Good / Gut

I am told that the perpetual grammatical error of mistaking the adjective “good” for the adverb “well” is the fault of German immigrants. This theory makes perfect sense, as the word “gut” performs both functions in the German language.

But this post is not about problems of translation, or my bilingual issues when I look at both words and can’t tell you which word belongs to which language. This is about my gut.

No, I’m not going to discuss its exterior appearance – no one really needs to read about that. And if it weren’t for my “food issues,” I would probably subscribe to the belief that no one needs to read about the interior functioning of it, either. The fact is, though, that there are things very, very wrong with me … things that are not discussed in polite conversation. I am a member of a few online health message boards whose members freely discuss such bodily functions. (All for diagnostic purposes, of course.) Most of them are helped by the fact that they are parents writing on behalf of their autistic / celiac / ADHD children – all of whom have to follow diets similar to mine – which up until now has been one known as the Gluten and Casein free diet. Then I realized that Soy and I weren’t really friends, so it became the GF/CF/Soy Free diet. And then came the sugars. Let’s not forget sugars. I was down to GF/CF/Soy Free and Sugar Free, and I was feeling kinda sorry for myself, but excited about new ways of substituting for my favorite snowy white powder. (Get your mind out of the gutter – I merely meant confectioner’s sugar, lightly dusted atop a nice chocolate cake, or almond cake, or just about any other tasty baked good.)

But then … things began to go very, very wrong again. And if I were a parent telling you about my child’s intestinal distress I might even give a detailed, clinical report so that the collective wisdom of the internets could diagnose and cure me. Thankfully, we have no need for such things here. Suffice it to say that all manner of other things have started causing troubles, from corn chips to sweet potato fries to coconut Thai rice. Enter the Specific Carbhydrate Diet (SCD). Actually, to be precise, enter GAPS, which is kind of a modified version of that diet. It has been described as “Weston A. Price Foundation” (whole organic foods, enzyme-rich foods, traditional foods) meets SCD.

You see, it appears that I have a bad gut. And that just doesn’t make sense to me, linguistically or otherwise. What I want and need is a GOOD gut. As in, a healthy gut. As in, a gut that isn’t so permeable (“leaky”) that it lets all manner of partially-digested food particles into my blood stream, which are then recognized as alien invaders by my immune system.

Whenever I feel particularly awful, I imagine that my immune system has pixelated laser weapons to defend me from the nasties that are on the attack. The problem is that corn and potato and rice and their ilk are not supposed to be nasties! Hippocrates famously said that “all disease begins in the gut.” The premise of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that the damage that has been done to my gut is repairable – at least partially. There is some hope that I might be able to eat (very specific types of) dairy again following this healing protocol, but chances are that gluten is permanently out. This is because the type of immune response that I had to gluten and casein (IgA if you’re interested) is the type that CAUSES gut permeability. That means the gluten and casein, both proteins that my body has severe issues with, are damaging my gut and making it harder to digest everything else.

IgA allergies to egg, yeast, soy, milk, or gluten have been identified, though gluten has been the most studied. IgA is associated with the gut, and IgA allergies can cause gut damage. In the case of gluten (and possibly also casein) the IgA causes intestinal permeability. (…) So we’ll call these ones “Attackers”. IgA allergies don’t seem to “go away” and appear to be genetically linked.

“But didn’t you cut gluten and casein out of your diet,” you ask? Well, yeeeees. And also no. I was definitely not strict. I took a small bite of communion bread every Sunday. I toast my brown rice bread together with my husband’s wheat bread. I smooch my husband when he’s had a tasty fermented barley and hops beverage.

So anywho. I will write more as things develop. For now, I have ordered both Breaking the Vicious Cycle and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome books. I have ordered some powerful probiotics, and am saying my fond farewells to chocolate and potatos and such. We have some major family things coming up in the month of February, including my son’s birthday, a visit from my parents and brother, and a visit from my father-in-law. All of which is to say that I’m not going to go into the strict introductory protocol. I’ll get a head start by trying to cut out sugars and starches (right after I finish my final farewell tour) and such – but I’ll wait until the end of February or beginning of March to start the intensive healing “intro” diet. I have concerns involving the fact that I am still nursing, and what might happen if I get pregnant again while on the GAPS/SCD diet.  It is important to note that, unlike the GF/CF diet, this is intended to be a short-term (relatively speaking) healing diet, which would restore the damaged villi in my intestines and permit me to eat and properly digest various grains and starches. So the end (successful) result is that I would be permitted to go back to a Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Sugar free diet. The delight of it all is that by the end of all this, that diet (which once felt SOOO restrictive) will be positively liberating.


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