Just this week I’ve heard of two kids who were prescribed antibiotics for virus related symptoms. I seriously wanted to hunt down these doctors/clinics/idiots and freak the freak out on them. Why in all that is healthy would someone who has clearly gone through major medical training prescribe something that even I can understand as completely ineffective?
Believe me, I know antibiotics–I used to be the Antibiotic Queen. My kids were the Antibiotic Littles and even the poor dog with her constantly infected ears was the Antibiotic Pup.
You see, I used to get sinus infections like they were my job. First came the fatigue, then the head fog and the final nail in the coffin would be killer sinus pressure and fever. I could barely drag myself to the doctor’s office and as soon as I got home with my trusty orange prescription bottle by my bedside, I’d be stuck in bed for at least a day or two. This story was on repeat for most of my twenties and into my early thirties.
Eventually, I started to outsmart the symptoms and with that first hint of fatigue or head fog, I beelined to the doctor and I walked out giving my sinus infection the finger knowing I was going to destroy it before it destroyed me. However, this method of attack eventually failed me.
Each time I took an antibiotic, I didn’t realize the ramifications of killing off ALL the bacteria in my system, not just the bad stuff. Hopefully you all know by now that not all bacteria is bad. We need the good bacteria to fight off infections, helps us digest and break down foods (especially dairy and sugar), and keep our bowels moving at an appropriate pace.
With each round of antibiotics, my body was open to all sorts of mayhem with no good bacteria to help me out. I left myself wide open for a host of other illnesses and it never failed that I had to be on an antibiotic while we were traveling for one of my husband’s sales trips to somewhere tropical. No alcohol and no sun while on vacation? Not a chance in hell. I suffered through skin rashes and post-antibiotic hangover more times than should be humanly possible.
Finally, I had had enough. I had three kids, one that was less than a year old, and I couldn’t keep up with my life. I was sick of being sick. I knew deep down that this couldn’t be my life. So I decided no more antibiotics and because they weren’t getting to the root of the problem. And when they did help my symptoms, I seemed to get a whole host of others as side effects. Oh antibiotics, the gift that keeps on giving…my poor digestive tract. I’m pretty sure it hated me.
Before you think I’m some anti-vaccination, tree-hugging, feed my children from previously chewed up food sort of gal, let me reiterate the point that I was sick of being sick. I knew there had to be a better way of life and I was determined to find it. I wasn’t going to accept that chronic sinus infections were my curse or that I had some chink in my genetic code.
So I read, watched, and researched my ass off only to find out that a lot of the issues I had were from antibiotic overuse. To support my misery, my diet at that time was the main instigator for my distress: the sugary drinks, processed foods, simple carbs, and alcohol. All that junk created what is known as Leaky Gut, which is when the lining of the stomach becomes compromised or more permeable. I had no chance to get things under control until I changed my lifestyle.
This comes down to a familiar story, Good vs. Evil. If we have more bad bacteria than good, we invite some serious health issues. First off, we compromise our immune systems and we are susceptible to everything. For one, our digestive system goes to shit, literally: constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and IBS to name a few. If we have more good bacteria than bad, everything works right.
If we keep turning to antibiotics with every cough and sniffle, all hell will break loose. For one, it’s harder and harder to get the good bacteria to grow. It can take months. But really, the biggest issue with all of this antibiotic business is how smart these bacteria are. Antibiotics are simple in design and the bacteria eventually learn how to reproduce through mutation. Remember when your kids had ear infection after ear infection and you had to keep changing antibiotics because the one you usually got no longer worked? Yeah, that’s the mutation at work and things could get much much scarier if we don’t stop the overuse of antibiotics.
If we keep slugging down them down, especially when we don’t need them, nothing is going to work when we really need them. I mean nothing. We will have run out of options because we overprescribed and overused antibiotics to death.
So what can you do?
Stop Eating the Junk
I know you don’t want to hear this but it is the first step to long-term health. The junk feeds the bad bacteria while nutrient dense food feeds the good. Sugar is the worst culprit of all. It punches holes in the lining of your stomach and actually feeds the bad bacteria and yeast in your gut. This overgrowth of yeast results in fungus in our bodies (I know! Gross!) and we get massive carb cravings when we don’t feed this yeast beast in our bellies. If we stop feeding the bad, it can’t survive. End of story
Take Probiotics or Eat Fermented Food
I recommend taking a quality probiotic to help rebuild the good gut bacteria. I’ve mentioned probiotics before in other posts but in case you’re just joining us, my advice is to look for one with as many strains as you can find (Vitacost has a good one, Probiotic 15-35). I would also add fermented foods into your diet. Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, cultured vegetables, kefir are just a few. These help build the good bacteria and keep them well fed.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted and distilled from plants for health benefits. They contain hundreds of different compounds that give us versatile benefits with their complexity, making it impossible to build up a resistance. These now make up my own “medicine” cabinet and will never go back to antibiotics unless absolutely medically necessary. Essential oils are going to play a big part in a healthcare revolution (they already are!) and turning to more natural health solutions are the wave of the future.
See? There are options. They’re simple, natural, non-toxic, effective, low-cost, and non-threatening to the future of humanity!