Monday, January 9, 2012
Gaps Diet Part 2
This is a follow up to yesterdays post about the gaps diet that I am on. Yesterday I started summing up the problem, but I really just scratched the surface. On this post I have a few more things to say about the problem, and the solution, but again there is so much more info that I don't have the space to share here. Please contact me for any questions that you might have.
Here is a bit from Dr. Mercola - He has a great news letter that you can sign up for, and some really great information on his website. I will put that in my link section.
One of the reasons that dietary changes work is because it helps alter your gut flora in very beneficial ways. The beneficial bacteria in your gut have a profound influence on your health, including your mental health. They produce substances that your body needs. And, your gut actually produces more serotonin than your brain does! Your gut is frequently referred to as 'the second brain,' and when you consider the fact that the gut-brain connection is recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, and that there's no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases, it's easy to see how the balance of gut bacteria can play a significant role in your psychology and behavior as well. With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, from cradle to grave, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment.
I really love how he talks about the gut being the second brain, and that the gut actually produces more serotonin then your brain. Serotonin produces that feel good feeling. Most people who suffer from deppresion turn to anti depresents, really just need healthy gut flora.
Like I said before I am just scratching the surface here on the diseases that are because of bad gut flora. To truly understand health, you must truly understand the gut and all its functions.
So why eliminate grain and sugar and other starches? Well that is a good question, and not the only part of the solution.
I will address sugar first. I think we all have a general idea why sugar is not so good for us. But do we really have a grasp on how much of it we consume. 20 grams here and 30 grams there. The average american consumes a whopping 165lb of added sugar per year. ( that is according to the US department of agriculture) that is 31 five pound bags for each of us. added means that you are not necessarily getting all that sugar from the sugar bowl. Did you know that canned tomatoes have added sugar. What is all this sugar doing to us? Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories. How your body metabolize it by borrowing vital nutrients from healthy cells depleting them. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar.
Sugar also effects your digestive systems balance by providing the bad bacteria with food. Yeast especially likes to feed on sugar. This creates an imbalance in your gut.
Although traditional diets did include grain, it was not consumed the way we consume it today. First of all grain has been re-engineered to have more gluten. We are not talking about the same grain that traditional cultures ate. Additionally they did not have our modern bakers yeast, they had to go through the process of fermenting their flour to produce a natural rise for their bread, ( like sourdough bread ) and in that process they broke down the grain and made in more digestible. Here is what nourished kitchen has to say about grain.
Intestinal health is critical to your overall health. If you’re gut isn’t healthy, you can’t absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. If you can’t absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, your body is malnourished and is more prone to disease. Grains are associated with a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Tiny particles of grains, when ingested, can slip through the intestinal walls causing an immune response. With your immune system excessively taxed by constantly attacking these out-of-place particles of grain, it cannot effectively fight against true threats like pathogens.
She goes on to say
Due to a high starch content, grains are inflammatory foods. The more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it is. For example, unbleached white flour is more inflammatory than whole grain flour; however, whole grains are still moderately inflammatory foods and certainly more inflammatory than other foods like fresh vegetables and wholesome fats. Chronic inflammation is linked to a myriad of degenerative, modern diseases including arthritis, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, emotional imbalance and even cancer. Unbleached white flour earns an inflammation factor of -421 or strongly inflammatory onNutritionData.com while whole wheat flour earns an inflammation factor of -247 or moderately inflammatory. Similarly, whole cooked millet earns an inflammation factor of -150 and cooked brown rice earns an inflammation factor of -143 – also moderately inflammatory.
When improperly prepared as they most often are, grains can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption. Grains contain substances like phytic acid which binds up minerals and prevents proper absorption. Essentially, though your diet might be rich in iron, calcium and other vital nutrients if you eat improperly prepared grain, you’re not fully absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat. However, please note that souring, sprouting and soaking grains neutralizes phytates and renders the nutrients in grain more absorbable.source
When the gut is healthy, properly prepared grains in moderation are fine. When you properly prepare the grains as in sourdough bread, and soaked oats, the process neutralizes phytic acid. But someone with an unhealthy gut should avoid grains all together until the gut health is restored.
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, also pose a problem for the gut, because they are hard for the gut to breakdown. They should also be avoided.
More to come....