Have you seen Dr. Harris's interesting recent viewpoint concerning the gut and our immune response, on Melissa's blog? Here's the argument, blow-by-blow, paraphrased for brevity, and sometimes for humorous effect.
Paleo didn't fix my digestive problems. "Good" and "bad" foods are defined relative to your individual biology and current situation. The line is blurry between "good" nut and coconut flours and "bad" grain flours. Also, I eat foods that taste good and that sometimes includes grains. If you don't like that, you're a stupid baby.
Many (all?) plants have antinutrients, and picking an "evolutionary template" is misguided. MiRNA in rice may have been a news item, but it's not necessarily unique.
Right on bro. I'm the guy who brought you "varying levels of macronutrients are not going to kill you". Now allow me to blow your mind with some more tasty joojoo. Avoiding bad guys like gluten may relieve symptoms, but the core problem is often immune dysregulation. Guess what? You can eat a 100% perfect paleo diet, but the root problem may not be food.
Immune dysregulation? I have so many questions on this, I don't even know where to begin. What's up with the GAPS diet? You're saying helping your gut flora is not the ultimate purpose in life? The microbiome is so crazy!
Let me entrap you in my lyrical flow...The bacterial component is very important but there is very little you can do to change it once you are older than a toddler. This is what my reading of the literature so far shows. Yogurt and Kimchi and probiotic pills and eating dirty veggies are all peeing in the wind if you have any serious immune dysregulation going on. How to improve the immune system? That's the big question. Maybe...WORMS! Yes, consider the helminth. Don't be a dummy though, parasites can kill. Don't go willy-nilly eating dirty veggies and walking barefoot in the swamp.
Obi Kurt Kenobi, you're our only hope! What do you think of the use of pseudocommensals?
If you're reading this, you should also read this... http://paleohacks.com/questions/107257/is-paleo-a-band-aid#ixzz1qMw36TFg
"I believe your tolerance for food is determined by gut health and immune status more than food choices determine gut health and immune status."
But, numerous hormonal markers of stress and inflammation promote the involution of the thymus.
Kamal, only you could make me laugh out loud while provoking additional thought--your question gives new meaning to the phrase "gut-brain axis."
Okay, I'll be serious for just a moment. I'd never dare challenge any of the luminaries you so wittily paraphrased, but as with so many other things I don't think this is cut and dried.
Maybe I'm lucky to be so old, because I think I do in fact have a vigorous, well-educated immune system. I grew up without central plumbing and was a dirty, dirty girl in constant contact with a wide variety of domesticated and wild animals/plants. (Yes, in those times I suffered pin worms and other "old friends.)
So why, then, was I so sick a year ago and why did my many chronic symptoms disappear within 30 days of "going paleo?" Well, for one thing, I'd been given some heavy-duty antibiotics. Within the context of today's discussion, perhaps I rebounded so quickly because I DO have a great immune system. Yes, my gut flora were pathetic but I and they responded wonderfully to whole foods, water kefir and (later) home-made yogurt.
My career of "pure paleo" was about 3 months long and, ever since, I've steadily expanded what I eat. I am careful to eat a diet dominated by whole foods, but I'm also throwing in small quantities of pretty much whatever strikes my fancy. My only remaining rule is that anything I eat has to provide some level of nutritional or medicinal value. No empty calories, no manufactured food-like products.
My area of "yes, but ..." with Dr Harris is that modern hunter/gatherers may indeed get the majority of their calories from meat and tubers but the many decades of documentaries I enjoyed in my life always showed they also consumed many lower-density plants and fruits. And I do the same. While at least 60-75% of my nutrients come from meat and starch, about 50% of my food volume comes from greens and non-starchy vegetables and low-, moderate-fructose fruits.
I don't agree we should dismiss the importance of those foods just because they don't provide the nutrient density--I believe they support my rehabilitated gut flora.
I feel compelled to agree with the "paleo band-aid" concept even though years ago, I would have absolutely toed the paleo party line - i.e., "just eat paleo for an indeterminate period of time and your health problems will magically go away." I realize no one likes this concept around here, as indicated by my absence of votes, however I am hanging out on Paleo Hacks, after all. Owing to the fact that 4 years ago I adopted a rather paleo-ish diet (which got increasingly paleo-puritanical) and managed to expel some evil spirits with antifungals and the like - and realized how much better I felt with less carbs, no gluten or dairy and processed evil SAD food - I think a part of me still really does want to believe that paleo will fix me, somehow, some way, eventually. Otherwise it would be easier to just stop thinking about diet, lurking around Hacks and hoping that some glittering comment, sprinkled with twinkling unicorn sparkles, can dispel my increasingly entrenched pessimism. Seriously, I do wish something as easy as dietary changes - other than eating almost no variety of foods - could fix me.
I think I'm a good example of a canary in the coalmine of modern dietary/etc. distortion, as others have mentioned. I was born caesarian section; I had an ultra-sterile home owing to ultra-zealous clean freakiness; I had round after round after round (about a dozen instances) of broad-spectrum antibiotics for an infectious cyst when I was a teenager because I had no PCP because I had no health insurance; I downed aspartame, in diet Pepsi and coffee, like there was no tomorrow (if I only I knew!) because it was addictive and everyone said it's safe! it's not like you're freebasing it or something!; I loaded up on high-phenol foods for a period more recently, when the shiznit really hit the fan; I experienced an arseload of stress throughout the years...etc. etc. I'm now "intolerant" or hypersensitive to damn near everything - what's the name for that? Multiple Chemical Sensitivity? Environmental Illness? Whatever it is...FML.
I'm glad Nance and others have played in the dirt because we need some functioning human beings on this planet, but at 29 years old I can only deeply wish I were born in the dirt and not in the dustbin. After 4 years of pounding probiotics and cod liver oil, eating raw sauerkraut and homemade yogurt, loading up on "antioxidants" (woops), doing chants and incantations...I only feel nearly 100% well, fasting-induced adrenaline-junkiness notwithstanding, when I'm not eating. The only dietary fix that works now is NO diet, no food, no paleo, no sparkly unicorn excretions.
To quote Death Cab:
"Cause I built you a home in my heart With rotten wood; it decayed from the start.
Cause you can't find nothing at all, If there was nothing there all along. No you can't find nothing at all, If there was nothing there all along."
Ha! Let the no/negative voting ensue.
Fecal transplant, anyone? No, seriously, this kind of makes sense. Recent research has shown that T2 diabetes is linked to gut microbes (the same ones that cause ulcers). http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/03/14/diabetes-linked-to-ulcer-causing-bacteria/
Perhaps instead of diet - fats or sugars or SAD - the escalating problem with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, you name it can be blamed on hyper-hygienic parenting, disinfectant soaps, an obsession with cleanliness, overuse of antibiotics in infants and small children (and the population in general) and an increase in cesearian births?
Dare I suggest (again) that it's the microbiome that's in charge here? Maybe it's a survival of the fittest kind of thing? We mess with them too much, they kill us off. We have to think long term strategy here. I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. And I'm not talking about lettuce.
So why the deletion of comments you don't like, Melissa? Because you'd rather Kurt's view of the Livin' La Vida Low Cred empire not gain any serious traction? Or maybe you're a closest Jimmy Moore fangirl? The former is alarming enough; the latter just scary.
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