Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review of Elaine Letters

In order to debunk some of FAQ's about the specific carbohydrate diet, I often scour the Internet looking for advice. The other day I stumbled upon these letters from Elaine Gottschall. I had previously read over this and other interviews from her, but that was way back when, at the beginning of the diet, and these semi-complex questions seemed menial and pointless to me at the time- I was just trying to get down the basics. Now, though, I have re-read through the material and I found out some pretty interesting factoids.

I have some appreciation for the following, so I thought I'd share:

  • Many people ask if "newer" and less-popular foods are legal to eat on scd, and basically Elaine's reply was:

"I do not have the analysis of every food in the world and when I do not know for example all the components in the food I say, "avoid it". I cannot draw chemical structures and try to explain every question you have. If you cannot follow the diet just as it is in the book then don't bother with it."

  • Can surgery always be avoided?
"sometimes surgery is needed as the diet cannot reverse scar tissue in the muscle wall, but many people have found that after a couple of months, all of the symptoms go away and you can avoid

  • Can you make yogurt with goat's milk?
"[You] can't make yogurt out of pasteurized goat milk - it doesn't work."

*My Personal Note* I was so glad to read this! I have tried 3 or 4 times to make goat's milk yogurt and it never turned out- this is why!

  • Is Stevia an allowable sweetener?

  • What about Canola oil?
"Books are written on canola and its rapeseed background. No - it is genetically engineered to the point where its composition is questionable - some of the fatty acids are questionable."

  • Is it necessary to soak beans for 24 hours?
" I have always been told to soak overnight - about 12 hours. I imagine that is good enough. "

  • What about table salt that contains dextrose?
"Dextrose is an acceptable sugar it is synonomous with glucose. It is OK to use it. We have always used iodized salt even years ago when Judy was on the diet. But you are correct in watching labeling because things are always changing. But, yes, I think it is OK - don't worry about it. "

*My Personal Note* I would not electively eat table salt, Celtic sea salt is much better.

  • For yogurt making- is longer better?
"I think up to about 36 is maximum. I don't think 48 is wise. I believe it it can get yeasty quicker even after refrigeration if you ferment beyond 24-36 hours. "

  • Is rum legal?
"Yes, light rum is OK. I do not know if all dark rum is artificially colored but stay with light. "


  1. I remember reading these way back when I first started too - they were new or fairly recent at the time. I just went back over some of these myself recently.

    I always thought her response on that first one was a little testy - I think she didn't like people trying to find ways "around the diet."

    I also kind of disagree - especially now that it's been over ten years since she answered some of those questions. Things do change, and some of the info in the book is outdated (diet soda for example). That is why I eat a few things I fell safe with that our outside of the book, though I did follow the book exactly for several years.

    I have never had successful goat milk yogurt either. I know some people have though.