Tag Archives: food

Letter to My Children: Health

I love you and that is the answer for so many decisions that we make.

I know that it doesn’t explain everything and I guess that is why I hope to explain it, in more detail, here.

Challenge is inevitable, as God gives each and every one of us things to guide and push us to be “more”. You have each been challenged early on, even though you may not really understand as it is just ‘your’ life. You know nothing different, because it has been that way for most of your life.

I believe that we are destined to help many families that also face challenges and that is why we were led down this path.

OK! Yes. I know. I will move on.

As a family I know that you both have different challenges, but we try to treat you the same.

Our goal is to give you tools that may not be popular or trendy, but real! We have experienced disease and chronic illness personally and professionally. We have had to learn a lot of the information that has kept you healthy and happy from non-traditional resources, but we have learned to trust our instincts.

Trust your instincts! Trust your gut!

As in any family, when one person is experiencing difficulty, we all are affected. We try to work together to solve the issues and come out stronger on the other side.  Sometimes you may have felt that you were having to deal with issues that weren’t necessarily yours. We know that, but realized that we can only do so much at one time. Everything happens for a reason and at the time that it is meant to.

Health-wise, we had no idea that starting a gluten-free diet would lead our family to a whole food lifestyle. When we first found out, we tried, like so many other families to do the minimum necessary to keep our children safe. Looking back, I can see how we were just like most other families that experience similar, we resisted the information to begin. We didn’t want to make those BIG sacrifices if we didn’t need to. It really was such a blow to our way of life. We were challenged by this and it made us stronger.

I am so grateful for the lessons that we learned! Through this we learned many things and have adjusted our diet to meet our needs, now and for life.

I know that it is hard to see family and friends eating what used to be common and is advertised as “normal” food. Every birthday party, play-date, school function or field-trip is hard for us, but I know it is difficult for you to see the other “convenient” options. Sometimes I wish that it was easy again, but I remind myself that our food is just that. FOOD. Not a party. Not convenient. Not to comfort someone else. It is a challenge for us all and I know that you wish to eat pizza and hamburgers. I also wish it was that easy again!

We have learned so much about health and disease that we want you to learn and have a healthy life. I don’t want you to eat, just to eat and have no idea what health is about, when you get older. I want you to understand that health is everything! If you are sick then life pretty much sucks, so why not do what you can to be healthy??

As you grown into beautiful adults and learn to care for yourselves, you may hear “how expensive” organic food(healthiest option)can be. I wish for you to understand that it is like putting good gasoline into a precious sports car. All systems work together to make that ‘car’ go. If you put junky, cheap ‘gasoline’ in, you will have a poor running ‘car’. If you consider it and investment(because health is your largest and most valuable asset)then you can expect exceptional performance!

I hope these lessons; which we learned the hard way, can make their way to you with a lot less challenge and discord, than how they came to us. I am blessed to have you in my life and know that together we will change the world, in a very positive way! God bless you.

Dad

 

Added Benefit From Farmers Market

Today was the first time in 2 weeks that my local farmers market (Symons Valley Ranch) was back from the Christmas holidays.

I have been so eager to go back and I realized how dependent I have become on the fresh, local,  organic meats and vegetables. I usually make this short trip every weekend, to get my family the best products from some of the best local farmers and ranchers around.

I felt a fair bit of urgency because I usually have a stock of good meats and veggies to last a week or so, but with the holidays, I had to restock!

After making my purchases and visiting with Irm, Greg, Patty, Sharon and all the other vendors that I see on a regular basis, I made my discovery of the added benefit…

Making relationships/friends with the people that provide the majority of our fresh food is really a big deal! I now know how and where our meats all come from. I get to order special cuts from one of these producers. I have created relationships with friends of friends to get grass fed beef and wonderful healthy pork products from a lady and her connection to a farm in northern Alberta. Wow!

This is so much more than just grocery shopping at the faceless, nameless conglomerates that we flock to for super deals. This feels like it is the way that getting “food” is supposed to be!

We(meaning me)have lost our connection to our food.

When you experience the difference and you want to know all the steps that it takes for your food to get to the plates of you loved ones, it really matters.

I realized that the local producers and friends that I have created really care and when you are face to face, they can’t help but feel satisfaction from making the world a bit better.

I am so grateful to the organizers, local producers, friends of friends and of course the earth and all that you give us!

Support your local producers and experience a much enriched life.

 

Top 5 Benefits of Himalayan Salt

December 22, 2014 by  Bruno

Salt is great for seasoning your food, but did you know certain varieties of the mineral can provide far more benefits than just flavor?

Himalayan crystal salt is more than ordinary table salt. It’s all natural, with no anti-caking agents or fillers. Dr Edward Group III DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM writes:

Himalayan Crystal Salt contains the same 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. This form of salt has also been maturing over the past 250 million years under intense tectonic pressure, creating an environment of zero exposure to toxins and impurities.

Himalayan salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy. Its minerals exist in a colloidal form, meaning that they are tiny enough for our cells to easily absorb.

There are many claimed benefits of Himalayan crystal salt, such as reducing the signs of aging, stronger bones, and improved sinus health. Although there is little clinical research available,  there is science and an abundance of testimonials touting the long list of health benefits. I’ve pulled together the top five benefits of this pink salt, along with some additional information.

TOP 5 BENEFITS OF HIMALAYAN CRYSTAL SALT

  1. Prevention of allergy symptoms and improved air quality
  2. Increased serotonin levels to aid in healthy sleep patterns
  3. Improved energy and mood
  4. Decreased blood pressure
  5. Supported immune system, respiratory function, and vascular health

In the two clinical research studies about Himalayan crystal salt, test subjects who consumed Himalayan salt saw significant improvements in their respiratory healthy, sleep habits, energy, concentration, and more. Here are the findings of a 2001 medical study conducted by the University of Graz:

1024px-Himalaya-Salz-1

Subjects who drank water with our Original Himalayan Crystal Salt® sole added saw significant positive changes in respiratory, circulatory, organ, connective tissue, and nervous system functions. Patients also reported increases in quality of sleep, energy, and concentration levels, brain activity, weight loss, enhanced consciousness, and noticeable hair and nail growth.

According to Dr. Oz, the potassium levels in this crystal salt also aids in lowering blood pressure. This is a huge benefit, considering sodium consumption is typically associated with hypertension.

Consuming Himalayan salt is not the only way to reap the benefits, a Himalayan crystal salt lamp will also do the trick. It consists of a large piece of salt crystal, a light, and usually a wooden base. They let off a beautiful ambient glow, but the lamp also omits negative ions as moisture evaporates from the warmed crystal. These negatively charged ions aid in cleaning the air, improving mood, and reducing allergy symptoms. According to WebMd, once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.

Full list of Sources:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/
http://www.ionicsalts.com/science.htm
http://www.himalayancrystalsalt.com/clinical-research.html
http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/two-alternative-medicine-secrets
http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/negative-ions-create-positive-vibes

 

http://www.mamavation.com/2014/12/top-5-benefits-of-himalayan-crystal-salt.html

Monsanto Story, Not Really Evil

The other day I was driving along and was thinking about how Monsanto thought up the evil, disease making crap that they have convinced most world powers to purchase and feed to their citizens. I’m not convinced that it was as deliberately orchestrated, as we always think. What I came up with is my vision of a group of Monsanteurs and a brainstorming session:

Ok. So we have to come up with a way to sell all this excess crap we have left over, rotting in the yard. No one will take it away and we can’t just dump it in the rivers anymore. After that Anniston thing, we have got this big target on our backs.

After WWII we have all this left over poison and it is just sitting there killing all the grass and stuff.

