A daughter’s story… How one mother who wouldn’t give up healed her child with SCD and went on to help countless others through her scientific research

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.

10 year old Judy 1 year after starting SCD

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.

Elaine’s book has been continuously in print since 1994 and has helped countless people with a variety of health issues.

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.

Beth Speaking at AutismOne 2017

Beth will be speaking at AutismOne at their conference in Colorado Springs May 24-28.  Other speakers this year include keynote speakers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Suzanne Humphries, M.D. as well as top practitioners and activists such as Dr. Arthur Krigsman, Dr. Anju Usman, Dr. Andy Wakefield, and Del Bigtree.

Beth’s talk this year is The Leading Edge of Healing: How SCD/GAPS Can Help Your Child’s Healing. 

In addition, Beth has a booth and will be available throughout the conference to answer your questions and help you learn more about SCD.

Here’s an overview of Beth’s talk which is Saturday, May 27th at 10:30 am:

The Leading Edge of Healing: How SCD/GAPS Can Help Your Child’s Healing

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), and its offspring GAPS, is becoming widely recognized as the diet for children with autism and other GI conditions. Researchers are studying the impact of SCD on children with autism and the Seattle Children’s Hospital uses the SCD for children with GI conditions. Children are having dramatic positive responses to SCD far exceeding the benefits of the GFCF diet alone.

We will discuss why SCD/GAPS works so well and how to quickly and easily get started so your family can benefit from SCD.

In this workshop, we will cover:

  •  What SCD entails and the science behind it;
  • Why SCD works better than gluten-free/dairy-free;
  • What you family needs you to know about SCD;
  • How to educate your family about SCD and to get started quickly and easily.

If you haven’t already registered for AutismOne, it’s not too late.  Register HERE.

Diets that Heal: What is the Difference in SCD and GAPS?

In my last post, I explained why the terms SCD and GAPS are often used interchangeably – SCD is the original gut-healing diet, and GAPS is a protocol built around the SCD diet. Both diets eliminate the same foods (sweet and starchy carbohydrates) in order to starve the pathogenic bacteria that are associated with autism, digestive diseases and a host of other psychological conditions.

I have followed both SCD and GAPS with my son and myself since 2011. In this post, I will explain the differences in the two.

The two core differences in the SCD diet and the GAPS protocol are:

  • The “introductory diets” for SCD and GAPS are both elimination diets, but they are significantly different.
  • Since GAPS is a protocol, it requires several healing strategies that are optional on SCD.

The Introductory Diets: SCD vs GAPS

The introductory diets of SCD and GAPS both work through 6 stages starting with a short list of easy-to-digest foods and gradually adding in other foods. Here are the three key differences in these introductory strategies.

On the SCD intro, it’s nice to be able to have easy-to-digest foods that aren’t soup.

One:  The early stages of SCD and GAPS both recommend healing soups. However, SCD allows other meals besides just soup. For example, with SCD, one can have meals with meat/seafood and well cooked vegetables rather than only soup. With GAPS you get variety by using different meats and vegetables in your soups, but soup is your basic food for a while.

 

Juice popsicles add welcome variety and a bit of sweet to the SCD early introductory diet.

Two:  The early stages of SCD include some sweet foods such as fruit juice, homemade Jell-o and apple sauce. GAPS does not allow fruit or fruit juice until stage 5. I encourage people to follow the GAPS principle of refraining from fruit/fruit juice if possible. However, sometimes the availability of something sweet in the beginning with SCD can make the transition easier – especially with children who are picky eaters.

When we added butternut squash, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.

Three:  Carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables are the most common contributor to problematic gut flora and yeast issues.   The SCD introductory diet adds in vegetables (and fruits) very slowly allowing you to pinpoint specific vegetables and fruits that you or your child are not ready for.  GAPS allows a large number of vegetables from the beginning which can prevent you from discovering certain vegetables/fruits that you/your child are sensitive to or not ready for.  For example, when we started the SCD introductory diet and added in butternut squash, I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  Had we been on the GAPS introductory diet, I would not have discovered my sensitivity to butternut squash.

The GAPS Protocol

The GAPS protocol includes a number of healing strategies that are all allowed on SCD but not required. Some of those strategies are:

  • Fresh squeezed fruit juice is required on GAPS. SCD allows store-bought, not-from-concentrate juice. Fresh squeezed juice is recommended because it is detoxifying. However, for those who are new on the diet, the extra work of making fresh pressed juice can be overwhelming.
  • GAPS introduces fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut) from the beginning of the introductory diet. Fermented foods have glutamine which can be powerful in healing the gut. However, glutamine can be neuro-provoking in some people and lead to regressions. I encourage people to be tested for excess glutamine and proceed very carefully if they are going to introduce large amounts of glutamine-containing foods such as fermented foods and broth.
  • The GAPS protocol recommends certain supplements. These supplements can be used with SCD if desired.

