Category Archives: Guts and Psychology

Diet for our moods

Making your own Probiotics

I am personally tickled about all the buzz around this topic.  Years ago, you’d never hear anyone talking about it, let alone finding products on the grocery shelves with probiotics.   I think  Dannon yogurt was the main player in the yogurt market too.

Now, there are literally dozen’s of different yogurts and many of them from locally produced dairies.  Celebs like Jamie Lee Curtis is  talking about her bowels and regularity for Activa’s line of yogurt (from Dannon). There are vitamins and all kinds of products (many for children) that have added probiotics to them.   Its literally a smorgasbord of probiotics out there.

I think I have tried a lot of them and there is some controversy about the source of the bacteria, just like commercial yeasts.  Is manufactured or naturally brewed best ?   which strained are best ?  I think I just counted a product with 21 different strains in them.   That sounds a little scary too, because what if I introduce something new into my already damaged gut ?!   Let’s face it, IBD’ers guts are already in bad shape.

Just like in sourdough, the best probiotic bacteria is one grown naturally.   That’s why fermented foods are the idea probiotic !  Between making my own yogurt and using fermented veggies, I only buy a commercial probiotic when traveling and I use one with a limited about of strains, and only use strains that are not new fangled lab experiments.

Under recipes, I feature 2 basic recipes, 1 for yogurt from the SCD handbook for dealing with the most damaged of gut conditions.  Another from Sandor Katz, who is now affectionately known as Sandor Kraut, because of his excellent recipes using ferments and kraut.   I have also added a link to his website, so please check out his wonderful books.

If you are just struggling to get buy and don’t have the time or energy yet to make fermented vegetables, please look for Firefly kitchens in your local healthy market, like PCC or Whole Foods. They make a lineup of excellent products like kraut, ginger carrot slaw, pickles etc. which are all naturally fermented.   Bubbies Kosher Dill pickles are also naturally fermented and tasting like pickles from the old country !

Here’s a great article from the Firefly Kitchens about probiotics:

What’s in a Fermented Food and Why is it Good For Me?

Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes, Lactic
Acid, Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants and Immune Boosters, All In One Tasty and Convenient Bite.
Probiotics: “Good” or “friendly” bacteria that live in your digestive system. Probiotics aid in the overall function of your internal systems by maintaining a proper PH level conducive to digestion and absorption without the growth of bad bacteria. Probiotics also play a role in the muscular contractions that move food through your stomach during digestion and help promote the healthy passage of material through your body. Probiotics have been linked to the development of a healthy immune system, cholesterol level, blood pressure, intestinal wall and vitamin and mineral absorption.  The most commonly known probiotics are acidophilus and bifidus, although there are many other beneficial strains.
Digestive Enzymes: Naturally produced chemicals that help breakdown food.  The body produces and uses specific enzymes to breakdown specific foods. Age, poor diet, chemical exposure and poor diegestive health can interefere with the production of digestive enzymes and prevent the easy and effecient breakdown of foods. Supplements and enzyme rich foods can supplement the poor production of digestive enzymes and help the body break down, digest and absorb food for nourishment and energy production.
Lactic Acid: Nature’s way of preventing the spread of bad bacteria.  The process of lacto-fermentation that we use to make our products creates a by product of lactic acid.  Lactic acid not only keeps bacteria from growing in the food during fermentation, it keeps bad bacteria from developing in your digestive system.  By balancing the PH level of the food, and your stomach, lactic acid plays a large role in the health of what you eat and how your body digests. A digestive system with an off-balance PH level can result in bloating, incomplete digestion, sickness and digestive malfunctions.
Vitamins and Minerals: The digestive enzymes, probiotics and lactic acid in fermented foods help promote better absorption and utilization of vitamins and minerals.  When paired with a snack or meal your body will not have to work as hard to acquire the nutrient supply it needs to maintain healthy function.  In addition, the fermentation process creates new nutrients in the food including the B vitamins folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and biotin which help cell growth and division, immunity, nervous system function, metabolism and muscle toning and Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that battles harmful free-radicals, helps build immunity, and is essential to the functioning of many necessary enzymes in your body.
Antioxidants: Fermented foods have been studied for their antioxidant functions, patrolling the body for free radicals and helping eliminate the potential cancer causing substances from the body.  The lactobacilli in fermented foods also help create omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for cell membrane and immune system function and play a role in helping eliminate toxins and oxidized compounds from the body.  Digestive enzymes and other detoxifying compounds found in fermented foods all play a role in the antioxidant function within the body.
Immune Boosters: Vitamin C created in the fermentation process helps bolster the immune system and put up a fight against bacterial invasion, and omega 3 fatty acids provide additional immune system strength.  The efficiency of your digestive system when eating fermented foods helps better absorb nutrients and create energy, which helps maintain your overall health on a daily basis.  When the digestive enzymes and probiotics are present, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get what it needs to function and has help eliminating toxic buildup throughout the digestive system that can contribute to illness.
By maintaining good gut flora, you’ll prevent all kinds of different diseases, especially chronic degenerative ones. Probiotics help control inflammation, which is a central feature of so many degenerative diseases…help increase antibodies…improve digestion…have anticancer properties…[and] can increase good cholesterol while decreasing the bad kind.” – DR. Sonja Petterson

Why are the fermented foods from Firefly Kitchens so good for me?

Foods that undergo the lacto-fermentation process are unpredictable and hard to control in an industrial setting.  Most of the pickled and preserved foods of the same nature that you get at your general grocery store have undergone an altered process involving heat, and vinegar, which preserves the food in a similar nature but does not create the nutritional power food that the natural process of small scale fermentation at Firefly Kitchens does. Through the process of small scale natural fermentation, Firefly Kitchens creates foods that have great benefits for your body.  Due to the above list of qualities regular intake of fermented foods can:

  • Help your body breakdown otherwise difficult to digest foods and make the nutrients more accessible
  • Maintain a more regular and efficient digestive system
  • Promote more efficient energy production
  • Increase nutrient consumption, absorption and impact
  • Build immune function by stimulating cellular and antibody function and creating more immunoreactive cells
  • Help build and maintain a healthy intestinal wall that resists leakage of harmful toxins into the bloodstream caused by poor diet and digestion
  • Decrease allergic reactions by exposing your body to natural microbial colonies, which helps develop immunity to allergen exposure
  • Restore digestive health and re-build gut flora after exposure to antibiotics, which kill all good and bad bacteria
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reverse hypertension by lowering blood pressure
  • Help alleviate irritable bowel symptoms
  • Aid digestion of lactose and proteins

More on the nature of probiotics-

Probiotics are live microorganisms that live inside a host organism such as your body.  They are considered “good bacteria” that are found naturally on and in living organisms in places such as your gut and intestinal tract.  These “good bacteria” play an important role in the digestion and assimilation process.  Unfortunately, in a world filled with antibiotics, refined foods, high sugar diets, caffeine and alcohol addictions, non organic practices and vastly unbalanced and high stress lifestyles, these naturally occurring good bacteria have a hard time surviving.  Current research is now showing that adding probiotics back into your body while accompanied by a more balanced diet can have immense health benefits.

How do these “good bacteria” get into my foods?

Probiotics are allowed to thrive when a product is not homogenized, pasteurized, artificially preserved or chemically processed.  In fermented foods, like ours at Firefly Kitchens, probiotics prosper in the anaerobic and acidic environment that the lactic acid fermentation process creates.  When our vegetables are washed, chopped and packed with salt in an airtight container, the lactobacilli (a probiotic bacteria found on most living surfaces) that the veggies naturally contain go to work breaking down the starches and sugars and creating lactic acid.  The lactic acid creates a very acidic environment where bad bacteria that may spoil the food cannot grow and good bacteria can multiply.  The un-heated and un-processed techniques we employ provide an atmosphere where billions of probiotic strains thrive and multiply.

For every individual-

Having live bacteria in your body can be a really good thing and every body needs intestinal flora supported by good bacteria and digestive enzymes. The changes you experience with probiotics will vary depending upon the strain and amount you ingest but with a well rounded diet of many types of fermented foods such as our sauerkraut, kimchi, veggies and dressings, as well as other probiotic rich foods such as home made yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, tempeh and miso should give your body an ample variety of probiotics to support a healthy change.




Why you crave sugar and alcohol

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t crave something at some time of the day. 4:00pm tea is my thing but I’ve learned how to cut out the cookies and sweets. One rather shocking discovery was our gut ecology dictates our cravings. More and more research is showing the link between obesity and food – the more you junk you eat and drink, the move you feed your bad gut bacteria. We all have a mix of good and bad in our guts, but when you eat too much on a consistent basis, the bad guys start to take over and call the shots.

This is article is reprint from my chapter handbook and it pretty much says it all. So next time you get a craving at a certain time
for cookies or a glass of wine, remember it’s the bad guys calling.

