Better mental and physical health through natural livingMonday, July 08, 2013
When I first saw my naturopathic doctor several years ago, she told me a few things that stuck with me. Like that the stomach and the head are on the same chi line. Which means, whenever they treat diseases and issues in the brain, they have to treat the stomach.
Since I suffered from migraines she began to look to my gut and the imbalances of what was going on inside. I thought it was strange, but whatever she did at the time worked. My migraines and other moodiness disappeared.
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome
Since then I have come across a few books about our "second brain", or our guts. The latest book I read was called The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) and there were some light bulbs that went off about how truly flawed our modern medical system really is today.
In the book, the author stated that the father of modern psychiatry French psychiatrist Phillipe Pinel concluded in 1807:
"The primary seat of insanity generally is in the region of the stomach and intestines."
The irony of it all, is in today's modern mental health care system that seeks to treat patients who have psychological issues, the thought of using proper detoxification, whole foods and supplements seems to be absurd to the majority of mental health care professionals (and that goes for physicians as well). Hippocrates even stated, "ALL diseases begin in the gut". Makes you think about the Hippocratic Oath our modern day physicians take today, doesn't it?
Let's be honest, "modern medicine" isn't really modern if you stop to think how long we have been roaming this earth. And our "modern pharmacy" was based on plants, herbs and essential oils but that's now part of our "ancient" history. We are uncomfortable with "natural" or "alternative" health because it is before our time, yet our grandparents will tell you their natural remedies still work.
As I read about our healthcare system, I shake my head to think we have the most expensive in the world and we are still one the sickest in the world. (We also have one of the worst maternal and infant death outcomes, but our modern media is busy telling us what celebrity had their baby and what they named them). We are sicker than some third world countries and while they use our "modern medicine" they are still using plants and herbs that are cultural cures.
The FDA was established in 1938 because of the growth of morphine, codeine, aspirin and other medicines in the 1920's. The first antibiotic was introduced in 1942. It has not even been around for a century and yet we are seeing the devastating affects of its overuse and abuse. A ground-breaking drug that is meant to be used in life-threatening situations is being used if we have a sniffle.
We are losing faith in our ability to heal and trust our bodies to do what it is designed to do. Yes, overuse of antibiotics can wipe out all the good stuff in our guts IF you do not replace it with beneficial bacteria/pro-biotics, and I am not talking Probugs squeezy thingy's here. And each time we take antibiotics, it continues to break down our systems and make us more sick. If you are getting sick more than twice per year, it is time to take a hard look at your lifestyle in regards to sleep, exercise, nutrition, food sensitivities and supplementation. That is why detoxing is all the rage.
What it all means
Ok, so what does this have to do with your brains and our gut health?
The overuse of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical drugs disrupts our gut flora, which compromises our ability to properly digest foods. We in turn become malnourished because the gut wall is no longer protected by the good guys and makes it difficult for our bodies to get the nutrients it needs to every single cell in our bodies, causing nutritional deficiencies, increased food sensitivities/food allergies. The inability to properly absorb foods affects our physical and mental/brain health, which is the center of how our bodies function, think and perform.
Combine "modern medicine" with the Standard American Diet and now we are beginning to see how we are truly messing up our bodies at its cellular level. I am saying "cellular level" because I want you to think more than just beyond our digestive tracks. Think those daily Goldfish crackers, McD's run, Dunkin Donuts, Doritos in lunches, candy for treats, cereal for breakfast, take out or some frozen packaged food for dinner. We are running on chemical-laden, processed-based, preservative-filled foods. Our brains do not understand how to process these foods. Our brains do not know what to tell our organs how to digest and pass these foods, so it causes disease and illness. Yet, if you look beyond your Whole Foods shoppers, this is how the majority of Americans are eating. Add those antibiotics that 4 out of 5 Americans are taking daily, and we can begin to see the downward spiral of our health in modern times.
That is what GAPS is about. It not only does a great job explaining the how's and the why's of what is going on inside our bodies, but how to remedy your health and take it back to what is normal for our bodies.
This is a program my family is about to try out. It has taken me a long time to make that decision after I first read the book. It was uncomfortable and overwhelming, and I didn't want to do it because I thought it would be time consuming, yet the opportunity to reverse and heal the gut is now when my son is so young. I am nervous, but hopeful.
The success stories I have read through various blogs have been inspiring to me. We are in the pre-phase right now, so I've practiced making some homemade bone broths, which is super easy by the way, but we are clearing out most of the grains, our "healthy" chips and condiments are gone. This program is a program that if followed properly, the time it will take to heal at least my son's gut will be less than a half year, mostly because of the diet we have been following for him thus far. I want nothing but good health for my kids and their future children. The goal is to resume our normal way of eating and if we want to cheat here and there, it will be ok and not damaging to our guts.
I am looking forward to slowing down and taking it back. In fact, I am making my first batch of water Kifer using this starter kit. So come find me on Facebook or Twitter as I post pictures of what I am making and how easy it really can be to step out of our comfort zones and into better health and wellbeing.