Impending Disaster

OK, not really.

Ragnar is coming up fast, and I am woefully underprepared for it. I knew I would be woefully underprepared for it, so it really shouldn't be a surprise, but it always is.

This post really isn't about Ragnar, though. I know by now to just let it happen. It's chaos. It's long waits, followed by frantic activity. It's running on the shoulder of the road where there is no shoulder, around a blind turn. It's sitting on sore muscles that scream warnings of imminent cramping, of impending disaster.

My hamstrings are tensing at the very thought.

It'll pass.

That's not what this post is about.

I'm still dealing with horrid intestinal issues. I keep thinking I've got them fixed; I've got them figured out; I've got them under control. Then they creep up behind me and sweep my legs out from under me. Again, and again, and again.

I've been trying to find middle ground, safe ground, between my soul and my body, between veganism and paleo, and I thought I had found it. (I know, for the love of all things holy, I know, that veganism is not a diet. I know. Humor me.) Unfortunately when I went for independent verification, I found the legs swept out from under me.

Honestly, though, it doesn't matter. I'm taking this piece by piece, and I'm figuring it out. That's my near-term goal: finding a diet that I can thrive on and that doesn't cause me pain, emotional or physical. Shouldn't be too hard, right?

I've been reading the Plant Paradox by Dr. Stephen Gundry. I had found it though Dave Asprey's podcast, when Dr. Gundry was on marketing his new book. Both men have some interesting ideas, and those ideas seem to be applicable to my digestive woes. I listened to a few other podcasts from Dr Gundry, and I picked up a few red flags, but nothing too horrid.

Red flag #1 - Dr. Gundry states in one of his podcast interviews (I think it was the one with Dave Asprey) that he doesn't go in for the "woo woo" stuff. I'm not even completely sure how to parse that: does he mean alternative medicine, such as functional medicine? He runs a center for functional medicine. Does he mean so called "new age" treatments, unverified and largely placebic in nature? He works with Goop!

OK, whatever. I can throw down a little cognitive dissonance and move on.

No, wait, hold on.

Red flag #2 - The first citation links to a doctored study. The first citation! The study claims that eggs and shellfish reduce cholesterol. K. Except in order to achieve that result, they had to cut the amount of saturated fat in the diet by at least 40%. As Dr. Gregor points out, study after study demonstrate that consuming these foods raise serum cholesterol. Period.

There's more.

Red flag #3 - Dr. Gundry claims in his book that WGA (a lectin in wheat) cannot distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells, with no citation. I haven't dug deeply enough in to this to tell how true it is, but there is general evidence that some lectins actually can.

Red flag #4 - On that same note, he also claims that WGA is small enough to enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall, but evidence suggests otherwise. (See the same video from Red flag #3).

So, where does all of this leave me? Mostly: confused.

(Mostly.)

I know that legumes and whole grains tend to cause me digestive problems. It's one of the reasons why my digestive system does well on paleo, as long as I keep the fat intake reasonably low. It's the reason why I thought maybe I had found an eating solution here with the Plant Paradox that might work for me.

I also know that a combination of enzymes and probiotics can hold off the worst of my issues with whole grains and legumes. There are two problems with that, though. I'm concerned that the enzymes might be too effective, and might be robbing my colon's bacteria of their needed fiber. I'm also aware that probiotics are temporary solutions. Taking probiotics can help shift the composition of your own intestinal floral, but the probiotics you consume tend not to stick around.

In the midst of all of this, I came across these videos. There are multiple take-aways:

  1. Food poisoning can lead to long-term gut damage. (See Cayenne video.) My problems started after a bad burrito.
  2. The pain I experience is typical. (See Peppermint Oil video.) I have a high pain threshold, and this crushes me. When it's at its worst, the words that go through my mind are, "everything hurts, and I'm dying."
  3. I've got a few new things to try: enteric-coated peppermint oil, cayenne, and kiwi. I'm hesitant to re-try ginger: it used to work for minor stomach upset, but it just irritates me now when I try it for stomach or lower GI issues.

Well, that's enough of this crappy post. I'll get back to more interesting stuff soon.

Be excellent and stuff.