About Breaking The Vicious Cycle


  Chapter One

Chapter One provides the reader with an understanding of the challenges faced by Elaine Gottschall and her daughter when traditional medicine failed them, and how they overcame these challenges.


  Chapter One - Past and Present

In 1951, after many years of clinical experience, Drs. Sidney V. and Merrill P. Haas published a book entitled Management of Celiac Disease. Directed to the medical community, the book documented the doctors' experiences in treating and curing hundreds of cases of celiac disease as well as cases of cystic fibrosis of the pancreas. Their approach was dietary, and they used a well-balanced, normal diet that was highly specific as to the types of sugars and starches allowed. When patients followed this Specific Carbohydrate Diet for a minimum of one year, they were then able to return to normal diet with complete and permanent disappearance of symptoms.

In 1958, we took our eight year old daughter to the Drs. Haas. Three years before she had been diagnosed by specialists as having incurable ulcerative colitis and her condition was deteriorating. The years of treatment with cortisone and sulfonamides, plus innumerable other medical approaches, had been unsuccessful and surgery seemed imminent. The Drs. Haas placed her on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and within two years she was free of symptoms. She returned to eating normally after another few years, and has remained in excellent health for over twenty years.

Many students, friends, and others whom I have seen in my practice who were suffering from ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, celiac disease (not cured by a gluten-free diet), diverticulitis, and various types of chronic diarrhea have tried the Haas Diet and most of them are now free of their respective diseases. Some of the most dramatic and fastest recoveries have occurred in babies and young children with severe constipation and among children who, along with intestinal problems, had serious behavior problems. These included autistic-type hyperactivity as well as hyperactivity, often accompanied by severe and prolonged night terrors. Very often the behavior problems and night terrors cleared up within ten days after initiation of the Haas Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It is interesting to note that in June, 1985, the Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain launched a research project to investigate Dr. F. C. Dohan's research concerning a relationship between celiac disease and schizophrenia. The basis for this project is a strict grain-free, milk-free, low sugar diet, closely related to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Meanwhile in research laboratories throughout the world, investigators have been studying intestinal problems. Physicians and researchers have found that a special type of synthetic diet (chemical nutrients assembled in the laboratory) called an Elemental Diet shows great promise in the treatment of digestive and intestinal problems of all types. The malabsorption problem seen in cystic fibrosis of the pancreas as well as diarrhea which occurs after cancer chemotherapy have been overcome by the use of the synthetic Elemental Diet. When used for patients with Crohn's disease, not only did symptoms disappear but children who had not grown properly for years showed dramatic weight and height gains while on the diet. The level of sodium chloride in the perspiration (the sweat test which measures the severity of the condition) of children with cystic fibrosis of the pancreas decreased dramatically when these children were given the Elemental Diet. Over six hundred scientific publications have appeared in medical journals in the 1970's and early 1980's testifying to the fact that this Elemental Diet is effective in correcting malabsorption and reversing the course of many intestinal disorders. However, since the Elemental Diet is an artificial diet, usually administered via a stomach tube, it cannot be continued indefinitely. When it is discontinued, usually after six to eight weeks, improvement gradually decreases and symptoms usually return.

The common denominator underlying the effectiveness of both the natural Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the synthetic Elemental Diet is the type of carbohydrate which predominates. In the synthetic Elemental Diet, the principal carbohydrate is the single sugar, glucose, which in biochemical circles, is called a monosaccharide (mono=one; saccharide=sugar) as contrasted with a two-sugar disaccharide such as sucrose (table sugar) or a many-sugar polysaccharide such as starch.

In the natural Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the carbohydrates are also predominantly single sugars - those found in fruit, honey, properly-made yoghurt, and certain vegetables. The many research reports indicating that the synthetic Elemental Diet is beneficial in intestinal diseases provide support for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which can be used in the home.

Those who choose to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet need not feel deprived. Many of the delicious recipes in this book could easily be part of any gourmet cookbook. The fact that they are so appealing, however, in no way compromises the underlying scientific reasoning: the carbohydrates specified in the recipes are biochemically correct.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet presented in this book is highly nutritious and well-balanced. It is safe and very likely to be effective in overcoming many lingering and vexing intestinal and digestive problems.