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Clean Eating Will Take You Places
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Jan 08, 2014
The other day, an acquaintance asked me for some advice for his wife, who has long suffered with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. He explained that her symptoms had gotten so bad that she was barely able to leave the home, and that their social life had become non-existent.
Typically, I find that I can't really be of service when a person asks for help for someone else. If the person who is experiencing symptoms won't ask for help directly, well, over the years, I have found that in most such cases, there isn't enough desire to make the changes needed to experience a turnaround.
Still, after asking several questions and learning more about this fellow's wife, I asked him to have her get back to me with a detailed list of what she eats and drinks in a typical week. I explained that in reviewing her diet, I would be happy to share any suggestions that came to mind.
His somewhat dismissive response the next day was as follows:
"Maybe a bit of tuna and cheese in the evening, so if you have any ideas let us know."
Now, if I were 12 years old and without any restraint, I would have responded with a one-liner of my own, something like:
But putting my professional hat back on, let me say that it still stuns me to some extent when I meet grown-ups who consider themselves educated but don't seem to realize that everything that they put into their bodies has a significant effect on their physiology.
Don't get me wrong, I'm far removed from my days as a pained and self righteous member of the food police. If a friend or cousin is inhaling kit kats and sour cream and onion potato chips, and washing it all down with multiple glasses of soda or wine, if they're in good spirits and not suffering, I may even ask them to share a bit of their stash. Well, maybe not, but I've learned enough to know that while what we eat is a major determinant of our health, there are other equally significant determinants, one of them being the tone of our autonomic nervous system, which is determined by how balanced and at peace we are. So if someone I am fond of is sparkling with good energy, even while making less-than-optimal food choices, I'm all for that.
But if a person is suffering with symptoms that are significantly affecting quality of life, I think it behooves him to be open to the possibility that the foods and drinks that he is consistently putting into his body may be contributing to his health status.
If all of this is completely obvious to you, I can confidently say that you are in the minority. Yes, awareness of the relationship between what we eat and how we feel has increased enormously over the past fifteen to twenty years. But my daily encounters with people looking for help for various health challenges have me convinced that the masses still don't get this.
Most parents who have little ones who suffer with intermittent ear infections don't realize that the three sticks of cheddar, two cups of yogurt, and milk with breakfast cereal are likely the root causes of their children needing tubes put into their ears. Yes, casein in dairy is a major trigger of middle ear infections.
Many breastfeeding moms whose babies suffer with eczema that isn't being brought on by the wrong laundry detergent don't see the connection between the foods that they eat and the frequency and intensity of lesions that appear on their babies. Yes, eating high volumes of processed foods, especially those with pasteurized and homogenized dairy can cause eczema in breastfeeding babies.
Many people who live with a form of metabolic arthritis in their toes, knees, hips, back, neck, fingers, wrists, or shoulders haven't connected the dots between their daily intake of a 3-ounce steak and their throbbing pain the next morning. Yes, in people who are predisposed to metabolic arthritis and whose digestive tracts are not in good shape, incompletely digested protein from flesh meats that have been cooked at high temperatures can create antigen-antibody complex formation in the bloodstream, which can trigger inflammation wherever these complexes end up, often along joint surfaces.
If you have a health challenge, any health challenge, and you are determined to experience improvement without numbing your discomfort with conventional drugs or surgically excising the problematic area, I think you have every reason to be excited about modifying what you put into your bloodstream throughout the day.
Clean up your diet, and your cells will surge toward renewed health. When you don't continuously clog up your bloodstream and create inflammation in your system with damaged foods and chemicals, your self-healing mechanisms will likely astonish you with how quickly you can feel better. During the first few weeks or even the first month or two, you may experience discomfort related to detoxification; for example, you may experience headaches similar to those that come on with caffeine withdrawal, or a mild skin rash that can result from your body eliminating long-accumulated waste - when I ran a water fasting program and regularly supervised two, three, and even four week water-only fasts, I would sometimes see skin rashes appear between the first and second weeks, and most typically in people who had long histories of prescription drug intake.
Don't know where to begin with clean eating to free up your body to heal itself?
Here are several good starting points:
If you have friends or family members who are suffering with their health and don't know about the intimate connection between what they eat and how they feel, please consider sharing this article. Thank you.
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