IBS, IBD, Crohn's & Colitis symptom triggers management

Sulfur, Tannin, Fat & Fiber

When I try to solve a problem, I look for patterns and ask questions. "What do all the substances or foods, that make my body angry, have in common? Then I search for the answers."

The causes of IBS, IBD, Crohn's and Colitis symptoms seemed to make no sense, until I learned about the powerful phyto-chemicals in plants. Plants contain powerful chemicals to ward off the pests and herbivores that would eat them, and to protect them from the elements. Some of these phyto-chemicals are beneficial to us, however, they can also irritate the very thin lining of the intestinal wall in the digestive tract, causing inflammation in the intestinal wall and some very unpleasant symptoms.

Foods that cause IBS, IBD, Colitis and Crohn's symptoms vary from one person to another, as well as the symptoms themselves. What causes constipation in me may cause diarrhea in someone else, or no obvious symptoms at all. I have discovered that the over consumption of certain foods results in overexposure of the intestinal lining to certain phyto-chemicals, which seems to explain some causes of the IBS and Colitis symptoms I experienced for 20 years.

The foods that gave me trouble were the very same foods that I over consumed for years. Having developed Leaky Gut, which predisposes to almost every disease, my body would no longer tolerate those foods. If I consumed even the smallest amount, it caused my body to become violently angry, with inflammation and debilitating symptoms. I felt very ill for days until those substances passed out of my body. That is to say, when I cooked for my family, I couldn't even lick the residue of these foods off my fingers, much less taste to see if it was seasoned right. Essentially, I was "cooking blind". When I realized what the foods that caused symptoms had in common and eliminated them, it made planning my diet and living with IBS and Colitis much easier for a while.

However, there is a very serious problem with an elimination diet that most doctors and their patients overlook. When you eliminate a food that would otherwise be beneficial for you, you eliminate the nutrition that food contains, and this causes deficiencies. As the list of foods I could no longer consume grew longer with each passing year, I eliminated more foods and malnutrition ensued. After years of eating a very limited diet that consisted of a hand full of vegetables, a few fruits, 5 gluten free grains and 2 types of fish, my organs, brain and nervous system slowly began to malfunction. My body stopped making things, like hydrochloric acid, digestive enzymes, neurotransmitters and hormones. The effects were compounding rapidly and my health plummeted.

Supplementation is no substitute for the nutrition that comes from whole food. I was taking 150 pills every day to supplement my very limited diet, but that only slowed the progression of my malnutrition. Supplementation could not prevent, much less reverse this process, without the foods. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Sulfur

Sulfur is a violent GI tract irritant and trigger for IBS, Colitis and Crohn's sufferers. Sulfur is a phytonutrient that causes that stinging-sharp, almost hot taste of a radish. It is the sulfur compounds that defend plants against predatory insects. Cruciferous vegetables are high in sulfur content. This includes leeks, all storage onions, shallots, spring onions, chives, garlic, rutabaga, turnips, radish, mustard greens, kale, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and water cress. High sulfur fruits include coconut, papaya, pineapple, banana and watermelon. Cheeses, tea and coffee, whey proteins, gluten grains, chocolate, cream, horseradish, sour cream, soy milk, soy cheese and tofu also have high sulfur content, as well as chicken, nuts and seeds, duck, red meats, eggs, legumes (esp. red beans), carob, milk products, parmesan cheese and seafood (scallops, crab, lobster). I over consumed every food on the list, on a regular basis, for years.

What does over consumption look like?

Consider for a moment that you want to plan a menu for dinner or a party. What will you serve? You pull out your cook books and look for recipes. Thoughts go more toward what combinations of ingredients taste good when served together. A cookie or cake recipe may contain gluten flour, eggs, milk and chocolate or carob, all containing high amounts of sulfur. A fruit and vegetable tray often includes raw vegetables such as radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cheese sauce or a sour cream dip containing horseradish, sliced cheeses and wheat crackers, pineapple, banana and watermelon. The meal may be lobster with butter, chicken or red meat with a few side dishes like macaroni & cheese, a "dark leafy green vegetable", Brussels sprouts or broccoli sautéed in butter with garlic and onion. I want you to see just how easy it is to over consume sulfur vegetables in one meal. Add to that the tea or coffee consumed and ice cream for dessert. What else was eaten during that day? It all has a cumulative effect. Is it any wonder that the body succumbs and violently protests?

