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Healing the gut — and other things

By Staff | Sep 23, 2010

Are you in pain? No health insurance? Low income? Know someone in this situation?

A free pain clinic opened on Tuesday in Fort Myers and provides free medical care to people with an income less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The clinic is for people suffering from fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue, headaches, neck and back pain, foot and ankle pain, joint pains and injuries.

Dr. Gruning, medical director, has designed the clinic with a holistic approach, with chiropractic, podiatry, physical therapy, massage therapy, counseling and prayer, nutrition and lifestyle training (me!). The doctors will not prescribe pain medications; their goal is to get people off pain medications and into a full, healthy life. I’m excited about that!

The Fort Myers Church of the Nazarene on American Colony Boulevard (just off Daniels Parkway) is hosting the clinic. Doors open each Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., with patients seen from 6 to 9 p.m.

I want to personally thank Dr. Gruning and the church for the incredible opportunity they are offering the community. So, if you know someone in this situation, here is an answer. Take advantage of it.

OK, we have talking about gluten sensitivity and gut issues. Remember that the eclectic physicians used to say that “all disease begins in the gut.” If that is true, then all healing and health likewise begins in the gut, so focusing prime attention on this vital organ is fundamental to good health.

The first step in the process is to stop irritating it. I have spent the past two weeks talking about the importance of a gluten-free diet. Let me add that removing all dairy (except for raw products and goat dairy) is really important too.

Let me also say that this is one of the biggest roadblocks to healing because of the emotional connection to these foods. Just think about your favorite comfort foods — macaroni and cheese, milk, hot rolls out of the oven, bowls of cereal topped with milk, milk chocolate…we can hardly speak of the comfort foods without wheat and dairy.

When I counsel people on dietary matters and bring up the gf/cf (gluten free casein free) diet, they often burst into tears or otherwise express their emotional distress at the very thought. They need to grieve over the loss. I have discovered as a nutrition counselor that their grief is very real and very powerful. It can often sabotage their best efforts to get well. They simply cannot give these foods up. Or, at least they feel they can’t.

And then I’m begged to bend the rules. To not be so rigid. Maybe there is another way. (Isn’t bargaining part of the grief process?)

And yes, I can come up with other ideas but the bottom line is that gluten is, for most people, hugely problematic.

I know, I know…you’re tired of hearing about it. Next week we’ll go on to a different (happier?) subject.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator. She can be reached at the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel, at 472-4499 or at www.carolsimontacchionline.com