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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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June 22, 2010

How much of health is our guts?

©istockphoto.com/nodmitry Last week an article in the Chicago Tribune caught my eye: "Make this recipe and call me in the morning."

I laughed, because essentially, it's what two wise doctors told me earlier this year.

They didn't offer to refill megadoses of naproxen or ibuprofen I'd been taking for years. Or the promise of a nice, cool cortisone shot. Nor the threat of having my knee painfully drained, yet again.

Tests were negative and diagnoses elusive, until finally, a food intolerance test revealed a severe allergy to casein (a protein found in all dairy) and eggs. The joint inflammation and chronic sinus infections went away when I stopped consuming dairy and eggs. This was kind of a big deal, since for most of my life, the typical day's menu included 3 glasses of low-fat milk, morning yogurt, cheese, and probably about one egg a day. It's hard to eliminate all traces of milk and eggs, but the more I can do it, the better I feel. 

Other nutritional choices could also reduce the inflammation, the doctors said, adding that anyone with arthritis, or any type of inflammation can benefit from an anti-inflammatory (sometimes called Mediterranean) diet. And indeed, much about health may just be about our gut, as a Time article asserted last year.

So now, instead of preventing me from walking, my allergies actually help me stay on a healthy path of feeling better and losing weight. At least, that's my gut feeling. 

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