Ya. The grounds keeper says that it is seeping in and around the trees. He says that it is killing everything around there. It sounds kind of bad, because he said that some birds have died in that area as well. We have to do something about it!

Why won’t anyone take it away? Will that disposal company we used to use not come and pick it up?

They said that it is too dangerous and they don’t want to be responsible for this stuff that we made. They claim it is too toxic to dispose it safely. Pffft!

Why don’t we sell this to farmers to kill the weeds in their fields if it is killing all the weeds and grass in our yard?

Well, if it kills all the weeds and grass, won’t it also kill the crops that they are selling??

Thinking….

What if we tried that new thing that R & D was working on?

You know…make the crops so that the weed killer, stuff we want to sell, doesn’t kill the crops, just the weeds??

Yeah! That way we can get them coming and  going! We can sell the seeds and the poison to kill everything else!

Well that is so good! Is there any chance that people will get sick from putting this into food?

Who cares. Let’s just pay some scientist friends to write papers that say it is safe. We have lots of friends in government that will help us get these things worked out.

We can hire some of those politicians to work here and help us get stuff passed.

Ya. Ya.

If we do this stuff, we can sell our chemicals and seeds to everyone! Do you realize, that if we can pull this off, we will OWN food! That is just crazy. We have to do this!

 

 

That is how I imagined it kind of went. Sad but truish.

Don’t Wait Until You Get Sick

I want to make sure this is clear.

This is just my thoughts and opinion.

I have seen, first hand, how food can heal and change lives. I have also strung together stories from strangers and family members and realized through our dietary needs, that if you eat crap, your body will treat you like crap.

I am just a dad, husband and a fed up consumer that realizes that we have been led astray by large corporations that want to sell their products. Enough of that!

Sickness and decay is not normal. Health and vitality is our default setting. Just because we are aging, we don’t have to fall apart.

Alarming Health Trends

I am begging you to not wait until you or someone you love gets ill, sick, cancer or dies before making diet and lifestyle changes. We all know that we should eat better.

I have found many great examples of people healing themselves and turning their life around with the power of good, healthy food choices.

We all know the saying “you are what you eat”, but when you are addicted to processed, easy food, it is hard to make that commitment.

I wish that I would have understood this much earlier. My parents did their job and taught me the common sense things like, eating meals as a family and teaching your children to cook. I put the blame on our weak, paid-for government and the large corporations that truly run our country. Apparently health doesn’t bring in enough revenue.

Please make your family’s health priority and choose to pay more now for good healthy foods.

How did our priorities get so screwed up?

Why is it, we are so eager to spend so much money on fancy cars, posh homes and then cheap out by trying to save money on our food?

lambo

fast-food-top

 

 

 

 

Should that not be our priority or at least high on the list of importance??

Raw-Fruit-And-Vegetables

I realize, first hand, how hard these changes are to make. Believe me, when I say that there has been very few days where I am not wondering, “what am I going to make for the next 3 meals?”. It does get better, but I have made that commitment, that we are never going back to a life of easy or cheap food. I have heard someone say that “you pay the farmer/grocer now or pay the doctors later”.

I urge you to start where you can today! Make better choices and balance your life.

  • Support local farmer’s markets and start a garden.
  • Cook!
  • Teach your children to cook.
  • Don’t give up or give in.

Be healthy and love life.

“You Might Not Be Getting All the Nutrients You Need, Eating That Way”

“You must have healthy grains as part of your diet.”

Do you hear this sentiment from friends and family?

Our society has been brainwashed into believing bull-caca!

If you are like me, you don’t believe “conventional” wisdom as far as you can throw it!

You may feel like you are swimming upstream sometimes, trying to keep you and your family healthy while government, relatives, and big business try to feed you loads of crap they call food!

When we tell people that we only eat fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, seeds and nuts, their immediate response is, “….what do you eat then?”

Many will wonder (because they are programmed the same way we were), how we are able to sustain our children on a diet without “whole grains?”

