Uncategorized

How I Cured an Allergy-Induced Sinus Infection with No Antibiotics

Countless Bottles of Antibiotics

If you are prone to sinus infections then you may be like me where you have racked up a rhythm of 1-2 rounds of antibiotics a year for your biyearly sinus infections you get when it is cold or hay-fever season. That was me for at least 10 years.

Antibiotics have their place. But I have come to realize their place is to prevent serious infection that could lead to death. Not to prevent a possible problem that could possibly lead to a bigger problem which then could lead to death if untreated. But I believed that if it was an ear infection or sinus infection that you needed antibiotics. That is what every doctor I had gone to in my life seemed to suggest.

The Damage on My Health For Mere Allergies

Then I sat in my Naturopath’s office reading the results of my labs and discovered that micro-biome was not only minute in amount but also in diversity. The consequences could last a life time. It was time to rebuild this precious ecosystem so vital to my health that I had napalmed countless times over the course of my life.

So last month, when my cold didn’t go away after 2 weeks, then 3 weeks…and finally started filling my tissues with a thick, yellow mucous when I blew my nose throughout the day, I was concerned.

I had prided myself in not even having sinus infection symptoms in over 3 years after a major change in my diet. My doctor had suggested that my yearly sinus infections were probably due to allergies untreated, not viruses gone bacterial. She suggested I address my food allergies and see what happened. Sure enough– after eliminating wheat and dairy from my diet, those bi-yearly “colds” that turned into upper respiratory infections that sent me for that bottle of napalm went away. She was right.

The Cold That Wouldn’t Go Away

But here I was, 3 years later with 21-day “cold” that just wouldn’t go away and another sinus infection. I felt so humbled. No way I could brag anymore. I had got one and I was still eating right. But when sinus infection symptoms hit, I knew that no matter what, that I was going to do what it took to get rid of it without antibiotics. I did not work so hard for 3 years to rebuild my gut to just destroy it for some yellow snot and some ear pain.

So I started praying and thinking. What could be the source of my sinus issues? If I could figure out the source, then maybe I could resolve it. And what other avenues could I explore to get healed after my usual go-tos were not working? Colloidal silver. Elderberry. Calcium citrate. Fish oils. None of it was making my cold go away like they usually did.

Then I pondered the possibility of an allergy.

Could I be allergic to something that I’m not usually around? I was not eating dairy or wheat so that couldn’t be the issue. I considered the bottle of St. John’s Wort I had started taking a couple of weeks prior.

But then my housekeeper texted me and asked me when I was going to get our floors installed. We had ripped them out the week I got sick and had been walking around on the crumbling, dust-creating mortar the previous owners had layered on the floor underneath to float the floor we ripped out. Complicated? Yes. But there is one key word in there that hit me. Dust.

I’m allergic to dust. And that mortar floor was a dust-emiting machine.

Could I be reacting to the floors? Yes! They got ripped out the week I started to feel sick.

I had found the source.

The steps to healing would now be four-fold:

  1. Minimize Exposure to Allergen
  2. Balance the Mircrobiome in my Nasal Cavity
  3. Reduce Inflammation that had spread to my ears
  4. Reduce Immune Response to Allergen

Fighting the Sinus Infection By Addressing the Allergen and Fighting the Bacteria

Now it was time to get my body to stop freaking out and longer, and heal what could be an infection from the 3 weeks worth of congestion I had been struggling with.

I started wearing a surgical mask in the house to minimize my exposure to the allergen and started working harder at finding a flooring guy to install our floors. This is still in the works, but the allergen will be gone soon.

I fought the bad bacteria with probiotics. But not the way you might think : )

I actually rinsed my nasal cavity with a Neti-pot using warm distilled water, a saline packet, and a pencil-eraser amount of Histaminx, which is a pro-biotic blend from Seeking health that includes only bacteria that lowers histamine levels in addition to balancing flora:

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus salvarius
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

I knew we had beneficial bacteria in our mouths, throat, skin, and nasal cavity and that perhaps I was imbalanced there as well, which was preventing my body from fighting any staph or other nasty bacteria on and in my body. I also began chewing on dental probiotics and brushing my teeth a couple times a day with probiotic toothpaste. I found an incredible brand that uses a blend that specifically fights staph which is the number one cause of sinus infections. I’ll write another blog on the other benefits later but this toothpaste is the bomb.

Reduce Immune Response to Allergens

I started spraying Flonase in my nostrils to open up my euchastian tubes which had started to close up again causing my ear pain and pressure from the allergy. I learned about this from my last doctor visit 3 years ago when I was struggling with ear pain and hearing loss and had learned about my food allergies.

I started to feel better, but needed to do one more thing to deal with the sinus issues.

The final step that combined with the above has completely eliminated my sinus infection symptoms and has helped my body fight the allergic response to these floors is a combination of 4-5 supplements I found all in one bottle called Breathe-X. I am now walking around my dusty house WITHOUT a surgical mask, not taking an antihistamine, and feeling great. I took 3 pills just once a day and that seems to be enough for me. If I skipped a day, I started to feel the congestion return.

BreatheX is made of some key ingredients that help your body naturally stop freaking out when around allergens and keep the nasal cavity healthy:

  • Quercetin– a flavanol from plants that helps Mast-cells stop producing histamine and also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
  • Bromelain– natural anti-inflammatory and helps maintain healthy nasal mucous
  • Vitamin C- heals wounds and builds immune system by helping balance histamine production.
  • Citrus Bioflavanoids-helps support blood vessels and healthy immune response.
  • Nettle – supports healthy immune function.

Ridding The Allergen

Of course this was only a temporary solution until my floors were replaced. We had the floors finally replaced 2 weeks ago and within 48 hours of the floors being replaced, my symptoms were 100 percent gone. No more supplements needed. And never once did I use antibiotics even though all symptoms pointed to a nasal infection!

So if you find yourself having difficulty getting rid of a cold, my suggestion is to first rule out an unknown allergy. Allergies typically cause most people to take 3-4 weeks to get over a cold virus which usually lasts only 7-10 days. But if the allergen doesn’t go away, the “cold” can last longer.

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General Gut Health

Should You Try the Plant Paradox Diet?

After one of my friends told me she found much relief from her autoimmune issue with Lupus after working with Dr. Gundry, I was certainly intrigued by his new book I was seeing all over the internet. To my delight, my stepmom bought be a copy for Christmas and I read it page to page over my Christmas break.

For science geeks and health nuts, you will LOVE the science and detailed explanation about the mechanisms in our body that support and hurt our gut health as well as all the research that Dr. Gundry put into this program. While his naturalist theories as to why these mechanisms exist can be argued, the scientific data demonstrates clearly and sensibly what physiologically is happening in the body when we eat certain foods and how that affects our health. In addition, he offers a plethora of  researched data, as well as anecdotal and lab evidence to substantiate the diet indeed makes a difference in our health.

But for those who can get overwhelmed or bored by the science and just want a gyst to understand why or how it works and then get to it, you may want to grab his Quick and Easy version of the book or just go straight to the cookbook he just came out with as he does briefly explain the science behind the program.

Personally, I need to understand WHY something works before I’m willing to put effort into a new way of eating. I also want to make sure I have bought into the belief that it is good for me and not harmful to switch to a different way of eating. There are a lot of fad diets out there that will help you lose weight or reduce certain symptoms but it doesn’t mean it is good for you long term. Especially when such a lifestyle requires me to cut out certain foods from the daily staples I love. I better really understand why I need to do it, or I just won’t do it. My tastebuds will win every time.

I had actually heard about reducing lectins in one’s diet last year. Didn’t understand why but read that lectins could bother some people and aggravate health issues. I looked at the rules and was like, nope. Ain’t going to do that. Too hard. But I didn’t understand the why or the how. Once I did, it certainly seemed worth the effort. And it is much easier after you change some habits and learn alternatives!

But after reading the book, I was certainly sold and ready to start the program.

Here is the summation of what it looks like:

Phase 1--(3 Days)- Cleanse to prepare the gut for healing

Phase 2-– (6 Weeks Minimum)– Plant Paradox Eating Plan. 

Phase 3–(After healing) Modified Plant Paradox lifestyle with intermittent fasting. 

Would the Plant Paradox Work for Me?

woman tired and sick eating foods with lectins

This program is for you if you fit any of the following types:

  1. You want to lose weight and reduce bloating
  2. You want to heal from a disease or illness like thyroid disease, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  3. You want to improve your gut health and reduce digestive problems

So what is the essence of the Plant Paradox diet?

Well the title alludes to it a bit. Paradoxically to our prior thoughts, there are some plants that are just not good for our gut. What?! Yep. And this diet, seeks to reduce or eliminate them so that our bodies can heal because much of our health issues are caused by a lifestyle of overconsumption of such plants.

Some of the big ones include corn, wheat, soy, beans, traditional dairy, some fruits under certain conditions, and night shade vegetables (the hardest for me)!

So what is wrong with these plants? They are full of what is called lectins or proteins that act like lectins.

Now this is not the entirety of what Plant Paradox is about. There is much more he discusses and encourages us to eliminate for our health, but as far as food goes–this is the essence of what we eliminate/reduce on the Plant Paradox diet.

So What are Lectins and Why are They Bad?

bell peppers tomatoes beans, potatoes with lectins

As Dr Gundry explains it, seed bearing fruits have a self-protective mechanism built in them to make sure their seeds are spread only when they are ready to actually reproduce. To protect the plant from being eaten too early and defeat the purpose of it’s seeds, it produces a chemical called lectins that hurt the predator trying to eat it. These lectins can paralyze insects and make larger prey feel sick. When the fruit becomes ripe, however, the lectins decrease making the plant edible, increasing its chances of its seeds spreading out.

In today’s world market, much of our fruit is now imported. In order to make sure the fruit survives its ride to your local market, it is picked while still not ripe and therefore full of lectins. The unripe fruit is then gassed to bring it a ripe-like color and then we consume it before it’s lectins have naturally dissipated. The effects are wreaking havoc on our bodies.

