Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feel Lousy? Maybe You're Being Poisoned

Relative: What are you doing?
My mother: I'm throwing out everything with carrageenan in it. It's really bad. Scientists use it to make [research] animals sick. That's what made Lori so sick the other night with a migraine headache.
Relative: I'll take the salad dressing. It doesn't bother us.
My mother: Doesn't your daughter get migraine headaches?

This conversation sounds absurd, but knowing the people involved, I'm sure it happened as my mother described it. In the relative's household, there's obesity, diabetes, migraines, hypoglycemia, fatigue, acne, and no doubt some other ailments I'm not privy to. Is this the new normal? Does illness seem so inevitable that some people aren't willing to think about what's causing it? Or do anything with an answer when it's handed to them?

Let me tell you how I've felt since I've been free of carrageenan poisoning for the past week. My stomach doesn't hurt, I can eat low carb food without getting bloated, I'm not tired, and my face isn't puffy in the morning. Last weekend I finally whipped the house into shape, helped my father practice walking, and went out dancing for two hours. My belly flattened out and I'm down three pounds. I've craved red meat and ketchup (of all things), but lost my interest in coffee. This is how it feels to be healthy; it's how I should have felt in my twenties. (I'm 43.)

Since my father has been off statins for a week, he's been able to stand by himself and his walking improved even from Saturday to Sunday. (He recently had a stroke.) He's more energetic and sleeps less. Fatigue, mental fog and muscle weakness are well-known side effects of statin drugs. Cholesterol has been demonized, but it's a substance your body needs to make vitamin D, sex hormones, CoQ10, and to digest food. The benefits of statins? Dubious.

Another common poisoning: high blood sugar. Frequent, sustained post-meal blood sugar levels over 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L) and/or fasting blood sugar levels over 100 (5.6 mmol/L) cause or are associated with nerve damage, beta cell destruction (beta cells make insulin), inflammation, retinopathy, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. (Simple ways to lower your blood sugar are here.)

Maybe it's because people have been led down so many blind alleys like blaming salt, saturated fat, Nutrasweet, and power lines for their ills that they're throwing up their hands. I understand the frustration, but if you accept being sick, you'll stay sick. Jimmy Moore is glad he didn't give up his N=1 experiments--he's finally losing weight. As for me, I'll leave carrageenan as the exclusive property of people who need to de-ice airplanes or study illness in rats.


tess said...

your anecdote is so typical! just because they don't become immediately and acutely ill, people don't think these additives are harmful to them.... most people trust the FDA and USDA -- and boy, is their trust misplaced!

it's hard to get them to give up things for a short time, even, to see for themselves how much better they feel. :-(

Lori Miller said...

Seeing me so sick made a believer out of my mom--she's angrier than I am that the FDA allows carrageenan in foods. (I never put that much trust in the government.)

I printed out a document called "The Organic Watergate" from the Cornucopia Institute for her neighbors, whose daughter drinks almond milk and is often sick. Her mother thinks the organic label protects them. (BTW, the document mentions that one of the panel members who approved carrageenan is a food scientist and avoids the stuff because he's "allergic" to it. What a surprise!)