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TravelTraveling while maintaining a restricted diet can be a challenge. Planning ahead and keeping a running list of essential items helps. Here is our master checklist for travel, Gut Harmony Ultimate Travel List. You can print it out, adapt it to the kind of travel you plan, and check items off as you pack.

Happy Travels...Bon Voyage!

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You probably think of yourself as a single entity, an independent navigator of your own life, think again! In reality, everything you think, feel, or do is affected by the intricate communication process between the multi-millions of microbes in and on your body. So whenever you say “I” you might as well say “WE”.

We each host more than 10,000 species of organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. All together, these are called the microbiome. Each of us has a unique microbiome balance, subject to the genes we inherited, the environment we live in, and the food we eat. Maintaining the distinctive microbiome balance that is ideal for each individual is key to our wellness.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) funded the "Microbiome Project" which is considered by many as “the second genome project”. It has stimulated fascinating research and discoveries and is already revolutionizing the way we treat illness and, no less important, the way we think of wellness. We used to think of bacteria as the enemy, a source of sickness and disease. We now know the picture is multifaceted. Microbes are not the primitive, single cell organism we used to think they are. Our microbes maintain active social colonies and communicate among themselves in sophisticated ways. They affect our brain, our gut, and every associated bodily system. Mental illness, autoimmune diseases such as IBD, and metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetics, are all affected by our microbiome.

As research progresses, we are heading for a future where probiotics will be used more than antibiotics, and diets will be tailored to support our good bacteria and starve our bad bacteria.

The first diet that addressed gut bacteria by name and intent was the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, created by Dr Sidney V. Haas (1870–1964) as a treatment for celiac and inflammatory bowel disease. The diet was later advanced and developed further by biochemist Elaine Gloria Gottschall M.Sc. who wrote the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet. This book helped countless people regain their health while its author was generously mentoring and teaching people how to use this diet to heal. The SCD is being researched today as a therapeutic diet by leading GI scientists and doctors, and is being practiced in different modernized variations. Many of the popular “new” diets today are actually, variations, interpretations and offshoots of the SCD. In my opinion, the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, should be considered required reading for anyone interested in microbiome diets.

Respect for healthy diets and the healing powers of food have been mentioned as early as biblical times and throughout history. Unlocking the mysteries of the microbiome holds great promise for our future. Here are sample resources for microbiome published research and books

Research

  1. The Effect of Diet on the Human Gut Microbiome: A Metagenomic Analysis in Humanized Gnotobiotic Mice. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Bacterial communities cause inflammation of the gut. Novel mechanism for Crohn’s disease uncovered.  April 23, 2015,  Research news
  3. Analysis of Gut Microbiome and Diet Modification in Patients with Crohn’s Disease. Published: June 27, 2014.  www.symbiosisonlinepublishing.com.
  4. The Gut’s Microbiome Changes Rapidly with Diet, December 14, 2013, Scientific American.

Books

  1. Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gloria Gottschall, 1994.
  2. Management Of Celiac Disease by Sidney Valentine Haas & Merrill Patterson Haas, 2011.
  3. The Stone Age Diet: Based On In Depth Studies Of Human Ecology And The Diet Of Man by Walter L Voegtlin, 1975.
  4. The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss by Raphael Kellman. 2014.
  5. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life, by David Perlmutter, 2015.
  6. The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health by Justin Sonnenburg, Erica Sonnenburg, Andrew Weil, 2015.
  7. Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes (TED Books), by Rob Knight, Brendan Buhler. 2015.
  8. Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, by Martin J., MD Blaser. 2015.
  9. The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body, by Sarah Ballantyne. 2014.
  10. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, by Natasha Campbell-McBride. 2010.
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Leave it up to art to liberate us from polite inhibitions and allow us to talk about poop. These days, the microbiome is the hippest word in science. Published research has been documenting how our gut bacteria effects every aspect of our health and well-being.

Now poop is showing up in the art world.

Design Academy Eindhoven presented recently “Eat Shit” at the Salone del Mobile – the first exhibition of the new department Food Non Food, directed by Marije Vogelzang. Eat Shit by D.A.E @ Salone Milan 2015

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This was our first presentation in front of the GI team at Seattle Children's Hospital (SCH) in 2012. This was the starting point of a long collaboration with the team at SCH that resulted in the first medical symposium ever held about the use of SCD as a therapeutic diet, host by Dr. David Suskind of SCH in Seattle in January 2014.

Dr. Suskind and the GI team at SCH have since led and continue to conduct research about SCD and other therapeutic diets as treatments for IBD.

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We started as a single family, isolated, struggling to find a solution for pediatric Crohn's. As we began mentoring other families that had ill kids and were interested in the SCD as a therapeutic diet, our personal story expanded to include their stories as well. At first we used to invite each new family to our home so that they could learn in person how to start the diet and how to make it work. The number of interested parents increased weekly. We would come home and find phone messages on the answering machine, or wake up and find emails from desperate parents. To help address the growing need, I started periodic group mentoring sessions, but this did not help parents that lived far away. Reluctantly, I had to overcome my technical gaps and my strong need for privacy, and in 2014 I started a closed group on Facebook to support parents of IBD children and teens. The group is called SCD Families. These are just a few of the emails and messages sent to me during this time.

Identifying details have been removed to protect the privacy of IBD patients and their families
...continue reading "SCD Family Stories"

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SuccessI was raised in a "science town", near the green lawns of The Weitzman Institute of Science. The motto in my home was "if it doesn't have a scientific proof, it doesn't exist". In my adult life, I am surrounded by family and friends who are scientists, engineers and doctors in different fields. They all appreciate well planned and well executed research, factual statements backed by hard data, statistics, graphs, and numbers.

Yet here I was, about to make a huge decision that would affect my son's health, well-being and future… and my choice was so un-characteristic. At the time I was suggesting that we consider the SCD instead of immunosuppressant drugs, the diet was not backed by modern research and lacked statistical analysis of measured successes. Instead of following the common medical wisdom and the well-researched pharmaceutical protocol, we chose WHAT?
...continue reading "How do you measure success?"

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coldWhether you wipe your nose on your sleeve, a tissue or an expensive handkerchief, the cold virus is a uniquely humbling experience. In most cases it takes just a few days of good self-care to bounce back to wellness, but a lingering cold, a sinus infection or a bad flu can be taxing on the immune system and can trigger a gut flare.

Cold and flu prevention are still an unresolved frontier. We can already book a flight to space, but we have not made much progress in the fight against the common cold virus.   ...continue reading "Colds"

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3D render of a plumber fixing a leakContrary to the old joke, plumbers are not the only ones that can turn shit into gold. Retail and pharmacy shelves full of laxative products are proof that when our ‘pipes’ are ‘clogged’ we will pay handsomely for fast relief.

Constipation is not normal and not pleasant. It is important to figure out the reasons for one’s constipation and try to address the root cause of the problem. ...continue reading "Constipation Protocol"

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  1. It may be helpful to transition to low-residue foods which are pureed with lots of liquid on the third and second days before your procedure, then changing to clear liquids the day of the preparation.
  2. Since a colonoscopy can be tough on the gut, be proactive in preventing a “post colonoscopy flare”.after the procedure, ease gradually back into a normal SCD diet. Start with pureed soups or smoothies, and then your most digestible (and low residue) soft foods before restarting your regular SCD foods.
  3. During the cleanse use the Miralax mixed with white grape juice/club soda or homemade SCD lemonade.
  4. The day before the cleanse, make one or two varieties of jello using unflavored gelatin and white grape juice or homemade lemonade.
  5. Order ahead of time some Honey candies from Digestive Wellness.
  6. Homemade popsicles from the white grape juice and SCD lemonade.
  7. Any juice must be SCD legal and should be used diluted.
  8. Chicken broth should be clear, with no solids in the liquid. Strain the broth several times to filter out any particulates. Skim the fat off as best you can, this is easier when the broth has been chilled. The fat is likely to affect a pill cam, so you do want to make sure the broth isn't too fatty.
  9. Plan ahead to keep the child busy (toys, movies, playtime) and take their mind off of what’s going on so the time will go by faster!
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