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I have been meaning to review the book Fiber Menace for many months, and I recently learned that Mr. Monastyrsky has released Fiber Menace in Amazon Kindle format.
And if you don't own a Kindle Wireless Reading Device don't fret. Amazon has made it possible for you to read Kindle version books right on your computer. All you have to do is download the Kindle for PC.
Now on to my review.
When I first got on the GAPShelp list, it struck me as very interesting that nearly everyone (including myself) had two common experiences when starting GAPS, and especially while doing introduction. 1) Practically everyone becomes constipated and 2) practically everyone complains of being voraciously hungry.
No one seemed to have any definitive answers as to why, especially the constipation. This really got my curiosity aroused. Kind of like a good mystery… I wanted to know why this phenomenon was occurring.
One day while visiting the GAPS Diet website, I came upon some fine print near the bottom of the page called Stools which said, “*When it comes to defining the “ideal” stool, there is some debate. For another interpretation, please view Fiber Menace.”
I clicked over and found so much information that I spent days poring over the site. I felt like I learned a lot, and then I decided to order the book. I really enjoyed the book because everything comes along in chapter format, whereas on the site it is a bit more difficult to find everything available to read not to mention the book contains different information than is on the site. Although I believe the site may contain more current information in some areas.
Dr. Campbell-McBride does have a chapter devoted to constipation in Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and she says “Constipation is always a sign of deficient gut flora in children and in adults”; however, she doesn't touch on the fact that GAPS is a low fiber diet and I think this also factors in to why nearly everyone ends up constipated. The first problem is the deficient gut flora but the solution, especially in the United States is to push fiber which will help to push the stools through. So many of us are heavily dependent on fiber, even if we don't take actual fiber supplements we are getting large doses of insoluble fiber if we eat the Standard American Diet.
So when a person goes to the full GAPS diet, they are lowering their intake of fiber significantly and they will almost certainly become constipated simply because their body does not have the correct gut flora and has been dependent on fiber to push the stool through.
The problem becomes even worse if they embark on Introduction straight from eating the standard American diet, they are going to really have some problems with constipation.
Here is a brief look at each chapter of Fiber Menace. Please note this is only the briefest of glimpses from each chapter as the book is full of great information:
Chapter 1: Fiber Carnage
In this chapter, Mr. Monastyrsky explains why fiber is so destructive to the human digestive system, and answers questions like: Why does fiber cause “stomach cramps”? Why does fiber cause gas? Why does fiber cause “unrelieved constipation”? I am young, fit and healthy, and I consume lots of fiber. And it causes me no harm. Why?
He shares all the hidden sources of dietary fiber like cellulose, pectin, guar gum, carrageen, agar-agar and many more. He explains that these ingredients are made from wood pulp, cotton and husks. He discusses the prominent problems of too much fiber: nausea, vomiting, gastric outlet obstruction, duodenal obstruction, Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying), Gastroesophaeal Reflux Disease (GERD), Dyspepsia, Gastritis, Gastric Ulcer (Peptic ulcer disease), and Hiatal (Hiatus) Hernia. He goes into great detail how various parts of the body are affected by fiber.
Chapter 2: Water Damage
In Chapter 2, Mr. Monastyrsky states, “The infatuation with fiber brought with it another menace – the proverbial eight glasses of water. Everyone and their dog insists that you MUST drink eight glasses of water a day for health and beauty. Well, if you follow this advice, you're assured of disease and premature aging, which is just the opposite of the original intent.” He goes on to explain in detail why you won't need to drink all that water if you get off the fiber.
Chapter 3: Atkins Goes to South Beach
Chapter 3 reveals the secret behind the weight loss in the “induction stage” of Atkins and “phase one” of the South Beach diet. Hint, it has to do with fiber. He also explains why everyone gets constipated and gives some recommendations for embarking on a low carb (low fiber) diet successfully. One of the recommendations is to slowly reduce your fiber intake. This will be much easier on your body.
Chapter 4: Disbacteriosis
Mr. Monastyrsky discusses gut dysbiosis and makes the argument that fiber is not needed to keep us regular. “People who fast for weeks at a time have regular stools, even though they consume nothing but water.” He explains why it is so vitally important that we have the proper intestinal flora which function to retain water in our stools, help us to formulate normal stools, manufacture essential vitamins like B12 and Vitamin K, protect the intestinal epithelium from pathogens such as infective strains of E. coli., tissue development and regeneration and immunity. He reveals the common causes of disbacteriosis such as excess fiber, diarrhea, heavy metals and more.
