The Ideal Diet for You – Part 3 Potential Causes

If you have read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series you were introduced to Dr. Carrie Diulus, a vegan Type 1 diabetic, as well as the concept of “don’t feel good” symptoms associated with allergies and autoimmune conditions, both environmental and food.

A vegan, type 1 diabetic diet is very unusual. But Dr. Diulus has it all worked out – which foods will require the least insulin/meet all her nutritional requirements and which supplements she has to take. Since she doesn’t eat meat, her diet includes soy as her source of protein.

It was my initial understanding that she gave up eating meat because it made her feel bad. Because a major premise of this series is avoiding food that makes you feel bad, I did a bit more digging about Dr. Diulus. What exactly was it about meat that made her feel bad?

Turns out that meat doesn’t exactly make her feel bad; she just doesn’t like meat. Brings back memories of my daughter Sherri who never liked meat when she was a kid.

I Don’t Like That!

When Sherri was about five we were eating dinner with my husband’s parents. She was carefully picking out the vegetables and I finally suggested she would either eat the meat or go to bed. “So,” I said, “what are you going to do?”

With a deep furrow in her brow and in the grumpiest tone she could muster, Sherri replied, “Eat the meat.” I can hear her now. These days her preference is fish.

By the way, Dr. Diulus says if, for any reason, she needed to add animal food to her diet she would add fish. Soy happens to be in the top eight list of food allergens but apparently not an allergen for her. I should point out that fish, finned and/or shell, are also in the top eight allergies.

“Like” is a taste, possibly texture or smell, thing. You may conclude that, along with food that results in “symptoms,” things you don’t like will influence your diet choices as well.

When I was a kid, I hated the smell of cauliflower and Brussels sprouts cooking. When my mother fixed one of those it was all I could do to go in the kitchen, never-the-less to the table.

Now, some 70 years later, I love them both but prepare them very differently than my mother did. So I am convinced that preparation may be the most important with any food someone doesn’t “like.”

How You Learn to Eat

For the most part, what you eat now is likely what you learned to eat as a child.

If members of your family are/were overweight or obese, have or had diabetes, heart, liver, or kidney disease, their diet contributed to their condition. You probably learned to eat just as they did.

I remember being at a local restaurant seeing a small child being helped to decide what he should eat for breakfast by a very heavy father and two obese grandparents. I wrote about it before on this post entitled Blossom Time.

Waffles and biscuits and gravy were the strong suggestions for the child. Don’t forget the syrup. In other words, sugar and fat.

In my case, my Dad didn’t like cauliflower or Brussels sprouts either. What my Dad did like was well- battered fried chicken (and fish, frog legs), fried potatoes, well salted, and gravy.

I was a daddy’s girl. What I liked was what he liked along with multiple slices of white bread slathered with butter. Discounting the chicken, the rest of the food is sugar and fat.

My dad, grandfather, uncles, both my sisters, were/are all diabetic. And, surprise surprise, so am I although I manage mine with diet – which means flour, sugar, and vegetable oils are no longer included in my meals.

So Back To the Symptoms

Stuff like fatigue, aches and pains of any kind including joints/head/feet, stomach ache, reflux, bloating, constipation, vision problems, blood pressure spikes and drops, mental confusion, anxiety, depression, allergies, hair falling out, hives, eczema, psoriasis, very overweight. Loooonnnnng list!

Potential Causes

Sensitivity to a food results in immune reaction in your stomach and gut, generating symptoms right away. Technically your stomach and gut are outside your body and the immune system’s job is to keep poorly digested stuff outside.

Allergic – Once an allergen gets inside your body — through the skin, your nose, or into the blood through your gut — another part of your immune system sets out to extinguish that allergen. It may take longer for that reaction but you will know it.

Autoimmune conditions are different. Your immune system thinks some part of your body “looks like” an allergen, concludes it doesn’t belong, and attacks both the allergen and the “look alike.” There are over 80 autoimmune diseases so far.

Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) has the immune system attacking the intestines. Arthritis has the immune system attacking joints and sometimes eyes and skin. Lupus can attack almost any organ in the body. Autoimmune conditions are always serious and will always have symptoms.

Add to symptoms the chronic conditions diagnosed by your doctor. Diabetes, heart trouble, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, kidney disease, etc. Early in some of those conditions you may not “feel bad.” but the symptoms will arise eventually.

in Part 4, we will look at ways to identify the source of symptoms. This is a step of the path to your Ideal Diet.

I think I mentioned this before but 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%, it’s time to figure it out.

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 She can be contacted at, 870-490-1836. Her Facebook page is