Eater Beware!

What is healthy and what isn’t?

I did some research about what foods are bad for you. I found that there must be a hundred categories that have the top ‘worst’ foods. The list seemed to never end. A partial list of ‘worst foods for ____’ included gout, IBS, skin, acid reflux, digestion, ED, eczema, eye health, liver, heart, brain, and more.

The basic list of what’s bad for general health included sugary drinks, pizza, white bread, most fruit juices, sweetened breakfast cereals, fried food, grilled food, broiled food, pastries, cookies, cakes, French fries, potato chips, and many more.

The worst food list for health and longevity included butter, pancakes, donuts, soda, fried foods, highly salted foods, hot dogs, luncheon meats, white sugar, calorically-dense sweeteners, sweetened dairy product, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and the list seemed to never end.

I may not have gout, or IBS, or acid reflux, but I am interested in health. The list seems to give me some leeway for my top three foods – bourbon, bacon, and butter (kidding, of course). However, many of us have food allergies or sensitivities that demand we avoid certain types of foods. The United States Center for Disease Control identified eight food groups in which 90 percent of food allergies occur. These include cow’s milk, hen’s eggs, peanuts (a legume, not a nut), soy foods, wheat, fish, shellfish, and tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, etc.).

Some nutritionists add corn to this list because it is a food product that does cause many health issues. The entire food group should be eliminated from your diet for at least a month to determine if you really have an allergy or sensitivity to that specific food. You should ensure that any portion of another food that you are eating contains no quantity of that specific food to which you have a sensitivity.

Wheat is a major health risk for many reasons, regardless of whether you have a sensitivity to it or not. I strongly suggest you read, Wheat Belly, by William Davis, M.D. and, Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, M.D.

Reading labels can be challenging since many manufacturers designate their ingredients by a variety of different names. For example, wheat may be identified on a food label as flour, bulgur, semolina, spelt, frumento, durum, farina, couscous, matzah, and many more. Ironically, sometimes, the food label identifies a food additive as a ‘wheat alternative’ – and, it is not.

Always listen to your body. When in doubt, keep a food journal and list the symptoms you detect after eating. It will be of immense help to your doctor to help you find the food that is causing your problems.

Sometimes when we have not eaten food in a while – a few months, we might find that we can eat it and not have the same symptoms. Your body has had a chance to recover from the constant onslaught of fighting the inflammation caused by that food. Your immune system has had a chance to recover and become fully functional again. A word of advice – if you are allergic or highly sensitive to something – don’t eat it. Wear a wristband to alert medical authorities.

To be safe in today’s world, we should concentrate on fresh fruits and vegetables (organic when available). Some nutritionists will argue that carbohydrates are required for a balanced diet. I disagree. We have no health problems from a carbohydrate-free living. Many plant oils are rancid, and it is hard to determine which are and are not. I prefer organic butter and coconut oil as my preferred fats. Protein should be free of antibiotics, added coloring, added hormones, etc.

An old English proverb is ‘Let the buyer beware’ (from the Latin, Caveat emptor). Contract law places the onus on the buyer to perform the due diligence before making a purchase. I believe there should be a corollary for eating foods – ‘Let the eater beware’ (Cave ergo comedenti). Nutrition education is critical before it can be implemented. We don’t know what we don’t know when it comes to eating different foods.

Live Longer and Enjoy Life – Red O’Laughlin


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