Some brave souls may even ask, “But what about all the healthy fibres that they are missing out on?”

I am here to tell you, you are not alone if you are getting these questions.

If you are maybe wondering yourself, then hopefully I can help you, and shed some light on this murky subject.

We didn’t get a choice when our daughter was in pain and the typical gluten free diet wasn’t the final answer. We had to hit the drawing board once again. This was the second time in less than 2 years that we had to redefine our diet, and pore through endless websites and books to try to find a solution that none of our doctors could give us.

We made a bold decision to take these things out of our diet, out of sheer desperation. We didn’t have answers, so we had to go for it and pray to God that this might fix what continued to give our daughter the excruciating discomfort, with no name.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can survive, nay, thrive!

We are essentially following the Paleo diet, but I resist saying that because I feel it is more of a dissection of the food pyramid, or a back-to-basics-plan. I also know that people have a preconceived image of someone on a Paleo diet.

Here are the reasons that I follow the diet and want my family to learn how to do the same:

  • My full time job involves dealing with many chronically sick people, some are quite young (and I don’t want to end up that way)
  • After dealing with our immediate family diet needs, I started to look back on other family members and their ailments
  • I truly believe that health and longevity starts in your mind. If you believe you are healthy, you are.
  • Falling apart as we age is not supposed to happen at the rate that we have become accustomed to
  • The rates of autoimmune diseases, cancers, allergies and general sickness continues to go up despite advances in medicine (Cancer cases to rise 57%, Autoimmune disease on the rise, Food allergies on the rise)

I find that health is personal and people have to stand up for their beliefs. When you make changes as drastic as this, you are always going to have someone or something challenging you. You have be firm in your belief and remember it is YOUR health.

Dining out, family engagements, parties, holidays are all different and can be challenging. I suggest joining a group of like-minded people or some sort of Paleo community, as it helps to have people to share your thoughts with.

Stay healthy!

Article from the famous Mark Sisson:Why Grains Are Unhealthy

Doctor Reverses Multiple Sclerosis in 9 Months by Eating These Foods

What is the Paleo Diet by Robb Wolf

 

Best McFree Chicken Nuggets. GF, DF

You know that if you are limited to eating healthy, home made meals, you will do anything to help make life tastier and happier for your kids!

When I saw this recipe from Danielle Walker, I knew right then, that I was “all in”! The next day I hit the grocery store(like I do everyday)but I was on a mission to get these made. I wanted to be that amazing Dad that recreated McNuggets at home!

I picked up the best chicken thighs that I could get and headed for my kitchen. Little did I realize that this recipe would put my Vitamix to the ultimate test as well as the chef. Woops!

I didn’t think that I needed to get ground chicken and I was already “all in”, so I had to McGyver this into submission. I am that guy!

Naive and excited to make, I threw all 2 lbs of thighs right into the ‘ol Vitamix and hit the ON switch. It chewed up pretty good for about 30 seconds and then just stopped. (I thought these things were indestructible??) After calling the company and getting put on hold, I realized it just needed a rest during the GRINDING OF THE CHICKEN! (It turns out that you might need to grind the chicken in smaller batches)

Well, I was so excited to make these and I thought, if I’m going to go the trouble of making these, I should just make a bunch.  I had at least a double batch, cause I made close to 80 nuggets.

When I do a recipe, I use it as a guide for the most part and wing it from there.(makes life a little exciting)

I only used dark meat and it turned out great. I also only used the flours that I had on hand. I used almond and coconut flour for the batter. My batter was a lot thicker than I thought it would be, but it worked out really well even though it didn’t look like it was going to.

This is a bit of work, but totally worth it. My whole family, nearly gave me a standing ovation at supper! They all loved them, so much! Both girls wanted them for lunch the next day.

I hope you give it a go. It really is nice to have an old favorite, but in a healthy way:)

Stay healthy!

