Merigian Studios


That's Good For Business

That's Good For Business

Fall is the time of year when all of us feel a sense of transition. It is different than the seasonal spring transition, one that brings us a sense of losing our old skin or looking forward to a new day of warm sunshine. Traditionally fall crop harvesting meant a time of rest for the farmer, although it was a short rest, it was a well deserved respite from the daily toils in the fields.

As I reflect on the past sixteen years or more of practicing at the Stone Institute, I realize that the fall season brings great challenges to patients who need to stay on track, avoiding foods that are frequently showcased at parties and get togethers of family and friends. Food is one of our greatest benefits in America for those who can afford to eat. But the abundance and character of the food we eat can eventually kill us in so many ways.

I sometimes wish there was a way to magically change the reality of food choices we have all around us. It is no secret that when our stress recovery hormone cortisol elevates in our bloodstream, we experience an intense craving for starch or sugar. Just watching a silly football game can create such intense psychosocial stress that many of us could eat an entire chocolate pie and still maybe not be satisfied, especially if our team loses.

What is mysterious to me is how hunter-gatherers ten thousand years ago satisfied their cravings for starch or sugar after escaping from a predator. How did those roving primitive family units resolve that intense desire for something sweet? I believe they probably did not experience those cravings, since the likelihood of them picking Twinkies off of a Twinkie tree was extremely remote. The people of New Guinea were probably the first to domesticate sugarcane, sometime around eight thousand B.C. However, the extraction and purifying technology techniques were developed by people who lived in India. One could make a case for Paleo man to have eaten fruits, but not every stressful life event occurs during a season when fruits are ripened enough to be sweet. Have you ever bit into an unripe persimmon? It only happens once in your life.

I have encountered countless stories and/or medical histories of patient illness, the sum total of the effects of grains, starches and sugar on our collective health is probably more damaging than the sum total of smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and doing recreational drugs including heroin, marijuana and cocaine. Although the rise in consumption of these illicit substances seems to be on the rise, the increases in the incidence of type one and two Diabetes Mellitus far out numbers the number of new addicts and drug dependent abusers.

What is also compounding the population's fascination with eating comfort foods (a term I learned living in Memphis for anything starchy or sugary that soothes one's cravings) is that babies are being born with an imprint of their mother's food cravings in their baby's metabolic profile. I call this disturbance the Dutch Winter Baby Syndrome. This is not a genetic issue, it is an epigenetic phenomenon.

Recently, I have evaluated several elementary school aged children who were fatigued, underperforming in school and seldom, if ever, going outside to play with their friends. A couple of them had no friends because of their overweight size. In any human, fasting insulin levels should be below ten units/milliliter. It is best to have a fasting insulin level below five units/milliliter. These children have fasting blood insulin levels in excess of fifty units/milliliter. The complete biochemical explanation of the ins and outs of insulin regulation is beyond the scope of this blog, however these levels are absurdly high. What is uncanny is that most, if not all of these children, were born to stressed out mothers who craved starch and sugar throughout their entire pregnancy. I listen to public broadcasts on television and radio expressing the need for children to participate in some sort of physical exercise or play at least one or a two hour duration daily to help reduce the rising incidence of Type Two Diabetes Mellitus in America's childhood population. Although well intentioned, that is a ridiculous solution aimed at reversing a child's metabolic imprint from birth. It does not work.

The answer to high fasting blood insulin levels is quite simple: do not eat starch, grains, cereals, fruit, sugar or natural sugar substitutes, legumes, candy or processed foods with any form of sugar in them. I have seen dramatic drops in fasting insulin levels just after three or four weeks of modifying foods and keeping people, including children, on a modified Paleo plan. It's not easy to maintain a modified Paleo food plan because the entire American population has a fixation with carbohydrates in some form or fashion, most believing that sugar, starch, grains, cereals, fruit and sugar substitutes like maple syrup and honey is not only good for them, but a necessity for a well balanced diet. As someone in Jonestown once said, "They've all drank the Kool-Aid."

I give credit to the entire food industry for convincing our allegedly well educated American population that sugar in all of its forms is a necessity for healthy bodies and healthy minds. The truth of the matter is that sugar in all of its forms is killing us slowly and surely. But most American's cannot handle the truth about almost anything, much less proper food consumption and healthy eating.

Last week someone asked me what I was giving out for Halloween. I told her that I purchased over one hundred small bottles of vodka from a local liquor store, planning to give them out for Halloween to all the trick or treaters." She looked at me as if I had crossed an imaginary line of decency and respectable adulthood. I further commented, "I chose alcohol because Tennessee hasn't yet approved Marijuana for recreational use." She couldn't bear the thought of someone giving small children an addictive illicit substance for Halloween as a treat. I asked her, "What are you giving out?" She said with dignity and righteousness, "Candy bars. Full size candy bars. Different kinds. I'll give two of them to the best looking costumes!"

I smiled and said, "At least we have something in common. We're both gonna make our future generations unhealthy. That's good for business. Very good."


Posted by Amanda Sanders at 10:45 AM
Share |