Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Are Going to Get Sick

Deb!  You are trying to get me healthy and NOW you tell me I will get sick?!?!?!?! 
While I can’t guarantee you will get sick, I almost can. 
When a person starts drinking kefir, eating fermented veggies and cutting out wheat and sugar, there can be a die-off of bad gut fungus/yeast/bacteria.  This is a good thing but you can get sick from it!   This is called “Herxheimer’s Reaction”, named for the man that discovered it.
“The Herxheimer reaction was first described by an Austrian dermatologist Jarisch Adolf Herxheimer working in Vienna and Innsbruck in 1895 and shortly after this, confirmed by his brother Karl Herxheimer also a dermatologist working in Frankfort.
It is a phenomenon that results when there is an intensification of the disease symptoms and often an expansion of similar symptoms to other places all of a temporary nature, after which the patient is improved or well. Often it appears to some as if they have the flu. The symptoms of the Herxheimer Reaction can be most severe. Usually die off lasts only a few hours, though it can last several days, and may, in severe cases, be maintained for weeks. These symptoms can discourage not only the ill person, but also the doctor, therapist, or anyone who is in close relationship to the patient.  The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (referred to as "Herx" often) is believed to be a reaction caused by organisms (bacteria) dying off and releasing toxins into the body faster than the body may comfortably handle it.” 
The good bacteria in probiotic drink and foods, replace and kill off the bad bacteria in your gut and, depending on how badly you have them, determine how sick you will get.   Good news, eh?  It actually is good news for you!  A few days of discomfort or even worse will be worth it in the long run.   This die-off can cause everything from a bad day to severe flu-like symptoms for up to 3 days, in some cases longer.  
You may have no symptoms of bad gut fungus/yeast/bacteria but it does not mean they are not there.  If you have skin problems, dandruff, occasional nail fungus or even much worse, leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome, or even simply cravings for sugar or bread, you can be sure you have an overgrowth of the baddies that needs to be conquered.   Within a week or two of introducing cultured drink and foods and eliminating wheat, grains and sugar will net you the Herxheimer reaction.  This way, you know its working!  If you are not changing what you eat, you probably will get no reaction.
“Mutated Candida produces 79 toxins according to Vitamin Research Products Inc journal (3/99Vol.13, #3). Sugar activates candida metabolism and some of its by-products are neurotoxins such as formaldehyde, alcohol and acetlyaldehyde. One's nervous system can become confused during candida infestation due to specific neurotoxins. Your symptoms may get worse before they improve.”    (underline emphasis mine) Link no longer good
Nothing to fear just drink plenty of water; avoid grains, sugar, and high sugar fruit like the plague!  Drink lots of kefir! 
Healing Crisis
But there is more!  If you really change your lifestyle/eating habits to a more whole food approach, leaving out grains and sugar, you can go through what is known as a “Healing Crisis.”  This is very interesting because it’s very good but can be very scary all at the same time! 
When one changes their lifestyle, they expect life to get better!  And it does but we also pay for our past.  That old saying, there is a pay day, has so much truth to it!  Let me give you an example. 
Let’s say you have found the perfect old table.  It is made of hardwood, well made and old.  Through the years the various owners have stained it with different stains and painted it all sorts of different colors to match times and styles.  When you get this table, you want to restore it to its natural beauty.  You want to take it down to the wood and stain it and make it beautiful again to live in your home and maybe even pass down to children and grandchildren.
When you begin to restore the table, it is easy to see to the layers and layers that are on it and they are from last to first.   This called “Herings Law”.  This is exactly how your Healing Crisis will happen. 
“Herings Law states that healing will occur “in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared in the body.”   What this means is that during the cleansing process, symptoms of illnesses that you have had in the past will return.  They will resurface in the reverse order in which they occur, all the way back to childhood.  If you had an infection a year ago, you will re-experience the symptoms, especially if they were suppressed with antibiotics or other drugs.”
                                                            “Herings Law”‘ – page 66 – “Healing Crisis” by Bruce Fife
The layers of toxins, fat and yuck that are left in your body from previous years of illness/disease, bad eating and toxin exposure will begin to be stripped away by your healthy new lifestyle of whole foods.   The human body has an AMAZING ability to heal itself, if we will allow it!
