Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 6 GAPS Diet: What is "holistic"?

This GAPS stuff is getting pretty easy. It is just part of my daily life and I don't seem to miss anything. The only thing is that I am still hungry earlier than usual! This is kind of annoying.

The other big news is that I had what I believe is a "die-off" reaction today. I started taking a new probiotic (PB) today. It is supposed to have 30 billion CFU (colony forming units). It sounds like a lot but I think we have over 1 trillion little guys in our intestines on a normal day. Anyway, I took my new PB after lunch and about an hour later I felt it. Without getting too much into the gore, suffice it to say that I had cramps and then diarrhea. After I got rid of the diarrhea I felt perfectly normal, as if it had never happened. That was weird!

So, I went to hear a talk today on the "Gut-Brain Connection". It was given by a doctor who works with severely autistic children. She was very sweet and seemed quite dedicated to her work and appeared to truly want to help people. She had some interesting details about different sorts of overgrowth issues and how that can adversely affect the brain. In her discussion of treatment she mentioned diet, PBs, herbs, antioxidant supplements, antibiotics and movement.

I would recommend her to someone with an autistic child but I was slightly disheartened to see that she still is following a western-oriented approach to care. I know they mean well but so many doctors make this mistake. Actually, I don't know if it's a mistake or if they are responding to patients' "needs".

This woman talked about all the testing they do; stool, urine, blood, saliva, etc. And they pinpoint the specific "bad organisms" and attempt to control them or kill them. But to me this appears to be an allopathic approach. Of course they use diet but they also use herbs, oils and antibiotics when necessary. Is this really getting to the roots of the problem? Perhaps, but probably mostly by chance I'm sure. There are countless unknown organisms in our guts, if we only find the ones we know and try to attack them then how are we going to cure ourselves? It seems that even holistic doctors cannot get away from the allopathic model of: "you take this for this" (ie: there is a "symptom" and lets take a remedy to get rid of that particular symptom). How does this differ from taking medications? Except that the substances may be less toxic, the approach is still the same.

I questioned her on this point and she said, "well that's why we use the herbs". I think she is missing the point. Herbs may alleviate some symptoms but I can't see how they'll cure the core issue. Why does someone have autism? Is it because they don't consume enough herbs? No. I can guarantee not. I'm not claiming to have all the answers of course. But I think that a holistic approach is more constructive. Why focus on individual manifestations of imbalances? Nutrition is king in my opinion and everything else is directed at managing symptoms. Let's call it what it is.

Anyway, maybe this doesn't make any sense and I'm just babbling. Perhaps I need to hash this out more in my mind and I would welcome comments on the question of what it means to be truly holistic in your approach. To me it means forgetting about the label of the disease (and this has taken me quite some time to come to terms with) and working on improving the health of every cell in the body. This is done by nourishing those cells properly. With the right nourishment the cells will do their jobs properly. Attitude matters as well. But it's important to remember that the brain cells need to be nourished properly for them to function properly. So it can be difficult to have the right attitude until your brain starts getting what it needs.

In my own personal experience I have come to a place where I don't want to focus on my "immune system" or my "thyroid issue". What I want to do is elevate the state of health of my whole body and with that strengthen my weaknesses. I don't want to know the name of the yeast that has taken over in my belly (or whatever "reason" someone will come up). I want to restore balance, give my cells what they need and make sure they get rid of what they don't.

Day 6:

3 scrambled eggs, 2 home-made sausage, sauerkraut, sliced celery.

Leftover veal stew meat with kale. Sauerkraut, cucumbers and celery with nutritional yeast (Lewis Labs). 8 oz. water kefir. 8 oz. vegetable juice with 2 raw egg yolks.

Rib-eye steak lightly cooked in chicken stock, butter, sea salt and black pepper. Steamed broccoli and string beans with freshly ground flax seed, butter and sea salt. Pickles.

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