This year has been very stressful for me and I believe for many others in America. I could not properly enjoy the Holiday season followed one of the most brutal election cycles I have ever witnessed and now we all are in the depths of the multiple holiday parties and for those working in retail I am certain things were very hectic and stressful!
With all of those many challenges my Gut Health is in jeopardy again. I feel like I am caught in the web of Pharma once again. I worked so hard to avoid this, however with stresses in my life and eating too much on the go, my health has experienced an all time low. So I may be to blame for the doctor wanting to put me on life endangering drugs!
I suffer from Crohn’s disease, which for those that don’t know it is an autoimmune condition that is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal tract. In fact, Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine other wise known as the ileum, where it joins the beginning of the large intestine or also know as the colon.
I was frantically searching my library for a book I thought I bought years ago about how to manage my Crohn’s disease issue. This author of this book also suffered from Crohn’s disease issues and found a way to free himself of medicine and get his health back. Now he is healthier and teaching millions on how to achieve what he did and stay naturally healthy!
As I perused my library collection, I found the Arthritis guide, but not the Crohn’s disease guide. I bought this guys book online however after reading some the book online after purchasing the hard copy, I did not find what I was looking for exactly. I thought I might need to find another book or use free online sources.
I was thrilled to come across a site that was not afraid to share alternative health and healing advice. The site I came across focused mostly on adjusting ones diet in order for the body to begin healing. I found mention on this site of products I already owned that I could find quick relief with. It was real simple and quickly effective. Of all things I did not realize how raw honey and the essential oil frankincense, which is 100% pure and digestible could be so helpful!
What I learned online overall about my Crohn’s disease is that our Gut functions like a second brain. A very important connection exists between our brain and our gut. When have been told to “trust our gut instinct” when making difficult decisions, we find that our gut acts much like a brain.
This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback when we are hungry or when we are experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe.
When you are stressed out for anything from work to the stresses of the road, to shopping for that perfect gift to relationship issues, your gut knows, immediately! The enteric nervous system is often referred to as our body’s second brain. The connection we have within our body is truly amazing, so why don’t we take better care of this?
Taking time away from stressors like work is very helpful, however there are more stresses than work like this season of spending more than we should, financial burdens like medical bills and other unexpected expenses. And of course all those relationship issues!
So just getting away from you stress triggers is not enough. As I was frantically searching for what to do immediately with my Crohn’s disease issue, I found what I am eating is causing issues and I need to adjust this or the consequences could be dangerous.
The problem with a Gut issue not being properly managed can lead to several other health issues like Infertility, Type 1 diabetes, Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Vitiligo, Narcolepsy, Schizophrenia, Autism, Depression, Huntington’s, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Hypothyroidism, Porphyria, and possibly death!
With a list of health issues like this, it is past time to change up that diet, but where do you start and what do you do first? For those who suffer Gut issues may want to start with eliminating certain foods and drinks!
Begin removal of Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, dairy products (for people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive), raw fruits and vegetables, seeds, dried beans, peas and legumes, dried fruits, foods that have sulfur or sulfate, high-fiber foods, meat, nuts and crunchy nut butters, popcorn, products that have sorbitol (like sugar-free gum and candies), refined sugar, and spicy foods, from your diet.
Now don’t eliminate them all at once. It is highly recommended to keep a food journal and see which foods and drinks you do well with and which ones flare you up! Also know not all Gut conditions operate the same way. The best thing to do while slowly eliminating foods and drinks that are bad for Gut disease sufferers is to drink plenty of good ole H2O!
It’s possible to lose a high amount of fluid due to frequent diarrhea. Make sure to drink at least eight, 8 ounce glasses of plain water per day. Caffeine-free herbal tea, bone broth and kombucha are also good choices, since these not only provide water but also electrolytes, amino acids and probiotics.
Before putting on your food bib for the big scarf down, start adjusting your meal plan to smaller meals to start. If you want to avoid a flare-up, it’s best to stop overloading your body with over-sized meals.
By eating smaller meals you put less stress on the gastrointestinal tract, which can help reduce some symptoms like bloating, gas and cramping. You can try eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, rather than 2-3 big meals, to help with absorption of nutrients, improving energy and controlling symptoms.
Avoid classic problem foods! Food sensitivities vary from person to person but commonly include spicy and fried foods, refined foods like white breads and pastas, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and caffeine. Wheat products (gluten), cereal grains such as corn and oats, dairy products, pork, onions and yeast can all tend to make Gut disease symptoms worse.
Begin eating healing diets which can decrease inflammation, alkalize the body, lowers blood glucose, eliminates toxins and optimizes nutrient intake. Changing and improving your diet is one of the most important, controllable and natural things you can do to improve inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.
Healing foods consists of eating roughly equal amounts of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables. Examples are of fruit are Strawberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries. Examples of vegetables are Asparagus, Spinach, and Sprouts.
Limiting dairy is important for sufferers of gastrointestinal problems. Diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas improve when limiting or eliminate dairy products. It has been discovered that the fat content in dairy can inflame the Crohn’s disease conditions.
Being very careful with high-fiber foods, including raw fruits and vegetables for some people suffering from gut conditions. Consuming high amounts of fiber, especially from raw fruits and vegetables, can be too difficult for their compromised systems to handle.
Try not to remove your fruits and veggies altogether however, just eat them cooked or steamed whenever possible. Some Crohn’s disease sufferers have trouble with foods in the cabbage family, which can include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn.
Keeping a food diary can help you see what works and what don’t for your particular case of Gut disease. So don’t eliminate a healthy food, for example broccoli, unnecessarily in your food diet if you don’t actually need to.
Increasing prebiotic intake and consuming more prebiotics, a special form of dietary fiber that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, which can combat bad bacteria, is a smart idea for people with Gut disease. Prebiotic foods include things like asparagus, bananas, honey and oats, all of which make excellent addition to any Gut disease diet.
However because prebiotics are a type of fiber, it’s important to monitor your systems and pay attention to how you feel. If particular prebiotic foods, or foods high in fiber, are causing worsened symptoms then try subbing in other foods until you find what works.
And make sure you get enough exercise as this is very important is assisting with your gut’s recovery. Exercising regularly helps expel built-up tension, stress hormones and clears the mind. Exercise helps to release endorphins, the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals. In addition, it may even diminish some symptoms of IBD. Beneficial exercise can be any combination of aerobic/cardiovascular, strength-training, and flexibility exercise.
So to recap, identify your gut issue, because your Gut is a second brain, and needs to be managed just as much as your brain, and then push yourself to adjust your diet, however make sure it is not sudden but a slow transition, as to not shock your body.
Thank you for reading!
Neil Saint Angeland
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