for a complete newb, please feel free to answer this question:
Why should I not be eating a plant based (vegan) diet?
I have an autoimmune disease (spondylitis, or AS) and there is a theory that starch makes this disease worse. There are anecdotes of people switching to a paleo type diet called the London AS Diet or the No Starch Diet and feeling much better.
However, there are doctors such as Dr McDougall who claims that animal protein and fat creates inflammation, so that those with arthritis and other types of diseases should be on a plant based, vegan diet. There are anecdotes of people trying this diet and feeling much better.
Any advice would be much appreciated. I thank you in advance!
One of the greatest benefits of the Paleo diet comes from the removal of harmful substances that aggravate the immune system.
Gluten(from wheat, rye, and barley), lectins(from grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and nightshades), saponins, and certain proteins can all contribute to a condition called "Leaky Gut Syndrome".
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the intestine becomes permeable to substances to which it is normally not. When this happens, things like intact proteins, bacteria, and other substances can cross the gut barrier into the blood, where they are recognized by the immune system and met with a strong immune response.
Some of these substances have structures very similar to our own proteins, and thus, when our immune system attacks them, it may begin causing damage in our own tissues.
Here is a video about the link between diet and Multiple Sclerosis, another autoimmune condition. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZgE-S4m3kI
A second benefit is the rebalancing of omega-3 and omega-6 fat intake. In a typical modern diet, this can be skewed as much as 1:30 in favor of omega-6. Evidence shows that our ancestors probably consumed these fats in a 1:2 or 1:1 ratio. The problem lies in the fact that these fats influence to a large degree inflammation through the production of various eicosanoids.
Eicosanoids are hormones that are involved in cellular signaling and inflammation regulation.
Omega-6 fats tend to produce more inflammatory eicosanoids, so the disproportionate high levels of these fats increase the inflammatory status.
Omega-3 fats tend to produce less inflammatory eicosanoids, and are highly deficient in the typical western diet. The most important fatty acid in this category are EPA and DHA, and they have been shown to have the positive effects on insulin sensitivity, heart disease, etc. Consumption of ALA does not result in very significant raising of EPA/DHA levels.
Hi! I'm HLA-B27 positive with family members with full-blown AS and/or Reiter's Syndrome (we've had some issues with a proper diagnosis since they have a lot of the same markers). You want anecdotes...I got your anecdotes.
Years of lacto-ovo vegetarianism and a short time dabbling in veganism left me with near-crippling arthritis and tendinitis issues. I ate a very "clean" diet high in artisan foods and high-quality, local veggies. It continued when I started eating meat again (not associated with my health, but rather, literally due to smelling bacon and being all "f this noise!")
I became "paleo" almost a year ago in part because I wanted to drop down to my early-20s weight but became convinced after reading some of the anecdotal evidence and discussions about why neolithic foods are especially bad for those of us with inflammatory issues. Sick of watching my father and brother in pain all the time, I figured I'd give it a shot.
I DON'T HURT ANYMORE. NOT EVER.
I am more limber than anytime in my life, including when I was a dancer. I wake up and feel good. I can walk longer without hurting, I don't have issues with repetitive stress, and my joints don't feel like an old woman's anymore.
Starch may or may not feed the bacteria that exacerbate the HLA-B27 illnesses, but I feel it is certain that inflammatory foods like those mentioned by the other responders (grains and vegetable oils being the main culprits) wreak havoc on those of us with this autoimmune condition.
Of course a vegetarian doctor says meat is an inflammatory. You need to read and discover for your self by experimenting on YOURSELF and stop letting other people tell you whats right for YOU. There are several thousand, million threads, blogs and people who can tell you a paleo style diet is great and there are the same amount of people that say the 'xxxxx' diet is the best. The only way to find out is to jump in with both feet 100% strict for at least a month and see what happens. Then you add different foods back in and see how it affects YOU. Good luck.
McDougall is correct, animal fat does cause inflammation. But it is caused by the Omega-6 fats in conventionally raised animals fed grains. The fat profile of grass-fed meat is much different and is much higher in Omega-3. Avoid vegetable oil (corn, soy, and safflower) for the same reason and go for animal fat, such as pastured butter, bacon fat, etc. Coconut oil is okay, though.
In general, the closer you can get to natural, grass-fed animal protein sources the better, in addition to lots of veggies. And staying away from grains and starchy vegetables, such as potatoes.
