If the foods you’ve always enjoyed (or even loved) now make you sick, you may have what the health industry calls a food intolerance. However, the underlying problem that’s causing it could be a “leaky gut.”
If you’re experiencing stomach discomfort, joint pain, migraines, arthritis or an autoimmune disease, ruling out leaky gut is a good place to start. The good news is that it’s totally reversible and doesn’t even require medication to get back on track.
Leaky gut is actually a very accurate term that describes a situation where your intestinal walls start to allow undigested food particles to leak from your gut into your blood. Once this happens, your body sees it as a threat and your immune system steps in to help.
Think of your immune system like the scanner at the cash register of your local grocery store. Everything you put in your mouth and eat goes through the scanner. Then, your immune system determines whether it’s something good and nourishing or something that’s harmful and needs to be attacked, neutralized and removed from the body.
It’s usually this “attack” phase of the immune system that causes the discomfort in the gut or joints – or causes headaches, mental fog or other symptoms. But what happens when your immune system “scanner” is marking the majority of your food as harmful? That’s a strong sign that you might be dealing with a leaky gut.
I worked with a client who was upset and wondered why everything she ate made her feel sick. She knew she was intolerant to gluten and dairy, but she was blown away when a food intolerance test red-flagged the foods that made up most of her diet. She was frustrated and wondering, “What am I supposed to eat?” I helped her realize she wasn’t intolerant to those foods but was suffering from leaky gut. This put our focus on healing her gut so she could feel better and enjoy her favorite foods again.
It’s this immune response that leaves a person feeling gassy, bloated, crampy, nauseous or sick to their stomach.
If you know the foods bothering you, I suggest initially removing all of them from your diet. This will let your immune system stop fighting the food you’re eating, so it can focus on healing the inflammation causing your misery. But don’t stop there; work to boost your nutrient digestion and absorption by healing your intestinal wall by focusing on an anti-inflammatory eating plan. Eat foods such as organic produce and local grass-fed and pasture-raised meats to bring nutrients to the intestinal wall for further healing. This will help you to feel better and reduce inflammation within the digestive tract.
Your body wants to heal, and when it’s supported, it’s amazing what it can do.
Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition, which has offices in Durango and Bayfield and offers virtual-coaching options. She can be reached at 444-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.