Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Carbs Make Me Cry

Lately I've been reading up on nutrition  in an effort to find a solution to Teenager Who Lives in the Basement's (TWLITB) health issues.  If I haven't mentioned it before,  TWLITB has Crohn's and arthritis, two inflammatory health concerns that go hand in hand.  The solutions to date have been pharmaceutical. His doctors are trying to find  the right combination that will calm both issues. The arthritis is under control but the Crohn's continues to be a problem.  It seems reasonable to assume that if  the issue is intestinal, there may be a dietary answer, which is why I've been doing all the reading.  There. Now you are all caught up on the boring back story.  We're talking about yucky intestinal stuff.  Welcome to my blog.

One of the more interesting things I've come across is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, based on the idea that certain carbs are easily digested by the body while others help flora take over our intestines.  Flora sounds like a field of wild flowers in Hawaii, I know, but apparently it is more like Las Vegas-a little is good; a lot is bad for your health.

In addition, I've read some chapters from  Grain Brain, which claims gluten is the root of all evil and will rot your brain.   Not exactly what my mother told me, but she's not a doctor.  Then I picked up Wheat Belly, which also feels gluten is an asshole, but is more insulted by the muffin top it encourages than the brain rot issue. Both of these books claim that a gluten free diet will relieve intestinal issues and get rid of our national debt.  I'm lying about that last part.  Unless you consider sky high medical costs.  If you consider that and apply it to the national debt, there is the implication that debt would be relieved at a national level. 

Finally, I've been reading about the dreaded Nightshades.  The Nightshades sound like evil shadows from a Sci-Fi romance but are, in fact, vegetables, herbs, shrubs and trees containing alkaloids, which can affect nerve/muscle and digestive functions.  Some of the more common nightshades are eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes.  

Needless to say,  all of these books, compared to one another, contain similarities and contradictions.  They all seem factual, well researched and, when you read them, perfectly reasonable.  They all seem worth a try. None are really in line with the good news that whole grains should be a main component of our diet according to the USDA, but then again, who can really trust the USDA after all those years of 6-11 recommended servings of breads/grains a day?  Not me.  I still resent them.

Anyway, this is why carbs make me cry. Teenage boys love a crappy carb diet more than they love SpongeBob reruns and League of Legends.  TWLITB is no exception and the idea that he needs to eat burgers without buns doesn't sit well, so there's a battle on the horizon.  A battle that, once fought, may prove fruitless after all.

(Get it?  Fruitless?  Fruits have carbs y'all!  But I'm not getting rid of fruit, don't worry.  Regardless of what the acupuncturist recommended, there will be no scurvy in the Chicken household.  Where was I?  Oh, yes, I remember.  It may be all for nothing.)  

However, TWLITB deserves a lifestyle that doesn't include a painful limp and anxiety over bathroom proximity,  not to mention a decent night's sleep. If that entails more care in our food choices around here, then the chicken family will suck it up for TWLITB.  It would just be nice if there was one clear answer. Are any of you living with inflammatory issues? Do you eat a special diet?  

Chicken out



22 comments:

  1. I have no experience to share with you, but you have my sympathy and best wishes for your teenager. It's very hard to watch one of your kids suffer.

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    1. Thanks Geezers, I appreciate that. Although, some days, I enjoy watching my teenager suffer, teenagers being the PITAs they are. Does that make me a bad person:-)

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  2. When stumped I usually google miracle cures.
    Try this one, ingid@bioethika.com
    Never give up working on the mind, it can heal anything.
    My prayers for recovery.

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    1. Carlos! That's a different take. I looked at the website and it is very interesting. I'll do more reading and thank you for weighing in. It is nice to hear from you

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  3. Oh, Chicken...I could write a whole other post to weigh in on yours. First of all, what a shame about your son's health issues. What a bite! (no pun intended) I live on a low carb diet from the aspect of avoiding the muffin top but I, too have read contradictory views on carbs,...good or bad?. I agree that they all sound so logical but totally opposing views.

    Being a teenage boy dealing with this ...that has to be tough. I am totally prepared to eat burgers without buns but I wouldn't expect my son to go for it. Still it would be nice to know the real story on what the right diet is for certain health issues. I am convinced the food we eat has a huge impact on each of our bodies unique make-up. I sincerely hope you find some things that help your son.

    Your triangle is so right. Healthy food is expensive but then pharmaceuticals are ridiculously costly as well.

