Read Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gottschall Online


WHAT IS THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET?It is a strict grain-free, lactose-free, and sucrose-free meal plan.HOW DOES IT WORK?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 CarbohyWHAT IS THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET?It is a strict grain-free, lactose-free, and sucrose-free meal plan.HOW DOES IT WORK?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....

Title : Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780969276814
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 205 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet Reviews

  • Kathryn
    2019-04-01 15:31

    I read this book almost three months ago when I was at the end of my rope suffering from intestinal pain/discomfort/bloating/etc and doctors ran tests and said there was "nothing wrong" with me and it was "probably IBS" so just "try not to stress out" and maybe it would get better. GURRR! Anyway, I waited to post my review since I've been trying the diet during the interim. The result: AMAZING! Thus, I feel I can give this book five stars and, more importantly than that, recommend that EVERYONE become acquainted with the concepts presented here. Even if you do not suffer from intestinal issues yourself, chances are you know a friend or family member who is (even if they are suffering silently!) and, beyond that, there has been miracles happening for kids diagnoses with ADHD and Autism who did amazingly well on this diet. Most importantly, most people who make the change in their diet will NOT need to continue medications at all, or as often. This is a completely NATURAL approach to managing one's health.The diet is not easy. Nor is it particularly inexpensive (though when you figure how little you'll be eating out, the cost is pretty much off-set!). You will have to give up a lot of foods that you love--but that don't love you back! It's like being in a bad relationship! Why continue your love affair with food if it's ruining your health--and probably, by extension, your enjoyment of life!? The diet proposes that certain carbohydrates cannot break down properly in certain people, leading to various diseases of the gut (and, since there is a clear brain-gut correlation, this can sometimes manifest as ADHD, etc.) Thus, you must eliminate all those offending carbs from your diet. This means NO sugar, no wheat, no rice, no corn, no potatoes, no beans... and no lactose. Yup, most of the food that we eat every day--food that is even "good for us" (except that, in those suffering from a sick gut, etc. it's NOT!) Now, before you think this is the end of the world--or, at least, of delicious food, there are lots of recipes that are pretty darn tasty. Nothing will ever come close to a tasty tortilla chip or fresh baked bread, but you can supplement with almond flour (which is expensive but a little goes a long way!) and honey and make some pretty tasty "breads" and cookies and cakes that way. You can make home-made yogurt and find some good cheeses (avoid the soft ones, go with the hard ones). Also, your whole approach to food will change. You will pretty much avoid the middle section of the supermarket because pretty much EVERYTHING processed has some sort of sugar or corn derivative in it. You'll spend of time with produce--which is really how things should be anyway. Lots of cooking from scratch!!! No more quick snack of chips (or even power bars or other "healthy" processed food). In time, you may find some restaurants you can go to now and then (Greek is a good choice!) And, if you find you really just want to have a piece of your best friend's wedding cake--I say, go for it--if you are ready for the consequences. I splurged for my birthday and had some sugar and my tummy felt a bit off after but I REALLY wanted that cake! ;-p (The book says you should pretty much never break the diet, BtW, but I can't quite live like that!)I am not some amazing person who has tons of culinary skill or patience with cooking, shopping or not eating out. I am lazy in the kitchen and also a major foodie and I LOVE trying new foods and eating out. I LOVE bread! I love desserts! I want ice cream!!! But, I was also literally sick and tired from bombarding my system (however inadvertently) with foods that were bad for me. Whether or not you choose to try this diet will probably depend on how crappy you feel. Also, there is another system of thought out there if you have IBS that is pretty much contradictory to this diet (except for the lactose aspect) where you can have rice and bread but must avoid nuts and cheeses, etc. I tried that for a few days, but I got so bloated from just having white rice that I figure I must be better with the SCD diet in Gotschall's book.If you are curious, you can go to Gotschall's website or type in "Specific Carbohydrate Diet" in Google and a bunch of stuff will come up without you even having to invest in the book. Intestinal problems are not the most romantic thing to talk about, but I wanted to share my experience with everyone because this diet has truly made my life SO much better!!! If you are suffering, and especially if the doctors have told you there is "nothing wrong" except a little IBS, do try this (so long as you HAVE ruled out the other things that could be wrong, of course.)Good luck and good health!