Night shade veggies tend to have a lot of lectins all the time, in their skin and seeds. But in our fast paced world today, most of us are not blanching the skin off or removing the seeds from these plants and so are eating all of the lectins and continuously bombarding our gut with this organic chemicals (no, natural is not always good!).

Then due to the whole grain health craze, we are now over consuming grains with the hull still around it (full of lectins) and don’t recognize that this type of fiber we are eating is actually hurting our gut even more.

What Lengths Does it Require of Me to Get Healed? 

pasture raised chickens have low to no lectins in their meat

The Plant Paradox seeks to give your gut a break from the constant intake of lectins for a minimum of 6 weeks. Because our gut can be so hurt by the harmful effects of these lectins, in order for us to completely heal it, we need to try and eliminate all forms.

Some of these lectins sneak in through the animals that we eat, because those animals are now fed by Big Agra with tons of lectin-packed foods. Our cows are eating corn and soy instead of grass.

Our chickens are eating corn and soy instead of insects and fruits/veggies (non soy or corn), and even our farm-raised fish are not eating what they were created to eat in their natural environment. So all the lectins they are eating are now found throughout their protein fibers and so we eat even more. You think you are eating beef, but really it’s just beef flavored corn and soy.

Trade Joes has a great french butter with only A2 proteinTherefore, part of Plant Paradox seeks to reduce meat intake to 8 oz maximum and only grass fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, eggs,  and pork, and only wild caught fish.

As for dairy, most cows today produce two casein proteins and their A1 protein acts much like a lectin, and the cause of most people’s dairy issues. Plant Paradox requires you to eat dairy only from French or Italian cows which only produce A2 protein just like the other safe dairy producers like Sheep and Goat.

What Can You Eat?

While many people can get so hung up on what they can’t eat, they can fear they can’t eat anything, but that is not the case. What I loved about going on Plant Paradox is that it opened me up to discovering a delicious array of other veggies I used to rarely eat or never even tried because I had become so accustomed to my same ol’ lectin containing veggies I had grown to love.

cruciferous vegetables are lectin free

Cruciferous veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli. Roots and tubers like parsnips, jerusalem artichokes, turnips, and more! A2 dairy is delicious and so are the grass fed and pasture-raised meats!

While it is not the official Plant Paradox list, I have created a pdf guide for what to eliminate and what to replace those foods with for anyone interested in getting well and taking care of their gut. I include the essentials and then offer different levels for those who really want to get deep in their healing, with the latter levels including some of the more detailed changes needed in the Plant Paradox diet. To get a copy, sign up here. It will connect you to my FB Page and you can ask questions or get more help from there. I can also send you alerts when I post more articles or videos on gut health so you can continue your journey!

Did it Work for Me? 

IMG_4476After phase 1, I stayed on phase 2 for the full 6 weeks 99% of the time and saw immediate improvement in my bloating, focus, energy, and overall feeling well. I also lost about 10 lbs!

I am continuing on in phase 2 because when I have cheated my body has gotten mad at me, so I know I will need longer to heal. And honestly that makes sense to me. I’ve eaten a lectin packed diet for almost 40 years and have IBS. I have eliminated wheat and dairy for the last 2 years but going night shade, legume, and rice free, was not something I had yet considered. I have noticed that when I stick to the diet, my bowel movements look healthy (which rarely if ever happened before I went on the diet, even with all my prior restrictions and “healthy” choices), and my belly is flat, not bloated, and my shoulder does not hurt. :). Yesterday I did not follow the diet and I reaped the consequences. So I will stick to it.

For many people with autoimmune diseases, staying on the Plant Paradox as a lifestyle is the best way to keep symptoms away. For the rest, at least reducing lectins or living the lifestyle 70/30 is ideal to make sure damage doesn’t return. He definitely recommends slowly bringing foods back and seeing how your body does as well as making changes in how you prepare the food to reduce the lectins. Read the book! Full of tips!

If I do cheat on occasion, which I plan to (I enjoy an 80/20 lifestyle as I find that it is realistic while being relatively stricter than what others may need), I will make sure to skin those squashes and deseed them, etc as well as take some anti-lectin supplements to help smother them before they reach my gut. 🙂 I don’t want to over use them (that would get expensive) but it’s nice to have them if I go out to dinner or go to a birthday party and want some refried beans or a good corn-fed carne asada!

Farmacy not Pharmacy, General Gut Health, Supplements, Uncategorized

Why Your Probiotics May Not Be Working

A lot of people hear how important probiotics are to gut health. And it’s true! Our lifestyle and diet has not made it easy for our guts to nurture and grow a healthy microbiome. So supplementing with probiotics can help incredibly with digestive issues, anxiety/depression, allergies, autoimmune issues, and more. However, they can be pricey and when some people I hear complain that they didn’t notice an improvement from taking them, I can see why many quit after a short trial. Don’t do that!

probiotic killersWhat we forget is that one of the reasons why our lifestyle and diet doesn’t make it easy for a healthy microbiome to flourish in our gut, is that we don’t feed the bacteria in our gut what they need to multiply. Our diets are rich in protein, refined carbohydrates, and fats, but not enough in specific types of carbohydrates our gut flora love and need to survive.