Understanding and Overcoming Food Addictions
Have you ever had that experience of being at the grocery checkout eyeing the candy bars and fighting the urge to buy one? Or how about that feeling after dinner that you just must have something sweet? Have you ever had the experience, as I have, of devouring a brownie while thinking about the next one? Did you ever just have to have ice cream this very minute and drive to the store at whatever hour to satisfy that craving? These feelings are often impossible to resist.
I have been there! I know what it is like to crave refined carbohydrates. Most people who have such cravings want refined sugar and wheat such as bread, cookies, factory-processed boxed cereals, candy, cakes, brownies, doughnuts, and bagels, as well as ice cream. These are the very foods that cause weight gain. Many people would like to lose weight and some actually know how to do it—no thanks to our industry-dictated government food pyramid, and in fact, in spite of it! Science writer Gary Taubes, in his new book, How We Get Fat, tells us that science has known for decades that insulin is what drives fat into cells. To lose weight we need to eliminate those foods that elevate insulin— the sweet and starchy ones. But many find it impossible to do so, due to their compelling food cravings.
I no longer struggle with cravings for sweets and starches. The candy bars at the grocery checkout look too sweet. I am not attracted to pastries or ice cream. I enjoy a dessert occasionally, but I’m satisfied with a small portion and no longer have that feeling after each meal that I need something sweet. I love the freedom from my former cravings. I now control the food I eat; it no longer controls me.
What follows are the facts I have learned about food cravings and what I did to emancipate myself from them.
According to Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, and my personal experience as well, cravings can be caused by many things and they come from our brain. Brain chemicals regulate thoughts and obsessions about food. I remember going to the refrigerator with an attack of what I call “refrigeratoritis.” That’s when you open the refrigerator and stare into it thinking about what you want to eat, even though you are not really hungry. Your brain is just telling you that you need something now, and you can’t resist the impulse. It’s as though someone else has taken control.
I remember one particular instance when my daughter and I were dining in a local restaurant and had agreed that we would share the special chocolate cake for dessert. We looked forward to this, but when we ordered it we were told that they were out of the cake we were dreaming about. I was devastated! In fact, I was shocked at how upset I was that I would be deprived of this delicious treat.
I had learned about amino acids from Julia Ross when she spoke at a Weston A. Price Foundation Conference. She described the way amino acids can affect cravings and moods, so the next day I took an amino acid called DLPA (a form of phenylalanine) that works as an appetite suppressant when you need a “numbing treat.” The effect was immediate! For several days I took the supplement and no longer craved any foods. I had the most wonderful feeling of joy and freedom. I could now eat what I should when I was truly hungry, instead of when something in my brain told me I had to. I had an amazing amount of energy. This feeling did not last, but it did prove to me that the brain was the culprit and set me on a journey to learn more.
First you need to know about proteins and amino acids, which are the building blocks that make up proteins. The central nervous system cannot function without amino acids, which act as neurotransmitters or as precursors to the neurotransmitters. They are necessary for the brain to receive and send messages. All the amino acids must be present together or something may go wrong with the transmission of the message. If there is a protein shortage due to a diet deficiency or the inability to digest proteins, disorders can arise. These may be cravings, ADD, anxiety, depression or many other mental disorders.
Julia Ross writes in her book, The Mood Cure, that if you are low in amino acids or if they are not functioning properly in your body, you can crave foods. She states that if you are low in the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is needed to produce serotonin, our natural Prozac, you may have afternoon cravings for carbohydrates, alcohol or drugs. If you are low in endorphins, our natural chocolate or heroin, you may crave comforting or numbing treats or “love” certain foods, drugs or alcohol. The amino acid DLPA will often eliminate comfort-food cravings, at least for a while.
Some grains (wheat, rye, barley and spelt) contain a protein called gluten, which is very difficult to digest. Foods made from gluten grains are comfort foods and many people crave them. They can actually become addictive. James Braly, MD, in his book, Dangerous Grains, says that part of this comfort comes from our inability to digest fully some parts of the grain. Undigested partial proteins, or peptides, found in gluten cereals have morphine-like properties, becoming potent drugs once they enter the blood stream. Many people develop cravings due to the pleasant feelings these cause.
You may have heard the aphorism, “Disease begins in the colon.” When a person eats factory-made refined foods, which are difficult to digest, he develops an overgrowth of yeasts, fungi and bad bacteria, which proliferate because of these lifeless foods. In addition, if you have taken antibiotics, you have probably killed a lot of the good bacteria whose job is to keep levels of all bacteria in balance. These good bacteria assist with digestion and absorption of nutrients in living foods. By contrast, the unfriendly (to us) bacteria want a continuous supply of starchy carbohydrates and sugar to eat via these dead, factory foods, and they let you know by causing your food cravings.
In addition, you may find you have parasites. The job of parasites is to clean up rotten food and bad bacteria in the intestines. Parasites love sugar as a steady diet, too. When you kill them your cravings may temporarily get worse, as they seem to scream for sugar.
Candida overgrowth can cause very strong sugar and bread cravings. Yeasts and candida live on sugar and seem to urge you to feed them all the time. “A craving for sweet and starchy foods is typical for all people with abnormal bodily flora,” says Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, “particularly with candida overgrowth.” Further, if you have taken birth control pills, which change your body pH, or if you eat a lot of sugar, you are encouraging abnormal growth of yeast in your body. Doctors are now discovering a link between heavy metals and candida overgrowth.
Metals can be a root cause of cravings and of serious health problems. We can accumulate metals from vaccinations, mercury fillings in our teeth, pesticides, foods that are not organic, air pollutants, and many other sources. They can be passed on to our children in utero. “Unfortunately, just having toxins in the body makes them harder to get rid of because they drain energy, even at the cellular level,” says Kenneth Bock, M.D. who treats autistic children.
Just when I had absolutely no cravings (I didn’t even think about sweets anymore) I began to detoxify metals. My doctor’s report had shown mercury, arsenic and high copper, so I was taking homeopathic drops to detoxify. But detoxification brought the carbohydrate cravings right back. At midday and after dinner I started searching the house for candy, looking for those leftover chocolates from Christmas gifts. I really wanted what Julia Ross calls numbing treats, something to satisfy myself. My health practitioner explained that the metals, as they are flushed out, disrupt functions in the body, including neurotransmitters in the brain. Chemicals can do this as well. I took some individual amino acids, which provided some relief from cravings, and also supplemented with probiotics to improve digestion and detoxification.
If you are eating a lowfat diet, you may still feel hungry after a meal. As stated in Eat Fat Lose Fat, by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig, PhD, our bodies need saturated fats for function of nerves, brain, hormones, immune system and metabolism. Also, saturated fats create satiation. In other words, they make us feel full and satisfied. By feeding your body the healthy fats it needs—fats found in butter, cream, nuts, meats and eggs—your body produces a hormone in the stomach that signals you have eaten enough.
Dr. Tom Cowan writes in his book, The Fourfold Path to Healing, that “Our brain is specifically designed to sense the fat content of our food and to tell us to stop eating when the proper amount of fat has been ingested. When the need for fats and the nutrients they contain is satisfied, we stop eating. The body’s requirement for fats is so great, and the appetite that spurs the body to obtain those fats is so strong, that binge eating is likely to occur if fats are omitted from regular meals.”
As I stated earlier, if you have been eating refined foods, especially grains that are not traditionally prepared by soaking or fermenting, you may have undigested waste in the intestinal tract. You may have too many hostile bacteria and not enough beneficial bacteria. This can make it difficult for your intestines to make B vitamins. Julia Ross explains that the brain must have B6 to make serotonin, an important neurotransmitter. Serotonin makes you feel happy, contented and satisfied.
Are you deficient in brain nutrition due to low-calorie dieting? Julia Ross calls this situation “dieter’s malnutrition” and says it can be an underlying cause of food cravings. When our body assimilates vital nutrients well, it requires less food to satisfy its basic nutrient needs, and a lasting feeling of satiety is effectively achieved. If we don’t assimilate nutrients well or don’t eat nutrient-dense food, our body will be constantly asking for more food, because it needs nutrients to survive. As Dr. Cowan explains, modern processed food is high in calories and low in nutrients. It satisfies the appetite only momentarily because the body continues to send signals to the brain that it needs more nourishment. The “appestat” never receives the signal to turn off.
Just eating a lot of sugar can cause you to want more of the same. In a presentation at the 2010 Weston A. Price Foundation conference, Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, explained that if you eat a lot of sugar and starch (which turns to sugar), your body and brain become metabolically adapted to burning glucose for fuel, instead of burning fat for fuel. She says, “You are going to crave carbohydrates if you are adapted to being dependent on glucose as your primary source of fuel. . . . Sugar is going to look good to you and you are going to crave it. Some people can’t even get to noon without a snack, without going half crazy.”
For example, if you eat sugary breakfast cereals you will often become hungry an hour later and want to eat more sugar. You may feel like you are going to crash without it. Processed carbohydrates get absorbed very quickly, producing an unnaturally rapid increase in blood glucose. A rapid increase in blood glucose puts your body in a state of shock, prompting it to pump out lots of insulin very quickly. As a result of overproduction of insulin, soon you have very low blood glucose again. (Insulin is what puts on weight too.) A fluctuating blood sugar level can trigger food cravings, migraines, mood swings, weak spells, drowsiness and much more. I was with a friend while she experienced a blood sugar crash. She felt faint and that she absolutely had to eat a cookie to survive.
It has been said that chemicals are sometimes added to processed food by manufacturers in order to cause cravings in the unwitting public. Paul Stitt, who worked for breakfast food companies and wrote Fighting the Food Giants, relates how this is frequently perpetrated. Employees were often asked to taste the cereals. The cereals they ate the most of were considered the best and were marketed the most. And some cookies, he says, have addictive ingredients added so you won’t eat just one.
Paula Bass, PhD, in Fairfax, Virginia, agrees that food additives affect the brain. As a psychologist, she looks carefully at diet with each client, and sometimes a diet change is all it takes to resolve the problem. “If you are eating junk foods that contain dyes, preservatives and other chemicals, you can damage the manufacture of your brain neurotransmitters,” she explained at a recent talk I attended. “Nutrient-dense whole foods are necessary for our brain neurotransmitters to be produced and function properly,” she commented.
Recent research finds that toxins in foods and other chemicals in the environment do more than just cause cravings—they also alter our hormones and our own innate slimming mechanism. Paula Baillie-Hamilton, MD, PhD, focuses on organochlorines, such as pesticides. In her book, Toxic Overload, she reveals studies showing that the higher the level of these chemicals in the body, the greater the body weight will be.
Researchers are discovering that microwaves, power lines, computers and cell phones all create electro-magnetic pollution that makes people sick and tired—and fat. The effects can cause fat retention, fatigue, insomnia, depression, hormone disruption and more, according to Sherrill Sellman, ND. They disrupt vital cellto- cell communication that underlies all of the body’s functions, including maintaining energy and natural slimming mechanisms like detoxifying, balancing blood sugar and regulating appetite, according to Dr. Sellman. You can read more by going to You can also purchase tiny chips to place on electronic devices to protect yourself at
It has long been known that if we are allergic to something, we may crave that very food. A craving for wheat can mean you are allergic to wheat, one of the most common food allergens. The reason this happens, says Nora Gedgaudas, is that when a food allergy causes stress, your body produces endorphins, which comfort you and make you feel good. Unfortunately you perpetuate exposure to the irritant because you want more of the compensatory good feelings.
Bruce Rind, MD, who specializes in adrenal and thyroid health, claims that weakened adrenals can cause cravings for sweets, grains, salt or any combination of these. If you have eaten a lowfat diet for a lengthy amount of time, or have poor fat metabolism, you may not be getting enough cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for the health of the endocrine system, which of course includes the adrenals and thyroid gland.
Another cause of poor adrenal function can be toxins like mercury. Janet Lang, DC, an expert in women’s hormones, agrees that toxins and poor diet disrupt hormones. She states that imbalanced hormones frequently cause cravings and has developed a treatment protocol for this condition.
Although it takes diligence, attention to detail, and time, overcoming food cravings and restoring gut health and mental equilibrium can be done! My five crucial points for remedying food cravings are outlined in the sidebar on page 48. Let me reassure you that detoxifying and changing your diet are worth the effort. Not only will you be free of your cravings, but you will digest and absorb nutrients better, grow healthier, feel happier, and prevent illness in the future.
Remedies for Cravings
1. Prepare your grains: Do we need to eliminate grains to be healthy? Sally Fallon Morell explains in her article “Be Kind to Your Grains” that we do not need to give up our grains, but we do need to prepare them properly. Ancient cultures fermented, soaked and sprouted grains before consumption. Today we are fortunate because we can find genuine sourdough breads and whole grain breads that are made from soaked and sprouted flours. They are usually in the frozen section of our health food store. Because the gluten is broken down or predigested it is less likely to cause cravings and the breads are more nutritious. (But read labels to make sure that gluten is not added after the sprouting or sourdough process!) If you have strong cravings for grains, however, it may be wise to eliminate them entirely, recommends Nora Gedgaudas. I find that once cravings are gone, one is usually able to slowly add back to the diet some properly prepared grains. If you are still trying to lose weight, you should continue to limit grain consumption.
2. Take probiotic supplements and eat probiotic fermented foods: Homemade sauerkraut and pickles are good probiotic foods, consumed by healthy people the world over for centuries. These foods will increase the numbers of friendly bacteria to improve digestion, assimilation and detoxification. They help keep in check the bad bacteria that can cause cravings. I suggest you start supplementing slowly with probiotics. This is because when you add these good bacteria they will cause the bad bacteria to die, and you will very likely have some die-off symptoms. These could include cravings.
3. Eat plenty of good satur ate d fats : Be sure you are getting plenty of these fats in your diet because they will make you feel good, full, and satisfied.
4. Clean out the kitchen and pantry! Get rid of all the processed and sugar-laden foods. Remove any grain products that are not traditionally prepared and any products with dyes and additives. Keep only foods that are real and whole. If you are trying to lose weight, eat only low-sugar, low-starch foods. Eat lots of non–starchy vegetables, meats, fish, nuts,and raw dairy. Raw dairy contains the enzymes needed to digest it.
5. Detoxify: Find a practitioner who can test you to determine if you have heavy metals, chemicals, parasites, candida, yeast, fungi or bad bacteria, all of which can cause food cravings. Since I was burdened with several of these, I detoxified using homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and TBM (Total Body Modification) energy treatments. I took Natren probiotics to aid in detoxification and replenish the good bacteria. I recommend you purchase a very good water filter to aid hydration of cells. Foods like parsley and cilantro can help with detoxification, too. You must be very careful not to detoxify too rapidly or you will put your body out of balance and experience many unpleasant symptoms. I took cod liver oil, which contains vitamins A and D to protect my cells, once I had detoxified enough to be able to metabolize fats well. I recommend you find someone who is experienced in AK (Applied Kinesiology or muscle testing). A good practitioner will make sure you support the organs of detoxification, especially the liver and kidneys. You can so easily overdo detoxification and harm yourself. When you have symptoms, it is often difficult to tell whether they are from the toxins, low levels of probiotics, or from the detox process. I worked with a TBM practitioner who could always figure out my problem and remedy it. Another tool to identify your toxins is the Asyra energy scan, available at, in Annandale, Virginia.

