Thursday, February 21, 2008
This idea of bad fats not being bad might be getting more mainstream ... I'm excited to see it in the media. It's a start. I have a dream :).
Of interest to me: if people weren't eating fats because of the "fat scare" and low-fat diet craze I grew up with ... then what were they eating? Fats make a person more satiated - carbs don't! I'll tell you what I was eating (because a doctor told me it helped constipation): whole grains. Whole grains, which for me, created nutrient malabsorption - did you know Vitamin D, which regulates calcium, helps with cardio/heart function? That niacin (B3) helps reduce cholesterol? I'm finding out the hard way with palpitations the last 8 years or so. Please ask your doctor for Vitamin B and D blood panels! You could save your heart or that of someone you love.
Another thought: how sad for someone to feel or be so desperate to get gastric bypass, etc. and actually INVITE and PAY for these type of malabsorption issues ...
Also - just a note: anyone else notice you can't post "long" articles or if we have a word limit in our blog entries? A handful of my posts are cut/not accessible ... hmmm. I have to ask some questions of the powers that be (or tech support) :).
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
That's "quinoa" in the pic btw.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #1: Explore Other Grains-Gluten-free
Breads are the "staff of life," so they say. But the "staff of life" can hit you right in the gut and contribute to many a bloated and ailing belly. "But I eat WHOLE WHEAT bread," I hear, and see a baffled and confused face looking back at me. High on the food sensitivity list is WHEAT. If you are sensitive or allergic to wheat, you may be reactive to oats, rye, barley, spelt, because they all contain gluten. Gluten is a protein, a sticky glue-like stuff that binds and holds grains together. (Gluten adheres to the bowel in the same sticky manner.) Gluten sensitivities can show up as mild symptoms of abdominal bloat, stomach upset, runny nose, IBS, headaches, migraines, joint and muscle pain, sthma, eczema, and mood swings. Serious digestive health challenges such as Celiac Sprue may be present. With Celiac, the villi of the small ntestine are destroyed, which can lead to severe malabsorption of nutrients. This leaves one with a compromised immune system, weight loss, diarrhea, (constipation) and fatigue.
Whereas wheat or other food allergies can be detected through an allergy test, gluten sensitivity is difficult to detect with the typical tests.
In order to become aware of the cause and effects of gluten and suspected "sensitive" grains, TOTALLY omit them for 7-10 days. Reintroduce them into your diet and then listen to your gut.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #2: Eat 4 Servings of Veggies/Day
At the top of the Gut Wisdom Friendly Foods List, veggies are rich in antioxidant nutrients (cancer fighters). Cruciferous vegetables contain a substance called indol. Indols stimulate the production of certain enzymes that may help detoxify potential carcinogen. They are high in vitamins and minerals that build and restore your system. Because of the alkaline minerals in veggies, they help restore the body's alkaline level to a healthy level. Their chlorophyll (the green in green veggies) content neutralizes toxins that your body can do without. They are nonputrefactive, easy to digest (for most guts), and easily combined with most other greasy foods.
Green leafy veggies are an excellent source of absorbably calcium. (For example, two-thirds cup of collard greens will give 91 percent of the calcium in one cup of milk.) Veggies are also high in fiber, which helps sweep food through your digestive tract. These guardian angels of fiber and nutrients have your best interest in mind, protecting against cancer, ulcers, and constipation.
Organic veggies have been found to be richer in nutrients as well as free from toxic pesticides and herbicides. Veggies and fruits should be 80% of the diet.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #3: Eat 2 Servings of Fruit/Day
Many fruits are rich in soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin helps you absorb calcium. Citrus fruits, figs, kiwi, and apples are an especially good source of pectin.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #4: Juice It Up as Often as Possible!
Fresh raw fruit and veggie juices are healing nectars. They are chock-full of mineral enzymes and antioxidants. Ideally, drink an 8-ounce glass of raw veggie juice and 8 ounces of fresh fruit juices a day. Bottled juices, even those labeled "natural," are often made from concentrates, diluted with water, and packed with extra sugars. The benefits of fresh raw juices include:
- Cleansing and rebuilding of your gut.
- Instant energy. Raw juices need virtually no digestion, so the juices are easily absorbed and utilized for your healing.
- Moving toxins and waste from your body.
- Providing a plethora of nutrients that promote a strong immune system.
Wheat grass juice is abundant in alkaline minerals. Therefore, it is beneficial for overly acid body conditions such as candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, and allergies. Wheat grass is not a source of gluten, so it is safe for wheat-sensitive individuals.* Wheat grass assists in cleansing the blood, organs, and gastrointestinal tract. It is extremely rich in chlorophyll, which protects you from carcinogens and detoxifies the liver (the liver filters out stored internal toxins caused by stress and external toxins). Wheat grass stimulates the metabolism, and it is also a natural appetite suppressant. It can be taken in tablet form but is most effective when consumed fresh in juice form. The suggested amount is 1 to 2 ounces.
