Its All About Diet

Does Diet Really Matter?

It’s very interesting to note that the most recent Crohns and Colitis Foundation research includes finding a suitable model to be able to ‘rate’ patients with IBD on a continuum of severity so that they would not necessarily be subjected to harsh drugs if their condition was not that severe.

To me, this is the way of the future. Yes, if a person suffering with Crohns or Colitis is dangerously ill, then it would be appropriate to use immuno suppressant drug therapy. However, if it is mild, then why not start with dietary modifications and nutritional supplementation first?

Elaine Gottschall's Specific Carbohdrate Diet in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle"
Elaine Gottschall’s Specific Carbohdrate Diet in “Breaking the Vicious Cycle”

The late Elaine Gottschall remains a pioneer in her time. Imagine that she treated her daughter who had Ulcerative Colitis with diet alone so many years ago, long before we had the research and knowledge available to support her actions. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is a dietary program that has helped to create, as well as maintain, drug-free remission for thousands of people suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Actually, to start off it was developed in 1951 by Dr Sidney Hass M.D., gastroenterologist and then it was later popularized by Gottschall, who was a biochemist, in her book called ‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle’.

Not only are food choices very important to those challenged with digestive issues, but healthy food choices for every one on a daily basis, affects your health. It affect how you feel today, how you feel tomorrow, and how you feel in the future.

Dr Oz is a great advocate for investigating healthy eating options. He interviews Dr Mark Hyman MD on a regular basis. Both are staunch believers in how important diet is. When you combine it with physical activity, your diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, lower your risk of chronic diseases … be it digestive conditions, heart disease or cancer, ….and generally promote overall optimal health.

We know that unhealthy eating habits have led to an obesity epidemic in the United States. Did you know that about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese? What’s more, they have found that even when people maintain a healthy weight, a poor diet can be linked to and associated with many health risks leading to illness and even death. We can name heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer to be included in this list. So by making good food choices, you will protect yourself from these kinds of health challenges.

In a recent study  Kakodkar, S., Mikolaitis, S., Engen, P. et al. investigated the bacterial microbiome of inflammatory bowel disease patients on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Gastroenterology. 2013; 144: S552. They say

“Further evidence suggesting diet can be an effective treatment for some patients with IBD stems from the fact that diet has the potential to change the intestinal luminal environment, specifically the intestinal microbiome.  Our prior preliminary findings hint at a change in the microbiome of patients with IBD who follow the SCD. If following the SCD changes the microbiome significantly and/or reverses some of the dysbiosis reported in patients with IBD, this may be a low-cost intervention to induce and maintain remission with little or no known adverse reactions. As such, further interventional studies of SCD and diet therapies in general for IBD are urgently needed.”

Doesn’t this sound like it goes hand in hand with the thought behind the CCFA research of catogorizing patients with IBD on a continuum of severity and being able to give them a treatment plan that would, in fact, encourage their microbiome to heal?

The humans microbiome pops up as popular subject matter in journals and gut research all over the place. It’s very exciting that, literally for the first time in history, we’re finally learning enough about the properties of the human microbiome to manage treatment more completely. We now know, for example, about the importance of strain diversity. We also know which strains actually survive stomach acids. We never knew this before. We even have detailed research to show that Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus, which are prevalent strains in most probiotic formulas, are actually contraindicated for those people who have an overgrowth of bacteria in the Small Intestine.

Genova Lab SIBO Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth Breath TestThat’s why I like to recommend the Genova SIBO test to my patients. It allows me to select the appropriate prebiotic and probiotic formulas as well as other supportive digestive supportive supplements for them, specifically, when the SIBO test is positive.

Steven Wright Specific Carbohydrate Diet Advocate
Steven Wright Specific Carbohydrate Diet Advocate

A few weeks ago, I listened to the ‘Healing Your Gut Summit’. They interviewed StevenWright, a staunch advocate of the SCD diet. His personal story of how he healed himself of IBS incorporating the SCD was fascinating to hear. Several doctors had diagnosed him with IBS.  He tried over the counter pills, high fiber, and different diets. His introductory diet experience with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was successful and he saw results really fast. It took him 3 months to get through all the phases.

