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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Healing the Gut with Food

Jun 30, 2021 11:00AM ● By Healing the Gut with Food
What is medicine and what is food? People spend money on real food that formerly was spent on “medications” and supplements. An increase in the appropriate proportion of fats and proteins, the reduction of carbohydrates and the ultimate removal of processed foods are major keys to reversing the degenerative diseases that are processed food-driven.
The three macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The body heals from metabolic deficiency symptoms of obesity, diabetes and food addiction through food choices—especially the macronutrient apportionment. Drugs mask the symptoms.
Metabolic flexibility means a person is able to burn sugar (carbohydrates) and fat (ketones). Most people burn only glucose and are not able to tap into burning fat as an energy source. The goal is to have access to glucose and fat stores for energy sustenance. The proportion of macronutrients influence the ability to burn sugar and fat. When insulin is low enough, fat can be used as a fuel.

Diets that create metabolic flexibility are based on real food choices and prepared in the home. Whether plant, animal or omnivore-based, the food is real. The goal in food as medicine, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (author of Gut and Physiology Syndrome), is to heal and seal the gut wall and reseed the good microbes. The epithelial cells of the gut wall are damaged from the processed diet. Pathogenic contents from the gut are distributed throughout the body via the circulatory system. A damaged gut wall is equivalent to inflammatory bowel disease; the epithelial cells are compromised.

Food as medicine: corrects the overuse of sugar and the underuse of healthy fats; focuses on the fats that build brain and cell wall structure and allow the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, such as pastured saturated animal fats (butter, ghee, tallow, lard) and the plant monounsaturated (olive oil) and saturated fats (coconut, hemp and flax); focuses on the consumption of protein, preferably meat, fish, eggs and dairy, to build muscle and create strength (plant-based nutrition requires of combination of foods to get adequate protein)

Food as medicine also includes the fermented foods we make in our kitchens, like sauerkrauts and sour creams. Some ferments can be purchased such as sauerkraut and properly fermented kefir. The daily use of ferments feeds the microbiome, the field of bacteria, fungi and virus that inhabit our gut and body.
Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist, just published Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition and Modern Medicine. The title says it all. The movement is to real food from processed food. The prime directive of metabolic therapy is to “get the insulin down”. Lustig says, “All you need to know are two precepts: protect the liver and feed the gut.”
The Gut and Physiology Syndrome (GAPS) is an example of a nutritional protocol that supports metabolic flexibility. The depth and breadth of the diet include GAPS introduction diet, full GAPS, No-Plant GAPS, Ketogenic Diet, More-Plant GAPS, Liquid Fasting and coming off GAPS. The diet has something for everyone and individualizes metabolism.
Degenerative conditions can be reversed with real food, not drugs. “You have to feed your gut, and processed food starves it,” says Lustig. Each person is their own Health Engineer.

For the past 50 years, Sheila Shea, MA has specialized in natural gastrointestinal nutrition and colon hydrotherapy, creating the Intestinal Health Institute in 1997. She is a member of the Arizona Native Plant Society and the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy, and holds Massage Therapy licenses in AZ and FL. Connect at 520-325-9686, [email protected] or See listing, page 32.

Sheila Shea


Sheila Shea MA is Board Certified with 41 years of colon hydrotherapy experience. The Intestinal Health Institute offers intestinal nutritional support and detoxification protocols to a... Read More »