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August 1, 2012 10:20 AM   Subscribe

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater. All you want to do is eat a little healthier. Really. Maybe get some of that Activa probiotic yogurt or something. So you look around and start researching what “healthier” means.
posted by mykescipark (243 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by The Whelk at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Buy organic.

Try not to eat tons of red meat.

Easy on the nitrate filled yummy pork products.

Too much sugar is bad for you.
posted by Windopaene at 10:25 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Your seasoning is mostly self-satisfaction and your drink is mostly fear of all the other food lurking everywhere that is trying to kill you."

Hilarious.
posted by griphus at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Organic foods cause cancer.

Red meat cleans your blood.

Nitrate-filled yummy pork products are essential to liver function.

Not enough sugar is worse for you.
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2012 [43 favorites]


but it costs $147.99 a pound for frozen seal liver out of the back of an unmarked van at the Canadian border.

I was JUST reading about Vitamin A poisoning from people eating bear, wolf, or seal liver.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, man, have I ever been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.

I miss the yard eggs the most, but I haven't had kale in years.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2012


cheese is your friend
posted by elizardbits at 10:30 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Veg, meat, nuts. Easy on the dairy. Occasional bit of brown bread.
Rule of thumb. If it comes in a packet and you can't spell it, avoid.
Exception is Diet Coke because I like Diet Coke.
posted by Damienmce at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [17 favorites]


not when it gives you horrifying gas.

I mean that doesn't stop me, but each cheese experience you have to ask, is this the one that kills me? It's like Russian roulette, with curds.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Meh. Anyone who is going to pay the least attention to every whackadoo with a blog on any subject under the sun is going to drive themselves crazy. There's an interesting piece to be written on the problem of the difference between population based statistical studies and your own personal health, but this ain't it.
posted by yoink at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


lemons from a tropical produce CSA share that helps disadvantaged youth earn money by gleaning urban citrus

This article is a lot funnier than it has any right to be.
posted by theodolite at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [17 favorites]


I was JUST reading about Vitamin A poisoning from people eating bear, wolf, or seal liver.

My old roommate gave himself hypervitaminosis A by following some sort skincare guide on the internet. It was hilarious.
posted by griphus at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Bandwagon Eater. People who do any research into the food they eat, or people who have gardens and don't buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been healthy eaters for centuries. Keep it simple, and don't buy stuff that has been processed for you, despite the "organic" label. And try to find out how far your food has traveled. Snow peas from China? WTF? Can't we grow peas in the Pacific Northwest? Some of the best beef I have tasted was grass fed Kona beef on the Big Island. But some of the other Kona beef is shipped to the mainland to be grain fed and fattened in the feed lots, then shipped back to Hawaii. You know who's going to pay for the shipping for that beef and the Chinese snow peas? Your kids.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


algae.

and tree nuts.
posted by superelastic at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exception is Diet Coke because I like Diet Coke.

You should shot your cred to hell.
posted by Zerowensboring at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been reading this book, and it is good so far. The thing I like most is that it provides several competing perspectives, and encourages experimentation.
posted by poe at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2012


dammit--you JUST shot your cred to hell. weird typo.
posted by Zerowensboring at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2012


(Specifically it was hilarious because I am 99% sure he got the tip from some PUA manual PDF.)
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean that doesn't stop me, but each cheese experience you have to ask, is this the one that kills me? It's like Russian roulette, with curds.

Curds, if you're lucky.
posted by DU at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who just went mostly-paleo and is super grumpy about how much better I feel (because jesus gay, I love bread), this is fucking hilarious.
posted by KathrynT at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2012 [27 favorites]


I'd send it to a friend I know, but I don't want to initiate another 10 page email about the benefits of a paleo-diet, the harm of veggies ("all sugar") and random 'anti-vegetarian' books showing up in my mailbox.
posted by whatgorilla at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2012


My old roommate gave himself hypervitaminosis A by following some sort skincare guide on the internet. It was hilarious.

Here I was looking at the nutrition info for the brrries I was adding to my protein shake and then looked at the info for the protein power and then remembering I just took a multivitamin and, fresh with Vitamin A death on the ice on my brain, I decided to drink that for lunch and just have eggs instead.
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 AM on August 1, 2012


sorry was just finishing my baconator...you were saying?
posted by ShawnString at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Luckily I just drink MiO Energy and meditate on top of a mountain now.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's not that complicated.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2012


Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
Go very lightly on vices such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.
Avoid running at all times.
Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.

Satchel Paige
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2012 [61 favorites]


cheese is your friend

Unless you're lactose intolerant, then you have few friends.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:38 AM on August 1, 2012


Unless you're lactose intolerant, then you have few friends.

*shaking* these PILLS, they are my FRIENDS.
posted by The Whelk at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2012 [21 favorites]


I suppose we should add diets or nutrition to things you should never discuss in polite company?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]



Hilarious.

I've done enough similar sort of 'exploration' that I now eat more of what makes me feel good and tastes good and less of what may taste good but doesn't make me feel as great after the fact. I figure that it's a good sort of balance. I KNOW the yummy homemade fries, twice fried in oil and slathered with gravy and cheese is going to make me want to take a nap but that doesn't stop me!

I eat a lot of local from my own garden and do eat a lot of grass fed meat but it's easy and cheap where I live. The farmers are all neighbors and I don't pay much more then the store.

Through trying some of those diets I have discovered that some foods aren't as compatible with my body. Some wheat products make the inside of my ears itch. Lots of dairy makes me sleepy. It doesn't mean I don't eat any of those things. Just not as much as I used too.

Everyone is different though. I've done the veggie thing and it doesn't work for me. Some people are perfectly fine.

I figure you find what works and go with it.
posted by Jalliah at 10:40 AM on August 1, 2012


find out how far your food has traveled.

If you're going to bother finding out how far your food has traveled you'd better also research how energy intensive it is to farm whatever local substitute you buy instead. Because transportation is usually a very small fraction of total energy costs--even of foods that are shipped half-way around the world.

Frankly, "food-miles" is an inane concept born, ironically, of a failure to actually think ecologically (i.e., a failure to think in terms of total systemic effects rather than just latching onto a single "cause").
posted by yoink at 10:40 AM on August 1, 2012 [33 favorites]


If anyone has ever worked with someone who is also a nutritionist, perhaps you understand the special level of hell reserved for nosy, busy-body, control freak nutritionists.

I refuse to ever eat in her presence again.

Basically, she will be chomped on by Satan right next to Brutus.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


The wheat thing is a little confusing I'll admit. On one hand you've got conspiracy lovers claiming that it's a form of eugenics and that they're trying to kill off the population by making everyone eat this poison called wheat, and on the other hand you've got almost everyone on earth who eats it and doesn't die or get have any health problems from it. W..T..F?
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


You have burned 476 gallons of gas driving your 17-mpg SUV around to interview farmers I love this.
posted by bitteschoen at 10:42 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


ONLY EAT THAT WHICH YOU HAVE BEFRIENDED
AND THEN KILLED IN ITS SLEEP
ALLOWING ITS FEAR-HAUNTED EYES
TO MEET YOURS
IN THE MOMENT OF ULTIMATE BETRAYAL
AS YOU MARK OFF THE APPROPRIATE WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2012 [220 favorites]


You have burned 476 gallons of gas driving your 17-mpg SUV around to interview farmers I love this.

Portlandia has a sketch for this.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:44 AM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I really enjoy the way I eat. I cook almost every night, grow a bit of food, get about half the rest from the farmer's market, don't eat much meat, avoid the packaged aisles of the store. Preparing food is a hobby and a calming activity for me. I've spent enough time on it that I cook better food for myself than most cooks at the restaurants I can afford can cook for me.

I wish everyone could eat like me. It may or may not be the most obnoxious thing I've ever said, but it's true.

But it's not for everybody. I stay skinny on my diet, but lots of people would get fat on it. Many people are seemingly irrevocably conditioned to like packaged, prepared foods. Many people simply can't afford to eat the way I eat. A whole lot of people don't have the time or the inclination -- or, in a real sense, the money -- to cook a variety of meals at home.

I think a sensible food policy would move our food system toward making the way I eat (roughly, I mean) the cheapest way to eat. I think it'd solve problems.
posted by gurple at 10:44 AM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


You learn that basically, if you ignore civilization and Mark Knopfler music, the last 10,000 years of human development has been one big societal and nutritional cock-up and wheat is entirely to blame.

Indeed, this paragraph has a point. This is why my current diet is limited to sipping whisky while listening to Sultans Of Swing on repeat for a half an hour each day.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:44 AM on August 1, 2012 [30 favorites]


As someone who just went mostly-paleo and is super grumpy about how much better I feel (because jesus gay, I love bread), this is fucking hilarious.

Oh, god, right? We're doing the same thing w/r/t "mostly" (if I read the word "toxins" one more fucking time...) but holy shit not feeling awful all the time is so awesome.
posted by griphus at 10:45 AM on August 1, 2012


You have burned 476 gallons of gas driving your 17-mpg SUV around to interview farmers I love this.

that struck a little close to home, yeah, seeing as we drove 180 miles round-trip to pick up our split side of hippie beef a couple months ago.
posted by KathrynT at 10:47 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've found, after much research, that life causes death. You should avoid life as much as possible.
posted by eriko at 10:47 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
(You're still going to die.)
posted by entropicamericana at 10:48 AM on August 1, 2012 [34 favorites]


(if I read the word "toxins" one more fucking time...)

I always ask people "What are these toxins? I mean, literally, what are the chemical compounds we're talking about?" Nobody ever has any idea.
posted by KathrynT at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2012 [61 favorites]


You have burned 476 gallons of gas driving your 17-mpg SUV around to interview farmers I love this.

I'm pretty lucky. I live in local, grass fed, organic meat lovers mecca. Within a 20 km radius I can get pork, chicken, beef, lamb, elk, bison, deer, goat, emu meat and fresh lake fish. Eggs come from my back yard. I don't drive around to all the places all the time though. Usually just buy it in bulk. This year in the fall I'm getting half a pig and a quarter of beef and sticking in the freezer. Works well that way if one can do it.
posted by Jalliah at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2012


So, after perusing dozens of cultures and the diets of dozens of cultures I can safely say that you will probably die and if you're snork-gobbling down from a variety buffet you'll probably get to around the average life expectancy.

Which is about as good as anyone can hope for anyway, given that it is, you know, the average limit to how much living our bodies can take.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know food allergies are a thing and people have different reactions to food (Bread! Too much and you get sleepy!) but I thought I had a bunch of food issues when it turns out I was pretty depressed and needed medication and like, running for two hours a day.
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's easy: END CAPITALISM
posted by Catchfire at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I always ask people "What are these toxins? I mean, literally, what are the chemical compounds we're talking about?" Nobody ever has any idea.

Dihydrogen Monoxide. Duh doy.
posted by Talez at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


(And it helps that I'm a total kitchen snob and I don't eat food I couldn't make better at home so....yeah)
posted by The Whelk at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2012


This year in the fall I'm getting half a pig and a quarter of beef and sticking in the freezer.

How dare you use electricity to preserve your food.
posted by phunniemee at 10:52 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seriously though, the only good food news I've heard in the past... uh, lifespan? is that not eating breakfast and indeed, not eating all day if I don't want to (or even if I do want to!) is actually not bad but in fact proven to be good for you.

Since my entire life I had been told skipping breakfast (which I never want) was REALLY BAD.

Which in hindsight makes a lot of sense.

I just wish someone had told my young self that if you have to choose between coffee and soda, it isn't an even choice. I love me the cold bubbly black death.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:52 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's even more delicious to read this and then browse through the other thread on fake chicken, with various heated debates on how un/healthy tofy is and what the carbon footprint is and how much processing goes into x or y etc.
posted by bitteschoen at 10:52 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's funny. My sister is a rabid vegetarian (as well as hypoglycemic), she says that even a little meat makes her feel bloated and slightly crazy. On the other hand, I need meat and if I go even a few days without it, I feel like I'm turning into a rabbit and going slightly crazy. I eat tons of red meat, and have no health problems. I wonder if there's something evolutionary going on with us.
posted by sockerpup at 10:53 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: It may or may not be the most obnoxious thing I've ever said, but it's true.
posted by bl1nk at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


My sister is a rabid vegetarian (as well as hypoglycemic), she says that even a little meat makes her feel bloated and slightly crazy.

Well, she might have lost the stuff she needs to adequately digest meat. It happens.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's easy: END CAPITALISM

Well, it had its faults, if there's one thing we had plenty of in the Soviet Union, it was nutritious food.
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


> not when it gives you horrifying gas.

