Nearly 70 million Americans report suffering from some type of digestive issue, according to government statistics, while it's believed many more suffer in silence. While the causes can vary, some point to an unhealthy diet and say reversing that pattern can make all the difference.
While serving as a Bible camp counselor, Jordan Rubin became suddenly ill with an inflammatory bowel disease that became so severe it eventually caused him to lose 80 pounds and the ability to walk.
"I didn't understand how a young man who was living for God, I didn't do all the normal things that people do at college, I was ministering to people, I wanted to go into ministry, and here I was having what I considered a fate worse than death," he told CBN News.
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After being diagnosed with Crohn's colitis, Jordan saw dozens of doctors over a two-year period to no avail. Then he met Joseph Brasco, M.D., a Huntsville, Alabama gastroenterologist.
"It was curious to me that he didn't seem to have any good response to anything," Dr. Brasco told CBN News.
That changed, however, when the two embarked on a program for Jordan that finally produced positive results.
A Complete Recovery
Dr. Brasco helped Jordan adopt a diet to help balance his gut microbiome. That's the ecosystem of good and bad bacteria in the intestines that scientists have discovered can have wide-ranging health implications.
The key for Jordan was to follow a diet plan putting lots of good bacteria, called probiotics, and other healthy foods into his system while staying away from items that led to the growth of bad bacteria.
"Twelve weeks after I started this plan, I went from 100-plus pounds in a wheelchair to 170 pounds on my 21st birthday, working out on the beach," Jordan said.
The experience was so profound, Jordan dedicated his life to becoming a natural health expert. He, Dr. Brasco, and fellow natural health expert Dr. Josh Axe, are sharing the plan that turned Jordan's life around in the book The Probiotic Diet: Improve Digestion, Boost Your Brain Health, and Supercharge Your Immune System.
"When I was healed, I knew that God had now purposed me to share this message of help and hope with his people all over the world," Jordan said.
The diet is for people struggling with all kinds of digestive problems.
"Fatty liver, Diverticular disease, certainly Irritable Bowel, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, and I do believe that these are greatly, greatly, improved, if not completely eradicated, with a diet like the Probiotic Diet," said Dr. Brasco.
How It Works
The Probiotic Diet involves taking a daily probiotic supplement, then moving to consume the various foods and beverages containing probiotics, so-called "good bugs," which are various types of living bacteria proven to be good for us.
"Think about cultured or fermented dairy," Rubin explained. "Yogurt and kefir which is available everywhere. Even high-quality sour cream has probiotics, and cottage cheese has probiotics, sour kraut, kimchi, and pickles if they're made the right way, apple cider vinegar has probiotics, kombucha, kvass."
While many of these items may seem new, most are actually very old.
"Fermented foods have been a part of many human cultures for forever," said Dr. Brasco. "And it's only maybe in the last century or so that we've started to move away and become so fearful of bacteria, and not realizing there are things that are actually good bacteria."
"Probiotic foods were very popular in the Bible," said Rubin. "So if you hear about Sarah killing the fattened calf, getting curds, or David delivering to his brothers against the Philistines, curds, they weren't simply cheese. This would have been a yogurt, a kefir, or perhaps a cheese."
Since the good bacteria are alive, like most living organisms, they need food, called prebiotics, to survive and reproduce.
Fiber-rich foods, like vegetables, are what health experts consider to be prebiotics, which helps the good bacteria to stay alive and multiply. Other examples of high-fiber foods include fruit, beans, and whole grains.
What to Avoid
While a healthy gut microbiome involves adding lots of good bacteria and fiber to our diet, it also calls for subtracting other items, like processed foods and sweets, which can lead to the overgrowth of bad bacteria.
"We've had many people, they come in with chronic G.I. disorders," said Dr. Brasco. "And we say, 'Look, just get rid of sugar, and please don't add sugar substitutes.' We see them back a month, six weeks later, and the vast majority of them are significantly better."
So while millions of people look for relief from painful digestive problems, for some, it can be found in The Probiotic Diet, which promotes consuming fermented selections and whole foods created by God. Modern scientists recently discovered this old plan can help us feel better by achieving the right balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut.