If an employee works just 2 hours a week, they are still technically on the payroll. What if we treated the internal mechanisms that handle food toxins like super part time employees just to keep em around? Dr Ayres says that we shouldn't fear bacteria because diversity can promote a strengthened immunity. Might this apply to poor food choices? What about the 3 horseman? Wheat, Linoleic Acid, and Sugar (primarily fructose).
Every now and then I will eat something on purpose that completely doesn't qualify, like pizza, regular pasta, chips and salsa, or maybe some bread and butter if out at a restaurant, or maybe just order whatever meal I want at a restaurant, regardless of the healthiness factor.
Sounds pretty odd, but usually I feel just fine after doing this, and sometimes even better than when I eat the good stuff. And I know we cannot go off of 'feeling' as the measuring stick. I remember reading a comment by one hacker that asked something like "why yould you want to eat a certain food item every now and then just so that you will not develop an allergy to that particular item due to abstinence". In other words, if you know it's bad for you, then developing an allergy to it shouldn't be a problem. But I am very reluctant with that idea. I would estimate that I am at least 90%, maybe more, so I don't mind a few crazy meals here and there and I think the freedom to be able to eat whatever whenever is a great thing in the context of an otherwise purposefully healthy lifestyle.
Aside from eating/drinking sugary items (which I don't think hold any particular value for the body), is it possible that occasionally eating some of the items that we all know don't qualify could be good overall due to some kind of hormetic bodily response that strengthens immunity? I'm not talking about 'cheating' for psychological sanity. I'm talking about actual physiological reactions to ingesting some foods we normally consider poor choices.
My hunch is no.
The line between "toxic foods" and "clean foods" is not as clean as reading paleohacks might have one believe. We can digest and absorb a variety of foods, including frankenfoods. The reason we didn't eat wheat before is not because it would kill us, rather that it's not so nutritious and is quite bad for the gut without lots of processing (and still not great after that).
Rather than a hormetic effect, it might be good to do stuff like give a kid some wheat just because they will be confronted with it later on in life. Because we live in the real world, not in the paleolithic world, there may be issues with adapting to that world, for those paleo babies out there.
I think it's important to distinguish what exactly is meant by toxic. Most have focused on the kinds of foods that cause allergies or sensitivities, but I categorize toxins as the kinds of things that cause cancer, like pesticides, BPA, PFCs and other chemicals that have been studied and shown to be endocrine disruptors, etc. I don't see any good reason to purposely ingest any of those. Probably no good reasons to ingest HFCS, either.
One disadvantage that justanotherhunt hints at is that some of these foods are addictive, and that "just one time" may trigger a lot of cravings in the future or even help put you back on the slides to SAD. I've indulged in a few things lately, and am having much more cravings now and harder time resisting urges that I didn't have for over a year (namely chocolate).
I learned years ago that anyone can become allergic to anything at any time. Since then, I've seen this happen to others, some who were exposed regularly to the newly harmful substance, some exposed occasionally, and some only once in a while. I also read results of some studies a few years ago that some people become more likely to develop an allergy to bees the more times they are stung. Hormesis may be very effective for some things, not others. I don't know that there is a flat solution or one size fits all for this.
There are toxic byproducts occurring as a result of the digestion of 100% "clean" foods, so I'm not sure if there's a positive hormesis effect or if it might just be comforting to think of these meals as such. In essence the implication is that in your case it's better to eat some gluten than none at all and that abstaining completely will result in a gluten deficiency. I'm not sure I'd agree. If you're going to choose something like that, maybe eating a bunch of honey or something would be more biologically appropriate.
3 of the 4 cheats you mentioned(pizza, pasta, bread) contain lots of gluten which can have a drug-like effect that is especially apparent after you avoid gluten for so long.
The "feel good or better than usual" is probably just the Gluten exorphins(like the drug morphine) having their euphoric, relaxing opiate effect on your brain and body and you suddenly feel it wasn't bad afterall.
When I was not paleo and only gluten free I ate couscous on accident cause I thought it was made with gluten free grains. I remember having a very happy, almost stimulated and giddy/euphoric mood after eating a bowl of it. I had muscle relaxation as well....then I felt horrible hours later and the worst symptoms happened 1-2 days later.
You may be more tolerant to gluten than others(especially if you have mostly Germanic blood/northern European) and are just enjoying a nice high from these foods lol. It's probably not the worst for you but I wouldn't get into the habit of eating it often. For some people it takes lots of re-exposure for it to hjack your body or cause symptoms or permanent damage to the gut.
I'm convinced that cheating on gluten is far worse than cheating with gluten free baked cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls made with good ingredients, even if they contain sugar.
Another thing to keep in mind that if you eat at a restaurant their breads always contain terrible additives like high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, MSG, dough conditioners, cheap flour.
Most pizza places use MSG unless you're eating at TOP NOTCH places that cut NO corners. Some way or another these industrial additives make their way into the food we have loved.
I like this question. I don't know the answer. While I used to be "sensitive" to dairy and feel average after I ingested some, it CRUSHES me now anytime I have any. If nothing else, this can be inconvenient if I'm eating out or at a gathering and accidently have some in a food I thought was "clean." I have often thought that I should add in some here and there when I know that if I have some negative effects, I have time to myself to work through (e.g. a Sunday afternoon).
It's definitely plausible. Perhaps wheat would be hormetic in small amounts? The problem is finding the bottom of that j curve though. How do you know when the negatives outweigh the positives?
Also, some things, like linoleic acid, just aren't hormetic.
Well, you should frequent the hormesis website where we discuss this very question. There is a lot of information on hormesis there and there is a forum where we experiment with hormesis and discuss it. My answer is "YES". The most familiar form of hormesis is resistance weight training, as it is a type of damage that makes you eventually stronger and better if done at the right dose. This website carries some of the best scholarly articles on hormesis.