Throughout my career as a naturopath I’ve carried out over 70,000 consultations and treatments. Many of those consultations and treatments have been with people who suffer with a digestive and/or gut disorder. One question that I’ve always liked to ask them is this:
“When was the last time you can remember not having any digestive or gut problems” and very often the reply will be “When I was still living at home with my parents”.
What does this tell us. It tells us that leaving the shelter of our parents home can be dangerous to our health and wellbeing.
You may be going off to University (exciting and stressful in equal measure), eating too much processed food because you never watched how your Mum prepared and cooked so you don’t have a clue what to do, are under lots of stress due to starting a new job, but in my experience one of the biggest and most fundamental changes is the change to diet and how this can have a detrimental impact on digestive and gut health.
You go from eating our Mum’s wholesome, perhaps plain (certainly in my case) cooking to exposing your digestive system and gut to a different array of foods. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the gut microbiome loves a good variety of foods, but it’s not always as straight-forward as this.
Let me tell you a little story and one that really amused me when I heard it. Teresa was telling me that since she had started to clean up her diet and eat mainly vegan for the past few months, she’d had nothing but stomach problems with terrible uncomfortable and unsightly bloating. This advice was given to her by her wise old Gran:
“Teresa, you were not raised on chickpeas, quinoa and all these fancy green powdered smoothies. You were raised on meat, mash and veggies, Yorkshire puddings, eggs, ham and chips.”
She said that Teresa had messed around trying to be too healthy and needed to get back to basics and eat the food her body knows and can identify so that it can heal. This did make me laugh because it reminded me of my Gran and her mantra “I live to eat, not eat to live.” I can just hear my Grans voice if I tried to give her quinoa or a green juice. Words that I can’t repeat here for fear of offending.
If you have been brought up on meat potatoes veg and Yorkshire puddings and you had no health issues then why would you want to change that unless you had an attack of conscience over the way meat is produced and you decided not to eat it any longer or maybe you started to suffer with a bit of bloating so you assumed probably incorrectly that it was something you were eating that was causing the problem and you decided to faff and mess around with your food so much that you got totally confused and lost your way with it all.
My advice is to take Gran’s advice. Go back to the food you were eating when you were still living at home and stop trying to live like a Buddhist monk.
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