It doesn't horrify me, but it does my colleagues ...
posted by scruss at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Threads like this are like Metafilter's junkfood: most people can't resist them, but no one ends up feeling good about it afterwards.
posted by SomaSoda at 10:55 AM on August 1, 2012 [19 favorites]



As someone who just went mostly-paleo and is super grumpy about how much better I feel (because jesus gay, I love bread), this is fucking hilarious.

Oh, god, right? We're doing the same thing w/r/t "mostly" (if I read the word "toxins" one more fucking time...) but holy shit not feeling awful all the time is so awesome.


I did the paleo thing for several months last year. It was great. I felt awesome. For a number of reasons I left some of it behind. I started eating bread again though not nearly as much as well as a number of other things that aren't in the diet like potatoes. I still feel just as great. I'm glad I did it. It did change my habits and make me learn a lot about how it feels to actually feel good. Since then I'm much more tuned into how what I eat affects me.

Plus I don't have to feel any guilt whatsoever while eating bacon and being concerned about fats.
posted by Jalliah at 10:56 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


(if I read the word "toxins" one more fucking time...)

I always ask people "What are these toxins? I mean, literally, what are the chemical compounds we're talking about?" Nobody ever has any idea.
posted by KathrynT at 10:49 AM on August 1 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES. I had a coworker who was into juice cleanses to remove toxins, but she could never tell me what exactly her kidneys and liver were failing to do that expensive liters of green liquid were going to help them with.
posted by ben242 at 10:57 AM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


Your doctor recommends that new healthy yogurt with the probiotics. She thinks it’s called Activa.

Well, if you eat that you might be able to eat kale again, since there is some evidence that oxalate buildup is determined partially by oxalate-metabolizing gut bacteria.

I did the paleo thing for several months last year. It was great. I felt awesome. For a number of reasons I left some of it behind. I started eating bread again though not nearly as much as well as a number of other things that aren't in the diet like potatoes. I still feel just as great. I'm glad I did it. It did change my habits and make me learn a lot about how it feels to actually feel good. Since then I'm much more tuned into how what I eat affects me.

Yeah me too. I even have a "paleo" blog. I honestly expected to feed awful when I started eating some bread again, but I was really struggling to keep my calorie levels high enough to support any sort of athletic endeavor. And I felt...fine. And started asking myself if maybe my better health was more about all the great stuff I was eating, rather than all the "evil" stuff I wasn't.
posted by melissam at 10:59 AM on August 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Damn you people and your ability to not eat the entire loaf of bread shortly after purchasing it.
posted by griphus at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2012 [21 favorites]


Oh god. I think I dated this person...
posted by schmod at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just wish someone had told my young self that if you have to choose between coffee and soda, it isn't an even choice. I love me the cold bubbly black death.

IF YOUR COFFEE IS COLD AND BUBBLY I THINK MAYBE YOU ARE NOT PREPARING IT CORRECTLY.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:00 AM on August 1, 2012 [67 favorites]


There really isn't anything that we're 'supposed' to eat. That's the heart of the matter. There isn't anything we're 'supposed' to eat because we're ominvores, and that's not how nature functions unless you're a koala or a panda. We don't have a set diet plan that nature has laid out for us because we're opportunists and we're hunters and we're gatherers. Everything we eat is natural to us, for good or for bad, because there is nothing that we can do that is unnatural, because we're animals and we do what we do.

We each have our genes come into play and that can effect how what we eat makes us feel. Some are lactose intolerant. If I choose to eat a high carb meal, like potatoes or bread or cake, I suffer. On the other hand, I feel fantastic when eating red meat, primarily, which most people say not to do, and I have wonderful cholesterol.

So just eat what makes your body feel good. As long as you're not shoveling poison into your mouth you can experiment and do what just feels right.
posted by Malice at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


The problem with "I cut out X and I feel great" and "whenever I eat Y I feel yucky" anecdotes is that they are hopelessly compromised by confirmation bias. Come back to us when you've done a rigorous double-blinded study and we'll pay some attention. Otherwise it's not even suggestive data.

I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well. Human beings aren't wonderfully robust machines. In any given week we're going to have our periods of feeling a bit icky or woozy or weaker than usual. If you implant the notion that "general oogyness" is a sure-fire symptom of "SOME FOOD YOU EAT EVERY DAY-poisoning" then the connection will be there to be made every single time you feel oogy. It's just utterly meaningless.
posted by yoink at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2012 [20 favorites]


Maybe not, but cold carbonated black coffee would still taste better than Coke.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn you people and your ability to not eat the entire loaf of bread shortly after purchasing it.

When I rose early and lived next to an honest to god real bakery that had hot chibatta loafs for two dollars I would go out for my coffee, get the bread and in the half-block process of walking home, manage to consume about half of it. Not even with my hands just gnawing at the loaf while walking.

Granted that was my ONLY food for the day but still. Old habits die hard.
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damn you people and your ability to not eat the entire loaf of bread shortly after purchasing it.

I do this, too, but only after slathering liberal amounts of Kerrygold all over it. The Kerrygold label has greenery and flowers on it, so I'm pretty sure it's basically a vegetable.
posted by phunniemee at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2012 [30 favorites]


Oooh, yes, this is stroking my ego. I am smug in the knowledge that I have spent virtually no time ever researching nutrition advice.

Although to be honest, I probably get my diet advice via osmosis from whatever the current trends are.

In the meantime, I just eat a bit of this, a bit of that, and reminisce over the days of being able to stay slim no matter what I ate.
posted by milkb0at at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Learn. To. Cook.
posted by ZipRibbons at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


IF YOUR COFFEE IS COLD AND BUBBLY I THINK MAYBE YOU ARE NOT PREPARING IT CORRECTLY.

Coca-Cola BlāK
posted by msbrauer at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Coca-Cola BlāK

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:06 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I remember Coca-Cola BlāK. It tasted like an espresso was mad at you.

I don't know if they have it outside of NYC but Manhattan Special coffee soda has been around for ages.
posted by griphus at 11:08 AM on August 1, 2012 [24 favorites]


100 different foods a month.
And avoid probiotic anything. What do you think the factory farms feed their animals to make them grow big and fat, fast? Avoid, avoid.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:09 AM on August 1, 2012


I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well.

Dosage is often what makes the difference between nutrition and poison. I "always" feel lousy (as in running-to-the-nearest-washroom-in-panic lousy) when I eat foods that are excessively greasy and/or buttery. (And very occasionally, enjoying some butter chicken is worth a panicked run to the washroom.) But I eat stuff with butter in it, and food containing grease without incident as long as it isn't too much in a single sitting.

So they could indeed have a reaction to certain foods, but the fact they are eating X is likely more noticeable when they're eating a larger amount of it.
posted by Kurichina at 11:11 AM on August 1, 2012


And avoid probiotic anything. What do you think the factory farms feed their animals to make them grow big and fat, fast? Avoid, avoid.

Hormones. Which are not bacteria.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


What do you think the factory farms feed their animals to make them grow big and fat, fast?

Corn.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


If anyone has ever worked with someone who is also a nutritionist, perhaps you understand the special level of hell reserved for nosy, busy-body, control freak nutritionists.


I had a nutritionist at a nationally known medical center tell me, in the run up to major surgery, to pare down my ~3,500 calorie per day diet (thereby reducing the load on my barely functioning kidneys) by eating popcorn and jelly beans to feel sated.

My doctor and I had a good laugh about that later as I sat in the IV suite eating a chicken sandwich and a perfect tomato salad.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2012


I did a carb fast the other weekend and I have never in my life come so close to serial homicide, which, for anyone who knows the least thing about me and my anger management issues, is significant indeed.

Then I made passionate unrestrained love to ate an entire box of triscuits.
posted by elizardbits at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Food historian Harvey Levenstein recently put a book out about this phenomenon called Fear of Food. I enjoyed it. What a strange cultural development this is.
posted by lilac girl at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]



The problem with "I cut out X and I feel great" and "whenever I eat Y I feel yucky" anecdotes is that they are hopelessly compromised by confirmation bias. Come back to us when you've done a rigorous double-blinded study and we'll pay some attention. Otherwise it's not even suggestive data.

I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well. Human beings aren't wonderfully robust machines. In any given week we're going to have our periods of feeling a bit icky or woozy or weaker than usual. If you implant the notion that "general oogyness" is a sure-fire symptom of "SOME FOOD YOU EAT EVERY DAY-poisoning" then the connection will be there to be made every single time you feel oogy. It's just utterly meaningless.


Why is it a problem with people stating such things? In my case it's not like I'm then saying 'ergo' x must be bad for everyone. I don't need to do a double blind study to know that half an hour after drinking a glass of milk I feel like I've smoked a joint, get wonky and need to sleep. Nobody told me that milk will do this. I figured it out after I moved out and stopped drinking milk because it cost a lot. Then I won't visit the parents for dinner and 'yay milk' guzzle a glass cause I loved it and boom, there I was groggy on their couch. Something that never happened at home. I also don't need a study to know that I can eat small amounts of yogurt, cheese, sour cream and that a bit of milk as a cooking ingredient or in my coffee does not have the same result. It isn't necessarily an all or nothing situation.

That's just what straight milk does to me.
posted by Jalliah at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


started asking myself if maybe my better health was more about all the great stuff I was eating, rather than all the "evil" stuff I wasn't.

YES. I have been nagging myself to get back to the gym again, and finally did -- and after only TWO sessions at the gym I caught a look at myself in the mirror and thought, "wow, I've already lost a couple inches, that was FAST." Then I realized that one month earlier, I'd started brown-bagging it to work rather than getting either Subway or Burger King every day and figured that was probably more so the reason. (Admittedly: I am lucky in that I belong to a really generous CSA and I started brown-bagging it more because HOLY SHIT I NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO STAY ON TOP OF ALL THIS KALE. Fortunately I like vegetables.)

I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well.

Trust me, I know I can't handle broccoli or brussel sprouts well. And you were standing downwind of me an hour after I ate some, you would ALSO know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


When you get older and start developing the chronic illnesses of Western society, that's when you start being limited into a corner, and feel confused and panicky.

Type-II diabetes: limit the carbs. I've tried low-carb diets, but after a few weeks on them I start feeling slightly nauseous and just not hungry anymore. Which is great for losing some weight, but not good for overall health.

High cholesterol: limit the meats. Well, that does put a damper on the low-carb diet. I try to substitute dairy products to get protein, since I love cheese anyhow and am (thankfully) not lactose-intolerant.

GERD: Got diagnosed with this a couple of years ago, was told it could eventually become esophageal cancer. Ignored that, didn't take the insanely expensive meds or follow the diet restrictions. But then I got a second endoscope and a severe warning. So, now this diet prohibits all sorts of things, namely milk and cheese and tomatoes and acidic foods.

It's tough, and professional nutritionists and dieticians haven't been helpful in working out long-term solutions that can incorporate everything in a comprehensive plan.

As an ex-hippie, I've tried to include alfalfa and clover sprouts regularly in my diet (I sprout my own), but ironically this is the thing that gives me the worst heartburn.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I use the totally wacky idea of "listening" to what my body tells me, and if you have gripes about that then maybe try an elimination diet.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:13 AM on August 1, 2012


That's just what straight milk does to me.

at least it doesn't make actual flames come out your butt, okay
posted by elizardbits at 11:14 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do you think the factory farms feed their animals to make them grow big and fat, fast?
Antibiotics, I think. Right?
posted by mean square error at 11:14 AM on August 1, 2012


What do you think the factory farms feed their animals to make them grow big and fat, fast?

Tacos and Guinness.
posted by elizardbits at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2012 [17 favorites]



at least it doesn't make actual flames come out your butt, okay

lol Kidney beans do that to me. Other beans seem to be fine. I eat some type of bean most every day in some form but if it's kidney beans? EVERYONE STEP WAY BACK. It's even an in joke with my husband. Me: "Hi dear, welcome home. I ate kidney beans today." "Oh lord. I'm going out for the evening and sleeping on the couch."

It's a great way to get me some alone time....
posted by Jalliah at 11:20 AM on August 1, 2012


What I am about to write is completely 100% no-lyin' true.

My brother-in-law. He lives on the following items, almost exclusively:

1. Nalley Turkey Chili
2. Kraft Singles
3. Frozen Pizzas/Frozen Burritos*
4. Pace Picante HOT
5. Peanut Butter Twix
6. Powerade

*Interchangeable because what he does is either bake the pizza OR fry the burritos (in margarine, of course) then: ADD chili and then ADD some Kraft singles then ADD Pace Picante (actually put Pace on everything that isn't a dessert. He keeps two jars in the fridge just in case).

