Tag Archive: food allergies


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Public Diary #1

In addition to information on natural/holistic health, I also want to keep a public journal about my own struggles and triumphs with my health problems.

Originally, this blog was going to be a book titled, “I Told You I Was Sick”. I’m a fiction writer and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some of my short stories published.

My first real try at non-fiction was my e-book, “Healing Naturally ~ My Story” and the positive feedback I received made me think I may have a shot at writing non-fiction, especially on a subject I’m deeply passionate about.  

But then I thought about that. There was a chance my book would never be published and truthfully, my main objective was to get the information out there; above all else. So, I’m glad to tell my story for free. 

Helping people find natural healing and relief from the physical and/or emotional pain they’re struggling with means so much to me.

I know, first hand, what it’s like to have no energy, to be in pain, to be confused, anxious and sick most of the time and at a very young age.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was living on my own, working 2-3 jobs and trying to go to school and I was doing all of this with constant stomach/intestinal pain and behavioral and learning problems that were so bad, I got fired more than once for incompetence or a “bad attitude”.

I couldn’t get it together and not only did I not know why, but I didn’t know what I was doing or saying to upset or alienate people.

I had a difficult childhood. Back in the 80s, when a child had behavioral problems, they didn’t test them for food intolerance or allergies. They didn’t see the connection.

Food intolerance manifests in behavioral symptoms such as social dyslexia (aspergers syndrome), sudden outbursts of rage, inability to process sensory information, brain fog, hyperactivity, non-stop, senseless talk , extreme phobic reactions and many others.

I exhibited all of these symptoms and more and because of this, social interaction with my family and peers was frustrating at best, exhasperating at worst. I acted out, talked nonsense, had extreme emotional outbursts, poor coordination which made me drop and spill everything and a terrible memory. A family member would ask me to, say, “Go into the kitchen and get the blue cup, fill it with water and bring it to me.” I’d go into the kitchen and I wouldn’t even be able to find the blue cup. It could be right in front of me and I wouldn’t see it. 

The problem was, nobody believed me. Despite my social and emotional problems, I got fairly good grades in school so nobody believed that a “smart” child could get confused about something that simple.

Because doctors could find nothing wrong with me, my confusion, outbursts and social cluelessness were thought to be a deliberate attempt to get attention. That created a huge rift between myself and my family. 

When I moved out on my own at 17, I maintained my conviction to get to the bottom of why I had the problems I did. I knew they weren’t in my head. I was in just as much physical pain as I was emotional and I was bound and determined to find an answer.

And I did. Food intolerance. 

Imagine that. Finding out at 22 that the reason you were being screamed at, shunned, punished, fired and disliked was because your body wasn’t properly digesting and assimilating food!

That’s what it was. I still remember calling my mother and telling her I had gluten intolerance. I said, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, “See, I told you I was sick.”

Getting to the root cause of the problems I had was such a validating experience. It started me on a process of healing and self-discovery that led me to where I am today.

The way I see it, if I can help people who have gone through something like this, if I can help them to feel validated and find the answers they seek, then what I went through was for a higher purpose.

Welcome to Public Diary #1.

Thank you for reading and sharing my journey.

For more information on how to heal your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Leaky Gut Syndrome

So far, I’ve talked about parasites, food allergies and the benefits of digestive enzymes. Now, it’s time to talk about something called leaky gut syndrome. Many autoimmune disorders have been traced back to increased gut permeability (leaky gut).

 

Just what is leaky gut?

In a person with leaky gut, the stomach lining is more porous than it should be, allowing protein molecules to slip through the gut and enter the blood stream where it causes an autoimmune response.

What causes leaky gut?

  • Prolonged/chronic antibiotic use
  • Parasites
  • Food allergies/intolerance
  • Low stomach acid
  • Food additives and preservatives
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Oral contraceptives

How can leaky gut be treated?

  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Fiber
  • Herbs

Probiotics are live, active cultures found in yogurt, kefir and tempeh. They are the “friendly bacteria” that protect your body from invading organisms, break down food and produce vitamins in the intestinal tract.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can just eat more yogurt then, right?”

Not really. There aren’t enough live, active cultures in yogurt to give you the type of benefit you’d need to begin healing leaky gut and its related autoimmune effects. It is recommended that you supplement your diet with probiotics containing 1-20 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units). Use a probiotic that requires refrigeration or is ‘shelf-stable’ to ensure your body is receiving an optimal dose of these live, active cultures.

Probiotic supplementation has been known to not only improve proper absorption of nutrients and help heal leaky gut; it has also been linked to helping improve symptoms of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulceritive colitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation. It improves immune system function, prevents infection and has even been touted as an anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer).

Caution:

Start slow with probiotics. Begin with a dose of 1-3 billion CFUs once per day at first, and then gradually increase your dosage based on its effect on your symptoms. Some people will notice ‘die off’ symptoms similar to those being treated for parasite infection. Those symptoms could be diarrhea, headache, bloating and gas as toxins are expelled from the body. This is temporary and a part of the body’s healing process. Lactose intolerant people and vegetarians should use a probiotic that is rice-based. If you have pancreatitis, consult your doctor before using probiotics. It is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner before adding probiotics or other supplements to your diet.

