Many years ago, I wrote a guest blog for a colleague that went viral. In it, I described my clinical experience with a popular specialized diet designed to heal the gut. I was a Weston A. Price chapter lead at the time and worked with many people in that community who were all following this particular diet at the time. Very few of them were making any kind of progress and some had been trying to “heal themselves” with this diet plan for years without any improvement.
While I have great respect for all worthwhile nutritional approaches, I know there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to healing the digestive tract. There are just too many variables and possibilities of where things can go awry. For example, two people might experience the same symptoms of constipation and bloating but the driving force behind those symptoms are likely entirely different. One may have a sluggish gallbladder and the other might have a fungal overgrowth. Each of these issues can cause constipation, yet these issues require entirely different clinical approaches.
After much consideration, I wrote this blog, detailing why, in my humble opinion, taking an individualized approach, with testing, was far better than a generic diet. My colleague posted this blog to her list of 10,000+ followers and my world changed overnight.
Over the course of the next week, I received over 200 inquiries. Over the course of the next year, I could barely keep up with the demand generated by my post. That was nine years ago and people are still finding me through that blog. Truth resonates.
What surprised me the most were the number of frantic moms who reached out, wanting me to work with their child. Some of these children had severe eczema, some were colicky babies, and others were failing to thrive. None of them were getting better on the generic diet. They were suffering and the poor mamas had nowhere to turn. Conventional doctors had no answers, even drastic dietary changes didn’t help, and they were at their wits end trying to figure it out on their own.
Thus began my intense deep dive into gut healing within the pediatric population.
Working with little ones is so much more difficult than working with an adult who can provide information about their history, tell you what they are experiencing, and give you feedback. Not so with toddlers and babies. When they don’t feel good, they aren’t able to articulate what’s going on; they just get fussy. And that’s hard on everyone.
One of the biggest discoveries I made was while working with a lactating mom of a 5-month-old baby girl who was covered head-to-toe with eczema. The mom had significant digestive issues (guess where it always starts with their offspring?) and I’d done a stool test and food sensitivity test. She’d sent me a picture of her baby and I was haunted by it. That poor baby girl was red all over, inflamed, and miserable. We agreed that once we got mom in good digestive shape, I would start working with her infant.
Mom had multiple issues that ranged from an inability to digest her protein to a parasite. She was also eating many foods – entirely healthy foods on the surface – to which she was having an inflammatory reaction. We started a supplement protocol, targeting the findings on her stool test, and she removed those inflammatory foods from her diet. A month later, we met and she was feeling so much better. I randomly asked about her baby and was shocked when she told me the baby’s eczema was completely gone. Now, I hadn’t done a thing to directly support that little one but by addressing mama’s gut issues, and since she was exclusively breastfeeding, we cleaned up baby’s issues as well.
How powerful is that? When you think about it, it’s perfectly logical. Gut issues in children are set up by mom’s gut issues and get passed on via the placenta and through breast milk. Once a child starts eating solid foods, however, they begin to establish their own unique gut issues and food sensitivities.
While the work is more challenging, there is nothing more gratifying than helping a child increase nutrient absorption and gain much-needed weight. Or being able to identify the source of a child’s chronic constipation, which was tied to behavioral issues wreaking havoc in the family. Or helping a child diagnosed with autism be able to connect with the outer world. Or having an asthmatic child no longer require the use of a steroid inhaler.
Helping children get to the bottom of their digestive issues sets them up for a better life; a healthier, more successful existence. It gives parents peace of mind and creates more harmony at home. And as a practitioner, you are completely filled up by doing profoundly meaningful work.
Do you want to learn how to work with children and adults and get these types of results? Join us for the next Level One: Mastering the Art and Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. Class starts April 6th and the application process is now open.
We need more nutrition professionals making a difference in their communities. Come learn with us!
In health and wholeness,