Brainy Belly exists because of my illness. Digestive issues have been a constant in my life. In my teens I was diagnosed with Colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which covers a host of gastric issues of uncertain origin which cause discomfort but are not calamitous. I gobbled down antacids and followed diets prescribed by my doctors but never found much relief. I went gluten-free more than 10 years ago and felt much better, with less discomfort, more energy but still had "episodes." 2012 brought a crisis which meant I could not eat anything without remarkable pain and spent much of the time looking at least eight months pregnant. Plus I felt terrible, listless and exhausted. My former energetic life of family activities, gardening, work and animal care had been growing more and more difficult to manage, but now it became impossible. I lost my strength, often my balance and coordination plus I found it difficult to keep track of much of anything. My doctor was not impressed by my symptoms or my insistence that I'd lost at least fifty IQ points.
Medical testing and diagnostics revealed a campylobacter infection, which was treated with antibiotics but created little improvement in my reactions to eating food. Increasingly desperate and frightened I turned to Google. The search string "severe gastric distress" led me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. This brought relief within 3 days but it was tough to follow, requiring that I give up so many foods, such as starchy vegetables, most fruit and all grains. It was hard to learn, but it did work and I found pain relief to be a powerful motivator. Slowly I began to feel better. When I attended the Microbiome Conference at the National Institutes of Health, the SCD concepts were confirmed as scientists and researchers presented their findings of how communities of beneficial bacteria live in the gut and on our skin and are critically important to our health. For whatever reason, it seemed my struggling community of helpful digestors had taken too many hits and collapsed. Without them I could only manage a very restricted diet. Three years later I am healing, eating a greater variety and feeling intense gratitude for the chance to repair my health through nutrient dense, real food. Thanks to bone broth, homemade yogurt, fermented foods and freshly prepared vegetables and fruit, I am feeling dare I say it? Energetic! And eager to share the news of how eating the right diet can do so much to support our health.
I will be forever grateful to Dr. Sidney Haas for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. He developed it for his practice in New York City more than 50 years ago. He was honored by the American Medical Society for his work with children who suffered with Celiac Disease and published a book, co-authored by his son. But it is thanks to Elaine Gottschall whose daughter found relief from Ulcerative Colitis under the care of Dr. Haas that we have a book and a movement. She worried that his valuable work would be forgotten and returned to school to pursue the science credentials which allowed her to validate the mechanism of the diet's benefits. She wrote Breaking the Vicious Cycle and laid out a detailed program on following the protocol. Others have taken up the cause, supporting the work of Elaine and Dr. Haas. Shout out here to the wonderfully patient mentor group on Yahoo, BTVC (Breaking the Vicious Cycle.) Still others have approached it from a slightly differently perspective, yet still healing with diet. This is the key message, that diet can be a powerful factor in dealing with digestive dysbiosis and autoimmune issues. I've put a list of books and web sites together on the Resources page. These are the programs that I have looked at closely and feel to be well worth your time.
I've started Brainy Belly to share the #Eat4Health message. The "Diet-so-Totally-Matters" message. And rather than shouting it loud I've decided that nothing would be better than sharing properly made broth. You too can have the "exploding head" phenomenon: the incredible shift in your understanding of how your body works and what you can do to help it heal. Feel for yourself how the right foods sooth and allow the gut to heal. Gelatin-rich broth is your best friend in this effort. And so that is where Brainy Belly will start. As we find customers we can bring additional products to market. Hard work yes, but it is so rewarding to connect with others who have survived their own head (and gut) explosions. Hang in there, there is another side, and its a terrific place to be.
Founder, Brainy Belly