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More than 20 years ago, Van Clayton Powel was at his lowest point when it came to his longstanding digestive problems.
That's when the now-retired psychiatric nurse started looking for solutions.
He found them in Asia. He spent three years living in Japan and visited India a couple of times to study their approaches to medicine.
And while his background in western medicine made him skeptical at first, he eventually determined there was much he could learn from Asian approaches to medicine and to eating that have been practised for thousands of years.
The result is a new self-published book, You Are NOT What You Eat, in which Powel explains his seven solutions to digestive problems. He'll be giving a presentation on the book at Burnaby Public Library's Metrotown Branch on Monday, July 23, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m.
The book is an explanation of what Powel discovered worked for him.
His belief is that while some people are diagnosed with actual allergies to food, many others simply have sensitivities to food that are a result of chronic digestive problems. What worked for Powel is switching from eliminating certain foods from his diet, to changing how and when he eats.
For instance, he says when people drink fluids around a meal is important and that people shouldn't "graze" throughout the day without letting what's been eaten previously clear their systems first.
Eventually, a person's digestive system can heal itself, said Powel, 57, who lives in Whistler.
"I've now gone from I couldn't eat wheat, dairy, chocolate, gluten, to I can eat anything I want with no reaction and all my symptoms have disappeared."
He stressed it's not an issue just for people with chronic digestive problems, but for anyone, including athletes. "If your digestion is not working properly, you're not meeting your full potential."
For more information on Powel's book, visit www.YouAreNotWhatYouEat.com.