1. Carrot: Very high in vitamin A as well as rich in other vital vitamins and minerals; helps soothe and tone intestinal walls; cleanses the liver to discharge stale bile and excess fats; stimulates digestion.
2. Spinach/Kale/Parsley: Rich in vitamins and minerals; all are high in chlorophyll, which increases bowel peristalsis and cleanses the liver, kidneys, and urinary tract.
3. Ginger: Neutralizes toxins; aids in digestion, absorption, and elimination; stimulates elimination of mucous; increases bile secretion, which supports elimination and antioxidant protection for the liver.
4. Beetroot and tops: A very powerful intestinal cleanser as well as blood-building juice; has been used to treat constipation, gall stones, anemia, and cancer (use mixed with other juices).
5. Cabbage: Probably the least tasty of the juices, but contains healing properties for stomach and intestinal ulcers.
A favorite juice for newbies is carrot, spinach, apple, and ginger. As you acquire a taste for this gut-soothing nectar, add greens such as kale, beet leaves, and parsely.
1. Apple: Eliminates toxins and is instrumental in enhancing the production of friendly bacteria.
2. Grape and Grapefruit: Known to help cleanse the liver, which in turn has healing benefits for your intestines.
3. Lemon: The fruit highest in vitamin C (move over orange!); increases bowel function and is believed to prevent gall stones (use one part lemon to three parts water).
1. "Sugarholics" focus on green vegetable juices. And if your gut is gassey, cut out the fruit juice (and those smoothies, too!), as too much natural sugar could add to gut fermentation, contributing to your gut's distress.
(*Dot's note: for celiacs, wheat grass is considered something to be wary of for fear of accidental contamination of glutenous grain seeds during harvesting. Use at your own discretion.)
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #5
Snacking on Nuts and Seeds Between Meals
Nuts and seeds are a rich source of amino acids (protein) and essential fats and minerals. Ideally eat nuts that are SOAKED; otherwise they can be difficult for most systems to digest. The second best way to eat nuts is raw or dry roasted. Avoid nuts and seeds that are coated w/sugar or salt.
1. To soak your nuts: cover the nuts with water and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain. Keep refrigerated and eat. If this doesn't grab you and you must eat roasted nuts, then chew, chew, chew and chew some more to help assist in the digestive process. Listen to your gut.
2. Nut Choices: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews (high fat), Brazil, filberts (hazelnuts), chestnuts, macadamia, pine nuts.
3. Seed choices: Sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame (contain an abundance of calcium).
4. Nuts are great snacks between meals or on salads and vegetables.
5. Avoid peanuts and peanut butters. Some peanuts have mold called aflatoxin and can potentially be toxic to your system.
6. Explore nut and seed butters made from cashews, almonds, or sesame seeds (tahini).
7. Though the fats in nuts are nutritious, eat nuts and seeds (and butters) in moderation unless you are trying to put on a few pounds.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #6
Enjoy Eggs in Moderation (2 Eggs 3x Weekly)
Their reputation has been tarnished over the past few years due to the fact that they were associated with high levels of cholesterol. But we know that high blood cholesterol is only one indication of a high risk of heart disease, and that could be due to heredity more than diet. Researchers have found that we get only 25% of our cholesterol from what we ingest, and that the remaining 75% is produced by our own livers.
The fact is that, although egg yolks are rich in fat, they are also high in lecithin, which breaks down fat particles. Thus these substances balance each other out. They are also an excellent source of protein that can be easily utilized by your body. Choose free-range organic eggs.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #7: Reduce Consumption of Red Meats and Replace with POULTRY, FISH, AND SOY PRODUCTS.
Red meat is difficult to digest, causing it to linger longer in our gut. On a high-acid diet - more meat than vegetables and fruits - your system can become mineral deficient. Minerals are needed to neutralize the excess acids in the blood, instead of doing their normal functions. The major acid-neutralizing minerals are calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
Calcium deficiency can result in osteoporosis, muscle soreness, and irritability. Calcium also plays an important role in cancer prevention. Calcium combines with harmful bile acids and fatty acids so they can get passed out of your gut before causing irritating effects on your gut.
A deficiency of potassium can contribute to bloating, infections, and heart irregularities. Magnesium deficiencies can result in elimination ailments, nerve problems, and weak bones and teeth. A shortage of sodium can result in digestive disturbance and weakness.
Meats contain saturated fats. Saturated fats contain a substance called "arachidonic acid" that encourages inflammation within the body. High intake of meat places undue stress on your liver. Meats also contain hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and preservatives that are often added in breeding and processing. (Choose grass fed animals vs animals fed grains or corn.) See Gesture #20 and consider taking enzymes to aid digestion.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #8: EAT FISH, but BE SELECTIVE!
