Nutritional therapist Lydia Shatney is back! Today, she's helping us understand (and implement) natural healing therapies for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Lydia is the teacher and creator of the online class Heal Your Gut.
Want more from Lydia? She's hosting a free Q&A teleconference (Thurs 5/29) — sign up for that here. Even if you can't attend live, sign up to check out the replay. Also? She's so generous! Go here to grab your free guide, The Straight Scoop on Poop: A Guide to Healthy Bowels. (It's great!)
Below, you’re hearing from Lydia. If you have questions or comments, be sure to share in the comments. –Wardee
In my last guest post, I answered the question, “Are grain okay to eat when healing your gut?” This time around, Wardee asked me to discuss inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an autoimmune condition, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the large or small intestine.
What is an autoimmune condition, though? It means that one's body is attacking itself through its own glands or tissues. IBD normally manifests itself as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. While ulcerative colitis affects the lining of the colon, Crohn's can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract — from mouth to rectum.
And what are the symptoms of IBD? They can include…
- inflammation anywhere in the entire digestive tract from the mouth to rectum
- abdominal pain or tenderness
- bloody diarrhea/rectal bleeding
- ulcers (even canker sores)
- reduced appetite/weight loss/malnutrition
- see more symptoms here and here
Nutritional Therapy for IBD
Nutritional therapy is a key tool for healing and managing chronic illness — including gut issues like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis — because nutrition provides our bodies with the strength to replenish its depleted resources to fight back. In some cases, however, these health conditions are life-threatening, so please consult a qualified doctor even while utilizing the nutritional aspect.
The whole concept of nutritional therapy is based on the belief that real, whole, properly-prepared, nutrient-dense foods are a form of medicine in and of themselves. Nutritional therapy is a science-based and holistic approach to nutritional counseling. It seeks to heal and support the body's overall health, with the goal of addressing the root of any particular health condition instead of treating a mere symptom.
Of course, sometimes symptom management is necessary. Given the appropriate raw materials, the human body has an amazing capacity to repair itself, so nutritional therapy endeavors to give the body what it needs so it can restore itself to homeostasis. Read more about nutritional therapy here.
How should we address Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, approaching the issue from a nutritional perspective? The first step is to remove the substances that are responsible for making the body attack itself in the first place. Here are a few very common causes of IBD.
- Celiac disease or other food allergies
- bacterial infections
- viral infections
- mold allergies or sensitivity
- and more (research is still uncovering underlying reasons)
Of the above list, the first thing to do is rule out food allergies. Diet is the easiest place to start when it comes to restoring your health, since it's the main thing over which we all have complete control — every person ultimately has the ability to decide whether or not something goes into their mouth. Get a food allergy panel done right away, and make sure it includes both IgE and IgG. Many doctors only look for IgE allergies, but this doesn't cover the whole spectrum.
Personally, I would also undergo testing to rule out gluten and gluten-cross reactive foods including dairy/grains. The Cyrex Array #4 panel is perfect for this. Simply ask your doctor to order it for you — it is a great starting point.
I recommend going onto the GAPS or the autoimmune dietary protocols for healing and recovery. These diets reduce inflammation and improve how people feel in as little as a few weeks. However, it is critical to be very careful of cross-contamination in those who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease.
The next step is to get a Complete Diagnostic Stool Analysis with parasitology to rule out other possible causes of your IBD, such as infections or bacterial overgrowth. It's important to check your vitamin D levels and make sure to stay in the higher end of the normal change. You may need to test quarterly until you are in complete remission, and then check at least twice annually to maintain these levels.
I also advise taking supplements to support your immune system and restore the gut's flora and integrity. These supplements include pancreatic enzymes, hydrochloric acid, the right probiotics (soil-based and saccharomyces boulardii), and fiber (find what you personally tolerate since fiber can be tricky in a damaged gut). Things like butyrate, bentonite clay, chlorophyll, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, bone broth, colostrum if dairy is tolerated, and fish oils (EPA/DHA) are also very healing. Even soothing herbs like slippery elm or marshmallow (see how to make marshmallow infusion here) are amazing.
The Heal Your Gut Online Course
Do you suffer with ulcerative colitis or know anyone who does?
Jennifer did, too (pictured at right). She was a slave to her misery for nearly two years. After dozens of doctor visits, still none of them could diagnose her problem or tell her how to fix it. Frustration, anxiety and fear overwhelmed her previously joyful life.
She came to me and we got to work right away to get some real results and fast.
Does any of this hit close to home?
The key to her recovery included more than just medical intervention — it required major dietary changes and supplemental support. But as long as she continues in her nutritional diet and lifestyle, she remains symptom-free.
If you suffer from IBD, you can transform your body through the right foods and achieve this same level of health!
What's so special about my Heal Your Gut course? I approach gut health from the perspective of nutritional therapy. I teach the fundamentals of digestion: how it works and how it malfunctions. Once you learn the basics, you can take step-by-step measures to reduce your current symptoms and maintain lifelong gut health. Find out if it's right for you here.
Do you suffer from IBC, Crohn's or ulcerative colitis? What's your story? What natural or nutritional therapies have worked for you?
About Lydia Joy Shatney
Lydia is the blogger at Divine Health from the Inside Out and leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation chapter in Delaware County, Pennsylvania — is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner. She offers personalized step by step counseling via phone or in person to transform your health. Visit this page to pick up your free guide, The Straight Scoop on Poop: A Guide to Healthy Bowels. Or you can learn online from Lydia through any of her online courses: Heal Your Gut, Revitalize Your Health and A Calm Mind.
Heal Your Gut online course is open for enrollment! Click here for more info. Be sure to get your free guide The Straight Scoop on Poop: A Guide to Healthy Bowels, too!
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