1-When I was a kid I wanted to gain weight. I was one of those annoying skinny people that could eat whatever he wanted and not gain an ounce. Tired of having “Malnutrition” as a nickname, I asked my doctor what I should do to gain weight. He said I should blend a shake everyday with whole milk, raw eggs, nuts… I cut him off.
Even as a child I was more into health than the average person. I said to my doctor, “whole milk? Raw eggs? What about all that fat and cholesterol?” He looked at me and said, “Jeff I could intravenously hook you up to a bag of cholesterol and with your metabolism your numbers wouldn’t go up.”
I never did get into the raw egg thing but his point was well taken. Based on how I would go on to eat, my cholesterol should have been over a thousand! It has always hovered between 130 and 190 and has never broken 200.
So the good advice I was reading about watching cholesterol, while not technically bad advice, according to my doctor, didn’t apply to me.
Today there is a debate going on about dietary cholesterol, the cholesterol your body creates on its own and how your number is what it is. And in some circles, egg yolks are not portrayed as the artery clogging demons they were when I was a child.
2- Reportedly, another good piece of health advice is not to drink any liquids thirty minutes before or after a meal as it dilutes stomach acid and enzymes and interferes with digestion. I had been adhering to this seemingly accurate piece of advice for many years.
Unfortunately I suffer from something called laryngopharyngeal reflux. LPR, also known as the silent reflux, is similar (but also different) to traditional acid reflux. One difference is that the sufferer may not experience heartburn ergo why it is called “silent”.
Part of my diagnosis was arrived at by implanting something on my esophagus that would transmit the acid levels to a device I was wearing on my belt. The first observation I made was almost every time I burped (which was frequent) my acid levels rose. A second observation was every time I sipped water my acid level went back down.
So guess who doesn’t wait a half hour before sipping water after he eats? (I still avoid drinking while eating and before. Unless I’m belching and then all bets are off.)
3- Genetically modified food and the public’s right to know which foods and are not being modified is becoming a bigger and bigger issue. For the record I am a big advocate of the right to know. And when given a choice, I buy Non-GMO. I am also buying more and more organic versus hormone and pesticide infected food.
However, just because something is Non-GMO and organic, doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with sugar or sodium. In other words, the other principles of good nutrition do not go out the window because it has a Non-GMO and or organic label on it.
4- As Americans continue to gain weight and health conditions like acid reflux and diabetes continue to soar, it seems like every few years there is a fad to combat it. “Gluten free” seems to be the flavor of the month. You say the word gluten to some people and they react like Simon Cowell would if he were listening to Rosanne Bar audition for The X-Factor.
For people with Celiac disease or who are allergic to gluten by all means go gluten free. For the rest of us, think about this: Gluten can be found in breads and certain grains. If you’re getting your gluten from donuts, pies, white pasta and white bread as opposed to whole grains, than it might not be the gluten that is your problem.
One potential issue with gluten free is if you start eating a lot of rice and rice based products such as pasta made from rice, or cereals and “health” bars with brown rice syrup. The problem being is that there are reports that rice can be high in arsenic, (a poison). And you can’t avoid arsenic with organic or non-GMO rice. A person can start consuming too much rice in their haste to get away from gluten and create a new health problem.
No one is suggesting abandoning rice, but there are other gluten free grains you can rotate into your diet. Quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth, just to name some.
It has been suggested that allergy testing may not pick up a gluten sensitivity so there may not be harm in trying a gluten free diet. My take is to do some research in your reasoning for trying it, discuss it with your health provider, and if it makes sense to you, give it a go.
Which brings me to the fact that I understand it can be confusing and frustrating trying to keep up on healthy eating. Frustration is only further exacerbated when contradictory information comes out.
I do think your physical and mental well-being are worth the effort of reading beyond the headlines and being informed and up to date. Check with your doctor during your yearly physical to see how general information and health headlines of the day correspond to the specific needs of your body.
And while nothing in this blog is meant to replace the advice of a physician, I would suggest not relying solely on western medicine especially if you have a concern that has yet to be satisfactorily addressed via that path.
Before starting any new diet program, or making any diet changes, please check with your doctor and clear any diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian.