Food: Beyond Eating
I saw this image the other day and it has really stuck with me.
The irony of the term, Standard American Diet, and its acronym, SAD, has not escaped me.
Let’s define Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine, or Alternative Medicine.
According to the dictionary,
Western Medicine: (noun) the type of medical treatment that is most popular in North America and Western European countries, based on the use of drugs and surgery to treat symptoms (=signs of illness). In such countries, other types of medical treatments are called alternative medicine or complementary medicine.
Alternative Medicine: (noun) A variety of therapeutic or preventive health-care practices that are not typically taught or practiced in traditional medical communities and offer treatments that differ from standard medical practice. Homeopathy, herbal medicine, and acupuncture are types of alternative medicine.
It isn’t my intention to debate which is better medicine, nor discuss opinions on doctors. But, rather to open your mind to consider Food as healthcare. Perhaps a better way to say that is, Food is what helps you maintain your (good) health; and doctors are trained to evaluate symptoms, and treat the offending aliment.
Most people don’t consider food beyond it’s fundamental function: basic “nutrition”, as giving us energy (in the form of fat, protein and calories), or how food can actually decrease many risk factors for precluding diseases by the type of diet we eat.
Raise your hand if you go to a Family Physician (FP) or Internal Medicine (IM) annually for a physical? All hands raised? Probably not. I bet it is safe assumption that most people typically only go to the doctor when they are sick. As we get older, many people do see their FPs/ IMs more regularly, but it is easy to convince yourself you don’t need to go because you “feel fine”.
Recently, I have made pretty big changes to my diet. Although my previous diet was not horrible, I was eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugars (and some sugar substitutes), foods with unnecessary additives, as well as some “low-fat” foods, that turns out, weren’t helping me stay “healthier”.
Overall, I have felt less tired and less bloated. I no longer full so full that I am tired after a meal, or that my pants are tight at the waist afterwards.
But, I have experienced a small rash on the back of my neck. I know the common treatment is- put some hydrocortisone cream on; and that is fine and I did that. But, of course, I wanted to the CAUSE of the rash.
Interestingly enough, I relate my need to know why I had the rash, versus my need for it to just go away with how many people view food. Most people just want to know the quick: what is good food, what is bad food. And that is it. No, why or what makes it good or bad. It is so interesting to me, some of the smartest people I know eat SAD diets
And, it isn’t that it’s “not the doctors job” to know WHY, but I understand his primary role is to treat. So this lead to me to do more research on how imbalances in nutrients and minerals, can cause rashes, aliments and potentially (some say, hypothetically) lead to diseases.
In my rabbit hole of information, I came across some interesting articles that discussed histamine, foods high in histamine, why your body reacts to histamine and what happens.
Luckily, I have never suffered from allergies, but have been known to be “itchy”. I moisturize my skin, so NO, dry skin is not my problem, but my back is often itchy (sorry, for the TMI)… This recent rash was the first time I can even recall having a rash since childhood, and I really wanted to explore a cause.
I am not sure if my rash was actually a result of a histamine reaction, BUT I can tell you that I learned spinach contains a high level of histamine. For the past 3 weeks, I have started every morning out with a green smoothie of 1-2 cups of kale or spinach. Wait? I can’t eat spinach now? No, but that is WHY it is recommended to rotate your greens. Stay tuned for more about green smoothies in another post.
Everyone knows that you are suppose to drink “8-10 glasses of water a day” but something I did read, is that histamine is involved in the regulation of body fluids.
I found this article to be fascinating about why it is important to drink water but also how both water and salt are considered by some, to be the best natural anti-histamine remedies.
The quick summary of the article is, your body produces histamine as a way to protect you. Typically when we histamine is a problem, people experience runny noses or eyes, and other allergy-like symptoms. Obviously, this is a nuisance, but perhaps your body is trying to tell you something…
“Histamine is a chemical that our body releases when it needs help correcting a shortage of some very important substances like water, salt or potassium… When histamine is produced in the body, it can be over-produced because we are taking too much of one thing or another that our body cannot use”
I would be interested for any of you out there who have allergies, the next time it strikes you, drink at least 48-96oz of water/ day and see if it is alleviated that way. Again, this isn’t scientific, but drinking water is not going to harm you, so let’s call it a “test of curiosity”.
My rash is not gone completely. I used the cream for 4 days and it significantly went away. I stopped using the cream and it came back. So, my experiment has been: drink 48-96oz/day and see if it subsides.
Today is Day 2 of drinking high amounts of water, and I even had a spinach smoothie this morning. Rash is still slightly present, but has NOT come back more severely.
After waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, I finally get to see the Dermatologist, next week, so we shall what it is.
In the posts to come, we can further review, learn and test how FOOD can help you maintain and promote a healthy body.
Update: I went to the Dermatologist. He said I had eczema and prescribed me a steroid cream. He brushed off my theory of a food allergy.
Eczema at my age? I used the cream for one day and then decided I didn’t want to use the steroidal cream. I kept drinking water, started rotating my greens and it went away. So, it probably wasn’t eczema, as it has never came back.