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AUTHOR: Danielle Walker – AgainstAllGrain.com

SERVES: 20 nuggets

CUISINE: Kids

PREP TIME: 25 mins

COOK TIME: 20 mins TOTAL TIME: 45 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic palm shortening, lard, tallow or duck fat for frying
  • 1/2 pound ground dark meat chicken (preferably organic and if possible pastured)
  • 1/2 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Batter

*note these will likely work without the egg for egg-free, but will probably be less crispy. 

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Bring the oil to 350°F then reduce the heat on the stove to keep a constant temperature. The oil should be about 2-inches high in the pot.
  2. Combine the chicken, chicken stock, 3/4 teaspoon salt, ground mustard, and garlic powder in a bowl.
  3. In a shallow and wide dish, whisk together the bean flour, arrowroot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and baking powder. Add the egg and sparking water and stir until just combined and smooth.
  4. Roll small portions of the meat mixture between your palms to create a nugget shape, then dip them in the batter. Shake off the excess batter and place them in the hot oil, working in batches of 6-8 nuggets. Cook on each side 3 to 4 minutes, until the batter has puffed up and is golden brown.
  5. Remove the nuggets with a mesh skimmer and place them on a rack lined with a paper towel to cool. Continue working in batches until you have finished the meat and batter.

Alternatively – these nuggets can be baked all at once, but they do not get nearly as crispy as they do when fried. After dipping the chicken in the batter and shaking off the excess liquid, place them on a baking sheet and baked for 16 minutes at 400°F.

To Freeze and Reheat

Cool the nuggets completely then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Transfer them to an airtight container and store for up to 3 months. To reheat, place the nuggets on a baking sheet and cook at 400°F for or 12 minutes or 8 minutes on convection.

Best Chicken Nuggets, Danielle Walker

Organic Carrot and Chicken Soup

This has become a family favorite and I want to share it with you.
I started making this when we learned that our daughter had leaky gut syndrome. This was keeping her sick even after being gluten free for 2 years. The recipe I started with was the basis for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
I have made it so many times and customized it along the way. I’m sure you will appreciate the the final product.

Grocery list for wonderful soup:
6-8 skin on chicken thighs(depending on size)
1 lb chicken sausage(I use organic from Sunworks)
8-10 good size carrots(for the soup in the picture, I found thumbelina carrots for a change)
2-3 cups of chicken stock(I prefer to make my own)
1 1/2 yellow onion
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 handful fresh parsley
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

This soup is purposely sparse on spices, to aid in healing, but adjust it to your tastes.

Peel carrots and cut 3/4 into large pieces and the remaining carrots into bite sized pieces. (You will need to easily pull out larger ones so that you can blend them up.)

Cut onion into larger pieces.

In a large pot, place chicken, carrots, onion, cilantro, parsley and chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with water and slow boil for 3 hours. While soup is boiling, brown chicken sausage and break into small pieces.

After 3 hours, the carrots are very soft(great for easy digestion). Separate the chicken and vegetables from the stock. If you have an immersion blender, then blend the large pieces of carrot and some of the onion to create a more cloudy soup. If you are blending in a blender or Vitamix, put vegetables and some stock into the blender and slowly blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into the stock and stir into a nice soup. Carefully remove all bones and skin from the chicken thighs.(I then use the skin and bones again to make chicken stock)

Cut chicken into small pieces and prepare to put back into the soup.  Add the browned chicken sausage at this time. You have a portion of carrots and onions to put back into the soup. Continue to simmer on low and season to taste.

This makes enough soup for a few days and it makes a great school lunch item. You can freeze the soup and if stored correctly, it will be good for quite some time. It usually doesn’t last that long though.

 

 

 

Pain Must Mean Glutening, Right??

If you are eating gluten free food and being very careful, you are safe and keeping healthy right?

Not necessarily so!

I know this may come as a shock and many of you reading this, might not want to hear it.

