WHY THE TEST DIET WORKS!
Many people with epilepsy believe that the only diets that help control seizures are the ketogenic diet and the paleo diet. However, some will not be able to handle a high fat diet. In addition, they may react to other ingredients allowed on these diets. This is why a personalized diet is often a necessary part of recovery from epilepsy. It is now known that there is a link between the gut and the brain. The vagus nerve is a long nerve that connects your gastrointestinal tract and your brain. This nerve is able to send signals back and forth. If struggling with gastrointestinal health issues, brain function can become compromised. When dealing with epilepsy, IBD, IBS, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, Candida, or autoimmune disease, a one size fits all diet can leave people struggling. I teach clients how to create a great tasting, personalized menu.
When you have epilepsy, the most common thing for people to say is you need to slow down and take it easy. I found sitting down and doing less frustrating, and almost impossible to do because I like staying busy. While resting helped, I was still having many seizures. Even though doing too much may be a component of having seizures, I don’t think it’s the whole story. The doctors tried different medications, but I was still having seizures. Sometimes five complex partial seizures in one day and at times — seizing every day.
I no longer have seizures unless I come into contact with gluten, my recovery is amazing!
The digestive tract contains a large number of neurotransmitters, bacteria, hormones, and enzymes. The gut is home to a high percentage of the body’s total immune system.
Since there are many neurotransmitters in the gut, it is often referred to as the “second brain.” Neurotransmitters carry messages between neurons. A neuron is a cell which sends information from one part of the body to another. You have neurons in your brain and spine, as well as in your gut. The gut has its own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system.
Part of this story includes a conditionally essential amino acid called glutamine. Your body produces some but since it is used in large amounts it is necessary to get more from the food we eat. Glutamine is an important part of supporting your immune system, reducing anxiety, and keeping the intestinal wall healthy. Glutamine is a vital nutrient that helps the intestines rebuild and repair.
If the intestines are not functioning in a healthy manner, we are not able to absorb the nutrients food offers. In this case, a deficiency can occur. If the intestinal wall becomes damaged, our body is unable to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in an efficient manner. As well, the intestinal wall protects us from dangerous allergens, toxins, and pathogens sneaking into the body. If there isn’t a sufficient amount of glutamine in our system, then cells along the wall of the small intestine are not strong enough to prevent dangerous chemicals from invading the body. These cells need to be close enough to each other so that the tight junctions of the intestinal wall don’t become too wide. When the tight junctions become too wide, this situation is referred to as “leaky gut.”
A deficiency of glutamine can also be dangerous if a cycle in the brain, called the glutamate/GABA-glutamine cycle, is disrupted. This cycle takes the calming GABA and converts it into the calming glutamine. Then once inside the neuron, the glutamine is converted it into the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. The balance between restfulness and excitement is extremely important because high levels of glutamate can become a toxin that kills neurons.
This allows us to have energy and be alert when necessary, and calms us down when needed. If this cycle is disrupted due to a lack of GABA and glutamine not controlling excitatory glutamate, a seizure can happen. Too much glutamate has been linked to neurological conditions, including epilepsy.
The brain in the gut functions in a similar manner to the brain in our head. Scientists say the second brain sends and receives signals, and plays a role in many emotions we feel. If you are nervous and your stomach hurts while you are worried, this is because your second brain is stressed. This feeling is sometimes referred to as butterflies in the stomach. I remember saying to people, “I am so nervous or upset that I feel sick to my stomach.” If your second brain isn’t working, neither are you!
Since the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is connected to the central nervous system (CNS), damage to this region is extremely dangerous. The number of illnesses now linked to food sensitivities is huge. I believe injury to the GI tract is similar to brain damage and none of us wants that.
In the past, I had become sick due to a loss of healthy bacteria in my gut from taking a large amount of antibiotics. I developed a diet that helped me become well again. Part of this diet included the removal of gluten. Years later I tested gluten to find out how badly I reacted to this protein. You can find a gluten sensitivity test online, or you can use the TEST Diet to find out if you react to this protein.
Well, I became very sick and realized that I can’t include gluten in my menu. Since a gluten-free diet helped me so much the first time around, I decided to try it again. However, this time there was much more damage. This time I had epilepsy! So I created a diet which removed many more ingredients than the first diet. I was left with a very restricted menu, I had to be exceptionally careful. The first time I followed this diet I didn’t have to be as strict; a little bit of gluten didn’t seem to bother me. Now even a speck of grains or other foods which caused me to have a reaction, made me very sick and caused me to have a seizure.