On the friendly side, fish is a good source of easily digestible protein, low in cholesterol, as well as low in saturated fats. Cold-water fish (ocean fish) is a rich source of emega-3, an essential fatty acid found and needed in our brain cells, nerve synapses, and adrenal and sex glands. Plus, omega-3 can help lower cholesterol. Cold-water fish also have a high concentration of selenium (a mineral) that binds to toxins the fish ingest and basically renders them harmless. Avoid raw fish (sushi). Parasites are easier to get than you realize.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #9: Beans Are a Great Fiber Source
When you join beans with a whole grain, you get a plant source of essential amino acids - or a complete protein. Some tasty choices in the legume family are split peas, chick peas, navy beans, lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas, and soybeans (tofu, tempeh).
-To make beans more digestible/less gas-forming, soak your beans overnight, drain the old water, replace with new water, then cook several hours [Dots note: some vegans do this up to 20x].
-Begin w/small portions to allow your gut time to get used to this high-fiber source.
-Use Beano, an enzyme product, or ginger tea, to help digest and reduce gas incurred by these delectable friendly foods.
-As you experiment, listen to your gut. Does this extra fiber please it?
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #10: Substitute Soy, Rice, and Cultured Products for Dairy Products
Humans were never meant to consume anything other than human breast milk. Our digestive enzymes are not capable of breaking down a food that is meant to nourish another species. Up to 70% of Americans have an intolerance of dairy. Mucous clogs the intestinal villi that are needed for absorption of precious immune building vitamins and minerals.
Studies have also shown that dairy contributes to IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. These studies prompted the New England Journal of Medicine (1984) to state that "a physician should always consider the possibility that milk and milk products may be responsible for a patient's digestive symptoms."
Milk has been marketed as THE calcium source. Actually, the body's ability to absorb milk proteins is quite poor because of the processing and pasteurizing. Hormone residue, antibodies, and additives from cattle-raising practices also hinder calcium absorption. You may say, "But where will I get my calcium?" LEAFY GREEN VEGGIES, MUSTARD GREENS, BOK CHOY, KALE, COLLARD GREENS, SESAME SEEDS, ALMONDS, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, TOFU, AND SARDINES.
-Alternatives to milk: rice, soy and almond milk.
-Lowfat cottage cheese and goat cheeses can be tolerated by most, but soy cheese is a better choice.
-Eat butter in moderation.
-Here's an exception to the rule: CULTURED milk products contain live healthy microorganisms that "pre-digest" lactose, which is the sugar in milk that so many have difficulty digesting. Products such as buttermilk, acidophilus milk, kefir, and esp plain yogurt can be tolerated by most. (The Hunzas who lived to be 100 years old knew something!) Yogurt is a good intestinal protector that contains friendly bacteria and vitamin A, D and some B-complext vitamins. However, stick to PLAIN yogurt, as those fruit yogurts are often filled with sugar, which only COUNTERACTS the benefits, leaving you with gas (foe) instead of gut ease (friend).
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #11: Avoid Hydrogenated and Saturated Fats.
Despite fat's terrible reputation, we do need a certain amount of fat in our diets. Fat provides energy essential to our immune system, our metabolism, and our ability to heal and helps produce needed hormones. Fats are needed to build and repair cellular membranes, esp brain, nerve and white blood cells that keep inflammation at bay. But pay attention to the type of fats we eat.
found in foods such as dairy products, beef, pork (including bacon). Saturated fats, besides being cholesterol contributors, are health hazards. Research has shown that saturated fats are a potential contributor to colon cancer. Our liver secretes bile, which carries our toxins (from foods, medicatons, the environment) out into our intestestinal tract to be eliminated. If we are ingesting too much fat, our bile acid secretions can increase in the colon. Couple that with a lack of fiber (which carries out bile) and our daily gut stressors, and we end up with excessive levels of bile, which can be gut-irritators and tumor-promoters.
Are you a Low-Fatter?
Many lowfat products are now laced with synthetic fats. These are primarily used in snack foods. Eating synthetic fats reduces the levels of fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) in the body, which we need for a healthy functioning system. Synthetic fat cannot be broken down by our gut's enzymes; therefore it can't be absorbed and often causes loose stools. This is why packages of synthetic fat-laced products often have this warning: "Caution: May cause digestive problems or loose stools." REAL fat slows down digestion and make you feel full longer.