1. Campbell-McBride, Natasha, M.D. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Dyspraxia, Autism, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, and Schizophrenia. Cambridge: Medinform Publishing, 2004
2. Gershon, Michael D., M.D. The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1998
3. Ross, Julia, M.A. The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Rebalance Your Emotional Chemistry and Rediscover Your Natural Sense of Well-Being. New York: The Penguin Group, 2002.
4. Braly, James, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A. Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous to Your Health. New York: The Penguin Group, 2002
5. Smith, Melissa Diane. Going Against the Grain: How Reducing and Avoiding Grains Can Revitalize Your Health. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2002
6. Cowan, Thomas S., M.D. The Fourfold Path to Healing: Working with the Laws of Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement, and Meditation in the Art of Medicine. Washington D.C: New Trends Publishing, 2004
7. Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Washington, D.C.: New Trends Publishing, 1999
8. Watson, Alan L. Cereal Killer: The Unintended Consequences of the Low Fat Diet. Minneapolis: Diet Heart Publishing, 2008
9. Paula Bass, PhD, presentation, Weston A. Price Chapter Meeting, Alexandria, VA, 2010
10. Stitt, Paul A. Fighting the Food Giants, Manitowoc, WI, Natural Press, 1980
11. Nora Gedgaudas, presentation, Weston A. Price Conference, 2010, Baltimore, MD,“Taming the Carb Craving Monster.”
12. Courtney, John, Standard Process Clinical Reference Guide, p 36, Lactic Acid Yeast
13. Bock, Kenneth, M.D. Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies. New York: Ballantine Books 2008

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2011.
About the Author

Guts and Psychology

Like most people, we know of someone who’s behavior is unexplainable and sometimes quite erratic. For the past 6 yrs., I’ve been researching food and it’s effect on the body and stumbled across many accounts of people with bi-polar issues, depression, ADD, ADHD, anxiety and various degrees of schizophrenia being treated by diet.

I knew that I had gut issues and that my family had their issues as well. Both my husband and son had behavior that was wearing me down emotionally. I was tired of being lashed out at by the people I love. My husband for years had what was an obvious sugar addiction to me: bread, bread, more bread, ice cream, pasta and more pasta. He would go to bed very late as software guys tend to do, but he’d wake up only after 4 hours of sleep. He was in a manic cycle which he didn’t recognize as damaging. But for anyone who’s ever watched this cycle, it’s a sad and obvious pattern. My son who was 6 at the time had been diagnosed with ADD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder and I was advised to medicate him immediately. The doctor said he’d probably be on medication all thru his school years ! I went in for an I.Q test and was told to medicate – I was not prepared for this, but being an old hippie mom, I said no I wasn’t going this route. I’d try the natural approach and find the root cause. Drugs only mask the symptom, they do not address root causes.

