So I've had a few lifelong ailments that have already started improving since beginning this diet 5 months ago:
-Obesity -Hypertension -Back Pain -Acne
But I have a few more that I am wondering if you all have advice for?
-Dandruff -- I've always had a flaky scalp. I find that I have to shampoo everyday with the SAME shampoo in order to stifle it even a bit. Then in winter months, I have to lotion my head up with some non-oil based face lotion. I have very coarse, thick, curly hair, but have been keeping it short for years. I've heard about the "No 'Poo" method, but really don't think that's my answer. Any Other Advice Here?
-Hemorrhoids -- Yup. As far back as age 11 or so I remember experiencing these tiny terrors. While I've never been able to keep track of their comings and goings, nor correlate their appearances with any sort of diet or anything else, I don't really know what I can do to PREVENT them, rather than simply TREAT them. That being said, I'd love advice on BOTH!!
-Crackly Joints -- So this one is weird. My joints crack, pop, and explode with loud bangs way more than the average Joe. Not only my knuckles, but my toes, ankles, knees and elbows as well (and, of course, neck and back when prompted). I've asked a few doctors about it on general check-ups, but the general consensus is that it is simply an excess of air pockets in between my joints, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Anyone have any experience with this? My ankles and toes are often so loud, that if walking barefoot in an empty gym, anyone around can hear it echoing throughout the walls and hallways and out the doors. I'd love any advice here.
I know that's a lot, but I love all responses! Even the sardonic ones that sound mean and make me out to sound like an idiot.
Dandruff -- depends on the underlying cause. IF it is just dry scalp, no need to go to the "No 'poo" extreme (although that group does have two valid points: shampoo is a completely modern marketing invention, and we tend to overuse shampoo, regularly stripping out the hair's natural oils and never giving it time to recover). On the commercial end, just look for shampoos labeled sulfate free and paraben free (Whole Foods' own 365 brand fits the bill). Failing that, skip the shampoo, there's enough cleaners in generic conditioner to do the job without stripping your hair. If you do want to try out the "No 'poo" route, a classic mix of vinegar and baking soda is said to work just fine ...
Hemorrhoids -- (Trivia: the problem is actually inflammation of your hemorrhoidal tissue) One area nobody wants to talk about, but almost every adult will suffer, and once you get them, you never get rid of them. The best you can do is keep them in remission as long as possible. Diet: more fiber (especially insoluble fiber ie. plant cellulose). On the seat: relax, don't strain or push. Hygiene: wipe clean, don't scrub. Relief: pat with witch hazel (Tucks Medicated Wipes).
Do remember reading at some point that cultures that use squat toilets don't suffer from hemorrhoids ... yet another item we can blame on "modern society" :p
Dandruff went away for me in the first 6 weeks of going Paleo. You can read everything Paleo fixed for me here: http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/10/14/6-weeks-with-scdpaleo/#health and in the recent update here: http://eugenia.queru.com/2011/12/30/four-months-with-paleo/
However, instead of just removing certain foods, I also ADDED foods, including home-made probiotic lactose-free goat yoghurt, raw & unfiltered local honey, lots of offal, coconut oil, beef bone marrow broths, other fermented foods, while I also supplement with quite a few vitamins/minerals. This protocol has fixed a lot of things for me, as you can read in the links.
For crackly joints it might be lack of gelatin among other things, drink lots of grass-fed beef bone marrow broth, slow-cooked for 12 hours.
Hemorrhoids - Talking about this subject sucks. But all the comments so far are about poo quality&technique in prevention. When I get one it has nothing to do with poo, so I figured I'd comment. Mine appear to come from too much strain/(like was mentioned) inflammation. I'm lucky and had it 3 times in the past 3 years. Times 1 and 2 were from a binge drinking sessions in which I stayed up late at loud concerts. Some kind of combination of strain talking/yelling and alcohol inflammation I guess. Both times this stayed around for 2 weeks and were painful. Third time was this year was after pushing myself too hard deadlifting, after having not deadlifted for awhile. This one didn't even last a week and resulted in minimal pain. I'm a big fan of shower instead of wipe in order to not irritate it.
TMI I hope it helps.
One thing I've been looking into myself might help with the dandruff. I have celiac, and break out even when gluten touches my skin. Turns out some shampoos have gluten derivatives, or compounds that irritate a gluten sensitive person like me. You may not have celiac, but this might be related somehow to the constant irritation.
A topical application of castor oil helps me tremendously when I have a hemorroid flair. Also agree with the comment above to shower and not wipe so much. Dandruff can be a fungal infection (Malassezia yeasts), but I'm not sure what the best treatment for that might be.
I can't really believe I am sharing this, but.....when I lived with a bunch of free spirits in college, one of them swore by what we came to call the "poop stool". It was a regular kitchen stool with a crossbar on it that you could put your feet on, elevating your knees. It helped with the process, and a few years later when I was backpacking, I reflected on that while I was copping the exact same position to do my business in the woods. Since I have kids, I have a stepstool in the bathroom (only I know it's true identity), and even though I developed hemorrhoids during pregnancy and delivery, I have had no problems at all since. seriously. None. I have no idea why, but I think it's got to be the poop stool.
Regarding your noisy joints: others have mentioned supplementing with gelatin/collagen. Can't say that's supported, as we get plenty of the amino acids necessary for collagen biosynthesis in our diets. What you may not have enough of is Vitamin C which is important for collagen modification - specifically producing more stable collagen structures.
My own problems were not cured completely by Paleo, but by some lifestyle choices...
Dandruff - I'm guessing I had a recurring scalp infection, because when I started washing my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar and stopped shampoo altogether, the dandruff went away. Going the no-shampoo route did not resolve it.
Hemorrhoids - Better quality poo = less likelyhood of hemorrhoids. I've found either decreasing the number of times you have to go (VLC) or increasing your raw veggie intake to soften stools seems to improve it. Either way, eradicating grain got rid of my irritable bowels, which made me stop pooping 3-5 times a day, and that eradicated my hemorrhoids.
Cracky/stiff joints - Grain eradication helped somewhat, but being mildly sedentary (computer engineer), increasing my mobility and posture helped more. Finally, introducing raw kale and a few other K-rich foods into my diet and really pushing for that 2:1 or better Omega 6/3 ratio resolved the issue entirely.
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