I'm not sure what prompted me to post on this topic. I was enjoying my quiet time, when all of the sudden I thought "Wow, there are sure a lot of myths about Crohns Disease! I should set the record straight!" So here it is. Hopefully this will help you as much as it helped me. If anything, it will give you a new outlook on this disease.
Myths YOU should know about:
1. "Crohn's Disease has nothing to do with food."
This by far, is the biggest myth (or lie) I have ever heard! You'll find this myth on just about every website with crohn's information, especially government backed websites. Your medical doctor will also be quick to tell you that food has nothing to do with your disease. (And in the same sentence, he/she will tell you to avoid the foods that make your symptoms worse).
Here's why this myth is absolutely FALSE. This explanation is common sense. First, what is your gastrointestinal tract used for? It's in charge of everything you put in your mouth, the assimilation of vitamins, minerals, and absorption of nutrients. 60% of your immune system is housed in your intestine along with beneficial bacteria that help battle foreign invaders. What is the one thing that can effect the part of the immune system housed in the intestine? FOOD! What plays a major role in determining whether you have good bacteria in your gut? FOOD And if you don't have good probiotics in your intestine and you don't eat the right foods what happens? I think you know the answer to this one.
Second, have you ever wondered why you flare-up when you eat certain foods? Do you really think this is a coincidence? How can this disease have nothing to do with food when food is the very thing that drives the disease. Why does your doctor tell you not to eat fiber or vegetables if it has nothing to do with this disease? And why do they give us this hospital packet that says to eat bland, fiber-less foods for the rest of our lives?
And most importantly, why have so many people gone into remission simply by changing their diets?
My biggest trigger foods are dairy, gluten, wheat, sugar, white flour, shrimp (the bottom feeders of the ocean), MSG, processed foods, and non-organic produce. When I started eating Macrobiotics, my symptoms immediately disappeared. When I went into remission I started slacking off again, eating gluten, packaged foods, and sugar.Â My symptoms immediately returned. I recognized the err of my ways and quickly took action. I fasted for 11 days on nothing but vegetable and fruit juices and then switched to an 80% raw food diet. What this showed me, was that the physical part of my Crohn's disease was directly related to what I was putting into my body! Isn't it an amazing concept that one can regulate their Crohn's without the use of drugs!? There is so much hope for us with food. If there's one thing you get from this post, I hope it will be that your disease is directly related to what you put into your body. If you want your body to get better, you have to eat better foods.
2. There will be a medical cure for Crohn's Disease.
I highly doubt that there will EVER be a medical cure for Crohn's. So why are we wasting our time and money donating to organizations to develop a magical drug. Tell me this, has there EVER been a medical cure for ANY disease? No. How much money do you think we waste on the search forÂ "medical" cures each year? Billions. There is still no medically known cure for any type of cancer, Parkinsons, Crohn's, asthma, muscular dystrophy, or any other disease that comes to mind.Â And there never will be a magical pill cure - because a drug cannot fix the underlying root cause of any disease and pills just don't work like that. A pill can distort our symptoms or keep them at bay, but that is it. [There are certain emergency situations where we need pills to get control of the symptoms, like when you're first diagnosed.]
Now let's think about this. What is at stake if the government were to say: "Crohn's can be cured or put into remission through diet, exercise, and proper supplementation." I can tell you. If I were to get my prescription filled every month the cost would be $1500. There are about 1 million people in the U.S alone who have some form of IBD. Pharmaceutical companies would lose approximately $150,000,000 a month (in the U.S alone) if people were to start changing their diets or turn to alternative medicine (which is much less expensive)! This does not count the cost of all the other drugs we have to take because of the negative side-effects we get from the first drug (like liver disease, osteoporosis, kidney disease, etc.)!
