“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Helpful Reading: Becoming an Expert

I say it over and over..."Become an expert about your own body."
The majority of IBD treatments, either allopathic (traditional medicine) or naturopathic (natural healing methods), require a large degree of self-management. Becoming an expert is the best way to ensure you're getting the most appropriate treatment for your body.
Below is my book-based reading list (there is a ton of good material in the peer-review journals if you have access, and lots of good reading in the gray literature, though you should treat the gray literature with a reasonable dose of skepticism).
I only post books that I've read, books that have proved themselves valuable to me in treating my Colitis, books that I felt I could give a positive review. I will update this post as I read more, so come back frequently to this post for new books!
Breaking the Vicious Cyclehttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=digesheali-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0969276818, by Elaine Gottschall
This book outlines the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, one of the most credible and successful natural treatments for IBD I've found. It's been my treatment textbook since I started the SCD in the Summer of 2009. This diet has helped me to have a medication-free, energetic existence. Four days after I started this diet, I recorded a measurable, positive change in my symptoms. Yea!
I recommend reading a few books on diet and nutrition for people with IBD. Even though some of the food recommendations will clash with the SCD (you'll have to filter with any book--stick with SCD foods), this book taught me about vitamins (deficiencies associated with IBD, taking supplements, in food, absorption issues, etc.). This book also gave me this breakthrough tidbit of information: Cook your veggies. People with IBD often can't break down the fiber matrix in veggies, so steaming them helps break down that fiber matrix and makes them easier on the digestive system. This little factoid allowed me to eat vegetables again while I was really sick (I couldn't tolerate them raw)! After about 7 months on the SCD, I could eat raw veggies just fine...
My mom got me this book. The title embarrassed me so much that I wouldn't be seen reading it in public. If I did read it when people were around, I'd cover the cover. There is significant overlap between this book and What to Eat..., but it's worth mentioning because it is well written and I learned from it. I also like getting more than one perspective on any single topic. If I had to choose between this and What to Eat... above, I'd choose What to Eat...
This was the first book I read after I was diagnosed. And it should be required reading during your first year after diagnosis. Reading it was like having a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. It was the first time I'd encountered anyone I could identify with, who knew what I was going through, and who could lay out for me what I could expect. Both my wife and I read it. That said, I have one note of cautionJill will present to you the traditional, allopathic treatment pathway for people with IBD. However, I consider this book essential reading because it will educate you about your digestive system, some of the thoughts on the eitology (genesis) of IBD, and it will educate you about the options open to you and your doctor through allopathic, intervention-based medicine. Even after all I've learned about natural healing for IBD, this book will never leave my shelf. Read it, and you'll understand why.
Nutrition textbook. Requires either a background in science or better than average patience to get the most from this. Fantastic reference, though, for understanding your body and how it uses the fuel you give it; what you need, where it goes, how it is processed, etc. Caution to geeks and the extremely curious (like me): If you have a family, friends, or any kind of social interaction, first remember to put this book down and actually talk with them, and second remember they might not be as interested in Colonic production of Vitamin K as you are.
Listen to Your Guthttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=digesheali-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0968542107 by, Jini Patel Thompson (browse her site, you'll learn a lot)
This was the first book I read on natural healing that was specific to IBD. I love it and refer to it almost weekly. Jini has a rather amazing personal story. In the book, she discusses the most likely causes for IBD, describes conventional treatments (their pros and cons), describes in detail natural supplements (and other things) that can help with IBD, and outlines protocols for using these supplements to begin healing your IBD. Don't discount the section that describes the mind-gut connection.
I have tried (or am in the process of trying) most of the protocols she recommends. Some of her strategies have worked for me (probiotics, yea!), and some haven't (Mucosaheal). Many are not SCD friendly, so you have to balance her advice with the SCD. My advice would be to try the SCD in full for 6 months before trying anything else. Then start with her wild Oregano Protocol + Probiotics.
Note: There are a lot of people out there claiming they have the 'cure' for IBD. BE CAREFUL. Don't buy anything you can't verify somewhere else. Stay away from supplements that aren't independently tested and have an inner and outer seal. Read money back guarantees thoroughly. Read the fine print.
From what I can tell, Jini's book is well-researched and backed-up by years of trial and error to help you sift through the junk. She gives you just the stuff that she's seen work. Thanks Jini.
Immunoticshttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=digesheali-20&l=btl&camp=213689&creative=392969&o=1&a=0399527060, by Dr. Robert Roundtree, M.D. and Carol Colman
I read this book 3 times in 3 weeks. It's that wonderful, and it's a constant reference for me. It's a well researched, accessible, and practical guide to natural immune supporting foods and supplements. Roundtree and Colman guide you through immune system and its function; various herbs, foods, and supplements that support our immune system; the research around each supplement; and its uses. He even gives recommended doses and reliable manufacturers. I found most use from his suggestions for (1) people at a high risk for cancer, (2) people with GI problems, and (3) natural anti-depressants.
I have a personal connection with Dr. Roundtree. He used his knowledge of natural immunotics to help my aunt with adjunct therapies for her cancer treatment, and has helped her stay cancer free ever since.
Future reading, reviews to come...

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