Digestion impacts how we look, feel, think and act

If you had told me a year ago that my hair falling out, my brittle nails, my sickness after eating, my fatigue, my sadness ok yes the complete malfunction of my body was due to my digestion, I would have laughed. I drink green smoothies and eat salads, what more could my body want?!

Traditional Chinese Medicine has long held the belief that your gut is one of the cornerstones to health. This thought process has only recently started to enter in to mainstream Western Medicine with the rise of people asking for testing of allergens like gluten and corn to see if it will help them lose weight. OR people like me and Lindsay and Lori and Michelle who are in touch with our bodies and know that something isn’t right and we should feel better.

“A vast array of chronic diseases ranging from cardiovascular, auto-immune, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and gynecological can be rooted in the dysfunction of the digestive system. “ – Acupuncture Today

After going to the ER for a seizure, then getting a brain MRI because I had no estrogen and being told once again I was “too stressed out”, I was literally at my wits end…no one had any answers. Then as luck would have it, I met Dr Gonzalez and his training in acupuncture helped him recognize a number of symptoms and start to investigate my health-digestion connection. 

Understanding how digestion impacts our health and how we can support it

We’re no longer talking about the stomach, we’re talking about the entire digestive track. The intestines are where nutrients are  absorbed and then distributed to the body. The GI tract is where your body produces 70% of its serotonin, maintains your immune system and so much more!  While I have referenced a food sensitivity there are many things that could throw off the delicate balance of your digestion:

  • Processed foods
  • Too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Not enough fiber
  • Food sensitivities/allergies
  • Stress

What does all of this mean for you?? If you have been eating right and exercising, but continue not to feel well it’s time to do some digging! Don’t accept that feeling tired, sad, achy or anything else are simply how it has to be. Since sharing with my results, I’ve received a lot of emails and questions about how to find out if you have a food sensitivity. Here are definitions of the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance or sensitivity.

There are two basic options:

  • Blood testing – Expensive, quick, painless, generally accepted as correct
  • Food journal – Free, time consuming, very accurate

Whether you do testing or the journal here are some common areas you should take note of to compare for improvements:

Skin Clarity – Areas of breakout or blotchy, dry skin?
Hair – Is it dry or brittle?
Energy level
Digestion – Stomach pains, nausea, gas, bloating, bathroom habits
Are you taking any supplements?

Understand that the food journal takes at least a week of tracking to begin seeing patterns and that with a food sensitivity you may not feel bad immediately from eating the food, but 6-24 hours later.

Find a free journal at GoDaryFree. I like this one because it is very detailed and will help you more specifically identify symptoms. After doing the journal for a week, then you start the process of elimination. If it seems from your journal that dairy causes you to break out the following day then try removing dairy for an entire week. It will take your body some time to remove the inflammation from an allergen, so give yourself a complete week of dairy free and then begin tracking your symptoms again. 

Are they still appearing after having removed the food for at least 7 days? You can then try adding the food back to see if symptoms are worse or remain the same. If it is a sensitivity you will probably notice them get worse fairly quickly as your body was finally getting rid of the inflammation. If nothing changes, then you move on to the next food to eliminate for testing.

As noted food allergy testing can be expensive because it is frequently not covered by insurance. There are a number of online sites where you can request one or you can talk with your primary care doctor. If you are interested in testing, Dr Gonzalez recommends this lab and these tests:

1.  Triad blood spot (MMX0410) – if they had to do one test, this would give the most info.
2.  Food allergy (IgG 184) – if they just want to know foods they are allergic to
3.  Adrenal test (MMX0043) – stress is the primary culprit
4.  GI effects complete (MMX2100) – any stomach related issues 

Outside of a food sensitivity you can help your digestion with a few other things:
Yoga to reduce stress and relax
ginger – I love it in tea in the evening or in chews while traveling
Probiotics – Help to restore the right kind of bacteria and yes as with all supplements quality matters
Krill oil – Reduces inflammation overall
Fermented foods – sauerkraut, pickles, miso

Related articles:
Hidden food allergy
Results of going dairy free  Digestive Health

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