Category: Gut Health
A few weeks ago I got into an unusual conversation with a guy in a coffee shop. We were both passing through town – he for personal travel and me for business. We struck up a conversation waiting in line and ended up chatting for the remainder of our respective stops there. We talked about what we did, where we were headed, etc. When I mentioned the blog and the PB philosophy behind it, his face lit up. He loved the idea and had embraced similar principles several years prior. His latest experiment, the health effects of which he raved about, was adding dirt to his diet. I listened with interest and asked questions.
You all know I’m big on dirt, and more specifically, on probiotic supplementation. And while I’ve touched on the health benefits of dirt, the immune building properties of dirt consumption in children, and the connection between dirt and clinical depression in youngsters, I’ve never met anyone who made a personal habit of dirt ingestion. I’d heard of the practice in traditional societies, but it had always been one of those concepts I’d thought about in passing and tabled for another time. The idea has been on my mind ever since that exchange.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health
I’m really liking these Monday morning rapid fire question-and-answer sessions – are you? At some point, I’ll get back to the musings, but as long as you keep sending in great questions, I’ll probably keep answering them. We’ve got four this week: vinegar and its effect on insulin levels, sugar and DNA damage, the nutritional merits of lactose-free milk, and whether Miracle Noodles are Primal. So let’s get started.
I have read that apparently cider vinegar influences/ reduces insulin level after a high carb meal. I was wondering what Grock’s view on this point is?
Thank you for looking into this & your time.
Carbs, Dairy, Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health, Sugar
I enjoyed answering your questions last week, so let’s do it again today. We’ve got another triad this time, including another question from Hilde. There’s going to be a lot of fiber talk, some fecal discussion, and even a few bits regarding multi-level marketing schemes. I’m also going to discuss the virulent menace that is the vanilla bean.
(Looking back at the title I just wrote, it sounds like the ingredients for a disgusting raw vegan dessert. Some lukewarm thing with the consistency of paste sloppily shoved into the shape of a brownie and sold for six bucks at the farmers’ market. Yum.)
Okay, on to the questions:
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health
Things are nice and clean nowadays. You can easily go a day without seeing a single speck of visible dirt, while hand sanitizer stations dotting the modern landscape take care of the less visible stuff. This is, of course, an environmental novelty with big implications. We”re all familiar with how the extreme sterility of modern environments negatively impacts the ability of our immune systems to do their jobs. We get more exaggerated and sustained inflammatory responses to things that don’t really merit them. We get a lot more asthma and allergies, especially as kids. Well, a recent review in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests it goes even further – all the way to clinical depression. To be more precise, dysfunctional inflammatory responses of imbalanced immune systems due to sterile environments are causing depression in kids. A lack of exposure to “old friends,” or the microorganisms normally present in dirt, food, and the gut, increase levels of depressogenic cytokines, so the natural inflammatory response to psychosocial stressors is “inappropriately aggressive.”
So, like I’ve said a bunch of times already, don’t fear the dirt. Exercise caution, however, when using this study as justification for shirking household chores.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health, Mindfulness, Personal Improvement, Primal Lifestyle
And now for another round of Monday Musings…
Let’s Talk Sh**
Poop is the new probiotic. Doctors have been using fecal transplants as a “last resort,” mostly to treat the rising scourge of Clostridium difficile, a gut bug that affects about 250,000 Americans every year and proves extremely resistant to antibiotics. Shooting a fecal extract from healthy people into the C. diff-ridden colons of the affected has a 95% success rate. Some docs are pushing for the last resort to be the go-to move. I can’t argue with that.
But gut health isn’t just about acute infection. It’s also about basic metabolic health. A study showed that sterile mice receiving a fecal transplant from obese mice gained more weight than sterile mice who received transplants from lean mice. And most recently, a Dutch pilot study gave 18 obese males with pronounced metabolic syndrome fecal transplants from lean individuals. They did not lose weight, but they did experience improved insulin sensitivity and triglyceride numbers. These improvements reverted after about 12 weeks.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health, Primal Lifestyle, Sleep
Modern life presents endless deviations from our primal beginnings. Some clearly have no place in the success of our species (e.g. Ding Dongs). Others may present unprecedented, welcome benefits (e.g. year round access to a veritable cornucopia of Primal goodies like macadamia nuts – my personal favorite). Finally, there are those “additions,” current customs really, that feel idiosyncratic but relatively innocuous. The contemporary obsession with hair might qualify for this eccentric but harmless category – or maybe not. What about the goop we slather on our noggins? Is it another case of sanitizing ourselves into an unhealthy existence? Will I become an eternal greaseball without my daily indulgence in froth and foam? There’s a movement afoot – “poo-less,” as it’s often called – that has something to say about it. Kicking the suds habit, poo-less advocates suggest, not only allows for less toxic, less expensive living but opens the door to a better head of hair itself.
Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health