What’s Your Story?

MeFirst, before I spout off about me, let me just say how happy I am you stopped by. Whatever Google search brought you to The HSD (thehomeschoolingdoctor), I hope you find a pearl or two from Blogosphere Land to take with you to the Real World. Lots of success to you, your family, and those you love.

Honest. Candid. Too much information. That’s me. Graduated from both St. Louis College of Pharmacy and Indiana University School of Medicine with honors. Married my awesome high school sweetheart orthopod guy (who handled news of my opening a blog pretty well–he likes to keep things small). Had lovely daughters who needed to know their grandparents so we chose to homeschool so we could travel for visits and not miss school. Plus, I can do it better. Worked for 6 years after medical residency at two great jobs: as a family physician at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and then as a hospitalist in Sumter, South Carolina at a medium-sized town hospital. Moved again, this time half-way across the country, and with much internal angst, I stopped practicing so I could better homeschool my girls (on my own volition–my husband just says, “Be happy so I can be happy.”). With my extra research time, I have decided to cure my GI issues (lifelong chronic, severe, constipation–talkin’ nothin’ for weeks here) using diet modification–not just upping my fiber intake either. That did NOT work. WOW! The doors to alternative ways of thinking about medicine have been flung open! So many minor ailments we just dealt with for years are controlled now in our family–minus 9-12 (now minus even more!) prescriptions a month and the $$ that goes along with that! So many prescriptions not needed! So many prescriptions I just dished out for others. Changed by nutrition. They didn’t teach me this in medical school! I want my money back! I can’t with good conscience not share! Nobody told me this stuff, and I’m a doctor! How do others learn about it? Will they learn about it? How do we sift through the good versus the bad alternative medicine–the “voodoo”? As I listen to myself talk now, I cannot even believe it. Bone broth? Offal? Live sauerkraut. Yeah, voodoo. My posts will revolve around homeschooling, parenting, recipes, food (when I started the blog I followed GAPS diet, and I continued for about 1 and 1/2 years…I transitioned off in about November of 2013 as things really started improving, and I wanted to add resistant starch via food to my diet…currently my diet is probably more like the Perfect Health Diet with some foods excluded that I’m intolerant to), constipation news (yes–I did just use the words food, recipes, and constipation in one sentence!), and exploration of alternative medicine/nutrition as it applies to myself and my family. I am not writing to treat anybody’s illnesses. You must do that with the help of a practitioner that you trust. Even I am under the care of physicians. I repeat, I am not writing to fix anybody or to provide medical advice. Got to say that, you know. Best wishes to you.

Terri Fites, MD (Mother Dear)

78 thoughts on “What’s Your Story?

  1. Anna

    Your blog is wonderful. It really could be my exact story in so many ways…that alone is encouraging i.e. to know someone else is out there with the identical struggle ( I also homeschooled my 2 boys and loved it).

    A couple points of yours I found helpful : diet should consist of 60%- 70% fat and 3 keys (remove prob food, use nutrient dense food , use mag and probiotics).

    One of the SCD boys gave a lecture solely on constipation yesterday as part of an online convention hosted by realfoodcon.com. Here are a few tips : add more salt as it is a needed electrolyte , use 1/2 tsp twice daily. Use a prebiotic (Klaire Biotagen). 1-2 Tblsp coconut fat with each meal and an avocado a day .Constipation can have many causes and if diet and supplements don’t really do it for you get (he listed several ) various tests done.Some carbs maybe necessary to feed right bacteria in gut : add sweet pot.

    I personally do not eat any grains , sugar , caffeine , or dairy and still struggle a lot . In fact , I seem to be getting worse in some ways . My stomach bloats after I eat anything ( this didn’t use to happen), even if I have gone poopy that day.I tried SCD intro but got constipated the first day and quit ( I had been ‘ going’ reasonably well…with a lot of help,as usual, from Magnesium ). I came to the conclusion that my body doesn’t like changes That’s not to say I wouldn’t try it again..I’m thinking of keeping a food diary , but there are so many variables : changes in our body (ex. I quit coffee and several wks later took 2 VERY small sips and had stabbing stomach pains for an hour or so…I had never had such a violent reaction )…I know cloudy weather slows me down and if weather continues 2 days and more , that’s it,it takes truck loads of mag to do a meager job…. illness and lack of sleep …and these are only the few variants I know about…no doubt emotional tension contributes to constipation also .

    I have not found any particular supplement (besides mag ) that seems to really help for any significant length of time….

    Well , this is long enough…any comments and specifics you can give would be appreciated !




    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello! How kind of you to take the time to leave such an informative comment! The SCD boys are very helpful; I should make a point to listen to the lecture you mention if possible! I have implemented much of what you describe at various times over the last 17 months or so, except the prebiotic is literally sitting unopened on the shelf, waiting. I was a bit hesitant to try the prebiotic due to bloating/SIBO-type symptoms, but as I learned about butyrate, it seems that it is increased with the use of FOSs (prebiotics)–and sweet potatoes, too. (As I mentioned in a post, butyrate has been found to increase GI motility in early studies.) It sounds like your story and mine ARE quite similar! (Are you still homeschooling?) How did it go?) As you’ve traveled the road the same road as I, I don’t have much to offer! I’m so sorry. I intend to follow this butyrate route soon, trying to ingest things to increase butyrate, but if it works at all, I’d imagine it will take some time (months) for the neurological system to “change.” Another lead I’d like to pursue is one relating to mitochondria–the Interstitial Cells of Cajal which are the pacemakers of the colon and decreased in slow transit constipation– have cytoplasm abundant with mitochondria. I’m looking forward to reading Terry Wahls’, MD new book regarding MS and mitochondria. I realize it’s MS she has, but still. What do you think is the cause of your bloating? FODMAPS? SIBO? Food intolerance besides FODMAP? Slow transit with increasing symptoms like gastroparesis, etc? Gallbladder issues? (They are finding that slow transit is not isolated to the colon in some people, but affecting the small bowel/stomach/gallbladder) Poor fat digestion issues? If you get a breakthrough, will you please leave another comment? Comments on blogs led me to where I’m at with diet and lifestyle, which at least allowed the magnesium to work again and eliminated so many nuisance issues probably heading way in a direction I didn’t want to go. And I was clueless it was food. All the best to you.

  2. Anna

    Briefly , let me say that I am 63 and no longer homeschool ! Both boys are through college and have excellent jobs . The oldest is married to an exceptionally fine young woman, who is most eager to homeschool also . Most importantly , they both are well adjusted , highly motivated , engaging people. Homeschooling was a raving success and I will always be deeply grateful I was able to do it.

    I started the intro SCD diet a few days ago and the bloating has definitely gone down significantly.This could be because I’m eating less in quantity , since the food is more satisfying than all the veg I was eating.But I’m more constipated than ever ! It’s very hard to keep with it for that reason….it takes a lot of faith in the diet .

    Also, the intro is non fat and how can it work if 60%-70% of our diet should be fat ? Do you currently use digestive enzymes ? You mentioned you eat “boiled ” meat , why boiled and not broiled or pan fried ?

    I read a web-site called , Chrisbeatcancer.com because he has really excellent advice on health in general ….I sure wish his sight was “chrisbeatconstipation.com ” Sometimes it seems as if it ‘s easier to cure cancer than constipation.

    Lastly , I drink a peppermint tea called “Heather’s Tummy Tea ” (easy to find on net) and it is delicious and helps with bloating and gas. She cured herself of IBS but has a long article on her site about constipation…she sells a prebiotic which she claims is very good for constipation , starting with 1/2 tsp and working slowily up to 5 Tbsp .