At that time my beautiful boy was also kicking and hitting me regularly, but an hour later he’d come and cry to me that he didn’t know why he was behaving the way he was. My poor baby felt like he was possessed and he’d cry with remorse. This was possibly one of the most tiring periods of my life – I was sick and being drained. I prayed for guidance regularly.

I also went thru the motions and spent a couple of thousand dollars on doctors to no avail on allergy testing and different styles of therapy. It wasn’t until I sat down at my computer, did I begin to draw a line from food to behavior. I immediately omitted gluten, boxed mac and cheese, and all junk which had processed milk solids and started making him green juice smoothies with probiotics every morning. He got good old fashioned cod liver oil daily, along with farm eggs and meat. I made bread the old fashioned way with natural fermented sourdough yeasts.

It took me about 6 months to see dramatic changes in my husband and son’s behavior and sleep patterns. My son was no longer hitting me and his teachers noticed a big change in behavior in school. They stopped calling me. I banished all processed foods and sugary foods in the house – I was truly a dictator in the food dept. Ask my husband, I’d go nuts if anyone bought in junk. BUT, it was worth it. My husband started going to bed at 11pm and waking up at 7am – rested and refreshed. He stopped acting manic and flying off the handle at me and the kids. He finally stopped taking the anti-depressants since he felt peaceful again. Please read this account of one of my fellow WAPF practioners and see if it applies to anyone you know. Forward this on to them. And then get them on the GAPS diet – Guts and Psychology diet immediately. They will thank you for it. I’ve mentioned this in my other posts, but I don’t think most people know just how badly they feel, until they feel better.

Getting at the Gut
Written by Kim Schuette, CN
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 20:09

A Solution for Treating Bipolar Disorder

The Merck Manual describes bipolar disorder as “a condition in which periods of depression alternate with periods of mania or lesser degrees of excitement.” 1 Historically known as manic-depressive disorder, this psychiatric condition is typically defined by the presence of abnormally elevated energy levels affecting mood and awareness, with or without states of depression. Manic states are often accompanied by psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations.

Allopathic medicine’s solution generally involves one or more pharmaceuticals for a lifetime; it never offers a cure but rather, management of erratic behavior via medications that often need to be changed from time to time. Quite commonly, those suffering from bipolar disorder are very bright, creative and loving individuals. Sadly, when brain chemistry goes out of balance, the sufferer most often deals with chaos involving hallucinations, as well as extreme mania and rage. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” While not all individuals with gut dysbiosis experience psychological or psychiatric disease, I have yet to find in thirteen years of practice the absence of gut dysbiosis in those suffering from psychological or psychiatric challenges.

In September 2008, I had the privilege of meeting a very bright but troubled nine-year-old girl, whom I will call Mary. Mary had been diagnosed bipolar eleven months earlier by a psychiatrist. This conclusion came after years of deeply concerning behavior. By the second grade, she was expelled from her private school due to her aggressive behavior towards students and her teacher. This prompted her parents to make the decision to home school. Mary’s mother quit her practice in the health field in order to give full time attention to her daughter’s daily needs.


Prior to seeing the psychiatrist, Mary described in detail to her counselor how she planned to kill herself some day. It was at this point the counselor and her parents realized Mary needed serious help. Her parents’ “gut sense” was that pharmaceuticals would not offer the long-term solution they desired for their daughter. It was at this junction they were referred to my office.

During my first meeting with the family, Mary was in a state of mild agitation with constant fidgeting and head shaking. She described the sensation of “things crawling” in her head. Mary presented with a very red and expansive rash on her bottom, which had been longstanding.


Before focusing on Mary, I took a look first at her parents’ health history and habits. I suspected that Mary might be a GAPS patient. GAPS is an acronym for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, based on the work of neurologist Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD. This work finds that those individuals with psychiatric disorders, as well as depression, anxiety, ADD and ADHD also have digestive problems. This is evidenced by many symptoms including (but not limited to) acne, allergies, asthma, constipation, diarrhea, eczema and other skin rashes. Dr. Campbell-McBride’s findings echo the words of Hippocrates that “all disease begins in the gut.” Given the GAPS research, and the fact that children inherit many gut and psychology issues from their parents, I examined her parents’ histories.

Mary’s mother had been a frequent user of the birth control pill and numerous rounds of antibiotics to address chronic bladder infections. She also had a history of vaginal yeast infections, which is common following the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics wipe out most bacteria, good and bad, leaving room on the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract and the vaginal canal for opportunistic yeast to grow.

Mary’s mother also followed a typical American diet with an emphasis on lowfat foods, based on Dean Ornish’s recommendations, prior to conception. Mary’s father was addicted to sugar, Cokes and Oreos. He presented with chronic subcutaneous dermatitis, inflammation of the skin, most commonly seen as eczema. This condition is the result of imbalance of good flora in the gut. Both parents’ diet had a history of strict adherence to the USDA’s recommended food group of choice: grains. They both had used Accutane for the treatment of acne and appeared to suffer from the typical distressed liver function, which generally follows Accutane usage.2

The history of both parents gave me great insight into the weak links in Mary’s development. Both parents suffered from gut dysbiosis. Both parents were unable to pass on strong immunity to their child due to their own weakened states from diets composed primarily of processed foods, high in sugar and gluten and their exposure to antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals that weaken liver function.

Mary showed signs of large motor skill delays in her first year of life. I learned that Mary was conceived in the Sierra Mountains at a time when Lyme disease was widespread. Mary’s mom was an avid hiker, as well as a veterinarian, making it likely that she had come in contact with the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. Research has shown that pathogens like the spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, and its hitchhiking partners, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Mucoplasma and Anaplasma, can cross the placenta barrier and infect the developing child.3

A breached gut wall barrier leaves a child— or adult—vulnerable to pathogenic invaders and bacteria that are simply looking for a home. The gut wall barrier can become breached when there is an absence of life-giving, probiotic bacteria protecting the gut lining and the presence of partially digested proteins, creating lesions in the gut lining. The result is impaired assimilation of nutrients along with inflammation. This is in part due to consuming highly refined grains, or grains not properly soaked and properly prepared. The lack of lacto-fermented foods is another contributing factor in developing a breached gut wall barrier.

Mary was born via C-section, therefore she would have missed out on the natural inoculation of friendly bacteria that should have been residing in the vaginal canal. However, due to mom’s history of antibiotics, birth control pills and regular sugar consumption, she would have lacked sufficient beneficial bacteria to impart to Mary during delivery anyway.

Mary was breastfed for sixteen months. Nonetheless, she suffered from chronic constipation beginning at five months of age. She was fed rice cereal with mineral oil per the advice of her pediatrician. Mineral oil, a petroleum-derived product, can be contaminated with cancer causing PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and is known to be immunosuppressive.4 In the European Union’s Dangerous Substances Directive (UNECE 2004), in September 2004 banned all petroleum oils with the following caveat: “The classification as a carcinogen need not apply if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen.” Her pediatric gastroenterologist concluded “nothing is wrong with Mary,” and confirmed the use of mineral oil.

After her first birthday, Mary began five years of chronic ear infections. Within this five-year period she was placed on ten different antibiotics. At the age of four, her tonsils and adenoids were removed. The tonsils were so enlarged due to chronic infections that they were touching one another. As a result, Mary’s snoring could be heard throughout the house.


Up until Mary entered kindergarten, her parents thought she was just very strong willed and bright. Bright she was. Mary has an IQ of one hundred forty. It was soon after she began kindergarten that Mary’s parents realized that her anger and behavior were far from normal. By first grade she was throwing chairs and other objects in the classroom at children, especially boys. She would threaten homicide to others. Despite many attempts by patient teachers trying to redirect her behavior, Mary was uncontrollable. By the beginning of second grade, Mary was suspended.

Mary understood she was different from her peers. She would run down the hall at home flailing her arms and raging for two hours at a time. Often she crawled in between her mattress and box springs or buried herself under the bed for hours on end. Other times she would withdraw into herself and her books. (To date, at age thirteen, Mary has read over two thousand books.)

As her parents saw Mary “going dark,” they sought help from a local marriage and family therapist, who had a PhD in education with an emphasis on gifted children. At the same time they began working with several neurological developmental specialists and eventually the psychiatrist who diagnosed Mary as bipolar.

All agreed that Mary likely had a genius level IQ but, sadly, no long-term solutions for her disorder were offered. As her obstinate behavior grew and threats of suicide increased, their therapist felt something immediate needed to be done. After four hours of meetings with the psychiatrist, the mood disorder diagnosis was given. The psychiatrist was reluctant to prescribe anti-psychotic drugs to such a young, smart child—Mary’s parents agreed.

Many times Mary’s eyes would “flat line,” to use her father’s words. She would become completely disconnected and unable to communicate. Often after an hour and a half of head butting, biting, and raging, Mary would pass out and then wake with words of apology.


With full history in hand, we ran a comprehensive three-day stool test. Proper Lyme testing, which can be done through a specialty lab, is very costly and therefore, the parents chose to forego the testing and began addressing the diet and support for the gut. To best accomplish this, I recommended they use the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet as designed by neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. We decided to keep her nutritional supplementation to a minimum, using primarily fermented cod liver oil and high quality probiotics. After several months, we added various homeopathic remedies and eventually, some botanical products that have antimicrobial effects.

The GAPS Diet was a huge shift for this family of three whose diet had been primarily centered around refined carbohydrates with some lowfat dairy and meats. But in desperation, they made it a family affair. Within a few weeks, Mary’s rash began disappearing. Within three months of the GAPS Diet and our nutritional support, Mary’s raging ended.

We limited her nutritional supplementation to Bio-Kult, minerals, and Blue Ice Royal, a combination of X-factor butter oil and fermented cod liver oil. This combination was used often by Dr. Weston A. Price in treating many different states of deficiency. Bio-Kult helped us quickly populate Mary’s gut with much needed beneficial bacteria as she adapted to eating lacto-fermented foods on a daily basis. The Blue Ice Royal, a rich source of vitamins A and D, and daily bone broth, supplying amino acids and minerals, provided all the nutrients needed to heal the gut lining. I also included homeopathic drainage remedies to assist her body in slowly eliminating toxins in the gut and brain. Botanical tinctures were used to address infection in the body.

Mary and her parents agreed the two biggest challenges presented by the GAPS Diet are the elimination of gluten and casein. The elimination of these are essential in healing the gut, which is almost always required in healing psychiatric conditions.


One of the earliest works showing the effects of gluten on the brain was done by psychiatrist F. Curtis Dohan, who noted that schizophrenic patients had fewer hospitalizations when bread became unavailable during World War II. This trend was seen throughout Canada, the United States, Finland, Norway and Sweden. He found similar correlation in New Guinea, where schizophrenia was basically nonexistent in people on primitive diets until cultivated wheat products and beer made from barley (a gluten-containing grain) were introduced. At that point schizophrenia rates increased sixty-five fold.

One of the most extensive clinical trials of our time regarding food and behavior took place in Denmark. Fifty-five autistic children were placed on a gluten- and casein-free diet. Tremendous improvement in behavior was seen in these children. Dr. Dohan and his colleagues at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia saw similar results in schizophrenic patients in the mid-sixties after putting patients on a gluten-free diet for four weeks. There was a reduced number of auditory hallucinations, delusion and less social detachment. Once gluten was reintroduced, the disturbing behaviors returned.5

Obviously not everyone who is gluten- or casein-sensitive exhibits the extreme symptoms of autism, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But other health issues may ensue when the gut wall lining has been breached. Allergies, acne, eczema and gastrointestinal complaints are just a few of the symptoms that can point to gut dysbiosis.

I have found the GAPS program to be the body’s best support for healing. Prior to using the GAPS Diet in 2005, I saw the Specific Carbohydrate Diet assist many to a certain degree of wellness. The GAPS Diet, however, because of its emphasis on nutrient-dense, gut-healing foods like cod liver oil and bone broth, can bring complete healing to those with gut disorders.


Several months after I began working with Mary, we re-tested her stool to find that the high levels of previously detected MRSA (methylresistant Staphylococcus aureus) had left her body. Over the next nine months her behavior gradually normalized. Exactly one year from beginning the GAPS Diet, Mary and her parents attended a family reunion where family members were shocked at Mary’s transformation.

Today, Mary is a vivacious, happy, normal thirteen-year-old, still reading books and bringing laughter to those around her. Her kind and loving spirit touches all who are blessed to know her. Mary is fortunate to have parents dedicated to her healing.


Today, modern cultures are seeing soaring SUMMER 2012 Wise Traditions 49 rates of ADD, ADHD, allergies, autism and psychiatric disorders in the very young as refined carbohydrates, particularly modified gluten products rapidly produced in sixty minutes or less, and pasteurized, denatured dairy products continue to dominate diets. More and more research points to the wisdom of Hippocrates that “all disease begins in the gut.”

Hippocrates also offered this insight: “I know, too, that the body is affected differently by bread according to the manner in which it is prepared. It differs according as it is made from pure flour or meal with bran, whether it is prepared from winnowed or unwinnowed wheat, whether it is mixed with much water or little, whether well mixed or poorly mixed, overbaked or underbaked, and countless other points besides. The same is true of the preparation of barley meal. The influence of each process is considerable and each has a totally different effect from another. How can anyone who has not considered such matters and come to understand them possibly know anything of the diseases that afflict mankind? Each one of the substances of a man’s diet acts upon his body and changes it in some way and upon these changes his whole life depends.”

This truth is never more evident than today. We are bearing the consequences of departure from traditional food preparation in exchange for modern technology and so-called convenience. The fallout lies in the minds and guts of our young. The good news is our bodies are capable of self-healing. As we return to the wisdom of our ancient forefathers and foremothers, we can help our children to recapture their potential for wellness.




Connor, age two years and nine months, came to see me after his mother, Kelley, spent his entire life seeking help from the conventional medical community, including one of the nation’s most prestigious university hospitals. Kelley realized when Connor was just a few days old that something was sorely wrong. It was determined that he was having seizures throughout the day. In December of 2011, Connor was experiencing forty seizures daily, spending many days hospitalized. On bad days, he was registering one hundred seizures within a twenty-four-hour period. His hospice doctor told the parents not to expect him to live to see his third birthday due to the effect of the constant seizures.

In January of 2012 Connor’s mother switched him to a ketogenic (high fat) commercial formula. This change brought his seizures down to six to ten daily. In April they were referred to me. At this point Connor had not crawled, talked, sat or walked. He exhibited signs of chronic indigestion. A look at Kelley’s preconception and prenatal history was very telling. She had been a vegetarian since she was nine years old. She had one child who was sixteen months older than Connor. This child had a history of chronic ear infections. At the time of their first visit with me, the older child had been on thirty rounds of antibiotics. They also now had a six-month old son who was showing signs of gut disorder, including eczema and vomiting after feedings.

Kelley had miscarried several months prior to conceiving Connor. Her doctor had put her on antibiotics during her complete pregnancy due to supposed urinary tract infections. She was also being given opiate drugs for the pain simultaneously. Unfortunately she was not properly overseen during her prenatal period and learned just prior to delivering her son via C-section that she was severely anemic. She required four pints of blood before delivery.

Connor was receiving most of his nutrition via a G-tube that entered his stomach. He was on a commercial formula, which boasted a frightening list of synthetic ingredients including high fructose corn syrup. We immediately changed his formula to the meat-based formula designed by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig found in Nourishing Traditions. I made a few minor changes to accommodate Connor’s special needs. I referred him to an excellent osteopath, Dr. Jim Murphy, for osteopathic manipulation as well as emotional healing.

We focused on increasing his animal fats, as these do not exacerbate seizures the way other fats often do. Within ten days Connor’s seizures ended. Roughly thirty-five days after being seizure free, Connor began to make eye contact for the first time in a year and a half. A day later, he was smiling and then giggling.

Connor is currently on the GAPS Introduction Diet. He has learned to chew for the first time and is thoroughly enjoying his egg yolks scrambled in ghee, homemade cultured sour cream, avocados and of course, bone broth soups and stews.

The hospice doctor saw Connor about thirty-five days after his seizures stopped. She was floored but insisted that “these things don’t happen” and while they shouldn’t get their hopes up, they should continue whatever they were doing. At the end of the visit she burst into tears, admitted that Connor’s progress defied everything she has been taught and had to leave as she was crying too much. Our hope is that this doctor will learn through her observations of Connor.

Connor continues to improve. Recently he began talking, greeting friends and family with “hi”; saying “up” when he wants to be held and voicing “ah” when wanting his pacifier. He is learning to sit and can presently stand by himself for thirty seconds at a time. Needless to say, many tears of joy are being shed in Connor’s home, as well as my office. Connor’s father, Randy, calls him their “miracle.” I thank God for the privilege of working with such incredible parents and watching their miracle unfold.

Connor’s six-month-old baby brother has adapted excellently to a homemade formula using raw camel and sheep milk. Kelley continues to learn to cook the GAPS way as her entire family of five is now on the GAPS Diet (although baby brother, Cameron, will continue his raw camel and sheep milk). Kelley and I are starting to make plans for Connor’s third birthday party, GAPS style.

In addition to nutritional support, Connor’s parents, Kelley and Randy, are incorporating Recall Healing and osteopathic treatments with Dr. Jim Murphy. One day, Connor’s parents asked Connor for forgiveness for their times of hopelessness. Connor smiled and has been beaming ever since. He woke the next day and started all the big steps in his cognitive development, chewing his food for the first time ever, saying “hi” to greet people and learning to sit.