So we spend thirty to sixty dollars a month on probiotics and within a couple of days those billions of bacteria die off before they had a chance to make a difference.

So what are we not eating enough of? Prebiotics. And these are made up of primarily undigestible carbohydrates. These are the carbs that do not get digested in your upper intestine so they make it to your lower intestine where are your bacteria are supposed to grow and thrive.

Probiotic foods dietThose bacteria get hungry, but sadly, pizza, hamburgers, and even many salads are already digested by the time they make it to the lower intestine, which means that those bacteria are starving. And just like any living creature, if they don’t get the food they need to survive, they will die.

So what do we need to eat in order to feed our microbiome from our probiotics? We need inulin, fiber, pectin, flavanols, and fructooligosaccharides and polyphenols.

Prebiotics have one or more of the indigestible carbohydrates from the list above and come in the form of some common and not so common foods. I’ve compiled a list here for you to use and make sure to include a few forms of these prebiotics every single day.

Roots and Tubers:

  • chicory root (drink like coffee)
  • potatoes
  • yams/sweet potatoes
  • yacon, konjac, hicama, and burdock roots
  • jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)
  • garlic
  • onion
  • parsnips and turnips
  • celery root

Some Fruit:

  • blueberries
  • unripe/green bananas
  • plantains
  • apples
  • mangos
  • papayas
  • Pulp from ripe, in season, organic fruit.
  • Figs (technically a flower!)
  • dried dates and figs

Some Veggies:

  • celery
  • leeks
  • dandelion greens
  • seaweed
  • spinach
  • asparagus
  • radicchio
  • Belgian endive
  • Cruciferous veggies (cooked if you have IBS)
  • Leafy greens

Some grain:

  • hulled barley
  • oats
  • wheat bran

Seeds:

  • chia/flax seeds

Fungus: 

  • Mushrooms

Some Nuts

  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Pecans

Other Starches

  • Shiratake noodles
  • other non-grain “pastas”
  • Some Sauces/Vinegars/Oils
  • lemon juice
  • vinegar
  • Italian balsamic vinegar

probiotic1-13So go ahead and sprinkle some flax seed on that spinach salad, add a yam to your dinner, and don’t forget to flavor up that meat with some garlic and onions. Your probiotics will thank you and you just might start noticing them really work to help you with regularity, reduced anxiety, reduced bloating and gas, and overall wellness.

On the days when you don’t have time or the circumstances don’t lend yourself to any real amount of prebiotics. You can also supplement.There are a few great prebiotic supplements out there from trusted companies like Garden of Life and Doctors in the wellness community including Dr. Gundry, Dr. Lynch, and Dr. Tobias.

 

 

 

Farmacy not Pharmacy, General Gut Health, Supplements

8 Ways to Fight Infection Without Antibiotics

Antibiotics are an amazing scientific discovery that have saved countless lives. I’m so glad they exist and believe that when there is a real need for them, they are a God-send.

But the sad truth is, they are over-prescribed by doctors. And between antibiotic usage, the S.A.D of most people in the western world, and the stress of American life–our gut and therefore our bodies and minds are paying the price.

Just one bottle of antibiotics kills enough good bacteria in your gut that it takes an entire year for a healthy gut to recover from it, and that is not quite completely.

And that’s a healthy gut.

So when it comes to taking antibiotics, you really need to be careful about jumping the gun and opting into that as a first resort for infection. Make it a last resort unless you have something that is deadly if not used. Here are some ways to prevent infection and what supplements to take if you fear one starting to develop.

Made of Probiotic symbol heart and symbolic medical illustration of the intestinal bacterial floraPrevention #1- Keep Your Gut Healthy in the First Place

First off, I will say that you can be preventative in general of upper respiratory infections that lead to needing antibiotics often times by doing two things– keeping your gut healthy will keep your immune system strong will help. This means staying on a probiotic regimen is necessary to keep your microbiome count diverse and abundant. The more diverse and the more abundant the better. My three favorites include Seeking Health’s Probiota 12, Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics, and Modere’s Probiotic Support (Tastes amazing and perfect for kids).

Woman with allergy symptom blowing nosePrevention #2–Eliminate Allergens, Which Can Lead to Inflammation and Infections

Eliminating allergens from your life including foods that you are allergic too, is key. And I don’t mean allergies that make you go into anaphylactic shock. Obviously that, but food allergies can show in other ways too.  I’m talking about the foods that cause bowel issues, or nasal congestion and inflammation in your body because that causes complications that lead to infection.

I used to get 1-3 upper respiratory infections a year that lead me to get antibiotics. This was a common issue that to me was normal. And I even prided myself in the fact that I only needed to go to the doctor 1-3 times a year.

It wasn’t until I got off dairy and wheat that I noticed, I didn’t get those upper respiratory infections anymore. I saw a D.O who took an allergy panel on me and told me that if I stayed away from those two foods, I probably wouldn’t have any more issues. That it was caused by congestion that turned into bacterial infections. Sure enough, she was right. The only antibiotics I have had in the last 8 years have been a bottle of antibiotic eye ointment for a bad case of pink eye my usual natural remedy couldn’t get rid of.

