ALL DISEASES BEGIN IN THE GUT
Many children and adults have digestive problems that they are not even aware of. Colic, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, feeding difficulties, trouble sleeping, and many other “chronic” but accepted maladies.When looking at a child with digestive problems, the majority of cases will have started at or around the time of weaning.
When the mother replaces breast milk with formula other food components get introduced that are not natural to a babies gut flora, like gluten, Enzymatically hydrolyzed reduced minerals, whey protein concentrate, palm olein, soy, coconut, high-oleic safflower oils, lactose etc…
Many adults don’t remember much of their eating habits in the first years of life. Assuming they did not have a severe reaction to these new compounds which would have raised red flags for any parents, they could have had little noticed or missed responses to the food like a fussy sleeper, or a baby that vomits a lot. Many parents will tell you this is “Normal for a baby”. they will “Grow out of it”. While this is true for some, in more and more cases around the world people are realising that it doesn’t have to be this way. Unless there is an undiagnosed medical condition babies that are fed the way their guts were designed DO NOT HAVE THESE PROBLEMS!!
This is not to say that even a baby fed perfectly won’t have problems occasionally. The Gastric system is incredibly complex and a little SNAFU at one end can cause all sorts of temporary problems at the other. That being said these temporary problems are just that, temporary. If a problem is happening at every feeding for weeks on end then it is likely a problem on the intake side of the track. Don’t these problems go away after a couple of months though?? yes they do, in the same way that a heroin junkie will be able to function after a small hit while you or I would probably be incapacitated. This is not as far-fetched an analogy as it sounds either. True, heroin and food are very different in almost every conceivable way, but to a totally (or mostly) clean gut Gluteomorphins and Casomorphins (peptides from gluten and casein) pass through the blood-brain barrier and effect areas of the brain in much the same way as opiates and heroin. So while you can build up a tolerance to these compounds and even learn (gastronomically speaking) to function with them, the long-term effects and the health problems are much more similar to drug and alcohol addiction then most people will admit. The question then is; how did we get our gut in such a condition? what is the connection with our gut and our mental health? to understand these questions we need to take a look at the importance of food and the role it plays in the human gut.
UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTION OF OUR GUT.
The human body is a magnificent ecosystem that is happily co-existing with trillions of invisible macro and micro-life, living together in harmony. The largest colonies of microbes live in our digestive system and the number of functions they fulfill in our bodies is so crucial and vital that we, humans, cannot live without them.
“In a healthy body this microbial world is fairly stable and very adaptable to changes in their environment.Gut flora can be divided into 3 groups:
1.Essential or beneficial flora This is the most important group and the most numerous in a healthy individual. These bacteria are often referred to as our indigenous friendly bacteria. The main members of this group are: Bifidobacteria, Lactobacteria, Propionobacteria,physiological strains of E.coli, Peptostreptococci and Enterocci. We are going to look in detail at what good work they do in our bodies.”(1)
2. Opportunistic flora “This is a large group of various microbes, the number and combination of which can be quite individual. These are: Bacteroids, Peptococci, Staphylococci, Streptococci, Bacilli, Clostridia, Yeasts, Enterobacteria, Catenobacteria and many others. There are around 500 various species of microbes known to science so far, which can be found in the human gut. in a healthy person their numbers are normally limited and are tightly controlled by the beneficial flora. Each of this microbes is capable of causing various health problems if they get out of control.”(2)
3.Transitional flora “these are various microbes, which we daily swallow with food and drink, usually non-fermenting Gram-negative bacilli from the environment. When the gut is well protected by beneficial bacteria,this group of microbes goes through our digestive tract without doing any harm. But if the population of the beneficial flora is damaged and not functioning well this group of microbes can cause disease.
So, what are all these microbes doing there and why do we need them?”(3)
When we eat and drink many micro-organisms, chemicals and toxins make their way through the digestive system. Our digestive track is coated with a bacterial layer, providing a natural barrier against these agents. When the beneficial bacteria in the track are damaged and not doing the job they should be doing, our gut is not well protected. Without protection the invaders infiltrate the gut wall, causing damage to the gut flora
Now if the guardians (the beneficial bacteria) are not properly functioning then the opportunistic flora is uncontrolled and ready to cause trouble. Transitional flora enters the body and now we have a chronic inflammation in our gut wall and to make it worse ,it not only becomes inflamed or infected, but this can lead to problems with nutrition absorption, and causes malnourishment.
