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)

55 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

  13. 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!

  14. Pingback: Eating More Two… | Boomering

  15. 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!

  16. 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.


  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. ralph ryback

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

  21. 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!


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