Melissa of HuntGatherLove posted this link on her Twitter:
I read that, and my snarky anti-vegetarian side says Talia is nuts to think it's a sign of good health that her restrictive hippie diet has left her physiology less able to handle environmental stressors. But, I've also seen paleo dieters report that after giving up SAD foods they are now more reactive to them. My question: Is becoming more reactive to particular foods after eliminating them from the diet a sign of enhanced health? Decreased health? Not an indicator of general health at all?
I think it's more that our bodies get used to particular things and don't react well to change in general. It's like how tourists typically get sick from drinking the water but locals can drink it and be fine.
A healthy body and immune system will more effectively repulse and expulse toxins from your body and environment.
This is most evident in alcohol. The "healthy" guy will be the 2-drink-floor guy, whereas the sick guy will drink all night with a tolerance to those toxins, and no major effect besides his normal massive hangover.
The irony is that just the opposite is assumed via common wisdom, that the 2-drink wonder is the "weakling" and the alcoholic is the "iron liver". I used to be the latter, but today I am proud to be the former.
There are so many assumptions that frame our thoughts and we don't even realize it. My friend recently told me he was worried about going paleo because he didn't want to become a "fragile flower" like me, who could never eat greasy food at our local bar without feeling completely ill. I kind of had to acknowledge that that was a downside to eating a paleo/ancestral/human diet, at least within the context of our conversation. But I've since come up with what I think is a good analogy for thinking about this.
Let's say I'm taking small but not insignificant doses of a poison day in and day out -- rat poison, arsenic, something like that. I started at a very small dose and gradually increased it, so I have built up a resistance to it. But it has accumulated in my system, and it's wreaking who knows what kind of havoc on my body. One day you come visit me and I give you some food with the poison in it. You eat it, and you feel like crap, and it's immediate and violent. Finally, while you're on the bathroom floor throwing up, I say to you: "Man, what is with your diet? You are such a fragile flower. I'm glad I don't eat like you."
Is it just me, or would that be kind of a ridiculous thing to say?
I hope I'm right in thinking it's just all very telling. For myself, I can eat paleo and feel great but as soon as I indulge in something with added sugars, or wheat/gluten, or nasty-ass flours... my body is all over the place. It's an absolute change: enraged cravings, inflammation, irregularity. I feel pain where I don't normally, I see a change in mental state, I'm running down the street for a burger and fries... that sort of thing.
Sure, it could be just because it's not my standard diet anymore... but could I have just ALWAYS been craving crap, inflamed, and irregular before? Could it be that I was just not as sensitive to these changes in my body? Maybe. I like to think it's my body telling me what's wrong and what's right.
The bodies of people who eat gluten, sugar, etc. daily compensate constantly to allow for their survival by insuring normal functioning. When we take these foods away, and allow our bodies to stop this daily compensation, it is only to be expected that when we reintorduce these foods that our bodies will need to compensate again, and that compensation will seem more like an emergency than has been our previous experience. This seems to be, imho, a sign of health that our systems would react to the introduction of toxins so strongly and immediately.
"...her restrictive hippie diet has left her physiology less able to handle environmental stressors."
Not LESS able, but MORE able to handle stressors...immediately and strongly push out the toxins.
I don't know. I know that I could definitely get away with a hot chocolate right now, made with REAL cream and not soy milk, but I also know from experience that if I repeat the cheat over several days I will get sick. Whenever I travel to exotic locations (sadly rare lately) I allow myself one day to eat whatever and usually if I keep it at one day I'm OK. So yeah, I've eaten torte in Austria, cinnamon rolls in Sweden, liver-grilled cheese (better than it sounds) in Quebec, and not had an issue with it. It is interesting, and I've met other people who say this, that it seems like when I cheat in Europe I don't get as bad effects. Something about the food system there?
I know people with more severe illnesses who cannot get away with that ever though.
In this case she is probably a hypochondriac and the sniffles have nothing to do with the food. Obviously being sensitive to everything isn't healthy, we would have never survived as humans if that was the case.
In experiments on rats they become much more sensitive to toxins when they have low blood sugar.
I agree with Paleo Designer. If you've been eating paleo for 4 months, eating a pizza is a huge dietary change. Dairy is a good example of this.
It probably is a sign of an underlying issue, though. I don't think someone with great digestion (no leaky gut etc.) wouldn't tolerate some gluten.
Agreed Korion, definitely a sign of an underlying issue. Increased restriction may lead to hypersensitivity to change but only in the case of weakened digestion or health in my opinion.
I think there might be a significant brain-gut axis factor here as well. If you've been eating a very restricted diet, mentally, you're going to be very conscious of the fact that this is the first pizza you've had in 6th months so its likely food anxiety can play a big role in many folks.
Personally, I've felt the more restrictive I eat, the less foods I can tolerate. However, again this could simply be because when I eat more strictly, I'll eat something like some cottage cheese and wait to see if it is going to effect me. Rather than realizing I feel kinda crappy and thinking back to what may have caused that feeling, when I'm more anal about my diet, I'm already suspecting something might go wrong.
So good to hear that this is happening to other people. I've been Paleo now for a little over a month and my body reacts stronger every time I cheat. I do find the quickest way to fix myself is eating a big salad (I usually eat kale and tomatoes) with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a lean white meat. That puts me right fast, usually halfway through eating the salad.