“People are fed by the Food Industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the Health Industry, which pays no attention to food.” – Wendall Berry
This statement struck a cord with me when I first heard it. In my opinion, it is the root of our health problems in this country. We have all heard the phrase “You are what you eat” or more truthfully “You are what you absorb”. This means that the food that we eat and absorb through our digestive processes effects our mood, our genetics, our blood, our tissues, our organs, and our cells. Put simply, the health of our “gut” is central to our overall health and well-being.
In today’s modern world, the way we eat and think about food is almost unrecognizable to our grandparent’s generation. Gastrointestinal complaints are the #1 presenting complaint in the medical community. Autoimmune diseases, asthma, allergies, obesity, and mental/emotional health such as autism and ADHD are all on the rise. In fact most of us know someone who is allergic to such commonplace foods as wheat and dairy, and we may even be prone to such an allergy ourselves. So what do these seemingly unconnected states have in common? You guessed it, an unhealthy gut.
It has only been in the past decade that medical research has begun to understand the crucial role that our bacterial flora, called the microbiome, play in gut health (we will talk more about this in next week’s blog). For now, suffice it to say that if you do not have a healthy gut, you will have food sensitivities along with an underlying chronic inflammation that can effect all other systems of the body.
When we are continuously exposed to a food that gives us an allergic reaction and causes an inflammatory response, we feel fatigued, difficulty concentrating, or feel as if we always have a low-grade infection. Other symptoms can include nausea, digestive difficulties, skin problems, migraines, difficulty breathing, joint pain, anxiety, and other nervous system disorders. Many of us have been fighting these symptoms our whole lives without realizing that getting relief could be as simple as cutting a particular food out of our diet. When we do, we feel as if we are waking up out of a fog, and our whole system, cleared of substances that work against it, benefits. Many people see skin improvements, they sleep better, have more energy, feel able to think more clearly, their migraines go away, and their digestive difficulties improve. Therefore, understanding how our bodies react to food and making adjustments can have a profound effect on our health and mental state.
The first place to start is to listen to your body. Understand which foods work for you and which ones don’t. Try an elimination diet and then slowly reintroduce foods one at a time back into your diet and track how your body feels. Remember, elimination diets are not about eliminating foods, they are about eliminating symptoms, dis-ease, increasing nutrient content, and decreasing irritant contact to let the body heal and add health back into your life. Exploring your relationship to the food you eat can be the first step to a more optimal state of health, well-being, and clarity of mind.
Not sure how to go about it? Have a conversation with me. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.