Go With Your Gut: Nutrition, Supplements, and Functional Medicine
Let me begin by sharing that I am about as NOT a naturalist as anyone can get!
I like fast food and sugar-filled treats. I enjoy being indoors with air conditioning watching TV and reading social media on my cell phone. I have taken enough prescriptions in my lifetime to fund an entire pharma company and we have just about every medical specialist available. I’m a fan of modern medicine and the utmost convenience.
I now can add to this list that I am a huge supporter of functional medicine and natural remedies. I know this may seem crazy (and a bit dichotomous) but stick with me here. Our family takes nutritional supplements, uses essential oils, eats organic when possible, and uses plant-based cleaners. Why, you might ask, did such a non-naturalist mom transition her family to such natural-oriented way of life?
Because it worked when nothing else did and it has changed our lives!
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Our bodies are made to function properly on natural stuff.
- Our technology, industry, society, etc. has both helped and hurt that function.
- We need to realize this, learn what our bodies need and are missing, and supplement our nutrition to make sure we get back to functioning properly.
- Poor function can take many forms in different bodies: anxiety, communication issues, diabetes, eczema, digestive problems, learning struggles, autoimmune diseases, attention disorders, weight loss, weight gain, headaches, PCOS, depression, fatigue, skin problems, insomnia, and a whole host of other things.
I skeptically began the “starter regimen” for all-natural supplements a couple of years ago, and told my husband, “I’m just going to try this. I probably won’t have to re-order anything.” But the effects of these supplements changed my whole system!
- Blood sugar: It leveled out after 30 years of struggles.
- Cravings, specifically SUGAR – lots and lots of sugar: Subsided and disappeared.
- Gut inflammation (a common culprit of all sorts of issues): Gone, because my body effectively digests the food and vitamins I take.
- Energy: I have more energy and can even function without coffee (I still love coffee, but am not dependent upon it.)
- Hair, skin, immune system: Healthier
- Anxiety & stress: I lived for forty years on the edge of freak-out-mode. Even with anti-anxiety medications, yoga, prayer, planning, and counseling, it was always there. Then, one day it wasn’t. We ran late, and I didn’t lose my mind. I got stuck behind a really slow truck on I-35, and I didn’t lose my religion. Things went completely chaotic, and I just….managed. Who knew life could be like this?!?!
So, two years after telling my husband I “probably won’t re-order anything,” I receive my monthly supplements and take them daily.
When I noticed the difference, I began to learn more about the effects these things can have on kids and their development. This led us to a functional physician and functional medicine.
Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.
It focuses on finding the root cause of multiple symptoms rather than focusing on treating just the symptoms.
Our son had been diagnosed with anxiety and high-functioning autism, and we struggled to find an approach that addressed the fog and frustration he experienced. While I may have lived “on the edge” in anxiety, his little life was lived “over the edge” all the time. I read about the gut-brain connection and felt this was a path we should pursue. This involved labs and tests for all kinds of things we never heard of or checked, but that could have direct effects on children’s’ development. Honestly, my husband was skeptical…until we met with the physician. Within 30 minutes, he looked at me and said, “I think I need to do all this too.”
Based on the test results, we made lots of changes to types of food and added several supplements to our son’s regimen. We eliminated types of food he was sensitive to, which were some of the things he craved the most, so It. Was. Hard. And it still is hard sometimes, and so very worth it.
- Gut inflammation: Gone.
- Cravings for bread and sugar: Subsided.
- Communication skills: SO MUCH BETTER! He began to tell us about his day at school. He began to ask questions. He began to listen and respond.
- Anxiety & stress: He began to laugh often. He began to sing in his room. He began to exhibit joy.
He began to become himself. The boy we knew was inside of him was now shining through daily.
This hasn’t fixed everything, but it certainly helped in a way nothing else did. The supplements and diet changes broke through the fog and frustration in a way that prescriptions and counseling and therapy didn’t. Let me be clear: prescriptions and counseling and therapy are all good and important pieces of support for us. AND functional medicine and nutrition was another important piece of the puzzle for which we are so very grateful and blessed. Now, I am learning more about natural cleaners, essential oils, and other great natural approaches to daily life.
I encourage you to check this out for yourself.
- First, take it slow! You don’t have to go “all in” on Day 1.
- Next, ask questions of your friends and family! You don’t have to read the entire “naturalist” section of the bookstore to get started. Find someone and just start talking with them.
- Then, just get started.
- See a functional physician to identify the root causes of issues and get an individualized approach (we have a great one here in Waco!).
- Or get started on a general program; I’ve had friends with great success using Plexus or LifeVantage products.
- Not sure if you’re ready for that? No worries! Just start using some essential oils in your home to help combat colds, fatigue, and general bad smells – doTERRA and Young Living are two of the most reputable I’m aware of.
Please know you can adapt at your own pace and take it as little or as far as you find beneficial. We do our best to avoid some of the common culprits (i.e. MSG, gluten, red dye), but we also make exceptions. Because sometimes you just want some sugar 🙂