In the United States alone, 10 to 15 percent of the population—45.5 million people—suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Saito, Schoenfeld, and Locke 2002). If you are among them, I wrote this book to help you take charge of your life and work toward regaining your health. I want to provide you with some tools to help you find the best diet for you, and I’d like to share what worked for me in my healing process, so you and others can learn from my experience of overcoming IBS without drugs or surgery. Through careful observation and alternative testing, I was able to discover what foods, environmental factors, pathogens (such as harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi), activities, and emotions contributed to my IBS symptoms. I was able to address the pathogens and change my eating and lifestyle habits. Once I changed my diet, my digestion improved in two weeks. As I continued incorporating lifestyle changes and repairing my gut, the symptoms slowly and consistently subsided. Today my digestion is healed, and if I have a minor upset, I can identify the source and recover in hours instead of months. I don’t take any drugs, and I take only a few specific supplements, which I’ll identify for you.
After healing my own digestion with whole foods, relaxation, massage, gentle exercise, herbs, and supplements, I became a certified nutrition consultant, and I have helped many others improve their overall digestion and overcome IBS. I hope this book will give you the tools to help you find the solution to your own IBS.
With the information in this book, I hope to help you answer these questions:
You can find the answers to these questions by following this book step by step. If you use the forms this book provides to document your own reactions to foods and activities, you’ll begin to notice what affects your digestion and overall health. Follow the simple recipes and use them as starting points to fine-tune your diet. Be patient with yourself. Regaining proper bowel function and healing yourself can take time. Do the best you can and realize that no one’s perfect. If you have a relapse, don’t agonize; instead, analyze and learn what you need to do differently next time. Even slow progress is beneficial and indicates healing. I’m living proof that healing is not only possible but also likely, if you give yourself the attention and care you deserve. Your body wants to be whole and healthy, and if you give it the opportunity, that’s what you can expect.
The most effective approach to any health challenge is to look at the entire body, lifestyle, and attitude in order to change the process of degeneration to one of regeneration. Everything affects everything else. Our digestive system is a continuous unit that is attached to, and interacts with, the rest of the body. Each part of the digestive system depends on all the other parts. Gulping our food without thoroughly chewing it results in an irritated intestine. The chemicals we encounter in our food and environment as part of our modern life can irritate the entire gut tube, not just the area of entry. This is because we can eat chemicals, inhale them, or absorb them through the skin. Also, spending excess energy worrying can deplete energy needed to repair or maintain our digestive process, potentially resulting in IBS. The key is to proceed with awareness and attention to the food you eat and how you eat it, and to simplify your overall environment. This holistic approach can help you regain a healthy life, free of IBS.