Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Interesting Information: New Breakthrough: Roundup DOES Harm Humans

leave a comment »

Interesting Information:  January 21, 2013

New Breakthrough:  Roundup® DOES Harm Humans

 

Roundup®, which is mostly the chemical glyphosate, is “the most popular herbicide used on the planet,” according to Stephanie Seneff, PhD, in “Roundup®:  The `Nontoxic’ Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health,” Wise Traditions, Fall 2013, 30-38.

Roundup® is produced by Monsanto (it went off patent in 2000), and Monsanto has claimed that Roundup® is nontoxic for humans–even though glyphosate is “an established endocrine disruptor.”

Yet, there are many real-world examples of people sickened in all kinds of ways by exposure to Roundup.   But up to now, that I know of, there’s not be an explanation for HOW glyphosate affects humans that can stand up to industry’s insistence on using it.

****

The “nontoxic for humans” argument is that glyphosate kills weeds by “interfering with what is called the shikimate pathway–which is “essential in plants for the synthesis of a class of amino acids called the `aromatics.’ ”

The shikimate pathway is “nonexistent in any mammalian cell.”

BUT, BUT, BUT…AND HERE’S THE BREAKTHROUGH–“all of the microbes that take up residence in our digestive tract do have this shikimate pathway, and exposure to glyphosate…will cause them serious stress as a consequence.”

And, hopefully, each of you has become aware of the rapidly increasing knowledge of how important these gut “flora and fauna” are to human health.  And, how, if the opportunistic microbes get out of balance in our systems (sugar), they can be a real wrecking crew to your health.  This knowledge is the basis of Natasha Campbell-McBride’s work with the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome).

Studies have shown that glyphosate disrupts the gut bacteria in chickens, cows, and pigs, causing inflammation in the gut along with an overgrowth of pathogenic forms and concurrent loss of beneficial bacteria.  It is now becoming apparent that our gut bacteria, which outnumber our own cells by a factor of ten to one, play many important roles in supplying nutrients and protecting us from toxins.  There’s also an intricate connection between the gut and the brain, such that an unhealthy digestive system translates into pathologies in the brain.

AND we are NOT healthy in America–likely at least in part because we–unlike western Europe–are awash with chemicals like glyphosate.

Despite spending nearly two and a half times as much on health care as our peer nations, the U.S. lags behind many of these other nations in basic metrics like infant mortality and life expectancy.  The most recent figures for infant mortality place the U.S. at number forty-six, behind Cuba and Guam.  Clearly we are doing something wrong, and our wholesale embrace of GMOs is an obvious candidate.

Autism used to be rare, affecting one in ten thousand children.  The latest numbers put out by the CDC in March 2013, show one in fifty.  This is an alarming number, and, what is even more alarming is how quickly the number has been rising in recent years.

Ninety percent of the GMO crops (GMO corn, soy, cotton, sugar beets, and canola) are engineered to be “Roundup Ready,” which means that they can be sprayed with Roundup and they will happily soak it up into their tissues.  The practice of “desiccating”crops like wheat and sugar cane just before the harvest by spraying them with Roundup is also becoming more and more popular as a way to reduce the amount of vegetation that needs to be cleared in preparation for planting next year’s crop.  These two changes in agricultural practices almost certainly mean that Roundup is entering our food supply in record amounts.

Here’s more on the mechanics of why the shikimate pathway in our gut microbes affect us, but it’s not the whole description Seneff discusses as it is complex and too long to synthesize here:

Plants and microbes use the shikimate pathway to produce the aromatic amino acids, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine.  Because they don’t have this pathway, mammals can’t produce these essential nutrients, and therefore we depend on plants and microbes to provide them for us.  So it is logical that glyphosate, by interfering with this pathway, would lead to a deficiency in these nutrients.  Tryptophan is the sole precursor to serotonin, and serotonin deficiency is implicated in a litany of diseases and conditions that are prevalent today, including autism, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, suicide, and homicidal behavior.  Serotonin is an appetite suppressant so it’s hard not to overeat when it is in short supply.

Autism is associated with two comorbidities that may yield hints as to its underlying etiology:  disrupted gut bacteria and impaired sulfur metabolism.  A characteristic feature of children with autism is an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, which can lead to neurological defects arising from exposure of the brain to toxins produced by these bacteria.

Two pathogens exist in our gut, and they can play a beneficial role if kept under control by other microbes:  Clostridia difficile and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  (Both are “causing a major crisis in hospitals in the U.S. and elsewhere due to their increased prevalence and multiple antibiotic resistance.)  Pseudomonas aeruginosa can metabolize glyphosate.  BUT, formaldehyde, “a known carcinogen and neurotoxin,” is the by-product.  Clostridia diff. is a yeast pathogen that thrives on sugar.  It can punch holes in your gut that let food particles escape into the bloodstream which, in turn, cause all sorts of food allergies and autoimmune problems.  BUT, in terms of autism, Seneff has a long, involved explanation of how this pathogen is connected to sulfate transport and autism.

So, what can you do?

Eat organic foods.  Refuse to buy industrially grown, poisoned, monocrop, and/or GMO foods.  Insist on labeling of GMO foods.  And tell people who question WHY, what’s at stake.

And you can also tell them that chronic illnesses are incredibly, incredibly expensive.

Dr. Seneff works at the intersection of technology and biology.  She is a Senior Research Scientist at MITs Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  She has a Bachelor’s degree from MIT in biology with a minor in food and nutrition, and her PhD from MIT is in computer science.  She has done groundbreaking work with the importance of sulfur in foods humans eat–and sulfur has seriously diminished with industrially grown produce.

Here’s her heavily researched article in total–where you can see all her citations:

Roundup: The “Nontoxic” Chemical that May Be Destroying our Health – Weston A Price Foundation.

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

leave a comment »

Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: Elderberry Tincture

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks:  October 22, 2013

Elderberry Tincture

I almost missed the elderberry harvest again this year.

you really have to keep a sharp eye on the berries because they are near ripe one day and gone (birds) the next.

So, back in September some time, I got what remained on the two bushes I have.  One is almost a tree, and when we first came, I kept cutting it down as it’s growing in the rock wall below the house.  (Harvesting it is…dicey.)  The other is a bush I planted two years ago, and those berries are plumper and bigger than the wild berries.

Anyway, you cut off the berry clusters and strip off the berries in the kitchen.  You can see elderberries are TINY little purple berries.  And you can see how the clusters grow on the plant from the last one I’m stripping in this picture.

Elderberries

I make a tincture.  And, tinctures are alcohol based.  I use vodka.  Next time you are in Whole Paycheck or a health food store, see what a little bottle of elderberry tincture costs, and you’ll have newfound respect for my efforts.

I fill a quart jar with berries and pour the vodka over the berries to fill the jar.  I freeze the berries I have left.  Then I let the mixture sit out on the counter until the berries go white–as all their purple goodness is leached out.  At that point, I strain off the old berries and put in new ones and pour the now-purple vodka back into the jar.  Last year I did this process three times.  And can I tell you that that tincture was incredibly powerful.

Elderberry Tincture 2013

This year, I will probably do only two leachings since I don’t have that many berries.  Maybe I’ll leave the second batch of berries inside the liquid–they would provide fiber at least.

This tincture is dynamite for anyone coming down with a cold or the flu or anything that seems like it will become an illness.

Another use for frozen elderberries is to just thaw a few in a spoon overnight and eat them in the morning.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride–of the GAPS protocol–which I’ve written about many times on this blog–recommends eating a few berries over the fall and winter to support your immune system.

Elderberry bushes are easy to locate and to forage, in the late summer.  FInd them in the spring when they have big white flat cluster blooms, flat like a Queen Anne’s Lace flower.  Google them for an image?  They like damp places.  If you don’t have access to the countryside, plant a bush in your yard somewhere.

Interesting Information: Food is the Best Medicine – YouTube

leave a comment »

Interesting Information:  September 25, 2013

Friends sent me this video of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who is a Russian/British neurosurgeon and nutritionist who is on the cutting edge of understanding the importance of the relationship of gut integrity to being healthy.  I’ve written about her GAPS work many times on this blog.  She is a heroine of mine.

Get a cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and treat yourself to 45 minutes or so of real wisdom.  This woman cured her child of autism and has a clinical practice in Britain where she has cured so many people sick with neurological diseases or food allergies.

There are other, longer videos of her speaking on utube if you want to go further, for longer.  But this video is a very good start if this topic is new to you or if she is new to you.

Enjoy!

Food is the Best Medicine – YouTube.

Written by louisaenright

September 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Mainely Tipping Points Essay 43: Part III: Paleo Diet: What’s Wrong With Legumes?

with one comment

Mainely Tipping Points Essay 43:  November 16, 2012

Paleo Diet, Part III:  What’s Wrong With Legumes?

 

To recap from Parts I and II, Paleo Diet advocates argue that humans are genetically wired to eat meat, foraged vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Paleo peoples, they argue, did not eat grains, legumes, or dairy and were superbly healthy.

 But, what’s wrong with beans and peanuts, also known as legumes?

 Rob Wolf, in “The Paleo Solution,” puts it simply:  “dairy and legumes have problems similar to grains:  gut irritating proteins, antinutrients…protease inhibitors, and inflammation.”  Antinutrients, like phytates, bind to metal ions, like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and copper, which make them unavailable for absorption by our bodies.  Protease inhibitors prevent the breakdown of proteins which means your body cannot “effectively digest the protein in your meal” (98-99, 93).  In other words, antinutrients and protease inhibitors cause malabsorption and disease.    

 

Nora T. Gedgaudas, C.N.S., C.N.T., in “Grains:  Are They Really a Health Food?:  Adverse Effects of Gluten Grains” (“Well Being Journal,” May/June 2012), notes that “legumes typically contain 60 percent starch and only relatively small amounts of incomplete protein, and they also contain potent protease inhibitors, which can damage one’s ability to properly digest and use dietary protein and can also potentially damage the pancreas over time, when one is overly dependent on them as a source of calories.”  (Gedgaudas’ web site is http://www.primalbody-primalmind.com.) 

 William Davis, MD, in “Wheat Belly,” notes that the carbohydrate in legumes contains amylopectin C, which is the least digestible of the amylopectins—which leads to the chant “Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat ‘em, the more you…”.  Yet, the reality of the indigestible matter is not so funny:  “undigested amylopectin makes its way to the colon, whereupon the symbiotic bacteria happily dwelling there feast on the undigested starches and generate gases such as nitrogen and hydrogen, making the sugars unavailable for you to digest” (33).

 Davis goes on to note that amylopectin B is “the form found in bananas and potatoes and, while more digestible than bean amylopectin C, still resists digestion to some degree.  Remember that wheat has amylopectin A, which is the most digestible form of the amlopectins and, thus, can raise blood sugars more than eating a sugar-sweetened soda or a sugary candy bar.  The lesson here is that “not all complex carbohydrates are created equal….”   And Davis cautions that as the carbohydrate load of legumes “can be excessive if consumed in large quantities,” it’s best to limit servings to about a ½ cup size (33, 213). 

 Wolf is less compromising when it comes to combining plant-based foods, like beans and rice, to obtain essential amino acids—which we must eat as we cannot make them on our own.  The eight essential amino acids are “plentiful in animal sources and lacking to various degrees in plant sources.”  Wolf notes that “many agricultural societies found that certain combinations (like beans and rice) can prevent protein malnutrition.”  But, relying on the work of anthropologists who have compared them, Wolf notes that “most vegetarian societies…are less healthy than hunter-gathers and pastoralists.”  That’s because “plant sources of protein, even when combined to provide all the essential amino acids, are far too heavy in carbohydrate, irritate the gut, and steal vitamins and minerals from the body via anti-nutrients.”  Wolfs’ final assessment:  “Beans and rice, nuts and seeds, are what I call “Third World proteins.’  They will keep you alive, they will not allow you to thrive” (208-209).

 Wolf cautions that unless you are lean and healthy, don’t eat fruit.  He adds, further, that “there is no nutrient in fruit that is not available in veggies, and fruit may have too many carbs for you” (214)

 Dr.  Natasha Campbell-McBride expanded on the 1950s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) of Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas and created the “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” (GAPS) diet.  (That history is in my Mainely Tipping Points Essay 31 on my blog:  https://louisaenright.wordpress.com.)  Haas recognized the connections between diet and disease, especially in the debilitating digestive disorders, and put patients on a diet that eliminated dairy, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, like potatoes.  (Dairy is slowly added back after healing has started, beginning with cultured forms, like yogurt.  But, some patients are not able to tolerate dairy permanently.)  Haas’s SCD diet emphasized bone broths, meat stews that included animal fat, vegetables, and some fruits.  The results were, and are, amazing. 

 Dr. Campbell-McBride was one of many now, like Wolf and Davis, who made the further connection that too many starchy carbohydrates foment conditions in the gut that allow out-of-control yeasts to degrade the gut lining—which allows food particles to escape into the blood stream and trigger autoimmune reactions.  Campbell-McBride is one of the first to realize that these out-of-control yeast populations produce toxins that affect the brain and create problematic behavior.  Conditions like autism, for instance, might not really be autism, but effects of inappropriate diet and malfunctioning body systems. 

 Sally Fallon Morell and Mary G. Enig, Ph. D. of The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) hold a place in their 1999 “Nourishing Traditions,” for most legumes—if properly soaked and cooked so that phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are destroyed and difficult-to-digest complex sugars are made more digestible and if legumes are cooked and eaten with at least small amounts of animal protein and animal fat. 

 Morell and Enig write that soybeans, however, should only be eaten sparingly and only after fermentation into miso, tempeh, and natto because the chemical package in soy is so powerful and so dangerous (495-496).  A  commercial method has never been fully developed that renders soy completely safe.  But, more on soy in Mainely Tipping Points 44 .  (Note that tofu is not a fermented soy food.) 

 Morell and Enig are careful to caution that “vegetable protein alone cannot sustain healthy life because it does not contain enough of all of the amino acids that are essential.”  Indeed, “most all plants lack methionine, one of the essential amino acids” (495-496).  Further, both Morell and Enig have made clear repeatedly in the WAPF journal “Wise Traditions” that the current government support for plant-based diets is dangerous and unscientific.          

 In the end, what Paleo diet advocates are asking is why, in the first place eat foods with such high carbohydrate loads, inferior protein, and so many dangerous chemicals —especially when a diet of meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds supplies nutrients in dense, safe, satisfying forms. 

 This Paleo question is especially good to contemplate if one is overweight and experiencing the attendant health issues that accompany that condition and are trying to make changes.  Or, if one has ongoing digestive disorders which really must be addressed. 