Digestive Enzymes

Fiber is a very important element in the digestive process that is missing from today’s high-fat, sugary, processed diet. Few people get their recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it is important to add this essential ingredient into our diets through a bulk fiber supplement.

Bulk fiber acts as a sponge, which absorbs waste, water and toxins in the intestine. This helps form a soft, bulky stool that can be then quickly and smoothly eliminated from the body. This is especially essential for those with leaky gut and related autoimmune disease as those with these conditions produce far more toxins in the body than healthier individuals. A good bulk fiber I’ve used for years is called psyllium fiber. It can be taken mixed with water or in tablet form. Psyllium fiber helps to lubricate and heal damaged intestinal walls.

There are three herbs I have personally used for my digestive health. Those are turmeric, gentain root and ginger. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the intestinal walls, decreasing gut permeability. Gentain root promotes the production of gastric juices and bile. Ginger also aids in digestion by stimulating bile flow and helps relieve bloating and flatulence.

If you’ve been suffering with autoimmune-related health problems, leaky gut may be the source. Help reverse the effects and you’ll discover a whole new world of good health!

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Sumners Graphics

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved 

 

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?

  • Chronic diarrhea/and or alternating with constipation
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety/Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Bloating
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore intestines
  • Gurgling intestines
  • Anal itching
  • Yeast infections
  • Itching on the soles of the feet
  • Fowl-smelling gas
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Palpitations (indicates hookworms)
  • Coughing bloody sputum (in some cases)

Then you might have parasites. According to research, over 50% of Americans are infected with some type of parasite. Not only can parasites be picked up from eating undercooked meat, walking barefoot in gardening soil and sexual contact, they can also be transmitted through your pets, a mosquito bite (they carry dog heartworm) or simply by breathing or drinking tap water! In other words, it’s very easy to get them! So how can you get rid of them?

The following are the most effective natural methods for getting rid of parasites:

  • Black Walnut Hulls
  • Wormwood
  • Cloves
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Pau D’Arco
  • Male Fern
  • Garlic
  • Cranberry Powder
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Fennel
  • Sage
  • Thyme

The three most important methods are the first three, Black Walnut Hulls, Wormwood and Cloves.

Black Walnut Hulls oxygenates the blood, which helps kill parasites, and acts as a laxative to help expel the worms from the body. Wormwood asks as an anesthetic to the worm, which helps loosen its grip on the intestines so that it can pass from the system. Cloves are antibacterial, antiparasite and antifungal and are most effective when fresh.

The parasites are gone. Now what?

Now it’s time to help your body heal. Introduce a good probiotic to your diet (live acidophilus requiring refrigeration is best) to help rebuild healthy intestinal flora. Turmeric is also useful in this. Use a bulk fiber (such as psyllium) to flush wastes and toxins left from the die-off of parasites. Milk thistle is good for healing and rebuilding the liver and pure aloe vera juice will soothe the irritated digestive tract.

Caution:

You may experience “die off” or flu like symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, diarrhea, chills, fever, body aches and excess mucus in the nose and chest as your body releases toxins. This is temporary and part of the healing process. Start off slowly, with the lowest dose of the remedy/remedies to see how your body will respond. If you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before embarking on a parasite cleanse.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Do you have unexplained symptoms? Have you gone to doctor after doctor and taken test after test just to have the health professionals you’re going to for help insist they can find nothing wrong with you?

I feel your pain.

I was sick from birth. As an infant, I had terrible colic, threw up constantly and did nothing but scream and cry most of the day unless I was passed out from exhaustion. In early childhood I had terrible behavioral and cognitive problems that only grew worse as I went into my teenage years.

I moved out on my own at 17 and continued to go to doctors trying to find out what was causing the constant stomach and muscle pain. I didn’t know at the time that the emotional and behavioral problems were linked to the same culprit. It wasn’t until my hair started falling out and my weight dropped drastically that I went to a naturopath for the first time.

He looked over my medical records, my symptoms and my behavior and knew, almost instantly, that my problem was food intolerance related.

Eight years later, I’m following a healthy diet free of the foods that used to make me sick from head to toe; gluten, corn and processed sugars and to a lesser degree, beans and peanuts and I’ve never been healthier in my life.

Do you have a food allergy or intolerance?

Food intolerance has been linked to the following health problems:

  • Sinusitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Delayed learning
  • Behavioral/cognitive problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Flatulence
  • Candida (yeast)

among others.

As the digestive system struggles to assimilate what it is sensitive to, the body produces an inflammatory response causing one or more of the above symptoms.

Intolerance to wheat gluten has even been linked to autism spectrum disorders.

Also, those who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome may develop food sensitivities that can worsen the symptoms of these conditions.

So what do you do if you believe your symptoms may be linked to food sensitivity?

While some would advise a blood test either done at your doctor’s office or through a home self-testing kit, my advice is to avoid this. Research shows, since we all make antibodies to the food we eat, blood tests for food sensitivity are too inconclusive to be of benefit.