It is obvious that Connor came into the world to be a blessing to his family, and to lead them, however painfully, to the right dietary practices for his parents and siblings.



1. Merck Manual, pg. 409.

2. Stephen P. Stone, M.D., president American Academy of Dermatology and clinical professor of medicine Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield; Lee T. Zane, M.D., assistant professor, clinical dermatology, University of California, San Francisco; August 2006, Archives of Dermatology.

3. John Drulle, M.D. in December, 1990; The Lyme-Autism Connection; Rosner, Bryan with Tami Duncan.


5. F. Curtis Dohan, M.D. Genetic Hypothesis of Idiopathic Schizophrenia: Its Exorphin Connection Oxford Journals: Schizophrenia Bulletin; Volume 14, Issue 4, pp. 489-493; Dohan FC, Grasberger JC. Relapsed schizophrenics: earlier discharge from the hospital after cereal-free, milk-free diet. Am J Psychiatry 1973; 130: 685-8; Lorenz K: Cereals and schizophrenia. Adv Cereal Sci Technol 1990; 10: 435–469. [iii]. Dohan FC, et al. Relapsed schizophrenics: More rapid improvement on a milk and cereal free diet. Br J Psychiatry 1969; 115: 595–596; Dohan FC, Grasberger JC. Relapsed schizophrenics: Early discharge from the hospital after cereal free, milk free diet. Am J Psychiatry 1973; 130: 685–688.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2012.

About the Author

Stress reduction techniques

How to rewire your brain stress

As I mentioned in my section on stress, IBDers have plenty of it.  Whether it’s caused by our IBD  or the world around us, we all need help in controlling it.   In the course of healing my IBD, I’ve tried many treatments – weekly massage, yoga, walking and a regular exercise program.   While we need something to relax our bodies, we can’t overlook our minds.   Please checkout this link to one of my favorite new programs.   I am almost done reading it and incorporating into my routine.   I am confident it will help you too.

Nick Orton Tapping Techniques

Dr. Andy Hyman on Tapping



Flares and Remission

IBS & IBD has periods of active disease where you’ll experience flare-ups.  They are extremely upsetting and can wreck havoc on your nerves.  It’s important to remember, they are part of the normal cycle of gut ecology.   It’s believed that for the first couple of years until you get your diet under control, you’ll experience these every 3, 6, 9, 12 months until some of the pathogenic gut bacteria dies off and your treatment plan is established.    Periods like these vary greatly from person to person, but there does seem to be common foods that will trigger flares,  so during these times you’ll want to pay strict attention to your sugar and carb consumption.    I made the mistake of binge eating during my flares only to learn I was making my Remicade treatments less effective and I had to increase the dosage.  Had I known that I just needed to control my sugar and carb intake, I could of possibly avoided bad flares and increases in dosage.

For those who are suffering badly with IBD, the drugs are a godsend, but you also have to help your body heal.   The drugs can easily fail, as they did for me, but at that time I knew little about carb and sugar intake and how it works against the drug treatment plan.  If you are a smoker and suddenly quite, you’ll find yourself in a bad flare.  Please consult your doctor should you plan on quitting.

Remission is when you no longer experience flares and your IBD becomes inactive.  Clinical remission is the absence of rectal bleeding and normal stool frequency.   I have been in remission for 7 yrs., with an occasional flare, but I can easily get it under control again by controlling my food intake.  I stay away from all sugars, except honey and saccharine, and all simple carbs, like junk food during these times.  I use my stools and urgency as indicators if I am overdoing it.  If I start getting gassy with loose stools, I cut out all sugar and carbs for 4-7 days.   Chronic diarrhea will irritate your colon and cause inflammation, so please monitor your eating before you get to his point, otherwise you might have to use steroids to reduce the inflammation.

See the Bristol Stool chart for an example of what I call “remission” stools.


Problem with taking fiber

Read this with my post on Bristol Stool Chart.  It will explain a lot about why conventional cures for constipation may be making you worse.    I’ve tried them all from laxatives to  husks and none of them worked.  Bran and fiber made my bloating that much worse.  I didn’t realize the husks and all of fillers and binders in the laxatives were feeding the bad gut bacteria which thrive off of certain fibers, binders and starches.

I’ve also included a link to the author’s site and his bio below.

How To End The Nightmare Of Constipation Before It Ends You

Constipation starts shortly after birth at a 3% rate, exceeds 50% by the age of 50, and reaches over 90% by the age of 80. In other words, you are not alone…As with most other lifestyle disorders, bad parenting, bad doctoring, bad dietary advice, and prescription drugs are the main culprits behind chronic and intermittent constipation in children and adults.As time goes by, laxatives and fiber elevate constipation from the mere nuisance of hemorrhoids to the much more painful and traumatic anal fissures or irritable bowel syndrome, and all the way to an outright lethal ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or colon cancer.

Miralax Safety Alert

Young, fertile women are particularly hard hit by the ravages of constipation. Bloated by large stools and flatus, the colon increases the intra-abdominal pressure on the neighboring uterus — a condition that is behind most of the pain, cramping, discomfort, familial disunion, and workplace tensions associated with PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

In otherwise healthy adults, constipation is usually preceded by decades of semi-regular stools that are either too large, too hard, too infrequent, or all three. Because of straining and retention, abnormal stools gradually decimate the insides of the colon, rectum, and anal canal, until one day the bowels no longer move as intended by nature — once or twice daily, usually after a meal, and with zero effort or notice.

Therefore, it’s best to recognize and eliminate abnormal stools long before they bite you in the ass, literally and figuratively


Mr.. Monastyrsky graduated from medical university in 1977 with a pharmacy degree. He is also a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.   Read more at   Mr. Monastyrksy is a frequent contributor to The Weston A. Price Foundation periodical and website.


Candida and bacterial overgrowth

I subscribe to 50 different health newsletters and try to read them weekly.   Because IBS and IBD’s are coming so prevalent, more and more publications are investigating the causes.   This reprint is from Body Ecology today.   I agree with all of the research out there on bacterial overgrowth.  Sugar, stress, birth control pills and processed foods are the culprits.

How Candida Overgrowth Leads to Leaky Gut

Posted April 23, 2013. There have been 0 comments

Boost Your Energy, Improve Your Immunity, and Prevent Early Aging
  • The inner ecosystem of your digestive tract is a rich community. It is bustling with bacteria and yeast. As it turns out, these bacteria and yeast do more than help digest food and manufacture nutrients. The bugs in your gut also interact with your immune system, the chemicals in your brain, and your hormones.
The greater the stress, the more Candida adapts to stressors and to its environment.

Candida albicans is a well-known yeast that is naturally found in the mouth, the gut, and the birth canal. (1)

It is opportunistic, which means that if it has an opportunity to grow and take over an environment—it will.

What goes into your mouth (and into your gut) influences your inner ecosystem. Certain foods can irritate the lining of the digestive tract. Other foods feed disease-causing bacteria and Candida overgrowth. Once this happens, the gut wall—or the landscape of your inner ecosystem—becomes inflamed. An inflamed gut is a “leaky gut.”

What major factors contribute to Candida overgrowth?

  • A diet high in sugar
  • An imbalanced immune system
  • Stress
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the gut
  • Oral contraceptives use, or an imbalance in estrogen (2)

Unfortunately, Candida is not only opportunistic. It is also aggressive.

What Makes Candida So Virulent and Tough to Control?

Once the gut becomes inflamed, leaky gut can occur. Curbing Candida overgrowth by nourishing your inner ecosystem is one way to balance leaky gut and improve digestion.

Candida has developed a number of ways to evade your immune system and manipulate its environment. This makes Candida particularly difficult to control.

For starters, Candida has the ability to stick to your cells and invade them. It does this with proteins called adhesins, which are found in the cell wall of Candida. (3)

Adhesins act like double-sided tape. They help Candida stick to mucosal tissue (this is the tissue lining the gut wall, the mouth, and the birth canal). Adhesins also help Candida cells to aggregate—or form—sticky, gummy colonies.

Even more troubling is what happens to the tissue beneath Candida once colonies begin to form. In some cases, Candida yeast cells invade human cells and bud inside the cell—undetected and unnoticed. (4) Other studies show that Candida may be able to do this because it turns “off” white blood cells that protect cells from invasion. (5)

Candida Adapts to Stress

Studies also show that Candida thrives under stress. (6)

For example, researchers have exposed Candida to:

  • High temperatures that mimic the body’s response to an infection.
  • Oxidative stress—a byproduct of inflammation.
  • Antifungal stress in the form of a common antifungal drug called fluconazole.

The greater the stress, the more Candida adapts to stressors and to its environment. It turns out that these genetic adaptations are specifically tailored to each stressor.

Candida also shape-shifts. (7) When necessary, it can be a rounded yeast cell or an elongated hyphal cell—which form like long, finger-like threads. Candida hyphae are particularly invasive to the gut wall. In hyphal form, Candida can change the pH of the body. (8) With this change in pH, Candida hyphae can bore through tissue and make its way into the bloodstream, where it can then colonize other regions of the body.