I'm a little bit leery about overwhelming you with information overload, but I only mention this because I wish that somebody had been there to tell me this when I first started. Also, I see that the theory of omegas 3&6 and eiconsanoid signalling has already been skilfully summarised, so I'll give you some tips about putting it into practice.
Firstly, avoid all vegetable oils; not only are they sky high in O6 (omega-6) e.g. safflower oil 78.4% O6, but they are highly unstable and will be rancid (and therefore damaging/pro-inflammatory) just due to processing. Most nuts are also very high in O6, and so should be avoided (also for other reasons that I'm not going to get into).
Don't be frightened of animal fat; it is a healthful and necessary substance which will displace excess carbohydrate calories from your diet. However, don't assume that all animal fats are automatically low in pro-inflammatory O6 PUFA (polyunsaturated fat). For example, pork/bacon lard is 10.7% O6, duck fat is 12.6% O6 and chicken fat is 20.4% O6.
Equally, not only should Omega-3:6 be consumed in a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio, but total polyunsaturated fats (the unstable group of fats to which O6 and O3 both belong) should ideally be kept to 4% of calories. This is easy to calculate as each gram of fat contains 9 calories. So on a typical 2000 calorie diet, you can consume 8.8 grams PUFA, of which no more than ~4 grams should be O6.
Your animal fat calories should principally come from ruminants like beef (3.2% O6) or lamb/mutton (5.7% O6). Use coconut oil and dairy fats (depending on your tolerance) to add further fat without exceeding O6 targets. Remember that O6 is also found in eggs and (to a lesser extent) dairy. The website nutrition data (although not paleo) is extremely useful, as it will let you see how much O6/3 a food contains.
Remember that your body's stored fat supplies reflect the composition of your dietary fat intake; it can take up to 2 years for the body to purge itself of excess O6 and achieve balance. In the meantime, you may need to supplement with a good quality fish oil if your diet was previously high in O6 and you are losing weight (i.e. your body is liberating O6 from it's supplies).
Oh, and good luck!
Take a look at Peter Hyperlipids post on hla-b27 and Ebringer. Also read the comments, very interesting:
Have you done the no starch diet? Please keep us updated. As a physical therapist I'm interested in the link between AS and diet (although I don't have a lot of AS patients, so I can't give you even one anecdote).
Bernstein is similar to Paleo, but lower carb. There are people who have no AS flares on the Bernstein diet. Yu can post on the diabetes-book forum for more info. I think the omega 3/6 balance is important for everyone but for AS, gluten is also critical.
It's important to realize that there's a ton of information. Experts from every dietary camp can be compelling. The raw foodist can convince you to give up your stove. Self experimentation is the way to validate claims. Try the diet out for thirty days if you don't look, feel, or perform better, if your biomarkers don't improve, then something about the diet isn't working for you. At paleohacks, we'll try to help you figure out what isn't working from a paleo perspective. In my experience, the paleo diet can work well for most folks especially those with autoimmunity problems (my family is an autoimmunity kingdom). I'd pick up the standard paleo reading list -- Robb Wolf's book as well as Good Calories, Bad Calories, The Perfect Health Diet, and for some variety Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Know the conceptual basis for what you're doing! It's not necessary, but damn, it helps. Especially when mom comes knocking at your door worrying about your heart health.
So why should you not eat a plant based diet? That's up for you to decide. You haven't done it before. Perform a little experiment with yourself as the subject. Test it out. Try it out for at least thirty days (I'd love to see three months with that autoimmunity) and report back. If you have the time and the cash to get some before and after blood work done, beautiful. Let's measure that inflammation. Let's check you LDL/HDL and triglycerides. 4 Hour Body has a nice overview of helpful medical test to get done as does Robb Wolf's book. Watch those numbers move. The science is on our side but that's not going to mean anything to you until you try it.
I've been 99% paleo for 2 weeks now... I'm just diagnosed with either AS, PsArthritis or rhieters (reactive). Started taking methotrexate 5 weeks ago....
I'm feeling great... Can't be sure what's working though ... But I really do believe diet is going to sort it!
I'm working on the theory of grains= inflammation (disruption/confusion of the auto immune system)
So I'm still on eggs and nightshades..
All going well, my next appointment will see my rheumy reducing my methotrexate ...
If you have a diet that includes lots of omega 3 fats, found mostly on oily fish any inflammation will be much reduced. Also avoid corn, oil and wheat products. Whenever you choose cow meat, it should be grass fed. Also you can have lots of vegetables as long as you keep your starchs low (ie not much potatoes, etc)
A vegan hunter-gatherer tribe? 7 Answers