Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Teeth: A Confounding Variable in Veg Eaters?

Since injuring my teeth, I haven't been eating as much vegetable food as I used to. (I'd already given up fruit, since it's one of the worst things for giving me acid reflux.) Why? I have a hard time chewing them--just like my mother, who has several bad teeth and a partial. Bad teeth are a sign of bad health and are associated with diabetes and low socioeconomic status. And they make it hard to chew certain foods.

Sure, you can go to the trouble and expense of juicing, but people who do that are outliers who are probably doing several good things for their health. And V-8 is a bit like oatmeal for most people: the only reason they consume it is because they think it's good for them. For most people with bad teeth, it's just easier to eat tuna casserole and mashed potatoes or a hamburger and fries.

Someone who's being funny might look at my case and say, "Aha! She became tired and weak and had several medical appointments around the time she stopped eating leafy greens." Absurd, yes, but no more so than many other associations that researchers confuse with causation.


Angele Style said...

Are you saying you no longer eat any fruits or vegetables? I have had it drilled in to me since birth that I had to eat fresh fruits and green veges every day. And that what I eat today will be what I FEEL like 10 years from now. Do you think you are getting all the nutrients you need for a long term healthy lifestly by eliminating those food groups? If so do you take vitamins to make up for it? Or do you have your own experimentation going on?

Lori Miller said...

Angele, you're kind to be concerned about my health. I still eat vegetables, but they have to be soft. I still use a lot of coconut milk. But for now, no more salads or crunchy veg-and-dip-for-dinner or celery and almond butter. I consider most fruit a dessert: it's mostly sugar and in general has less nutrition than veg, so between that and its gastrointestinal effects on me, I have no qualms about giving it up. (See my post called Fruit Fail.) If a person is looking for nutrient-dense foods, it's hard to beat sardines and beef liver, both of which I eat.

I take a multivitamin (GNC Hair, Skin & Nails), D3, K2, calcium, magnesium and iron. Except for the B and C vitamins and magnesium, those nutrients aren't very plentiful in veg. Vitamins D3, K2, B12 and retinol are entirely absent. Some people do better on a more planty diet (Denise Minger and Dr. Davis come to mind), but I eat vegetables mostly for the taste and texture.

Angele Style said...

Thanks Lori, I am always interested in how people are caring for their own health. I am gathering information about how to be healthy long term into the age 70 plus category and know you are much younger than this but interested in your personal views.

I have heard that getting nutrients directly from food is far superior than vitamins and then the next study will say unless you grow your own food and know it truly is organic than you are better off taking vitamins. I have no direct experience with either/or. I sometimes take vites when run down such as B12, zinc, etc. and then stop not knowing for sure if they are what I need or not. I know we are each unique and have to find our own way. I don't think there are any bloggers in their 80's and 90's that are sharing what works well for them.

Lori Miller said...

Angele, you can do tests for certain nutrient deficiencies like iron, vitamin D and zinc. Some need to be done by a lab; there are services that will send you a test kit that you mail back to them. With others, like magnesium, you can go by deficiency symptoms. Google Scholar, Dr. Briffa's blog and the Protein Power blog are some good sources of info on this. It's important to monitor yourself in some way since too much of certain vitamins and minerals can be harmful.

The organic issue is more complicated than it's often made out to be. A book called The Truth About Organic Gardening by Jeff Gillman is a good introduction to the subject.

I don't know how old Jenny Ruhl of the Diabetes Update Blog is, but she calls herself an "old lady." Dr. Richard Feinman, who blogs, likewise doesn't strike me as a spring chicken. Jack LaLanne lived to a ripe old age (he exercised, ate good food, and avoided sugar and junk food). Dr. Richard Bernstein (book author) has managed to live with Type 1 diabetes since 1946--ain't many people who can say that. (BTW, he hasn't eaten a piece of fruit since the 1970s.)

Angele Style said...

Thanks Lori for these referrals. I will check them out. The only one I have heard of is Jack LaLanne and he ate so clean and exercised religiously I was shocked when I heard he died of pnemonia. At least he did not end up in a nursing home on drugs for the last 5 or more years of his life so I guess he is considered a success story of healthy living.

sophiebn0 said...

I would recommend you to consume the juices of fruits and vegetables. Skip the fruit that gives you acid reflux and make sure that you are getting the same nutrients from another food source.These are a few things that I did after I had undergone a dental implant last year.

Lori Miller said...

All fruit juice gives me acid reflux--and besides, fruit juice is liquid sugar. Seriously--someone who's shilling for a dentist is recommending sugary, acidic drinks?