Control Candida Overgrowth and Balance Leaky Gut

Fortunately, you have everything that you need to inhibit Candida overgrowth by optimizing your digestion and nourishing your inner ecosystem.

Your inner ecosystem is healthiest when it houses a wide range of beneficial bacteria and yeast. These good bacteria and yeast not only compete with Candida for resources, they also produce substances that curb Candida overgrowth.

For example, a 2012 study shows that lactic acid—which is produced by good bacteria—inhibits the growth of Candida. (9) Another study that was published in the Journal of Biomedical Science confirms that while Candida overgrowth activates inflammation, good bacteria (or probiotics) inhibit it. (10)

Good bacteria also help to repair damaged tissue. When it comes to leaky gut, this is especially good news since Candida colonizes areas that are inflamed. (11)

So, why does Candida overgrowth happen at all? The key here is balance.

In order to get Candida overgrowth under control, it is critical to harmonize the inner ecology of the gut. Good bacteria living in the gut work in partnership with your immune system, keeping Candida overgrowth in check.

Donna recommends increasing foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, such as fermented vegetables and probiotic liquids.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Your digestive tract contains a thriving inner ecosystem of bacteria and yeast to digest food, manufacture nutrients, and communicate with your immune system, brain, and hormones. Candida is a yeast that is naturally found in the gut, mouth, and birth canal. It is opportunistic and can easily take over its environment.

Candida overgrowth can soon cause inflammation in the gut wall, leading to leaky gut. Candida overgrowth may be a result of a high-sugar diet, imbalanced immune system, stress, or even oral contraceptive use. In a nutshell, Candida is tough to control since it can easily adapt to stress and manipulate its environment.

Controlling Candida overgrowth is one effective way to manage leaky gut. Nourishing your inner ecosystem will create a healthy balance of good bacteria and yeast that can keep Candida overgrowth in check. Good bacteria found in fermented vegetables and probiotic liquids can even repair damaged tissue in the digestive tract to calm inflammation associated with leaky gut.


Foods to avoid with UC


Reprinted from WebMD

What Foods Are Included in an Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan?

Eating with ulcerative colitis should be based on a well-balanced diet that’s high in protein, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, and good fats. Such a diet will provide you with energy and keep you well. Your diet may include meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products (if you don’t have lactose intolerance); breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; and margarine and oils.

If you are a vegetarian with ulcerative colitis, dairy products and plant proteins — such as soy products — can provide the nutritional elements found in meat, fish, and poultry.

What Foods Should I Avoid in an Ulcerative Colitis Diet Plan?

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, diet is not a major factor in the inflammatory process. Some specific foods, however, may affect symptoms of ulcerative colitis and play some role in inflammation.

If you find that certain foods trigger your bowel symptoms, then you may want to avoid these foods to reduce your symptoms and self-manage your illness. For example, some people with ulcerative colitis find that coffee or caffeine exacerbates diarrhea and cramping. Other people complain that raw vegetables or high-fiber foods cause their GI symptoms.

Some people periodically follow a low-residue diet or low-fiber diet, getting about 10-15 grams of fiber a day. That helps reduce the frequency of bowel movements and prolongs intestinal transit time.

Learning to avoid food triggers may give you better control of your disease and allow you greater freedom to enjoy an active life. Despite the fact there is no scientific proof, many people with ulcerative colitis have found that one or more of the following foods can trigger their GI symptoms:

  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • carbonated beverages
  • dairy products, if lactose intolerant
  • dried beans, peas, and legumes
  • dried fruits, berries, fruits with pulp or seeds
  • foods containing sulfur or sulfate
  • foods high in fiber, including whole-grain products
  • hot sauce, pepper
  • meats
  • nuts, crunchy nut butters
  • popcorn
  • products containing sorbitol (sugar-free gum and candies)
  • raw vegetables
  • refined sugar
  • seeds
  • spicy foods, sauces

How Can I Remember the Foods That Trigger my Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms?

Consider using a food diary that you keep every day. Use a small spiral notebook, and write down all “suspect” foods and beverages that seem to aggravate your ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Being aware of these offending foods and beverages and eliminating them from your diet may help to reduce your GI symptoms. With more control over ulcerative colitis symptoms, you may have more energy. You may also feel more like socializing with friends, exercising, and living a more active life once the fear of cramping or sudden diarrhea is gone.

What Else Is Important With an Ulcerative Colitis Diet?

It’s common to lose weight with ulcerative colitis. Many people with ulcerative colitis have nutrient deficiencies when they’re first diagnosed. Others develop signs of malnutrition, particularly when they’ve had severe bouts of diarrhea for weeks to months and lose essential nutrients. In addition, with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, your GI tract cannot always absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. That leaves you anemic and feeling weak.

People with ulcerative colitis may also have low levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid. This can lead to other health problems. That’s why it’s important to watch your overall health and see your GI doctor frequently to make sure you stay well. Your doctor will assess your overall health and GI symptoms. Sometimes your doctor may run some lab tests and make diet and lifestyle recommendations, if necessary, as well as check your medications.

Along with eating the right foods for ulcerative colitis, be sure to include adequate nutritional supplements if you’re unable to eat a balanced diet. For example, if you must avoid dairy products because of lactose intolerance, then talk to your doctor about getting adequate calcium through other foods such as vegetables, sardines with bones, or soy foods. Or get your calcium through supplementation with over-the-counter calcium tablets. In addition, ask your doctor to recommend a daily multivitamin and folic acid supplement.

What Does the Latest Research Show About the Link Between Nutrients and Inflammation?

In some studies, researchers studied the benefit of restricting linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid found in foods such as safflower oil, walnuts, olive oil, egg yolks, wheat germ oil, lard, coconut oil, and sesame seed oil. Although everyone needs linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat, there is some evidence it may play a role in inflammation if too much is ingested.

Other trials have found supplementation with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) helpful to inhibit leukotriene activity. Leukotrienes are chemicals that contribute to inflammation. EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid that’s found especially in fish oil. In clinical trials, patients benefited from very high doses of fish oil supplements by taking fish oil capsules. Many, however, found the fish taste offensive.

Some scientific trials reported anti-inflammatory benefits when patients with ulcerative colitis ate probiotic yogurts. Probiotic yogurts are available in most supermarket dairy sections.

Bristol Stool Test

Bristol stool scale

I know it’s not proper dinner conversation, but since we are all plagued by this problem, we have to discuss it.   I wish I would have known to look at my own toilet bowel to see what it would reveal about my health.   I’ve cycled thru being constipated to severe diarrhea for over 40 years.  I never realized that the 2 ends of the spectrum – being from constipation to diarrhea was basically from the same cause – my gut bacteria.  Your gut ecology is imbalanced by bacterial overgrowth.  Everyone is different.    Next post, I’ll discuss fiber and why some of it wrecking your gut.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bristol stool chart.svg

The Bristol stool scale or Bristol stool chart is a medical aid designed to classify the form of human feces into seven categories. Sometimes referred to in the UK as the “Meyers scale”,[1] it was developed by Dr. Ken Heaton at the University of Bristol and was first published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology in 1997.[2] The authors of that paper concluded that the form of the stool is a useful surrogate measure of colon transit time. That conclusion has since been challenged as having limited validity, and only in types 1 and 2 when the subject is not constipated.[3] However, it remains in use as a research tool to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for various diseases of the bowel, as well as a clinical communication aid.

The seven types of stool are:

  • Type 1: Separate hard lumps, like nuts (hard to pass)
  • Type 2: Sausage-shaped, but lumpy
  • Type 3: Like a sausage but with cracks on its surface
  • Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft
  • Type 5: Soft blobs with clear cut edges (passed easily)
  • Type 6: Fluffy pieces with ragged edges, a mushy stool
  • Type 7: Watery, no solid pieces. Entirely liquid

Types 1–2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the ideal stools (especially the latter), as they are easy to defecate while not containing any excess liquid, and 5, 6 and 7 tending towards diarrhea.

Food and IBD


Crohn’s and colitis: foods to eliminate

Inflammatory bowel disease is a term that categorizes diseases that affect the bowel and digestion, specifically Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. Despite the original notion that diet does not impact or exacerbate these diseases, medical professionals in both the western and alternative practices are finding a strong correlation between diet and control of the disease.

This article will focus on the main food groups that should be eliminated for Crohn’s disease. It will also discuss the foods that are recommended for IBD.

Role of diet in IBD

Each individual has varying degrees of tolerance and intolerance to certain food groups. Some may find dairy to be a huge problem, while others are fine with it. It is important when researching diets for healing your gut, that you slowly and patiently listen to your own body and test what seems to work best for you. It can take lots of trial and error, and it is easy to get frustrated during the process. Some recommend doing allergy testing and/or trying the Elimination diet to discover which food groups to eliminate first.

However, there is no doubt that the food that is put into the body and passes through the gut, is going to affect a disease that involves the gut. Thus, some foods can make the disease worse, while other foods can actually help to heal the gut.