  • Kristina
    2019-04-20 09:38

    My typical dinner used to be pizza, pasta, or sandwiches, always followed by something sweet--candy, cookies, cake. Bread/grain was my life. I rarely ate vegetables or meat. My gastroenterologist had told me to follow a low-residue diet, so I figured the more carbs, the better. He advised me to stay away from raw vegetables and meat, the "hard to digest" foods he thought would tax my digestive system. Then I read this book and realized I had been eating all the wrong things for years.This book has changed my diet for the better, though it requires monumental effort. It's been a month and a half since I went SCD and I have high hopes for healing my gut as I follow the diet. This book was much better than the similar Maker's Diet, which was apparently based on the principles Elaine Gottschall learned from the Drs. Haas. SCD is more strict than the Maker's Diet in some respects, but the firm science behind it spoke louder to me than the biblical interpretations and expensive aromatherapy and cleansing products espoused by the Maker's Diet.While I respect this book and would highly recommend it to any other sufferers of digestive disorders, there are some not so great things about it. Some of the recipes are just plain terrible. The coconut-honey candy balls were a disappointingly goopy waste of honey. On the other hand, the honey-garlic spare ribs were unbelievably easy to make and delicious. Experiment until you find what works for you, and equip yourself with alternate sources of recipes to compensate for the flops. There are so many SCD-friendly recipes out there (,, that even cooks with limited experience can be successful in the kitchen. The book editing is poor, with some pages tumbling into ever smaller fonts from paragraph to paragraph. If you aren't an editor like me, this probably won't bother you.

  • Jeff
    2019-04-06 08:37

    Let me say that this is a frightening book. But it's also an amazing book. Apparently, there has been much research done over the years concerning the digestive system and our health. What I did not realize is that, if something such as complex carbs doesn't fully digest in the intestines, it doesn't just automatically pass right on through. Sometimes, they "hang out," causing all sorts of problems and sicknesses. While this book is not specifically written about autism, there is much evidence that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet will be beneficial to people with autism. The book is well written, with many, many resources in the end notes. The author goes into a lot of detail with biological evidence, etc., and gets over my head occasionally. But the main thrust of it is that, in order to gain healing in the digestive system, we need to eat foods that require little or no digestion. There is a wealth of information toward the back of the book, including a recipe section that seems to go on forever. I feel relatively certain that we will be trying some of those soon. I recommend this book for people who might be suffering from things like Crohn's disease. There are quite a few testimonials of people who have been healed of that disease by following this diet.

  • Foxglow
    2019-04-19 08:36

    As a Crohn's sufferer, this book is a godsend! I have been on the diet for 3 months now. My symptoms have vanished, except for twice when I let someone else cook something for me. Both times despite asking several times about the restrictions, they made a last minute adjustment in the recipe and unawares added something with starch in it. The cramps were incredible. I will be eating this way, maybe for the rest of my life. It is worth it to feel healthy and pain free.

  • Kevin
    2019-04-14 12:39

    If you're suffering from Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and/or chronic diarrhea, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. It may be your key to ending your unexplainable suffering (or why going on a gluten free diet as a celiac didn't cure you).My whole life I've been very fit, active, and not had any diet or health problems, although before my issues started I was on a high bread, high sugar diet (as an athlete I thought I needed all that energy and it was going to me). This all mysteriously changed four years ago, at age 36 after a time of extreme emotional stress, when I began having mysterious gastro signs and symptoms (painful abdominal inflammation, chronic diarrhea, malabsorption, gastro bleeding, and at its most extreme- a nerf football sized hydrocele hernia). Since 2011, I've gone through a barrage of exhausting medical tests by multiple general practitioners, a urologist, two gastros, and a holistic MD. In the summer of 2014 I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease as well as several other severe food allergies (peanut butter, dairy, soy, and caffeine). Going gluten free helped lessen my s/sx, but it did not cure me, and all the numerous doctors I've seen are still frustratingly stumped and apologize for having no answers or potential solutions.Researching about potential causes of celiac and other gastro diseases online, I ran across several references to this book. I had already begun to suspect that a gut microbe imbalance was the cause of my issues including celiac, but this book NAILED IT.I now know why it's not just wheat, but ANY grain that causes my suffering. I now know why sugars and starches are very dangerous to my health.As much help cutting gluten out of my diet was, this diet is FINALLY curing my body of the inflammation, brain fog, pain, exhaustion, etc. I even have some hope that I can eventually add back some carbs and foods I'm currently allergic to once I've healed in a year or two.The history of the medical establishment's understanding of celiac and other gastro illnesses is fascinating (it includes European research which I've found hard to come-by up to this book). If you are celiac, this history is worth the book, even if you don't plan on trying the specific carbohydrate diet.Again, highly recommended for those suffering from gastro diseases.

