ur family does our best to maintain a fairly healthy diet. As we’ve shared before we try to adhere to the teachings of Dr. Weston A. Price and a Traditional Diet, but we also cut ourselves some slack when life gets busy and a healthy meal just isn’t the priority. For the most part, we’ve adopted the 80/20 rule. If we can keep to a healthy diet 80% of the time, then we don’t sweat the 20% we can’t help, and when the opportunity for a night out arises, we gladly accept and enjoy what’s presented!
But what happens when someone gets sick, or someone in your family starts showing symptoms similar to those associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome?
At this point it’s necessary to tighten up the reigns and keep that 80/20 rule closer to a 99/1 rule. Not forever, just long enough to give the stomach and intestines a chance to heal. Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution to fix issues that may arise, no “one-size-fits-all” plan to make everything better. Each individual has a unique microbiome filled with billions of good (and not so good) bacteria. When this balance is out of whack, our bodies react, but what needs to be done to re-balance and heal your gut may take some experimentation.
And patience, LOTS of patience!
There’s no feeling in the world like the feeling of helplessness. And when dealing with symptoms of inflammation one can oftentimes feel just that…helpless. This feeling is often multiplied when it’s a loved one or a child dealing with the symptoms and it’s up to you to help them heal. These symptoms manifest in myriad of ways, and quite often can be misdiagnosed for other issues. Although medication may help treat symptoms (and might be necessary short term), they don’t address the cause of these symptoms. If we only put a “bandaid” on the wound, but never truly allow it to heal, the issues will come back, or worse yet, they might intensify. To truly heal, it’s imperative to get your gut healthy and strong.
Some of the most common “healing diets” are GAPS, SCD, Paleo, Anti-inflammatory, and the Healing Foods Diet. Though these only scratch the surface of the hundreds of diet options available, they’re a good start to help get an idea of what might help your specific needs, as well as a basic rundown of what each diet entails. Each diet is quite similar in that they eliminate processed and refined foods, as well as insist you eat adequate, high quality fats and limit foods that can cause inflammation (even otherwise “healthy” foods like some raw dairy or grains). When your gut is compromised, even properly prepared grains or raw dairy may cause issues. But remember, these diets are not life-long, they’re temporary to allow healing.
- GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) – The GAPS diet is based on the findings Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride who discovered the connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain. The GAPS Protocol is broken into three parts specifically designed to heal and seal the gut lining, re-balance the immune system, and restore the optimal bacterial ecosystem within the gastrointestinal tract. The Nutritional protocol restricts all grains, commercial dairy, starchy vegetables and all processed/refined carbohydrates while focusing on easily digestible and nutrient dense foods. The Supplementation protocol needs to be tailored to fit the individual healthcare needs of the patient but generally includes a commercial probiotic to provide beneficial bacteria along the GI tract, essential fatty acids, cod liver oil, and targeted digestive support. The Detoxification Protocol enforces natural ways to cleanse the liver and colon through juicing, GAPS Milkshakes, and enemas while reducing the general toxic load by restricting man-made chemicals and heavy metals. (For more information and example diets visit the GAPS website.)
- SCD (Specialized Carbohydrate Diet) – The SCD Diet is a group of foods which are grain-free, sugar-free, starch-free, and unprocessed. While removing many foods that are toxic and harmful to our digestive tract, the diet is extremely nourishing. Eating SCD is a way to “re-boot” your digestion and give you an overall health boost. This is a great reset even if you’re not experiencing signs or symptoms of inflammation. However, if you’re in need of digestive support, this could be a wonderful dietary option. (For more information and example diets visit the SCD Lifestyle website. Also helpful is this article from Dr. Axe.)
- Paleo Diet – Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it’s our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. The Paleo Diet restricts processed foods, as well as cereal grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, salt, and refined vegetable oils. Although I wouldn’t suggest adhering to this diet as a lifestyle, eliminating these foods to allow your body to heal can be very beneficial. (The Paleo Diet website has some very helpful information on how to make this diet work, also Robb Wolf has more information on this website.)
- Anti-Inflammatory Diet – The anti-inflammation diet is comprised of healthy, wholesome, unprocessed foods. The purpose of eating anti-inflammatory foods and removing processed foods from the diet is to calm down inflammation in the body. Research confirms two important things that make the anti-inflammatory diet so critical and so effective for so many people struggling with health issues, as well as those who hope to improve their general health. First, unresolved inflammation has been linked to the early development of chronic disease. And second, eating the right foods (namely, anti-inflammatory foods) can help to fight this disease-causing inflammation in the body. (To learn more or get started with an anti-inflammatory diet visit this website.)
- The Healing Foods Diet – The Healing Foods Diet is not just a diet; it’s a tool that will launch you into a total health transformation. This diet was designed to help anyone triumph over diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, autism, digestive disorders, fatigue, depression, hormone imbalance, and cancer prevention. The diet focuses on five aspects of your health to help you gain victory over illnesses: decreasing inflammation, alkalizing the body, lowering blood glucose, eliminating toxins, and providing optimum nutrition. The Healing Foods Diet consists of eating equal amounts (33% each) of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables. (For more information read the diet guidelines here on the Dr. Axe website.)
Do some research and take a good, hard look at your current diet. Is it possible your health could improve by adhering to one of these diets for a time? Chances are, symptoms or not, we could all use a boost to our health.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, you may need to stick to one of the above diets long-term to allow for complete healing to occur. How long? That’ll be unique depending on your individual needs. It’s impossible to know just how long this will be, but just know you’ll be giving your body the best fighting chance possible.