Sometimes a true story is more riveting than fiction. The story of how SCD (and GAPS which is built upon SCD) came to be one of today’s most effective interventions for bowel and neurological issues is one of those amazing stories of science, compassion and perseverance.
Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas developed SCD in 1920. He and his son wrote the book about SCD and used it in their practice. In 1959, Dr. Haas was 94 and still practicing medicine. His highly successful diet, SCD, would have been forgotten when he and his son died if it wasn’t for a patient’s mother who kept his remarkably effective diet alive.
His patient’s name was Judy Gottschall. Up until she was seen by Dr. Hass at age 9, Judy had what she calls psychotic night terrors and ulcerative colitis with chronic, bloody diarrhea. She had been to countless doctors, and her parents had tried every diet and every medication they could find. Nothing helped. Judy was dying.
Judy responded quickly to SCD. Her night terrors were gone within weeks and her bowel issues started improving quickly.
Her parents couldn’t believe that such a simple diet could save their daughter’s life. Why hadn’t they learned of it before?
Judy’s mother, Elaine Gottschall, wanted to understand how SCD worked. She completed degrees in biochemistry so she could look at the science of how SCD works, and she wrote the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which has become the definitive source for SCD and kept the work of the Drs. Haas alive.
For the rest of her life, Elaine studied the science of SCD and tirelessly promoted it. Over time, the news of the effectiveness of SCD with autism reached Elaine, and she spent her final years researching SCD for autism and actively supported parents in the autism community. Elaine died in 2005, but many of the people she has helped keep her legacy alive, and Breaking the Vicious Cycle continues to be published.
Elaine Gottschall is my hero. If it weren’t for her, my son and countless other people would not have the quality of life that SCD allows.
Check out the 15 minute interview I had with Elaine’s daughter, Judy Gottschall Herod above. Judy tells her story of recovery and her mother’s real-life story of science and heroism.
Judy Gottschall Herod, now 65 has lived a happy, healthy life thanks to her mom’s persistence in finding a resolution to her health and neurological challenges.