    I’m going to reread your material and see if I can pick up more clues…..Thanks for all your hard work on this much misunderstood and neglected subject !


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi Anna! I wondered when I commented if you might be all finished with homeschooling. I want to thank you so much for being a homeschooling pioneer for the rest of us! Your sons sound wonderfully situated!–Ok. Onto this other stuff. 1)I did the GAPS intro rather than SCD intro. I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle for SCD and there was no introduction in it. When I looked online, I didn’t really quite see where a real clear SCD intro was that I should follow for sure. Later, when I thought about trying an SCD intro because GAPS wasn’t really working as written, I looked again at an SCD intro diet. It had eggs right away, and I had figured out through GAPS that eggs are a problem for me. Could you point me in the intro direction you are following? I like to just know what is out there, even if I don’t do it. GAPS intro was very clear and outlined in the book and online. I was not aware of limiting fat in the GAPS intro so a bit surprised about it on an SCD; send me a link. I could have missed that point in GAPS, too. I’ll go re-read. I’d love to look into the intro you’re doing, just comparing it and contrasting it kind of like. Just trying to see if analyzing these kinds of diets offer clues when held up against what I know and learning and continue to learn through research and research articles. 2) GAPS intro boiled the meat. Boiling is more broken down (so kind of pre-digested, if you will) than the broiled or fried. Plus broiled and fried make some of those browned pieces that also require a different kind of process to digest/breakdown due to a kind of nitrosamine type formation (but a different name than nitrosamine). Most of us do fine with this, but some do not. So boiled eliminates this. 3) I will also have to go check out Chrisbeatcancer.com. Interesting! In my mind, some of what causes many problems in the body may have more of a common foundation than we think! I wish I could cure my problem, but alas, not so yet! I do know my problem has been present for about 40 years so whatever kept beating the horse, beat it a LONG time. And I and medicine still don’t know what that is/was? Dairy? Eggs? An illness? Gut bacteria off? 4) I have read more and more about prebiotics for constipation and it fits in well with the butyrate and bacteria theories. I’m still holding off for now as I try other things. I’m in the middle of trying to go very low carb (not going so well GI wise so probably will have to let up if no change!). I have tried peppermint essential oil topically-my family loved that–boy what a smell–a good one, at least!–may jammies have been washed several times and the smell still permeates!–I thought about making them into capsules since topical was not effective for me–but again right now I made a diet change so I’m holding off on other changes. So you did like the tea? I have read several things about peppermint (and why I tried the oil). I could consider that, later. I’m trying to take my time and be as methodical as I can. And I do know what helps one may not help another. 5) At this point, I think on reflection, I think my peristalsis worked best for me (but the bloating did not improve, they don’t necessarily coincide for me) when I ate large helpings of cooked vegetables, meats, higher fat, lower fruit/lactobacillus from GI ProHealth at 40 billion CFU/FCLO/fish oil/no eggs, no dairy/otherwise eating GAPS foods fine/and magnesium (a few brands worked but at higher than normal doses, I titrated up to effect). However, I don’t know if I went back to this, if it would all work again or not. I’m in a slump right now (but likely my diet change–wondering if it will shift after some more time). And finally, for anybody reading this, this is MY story. It is not for treatment for anybody else but myself. I just know there are a lot of us struggling with this, and if I do by chance fix myself, well, it’ll be out there. If you read this and are interested, by all means, check it out with your favorite healthcare practitioner. I’m futilely trying many things, some of which are considered stupid/strange/unsafe by standard medicine. As TV commercials say, “Don’t try this at home.” Thanks for commenting. Sorry for the book.–Terri

  3. Anna

    I just wrote a long response and I managed to delete it. So you’re going to get the short version ( and the other one was really good too LOL) . Well , one of the things I said is that possibly the 2 most important keys to success are determination and not giving into self pity. Read Jordan Rubin’s story…this guy had determination and his turning point came when he left negativity and believed he could be cured.
    SCD intro is an e-book for sale on SCD website.So far I’m not doing to well on SCD.
    Yesterday I heard SCD boys answering questions…one guy called in to say he got constipated on intro diet (cringe)…….SCD advised quitting eggs and add 3T fat….SCD pretty much admitted eggs aren’t appropriate for intro…ah, well , the book’s already out there….And their intro is non fat .
    Which brings me to the idea that there’s more than one way to skin a cat…I just glanced over Heather Van Vorous’ book, Eating For IBS…hard to imagine her diet would cure anyone of anything.Jordan Rubin’s diet is pretty much the opposite of Heather’s but both got cured of IBS.
    One idea that keeps coming to me is something I’ve heard from several health giants , not at all related , is that if you want to fix your gut , drink your meals . Anne Wigmore insisted on it…Dr Russel Blaylock is big on blended foods and Pharmacist Ben (Youngevity..not great products but P Ben is really good )…So I’m thinking bone broth , bone broth , bone broth ! ” Fish broth will cure anything” ,South American proverb taken from Nourishing Traditions.
    Lastly, look into ” Triphala “..it’s an herb I heard an IBS Dr. recommend for constipation. (but i know you’re , wisely , not introducing new things …still , maybe a helpful , simple addition for the future)


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I loved your response! Thank you! I laughed a little, and we all know that’s gotta’ be good for us! You’re giving me quite a few things to try and to look up! I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it! I totally agree with the “there’s more than one way to skin a cat!” And I’m a big fan of broth so I’ll be sure to keep that up! Feel free to e-mail anytime, too! I don’t mind anything in the comments, either–but I know it’s SO much easier to lose comments than it is to lose e-mails! Sorry the comment got lost! I hate that! I do have a question–have things worsened through the years, as they have from me from my teens to my twenties to my thirties? I mean, can I expect it to worsen or maybe just stay the same? Same I’m okay with. Worsening, I’ve really got to stay motivated!

  4. Anna

    Sorry to say , things have definitely worsened over the years ….stay motivated ! I took Dr.Shultz’s Formula #1 (Shultz is excellent with many things…top notch, really ) but his formula was glorified casgara segrata (sp.?) which is just an herbal laxative . It worked for years (with ever increasing doses) and then just stopped (gulp) ….Then came ,as I recall , Temple Cleanse , which has worked very well indeed …I entirely depended on it for a very long time and still do. It’s so easy to coast along with make-do non solutions .
    But then , recently I began to have bad gas and bloating after anything I ate , even with TC….this got me onto SCD .

    The upside is that now I’m willing and highly motivated to do whatever and , over the years I’ve developed a lot of discipline in the area of eating ,which is probably , by far the biggest hurtle for one and all. (Anyone drinking ANY form of caffeine whatsoever better quit now …I think the search for healing will be futile without throwing out the caffeine entirely in all its forms …read , Caffeine Blues ).

    I know how easily our personal health “quest ” can take a back burner with all the responsibilities of homeschooling ,homemaking ,being a good wife , not to mention social obligations etc. So very few people in our culture are really healthy(this is putting it mildly…even young kids have diabetes ) because everything mitigates against health on every level of our life…It takes enormous , even what seems fanatical effort to “buck the tide” and gain health….As they say in the 12 Step programs , “half measures availed us nothing ” and “we tried to find an easier , softer way “. It takes a lot of research , trial and error , time,and financial resources to be healthy in our society.
    Make it a big part of your homeschool education…both my boys are very much into “health food “…my youngest is sort of my mentor even…he “cured” himself of stage 3 adult acne .