We do need "natural" fats from foods such as fish, fish oil, seeds, nuts and seed oils (for example, flax seed oil). These all contain important nutritients called essential fatty acids (EFAs). Our bodies do not create EFAs. EFAs are broken down into two categories: omega-3 and omega-6. Together they help in the creation and balance of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced by every cell in your body, and they:
---control inflammatory reactions
---strengthen the immune system
---protect your stomach and intestinal mucosal lining
---help eliminate food cravings and longing
---support proper liver function
---improve digestive function
---reduce PMS symptoms
---protect the heart
Severe EFA deficiency can manifest as or contribute to IBS, headaches, depression, anxiety, dry and patchy skin, and food allergies.
Omega-3 is found in tuna, salmon, mackeral, sardines, rainbow trout, pompano, canola oil, and primrose oil. Flax seed oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A substance found in flax oil called lignans has been reported to block growth of cancerous tumors, reduce inflammation, and help normalize hormone levels. This plays a key role in the prevention of colon, breast, prostate, and uterine cancers.
Omega-6 is found in sesame oil, flax seed oil, wheat germ, sunflower oil, and olive oil. Olive oil can raise levels of good cholesterol, which in turn can lower your risk of your heart failing.
-When purchasing oils, you want an oil that is labeled "unrefined" and/or "cold pressed" or you'll end up with an oil that has been bleached, deoderized, and filled with chemical solvents.
-For omptimum health, supplement your diet with essential fatty acid, omega-3 and omega-6 capsules daily.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #12: Wean Yourself Off Caffeine.
Salivary glands ooze even with the thought of creamy milk chocolate or the smell of freshly brewed java, but the common denominator - caffeine - does not serve our gut's health.
Caffeine is a substance found not only in coffee and chocolate but also in black tea, colas, aspirin, and diuretic pills. Here's the friendly news: Caffeine stimulates the production of serotonin, our natural feel-good chemical, which is a brain transmitter produced by tryptophan. Serotonin gets our gray matter perked up. If the early morning has you a bit sleepy or grouchy, a caffeine "fix" can improve your mood and increase alertness by releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream (not bad for you in little doses).
The "FOE" News
~Caffeine can produce oxalic acid that hinders calcium absorption.
~Excessive amounts of caffeine can exhaust the adrenal glands, the organs that secrete adrenaline (our fight-or-flight hormone). This hormone lets us push a little harder, lets us work a little longer, and denies us the opportunity to listen to our gut wisdom, which may be saying that it's time to rest and take a breather. Over time, pushing our fight-or-flight button can lead to other hormonal imbalances as well as adrenal exhaustion - which means we're tired all the time.
~Caffeine has been indicated as the culprit in PMS symptoms, hypoglycemic imbalances, bladder infections, and gut imbalances, such as IBS.
~Caffeine is a thief of B vitamins, it leeches them from the body. We need our B vitamins for healthy digestion, for elimination, and to keep our nerves calm. For many, caffeine (esp in coffee) may irritate the mucosal lining of our intestines, as well as the lining of the stomach, contributing to ulcers.
~Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will draw water out of your body and gut, leaving you with dehydrated, hard stools (constipation).
~Coffee is a very acidic beverage and it can lead to an imbalance of friendly vs. unfriendly bacteria, which, as you know by now, is a condition that causes a host of gut disturbances: IBS, constipation, colitis, candida, and so forth. Decaffeinated coffee (with the exception of Swiss water processed) can be even more injurious due to the chemicals used in the decaf process.
~Some research has observed that drinking two to three cups of coffee/day may elevate blood pressure and increase the body's production of a stress hormone known as cortisol.
-For the coffee-holic: begin by cutting back one cup at a time. Cut your cup with half-decaf (Swiss water processed). Begin replacing usual cups with tasty herbal teas. Green tea is very healthy and still offers a small "buzz."
-Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, to help get you through withdrawal symptoms (headaches, the jitters, anxiety, irritability).
-Journal as you're "getting off" caffeine. What feelings arise that caffeine may have been supressing? This is an opportunity to do some emotional exploration and healing.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #13: Shake Your Sugar Habit!
Sucrose, white crystalline sugar, maltose, dextrose, corn syrup, fructose, honey, maple syrup. Oh, how we love it! How we crave it, and how we get addicted to it! We consume 130 lbs of sugar a year or about 1/3 lb daily. Many sugars are hidden: 5-9 tsps can be hidden in your sodas. Cold cereals - the ones for kids and esp the low-fat ones - can contain as much as 65% sugar. Ketchup, salad dressings, mayo, lunch meats, alcohol, and low-fat foods all contain sugar.
1. Suppresses our immune system: 1/2 c of sugar leads to a significant drop in phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up harmful bacteria and are required for a strong immune system - impairing its ability to fight infection and disease.
2. Causes our pancreas to secrete abnormally large amounts of insulin, which can be a major factor in hypoglycemia and diabetes.
3. Feeds our unfriendly gut bacteria, adding to gut putrefaction and fermentation, setting us up for bloat, gas and constipation.