But in the case that you do get a UTI, a bad cold, a possible sinus or ear infection, or some dreaded pink eye– here are some ways you can get on top of it so you don’t need to get on antibiotics. Definitely Put These in Your Medicine Cabinet and cold-kits.

elderberriesElderberry Extract– Now this is more of a natural anti-viral. But a lot of viral colds can turn into a bacteria-ridden infection if they are complicated by allergies or are not cleared up so bacteria starts collecting in the congested areas. This is very preventative. It will help you get over a cold or flu much faster and prevent you from getting an infection.  I personally prefer the droppers with concentrated elderberry and no alcohol over other tinctures and syrups. They have to be carefully made so it is safest to buy them rather than make your own from elderberries.

silverColloidal Silver– This stuff is amazing! It is a natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial positively charged mineral that attaches to the cells of these bugs and destroys them. It is not safe to use it all the time or in large quantities but with the recommended dosages, it is safe and incredibly effective. I prefer Sovereign Silver brand because their’s is 98% positively charged as well as use the tiniest particles available to make it easy to absorb and eliminate. I use it in my kids ears when they have ear aches, sniff it up my nose when I have a cold that I don’t want to turn into a sinus infection, and even in my eyes when I have gotten an eye infection. You can get it as a nasal spray and as a dropper and I always have one of each in my medicine cabinet. They now have one with dosage best for kids! Woohoo! I’ve used it on cuts and on ingrown toe nails.

oregano oilOregano oil — in concentrated form, oregano oil has natural antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral effects. Many of my friends swear by it for their yeast infections, UTI’s, colds, flus, and more. You can can take it in capsules or straight from a dropper! Studies show that it is particularly great for gut health as well, reducing inflammation, ridding the body of candida, and helping ailments such as colitis.

cranberriesD-Mannose— This is my go-to for UTI’s. It is a type of sugar that is in cranberries that has an amazing ability to prevent bacteria like e-coli from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract and causing infection. E-coli is the number one cause of urinary tract infections. So it is a great first resort if you notice the early stages of one coming or if you are prone to them as part of your regular preventative routine. If you don’t notice a difference in a day of taking D-Mannose, try the Oregano oil before heading to the doctor for those antibiotics. If you catch it early, you can get rid of it within a couple of days.

garlicGarlic and Garlic Oil– Not only does garlic add flavor to your food, but it also has incredible anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Swallow the garlic toes whole or in concentrated form in capsules for cold fighting strength, or drop the garlic oil in your ears for an ear infection. I like to alternate between garlic oil and colloidal silver for ear infections. My kids find instant relief since they are the ones more prone to them.

Manuka_flowers_and_native_beeManuka Honey– Honey has been used for centuries as a natural anti-biotic, with incredible benefits on bacterial skin infections. But Manuka Honey has had the most of the reputation for such medicinal qualities. You can not only eat it straight and raw, but you can also buy skin creams with it. But it has been known to destroy MRSA and prevent/treat strep throat and other staph infections.

If you are good about keeping your immune system strong and allergies to a minimum, you are already well on your way to reducing your need for antibiotics. But if you are getting sick or catch the beginning stages of an infection, these are excellent natural remedies that will help you get well, and keep that gut flora vibrant.

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-434/elderberry

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/colloidal-silver#benefits

https://www.verywellhealth.com/oregano-oil-health-benefits-89490

https://chriskresser.com/the-high-price-of-antibiotic-use-can-our-guts-ever-fully-recover/

 

General Gut Health, Supplements

Start Healing Your Gut with These 4 Changes

When chatting with people and sharing my story, I often hear this question: Where do I start with healing my gut?

Chances are it needs healing because if you are a normal American living a typical American lifestyle– you have damaged it.

You’ve been over-sanitized, over-stressed, over-stuffed with inflammatory foods, and over-prescribed with antibiotics and pharmaceuticals covering up the issue and not resolving the root of the problem.

And you may have the symptoms to prove it: 

  • Depression/anxiety
  • IBS/Crohns
  • Food Allergies
  • AutoImmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid Issues
  • Obesity
  • and more…

I truly believe that gut health is foundational for all health. And gut issues are the root of most health issues.

The road to healing our gut can be long, depending on how much and how long the damage has gone for. But no matter the circumstances, the same three or four first steps are essential. The rest will depend…

The first piece of advice I give all my friends and acquaintances who ask me is this….

Stop Eating Wheat and Dairy!

This is the simplest, least complicated change you can make in your diet. Once you have that down, then you can up the ante and go on a Paleo-type diet which is best for healing the gut. You get rid of legumes, sugars and starches as well for a good 30-60 days at least and significantly increase your leafy green intake. Ideally you want to make this an 80/20 lifestyle for yourself if you don’t want to regress.