The list of foods also changes depending on the active state of the disease. It is important to eliminate certain foods during a flare up that are actually recommended and necessary when the disease is in remission. It is important to distinguish between the two states and be aware of when the gut can tolerate things such as the fiber from vegetables, nuts and fruit. Regardless, it is MOST important to have a wholesome, well-balanced diet of natural, organic, fresh, and un-processed foods at all times. A person with IBD should treat their gut with great care, and think of how each thing that passes through it will affect both in the immediate and in the long term.

Key foods to eliminate


Sugar is one of the most toxic foods on the digestive lining and pretty much intolerable by all those with IBD. The most deceiving part of sugar, is that when eaten it does not cause pain or bowel obstruction as nuts or a high  fiber food might when eaten during a flare up. So, some think it is not a problem.

However, sugar totally strips the intestines of its healthy bacteria and replaces it with an overgrowth of the bad bacteria, leading to a condition known as candida. Sugar leads to a serious PH imbalance in the body and thus, makes it harder for the body to heal from a flare up.

Sugar causes gas, bloating, diahrrea, mouth ulcers (even in those without digestive problems). Sugar can be addictive and hard habit to break. And it can be especially difficult to wean children and teens with IBD off of sugar as they see all their peers eating it.

The worst kind of sugar to eat is corn syrup. If one must eat sugar, stick to small amounts of honey. Imitation sugars, such as nutrasweet and sorbital are also should be avoided as they are proven to upset the digestion of almost everyone, even those without IBD.

Note that alcohol behaves like a sugar in the body as well. Some find they can tolerate small amounts of white or red wine as well as small amounts of high quality vodka. But these should be consumed in moderation and avoided during a flare up.

Some Fruits

Too much fruit can be really upseting to the digestive tract. Some make the mistake that thinking, because fruit is healthy, lots of it should be eaten. Fruit is a sugar; and in a serious flare up should be avoided all together.

Acidic fruits are the worst; this includes citrus fruits such as oranges, pineapple and tangerines. Pears, mangos, bananas, and papaya tend to be ok on the gut and some find papaya to actually aid in digestion (given the papain enzyme that it has.)

Fruit juice should generally be avoided completely unless it is diluted with water.

Note: that while fruit is natural and is not as difficult on the digestive tract as refined sugars, it can still upset the PH balance of the intestines. Many find that fruit greatly contributes to mouth ulcers as well as digestive cramping and pain.


It is common for people with IBD and digestive problems to be allergic to wheat. Even if you do not test postive for a wheat allergy it is probably one the most important foods to eliminate with IBD. Wheat is very difficult on the digestive tract and digestive lining. Among other things, wheat turns into a sugar in the body, which is particularly upsetting for those with IBD. Wheat can upset the PH balance in the body as well as upset the healthy bacteria of the intestinal lining. This is why taking acidophilus is key for those with IBD, even if wheat is not part  of the diet. Acidophilus restores the good and healthy bacteria to  the gut lining.

If you are prone to mouth ulcers with IBD flares, eliminating wheat will help minimize them.

Many find that when they eliminate wheat, their gas, diarrhea, bloating and pain lessen.

In general, Americans eat too much wheat. Some theories link excessive wheat consumption with many disorders such as depression, obesity, and diabetes. Unfortunately, wheat is in many foods, so it is important to read the labels. There are many wheat substitutes now – so eating a wheat-free diet is not difficult. You can find corn and rice pasta at most health food stores.  Rice is a great alternate starch, as is corn meal. Rice is probably the least offending of the starches and should be a staple in the IBD diet.


Dairy and lactose are common offenders for those with IBD. Lactose  is basically a sugar. However, it is one of the most common allergy causing foods; many with IBD are lactose intolerant. However, even if you do not test positive for lactose intolerance, eliminating dairy is likely still essential for a healthy gut. Dairy also upsets the PH of the gut lining, and causes an imbalance of bacteria.

Some find that certain dairy can be tolerated, with milder cheeses such as goat cheese, which has a lower lactose content than that made from cow’s milk.  Also, yogurt, especially that which is homemade, has been found to be tolerable, which is of extra benefit due to the acidophilus (good bacteria) that it contains.

However, if you suffer from pain and diarreah due to IBD, try to eliminate dairy all together for at least 3 weeks and see if your symptoms improve.

Steps to Change your Diet

Making drastic changes to the diet can have great results for most people with Inflammatory bowel disease. However, making the changes can be very difficult as they might require some shifts in lifestyle. For example, it becomes much harder to eat meals out. Thus, it is important to set extra time aside to prepare or buy meals in advance.   Adhering to a strict diet can also be embarassing in social settings, such as when ordering a meal at a restaurant or when being invited to dinner at someone’s house. It can take awhile to get used to asking for food to be prepared for you in a certain way, but it is worth it.

It is important to be patient with yourself and others as you adopt a new diet. It can be frustrating and alienating to have to eat different food from those around you and from what you would like to eat. However, the payout of improved health is well-worth taking the time and energy to find a diet that works.

How to avoid the sugar crash

Many Americans eat five times the amount of sugar they should. Cut back, but also learn how to help your body handle the sugar you eat.

By Gabriella Boston

Special to The Washington Post

Enlarge this photoJeff Paslay / The Seattle Times

 Have you ever had a sugar crash? You know that sudden fatigue, headache or irritability you might feel after eating, oh, a hundred jelly beans? If so, you are probably not alone.

The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 100 calories daily from refined sugar, 150 calories for men.

That translates, using our jelly-bean currency, into 10 jelly beans for women and 15 for men.

And that is your entire allotment for the day of refined sugar.

“Many Americans eat about five times the amount of sugar they should consume,” says Natasa Janicic-Kahric, an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital.

That means that instead of the AHA-recommended six teaspoons, many women are consuming as much as 30 teaspoons of sugar; and men are consuming 45 teaspoons of sugar instead of nine.

High levels of sugar flood the blood and create sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. This can — but doesn’t necessarily — cause a “sugar crash” (sudden headache, fatigue, irritability, increased heart rate, anxiety), says Janicic-Kahric, though it’s not known how many people experience this problem.

In fact, some in the medical community are even skeptical of its existence, Janicic-Kahric says. “But I see patients with these symptoms and would estimate that about 5 percent of Americans experience sugar crash,” she says.

Normal blood sugar levels can range pretty widely, so it’s possible to rapidly yo-yo between these numbers without the symptoms of sugar crash. But if you do experience sugar-crash symptoms — or if you just generally want to stave off having fluctuating blood sugar because it’s taxing on the body — eat your small portion of sweet treats after a meal, says Cheryl Harris, registered dietitian in Fairfax, Va., and owner of Harris Whole Health.

“It really helps to have fiber and protein along with sugar,” Harris says. “It slows things down.”

Even fat helps blunt the blow of pure sugar into the blood stream, she says.

In other words, if you eat the jelly beans after dinner, you are less likely to experience a blood sugar roller-coaster and a subsequent crash.

This probably is why blood-sugar crash is more widely reported among children, Harris says, as kids are more likely to ingest pure sugar, in the form of soda or candy on an empty stomach.

And it doesn’t take much soda to get up to the AHA guideline: A 12-ounce Coca-Cola, for example, is the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar — already more than the daily recommended intake.

But what about sugar-packed fruit?

Fruit is different, says Angela Ginn, a Baltimore-based nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“I like to focus on foods that have natural sugars — like fruit,” Ginn says. “And at the same time limit the added, refined sugars.”

In other words, you are not likely to experience a crash from eating too many apples because of the fiber.

Apple juice, on the other hand, lacks fiber, so you could sugar crash from drinking too much, Janicic-Kahric says.

But back to candy: Is it better to eat, say, chocolate-covered nuts than Skittles?

“From a sugar-crash standpoint, yes,” Ginn says. “Anytime you can bring fiber and protein into the mix, it helps,” she says.

So, is it dangerous to experience sudden blood glucose highs and lows?

“It’s disputable,” Janicic-Kahric says. “Does too much insulin cause heart disease? Is a surge of insulin bad?”

It’s not clear, she says.

What we do know is that too much sugar can cause weight gain, and weight gain causes a whole host of health problems including diabetes, she says.

So, how should we monitor how much sugar we consume?

If you like to add sugar yourself, such as with coffee or tea, Ginn suggests monitoring the amount by using sugar cubes (15 calories of sugar per cube).

“If you use sugar in your coffee or tea, this is a way to keep an eye on exactly how much you are using,” Ginn says. It gets harder when refined sugar is already added into a food product, especially those without nutrition labels.

In the end, refined sugar is a relative newcomer on the human dietary scene. It’s seductive and sweet, but maybe the human body isn’t yet equipped to deal with large amounts, Harris says.

“When we evolved it wasn’t common that we knocked down a beehive to access pure sugar. We got sugar through fruit and berries,” Harris says.

“We didn’t evolve for jelly beans.”


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