Many celiac people have no outward symptoms! They are only safe as long as there is NO gluten whatsoever.  So you may be one of those people and you may not realize that your small intestine is being damaged when you are eating at a restaurant or having something with only a little gluten in it.

Here are some quotes and some links that may shed some more light on this issue.

One of the important conclusions made by the research group is that the possibility of celiac disease should be strongly considered in people with other autoimmune disorders, even if those people do not show gastrointestinal symptoms traditionally associated with celiac disease.

http://www.celiac.com/articles/21533/1/Most-People-Diagnosed-With-Celiac-Disease-Show-No-Symptoms/Page1.html

People with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

Why Go Gluten-Free If Your Celiac Is Silent?

It can be tough to go and stay gluten-free if you don’t notice gastrointestinal symptoms from your condition. There’s no doubt that eating gluten-free can be complicated and difficult, andcheating on the gluten-free diet is pretty tempting if you don’t suffer from symptoms.

However, there are two reasons to stay gluten-free even if you don’t notice major symptoms from gluten ingestion.

The first is to safeguard your long-term health. Cheating on the diet can cause some pretty significant health problems, including malnutritioninfertilityosteoporosis and potentially even certain cancers.

Even cheating once or twice a month can prevent your intestines from healing and perpetuate the immune system response, so eating gluten occasionally is almost as bad as eating it constantly.

intestines

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/symptomsofceliacdisease/a/Silent-Celiac-Disease.htm

I know for many people, it is not popular and it was the same for us when the diagnosis came in. We were less than excited about not being able to eat at restaurants or have family get togethers, the way we used to.

For the first year or so I worked very hard at finding workable solutions for celiac’s to be able to dine out and find convenient ways to get fed. What I realized is that it is not worth the risk. Eating something from a restaurant or from a kind family member is not worth the long term risks, if you are not 100% sure.

If you knew that you could do something to prevent an auto-immune disease like MS or arthritis in the future, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Curtis family 090 re

I think the answer is easily yes.

IBS Reversable on a Gluten Free Diet

This is a very interesting article. Imagine if all the people with IBS found a solution other than drugs? I hope that by sharing this, some people may be relieved of some pain. Enjoy health!

From the Gluten Free Society:

