Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gut Reaction

Last Wednesday I sat in on an amazing teleseminar with Liz Lipski, a clinical nutritionist who specializes in integrative medicine. The topic of discussion was digestive wellness, something I've been working on for the past four years. Liz is a great resource on all things gut-related especially because she recognizes the significant roles that stress and food play in illnesses, ranging from celiacs disease and parkinsons to migranes and asthma.

Liz started the conversation on the "second brain" and gut bacteria - its role in metabolism (huge!) and its subsequent effect on brain function, immunity, and cell energy. This gave meaning to the old adage "you are what you eat" especially when what you are eating might might be leaking into your bloodstream.

I would imagine that people who feel great/healthy might consider this topic to be a snoozefest. I would too if that were my experience. But I was loving every minute of the seminar. It's so fascinating how complex our gut really is and how intricate of a role it plays in vitality and health. It was also comforting to be in the company of a professional who specializes in holistic health practices and has a success record in treating people within this framework. Over the years I've consulted with GI physicians, all of whom were trained with the Western medical model. I hate to stereotype because there are some exceptional doctors. But most of the GI docs I've seen have been quick to write prescriptions and forgo a more holistic approach. Food had little to do with their recommendations for wellness. It was a strange omission.

Enter Liz

The most profound part of the seminar was when Liz said, "we are what we eat, absorb, digest and excrete." Much of my focus to date has been on what I'm eating. And I still don't feel 100% despite having eliminated all my trigger foods. I am planning to see a doctor with a practice in functional medicine to help fill in the gaps and get a better picture of what's happening, particularly if and how food is being absorbed and how my body is processing it.

If you are interested in improving your digestive health I recommend Liz' resources: her book, Digestive Wellness, her Innovative Healing website, and her free iTunes podcasts. Her podcasts share information on detoxification practices, metabolic testing, vitamin and herb suppliments, and much more! They are short and chock full of useful info...perfect for people on-the-go (ie all of us)!

What is your gut telling you?