Catholic Natural Health Series for staying healthy
Why supplements Don’t always work – Part 4
by Rita Davidson
In our last instalment, we seen how Supplements are important to staying healthy. When you are not well, they are even more important. But often we see that supplement’s don’t always work. When our boys testing showed deficiencies in Vitamin D and B12 we thought supplementing would be simple enough. Under the care of a very good doctor he monitored their levels while supplementing. Months and months went by without any improvement in their levels, even with supplementing.
When my own health took a nosedive in 2010, I too was shown to have deficiencies in Vitamin D as well as iron and B12. Another test he did for cholesterol, showed my levels very low. This was eye opening for him, as he said that this is a sign of malabsorption.
You see, just because you buy a vitamin and take 4000UI of Vitamin D per day, doesn’t mean that it is going to get down to your gut and be absorbed. This is because there is alot of distance between the bottle to your mouth and all the travel it has to take down your digestive system. If your digestive system is not working well, it is not going to absorb what you are eating.
A Healthy Gut
We here more and more today how our health stems from our gut. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. New research is showing that our immunity comes from our gut too. That our ability to fight off disease stems from the health of our gut and that a healthy gut, will not be porous and allow leakage of things that should not be leaking from the elimination system.
Probiotics are one way to help your gut to stay healthy. Probiotics add good bacteria to your gut where they should be, so they are strong in numbers for digestion and for warding off bad bacteria that ends up there. I can’t advise you on what brand would be best, as this would have to be a personal choice, but doing a bit of research will be of help to you.
Another way to get good bacteria and one of the cheapest ways and most natural is to eat fermented foods. Growing up we used to eat all kinds of sauerkraut and things like that. I don’t know where they went but I sure ended up without them as an adult. But the good enzymes in cultured vegetables are natural and healthy to eat everyday. They will save you from buying expensive bottles of them at the health food store.
It is simply made by shredding one or a combination of vegetables and packing them tightly into an airtight container. They are left at room temperature and over a few days the natural bacteria softens and breaks down the vegetables and then you end up with things like sauerkraut. I”ll put a few links below to some good cultured vegetable recipies.
Why our guts are not healthy?
There is a number of reasons why our guts are not healthy. Multiple doses of antibiotics, though they have their use, can leave a gut stripped of it’s natural bacteria. Bowel issues like Irritable bowel syndrome and Crohns disease, or colitis, all wreck havoc with the lining of the intestines and render them unable to absorb nutrients as they once did. Nutrient deficiencies are common, including chronic low iron. Another possibility of gut damage is gluten.
Just what is gluten?
In December 2010 when my health hit rock bottom and my doctor had me tested for gluten issues. As our boys were already glutenfree for 3 years for their autism, he strongly suspected I would have the same issues. My testing came back positive and further bloodwork showed I too had the same deficiencies as my boys did.
Gluten is the protein in wheat. The problem is the wheat today is not the wheat that our Lord talked about in the bible. The wheat today was genetically modified 40 or 50 years ago when there was a fear that the world would run out of food. At that time they genetically modified the wheat so that it was stronger, shorter and literally changed the basis of wheat. In doing so, they altered the structure of wheat.
Fast forward now 40 years later, we also now have an explosion in certain illnesses like autism, as well as wheat intolerance, or gluten intolerance. In the last 10 years or more magazines and glutenfree companies have started up from no where to fill the need for glutenfree foods.
All my neighbors here are glutenfree. The one neighbor here remembers when all the glutenfree food you could get was grainy rice bread. Not tasty at all! Today we have everything from pizza dough to donuts that are hard to guess they are not wheat.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Just what does wheat do to us?
Dr. William Davis has written a really good layman’s book on wheat. Called The Wheat Belly, his was the first I read that called wheat an addicting substance. He proves that it literally acts like a drug in our body’s and we crave it. 1.
That plus how industries today have put wheat in everything. From fried chicken to pasta, to breakfast cereal and even baby food! It literally is laced into every packaged food today. That brings me back to my first article where I talked about ‘reading your labels’.