Unfortunately when this healing crisis takes place, what is our first reaction?  Run to the doctor.  What happens then is that the symptoms are treated with expensive drugs.  It is time we learn the difference in healing crisis and disease crisis!!
First of all I cannot say it any better than Bruce Fife does in his book “Healing Crisis”.  I urge you to read this book and understand that when we go back to the Ancient path in eating and living, we do the very best for ourselves that we can. 
So let me share my personal experience with you.  I was feeling good!  Back in September 2011 we changed our lifestyle to what I call the Ancient path.  We are trying to eat foods the way our ancestors would have eaten them and if we can’t, then we avoid it.  Let me give you an example.  In the case of eating an orange, the orange is full of fiber and nutrients that were designed by the Creator to do your body GREAT!  The whole orange has a Glycemic Index value of 40 and when you eat it, it has a Glycemic Load on your blood sugar level of 4.  Both of these numbers are excellent!  However, when we innovate and juice that orange, then the Glycemic Index jumps up to 50 and the Glycemic Load jumps to 14.  This is enough to trigger a bad insulin response and that orange juice can potentially be stored immediately as fat!!  YIKES!  Not to mention you do not get the benefit of all the fiber and other nutrients that orange has.  That’s what insulin does in your body; it responds to sudden blood sugar spikes to tame them and then make that easily storable as fat.  It’s interesting because the body’s preferred fuel is fat but if there is enough sugar it will burn that first and store the rest of that sugar as fat.  We have upped our intake of fat in using coconut oil, canned coconut milk, avocados, and roasted nuts (never raw! because of the presence of phytic acid).  I am losing weight by doing this and my husband is staying healthy and slim.  If you shoot your blood sugar up enough times, it will eventually cause what is known as insulin resistance (it takes more and more to do the job) which will cause you weight gain for sure and diabetes if not careful!!
This in turn causes build up in the body that your body’s cells ‘remember’ and they want to strip it away like the layers on the table. 
I will sadly admit to my bad food ways, my ill health through the years and generally not taking as good a care of myself as I should have.  I did start about 12-13 years ago trying for better ways but I never stuck with any one thing long.  After putting together all that I learned/experienced over the years and finally seeing the Ancient path more clearly, more fully, I have finally found something so simple and so good that it’s easy to stick with!!  Whole food as the Creator created!!  The Ancient path in food/health.
Let me start backwards as this is how the Healing Crisis starts.  In 2010 I became very ill almost continuously.  It was awful.  I didn’t realize it at the time but I think now it had a lot to do with my husband working in Afghanistan for a while.  It was stressful for both of us but I didn’t know the extent.  I was just then finding out about fermented foods and wanted to try them but I just became too sick and it seemed like I stayed sick.  Since I didn’t have to cook for us, I took a short route most of the time and it was unhealthy.  We mended our ways in September 2011 and have been enjoying this simple lifestyle ever since.
Just recently I became VERY sick.  Sicker than I remember even in 2010!  Since we have changed our lifestyle so much in the last six months I was a bit puzzled but got out my Healing Crisis book.
“The healing crisis is a product of natural laws.  It comes only when you do the things that promote good health.  The body was programmed to function in harmony with the laws of nature to maintain optimal health.”
“Let’s say someone has been on a natural health program for six months and becomes “sick,” (this is ME!) how can you tell if it is a disease crisis or a healing crisis?  If the person has been removing toxins and diseased tissues for six months and replacing them with strong healthy cells, the body is stronger and healthier than it has been.  The channels of elimination have improved.  (kefir will do that for you!) The immune system has improved (not been sick since last year!) The person has more energy.  …the crisis he encounters is a healing crisis.”                                                Healing Crisis vs. Disease Crisis – pg 72-73 – Healing Crisis by Bruce Fife.    
                                                                                    (emphasis and parenthesis mine)                      
Also, a big clue is that the elimination comes on suddenly unlike catching a cold or sore throat which you may feel for a day or so before it actually is full blown misery.  So six months into eating and living better I woke up with a bad sore throat, runny nose, a little diarrhea and lots of vomiting…suddenly!  LOT’S!   Did I say I threw up a lot?   All of my body eliminators were working OVERTIME!   I even ran some fever (a way to eliminate through the skin).  It is interesting to note that I tried to drink a little kefir, yes a milk product with fever and vomiting and it was the only thing I could keep down!!  I didn’t push it though.  Just enough to keep my strength and good gut flora going. Did I mention I threw up a lot?

                                                                          This is my story and I am sticking to it  

“…for a healing crisis to develop, the organs have to reach a state of integrity where they can accomplish the functions for which they were designed.  Every organ has become healthier, and elimination has reached and improved level of efficiency.  (did I mention I threw up a lot?)  They may not be completely healthy yet but they are working better than they had before.  When all organs are strong enough to do the job of elimination, toxins will be purged.  You may experience several healing crisis and feel better and better after each one.”                 
                 Healing Crisis vs. Disease Crisis – pg 74-75 – Healing Crisis by Bruce Fife.
                                                                                                      (emphasis and parenthesis mine)
This crisis of mine has netted me weight loss, toxin and other yucky stuff loss and though it was tough for 8 days, I am very thankful that each time nets me greater health!! 
We were created in a glorious way to self-heal and with all we need food-wise to maintain good health.  How far have we gotten away from that path?  So today, start shopping only the perimeter of your grocery store!  Don’t go down the aisles!   Choose whole natural food as the Creator created it and eat it in the form in which it was created.
Happy detoxing!!
                                   “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food”  - Hippocrates

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  1. Tammy LafontaineMarch 1, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Oh your healing crisis sounded rough!
    Makes mine seem kind of minor in comparison, but I can attest to this phenomenon! I made major changes quickly, and even started a cleanse. Which all leads to die off symptoms hitting hard and fast! Within a few days I had woke up with a horrible headache, scratchy throat, my skin had broke out, and one ear actually ached some too. I just felt horrible all over. I was miserable. I even felt light headed and dizzy a few times. When it was over though I felt great! My mood has even improved, and for someone who has suffered from depression for years, that is a HUGE change!
    Die off sucked, but no pain no gain right? lol
    And since that is not the first time I heard it can come in waves as the body can handle releasing more toxins, it does, then I'm expecting another bout or so as I incorporate more fermented foods into my diet, and cut out other bad things.
    Thankfully I learned a few tricks to help get that die out of me faster.
    Psyllium husks to broom the die off out of the bowels, epsom salt soaks to help detox through the skin, and LOTS of water!
    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Thank you for writing Tammy and you are sooooo RIGHT! No pain no gain!!

      Also thank you for sharing your experience with the die-off situation. It sure can happen and if you expect it and have plenty of fresh water and a little kefir, you can get through it!! I am generally ok if I know what is happening to me. I have to admit, the old conditioning of wanting to take this or that or call a medical professional was there and trying to surface but I kept pushing it down!!! I kept telling myself if this was a real dis-ease, I would not be going through from start to finish so fast!!! Did I mention I threw up a lot??? LOL!!! I am so happy for true and natural elimination!!! Those things were created for a reason!!!

      The Creator knows EXACTLY what He is doing!!! HalleluYah!!

      Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water Drink water

  2. Thank You so much for this website...I too believe the creator knew what He was doing in creating ALL of creation! I was extremely discouraged and having the "call the doctor" syndrome. Your website has showed me I can do it with His help and overcome this whole mess;0) SOOOO encouraging!

