My client has gas problems with the following foods: beans, avocado, bananas, onions, dairy and eggs. As you can see, these are all good foods, and he says he'd love to be able to eat them. He has gone to several doctors, and they all have said this is something he has to deal with. In regards to beans, he was recommended to use Beano, but besides not working well, I understand it also destroys the protein in the beans. He has tried using Lactaid products for dairy, but they don't seem to work well either. When he stops eating these foods, he presents very little or no symptoms at all. Why do these foods bother him, and what would you recommend to do/take to improve his digestion?
What you describe here is not at all uncommon, particularly in those aged 35 or more. Since there are probably several things going on at once, I'll address them item at a time and in the typical order of occurrence.
When it comes to both food intolerance and food allergy, dairy is easily among the top offenders worldwide. The problem most commonly begins in infants who are bottle fed by their mothers; they are fed pasteurized store-bought commercially farmed milk in their bottles. Mothers milk (which is about 55% fat, full of 100% unadulterated proteins, enzymes, immune antibodies and friendly bacteria that can effectively inhabit the infant's colon) is a vital "jump start" nutrient for the budding life. This "jump start" program typically lasts as long as three years when children are raised in native societies - of which there very few left. In modern industrialized societies, women typically breast feed for very short periods of time (often three months or less) because they are either too busy, too poorly nourished to keep up milk production, physically can't produce enough milk or are themselves ill and decide not to continue breast feeding. Some simply see it as an inconvenience.
In many instances, because commercially farmed, pasteurized milk is:
- Completely without enzymes and therefore very hard to digest (whether it can be completely digested is debatable!)
- Often homogenized, which means the milk has been forced through stainless steel screens with tiny holes in them at several thousand pounds per square inch (~4,000 PSI if I remember correctly) to break up the fat globules (this is so the cream will not separate in storage). The process of homogenization obliterates the fat cells, resulting in rapid oxidization.
- Heated to the selected standard temperature/time standard allowed by regulating bodies in that area, which according to the research of Francis Marrion Pottenger, M.D., denatures the milk proteins and may cause a germ spore injury (injury to the DNA). In his extensive studies on cats and observations of his human patients, Dr. Pottenger showed that severe degenerative and adverse health conditions resulted within one generation feeding cats even a portion of their diet as pasteurized milk and cooked meat and that by the fourth generation the animals could no longer reproduce. Most importantly, in his book, "Pottenger's Cats" (available at www.price-pottenger.org), he concluded by stating (and showing) that his human patients reflected what he saw in his cats!
- Void of the friendly bacteria that mother's milk provides, yet often contains unfriendly bacteria, which are likely to have already become resistant to the heavy doses of antibiotics they give milking cows to prevent mastitis; the same antibiotics in many instances that are used for human consumption as prescribed by physicians all over the world.
- Steroid hormone residues; recombinant bovine growth hormone has been shown to survive pasteurization and homogenization to end up in your cup/or bottle.
The result is that the infant's immune system sees this milk as an offender and attacks it. The infant develops a progressively greater and greater immune response with repeated exposures (by the way, microwaving infant milk can also be extremely dangerous and has resulted in infant deaths in hospitals!), which can cause inflammation and leakage of the gut. This allows undigested milk particles (called antigens) to make it to the liver, where the liver will become challenged. There is a cascade of events from there, but they are too much to describe, so I will continue explaining how people become like your client...
Not at all uncommonly, children start getting fed grain-based foods at an early age; some as early as one. Since 50-60% of white-skinned people and about 40% of colored people are intolerant of gluten (the protein in all grains except corn, rice, buckwheat and millet), a further immune antibody response is activated in attempt to police yet another barrage of invasive proteins, causing still further inflammatory damage to the wall of the small intestine. From this point onward, the body is typically bombarded with processed and denatured foods that result in the body depleting its digestive powers prematurely; it basically becomes enzyme depleted and can no longer effectively digest foods, like your client!
What is important to realize here, but which is seldom appreciated, is that the body, when bombarded by processed, denatured or non-foods during the first three years of life, for all intensive purposes, gives up; you can see the same process at work with smokers, who initially react violently to the ingestion of cigarette smoke, yet after persistent efforts become addicted to nicotine. Twenty years later, they go for a routine check up only to find out they have a massive case of lung cancer and months to live! With regard to dairy and gluten consumption, you typically see the body make a second (and often final) stand against the invasive agents around age 35. Again, the immune system begins to attempt to "clean house," and there is often a chronic inflammatory condition in the small intestine...and again the gut begins to leak...fatigue, doctors visits...often misdiagnosis and usually drugs...all the while the fatigue results in heavy use of sugar and other stimulants like caffeine.
About this time, the body becomes depleted of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes and other digestive enzymes and ends up...just like the body of your client. In fact, if you have a good blood test done, such as the GI Barrier test and food allergy tests offered by Biohealth Diagnostics (www.biodia.com), you will most likely confirm leaky gut syndrome and are very likely to find that your client is having an allergic (intolerance) reaction to most of what he eats, with the foods you mention above being among the worst offenders.
Since some foods, such as starches, digest better in an alkaline environment, while proteins digest better in an acid environment, and mixing the two will often result in incomplete digestion of both. You may find it a good idea to follow the basic food combining guidelines with him as outlined in my book "How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!" and in my recent PTontheNET.com Research Q&A titled Food Combining Strategies. In the book, in the chapter on digestion, I discuss a number of ways to improve digestion, but a couple things you can do to test him/her is to either purchase a high quality digestive enzyme from a local health food store (I suggest using one with HCL and pancreatic enzymes) or you can juice half a lemon and sip it down throughout a meal. If the client is deficient in stomach acid or digestive enzymes, there will typically be a noticeable improvement in digestion and decrease in such symptoms as gas, as you described above. If using lemon juice or digestive enzymes reduces the symptoms, then continue their use until the body starts reacting negatively to them; typically the person uses the enzymes for a period of weeks or months and then, as their natural enzyme production increases (and they choose to eat better quality, living foods!), they end up with too much enzyme activity, which produces similar symptoms to not having enough with the exception that now they often feel hungry more often, not less often as before.
I also strongly suggest implementing the four-day rotation diet plan. It is easy to follow and in the book it is color coded (the concepts of this can be explored in the You Are What You Eat article series on PTontheNET.com. This allows the immune system to rest, which helps the gut heal and improves energy levels, which in turn reduces the need for stimulants and commonly improves sleep quality. Soon the world becomes a much nicer place to be....! If you do food allergy testing and the results come back positive, simply cross off any offending foods from the rotation diet plan. I recommend going dairy and gluten free for a MINIMUM of two weeks as a trial. If there are any noticeable improvements in energy, skin quality, digestion, bowel movements, bowel regularity, mental clarity, reduced joint and muscle discomfort or reduction in any previous symptoms, keep going! Chances are you will be better off free of gluten and dairy indefinitely!
By following these steps, you will help your client to build health, vitality and fitness from the inside out.