But, let’s read what Sharon shares with us today about her journey:
“As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with gut issues. I had stomach problems as a young girl and had to go to the hospital on a few occasions for treatment. I also struggled with depression and anxiety issues, suffering from severe postpartum depression, after several babies births. I was diagnosed with hypothyroid at the age of 25, after being in bed for months after the birth of my daughter. I developed a goiter, which made it difficult to swallow, and that is when I decided to seek medical help. The synthetic thyroid medication they prescribed worked for awhile to help symptoms. But I never felt really good. I continued to gain weight, lose hair, have dry itchy skin, skin breakouts, and bouts of constipation/diarrhea, with the accompanying stomach pains. I had such severe reflux that I ended up in the hospital several times because my esophagus had so much scar tissue and food was getting “stuck” and I was choking when I ate. They scoped and stretched my esophagus, along with prescribing medications for the reflux. Nothing helped completely and I just learned to eat little bits and drink soda for some small relief … I suffered for decades, until in my early forties I was fed up with being sick all the time.”
I too had bowel issues from constipation to diarrhea and back again. Anxiety issues crept up in the last 10 years or so, but I had migraines, and headaches since my 20’s. In my youth I had constant stomach pain that was diagnosed as a ‘nervous stomach’.
“This went on for several years. During this time, my baby developed severe constipation. He would become so uncomfortable and the pediatrician did x-rays and other tests to find a cause. Nothing conclusive. Over the years, my son would get sick and cry in pain. He would run through the house when he finally did have to go, because he was afraid of the pain. He became hyper and had behavior problems. He also had very little appetite…I did notice that my son would get worse when he would eat his favorite foods of crackers, pretzels, and bread. But overall, he was doing so much better.”
When our boys went glutenfree the change was nearly miraculous. I have 3 boys with autism, at the time 6, 9, and 13. My 6 year old, Joseph, is a severe, non-verbal autistic and my 9 year old was mild to moderate. They showed the most improvement. Andrew, my 9 year old at that time, stopped much of his repetitive behaviors. And his limited diet which kept him from eating alot of good food, started to expand. Joseph, our most severe was an intense child. (he still is) He would headbang and cry all day. After going glutenfree, his constant crying stopped and his high ADHD type behavior calmed so that all his doctors and therapists declared him a ‘changed boy’.
What surprised me most, was to find out the symptoms that can be a sign that gluten is an issue for you. You see once gluten damages your intestines, problems with absorbing those supplements and other vital nutrients will start to show up with health issues. When I looked at the list, I realized, I had nearly all of them. Here is the list:
“The symptoms, resulting from malabsorption or improper digestion of dietary nutrients, include abdominal bloating or pain, diarrhea, constipation, gaseousness, or nausea with or without vomiting. It appears that acid reflux in the esophagus, manifesting as heartburn, may be a potential symptom as well. Other symptoms people experience include fatigue, joint pains, mouth ulcers, bone pain, abnormal menses in women, and infertility.”
It didn’t surprise me to get my test back positive. And after being put so low with my health I was fully prepared to get rid of the gluten. I was suprised how quickly my bowels returned to normal and my bloated belly decreased. Clearer headed and energy again too. And my interest in food decreased so I didn’t think about eating so much and so often. The initial results were a good sign to the doctor.
Let’s read more from Sharon,
“I was feeling so much better, overall, so I continued to suffer with the stomach pain. The pain would start as a dull ache in the morning and by evening it was unbearable! Then in early 2011 I read about a link between Hashimotos and celiac disease. I presented the information to my doctor and she agreed I should be tested. All tests came back negative. I continued to read all I could and discuss with others on thyroid forums. I started hearing about others experiences with going gluten free. I talked it over with my doctor and she agreed I should give it a 30 day trial. So, around Christmas 2011 I went gluten free. Within 2 days, my constant stomach pains completely disappeared! I was so amazed but cautiously optimistic, thinking it was too good to be true. My health continued to improve, with my skin clearing up, my hair looked shiny again, I wasn’t depressed or anxious, and my vein problems improved. I also had no more heartburn or reflux! Next was convincing my son, who was now 7 years old. After some convincing, he agreed to try it. Within 1 week, his stomach issues resolved, he had an appetite, and we were able to stop the herbal supplement. His behavior improved and he became calmer.”
What is next?
It is hard to face having to go glutenfree. It’s scary too! I was so overwhelmed when my boys had to go glutenfree – I cried! But, it was not nearly as hard as it seemed. I did some reading, picked up some books. I stocked up on some large jars and stocked my kitchen with glutenfree flours. I was determined to make this work. I went through all the kitchen from freezer to fridge and got rid of everything that had gluten in it.