 

Books: Internal Bliss

leave a comment »

Books:  October 12, 2011

Internal Bliss

The GAPS folks–Gut and Psychology Syndrome–have a cookbook out that helps those needing the GAPS diet–which is likely most of us these days–learn how to cook without using grains, sugars, and starchy vegetables.  You can order the main GAPS book and this new cookbook together on the GAPS diet web site:  http://www.gapsdiet.com/.  Or, you can order the cookbook alone.  The original GAPS book also has a lot of menus and recipes.  The main GAPS web site, which deals more with the GAPS problem at large, is  http://gaps.me.

I have written about the GAPS history and program in Mainely Tipping Points Essays 31 and 32, available on this blog.

Written by louisaenright

October 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information: Elderberries

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks and Interesting Information:  September 19, 2011

Elderberries

When we first moved to Maine, we were fairly focused on keeping trees from growing in the rock wall that buttresses our hill–between the front yard and the tiny meadow below the house.  We kept cutting back this one tree, which had roots deep into the wall and refused to die.

Some years later, Margaret Rauenhorst told me how beneficial elderberries were.  She makes elderberry jam, tinctures, and wine from them.  One day early last spring she made a gorgeous pie with the berries she’d frozen last fall that she shared with us.  Margaret and Ronald have a lot of the bushes on their property and are planting more.   Other friends also set about collecting the berries in the fall, Steve and Barb Melchiskey for instance.

While with Margaret one day last fall, I bought an elderberry tree and planted it on the slope next to our driveway.  Elderberries like wet feet apparently.  It’s thriving, bloomed this spring, and I was able to get about 1 cup of berries from it this year.

Not long after, I realized–from seeing the leaves on our purchased elderberry–that the pesky tree on the wall was also an elderberry.  So, we left it alone I collected those berries as well.  Here they are in my kitchen sink–ready to be picked off their stems and frozen:

Here’s what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says about elderberries in GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME:

“Black elderberry is a small tree, which grows pretty much everywhere from cold to very warm climates.  In spring it bears clusters of tiny whitish flowers, which at the end of the summer turn into small juicy black berries.  Medicinal properties of this plant have been appreciated for centuries.  Its flowers, berries, leaves and bark were traditionally used for treating colds, pneumonia, flu, sore throat, hay fever, wounds, eye infections and many other ailments….Black elderberry has strong immune-stimulating properties and it is one of the most powerful anti-viral remedies known to man….You do not have to be an experienced herbalist to use this plant….From the end of summer/beginning of autumn make it your bedtime routine to take 1-2 tablespoons [for family of four] of berries out of the freezer and leave them at room temperature to defrost over night.  In the morning juice them together with pineapple, carrot or any other fruit and vegetables you planned to use.  If you do it every day or every other day throughout the cold season your family will not have any colds.”

Dr. McBride goes on to say that for one person 1 teaspoon of the berries daily is a good dose.

Here in Maine we can buy Avena herbs elderberry tincture, and I always keep it on hand.  And, I keep an elderberry tea on hand as well.  At the first sign of anything going wrong, I start using the tincture and drinking the tea.  Knock on wood, but I can’t remember when I had a cold last.

Mainely Tipping Points 32: Fiber Menace

with 2 comments

Tipping Points 32:  Fiber Menace

FIBER MENACE

One of the most striking things I’ve discovered while researching food and health issues over the past few years is how often strong personalities (usually males with a fervent belief system and either money or political power) drastically change what we think is healthy to eat.  Science refuting belief is ignored, obfuscated, or denied.  And, when industry becomes involved, the changes are permanently cemented into cultural truth.  Such is the case with our current practice of overeating fiber.   

Konstantin Monastyrsky, in FIBER MENACE:  THE TRUTH ABOUT FIBER’S ROLE IN DIET FAILURE, CONSTIPATION, HEMORRHOIDS, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, CHROHN’S DISEASE, AND COLON CANCER (2008), identifyies Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) and John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) as agents of dietary change.  Graham, a Presbyterian minister who undoubtedly held the anti-body dictates of Calvinism, “prescribed a high-fiber vegetarian diet” to control lust” (1).  Graham believed men should not have sex until after they were 30 and then only once a month.  He believed white bread caused constipation and recommended “Graham” flour made from coarsely ground wheat.  Graham died alone, and Monastyrsky notes that Graham’s “abrasive, irritable personality” was likely a “manifestation of acute protein deficiency and unstable blood sugar” (1-2).

Kellogg, writes Monastyrsky, was a prominent physician, a celebrated surgeon, a successful entrepreneur, an author, a charitable man, and a health reformer.  Kellogg had a profound impact on the American diet since “he had the resources, the forum, the charisma, the conviction, and the authority to deliver his message over a long, long period of time and to lots and lots of people” (2).  Kellogg, like Graham, was obsessed with chastity and constipation.  He “never made love to his wife.”  To remedy masturbation, he “advocated circumcision without anesthetic for boys and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls.”  He believed constipation caused sexual desire as impacted stools stimulated the prostate gland or the vagina.  He proscribed a coarse vegetarian diet and bran and paraffin oil with every meal—which caused constant anal leakage along with the “decline of libido, functional impotence, and infertility” due to protein deficiencies.  Since he lived to be 91, Kellogg was likely “a typical hypocrite, who didn’t practice what he preached, sex or no sex” (2).

