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