Learning to bake with glutenfree flours was the hardest as they are not like wheat flours. But, it was not impossible. Now that we’ve got a flour blend we like it’s easy to mix up pancakes, or cakes almost as fast as before.
I had to turn my kitchen into a glutenfree kitchen, three years before I had to go glutenfree. Thankfully by then I figured it was going to be easy enough.
Sharon sums it up nicely here,
“Learning to live gluten free has made a world of difference for our family. Other family members still consume gluten on occasion, but generally our meals and snacks are gluten free for the whole family. Although, it has been a challenge, we have embraced this opportunity to see how wonderfully God has made the human body and if we trust His design, He will show us what is best. It is, at times, a sacrifice to pass up gluten goodies. We find this is a small act of penance we can perform for our own souls and the souls of others. We are glad that we have found a solution to some of our health ailments and our health continues to improve as we learn new things about the foods that we consume and their affect on us.”
Going glutenfree, sure has many built in sacrifices. Not being able to quickly grab something at a store, or on the road. Not more late night toast is something I miss. But the improvement in our health has been too good to overlook. And having a bit of penance in our lives, has never hurt anyone. This world sure needs more penance.
If you are concerned that this might be an answer to your health issue. I highly recommend getting tested at Enterolab. See their contact information below. They will send you a test and results directly to you. And will explain the results to you. They are very helpful.
These Natural Health articles are by no means complete but just a brief look at topics that could be a book of their own. I hope they will become a starting point for you to start taking care of your health and your families naturally.
Rita’s Glutenfree Flour Blend
4 c. Brown Rice flour
2 c. White Rice flour
3 c. Tapioca flour
1 1/2 c. Potato starch
1 tbsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Xantham gum
1 tbsp. Gelatin
1. Put all the ingredients in a large ziploc bag. (Be sure the ziploc is completely closed. )
2. Shake the bag back and forth and then up and down to thoroughly mix the contents.
3. When your sure it is mixed, store it in an unopened container and use it in place of wheat flour in most recipies.
1. Cultured Vegetables are highly recommended for special needs like autism, ADHD. Dr. McBride has done a wealth of work in research. Here is her guide to fermented veggies.
http://gapsguide dot com/2009/11/10/fermented-veggie-recipes/
Another popular website, that I am not as familiar with is http://bodyecology.com/articles/cveggies.php#.UQDCDug0-2w
1. Wheat Belly. Here is a youtube in two parts about wheat. Pretty interesting. It cuts off on the second half. His book is very good too. Talks about how wheat today is not the wheat from the 50’s. How it’s GMO and why everyone is having problems with it today.
He is a Cardiac Doctor. Dr. William Davis
2. Gluten Testing: This website is where I got my testing done. www.enterolab.com I highly recommend you check them out. This website has good info for symptoms of gluten issues and the testing. Sometimes testing is the first step at being able to move forward in going glutenfree.
I’d like to thank Sharon for sharing her story with us and I hope you have enjoyed this too.
Join us next time, when we look at,
Beyond Gluten Free, when our health needs more – Part 5
Share with me your health journey! Have you gone glutenfree? Has this Health series helped you at all? Comment below!
©Copyright 2013 Rita Davidson All Rights Reserved.
Rita is a Catholic wife and mother of seven children. Mark is her ever patient husband. She reverted back to the faith when her oldest was making her First Communion. By then, she had completed degrees in Hairdressing and Make up artistry. She went on to receive a degree in Natural Health and another degree in Art. At age 26, Rita suffered a minor stroke. With no lasting effects, this dramatically changed her outlook on life. In 1996, Rita began ‘Little Flowers Family Apostolates’ to reach out to other families with her new found faith, by creating unique Catholic books and resources.. In 1999, she wrote the bestselling, ‘Immodesty; Satan’s Virtue’. She was editor of ‘The Catholic Health Letter’ for 7 years. She has been a homeschooling mom for 20+ years, and has written for various magazines. She is honored that families have trusted her with their questions, needs and concerns over the years. She continues to write and reach out to Catholic families with her husband, Mark and their 4 boys through http://www.LittleFlowersFamilyPress.com