Chase it with a peanut butter twix, wash it all down with a powerade. Repeat every 6-8 hours as necessary.

The only variations to this diet are when he has coupons for Wienerschnitzel, then it's basically HOT DOG EXPLOSION TILL DAWN

I'm pretty sure it's only the presence of tomatoes and chiles in the Pace that are keeping him alive.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


it isn't too much in a single sitting.

I swear I read that as "single shitting".

I did a carb fast the other weekend and I have never in my life come so close to serial homicide, which, for anyone who knows the least thing about me and my anger management issues, is significant indeed.

I did South Beach Phase 1 faithfully for the prescribed amount of time, because I was assured that I would lose weight and carb cravings. I felt absolutely no different at the end of the time period, and lost a small amount of weight that I might have lost doing any other diet.
posted by Melismata at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2012


So they could indeed have a reaction to certain foods, but the fact they are eating X is likely more noticeable when they're eating a larger amount of it.

Yes, it always possible to keep saving the hypothesis by more and more special pleading. That, too, is why these "I cut out X and now I feel GREAT" anecdotes are meaningless.

Why is it a problem with people stating such things? In my case it's not like I'm then saying 'ergo' x must be bad for everyone.

Well, it's not much of a problem when you don't add the "ergo X must be bad for everyone"--it's just that very, very many people do add that. But it is also the case that the fact that you "know" you feel crappy whenever you drink milk isn't a very useful piece of data for yourself. After all, you know you firmly believe this now and you know when you've drunk the milk; it's not exactly the gold-standard of scientific scrutiny.
posted by yoink at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I have to say is that the Victorians about sex have absolutely nothing on us about "nutrition."
posted by valkyryn at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2012 [20 favorites]


6. Powerade

Brawndo has what plants crave!
posted by phunniemee at 11:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


I don't eat food I couldn't make better at home so

Yes! It makes me so sad to pay for something that I could (and would be willing to) do better at home. Which is why when I go out it's all french fries and pizza and thousand-ingredient curries.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:24 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The basic problem is that there is while this is important to basically everyone, most people don't known enough about biology (or even math) to make sense of all of the information.

The other problem is trust - there is a huge lack of trust in 'official' government pronunciations on what's healthy and what's not. Also, these days there are questions about how truly 'organic' food labeled as organic is in the US. A lot of corporations that sell regular food now also sell 'organic' at a markup, so they have an interest marking as much stuff 'organic' as they can.

Anyway, I don't worry too much about this stuff. Who cares? I don't think the effects are very strong, and if you spend all your time worrying about what food to eat you're going to stress yourself out and that will cause health problems too.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]




Yes! It makes me so sad to pay for something that I could (and would be willing to) do better at home. Which is why when I go out it's all french fries and pizza and thousand-ingredient curries.


Yes, when deciding what to eat on a menu always go for the thing you could not have possibly made at home.

You end up eating lots of strange gels.
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tacos and Guinness.

*eyes husband suspiciously*
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


The only variations to this diet are when he has coupons for Wienerschnitzel, then it's basically HOT DOG EXPLOSION TILL DAWN

Doleful Creature, I thank you for -- with this single line -- introducing me to a fast food restaurant I had never heard of, and also for reminding me of a late-80's Yo La Tengo live recording that doesn't appear to exist, but should.
posted by mean square error at 11:29 AM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, it's not much of a problem when you don't add the "ergo X must be bad for everyone"--it's just that very, very many people do add that. But it is also the case that the fact that you "know" you feel crappy whenever you drink milk isn't a very useful piece of data for yourself. After all, you know you firmly believe this now and you know when you've drunk the milk; it's not exactly the gold-standard of scientific scrutiny.

So do you only eat based on science? I dunno I don't spend time scientifically scruitinizing everything I stick in my month. That seems like a pain. Fair enough I don't have some sort of peer reviewed research paper to prove that 'milk makes me groggy'. Why would I need it? I have enough 'anecdotal' evidencial experience in drinking the stuff that shows a correlation, Even if its a mind over matter thing the so what? Drinking a glass of straight milk makes me groggy. There is no science that says I must drink milk ergo, I don't drink milk. (Well except for the occasional milkshake but the yummy factor makes it worth it.)
posted by Jalliah at 11:31 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it is also the case that the fact that you "know" you feel crappy whenever you drink milk isn't a very useful piece of data for yourself.

If you are arguing against the existence of lactose intolerance I would be absolutely delighted to come to one of your local meetups one day with a gallon of milk. FOR SCIENCE.
posted by elizardbits at 11:31 AM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


You end up eating lots of strange gels.

Indication number 53864 that I read and watch more British culture than is probably good for me: I read "gels" with a hard g, the way extra snooty posh Britons say "girls".
posted by ocherdraco at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


then begins the shouting match between the bathroom stalls
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are arguing against the existence of lactose intolerance I would be absolutely delighted to come to one of your local meetups one day with a gallon of milk. FOR SCIENCE.


And I'll bring a bowl of kidney beans!
posted by Jalliah at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2012


Speaking of bubbly coffee, Beachwood Brewing Co makes this delicious (but stupidly named) beer with armenian coffee in it called System of a Stout.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


My sister is a rabid vegetarian (as well as hypoglycemic), she says that even a little meat makes her feel bloated and slightly crazy.

Actually, that's probably the rabies.
posted by The Bellman at 11:37 AM on August 1, 2012 [74 favorites]


I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well.

Actually, I have a medical condition that worsens with the consumption of carbohydrates, but thanks for implying it's all in my head! :D
posted by Malice at 11:38 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


> If you are arguing against the existence of lactose intolerance I would be absolutely delighted to come to one of your local meetups one day with a gallon of milk. FOR SCIENCE.

And I'll bring a bowl of kidney beans!


I was about to type "and I'll bring the brocolli," but it hit me that you know, brocolli, a chili made with kidney beans and a glass of milk is actually not a bad dinner for most people.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:39 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing I am confident in re nutrition is that lots of carbohydrates (especially simple sugars) in a diet is almost invariable bad for you. Every person I know who is overweight or unhealthy or both drinks lots of soda or eats pasta regularly or has huge subway sandwiches or fries on a regular basis. That shit is horrible for you.
posted by gagglezoomer at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2012


Did someone order a crate of jalapenos?

It was not me.

I cannot eat them.
posted by griphus at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2012


Manhattan Special coffee soda has been around for ages.

I did a really bad thing a few weeks ago. In the summer we drink cold-brewed iced coffee, so there's always a pitcher of concentrate in the fridge. We also have a SodaStream, so there's always seltzer. I was thinking, shit, I'd like a coffee soda right about now, but I have no simple syrup to sweeten it. Aha, how about maple syrup?

Grade B maple syrup does not go well in cold coffee soda.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:44 AM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Did someone order a crate of jalapenos?


I DID. GIVE ME ALL OF THE JALAPENOS.
posted by Malice at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Eating too much makes me feel full. Not enough and I feel hungry. Tasty foods bring me a fleeting sensory pleasure. Certain foods make me farty. And every few years I eat something that makes me feel really sick.

Forty-plus years of eating all kinds of foods, both 'healthy' and 'unhealthy', and I've never observed any correlation between what I eat and how I feel, beyond those few things.

I sort of wish I was one of those people who claim to feel wonderful when they eat kale or broccoli, but I'm not. I just eat whatever I enjoy, and hope for the best, health-wise. I can't imagine the slim health benefits of adopting a strict diet outweighing the joy of 'nice food', but I'm willing to accept that it works for some people.
posted by pipeski at 11:50 AM on August 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


The problem with listening to my body is that my body yells at me to hit the Chinese buffet. Then later it yells at me to double over in pain on the bathroom floor. Seeing a surgeon this afternoon about my gall bladder, um, coincidentally.

More seriously, all this is quite interesting and echoes some of my recent flailings about, having been a vegetarian for a decade, during the last several years of which my body began to insist that it needed MOAR IRON in the form of delicious dead animals rather than in supplement or injection form. Me: So I'll eat meat once in a while. A couple of years later, I'm considering and thinking Primal, which I gather is a somewhat more relaxed and less loincloth-y form of Paleo, aka a cleverly disguised name for a low-carb diet in which you get to eat heaps of healthy vegetables and meat. Which I already do, right beside my heaps of carbs.

sigh.
posted by Occula at 11:50 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, EmpressCallipygos, I will trade you some kale for the ELEVENTY BILLION CUCUMBERS and ZUCCHINI I have in my fridge from our CSA. Seriously.

(And you would think eating zucchini every day for the last four weeks would have learned me how to spell the damn thing.)

This is our first year with a CSA and it is having, uh, unintended consequences. Sunday, my husband wanted to order not one but TWO LARGE PIZZAs because our fridge was full of veggies. What? Then yesterday, ON HIS WAY HOME from picking up our CSA share, he stopped at a fast food place for a burger and fries. I think the fridge full of vegetables is just intimidating.

But none of this answers why I get more ear wax after a night of drinking beer. And do not google "beer ear wax" because it might turn you off of beer entirely.
posted by jillithd at 11:53 AM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if I listened to my body I would be a 1,200lb behemoth wallowing blissfully in a pool of macaroni cheese.
posted by elizardbits at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [36 favorites]


my body is stupid and should shut up.
posted by elizardbits at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2012 [19 favorites]


Did someone order a crate of jalapenos?

Plate.
posted by tilde at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2012


Well, in the end we're all going to die and it's almost entirely out of our control when and how it will happen.

Certainly, we should strive to eat healthy, but I've really never understood why some people (not referring to anyone specific here) feel the need to become obsessive, self-righteous food activists and try to take every opportunity to acrimoniously bicker over the "right" way to eat and which foods are out to kill you so you shouldn't touch them with a 50 ft pole. What will such strict, unyielding contortions gain for them? Add a few months, a year to their lifespans? To do what? To spend another year on this earth worrying about what toxins lie lurking in their tomatoes, or drive themselves mad about that one time they ate a half pint of Ben and Jerry's?

It's like watching medieval alchemists trying to turn metal into gold.
posted by adso at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


KathrynT: As someone who just went mostly-paleo and is super grumpy about how much better I feel (because jesus gay, I love bread), this is fucking hilarious.

Heh, me too. Paleo is my last ditch effort to get my cholesterol under control w/o meds. I LOVE sweet things and bread and pasta and rice and fried starchy things so I'm not sure confirmation bias is an issue here b/c I hate not being able to eat any of it anymore and I complain about it all the time and went into the experiment not believing that it'd do anything significant to me.

But I have to grudgingly admit that I feel roughly a million times better. No food comas, I appear to need less sleep and just feel lighter overall. I allow myself one day off every other week where I'll have dessert or other forbidden things and as much as I enjoy that guilty pleasure... boy do I feel shitty afterwards. The sugar high is very conscious... I can feel the buzz rushing through my body like cocaine. And it makes me feel vaguely ill for hours.

Whether or not it'll have any impact on my cholesterol I don't know yet... I'll do this for 3-4 months and then get a checkup. But one thing I do know: while I think I actually eat more than before and haven't added any exercise since I changed my diet I have lost 20lbs over the course of 3 1/2 weeks. I use a weight tracking app and record my weight daily in my, uh, empty state in the morning after some "emptying". The resulting curve is basically a straight line headed downwards. There's a bit of high frequency wiggliness but the moving averages are basically linear.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I will trade you some kale for the ELEVENTY BILLION CUCUMBERS and ZUCCHINI I have in my fridge from our CSA. Seriously.

*snerk* I actually signed up for the "canning share" at my own CSA, and received 20 pounds of cucumbers myself this past weekend. I can, though, pass on four pickle recipes and a recipe for relish.

The CSA is actually how I got into canning, because I just had so much food and didn't want to waste too much of it, so I started looking into how to preserve it in some fashion for later. Three years later I've turned into one of those people who periodically looks over the fruit they've got sitting in the bowl on the kitchen counter and says, "hmm, these couple peaches, this plum, and those berries in the fridge are all going a little soft, let me just make a jar of jam out of them all," and there I am.

Plus was really kind of a rush to walk into my living room now and then where the pickles were cooling on the window by the air conditioner and look at them all lined up in their jars and think, "wow, look. Actual pickles, bread-and-butter pickles like Vlasic sells, only I made them all myself. Heh." (And if that's not cool enough, I also have an actual pickle crock now.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You round out your meal with a little piece of rabbit that you raised up and butchered out in the backyard. It’s dusted with all-natural pink Hawaiian high-mineral sea salt that you cashed-in your kid’s college fund to buy and topped with homemade lacto-fermented herb mayonnaise made with coconut oil and lemons from a tropical produce CSA share that helps disadvantaged youth earn money by gleaning urban citrus. The lemons were a bit over-ripe when they arrived to you, but since they were transported by mountain bike from LA to Seattle in order to keep them carbon neutral you can hardly complain.

