Why I will NEVER Tell Someone "How to Heal ______" (And Why YOU Shouldn't Either).
I received an email earlier this week from one of my Instagram followers, with a link for me to watch a Youtube video of a detox specialist talking about what to do to cure cystic fibrosis. While my initial reaction was appreciation that this individual went to the trouble to email me (clearly out of care and concern, wanting to see me cured), after watching the video (which I shouldn't have done), I was extremely upset and frustrated. Why? I'm so glad you asked. This is precisely what today's post is about: why I will NEVER EVER make blanket statements about how to heal certain illnesses...and why you shouldn't either. (EDIT: just for the record, I had already followed the EXACT protocol this detox specialist recommended in her video, as I am also an internationally certified detoxification specialist and have received the exact training she has on how to to "cure" CF and all other "dis-eases," and it landed me in the hospital with the worst chronic pancreatitis flair imaginable, with a severe intestinal infection, and literally dying from malnutrition. And no, it wasn't "detox." I've tried it all, trust me.)
Let's jump into this discussion with an example. Say we have two different people with the same condition--we will calm them Jane and Jill. Both Jane and Jill have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth--this is fresh on my mind right now as I am currently treating my OWN SIBO gut infection...see this postfor more on that...). Both Jane and Jill have methane-dominant SIBO (constipation-based), and both Jane and Jill had the same lactulose breath test results: a rise in hydrogen levels of 145 ppm, and a rise in methane levels of 85 ppm over the 3 hour time period of the test. Now, Jane and Jill are friends, and happen to go to the same gastroenterologist for treatment (we will call the GI doc "Dr. Sam"). Dr. Sam prescribes a 2 week course of a combination of Rifaximin and Neomycin (most effective antibiotics for SIBO) to both Jane and Jill, as well as a low FODMAP diet (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols...aka food for the overgrowth--the top ranked diet for SIBO, aside from the SIBO specific diet, which combines low FODMAP, GAPS, and SCD/Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and tells them to "stay in touch" and follow up if need be. Both Jane and Jill start the antibiotics and their new diet on the same day. A week into treatment, Jane is feeling fantastic--her bowel movements have improved, she has more energy, and her bloating is virtually gone. At the end of her 2 week treatment course, she retests and VICTORY! No more SIBO. Now, Jill isn't so lucky. Jill has a HORRIBLE allergic reaction to the Neomycin, and has to go off the antibiotic treatment. Feeling hopeless, Jill turns to a Naturopath (let's call her Dr. Lewis) and decides to try addressing her SIBO naturally, using herbal supplements. Dr. Lewis, who has a history of methane-dominant SIBO herself, feels confident in her ability to help eradicate Jill's infection, since she got rid of her own already. Dr. Lewis puts Jill on the EXACT SAME PROTOCOL she used herself to get rid of her SIBO, and advises her to continue following the low FODMAP diet during treatment. After Jill completes her 4-week protocol, she retests. Numbers haven't budged...she still has SIBO. Dr. Lewis is perplexed...why didn't it work for Jill? It had worked for her...and her overgrowth was even more severe than Jill's! What was up with that?!
If you're wondering what the point is to my story-telling, hang in there. There is a point, I promise...and this is it: Jane and Jill had different responses to the same treatment because they are DIFFERENT PEOPLE, with DIFFERENT MICROBIOMES. Wait, hold up...micro what?! Microbiome. Let me explain.
What is the MICROBIOME?!
According to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Colorado, “the human microbiota consists of the 10–100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily bacteria in the gut. The human ‘microbiome’ consists of the genes these cells harbor.” Basically, our microbiome is what makes us us. But did you know that each of our microbiomes, or the bacteria we harbor inside our bodies, is different? It's true! According to Dr. Josh Axe, "Estimates of the human gene catalog show that we have about 22,000 'genes' (as we normally think of them) but a staggering 3.3 million 'non-redundant genes' in the human gut microbiome! The diversity among the microbiome of individuals is phenomenal: Individual humans are about 99.9 percent identical to one another in terms of their host genome but usually 80 percent to 90 percent different from one another in terms of the microbiome."
So what exactly does this mean? That there is NO "one-size-fits-all" approach to healing. The ONLY way to truly, effectively heal is to follow a healing protocol designed for YOU ALONE, and tailored to YOUR individual needs. Following a "healing protocol" that's listed in a book, online, or one that "worked for so and so" is NOT going to work for you unless your problems are very mild, and simply cleaning up your diet (eliminating processed, sugary foods) will be the fix (which, for many people, it is). If you have serious or chronic health issues, you need a custom plan. So how do we go about getting that?