  3. Thank you! These are kind words! I am happy to help in anyway I can! I had to grab hold of myself one day and say hey, wake up!!! And change up!!! You can email me, I am happy to share what I have tried and kept or thrown out!!

  4. Catherine from SC - I listen to your program with Jona on Truth2U about diabeties and wondered about the MD in that little town and if he prescribed a lot of antibiotics to the people there. Antibiotics kill of the good bacteria as well as the bad and if the good bacteria is not replaced then the bad bacteria gets the upper hand in your gut. Also many vegetables now are grown to increase the sugar content. The indians of southwest USA have a very high increase in diabeties bacause of the sugar content of the sweet corn they grow as the main stable of their diet rather than the corn of their ancesters. i enjoy all the programs on Truth2U.

  5. I was perfectly fit and healthy but diabetic - controlled with regular exercise and healthy food, weighing only 51KG - looking good for my 55 years. Could out do and work harder, longer than most of the men I worked with on a building site as a Project Manager. Then I had major stress and got so ill I could not eat. No harmony in my life..diabetes out of control, infections, antibiotics and ended up in hospital with liver failure, bad results in everything. We discussed transplants, drugs, planned funeral, contacting loved ones. I have always believed in the power of the body and healing from within. I got depressed, had to sink low to push back up! A lot of realigning my life if I wanted to survive this bad phase, mostly self induced through neglect. I do not smoke or drink, eat sugar, white bread or drink milk. For months, I forgot to eat and my organs began to shut down.
    I am on the path to recovery, 4 months on... but the Quacks want me to take drugs which I know are toxins!!! I refuse - my tests are improving so slow; any stress...body reacts. I have days when I cannot move and the sweat smells bad - I take funegrek and have just discovered kefir, together with a simple basic healing diet. I read and research to find 'old ways' before drug companies turned health into a business. I saw private doctors who kept giving me things when I checked the side effects, found it incredible anyone takes meds at all! It is so re-assuring to see that the detox and die-off is normal. So hard to find good, clean, uncontaminated food though - so I live on mostly germinated seeds, nuts and sprouts, plus any organic fish, vegetables and old 'remedies' with herbs and plants - I have at least got my circulation back and most days, can breathe again, pee without pain and eat to heal my body and my life. I thank God I found your site - I will make it now I know.

    1. WOW!! This is an amazing testimony! I am so happy you are choosing to take a sure, albeit slow, route. That actually will be better for and less stress on, your body as it tries to heal itself, which I firmly believe in!!

      It sounds to me that the addition of kefir is just what you need. If you need any help with getting the kefir grains to make it, let me know. Also, check out for the possibility of raw milk in your area.

      I am very thankful you wrote. It will speak volumes to others who feel hopeless to turn the big ship around. It is possible and you give that hope!!

      Have you heard of Pycnogenol? I just bought some today. I want to recommend it to you because I think it would really help you a great deal. It really combats the damage that stress does and it has super healing for the cardio-vascular system, and is very effective in diabetes. There are many more things it helps, it's simply amazing. If you could take 100mg to 200 mg to start for about a week and then cut back on it to 50 100mg a day, I think you would be impressed. As I said I am starting today to take divided doses because it's water insoluble, in the morning with breakfast or my smoothie and then in the evening. I think Pycnogenol may turn out to be a super supplement worth taking especially for those of us over 50. It is showing anti-aging promise in some research because of its effect on oxidative stress at the cellular level. I will report in to you if you will report in to me!!! My email is and my name is Dev.

      Thank you again for writing and for reading the blog!! I hope you will listen to me on as well. I had a Dr join me last week, and I think you might finally be impressed with a Doc after listening!!!