HA! Too true. Oh I love this essay. I just sent it to a bunch of my vegan friends. All but two of which (the cool ones) will no doubt send me back an outraged yet smug note about it.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]




This article is hilarious but I do know someone who is anxiety prone and this is the sort of train of thought that she has. I have to do one thing...but wait...there is another better way of doing it. But if I do that, I have to do yet another thing. And so on and so forth. At the end, nothing gets done.

I find that if you want to make an improvement in your life, do so incrementally.

"Today is victory over yourself of yesterday" - Miyamoto Mushashi


Well, in the end we're all going to die and it's almost entirely out of our control when and how it will happen.

Diseases of civilization is a real thing and it's been documented since the 19th century. Sure - we'll die anyway but for a lot of us a few lifestyle changes could mean the difference between relatively healthy aging or diabetes type II before you hit middle age.
posted by 7life at 12:09 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


We don't have a set diet plan that nature has laid out for us because we're opportunists and we're hunters and we're gatherers. Everything we eat is natural to us, for good or for bad, because there is nothing that we can do that is unnatural, because we're animals and we do what we do.

Also also, evolution works on the good enough principle. As long as the stuff you eat keeps you alive long enough so you can fuck and get children, it has done its work. There are no magical natural diets that keep you young and healthy.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:10 PM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Excuse me, botox and vampire blood.
posted by elizardbits at 12:11 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


yoink: " I know a lot of people who claim that "every time they eat X" they feel lousy. But I've also seen them eat foods containing X without being aware of it, and continue to feel perfectly well. Human beings aren't wonderfully robust machines. In any given week we're going to have our periods of feeling a bit icky or woozy or weaker than usual. If you implant the notion that "general oogyness" is a sure-fire symptom of "SOME FOOD YOU EAT EVERY DAY-poisoning" then the connection will be there to be made every single time you feel oogy. It's just utterly meaningless."

I'm allergic to sunflower oil. Was tested and everything. It gives me fierce migraines. But I've unknowingly eaten it in small amounts (a few of potato chips) and had no reaction. I've also unknowingly eaten stuff containing it and been curled up in a ball of agony for hours. It's completely unpredictable.

I'm just saying, please don't assume feeling ooky is all in people's heads. I have a little printout on file from my allergist that says I'm allergic to the stuff. But I've managed to dodge the bullet a few times, too.
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Diseases of civilization is a real thing and it's been documented since the 19th century. Sure - we'll die anyway but for a lot of us a few lifestyle changes could mean the difference between relatively healthy aging or diabetes type II before you hit middle age.
posted by 7life at 12:09 PM on August 1 [+] [!]

Make that before you hit middle school, for the generation growing up right now.
posted by tulip-socks at 12:15 PM on August 1, 2012


I'm just saying, please don't assume feeling ooky is all in people's heads.

I think people are making a fairly clear distinction between things that make you feel bad because you're having an allergic reaction (or an intolerance or whatever) and the idea that certain foods make you feel good or bad by way of their nutritional content having subtle effects on mood. The former is science; the latter is more anecdotal.
posted by pipeski at 12:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really am trying to eat healthier but I loved this. You have to have a sense of humour, and I find fanatics about any subject including food tiresome. Eat anything you want, avoid anything you want, but don't lecture me about it.
posted by mermayd at 12:21 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Diseases of civilization is a real thing and it's been documented since the 19th century. Sure - we'll die anyway but for a lot of us a few lifestyle changes could mean the difference between relatively healthy aging or diabetes type II before you hit middle age.

Well, yes...I never said that people shouldn't strive to find whatever diet is healthy for them, and will reduce the risk of disease. What I don't understand are what seems to me an increasing number of people who develop an obsessive, militaristic adherence to whatever convoluted set of dieting rules will let them live to 100 years (at least until their next nutritional epiphany leads them on another path).

I just feel like that kind of religious fervor and effort could better go toward, like, doing volunteer work or writing a novel or something.
posted by adso at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my case there was nothing subjective about listening to my body. I measured what it was saying with a glucose meter, which told me my blood sugar was spiking sharply after I ate certain foods, pretty much all carbohydrates except long-chain starches like pasta and potatoes actually hit me worse than a dessert. Go figure.

So, also not subjective, is the fact that the attacks of gout stopped, the hemorrhoids went away, and I lost 40 lbs. Now I also subjectively felt a lot better but I can chalk that up to holy shit it's been six months since a gout attack. Lately it's been almost two years.

Now, I have an obvious problem which I am eating to solve. Other people might not have the problem or might have a different problem, but odds are if paleo makes you feel a lot better you might have a more objectively notable problem than you realize.

The first few weeks were pretty hard, what with cravings, but there's nothing like "220" on that little meter to let you know something is off the list. And after about three weeks, as if someone turned off a switch, the cravings went away. Now that my levels have stabilized I will occasionally treat myself to a small dessert (only after eating a full meal, and if I feel hungry enough; on low carb you tend to reach a point where your body tells you you are FULL and you will actually feel sick if you keep eating).

I don't apply any other guides to how much or what to eat except avoiding the sugar-spikers; I eat as much as I want of whatever I want, and my weight has stayed down and my numbers stable. I've been doing this for six years now and I'm fairly comfortable with the idea of doing it for the rest of my life.
posted by localroger at 12:32 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


There really isn't anything that we're 'supposed' to eat. That's the heart of the matter. There isn't anything we're 'supposed' to eat because we're ominvores, and that's not how nature functions unless you're a koala or a panda. We don't have a set diet plan that nature has laid out for us because we're opportunists and we're hunters and we're gatherers. Everything we eat is natural to us, for good or for bad, because there is nothing that we can do that is unnatural, because we're animals and we do what we do.

This is exactly right. Humans evolved under widely varying conditions and eating widely varying diets. While all "healthy" diets share some basic similarities (essential nutrients, energy balance), there is no single "correct" diet for health, nor is there a "best" diet for weight loss, generally speaking.

Part of the problem is that people frequently becomes religious about their diet. You see it especially when people who "have tried everything" to lose weight and failed, then finally succeed. They attribute their success to the particulars of the diet they followed, rather than whatever circumstances or individual quirks resulted in them actually sticking to the diet, and often buy into some totally frivolous theories about the body which lead them to think that their diet is the only possible valid approach. These days it tends to be something about how carbs are poison and will make you fat and sick, although there are people saying the same thing about meat, or about fat, or anything you can name.

The fact is there are plenty of fit, healthy people eating high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, animal products, no animal products, etc. What is most preferable, convenient, and adherable for any given person depends on their own circumstances.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just gonna say that Jalapenos make me happy every time I eat them and sad a few hours later. This is a real experiment I perform regularly so whoever order the peppers me too please.

I too hate people that say this over that is better and I truly try not to worry about food but one thing I am curious about is how people always say Pasta is bad for you? I make my own fresh pasta all the time. It is half egg... I mean we use eggs from the chickies out in the yard and I also use my own flour BUT is it really that bad for you? Or is it just when you eat 1/2 kg of noodles because yeah that makes me ill too? Maybe it is because we make less than you do with store bought? BUT the store bought stuff tends to have the same ingredients? Please help me rationalize pasta consumption we get a lot of eggs and I love making my own pasta and tomatoe sauce... I don't want to hate myself.
posted by mrgroweler at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the best thread ever.
posted by phearlez at 12:43 PM on August 1, 2012


And who pre-cut this broccoli like that? I bet it was some poor Mexican person not making a living wage and being treated as a cog in an industrial broccoli cutting warehouse. So I’m basically supporting slavery if I eat this pre-cut broccoli.

Says the person who forgot to read Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof in praise of sweatshops.
posted by John Cohen at 12:45 PM on August 1, 2012


*shaking* these PILLS, they are my FRIENDS.

Those are Percocets.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:45 PM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


> This is the best thread ever.

Sorry, no. This is.
posted by davelog at 12:45 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think people are making a fairly clear distinction between things that make you feel bad because you're having an allergic reaction (or an intolerance or whatever) and the idea that certain foods make you feel good or bad by way of their nutritional content having subtle effects on mood. The former is science; the latter is more anecdotal.

There is science backing up what happens with things like sugar/carb conversion as related to blood sugar levels as well as the production of such things as serotonin. Serotonin is most definitely related to both mood and physical energy. This is why some people who suffer from depression crave things like carbs which tend to be what culturally we call 'comfort' foods. You can get a brief 'hit' of from the what you eat though with most carbs it doesn't last.

Science has also discovered the culprit behind the whole women and loving chocolate thing. It actually increases the level of hormone and endorphins that is also created during sex as well as things like serotonin.

Food such as lettuce and various species related to what we know as lettuce contain mild a opiate. The Chinese migrant workers used to extract it from a more wild form they found in NA and use it a opium substitute. One of the results of this compound is a decrease in sexual desire. Possibly one of the origins of the old wives tale that if you want to keep your husband home feed him lots and lots of lettuce.

Then of course the effects of caffeine which has an effect on physical and mental energy. Coffee is a food. It's a bean.


There's lots more examples where science has documented correlations between food, feeling and mood.
posted by Jalliah at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man I have had to develop some kind of superhuman hateur about potatoes cause even if I'm making them at home I'll just eat potatoes in all their beautiful, wonderful, nutritionally void forms.
posted by The Whelk at 12:48 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I se you're eating ...dirt apples." *goes back to munching on rabbit hearts, dying inside*
posted by The Whelk at 12:49 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I eat largely vegetarian these days, because I like it. However, I really subsist on a tonic made from the Blood of the Innocent, which keeps me in the peak of health. It's been working fine since 1394, so that seems pretty good, if you can deal with the Wrath of God and occasional attacks by Witch Hunters. I never research "Blood of the Innocent" on the Web, though, because I am afraid it will turn out to be bad for me, especially since most Innocents were not organically raised.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:50 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Part of the problem is that people frequently becomes religious about their diet.

You probably meant that metaphorically, but I think it's literally true. People become actually religious about their diet. I.e., they engage in what are essentially spiritual/moral/ethical rituals and obey what are essentially spiritual/moral/ethical laws with respect to what they eat. Seriously, read Leviticus 11 and tell me how it's materially different from whatever fad diet is going on right now. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, whatever. It's all functionally indistinguishable from ancient purity laws.

Compare:

"Don't eat that!"
"Umm... why?"
"Because: TOXINS!"

...or whatever, with...

"Don't eat that!"
"Umm... why?"
"Because: UNCLEAN!"

No difference at all.
posted by valkyryn at 12:50 PM on August 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Science has also discovered the culprit behind the whole women and loving chocolate thing.

I don't know, I think the fact that chocolate is delicious probably has something to do with it as well.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:50 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just eat sugar.
posted by facetious at 12:52 PM on August 1, 2012


if you do not add whipped lard you are missing out
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I too hate people that say this over that is better and I truly try not to worry about food but one thing I am curious about is how people always say Pasta is bad for you? I make my own fresh pasta all the time. It is half egg... I mean we use eggs from the chickies out in the yard and I also use my own flour BUT is it really that bad for you? Or is it just when you eat 1/2 kg of noodles because yeah that makes me ill too? Maybe it is because we make less than you do with store bought? BUT the store bought stuff tends to have the same ingredients? Please help me rationalize pasta consumption we get a lot of eggs and I love making my own pasta and tomatoe sauce... I don't want to hate myself.

I don't think that it that it is necessarily bad unless a person believe the whole 'wheat is poison' thing. It does readily covert simple sugar though so for a lot of people if you eat tons of it and are sedentary then it can be part of a weight issue. To me it's the whole moderation thing. I eat pasta. Love it. I used to eat way more and probably triple of what a good serving size would be. Heavy on the pasta and light on the sauce. Now it's heavy on the sauce and lighter on the pasta. That's one of the things I changed the resulted in a bunch of weight falling off.
posted by Jalliah at 12:55 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But none of this answers why I get more ear wax after a night of drinking beer. And do not google "beer ear wax" because it might turn you off of beer entirely.
posted by jillithd


I'll take a shot at that, jillithd.

I think the burping that accompanies a night of beer drinking is causing your ears to pop from the inside, making your eardrums flex, which then causes your ears to secrete more wax (actually, if you happen to have open eustachion tubes, your eardrums could flex from burping without popping, but you should still experience a rumbling noise).

