Do you ever follow your gut instinct? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I wish I had followed my gut instinct fifteen years ago when my actual gut was telling me I was making it sick. Often after I ate, I had horrific pain in my abdomen, or I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling hot, in pain, and unable to sleep. For 30 years, I suffered migraines and chronic headaches. I received some relief when a blood test revealed I had an intolerance to fifty-five foods and additives. Intolerance is different from a food allergy because symptoms appear hours or even days later. Eliminating the suspect foods made a huge difference. I began to feel better. However, there was still an underlying issue.
Fast forward to today. Since I started feeling so much better, I went back to eating some of my no-no foods like wheat. I tried to stay dairy-free due to eczema; however, I substituted it with soy products, which worsened my condition. Last year, I was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases: Sjogren’s syndrome and Raynaud’s disease. Through testing prescribed by my wellness doctor (yes, I have a MD for preventative health), I discovered I have a leaky gut. It means food I was eating was only getting partially digested. What remains, ended up in the bloodstream, affecting organs and causing havoc. After reading about this on my own, I discovered the culprit for the condition is lectins in foods. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins. Unfortunately, even some of the healthy foods I love fall in this category.
With the guidance of the book, The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD, I have found what foods to keep in my diet and which ones to say goodbye to. You know the song, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” Sure, I missed pizza, French fries, and pasta, but feeling good again was worth the sacrifice. Besides, I found upgrades, better foods. I can have delicious cupcakes (almond flour), muffins (flaxseed meal), chips (cassava), and grass-fed steak.
More good news: The symptoms of my autoimmune diseases have disappeared. The only time they give me trouble is when I cheat on my diet. I have lost the extra pounds (and the love handles) and have more energy than I’ve had in years. Now I can work out three times a week. No problem!
If you suffer from an autoimmune condition such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism, migraines, to name a few, consider the possibility of a leaky gut. The blood test is called Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen. Expect pushback from your gastroenterologist or internist. They cannot prescribe any medication or treatments other than diet and nutrients. You will have to be a warrior for your own health and well-being. I feel blessed I found a doctor who was attune to how foods plays a vital part in health.
You may have heard the quote: “Death begins in the gut.” Believe it. Most often that is where inflammation forms. You will never feel well until you address the inflammation in your gut. It took me many years of suffering to figure it out.

About Susan MIlls Wilson

Susan Mills Wilson is a native of North Carolina where she writes romantic suspense. She is the leader of the Charlotte Writers Club Mystery Critique Group and a member of Charlotte Writers Club. Subscribe to Susan’s blog at www.susanmillswilson.com.
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