According to Dr. Natasha Campbell- Mcbride author of “Gut and Psychology syndrome
” A well-functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health.And, like a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system.
Dr. Campbell believes that there is a profound connection between our brains and our gut health.In this video she gives a general overview about the importance of a healthy gut flora.
ALL BEGINNINGS ARE DIFFICULT.
(FROM THE GERMAN SAYING: ALLE ANFAG IST SCHWER)
Start by treating Diet as an overused and often misunderstood word . Diet is the food consumed by a person. So while this can be a short-term change it also describes a long-term pattern of eating, I am not trying to promote short-term weight loss goals or quick fixes for ailments but an overall better long-term health through conscious eating. It is a life style not something to do until you stop seeing a problem. It has to become part of your daily routine. This requires a great deal of thought and planning, the changing of long ingrained eating habits is a slow progression . Don’t cut everything out all at once. As great as it would be for you gastronomically, it is also a lot of change all at once, and a good way to burn yourself out. Start by taking away pasta and bread, then the milk and the yogurt and so on. Make a habit of reading food labels every time you go to the store and try to avoid things that have gluten, casein and high fructose corn syrup. In a couple of months you will realize that you have cut out most processed foods and you are starting to learn how to cook from fresh ingredients, your food will taste better and be more filling. Change is hard but someone has to do it.
As a mom I know how hard it is to raise and feed a kid (please read eating right during pregnancy and breastfeeding and why is it so important? ) but it only takes those first years and some patience and consistency to lay a strong foundation in the right direction, getting frustrated because we don’t see results right away is much like waiting for a cancer patient to recover in a week, it takes as much time to get healthier as it took to become sick. I made a slow progression with my first daughter by moving her away from all sorts of cereals,then casein and finally all processed foods by following the steps I mentioned before. It took about a year for us to start seeing noticeable changes in her.
I got all sorts of advise and warnings about what my husband and I were doing. “Don’t you think she should get onto medication?” “Doctors recommend more grains! Are you smarter than the doctors?” “Did you go to Medical school?” at times I was afraid that I was not helping my daughters, but i listened to nutritionists I respected and learned all I could about how food acted on the body. Once we began seeing the changes I had hoped for in my eldest and the lack of problems with my other children I became convinced. So don’t become discouraged when you do not see immediate results. You will see some changes but the bigger ones take time. Give your self the time to make a lifestyle change and you will see as I did that consistency and patience are the keys to success.
My eldest while on Gluten and Casein
One year after
Diane @ Balanced Bites says
That before and after picture is worth a thousand words for sure!
Are you suggesting that “palm olein” and “coconut” (paragraph 2) should be avoided?
Consuelo Werner says
Newborns or anyone recovering from gut surgery or antibiotic treatment do not have a well established gut culture, in the case of new borns especially, they absolutely should not have palm olein and coconut for at least the first month. Once a healthy gut is established then is up to the parent to decide whether to decide to give these to children. Personally all of my family consumes coconut oils but not until at least 4 months of age.
I will go so far as to say that anything that is not breastmilk should be avoided by infants from newborn up to at least six months of age. The gut does not begin to seal until around that time. I learned this from reading Dr. Sears’s books, not even from the real food community, which wasn’t quite as visible during that time (2004 time frame). You know all that stuff Robb writes about food molecules getting through our gut linings when we’ve got leaky gut? That’s normal for a very young baby. They naturally have gaps between the cells in their gut linings. Breastmilk protects that gut lining from being invaded by microbes or solid food particles until it closes up naturally on its own. It’s a process of maturation that is not complete at birth and must be given time to progress.
(And yeah, this means that anything but breastmilk that the *hospital nursery* gives these babies is not good for them either. Just because a medical professional does it doesn’t mean it’s right.)
If you MUST give your baby formula then it’s better than starvation, but we need to start seriously questioning this culture that pushes so many parents into making that decision, even if only to gain themselves a little breathing room in an already insane world. It shouldn’t just be left up to the lactivists and the struggling new moms. We *all* have a stake in nourishing infants properly. That’s one of our future generations in the making.