Sulfur is needed by the body and is found in every living cell. Most of the sulfur is consumed in the form of proteins.
Sulfur is needed to form the amino acids methionine, cysteine and taurine. These sulfur-based amino acids are recycled for making proteins required for growth, maintaining tissue, and forming enzymes.
Sulfur is the driving force for energy to cells. It plays a major role in forming the tissues that hold skin and organs together, and the cartilage that cushions joints.
Sulfur can also be found in beta-keratin, an essential protein found in nails, skin, and hair. It assists in the digestion and absorption of fat, as it is needed to make bile acids.
Sulfur plays a role in bone mineralization, including teeth.
Sulfur compounds are vital to the creation of insulin (a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates blood glucose levels). Therefore sulfur is necessary in the regulation of blood sugar. It elicits the flow of blood.
Sulfur has cancer prevention properties, which are contained in the phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, of which there are two.
1) Sulforaphane is able to increase the livers ability to detoxify a wide variety of harmful compounds from the body, including carcinogens and free-radicals. It protects against cell mutations, by removing the toxins from the body that would cause cells to mutate.
2) Indol-3-carbinol helps to deactivate a potent estrogen metabolite that causes tumors to grow in breast cells. It also suppresses the movement of cancer cells to other parts of the body.

A shortage of sulfur in the diet can result in asthma, arthritis, and nerve and bone disorders. These are similar symptoms of having a protein deficiency. On the other hand, digesting too much sulfur containing food produces gas and other unpleasant symptoms. Without sulfur the body will die, but consuming even a small amount of these sulfur containing foods can be a big problem for people with IBS, Colitis and other gut sensitive conditions. Sulfur is highly irritating to the lining of the intestines in particular. But, we need sulfur in our diet! How is it possible to get sulfur and yet not have it cause IBS, Colitis and Crohn's symptoms? There is a secret I will share with you, from my own experience of having suffered with these conditions for 25 years.

When I try to solve a problem, I look for patterns and ask questions. "What do all the substances or foods, that make my body angry, have in common?" Then I search for the answers. Vegetables that have a lower sulfur content include avocados, parsley, asparagus, green beans, spinach, peas, sweet potato and tomato. Some of them I can't consume, because they are against my biochemistry, but I talk about that in another blog. The first five (avocados, parsley, asparagus, green beans, spinach) I ate almost daily, in an attempt to get sulfur in my body.

Tannin

Tannins are violent IBS, Colitis and Crohn's triggers also. These are naturally occurring astringents in plants that are what cause fruits to ripen. As fruit ripens, the tannins are deactivated. I always wait until a fruit is fully ripe before I eat it, because the tannins are less intense. Many fruits contain some amount of tannin. Fruits that are highest in tannins have red, blue or purple skins, but also included are bananas, peaches, plums, apricots and blackberries. Legumes with red or black skins such as kidney beans and black beans, black-eye peas and chocolate contain high amounts of tannin. Black tea and coffee contain more tannin than green tea, but black teas, bananas and coffee also contain sulfur, which is a double assault for people with gut lining issues. Wine contains tannins, because it is made from grapes, and fermented. Wine and tea concentrates, like instant tea, also contain "sulfites"; sulfur. Herbs like cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg are high in tannin. Foods that are smoked using hard woods contain tannic acid. Commercially preserved foods sold in grocery stores, baked goods containing dough conditioners, baking mixes, soft and hard candy, ice cream, commercial beverages, meat products, rendered fat products, diarrhea treatments, topical medications such as fungicides and astringents also contain tannic acid. Tannic acid causes abdominal lesions and ulcers in the mouth, stomach and GI tract when consumed in large quantities. Tannins also impair the digestion of food.

Tannin, sulfer, fiber, fat chart

Key: Significant amounts in the mid to high range. PPM - Parts Per Million

Fat

Fat is an essential nutrient for the body. For example, omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids are required for proper function of the brain and body, including vision, learning, coordination, mood, immune function, water balance and metabolism. Chicken contains less fiber than beef, and white meat chicken contains less fat than the dark meat, but chicken also contains sulfur. I was not able to have poultry any more because the combination of high fiber, high fat and high sulfur was more than my IBS would tolerate.