I have done a lot of research regarding gluten sensitivities, antibiotics, and food allergies. I have met and spoken to many people who suffer from food sensitivities/allergies. It seems everywhere I go someone is having a problem with one or more food sensitivities. I know you must be saying to yourself, one minute these doctors, scientists, and nutritionists are saying certain ingredients are healthy, and the next minute they are saying, “well, you have to be careful.” You are probably right, and knowing what to do can easily become confusing and frustrating. This is why I go over individualized diet plans with clients and in my book. Everyone will react differently to ingredients. I believe each diet must be personalized. In addition, I will teach you how to create your own recipes. My experience as a chef has taught me how to do this. Creating great tasting meals to suit your needs is easier than you think.
I had to individualize my diet in the same way I am recommending to you and the TEST Diet will guide you in the process.
I have met numerous people who have different illnesses which seem on the surface to be unrelated. The diseases vary from epilepsy to Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and many experience some level of recovery when their diet is changed. The amount of recovery depends on a few things. One aspect of their recovery depends on how much damage has been caused by their illness. In my case there was a lot of damage throughout my body, in spite of this factor, I am now much better. Not all of the health problems that a lack of healthy bacteria in the gut causes can be repaired. But then again, I believe if people are strict with their diet, they will be able to substantially—or completely—recover from their illnesses.
If inflammation becomes chronic, and holes along the intestinal wall are produced, this can lead to leaky gut. In this situation, toxic ingredients can sneak into your bloodstream and may lead to food allergies, sensitivities, epilepsy, and autoimmune disease. An injured intestinal wall is related to inflammatory bowel diseases, for example, Crohn’s and colitis. Then again, even people without a leaky gut can experience problems in this area of the body leading to an assortment of health issues.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including Crohn’s disease.
One of the most common results of gut microbiota (microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses) imbalance, is an increased risk of intestinal infections. Intestinal issues often result from an overgrowth of damaging bacteria present in the gut, such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). This bacterium may cause long-term and repeated intestinal infections that initiates inflammation of the colon, which can lead to colitis. C. difficile does not cause any significant disease when healthy bacteria are present and able to control infection. Nevertheless, when there is a disturbance in the normal balance of microbes naturally occurring in the intestine, this can result in the development of C. difficile infection, IBD, SIBO, IBS, and colorectal cancer. An imbalance of microbes can happen for a number of reasons, but mainly antibiotics, physical stress, psychological stress, hygiene, and the modern diet are contributing factors.
I think most of us have our plate arrangement backward; huge amounts of starch, small amounts of vegetables, small amounts of protein, and even smaller portions of healthy fats. I recommend a very different meal plan. We need to make healthy fats a portion of our daily food intake, protein should also be a part of our menu, and the menu needs to include low-starch vegetables. Starches such as rice, bread, and pasta are unnecessary. This recommendation must be altered according to your health and personal chemistry. Whenever I have a flare-up of my colitis, I can no longer handle large servings of fats, even healthy ones. When this happens, I have to adjust my diet to contain larger portions of vegetables and meats, as well as lowering the percentage of fats to get better. My body prefers monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats when my gut is acting up. I find saturated fats hard to digest when this happens. Therefore, your diet must be adjusted according to your individual chemistry and wellness. Remember to remove enough starches and sugars in order to feed your cells healthy ketones, produced in the liver from fat, as your main source of fuel. If you are unable to eat enough healthy fat to feed your cells ketones, then a gluten-free, sugar-free diet will help! However, even if the diet is gluten-free and sugar-free you may react to other foods. This is why the TEST Diet is a necessary part of creating a healthy diet that is customized.
I feel that most people do not understand the implications of a damaged gastrointestinal tract. If someone is struggling with any medical condition, whether it is serious or minor, from ordinary annoying headaches to a disease, creating a customized diet could be life changing. You might go for tests and the diagnosis may be either you don’t have any problems with your intestinal tract, or you only have a small amount of injury. In the beginning, I went for tests and was told I didn’t have a problem with gluten. In addition, I underwent other tests and they said I didn’t have issues with my intestine. Eventually, after eight years, I was sent for a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy. This time I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (problems with my large intestine). Maybe the previous tests didn’t notice any damage because it was very small. This situation, unnoticed and untreated intestinal damage, may have contributed to the resulting colitis years later.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including ulcerative colitis.
IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects the digestive system. Symptoms include cramping, gas, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain.
IBS is a common ailment that affects the proper breakdown of food. Since IBS is not a disease, symptoms can vary. Causes of IBS differ depending on personal chemistry and microbiota.
Common triggers of IBS are food sensitivities, processed food, stress, inflammation, leaky gut, and low population of healthy bacteria. Paying attention to things that trigger your IBS is important because everyone experiences different causes. Food sensitivities and emotional stress are very common triggers.
When following the TEST Diet, you will be able to notice your triggers. This allows the person following the diet to realize sensitivities that trigger IBS.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including IBS.
