What’s Considered Food, Part 2

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Great Grandma was right when she said, “You are what you eat.” Too bad she was already dead by the time most of us came along. Since then we have come to believe not in the wisdom of the ages, but in the goddess of convenience.

Real food is what the body was designed to eat: fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes and, yes, even meat. Our modern food system is attempting to trump thousands of years of evolution. How can we believe that health is sustainable with a diet from cheap fast-food chains and highly-processed TV dinners? Clearly we have been brainwashed since GG died and need to realize that chemicals do not a food make.

In Part 1, I convinced you that the topics of food and modern day digestive disorders have everything to do with homesteading. In my own experience, looking back to old world recipes has had an incredible impact on my health. I know so many who have become lactose and/or gluten intolerant, other bodies that are cholesterol-excessed, diabetes-driven, or too readily fat-absorbed. Nearly every complaint, ailment, and disease from arthritis to zits, and dare we suggest cancer too, will someday be traced back to diet, I am quite convinced. Getting back to nature has “cured” countless people of these modern diseases of the digestive system.

I am not a doctor or nutritionist or any other kind of health expert, but I do have a personal experience with several of them. I was having digestive issues for several years that seemed to be getting worse, so I did what most people do, I complained, and agonized, and made excuses, and eventually went to the doctor. A specialist actually, gastrointestinal.

But I also did what not so many people do, I went to a nutritionist as well. These two experiences were like night and day.

In the specialist’s office I waited about an hour before a nurse ushered me into another room to take my vitals and invited me to wait again for the doctor. The doctor spent about five minutes with me, and repeated back to me the same information I had just written on the form. He asked me not one single additional question about my diet or lifestyle before rattling off the long list of tests I would need before I would make an appointment to see him again. These started with extensive blood work and ended with a colonoscopy, and would take several weeks before he would see the complete results and be able to make a reasonable prognosis. I knew I couldn’t wait weeks before beginning to consider possible causes and solutions.

So I made an appointment with a holistic practitioner, a “nutritionist” as she was forced to rename herself after several legal encounters that sounded oddly similar to those malpractice issues chiropractors used to encounter so often. In her office I also waited for nearly an hour, but she immediately apologized for that, and she then took my vitals. So far not all that different from the experience at the specialist’s office, minus the 20 or so patients crowding impatiently in the specialist’s waiting room.

But that’s where things went totally different. She actually read my form and asked dozens of questions based on what I’d written. She peered at my tongue, into my eyes, and examined the beds of my fingernails. She told me on the spot what she thought was wrong with me: intolerance to both wheat and dairy. (NO! I inwardly shrieked, That can’t be!) She advised two herbal medications and told me to read the book Eat Right 4 Your Type. She suggested some simple blood tests to make sure there was nothing more serious happening. I left her office feeling informed and empowered and ready to take action, a very far cry from the irritation and confusion and general helplessness I felt when leaving the gastrointestinal specialist’s office.

I was devastated that she might be right, but thrilled that she gave me something I could try right away. I immediately checked out the book from the library and read it in two days. I started taking the herbal remedies she mentioned, and kept a food journal. I thought I could go about two days without my two favorite foods, three tops, but that was all. Life’s too short to sacrifice so much!

But within two days the symptoms that had driven me to the doctor had disappeared. That gave me the motivation to go three days, then four. She was onto something, the book was right, I felt amazing! After one month other symptoms I thought were totally unrelated also began disappearing. By the time the secretary at the gastrointestinal specialist’s office called to remind me of my follow-up visit, I laughed in her ear and said, “But I’m already CURED!”

After the first year or so of strictly following the diet laid out in Eat Right 4 Your Type, I was totally sold. According to the author, whose father had begun researching the effect of foods on different blood types during his own life, all people with Type O blood have some level of intolerance to wheat and dairy. This causes inflammation, which in turn causes many other symptoms, which in turn become diseases: arthritis, IBS, allergies, fibroids, the list goes on and on.

For me, and a lucky few, total abstinence is not required. Knowing you can still eat your favs makes a huge difference to your perceived deprivation quotient (that is of course only if you haven’t developed to “real disease” stage yet). Whenever I slip and thoroughly enjoy a baguette with Camembert, the symptoms return. But at least I now know why! That is an incredible feeling of empowerment. Just like when you overindulge in alcohol, you get a hangover; there is no mystery there, you know it will go away in a day or so. When I stop ingesting what my body considers poison, the symptoms go away.

Three years later it doesn’t feel like such a sacrifice anymore, because my health is so much better. I have found substitutes I love, and it has been a fun learning experience searching for new foods and recipes. It’s part of the reason I truly believe in the homesteading lifestyle, or any other back-to-nature ideals. The incredibly long process that takes our crops from the fields to our tables has gotten way out of control. We have seperated ourselves so completely from the process of creating our food that not only have we accepted our ignorance, but our bodies are at full-on war against us.

Processed foods rely on many of the same ingredients: wheat, dairy, corn, artificial flavor enhancers, preservatives. But we still go to the medical doctor for the issues that should be solved by a dietician, nutritionist, or natural health practitioners, because they do not require a medical doctor to prescribe yet another medication. The Food & Drug Administration combines foods and drugs for a reason. While this is logical, it is also ironic: nowadays the drug and chemical companies are making sure the foods we eat require more of the drugs they sell.

Don’t pop another pill, make your meals from scratch!

Fascinating food documentaries:
Food, Inc.
King Corn
The Future Of Food