He gave lots of amazingly helpful tips but, above all, these were the gems that I went away with that I’d like to share with you today:

  • Learn to cook – just a little
  • Use fresh ingredients
  • You don’t need to say its a DIET – say its a lifestyle change
  • change your mind set – its not really restriction
  • look for curiosity
  • make subtle shifts in perspective

Here are some very beneficial support material that Steve has to offer:
SCD Lifestyle Free Quick Start Guide
SCD Lifestyle eBook
SCD Lifestyle Meal Plans

Guide to Happiness

A Guide to Happiness – Self Help Book by Alan Shein

Notes from the Author:

A Guide to Happiness book by Alan Shein
A Guide to Happiness book by Alan Shein

People from all walks of life see me to help resolve their anxieties, stress, fears, lack of confidence and many other issues. When I advised my clients that in addition to our sessions to also read Self-Help and Motivational books, the majority of them kept telling me that they wished there was a Self-Help and Motivational book that got to the point from the very beginning and that offered easy to find tools and techniques that addressed their specific issues, instead of theory about problems they may not be currently facing.

I took note of what they said and to fulfill their request wrote “A Guide to Happiness.”
To me this is more than a book, it’s a mission. I have seen so many clients transform their lives using the tools and techniques described in the book that it is incumbent on me to share them with a broad audience.

One of the many aspects I address in ‘A Guide to Happiness’ as a way to increased happiness is tranquility.

Resolving of a majority of our personal situations and attainment of happiness is often facilitated and accelerated by having a tranquil frame of mind. Sometimes, life throws curved balls and challenges at us. However, if you catch them with tranquility, you are more likely to respond in a clear and logical manner. A state of tranquility will keep you in control and in the present or as it is also referred to, ‘the now’.

Alan Shein - author of 'A Guide to Happiness'
Alan Shein – author of ‘A Guide to Happiness’

When in a tranquil and relaxed state, there is far less tendency to over-react or say something that you will later regret. Equally important, when in this frame of mind, you are being kind to your body This happens because tranquility causes a reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol, from flooding into your body and harming your immune system.

Feeling tranquil and relaxed frees you to enjoy increased well-being, happiness and optimism. This state also tends to reduce physical stress and tension which can cause all sorts of mental, emotional and physical problems.

Practicing the quick techniques and tools offered in ‘A Guide to Happiness’ will help you be on your way to experiencing a life filled with a heightened sense of peace and serenity. When those curve balls come out of nowhere, you will be better prepared to catch them.

Tranquility makes for an easier and happier day.

Happiness isn’t a luxury: it is a necessity for each and every person.

Alan Shein was recently featured at the Health Living Festival in San Diego April 3rd, 2016

Alan Shein
Author “A Guide to Happiness”

Statins or Natural Cholesterol Care

Pills to lower Cholesterol At the end of 2014 Federal health officials reported that more Americans than ever are taking cholesterol-lowering medications. And according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults aged 40 and older taking drugs for high cholesterol rose from 20% to 28% between 2003 and 2012.

Why? Statins have a very impressive track record of lowering the “bad “cholesterol i.e. LDL, sometimes by as much as 50%. However…. what about the real goal? i.e. reduction in the risk for heart attacks?

Unfortunately those results are not impressive at all. What’s worse is that statins can have serious side effects. Most statin studies don’t show a reduction in mortality. More often than not, they’re used for primary prevention i.e. to lower LDL in those who haven’t been diagnosed with heart disease.

Barbara H. Roberts, MD, of the The Miriam Hospital talks about this in her book,The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs. She was interviewed by Bottom Line/Personal.

Dr Roberts poses the question…..Is LDL really the enemy?
 

“For decades, the public health message hasn’t changed. High cholesterol –particularly high levels of LDL cholesterol –leads to atherosclerosis, blood clots and heart attacks.

Yet many important studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, have shown that most patients who have had a heart attack have cholesterol levels that are nearly identical to those who haven’t. Also, many experts believe that HDL “good” cholesterol is a more important predictor of heart disease than LDL.”

She reports that statins can lower the risk for recurrent heart attack by a small amount in people who already have had one. In people who haven’t been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, the use for statins reduced the risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular events by a paltry 1% to 2%.

Serious Side Effects of Statins

Dr Barbara Roberts M.D. book about cholesterol care with dietDr Roberts also addresses the side effects, some of which are serious…. like reducing blood levels of CoQ10, which is involved in energy production inside cells. Low CoQ10 has been linked to heart failure, hypertension, fatigue and “mental fog”.

The most common side effect of statin therapy is myalgia, or muscle pain.
The pain is usually mild, but the risk and the severity increases when taking higher doses.

Rhabdomyolysis is a severe form of statin-related muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure, which can be fatal.

She says that the side effects are an acceptable trade off when drugs truly save lives but she says this isn’t the case for the vast majority of patients who take statins.