Kellogg’s namesake company is “still minting a fortune by peddling…sugared breakfast cereals fortified with fiber.”  In 2004 alone, the Kellogg Company spent over $3.5 billion just on ` promotional expenditures,’ “ so “no wonder fiber is still on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s stools….” (3).  And so, writes Monastyrsky, “if you believe that the introduction of fiber into the American diet came about as a result of thorough academic research, methodical clinical investigation, and penetrating peer reviews…it didn’t.  It’s actually based on profane sacrilege, fanatical misogynism, medieval prudishness, common quackery, crass commercialism, incomprehensible medical incompetence, and by the legal standards of today, negligence and malpractice” (3). 

There is, writes Monastyrsky, no scientific proof that high-fiber diets are healthy or aid constipation (13).  And a major text for gastroenterologists (ROME II) notes that “`there is little or no relationship between dietary fiber intake and whole gut transit time’ “ (114-115).

Indeed, there are reams of studies demonstrating that anything but “minor quantities of fiber from natural, unprocessed food” upsets the whole digestive chain in ways that leads to the problems listed in FIBER MENACE’s title (13).  Worse, many reputable studies show that high-fiber diets do not provide protection from the second largest cancer killer in the U.S.–colon cancer–and are probably a cause of it–information which has been largely ignored (180-187).  And, studies show that “carbohydrate intake…[is] positively associated with breast cancer risk.”  Yet, health authorities continue to insist that we eat more fiber, avoid meat and animal fat, eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink a lot of water (185).     

But, let’s back up for a moment.  Monastyrsky received medical training and a  pharmacology degree (1977) in Russia (Ukraine) before emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, where he embarked on a very successful career in technology, primarily on Wall Street.  Then, after years of eating a high-fiber vegetarian diet, he became very ill with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, hemorrhoidal disease, and anal fissures.  He returned to his medical training and research skills to heal himself and  learned that his life-threatening condition often takes decades to develop. 

According to Monastyrsky’s web site (www.gutsense.org), he is a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.  Treatment is through nutritional intervention.  He’s written two best-selling books in Russian and FIBER MENACE and GUT SENSE in English.  His work is highly respected by the Weston A. Price Foundation and is a fit with other work denouncing the overeating of carbs, the loss or lack of gut flora and fauna (disbacteriosis), and the need to eat nutrient-dense foods for health—such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME and Gary Taubes’ WHY WE GET FAT.

Monastyrsky explains the “evolutionary functions of each digestive organ” and notes that each organ specializes in a specific food group.  The mouth macerates and masticates flesh for we are “canine-wielding predators”; the stomach ferments and digests proteins; the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) mixes chyme (a thick liquid without any solids that arrives from the stomach) with enzymes and absorbs water; the gallbladder uses bile to break down and assimilate fats; the jejunum and ileum (the last two sections of the small intestine) complete digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and absorb “their basic components (amino acids, fattly; acids, monosaccharides); and the large intestine recovers remaining water, nutrients and electrolytes, converts “liquid chyme to semi-solid stools,” and expels them (8-9). 

If this process is disturbed by an overabundance of indigestible fiber, the system struggles.  Malabsorption, where needed nutrients are not absorbed, occurs, which leads to malnutrition and disease.  Constipation and/or diarrhea occur, as does bloating and gas.  The stretched digestive system—a condition worsened by drinking water that makes fiber swell–begins to need more and more fiber to function.  The delicate tissues of the normally narrow anal canal are torn and scarred by too-large stools.  The lack of appropriate fats further compounds these disease conditions by causing stool impaction.  Intestines “bloated from inflammatory diseases caused by indigestible fiber” create hernias (28).       

Monastyrsky warns that a lot of fiber is hidden in fake processed foods under obscure names, like “cellulose, B-glucans, pectin, guar gum, cellulose gum, carrageen, agar-agar, hemicellulose, inulin, lignin, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides, polydextrose, polylos, psyllium, resistant dextrin, resistant starch, and others.”  These factory made ingredients are derived from wood pulp, cotton, seaweed, husks, skins, seeds, tubers, and selected high-yield plants that aren’t suitable for human  consumption without extra processing” (18). 

So, what constitutes constipation?  Monastyrsky notes that mainstream medicine does not recognize constipation as the very serious condition that it is until it is too late and more extreme digestive conditions have developed.  If you’re not experiencing twice-daily easy and complete stools–Monastyrsky describes in detail what a healthy stool should look like using the UK’s Bristol Stool Form Scale—you might want to read FIBER MENACE. 

WARNING:  Monastyrsky warns that one must wean off fiber very gently or one will set off unintended consequences, like increased constipation.  To heal a damaged digestive tract, the GAPS diet, from GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, is excellent—www.gapsdiet.com. 