The New England Journal of Medicine lists 55 diseases that may be caused by eating gluten. This list includes cancer (not an autoimmune disease but linked to gluten), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and many other autoimmune diseases. When you work with me, I will guide in natural autoimmune treatments. Gluten is listed as a factor contributing to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including epilepsy, migraines, dementia, and autism. Even though gluten sensitivity is not classified as an allergy, it must be taken very seriously. It is an autoimmune disease creating the inability to tolerate gluten. The standard sign of an autoimmune disease is systemic inflammation and can affect your brain, heart, joints, and digestive tract. Prolonged inflammation and autoimmune diseases are often the product of a reaction to gluten. The illnesses listed here are just the tip of the iceberg because inflammation is the root of many diseases and common health issues.
Obviously, this does not mean gluten is the cause of every sickness or health problem. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. For example, we all know trans-fats are bad for us, and if we want to stay healthy it’s a good idea to stay away from them. Well, if we have heart disease and the cause is smoking, this doesn’t mean trans-fats have suddenly become healthy. The same goes for gluten. If we have heart disease and the cause is smoking, gluten can still be a problem. It may not always be the direct cause, but it can be a contributing factor. Avoiding gluten can’t hurt you, just like staying away trans-fats won’t hurt you.
A lot of people I meet say they want to learn how to cook homemade, healthy food. They no longer believe eating packaged and processed food, even if it doesn’t have gluten, is the healthy choice. I totally agree! I believe many food manufacturing companies send the message to consumers that packaged gluten-free food is fine for all people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. It is better than gluten containing food, but I feel it is not always the best choice. A big reason I stopped eating packaged gluten-free food is because I feel the laws regarding the statement “gluten-free” are vague.
Unfortunately, packaged and processed foods are not the only products we consume/use containing gluten. Eventually, I became aware of the fact that some medications, stamps, envelopes, vitamins (supplements), shampoo, lipstick, and other makeup may use gluten as an ingredient.
One way of screening these items is to phone a celiac association and check with them. Another way is to phone the company manufacturing the product and ask them. I like to look online. Health food stores are now starting to sell gluten-free makeup, cream, shampoo, and many other non-food gluten-free products. Whenever a medication is prescribed, I go over the ingredients with the pharmacist. Yes, sometimes even medications will have gluten. Hidden gluten is everywhere! Everything I eat, drink, take, or put on my body needs screening.
Gluten is harmful, and celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are associated with many diseases, including seizure disorders, ataxia, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders. For over 40 years the relationship of celiac disease to neurological and psychiatric problems has been observed. Gluten sensitivity may also lead to neurological and psychiatric problems, this sensitivity can easily go unrecognized and untreated. Sometimes gluten sensitive people will not have issues with their villi or the same antibodies present in celiac disease—this doesn’t mean they aren’t sick. In the past, when tests were done, and if the person tested didn’t have problems with their villi or certain antibodies, they were thought to be fine. We now know this isn’t true.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including celiac disease.
When someone doesn’t have issues with gluten, digestion is usually completed and the food is absorbed properly. Then again, when gluten sensitivity is an issue, the body identifies gliadin (a protein in gluten) as a hazardous chemical and produces antibodies to attack it.
Antibodies fight when they perceive something as a threat to the body. This means the intestines of people with gluten sensitivity may become damaged, which can cause a lot of digestive problems, for instance, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, and/or vitamin and mineral deficiency. If they have a battle with gliadin on a regular basis, then important nutrients are not absorbed. Research shows intestinal permeability (leaky gut) can be a problem in people with gluten sensitivity. Once antibodies attack gliadin, they sometimes lose control and begin hurting different important systems in the body.
Leaky gut is a term used to describe an intestinal wall that has developed large holes. This allows food, bacteria, and other substances to travel through the holes. When the intestinal wall becomes more porous, with holes that are larger in size, the screening out process no longer functions properly. This results in toxins moving freely into your bloodstream. Gluten sensitivity is able to cause the release of zonulin, a protein that controls the tight junctions (spaces) along the intestinal wall. If these spaces are too wide, this can cause leaky gut. This condition is thought to be related to many health disorders.
Doctors are now starting to say those with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are at risk of developing other diseases. I feel everyone’s health can benefit from the removal of gluten grains. If you have celiac disease or even gluten sensitivity, it stops being a choice; removing grains becomes vital to your overall well-being. I am unquestionably inflexible when it comes to those of us who are already sick. Since gluten causes a lot of damage to the body, we need to abstain completely if we have a sensitivity. If you aren’t sick then gluten can be eaten, although probably not to the extent you eat it today. If I were to advise a healthy client as to whether gluten, starches, and sugars should be eaten, I would say no. If you decide you are going to continue eating these foods, then I would strongly advise you to relax your consumption the same as you would limit sugar when dieting.
