Since I embarked on a natural diet about 9 years ago I have managed to avoid all antibiotics. In this special article I will divulge how I handle minor illnesses that come up in my life. You may be wondering Why I try to avoid antibiotics at all costs.
I've seen with my own eyes how antibiotics can cause severe digestive illnesses, allergies, and immune system disorders. The reason for this is simple. Antibiotics don't discriminate between good and pathogenic bacteria. One dose of antibiotics can wipe out the good bacteria that reside in our intestines. Some of the pathogenic bacteria will be killed as well, but often certain strains will develop resistance to the antibiotics. This will result in a situation where there is not enough good bacteria left to stop the growth of the pathogenic strains. Yeast such as Candida and bacteria like salmonella will have free reign.
Have you ever had to take dose after dose of antibiotics with no let up of symptoms? Often symptoms worsen as your good microflora die under the continued onslaught. The amazing book the Kosher Gut Plan reveals a fact that most people aren't aware of: good bacteria in the intestines are responsible for training and guiding the immune system. Without adequate levels of probiotics in the intestines, the immune system has no one giving it orders. This can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders.
I grew up in a family where we took antibiotics for everything. In fact, I would be disappointed if I left the doctors office without a prescription for antibiotics. I went to the doctor for every ache and pain. I took Advils and over-the counter pain relief medications all the time. Now, things couldn't be any more different. In fact, Thank G-d, I hardly ever get sick. I entirely avoid advil, tylenol and fever reducing medications. These medications suppress symptoms and make it harder for the immune system to defend the body. A fever is the body's natural response to illness. A fever kills viruses. So in essence it's a blessing in disguise. G-d programmed the immune system to protect us. What we want to do is support and strengthen the body so that it can fight the pathogens on it's own.
For every minor illness, I take different herbs and supplements, depending on symptoms. But this is what I do as a general rule. In extreme cases, antibiotics may be necessary especially when people have low levels of good microflora. Personally, I have not had to resort to antibiotics in the last 9 years as overall my diet is pretty good and I try to avoid unhealthy foods.
Update: I still haven't resorted to taking antibiotics. However after recent events I have come to the conclusion that no matter how good you think your diet is there may be something amiss - a key nutrient you aren't consuming etc... which can lead to health issues. For this and other reasons I am trying to avoid diets that are too constrictive and limited. Unless we have a specific severe allergy, its a good idea to try to incorporate key food groups that we might have avoided for years such as dairy, meat/chicken, grains (stone ground kamut), eggs (organic free range) etc... Good dairy to incorporate ex: goat kefir or yogurt) Good meat/chicken to incorporate would be organic or grass fed cooked in water in moderation. Good grains to try would be stone ground kamut (buy here). Healthy eggs are organic free range hard boiled. A family member had severe leaky gut, eczema, and allergies for which reason I just didn't buy much dairy eggs and meat. We were basically vegan, except on Shabbos. Although most of her leaky gut issues and eczema symptoms resolved within a few months by that time I had gotten used to that diet and didn't bother testing the foods again to see if she could tolerate them. SO we adhered to the vegan diet for longer than we should have and of course nutrient deficiencies developed with their own set of symptoms. We are no longer vegan. Many extreme diets like Paleo, Keto, Atkins, low carb, even vegan diets are frought with health risks when followed long term. Sho