The Ideal Diet for You – Part 2 You Are Not Dr. Diulus
In Part 1 you learned about the diet of Dr. Carrie Diulus, a Type 1 diabetic who doesn’t eat animal products, the best sources of protein, because they make her feel bad. She takes great care to select plant foods that meet her protein requirements while requiring minimal insulin to metabolize.
Type 1 diabetics take insulin shots but large amounts of insulin are guaranteed to add body fat. So Dr. Diulus does what is required to minimize insulin “demand”. She has been obese before (not uncommon with type 1 diabetics) and knows it also makes her feel bad. She supplements vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids, both of which are only found in animal food.
Just as with Dr. Diulus, your ideal diet as the one that makes you feel good and keeps you active. But you are not Dr. Diulus and your ideal diet will be undoubtedly different. So as you consider your own personal Ideal Diet, factor in the following important information.
Feeling bad is just a two word package that can include a wide variety of symptoms. Any one of those symptoms might be associated with numerous conditions/illnesses. Nothing easy about this.
Feeling bad will invariably (always) be associated with your immune system, the system in your body that protects and heals you from outside invaders. The older we get and the more chronic diseases we have, the less our immune system is protective.
The health and effectiveness of your immune system depends primarily on two factors. First, if your diet meets your essential nutrients – protein, fat, vitamin & minerals. Just as with oxygen, essential does not mean optional. Secondly, the number/frequency of “outside invaders” your immune system is called on to deal with.
Outside invaders like bacteria, viruses, parasites and such have been around since – forever. Obviously the immune system was designed for those invaders. Natural toxins are created by some animals/insects/fish and plants as protection for themselves.
Bear in mind that every living thing (including humans) wants to procreate (reproduce) and will try to avoid being “eaten” by something else.
Industrial and occupational toxins created by humans on purpose or as byproducts for special commercial purposes – bpa in plastics, petroleum, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, mercury, etc. – are invaders of the industrial age.
As suggested before, you usually know when you don’t feel good. Fatigue, aches and pains of any kind including joints, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, blood pressure spikes and drops, brain fog, depression, anxiety, anger, migraines, allergies, hair falls out, skin conditions, very overweight.
Any number of diagnosed conditions could cause any one of those. Do a little Google search on any illness and you will likely see many of the same associated symptoms. The trick is figuring out what is causing it/them.
Allergies vs Autoimmune
There are genetic factors in allergy susceptibility and immune system strength but the research is incomplete. In all cases the immune system identifies a trigger it thinks doesn’t “belong” and attacks it. There are no known cures; the answer is identifying and avoiding the reactive element and thus the associated “symptoms.”
Common environmental allergens are pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and cockroaches. Symptoms of seasonal allergens like pollen go away when the season is over. Triggers that might stay year round like pet dander, mold, and cockroaches can generate perpetual reactions like asthma.
Much of the research on autoimmune diseases indicates there will be genetic susceptibility. Remember that in autoimmune the system gets an external trigger, identifies some protein in the body that “looks” like that trigger and activates an attack on the trigger AND the look alike protein. The triggers are often not known and very complex. One known exception would be Celiac Disease for which the trigger is gluten in wheat, rye, and barley.
Some people will also react to gluten while not being diagnosed with full Celiac Disease. Almost anything containing wheat (which is practically everything) can be a serious digestive problem, especially if Celiac disease is diagnosed. Processed food, makeup, medications and supplements all contain wheat.
Mother nature did not design vegetation solely for human consumption. We weren’t even around in the beginning. Consequently there are plants that some of us will struggle with. For example:
- Nightshade vegetables – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers – and cruciferous vegetables – kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower. This is more often not an allergy but an “intolerance” that creates similar symptoms. Intolerance tends to be volume oriented, the more of that thing you eat the more likely a reaction will ensue.
- Grains/legumes of any kind, contain a unique sugar called raffinose that humans can’t digest. They also contain phytic acid which conserves certain minerals for the plant. Phytic acid thus becomes an anti-nutrient blocking the digestion of the plant as well as the absorption of those same minerals into the our body. Plus wheat (grain) is one of the top 8 allergens.
- Soy is a very common allergen particularly seen in many if not most processed foods and Chinese restaurants. Soy is also one of the top 8 allergens. Dr. Diulus is fortunate not to be troubled.
A few people will be so negatively affected by all plant chemicals that they are plagued with depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder. I have followed Amber O’Hearn and several others who transitioned to a fully carnivore (all meat) diet and made remarkable mental recoveries.
Meat allergies are rare but do exist. Poultry allergy is the rarest of all, egg allergy more common. Pork allergy is most often associated with cat allergy, pork-cat syndrome. The cat allergy is the true allergy while the pork reaction is “cross-reactive.”
What the heck is cross-reactive? According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “Cross-reactivity in allergic reactions occurs when the proteins in one substance (typically pollen) are similar to the proteins found in another substance (typically a food). For example, if you are allergic to birch tree pollen, you may also find that eating apples causes a reaction for you.”
A specific beef and other mammal allergy is the Alpha-gal syndrome that sometimes happen when a person is bitten by the lone-star tick.
The lone star tick sucks blood from mammals whose meat naturally contains alpha-gal sugar. When the tick feeds on a human, it introduces that sugar into the bloodstream. The resulting alpha-gal sugar in the human does not “belong” and the immune system reacts. Once infected, avoiding beef and other mammal meat including their milk products is required.
The Perfect Diet for You
If you have any symptoms, something is awry. You have not found your perfect diet. Allergy tests can be done but they will not identify sensitivities. In the end serious thinking is required. “when I get that symptom what have I been near, eaten, breathed in?“ Eliminate that thing from your life and see if the symptom goes away.
I talked to a gentleman recently who said he got an upset stomach every morning and then it went away. Turned how he had a cup of coffee every morning, not an uncommon thing. So I wondered could he just cut out that cup of coffee and see what happened. So he did, and guess what? The upset stomach in the morning disappeared.
If your symptom is life threatening see your doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. Anaphylaxis symptoms include a skin rash, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and shock. Avoid what ever causes that.
As suggested above, certain vegetables may be a digestive issue for some people. However, the biggest issue for most of us will be commercially processed food. Why? Because they contain in large quantities wheat, soy, and sugar. In processed form they are deficient in vitamins/minerals, contain two of the top eight allergens (wheat and soy) plus sugar, and are associated with chronic disease like diabetes, heart trouble, etc.
If you are a healthy weight and have no chronic symptoms, congratulations. You are among about 20% of the population. On the other hand, if you are in the 80%, its time to figure it out. See Part 3.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. Her website is http://www.allaboutthefood.org/ She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 870-490-1836. Her Facebook page is www.facebook.com/patsmithbooks.