Dietary Tweak #7,562, plus Additional Reading

Dear Family,

“Men dig their graves with their own teeth and die by those fated instruments more than the weapons of their enemies.”

—Sixteenth-century British naturalist and physician Thomas Moffett

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Several of you have reached out to express Concern relating to the recent health issues in our family; thanks for the virtual hugs! A current update: for the past two weeks, Eliza’s been feeling/behaving MUCH better.

So while Jeff and I are feeling a bit floaty and prone to aftershock-like stress attacks that are different for each of us, the current general trend is way up.

Why?? This is always tricky to work out. It is certainly great to be back in Joshua Tree with friends, and I’d hoped this would help Eliza. I also know that when her physiology is bogged down with pain and other symptoms, simply inserting Fun and Caring People and Structure into her life has never caused a spontaneous healing response (at least not for much longer than a few hours).

Yesterday, Eliza raced over and totally startled me because she wrapped her arms around my waist, and _giggled_ while she squeezed me hard - the startling part was that instead of bursting into tears and whining for the next three hours, she said how much she loved me and how she’d forgotten to give me lots of hugs that day!

Over many years, I have trained myself not to expect such lovely moments. Yet back again these last two weeks is my real, actual darling daughter, free from many of the behavioral symptoms that are not her “personality” at all! Sweet behaviors like spontaneous hugs tell me that her physiology is CERTAINLY feeling better than it was for most of the summer.

If infection does drive her symptoms like I suspect, it may be that whichever invisible Guests she hosts are currently engaging in a normal, cyclical remission. These infections and other health challenges could be subsiding in spite of our new dietary tweak, begun four weeks ago now…or because of it. In any case, making meals is the biggest treatment area over which I have control, and since it’s by far the most time-consuming, I give it much more than three-times-per-day consideration.

We’re all experiencing Results from this latest protocol, although it’s too early to say whether these will last, or even if all of them are desirable. Future tweaks are almost certain. For now, here’s what we’ve been doing for the past four weeks, based loosely on Stephen Gundry’s ideas in “The Plant Paradox” (see summary articles below if you’re interested in reading more):

—We have eliminated all grains (even rice), all legumes, all nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), all squash and cucumbers, many fruits and most seeds.
—We’ve reduced our saturated fat consumption, and increased our monounsaturated fat.
—We have added a shit ton of vegetables, and are consuming literally cartloads of greens and crucifers and roots, plus lots of avocados and as many starchy non-nightshade tubers as I can find and have the patience to prepare.
—We have reduced our red meat consumption considerably, so that we eat only a few servings of grassfed beef per week.
—We’ve stopped eating soy-fed chicken and eggs (which means we haven’t been eating chicken at all because I can’t find soy-free chicken), and we’ve been eating a lot of wild-caught fish.
—We’ve reduced our overall protein intake. This is a point that I’m ambivalent about, so am experimenting with various amounts (especially for growing boys)…
—We have added a limited amount of goat dairy.
—We have added macadamia nuts and pistachios.
—I have not changed anything with the Walsh supplement protocols that several of us take daily.
—In case I didn’t mention it, if we’re still hungry after meals, we eat more vegetables, of hugely varied variety in order to feed both ourselves and our gut flora…

Would love to hear if you have had experiences with reducing toxic lectins, or any of the points mentioned above, as I try to creatively adjust our daily meals-cum-therapy.

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Here are a few articles enjoyed by various family members over the past few weeks, beginning with a video:

A brief, animated introduction to your microbiome:
https://youtu.be/VzPD009qTN4

Two interviews with Stephen Gundry, author of “The Plant Paradox.” Here he lays out his theories about why plants are both essential and toxic for humans:
http://goop.com/wellness/health/are-we-wrong-about-what-makes-food-healthy/

And here he discusses the link between plant toxins (lectins) and rheumatoid arthritis:
http://goop.com/wellness/health/could-diet-cure-arthritis/

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“The popular Candida Diet is essentially a high protein, low carbohydrate diet which limits starches and sugars and thereby limits lectins. If lectins are a problem for this person (the so-called 'candida' patient) lectin ingestion may be associated with overgrowth of various gut pathogens that may include yeasts and removal of lectins would restore the gut ecology and the gut immune system. If this is true, the diet does not get rid of yeast but relieves the person from symptoms and pathogenic consequences caused by ingestion of lectins to which he or she is intolerant.”
http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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“‘We have stigmatised sleep with the label of laziness. We want to seem busy, and one way we express that is by proclaiming how little sleep we’re getting. It’s a badge of honour. When I give lectures, people will wait behind until there is no one around and then tell me quietly: “I seem to be one of those people who need eight or nine hours’ sleep.” It’s embarrassing to say it in public. They would rather wait 45 minutes for the confessional. They’re convinced that they’re abnormal, and why wouldn’t they be? We chastise people for sleeping what are, after all, only sufficient amounts. We think of them as slothful. No one would look at an infant baby asleep, and say “What a lazy baby!” We know sleeping is non-negotiable for a baby. But that notion is quickly abandoned [as we grow up]. Humans are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason.’

“In case you’re wondering, the number of people who can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment, expressed as a percent of the population and rounded to a whole number, is zero.”
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/24/why-lack-of-sleep-h...

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One physician’s overview of the symptoms of PANDAS and chronic infection:
http://www.webpediatrics.com/pandasclinicalcases.html

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Right now, all over the world, traditional diets are being destroyed by corporate giants and the processed foods they peddle, while obesity rates are skyrocketing (as is incidence of every other modern disease we suffer in the Industrialized World). Is there no end to the atrocious business practices of Nestle, Pepsico, General Mills, and the rest? Perhaps not, since they are selling some of the worst food-like products a human can eat.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/16/health/brazil-obesity-nes...

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What self-care during depression really looks like:
http://www.mothering.com/articles/what-self-care-during-depression-reall...

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Systems analysis as actually APPLIED toward a subject that is usually contentious and distractingly divisive. This researcher is developing a theory about how genetics, stress (including vaccinations) and marginal malnutrition interact, especially in babies with larger-than-average brains, and are associated with an increased risk of SIDS:
https://www.hormonesmatter.com/sids-vaccination/

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A really organized, succinct approach to improving focus:
https://qotoqot.com/blog/improving-focus/

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When renting is NOT throwing your money away:
http://affordanything.com/2015/11/24/is-renting-better-than-buying-shoul...

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Electric cars! And why I want one someday…
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/10/06/electric-car-vs-winter/

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I hope you are well, and thanks again for all the virtual good wishes and interesting personal life updates!

Love,
Sara