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Okay. I hear you loud and clear. The problem has a strong potential to become refractory to temporary measures, even one that works very well right now. I will keep on reading, learning, eating right, etc. And as you suggest, I have been incorporating all that I am learning into our homeschool. I hope one day, like yours are, my children will be the ones teaching me (that’s great about your son!)! You offer some very good wisdom, and some that I am hearing from other commenters. Thank you for offering what you have learned. I appreciate it, and it gives me lots to think about.

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      1. andthreetogo

        Oh fun! I have a few house guests coming over the next few months. It’s always sad when they have to go! I was homeschooled from grade 2-12. I plan on homeschooling my little one. Can’t wait to read all your posts!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Will you be staying in the villa you mentioned on your recent posts? (How exciting!) I had never met a homeschooled adult until we moved to South Dakota. Now I know a few and love picking their brains. I’ll add you to the list! You’ll be a great homeschooler with all of your vast experiences!

      3. andthreetogo

        I sure hope so. I think being a mother is hard work but being a homeschooling mom is ultra hard work. I think moms that do so are more than amazing!
        We are staying in the villa for the next two months and loving it!

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Your mom must be pretty amazing, then? My mom was great. She didn’t homeschool, but she might as well have for all the help and support she gave me! Looking forward to reading of your experiences in other cultures. I love culture shock.

  6. Nishka

    I happily stumbled on this blog when I googled butyrate for constipation. I am amazed by all I have read an it’s nice not to feel so alone in this struggle. A little about myself…I am 34 and have a son who will soon be 3 and have only researched a little about homeschooling. I am a stay at home mom now and was a Registered Nurse for 10 years prior. My slow-transit constipation started when my son was 3 months postpartum…I was actually admitted with a colonic obstruction and it was the worse pain I had ever been in. Prior to that I had never been constipated in my life, not even during my pregnancy. I see a wonderful naturopath now who has straightened out my diet and done quite a bit of tests. My stool test showed I had low butyrate and she is starting me on a supplement soon I’m praying will help (on top of the 1300 mg of daily magnesium and miralax that I’m taking). This is particularly devastating because we would love to have more kids but I really don’t know how to manage this constipation during pregnancy and neither does my ob/gyn so we’ve been scared to try. I would love to know how you ladies did it!! Any stories or advice would mean the world to me. So glad I found this blog! Thank you for sharing your stories!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Nope. Not alone! But sure is hard to find stuff on truly refractory constipation, isn’t it!? And it’s not something people really talk about or even acknowledge as a real problem. Thank you for sharing your story! I had read about STC that started only after pregnancy, but mine has been lifelong. It definitely worsened during pregnancy and post-partum and worsened from child to child. Thus the drastic change in lifestyle I NEVER dreamed I would support and now wholeheartedly endorse. (As a nurse, it sounds like you might say the same thing?) Anyhow, I’m so relieved for you that at least you have some function with magnesium and Miralax and a great healthcare practitioner who is helping! But like you said, pregnancy could throw a wrench in the situation! (I am sorry.) I just muddled through the best I could using this or that to help. Nothing seemed to work for long and each month required something different (Miralax, Activia, probiotic, docusate, Phillips, digital, Fleets, Dulcolax supp, whatever it took–I just tried really hard to not get “behind”–pun not intended ).

      My stool test showed I had low butyrate and short chain fatty acids. That actually is not surprising given slow transit; it can just be reflective of the slow transit allowing more of the butyrate to be absorbed. But given my success with oral butyrate and the recent research articles I have read, I’m thinking I truly was deficient in butyrate. Still not where I want to be, but believe it or not, magnesium is now this month just PRN and the effect of it is quite dramatic when taken at half the dose. I was relying on 2 grams daily, a dose I was not medically comfortable with.

      Some things I will point out later in the butyrate series you may want to look up: Miralax can decrease butyrate in the GI tract (although for me, when only Miralax worked, I still think it was more important to have a BM than to worry about that). The probiotic VSL #3 can increase butyrate in the GI tract. Progesterone has a huge role on the GI tract and I have to explore that (because my problem is much worse in the luteal, high progesterone phase.) I’ll provide the links/ sources then. I’ll also put together in a post right after the butyrate series on all that I am doing to try to capitalize. I also assume they looked at any pelvic outlet dysfunction/dyssynergia? (As that has a little bit of a different approach.)

      Thanks again for commenting and all the best to your family! E-mail if you’d like. And any success you have, I and many others would appreciate an update! Anyone else who is reading this have anything else to add?

      PS: In case you didn’t stumble on it, “GI Tracts Defying Gravity” on the menu bar is where I attempt to update constipation posts.

      1. Mike K

        I would be curious to know how miralax reduces the production of butyrate? Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Dear Mike,

        I’m sorry for the delay. I have not been able to find a block of time to reply adequately. I don’t know the answer to this. I’ll write some maybes, which can be intertwined:

        Maybe by changing the pH of the intestine.

        Maybe by changing the bacterial flora composition (which could be due to pH, changing solute delivery to the colon, etc.).

        Maybe by changing the bile salt content (which could change pH and affect bacteria directly).

        Maybe by altering the short chain fatty acid production proportions and/or other metabolites being made, which then changes the cross-feeding so less butyrate is formed.
        (In this article, they noted an increase in succinate after PEG [Miralax]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4859344/)

        I’ve read that Miralax may disrupt polysaccharides, but I can’t find any journal source for that. And I’m not sure what that would do to butyrate. But something to think about, with regards to biofilm disruption or even mucous layer changes, which could change bacterial flora, bacterial resources, etc.

        Other reasons?

        Again, sorry for the delay. And although I’ve read that Miralax may decrease butyrate, if that’s the only laxative that works in a person who can’t go any other way, the trade-off is necessary. But hopefully, over time, other means can be established. (Identification of food sensitivities, introduction of probiotics via probiotic foods or even supplementation, control of sympathetic tone which shuts down the defecation process, adequate fluid intake, rectal vault retraining, prebiotic foods, supporting the thyroid as needed, and more.)

  7. Nishka

    Hi! Thank you so much for your response. I’m so excited about your blog because YES it is very difficult to find any information about this condition! I love it because I’ve spent numerous hours on the computer for the past 2.5 years and you’ve taken all that info and condensed it, made it understandable and usable…thank you for that! I’m excited to read more posts in the “GI Tracts Defying Gravity” and so glad the butyrate seems to be helping! I can’t wait to get started on it…although from what I’ve read it’s not “safe” to take while trying to get pregnant. Thank you for the additional information on VSL #3 and miralax. It’s so interesting that you mention the progesterone because I knew and even told my doctor’s I felt like there was a cyclical pattern to all this but could never put my finger on it and I would be willing to bet that is it!! I breastfed my son for a 15 months and that was when it was the worst but I’m not familiar with what progesterone does during breastfeeding. I’m proud of myself for continuing breastfeeding even when the doctor’s encouraged me to stop so I could start prescription medications. I actually started PT for pelvic floor dysfunction a month ago and I think it might be helping a little. Someone else had mentioned triphala above and I had tried that which worked only for about 2 weeks. I also tried the SCD diet and remained dairy free for a year…for myself I’ve learned that it didn’t make a difference for the constipation HOWEVER it made a huge difference in how I felt and how I’ve chosen to feed my family. I love Nourishing Traditions! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to do this! This is an amazing resource! Very grateful 🙂

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello! I looked quickly for the article that really caught my eye about progesterone, but I can’t find it now. Bummer. It’ll turn up when I start tracking that lead, which I hope won’t be too far off. But I do think it’s an important key. This is like a puzzle to me. It’s like I just have to capitalize and maximize each little physiologic nook (diet, food intolerances, probiotics, hormones, managing stress, increasing my own bacterial flora and their beneficial byproducts, etc.), and it’ll all come together… Meanwhile, I’ll take progress!

