Food as Medicine: Part 1



By Jana Mendoza (Human Resources)

Over the last year, I’ve discovered that food can be medicine. I’ve always realized that fast food and processed junk isn’t great for you, it can make you fat and clog your arteries. But I didn’t realize the damage you can do to your gut from food.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, RA for short. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the body and is characterized by stiff, swollen, painful joints. Your body is basically attacking itself. Approximately 1.5 million Americans have RA. And approximately 23.5 Americans have some form of an autoimmune disease.

The causes are widely contested but there is a growing connection to our gut health and autoimmune disease. I believe even more people than listed above are affected. I think there are people who have symptoms, especially gastrointestinal symptoms that just think it’s normal. I know I thought that.

When your gut is unhealthy or has been damaged or the healthy bacteria that normally lives in your gut is depleted, it can wreak havoc on the rest of your body. One of the possible causes of autoimmune disease identified by natural medicine practitioners is called “leaky gut”. Basically it’s when the walls of your intestines that normally absorb the good nutrients and keeps out food particles that shouldn’t get into your blood, breaks down and doesn’t do the job and leads to inflammation and autoimmune issues.

As I’ve learned more about the connection between food and autoimmune diseases, I’ve discovered that there are a growing number of people using food to heal their guts. One of the diets is called the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol(AIP).

As I’ve researched AIP, joined Facebook groups and gathered recipes, I’ve heard so many stories from people who are healing their gut, having reduction in their symptoms and even having their disease go into remission. People are also having seemingly unrelated symptoms like eczema, allergies, gas, regularity, brain fog, low energy, and more decease and even disappear as they make significant changes in their diet.  Their stories are amazing!

It’s not an easy diet. I did it for 6 weeks (and preparing to get back on it). It’s emotional and difficult and incredibly hard. Eliminating pretty much everything except protein, veggies and fruit is not easy while all your family and friends are eating their SAD diet. (SAD stands for Standard American Diet – what the perfect acronym for our poor diet). I remember breaking down and crying in line at the grocery store. But the amazing thing was I was feeling better at the end of those 6 weeks than I had felt in a long time.

Imagine if all of those 23.5 million people could take control of their diets and find freedom from their disease. What if they could reduce or even eliminate traditional drugs (that are risky and can have awful side effects)!  What if they could become more active than they had been in years!  It wouldn’t be easy but it could be life changing for people. I know I have hope; hope I hadn’t had for many years.

So how does AIP work exactly?  Stay tuned; I’ll let you know.

Part 2

Part 3