 

My recommendation

We have used both the SCD diet (and its intro) as well as the entire GAPS protocol with its unique introductory diet. I found SCD much easier to follow because it allowed non-soup meals and juice/apple sauce in the early stages.  We really enjoyed the fresh pressed juice recommended by GAPS, but I eventually got burned out making fresh-pressed juice multiple times a day.  In addition, the SCD introductory diet allowed me to find sensitivities that we would have otherwise missed.

Soon after we started following GAPS my son developed chronic nausea. I didn’t suspect GAPS to be involved because GAPS is a gut-healing protocol.  It took many months of troubleshooting to bring the nausea under control.  Now that I understand that glutamine can be counterproductive for some people, I look back with 20/20 hindsight and wonder if the glutamine in the fermented foods I used in GAPS contributed to the nausea.

My suggestion is that parents start with the straight SCD diet then add in the GAPS strategies as feasible:

  • Though fruit and/or juice is available during the early stages of SCD, hold off on adding them for as long as you can because they feed yeast and continue to foster a sweet tooth.  You can always add fruit/juice in to help with a picky eater or use them as special treats.
  • Make fresh pressed juices as time allows. Otherwise, simply use SCD-allowed store-bought juice.
  • Get tested for excess glutamine  before adding daily servings of fermented foods and large amounts of broth.
  • Feel free to add in the supplements recommended by GAPS or your health practitioner at any time.

My family has now been using one form or another of SCD and GAPS since 2011.   With this experience, I now take the flexibility of SCD and apply the parts of the GAPS protocol that make sense for us. SCD and GAPS have transformed our lives and can transform yours too.

Could Lyme be a Factor in Your Child’s Autism?

I’ve been following ​Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt now for a year or two.  Dr. Klinghardt has one of the best records for recovering children from autism and other chronic conditions.  In one of his presentations on YouTube, he shares that he tested all of the children with autism in his practice for Lyme disease.  The result:  80% of autistic children tested positive for Lyme.

Eighty percent is an extremely high number given that Lyme is very difficult to detect in many people.  This is because the tests are looking for antibodies to Lyme.  People with a significant Lyme infection often have such a compromised immune system, that they are not producing enough antibodies for the Lyme test to detect.  Given the high percent of people with autism who test positive for Lyme the first time, it may be that all people with autism have Lyme.  Some children treated for Lyme see dramatic improvements.

Where would your child contract Lyme?  One speculation is that children with autism have congenital Lyme — meaning they contracted it from their mother.  This makes sense to me given that so many mothers of children with autism have chronic fatigue, and a major symptom of Lyme is severe fatigue.

The problem with the false negative tests so often found with Lyme is that people who are very ill do not get the treatment they need.  So, even if you and your child test negative, you may still have it.  You want a “Lyme literate doctor” who knows how to evaluate Lyme based on symptoms in addition to tests.

MOST physicians (even functional physicians) are not trained to treat Lyme.  Here are options to help you find a “Lyme-literate” physician in your area:

  1. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)is a great way to get a Lyme-literate Doctor referral, and is probably the best place to start. Go to their website www.ilads.org , email them at contact@ilads.org or call them at 301-263-1080 (they are on EST). ILADS is the “gatekeeper” for most Lyme docs in the United States. They may also be able to point you in the direction of an LLMD in another part of the world if you reside outside of the Unites States.
  2. Turn The Corner– an amazing Lyme disease foundation that supports the research, education, awareness, etc. of Lyme disease – will help you try to locate an LLMD near you for free: “Turn the Corner volunteers proudly answer inquiries from Lyme patients throughout the world and provide free, information about Lyme-Literate medical professionals in your area.” Here is the link: http://turnthecorner.org/content/selection-proper-physicians.  And here is their email for inquiries (they will only answer by email): medicalinfo@turnthecorner.org
  3. Lymenet.org has a Lyme disease forum where they have a “Seeking a Physician” section. Here, members of the forum will give you the contact information for LLMDs in your area from www.lymenet.org. When you go to Lymenet.org’s homepage, click on “Flash Discussion,” and then click on “Seeking a Doctor.” You will be asked to enter your city, state, and contact information, and a Lymenet.org forum member will contact you with a physician referral.
  4. The Lyme Disease Association has a Doctor Referral Service: Go to www.lymediseaseassociation.org and click on “Doctor Referral.” You just need to give them your contact information and they will give you a doctor referral.