  • Waseem
    2019-04-02 15:24

    This is my premature review of having read the book over the past 2 days and taking notes to try best implement the SCDI will genuinely give it my all to the best of my capabilities and even if am 90% there I hope this helps me with my UC / IBDThe book itself was very informative and encouraging only minor improvements I'd like to have seen was more sharing of success stories of adults vs parents talking about their children.. More sympathetic and talking to us the readers as a whole as opposed to sometimes a tad bit for parents oriented ..The recommendations were good but frank and blunt ( nothing wrong in that ) but like when recommending a host of recipes seemed to just JUMP IN vs abit more empathetic approach to a very strict regimeBut nevertheless a priceless ray of hope and solution to many like me that need something like this and for it to truly workI'd love to hear from fellow readers and implement it's if this diet who have IBD and more specifically Ulcerative Colitis - please share I'd love to hear and exchange idea in the comments section below - even your encouragement will be highly appreciated and valued...To Our Continued Success!Waseem Mirza

  • Carol
    2019-04-04 15:43

    Giving this a middle of the road rating out of lack of experience with the diet. This is a resource highly recommended by people whose opinion I trust. Faced with my own diagnosis of diverticular disease, and the medical establishment's lack of concrete knowledge about what causes it or how to make attacks less likely to occur, I've got to explore other options. The nutrition/science section of the book is filled with citations to peer-reviewed and other medical and nutrition journals, which I like. I'm a little weirded out by the fact that the diet claims to "cure" autism and a few suggestions that childhood vaccines could cause disease. Bottom line, though is will I try it (it's a pretty restrictive diet in the larger scheme of things) and will it work? I'll update if appropriate.

  • Diane
    2019-04-09 13:27

    I have never felt more "normal" energetic and content than I have since eating this way! Who knew it only took replacing starches with veggies in ways I never would have thought of -- and amazingly easy once I wrapped my brain around it, to boot.

  • Brita
    2019-04-09 12:47

    Even after reading this book (and 3 others on a similar topic), I'm still skeptical of the suggested diet. However, I appreciate that the author points out that if you have zero positive effect after 30 days, then the diet isn't for you. Trying something for 30 days, even a strict diet, isn't terribly difficult. This is still an important read for anyone investigating possible diets for IBD.

  • Tasha
    2019-04-06 07:34

    Well, it was good enough for me to read in one evening! I bought this book to get an idea of what the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is like, since I'm dealing with some digestive issues that a paleo diet has not been sufficient in healing. The book starts off with a history of celiac disease and various scientists who have struggled to find an answer behind a number of gut disorders. To me, someone who has an active interest in the science behind nutrition, it was very interesting. I think even a lay reader, who is looking for answers or wonders "how things work" (specifically, the digestion of carbohydrates by a human gut), will find this book easy to understand. After the history, the book goes on to describe what the Specific Carbohydrate is and how it might help someone who follows it. The testimonials are encouraging.My only issue is that the book specifically states that there's no "meal plan guide" to follow. I'm a bit confused about how one implements this diet beyond the intro diet (the first 2-5 days, for which the book does offer a meal plan), and how to add new foods. For someone new to elimination diets, I didn't feel like this book did a great job of explaining how to start.

  • Sharon
    2019-03-29 08:45

    For anyone dealing with digestive disorders, this book is highly informative and I recommend it. There is a lot of information to be gained from reading it, even if you are not considering trying the diet.Breaking the Vicious Cycle is scientific in explanation, but on a level of accessibility most readers should be able to understand and absorb. After two and a half years dealing with my own digestive disorder, I just learned I have been eating the absolute worst things I could possibly attempt to eat. My diet, as recommended to me by my Gastroenterologist, would only serve the purpose of keeping me ill for the rest of my life. That isn't my goal.One major problem with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is the lack of information for how to handle an egg allergy. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet prohibits all grains, lactose, and sucrose (sugar), which leaves you with: fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and eggs. The author mentions it is possible to be a vegetarian on the diet but says it is out of the scope of this book. Personally, I don't see that being a vegetarian would at all be possible, and even having an egg allergy will make this very strict, very limiting diet - incredibly difficult to maintain.However... what do I have to lose?