Chapter 5: Constipation
This chapter explains in great detail exactly how our digestion and elimination works, and why constipation occurs. He discusses the “ideal” stool according to the Bristol Stool Chart, and tells you how to assess your own toilet bowl contents. Mr. Monastyrsky states that “floating stools indicate an overabundance of undigested fiber and gases from fermentation”. The types of constipation are discussed, such as latent constipation (which means you're constipated but you don't know it because you're dependent on all the fiber in your diet) or organic constipation which happens due to aging and chronic disease and finally colorectal disorders.
Chapter 6: Hemorrhoidal Disease
I learned in this chapter that “every individual on plant Earth possesses hemorrhoids since birth.” Mr. Monastyrsky says “their function is to protect the internal structures of the anal canal from the passing stools”. When they become inflamed or enlarged, they then become a problem so everyone thinks they suddenly now have hemorrhoids. Mr. Monastyrsky uses the technically correct term hemorrhoidal disease throughout this chapter, rather than simply hemorrhoids.
Chapters 7 through 10: Diverticular Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease and Colon Cancer
Mr. Monastrysky goes into great detail about all of these digestive disorders and how fiber wreaks such terrible havoc on the digestive system.
Chapter 11: Avoiding the Perils of Transition
Mr. Monastyrsky discusses various countries and the fiber intake of each, in comparison to the United States and how obesity has become worse as a result of our infatuation with fiber. He also tells you exactly how to transition to a low fiber diet. He says that removing fiber from our diet causes our stool to go from 400 to 500 grams to 100 grams or less. I remember thinking I was constipated because my stools were so small! I was expecting “normal” sized stools and I was really glad when I learned that smaller stools don't necessarily mean constipation. We should have small stools! And that then led to my understanding that no longer could I wait and wait and wait to visit the toilet, or the urge would disappear and then I would become constipated. Mr. Monastyrsky says, “When stools suddenly become small and light, most people no longer experience an urge to move their bowels, and inevitably miss bowel movements. When that happens, the smallish stools inside the large intestine quickly become dry, hard, and abrasive ( to the anal canal), with properties similar to Bristol Stool Scale type 1, described as “separate hard lumps, like nuts.” Expelling these stools will obviously drive anyone nuts, from the pain, discomfort, or bleeding associated with lacerated mucosa.”
Oh yeah, I also have to say I love Mr. Monastyrsky's sense of humor. Dry and punny. He makes a somewhat uncomfortable topic a bit easier to stomach with his sense of humor.
Chapter 12: The Low Fiber Advantage
In this chapter, Mr. Monastyrksy shares “the healing properties of a low-fiber diet” and in this chapter I learned the answer to my second question. Why is everyone starving hungry when they first begin GAPS? Mr. Monastyrksy says, “… we aren't actually born with huge, hungry stomachs. They stretch out gradually as we keep filling them with a high-bulk diet. In fact, fiber advocates hawk this phenomenon as an advantage: fiber fills you up and promotes satiety, they claim. But that's a devil's beneift, as each new “fill-up” keeps stretching your stomach a teeny bit more, so that the next time around you need a teeny bit more food to fill it to satiety again. Do this for some years, and eventually you “grow' a stomach that's hard to please. This is yet another aspect of fiber addiction.”
Mr. Monastyrsky assures us that once we stop consuming a high fiber diet, our stomach will begin to gradually shrink and with each meal we'll need less food to feel satisfied. “All this without a gastric bypass or a stomach band…” He lists some of the advantages of a low fiber diet: oral health, esophagus (no more heartburn), no more diarrhea or constipation, no irritant in the bowel means no irritable bowel syndrome and many more.
This review has already surpassed 1600 words, and there is no way I can do justice to the book and all of the information it contains. I urge you to buy your copy of Fiber Menace in Amazon Kindle format today. It's an amazing bargain at only ninety-nine cents and you will be learn so much.
I do wish everyone who embarks on GAPS would take the time to also read Fiber Menace as it helped me to understand how important it is to adopt this new way of eating for the rest of my life. I used to think I would heal my gut, then go back to eating whatever or at least go back to eating some “normal” foods. But now I know that I cannot. It also helps me in my resolve to stay away from processed foods because of all of the damaging insoluble fiber added to them.
Finally, I would like to say that I believe Fiber Menace is a great companion book to Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and GAPS Guide (Simple Steps to Heal Bowels, Body and Brain)
because Fiber Menace will allow you to have an understanding of the digestion process from start to finish. I urge you to read the GAPS books first, and have a firm understanding of GAPS. Then read Fiber Menace through your GAPS “lens” as you will find a small amount of information that conflicts with GAPS.