      I’m glad the PT is helping a little! Little by little by little successes will add up. I’ve not tried triphala, although I’ve seen it much recommended. I had a few other things to try first, and they started helping a little so I held off. On the butyrate, I’m glad that I tried it, and it is helping–but I’m trying to add in resistant starch so that my own body can make its own butyrate. I hope to have the resistant starch article out this week. I really worry about supplements, not knowing contaminants and what happens if the biochemical proportions are off. (Did I already type that on my last comment? Sorry if I did.)

      Interesting about the dairy. Just crazy what food can do. I never knew. Well, going to go finish decorating the tree! Thank you so much for your comments. Makes me feel not so awkward sharing my story.

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  9. Nishka

    Thank you for looking into that! I’ve been reading more of your blog and I’m hooked 🙂 I can relate so much to your symptoms, ups and downs, and things you’ve tried. I’m looking forward to reading about the resistant starches and what foods that includes and more about your experience with butyrate. I’m very grateful you are trying to put the pieces of this crazy puzzle together. I am optimistic there is a “cure” for this condition…not a pill or quick fix but a lifestyle. I am curious about the fermented cod liver oil you take and if it’s for the gut? I’m taking fish oil and sometimes remember the cod liver oil but interested in the fermented cod liver oil…

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you!
      I take the fermented cod liver oil as a whole food (kind of) source via supplement for vitamin D. (You probably know that.) I feel like it’s winter here about 9 months of the year. I don’t think it really does anything specific in the gut per se (although studies suggest it protects against colon cancer). I occasionally take fish oil–but that’s one I’m more likely to forget–unless things are going badly.

      I hope I can pull together resistant starch…:-) And I hope the butyrate keeps working…

  10. Anna

    I would like to recommend a book called , Fiber Menace , by K. Monastyrsky…read also the comments on Amazon about people who have used his ideas . He deals mostly with constipation but also other gut problems as well (they all relate). I have had abdominal pain and severe bloating as well as constipation .After implementing his ideas for 1 day the bloating went away and has not returned ( I had been horrified at my big,bloated stomach as I am a thin person and the bulging belly seemed so macabre ). The constipation has definitely improved also …but I’m still using magnesium .

    Mr. Monastyrsky also has an extensive web-site , which is a book in itself. I had looked at his web-site a year or so ago and dismissed it because it was so different from conventional “wisdom”….I hope you will not make the same mistake. Just try his “diet “for one day and see what happens ! (be sure to read Amazon comments)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Anna!

      Thanks for the book suggestion, and I am so glad you found that it helped the bloating (and it didn’t come back! Even better!)

      I have definitely heard of the book and visited his website, particularly last week when I finished up the fiber/butyrate post. (I also visited the Amazon site. I love to see what people write there. So many clues to examine.) I don’t explicitly know his diet guidelines, but I know I personally went ketogenic for a month. My peristalsis did not change. The bloating decreased (as long as I stayed away from most veggies and fruits, including avocado). So taking fiber out did not help or hurt my constipation. Taking out most all fruits and vegetables helped my bloating. But it was too hard for me psychologically to live that way. I will make a point in the next few days to look up if I can his specific diet and see how it compared to what I tried for ketogenic.

      I think, however, cutting out fiber is definitely worth a try! And I don’t think it’s the fiber anyhow that helps people, I think it’s the formation of short chain fatty acids and butyrate, which can be enhanced with plant matter of many types.

      I would like to eventually read his book! I really think knowing how/why something brings good/bad effects helps you decide if it would work for you and if you ought to try it. For example, GAPS diet has helped me a lot. I’m in a stall…could adding in a green banana or cold potato for resistant starch be helpful? Resistant starch increases butyrate (and butyrate and magnesium are the only things I’ve tried that helped my main issue and there’s research to support that!) so maybe it’s time to try!

      Happy weekend! I hope you have a great one!


  11. Rachael @ mummyflyingsolo

    Hey lovely!

    Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve started a second blog. I can’t announce it on my current blog as this one is anonymous. I particularly don’t want it read by family and friends as it’s full of juicy details about how I’m trying for a 2nd baby with my ex and all that jazz. I’ll still post at mummyflyingsolo too. This is just an as well thing. Pop by if you can.

    It’s at: thesecretlifeofemilymaine.wordpress.com



  12. reluctantly31

    I am a BSN by education, turned homeschool mom of four. The amount of health information I have found OUTSIDE OF THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY is staggering. Something I am suspecting as a problem for myself is histamine intolerance. It appears this is recognized in the UK, but I am struggling to find information. What I read is that a leaky gut leads to histamine leaking into the bloodstream. I have not been able to complete GAPS intro. After eating bone broth my throat swells. My food allergies, which started with bananas at age 23, now include soy, corn, banana and chocolate. I also find myself sneezing and with stuffy nose, cough, itchy eyes after consuming foods high in histamine. Water kefir makes me violently ill.

    My problem is, feeding a family is a nightmare when you are avoiding grains AND high histamine foods. Any suggestions?


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I hear you on the amount of information OUTSIDE the medical community. What is up with that!? And I hear you on what to feed a family with the different intolerances, particularly one as intrusive as histamine intolerance! I, thankfully, have not found myself to be sensitive to histamines. That is exceptionally challenging! I’m sorry. I am confident your searches will help you find ways to find “healing” eventually. But in the meantime–the kids have to eat!

      My compromise has been to let in a few starches, especially after I read about butyrate, its production in our bodies, and its potential effects on helping the gut lining. My kids seem to do adequately with rice, beans, potatoes, corn, beans, and plantains. (All potential sources of butyrate production for the body. I can see that corn products are not the best for us so I don’t feel great about that choice.) And we do okay with cashews, too, and I like to make a cream sauce out of that with some garlic and put it over freshly sautéed meat (like turkey or chicken) and toss in some broccoli. (The cream sauce can be made ahead and frozen to pull out as needed.) I know cashews are “GAPS advanced.”

      I think, somehow, whether it’s my story or yours, somehow people like us have to figure out how to get the integrity of the gut lining to where it should be. GAPS helped, but it didn’t completely do it. Butyrate was helping me, but I had to stop due to getting pregnant. I know there must be a way; I refuse to take “no” for an answer. When I can eat eggs again, I’ll know I’m there–I think. 🙂

      Here is a link I remember on this topic. I hate to give you information you already know, so I am sorry if I do that. Maybe it will help somebody else. A link from Diagnosis: Diet (Georgia Edes, MD): http://diagnosisdiet.com/histamine-intolerance/

      and she links to Judy Tsafrir, MD who I know has histamine intolerance and has a few posts on this, too.

      Thank you for commenting! I appreciate it! Good luck with homeschooling, family, food, and life in general! If any of this is unclear, let me know. I’ll do my best to clarify! ~~Terri

    2. Anonymous

      Hi, I’m also a homeschooling mom. I have a question from a different angle. My daughter has wanted to be in medicine since she was a toddler- seriously. We continually answered her pleas to make walkers, braces, casts you name it and out of anything. Now in 3rd grade, she is commenting on how she will probably have drop her baby (or babies) off at daycare if she wants to be a doctor. She decided last year that she would like to be an OB and definitely be on call in an ER. Since she has been mulling that reality of leaving her baby I can tell there is a struggle there. I know what I personally think. But I am trying to walk gently. She is a very bright kid and understands things deeply. I came upon this site just googling what I was thinking and praying about pertaining to this. Any advice?
      BTW I totally get you as far as the diet change- healing- amazement goes. Kraut, bone broth, cooked and raw veggies, quinoa or buckwheat, meat 3 times a week otherwise beans and lentils to name a “few” things….It brought my above mentioned daughter out of a terrible gastro, intestinal, liver and kidney issue. Strong and beautifully!
      H. another mom 🙂

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hi, H.! Oh, she has so much time! I wanted to be a hairdresser for so many years, even up through about 9th grade! I’d spend hours doing my friends hair in the locker room after volleyball and basketball practices as we waited to go to the boy’s football or basketball games on Friday nights!

        Anyhow, aside from that… Although my husband might (he’s an orthopedic surgeon), I would never, ever discourage my daughter (sister, friend) from going after any occupation they wanted. But, I would never, ever sugar-coat it either. I have a sister who is in college and wants to go to med school. I told her, I wouldn’t go to med school now with the current system (economical/governmental) taking over as it is. Medicine here is terrible to practice. Just terrible. The electronic medical system imposed by the government is horrendous. The number of patients needed to be seen escalating beyond control. The med school loan burden awful. Patient psychology/philosophy is/has changed dramatically with significant loss of respect for physicians. It has become very difficult to use your head in medicine as guidelines and laws and lawyers abound. Faulty research makes one question our system internally. The heart of medicine is undergoing cardiac arrest with no resuscitation in sight. These are concerns for ANY young person entering medicine.

        On the female aspect. As a woman doctor, I’d make sure anyone I loved entering medicine knew that the family choices are TOUGH. PERIOD. For ALL women. There is a horrific rending between intellect/worldliness and home life. It hurts. That being said, there are specialties which allow a woman more scheduling freedom. Many of my friends use nannies. I guess I’d have to say I used a nanny when I work. (Although that hurts me to say, because I told myself growing up that “I’d never use a nanny. I’d raise my own kids…”) Obviously, OB and general surgery are NOT fields compatible with a smooth home schedule! I know that these fields are working to make it more that way (which then on the other hand means that a patient may not get who she anticipated she’d get to deliver her baby). Another point is delay in having children. I had my first child at 29. For maximal benefit of our medical education, my husband and I thought it best to wait till then. That’s a little later than many women—-especially my friends from undergrad. Logistically, I would get up early and drive over an hour to get my first child to my mom to watch during residency because the daycares I looked at just didn’t sit well with me and my husband. I didn’t get much of a maternity leave with my first. Work always, always, always calls and asks you to work more. I always felt bad saying no. The house is never run as well as one wishes. That always bothered me a lot. I was tired at the end of a day and didn’t feel like mothering when I worked. This is just me, though. We are EACH unique!!!!! (and !!!!!!!) So, yes, mothering and medicine are hard. (Not to mention trips for continuing education, meetings, call burden…)

        However, I think a strong woman who has achieved insight into both her worldly/professional AND maternal instincts who is willing to delegate help can most definitely be content in an intense medical field and being a mom at the same time. However, if she cannot step back and accept what she really wants and is prepared to accept from each realm, she’s going to struggle until she does. Because the compromises affecting both realms is big. So if one can’t accommodate those compromises, be prepared for angst. I couldn’t accept the compromises for myself, and I chose to do it this way. There are many ways, and I just want myself (and my daughters when their time comes) to have contentment and peace in life.

        The best to you and your daughter! Sorry for the length!


        My opinion based on my personal experience and interactions with friends in the field.

  13. Lynn Murphy

    Hi – I bumped into your blog because I have been on a Butyrate Research kick lately. I am an MD (practicing) and a homeschool mom. 🙂 My son has GI health issues (Constipation and Eosinophiic Esophagitis) and tons of food allergies, so I was digging for other things to help him. I became convinced that butyrate was the key, so we are actively working on this. Difficult due to his food allergies. But working on it. I have also put a few patients on butyric acid supplements (in addition to dietary instruction) to see what happens to their Insulin Resistance. Will find out in the next month or so when updated lab results come back. Amazing substance, and I am happy to see someone as convinced as I am that this is a powerful and underutilized molecule! Have made as many food adjustments as we are able to related to butyric acid (and I do think these are helping my son’s constipation, although not sure about his “leaky gut” yet). Where I am stuck in my research now is getting the right supplemental probiotics to make butyric acid. It seems like maybe the standard ones aren’t quite sufficient. Thanks for your blog!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Wow! You are BUSY! Glad you left a comment. Thank you! I am curious to know what happens when the diabetics take the butyrate, too! I wonder!? I hope boosting butyrate in your son’s diet/nutrition helps his GI! I was doing great with butyrate, green bananas, potato starch, etc, but when I became pregnant last November, I stopped it all due to pregnancy nausea, etc. I’m anxious to see what happens when I resume. (At least I know it didn’t help pregnancy induced nausea! LOL!)

      I’ve started the file and notes for the last butyrate post regarding probiotics. I do mean to compose and get that up, but I know it may be awhile still. I remember VSL #3 was supposed to boost butyrate in studies. I used that during my butyrate self-experiment. (Also stopped that due to pregnancy nausea.) But you’ve probably already come across that…I just pulled the file. Quickly looking at articles, have you seen this one: The Synergistic Effects of Probiotic Microorganisms on the Microbial Production of Butyrate In Vitro, McNair Scholars Research Journal, Volume 2/Issue 1, 2/12/2010. Or this: butyric acid-producing anaerobic bacteria as a novel probiotic treatment approach for inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Medical Microbiology. February 2010.

      I don’t know how helpful those are and sorry no links. But maybe it’s something. I don’t know. I wish you and your son (and me!) much success! Take care! –Terri

  14. Nishka

    Hi Terri! I found this interesting little article and was wondering if you could help me decipher it?? I’m confused about the prostaglandin/progesterone connection. Using progesterone cream helps increase prostaglandins?? http://www.modernmedicine.com/modern-medicine/news/modernmedicine/welcome-modernmedicine/chronic-constipation-women-linked-prostag?page=full
    I had mentioned in an earlier post that I had a large bowel obstruction 3 months postpartum and severe slow transit constipation ever since…unfortunately diet changes haven’t helped much 😦 Although increasing my iodine intake has actually helped the most, thank you for that!!

  15. Lisa

    Hi, I’ve been on a healing journey and came across your blog after flagging butyrate supplimentation as something I could add to my gut healing protocol. I’ve had leaky gut for most of my life (I’m 50). I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 19 and have pretty much had chronic diarrhea since I can remember. I had bad seasonal allergies growing up and as I hit menopause, I developed increasingly bad food allergies (hives, rashes, muscle and joint pain). A few months ago I started a protocol for healing my gut and your blog has been a wonderful help in facilitating my understanding of the role that butyrate might play. I have achieved incredible success with what I have been doing (hives and rashes almost entirely gone, pain is now minimal, bowel movements are formed) and I can’t wait to see what the butyrate might do in terms of enhancing my healing. Thank you so much for this! Insofar as probiotics are concerned, I am taking one that has helped me immensely. It’s called 6 Strain by Custom Probiotics. The probiotics this company makes are third-party tested to ensure potency and I can vouchsafe that I felt a huge difference after being on them for only a few days. I felt compelled to mention them because there are a lot of probiotics on the market and prior to trying these, I was of the opinion that they really didn’t do much of anything. Anyway, hope this helps someone else out and all the best with your health journey!

