Yesterday I posted about the basics of the paleo diet and I mentioned that my daughter and I also cut out nightshades. So I wanted to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing. In all of my reading about autoimmune diseases, of which I have a few, I read that often they stem from issues in the gut. I believe that it was Socrates that first stated that and it makes a lot of sense. I don’t think that the answer to every problem is just to start taking some medication. When my husband’s mother was living with us, she had a ton of medication she was taking for her heart condition and half of the medication was for the purpose of combating the side effects of the other half of the medication. That’s just plain insanity. When my doctor suggested 12 years ago that I go on pain meds, I thought that there had to be a different way. There had to be a way to combat it through diet. At the time I was 33 and I didn’t feel like being on pain meds for the rest of my life. So, that’s what brought me to this diet.
Here’s another disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and I’ve only come about this information because of extensive research on the internet and through experimenting with myself.
Here’s what I’ve learned about how the gut can affect your health: When your gut isn’t functioning correctly, you have things getting into your blood stream that create an autoimmune response. I’m not sure why my gut started to not function properly, but I can pinpoint the time to directly after the birth of my second child. It was a really fast birth (1 1/2 hours start to finish) and afterward, I felt like I was bruised inside for quite a while. It seems possible that that could have been what triggered the beginning of my problems. Whether or not you believe in a leaky gut syndrome, here’s what I have found out about nightshades, grains and dairy:
They all contain compounds that have a high permeability rate, through your intestines and into your bloodstream. Grains and dairy have very high amounts of protease inhibitors. I’m going to try to explain this simply: protease inhibitors affect how things are broken down within the small intestine, which is where most of your nutrients are absorbed. When the balance is thrown off, you’re not getting the nutrients you should and some of things aren’t being broken down the way they should. That means some things get into your blood stream that shouldn’t be there and that causes your body to attack those things, causing inflammation. Legumes and psuedo-grains (like amaranth) contain high amounts of saponins. Saponins increase the permeability of your small intestine. So, if you combine a high permeability from the saponins with the lack of things being broken down efficiently, you have things that get into your blood stream easily.
I have been diagnosed with pernicious anemia, which is a lack of vitamin B12. It’s an absorption issue. I’m also sensitive to gluten. So, I know that I have a gut issue of some sort. Here’s what I started taking as supplements to heal my gut: L-Glutamine (an amino acid that maintains intestinal metabolism), krill oil, and probiotics. Here’s what I’ve noticed in the last two weeks that I’ve been on the diet: I don’t have any joint pain. Any! At all. Seriously, it’s been 12 years since I have been completely free from pain. Also, I’ll try to say this delicately, but when I would eat a salad, I noticed that it came out of me within a few hours looking like it was barely digested (sorry if that’s a little graphic). As of one week into the diet, that wasn’t happening any longer. I feel a bit more energetic. I’m not saying I’m a dynamo right now, but I’m feeling better. My daughter has been having achy joints and dizzy spells for the last year and she didn’t have any problems all last week. So, this all seems to be helping. She hasn’t been taking the supplements that I have been taking. She just takes a multivitamin.
Our plan is to follow this regimen strictly for two months and then slowly add things like nightshades back in and see if anything affects us. This has come about after much prayer and seeking the Lord for wisdom on how to heal our bodies. My hope is to be a physical testament to God’s working in my life.