Unless you’re a genetic miracle, then unfortunately, you, like the rest of the human population, should not be ingesting gluten.
First, gluten. Bloating, damaging your gut lining contributing to ‘leaky gut’ syndrome which allows for undigested particles to pass freely through your cell membranes causing chronic inflammation, more bloating, fatigue, poor immunity thus increased illnesses, poor energy, a reduction of executive brain function such as emotional control, memory recall and decision making; acne and skin irriation, loss of ‘good’ bacteria from the gut… Do I need to continue?
And if you DON’T react to gluten, I don’t care! I don’t believe that you out of the entire population has somehow managed to develop a different genome and can tolerate gluten. If anything, it’s just likely you don’t react as severely, if at all; at least to your knowledge. Gluten may not cause you to react instantaneously, but it will contribute to the toxin load on your gut biome. After a certain tipping point, the toxin load spills over and leads us to feeling noticeably more terrible – in comes fatigue, mood swings, energy dips, headaches, acne, bloating, constipation. When this happens, we naturally need to rest – and if this comes at a time when you are under pressure to meet deadlines, have epic plans with your best friend, are in the peak of summer and needing to wear a swimsuit – then it becomes a problem, right? Right. Don’t take the risk. Just avoid it. Simple.
“but I like ice cream! / but I don’t react / but I’ve been having it all my life!”
To the first – I know, me too.
To the second – how to do you know, can you see your insides every single time you ingest dairy?
To the third – that’s great, I have been walking all my life. Let’s talk about more irrelevant past facts that have zero impact on our ability to make change in the here and now, shall we?
Our ingestion of dairy is not normal – and quite simply, after infancy around 80% of us don’t have the enzyme lactase to digest lactose; meaning when we consume dairy it is recognized as a threat to the bodies delicate eco-system and causes inflammation (read: bloating, acne) and a host of other problems. The milk proteins in cows milk are different from our own, which is why we react so poorly. And if you think you don’t react, remember the toxin load I mentioned when discussing gluten – you may not be aware, but given your biological similarity to every single other human on this planet, your body is not designed to digest milk! And eventually, it will catch up to you.
What about calcium, you say? To this, I want you to look at the countries with the lowest rates of skeletan problems – Asian cultures in particular. Traditionally, they consume little to no dairy. Conversely, the western diet, which is high in dairy, has an exceptionally high rate of these problems. Globally, there have been extensive studies highlighting a positive correlation between consumption of dairy and bone problems such as osteoporosis and arthristis. Further, the calcium in dairy, after being pasturised (which is all milk and milk products unless you are having raw milk), is almost inabsorbable; and contributes to calcium loss from the bones – as milk is an animal protein and therefore increases the acidity levels within the bloods pH, calcium is required to alkalise the blood stream – and the calcium is drawn from bones to do so. So if you want to LOSE calcium from the bones, then eat dairy. But if you want to ABSORB calcium, do so from plants – leafy greens, collard greens, almonds, legumes, wild caught salmon and wild caught sardines are all great sources of bioavailable calcium.
Remember, it’s likely the studies advising against dairy aren’t extensively presented to the public because it would negatively impact our consumption of these products – and given the size, impact and financial power of the agriculture industry around the world – they have a significant interest in ensuring the public continues to consume high levels of their produce.
Fruit, stevia, honey, white sugar, brown sugar, rice malt syrup, no sugar products – with so many options it’s no wonder we are overwhelmed!
Before you go and cut it all out of your diet, know that we need sugar in our diets so our brain can function – it’s our primary source of fuel! Without sugar, our brains function is impaired – we can’t think straight, our executive functions such as emotional regulation and self control go out the window (so there is legit science behind HANGRY after all!) and we simply don’t have energy for much at all. So we do need sugar. But what is the right sugar, and how much?
I’m going to make it super simple and tell you.
Fruit – a piece or two a day of whole fruit. Not the dried stuff, as the water content in fruit means that we don’t eat too much of the sweet stuff, or we become too full. Variety is the spice of life, so enjoy different fruits. If you’ve heard ‘bananas have lots of sugar’ or ‘you should only eat berries because they are low sugar’ – I’m here to say that yes that may be true but having a variety of fruits allows for a variety of nutrients; and that’s what we are trying to obtain! For example bananas are an amazing source of potassium, which is great for replacing salts post workout! Can’t get that in berries! So just eat a piece of fruit each day you enjoy, and don’t think too much into it.
My preferred alternative: Stevia – enjoy! This comes from the stevia leaf; so it’s similar to any other herb you would have like cinnamon or turmeric. This is my preferred alternative, definitely!
Use SUPER sparingly: Honey, maple syrup (the real stuff), molasses, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup, agave, xylitol
AVOID: High fructose corn syrup, Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar, fructose, maltose, lactose, aspartame
Heavily processed, unlike the Japanese version aka edamame, setian or tempeh, which is unfermented and therefore digestible and nutritious, unfortunately soy is pro-inflammatory for the gut so can contribute to symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, fatigue, skin irritation, acne and more. Of course, there has been confusion around the impact of soy's capacity to act as a phytoestrogen, mimicing the bodies natural hormones and therefore unnaturally inducing changes - for examples, girls as young as 7 are now starting mensturation. It also encourages thyroid dysfunction, the master hormone which is directly related to your metabolism - read: weight loss or weight gain. Given the extreme genetic modification of this substance, paired with our inability to know for certain if it is contributing or not to the side effects that it's been touted to have, we are best to simply steer away from it - as best as possible.
More on this soon. Not surprising though, is it?
See, when a substance is processed, it looses a lot of the nutritional value, meaning when we eat it is often leaves us still hungry because our physiological needs have not been met. Eg. White flour starts off as a segment within a grain of wheat, is removed from it’s shell (removing the fibre), and then becomes white after being bleached with chemicals. We eat grains partially as a source of energy and for fibre; but white flour delivers energy way too quickly (it’s high GI) and leads to an energy hit (and subsequent crash); and further is devoid of the fibre we need for essential functions like using the bathroom.
Another problem is with modified foods is the chemicals have not been tested for long term consumption – it’s impossible for them to have been, as they haven’t been around for that long. They have only been used since the industrialization of the food industry, which just so happens to correlate with the rise of chronic and debilitating illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, weight problems including overweight, high blood pressure, dementia and poor memory, autism and chronic fatigue. Regardless of if you have these specific illnesses or not, if at any point over the past few months you’ve felt flat, lackluster, exhausted or mentally foggy for no apparent reason – you have no proof to know that these artificial ingreidnts have not contributed to this cause. Just because you don’t instantly feel unwell doesn’t mean it’s not having a negative impact on your body and mind.
Next, in the process of manufacturing a new product, it’s only reasonable that companies responsible for the processing will also modify it to enhance the flavor and your addiction to it – which is the prime reason why sugar, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame (for ‘diet’ products) are added. They taste great and activate the reward pathways in the brain – meaning next time you’re feeling a little flat, your thoughts will instantaneously jump to these substances first. Unfortuantely, these toxins are not friendly to your body and contribute to problems including weight gain, poor appetite control, poor self control, mood swings, depression, anxiety, stress and more.
Not sure if it’s processed? It’s really, really simple. If it’s in a packet and has a long list of ingredients that have numbers, that’s a pretty good indication it’s highly processed and should definitely be avoided.
I'll write more soon. For now - https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/cancer/