If you are already using a broad spectrum anti-microbial and getting good results, you may already be treating the Lyme which is a bacteria.  There are treatments that do not require antibiotics.

I’m off to Autism One on Thursday.  I’ll be back with news and information.

Healthy Back-to-School Lunch Ideas

I think we all agree that outstanding academic performance and behavior start with a nutritious diet.  But, what foods are most effective at helping children think, focus, manage their behavior and mood, and learn efficiently? Following are lunch ideas for foods that have improved focus and concentration for my clients ranging from children with autism to a recent valedictorian at North Carolina State University.

Lunch and The Gut Brain Connection

To understand how food choices can enhance focus and concentration, one must first understand the connection between microbes in the gut and the brain of both children and adults.  Our gut (digestive tract) is populated with an abundance of bacteria.  Some of that bacteria is beneficial and some is pathogenic.  This bacterial soup is called the gut flora.  Too many pathogenic bacteria in our gut impacts our brain.  For some of us the impact is mild.  We feel brain fog or forgetfulness.  For others, the pathogens have a significant impact on quality of life as in ADD, anxiety, speech delays, learning disabilities, autism, etc.

You can improve your children’s mental clarity and help them reach higher potential (even if they are already performing at high levels) by starving the pathogenic bacteria.  One of my clients, I’ll call him Jack, is a great example of what’s possible for even the most focused and high achieving students.  Jack, a recent valedictorian from NC State, came to me to learn about disease prevention and to lose a few pounds.  He had no complaints about his ability to focus.  However, when he adopted a way of eating that starves pathogenic bacteria, not only did he lose weight with ease, he was thrilled to gain greater focus, energy, and productivity.

What feeds the pathogenic bacteria?

The foods that feed pathogenic bacteria are all types of sweet and starchy carbohydrates except fruit.  The Standard American Diet is full of sweet and starchy foods.  It’s almost impossible to avoid sweet and starchy foods on the kids’ menu at most restaurants … mac and cheese, pizza, or breaded chicken with a soda and desert.  These foods are guaranteed to please a child’s palate – and they’re cheap.  Excess amounts of sweet and starchy foods is one reason so many American children (and adults) have ADD, anxiety, speech delays, learning disabilities, autism, etc.  These same foods cause weight gain – another epidemic in American children.

Another challenge with sweet and starchy foods is that they are inflammatory, and general inflammation can cause neurological inflammation – another cause of the “brain fog” issues that can prevent our children from reaching their full potential.

 

What foods should my child eat to enhance academic achievement?

The good news is that the foods that don’t feed the pathogens are also the foods that are most nutrient dense:  meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, and nuts.  Foods such as bread, pasta, and processed foods have minimal nutritional value.  The truth is that these foods have so few naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that they are “enriched” with man-made vitamins.

Here are some ideas for great school lunches that keep the pathogenic bacteria at bay:

Meats and Fish

o   Turkey* roll-ups either plain or with your child’s favorite vegetables

o   Chicken salad

o   Salmon salad

o   Chicken legs

o   Grilled chicken breast cut in cubes or fingers

o   Shrimp

o   Deviled eggs

o   Chicken or turkey sausage*

o   Hamburger patty

o   Thermos foods such as soups and chili

o   Left over meats from dinner, e.g. pork chops

 

* Be sure to choose nitrite and nitrate-free lunch meats.  Applegate Farms is a well-known brand.

 

 

Portable Vegetables

o   Carrot sticks

o   Cucumber slices

o   Broccoli

o   Red, yellow and green pepper sticks

o   Salad greens

o   Cherry tomatoes

o   Roasted vegetables

o   Sugar snap peas

o   Green beans

o   Cauliflower

 

*Include dips or dressing if desired.  Be sure to buy high-quality dressing with no sugar from the refrigerated section as it usually has no preservatives.

 

Fruit

o   Berries of all types

o   Melon

o   Cherries

o   Banana

o   Peaches

o   Apples

o   Grapes

o   Pineapple

Nuts and Seeds

o   Peanuts

o   Almonds

o   Pecans

o   Walnuts

o   Hazelnuts

o   Cashews

o   Pistachios

o   Other nuts

o   Sunflower and other seeds

 

Nut butters*

o   Peanuts

o   Almonds

o   Sunflower

 

*Serve nut butter on celery, apples or even straight on the spoon.

