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The Path to Health

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The Path to Health

With the support of the president of Alive Publishing Group Inc., and the editor-in-chief of alive Magazine, Jacqueline (not her real name) agreed to be a case study subject for the pages of this magazine in a series of three monthly articles, \’so that others may be helped and inspired\’.

Do you feel as though you’ve tried everything to regain health and/or lose weight?

If so, you are not alone. Jacqueline (not her real name) had all but given up on her quest for health when a series of events landed her in my office for nutritional advice. With the support of the president of Alive Publishing Group Inc., and the editor-in-chief of alive Magazine, Jacqueline has agreed to be a case study subject for the pages of this magazine in a series of three monthly articles, “so that others may be helped and inspired.”

Is There Something Wrong With Me?

Jacqueline ate poorly as a teenager and was not physically active. By age 20 she began to put on weight and experienced disturbing ailments and symptoms. When Jacqueline came to me at the age of 25, she had lost both money and hope over her ongoing health concerns.

In the past five years she had experienced several failed attempts to feel better. Her medical doctor said there was nothing wrong with her, told her not to eat so much, and gave her a
prescription drug for her psoriasis. One naturopath told her she had candidiasis and helped her to alleviate some, but not all, of her food-allergy symptoms. Jacqueline followed a brown rice diet for a week, which resulted in only temporary loss of her extra weight. When she tried a well-known weight-loss program, she lost some weight but did not feel healthy and didn’t enjoy dieting. A second naturopath put her on a restrictive cleansing diet for three weeks, which resulted in no weight loss or help for her painful digestive symptoms.

Most recently Jacqueline has taken up long-distance running, and she still isn’t feeling healthier or losing weight. Standing five feet, four inches tall, at 150 pounds and with a long list of health complaints, she confessed that she was beginning to think there was something seriously and mysteriously wrong with her.

Assessing Health

A detailed nutritional assessment and in-depth interview lead me to believe that Jacqueline was mainly suffering the long-term ill effects of poor digestion. Few people realize the impact digestion has on overall health. While her diet was healthy relative to most people (no white bread, white rice, or a lot of fast foods), Jacqueline was consuming caffeine, meat, sugar, and a lot of cheese on a daily basis, along with regular consumption of alcohol and frequent dinners out. She expressed frustration at the fact that she ate healthier than most people her age, but still wasn’t slim and healthy. I explained that even if she is eating healthy foods, her health cannot be regained until her digestive system and the organs related to digestion have been given reason and time to heal.

I was relieved to find that there wasn’t something mysteriously wrong with Jacqueline. Still, the task before us is large. I must help Jacqueline understand how her body works and how she can help it to heal. When hormone levels are increased due to stress, imbalanced blood-sugar levels, and an overloaded liver, weight loss is more difficult. The squeaks, growls, and gas that follow a meal are symptoms of digestive distress that she must listen to.

Gain Health to Lose Weight

I hope to guide her through a healing phase, motivate her with knowledge, provide her with tools, and help her transition to a new way of shopping, cooking, eating, digesting, and living. I suggested that we focus on gaining health instead of losing weight (predicting that her weight will normalize naturally as a result of increased health). Jacqueline agreed and realizes that her weight is a reflection of her overall state of health. The path to health need not be painful, but the results will really be up to her. The journey is both exciting and challenging for both of us since it involves honesty, learning, growing, change, and, of course, healing.

Will Jacqueline lose weight without a weight-loss diet? In the next two issues, find out how Jacqueline’s symptoms and difficulty losing weight are related to food, dietary habits, digestion, and physiology. Then find out what steps Jacqueline took to obtain health.

Jacqueline’s Symptoms Summarized

  • difficulty losing weight
  • sugar cravings
  • bloating/gas/stomach pain after meals
  • psoriasis
  • runny and stuffy nose
  • alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • decreased ability to handle stress
  • fatigue and moodiness

Nutritional Assessment

  • poor digestion
  • underactive stomach (low hydrochloric acid)
  • food allergies
  • decreased liver function
  • possible hypoglycemia (low/fluctuating blood sugar)
  • hormonal imbalance
  • fatigued adrenal glands

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Linda Barbara

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