The lessons I learned have taught me how to keep the same problems from developing in my family members. I discovered that it is best not to serve my family a sulfur vegetable, like broccoli or kale, and another sulfur vegetable like turnips, in the same meal with chicken or other high sulfur protein source. Also, I don't serve two sulfur vegetables, like kale and turnips in the same meal or on the same day. Turnips go with green beans or spinach, which have a much lower sulfur content. Broccoli with rice, potato or Jerusalem Artichokes are good combinations. I prepare a fish, with two vegetables as a side dish for my family; steamed kale and spinach with leeks and fresh basil, (see recipe). The spinach lessens the concentration of sulfur in the kale and leek. Leeks have less sulfur than storage onions. The root vegetable that goes well with this meal is steamed sweet potatoes, or parsnips and carrots. The sweetness of the carrot helps balance the less tasty parsnip when eaten together.

Lunch menu

For years I was only able to tolerate low sulfur vegetables like asparagus, green beans, spinach and okra. When I made Krazy Rice w/ broccoli (see recipe) for my family, I substituted the broccoli with Okra for myself. Green beans were a nice option too.

I plan what I will feed my family with the same great care I apply to myself, because I don't want them to suffer later with the problems I have had to endure. I think about the combinations that I will serve in a meal and also the combined overall content of each meal and beverage they will consume in a 24 hour period. Balance is the key. I make sure that I serve a non or low sulfur vegetable like carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem Artichokes, beets, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potato, squash, asparagus, green beans, or spinach with a sulfur vegetable, such as kale & collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, garlic & onions, cabbage, turnips, rutabaga, or leeks. The same is true for fruits and other foods. I also am aware of how I combine high sulfur vegetables with high fat foods, like poultry which also contains tannin. When you introduce a high sulfur, high tannin, high fat combination to the digestive tract in a complex combination (see food combining and digestion article in Nutrition Blogs) of protein and carbohydrates in the same meal, is it any wonder you feel bad and have lasting consequences in the form of gas, bloating, irregularity and acid reflux, just to name a few.

Fiber

Fiber intake is something a doctor may tell you to increase on a daily basis, as in my case. Adding fiber to the equation only increases "bulk" or volume within the gut, adding to the problem. That creates even more of a traffic jam, especially if it is insoluble fiber like Psyllium husk or other bulk laxative. Many products I have found for this purpose also contain propylene glycol, which is a skin irritant, but also has caused nervous system and kidney damage in lab animals. This only serves to make matters worse and compounds the problem.

My observation and experience is that whenever man interferes with what Nature has so perfectly provided, he really makes a mess of things. Adding extra insoluble fiber in the form of psyllium husks or wheat bran to a nutrient poor diet, reduces the absorption of essential minerals, including zinc. Zinc is needed by the body for a variety of essential functions, not the least of which is the production of hydrochloric acid to digest food. The cause of reduced mineral absorption is that wheat bran contains high levels of phytate, which is an anti-nutrient.
I have found it best to get fiber from a variety of fruit and vegetable sources, with particular attention paid to the ratio of soluble (2/3) to insoluble fiber (1/3), and include a soluble fiber supplement to my meals daily.

When I started to experience persistent constipation, alternating with diarrhea more than 25 years ago, the doctor told me to “eat more fiber”. I already ate a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I thought, “How could eating more make me regular?” When I added psyllium, the result was chronic constipation. I didn’t know there were two kinds of fiber! I learned that I can consume too much insoluble fiber, and not enough soluble fiber, so it does matter which kind of fiber I increase in my diet to achieve regular bowel movements.

The following information is a combination of my research and my experience with the 2 forms of fiber.

Insoluble fiber - The word “insoluble” means that it does not dissolve in liquid and is therefore not digestible. Insoluble fiber is the outside and other fibrous parts of grains, seeds, fruits, legumes and other foods. It is also known as roughage. Insoluble fiber acts like a broom, sweeping clean the walls of the intestines and removing debris. I realized that too much broom can cause constipation, gas and abdominal distention. Retained stool dries out and becomes hard. My intestines can get impacted and be unable to contract, which further decreases motility. Ground psyllium seeds are insoluble and harsh on the GI system.

Soluble fiber is the soft part of fruits and vegetables. The softer the food, the more soluble fiber it contains. Some foods have more of one kind of fiber than the other. A plum or peeled banana, for example, is mostly soluble fiber, while a pear is mostly insoluble fiber, by comparison. The fiber in grains, root vegetables, broccoli and similar foods is made softer as a result of cooking. However, I am careful not to cook these vegetables at too high a temperature or for too long, as doing so destroys nutrients.

Soluble fiber absorbs water like a sponge, forming a soft gel like substance, which retains moisture in the stool, making it soft. This stimulates peristaltic movement, making it easy for the intestines to contract. If there is an insufficient supply of soluble fiber in my diet, or my body absorbs all the water from my colon as the digested food passes through the large intestines. This causes hard, dry stools which slows motility. Hard feces can be the result of dehydration or the insufficient chewing of food. Chewing is the first step in digestion, in which food is broken down small enough for the enzymes and hydrochloric acid to digest it. Large pieces of food are more difficult for the body to digest and this also slows motility. This unhealthy retention of stool predisposes the GI tract to dysbiosis and the growth of Candida Albicans, while at the same time decreasing the population of probiotic and beneficial bacteria that is meant to flourish there.

One alternative to consuming the tough to digest "bean", is to sprout them. Eating broccoli as a mature plant may be too much insoluble fiber and sulfur for a highly sensitive system, but broccoli sprouts have more concentrated nutrition than the mature plant, pound for pound. Sprouts contain more nutrition than the mature plant, are a live food and have less insoluble fiber. Heathers Tummy Fibers has also been a valuable part of my daily GI tract maintenance.

Soluble and insoluble fiber work together to control blood sugar by combining with sugar molecules to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. This is why I stopped juicing my fruit and started consuming fruits and vegetables whole. I put them through my Vitamix. They were meant to be eaten in the package they came in, because Nature in its wisdom put all the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients together in perfect balance and in such a way as to sustain us. We need only to consume it in as natural a state as possible. We were designed to eat food that you pick off a plant or pull from the ground. I have found it best to get fiber from a variety of fruit and vegetable sources, with particular attention paid to the ratio of soluble (2/3) to insoluble fiber (1/3), and include a soluble fiber supplement to my meals daily.

Low-fiber diets, such as eating processed foods or an excessive amount of meat as compared to other food groups, has been largely to blame for my numerous digestive diseases and other conditions.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea has not been my problem. In fact, I prayed for diarrhea. One cause of diarrhea that many people overlook is antibiotics.

Antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria and this sets up the intestines for the development of IBS, IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis. By the time a child in America reaches adulthood, they have received an average of 10 courses of antibiotics, and I was no exception. But, it is important to note that 80% of all the antibiotics produced in this country go into livestock intended for our food = so if you are not eating pasture raised, organic meats you and your child are getting antibiotic and hormone residues in your food. This is true of pregnant mothers too.

Broad-spectrum antibiotics alter the numbers of gut bacteria. This has cumulative negative affects to the host's immune health and gradually diminishes their ability to digest food. This predisposes to food sensitivities, allergies, malabsorption and malnutrition.

Antibiotics can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea by irritating the bowel directly, producing symptoms of diarrhea predominant IBS.

Antibiotics decrease the numbers and species of gut flora. This reduces the body's ability to ferment carbohydrates and metabolize bile acids, causing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. I said before that without the enzymes produced by some types of gut flora, the human body is unable to break down and utilize the undigested polysaccharide carbohydrates it consumes. The carbohydrates that are not broken down may absorb too much water and cause runny stools. Or the lack of short-chain fatty acids produced by gut flora can be a cause of diarrhea.

Antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria. A reduction in levels of native bacterial species disrupts their ability to inhibit the growth of harmful species of bacteria and allow pathogenic bacteria to multiply, though their overgrowth may be incidental and not the true cause of diarrhea.

Constipation

I don't like the word "constipation", because the medical profession has overused that term to cover a wide range of complaints and made it seem like "no big deal". It is a big deal when waste cannot be eliminated. The body backs up with toxins, it becomes a vacation resort for uninvited guests, and causes a whole host of nasty physical and emotional symptoms from acne to depression.

