Saturday, 12 December 2009

Feed your cells and your cells will feed you

Susan Jane Murray-Food Guru, particularly for those with intolerances

 Diet has played a huge part in helping me to recover from M.E. It was one of the first things that i looked into and changed when i most needed help and the doctors hadn't yet found out what was wrong. I realised pretty quickly that if i was going to get better then i was the only one that was really going to be able to do anything significant to help me do that. I had been exhausted and suffering from stomach problems for years and seemed to react to everything that i ate, feeling aweful after every meal and having a hard time digesting any food and this was only made worse by travelling and living in India when i was 19 years old where i picked up various viruses, parasites and stomach bugs. Things went down hill from there, but the problems with my stomach were now coupled with extreme exhaustion (not just the exhaustion you may feel from not sleeping for a night or two but bone numbing, mind numbing exhaustion that meant that i often did not have the strength to lift my head off the pillow, i often could not form sentences due to a horrendous brain fog that seemed not to go away and i had severe pain in all my muscles and a whole host of other symptoms including a compromised immune system whcih meant that i got every bug going and it took forever to get over each one. Life was definately not fun anymore.

Miracously i discovered a book on Candida called "The practical Guide to Candida and the UK directory of practitioners" by Jane McWhirter 1995.* It was amazing firsly because it described most of my symptoms perfectly but also because it gave me a detailed way to start to help myself as well as providing a comprehensive list of practitioners who specialised in treating it. It was a god send and it began to make a huge difference to my life.
Having Candida meant that the unfriendly bacteria had outnumbered the good in my gut making it a 'leaky gut' and as a result allowing food particles through the gut wall and into the bloodstream creating huge problems including food and chemical sensitivities. Infact Jane McWhirter says "when the whole digestive system and gut wall is out of balance and damaged, the whole hormonal, immune and nervous sytems are also affected. Infact it affects the whole body-mind."
The foods that seemed to be the worst offenders were gluten (infact initially any grains), dairy, sugar and yeast. Initially i had to search hard for alternative products because only a few health food shops sold them, but overtime it became easier and i began to enjoy the process of discovering new and varied ways of eating. Now you can get most things in the main supermarkets in the UK and Norway too is beginning to catch up with Gluten free and dairy free products. Once i had found alternatives i needed to create recipes using them that still tasted good. My early experiments were typically like lead weights and often tasted like sawdust too and i didn't have much stamina/energy to spend much time in the kitchen.

In my search for something better, although much much later on, i discovered the wonderous Susan Jane Murray and her incredible recipes. She herself developed an immune disorder and as a result "began a sort of ‘nutritional pilgrimage’. The ceaseless drugs, combined with poor immunity, paved way for numerous food intolerances. Exhausted, dispirited, and broken in every sense, I took my health into my own hands and consumed every book I could on healing through nutrition. I felt a flood of relief as soon as I avoided foods that troubled my body and compromised my immunity. There was most certainly a direct relationship between my energy levels and what I ate. I was adamant to delve deeper and discover what made my body function sub optimally (wheat, sugar, yeast and dairy) and what made me feel fantabulous (these recipes). Two years on, I was back to bouncy bionic self much to the amazement of the medical community. My advice to you? ...feed your cells and your cells will feed you."

She has created some mouth watering recipes that are healthy, delicious and kind to your body, she is very knowledgeable about food and nutrition and she also writes with great wit and a sense of humour. Do take a look at her website for inspiration and information:

From her website: " Beautiful Bowels - the secret to optimum nutrition"-

"This is where the magic is. Between 60-70% of the body's immune system is found in the digestive tract. It carries out a number of critical functions, such as the breakdown of food, absorption of water, and the synthesis of vitamins and minerals to feed your body. Basically it converts food to fuel.

Imagine if this process was hindered? Or even slowed down? What would happen to your body? Your energy? Your skin? Your mood? Your immunity? Think about it.

When our digestion is working sub-optimally, we breakdown physically (and consequently emotionally), leaving our bodies ripe for degenerative ailments and illness. Digestive complications such as food intolerances interrupts the conversion of food to fuel. Common symptoms include constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, mood swings, poor concentration levels, reduced immunity, delay in healing, loss of libido, troubled skin, brittle hair and nails, headaches, mouth ulcers, bloating, flatulence, lethargy, weight gain, chronic colds and flu’s.

Solution? Avoid the foods that trouble you. The biggest offenders are wheat, dairy and sugar.

Why the sudden surge in food sensitivities and intolerances?

The industrialisation and refinement of food products (also known as 'food piracy'), over-consumption of poor quality wheat, nasty increase of food chemical stabilisers, the addition of additives and preservatives to prolong shelf life of foods, routine use of herbicides, pesticides, and hormones in animal rearing all contribute to toxic build-ups within our systems. Our grandparents were never exposed to such culinary dangers or brutalisation of food. Most food was local and organic. Today it would seem that we are slowly poisoning ourselves through mass production, chemically altered and antibiotic-farmed food choices. Food intolerances are the body’s natural way of coping with such foreign “invaders”. Your body is trying to tell you something. " Susan Jane Murray.

(*I'm not sure that this book is available anymore but i also found the following book on Candida very helpful: "Beat Candida through diet" by Joanna Kjaer and Gill Jacobs . You can also take a look at my blog post here about the Natural Recovery plan for M.E/Chronic Fatigue.

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