 

Sweet Treats

o   Trail mix made with nuts, seeds and dried fruit

o   Lara bars

o   Yawp bars

o   That’s It Bars

If you’re not ready to eliminate all starchy foods, replace foods with wheat (gluten) with gluten-free varieties.  Modern wheat is inflammatory for all of us – not just those of us who have a gluten sensitivity.  See Dr. William Davis’ book, Wheat Belly, for more information on the health consequences of consuming modern wheat.

Watch out for dairy too.  The lactose feeds pathogenic bacteria.  Many people are lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to dairy and may not know it.  Lactose intolerance and dairy sensitivities cause inflammation which then can lead to neurological inflammation which causes all the conditions discussed in this article.

Whether your child has attention, learning, speech, mood issues or not, he/she can benefit from a diet centered on meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  Give these foods a try, and you’ll be pleased to see your child reach higher levels of achievement.

 

Resources:

Books:

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis

Articles:

Gut Bacteria Might Guide the Workings of Our Minds — NPR

Can the Bacteria in your Gut Send Messages to Your Brain? – NPR

Inflammation in Neurological and Psychological Diseases — National Institutes of Health

Why Modern Wheat is Considered Frankenwheat — Prevention Magazine

Safe Low-Toxin Sunscreen Lotions

Sun screen may prevent sun burn and possible skin cancer.  However, what impact does it have on other aspects of our health?  In this post, I will explain why choosing a low-toxin suntan lotion matters, resources for finding the healthiest and most effective suntan lotion, and our family’s picks this year so you can have worry-free fun in the sun!

Why Low Toxin Sunscreen Matters

Humans are exposed to higher levels of toxins today than at any period of history.  We think of toxins causing cancer, which they do.  However, toxins also contribute to just about every chronic condition people experience today – even seemingly unrelated conditions such as obesity, autism, and depression.  We all carry a “toxic load” of one level or another.  So, we all need to seek ways to keep this load to a minimum because when our “toxic load” exceeds a certain level, we will experience disease.

According to the Environmental Working Group, sunscreen and other personal care products are produced with 10,500 unique chemical agents – some of which are carcinogens — toxic to the reproductive system (know anyone who has had trouble conceiving?), and known endocrine disruptors.  In the US, no health studies or pre-market testing are required for sunscreen and other personal care items/cosmetics.  By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics.

The Sunscreen Dilemma

Sun burns can cause cancer, yet most sunscreens contain carcinogenic substances!  In my opinion, the ideal solution to the sunscreen dilemma is to build a base tan so you no longer need suntan lotion.  Even the best sun tan lotions have some type of preservatives that are not ideal.  Plus, sun screen prevents us from absorbing the maximum levels of vitamin D which is an incredibly important factor in our health and longevity.  My son has a very high toxic load, so I like to avoid even the best skin care products when possible.  Fortunately, he has a dark complexion.  I experimented this summer with letting him play in the sun for increasingly long periods of time without sun screen.  I was thrilled to find that his dark skin is capable of tanning without burning.

However, many of us, including myself, will burn in the early summer without sunscreen.  So, how do you find the ideal sunscreen for you and your family?

How to Find Low Toxin Sunscreens

Check out the impressive app created by the Environmental Working Group.  They give each sun care product a hazard score ranging from low hazard (0 – 2) to moderate hazard (3-6) to high hazard (7 – 10).  The score also takes into account effectiveness and other factors.  Their phone app even allows you to scan in the bar code of a product while in the store to determine the product’s hazard rating.  Check it out at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/SKIN_CARE_%28SUN%29/ or search the App Store for “Skin Deep”.

Our Family’s Picks

My husband is an analytical-type and loves to study and analyze products.  So, thanks to him researching our options, we have found products for our family that strike a balance between safety and cost effectiveness.

In his research, my husband quickly learned that stores like drug stores did not carry the low hazard products, so he spent a good hour studying the various sun screens at Whole Foods.  Ultimately, he found the sunscreens that were in the “low hazard” category then picked the ones on sale.  Here’s what we’re trying on this year’s trip to the beach:

    • Kiss My Face Obsessively Natural Kids Defense —  (It’s in a blue bottle – see front page of Kiss My Face website)
      • EWG Score – 2
      • More lotion-like consistency – easier to rub on
      • Dried a little white on skin
      • Unscented

 

Enjoy Your Summer!

Enjoying your time in the sun doesn’t have to be a toxic experience.  Exposure to the sun is healthy and fun so give your skin ample opportunities to take in the sun’s vitamin D rays without burning.  If you do need sunscreen, use the Environmental Working Group’s free app to find low hazard sunscreens to protect you from burning and allow you to have lots of FUN IN THE SUN!

Beth