It is of PRIMARY and utter importance to work with a skilled practitioner who understands the diversity of the microbiome and respects biochemical individuality. Your body knows what it needs to heal, and will SELF heal if we give it those things it needs, but most of us are scared to--or have been conditioned and trained out of how to--listen to those needs. Our bodies heal themselves if we create the conditions for them to do so. This is why I RARELY share the specific things I do to manage my conditions (chronic pancreatitis, Crohn's, SIBO, etc.) because it may not work for others. You need a p lan for YOU! And that plan will depend on many things: your constitution, genes, metabolic type, blood type, symptoms (excess/deficiency, hot/cold presentation, weakness/toxicity, etc.), observable assessment/diagnosis, ancestral heritage, emotional state and stability, lifestyle, and cravings...yes, cravings are important! Although we tend to "demonize" cravings, they are incredibly vital signals that our body is sending us, trying to tell us something we need is missing...yet we often ignore them or try to suppress them. BAD idea. Cravings must ALWAYS be taken seriously, as they ALWAYS tell us something about our bodies (not sure what your cravings mean? Again, this is where working with a skilled practitioner comes in handy).
Treating and healing an illness is NOT just an "I'll wing it and hope for the best" thing. Nor is it a "this worked for her so I'll try it too and hope it works for me as well" thing. Sorry, no. If only it were that easy (spoiler: it's NOT, trust me). Have you noticed the only people who generally "heal" (or consider themselves healed) through following a standard/one-size-fits-all diet or approach to healing are people that either ate a SAD (Standard American Diet) OR just wanted/needed to lose excess weight? Because even a one-size-fits-all protocol will clean up the diet and remove harmful toxic foods, replacing them with whole foods, which will both help the individual feel better, as well as promote a healthy weight. BUT weight loss is NOT the same thing as healing. Not even close (UNLESS an individual's health problems are CAUSED by their overweight, but that's another discussion entirely). Healing requires a customized program--your own personal Cinderella slipper of recovery and recoup.
Now, don't get me wrong. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with sharing helpful information about things we can do to promote general health, wellness, and healing. And even for something like SIBO (treat with antimicrobial herbs and follow a short-term low sugar, low carbohydrate diet to "starve" the bugs) or even thyroid disease (ensure your diet is rich in food-based, bioavailable iodine, Omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium), but these are general, evidence-based recommendations. Carbs feed SIBO, and the thyroid requires iodine to make thyroid hormone. That's very different than telling someone "follow this diet or take this supplement and you will heal." It's also very different than telling someone that, by listening to their body and honoring what their own individual body is telling them it needs (whatever that may be, and whether or not we personally think it's healthy or not), that they are "doing it wrong" or will end up being sorry in the long run, well...that's just 1) rude, 2) dumb, and 3) dangerous. Anyone that tells you "this is how you heal" and has the same advice for every disease, every person, every time, that should raise a red flag. Healing doesn't work that way. We're all different. And although this can be frustrating when trying to chart your roadmap to healing, this is something we should REJOICE in, not be angry about or frustrated by. the Bible tells us that we're all different because we each reveal a different aspect of Christ's character. How awesome is that?!
Be proud of your differences...even your weaknesses and what you consider flaws...or, as I like to call them, "uniquities". But also take them into account in EVERY area of your life, not just when considering your movie preferences and fashion sense. They need to be considered and honored in your healing protocol, too.
I've been blasted more than a few times recently for the way in which I've changed my diet, and am now indulging animal foods in my daily diet. But I stand by my decision because my body is healing, slowly but surely, and more everyday. I am, just like the gal in the YouTube video, a Certified Detoxification Specialist and have received the same training as her...yet I still have chosen to honor MY body and give it what IT needs to heal, because the raw food approach did not work for me and made me 10x worse (and gave me SIBO).
Please don't ever tell people what they need to do to heal. ESPECIALLY is you've never come close to dealing with what they are dealing with (or even know anything about it), as the lovely soul in that YouTube video that was sent to me hasn't and doesn't. Respect the microbiome and educate yourself about biochemical individuality, understanding that we are all different and need different things to heal and thrive. What works for you may not (and probably WILL not) work for someone else. There is NO one standard way to heal.
And lastly, don't ever be afraid to choose what's right for YOUR body (nutritionally, supplementally, and everything in between), whatever that means. It's truly the healthiest and most self-honoring and respecting thing you can do for yourself, and is the ultimate way we can care for our temples (1 Corinthians 6:19). Not to mention, it just might save your life.
*As I said in my last post, I am not currently taking new clients as I am taking t his time to focus on getting myself over this infection (I'm making progress!). If you would like to be added to my wait list to work with me, please email me.*
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any topics you'd like me to discuss, feel free to shoot me an email.
Have a happy, healthy week...God bless you!
CPBN, CArTh, CPI, CPT, Herb./Irid., Dsc., Owner, Anna's Organics Wellness