But thanks to my travel health issues, I've been learning more than ever as I research and learn about food cures. I've been dealing with a serious and mysterious health concern since May 2010 when my Danish dentist in Spain gave me some antibiotics ( soon after I recovered from a broken and paralyzed arm in Austria) and I've seen the best M.D.'s and alternative folks on 3 continents. Nothing has cured me yet or even given me a diagnosis, ( stealth virus? dysbiosis? SIBO? ), so I seem to be on my own in finding a cure and food seems to make a huge difference.
Hopefully, what I am learning can help you too whether you are at home or abroad. I've also done lots of reading on Osteoporosis because when I was in California, my 84 year old mother was diagnosed with it, so some of these food cures are also helping her. Our food plays such an important part in health and long life and sadly we are misled by big agriculture and a corporate-money led government.
I finally found things that helped a lot when in California as I explained in my organic raw food post, but most of the things available there ( like good raw organic milk and butter, supplements etc) are not available in Asia, so in many ways I had to begin again. Eating healthy at home in the USA is very different than eating healthy while traveling internationally.
We also travel and live on a very low budget ( $23/day per person or less) and things can not be shipped here reliably ( ends up in customs), so those concerns impact. We also do not have an oven and only limited kitchen supplies and I eat different things than the rest of the family because there is so little that I can eat without problems.
So I am learning about foods for them as well as for me, with my goal being to get us all as healthy as possible. They don't have symptoms and appear very healthy, but I think we can always work on getting healthier. I'm learning so much through my problem which has made me a bigger health food fanatic ( as our daughter's friend call us) than ever.
I am proud of that title and the progress I am making. I've become a master at making my own kefir, lacto-fermented salsa, lacto-fermented chutney, lacto-fermented guagamole, cheese, beet kvass, bone broths, veggie juices, smoothies, home made, organic soaked grained tortillas, homemade, organic soaked grain pasta, soaked organic brown rice, healthy deserts and more and will share them with you soon both recipes and instructions. Perhaps a food Friday regular or semi regular update.
At first I was doing well here ( about 90% recovered on good days) , but then the pain, toxic feeling and extreme fatigue started to return, so I had to look for more solutions. Looking deeper I discovered I was taking FOS and Inulin hidden in two health supplements I got here ( and one I brought) which I now know is a forbidden food and harmful to me. A well known MD who specializes in digestive issues in California prescribed it for me last fall in a product called Ultra Clear Sustain which made me VERY ill. This happened over and over with doctors, things that were suppose to help, made me worse and I lost faith.
I considered LDN and MMS that people I know recommended, ( and still might do them, but I had some concerns with both because much of my pain seems to be in the liver area despite all tests not showing a problem there). So I decided to first try the Guts to Glory Program by Dr. Brasco M.D. and Rubin N.M.D. from their book "Restoring Your Digestive Health" because it was easier with less risks and I could find most of the ingredients here. One great thing they have in Penang is DQ chickens which are perfect for making the bone broth and eating.
The author Rubin cured himself of incurable Crohn's disease, but they say it is also good for ANY gastrointestinal disease from ulcers to IBS to Candida, food allergies and more. My symptoms are different than all, but it is clearly a digestive based problem with severe dysbiosis ( and some liver, pancreas and spleen problems), upper abdomen swelling ( for 2 years!) caused at least initially by a floral imbalance, so I thought worth a try.
Also because it was similar to the GAPS Diet by Dr. Cambell-McBride ( who is a Neurosurgeon with masters degree in nutritionist who learned this protocol to save her severely autistic son) and SCD by Elaine Gottschall ( who saved her child in the 1950's). ( I love people who like me know what it is to struggle with a mysterious disease and don't give up til they find a cure...notice a theme going on here).
All are very much aligned with Weston Price Foundation, ( and paleo) but more specific. All have helped thousands and I think very on track after all my reading, but my symptoms didn't quite fit and I actually had tried the SCD diet, yet this one was a bit more specific and doable, plus allowed me to continue with WAPD principals.
The basic plan is to rest, repair and heal the gut, detoxify and reduce the microflora in phase 1 ( primarily fasting on bone broth). Then in phase 2 reinoculating the gut ( mainly with yogurt and more bone broth). I had to tweak it a bit with what is here and use some of GAPS etc, but it is slowly working and I am onto phase 3 which means I can slowly add other foods.
I even ate my homemade organic tortillas the other day ( first grain or carb in several months) but mostly stick to fresh made juices ( especially beets/cabbage/carrots/greens), bone broths, yogurt, homemade kefir and kefir cheese, coconut and coconut oil, fermented foods and juices, pastured eggs, wild salmon, DQ pastured chicken, organic grass fed butter, raw honey, ginger, turmeric and a little raw veggies like cabbage or avocado, a little cooked... for now.
I am learning that truly healing the gut can take a while, but so worth the effort as most of our immunity comes from the gut and healing it helps prevent degenerative diseases, autoimmune problems ( possibly part of my problem), heart disease and cancer. Both the strict Guts to Glory and GAPS programs have limited time frames ( up to 2 years on GAPS) so one can eventually add many things, even soaked grains as a "not too bad food", but processed foods, pasteurized dairy, bad fats like margarine, trans-fats, corn and canola oil etc should always be avoided.
"ALL DISEASES BEGIN IN THE GUT" ~ HIPPOCRATES
My problem is not completely gone yet, but I seem to get better every day and my energy is getting much better like the old me. This is the right direction for me now, I will keep you in the loop and will post some of these easy yummy recipes we are making and eating.
I hope what I am learning can help others at home and traveling. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and ways I continue to learn to do this during travel and in foreign places. Lots of people blog about nourishing traditions kind of food, but I don't think anyone is telling how to do this in foreign countries! I hope to share it as I learn and heal.
Looking for more books on this topic? Try Nourishing Traditons, Deep Nutrition: why your genes need traditonal foods, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health.