Inflammation Word CloudUntil then know this-wheat and dairy are the most common inflammatory foods and often times the main staple foods of most Americans. I could write an entire paper on wheat alone. But I’ll share the gyst for wheat and dairy right here.

  1. If you have gut issues, gluten will most likely exasperate it.
  2. The US mandated that wheat products be enriched back in 1998. Enrichments include synthetic vitamins like folic acid in it, which a large population of people cannot breakdown.
  3. Dairy is something most people’s bodies have a hard time breaking down. We were not meant to eat a lot of dairy in the first place.
  4. When we have gut issues, we can become extremely sensitive to the dairy protein A1 and for some even A2, as well as the inflammatory effects on our gut.

Trust me, I know that when you hear this, you might want to cry, but there are tons of great recipes and alternatives to both and while it can be a difficult transition if you love these foods, you will feel better and it will get easier! Eventually you can work them back in small amounts on occasion without consequences. Here is a great book with lots of recipes to make your life easier if coming up with meal ideas without wheat or dairy is a challenge for you.

Increase Your Stomach Acid and Digestive Enzymes

Male Internal Anatomy with Stomach Acid Highlighted

If you have symptoms of gut issues, chances are you have low stomach acid and low digestive enzymes.

Low stomach acid is by far one of the most common triggers for other gut issues that happen further down the line due to it’s effects. Stomach acid sanitizes your food, breaks down your proteins, breaks down your vitamins and minerals so you can absorb them, triggers your gall bladder to kick in and digest your fats, and triggers your gut to get into digestion mode. If your body is not doing those things, you can wreak havoc in your gut and in your health.

You can learn more about how low stomach acid leads to other gut issues here as well as how to test your self to see if you have low stomach acid. Then if you have the symptoms and took the test to discover you are low in the stomach acid, start supplementing with Betaine HCL with pepsin   with your high protein meals, but start at the lowest dosage and work your way up to your optimal level. I go over this process in more detail in that same article above.

Also begin taking a good digestive enzyme. Enzymes that help us digest our food occur naturally in raw veggies we eat. Unfortunately with our modern diet, these get cooked out or are absent, making our stomachs depleted of the digestive enzymes needed to break down the various carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and sugars in our food. So if you are not eating raw veggies at the beginning of every meal….take some enzymes. I take a full spectrum one because my gut issues are enough that I need help digesting everything.

With HCL and digestive enzymes, you will notice an improvement in your digestion right away. And may even notice an improvement in your other symptoms long term, like anxiety or depression.

Next..

Do a Cleanse on Your Gut

green cleanse drinkPrepping your gut for what is next can be helpful to get it moving in the right direction. A cleanse will get rid of anything your sluggish gut is holding on to, and trigger your liver and kidneys to start releasing toxins. When your body holds on to toxins, its hard to heal. Make sure you are not already sick when you do this as your body needs to be ready to get rid of the toxins. A cleanse will also help your body get ready to shed fat if your gut issues have lead to weight gain that won’t go away.

I like to regularly cleanse to keep my body healthy all year long. I use a great 3-Day Gentle Cleanse you can do every month if you want. Do this after about 10-14 days after you have gone wheat and dairy free.

Finally….

Rebuild Your Microbiome with ProBiotics

Microbiome Word Cloud

A healthy microbiome is essential for a healthy gut. But sadly, this microbiome for most Americans have been starved and killed by modern American practices. C-section births, antibiotics, over-santization, and low stomach acid from stress and nutrient deficiencies have lead to a plethora of people with a scarcity of good-bacteria in their gut.

You want a variety of different species in your gut and you want a lot of them. That variety and amount helps you store nutrients, use sugar, regulate your appetite, and control your weight as well as reduce inflammation, make serotonin and melatonin, and keep your gut communicating properly with your brain.

If you have a lot of food and seasonal allergies, you will want to start with low-histamine variety which are high in bifidos. This is the one I give my husband. It has a variety. I would take 1-3 of these everyday with food.

If you don’t have an abundance of allergies, you can handle the larger variety and that’s a good thing. They are good for you as long as your body hasn’t build antibodies to histamines like so many have. I alternate between these Seeking Health’s Probiota 12 and Dr. Mercolas’s Complete Probiotics  to make sure I get a good spectrum of probiotc in my gut. I also have them autoship every 90 days so I don’t miss and stay on track.

Probiotic benefits greenAnd by the way, you should stay on probiotics if you have gut issues. Just one bottle of antibiotics takes a year for your gut to recover from with probiotics. So count every bottle of antibiotics you’ve taken over the course of your life, consider all the other issues, and recognize this is essential.

The only people who should not follow this step are those with SIBO. Check out this article for symptoms of SIBO. If you have symptoms, you may want to take this test first to confirm. If you test positive, then kill the over-growth of bacteria in your small intestine before you start adding more bacteria in your body. You need your bacteria in your large intestine, not your small intestine. Until SIBO is killed, the probiotics will only make it worse.

