Last time I mentioned that I had been spending my time trying to get my garden in shape, once that was more or less achieved I have turned my attention to getting my health in shape. I mentioned a while back that when I returned from Cyprus I succumbed to a nasty outbreak of herpes simplex on my face, this cleared up fairly quickly but afterwards I seemed to react to something in the atmosphere which gave me very sore eyelids that were swollen in the morning and very itchy throughout the day with watering eyes. After taking a different anti histamine this abated. I have been suffering with a persistent heat rash for over 10 years which despite all my efforts refused to budge and instead this year with the higher temperatures got worse. I decided that enough was enough with these niggly ailments, I was going to have to spend some time on getting to the bottom of all these seemingly minor irritations as my body was obviously not coping very well.
I have over the years visited a homeopath to try to find a remedy for the rash, initially when it seemed to break out quite alarmingly, I visited a doctor who just told me they “weren’t sure what it was a cross between heat rash or an allergic reaction” So now I was determined I would find out what was going on in my body, onto google images I went to find similar images and descriptions of the rash. I knew it was heat rash because of how it started and how it develops It did subside in winter but never completely disappeared. After quite a lot of searching I learnt there are two kinds of heat rash, one is called miliaria rubra which is very itchy and looks different to mine and then there is candidiasis which is the yeast based fungus variety. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Candida for those not familiar with the word is one of the many yeasts that live in the gut but due to various reasons if the immune system is compromised it can get out of control and cause a lot of problems, one of the more serious being Cancer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_(fungus) This yeast when it is overactive is the cause of Thrush from which many women suffer.
Now the NHS websites say this is not serious and can be treated with anti fungal creams, these didn’t work for me, not even mildly. As the problem stems from the gut it made sense that external treatment was not the way to treat this but to get to the root cause.. the gut. Many years ago after a car accident I succumbed to an out break of this yeast but it manifested in a different fashion then. I went to a naturopath who recognised it and put me on a anti- candida diet. “Right” I thought “this is what I’ll do I’ll follow that diet again”. Being over twenty five years ago I didn’t remember it too clearly so I went on to good old Google again to refresh my memory. But what is this? As I researched into it I found there was a whole new thinking about candida and that is how I fell upon the GAP diet. I bought the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride who set up a nutrition clinic in Cambridge to treat children with autism and learning difficulties. I literally fell down a rabbit hole because this book has been a revelation. It makes perfect sense of course that if your gut isn’t healthy you are not going to be healthy, not just physically, mood will be affected and brain function.
Research has been carried out by many specialists all over the world dealing with schiizophrenia, autism, dispraxia, depression, dyslexia, and ADHD, ADD and in all case there have been seriously impaired gut flora and vastly impaired gut function leading to a very leaky gut where all sorts of toxins leach into the system poisoning and disrupting it. The main culprit is candida. It feeds on sugars and gluten. Twenty years ago autism was rarely diagnosed one child in 10,000 now one child in every 150 is diagnosed with dyslexia and other learning difficulties rife. There are several reasons for this but the biggest is the way our diet has changed. We inherit our gut flora from our parents and if they were slightly compromised the baby’s gut when born also has that deficiency, if as a baby it is bottle fed and not breast-fed the flora of the gut will not get a good balance of good bacteria and then if the diet is also poor in bio rich foods, along with immune suppressing drugs the gut gets very depleted indeed. There is a wide use of antibiotics and steroid drugs these days which suppress the immune system we all know, along with either physical or emotional stress these can seriously affect your gut flora.
Now the reason I have posted this on a website where I normally deal with crafts and food of Cyprus is because when reading about the foods that are beneficial to the gut it was quite obvious that the traditional diets of many countries of Europe and the East are rich in foods that keep the gut healthy before fast food came on the scene. Japan traditionally is highly rich in fermented foods and would be one of the healthiest countries except that these days they have succumbed to the dreaded fast food of the West, seen by so many as trendy. Fermented foods, vegetables, cheese and yoghurts are particularly rich in friendly bacteria and are healing of the gut wall, chicken and meat broths and fatty meats, stewed or roasted, fish baked, poached or fermented are included in the Gap diet. As is obvious plenty of vegetables raw and cooked, preferably with ghee or animal fat, extra virgin olive oil, even the odd glass of wine is included and fruit. The things not allowed are grains of any kind, potatoes or starchy vegetables, non fermented cheese, milk and of course sugar but you can use honey as it is a simple sugar and easily absorbed by the stomach. So the attack on the problem is two fold, starve the yeast of its food; starches and sugars and feed the gut with immune building, healing foods. Peace of cake -( sadly not).The proof of the pudding (oops there it is again) is in the eating and slowly but surely the rash is receding.