I first came across "Breaking the vicious cycle" nearly 5 years ago. I have always been interested in the nutritional aspect of health and had trawled through many "health" books and avidly read what was on offer in the press (The Guardian is usually more helpful than the Mail and Mirror in its health reports)...and was quite taken with the idea of grains and low fat being good for me and my family...courtesy of tooo many Kellogg's and Flora ads!!!

As a family we ate an incredibly healthy diet...fruit, veg, meat, fish, rice, biscuits, bread, cakes, cereals, low fat margarine...and ALL with healthy wholegrains of course!

When I read Elaine's book I wasn't totally amazed that grains were unwise as a food because I had for some time been looking for alternatives on the internet and reading information from the newsletters of the SAGB (Schizophrenia Association of Great Britain) ...useful link...www.sagb.co.uk I had discovered Dr. Kalle Reichellt's collected web articles on grain, read about Dr. Dohan's grain theories and read "Mental and Elemental Nutrients" by DR. Carl Pfeiffer... amongst many others. The science behind Elaine's book just crystallised all the information I had already read and explained, as nothing else had done, in easily understandable terms, the process of digestion and the crucial difference in the chemical structure of carbohydrates, sugars etc. and the effect they have on our bodies.

As two of my children had been diagnosed with schizophrenia within 3 months of each other in 1990 I was particularly interested in Chapter 7, The Brain Connection, and decided that there was only one thing for it.....SCD for the whole family. I threw out every possible "illegal" food in the house - and was amazed to see three large black bags going out of the kitchen!!! So much for our healthy diet!

At first the diet was seemingly very difficult, we were all looking for substitutes for the demon BREAD...and I experimented over and over with nut breads, cakes and biscuits, desperate to find a substitute ...cringing all the while at the high cost of nuts!

The first week was a major detox and I felt like hell, probably because I was more addicted to the carbs than anyone else in the house and had more health issues than I realised at the time. I had become totally intolerant of alcohol...just literally one drop would send me to bed with a migraine and vomiting for 24 hours, had diverticulitis which my (then) Doctor assured me would respond to plenty of Bran, I had fluid retention on a par with any hydroelectric dam, spots that rivalled any teenagers, greasy hair, persistent bronchitis, a disc in my lower back which required regular visits to the chiropractor and was fast approaching twelve stone! These are the things that I can remember...never feeling really well, but never so ill that I was hospitalised.

After three weeks on the diet I had lost huge amounts of weight...down to nine stone, my skin had lost its spots, my bowels were normal for the first time ever!, and the fluid retention had disappeared and my energy levels were breathtaking! My son was slower to respond but after three months he was back to his normal self.... to the disbelief of the medical profession. (sadly this didn't last as he started to socialise again and went back to eating junk food - further research has led me to www.truehope.tv a Canadian research group who are having great success with many CNS disorders using a high potency mineral supplement. My daughter has been on this since September and has improved immeasureably).

After 3 months on scd I tentatively tried a glass of red wine...which I had never been able to tolerate before, only white....and wonder of wonders, NO migraine or sickness. I can now drink in moderation and actually enjoy it!

After 4 years of scd I have found shopping and cooking easy. We don't eat by recipe books but have meat, fish salads, cooked vegetables and fruit. A delicious selection of cheeses, butter, olive oil, homemade yoghurt, mayonnaise, honey...good basic gourmet food and NO grains, milk or sugar. Occasionally I will make a cake or sweet pudding from BTVC or "Lucy's specific carbohydrate cookbook" and usually make a batch so that there's always something in the freezer. Anyone who hasn't tried them should make "Sue's crackers" (recipe on www.uclbs.org) they are a must!! Better than the real thing, no nasty carbs and very healthy...yum for a crunchy snack, they travel well and are ideal with cheese after dinner.

I don't use almond flour for my cakes etc. but grind my own nuts in the food processor using a mixture of almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and cashews. My family find the almond taste too overpowering...apart from the fact that it makes my husband's joints ache! I also eke out the nuts by using the addition of soaked ( for 12 hours) cooked and well drained haricot beans and also add grated carrot or courgette to the mixture and, for a cake, dried fruit such as sultanas. Anyone new to the diet with severe symptoms should avoid the beans until they are sufficiently healed.

