“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”Galileo Galilei
It was early 2002 and my sixteen-year-old daughter climbed out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. "How do you feel this morning?" I asked. Her response broke me. "I never feel good any more mom. I feel bad all the time. My stomach hurts after everything I eat." What had happened to my daughter that caused her to become allergic to the foods she would eat? What was causing all the pain in her gut? Doctors couldn't help me except to suggest the removal of her gallbladder, hoping this would help. I was in pain because she was in pain, and I was on a mission to help her. I had just started making cultured foods the previous year and found that these foods helped with her digestion. That morning I called someone who had sold me coconut oil and was, in my opinion, a health expert. What happened next changed not only the course of Maci's gut but my whole life as well. I told this person I was making cultured foods, which she also believed in, and she said something to me that I will never forget. "You should feed your daughter a cultured food at every meal since it helps with digestion, and see if it makes a difference." So I did.
Cultured Food At Every Meal
Stopping The Pain
Maci had a cultured food with each of her meals and within a month her stomach stopped hurting. Within three months her food allergies started evaporating, and a year later she could eat anything she desired. She was no longer allergic to the mass of foods she had been allergic to. It felt like someone had casually handed me the keys to the kingdom of food allergies. I am so glad I heeded that casual advice because it changed everything for me. I began telling my friends about this miraculous method of healing food allergies and fixing their guts, and they began to heal too. Before I knew it, people were coming to me in droves and my life began to change dramatically. I started researching everywhere trying to find evidence of what I was witnessing and none was to be found. Since this message of eating cultured foods at every meal was given to me to help my daughter, I decided I would share it with anybody who needed help.
I had no research and no proof besides the lives I was helping and witnessing - until now.
They Were No Longer Allergic
A study,1 published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has discovered not only a possible cause of food allergies but a probable cure. The team found that young children overexposed to antibiotics were at greater risk of developing food allergies. They were able to identify a naturally occurring bacteria in the human gut that keeps people from developing food allergies. The bacteria, called Clostridia, is a big class of bacteria which includes hundreds of members. This strain of bacteria diminishes with frequent antibiotic use at a young age — making children more susceptible to food allergies later in life. Maci was given antibiotics every year when she would get her yearly sinus infection, and now I can see how this affected her.
The research team administered antibiotics to young mice2 and found they were more likely to develop peanut allergies than the control group. Then they were given this special and diverse group of bacteria called Clostridia. This is a good bacteria that naturally occurs in mammalian guts — and like magic, the mice's sensitivity went away. They were no longer allergic.
I got chills when I first read this study and felt myself well up inside and I shouted out loud, "I KNEW IT!" even though nobody was around to hear me. I believe that cultured foods are so effective at healing the gut because they contain many different strains of good bacteria and good yeasts and they are predigested foods that help us digest the foods we eat with them. The special group of super cultured foods called the Trilogy (kefir, kombucha and cultured veggies) were the ones I used to heal my daughter and help many others. They have many different strains of bacteria and will colonize the gut and repair it.
Another study done on peanut allergies in children was published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. This study was done on children who had peanut allergies and were given a probiotic strain of bacteria that over time eliminated their peanut allergies.3 A follow-up study on the children done four years later confirmed the findings that they were still free of peanut allergies.
The use of probiotics for food allergies is growing and even being used to treat babies and pregnant women. Supplementing with probiotics, specifically B. lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been found to help prevent food allergies in infants whose families have a predisposition to food allergies. (These species are in milk kefir as well.)4, 5
Reasons For Food Allergies
Food allergies rose a whopping 50% between 1997 and 2011,6 and I saw this in my own home. My daughter, who had no previous food allergies, had suddenly developed them and I wanted to know why. The reasons include:
- A rise in antibiotic use that kills the bacteria we need to digest our foods.
- A diet devoid of fiber (prebiotics) and nutrients to feed the microbiome.
- A lack of probiotic foods in our diet has wreaked havoc on our 10 trillion microbes that keep us well.
- Chemicals that flood our environment that disrupt our inner flora.
(A common ingredient in antibacterial soaps called Triclosan7 has been linked to food allergens. The FDA issued a final rule establishing that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products containing the active ingredients Triclosan can no longer be marketed.)8
These common occurrences in everyday life have unknowingly led to a decline in gut bacteria and we have suffered the consequences.
What You Can Do
If we give the bodies what they need, our bodies can do the job they were designed to do - heal us! It's how it works and when you are confused and feel afraid and in pain there is always help for you. You are not alone. I was struggling to find answers to heal my daughter's gut pain - if I can heal and find the answers, so can you. The answer came to me when I needed it. It wasn't a billboard, it was in a conversation that felt really important, and I just had to act on it, trusting that the power that made the body can heal the body if we give it what it needs. So if you are reading this, I urge you to heed the call and start eating a small amount of cultured foods at each meal.
As things continue to evolve, there will be more evidence of what I am telling you. Restoring the gut with good bacteria that has been stripped through antibiotics is one of the keys to restoring our health and our lives. When you are healthy, you can't help but show others the way too. The exciting part? This is just food, not drugs, which makes this accessible and easy and for everyone to do.
What She Ate
Maci had a cultured food at every meal.
- Kefir for breakfast, (one to two cups)
- Cultured veggies at lunch and dinner. (one to two tablespoons)
- Kombucha or coconut water kefir to drink at every meal. (4 to 8 ounces)
- She also had a lot of bone broths made into soups. The collagen in the broth is very healing to the digestive tract. (a few times a week)
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil a day. Coconut oil kills candida and is a medium chain triglyceride which is very healing to the digestive tract.9
Prebiotics Were Key
Maci also began having foods and drinks that had prebiotics in them. She said soothed her gut and stopped the pain. Prebiotics are certain indigestible fibers that nourish the good bacteria in the large bowel or colon. The body itself cannot digest these foods, but our bacteria can and we receive the benefits.
Eat more fruits and vegetables for the prebiotics, but there are also many prebiotic supplements that work. You can add prebiotic supplements to hot beverages and foods or cook them with other foods, and they will make the bacteria already residing within you thrive. Here are a few of my favorites:
Listen To My Podcast
Do you have food allergies? I'll explain the science behind your food allergies and how to heal them. Hear my daughter story of how she healed from food allergies, IBS and digestive disorders. Food allergies shouldn't have to rule your life anymore, there's a better way!