Constipation has been my nightmare, but I have learned a few things about that symptom, to the extent that one of my friends jokingly calls me the "poop expert". The individual causes of "constipation" need to be investigated and addressed. I had to employ several helpers to address the common symptoms of a Leaky Gut, which can include IBS, IBD, Crohn's and Colitis.

Dehydration causes constipation. I must be very conscious to maintain optimum hydration, so that adequate moisture remains in the intestines for them to function properly. Drinking the proper amount of high quality water daily and avoiding beverages that dehydrate my body, is essential to maintaining balanced hydration, especially in the GI tract. The general rule you hear often is to drink 8 - 8 ounce classes of water daily. Some figure in the moisture that is in food as part of daily requirements of hydration, however, I do not. Food is food and the moisture in food is not water. I consume 64 ounces or 2 quarts is half of the water daily. Years of experimenting with this has proven to me that the math actually works out to about ½ ounce per pound of body weight for me. The kidneys can only handle so much, so more is not necessarily better. Every person is an individual and I needed to figure out for myself what my body wants.

I once read somewhere that the national statistic is, that 75% of Americans are dehydrated most of the time. When I don’t drink enough, my body pulls moisture from the stool to balance out the rest of the body, which leads to constipation in a hurry. My skin breaks out with acne, because my body is not eliminating toxins as quickly or efficiently via the normal exits. I become fatigued, mental performance declines, I can’t sleep and I succumb to illness if it continues There was a time when I didn’t have the sensation of thirst, ever. Other sensations like hunger, thirst, a growling stomach or feeling full, and many more also disappeared for years. This is not a good sign. If you don’t feel or hear your body communicating with you, this is not normal or healthy.

The type of constipation that is due to fecal impaction as a result of decreased or absent peristaltic movement, because the lymphatic system has slowed or stopped, can be one cause. That is a brain - gut communication problem. That was one cause of my "constipation", and my manual physical therapist can get that moving again for me. Stress is a button that pushes my Colitis to react with other imbalances and malfunctions within my body and contribute to "constipation". The IBS symptoms I experience is an incoordination of the sequence of peristaltic movement, which disturbs the flow and causes "balls" instead of "logs". With Colitis, however, motility is slowed due to inflammation of the intestinal lining, in which my intestines and colon, all the way to my rectum, swells shut. Make the tightest fist you can and look at the lack of space that exists in the area that goes from your thumb and forefinger to your smallest finger, along your palm. Diarrhea can't even get through that!

There is another condition that I had, in addition to everything else, was Sjogren's Syndrome. This autoimmune disorder is manifested by chronic dryness in the mouth, eyes, throat, genitals and digestive tract. Many Sjogren's patients suffer from gastrointestinal difficulties, such as sensitivities to certain foods, while others may experience general symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation is generally caused by a decrease in gastrointestinal mucous and other fluids. In my case, the mucosal lining was stripped of its own mucous, allowing too much fluid to be removed from the intestines, which produces hard, dry stools, resulting in decreased motility.

Additional contributing factors to constipation include Celiac, other food intolerances, chemical allergies, parasitic infections such as Candida Albicans and Salmonella. In addition to over exposure to phyto-chemicals like Tannin and Sulfur, reactions to ingredients in processed foods like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, dough conditioners, or any unnatural substance that may or may not be listed on the label, like pesticide residues and chemicals used to clean food manufacturing equipment cause intestinal inflammation and slow motility. My constipation was also the result of not chewing food thoroughly, and insufficient digestive enzyme production in the pancreas. Another major problem for my intestines was that all the organs below my diaphragm had prolapsed (slipped downward) and were competing for the bottom of my pelvis. That will complicate things too!

It is important to notice the ingredients in packaged foods. The food may not be the cause of your GI tract symptoms. It's very likely to be a non-food ingredient that causes gastrointestinal distress - like, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltodextrin, xanthin gum, guar gum, acetic acid, aluminum nicotinate, Benzyl acetate, calcium oxide, or ammonium bicarbonate, a leavening agent in baking soda. Artemisia is a flavoring agent, which causes headaches, nervous system irritation and gastrointestinal distress. Azo dyes are artificial colors that cause GI distress, nausea, hay fever, itching, and high blood pressure. Benzoate of soda is a preservative that causes GI distress, hyperactivity in children, neurological disorders and skin rashes. Borneol is a flavoring agent that may cause GI distress, dizziness and convulsions. Calcium chloride, a nutrient additive, and Calcium gluconate which is a firming agent, buffer, sequestrate and flavor enhancer, both may cause GI distress and heart problems. Aluminum potassium sulfate is an ingredient in molluscicides, used to kill slugs, so it makes sense that it irritates mucous membranes, but it is also used in water purification systems and baking powder. Aloe extract also causes gastrointestinal distress and kidney problems. Cinnamaldehyde is an artificial flavoring, which irritates mucous membranes. Carrageenan is an emulsifier, stabilizer and thickener that may cause ulcerative colitis and is a suspected carcinogen. The list is long, but you get the idea.

Another source of irritation to the very thin and delicate mucous membranes of the GI tract could be volatile oils, phyto-chemicals and acids in plants that are not beneficial to us. I had trouble sleeping, so I was advised by an herbalist to take a combination of passion flower, valerian root, chamomile and hops. Chamomile contains tannic acid and tiglic acid, which irritate the GI tract and are considered to be toxic substances. Valerian contains acetic acid, which is corrosive to skin - causing burns and blisters, so imagine what it would do to your internal skin. But what shocked me is that Hops contains picric acid, which is used to make munitions (bullets, explosives), and is highly irritating to intestinal mucous membranes. No wonder it swelled my intestines shut with inflammation!

Milk Thistle contains a phytochemical called Triterpene glycoside, which causes disturbances of selective permeable gastrointestinal membranes, affecting metabolism and the functional state of organs, and the body as a whole. It is pro-inflammatory at high doses or for extended periods of time. Acts against gram positive bacteria, which means it kills beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

I used to take Slippery Elm to soothe my very irritable intestines, thinking it would be a good thing. Now I look back and realize that I knew just enough to be dangerous. Goblet cells, located throughout the epithelial layer of the intestines, secretes mucous that helps protect the intestinal lining from digestion. Beneficial bacteria live and work in this environment. Slippery Elm is an antiseptic, which strips your intestinal mucous membrane of its natural mucous and replaces it with a foreign mucogenic properties. This alters the environment just enough to diminish the population and work of beneficial bacteria and can make the mucous membrane of the intestines vulnerable to everything that comes in contact with it; parasites, viruses, bacteria, acids, pollutants, toxins, carcinogens, etc. 80% of your immune system resides along the lining of the intestines.

Mullein has astringent properties that make it good for expelling mucous, however, the volatile oils that are responsible for that action also irritate the GI tract. Rotenone and coumarin are powerful phyto-chemicals found in Mullein, and are considered dangerous by the FDA. Slippery Elm Bark is said to soothe the intestines, but what I learned the hard way is that it's astringent properties strip your intestinal lining of its own natural mucous and then act upon it with its own mucous properties that are foreign to us, so that the intestinal lining cannot protect itself.

I had severe, chronic, debilitating fatigue. I was taking a Malic Acid supplement to help with fatigue and other symptoms. Malic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that is corrosive and causes skin irritation. It is promoted as beneficial for softening cholesterol gallstones and dissolving liver stones, because it is corrosive. It’s antibacterial properties kill beneficial bacteria, so I suspect it is not hospitable to the mucous lining of the intestines or helpful when you are trying to rebuild the beneficial bacteria that need to live there. It was so irritating that it swelled my intestines shut for days. That’s what it will do if you have IBS / IBD, Crohn’s or Colitis. For the same reason, Aloe Vera should never be taken internally.

My immune system was over reacting with inflammation. To stop the cycle, I had to stop eating and drink only liquids to give my body a rest so it could calm down. When I begin to feel and hear gut sounds from my abdomen again, I could gradually begin to consume small amounts of food, until I was able to eat regular meals. The key was to figure out, as I began to eat again, what my body's reaction was to the foods I ate. The fewer ingredients contained in the meal, the easier it was for me to identify the offending food, spice or combination of ingredients that were creating the immune response. If my symptoms returned, I simply took a step back and let that food pass through me before I resumed eating. By avoiding the suspect food to see if my symptoms improved, I could identify with certainty what was causing my symptoms. It involved a lot of trial and error, but taking laxatives and trying to attack the problem using quick fixes only gave me temporary results, that in time no longer worked. I know, because I tried them all. As a result, they no longer had any effect and then they caused additional unpleasant symptoms. They had become the problem, not the solution. Listening to and working with your body is really the only way to end this struggle. I urge you to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.

