Hippocrates, one of the founding fathers of medicine, said this:
All disease begins in the gut.
For a long time, I didn’t believe him. There are plenty of other places in the body that disease can strike. Eye disease, birth defects, infections, cancer of any body part, the list goes on. I’m sure there’s even a disease for your hair. (There is.)
The gut is only ONE part of your entire body, and there’s no way that only one part would control all the possible illnesses, cancers, and malfunctions that can go wrong in the human body. Our bodies are made of billions of cells, teeming with bacteria and mitochondria, thousands of parallel systems all running together to keep us alive.
There’s no possible way that only the gut makes us sick.
Or so I thought.
I even held on to this idea when I was fighting Crohn’s disease–a disease of the gut.
My own gut was trying to kill me, and yet I poo-poo’d the thought that my gut was the source of my disease. I would describe Crohn’s as a “battlefield inside my intestines,” but surely that didn’t apply to bronchitis and seasonal allergies and warts and whatever.
I viewed my gut disease as a separate entity, something inside of me that wasn’t connected with any other parts. Boy, was I wrong about that.
For a long time, I and my doctors targeted my gut for treatment, without regard for the rest of my body. Massive doses of immunosuppressants, steroids…if you’ve been to a modern doctor for any major illness, you know the drill.
But what I didn’t realize is that while my symptoms were subsiding in my gut, the rest of my body was falling apart. My immune system ceased to function correctly, and caused all sorts of bacterial overgrowth throughout my body. Because of that, inflammation set its insidious claws into my skin, my sinuses, my throat.
My body was a mess.
Hey, but I didn’t have any symptoms.
Counts as a win, right?
Wrong. I felt terrible, even without symptoms. I knew I could do better–knew that there was some type of treatment or approach or something that could make me feel better.
I had a dream that I could get off those high-powered drugs that were killing me slowly with side effects.
When I finally made the leap to treatments outside the realm of modern, Western medicine, I discovered a few things:
- There’s no such thing as a quick fix
- The right answer doesn’t exist
- It’s all about gut health
The more I explored with diet, and the more I talked with my naturopath about my treatment options, the more I tested options and went with what worked, the more I realized that it was all about the gut.
What I ate, how I showered, how much sleep I got…all of it.
Our bodies are a vastly complex network of systems that are all entirely depended on the building blocks that our gut absorbs from food. Without good building blocks, our bodies will break down.
And a broken down body won’t help me lead the life that I want to live.
Which brings me to this blog. I started this blog with the aim of sharing everything I’ve learned about living with a chronic illness. Millions of people around the world are living with diseases like Crohn’s, and more are diagnosed every day.
If I can give you a shortcut to finding ways of living–and medical treatments–that work for you, then I’ve fulfilled my mission.
And most of that is by starting with first principles: all disease begins in the gut.