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Healthy Digestion the Natural Way: Preventing and Healing Heartburn, Constipation, Gas, Diarrhea, Inflammatory Bowel and Gallbladder Diseases, Ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and More Paperback – February 1, 2000
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"I respect Dr. Berkson for her brilliant integration of science and how to use nutritional research in ways most doctors have never considered." --Barry Taylor, ND, Founder of New England Family Health Center and Author of Love Your Body
"[This book]" offers the most up-to-date science combined with nutrition that most doctors, even gastroenterologists, don’t know. . . . Berkson looks and entertains like Hollywood, inspires like a motivational speaker, and has the accuracy of a high-level scientist, which is how I regard her. She is the real deal and so is this book.” --Jerome Block, MD, PhD, Founder of Integrations Health Center, Host of All Things Medical, Author of The Doctor Within
“Dr. Lindsey Berkson is one of the leading world’s authorities on integrative gastroenterology, offering some of the most effective, natural protocols available.” --Pamela Smith, MD, MPH, President of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine
"[This book] provides valuable insights into natural protocols for digestive disorders. It also presents nutritional science-based guidelines that Dr. Berkson has originally put together on how to maintain healthy intestinal function for everyone." — Alan Gaby, MD
"Dr. Berkson is a leader and educator who connects the dots, resulting in synthesis of material that clarifies not just the principles of physiology and pathophysiology but the clinical action that should be taken to optimize health. . . . I am so excited to see many of these protocols and this connect-the-dot nutritional science in one labor of love in [this book].” --Christine Green, MD --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A groundbreaking, comprehensive guide to healing your digestive problems, once and for all––safely, inexpensively, and naturally --now completely updated. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The book asks you to read the first few chapters, which give general information on the digestive system and some general advice and THEN goes into details on specific problems (such as heartburn). By the time you have finished those first few chapters, you are a bit overwhelmed with information and convinced you have every single possible digestive disorder and want to try every single diet and food suggestion listed. But then you read your individual chapter (i.e. on heartburn) and some of the information conflicts and you are left feeling a bit incomplete. I'm having a hard time reconciling the information from the first four chapters with my problem-specific chapter.
There are a total of four chapters in the first section (the general information on digestion), followed by several chapters on the various digestive problems (gas & bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, diverticular disease, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer and the inflamed stomach, gullbladder disease, IBS, parasites, Candida candidasis, colorectal cancer & AIDS). Each problem gets its own chapter. I think it would have been much easier to read if it was organized in the exact opposite manner. This is especially true because the beginning goes through all of the foods you should eat for each various condition, but then you hit your section (again, heartburn in my case), and find out you cannot eat many of those foods mentioned in the first few chapters. (For example, peppermint is discussed at one point (not in the heartburn chapter) but anyone with heartburn knows that it is bad for acid reflux.) One of my problems is that the book very heavily promotes yogurt/kefir, which I independently discovered causes much of my heartburn. This makes you feel like a failure because it is mentioned so many times in the book as such a beneficial food to fix so many problems. Overall, if you are a vegan or gluten free, I think this book might be a bit limiting. You could probably find a different book that is more tailored to your needs.
Anyhow, even though the book is titled 'natural', the various chapters recommend pills (be it simple things such as fiber tablets, vitamins and minerals, or a bit more complicated such as hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes). In my mind, 'natural' would be direct food sources (i.e. tell me to eat a bunch of celery or whatever other source of fiber is preferred rather than a tablet). But that could be a matter of definition, of which I am clearly not an expert. So maybe those items still fit neatly in the term 'natural'.
The final three chapters cover elimination diets (figuring out your food allergies- the author suggests that whatever foods you both love and eat every day you might be causing your allergies and to eliminate them and see how you feel), using digestive enzymes and stomach acids, and on detoxification programs.
The book is sprinkled with amazing feel good stories (for example, one story was about a woman with back problems. She got her constipation under control, and her back healed on its own. These stories made me wonder if all of my aches and pains are due to my digestive system and not aging/bad posture/joints, etc. Or if the stories are just sheer coincidences- that is the problem with our complicated bodies, I suppose.)
I definitely think there is some good information in here, and I found myself reading a lot of it out loud to various family members, but it would be much easier to read if it was better organized.
Of the three books I purchased, I read the other two immediately and straight through. This one took me several days and I felt confused rather than clarified at the end. I've been trying to finger exactly why I disliked this book, and I'm just not sure. I think, with so much information, perhaps it should have included an index which cross referenced all of the foods and showed which foods were acceptable for each problem and which were not.
My advice would be to only read you specific 'problem' and skip the other chapters so that you do not overwhelm yourself with too much advice.
My main issue: I have symptoms of several of the problems talked about in the book, and unfortunately the treatments for these problems are often contradictory. I really should eat more yogurt and other cultured products for the beneficial flora--unless I have candidiasis or a food allergy. I should eat whole grains for the fiber--unless I'm allergic or have candidiasis. I should drink water right before I go to bed--unless I have reflux. The list goes on and on. I have NO IDEA which of my stomach problems I should tackle first and which things I can try for one problem that won't significantly worsen another problem. I find I'm so confused that I really want to visit the clinic that Ms. Berkson talks about working at, but she gives no contact info in the book and I was unable to find anything online. Barring that, I would have really appreciated some information for how to FIND a clinic like that one, or a doctor who will work with me to find holistic and natural remedies.
Having said that, I still think this book is an excellent resource that is well-written, well-organized, and well worth reading.