IBS Resolves Following a Gluten Free Diet What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? This term has been thrown around by GI doctors for many years as a catch all diagnosis for those with bowel dysfunction of unknown origin. Typically, IBS patients don’t respond to increased fiber and respond poorly to medication. In my experience most patients I see have been stamped with psychological problems and are told to see a psychiatrist and to manage their stress. If you fall into this category of doctor negligence, keep reading. There is hope yet… A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology confirms a direct benefit of patients suffering with IBS after following a gluten free diet. In layman’s terms the study can be summarized as follows: A gluten free diet reduced diarrhea in patients with IBS There was a noticeable and measurable increase in leaky gut (intestinal permeability) in those eating gluten. Gluten caused an increased production of inflammatory markers Everything was worse in patients who had positive gene markers for gluten sensitivity. Here is the technical summary of the study conclusion: IBS and gluten studyBACKGROUND & AIMS:: Patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) could benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD). METHODS:: We performed a randomized controlled 4-week trial of a gluten-containing diet (GCD) or GFD in 45 patients with IBS-D; genotype analysis was performed for HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. CONCLUSION:: Gluten alters bowel barrier functions in patients with IBS-D, particularly in HLA-DQ2/8-positive patients. These findings reveal a reversible mechanism for the disorder. Source: Gastroenterology. 2013 Jan 25. pii: S0016-5085(13)00135-2. A Controlled Trial of Gluten-Free Diet in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea: Effects on Bowel Frequency and Intestinal Function. Vazquez-Roque MI, Camilleri M, Smyrk T, Murray JA, Marietta E, O’Neill J, Carlson P, Lamsam J, Janzow D, Eckert D, Burton D, Zinsmeister AR. What To Do When IBS Is Diagnosed Many get a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. As a matter of fact, this condition will affect 1 in 6 Americans. Most doctors will tell you that there is no known cause or blame stress, but there are some known causes and here is a breakdown for you: Gluten – one of the most common causes of IBS today is overexposure to glutens. This family of proteins has been shown to cause nerve damage to the synapses in the gut leading to motility issues that can cause both diarrhea and constipation. Lack of dietary fiber – lack of vegetable fibers slows down gastric transit time, but also inhibits the growth of certain types of healthy bacteria. This can translate into a variety of different gastrointestinal symptoms. **Note – psyllium fiber and other cellulose based fibers are not recommended here as they can exacerbate IBS. Stress – yes stress can play a role, but it is typically not the main issue for most being diagnosed with this condition. Infection – bowel infection of viruses, bacteria, and parasites can cause IBS Food Intolerance – different than allergy, an intolerance = inability to digest foods. When foods don’t digest in your gut, they ferment. This can produce gas, bloating, and bowel motility issues. The most common example would be lactose intolerance, however; many other foods can also contribute to this issue including processed sugars, and grains. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies – Nutritional deficiency impacts the function of many tissues, the gut included. A common example of a nutrient deficiency that can cause IBS symptoms in magnesium. This simple mineral plays a role in how the muscles of the intestine properly contract to push foods and fluids through the bowels. Much like magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramping in the legs, it can cause the same symptoms in the muscles that line the intestines. Lack of Exposure to Healthy Bacteria – good germs help to regulate the water balance, inflammation, and digestive processes of the gut. Most of us are overly hygienic and do not get enough exposure to dirt. Remember that aside from eating fermented foods, playing outside in the dirt is one of the best ways to maintain great exposure to good bacteria. Poor Hydration – Lack of fluid intake is extremely common. Whether by not drinking enough water or avoidance of foods that have naturally high levels of water (fruit and vegetables), most Americans stay in a state of chronic dehydration. Add to this the fact that many maintain energy levels by consuming caffeinated beverages. Remember that caffeine is a diuretic and causes excessive water loss on a consistent basis. Lack of Exercise – Movement of the body stimulates bowel flow. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle often suffer with abnormal bowel function. If you have a problem with constipation, try light calisthenic exercise every morning after waking. You can also check out a great functional exercise program for home use here. Medications That Disrupt Any of the Above – Antibiotics, antacids, pain medications, and anti-depressants, can also disrupt the above through a variety of mechanisms. Additionally, these four groups of drugs represent the top prescribed drugs in the US. Even if you don’t take them directly, you can get exposure to low doses in the water supply. That means that drinking unfiltered tap water or showering and breathing steam (indirect exposure) can leave you exposed. See the diagram below: constipation Now Take Action After reading the above information, only you can appropriately take action and improve your gut function. Unfortunately, most doctors are not going to do it for you. You just have to rule out any of the above as potential problems your are facing (a functional medicine doctor can guide you) and TAKE ACTION. Taking action in the appropriate manner can help you restore bowel function and subsequently your health. Remember that medicating the symptoms away without finding the origin of the problem is a big mistake. Here are my top supplements for helping restore bowel function once you have addressed the above issues: Ultra Nutrients – a potent gluten free multivitamin to help protect against nutritional deficiencies. UltraImmune IgG – a potent antibody formula to help prevent infection and leaky gut. GI Restore – for intense cases of constipation, this supplement helps to get the bowels moving again Biotic Defense – a potent probiotic to help maintain healthy levels of good bacteria. Ultra Omega – a potent formula designed to aid in the normal inflammation response. This is a common problem for those with post infection IBS. Max Digest – an enzyme blend that helps break down difficult to digest grains, sugars, proteins, fats, and lectins. http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/ibs-reversable-on-a-gluten-free-diet/