4. Steals our vitamins and minerals. Sugars take from our bodies because they themselves have no nutritional value. Sugars need our nutrients to be metabolized in our bodies, leaving us depleted.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
...by Alyce Sorokie. I'm going to share some of a book I'm reading in the hopes it makes a difference to someone out there in SP Land.
Food: Friend or Foe?
Ahhh, food. For a few of us, food is simply fuel. For a few more of us, food is a pleasure we enjoy with friends and family. And for some, food is a source of emotional comfort, eaten when upset, angry or sad.
A delicately orchestrated symphony of biochemical changes occurs within us with each bite of food. Through the process of digestion, from organ systems to organs to cells to the reaction and action of molecules, our bodies are altered.
Molecules make up the cells that are the required building blocks of our organs. Molecules provide the fuel that each cell needs to carry out their specific jobs.
By choosing a healthy diet, we provide our bodies with the proper molecules that will reward us with optimum health.
ACID AND ALKALINE
Worry, anxiety, fear, and stress produce acid within us.
For health to be present, the body must maintain the bloodstream at a 7.4pH level, which is slightly alkaline. All veggies and fruits are highly alkaline. If the blood's pH level becomes too acidic, health is jeopardized. Protein foods (meat and eggs), dairy, soda, alcohol, sugar, and coffee are acid-forming, as are most nuts and grains.
In order to maintain balance, your body will leach calcium out of your bones and teeth as well as deplete valuable mineral reserves to neutralize excess acid.
To achieve proper balance, the choices we make are important. I've labeled foods "friendly" or "foe" depending on how supportive they are to the balance of your body and gut's health.
A "friendly"food is a food that leads the gut to peace -- freedom from indigestion, constipation, and other gut distresses. Friendly foods leave you energized and nourished. An "unfriendly" food is a food that can contribute to or cause gut ailments, such as bloat, gas, constipation, heartburn, IBS flare-ups, and a myriad of other bodily and emotional discomforts.
If the foods that you eat are unfriendly, you may experience:
-Digestive disturbances including bloat after meals, gas, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, nausea, indigestion/heartburn.
-Mental or physical fatigue, particularly after eating meals.
-Water retention (edema), where you lose or gain a couple of pounds in a single day.
-Food cravings and/or addictive eating.
-Skin eruptions (acne, rashes, psoriasis, eczema).
-Chronic pains in the form of muscle aches, pains, or arthritis-like symptoms.
-Emotional, mental, and behavioral symptoms, such as mood swings, irritability for no apparent reason, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and depression.
Many "unfriendly" foods are foods to which we may be allergic or have a sensitivity, and this can contribute to an array of physical and emotional symptoms.
FOOD ALLERGIES and SENSITIVITIES
For 12 years, Mary had severe migraines that landed her in the emergency room almost monthly. She was willing to let go of her wine, her chocolate, and her dairy, she was willing to go through a series of colonics and do yoga three times a week, but she would NOT let go of wheat, which was a food to which we suspected she might be allergic or sensitive. After working together for more than a year, she left discouraged. Mary called four months later to tell me that she had finally given in and surrendered her wheat foods. Her migraines stopped and have not returned!
Food Allergies -
Food allergies are adverse immunological responses and systemic reactions to foods that other people can eat without any reaction. When you are allergic to certain foods or substances, your body has an antibody reaction to those foods in the same way it would react to germs or "invaders." Your immune system generally goes to war to destroy the invaders. Classic allergic symptoms that most are familiar with are sneezing, hives, rash, runny nose, headache, and gastrointestinal upset. These reactions can be triggered by pollen, dust, animals, and certain foods. Immediate, dramatic reactions such as a person's throat tightening after eating peanuts are the ones that most people associate with classic food allergies, but these account for only 5 percent of adverse reactions to food. Allergies can be easily detected by your healthcare provider through the use of patch skin tests and/or RAST blood testing.
What happens when you eat a food you are sensitive to?
Frequently undiagnosed by conventional allergists, food sensitivities are a major reason why millions of us go through life with chronic gut ailments and other physical complaints. Food sensitivities may be at the core of a multitude of digestive and elimination challenges, as well as other physical and emotional symptoms.
Food sensitivities are usually triggered by common, everday staples such as milk, wheat, corn, yeast, sugar, and caffeine. Because these foods are often eaten daily, a person may not be aware of their adverse effects on the system. Food sensitivities may show up as symptoms anywhere from two to 72 hours after ingesting the foe substance. This makes a sensitivity a lot more difficult to detect than a classic allergy. For example, you may eat whole wheat toast on Monday but get the bloated belly and achy muscles on Wednesday. Reactions such as bloat, IBS, heartburn, and a host of other digestion and elimination ailments are common, but what many don't realize is that a food sensitivity may be the root cause of other symptoms, such as arthritic pain, weight gain, migraines, emotional mood swings (from depression to hyperactivity), and persistent food cravings.