Thank you for this post! I’m switching my family to paleo, with the health of my four kids being the biggest reason. Even though I’m reading and researching and feeling better myself, part of me is still so nervous to “buck Conventional Wisdom” when it comes to my kids, in case I’m messing them up. But I have to remember that I homebirth, homeschool, avoid vaccines, and let my children play in dirt because it works well for our family – and so does paleo eating! Thank you for giving me more science and more motivation!
Consuelo Werner says
Thank you Karyn!
Avoid vaccines? Good to know that if an epidemic comes rolling through, blood will be on your hands.
By all means, let your kids play in dirt, homeschool, homebirth, do what you’d like — they’re your children. But when you start playing with other people’s lives, it’s no longer okay. Leaving your kids unvaccinated is like drunk driving. You may get away with it for a while and assume what you did was ok because nobody’s been hurt, but you’re actively putting lives at risk.
Please, do some legitimate research. At the very least, you have to question whether the potential, unproven, minor harm is worth the very real lives that will be lost should something occur.
I know your post is old but I’m responding anyway for anyone else like you. Haven’t you heard BY NOW that vaccines are full of dangerous, harmful additives that are more of a risk to your health than what mainstream medicine fools the public into believing they are good for?! Things like aluminim, MSG, and formaldehyde to name a few. Just google the phrase “what’s really in vaccines” and read. I’m not going to spoon-feed the info to you or provide links. I gave you a perfect phrase to google, you know- the search engine that brings up many answers. Then YOU do the research that you and others like you have been needing to do for years. Don’t be a SHEEPLE and blindly follow the conventional doctor. Step into the real world of integrative, holistic medicine- the place where MD’s are curing cancer without deadly chemo but who’s cures are not allowed to be made known by our own government because there’s so much money at the top of the American Cancer Society.
Let me tell you a little story. When I was in the fifth grade in 1970 my sister got the chicken pox. My mom let the rest of us kids play together and we all got the chicken pox. There were no vaccinations then for everything like there is now. We stayed home from school until the chicken pox were gone. When we went back to school all our classmates were there! There was NO PANDEMIC! The school didn’t shut down! Oh my gosh! We were all inoculated the natural way and now we are immune for life! I also remember getting the measles and the mumps. Mom kept me home from school until I was well and there was NO PANDEMIC! And the school didn’t shut down! Back then, without vaccinations, those illnesses were not thought of as a big deal. Getting the measles was like getting a cold. They weren’t EVER a big deal! Vaccines are a HOAX and big, fat, ugly money-maker! The flu shot is a joke! The flu is only hard for people to beat when they listen to their conventional doctor who doesn’t know a thing about natural treatments. I have treated my kids with natural remedies whenever they first started showing symptoms of the flu and they got well. When you use natural things to treat illness it helps the body’s own immune system.
Eighty-percent of our immune system is in our gut. You keep your gut healthy and you ward off illness. And my kids have never used fluoride toothpaste either and they have no cavities. Fluoride is a poison that harms the thyroid gland.
Now go google that phrase I told you and RESEARCH! Then look up how to find a holistic MD, like acam(dot)org (just an example). Take care.
“Are you smarter than a Doctor?” That had me laughing. Most MD’s receive little nutritional training past the obligatory class in med school.
This is a great article and I’m even more pleased with her article on nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’ve been researching Paleo nutrition for the last year and have done it on and off through my current pregnancy, basically testing the way foods make me feel. I just recently have gone 95 paleo and am loving it. I’m due in a week and fully intend on keeping this lifestyle. The husband and I are already prepared to respond to family who wants to bring us meals – meat and veggies please!
With my first baby, I ate a traditional diet, high in carbs and ate a lot of sugar. My son was fussy a lot and never did sleep well. I now attribute much of the issues to my diet. I won’t be making that same mistake this time around.
I now need to work on eliminating the grains in my son’s diet.
Thanks for sharing this great article.
I found this article to be very helpful. I do believe that all illnesses are somehow linked to our gut health. I have Chronic fatigue syndrome which I believe is linked to my poor gut health. Before I got sick, I took antibiotics off and on for constant sinus infections and was on the birth control pill for ten years. I also used to eat healthy for the most part but now I realize I was addicted to sugar.