I am convinced one of the functions of ear wax is to limit potentially damaging large excursions of the eardrum, based on an experience I and a girlfriend had after exposure to a lot of subsonics.
posted by jamjam at 12:57 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm always amused by claims that potatoes are not paleo. Have these people never examined the archaeology of South America? Or the diets of more recent hunter-gatherer peoples?

"Tubers are paleo, my friend."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:58 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know, I think the fact that chocolate is delicious probably has something to do with it as well.

Well it is of course.

I remember reading about in article that related to the science of what it does to surveys of women where sometimes a majority of women would choose 'chocolate over sex'. It was discovered that chocolate produced a similar chemical response in women as orgasm.

I thought the whole thing was pretty funny.
posted by Jalliah at 12:58 PM on August 1, 2012


valkyryn, yes, that's exactly what I mean. And the funny thing is, while I assume your first example (TOXINS!) is supposed to represent present-day diet zealots and the second (UNCLEAN!) is supposed to represent biblical rulemakers, either one of them could be contemporary examples. Talk about "clean" vs. "unclean" foods is incredibly common, and equally meaningless.

Alan Aragon's article The Dirt On Clean Eating (posted here previously but apparently appreciated by few) is a good examination of the phenomenon. He also discusses the pitfalls of rigid dieting and orthorexia.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:58 PM on August 1, 2012


I have no problem dining with/listening to foodies who can't/won't eat/tolerate any number of ingestibles - no matter how strange the choices may seem to me. I would expect, however, a reciprocal tolerance for my choice to do whatever I want with my body.

The road to Well is NOT paved with evangelistic 'food advice' intentions.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:58 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have these people never examined the archaeology of South America? Or the diets of more recent hunter-gatherer peoples?

Anecdotal experience with paleo recipe blogs indicates that whatever concept of human history these people think they are subscribing to, it did not happen on this Earth.
posted by griphus at 1:00 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Tubers are paleo, my friend."

Occasional tubers might be paleo in certain ecosystems, but a constant steady diet consisting mostly of them most certainly isn't.

The paleodiet is not meant to be just pre-history, but pre-agriculture. Starchy foods tend to be seasonal and sought out very competitively by other animals in a natural setting. They rot easily and attract vermin. Arranging a steady supply requires cultivation and storage.
posted by localroger at 1:05 PM on August 1, 2012


"Arranging a steady supply requires cultivation and storage."

Which humans evolved to do, quite a long time ago.
posted by Malice at 1:17 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've started eating a high protein, low carb diet, for a few reasons. One, I was sick and sedentary for much of the winter (and also took a few courses of prednisone) and gained about 10 pounds. Two, both of my parents have now been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and there is additional family history. Three, although I always felt that I had a healthy diet -- primarily vegetarian and home-cooked, lots of whole grains, no sodas, hardly any fast food or what I consider 'junk' food -- when I started to look at what I actually WAS eating, it was all carbs. Knowing that I have a higher risk of diabetes, seeing what/how my parents eat, and looking at how I eat -- all those things lined up to make me change what I eat.

It's been really difficult. The elimination of carbs hasn't been the hard part (I miss potatoes and pasta, but I'm not having withdrawal or anything, and I'm definitely not starving). The hardest part has been eating enough protein, enough meat, to keep myself fed. I was a vegetarian for 13 years. I faithfully and somewhat naturally followed the food pyramid that had grains at its base. Turning that upside down has been difficult simply because it's been difficult to figure out what to eat.

However, I've lost most of the 10 pounds I gained over the winter. I don't have the 3:00 p.m. blood sugar crash that I've had every day for as long as I can remember. I haven't had ANY issues with hypoglycemia at all.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and am going to get my cholesterol checked and blood sugar checked. It'll be interesting to me to see if this new way of eating has had any effect.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:19 PM on August 1, 2012


I find people who claim to be "paleo" but don't actually hunt to be hypocrites. Show me your blood-soaked Carhartts if you don't want me to laugh.
posted by spitbull at 1:20 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "cheese is your friend

Unless you're lactose intolerant, then you have few friends.
"

Most of the hard cheeses (Cheddar - sharper the better, Parmesan, etc) are basically lactose free.
posted by jgaiser at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading about in article that related to the science of what it does to surveys of women where sometimes a majority of women would choose 'chocolate over sex'. It was discovered that chocolate produced a similar chemical response in women as orgasm.

Wait...what? Wow...I've honestly never heard of this women/chocolate connection before. As a woman, chocolate tastes...okay to me. My boyfriend likes to buy fancy, gourmet chocolates of all kinds, but I'm rarely tempted to eat any. The idea of choosing 'chocolate over sex' sounds as bizarre to me as if someone told me they prefer cauliflower over sex....Damn, guess there's another source of orgasmic pleasure I'm missing.
posted by adso at 1:22 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of the hard cheeses (Cheddar - sharper the better, Parmesan, etc) are basically lactose free.

People say this over and over and over and over and my butt just doesn't hear them. I suspect no one who says this is lactose intolerant.
posted by elizardbits at 1:25 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


valkyryn: ""Don't eat that!"
"Umm... why?"
"Because: UNCLEAN!"

No difference at all.
"

Speaking as a Jew who keeps a kosher home, I can tell you that there is a difference. At least in modern Judaism. Whether the original laws arose from cultural taboos or hygenic concerns, modern Judaism lists a variety of reasons why Jews should keep kosher, and many of them are philosophical, not just hygienic.
posted by zarq at 1:32 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Philosophically lobsters are scary as hell. THEY SCUTTLE OMINOUSLY.
posted by elizardbits at 1:34 PM on August 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Which humans evolved started to do, quite a long time only 10,000 years ago.

Actually, there is a clear trend that the longer your ancestors have been farming, the less difficulty you are likely to have with a modern diet; the surest recipe for a nutritional catastrophe is to introduce modern foods to a population of natives who were still hunting and gathering.

Humans are evolving toward adapting to the new diet, but it's a very incomplete and sketchy thing at this stage whether an individual can tolerate mostly carbs for life without losing all their teeth and gaining 300 lbs.
posted by localroger at 1:34 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am sort of being forced into paleo by being married to a guy who's allergic to wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs. He's all meat and veg all the time, with only some brands of corn tortilla chips and specially made allergen free desserts now and then. And he's skinnier now than when he was in high school, at least 50lbs skinnier than when I met him.

Given all the Fatty Fat genes I inherited from both sides, and the problem of cooking separate meals, I have reluctantly ventured into the world of non-wheat eating. Which means confronting my fear of vegetables if I don't want to eat all meat all the time.

Which has confirmed for me once again how Intelligent Design is a farce. My body feels awesome when I eat veggies and low carbs. My tongue hates me and constantly craves sugar and bread and pasta. My tongue thinks vegetables, whether organic or fresh or sauteed or whatever, taste like watery dirt-paste. My tongue would rather just drink the sauce rather than eat vegetables dipped in them.

My tongue is a suicidal idiot and it wants to take me with it.
posted by emjaybee at 1:35 PM on August 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


I always ask people "What are these toxins? I mean, literally, what are the chemical compounds we're talking about?" Nobody ever has any idea.

"Toxins" are a phantasmal scare-word to indicate a completely pseudo-scientifical approach to holistic health. The real thing to worry about are the Thetans - one misplaced volcano-ghost can back your shit all up.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:40 PM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Humans are evolving toward adapting to the new diet, but it's a very incomplete and sketchy thing at this stage whether an individual can tolerate mostly carbs for life without losing all their teeth and gaining 300 lbs.

There are multiple hunter gatherer tribes that eat carbohydrate-heavy diets. Both the Hadza of Tanzania and the Kuna of Panama eat diets high in sugar, yet they're very lean. Neither carbs in general nor sugar specifically are sufficient conditions for ill health.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:43 PM on August 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


When you look at the archaeological record of a number of early agrarian cultures, including associated human remains, we see that one of the major impacts on health was loss of dietary variety and an emphasis on single staple foodstuffs within the diet. The resulting impact on health can be observed in skeletal and dental remains, but it has less to do with anything inherent in the foods themselves, and more to do with the amounts and ways in which they were eaten- these were primarily economic phenomena with biological outcomes.

Starches aren't necessarily bad for you (unless you have sensitivities to particular starches). Having only one type of starch comprise the majority of your diet, and often not enough of that, is bad for you.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's true, but if you live in the greater Manhattan area a quick visit to the office of Drs. Spengler, Stantz and Venkman will clear that right up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whether the original laws arose from cultural taboos or hygenic concerns, modern Judaism lists a variety of reasons why Jews should keep kosher, and many of them are philosophical, not just hygienic.

Exactly. It's a philosophical difference. "Cleanliness" here, and in Leviticus, doesn't have anything to do with hygiene. Neither do "toxins," despite what their proponents say. They're an aesthetic/philosophical/spiritual/ethical bugaboo.
posted by valkyryn at 1:52 PM on August 1, 2012


We interrupt this thread to present a thematically-correct Dance Party Moment.
posted by bakerina at 1:55 PM on August 1, 2012


"I remember Coca-Cola BlāK. It tasted like an espresso was mad at you."

I love you, griphus.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:07 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anecdotal experience with paleo recipe blogs indicates that whatever concept of human history these people think they are subscribing to, it did not happen on this Earth.

Fortunately paleo isn't caveman LARPing so this is fine.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


valkyryn: " Exactly. It's a philosophical difference. "Cleanliness" here, and in Leviticus, doesn't have anything to do with hygiene.

No, it most certainly does. As I stated above. Hygiene is only one aspect of kashrut. But it's most definitely a part of it.

Kashrut is rooted in Jewish concepts of ritual "cleanliness." However, the definition of "cleanliness" is multifold. "Cleanliness" incorporates multiple concepts. Therefore, kosher laws focus on:
* Hygienic concerns, such as injunctions against eating particular types of animals that may ingest filth or carry diseases that could negatively affect one's body.
* They are partially centered in clear, multiply-stated-in-the-Torah injunctions against cruelty to animals by people. One is only allowed to slaughter animals which one can kill humanely and without cruelty (as defined in the Talmud.) One cannot eat milk and dairy together (or cook it together) because in no less than three places in the Torah (Ex. 23:19, Ex. 34:26, and Deut. 14:21) Jews are told, “you shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” Doing so would be considered cruel.
* Spiritual / Philosophical concerns: Injunctions against eating carnivorous animals which slaughter other animals in a cruel manner. Eating foods which will help bring a person closer to G-d, etc.

Your assertion does not really make sense, from a religious Jewish perspective. Whether keeping kosher is a superstition or not, it is most certainly based in part on hygienic principles. However, that is not the sole justification for the practice.
posted by zarq at 2:21 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Drink booze. Not too much. Mostly scotch.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:29 PM on August 1, 2012 [14 favorites]


milk and dairy together

Errrr.... meat and dairy together. :D
posted by zarq at 2:31 PM on August 1, 2012


Avoiding foods that give you headaches, breakout, explosive diarrhea, and so on - is listening to your body. Downing a couple of bowls Lucky Charms because you were slightly hungry and had a craving for something sweet is simply caving to learned responses. There is a difference, and no I don't mean low blood sugar because ameliorating that would also be listening properly.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2012


Now I'm hungry for Lucky Charms.
posted by jillithd at 2:38 PM on August 1, 2012


The paleodiet is not meant to be just pre-history, but pre-agriculture. Starchy foods tend to be seasonal and sought out very competitively by other animals in a natural setting. They rot easily and attract vermin. Arranging a steady supply requires cultivation and storage.

No, it doesn't. Hadza women spend much of their day digging them up, though not if they have access to honey, because Hadza like honey more than anything in the entire world. Tubers are a staple food source for all tropical hunter-gatherers and starch grain analysis shows they have been an important part of hominid diets for a long time. Reminds me to mention anthropologist Jeff Leach's new little more plant-minded paleo book that's a fundraiser for his human microbiome project.

Anecdotal experience with paleo recipe blogs indicates that whatever concept of human history these people think they are subscribing to, it did not happen on this Earth.

You obviously missed my baobab wild yam termite honey crisp recipe.
posted by melissam at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Old family anecdote about an old patient at Hartford hospital who when told that given his state of health that he would have to change his diet severely or he might not have long to live. His reply was one of anguish:

"If I can't eat mama's food, I don't want to live!"
posted by BWA at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2012


Now I'm hungry for Lucky Charms.

Is somebody stopping you?
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 2:52 PM on August 1, 2012


Now I'm hungry for Lucky Charms.
I bought a box of that stuff a few years after finishing college. It took one spoonful to conclude: NEVER AGAIN.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2012


Now I'm hungry for Lucky Charms.