Do you think that pharmaceutical companies have a stake in this "cure" phenomenon? Sure they do! And keep in mind, a pharmaceutical company`s #1 priority is making money. You cannot patent a naturally occurring substance found in nature, like and herb or food; thus, they stand to make more money through drugs and "research" then they would ever make on an herb grown in your back-yard. And they are the ones who get all of YOUR research dollars!!!! This is no different for any other disease. Pharmaceutical companies are behind everything in our country, so the chance of anyone associated with a government organization coming out and voicing natural remedies for crohn's is not going to happen. So don't hold your breath for them to do so...or you will be waiting a VERY long time.
There will never be a medical one drug cures all because we as individuals are SO different! We all have different reasons for having a disease, different emotions, and different lifestyles. [Note for Christians: Not to mention, if there were a magical drug that could cure us, what would we need prayer or GOD for?] Even in natural medicine, the supplements and diet are different for everyone. Some people do great on aloe vera and others don't. Some people need different types of probiotics and the health regimen is always changing as the body changes.
Oh, and one other thing, most doctors get reimbursed every time they prescribe a certain drug from a pharmaceutical company - not to mention the perks. This is motivation for them to encourage drugs. In today's society, doctors have jammed-packed schedules (not of their own fault) so they don't have time to listen to my/your spiel on the root causes of crohn's disease. I'm hoping that some day this will change. But for now, just listen to the drug speech, smile, and keep natural medicine options in the back of your mind.
*I want to make clear, I think donating money for research on how the disease WORKS on a cellular level is great and money to raise awareness is even better. I also think there is a necessity for surgeons who do IBD surgeries because as long as there are these misconceptions about the disease, they will be of value. But as far as a medical cure? Save your dollars.
3. You cannot eat fiber, fruits, or vegetables if you have Crohn's disease.
This is a HUGE myth. Your body CANNOT LIVE without the wonderful nutrients of fruits and vegetables. The lack of proper nutrition contributes to the cause of this disease in the first place. You are only as healthy as the blood that runs through your veins and your blood is only as healthy as the food that you put into your body. In order to heal, you have to have the proper nutrients. These nutrients ONLY come from *ORGANIC* fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, and anything else found naturally in nature. If it's made in a lab then it will only hurt...not heal.
And I could go on forever about fiber. It adds bulk to your stool if you have diarrhea and it moves the stool through if you have constipation. It's a natural bowel regulator and cleaner that absorbs toxins in the intestinal tract.
Note: I got into remission eating 10 different vegetables each day. And I am maintaining my remission on mostly raw foods! That's right, I said RAW! And I am not the only one. If you are in the midst of a flare-up, I'm not urging you to go raw diet or even eat raw vegetables right away. I merely encourage you to incorporate steamed and sauted vegetables, juices, and fruits into your diet to facilitate healing. You can then build from there.
- In order to reap the many benefits of fiber (and to avoid further irritation the lining of your intestine), you need to take the time to chew your food...a long-lost art in today's society! The only reason people with crohn's disease have an issue with fiber, is because we don't chew our food properly. Chewing is extremely important for utilizing fiber, enzymes, and all of the wonderful vitamins and minerals we need to heal! See my post on the benefits of chewing per the link below.
4. In Crohn's disease, the immune system is overactive.
This is NOT true. For decades people with crohn's have been prescribed immuno-suppressants to shut-down their overactive immune systems. Recent studies (done by the government) show that the immune system isn't overactive, it's just confused! That's why immuno-suppressants don't work long-term. Natural health practitioners like myself have understood this concept long before the government's research came out. I truly believe I knew this in the back of my mind when I was first diagnosed because I just couldn't bring myself to get on an immuno-suppressant. My "gut" instinct told me not to do it. And I am so glad I didn't! I haven't gotten sick at all since I started natural medicine...not even a runny nose!
Re-program your lifestyle and you'll re-program your immune system.
5. People with Crohn's disease only have diarrhea.
This is NOT true. You can have constipation or inability to move your bowels as a symptom of your Crohn's. It took doctors longer to diagnose me with Crohn's because I didn't have one of the key symptoms...which is diarrhea.Â In fact, I had no use of my colon at all by the time I was diagnosed.