      I hope you will keep me posted on your progress!! Do you mind if I share this testimony on my FaceBook group? I would never do it without your permission.
      Thank you again so much for writing!!!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Please do share it - it may give encouragement when you are having a day or two of 'regression' - 2 steps forward, one back. It can be a steep climb up again. See it as a graph. It took me 6 months to be ill and it will take longer to mend.

  7. I bought some milk kefir grains about 3.5 weeks ago, and have been making my own since. Two days ago, I got violently sick...and yes I puked A LOT, the best ab workout I've ever had :-) I got home and thought I better re-hydrate, and made a Gatorade, and within a couple of hours I felt like a million dollars. So I started searching for answers and came across your article. I can personally vouch for the accuracy...thank you.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this - I began making my own raw milk kefir two weeks ago and after 5 months of being migraine free (I am 44 years and have suffered from pre-menstrual migraine since my teenage years!!) I got a three day one this week. I began daily coffee enemas in Oct '12 and have eliminated wheat, grains, sugar, alcohol and dairy in the last four years but the coffee enemas finally helped my liver to recover I guess. Anyhow I was very disappointed and then read your article and it makes perfect sense !! I must have had candida and even though I drink water kefir daily they do not like this milk kefir !! Wishing you every success on your journey !!

  9. Thank you for your article! It is reassuring. I am currently undergoing what I am hoping is a die-off reaction after drinking homemade raw goat's milk kefir. The first week and a half of drinking it was great and full of restored energy. Then the diarrhea, intestinal cramps, headache, fatigue and nausea took over, very suddenly and strongly in the middle of the night, for almost a week. After all this self-cleansing done by my body, my body odor has vanished. It used to be unpleasant and embarrassing first thing in the morning, so I knew something wasn't quite right. I have been on the GAPS diet for 7 months, taking lots of probiotics and cultured foods/drinks, and just recently added the kefir. The kefir is the most powerful cultured food I have ever consumed. So powerful it almost scares me (the die off scares me!) even though I crave it so badly!!! I must restrain myself to go slower!

    1. Shalom RG! I am so happy to you are sick!! LOL!! But seriously, you are ridding yourself of toxins and that's always amazing. You might go through a big hard crisis in about 6 months provided you are still on track as you are now. I did and it was hard and lasted just over 2 weeks. It was the same illness I had last and as we know, what ever you had last comes back out in that order.
      Thank you so much for this encouragement to others! It is always helpful to hear of others experiences even if unpleasant so that knowing what is coming is not a shock. To know health and healing are the result is a great encouragement!!
      Thank you again and please keep me posted!!

  10. I just stumbled across this blog and I found it interesting how you mentioned your healing happening in reverse and experiencing symptoms you had before. I have been drinking kefir and eliminating wheat and sugar for a while now, and I went through a horrible first week, but only just recently got shingles for a second time, but they aren't nearly as pronounced as the first time I had them. I suspected this might have something to do with my detoxing, and now this has confirmed it for me. Thanks for the info!

  11. Thank you for this article. I am a 37 year old male and I had an episode almost 5 years ago with my lymph nodes in my neck were extremely swollen and felt like I was almost choking and there were no antibiotics that would help me and a biopsy revealed normal reactive tissue from a lymph node under my neck, no lymphoma which was a relief. My lymphocytes were very elevated. I had Mono about 14 years ago and tested positive for Epstein Barr Virus on one test about 5 years ago. The doctor said at the time that the EBV tests were not very accurate which quelled my feelings of confidence in the system. I mean, why test if it isn't accurate. Negative on ALL other tests.What did I have then?? Once again, no help from the medical community and they chalked it up to allergies which is not the case. It was very frustrating when no one really believes you and who knows your body better than you!?!? Things just kind of got better (or the symptoms were suppressed) and I continued along like I was perfectly healthy....

    I started drinking Kefir milk about 8 weeks ago and was feeling great until about a week and a half ago when I came down with sinus infection symptoms (which is the last thing I was sick with in Feb 2013 for 6 weeks), then a sore throat and extremely swollen lymph nodes 5 days after that. My sinus infection is completely clear now, but the other symptoms remain and are getting stronger. I believe this to be the same 'illness' that plagued me 5 years ago. I have no proof, but I feel just like I did back then and never in any other time in my life did I feel like that. Coincidence? Maybe......maybe not.

    I firmly believe that our bodies are perfectly capable of fighting off our afflictions and infirmities once we provide the healthier lifestyle changes and provide fuel for our body to do so. I tell my body when I start to feeI ill that it WILL step it up and kick out the toxins and pathogens at any cost. At times I am sorry I told my body 'at any cost' because the choking feelings are extremely uncomfortable as is the pain from the swelling. The feelings always subside and I know that it is my body kicking it up a notch and producing my lymphocytes at incredible rates. However corny it sounds, we must AUTHORIZE our bodies to take control over anything that tries to break us down. I continue to drink every day because I'm sure that my healing crisis now is my body's way of eliminating the bad stuff. I cut out a lot of sugar and no gluten, and reduced my grains intake as well. I will not give up and none of you reading this post should either. Take control over your bodies and be successful! I will try to update this in a few months so that we can see what my progress is.

    1. Thank you so much for writing because this certainly encourages others! When I went through my major healing crisis, it lasted almost a month so when I say hang in there, it may take time. That's ok, you want a real recovery! I have not been sick with this same type of illness since!! Maybe I should knock wood? LOL!! Getting back to basics and the ancient ways sure has helped me and my family stay really healthy! Probiotics are a major key to health.

    2. I don't know if I have food poisoning or die-off. If I have a die-off then it is on the extreme side: chills, rigors, diarrhea, headaches, I even pooped the bed last night. I have been drinking raw cow milk kefir for about a week, when I fell ill. I rarely get sick with anything more then a minor cold. The pain was is the gut, not a lot of vomiting, except for the next day when I drank a glass of milk and couldn't hold it down. But this started Wednesday and I have been bed-ridden since. Today is Sat. I started to feel a little better, I had some navy bean soup, and a little while ago I figured I would try some of the kefir, to replenish my gut (because it CLEANED out). Since having the kefir, I noticed again some discomfort in my gut, along with a tense kind of pain in my glands in my neck (lymph?) So while at first I thought it was food poisoning (some pie I ate that might not have been fresh) I am now thinking maybe a die-off. Any ideas how to know for sure?

  12. I started Milk Kefir with Pasteurized grain fed milk about 2 weeks ago. I have, bloating, gas, neck and ear pain, bumps on my shoulders and a feeling of fullness in the neck area. I went through a 1 month die off symptoms this past summer tired, lethargic, dizziness, no real appetite. I had just done a fast and switched to organic foods and juicing. This time is different with the MK, it seems to be a different "level" of die off. More to the surface than the deep inner symptoms. This time I can see the physical outer die off.

  13. am on my 2nd sinus infection in the last month. unbelievable cold. thank you for the article. now giving my dog some grains and kefir she is sick too.

  14. Thank you for this helpful article and comments. My family and i are experiencing flu like symptoms after a couple weeks of kefir and sourdough breads. Interestingly, I have battled candida for 15yrs...thought i was totally clear of candida the last few years but since taking kefir i have experienced more die off. Totally unexpected. I am trying not to question spending alot of time and money killing off yeast just to go and introduce it back into my body. I am hoping this foggy head and dizziness passes. I will continue on with this probiotic regimen.

    1. Julie thank you so much for writing! I am sorry to hear you are sick but it really is a good thing! The way to stay well, no candida issues, is to cut out carbs! There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate! Your brain fog will be non-existaent without carbs. A great read is Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter (a neurologist).

      I would like to invite yo to my new blog,, which is just getting up and running. I am in the process of migrating all of my content from here to there.