 

Turkey Tracks: Juicing

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks:  May 27, 2011

Juicing

My niece, Lauren Howser Black, is starting to experiment with juicing–which she shared on Facebook.

I am trying to figure out juicing myself and am slowly coming to some conclusions.

First, all food is made up of three ingredients:  protein, fat, and carbohydrates.  Protein and fat are the building blocks of the body.  They are absolutely necessary for ideal  human health.  Carbohydrates are, apparently, not, since one can get every single nutrient, vitamin, enzyme, etc., one needs from meat alone.  (This information comes most recently from Gary Taubes in WHY WE GET FAT–which I covered in Tipping Points Essays 29 and 30.)

We eat carbs to give ourselves energy.  And, they taste really good for the most part as most are yummy fruits and vegetables.  But, the plant kingdom has been vastly misunderstood for some time.  Plants are chemically based, and they can pack a powerful punch.  For instance, all the major drugs that really work come from plants.  And, plants have chemicals that are absolutely addictive for humans.  Sugar and grains are an example.

Second, humans do not handle cellulose well at all.  Unlike cows, we don’t have four stomachs full of bacteria specifically meant to break down cellulose, in the form of grass.  Our system is much closer to dogs.  We have a single stomach, longer intestines, and bacteria specializing in processing meat and fats.  When we overload them with cellulose, we set up gut conditions that make us sick since all that bulk in the gut, according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who wrote GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, starts preventing the absorption of the good nutrients we need.

Third, humans really do not handle sugars well at all.  Sugars of all kinds throw off the delicate balance of our digestive system–which, in turn, causes the host of chronic diseases associated with people who have settled in one place and are growing, particularly, grains.  You’ll recognize some on the following list:  arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, schizophrenia, and cancer.   Autoimmune and inflammatory conditions abound.  These all appear alongside developmental degradation, like crooked teeth and bad eyesight.  Hunter-gatherers and nomad herders, on the other hand, have been and are (yes there are still some in the world) disease free.  [This kind of assessment is widely discussed.  Here, I’m using Lierre Keith’s recounting of this history in THE VEGETARIAN MYTH (139+).  She is, in turn, drawing on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain, who has worked extensively with archeological evidence of what earlier people ate and how it affected their bodies.]

Given this information, one might avoid all carbs.  I think that would be hard, and most hunter-gatherers and nomadic herders foraged for greens, tubers, seasonal fruits (which were much less sweet than our fruit today), and the like.  Plus, we are surrounded with eye-catching produce all year around.   AND, one has to consider, also, that juicing has long had a place in healing circles.  Maybe it works to detoxify the body–short term–but long-term health requires nutrient dense foods.  Vegetables are not nutrient dense.  Period.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride absolutely holds a place for juicing in the GAPS diet.  (I wrote about GAPS in Tipping Points 31.)  But, she is dealing with a population of sick people (autism, in particular) who have significant gut issues.  (There is a growing recognition that autism almost always has a particular profile of an impaired digestive system AND that autistic people crave carbohydrates and have very limited diets.)  I know I have a gut issue–it was the root cause of my food allergy issues.  I suspect most Americans today do, given all the grains, other carbs, processed food, and chemicals they’re eating.

Dr. Max Gerson was one of the pioneers of healing the body through, among other practices, juicing.  But, he also used infusions of raw liver as well.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has an interesting web page and who wrote THE NO-GRAIN DIET, juices–but mostly green vegetables.

So, how to think about this issue?

It’s pretty clear that fruit juices are really high in sugar and offer a terrible jolt to the system.  Fructose sugars are particularly difficult for the body to handle and cause elevated insulin levels.  No one should ever drink commercial fruit juices.  If one is struggling with obesity, too much fructose can and does lead straight down a road that has stops at diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and so on.  But, what about vegetable juices?

I have a Vita-Mix, which pulverizes whatever goes in, so I have to think about all the added cellulose as well.  I’ve decided I need to strain whatever I am going to mix up.

Let’s start with a seemingly balanced approach.  Campbell-McBride says juicing is a great way to get nutrients without all the cellulose.  She advocates about a 50-50 ration of fruits to vegetables.  The sweet in the fruits make the good of the vegetables drinkable–especially for picky eaters.  And, the GAPS work shows that some fruits help heal the gut.  She  recommends two cups of juice a day total.  Here are some of her suggestions:

Pineapple, carrot, and a little bit of beetroot (5%  total) in the morning prepares the digestive system for the coming meals.

Carrot, apple, celery, and beetroot cleanses the liver.

Green juices from leafy veggies (spinach, lettuce, parsley, dill, carrot, and beet tops) with some tomatoe and lemon chelate heavy metals and provide magnesium and iron.

Here’s a list of vegetables she uses:  carrot, beetroot (5% of mixture only), celery, cabbage, lettuce, greens (spinach, parsley, dill, basil, fresh nettle leaves, beet tops, carrot tops, white and red cabbage)

And, her list of fruits comes from the GAPS approved fruits.  She also really likes black elderberry as an immune builder.