  16. Tania

    Hello, I discovered your blog at today whilst trying to find a ‘natural’ solution for my daughter’s ibs. She is 11 and no cause can be found for her lingering ibs symptoms that have worsened after a course of antibiotics for a tummy infection (that has cleared up). Further tests have shown fructose and lactose intolerances but I believe this malsabsorption issue is a result (mirror) of her condition. She was completely normal for 10 years until a year ago when her symptoms began after a course of antbiotics. Low fodmap foods have now been recommended but do not help at all. She gets a tummy ache no matter what she eats. I decided to follow Dr Robilliard’s Fast Track Diet which is a low carb low fermentable food diet and that works (kind of). However, I am still looking for the cause of the tummy aches and feel that although she is not constipated, our pediatrician truly believes ‘slow motility’ is the root cause. How slow motility can cause bloat and how bloat can cause reflux, I do not understand. Am not so keen on filling her up with bulking agents, daily use of magnesium and iberogast, which is how I came across BUTYRATE – and you! We’re 100% dairy free anyway, but wheat is proving to be a tough one to give up on …Your website and research are a treasure for me at this stage.Any insights you have would be welcome ..

  17. Phil

    Terri you have done an awesome job here. Level headed, intelligent, well written! Haven’t finished all of your posts, but will keep at it, and hope you do too. On a specific note: Butyric acid. My life is changed! I’m 59 and I don’t remember any week of my life that I have been as “regular” as the past seven days. And I have tried things! Over the years, I have tried things! Other stuff: can’t eat potatoes, can’t eat corn(maize), totally ok with wheat. Have had allergy to animals (asthma) since 10yrs old and eczema for the past couple years. As long as I take the butyrate the eczema doesn’t reerupt, and I’m not having any allergic reaction to my daughter’s dog! I’m actually travelling right now, which used to mean bloat(non-stop), and waitng for God knows when til I could unload! Like carrying around a 5# bag of flour in my gut. Just had to let you know. I am going to trade in my CaMg Butyrate for C. butyricum Miyairi starting tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  18. Kelley

    I just “stumbled” across your blog searching for Easy Grammar reviews. I’m a former PA (“retired”) with 3 to school. Much like your husband, mine is much happier now that I’m home (for 8 years now!). I will be frequenting your blog a bit more I suspect as I too have a chronic disease I had to figure out (ha! all that medical training comes in handy.) and am navigating my way w/ diet not only for me but for the children as well. I look forward to reading and getting to “know you” better.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Great, Kelley! Ask any question you want! Even if it doesn’t fit on the post you’re reading at the time. I don’t care! I’m happy to share what I’ve read about health/nutrition/supplements!

      We still use Easy Grammar, and I’m still happy with it–although I’ve added in a bit of diagraming [diagramming] for my seventh grader now too to supplement.

      All the best to you and your family. May you raise joyous children that you enjoy being around and who enjoy being around you!

  19. Nikki

    I just stumbled on to your blog and I’m completely amazed and so excited! I have been having so many digestive issues for my entire adult life and NO ONE has been able to help me. I was labeled with IBS and given a little blue pill about 25 years ago and told to avoid onions and greasy foods. That was it! From there things just got worse. Over the last 5 years, my thyroid was dying, horrible migraines, brain fog, adrenals were on the fritz, horrible stomach aches and bloating and DON’T EVEN MENTION THE CONSTIPATION!!! From there I was having trouble sustaining a normal blood pressure, it was way too low, 85/55. But yet my primary couldn’t make any connections to anything. I was bounced around from doctor to doctor. No one had any idea what was wrong with me. I started to see a functional medicine doctor and things began to improve. She gave me natural supplements that started to help move my bowels. What a relief! Unfortunately, she passed away before we were able to get very far. But one day, I saw an ad on Facebook, of all places, for an independent lab to do food sensitivity testing. None of the other doctors I had been seeing would do such testing. So I paid the money to do it. I found out I was extremely sensitive to brewer’s yeast and lactose and a multitude of other foods. From there I went to the internet and looked up a yeast free diet and found the SCD program. What a life saver this has been for me!!! I’ve been on this program for over 2 months now and I can now say that my bloating is gone, my bowels are beginning to move on their own, my stomach no longer hurts. I haven’t had a migraine in those 2 months PLUS I haven’t even had a headache. My brain fog is gone as well. WOW! It’s amazing how the food you eat can effect you that much! So finding your blog and seeing that you are also an MD who is now believing in the “voodoo” is very refreshing. I hear from people all the time, especially my own family, who are very critical of what I am doing by not going to a “regular doctor” for assistance and eating all this alternative food. I’ve been there done that and all it got me was thousands of dollars of medical bills and zero relief. Thanks so much for sharing about your life and your recipes! As a newby to the SCD, I’m looking for quick, good recipes for myself so I can maintain an easy lifestyle. Oh and as a disclaimer, I do see a regular doctor on a regular basis. I just don’t think I will have to now for IBS now that I’m on the SCD! Thanks so much for your blog!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Nikki, What an affirmation for me to keep up my spirits with writing. Thank you so much. And most importantly—-I am SO happy you’re feeling better. I understand the family criticism. My mom, although we are very close, is critical of the way I eat. Yet, like you, the benefits make me feel so much better. I never dreamed in a million years that the food I ate played such a huge role in how I functioned. Even healthy foods! Have a wonderful Christmas season! Best regards to you. Drop a question anytime, on any post, about anything.—–Terri

      PS: And I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your physician, who sounds like she was clearly helping tough cases.

      1. Anonymous

        Hi Terri,

        What to do if scd diet, steroids and medication is not working to heal the ulcerative colitis? It’s been 2 years.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Great question. It was actually a part of the post! I just had to cut it off because I try to keep posts to about a 1000 readable words if I can. So if it fits in the next post, I’ll have it there. But I think it’ll take a whole post to tell about Elaine Gottschall and then a post on SCD tweaks. It’ll make for a long comment here, but I don’t care. I’m going to cut and paste it in it’s unedited version. I’d love to know if you’ve tried this stuff and had any success.

        “If you try the diet and it’s not working. I suggest, upon guidance from your doctor and/or nutritionist, the following. They don’t need tried all at once. It will be trial and error:

        Eliminate “pesky” foods that are allowed on the diet: almonds, homemade yogurt, cheeses, coconut flour, and eggs.

        Cut down dramatically on an excessive honey use and/or baked goods made with honey, like muffins, pancakes, breads, and cookies. These items are “legal,” but still they are problematic for many who have gone before you.

        In any area of the diet you may be lapsing and skimping, get strict again. Get back to “no exceptions.” Because a little guar gum here. A little BHT there. Some maltodextrin there. And then you’ve walked down the slippery slope and fallen. Crashed and burned for a few little ingredients that cause problems. Gums (not chewing gum, but the emulsifiers that make some processed foods thick) have been implicated in IBD. So I think sometimes “little” ingredients can cause “big” problems.

        Consider exploring which foods may be high in FODMAPS and causing acute symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, and pain outside of actual inflammatory disease pathology. Many healthy vegetables and fruits make people uncomfortable by way of FODMAP content. (I myself avoid just a few I love because of discomort, like for me, cauliflower. But every FODMAP intolerance is different!)

        Alternatively, perhaps the idea of “being strict” is sabotaging adhering to the diet well, and adding in a few select foods, like rice, quinoa, and/or potato may be helpful in overall adherence to the diet. Elaine Gottschall, the author of the diet as it is today, did not intend for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet to be a forever diet. Even though certain foods are not allowed on the diet, that doesn’t mean that a person’s body and disease will not tolerate them! Yes, it’s best to adhere to the diet as it is written, but it is VERY likely that adjustments will have to be made. If it’s the price to pay for keeping on the diet instead of giving up completely, it’s worth a trial! Make sense?

        When it comes to kids, they MUST understand the diet and their bodies. Kids usually make good decisions when they’re given good information and see the impact of certain foods on their bodies. Make it a point to understand the diet and read the book, then paraphrase it and explain it to your child. Kids need empowered, not controlled. Sometimes our fears lead to a strong need to control, but kids will buck this. Well, at least mine do!

        Consider that continued inflammation is coming from an allowed food ingredient, like eggs. Consider seeking an IgG blood panel for food “allergies.” IgG panels are not routinely accepted, so you can expect some push back from your doctor. But don’t be afraid. Be firm. The skin test panels check for “true” allergy, but alternative circles and patients seem to find that the IgG panels have information that help them proceed and progress sometimes.”

        That’s all I have written yet. But I would add the mind-body idea. I am trying this out over the last year personally on my gut and sensitivities, and I don’t know yet what to say. I’ve read a lot and lot from very diverse sources, but unless I see continued success and more success in more concrete areas, I may not get any more written on it. (My good efforts are often interrupted or I have setbacks which make the outcomes uncertain and I have to go back to the drawing board.) But if it makes a huge impact on me, I’ll have a lot to say. But it can’t hurt to try. We KNOW that there is a BIDIRECTIONAL process between the brain and the gut and conversely, the gut and the brain. It works from the bottom up. And the top down. There are a few studies out when I just Googled now on mind-body and IBD—and goodness!!!! In my brief search, I saw two requests for mind-body study participants (at Rush University and clinicaltrials.gov). If nothing else, I do think it can help with pain control.

  20. Sadi

    Yes, you are a wonderful writer. Imagine someone like me with a short attention span reading the whole Butyrate series in one fell swoop, as if I was reading a page turner mystery novel. Thank you. Not only are you a wonderful writer, you must be a wonderful person – that much I can deduct from how you write.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Sadi: Thank you. Very much. Very.

      PS: I try to edit out last names unless I know someone uses and desires to use their last name freely on the internet. So only your first name will be printed. Have a great week!

  21. Pingback: Eating More Two… | Boomering

  22. Lori H

    I’ve read the post on butyrate supplements which was good, but I still not sure which route to take. Sodium? Cal-mag? Potassium? Etc etc.
    Which one did you decide on and why?

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      There is no right answer. Depends on each patient’s case. If someone runs with sodium-dependent high blood pressure, sodium no good. If someone has sluggish bowels, magnesium component might help that. If someone needs to avoid potassium for a reason, don’t go with potassium form. One thing that might help guide is to look up a particular study for specifically what a person is using the butyrate for and use what the researchers used. Or read through all the Amazon reviews and see what people are saying. I went with the cal-mag due to my sluggish gut problem. And of course, people need to always be safe and run supplements by their healthcare provider!

  23. John

    Hello! My friend’s mom (who is close friends with you and will remain nameless for privacy reasons) referred me to your site knowing that I am interested in health and said that you are very knowledgeable about nutrition. I have a few questions; is there a correlation between high glycemic foods, dairy, processed sugar, and acne? I myself eat low glycemic foods, little to no dairy, and in general watch what I eat. I this good and/or necessary? Thank you!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear John,

      Hello! And welcome to my “home away from home” here. Send greetings to your friend’s mom for me. When I went through dermatology rotations and/or dermatology-related material in med school and residency (and pharmacy school), we were taught that food did not affect acne. So I always took that platform. Then, when my family dramatically changed the way we ate 5-6 years ago, the adult acne that had started to bother me for several years disappeared. I eventually linked it to if I ate dairy or too many baked goods (“healthy” baked goods, ha, with maple syrup or honey and non-wheat flour, etc.). I did read up a little bit on acne and food because I was really surprised that, once again, my highly expensive med school degree was useless in the nutritional realm!

      Actually, research does suggest some things to try if a person has acne!

      1) Eating low glycemic foods did seem to help in a 2007 study (http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.full). The authors of the study point out that it may be more than just the glycemic load and insulin changes of the participants, commonly cited reasons for how certain foods affect acne. They recognized that the amount of vitamins like zinc and vitamin A, as well as other things like weight (It decreased with the lower glycemic load.), changed when the participants changed their diets away from high glycemic load foods. But, to me the study definitely seems to suggest staying away from packaged, high glycemic load foods, since that’s what the researchers gave the group who didn’t improve, to eat. I would have liked to see more specific foods that were and were not eaten. But that’s not included. So I don’t know what foods the improved group were eating.

      2) Avoiding dairy seems like it may help improve acne. Unfortunately, regarding the dairy connection, we don’t really have great clinically controlled studies, but what we do have seems to keep indicating that dairy may sure play a role in acne. Some scientists speculate it’s the effect on insulin or the natural hormones/steroids that occur in milk that would help a baby cow to grow or the bovine growth hormone used to help increase cow milk production. I think it could also be an immune-related issue, too. Dairy contains really “pesky” proteins for the body to handle, and sometimes it gets a little confused and thinks that dairy proteins are “bad.” So then the body’s immune system goes into high action to “fight off” the proteins, and you can have reactions in different parts of the body. Some people may get headaches, some acne, some upset stomachs and blood in their stools, or asthma-like reactions!


      3) Eat things that are provided more directly by nature. It is said in alternative health circles that acne was virtually absent before modernized-type diets. It is said that our Western diet leads to acne with its white flour, white sugar, dairy, baked goods, industrial oils, etc. One researcher (a Dr. Loren Cordain) looks at tribes that have not had their eating style influenced by modern food changes, and he feels that acne is abolutely related to what we eat. Obviously these people would not have been eating pretzels and pizza, but they also WOULD HAVE been getting more things like omega-3s in their foods, maybe more iodine, maybe more vitamin A, maybe more zinc.


      Closing: Well, I suppose there is more I could type. But my family would like to see me this morning! I have no idea, other than the one or two lines you shared with me, about what you eat. I hear all the time from people, “I eat pretty good.” Sometimes pretty good is good enough! But sometimes it isn’t. And only your own body knows what good enough is for you. It’ll tell you.

      If I lived in my own bubble, I’d like to only eat fresh fruits, veggies, and meats/seafood that I prepare myself, with a few nuts for a treat. I know I’d feel and function best and that would be healthiest. But that won’t fly here in my family. So we did eat that way for a little while (about 6 months), while keeping a food diary, so that we could track the reactions of food on each member of our family. We have a good idea what foods create certain reactions in each person in our family. That’s how my family handled it.

      I think I’m getting off track. You asked if eating the way you eat was good and/or necessary. Yes, I think that eating whole, real foods is good and necessary and would benefit the overall health of our American nation GREATLY. (And maybe make healthcare sustainable. Health care is NOT sustainable as it is practiced now with the burgeoning chronic health disease we have now from chronic poor food consumption.) As for dairy, I think that dairy that has been minimally processed, like certain butters and certain cheeses, is beneficial for some people. But if dairy causes reactions in a person, the person’s body is saying that dairy is harmful, not helpful. One has to listen to the body. In this case whole food dairy is not good and healthy. Same with any “healthy” food! Like eggs, nuts, or any whole grain. I do not claim that humans should not be eating any particular whole food (grains, dairy, legumes, nuts, meat, etc.) based on a wide-sweeping idea. Man is exceptionally adaptable and so is our diet—-to a point! Not to the point that we’ve taken it with processed foods! Agh!