Some research suggests that there is a neurological component to gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity should be taken seriously, it is an autoimmune disease. Inflammation is a sign of an autoimmune disease and systemic inflammation can affect your brain, heart, joints, and digestive tract. Prolonged inflammation is the root of many diseases and common health issues. There are options for autoimmune disease treatment naturally.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including gluten sensitivity.
Some may think they know what Candida is but are usually mistaken. Quite often people call Candida albicans a yeast infection, but it is in fact a fungal infection. Many believe that only women can have this type of infection. They are wrong, women are more likely to have fungal infections, but men can as well. When it is in its fungal form, it is infectious and uses its cell wall and enzymes to spread and terminate tissues all over the body.
Too much sugar, including starches which are eventually broken down into glucose, can lead to dangerous levels of toxic fungi. Yeast is merely a type of fungus and unlike plants, yeasts cannot make their own food. A big problem with sugar is that it feeds yeast and can lead to illness. If there is too much sugar, there is too much yeast.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection, and is triggered by a large amount of yeast in the body. There are many different species of Candida yeasts, and the most common infection is from Candida albicans. A small amount of yeast is okay; it helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. On the other hand, when there is an excessive quantity, Candida can make the wall of your intestines permeable. This causes leaky gut, releasing toxins into the bloodstream, and many more serious health problems.
Heath issues that can occur as a result of Candida:
- Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, or toenail fungus.
- Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog.
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes.
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression.
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching.
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears.
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings.
Toxins produced by Candida contribute to the onset of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Candida also brings on symptoms such as bad breath, skin rashes, muscle twitching, headaches, feeling tired, and many more health issues.
The use of antibiotics started in the early 1940s. Since then there have been numerous studies regarding how this medicine affects Candida. It can destroy both good and bad bacteria. When healthy bacteria are killed off, the body can be left with an overgrowth of yeast. The good bacteria in your body are in charge of different functions, including regulating Candida. Yeast in the body is monitored by healthy bacteria and other factors. Go out of your way to avoid this medicine. I am not saying if you are really sick not to take it, I just want you to try your best to get better without taking or overusing antibiotics. Sickness and a compromised immune system can also result in an overgrowth of Candida. Therefore, a strong immune system is an essential part of overall health. For this reason, someone who is sick may become worse. A reduction in the population of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract following the use of antibiotics can occur and may be responsible for an increase of dangerous pathogens. If the sickness is viral antibiotics will not help; they do not work against viruses, only bacterial infections.
I would like to share some information about an amino acid that can behave like a toxin. The amino acid is beta-alanine, and is a by-product of Candida. It can increase glutamate levels in the body. When a Candida infection occurs, beta-alanine is produced, it can prevent the proper function of GABA, which is the inhibitory neurotransmitter that calms down glutamate. Beta-alanine is able to lower levels of taurine, which is unhealthy because taurine is thought to improve GABA function. When people struggle with Candida overgrowth, taurine is eliminated in the urine. In this case, the ability of GABA to do its job correctly is diminished, and it may not be able to control the excitatory glutamate properly. As I have stated, glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and too much can lead to seizures. I believe if glutamate is left out of control, it can create too much excitement in the brain and is able to cause enormous injury!
In the beginning, I did not suspect my illness had anything to do with Candida. Nor did I realize Candida could cause me to become so sick! But in hindsight, I can see an association. I am sure my seizures have something to do with the Candida in my body and its association with glutamate not being controlled by proper amounts of GABA.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including Candida.
Continued inflammation is linked with many medical and psychiatric disorders, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, schizophrenia, and depression. Additionally, it is frequently associated with higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are discussed many times in my book. I believe certain cytokines and inflammation are the main aggressors of numerous diseases.
Prolonged inflammation and autoimmune diseases are often the product of a reaction to gluten and sugar. Inflammation is the root of many diseases and common health issues.
If inflammation becomes chronic, and openings along the intestinal wall are produced, this can lead to leaky gut. In this situation, toxic ingredients can sneak into your bloodstream and may lead to food allergies, sensitivities, and autoimmune disease. An injured intestinal wall is related to inflammatory bowel diseases, for example, colitis and Crohn’s. Then again, even people without a leaky gut can experience problems in this area of the body leading to an assortment of health issues.
When the population of healthy bacteria is diminished and there is a lack of diversity of these important bacteria, they are unable to keep the lining of the intestines strong. This enables dangerous chemicals to sneak into the body. Some researchers believe when the healthy gut bacteria population is low autoimmune reactions, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and allergies occur.
Leaky gut is thought to be related to many health disorders, including autoimmune disease.