You have to be a detective and look deep to figure out what's going on inside your body. Always listen to body wisdom, which is speaking to you in the language of symptom and pointing to the problem. The problem is not IBS, IBD, Colitis, or Crohn's. They are symptoms, not conditions. Body wisdom speaks to us in the language of symptom, which we misinterpret or do not understand. Symptoms are not the problem. They are body wisdom pointing to the problem. The common factor in all these conditions is Leaky Gut Syndrome.

I struggled with the symptoms of Leaky Gut for 25 years, but when I began using a Vitamix to puree my meals, it made the foods that would normally cause me problems, so fine that my body was much more able and willing to process them with fewer complaints. This increased my menu, which was incredibly valuable when you consider that there were so many foods that I could not eat. I discovered that as my intestines healed, I didn't have to make my food so fine, and could benefit from the broom effect of the insoluble fiber, by not processing it at higher speeds and with a shorter processing time. Eventually, I could eat normally.

When I try to solve a problem, I look for patterns and ask questions. "What do the substances or foods, that make my body angry, have in common?" Then I search for the answers. Some of them I can't consume, because they are against my biochemistry, but I talk about that in another article.

I stopped fighting symptoms, and thus stopped fighting with body wisdom. During those years, some things just were not food to me, because the consequences of eating them simply were not worth what ever pleasure or nutrition they may have contained at the time. Obviously, I stopped eating for taste a long time ago. I hoped, that in time, my body would recover to the point that I could reintroduce the nutrition I had been missing, by adding them in moderation to my menu at some time in the future, but that wasn't happening. It wasn't going to happen until I healed my leaky gut. Once I understood what was required, I was able to put together a strategy and I healed my gut within 3 months.

I figured out how to heal my gut and restore my microbiome, which are the microbes in the gut that make up 90% of the cells in our body, but they are not us. We employ them to do tasks for us, but they are not our cells. Only 10% of the cells in the body are human cells. We need the other 90% to be beneficial. When they are not the beneficial type, the gut falls apart. It was the Candida growing in the walls of my leaky intestines, that weakened my immune system and caused my issues with foods. The foods were not the problem. Symptoms were not the problem. They were pointing to the problem. The problem was not IBS, IBD, Colitis or Crohn's. It was Leaky Gut and dysbiosis in the gut. The solution to the problem was to heal the gut, and once my gut wall was healed, optimal immunity and digestion were restored.

For 20 years I was starving to death, but that was the education I needed to be able to help others. In 2013, I developed "The Candida Exit Strategy". I eliminated yeast overgrowth in my gut and healed my intestines. I trusted that my body would let me know when the time had come that I would be able to eat previously forbidden foods again, and it did. Within 3 months, I could feel my intestinal fortitude building, so I began reintroducing the foods I had been unable to consume for more than 17 years.

I reintroduced eggs, poultry, dairy, oats, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts, turnips, garlic & onion, chives, apples, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and nuts to my diet. My body and brain healed within the next year, and I can now enjoy food again! I can have turkey and pumpkin pie with whipped topping at Thanksgiving with my family! I can have chocolate! I am not limited to a few short season summer fruits, leaving me with nothing to eat all winter. I can have goat milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese, ice cream and eggs! But again, I am getting ahead of myself. Now I can eat anything I want to, that is healthy. I have already traveled this road ahead of you and healed my own body. I want the same for you!

My preoccupation, purpose and passion is to coach you on your journey through illness to wellness.

I am a Mind-Body Nutrition Consultant / Eating Psychology Coach, but my specialty is yeast overgrowth and Systemic Candidiasis, and the many secondary health challenges they cause, like IBS, IBD, Colitis, Crohn's, etc. My work with clients focuses on a whole body approach, to correct the things that predisposed you to disease, so the chance of recurrence is greatly reduced.

To learn more about yeast overgrowth and Systemic Candidiasis, please watch my video on the Candida-Leaky Gut Services page of this website.

I hope this article has been helpful to you.

If you have questions, email johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to schedule your free introductory consultation. I look forward to serving you. JVW