      So yes, to consciously choose your food based on how you feel and function is a good thing. Good luck! Thanks for logging on and asking a question. We didn’t even get to probiotics which may help acne.


  24. A. Marie

    Thank you for your blog about leaving work to homeschool your babies. Your words settled right in the pit of my heart where I’m aching to be with my babies(13, 8. 3). I am not a doctor but am Environmental Health and Safety Professional. I have a wonderful job that is rewarding in many ways you described for yourself but also very demanding and draining which mixes up my priorities and leaves little energy to be mom, which should be number one I matter what. I’m wondering how you transitioned with the difference in income. Also- when you were working and homeschooling were kids home all day or…? I’d like to continue working however with the ongoing terrible news in our schools it makes me want to jump to my babies. Not that it matters but I’m also a disabled combat vet and it would be nice to give attention with my own providers and take the time I need to get over some hurdles from all of that.
    Thanks again,
    A. Marie

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello, A. Marie. Good to correspond with you. My kids were younger than yours when I worked and homeschooled, so they needed someone there with them while my husband and I were gone. We used grandparents and/or a babysitter. Now that my oldest two actually babysit other families’ kids, ha, I feel comfortable leaving them with their sisters. But if I do, it’s way too chaotic for the older ones to do school. So I can’t expect any school to be done if I have to leave and leave “the littles.”

      As for finances, my husband’s job was supportive. As one plans a budget for the loss of income, the person should also keep in mind that homeschooling does NOT need to be expensive at all. Second-hand books work fine. Many subjects need no books at all and one can just use library books. To me, math and reading/writing are huge, and all the other stuff is icing on the cake and should be interesting and fun. Also, daily transportation costs are nearly negated with homeschooling. A tank of gas lasts a long time for me. My car doesn’t need to be so reliable, so I’m hanging on to my nearly 13 year old mini van. No, those things don’t replace your loss of employment earnings. But things to keep in mind. I’ve always felt I’d downsize, get rid of all my stuff, you know, keep it small and be a minimalist if I had to to keep homeschooling. (Of course, then, you have the teenager struggling being even extra different as a minimalist than everyone else, but those teenagers are always struggling with something—at least I’m right beside her to encourage her, love her, get on her, and see what she needs. She knows that I try to make all decisions for her with love, even if they make her mad, and that I absolutely try to take her opinion into account.)

      Best wishes. It is a HARD world right now, and the pain is becoming more and more visible and personal. Getting help for your concerns from being in combat is VERY important too. The healthier parents are, both physically and mentally, the much better off the children are. And having healthy children all around (inside and out) is truly something worthy to strive for.

      May God bless you and keep you and touch you.

      🙂 Terri F

  25. Another Homeschooling Doctor

    Hi there! I found your site researching about GAPS for my son. I also am a homeschooling mama! I WRESTLED with the decision to quit, but decided to leave my primary care pediatric practice after 9 years. I am thankful to be able to be home with my kids. And, like you, even after just a year at home I feel like there are so many things, especially related to nutrition, that I have never known! So much to learn and so much I thought I knew that now seems misguided. Thanks for the work you have done putting your learning on this site. God Bless!

  26. ralph ryback

    Hi Terri: I have wanted to respond to your question about whale blubber eaters and butyrate. You can consider baleen whales as the cows of the sea. They don’t eat grass, but krill which are only one step from microscopic algae (i.e. grass) and are also loaded with omega 3s. I believe there is research in ? Beluga whales demonstrating high levels of butyrate in their blubber. Hopefully, this helps.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you so much for sharing that. Made me search for “butyrate in blubber of Beluga whales” (and other such variations of search terms), but I think it must be too specialized of a topic for me to find on an internet search, perhaps. But good to think about. Thanks and take care.

  27. ralph ryback

    Hi Terri: I should have clarified, though I’m sure you know, krill feast on microscopic algae. Thanks

  28. JP

    Not a homeschooler although I am a physician. Not normally a blog reader until I read yours: glossaries, organic chemistry, references to literature, common sense explanations for lay readers. Oh my, this is “blog nirvana” for the medical nerd. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all the work you put into researching your topics. Simply outstanding!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you so much, JP! I figure if a physician is reading my stuff, they are homeschooling themselves! We didn’t get this in med school. And we don’t get it in the CME we PAY for! Best wishes to you, and thank you for taking time to leave the kind words. They mean a lot to me!

  29. ecoledumonde2887

    I know this post is a few years old, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write it and everything on your blog! What a blessing you are to all of us! Homeschool mom of 2 here who also loves butyrate and butyrate producing bacteria!

    We’ve been through so many years of gut health searching and healing –we’ve done Paleo, AIP, SCD, and finally found REID 2 years ago– for our son and I (both with autoimmune issues). Thank you, again, for taking the time to share the information you’ve found!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      You’re welcome. Thank you for taking a minute to write. I appreciate it! It is a motivator and encouragement. Very glad you found a nutritious-sounding platform that works for you and your son! Have a great day!

  30. Torben Bo Hansen

    Dear Terri Fites.

    Thanks a mill for a great blog and especially all the info about butyrate, resistant starch and raw sweet potatoes. It fixed my stomach. Much obliged.
    So payback is the least I can do.
    “The Restoration of Vitamin C Synthesis in Humans” by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD and Ron Hunninghake, MD.
    The above mentioned paper inspired me to try out Olive leaf extract, because I suffer from BPH and Acne Rosacea (I am 67 years old). After battling (no MD involved since I do not trust their line of reasoning) for 15 years with Rosacea and 10 years with BPH, I now look normal in my face and the BPH is to the best of my knowledge gone. That said, through the years I have changed my life quite a bit. I am on a meat based LCHF OMAD diet, don’t touch alcohol, go to bed at 20:00 and wake up at 04:00, go for long walks, and go to the gym nearly every day. The last change I made was to add Olive leaf extract, and that did the trick.

    Kind regards,
    Torben Bo Hansen

    Direct link to the above mentioned article:

      1. Torben Bo Hansen

        Hi again.

        I have a correction. I have stopped going to the gym because of a shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and has gone to see a doctor who explained that the olive leaf extract had healed me from prostatitis, but not from BPH, which in hindsight seems to be correct. The longer I do not exercise, the worse the BPH. So the gym is a must for me. The good part is that the pain previously associated with peeing is 100% gone.

        Best of wishes,

        PS: Meanwhile I have found “gum arabic,” and I have included it in my diet.

        “The Efficacy of Gum Arabic in Managing Diseases: A Systematic Review of Evidence-Based Clinical Trials.”

  31. Cynthia Reddy

    So glad to find your post I almost felt like I was the only one to put my medical career on hold for my kids education and homeschool. Many people find it hard to believe why I did it. Same reason as every other mother !!
    Don’t let the profession fool you we are more alike than different!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I hope it is going well. I have no regrets. Zero. Hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a real challenge. We like that challenge, right? We like a chance to bond with people and love them and give them the best opportunity to be their best selves. Right? That’s how we’re wired. And we’ll do that even more for our own kids!

      May you enjoy the adventure and the journey. Never let the hard times slow you down for too long. 🙂

  32. Irwin M. Fletcher

    I came here from an old post you made on Time Steele’s “Potato Hack” blog. You are beautiful beyond description.


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