There are medical doctors who are forward-thinking and believe in the power of food.
I recently had an endoscopy and colonoscopy (I hadn’t had these tests since I was under the age of 5) due to a diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is estimated that one in six Americans have IBS—that number is crazy! I had painful, persistent and chronic symptoms for about 4 months which quickly led to an IBS diagnosis after other health issues were ruled out. This was the first time I had ever been diagnosed with IBS.
When I sat down with my new gastroenterologist, I was reluctant to talk about food and diet, however, her views were so refreshing. First, she said that celiacs should definitely have a colonoscopy long before the current recommended age of 50 (which is post-diagnosis), at least once in early adulthood. Currently there is a 5 year protocol for crohn’s disease, but no formal recommendations for celiacs. She finds this bizarre, and quite frankly, so do I.
My gastro also said diet is key with respect to our overall health. She said we need to stop eating all the packaged garbage on store shelves which is clearly making us sick, and cook our own food using clean, healthy ingredients. She is a fan of the Paleo diet for celiacs and recommended the diet to me personally, where the focus is on high-quality protein, good fats and plant-based foods. She is against human consumption of dairy products and said, “I never understood why humans would want to consume milk from animals.” She is so disappointed in how our food supply, which is filled with chemicals and synthetics, is poisoning our gut and bodies overall. I was completely blown away—finally a doctor who sees the big picture. I wonder if if her views come from personal experience.
After I was diagnosed with IBS by both my family doctor and gastro, and a lot of research on the subject, I decided to follow the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to the letter for one month. The SCD has many similarities to the Paleo diet, but is far more restrictive. Interestingly, my IBS symptoms vanished. One theory about IBS is that it is caused by inflammation (and might actually be the beginning stage of crohn’s disease). If that is the case, then the SCD helped to heal inflammation that may have been developing in my colon. The fermented foods that are part of the diet likely helped improve the bacteria balance in my gut as well.
Surprisingly, my gastro had no idea what the SCD was, but when I explained to her it is similar to the Paleo diet, she immediately recommended that I “stay Paleo” long-term.
I may have found the answer to this gut problem on my own (aaahhh the story of my life!), but I’m still walking away from this experience with more faith in medical doctors’ views on food!