A food sensitivity occurs when an enzyme deficiency causes us to be unable to digest particular foods. Large amounts of undigested proteins, fats, and so forth are left undigested, and the immune system treats these molecules are potentially harmful or toxic substances. As these larger molecules pass through your gut's lining, your supportive and protective immune system sees these molecules as "foes" and attacks them. An immune reaction is set into motion and an inflammatory response occurs. This response can contribute to inflammation and irritation within the gut (colitis, Crohn's, IBS, [celiac-my personal note]) and show up as symptoms such as headaches, muscular pain, fatigue and edema. Your body's wisdom attempts to reduce the irritation by retaining water, which dilutes the concentration of the offending toxic material. Tissues of the intestinal lining swell with protective water. In addition to a swollen intestinal lining, add gas formation from the putrefacation and fermentation of poorly digested food, and you have a gut that can make you look and feel months pregnant. Many people also experience daily fluctuations in weight. This is not a pleasant experience but a good way to detect a food sensitivity.
None of us are too happy with the pants we can't zip up, but you must remember that the wisdom of the gut is actually protecting us from excessive toxins and possibly even more debilitating symptoms. Our guts are showing us quite vividly and uncomfortably that something we are ingesting is not okay within us.
And there's more:
-Food sensitivities can cause seretonin levels to drop. Seretonin is a calming neurotransmitter that, when imbalanced, can lead to depression and anxiety, which can then lead to continued eating or "stuffing" ourselves with more inappropriate food. Serotonin imbalances have been implicated in cases of IBS and other gut ailments.
- Your blood sugar levels drop, which can make you fatigued, shaky, moody, and hungry for something to boost you up. At this time, one might gravitate towards sugary foods or caffeine, which just continues the cycle.
- Food cravings and addictive eating occur. Certain food sensitivities can cause a release of your very own opiates. You can literally become addicted to the "high" your food sensitivities cause and seek out the offending food in order to get a "fix." Research from the New England Journal of Medicine (volume 337, 1997) states that opiate chemicals may also increase our appetite.
Food sensitivities can be detected by blood testing for IgG or IgG4 antibody reaction, or you can listen to your gut: Remove the offending food for 7-10 days. Your symptoms should calm down. Continue the journey of healing your digestive and elimination system with the "befriending" information (I will post separately) in this book. In time, your body may balance toward a healthier state; therefore you may be less reactive to many of your previous food sensitivities.
Friday, February 01, 2008
LA Times Article/Q&A:
Science journalist Gary Taubes thinks we've got it all wrong about fat and carbohydrates. In his new book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease," Taubes argues that a diet rich in carbohydrates -- not excess calories or a sedentary lifestyle -- makes people fat and unhealthy. The book expands on his controversial, 2002 cover story for the New York Times Magazine in which he argued that a diet high in fat and low in carbs, similar to the Atkins diet, was more effective at controlling weight and preventing disease.
What do you want readers to take away from the book?
I want them to see how little real evidence there is to blame heart disease on dietary fat and cholesterol. I want them to see the evidence for blaming it on sugar, white flour and easily digestible starches like potatoes and rice. I want them to understand that it's not crackpot to say that these diseases could be caused by carbohydrates; it's a legitimate conclusion from the existing evidence. I want readers to understand that obesity is not about the quantity of calories we consume -- it's about the quality. Then I want them to give the book to their doctors.
If carbs make you fat, how do they do that? What's the mechanism?
You secrete insulin in response to carbohydrates -- and insulin drives fat accumulation. It's that simple. What's more, you actually need carbohydrates to store fat in fat tissue. And to get fat out of the fat tissue, you need to lower insulin levels. Other hormones like adrenaline and growth hormone also work to get fat out of the fat tissue, but they won't do it successfully when insulin levels are high -- insulin will override that.
And carbs also make you sick?
There's more than a century of evidence showing that when you add sugar, flour and white rice to any traditional diet, you will get obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and half a dozen other so-called diseases of civilization. It doesn't matter whether the traditional diet was high in fat and protein, like the Inuit diet, or an agrarian diet. Add these easily digestible carbs, and you get these diseases.
What's the evidence that carbs could cause cancer or Alzheimer's, as you contend in your book?
Primarily, that the risk for these diseases increases if you are diabetic or obese. As I argue in the book, this suggests that high blood sugar and insulin can be causative factors. With Alzheimer's, one symptom is the accumulation of a protein called amyloid. That protein is cleared from the brain by a protein called IDE, which happens to stand for "insulin degrading enzyme." Its primary job is to degrade insulin. Raise insulin levels and there's not enough IDE left to get rid of amyloid. This isn't controversial. It's just that Alzheimer's researchers rarely consider why there might be too much insulin to begin with -- i.e., because of carbohydrate-rich diets.