Next Steps…(Not in any particular order)

  • See a naturopath and get some stool, urine, and blood tests to see the details of what is going on with you (This is worth every penny!)
  • Go all the way with Paleo with lots of veggies and prebiotic food
  • Possibly go on a FODMAP or LECTIN Free diet/lifestyle if your gut is still having issues or you have an autoimmune disease (Plant Paradox is a great Resource) .
  • Exercise!
  • De-Stress!
  • Drink lots of filtered water
  • Drink Bone broth daily
  • Take Fish Oils and L-Glutamine
  • Replenish Your minerals
  • Get Your Vitamin B’s in and Folate
  • Read Dirty Genes
  • Read Plant Paradox or if you don’t care about all the science behind it and just want to do it and get results check out his Quick and Easy version here and the cookbook with 100 recipes! 
  • Get Genetic Testing

I’ll write more on these next steps needed to replenish your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive, and eradicating the triggers that complicate and prevent your body from doing its job.

If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, there’s even more I will share. But regardless of what you are struggling with–these 4 steps are what I’d tell anyone with gut issues to start with.

Summary of What to Get to Complete Your First 4 Steps:

Against the Grain

Plant Paradox Cookbook

Betaine HCL with Pepsin

3 Day Cleanse 

Seeking Health Probiota 12, or Histaminix

Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics

You can also get a great starter pack for your gut health here.

 

 

 

Supplements, Uncategorized

Could Low Stomach Acid Be The Cause of All Your Issues?

I’m Finally a Believer

Have you ever waited to do something and then once you did, you thought–why didn’t I do this sooner? That is what happened to me this last week.

I have had a few others who also have gut issues tell me to take HCL (hydrochloric acid). But all I knew was that they claimed my belly wouldn’t hurt when I ate food if I took it. But I had already managed to figure out ways around the belly ache thing for much of the time. Stay away from dairy and wheat (for me are huge triggers), super fatty foods unless I take ox bile, take digestive enzymes when I eat the occasional slice of bread or cheese (usually I stay away), and load up on the veggies. And it has helped so much. But I have not gotten rid everyone of my symptoms from my IBS even when I’m super strict.

If anyone has IBS or knows about it, not only does one have unexplainable and sensitive gut that gets “irritated” easily, it also causes either constipation or diarrhea or switching between the two. I use to suffer from severe constipation. That is actually what started my health journey after my first son was born (by C-Section)…my usual digestive issues became exasperated and I was finally diagnosed with IBS and a rectocele. After making all the positive health changes, that issue has dissipated but has changed to more the other side…not extreme, but definitely in that category.

Well when another well-informed friend of mine who is further along in her gut health journey shared with me that it low stomach may be what is triggering all my other issues,  I finally decided to try this HCL and I cannot believe how immediate I noticed the effects. Not only did my belly not hurt after eating a protein meal that day, but the next morning, I actually for the first time in years, had a healthy looking bowel movement. I know this is now just the beginning. And can’t wait to see what else improves overtime.

Male Internal Anatomy with Stomach Acid HighlightedOk so what is so darn special about HCL, how does it connect to stomach acid, and why might you have it?

First– You need stomach acid!!! Human stomach acid is made of HCL. We need to have a P.H of less than 3.0 in our stomach for healthy breakdown and sanitation of our food. Remember learning about acids and bases in grade school? If our stomach acid is more base or alkaline it will be a higher P.H. If it is more acidic, the number will be lower P.H. When we have stomach acid with a P.H higher than 3,  we create a domino effect that wreaks havoc on the rest of our system.

cycleIf you stomach doesn’t break down your food the way it should, it puts more work on your intestines and organs making them tired and worn out.

cycle If your stomach acid doesn’t kick in, it doesn’t signal your other organs like your gall bladder that you have food in your system and so they don’t work at creating bile to break down your fats.

cycle If  your stomach acid is low or absent, your body cannot absorb key vitamins and minerals like boron, b12, b6, zinc, calcium, magnesium and more. Without these vitamins at sufficient levels your body cannot perform the way it was designed, struggling to have energy, detoxify properly, and more– including, ironically–creating stomach acid!

cycle If  your stomach acid is not high enough, it can’t kill the bad bacteria that highjacked your food, leading to an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in your gut (more on that later).

cycle If  you have undigested protein and fat in your bowels and vitamin deficiency essential for your body to function exasperated by the imbalance of good bacteria in your gut to further breakdown the food–you get inflammation.

Inflammation in the body often is accompanied by inflammation in the gut. When you are constantly inflamed in your gut, it cannot do its job, which not only includes digesting your food to bring your body the right nutrients it needs to thrive, but it can not make serotonin for your brain and body so you can feel calm and happy.

Neither can it wrap and dispose of hormone byproducts and waste so you don’t become hormonally imbalanced. The chronic inflammation also leads to the intestinal lining and cilia to separate or open up, leading toxins and such in your bowels to enter your blood stream, and spread inflammation to other areas.

Chronic inflammation is the root of almost all disease including autoimmune symptoms and diseases like food allergies, IBS, Crohns, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes and more.

If you suffer from any of the following, you may have low stomach acid:

  • Food allergies
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Autoimmune illnesses
  • Chronic yeast infections
  • Acid reflux (yes! It is not often caused by too much stomach acid)
  • and more!