  • Catherine
    2019-03-25 13:20

    Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall is about GI diseases, what causes them and how to treat them. And when I say 'treat', I mean that loosely. Obviously each case is different and will yield different results.The author begins by explaining some simple biology, what can happen to cause things to go wrong and then how it is perpetuated into a series, chronic problem. The language used is easy to understand so you don't have to have a degree in biochemistry to understand. She also draws some interesting parallels between Austism Spectrum Disorders, food allergies and such with the onset of GI problems. There have been some people who report improvements in ASD children who follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet set forth in the book along with people who have serious GI disease. She states that the diet might not work for everyone, but it's is worth it to give it a shot.I am glad that I read this book for my own information and would suggest it to anyone who has children or loved ones who fall into these categories. It is good food for thought.

  • Julia
    2019-03-26 11:39

    Elaine Gottschall had a very sick little girl. She learned that her daughter had celiac disease. She studied her daughter's illness and follwed the advise of a doctor, and then wrote to tell! From personal experience, I can tell you that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is difficult to transition into and also difficult to maintain, especially for children. Here is what I recommend. Start gluten free/casein free first. Then, you can gradually transition into the SCD diet. The first thing we removed from the diet was bread, pasta, and milk. This alone made such a huge difference in our son's allergies. They cleared up within 2 weeks! We maintained this diet for 3 months and I noticed a big change in my son's stimming behavior. But, it did not improve language/speech. We can't maintain this diet due to the fact that we travel a lot and I am a working mom. I recommend this diet to people who are really sick or for severly autistic adults/children. It is a good diet to heal digestive disorders.

  • Suzanne
    2019-03-26 13:28

    I read this book so that we could start this diet for Alex. He has been gfcfsf for a while now and that has helped a lot but he still isn't well yet so we figured we should try this. I really thought the book was very technical and at times it was hard for me but I did get a lot of understanding of the problem with carbs. Most of the recipes include yogurt which I am not sure he can handle so we will have to use the ones that are with out it until he has been on the diet a while.

  • Kelli
    2019-04-06 12:49

    I have crohn's disease. Long story short doctors will not give a definitive answer to whether food can help you fight a disease. BUT I know it can make a substantial difference. I am not sure if it can cure you BUT I do hope it can. I love this book. It gave me power and strength to fight my disease. It started me on the path of eating better, right, and enjoying the diverse supply of food on out planet and not buying into the media driven packaged/fast food life of the mainstream.

  • Libby
    2019-03-24 07:27

    A fantastic book on the development of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and how it heals the gut of many diseases. We have been advised to use it to heal the gut of our daughter who has autism. It is something that you really have to be prepared for menu wise and mentally! It is hard going especially if you have a very fussy eater like we do but the benefits are incredibly worth it.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-07 14:49

    This is the book that I use for my diet. I've been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since 2001 and God has used it to change my life. I am able to live an active life and have even come to the point where I can cheat occasionally with no side effects. I consider it a miracle that even though my intestines show the effects of the disease, I can live my life as a normal person.

  • Geoff
    2019-03-23 11:24

    A good starting point, but really read "Paleo Solution" and other Primal diet books to get the holistic understanding of removing bad food from your diet and lifestyle changes are just as important; which "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" does not stress lifestyle changes (ie: exercise, sleep, and stress management)

  • Susan Marvin
    2019-03-31 15:21

    It is frustrating that there is antidotal evidence of the incredible effect eliminating specific foods from your diet can have on IBS, but the medical community doesn't acknowledge it or share this information with patients. They would rather patients take expensive medications that can further impair their heatlh. This book should be given to anyone with IBS.

  • Stacy
    2019-04-23 15:45

    I'll review this soon. A diet to heal the gut.

  • Christine
    2019-04-06 14:24

    Helping me take back my life. A must read for anyone suffering from chronic digestive diseases

  • Karen
    2019-04-19 14:48

    I finished with this book a while ago. I'm not sure if I picked it up a few years ago, when I was in the throes of UC, but I took it out again recently because I've been having GI symptoms related to the J-pouch, and I've been curious about ways to manage them with diet. This is a very involved diet, and seems to really only work if you're super strict about it. It's used for kids with autism as well as people with severe GI problems, specifically IBD. Since I've only had intermittent results managing my various issues through diet, it seems like a lot of work for very little reward, for me. Maybe if I were to truly and faithfully and completely adhere to the strict rules, I might get results, but for me the stress of managing a very strict regimen like that offsets any benefits I might see from the actual diet. At least that's been my experience. I have no doubt that it works for some people though, and I'm lucky enough that I have other means of managing stuff, while other people who try it might not. There are some interesting recipes here though.