I’ve been following a paleo diet and do feel somewhat better on it. I’m still experiencing a lot of my fatigue and headaches. I recently started the autoimmune subset and eliminated nuts, eggs, and nightshades. I also don’t eat fruit or starchy vegetables to help with the yeast overgrowth. I’m making tons and tons of homemade bone broth to help heal my gut.
I did try to incorporate raw sauerkraut into my diet, but was confused about whether or not that would be appropriate with AI. (since it’s fermented) Ideas?
I know I’m on the right track. But it will probably take me a while to heal. I know broths, cooked veggies, meat, and healthy fats are good for me. My ibs symptoms, joint pain and acne have cleared up for the most part.
Thank you for sharing your story! The pictures of your daughter after the paleo diet is remarkable!
Consuelo Werner says
Once your gut culture is well establish I don’t see a problem introducing probiotics through fermented foods in your diet : )
Not to be nitpicky but it is “Aller Anfang ist schwer”
Consuelo Werner says
you are right! JUST A TYPO ; )
After switching my oldest two (10.5 & 3) to paleo, we are raising our baby completely from scratch this way. She is 7 months & has only had mashed veggies & avacado, no yogurt or rice/oatmeal cereal.. What I’m wondering is once I ween her from nursing. I’ve heard about switching to coconut milk (carton not canned), but from what I’ve read on the ingredients do have added sugars & some other things in them… Any suggestions?
Robb Wolf says
Once weaned there is not much need for “milks” of whatever variety. Otehr than coconut for cooking of course.
Thanks for your input. I always just hear, “well they need the fat” etc etc.. But if they are getting enough good fats from the food, it makes sense that they wouldn’t need it from a milk of any kind.
Excellent article. And yes, it is easier to be smarter than your doctor when it comes to some things, such as nutrition. Keep the good stuff coming. My motivation for going Paleo was because of my young teenage son who had stomach pain, allergies and was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. After his endoscopy, the doctor told me he had inflamation in his intestines and that is was absolutely “not” related to food. What a crock and bull story I got from “the professionals”. The inflammation had “everything” to do with food. He is so much better. Thanks again.
Anyone with an answer???
I have a 10 yr old granson who has Alopecia (bald). He was diagnosed a few years ago with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and is on medication. This medication however has a side effect whereby he is not that hungry. In addition he is a picky eater and therefore eats foods which are not that great for a kid – when he eats.
Would someone have an answer to this problem. I believe that if he were eating correctly many of his ailments would go away including Alopecia.
Any suggestions from the medical people or someone who has experienced the same problems?
Concerne Grand father
I was reading Loren Cordain’s FAQ with regards to weaning babies. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the advice to give a fortified formula for 1 – 1.5 year old babies when weaned? I personally don’t want to do that but I’m just researching if there is anything I need to supplement with for our daughter. My son self weaned around 15 months of age so I’m assuming she will do similar.
“For the western mother, weaning at age 3 is impractical, but should be carried out as long as possible (say maybe 1- 1.5 years). Following weaning, I recommend that infants be given a formula that is enriched with both DHA and AA. Infants should not be given EPA in the form of fish oil because it competes with AA metabolism and can result in impaired motor development as well as growth.”
Our 9 month old baby girl is eating solids with us at every meal, whatever we have – chicken, fish, beef, eggs, fruit, vegies and I make paleo “cookies” for her and our 3yo son with almond meal, apple, cinnamon, eggs etc as well as still being breastfed approx 6 feeds in 24 hours. As she slows down on the breastfeeds, I was planning to just continue on as we are and not offer any other milk options. Is this ok? She is a very good eater, despite the fact she only has 2 teeth will take on anything we offer her 🙂
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Wow! Great article and love the video. After 4 antibiotics in 2mos last year…I have extreme gut dysbiosis. Gluten, Corn, Dairy allergies and Candida. Problem is…my OAT test showed high Lactase and so I was told to avoid all probiotics with L.acidophillus in it. That’s hard as it is ,but I seem to react to them all. And because I had ammonia toxicity in the gut (probably from bacteria)and allergy test came back with Chicken and Turkey, I was told to avoid meat. Haha. I have removed allergens, and started Paleo diet. We will see how it goes!