For too many people, the post-holiday season is not a happy time for their tummies. All the excessive holiday eating brings on increased suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common chronic gastrointestinal disorder.
Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating and an irregular bowel pattern alternating between constipation and diarrhea. Living with IBS can be devastating, debilitating, frustrating and embarrassing. What many people do not realize is that it is not necessary to live with this diagnosis for the rest of one’s life. In most cases it is quite simply solvable – if you are willing to make some adjustments in your diet.
Here is the story of how one woman with IBS transformed years of a restrictive lifestyle to one of ease and freedom in a matter of days:
Trish (name changed for confidentiality) is mother and grandmother of a large and close knit family and very involved in her community. Only her family and her doctors knew of her suffering with what was diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She made multiple trips to her bathroom for severe bouts of diarrhea every morning until about noon. This had been going on for many years! Not a pleasant way to live. Trish had gone through all the medical tests and conventional prescriptions and even some naturopathic remedies but nothing seemed to work. She had given up on treatment and resigned to live with it. But then, her husband suffered a heart attack and that stress took her down even further. Her husband’s wakeup call and her subsequent sudden weight loss scared her family to the point of stepping in to help and they brought her in to my office.
In Trish’s case, not only was her gut flora in a state of imbalance, but her liver, kidneys, pancreas, gall bladder and adrenal glands and even her brain, were all in various states of stress. The body behaves like a loving family. When one organ is compromised, the others try to take up the slack. If there is too much burden and not enough replenishment of supplies and resources, the other organs will tire, and eventually falter as well. So it is not enough to address one symptom or one organ. And, especially, if an organ is suppressed or inhibited by a non-nutritive, non-natural, chemical prescription in order to alleviate a symptom, there can be more hell to pay in the end, so to speak.
Elimination is the body’s way of getting rid of wastes, and it is very good at it under normal circumstances. Trish’s body was attempting to dump toxins and metabolic wastes as quickly as possible but it was overwhelmed and under resourced for the load.
Wouldn’t you be irritable in that situation?
There were two ways we could help this body do better at what it was trying to accomplish:
1) Reduce the burdens: Trish began an individual purification diet which consisted of totally eliminating coffee, sugar, alcohol, dairy, corn, wheat and processed non food substances like breads, pastas, packaged cereals etc., and eating only nutrient-rich foods i.e. mostly raw or lightly steamed vegetables, fruits, and gentle grains like rice and quinoa, and some good oils and fats. Her family fully supported her in this project and Trish found that as long as she ate lots of the good stuff, eliminating sugar and coffee was easier than she anticipated.
2) Provide more support and resources: This means to provide the body with the raw materials it needs to create energy for her life and bodily functions. In Trish’s case we used some specific cleansing herbs and whole food supplements providing minerals and antioxidants. (See Standard Process Purification Program)
Within just a few days she was feeling so much better she could hardly believe it, and by the tenth day she was having normal active mornings, delighting in the fact she could go out and garden in comfort. At this point we added some healthy fish and free range chicken to her diet and she continued to improve.
Trish’s story is not unique or even that unusual. Many people are realizing that it is time to step up and take care of their bodies as nature intended. It’s never too late to start. A little nature, a little nurture and a little nourishment goes a long way to keeping your body healthy and living a vital, joyful life.