As I mentioned in my last post, I’m on a mission to get healthier, stronger, nourished, glowing skin. This, after years of fighting eczema and mild acne through the use of corticosteroid creams, cortisone injections, antibiotics and antihistamines.
I have just started Jason Vale’s Clear Skin Programme while also following the nutritional advice of Chris Kesser about nutrition for healthy skin. Jason, aka the Juice Master, has developed a 30 day phased approach where you eliminate certain foods that aggrevate skin conditions and then start adding them back into the diet after healing has occurred.
My desire to heal my body from the inside out, which appears to be contrary to conventional medical practice, led me to discover the GAPS protocol by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, the SCD lifestyle or Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the work of Elaine Gottschall. Long story short: Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed that all disease starts in the gut and these integrative practitioners are proving that philosophy to be true. The state of our gut can affect us so much more than we can even imagine.
My Story…A Brief History
When I was in my first year of university, I was put on a course of antibiotics to clear my skin and help with eczema flare ups. The dermatologist mentioned nothing about needing to be on a probiotic or making any dietary changes whilst on the antibiotics. In fact, very few dermatologists, no, very few doctors in general, believe in the diet-skin connection. Well, after months of being on antibiotics I started experiencing intense abdominal cramping. One night it was so severe that I was rushed to hospital and admitted for a week for testing. I had to undergo everything from blood tests to a colonoscopy and a liver biopsy. Needless to say we never found the ’cause’ and it still amazes me that the gastroenterologist never consulted with the dermatologist I was seeing (in the very same hospital) and therefore the conclusion could have been drawn beforehand that a patient on a course of antibiotics for over 6months may be suffering from mild to severe dysbiosis, which could naturally lead to severe abdominal cramping. We were left to assume that they never consulted one another because years later I met a GP at a function and after detailing the experience his first statement was that if the gastroenterologist consulted the dermatologist they would have realised that the course of antibiotics I was on also causes a slight swelling of the liver! I couldn’t believe it. But I suppose that is how doctors make their money—and while I’m not bashing all doctors because hear me on this one: there are amazing physicians out there—far too many operate in this fashion. And I (as well as my parents and most likely the story of thousands of patients) was none the wiser.
Dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis) refers to microbial imbalance on or inside the body. Dysbiosis is most commonly reported as a condition in the digestive tract. It has been associated with illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, cancer and colitis. Microbial colonies found on or in the body are normally benign or beneficial. These beneficial and appropriately sized microbial colonies carry out a series of helpful and necessary functions, such as aiding in digestion. They also protect the body from the penetration of pathogenic microbes. These beneficial microbial colonies compete with each other for space and resources and outnumber human cells by a factor 10:1.The term “dysbiosis” is not a standardized medical term. Apparently similar concepts are also described as “microbial imbalance”, “bacterial imbalance”, or “increased levels of harmful bacteria and reduced levels of the beneficial bacteria”. Dysbiosis may be caused by such diverse things as repeated and inappropriate antibiotic exposure, alcohol misuse or inappropriate diet. Wikipedia
So over R200 000 later, in consultation and test fees, I still had no idea as to what was going on inside of me. Per chance my mom took me to a homeopath who put me on a diet and mentioned that I could be suffering with leaky gut syndrome. In retrospect we should have trusted the homeopath more than our dermatologist and we should have worked with him until my condition was rectified but the reality was that most people would believe and trust a doctor over a homeopath. And we certainly didn’t have the benefit of hindsight then. Coupled with general ignorance about our bodies and our biology, one couldn’t blame us. However, ignorance certainly isn’t bliss, it causes you days, months, years of unnecessary pain and suffering.
Well now that I’m a little wiser, and I’ve been privileged to work with or research the work of doctors who believe in a different philosophy and take a very different approach, a more integrated and holistic approach, I have come to understand just how important the diet is in combating any condition, be it physiological or even psychological.
It has been refreshing to come across integrative and naturopathic physicians and nutritionists like Jason Vale, Dr McBride and Chris Kesser. Locally, I started working with Dr Gerrie Lindeque all the way out in Parys. All of these practitioners believe wholeheartedly in eating organic, whole foods and some of them strongly believe in a Palaeolithic lifestyle.
Many are under the mistaken belief that the human body is a frail instrument, prone to disease and pre-programmed to decay. Dr. Pickering wholeheartedly disagrees, and I second that motion. The truth is, your body is infinitely wise, with a natural inborn “instinct” toward health, and by following certain natural principles, you allow your body to do what it does best, which is to maintain an equilibrium of health. Dr. Pickering’s three basic principles of health are:1. You are automatically healthy, by design, and sick only by default2. You don’t catch disease; you “earn” it, as it stems from “crud in the blood from being drunk with junk,” as he says3. You get well by what comes out of you, not by what goes into you“Age is not a matter of years; it’s a matter of condition. You can keep your health up until you die because you have 75 to 90 trillion cells in your body that work symbiotically on your behalf striving towards health. You cut yourself? It’s going to heal without a thought. It just does,” he says.In essence, health is as much based on getting rid of toxins and other harmful substances as it is based on optimizing your nutrition. Part and parcel of this philosophy is that food is your number one ally. And while certain nutritional supplements can be beneficial, they will not allow you to circumvent a poor diet. They can only complement your diet; they cannot take the place of a meal. Dr Wayne Pickering on mercola.com
Because your body is always trying to heal itself, taking a ‘break’ from eating, through correct fasting and juicing, for a short while can free up energy the body would have otherwise used for digestion. Juices and soups are easy to digest as they are liquids and needn’t be broken down much further. The body can then spend some of its energy repairing and restoring and returning you to a place of better health.
The recipes from Jason Vale’s programme are yummy and with a NutriBullet in my kitchen they are ‘Souper’ easy to whip up. (ha ha see what I did there). Add a dollop of probiotic rich yogurt or kefir and you have yourself a ‘souper-nutritious’ meal! (ok ok I’ll stop now)
1 Cup of Spinach
1/4 Cup of Cabbage
1/4 Cup of Carrots
1/4 Cup Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Onion
Some water: depending on your desired consistency.
Blend in the NutriBullet, add to pot with spices and herbs of your choice. Simmer for 30 mins et voila! Serve with a dollop of greek yoghurt.