Immune Responses – Allergies, Cystic Fibrosis and Digestive Disease
I followed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet religiously for close to five years. I had one major flare up towards the four year mark, when I thought I might give Quinoa a go, an ancient seed used in making cereal and flat breads. It is on the SCD ‘illegal’ list, but my biomedical practitioner thought it would be fine. Having been deprived of anything resembling crackers and porridge I immediately indulged in the possibilities of Quinoa and snout to the trough ate Quinoa cracker, porridge, salads and anything else as if I was a starving Biafran. Within a week my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms flared up. I was terrified and devastated as I had been completely symptom free for four years. I managed to pull myself together and immediately went onto the intro diet continuing through the food intro stages and within six weeks was back to normal.
Strangely enough I actually felt better than ever before and as I continued with my holistic regime of healing myself, by practicing yoga, taking SCD legal supplements, massages and meditation I got to a stage within the following year where I felt fully confident to introducing some gluten free grains back into my diet. I started with a little rice, now aware that overindulgence of any kind could set me back. I continued to reintroduce some dairy and sugars as well as starches. I stayed away from gluten grains completely as even the smallest amount would give me stomach cramps.
My stomach seemed to be very happy and so was I, being able to eat some gluten free breads and biscuits was such a treat. Having a latte in the morning was heaven. But, then I started to develop chronic bronchitis as well as rhinitis. I would wake up coughing so much I would pee myself. My mother and I used to joke about laughing so much we would pee ourselves, which obviously is much more funny than coughing. It got to the point over the next two years where I became sleep deprived and eventually developed asthma.
The specialists I went to see wanted to prescribe steroids. I had gone down this road before with U.C. and had managed to deal with it without steroids in the end. So, I spent some time looking at what could be going on with my body. I remembered that Elaine Gottschall mentioned that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet was also helpful in treating the symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis. One of the hallmark symptoms of CF is the accumulation of thick mucus and frequent coughing to help clear the mucus, which is what I was experiencing and the only thing I really had in common with CF. It is a genetic disorder that affect primarily the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines. In CF the pancreas is ineffective in producing the enzymes that help to break down foods. As in digestive disorders, the food rots and produces bad bacteria. The body attempt to protect itself by producing copious amounts of mucus. Anyway, there is a lot more to it than I can even fathom, but it brought me back to the conclusion that the allergy symptoms and the chronic coughing was related to my digestive system.
In the meantime, my breathing became so difficult I started using a steroid inhaler. At the same time, I knew there had to be better ways of treating this. I began researching alternative treatments and eventually came upon the ‘Bouteyko Breathing Method’. I found a practitioner here in Sydney and went to see her. Bouteyko believed that many diseases stem from inappropriate breathing. We tend to hyperventilate and therefore actually depriving our bodies of the proper amounts of Oxygen and CO2. A simple way to explain this is that our body has a natural way of regulating our oxygen intake by blocking one nostril at a time if the CO2 levels are low. To prove this close one nostril and then the other. One will always be less open than the other. If you block the free nostril, the blocked nostril will within seconds clear and open up.
Dr. Bouteyko discovered some amazing things regarding breathing and our health and rather than ramble on here about it I suggest you do some reading on the Internet about it. This breathing method is extensively used in the treatment of asthmatics and anxiety disorders in Russian hospitals.
So to cut a long story short I began practicing the breathing and within a week had no need for the ventilator any more. The coughing subsided, but my rhinitis and the mucus was still bothering me greatly. This is where the research on CF comes in. I realised that my digestive system was still causing problems. I started back on the SCD eliminating dairy this time and what do you know, the mucus decreased over the first four days. Yet my system was so run down I opted to see a physician anyway. She ran some tests and it turned out that my sinuses had become so restricted over the years that she recommended I take some conventional medication as well as placed me on a short regime of steroids. She was very keen to keep me going on the diet as well as the breathing exercises. The medication kicked started my return to health even further and it made me realise that a holistic approach to healing includes orthodox medication as well as the wonderful alternative medicines and treatments available today. It is foolish to believe that one can rely on one without the other.
There are no quick fixes, not even in orthodox medicine.