Believe it or not,  low stomach acid and its many effects are VERY COMMON, especially with the American S.A.D diet and our stressful lifestyles and medications we take. Honestly, it seems like everyone I talk to seems to have something autoimmune happening in their body. It is an epidemic.

These symptoms only exasperate your stress and your body’s energy levels which then make it more difficult for to make stomach acid–so the crazy cycle continues and we treat individual symptoms instead of starting at the cause–which in all likelihood could very well be low stomach acid.

So What to Do Next to Stop the Crazy Cycle?

If any of this resonates with you, I highly recommend you try some HCL.

As a note–see a doctor for guidance or do not take HCL if you are high-risk: According to Dr. Wright, author of the powerful book, Stomach Acid is Good for You, these include:

People that are “high risk” shouldn’t take Betaine HCL without supervision. You’re high risk if you’re consuming any anti-inflammatory medicines. Examples of those are: corticosteroids, aspirin, Indocin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or other NSAIDs. These drugs can damage the GI lining and supplementing with HCL could aggravate it, increasing the risks of bleeding or ulcer.

If you don’t fit the above at-risk type, then try it out!

How Do you Know if You Have Low Stomach Acid For Sure?

If your stomach doesn’t burn when you take Betain HCL with a protein-based meal two times in a row, then you’ve got it and should consider supplementing.

There are other methods you can use to figure out if you have low stomach acid, but one is expensive and the other is not always accurate. This is a sure fire thing. No different than–to see if your belly ache is due to hunger, eat a meal and see if the pain goes away. You know?

There’s a lot of research on this, but the easiest way to figure it out is to spend the 10 bucks and buy a bottle of HCL. I bought 200mg capsule bottle of Betain HCL with bitters in it and a larger dose one as well (650mg) which included bitters to stimulate our own acid.

Don’t be concerned that you are doing something wrong if you keep going up to high amounts. According to Dr. Wright, the average dose of HCL needed for those who suffer from low stomach acid is 3,250-4,550 mg per meal!

But if you want to be conservative, take for 3 days just one 200 mg capsule with each meal where you are eating protein. If your belly doesn’t burn after the first two meals with the HCL, then you have low stomach acid. After 3 days, go up a capsule. Take 400mg with each protein-based meal. Keep following that order until your dosage causes your belly to burn. If you get that, take a teaspoon of baking soda and it will alkalize the acid right away so your belly won’t hurt. Otherwise it goes away after about 15-30 min.

Then you know you need one dosage less. Right now I’m at the 600 stage and my belly is still doing fine. So I’m going to switch to the 650 capsules next and then go up by 650 mg capsules from here until I find the optimal range. Or I might need to use both the high and low to get the number right.

But here is the coolest part…

Pencil with eraserHCL Supplementation Does Not Have To Be Forever

Once your body is doing what it is supposed to because you stopped the crazy cycle, eventually your stomach will produce  more of its own stomach acid and you can down on your dosages.

My good friend who struggles with all sort of autoimmune issues started out with the average range and after getting her diet straight and nutrient intake, within a few months she has gone down to just one 650mg capsule! She is so excited! You should also see an improvement in your autoimmune issues, digestive issues, emotional issues, and more.

Just remember–age, stress, poor diet, vitamin deficiencies in essentials like zinc and vitamin b, infections from pylori bacteria, and bypass surgery can all lead to low stomach acid.

So if you fit any of the above, you may find that you will continually need to take some range of HCL as a supplement. Listen to your body and see what works.

You can help your body start the healing process to produce its own stomach acid by taking HCL with bitters in it. The bitters will stimulate your own stomach to create acid and in a sense “wake it up” from its slumber to start remembering to work. This could take longer for some if their stomach hasn’t been doing its job for a long time.

Thankfully HCL is super cheap and therefore, a supplement that is not too much of a hassle other than just remembering to take it. And remembering to keep a bottle in your purse or a few capsules in a baggy in your wallet for when you eat out.

Now to clarify– while low stomach acid may be the cause of your ailments, it is not a one-fix answer to all your answers either. Just like family dysfunction–having the culprit stop its abuse can help. But the victims need to heal as well so that all can function well from there on out. Taking HCL may very well stop the crazy cycle. But don’t let this stop you from healing your gut and the rest of your body from its damage with the proper diet, vitamin and mineral intake, lifestyle changes, and flora intake. When you take care of the rest as well, you allow your body to function optimally, making its own HCL so you can reduce or stop supplementation.

Let me know in the comments if you tried this and found benefits.

Sources and Works Cited

Wright, Jonathan V., and Lane Lenard. Why Stomach Acid Is Good for You: Natural Relief from Heartburn, Indigestion, Reflux, and GERD. M. Evans, 2001. 

https://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/bloated-low-stomach-acid-may-be-the-cause/

https://www.healthline.com/health/hypochlorhydria

https://drjockers.com/5-ways-test-stomach-acid-levels/

http://thepaleonurse.com/the-truth-about-stomach-acid-why-low-stomach-acid-is-jeopardizing-your-health/

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