The Green Approach.  Dr. Mercola does not permit fruit juice because of the elevated levels of sugar.  I’m not sure I see the difference between eating an apple and juicing it, however, especially since I have this new sensibility about all the cellulose in the apple itself.  Anyway, his juicing is confined to green vegetables.  He avoids carrots, beets, and squashes.

Here’s his beginner green drink:  2 stalks of celery, 1 cucumber, 2 stalks of fennel.

He recommends starting with 1 or 2 ounces and adding to that until you are drinking 12 ounces at a time.

He recommends mixing mild greens (lettuces, but not iceberg; endive, escarole, spinach, cabbage) with stronger veggies (kale, collard, dandelion greens, mustard greens), and adding herbs, eggs (1 to 4), and some flavorings (1 Tablespoon coconut that is whole fresh grated or unsweetened dry from a health food store, 1 Tablespoon fresh cranberries, 1/2 lemon, 1 inch ginger root).

Hmmmm.   I’d have to work up to liking these green mixtures.  But, it’s something about which to think.  I would caution that spinach and chard have high levels of oxalates which can give you kidney stones if eaten in excess.   Also, I really like the cookbook THE GARDEN OF EATING, Rachel Albert-Matesz and Don Matesz.  She has a few juiced drinks as well, but has a Vita-Mix and one eats everything.

CAUTION:  YOU MUST USE ORGANIC PRODUCE!  If you want to be healthy, you cannot consider eating anything that is full of poisons.  Juicing for health when you’re using a tainted food defeats your whole purpose.  The Environmental Working Group now has a web site listing what poisons are on our foods:  http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/

I juiced a mixture of fruits and veggies today, and we drank it for lunch.  I used too many fruits.  It was sweet and good, but I had a headache an hour later.  I think for the moment I’m going to stick with my homemade yogurt, egg, coconut oil, fruit smoothies for the moment, with more limited fruit included.  And, a tonic of raw eggs, lemon juice, and honey.  Maybe I’ll play around with Mercolas more green suggestions.  But, we eat so many fresh, locally grown greens and bone-broth soups, that maybe I don’t need the juicing thing.   I am worried about too much fruit and weight loss, which I need to do.  Hey!  I just read that cinnamon is MAGIC for getting tired, insulin-resistant cells to give up fat.  Will add it to my smoothie in the morning.  I do like Campbell-McBride’s suggestions–just have to curb the urge to put in more fruit.

Mainely Tipping Points 31: I Feel It In My Gut

leave a comment »

Mainely Tipping Points 31

I FEEL IT IN MY GUT

 Some of you might remember that I got into researching and writing about food issues because suddenly I developed food allergies that caused me to pass out with little or no warning.  I suffered dozens of unpleasant food-related allergic episodes; experienced several rescues from our local emergency crew; underwent one trip to the hospital; endured a growing list of problem foods; and still negotiate with friends and family who are scared to feed me.

So, rejoice with me when I tell you that I’ve had a breakthrough—one that could impact also your health.  I discovered that the root cause of my food allergy problems was a malfunctioning gut—something that likely affects many Americans.  It isn’t that I am allergic to specific foods, but that foods I was eating were not being contained properly within my digestive system.  Because my gut had been perforated by out-of-control opportunistic microbes that live in my gut, undigested food particles were leaking through the gut walls and were being attacked as foreign invaders by my body—which explained the growing list of “problem” foods.

My breakthrough began with an article by British physician Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride: “Food Allergies:  A Holistic Approach,” in the journal WISE TRADITIONS, summer 2010, 26-34, which is available at www.westonaprice.org.  In addition, Campbell-Mcbride has published the very comprehensive GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, which she revised and expanded in November 2010.  And, there is an excellent web site with information on the well-credentialed Campbell-McBride; the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or GAPS, diet; and resources:  http://gaps.me.  Here’s a site listing the recommended/forbidden foods:  http://www.gutandpsychologysyndrome.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/GAPS-Diet-Foods.pdf.  But, it’s a good idea to read about how to manage the diet on the main GAPS web site. 

Campbell-McBride got into the GAPS arena because she has an autistic son, so the web site is targeted to people with serious neurological issues.  However, the GAPS information is really important for anyone with either allergies (all types) or any gastrointestinal issues.  For instance, Campbell-McBride explains that food allergies/intolerances are symptoms of underlying digestive problems and that other symptoms most commonly include pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, indigestion, and urgency.  But, symptoms can also include “migraines, fatigue, PMS, painful joints and itchy skin” as well as “depression, hyperactivity, hallucinations, obsessions and other psychiatric and neurological manifestations” (27). 

In GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, Campbell-McBride explains that if opportunistic gut microbes become too prevalent and too powerful in a struggling gut, in addition to harming the lining of the gut, they begin to produce toxic wastes of their own.  These toxins affect the brain; they create behavioral problems and can cause or intensify neurological disorders like autism, schizophrenia, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and depression (41-48). (Additionally, I’ve read that some cancer researchers are looking at the relationship of these opportunistic microbes, like the yeast candida albicans, and cancer.)   

