As a continued part of our series on the power of the gut, I wanted to take this week to challenge the way you think about food (as of course, food affects the function of the gut, thus affecting the rest of the body). In our series so far, we have talked about the role of gluten in not only gut health, but the function of the brain. We have discussed how our neurotransmitter function comes from the gut. We have talked about how stress can alter gut bacteria, leading us to be more susceptible to sickness as well as completely repopulate the gut, and we also talked through the difference between food allergy and sensitivity. This week, we are going to take a different, yet still related turn into the role of food in the many dysfunctions in the body.
Let’s start with the basic idea that our bodies were created to function. They were made to function free from disease, auto immune disorders, depression, adhd, etc. That is not to say that these conditions are caused by food, but the rise in these conditions in particular (as well as many others) is suspect as our food supply has become more filled with gmo’s and pesticides and our children have exponentially more vaccinations than we did as children. (childrens vaccine schedule). All of these toxic exposures combined are having unknown effects on our bodies which is contributing to the rise medical conditions that once were thought to be rare. (autism rates https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html). Type 1 diabetes alone (an auto immune disorder not to be confused with type 2 diabetes) rose 23% from 2001 to 2009, and auto immune disorders like celiac disease are on the rise as well. Because we know what contributes to these dysfunctions but have not pinpointed one specific cause (as I believe most of these disorders has more than one cause), it is important to know what factors can be controlled so we can do what we can to help decrease symptoms, sometimes reverse diseases, and often make them go into remission.
Food and brain function/mood – As we have discussed in earlier articles, food is a very powerful controller of our mood. As we have also discussed in previous articles, food sensitivities can take up to 3 days to manifest in symptoms. Digestion 101 tells us that all food is eventually broken down in the gut, nutrients are absorbed into the body for energy, repair, immune function, etc, and then the waste is excreted. We are told to eat our vegetables because they are good for us and that we shouldn’t eat much junk food, but we also tend to have the perspective that kids can “handle it” when we feed them processed foods or that just because someone doesn’t have a weight problem, they can “eat whatever they want.” We are led to believe that foods are inert substances that don’t do damage, but I want to challenge your thinking that food is POWERFUL! Whatever you put into your body can control your mood in a very powerful way. I have seen sugar, dairy, wheat,artificial color, and artificial sweetener have such a dramatic effect on the mood that some people are even able to stop their antidepressant or anti anxiety medications when they eliminate these foods (under the care of a physician). I have seen adhd symptoms as well as autism symptoms completely go away on a diet free of these foods. If you (or your children) suffer with any of these conditions, consider eliminating these foods from your/their diet for 6 months. Most people are amazed at the difference in mood and brain function when they do, and when they add them back, they are often blown away at how the symptoms they had come to accept as “normal” were really just a reaction to food. I have even had clients who noticed the pattern that when they ate wheat, they would have panic symptoms that escalated to a panic attack 2 days after ingestion. It was only after elimination, food logging, and challenging that they were able to discover this and get complete freedom from symptoms just by eliminating the foods that were causing the symptoms. I have seen similar results with dairy.
Check out this amazing picture from Dr. Feingold, a physician way ahead of his time. This picture gives a physical representation of how msg and artificial color affect neurons in the brain.
Auto immune disorders – With auto immune disorders on the rise, it is important for us to examine the role of food in the prevention and treatment of this epidemic. Because 70-80% of the immune system is located in the gut, taking care of the gut is critical to the prevention and treatment of auto immune disorders. I have seen amazing results when people who have auto immune disorders remove wheat, dairy, and sugar from their diet. Fibromyalgia (though not technically an auto immune disorder) is especially responsive to the elimination of these foods in addition to eliminating artificial sweetener. I have seen clients live symptom free when they feed their bodies what they need to calm the inflammation and heal the immune system. For more great information, Read The Auto Immune Fix.
Allergies and Asthma are also greatly helped with the elimination of dairy. Many people find that after eating a Whole 30 meal plan for a month, many (and often all) of their allergy and asthma symptoms go away.
The take home from this message is that food is powerful. While we can’t control everything, there are certainly things that we can all do to prevent and control the function of our bodies. As I said earlier, our bodies were created to function. When we put into them what they need, they often resume function on their own.
At Heart In Motion, we always seek to give an honest, balanced approach to food and lifestyle. Moderation is key, and prevention is important. That said, everyone is unique, and there is no one size fits all plan for anyone. There are good basic guidelines that work for most people, but there are variations (like the ones listed above) that are helpful for certain people. Realize the role of food in your symptoms. Challenge the idea that just because something is common doesn’t mean it is normal.
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- If you are looking for a natural, prevention solution, try eliminating wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial color, and artificial color from your diet for several months. Document your symptoms. Then try adding them back very systematically, no more than one addition per week. Chart your symptoms. Remember that symptoms can take days to manifest. Read the auto immune fix. For so many, this approach has been life changing!