  • Matthew Murphy
    2019-04-15 15:35

    When I was first sick and hospitalized with a severe case of IBD, a family member provided me this book.I left the hospital opting against what the medical community offered. As such on my alternative healing journey, I ended up using quite a few of the suggestions and recipes provided by Elaine. I think it is a very good book from that standpoint.The reason I don't have it as a 4 or 5 star is because this diet is so strict and it advocates for a lifelong lifestyle change. It requires constant vigilance. To me, this is not an abundant life and there are other options out there to explore. I healed through other options. I personally would be miserable if I was on this diet longer than say 3 months.

  • Debra
    2019-04-14 11:47

    Updated information is online that carries this book into present day and makes it more and more applicable to so many folks suffering from mysterious symptoms and digestive/bowel issues/disease. ( I think I'm really going to have to tackle this way of eating. It's not going to be easy. And if it doesn't garner results, then I may have to go more restrictive and do SIBO ( My doctors are basically clueless, except my PCP who told me about this diet and SIBO. Kudos to the author! She was ahead of her time when she wrote this.

  • Loraine
    2019-04-13 11:32

    This was interesting reading, but I found that it would be a very hard diet to follow due to the extremely restricted foods allowed. At this point, Paleo and gluten free/sugar free are working for me; so I would not choose this diet. But for those with severe intestinal problems, this would definitely be a more natural way to cure their issues rather than living on meds.

  • Rochelle Roth
    2019-03-25 07:19

    Rated 4 stars. Very informative, answered many questions about gut health and how to enhance it without being pushy or having a sales pitch. Love that it includes recipes for the SCD diet it talks about.

  • Shilo
    2019-03-25 09:23

    This has a lot of really great information, and I look forward to trying the recipes.

  • Wendy Fierstein
    2019-03-30 11:41

    This book is extremely helpful to anyone who has bowel problems and can't seem to find anything that helps.

  • Lisse
    2019-03-26 11:21

    I don't want to rate this yet, b/c I haven't actually tried the diet. The front end of the book is loaded with scientific data and lingo, that honestly went over my head by a football field, but I'm pretty sure I got the gist of what the author was saying. The listings of foods to eat or not is thorough...I wonder if a newer edition (this is the fourth) would have this updated at all? I have reserved an scd cookbook from the library and will see if it can be helpful as well.Update...I have been on the SCD for over a month now and it seems to be working well with my body. I have read that Colitis patients take the longest time to recover with this diet and will try to remember that as I wait for more progress to show, but in the meantime, I am feeling well, eating well and happy to be doing something proactive to battle my Colitis and keep myself heatlhy. I don't think this is a very hard diet to follow and stick to once you put your mind to it. There are still so many yummy foods to be had and created!Update #2: I have now been on the SCD for almost two years and I have great news to report. I had a colonscopy back in May and it showed no inflammation in my colon, what-so-ever! I have been following the diet very closely (although I have no doubt that I have made mistakes at times w/o even knowing it). I also added acupuncture and yoga to help me with stress and overall healing. The first 6 months of following the diet were the hardest. I felt like all of my time was spent in the kitchen preparing and making food. I have now figured out short cuts and am much more knowledgeable about what I can and cannot eat, which is helpful. I have purchased a few SCD cookbooks, which I love. There are also so many great SCD bloggers who post recipes as well - in fact some of my very favorite recipes come from online sources (for free!).Besides helping my colon to heal, the diet is just an overall great way to be healthy. Nothing is processed. I eat more fruits and veggies than I ever have before and my weight is constant, even in MN winters when I used to add a few pounds (as extra warming, of course;). I highly recommend the SCD to anyone with any form of IBD. I even have a friend with Lupus who is trying it. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions - I love to share how great this has been for me. I hope it works for you as well! And good luck on your journey!

  • David
    2019-04-08 11:36

    Took me a while to read this book - off and on for about 9 months, mostly because the diet recommended is quite daunting if you're considering doing it.Overall the evidence presented in the book is mostly anecdotal, but compelling nonetheless and I will be giving this a shot in the New Year (2017). If I experience results on par with those described in the book I will comeback and revise / update my review to indicate as much.