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    1. Thanks Cheryl-I think you hit the nail on the head-different people respond differently, thus all the dead-ends. I have a good friend who is slowly but surely becoming self-sustaining. They grow/raise a lot of their own food. When the apocalypse hits, I'm heading there. I'm going to show up on the doorstep like the lazy friends who did not help sow the wheat, grow the wheat, cut the wheat, etc. I'm putting aside a collection of fine wines as bribe material. I'm hoping the bottles don't break en route

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  4. I'm so very sorry he, and all of you, are having to deal with this. I try to abide by a high protein low carb diet, although I don't always succeed. I really hope you are able to piece together something that will make a marked difference for him.

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    1. Hi Shelly, thank you, I'm like you in that I try, but it is nice to know that you have the option to go off the diet. I know we'll find the right fit for him. This is still a little new to us.

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  5. I do know someone who found relief from Crohn's by going gluten-free. However, I also know someone who was certain she had to live gluten-free until she went to Italy and decided, "What the hell, I'm eating this bread," and then she had no negative side effects. Turns out the flour is different.

    What she's done in the years since that watershed moment is to become an expert bread baker, and she only cooks sourdough, as something about that fermentation renders the offending wheat-stuff neutralized. So now she eats bread like crazy, but only her own sourdough.

    Now I'm just typing out my butt (no mean feat), but I'd also suggest maybe, as long as you're playing around with diet, trying other fermented stuff; we have a counter space devoted to making our own kefir, both a milk and a water version. Homemade probiotics, I guess you could call them. Anyhow, our guts are happier places.

    Mostly, I feel for your boy and for his handlers. Poor kid.

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    1. Hi Jocelyn, I've wondered about wheat from other sources. Two of the books I looked at talk about how our wheat now is not the same as our grand parents used and that is why there are problems. It makes sense that wheat from another country might yield a different result. And I love sourdough. One book recommends making your own yogurt....is that similar to Kefir? I'll look it up:-) Thanks for the suggestions and sympathy.

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  6. My daughter and I have intestinal issues different from your son's, so what works for us (mild colitis, IBS) may not be applicable; we have to limit our intake of fruits and vegetables whereas wheat is not an issue, except from a weight standpoint. There is a fine balance to be maintained.

    So the only advice I might offer is to encourage your son to think like an Olympian (unless, of course, he hates sports) - I recently saw a clip on TV about the Hamelin brothers (Canadian speedskaters) which showed their supper for that day - they cooked up ground beef and a big pot of vegetables, mixed it all up - and that was it. Protein and vegs. Food of champions! They have a bigger goal and they do what it takes to reach it. Your son has a bigger goal, too - to feel better.

    There are also gluten-free baked goods, but as you pointed out, they cost so much.

    I am so sorry your son and you are going through this. Having a child with a chronic illness changes the child and it changes you and it changes the rest of the family. It makes the child grow up faster. It makes a little rock lodge in the pit of the parent's stomach. It also makes the whole family more aware and empathetic about others' health issues. Good luck as you weed through the literature and try to make it work.

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    1. Thanks Jenny-eat like an Olympian! I love that. I knew a runner once who pretty much lived on plain spaghetti. No oil, butter, sauce, nothing. This was back when carbs were good for you:-) I am sorry you and your daughter have similar issues.

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  7. I have what can euphemistically be referred to as IBS. I do SO MUCH BETTER on a high protein, low carb diet. I can't begin to tell you. Well, I can, but it will require drinks (preferably gin because, hey, low carbs).

    I can't imagine that it will be a diet that a teenager would necessarily enjoy, but what the hell -- the formative years are hell.

    :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Hi Pearl, well that's a good point. I never promised him a rose garden. I'm sorry you have experience with this genre of ailment, too.

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  8. Oh Chicken, I feel for the boy and for you as his parent. I picked up Wheat Belly and as overwhelmed by the information. I flipped through the book and found a list of foods I thought the author was promoting, (they seemed gluten-free to me) and then found those were also on the no-no list. Thinking of you all and hoping for a solution!

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    1. Hi BB-there's a lot of stuff on the no-no list for sure. What's perplexing is that other books have no-no lists that don't necessarily coincide, but that's part of being a living being, though. We're all special. Hopefully one of these darn diets agrees with him. In the meantime I told him not to eat anything. Maybe an empty intestines will do the trick. I'm kidding. He said that. I thought it was funny.

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  9. I agree with your title and picture at the end. How frustrating trying to figure all of this out! Good luck to you and the guy downstairs.

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  10. Gluten belly? I might have that. Or maybe mine is glutton belly? (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

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    1. I suffer from a bit of the glutton belly right around the holidays every year.

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  11. Oh that's a tough one. When ailments dictate diet - and particularly for the young, it's so difficult. I know a couple of people who swear by Wheat Belly. I hope he's feeling better soon and that the cure is not too difficult to employ. Good luck.

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