Digestive health is at the root of all good health and digestive distress is at the root of all disease.
When a client has a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease or represents with digestive symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, bloating, gas, intestinal cramping (aka stomachache), a “diagnosis of IBS,” etc., I walk clients through the following protocol alone or in collaboration with a gastroenterologist or other medical practitioner.
1) Do a metabolic and health assessment to understand the full range of symptoms and use these results to determine the steps for getting to the root cause of the digestive disturbances. Complete a 4 day diet log to assess what dietary choices may be resulting in inflammation in the body and resulting in digestive distress or an up-regulated immune system, as in IBD.
2) Connect the dots–When possible run a food sensitivity test (different than a food allergy test) to determine if your body is having an inflamed reaction to non-inflammatory foods. When testing is cost-prohibitive, conduct a food elimination diet over at least one month. Additionally, test for opportunistic “critter” overgrowth in the large intestine (yeast, bacterial, parasites) and for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
3) Remove the concern/s that may are creating an inflamed state. For large intestinal overgrowth, this may be through herbal antimicrobial plants or your doctor may prescribe a pharmaceutical antibiotic. Consume a diet that does not feed the overgrowth and calms an inflamed state. Also, remove foods that you have a sensitivity or immune-reaction to.
4) Increase consumption of anti-inflammatory foods and herbs.
5) Begin rotation diet to prevent new or additional food sensitivity from developing while gut integrity is compromised. Create plan for reintroduction of foods once inflammation is quenched and the immune system is calmed.
6) Start utilizing digestive aids as needed and restore gut integrity and eliminate leaky gut to prevent the development of new food sensitivities and the migration of bacteria from the large to the small intestine.
7) Restore beneficial bacteria and a healthy environment in the digestive system and throughout the body through fermented foods and probiotics, as needed.
8) Repair gastrointestinal damage with vital nutrients.
9) While following previous steps, uncover any connections between stress and symptoms and work on stress-management protocol