She sites 2 exceptions:

  1. if you have high LDL and have had a heart attack….or
  2. if you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (or diabetes if you are a man), a statin can make sense.

She also recommends statins to patients who have had familial hypercholesterolemia, sky-high cholesterol caused by a genetic abnormality.

“I advise most patients to work on their diets before resorting to statins. Dietary changes can increase HDL and reduce triglycerides, which is more important than reducing LDL, says Dr Barbara Roberts.

Dietary Changes for Lowing Cholesterol

Here’s the diet she recommends. It’s based on the Lyon Diet Heart study that showed conclusively that heart attack patients who followed a Mediterranean-type diet, greatly improved their odds of never having another heart attack. They were eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruit and fish, and less beef, lamb and pork, among other factors. They were compared to those who followed a “prudent” Western Diet.

They were 56% less likely to die from any cause…65% less likely to suffer cardiac death…and 70% less likely to have a heart attack.

She comments that you might assume patients in the Mediterranean diet group had lower LDL. But that was not the case. She tells us that their LDL was roughly the same as that of people in the control group, which is further proof that you don’t need to reduce LDL to improve cardiovascular risks.

Asked why the Mediterranean diet was so effective? She says that some credit goes to olive oil and fish and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. The diet is also low in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids that we get from corn oil and other vegetable based oils. And also high in fiber.

Dr Robert’s other recommendations are:

  • Extra virgin olive oil that are is rich in phytochemicals.
  • Don’t worry about saturated fat, like, dairy fat, as its an effective way to increase HDL. It’s true that saturated fat raises LDL –but only the “fluffy” LDL particles that are largely benign.
  • Seafood a few times a week, like salmon and tuna a few times a week. It reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Enjoy your wine.… no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 for women, has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease. Red wine may be particularly helpful because it is high in antioxidants.
  • Say ‘no’ to “white” foods because simple carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white pasta and some breakfast cereals cause a surge of insulin, which in turn increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Exercise … get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week like brisk walking, biking, and swimming.

“People want some kind of magic powder to sprinkle on their food to lower cholesterol, but the best alternative treatment is weight loss and eating better, exercise, and quitting smoking, which will give you the best results and may allow a person to avoid medications entirely,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, MD, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and spokeswoman for the American Heart Association.

Aside from lifestyle changes that include dietary changes and regular exercise, which supplements are helpful? Take a look at Good Gut Solution’s Cholesterol Care Category. There’s a great, selection of effective supplements.

Holiday Cooking Resources for Alternative Diets

Holiday cooking resources for alternative diets

Just because you or one of your guests may be suffering from the digestion pains of Crohn’s doesn’t mean your holiday meal has to be bland. There are plenty of festive, delicious dishes that you and your family can serve to complete your family’s feast! Here are some amazing holiday cooking resources for alternative diets that will keep all your guests happy, no matter if they’re gluten-free, meat-free, or fat-free.

Prepare

While many foods are trial and error with Crohn’s, it’s important to ask someone what foods to avoid and what foods are safe to be jazzed up for a holiday dinner. When you’re entertaining guests with special dietary needs, you should get this information during the planning stages of your party to ensure you’re preparing enough diet-friendly dishes. Researching the diet associated with the disease and finding cookbooks with suggestive recipes is one way to be informed to what your friend may be experiencing.

Plan

Including a few simple and organic appetizers, such as avocado or hummus deviled eggs, for the entire crowd is a good way to avoid bringing attention to your guest with the special diet. You can also ask your guest for suggestions and recipes that work for him or her and ask them to bring a dish of their own to share for the main course. Avoid preparing anything fried by choosing raw ingredient finger foods or oven-baked side dishes. If you’re doing a self-serve main course, make sure to include enough diet-friendly proteins and sides. On party day, it is a good idea to have festive place cards with the name of the dish on the front and the ingredients on the back or inside so your guest can take a look at the list without asking.

Party

When the day arrives, don’t draw attention to the possibility of a flare up. Serving a soup to the entire group, such as this creamy tomato soup, or making it an option available before, or during, the main course is one way to help create a fulfilling dinner menu and avoid triggering a reaction. All of your planning should pay off during the event. You and your guest should be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the company of one another without any stress or reactions!

Image: Flickr

Eating to Heal Your Gut: The SCD Diet

The SCD Diet – Improving Digestive Health Through Your Food

If you have ever had  to deal with the daily irritations and inconveniences caused by frequent or even chronic digestive issues you know its no fun. Sure, some people accept  symptoms like discomfort, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea as a fact of like, provided it doesn’t happen very often. However, many others are plagued with these symptoms on a daily basis and have to live their lives around the whims of their digestive tracts.