Instead, try an elimination diet followed by the reintroduction of the most common foods that cause symptoms of intolerance. These being wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, egg, citrus, nuts and seafood. 

The best example of an elimination diet I have recently come across is under the link below.

Elimination Diet

 Though it is categorized under fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, this elimination diet can be used by anybody who is looking to see if food sensitivity is the cause of their chronic ill health.

I would offer the diet I followed myself but it was mostly rice and vegetables and the above list has much more variety. 😉

Remember to keep a journal of what you’ve eaten throughout the day and don’t give up. It’s tedious at first but the results are absolutely worth the journey.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Check out the Product Review Page on my website for a list of natural products I’ve used to improve my digestive health.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

You are what you eat, or so the old saying goes. But if you’re not digesting what you’re ingesting, your health is suffering.

Eating whole, raw foods helps start the process of digestion so your body only needs to supply a little of its own natural enzymes. The problem is, most people eat processed, overcooked foods and the pancreas has to work overtime to digest them. This places stress on the system as it spends more energy processing food than doing what it’s supposed to do; repairing damaged cells and keeping the immune system strong.

This is why over-the-counter antacids and other stomach remedies are immune from the economic downturn. We’re so used to eating foods our body has difficulty processing we think that flatulence, indigestion and irregularity are normal!

Not so.  And this is where supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes comes in. They help the body break down, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in the food we eat. This gives our pancreas a break, which, in turn, allows the body to heal.

I’ve personally experienced the wonders of digestive aids.

Even after eliminating the foods I was intolerant to, I still suffered from stomach distress, muscle/joint inflammation, headaches, sinus congestion and post-nasal drip. Compared to the pain I had been in, this was still a great improvement but when I ran across an article three years ago touting the benefits of digestive enzymes, I decided I’d give them a try.

The difference was like night and day.

The stomach cramping and gurgling I always experienced after eating went away, I became regular for the first time in my life and the constant low-grade muscle pain that had been in the background twenty-four hours a day all but disappeared. Because of digestive enzymes, I’m no longer limited to a diet of brown rice, steamed vegetables and plain chicken. Other than wheat, gluten, corn, beans and peanuts, I can eat just about anything I want.

The added bonus is since I’ve started taking digestive aids, my immune system has healed which, in turn, makes my body better able to assimilate, process and absorb foods on its own!

Digestive enzymes have been known to help people who suffer from acid reflux, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, irregularity, flatulence, candida (yeast) and much more.

If you have a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disease, you will definitely benefit from the use of digestive enzymes. Your body will spend less time struggling to process the food you’re eating and all that extra energy will go toward helping you heal.

And while you’re at it, trade in a few of those Big Mac’s for salads filled with dark, leafy greens, organic chicken, nuts and your favorite dressing. Your body will thank you. 🙂

Caution:

If you have never used a digestive enzyme before, start out slowly to see how you react. Some may experience loose stools as the body rids itself of toxins. This is especially true if your diet is rich in processed food. If you have an acute medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

An ounce of prevention

My favorite quote of all time has to be, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin. One of his similar but less familiar quote is, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Mr. Franklin imparted great wisdom in his time and it still holds true today. It is so much more difficult (not to mention so much more costly) to take care of a health problem after it’s already gotten completely out of control than it is to prevent it in the first place.

We are a nation of instant gratification and quick fixes. Therefore, to some of the more comfortable and sedentary among us, the idea of solving a health problem with more effort than it takes to swallow a prescription can be a bit of a turn-off.

Understandable. Which is why my advice is to take baby steps.

Eight years ago, the health problems I’d had since childhood went from bad to worse. My digestive system was terrible. I had no energy. I was down to ninety pounds and my hair had begun to fall out.

Desperate, I went to a naturopathic physician for help. He said something that surprised me. The problem I was having could be food-related. He put me on an elimination diet which basically meant I could eat nothing but rice and vegetables for a week or so and then, I was to gradually reintroduce foods to see what I reacted to. Well, other than being grouchy at the bland diet, for the first time in 22 years, I didn’t have terrible pain in my stomach. The fog that had been in my brain since birth began to clear. I could suddenly breathe through my nose. My anxiety calmed. 

When I did reintroduce foods, I found I reacted to wheat, gluten, corn syrup, beans and peanuts.

This fascinated me. That I could be so physically and mentally ill from FOOD was amazing! It sent me on a journey to better understand the human body/mind connection. I began to practice yoga and meditation, kept a food journal to see what form of nourishment my body best operated on and began experimenting with supplements.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to. I tried accupuncture, Reiki, homeopathy and went back to the days of old and studied simple home remedies.

Eight years later, I’ve had quite the accidental education. That’s what this blog is going to be dedicated to; what I’ve learned.

If you’re suffering from health problems and the doctors are still scratching their heads and telling you it’s “all in your head” trust me, I feel your pain.

There are simple ways to prevent illness of all kinds, not just food intolerances or autoimmune diseases.

So go brew yourself a good hot cup of organic green tea, put on some relaxing music and stay a while.

Your mind and body will thank you and the next time you go back to that doctor who didn’t believe you, you too can tell him, “I Told You I Was Sick.”

😉

For healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved