Sep 20, 2010

Digestion: Discovery and dilemma

I have been reading a lot lately. My latest read is a book by a Swedish doctor, Annika Dahlqvist, who was reported for malpractice a couple of years for advising diabetics to eat a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. She was found innocent of the charges as her advice was supported by studies.

Lately, this nearly-vegetarian has given up her decades-long breakfast choice of rice milk and rolled four-grain mix and replaced it with boiled eggs and bacon. Butter is back in my cupboard. Meat and fish are finding their way into my home (if not in great amounts). Fruit is abandoned completely while nuts and vegetables are still favored. My beloved pasta is ignored, and I no longer eat bread or even oatmeal.

This is the first time in years, lots of years, that I am not gassy and getting stomach pains on a daily basis.

The discussion about whether or not you'll lose weight aside, the scary thing about reading up on diets, is discovering all the disinformation that's been fed us since at least the 1970's. Before insulin was discovered, diabetics were advised to eat a low-carb, high fat (LCHF) diet; this took care of the diabetes. Today's diabetics are encouraged to eat the same high-carb diet as the rest of us, with the assumption that insulin will take care of the blood sugar. Diabetics on the old-fashioned diet avoid the side effects diabetics on a regular diet develop. I've already learned that fructose is not good for you while cholesterol was never bad for you. But the biggest eye-opener for me was discovering that I have been given the wrong advice all these years about how to handle my digestion.

I have always had sluggish digestion. But honestly, I didn't get IBS - where my constipation ceased to be only that and switched to more frequent bloating, pain, gas and even diarrhea - until I started eating more fiber to "cure" my constipation. (Sorry about TMI.) Now I'm reading that fiber damages the gut and converts to sugar! Fiber's behavior in the gut is to annoy it, not help it; fiber tears up the lining, which forms mucous to protect itself, and the mucous makes things slide along easier. But if what you want is lubrication, the non-harming alternative is animal fats.

I'm still working on getting regular, but I will do it without fiber. I like going without the, er, sound effects.

My new problem is finding eggs from chickens on the natural omnivore diet chickens are supposed to eat (like worms and stuff): All chickens - also the organic, free-range ones - seem to be fed corn and other vegetarian food because it makes the yolk more yellow. However, it means that the useful and desired omega-3 fatty acid gets reduced.

And I'd like cheese and meat from grass-fed cows, organic or not, simply because that gives more nutrition a human body can make use of.

It's a new dilemma, not only switching from vegetarianism, but also realizing that not even organic foods are the best choice if the animals are not fed their natural diet, only an organic one. I will supplement with cod liver oil.

6 comments:

Paula Light said...

Most days I don't eat meat, but I do always have milk, cheese, yogurt or eggs. After about 4-5 days of that I'll make sure to at least have some chicken or fish and once a week or so I'll have red meat. This all seems to work so far. I could eat more veggies though, not that I have problems, but I think I just should. I don't buy any special organic food, but am considering switching to local eggs after this latest horror.

Good luck with new plan!

throckey said...

The best way to get eggs is to have your own chickens, who can get a completely natural and organic diet from your food scraps. (and any worms they happen to dig up in the yard)

It's funny that the people who were always trying to get me to go vegetarian were always beset with health problems.

I is Omnivore.

Zuzana said...

Wonderful and interesting post.
I think the problem in our society is that we tend to eat the same things and much of what we eat is pumped with additives and none of it is fresh.
When my parents were growing up, even when i was a child, we got fresh milk from cows that were grazing outside, fresh meat and vegetables that were in season. My mom recalls, that even though she grew up in an apartment, her father went to the market ever Saturday, where he got not just fresh fruit and vegetables but even live poultry that was brought home and which was prepared fresh that day for dinner.
A few years back I was trying to lose weight and went off meat and ate lots of vegetables. I ruined m gut completely and suffered from terrible constipation. I am still not fine today...
xoxo

Keera Ann Fox said...

Paula, thanks. I'm eating more fish and meat than you are, but that's partly thanks to having it available at lunch every day.

Throckey the Omnivore, if I had a place to keep chickens, I would definitely consider having some.

Zuzana, you are so right about the lack of quality and variety in our food. Your parents had the right stuff. Your stomach sounds like mine (heh). Try adding more animal fats in your diet, while reducing all grains and potato foods, and see if that won't help. I'm amazed at how well my stomach is doing.

To all: New "side effect": I've lost about 3 pounds, mostly around my middle, and no longer have a BMI over 25. The LCHF folks did not lie.

alice said...

I don't have room for chickens (well, technically, I'm not allowed to have them in the city limits, but hopefully that is changing soon), but I have a friend who (quietly) keeps chickens (no roosters!) in her yard and is happy to share the eggs.

And I had the most delicious bacon a few days ago -- I know the people who raised the pig and I know the guy who crafted the meat (he's my neighbor) and I agree -- it's better food (AND it really does taste better!) when it's raised properly.

I'm glad you're on the move when it comes to food. We have to eat some of it every day, so it might as well be an adventure.

Keera Ann Fox said...

You lucky gal. I'm definitely at the mercy of whatever my local stores take in. Today I bought the regular eggs (but from "chickens able to move around freely") because they did not specifically mention a vegetarian diet.

I have to laugh at your comment about me being on the move re food. I have been ever since I left home. I'm just not into cooking; I'm into digestion. And that isn't always suitable blog material. :-)