How could carbs cause cancer?
For starters, cancer cells require an enormous amount of fuel to proliferate. And so cancer cells evolve to be incredibly sensitive to insulin. Raise insulin levels, and tumor cells get the fuel they need to divide and multiply. If insulin binds to receptors on the surface of these cancer cells, they can suck in more blood sugar. So the more blood insulin is available, the more blood sugar gets into these cells. Also, insulin increases the availability of a growth factor that's been shown to cause tumor cells to go from benign to malignant and then metastasize.
What is the evidence that the low-carb Atkins diet is healthy?
First, all you're doing is not eating foods that none of us ate up until a few hundred or thousand years ago. The clinical trials show that people lose more weight on the Atkins diet than on low-fat diets or low-calorie diets, and their cholesterol profiles improve. HDL, the "good" cholesterol, goes up. Triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease, go down. Blood pressure goes down. All of these should reduce the risk of heart disease.
So is there no evidence that the mainstream low-fat diet is healthy?
Well, the mainstream medical community believes low-fat diets are healthy, at least low-saturated-fat diets are healthy, based almost entirely on the idea that statin drugs reduce the incidence of heart disease in high-risk patients and also lower LDL "bad" cholesterol. By their logic, a diet that lowers LDL cholesterol should also be a healthy diet. That's their fundamental piece of evidence.
Does that convince you?
I think it's insane. A statin is a drug -- we don't know what else it's doing. And what a drug does and what a diet does are entirely different things. Moreover, there's actually evidence that the benefit of statins comes from mimicking the effect of a low-carbohydrate diet, not a low-fat diet.
Could part of the reason for the obesity epidemic be the official recommendation to eat a low-fat diet?
To some extent. Diet is a trade-off. If you tell people to eat less fat, they're going to replace the fat with carbohydrates. The amount of protein we all eat stays relatively stable. So low-fat diets, by definition, are high-carb diets, and high-carb diets are fattening.
Does the time of the obesity epidemic coincide with public recommendations to eat carbs?
The evidence shows it began sometime between 1976 and 1986. In 1977, a congressional committee officially advised the entire nation to eat less fat and more carbohydrates, and then it sort of ballooned from there. That 1977 report was written by one well-meaning congressional staffer with no science and nutrition background, based on effectively two days of testimony and maybe three months of amateurish research. The apex of the movement was in 1984, when the National Institutes of Health held what they called a consensus conference and recommended that everyone over the age of 2 should eat low-fat, high-carb diets.
And the science wasn't there to back that up?
It's never been demonstrated that people who eat these "healthy" low-fat diets live longer, which is, after all, what we all hope to do. The latest example was the Women's Health Initiative trial -- published two years ago -- of 49,000 women. It cost upward of half a billion dollars, and it simply failed to confirm the idea that if you eat less fat or more fruits and vegetables or more fiber or less meat you will live longer.
The traditional view also holds that with exercise you can lose weight. Do you exercise?
Yes, I've always been a jock. But one thing that used to be obvious and has lately been forgotten is that exercise makes you hungry. Remember the concept of "working up an appetite." You go for a walk, for a hike, play 18 holes, you work up an appetite. The point is, if you expend more calories, you'll consume more calories. Your body doesn't want to give up the fat in fat tissue, and so it tries to replenish it. You work out; you get hungry. When I interviewed people who study exercise and weight, they would tell me, "We don't understand why when people exercise, they don't lose weight," and I'd say, "They get hungry." And it's like they'd never thought about it -- that the possibility never crossed their mind.
What's the evidence?
Well, there's no evidence that people or animals lose weight when exercising -- unless their diets are also restricted. Some animals -- hamsters and gerbils, for instance -- get fatter if they exercise. One recent study of 13,000 runners concluded that even those people who ran 40 miles a week, say 8 miles five times a week (that's a lot of running) gained weight year in year out.
If exercise doesn't make you lean, then too little exercise doesn't make you fat?
Simply put, yes. One of the things that's been known for decades is that the poor tend to be fatter than the rich. The poorer you are, the fatter you're likely to be. And the poorer you are, the more likely your job will require manual labor. Ditch diggers and housekeepers expend more energy than bond traders and fashion consultants. So how can you blame obesity on sedentary behavior? And how can you blame obesity on genetics alone, when you see this disparity in obesity rates across income brackets? Something is making these people fat, and it's not that they expend less energy than the wealthy.
And you have been on a low-carb, high-fat diet for five years?
I just don't eat the kind of easily digestible carbohydrates that were known for 150 years to make us fat and that biology tells us should make us fat. I don't eat bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and desserts anymore. I eat as much as I like of everything else and I remain lean.
