Monday, November 30, 2009

It Takes Time to Heal from Gluten Damage

I’ve always been a believer in simplicity. I’ve found that most things that seem overly complicated usually have something inherently wrong with them.

But is “simple” the same as “fast”? No. And the reason I bring this up is that we are currently living in a “one pill” for “one symptom” society. Take a pill and feel better. It’s one of the many reasons so many continue to suffer a multitude of health problems due to gluten – the concept of changing their diet seems unconfrontable to them. They’re waiting for that “pill” that they can swallow which will allow them to continue to eat gluten. Not that I’m adverse to the advancement of science, but what about in the meantime? How many are suffering needlessly because they are swept up in the mentality?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday a friend was speaking to me of her teenage daughter. Her daughter is a very talented young lady who is not in the best of health. She has a skin condition, amongst other issues, that sounded like hives as her mother described it to me. Despite having spent a little time under my care, her mother asked me what her daughter could “take” for the problem.

In my mind this translates as follows: “What chemical can I put into my daughter’s body such that the outward symptomatic manifestation is masked while absolutely nothing is benefited as regards the root cause of the problem?”

I’m not trying to be harsh, nor am I trying to say that there is never a place for a palliative “band-aid”. But at least while you’re applying the band-aid it would be great if you appreciated the temporary nature of it and simultaneously strived to truly unravel why your body was expressing that particular symptom. Because know this, there’s always a reason underlying the body’s symptoms.

Does this make sense?

Is it a surprise to learn that drugs don’t correct, but rather, mask symptoms?

Here are the facts: The human body is an amazing machine capable of an incredible amount of self-healing when given the correct raw materials to do so. When you realize that gene expression can be altered depending on the nutrients present in your body, you should be very impressed with the body’s ability to heal itself.

Is getting to the root cause of a symptom a complicated issue? No, not at all. Is it fast? Sorry but the answer is again “No”. Now when you take a patient who has been suffering for decades and in several months turn their health around, that may very well be considered “fast” in some people’s minds. So that’s not what I’m referring to. What I’m trying to address is the “take a pill” and feel different in a few hours mentality. That, in my opinion, is what’s getting us into trouble and creating the tremendous numbers of degenerative diseases we have in this country.

It has been estimated that we could save 78% of what we pay for health care if we could just start making healthy lifestyle changes. Is it “complex” to change your diet? No. There are some simple rules and you simply need to follow them. Is it “fast”? No again. It’s something you need to embrace as a lifestyle choice and do every day.

We are always amazed here at the clinic at the number of patients who are simply astounded to discover that what they eat can make them feel so much better. And they usually exclaim: “This is so simple. I never would have believed it!”

So whether you are removing gluten and dairy from your diet (a great start!) or simply beginning to eat “real” food like whole grains (start with the gluten-free ones please), fruit, vegetables, and shunning the artificial sweeteners, colors, refined starches and sugar – give it some time. Three weeks is the minimum amount of time required to change you taste buds and the cells lining your intestine.

So be patient and remember – big health changes can come in easy, uncomplicated (but not fast) packages. And if you’re a parent it’s not too soon to start teaching these lessons to your children. Such lifestyle changes can impact our future generation’s health in a very positive way.

Please let met know if I can answer any further questions.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

No comments: