Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What if neither Paleo nor Gluten Sensitivity Exist?

Is gluten sensitivity code for "i eat mostly processed foods - and i feel kinda crap" and paleo means "but now that i'm eating mostly whole food, wow, i feel so much better." But what if neither Paleo nor Gluten senstivity, per se, existed?

See, i'm guessing if we knew something about food - if we were really taught something about what FOOD is (hint: it's not just calories - calories is a measure - that's like saying gold is the same as ounces) -we'd stop saying we feel bad because of a condition (like gluten sensitivity) or better because we're eating paleo, like our ancestors.

But because we don't have simple simple knowledge about food (i don't mean protein vs carbs, or calories, i mean food), we are pushed to understand ourselves in terms of conditions, don't we? like "gluten sensitivity" where a solution is the "paleo diet".

I put gluten/paleo together, because, it you follow diet lore at all, you may also have noticed the strong connection people on the Paleo planet tend to assert about Gluten sensitivity - and the quest to banish grains, legumes and of course, donuts. Not bacon, just donuts.
hang in there - reason for this pic coming below

Paleo/Gluteno - Neither Exist, much?

I also bring this connection between the supposedly gluten sensitive and the paleo particular because, well, neither may exist.

Gluten Sensitivity Revisited The gluten sensitivity issue has been revisited of late.  Turns out it's not really there (here's an overview of the study and here's a lovely discussion by TC Luoma about this change of tack).

And yet there are SO MANY folks who go paleo who say all their gluten woes and feelings have gone; they're healthy again, once they go paleo - in brief, lots of meat, and some fruit and greenery.

Fantastic. that response is likely real.

Paleo Plurality - Grains and Tubers are Real - Real old. But Paleo folk may also be talking kinda nonsense about legumes as part of their rebirth to eating better enthusiasm (as per brian st. piere's  paleo overview)

The Real paleo dietS - plural

SO i'm just thinking
maybe "gluten sensitivity" if we unpacked what's going on with folks' eating practices
may just be code for "i eat or have eaten mostly processed foods"
paleo - again if we looked at folks' real eating for a month or so - is code for "now i'm eating mostly whole foods, i feel better"

Just a thought.

Thought 2 Externalising responsibility?

 hmm - if that's the case - that perhaps we just feel better when we eat more real whole food - what value does "gluten sensitivity" and "paleo" as a label give us?

My sense is that both are externalising practices.

If i have a gluten sensitivity then it's not my fault - nothing to do with me - that this is happening to me.

I don't have to interrogate anymore if i have anything to do with how i am: it's the disease.
Likewise going to a new practice with the fervour of the convert like Paleo as Truth again says it's because of something primal that is about our ancestors - nothing to do with me.

I'm still a little fuzzy there, but Paleo does say in a way this stuff - bread for instance - is bad cuz it's not what Generation Paleo ate and we haven't adapted so if you eat that, you're Bad; you're putting toxins into your system.

As opposed to - maybe the issue is amount rather than exclusion? It's something about me not having a very good model for my body? or about Food (perhaps see this post on calories vs nutrition), or about food and my body?

In other words, do we let ourselves off the hook too easily about conditions and diets without having a better handle on how to evaluate the degree to which any of these things are true for us? Are we missing a culture of science? and by science i mean understanding how to frame a question against an assertion and evaluating it?

eg: hypothesis:
apparently there's science to suggest that eating mostly processed foods means that i'm not getting enough nutrients and if i do that, these are the side effects: a,b,c
Ok i will test this claim by finding some unprocessed foods, and eating that for awhile and see how i do on those measures of a,b,c - i will seek some advice on how long i'd need to do that to see a change, figure out some strategies to build this experiment and go for it.

If i really wanted to understand just my response to all foods, i could go all out with an elimination diet and work my way back from there. I could get blood work around a variety of markers if i really wanted to geek out - or hell, i could even get genetic testing of my telomere length. I could practice eating slower; i could eat less.

We're COMPLEX SYSTEMS - many things will "work" - but what is real for us? what might be optimal for us? That's going to take time to explore, is it not, with so many variables?

Experiment in a box : Self-Explorers; Explorers of Self

We're actually building apps (one called experiment in a box) to help students and well, anyone, create grounded experiments / claims in order to see if what the claims are, are true

(if you want to try an android app version of one eating experiment to eat a whole food protein and some kinda greens each time you eat (along with whatever else you want) let me know this week, and we'll get you in on the trial)

let's learn how to make maps; be self-explorers
Maybe we need to learn about how to do fantastic, meaningful experiments of one, have more nuanced conversations with each other about practice - rather than get all zealy about complex systems - like us - where there's always more than one thing going on.

Let's find out more about OUR contribution to our state; let's help ensure our education systems, our engagement supports learning the know-how to do so meaningfully??

Just another thought


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