I was encouraged to write this gut-health blog by two dear friends, Maria and Hema. I was hesitant as it’s not within the realms of restaurant/travel reviews, however it’s part of my health and wellness lifestyle. I hope you learn something from my journey.In my mid-twenties I developed a face rash; from the bridge of my nose to my chin. I could never pinpoint the cause. I hid it for years with concealer. I went to a naturopath who nearly poisoned me with overdosing on fish oil. No success.
Early thirties, I noticed my chin would get itchy and red after eating certain foods, so I did some food testing. The good ‘ole nightshade family, amongst other things were the supposed culprits. I was in denial, and rebelled being a foodie as I was not being told what foods to avoid.
2013, I started Paleo (90/10), and I have total respect for Chef Pete Evans, who’s a strong advocate for gut-health. I’ve had amazing benefits. Being 95% gluten-free for 15 years, then adding in grain-free and dairy-free, plus avoiding processed sugar, I learned to love my new food regime. I can’t ditch the alcohol or coffee though.
January 2017, I developed eczema on one eye, after an eyebrow shape. I visited a skincare specialist who started me on Dermaviduals skincare. I achieved fast results and the eczema vanished. Initially diagnosed with rosacea (rash), post analysis, skincare lady, while drinking her latte, suggested me to avoid the sun, wear spf30 on my face, avoid coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol, dairy, perfume on clothes (not skin) etc. Yeah Yeah. I’m Italian so sorry they all just go with the territory. I did try this temporarily with no results, yet stayed faithful to the new skincare range and continued my long-term use of paraben-free soap, shampoo, and cosmetics.
Further research , thanks to Dr Google, taught me that my rash was linked to my gut, as apparently every disease is; depression, diabetes, you name it. Hence I made gut-health, my prime goal and investment for 2017.
Long-story short, I took a naturopath’s advice vs proceeding independently with food sensitivity or stool tests. Wise choice as I would have confused myself without success. She was surprised I felt well. I did suffer from a stomach bug in Vietnam and just a few bouts of gastro over the last 10 years, but that was it. I told her my main goal was to get rid of my skin rash.
Firstly she got me off tap water, so I purchased my AceBio mineral pot water filter from Commonsense Organics. OMG to be able to drink 2 litres of this lovely liquid daily and to share this with hubby, cat and my indoor potplants was a Godsend. I will never drink tap water again. Living proof of this magic, was witnessing my plant leaves turn a bright green and flower for the first time in 10 years!
Then I did some tests. Geez I rarely go to a doctor and thought I was healthy. Fortunately my good diet and exercise still helps, but I needed more help. I had remnants of camphylobacter (Vietnam), and a gut full of bugs with a big inflammation mass. Ugh. Chronic leaky gut syndrome. What is this? How the heck did I get this? How long have I had this ? No idea. It’s very common with travellers and those who have suffered from chronic stress. Fortunately the latter was chronic but is well-managed now so anxiety/depression no longer feature in my life.
I started my course of digestive enzymes, probiotics, vitamins etc. prior to going to Texas/Mexico. It was challenging but I stayed on track. And all our tour group got sick except moi. There you go! Something was working. I got re-tested on my return with dramatic improvements. I’d blasted the tumour and most of the bacteria and bugs. I’m now on the final stage until the end of February. I’m sleeping way better. Not sleeping is a strong sign your gut isn’t working.
Fortunately I only had a wee list of mild food intolerances to avoid for 6 months, (e.g cacao, pork, lemon, almonds, garlic and a load of other yummy things!). I have struggled to totally avoid these completely so try to only have weekly (sortof!). I’m not a big drinker and have pretty much removed all processed sugar from my diet. Some key gut baddies are sugar (including alcohol), dairy, gluten, tap water, processed foods, fish (mercury), grain-fed red meat and eggs.
My moderate foods to avoid were mango, coriander and casein (milk protein). Further research revealed that bottle-fed babies can result in this milk digestive issue. Go figure. I now drink a long black daily, which I make at home and love. I do miss mango, coriander and my latte but cope. I can have a turmeric, beetroot or coconut latte of course. I miss cheese but had reduced it significantly anyway (Paleo) and keep it as a rare treat.
Since I stopped milk, and started using mineral water on my face, I noticed my skin really staring to glow. I got my skin reanalysed thanks to Elderberry and Kate, and was complimented on my hydrated skin. I haven’t seen my rash flare up with bumps for ages. I still have a little redness but it has diminished greatly and my chin rarely itches now. I can reintroduce the mild intolerance food groups back and they’ll either work or not. My chin will help me decide.
Once I’ve finished, I will continue with my quality vitamin B, fish oil (with vitamin D), probiotic and magnesium. I also have some travelguard drops, and activated charcoal to take overseas with me for ‘just in case’. I eat fermented foods daily and drink a low-sugar kombucha regularly.
I’ve spent about $5-$6K and it’s taken 10 months. I am so grateful and have no regrets. I trusted my gut (ha ha) and believe I got some good return on my health investment. I look forward to continuing to learn, share and enjoy my happy, healthy, long life and hopefully a squeaky clean gut. This takes guts (pun intended) you know!