Reading list

I mentioned last week that I am implementing some changes in our second Whole30. I’m focusing on inflammation and digestion. The Whole30 diet helps reduce inflammation throughout the body and improves digestion, but for some people there are additional steps that will help if the “standard” W30 isn’t working.

Essentially inflammation is a good thing as an acute reaction but a very bad thing when it’s chronic. One of the mechanisms of inflammation is the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 in the body (which should be 2:1 or 1:1). More on this below. Here’s my reading list that brought about the new plan.

Pork and blood changes

Pork

After reading a study on how pork prepared in various ways affects the blood, I’ve decided to eat only traditionally prepared bacon, smoked sausage and home-marinated pork. This means the sausage recipes I posted in January need to be updated since they were based on unmarinated pork. The pork can either be marinated at home or plain, smoked sausage without casing can be used to improve those recipes. You can also check out these recipes for traditional preparation of pork.

Eggs

I learned that egg whites have an enzyme called lysozyme, which basically shreds any bacteria that makes it through the shell to protect the yolk. This enzyme (and others) can cause gut permeability. I learned about this in Episode 12 of The Paleo Solution (you can read the relevant part in the transcript on pages 28 and 29 and there is also a link to a Q+A that covers lysozyme).

Egg whites can either be removed from the diet or thoroughly cooked. In January I was using a homemade mayo recipe that included raw whole eggs that I no longer make. It’s good to eat the yolks runny or medium (assuming you’re eating pastured eggs) because you want to get the omega-3s, which are heat sensitive. So this time around there will be no raw egg whites, and if I don’t see the changes I’m looking for I’m going to only eat egg yolks for a while.

Nuts

Most nuts have a high omega-6 concentration, which can skew the balance with omega-3s in the body. Nuts also have gut irritants and baby Peter is allergic to several types of nuts. This time around I’m not having any nuts.

I read on Marks’s Daily Apple that whole nuts eaten occasionally are good for you and actually reduce inflammation but I also read on the Paleo Diet Lifestyle that most people would be better off without nuts. It seems like everyone has to make their own decision. One way to make sure you’re not eating too many is to shell them yourself.

This detailed article says omega-6s and omega-3s compete in the body and lowering omega-6s is just as important as getting enough omega-3s.

Nightshades

I thought it was interesting to learn that this family of vegetables is new to the human diet and that tomatoes were originally ornamentals and considered to be poisonous. Robb Wolf has also mentioned on the podcast that most foods can have some positive and some negative effects in the body and that this is a great argument for eating seasonally and rotating foods in and out. I always thought eating locally and seasonally was better for the planet, but it seems it’s also better for our bodies.

I have slowly stopped buying nightshades over the last few months, with tomatoes being the hardest for me to give up. I plan to stay off of them until they are in abundance here in New York in July or August and see if I notice any changes when I reintroduce them.

Chocolate

I’ve noticed that very dark chocolate (85-100% cocoa) and raw cacao really mess with my digestion right now. I read a discussion board with some back and forth on a question entitled Raw cacao: superfood or toxin? and I also read in Suicide by Sugar that when chocolate is eaten with sugar the sugar can make you allergic to chocolate. Hopefully if I abstain for a while and then eat “chocolate” without sugar I’ll be okay. For now, I can get a little of the taste I love with raw cacao butter, which has a subtle chocolate flavor and doesn’t cause me any problems.

Coconut

I’ve also noticed some issues with digestion of some coconut products occasionally (mostly with coconut flakes if I have too many, but also sometimes creamed coconut). This was covered on Episode 45 of the Paleo Solution and Robb suggested trying to stick with just coconut oil for a while. This makes sense to me because I know coconut oil is great for healing the gut. I am also going to have only fresh coconut water/meat occasionally.

No more eating out

I’ve noticed the bruises on my legs returning recently. It might be gluten contamination causing my problem. The servers don’t seem to take it seriously when I tell them I’m allergic to grains/bread. Once I was half way through eating a piece of salmon and found a couple of pieces of penne pasta underneath it. Recently I grilled the grill-master about the ingredients at a place I had never been to and I tried to be very clear that I’m allergic to grains. He assured me the beef was just beef, nothing added. Then they brought it to me stuffed inside a piece of pita bread. (I didn’t eat anything there.)

Whew!

If you don’t think I’m totally crazy by now, keep in mind that this is meant to be temporary. From what I understand, many people can switch to standard Paleo/Whole30 and see nothing but improvements. Since I haven’t seen all the improvements I want, I’m continuing to play around and trying to remove anything that is potentially problematic. Once I get to a better place I can try adding back (one at a time) the foods that I hope to be able to eat again.

Wish me luck!