May 19, 2010


On May 12th I wrote about Nutrition, good foods, and bad foods. Actually, good nutrition is even more complicated than that. Good nutrition has to be individualized. We are all born different. And as we grow up, we become even more different. Classifying foods as good and bad is still valuable; it spells out a long list of foods that no human should eat.
So how do we find the right diet for each person? When we’ve thoroughly deciphered the human genome, and when profiling each individual genome becomes cheap, we may have an answer. I don’t expect this to happen in my lifetime, or even in this century. But we are learning other ways already.
You might say that we each suffer our own personal food allergies, but that gets into an ongoing controversy over terminology and the very nature of allergy. Some very bad reactions to certain foods are very common; allergies are by definition uncommon.
There are various theories about food types. Blood type is an unreliable predictor. Classification as Carbohydrate Type or Protein type probably changes with your eating habits. You can switch from sugar burning to fat burning through diet and exercise.
Here is my personal experience with allergy/food intolerance/food sensitivity. I had arthritis in my back from my teen years. By the age of 40 it was crippling me. I lived with this until I retired at 65, by which time the arthritis had spread to my hips and knees.
A few years before retirement, I read a book, “Arthritis, the Allergy Connection, by Dr John Mansfield. After I retired, I followed the instructions in the book for the elimination diet to find and eliminate my food allergies. It took time, but it worked. I was sensitive to about 17 foods, but the chief culprits were wheat and sugar (both very common dietary troublemakers).
I avoided all 17 foods for a year and then found that I could tolerate all but wheat and sugar. My arthritis wasn’t totally gone, but the inflammation and pain were reduced by 95%. I still avoid wheat and sugar and all inflammation and pain are now gone. The elimination diet was a chore for 10 or 12 weeks, but well worth the result. I passed this information on to many people but few felt the benefit would be worth the effort.
So think about allergies and food intolerances in choosing your foods. Watch your body’s responses for clues. For example, I can’t eat the white meat from poultry. It literally sticks in my throat; I can’t get it down. If a food upsets your stomach or gives you flatulence, avoid it. These foods may be healthy for others, but they are toxic for you. Many people live for years, suffering with arthritis, asthma, skin eruptions, irritable bowel, and other chronic ailments, caused by intolerance to foods that they probably eat daily.
Common culprits are wheat, sugar, milk products, eggs, and potatoes, but there are many less common culprits. There are several methods of identifying your food intolerances, but none of them very reliable. The elimination diet is the best so far. As I say, few people think it worth the bother. If you care to try it, say so in a comment to this blog entry. If I get enough requests, I’ll write up a summary in a future blog entry.
On the other hand you might prefer to find an allergy specialist. If you find one who practices allergy neutralization, I believe it can really end many allergic reactions. The reaction to wheat, however, is more likely an intolerance of gluten, which is genetic and never goes away.
So when you consider what’s good to eat and what’s bad to eat, remember, you are unique and your best foods and worst foods are an individual matter. There is no ideal diet for everyone.


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