Real connoisseurs make everything Lucky Charms.
posted by phunniemee at 2:54 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, it doesn't. Hadza women spend much of their day digging them up

I hope you are not under the delusion that the ability to live this way prevails over more than a small fraction of the Earths' habitats. Because of their local micro-climate these tribes have had even more generations to get used to their diet than Westerners have to ours. And the point made above by TheWhiteSkull about variety is another factor, although that doesn't seem to bother the Inuit -- who never saw any carbs at all until Westerners imported them, and their collective health collapsed.

Westerners have had about 700 generations to adapt to a diet radically different from what our prevous ancestors were likely to be eating. There are multiple archaeological cues that agriculture was associated with reduced life span, reduced height, poor teeth, and other easily recognized problems. 700 generations is not enough for evolutionary pressures to drive firm changes. We have been very aggressively and selectively breeding dogs for more like 5,000 generations, and despite the wide variety of sizes, colorations, and personalities, they are all still very similar at the genetic and biochemical levels.
posted by localroger at 3:14 PM on August 1, 2012


It seems that if homo sapiens are going to evolve, it would be toward a much more sustainable physical structure ... maybe bodies with plant-like chlorophyll cells that can photosynthesize sunlight. Sustenance ('food') would be direct - not hunted nor gathered (not bought nor bartered). It would be easy being green.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:31 PM on August 1, 2012


I hope you are not under the delusion that the ability to live this way prevails over more than a small fraction of the Earths' habitats. Because of their local micro-climate these tribes have had even more generations to get used to their diet than Westerners have to ours. And the point made above by TheWhiteSkull about variety is another factor, although that doesn't seem to bother the Inuit -- who never saw any carbs at all until Westerners imported them, and their collective health collapsed.

Find me a hunter-gatherer tribe that does not live in the high arctic and does not regularly utilize underground storage organs. The idea that humans are not adapted to consuming things like USOs is a fringe view that seems mainly promoted by reddit/r/keto. Read some actual anthropology. Like Wenda Trevathan, Richard Wrangham, Marjorie Shostak, John Hawks, or Jeff Leach. Furthermore, the evidence for processing grains and tubers grows back tens of thousands of years and the starch grains on the teeth of so many remains from the paleolithic shows that they were at least a resource.

I hope you are not under the delusion that the ability to live this way prevails over more than a small fraction of the Earths' habitats.

And you are using the Inuit as an example? Underground storage organs are available over most of the Earth's surface. Even the Inuit utilize them, even if it is a very small percentage of the diet. The idea that the Inuit never used to consume carbohydrates is a fiction. They did not consume much of them, but they had seasonal berries and in some seasons there were quite a lot of them.

John Hawks is also a fantastic resource for essays on recent human evolution acceleration.
Genomic surveys in humans identify a large amount of recent positive selection. Using the 3.9-million HapMap SNP dataset, we found that selection has accelerated greatly during the last 40,000 years. We tested the null hypothesis that the observed age distribution of recent positively selected linkage blocks is consistent with a constant rate of adaptive substitution during human evolution. We show that a constant rate high enough to explain the number of recently selected variants would predict (i) site heterozygosity at least 10-fold lower than is observed in humans, (ii) a strong relationship of heterozygosity and local recombination rate, which is not observed in humans, (iii) an implausibly high number of adaptive substitutions between humans and chimpanzees, and (iv) nearly 100 times the observed number of high-frequency linkage disequilibrium blocks. Larger populations generate more new selected mutations, and we show the consistency of the observed data with the historical pattern of human population growth. We consider human demographic growth to be linked with past changes in human cultures and ecologies. Both processes have contributed to the extraordinarily rapid recent genetic evolution of our species.
Besides that, if you pick and chose data, you can easily find sets of human bones that are not hunter-gatherers and are in amazing condition like many pastoralist cultures, as well as hunter-gatherers who are in poor condition (Pecos Basin for example). And often the poor conditions of agriculturalists have more to do with living conditions and inequality than how horrible grains are. People who are continuously starved and exposed to diseases caused by crowding are not going to have pretty bones.
posted by melissam at 3:58 PM on August 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Eat too well and you run the risk of dying a terrible death because your body outlives your mind. Eat badly and you run the risk of dying a terrible death because your body dies before your mind. How does one eat just well/badly enough to split the difference?
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 3:58 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


KathrynT: As someone who just went mostly-paleo and is super grumpy about how much better I feel (because jesus gay, I love bread), this is fucking hilarious.

FWIW, I've been mostly-paleo for about 3 years, and I barely see bread as "food" anymore. It's not a calorie-counting thing or whatever; my body just doesn't want it.

And I used LOVE bread -- even had a bread machine at one point.
posted by LordSludge at 4:07 PM on August 1, 2012


Starches aren't necessarily bad for you (unless you have sensitivities to particular starches). Having only one type of starch comprise the majority of your diet, and often not enough of that, is bad for you.

That's pretty much the diet of almost all horticulturalists. Pygmies, Ache, Kitavans, Sakai... pretty much all of them get a majority of calories from a starchy staple. The rest is quite diverse and nutritious. The Kitavans have been extensively studied for their absence of disease.

The best part is that several paleo books cite the Kitavan Study multiple times while warning people about carbohydrates. Kitavans who get 60% of their calories from starchy staples. Who barely exercise. But have incredible blood markers and absence of Western disease.

Don't get me wrong- I benefitted from the paleo diet and I mainly still eat that way (though high carb), but the amount of B.S. in that community is terrible and makes you constantly feel like eating bread is worth than getting torn apart by a mammoth.
posted by melissam at 4:13 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Feed lots are weird.
posted by Catch at 4:48 PM on August 1, 2012


that struck a little close to home, yeah, seeing as we drove 180 miles round-trip to pick up our split side of hippie beef a couple months ago.

I'm all for people driving out and visiting the places where their meat comes from. But you do know that plenty of hippie beef places deliver, right? It's a lot harder to stay in business if you are relying on your customers to drive over the mountains to you; heading over in a refrigerated box truck once in a while can have a decent profit margin.

I hope you are not under the delusion that the ability to live this way prevails over more than a small fraction of the Earths' habitats. Because of their local micro-climate these tribes have had even more generations to get used to their diet than Westerners have to ours.

Tubers (or, in my new favorite phrase, "underground storage organs") grow -- and can sit untouched in the ground for months, waiting to be eaten -- from the tropics up to northern Europe. I'm not sure what exact percentage of the earth's population this encompasses, but it's definitely large.
posted by Forktine at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2012


Just for fun I like to take paleo people ski camping and see how long it takes them to beg for a Snickers. The diet might work well in climate controlled environment with moderate exercise but most athletes need carbs pretty bad. Doubly so in a cold place. Triply so once you're already cold and need to warm up.
posted by fshgrl at 5:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've found plenty of smokes and alcohol negate the effects of my poor diet.
posted by Mojojojo at 6:20 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


But you do know that plenty of hippie beef places deliver, right?

Sure, but mine doesn't. I'm not actually going over the mountains; I'm in Bothell (north of Seattle) and my guy is in Tenino. We do it once a year and bring back a whole quarter, it packs nicely into the trunk of our Camry. He also does pork, and if I can make enough room in the freezer by the time of his last pork slaughter date I'll be picking up half a pig then too.
posted by KathrynT at 7:29 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog: This is why my current diet is limited to sipping whisky while listening to Sultans Of Swing on repeat for a half an hour each day.
In this context especially, surely we should be consider Boom Like That.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:53 PM on August 1, 2012


Glutennacht: Don't let it happen with imported breast milk gelato.

-cheese and rice what a sour mash-hole.
posted by vozworth at 8:10 PM on August 1, 2012


The issue, from an emergence of agriculture perspective, is not consumption of grains or tubers per se. It is the movement to single crops, the centralization of social and economic power, the increased availability of calories from the sources, and (and this is the key element) the monopolization of those additional calories.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:53 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The problem with "I cut out X and I feel great" and "whenever I eat Y I feel yucky" anecdotes is that they are hopelessly compromised by confirmation bias.--yoink

It goes beyond personal confirmation bias. There is definitely a fad to eating styles. Low gluten/low wheat diets are a fad, so people will talk about how much better they feel, so you'll read this in the press. So then people who don't feel any better eating this way are afraid to say anything, for fear of being the troublesome outsider. By being a popular viewpoint, it ends up being one-sided.

Since I have no fear of taking unpopular opposing stances on health matters, I offer the viewpoint that you aren't hearing:

I eat a high gluten diet. Lots of wheat, lots of pasta, all the time. And since I went on this diet, I found that I have a lot more energy throughout the day, especially when exercising.

Of course it is not exclusively gluten. I eat protein, and have cut down on simple carbohydrates.

But gluten, lots of delicious gluten.
posted by eye of newt at 9:15 PM on August 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


So then people who don't feel any better eating this way are afraid to say anything, for fear of being the troublesome outsider.

As someone who was vegan for many years, I can confirm that at least this much as true, and even to an extreme of "if you talk, you'll be ostracized."
posted by Malice at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2012


As noted up above, eating paleo isn't the same thing as Caveman LARPING, so let's stop being obtuse about burning the paleo straw man.

Also, the paleo community certainly isn't monolithic or universally low carb. I think most recent paleo proponents (Paleo 2.0, Primal, Ancestral etc) are more or less pro tubers and pro rice. It's very much about learning what your body handles well.

All we really need is a better short hand for:
"I like to eat real food that doesn't come in a box or have too many odd ingredients that I can't pronounce. I'm pretty sure that moderate amounts of meat are ok, especially if they've been raised well and with minimal strange chemicals, hormones, ground up chicken feces. I've noticed that a few cultural staples generally don't sit well with my stomach. It's pretty obvious that government recommended diets haven't been working and people are getting fatter. I don't have digestive or skin issues since I cut excessive intake of things like dairy, wheat, and nuts. Honestly sometimes I still eat the stuff because it tastes awesome. I try to be 80% good. I find that I'm about 60 lbs lighter than I used to be, I don't get sick anymore, I don't have to cough up phlegm every morning, I don't get tired after eating, I have more than enough energy to get through the day and I'm more aware of what I eat and how it makes me feel."

So if the term paleo is too silly, what's a better shorthand? The no shitty food diet? The eat what works for you, but the above foods are a good starting place diet? The great grandmother diet? I'm not sure. Suggestions?
posted by Telf at 10:19 PM on August 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


emjaybee - "My tongue is a suicidal idiot and it wants to take me with it."

Start frying your vegetables in a little bit of duck fat! Doesn't take much.

At a family bbq I made turkey sliders; several people told me that they could snarf another half dozen of them with just the fried onions&mushrooms (in duck fat, of which they were unaware).

Re: Toxins: fuck yes, what toxins are you referring to, sir, please!?

OTOH, phytohaemagglutinin from beans is a known compound with immediate dose-dependent health-damaging properties. Beans are a great nutritional source, though - as long as you cook them enough to inactivate the toxin.
posted by porpoise at 11:18 PM on August 1, 2012


Tubers (or, in my new favorite phrase, "underground storage organs") grow -- and can sit untouched in the ground for months, waiting to be eaten -- from the tropics up to northern Europe

Something I learnt today - Australian Aborigines dug up tubors as a significant part of their diet - the removal of indigenous people from the land over the last two centuries is thought to have had a significantly adverse impact on soil conditions in part of Australia, due to reduced turnover-rate of nutrients from the extensive digging.
posted by Jimbob at 11:39 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if the term paleo is too silly, what's a better shorthand? The no shitty food diet? The eat what works for you, but the above foods are a good starting place diet? The great grandmother diet? I'm not sure. Suggestions?

What you are eating honestly just sounds like a healthy diet, i.e., eating the food that works for your body and makes you feel good. I'm not sure why you need a special term for it.

The people obsessed with the term paleo are the ones who tell me that wheat and legumes are poisoning my body and causing my auto-immune disease. If you are not one of those people, you might want to avoid the term 'paleo' because to a biologist (or anyone who knows anything about evolution) you make yourself sound like you know little about science when you use that term.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:36 AM on August 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


You learn that basically, if you ignore civilization and Mark Knopfler music,

Are freaky eaters really big fans of crap muso rock? Another reason then to head to McDonald's.
posted by mippy at 3:49 AM on August 2, 2012


Ahaha! Stupid, self righteous hippies. You can rip the fried panda hearts and Mountain Dew out of my cold, dead fingers, commies.