Gut dysfunction is caused by ongoing poor nutrition and by not having normal gut flora.  Gut dysfunction causes malabsorption, which, in turn, causes malnutrition and other disturbances in the incredibly delicate chemical balance of a healthy body.  Poor nutrition includes highly processed foods like white flour, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup, and complex carbohydrates from grains and starchy vegetables—all common components of the Standard American Diet (SAD).   

Dr. Thomas Cowan, an MD homeopath, revealed in a recent newsletter that Current TV, Al Gore’s television network, is planning to produce a documentary about the GAPS diet which will suggest that it could be a factor in healing many of our country’s chronic health problems (http://fourfoldhealing.com/2011/03/18/march-17-2011/).  And articles about the importance of having a healthy gut microbial community are appearing in mainstream magazines on a regular basis.  For instance, a January/February 2011 article in “Discover” magazine noted that Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis, who is studying the importance of gut microbes, called the gut microbes a community that is “`an organ within an organ.’ “  The article notes that “the mix of microbes inside you affects how you metabolize food and probably has substantial impact on your health” (51). 

In “Food Allergies,” Campbell-McBride explains that flora and fauna imbalances can begin at birth since a new baby has a sterile gut and picks up the mother’s microbes during her/his passage down the birth canal.  If the mother has microbe imbalances, the baby will be born with them.  If the baby does not pass through the birth canal, as in a Caesarean birth, the baby struggles with the abnormal development of not only gut flora, but other microbe populations within the body, which leads to malnutrition and illness.  And, to behavioral and neurological issues. 

Bottle-fed babies, continues Campbell-McBride, “develop completely different gut flora than breast-fed babies,” which predisposes them to “asthma, eczema, other allergies and other health problems.”  Many modern practices harm our gut flora and fauna.  Antibiotics damage the “beneficial species of bacteria in the gut, leaving it open to invasion by pathogens that are increasingly resistant to antibiotics.”  Contraceptives, too, “have a serious damaging effect on the composition of gut flora” (28-29).  I suspect the array of drugs many of us take daily damage gut microbes.     

Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet is predated by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) developed by pediatrician Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas and his son, Dr. Merrill P. Haas, both of whom followed in the footsteps of colleagues working with celiac disease and other digestive disorders.  Campbell-McBride notes that Haas et al discovered that “patients with digestive disorders could tolerate dietary proteins and fats fairly well.”  But, complex carbohydrates from grains and starchy vegetables—often craved by patients–made the problem worse,” as did sucrose, lactose, and other double sugars.  Some fruits and vegetables were “not only well tolerated…but improved…physical status.”  Haas cured over 600 patients with his SCD diet.     

Campbell-McBride describes the “something terrible” that happened next—celiac disease was “defined as a gluten intolerance and a gluten free diet was adopted,” but the new diagnosis “excluded a great number of various other gut problems….”  Haas’s SCD diet was forgotten and “all those other gut diseases, which didn’t fit into the category of true celiac disease, were forgotten as well” (32).  Meanwhile, the food market has  heavily invested in gluten-free products.     

Elaine Gottschall was a mother who, when all else failed, took her very sick child to Haas in the early 1950s.  When Haas cured Gottschall’s daughter in two years,  Gottschall became a biochemist and dedicated her life to helping children like her daughter by promoting Haas’s SCD diet.  Her book BREAKING THE VICIOUS CYCLE is both interesting and useful as it contains recipes, though some use artificial sweeteners. 

Here’s what Gottschall wrote about this bizarre turn of medical history after one report was published in 1952 in the British medical journal “Lancet” :  “A group of six faculty members of the Departments of Pharmacology and of Pediatrics and Child Health of the University of Birmingham, after testing only ten children, decided that it was not the starch (carbohydrate) in the grains that so many had reported as being deleterious, but it was the protein, gluten, in wheat and rye flours that was causing celiac symptoms” (36).  Six physicians and 10 children were all it took to create a new “scientific” understanding.  

Both Campbell-McBride and Gotschall agree that the gluten-free diet does not work permanently and that Haas’s SCD diet does.  Campbell-McBride updated the SCD diet and called it the GAPS diet as her clinical practice continues to prove the connections between food, the gut, and the brain.  (There are American physicians working also in this arena.) 

Much of what we’ve learned is healthy lives in the GAPS diet:  bone broths; nutrient-dense whole foods like good fats, good meats, eggs, cheeses, and cultured dairy like yogurt and kefir; appropriate vegetables and fruits; probiotics; and fermented foods.  It is interesting that the GAPS work is a fit with Gary Taubes’ critique of the role of starchy and sweet carbohydrates in WHY WE GET FAT.  And Campbell-McBride’s work is supported and encouraged by the Weston A. Price Foundation. 

So, if you feel you have digestive or food allergy issues, follow your gut!