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Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
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Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  953 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
It is a strict grain-free, lactose-free, and sucrose-free meal plan.

Of all dietary components, carbohydrates have the greatest influence on intestinal microbes (yeast and bacteria) which are believed to be involved in intestinal disorders. Most intestinal microbes require carbohydrates for energy. The Specific Carbohy
Paperback, Tenth Anniversary Edition, 205 pages
Published August 2004 by Kirkton Press (first published August 1994)
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Sep 02, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone! esp. those suffering with intestinal issues
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book almost three months ago when I was at the end of my rope suffering from intestinal pain/discomfort/bloating/etc and doctors ran tests and said there was "nothing wrong" with me and it was "probably IBS" so just "try not to stress out" and maybe it would get better. GURRR! Anyway, I waited to post my review since I've been trying the diet during the interim. The result: AMAZING! Thus, I feel I can give this book five stars and, more importantly than that, recommend that EVERYONE ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Kristina rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2012
My typical dinner used to be pizza, pasta, or sandwiches, always followed by something sweet--candy, cookies, cake. Bread/grain was my life. I rarely ate vegetables or meat. My gastroenterologist had told me to follow a low-residue diet, so I figured the more carbs, the better. He advised me to stay away from raw vegetables and meat, the "hard to digest" foods he thought would tax my digestive system. Then I read this book and realized I had been eating all the wrong things for years.

This book h
Jun 02, 2009 Jeff rated it it was amazing
Let me say that this is a frightening book. But it's also an amazing book. Apparently, there has been much research done over the years concerning the digestive system and our health. What I did not realize is that, if something such as complex carbs doesn't fully digest in the intestines, it doesn't just automatically pass right on through. Sometimes, they "hang out," causing all sorts of problems and sicknesses. While this book is not specifically written about autism, there is much evidence t ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Foxglow rated it it was amazing
As a Crohn's sufferer, this book is a godsend! I have been on the diet for 3 months now. My symptoms have vanished, except for twice when I let someone else cook something for me. Both times despite asking several times about the restrictions, they made a last minute adjustment in the recipe and unawares added something with starch in it. The cramps were incredible.

I will be eating this way, maybe for the rest of my life. It is worth it to feel healthy and pain free.
Jul 26, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing
If you're suffering from Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and/or chronic diarrhea, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. It may be your key to ending your unexplainable suffering (or why going on a gluten free diet as a celiac didn't cure you).

My whole life I've been very fit, active, and not had any diet or health problems, although before my issues started I was on a high bread, high sugar diet (as an athlete I thought I needed all that energy and it was goi
Jan 30, 2014 Waseem rated it liked it
This is my premature review of having read the book over the past 2 days and taking notes to try best implement the SCD

I will genuinely give it my all to the best of my capabilities and even if am 90% there I hope this helps me with my UC / IBD

The book itself was very informative and encouraging only minor improvements I'd like to have seen was more sharing of success stories of adults vs parents talking about their children.. More sympathetic and talking to us the readers as a whole as op
Nov 18, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
Giving this a middle of the road rating out of lack of experience with the diet. This is a resource highly recommended by people whose opinion I trust. Faced with my own diagnosis of diverticular disease, and the medical establishment's lack of concrete knowledge about what causes it or how to make attacks less likely to occur, I've got to explore other options. The nutrition/science section of the book is filled with citations to peer-reviewed and other medical and nutrition journals, which I l ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing
I have never felt more "normal" energetic and content than I have since eating this way! Who knew it only took replacing starches with veggies in ways I never would have thought of -- and amazingly easy once I wrapped my brain around it, to boot.
Aug 07, 2013 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: nutrition
Well, it was good enough for me to read in one evening! I bought this book to get an idea of what the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is like, since I'm dealing with some digestive issues that a paleo diet has not been sufficient in healing. The book starts off with a history of celiac disease and various scientists who have struggled to find an answer behind a number of gut disorders. To me, someone who has an active interest in the science behind nutrition, it was very interesting. I think even a l ...more
May 02, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
For anyone dealing with digestive disorders, this book is highly informative and I recommend it. There is a lot of information to be gained from reading it, even if you are not considering trying the diet.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle is scientific in explanation, but on a level of accessibility most readers should be able to understand and absorb.