Seriously, that article flogs the same old Portlandia issues using not very clever humor snd worn tropes. It brings nothing new to conversation.

I get the personal eating struggle part though, if that's what it's about.
posted by nowhere man at 3:52 AM on August 2, 2012


The paleodiet is not meant to be just pre-history, but pre-agriculture.

Paleo people must suck at playing Agricola. You get all the points from building grain silos and baking bread, not from breeding sheep!
posted by mippy at 4:35 AM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


What you are eating honestly just sounds like a healthy diet, i.e., eating the food that works for your body and makes you feel good. I'm not sure why you need a special term for it.

Oh yes this. I guess calling it something like 'paleo' and justifying it with evolutionary theories makes it sound super-scientific?

One thing that strikes me about the most obsessive kinds of fixation on healthy heating is this tendency to assume that you can have 100% control of your health simply by altering your nutrition to an obsessive extent (well beyond the most basic common sense idea of eating healthy).

I recently watched a documentary on twins, on the research done on twins to understand more about genetics and health, and there were two English twins in their fifties or early sixties, one of them had moved somewhere else, possibly Australia (not sure), and was super health conscious, eating lots of healthy fresh food and fish and doing lots of exercise, while the other who'd stayed in England lived off beer and fried food basically. Well, this twin in England had a heart attack and they warned the expat twin to get checked too, and lo and behold, doctors told him he was this close to a heart attack himself, because his arteries were clogged just as bad as the twin who'd lived off junk food, because of something congenital they never knew about. That's an extreme example, obviously, it's not to negate the benefits of sensibly healthy eating and exercise, but you know, there's only so much you can control when it comes to your health.
posted by bitteschoen at 4:57 AM on August 2, 2012


I guess n=1 anecdotes are tough because neither side will be swayed by them. Bitteschoen's example of the twins isn't very persuasive because it was due to some odd congenital predisposition. On the other hand, one need to only look at their old high school friends to see the difference between people who living healthy and people who aren't. Some people look 20 at the age of 35 and some people look 55.

I want to stress again that paleo is just a short hand term for a diet. Jewish people don't need to explain "kosher" every time they go to a mexican restaurant. We know what that entails. Same with halal, vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian etc. Is it a silly name? Sure. But it's what has stuck. I think anyone listening to someone like Robb Wolf can appreciate that he's a moderate guy who knows his stuff. There aren't actually people running around killing stray dogs with atlatls as a lifestyle.

I'll say that among my small group of health conscious friends, paleo variant diets are the only ones that have stuck and made a serious long term impact in peoples lives. This is not only from a weight loss perspective. I'm talking about things like skin conditions, acne, energy, blood work tests, insulin levels.

How can you watch a video like the one by Terry Wahls, or look at the affects of a ketogenic diet on alzheimers or epilepsy and discount the importance of food in your lives?
posted by Telf at 5:23 AM on August 2, 2012


mippy, in Agricola the bread-production cycle is indeed full of points, but you have to breed (and "eat") sheep, cows and boar to win.
posted by nkknkk at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2012


I have an auto-immune disease. No matter what diet I eat, I will still have an auto-immune disease. Yes, that means I am 35 and I look 35. Sorry to offend your just world hypothesis, but it turns out life isn't actually fair and we can't actually earn good health by living righteously.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:28 AM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the Descendents said it best.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:32 AM on August 2, 2012


Hydropsyche,

I'm very sorry that you have an autoimmune disease. I don't want to minimize your own situation. I don't know the specifics of your condition, and this probably isn't the right forum for that. That being said, there are many autoimmune diseases that are effectively treated by diet. This is something we didn't really know about even 10 years ago. As scientists learn more about epigenetics, intestinal microorganisms, ketone bodies and other diet related issues, they are discovering that many formerly incurable diseases can be affected by diet. I'm sorry this is not the case for you, but thousands of other people can be helped. Ignoring diet is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to achieve better health.
posted by Telf at 5:33 AM on August 2, 2012


Well I did say I was referring to people who take things to the extreme, as spoofed in the "tragedy of the healthy eater" - not of people who follow basic common sense in 'healthy eating'...

Of the two twins, obviously the one who ate healthy (without being too much of a freak about it, just you know, common sense healthy) and did a lot of sports - and enjoyed it, I should add - looked younger and felt better and had more energy than the other twin, duh, of course. But he was completely shocked to find out he ran the same risks for a heart attack.

That it was a possibly congenital tendency they both shared is precisely the point - there is only so much we can control through diet, of course again beyond a normal sensible approach to healthy eating. This also means that a lot of what gets attributed to the benefits of a specific diet of a specific people in a specific place, like longevity or health or whatnot, may be due to genetic predispositions of those people, and these predispositions may not be due entirely to what type of foods they ingest.

(Not to mention they are not paleolithic people but people living in the present, so, their diet varied with modernity and refrigeration just as much as anyone else, and their health improved with modern medicine just as much anyone else on the planet). There are so, so many other variables involved.

For instance, I've seen probably the healthiest and most active old people in small towns in Greek islands and Sardinia and other places in the Mediterranean and yeah by god of course they do have great (and delicious!) food there, and delicious fresh fish and vegs and oil and locally made produce, but they also enjoy pasta and breads so there goes your no-carb theory, and they love their pastries and cakes and ice cream once in a while so there goes the demonisation of sugar, and they love some wine with dinner so there goes 'no-alcohol', and hey a not insignificant portion of them still enjoy a few cigarettes (the horror!!!).

It may help that in such places they have wonderfully clean air and soil and no pollution and most of all, ah, very little stress, and an attitude to life that puts enjoyment and pleasure at least on the same level as 'healthy' if not above in the list of values. Or, look up the famous "French paradox" about that concept. The relationship between nutrition and health (and longevity, especially) is not always so 100% direct and measurable in terms of what specific types of foods or nutrients as some of the more extreme proponents of this or that diet-for-health suggest. Genetics may play a big role. Environmental and psychological and social variables may play a big role. Even the cultural attitude to food and eating and the social significance of it plays a role.

So, sure, everyone find the approach they prefer and whatever works for them, indeed, "eating the food that works for your body and makes you feel good".

But we're talking trends and nutrition scares and fads, in general, not just single individual choices. The stuff that's out there on the internet, some of it is really nuts and dangerous too in many ways. There are a lot of quacks who spread a lot of unfounded fears and a lot of companies selling portentous 'cleanses' that are supposed to cure you from everything.

Wish I could copy and paste a paragraph here, but just check the introduction and coda of this book with the 'look inside' free preview: Fear of Food: A History of Why We Worry about What We Eat (or on Google Books). The author is not a nutritionist, he's a history professor, so it's an interesting overview on the social and cultural aspects involved in these trends.
posted by bitteschoen at 7:11 AM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm always amused by claims that potatoes are not paleo.

Same with alcohol. I mean, gather some grapes, maybe a bit more than you can eat right away because as so often happens in nature, they all come ripe at once. So the extra grapes spend a day or two in earthenware pots. And... magic! They turn into wine! As if early humans wouldn't have been totally and completely thrilled by that. I know I am.
posted by Kurichina at 8:42 AM on August 2, 2012


bitteschoen,

Well stated. I can't disagree with any of that.
posted by Telf at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2012


Balanced diet. Proteins, carbs, fibre, vitamins, fats, all of it. Low on salt and sugar. Splurge every once in a while. For god's sake enjoy a drink: it makes you feel good and it lowers stress. To hell with "regimes" and "diets". Unless you're some kind of top athlete or you're one of these poor unfortunates with dietary problems they'll on;y make you feel like you're stepping on and off a perpertual motion machine of misery. Stay active - exercise regularly.

That's it. That's my secret to health, happiness and joy in eating, right there. Donations appreciated.
posted by Decani at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2012


However, I really subsist on a tonic made from the Blood of the Innocent

That's gotta be even harder to source than civet coffee.
posted by phearlez at 9:48 AM on August 2, 2012


So, I take it we've hit a nerve here...
posted by schmod at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2012


That being said, there are many autoimmune diseases that are effectively treated by diet. This is something we didn't really know about even 10 years ago. As scientists learn more about epigenetics, intestinal microorganisms, ketone bodies and other diet related issues, they are discovering that many formerly incurable diseases can be affected by diet. I'm sorry this is not the case for you, but thousands of other people can be helped. Ignoring diet is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to achieve better health.

Don't worry, a "friend" sent me that link to the Ted Talk by the woman who claims to have cured her MS by not eating grains and legumes. Humorously, there are no peer reviewed studies demonstrating the benefit of the so-called "paleo" diet for actual inflammatory bowel disease, which one would expect would actually be affected by diet most directly, let alone neurological or rheumatological auto-immune diseases.

I, as nicely as possible given the circumstances, told my friend what I will now tell you, as nicely as possible: I teach evolutionary biology for a living. Your diet has nothing to do with science, and every time you pretend it does, you hurt the scientific understanding of our woefully scientifically illiterate population a little more. My rheumatologist is a professor at Emory Medical School and board certified in both rheumatology and internal medicine. I take advice on disease management from him, not random folks on the internet.

Does anyone really doubt for a minute that if these diseases could actually be cured, that would be the headline story in all global news? Remember when the Berlin patient's AIDS cure was announced? That was one person, and it was a major point in news cycles for a week. If all it took to cure auto-immune disease was to stop eating grains and legumes, we would have a fucking global jubilee year. (well, except for the wheat and bean farmers)
posted by hydropsyche at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


hydropsyche - I once saw a book called Potatoes Not Prozac, of which you can guess the underlying message - if you eat a potato plain each night, the blood sugar will be regulated, and there'll be no need for those nasty antidepressants. While the effects of blood sugar on mood are well-discussed (I'm not a scientist so I can't tell you how much of that is cod-nutrition) the tendency for patients with a mood disorder to refuse treatment because they feel it doesn't work/it's bad for you/it's a sign of weakness are well documented. People with mild depression find they can help it with changes in diet and exercise, which is great, but it won't cure you, and it certainly won't do a lot to relieve serious conditions.

Anecdotally, I ate a TON of potatoes during the years before my bipolar disorder was properly diagnosed and it doesn't work as well as zoloft.
posted by mippy at 2:02 PM on August 2, 2012


Does anyone really doubt for a minute that if these diseases could actually be cured, that would be the headline story in all global news?

Short answer - yes.
Up thread I mentioned diseases of civilization - diabetes, high blood pressure, certain forms of cancer, heart attack, obesity, etc. We KNOW how to prevent that. It's been documented since the 19th century. Virtually no culture on the planet was plagued with them...until they were exposed to western diet. They are also reversible as shown in the study of diabetic aborigines in Australia.

But it's hard to do. Not very sexy. And the most important thing - there is no money in it. Running the risk of sounding like conspiracy theorist - no, both the pharma industry and lay people in general have no interest in finding answers that do not come in pill form.
posted by 7life at 3:15 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


A few years ago my eldest brother was diagnosed with scurvy. When I heard about it, I thought "Does that still exist?" "Is he working on a slave galley?"
Turns out he had neglected to eat his greens for something like 6 months. So the moral of the story is: keep a barrel of lime juice on hand at all times.
posted by jet_manifesto at 3:18 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or gin and tonics.
posted by The Whelk at 3:31 PM on August 2, 2012


No, that's for malaria.
posted by elizardbits at 3:34 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


7life: Please reread my post. I was discussing auto-immune diseases, not the types of conditions that you are discussing. Type II diabetes is not an auto-immune disease. Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and it cannot be cured or prevented by diet--neither can Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis or dozens of other diseases that people around you struggle with everyday and did nothing to deserve by living an unhealthy lifestyle or whatever else you would like to accuse us of.

This is exactly why I don't take medical advice from people on the internet.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:21 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


And seriously, the Big Pharma thing gets really old really fast. Big Pharma gave me Humira and NSAIDS, which gave me my life back. Big Pharma gives us chemo and vitamins and thyroid medications and birth control pills and anti-psychotics and just in general actually helps people.

The paleo diet would just give me constipation and bloating.

My doctor is a really smart man who cares a lot about his patients. He is not part of some vast conspiracy to deprive us of the truth that we just need to give up grains and legumes.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:24 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


hydropsyche, while I've popped up to their defense a bit (mainly because their diet is almost exactly mine) I'm not a paleo guy. I regularly eat at McDonald's and Taco Bell, both of which have some menu items surprisingly friendly to my condition. I'm pretty sure I have one of the newfangled variants of MODY that nobody even knows how to treat conventionally. After I learned how to eat from the meter I found my mentor on why it worked in the person of Dr. Wolfgang Lutz:

Life Without Bread

Dr. Lutz is not "some guy on the internet." He's a German doctor who noticed, in the years after WWII when there were drug shortages and the only treatment available for his diabetic patients was the low-carb diet, that many of those patients' supposedly unrelated symptoms also cleared up. Gradually, and in some cases after funding animal studies of his own because he didn't think the commonly accepted ones had been properly framed (in particular because, due to CW, what they called "low carb" was still quite high carb by his standards), he started treating more and more of his patients with the diabetic diet.