To much damage was done in the 2 years I went without a diagnosis...merely because I did not have this symptom.
6. Antibiotics help those with Crohn's Disease.
Antibiotics are one of the worst things you can take if you have Crohn's disease. It kills not only the bad bacteria, but the good bacteria and it upsets the entire ecosystem of the gastrointestinal tract. Ever wonder why those with Crohn's have flare-ups when they start taking antibiotics? Couple that with the typical Crohn's diet and lack of probiotics, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
7. Crohn's disease has nothing to do with emotions.
Crohn's disease is not just a physical disease. There is always an emotional component to every disease. For example, Crohn's disease in the ilium part of the small intestine is commonly associated with "not feeling good enough and/or not feeling appreciated." Ever wonder why your symptoms get worse when you're "stressed"? Next time you feel your symptoms coming on, take a moment and think about the emotions you have been feeling the past few days. Are you anxious, fearful, stressed, worried you won't be good enough for the job etc.? Once you figure it out, you can start to correct those emotional imbalances.
Note: This is why a medical drug will never *cure* this disease, because a drug does not have the ability to heal the physical, emotional, and spiritual part of any health issue and a drug is not able to differentiate between each individual person and their unique characteristics.
8. There's no proof that supplements work for people with Crohn's.
This is a huge myth. When I was first diagnosed and told my doctors I was going to try supplements, I got the "Oh but they aren't FDA regulated and there is no research studies behind alternative medicine (herbs, homeopathy, oils, etc.)." Actually, not only are there millions of studies out there, but there are more studies on natural supplements (like herbs and homeopathy) than drugs! These studies have been around since biblical times and have been confirmed through generations of great thinkers and scientists including Hippocrates...(the father of medicine) himself!Â The field of natural medicine has been around since the beginning of time, long before the AMA (American Medical Association) or any pharmaceutical company was even thought of.
The major difference in this research, is that natural medicine studies are not done by pharmaceutical companies or people with agendas. They were/are done by people with brilliant minds who truly care about humanity and have no hidden agendas. Now look at Pharmaceutical companies, who conveniently do the research themselves and doctor it up to slide if through. Do you notice how often drugs get recalled? How often they say "oh this is super safe to take" and then it's "Opps....we didn't know this drug caused cancer." Pharm. companies know of the benefits of herbs, that's why they try to mimic their drugs after them, even using herbs as the base of some drugs. Unfortunately, they add toxic substances and chemicals to it in order to obtain a patent and end up doing more harm than good - all at our expense.
I'm sorry but is this a chance you want to take? Herbs are fully researched....there are no cancer side-effects, or recalls, and the research and studies never change, they only get stronger! Homeopathic remediesÂ are actually approved by the FDA and there are no negative side-effects for those either!? Now it's still important to take the right supplement that's best for you and your body but you don't have to worry about the horrific effects of drugs when it comes to an herb.
*I will never have a problem taking something not approved by the FDA (federal death association) as 3/4 of the stuff approved for human consumption causes cancer or numerous other health conditions and 100% of all drugs are associated with negative side-effects. However, I do think it is important to do your research on the best supplement companies for you. You don't just want to buy something off the shelf, but want to pick a company with good quality standards! Try a supplement...what have you got to lose? The risk if any, is far less than a toxic drug.
***In summation,*** before believing the garbage people tell you about this disease, really truly think about it from a common sense perspective. How does your disease make you feel? How does food effect you? What are the motives of drug companies? Who's profiting from your disease? And listen to your "gut" instinct. If it doesn't feel right for you or your body, then it probably isn't. It is true what they say: "The body does know best." There will never be a "one cure fits all" for this disease...so why not find the cure for you!
Note: I derived this article from scientific research, personal experimentation by me, my clients, and others, and my knowledge of naturopathic medicine and law school! But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself.