9 Jun 2011
Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense. ~Henry Miller
When did we become a society of people who think it’s normal to have discomfort and pain? We take medications for everything, without questioning whether we are really solving the problem or simply masking the symptoms. It seems like the more that people are affected by daily health issues, the less likely we are as a society to figure out what’s really wrong.
For most of my 20s, I suffered from stomach problems. One night in Boston, after I enjoyed some clam chowder, I wound up in a stall of the restaurant’s bathroom clutching my stomach. My friend suggested that I was lactose intolerant. I had not heard that term before. I wasn’t a picky eater – in fact, I enjoyed just about any kind of food, and I had never done any dieting of any kind. This was the first time I considered that there might be something I could not eat. Lactose intolerance made sense because it was fairly common as I was to learn. After all, they sold Lactaid (lactose-free mik) in the stores. My friend was wrong about the lactose intolerance diagnosis, but I believed it for 10 years. My body continued to tell me that something was wrong, but I didn’t listen – lactose intolerance seemed normal so I stuck with that idea, avoiding a lot of dairy and taking Lactaid pills.
I also had asthma. Lots of people have asthma and it was no big deal to carry my inhaler around my whole life. I was tested for environmental allergies when I was a child, but never for food. I figured that a lot would have changed in the years since I was a kid, but I still meet people today whose children have asthma, and food sensitivities or other possible causes were never mentioned by their doctors. The prevailing attitude seems to be that some people are just stuck with having asthma, and there’s nothing to do but inhale steroids. I now know that my asthma had a cause, and I don’t believe there’s anything normal about the airways of your lungs becoming so inflamed you can’t breathe.
I think of all the people popping purple pills for heartburn relief – doesn’t it make sense that their bodies are reacting to what they are putting in them? Look at all the headache medications available – what is your body trying to tell you when you have a migraine? Just because lots of other people have acid reflux, gas, headaches and so on doesn’t mean that it has to be that way. It doesn’t mean that it deserves a brush-off by a doctor. It shouldn’t mean an automatic trip to the pharmacy to start taking a drug that probably won’t work anyway for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean that it’s normal and that’s just the way it is and will be.
Listen to your body – it’s trying to tell you something.
*Make sure to talk to your doctor if you think you might have a food intolerance for their guidance and assessment.
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