Finding scd was a miracle, there's no other word to describe it. It has improved the health of thousands of people as the scd list and testimonies on Amazon show, but still has to be accepted by the medical profession as a whole.

Anyone who has had their health restored through diet alone, after suffering ill health for a lifetime with the complicity of their Doctors, rather than being given the correct help and advice has every right to be extremely angry when countless years of research and many thousands of papers have been published testifying to the potency of nutrition and the body's ability to heal itself, have been not just ignored but deliberately falsified. This information is by no means new...I believe it was Hippocrates who said "let food be your medicine and medicine be your food". In the 1930's Weston Price, a peripatetic dentist, travelled the world taking photographs of indigenous native populations in a perfect state of health and followed them up as they moved to "civilised" areas and monitoring their descent into ill health. He published his book "Nutrition and Degeneration" and (www.westonaprice.org ) Frances Pottenger, intrigued by his findings, conducted a series of experiments with cats over several generations and proved conclusively that diet induced the same illnesses in his cats as we humans suffer from.

Domestic animals are also prey to the food and pharmaceutical cartels...vets nowadays prescribe the same drugs, operations and dietary advice as Doctors. People and pets are money spinners, but conversely animals for the food chain have to be kept reasonably healthy and ARE fed minerals and supplements, although also bulked up on too much grain!

Natural food for our pets is raw meat, bones etc. and a Google search for 'barf dogs' will bring up a multitude of useful sites...if you are on scd yourself you owe it to your pets to give them the chance of optimum health too!!!

Further investigation has led me, through a maze of politics and corporate deceit, to the staggering realisation that there is nothing wrong with the National Health Service, although it is buckling under the strain of coping with a population dogged by sickness, but there is something very very wrong with our national health.

I personally don't know anybody who is in perfect health!! We are exhorted at every point by press, media, advertising, medics, to eat low fat, high carb diets. We suffer from depression, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, eczema, skin diseases,gut disease of every type, dysbiosis....you name it, because there's a name for everything!, but you can't cure it! In my opinion it is time to ask why, in the 21st century, we have so many more illnesses than our ancestors could have dreamed of.

Medical science, we are told, has all the technology and drugs yet answers.....should you dare to ask, for nothing. It has even become law that you cannot claim a cure for anything.

And so... there are no cures, only palliatives, and the pharmaceutical cartels reign supreme dictating the curriculum of medical schools..i.e the bare minimum of nutritional training and inculcating a deep belief that drugs and surgery are the only answer.... Combine this with agribusiness and the giant food companies and it is not hard to see why we are getting sicker, fatter and madder by the day! (read "Betrayal of Trust by Dr. Vernon Coleman).

"Deviant" doctors who discover that there is another way are labelled as quacks, flakes etc and ostracised by the medical community. Look at what has happened to Dr. Andrew Wakefield and his MMR campaign, autism and gut disease, Kilmer McCully when he discovered the link between heart disease and B vitamins, Prof. David Benton when he proved that IQ could be increased in schoolchildren by taking multivitamin and mineral supplements, Alexander Schauss who improved the diets of prisoners and subsequently their health and behaviour, even our own Elaine has been reviled and ridiculed...the list is endless and a search on Google will find answers to many of these questions. Try searching for mineral depletion in soil!!! Good health, were it freely available, would dent profits to such an extent that this information must be suppressed. Most of the major charities are involved in information suppression and continue to research red herrings on a regular basis and are funded not only by the general public but by the same companies who supply our drugs, food and chemicals. Senate Document 234 published in 1936 refers to the gross depletion of minerals in soil and therefore our food....but not only has this been ignored there are now moves by the EEC to ban supplements (see The Codex agreement).

As more and more people search for, and find, their own answers to their health problems maybe, in time, they will question those who dictate our diets and medical treatment and coerce governments into maintaining the status quo of sickness and interminable treatment. It is indisputable that Doctors are currently having a bad press and media reports appear daily of drugs causing more sickness and death than the actual illnesses they seek to treat. Our only hope is that the advent of the Internet will speed up the process of awareness and that change will come sooner rather than later....at present we are just a "cash crop" for big business!!

Annie