How much weight did you lose when you first went on this low-carb diet?
There was one point when I was down about 25 pounds and my wife complained that I looked emaciated. Then I probably floated back up 15 pounds. I am about 12 pounds lower now than I was when I started the diet.
Thanksgiving is coming up -- are you going to be eating the turkey or the stuffing?
I'll have some stuffing because I like it, but I'll probably avoid the pumpkin pie.
Friday, February 01, 2008
I've been waiting to write about Gary Taubes' book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (US version. In AU and NZ, it's "The Diet Deception" I think) so I could collect my thoughts - I get overwhelmed with the weight of the evidence I've seen and even lived through myself. I see it everywhere and it boggles my mind. Here's one nugget:
When I first moved to OK, I met and got to know my neighbor by taking walks together around the neighborhood. She met me at my worst - right before my celiac diagnosis. She's my witness to my transformation. She watched me gain weight - even split my pants once bending over to pick up the newspaper! A little embarrassing to say the least. We laugh now, but my subsequent weight gain after instituting a gf diet needed to STOP! That's how I found SP!
We are like Laurel and Hardy on the road, too! (And we call their family "The Flanders" and we're "The Simpsons" - LOL). She's the tallest, thinnest person I have ever known, and I'm the shortest and fattest in the neighborhood. Opposites attract? LOL. Well, I just got lucky to have her in my life. She's a beautiful Christian woman who is a very kind and pure of heart. I mention her for a couple reasons related to gluten. When her father died (can't remember actual cause right now), but he had macular degeneration and was blind. He was a lifetime baker who worked very early morning hours baking bread for store delivery (*visions of flour in the air and baker's asthma are floating in my head*). (Her sister had colon cancer found during an unrelated colonscopy procedure, and has IBS).
Since my diagnosis I tell her of what I learn every time we walk. I try to tell her that macular degeneration could be from gluten ingestion and lack of nutrients. She's not convinced I can sense it. Then I share that I saw a local news piece about preventing macular degeneration ... to curb the carbs! So, I go on a search.
The first link in a google search for macular degeneration was from allaboutvision.com - I wanted to see if they mentioned carbs. Nope, not this site. However, there is mention that it's hereditary (so are gluten problems), tends to those who are obese and sedentary (hmm, eating gluten carbs, sugar and tired?), prone to those who are over age 65 (undiagnosed gluten problems?), white and fair-eyed (oh, from Europe like so many celiacs?) First tx discussed: drugs, of course. Second, to add nutrients zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C & E and omega-3s. They discourage omega 6's which they say are from vegetable oils (concealing that breads and carbs etc, are made with a lot of veggie oils/omega 6s).
Ironic? Just part of what I *see* in regards to gluten everyday. My neighbor's a smart cookie; but not versed about this subject, so I'm patient. Her husband's an ENT doctor, so I'm thinking there's an air of ... I dunno, that they'd know about it, right? I'm ever so subtle in sharing info ... and to make another story short, I have HIM thinking about his own diet and gluten :). I send articles about autoimmune hearing loss once in a while :). Same with his partner who lives across the street. More on them another time.
Okay - so now the topic at hand for today's thoughts: Heart disease and gluten. Today on The View, the spokesperson for The American Heart Association (and Campbell's), Toni Braxton, is a guest. She has pericarditis - diagnosed after her second son, Diezel, was born. Read about pericarditis here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/ar
ticle/000182.htm . Hmm, could be viral in origin (like a trigger for celiac?) and is more prone to those with autoimmune problems (hello celiac, hypothyroidism, etc). I, too, have a heart thang going on. I had a history of bronchitis. She had childhood asthma (didn't know it could go away).
And if you didn't know, Diezel has autism. Hmmm. Are you seeing a connection for gluten problems here? I wonder if she's eating gluteny Campbell's food? Actually, she said as much by advertising their vegetable juice (low sodium/regular V-8 is gf!) and low-sodium soups. ( :( on most all their soups - they are gluteny).
There's too much to say about Gary Taubes' book. Simply put: this book is yet another (EXHAUSTIVE and well researched) display of how our culture has been duped by science and politics.
There's room for much discussion, yes? I esp appreciate what Dr. Weil says about our having a genetic tendency to weight gain and that carbs do us wrong (in the active blog link at the bottom). Oh. Also an interesting thing I noticed about Joy Behar - she kinda drives me crazy because everytime they have an author on about diets, she poo-poos them and says, "Oh how can you do that - take out all those foods?" - she did that with the author of the Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet and I cringed. She's always on a diet and couldn't live without her carbs she said. Well, nowadays she's mentioned in passing that she's low carb now ... my how we change! She's an Italian for heaven's sake - Italians have a high incidence for gluten problems!
Please read these blurbs and esp comments from readers.
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