After two and a half years dealing with my own digestive disorder, I just learned I have been eating the absolute worst things I could possibly attempt
Aug 20, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall is about GI diseases, what causes them and how to treat them. And when I say 'treat', I mean that loosely. Obviously each case is different and will yield different results.

The author begins by explaining some simple biology, what can happen to cause things to go wrong and then how it is perpetuated into a series, chronic problem. The language used is easy to understand so you don't have to have a degree in biochemistry to understand. She also draw
Oct 12, 2008 Julia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Autistic or people with digestive disorders
Recommended to Julia by: Weston A. Price Foundation
Shelves: diet-food, autism
Elaine Gottschall had a very sick little girl. She learned that her daughter had celiac disease. She studied her daughter's illness and follwed the advise of a doctor, and then wrote to tell! From personal experience, I can tell you that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is difficult to transition into and also difficult to maintain, especially for children. Here is what I recommend. Start gluten free/casein free first. Then, you can gradually transition into the SCD diet. The first thing we ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I read this book so that we could start this diet for Alex. He has been gfcfsf for a while now and that has helped a lot but he still isn't well yet so we figured we should try this. I really thought the book was very technical and at times it was hard for me but I did get a lot of understanding of the problem with carbs. Most of the recipes include yogurt which I am not sure he can handle so we will have to use the ones that are with out it until he has been on the diet a while.
Jan 12, 2008 Kelli rated it it was amazing
I have crohn's disease. Long story short doctors will not give a definitive answer to whether food can help you fight a disease. BUT I know it can make a substantial difference. I am not sure if it can cure you BUT I do hope it can. I love this book. It gave me power and strength to fight my disease. It started me on the path of eating better, right, and enjoying the diverse supply of food on out planet and not buying into the media driven packaged/fast food life of the mainstream.
Apr 28, 2009 Libby rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book on the development of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and how it heals the gut of many diseases. We have been advised to use it to heal the gut of our daughter who has autism. It is something that you really have to be prepared for menu wise and mentally! It is hard going especially if you have a very fussy eater like we do but the benefits are incredibly worth it.
Dec 25, 2011 Kelly rated it it was amazing
This is the book that I use for my diet. I've been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since 2001 and God has used it to change my life. I am able to live an active life and have even come to the point where I can cheat occasionally with no side effects. I consider it a miracle that even though my intestines show the effects of the disease, I can live my life as a normal person.
Nov 14, 2009 Geoff rated it liked it
A good starting point, but really read "Paleo Solution" and other Primal diet books to get the holistic understanding of removing bad food from your diet and lifestyle changes are just as important; which "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" does not stress lifestyle changes (ie: exercise, sleep, and stress management)
Susan Marvin
Nov 11, 2009 Susan Marvin rated it it was amazing
It is frustrating that there is antidotal evidence of the incredible effect eliminating specific foods from your diet can have on IBS, but the medical community doesn't acknowledge it or share this information with patients. They would rather patients take expensive medications that can further impair their heatlh. This book should be given to anyone with IBS.
Oct 29, 2015 Stacy rated it it was amazing
I'll review this soon. A diet to heal the gut.
Jun 30, 2012 Christine rated it it was amazing
Helping me take back my life. A must read for anyone suffering from chronic digestive diseases
May 17, 2017 Karen rated it liked it
I finished with this book a while ago. I'm not sure if I picked it up a few years ago, when I was in the throes of UC, but I took it out again recently because I've been having GI symptoms related to the J-pouch, and I've been curious about ways to manage them with diet. This is a very involved diet, and seems to really only work if you're super strict about it. It's used for kids with autism as well as people with severe GI problems, specifically IBD. Since I've only had intermittent results ma ...more
Cindy Cunningham
May 23, 2017 Cindy Cunningham rated it it was amazing
Two years ago my daughter used this book in the treatment of Celiacs disease and the results were amazing and remarkable. The Chapters on Celiacs and also the Autism Connection are enlightening. If you are having any type of stomach or intestinal issues, I highly recommend this book.
Jan 26, 2011 Lisse rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with chron's, colitis and other digestive conditions
Recommended to Lisse by: Crohn's and Colitis Founation Online's community forum
I don't want to rate this yet, b/c I haven't actually tried the diet. The front end of the book is loaded with scientific data and lingo, that honestly went over my head by a football field, but I'm pretty sure I got the gist of what the author was saying. The listings of foods to eat or not is thorough...I wonder if a newer edition (this is the fourth) would have this updated at all? I have reserved an scd cookbook from the library and will see if it can be helpful as well.

Update...I have been
Dec 28, 2016 David rated it really liked it
Took me a while to read this book - off and on for about 9 months, mostly because the diet recommended is quite daunting if you're considering doing it.
Overall the evidence presented in the book is mostly anecdotal, but compelling nonetheless and I will be giving this a shot in the New Year (2017). If I experience results on par with those described in the book I will comeback and revise / update my review to indicate as much.
Jun 05, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Elaine Gottschall wrote this book because of her desire to help the many people who suffer from intestinal diseases. Her daughter was one of those people. The author eventually was led to a doctor who was able to help her daughter through diet, and she completely recovered after following the diet strictly for several years. Elaine Gottschall devoted her life to furthering her own education in this field, adding to the existing research, and spreading the information to as many victims of the di ...more
Karen P
Apr 02, 2014 Karen P rated it liked it
Epiphany: The digestive system affects the brain. I guess that doesn't sound revelatory, the way it was for me - But I had no idea that indigestion could cause hallucinations. Or that schizophrenia has been shown to have roots in digestive dysfunction. The gut-brain axis was not the main focus of this book (SCD: Specific Carobohydrate Diet is the focus) but that was the part that really impacted me. Since I am going to assume this is not common knowledge, the gut–brain axis refers to the "bioche ...more
Apr 01, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
I am generally skeptical of diet books and diet plans and diet fads, but dealing with a medical condition and looking for a solution, my doctor suggested I take a look at this book. I was compelled by the scientific reasoning in the first few chapters, which attempt to to explain why digestive problems can be caused/exacerbated by harmful bacteria, and what we can do to clear those bacteria out. There was a chapter on how the diet can help with autism, of which I am still skeptical but willing t ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Myla rated it liked it
I got distracted & didn't come back to my edit of this book. My friend who has Crohn's disease lives by this diet, and has for a decade, and has really kept herself out of too many flares and hospitalizations because of it. I can understand the reasoning, that giving your intestines things it can't handle is going to make it angry a lot, and if you eliminate those from your diet, you would be better off. I didn't completely finish the book (had to get it back to the library), but for me, sin ...more
Carol Kowalski
Jun 20, 2012 Carol Kowalski rated it it was amazing
Informative and educational. Great book for anyone seeking help through the confusions of intestinal distress; recommended for parents seeking an information on the importance of dietary changes. The recipes are straightforward - I'd say it's not for the "Hamburger Helper" or Frozen Pizza style Mom or Dad, but honestly, this book is an excellent way to break the bad diet habits for everyone in the family. The Diet is not for the faint of heart; it is for those who are determined to heal and impr ...more
Joe Sabet
Jan 31, 2016 Joe Sabet rated it liked it
The book does offer hope but in my opinion it isn't practical at all. As she said, you have to be fanatical in your adherence. But it's hard to be that dedicated to such a extreme diet. No corn, rice, grains of any kind. No sugar, gluten, carbohydrates outside of fruits and vegetables etc. with such a bare diet, it's no wonder it helps so many intestinal ailments. She also says though you might have to wait months and even years in some cases. Good luck with that. These days it's so hard to avoi ...more
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