He has an entire chapter -- one of the last in the book, because it was conventional wisdom that low-carb is absolutely the worst thing a Crohn's sufferer could do and he tried it only as a last resort after several other unexpected successes -- about how the diet can be used to treat Crohn's.

He first published all this, after treating thousands of patients, in 1966. It created the shitstorm you might expect in Germany but didn't make much headway here until it was translated and published in English in 2000.

Meanwhile, I presented to three different doctors over a ten year period with symptoms I now know should have been a warning klaxon that I had a diabetic condition. As I got fatter no matter how little I ate and my health deteriorated the professoinals completely failed me until I figured it out for myself and then nearly everything that was wrong with me magically reversed itself.

Yes, I'm an anecdote. Dr. Lutz's patient history is not.

Medical science does not know as much as it thinks it does, and that's a fundamental problem. It's not that there are kooks in the conversation, it's that certain powers act to shut the conversation down when there is real information needing to be aired.
posted by localroger at 4:47 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


7life: Please reread my post. I was discussing auto-immune diseases, not the types of conditions that you are discussing. Type II diabetes is not an auto-immune disease. Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and it cannot be cured or prevented by diet--neither can Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, multiple sclerosis or dozens of other diseases that people around you struggle with everyday and did nothing to deserve by living an unhealthy lifestyle or whatever else you would like to accuse us of.

There are plenty of published studies and ongoing studies on diet and autoimmune disease (many promising ones on vegan diet, omega-3, fasting, etc.). This is not fringe science. There is no cure, but there is evidence they can control and mitigate symptoms. It's weird to frame it as if positing a role for food in these diseases is "blaming" people. It's oddly emotional and counterproductive.

Also telling people that using the term paleo makes them look dumb to scientists is funny given all the studies now being funded on that diet. They are paying scientists to study it. I guess they are dumb scientists.

As for paleo being a way to control, unfortunately without studies on the matter it is hard to say. Sometimes they go into spontaneous remission which confounds things.
posted by melissam at 4:58 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really feel like taking on all comers here. Eat the diet that works for you. Don't tell other people to eat diets that don't work for them.

Most importantly, don't make recommendations for medical conditions you know nothing about. Don't be one of those people who sends endless emails to people with chronic illnesses that suggest that if they just did this one thing, or ate that one thing, or just laughed more, their disease would go away. Our lives suck. Your emails make us feel worse.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:22 PM on August 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


>>Or gin and tonics.

>No, that's for malaria.


Tonic for malaria, lime for scurvy, and gin for fun.
posted by Forktine at 6:39 PM on August 2, 2012


Eat the diet that works for you. Don't tell other people to eat diets that don't work for them.

Until you chimed in, I don't recall anyone in the 200+ posts in this thread saying anything with regards to specifically curing auto-immune diseases via diet. With all due respect, you seem to have to taken the entire discussion the wrong way. Not to say you're wrong in what you've said, but the tree you're barking up seems to be the wrong one.

There are legitimate benefits to assessing one's diet, but only an idiot would believe it's a cure-all.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:11 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hi,

Apologies to hydropsyche. I know this is a sensitive subject for you. You've stated how hurtful unsolicited emails and advice can be.

That being said, let's not pretend there aren't any peer reviewed studies or doctors behind this. There are entire centers at respected universities dedicated to following this line of research. Remember that "paleo" was originally championed as a way to lessen the effects of autoimmune diseases.

I also cringe when people mention "big pharma", or cures "they" don't want you to know about. But let's not confuse the scientific method, in which I am well trained, with how science is routinely practiced in the US. Quite simply, there hasn't been much funding for the peer reviewed studies. This is changing quickly. Right now, nutrition institutions are relying too much on self reporting. The clinical studies are coming. Many are already out.

Here's a long snippet I pulled with some references at the end.

via http://robbwolf.com/2012/05/18/paleo-autoimmune-illness/
(Don't worry, it's not all Cordain. Other researchers are referenced.)

After eating this way for a year now, I can say that I am never going back to eating as I did before, and I don’t have “cheat” days because my body cannot handle the effects of foods that lead to inflammation. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge with as many people as possible. The media has picked up on the term “Paleo Diet” and “Caveman Diet,” portraying it as a fad diet used to lose weight and re-enact history. My mission is to sift through the emerging research to find studies to show that there is a scientific basis behind eating this way, and to educate people that this lifestyle may be useful as an adjunct to treating AI. For me and the other 23.5 million Americans living with AI, there is hope for living a better life, based on the way we nourish and move our bodies.

Research has shown a connection between inflammation and AI, as well as a link between modern foods and their far-reaching effects on health. In their 2004 paper titled “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century,” Cordain et al presented data to show that diseases which are epidemic in contemporary Western countries are rare or non-existent in hunter-gatherer and less Westernized societies. They discussed data showing that Industrial era foods (dairy, refined cereals, refined vegetable oils, and fatty meats from animals prevented from grazing) underlie or exacerbate virtually all chronic diseases of civilization: 1) glycemic load, 2) fatty acid composition, 3) macronutrient composition, 4) micronutrient density, 5) acid-base balance, 6) sodium-potassium ratio, and 7) fiber content.

Other recent research from Ganesh et al (2011) shows that the changes associated with the disease process of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITD) are brought about by inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines serve as the software that run the immune system. A number of studies have now established that dysregulation of immune cell function causes AI such as lupus, arthritis, thyroiditis, carditits, and diabetes. It is highly likely that cytokine dysfunctions are the first step in the onset of these self-reactive immune responses. (Kalvakolanu, 2011) Additionally, Singh et al (2011) discussed the role of cytokines in the development of autoimmune diabetes (Type 1 Diabetes), Rose et al (2011) studied the sequence of events triggered by infection that lead to autoimmune myocarditis and subsequent cardiomyopathy, and Volin and Koch (2011) provided an in-depth view into the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the development of autoimmune arthritis.

The most interesting studies that may eventually provide evidence for correlation of diet as a factor in the development of AI come from the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research headed by Dr. Alessio Fasano: http://www.celiaccenter.org/

Dr. Fasano’s research investigates the increased intestinal permeability which often precedes disease, causing an abnormality in the antigen delivery that triggers the multi-organ process leading to an autoimmune response. Dr. Fasano’s research has shown that once gluten is eliminated from the diet, the intestine resumes its baseline barrier function, autoantibody titers are normalized, the autoimmune process shuts off, and intestinal damage heals itself. He continues to research the possibility that changes in intestinal permeability due to gluten may underlie not just Celiac Disease; but also other AI processes.

These are exciting times for those who struggle with AI, as current research attempts to explain what thousands of people have found to be anecdotally true. As Chris Kresser, L.Ac discussed in a recent podcast http://bit.ly/JhUrFg the issue of intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ has been made fun of for years as pseudoscience. Not to worry, the research surrounding this issue is about to explode due to the fact that the first drug to treat intestinal permeability is being developed. Once “Big Pharma” gets involved, and there is suddenly money to be made from treating this issue, the research to justify it won’t be far behind!




References:

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005: 81(2): 341-354.

Fasano A. Systemic autoimmune disorders in celiac disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2006; 22: 674-679.

Ganesh B, Bhattacharya P, Gopisetty A, and Prabhakar B. Role of cytokines in the pathogenesis and suppression of thyroid autoimmunity. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10):721-731.

Kalvakolanu D. An introduction to the special issue on “Cytokines and Autoimmune Diseases.” Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 693-694.

Moudgil K and Choubey D. Cytokines in autoimmunity: Role in induction, regulation, and treatment. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 695-703.

Rose NR. Critical cytokine pathways to cardiac inflammation. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 705-710.

Singh B, Nikoopour E, Huszarik K, Elliot J, and Jevnikar A. Immunomodulation and regeneration of Islet Beta Cells by cytokines in autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 711-719.

Volin MV and Koch AE. Interleukin-18: a mediator of inflammation and angiogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 745-751.
posted by Telf at 7:35 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll give you my Cheetos when you take them from my cold orange-stained, dead hands!
posted by deborah at 8:39 PM on August 2, 2012


Telf, you present a lot of references tying autoimmune diseases to cytokines.

But my little bit of Googling shows that while people with celiac diseases have a cytokine response to gluten, people without celiac diseases do not have this response.
posted by eye of newt at 9:40 PM on August 2, 2012


Philosophically lobsters are scary as hell. THEY SCUTTLE OMINOUSLY.

And they're basically big-ass sea cockroaches, so why would you eat them?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:25 PM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have ulcerative colitis, and holy goddamn hell is it difficult to determine if A. there is any connection to diet; and B. what the connection is. Conflicting and contradictory information abounds. Science plus Internet plus quacks/vitamin shills plus tons of doctors and nutritionists with differing opinions equals UC chaos.

At the moment, early in a flare, I am subsisting largely on a low-residue diet of creamy peanut butter/banana/honey on seriously white bread sandwiches, high protein Boost, cream of wheat with probiotic yogurt and reduced-fat creamy peanut butter, and the occasional foray into egg sandwiches. On days off I will eat stuff that has a bit more variety but am still trying to stay low-residue. Basically the idea is to not scrape up my ulcerated large intestine so it can heal. No nuts, no seeds, no skins, no fibre-rich or whole grain anything.

I think there has been a lessening of symptoms, but believe it will be a slow process. I'm going to have to reduce my fat intake as I do not seem able to absorb it properly. Which will likely mean the peanut butter has to go, which sucks, as it is a major protein source but even in its reduced-fat form probably the largest single fat source. Fuckery. I'm kind of tempted to just buy a pallet-load of Boost and give up on actual food for a while.

/autoimmune + Interweb rant.
posted by moneyjane at 2:46 AM on August 3, 2012


And they're basically big-ass sea cockroaches, so why would you eat them?

Because they are delicious big-ass sea cockroaches.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing funnier than the article are all of the comments from people here who completely missed the satire and are seriously posting their own healthy eating anecdotes.
posted by Eicats at 8:56 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


hydropsyche - my apologies if my post wasn't clear. I was using diseases of civilization as an example. Here we have a disease that affects large swath of population. Heart attack, last I checked, is the number one killer of our society. Diabetes is an epidemic. The point is it is very widespread with incredibly detrimental effect.

And it is mostly preventable. (And no - I'm not saying it is all preventable. There will be outliers that get this disease no matter what. But it is preventable as an epidemic). By diet. Although we know that, there is no jubilee in the streets.

And this for number one killer in America.

You think the result is different assuming that diet does work for other forms of diseases? Note - I'm not qualified to debate whether or not diet affects auto immune disorder and I will refrain from doing so. I'm saying, seeing the track record from heart attack and prevention via diet, *if* a diet does help, there will be no rejoice in the streets.
posted by 7life at 10:01 AM on August 3, 2012


And they're basically big-ass sea cockroaches, so why would you eat them?

I prefer to think of cockroaches as bite-sized land lobsters.
posted by LordSludge at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


#firstworldproblems
posted by tarvuz at 3:30 PM on August 5, 2012


AS YOU MARK OFF THE APPROPRIATE WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

ITYM "WEIGHT WATCHERS' POINTS PLUS(TM)," HTH.
posted by aught at 1:40 PM on August 7, 2012


What Graham Crackers Can Teach Us About Whole Foods
Leaving the farmers’ market every Saturday, I am filled with self-satisfaction. Not only have I managed to accomplish some food shopping (a tricky feat for busy people), but I also imagine that I have participated in the political project of “the food movement.” In this fantasy, the First Lady, Michael Pollan, and Mark Bittman regard me with approval. This zeal fades quickly as the fruit flies come to feast on the tomatoes that I never seem to eat fast enough, and as I cave after a long day and dig into an ice-cream bar made with unpronounceable ingredients. Guilt soon sets in. Again, I have failed to live up to the high standards of today’s food reformers, where we eat simply, locally, and organically. All the time.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:41 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I'm saying is that meats, veges, nuts, and fruits are superior foods.

I will put a fruit or vege up against a bread any day in terms of nutritional value: http://nutritiondata.self.com/

The Paleo diet is the healthiest way to eat in my opinion.
posted by rjones44319 at 2:45 PM on August 14, 2012


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