Are you gluten-free & still suffering?

eat well feel well

UPDATE: July 25, 2013
I was just informed by Heather VanVorous that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was specifically designed for inflammatory bowel disease, and with IBS by definition, there is no inflammation.

Throughout this book, Kendall Conrad, author, keeps referring to the matriarch of Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), Elaine Gottschall and her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle. Obviously, I’m going to read this book next 🙂

This book contains recipes that are SCD compliant, but in the beginning Kendall give an overview of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Why do Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

“Bacteria are meant to live in the intestines, but only certain types and only in limited numbers. When the balance if off, the intestine cannot do its job properly and important nutrients fail to be absorbed.”

This book is the product of a doctor’s search to restore her daughter’s intestinal tract. Eat Well Fell Well is compiled with nutritional soundness. Most important, it provides recipes for health that can actually heal the intestine.

Elaine Gottschall explains in her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, that millions of people around the world suffer from gut problems and that most doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics and steroids which, for the most part, don’t work.

Tested for more than 50 years by Dr. Sidney Hass & Elaine Gottschall, the SCD has produced very convincing results. Gottschall claims that based on clinical study and anecdotal feedback, at least 75% of those who follow the diet rigidly have experienced significant improvement.”

This diet is not for the faint of heart…

Eliminate all grains — Yep,

“Talk is cheap when it comes to miraculous cures and special diets,
but experience is worth its weight in gold.”

This diet is healthy and healing for those who have cut out wheat, gluten and still have chronic digestive issues. It has the highest-nutrient foods available, empowering healing and regenerative results for many people.

We are encouraged in Eat Well Feel Well to:

— choose the best quality ingredients available

— invest in buying local farmer’s markets for fresh organic fruits and vegetables

— try cooking with grass-fed beef and lamb that hasn’t been inoculated with antibiotics and hormones

— look for wild fish (not farm-raised)

— buy poultry that is free-range and organic

— try to stay away from prepared or packaged foods as much as possible.

The What & What Not to eat of SCD.

Kendall encourages us to read Gottschall’s Breaking the Vicious Cycle as soon as possible to understand the how and why of this diet (if, of course, you want to learn that stuff). But until you do, here’s an outline of the diet:

1)  The diet only includes very specific carbohydrates–those that require minimal digestive processes, which are well absorbed and leaves virtually nothing to encourage microbial overgrowth in the intestines. (I believe my juicer will come in very handy here).

2) Monosaccharides (single molecules including glucose, fructose and galactose) require no splitting in order to be absorbed by the body. They are found in fruits, honey, some vegetables, and a special homemade yogurt. This is confusing because she names fructose, but we’re still not allowed to eat high-fructose corn syrup.

3)  Disaccharides (lactose, sucrose, maltose & isomaltose) and polysaccharides (most starches) should generally be avoided.

4)  Complex carbs that are not easily digested, feed harmful bacteria, causing them to overgrow, producing by-products and inflaming the intestinal wall.

5)  Bacteria in the small intestine usually triggers a worsening cycle of gas and acid production, which further inhibits absorption. The gas and acids can cause damage.

6)  When absorption is inhibited, folic acid and Vit B-12 deficiency follows and the vicious sycle spires on.

7)  Other symptoms of malabsorption include chronic diarrhea. I’ve always had trouble remembering how to spell diarrhea, but no longer 🙂

What Can I Eat? This is not a complete list:

OK:  beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fresh fish & shell fish
No No:  processed meat (there goes my hotdogs & turkey kielbasa), smoked meat (my bacon and ham go up in smoke), no breaded fish (wonder if pecan crusted is okay).

OK:  all varieties of fresh or frozen (no added sugar or starch)
No No:  potatoes, sweet potatoes 😦 okra, seaweed (oh that one’s easy to give up), canned and jarred vegetables with additives.

Grains & Legumes
OK:  dry beans (after 3 months on the diet)
No No:  wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, cereals, flours. (No pasta or bread)

OK:  fresh, raw, cooked, frozen with no added sugar, dried or canned in its own juice
No No:  any fruit with sugar added or sugar-based products. (There go my fruit roll-ups and yogurt covered almonds)

OK:  eggs, hard-aged cheese, butter
No No:  fluid milk of any kind; dried milk solids, sour cream, commercial yogurt, soft cheeses (includes mozzarella–there goes my pizza)

Here we go again: the SCD suggests that this way of eating is right for us because it is species appropriate. The foods allowed are the ones our earliest ancestors ate before agriculture began.

Gottschall points out that “in the last hundred years the increase in complex sugars and chemical additives in our diet has led to a huge increase in health problems ranging from severe bowel disorders to obesity and brain function disorders.

Sneaky ingredients to avoid:
FOS (fructooligosaccharides)
Kudzu, slippery elm & arrowroot
Locust bean gum, guar gum, xantham gum, carrageenan
Maltodextrin, pectin, potato starch
Sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol (there goes ice cream)
Soy flower, soy sauce
Sucrose, fructose & evaporated cane juice

Think this diet is not for you?
That’s what I thought when I first came across this diet, but now that I’m eating wheat/gluten/dairy free for the past 5 months and still have major issues; I’m going to try this. Not jumping in with both feet–that’s too scary. I’m going to go slow and start eliminating the bad stuff one at a time. I’m not throwing away a huge bag of rolled oats I just bought or all the other No No foods that I spent good money on.

Good luck if you are serious about going on this diet. I would love to hear your feedback if you ARE on this diet or thinking of going on the diet.


I Almost Forgot…silly me! This is a recipe book!Bottom line: it has enough recipes for me to want to buy it, BUT, most of the recipes are too high-brow for me AND because I have chronic fatigue and don’t want to cook in the first place.

Let me regale you with some of the recipe names:
Tabbouleh – I’ve actually had this and love it!
Watercress and Cauliflower Puree with Parmesan Crackers
French Lentil Salad
Homemade Dijon Mustard
Homemade Yogurt
White Bean Hummus
Sauteed fillet of sole with lemon, butter, and capers
Broiled Orange-Mustard-Glazed Salmon
Banana Leaf-Wrapped Halibut with Papaya and Coconut
Moroccan Chicken Stew with Cashews, Saffron and Currants
Roasted Acorn Squash with Butter, Nutmeg, and Honey
Buttery Herb & Garlic Crackers
Lemon-Coconut Macaroons
Whipped Cashew Cream
Blood Orange-Ginger Fizz
Moroccan Mint Tea
Eggs Florentine Benedict
Banana Macadamia Bread
Breakfast Pork Sausages
Honey-Garlic Chicken Drummettes

In the back of the book, Kendall lists resources (2006):

Web sites I’ve come across:
www.breaking the vicious cycle – this link takes you to SCD information

WebMD weighs in on this diet:

The SCD has been around for years because for some people with GI diseases, it minimizes symptoms. But the diet, because of its severe restrictions and nutritional inadequacies, needs to be studied further and validated by the medical community.

If you want to try the SCD, consult your doctor first. “If any of my patients wanted to try this plan (which they have not), I would be willing as long as they agreed to being monitored very closely,” Mason says.

You may also want to consult a registered dietitian to make sure you’re meeting all your nutritional needs while you’re on the SCD diet. Read More…

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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