been consuming sugar and artificial sweeteners. And, honey is wonderfully sweet while containing all the enzymes you need to digest it properly without getting a blood sugar spike. Just make sure you are buying minimally processed honey or raw.

Also, my counter includes a furthermore of NO GUM OF ANY KIND OR DIET CANDY. Gum is on the “illegal” list for SCDiet, so don’t chew it because it will hold back your healing if not prevent it. We’ve already been through the fact that all artificial sweeteners are bad for you, and that includes diet candy. Low calorie candy is still candy and worse for you than regular candies in many instances. Candy is a processed food, and the more its ingredients are manufactured the worse it is for you. Foods that cause you diarrhea and bloating should be avoided, not occasionally tolerated.

2) “Processed meats… ordinary smoked bacon may be eaten once a week if it is fried very crisply.” Pg 53

My counter is NO PROCESSED MEATS OF ANY KIND AT ALL EVER. Not only is processing generally bad, even if you are avoiding sugars and fake smoke flavor you must also avoid cancer causing nitrites. Processed meats come with additional health hazards on top of SCDiet legalities. Just don’t buy processed meats at all. And please do not fry anything. Look back to my “Fats in Your Foods” entry for why. As long as you are looking for someone else to do all of the work for you in preparing a food, you will have many opportunities to fail. If you follow the diet fanatically, your chances of succeeding increase. As long as you feed a few microbes, you will stay sick. It’s your choice, but I don’t think a piece of bacon is worth your health and well-being.

3) “Diet soft drinks are permitted occasionally. Those sweetened with aspartame or Nutri-Sweet may sometimes contain lactose and should be avoided, if possible. However, if this is the only type available, one per week is permitted. Diet soft drinks sweetened with saccharin need not be limited to only on a week: 2-3 weekly would be permissible.” Pg 57

My counter is NO DIET SOFT DRINKS OF ANY KIND AT ALL EVER. There is no reason to consume artificial sweeteners of any kind, as stated above. There is also no reason to consume cancer causing caramel coloring or artificial flavoring. All artificial food is fake food and it is bad for you. Ingesting this kind of poison is not a good choice, and especially not as a routine. There are no health benefits to soda pop and this is another prime way to stay sick with permission to ingest fake foods.

These exceptions to the no exceptions rule really bother me. Not only are they bad for your health, they counter the diet, they counter premises the diet is based on, and they give permission to cheat, to not adhere to the diet fanatically, and to fail. These three very explicit permissions to cheat should be disregarded entirely. You should not set yourself to cheat at all, let alone routinely until your symptoms return or get worse. That’s not healing. Cheating on this diet undermines the diet. Doing any one of these things is the same as saying, “I’m not a smoker. I only smoke when I go out to the bar with my friends once or twice a week.” You are not on SCDiet if you consume illegal foods. After years of watching folks on list serves talk about the same things, the same issues, and the same desires, I think Elaine did a great disservice in introducing how to cheat on SCD with her nod of approval. These exceptions are nowhere in Dr. Haas’ work.

This leads me into my next critique. I noticed this in 2006 while reading BTVC again (my first time was 1999 when I first went on SCDiet) and reading Management of Celiac Disease by Dr. Sydney Valentine Haas. Here is the paragraph from BTVC on page 50, “The strictness of this diet cannot be overemphasized nor should the difficulty of adhering to it be minimized. Faithful observance requires intelligence and vigilance on the part of those taking care of the individual or on the part of the person who cooks for himself or herself. It is surprising how many times a child will manage, despite the best supervision, to get hold of forbidden food. It is equally surprising how many parents will decide, despite all warnings, that ‘just a taste’ of ice cream, cookie, or candy will do no harm. Such infringements will seriously delay recovery and it is unwise to undertake this regimen unless you are willing to follow it with fanatical adherence.” This is a politically correct version of what Dr. Haas wrote. This paragraph isn’t credited to him, and that bothers me as a form of plagiarism.

Here is his version on page 131, “The strictness of this diet cannot be overemphasized, nor should the difficulty of adhering to it be minimized. Faithful observance requires intelligence and vigilance on the part of the mother or the person taking care of the child with celiac disease. It is surprising how many times a child will, despite the best parental supervision, manage to get hold of forbidden food. It is equally surprising how many parents of apparent intelligence will, despite all warnings, decide that "just a taste" of ice cream, cookie, or candy will do no harm. Nevertheless, treatment is best carried out in the home, with frequent visits to the doctor's office. Of the cases reported here, only two were hospitalized.”

So, my critique is not only about her giving proper credit where credit is due to Dr. Haas, but also about the content of the copied words. Elaine obviously needed to hear that message again herself as she was giving permission for just a taste of gum, low calorie candy, diet soda, and bacon. I really hope that you don’t cheat on the SCDiet with these or any other illegal foods. If so, you are cheating yourself. On top of that, please do not say that you are following SCDiet if you are not following it fanatically. The dilution and distortion of the original tenants of the diet undermine the diet and its efficacy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Elaine Gottschall on TV

SCDiet saved my life. I wouldn't be on the face of this planet without Elaine's work, and I am forever indebted to her and Dr. Haas. It is always nice to see her views coming directly from her. Thank you, scddiet 23 for sharing this!