Can anything be done about these all-too-common problems? Many turn to medications to ease their symptoms and as an attempt to treat the underlying causes for certain diseases that lead to these problems. Medications, however, come with their own issues. Many medications for certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, are expensive, and those who need them often struggle to afford them. They are also often accompanied by unwanted side effects that can present a whole new level of problems. On top of all of this, the medications may simply not work for everyone, causing them to become an expensive and risky experiment with your digestive system.

Elaine Gottschall and the SCD Diet
The SCD Diet was conceived by Elaine Gottschall

SCD Diet is an Alternative to Medication

Dr. Alan R. Gaby, a trusted authority on the holistic lifestyle, recommends the SCD diet as an alternative to expensive medications. The SCD diet, or Specific Carbohydrate Diet, eliminates three types of carbohydrates from your diet that have been linked to digestive issues such as the following:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Digestive discomfort, “nervous stomach,” etc.

The SCD diet was actually developed by the late biochemist and nutritionist Elaine Gottschall. When her four year old daughter was diagnosed with incurable ulcerative colitis over forty years ago, Elaine Gottschall began the process of researching and developing the specific carbohydrate diet in order to help relieve her daughter’s symptoms and prevent the need to replace her colon with an external bag. She hypothesized that eating certain foods exacerbated the symptoms caused by many digestive disorders, and excluding these foods from the diet would relieve or eliminate the symptoms over time. The SCD diet has had decades of dedicated research and seen measurable results. Elaine Gottschall published her story and her findings on the SCD diet in early 1994 in her book, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.”

What is the SCD Diet?

The specific carbohydrate diet exists on the idea of eliminating specific carbohydrates from your diet in order to prevent the side effects caused by the poor digestion of these carbs. The SCD diet gets rid of all grains, lactose, and sucrose from the diet. These carbohydrates are known to have the most influence on the intestinal microbes – the yeast and good bacteria – that live in your digestive system. Reducing or cutting out these carbohydrates completely will prevent the microbes from producing excess mucus in your intestines.

Foods to Avoid

The SCD diet avoids all grains, dairy products, and certain starches such as potatoes and corn. All of these more complex carbohydrates can be difficult for our bodies to digest and absorb for energy and nutrition. The undigested carbohydrates instead go on to feed the intestinal microbes found in our gut, which leads to excess byproducts formed by these microbes. These byproducts are the cause of those uncomfortable and often inconvenient symptoms such as cramping, bloating, diarrhea, etc. that can ruin our day or cause long term problems. When these foods are eliminated from the diet, the microbes do not receive the undigested carbs that allow them to overproduce, and will instead continue to function normally. People who are lactose intolerant, for example, can avoid their symptoms simply by cutting dairy products from their diet.

What to Eat on The SCD Diet

Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall the SCD Diet
Breaking the Vicious Cycle book with SCD diet information and the SCD diet recipes

Approved carbohydrates in the SCD diet include the more simply-structured carbs such as fructose, glucose, and galactose. These carbohydrates are more easily digested and do not give your intestinal microbes the chance to overproduce. Foods like fruits, yogurt, legumes, honey, and some vegetables are okay to eat and can help improve your overall digestive health.

Many who follow this diet begin to see improvements within just a few days, and much more noticeable improvements after the first few months. Most who suffered previously from diseases or common digestive complaints reported greatly reduced symptoms, and some have even cured themselves completely by sticking to the SCD diet.

Other Benefits of the SCD Diet

Although the specific carbohydrate diet is shown to have noticeable and lasting results for
many who suffer common or chronic digestive complaints, but almost anyone can enjoy benefits from reducing or eliminating these complex carbs from their daily meals. Undigested materials in your intestines cause the microbes found there to produce excess mucus, which in turn can prevent your body from absorbing many of the nutrients found in the foods you eat and lead to temporary digestive complaints such as discomfort and diarrhea. Following the SCD diet allows your body to properly absorb more of those nutrients from what you eat, improving your overall health.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Elaine Gottschall’s book is still widely known today as the go-to source for learning about
the specific carbohydrate diet and all of its benefits. Many people who have suffered from diseases related to the digestive system have turned to “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” as an alternative to expensive medications and treatments that showed unsatisfactory results or harsh side effects. The book includes an explanation of the SCD diet and why it works, as well as some recipes and guides for healthy eating.

With processed foods and complex carbohydrates becoming more and more common in our daily meals, digestive issues are on the rise. Following the specific carbohydrate diet is a great way to get your digestive system balanced and back on track.