Wednesday, August 03, 2011

When Vegetables Attack

I recently went to my gastroenterologist who seemed appalled when I told him I was eating bacon everyday. "You need some fruits and vegetables," he stated. I assured him that I had tried that diet. It didn't work for me. I ended up with a heart attack while I was a vegetarian and later found out I was allergic to a number of fruits and vegetables. Yes, I realize that fruits and vegetables do not cause heart attacks, but frankly, I sometimes wonder if they prevent them. They also make me sick and kill my stomach so forgive me if I can't see the benefit of large amounts of them in my diet.

However, masochist that I am, I decided to read up on some healthier alternatives to bacon (are there any?). So I picked up the new book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition off my shelf that a publicist had sent me and decided to see if I could find some compromise between no plant foods and a few. I'm glad I did.

The book is written by dietician Julieanna Hever who seems up-to date on most of her research about food. For example, there is a lot of controversy surrounding tofu and soy products and its link to cancer or possible interference with thyroid function. In a section called, "Is Soy Safe?" the author makes a case for how soy can be part of one's diet. Eating it in moderation, avoiding processed soy products, and using only organic soy products are suggestions. Okay, at least she addresses it.

After reading about the joys of a plant-based diet from the book, I am re-thinking my boycott of almost all fruits and veggies and might give a few a try. But there is no way I am giving up my bacon.

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Blogger Zorro said...

I love bacon. When I was living in Saudi Arabia, I was without the company of women, alcohol (legal alcohol, there was tons of the illegal homemade stuff) and pork products. I missed the pork most of all. During my bi-annual 3-week vacations home, I would eat pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and breakfast always had bacon. I've had people tell me I should get bacon out of my life. I got them out of my life and kept the bacon. Smart decision.

Bacon is good for you. People who give unsolicited advice on dietary matters are not.

12:59 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger LissaKay said...

Ever since Glenn linked to Gary Taubes' book, "Why We Get Fat" and some related interviews and articles, we have been happily living a low carb, high fat eating style. Love. Bacon. It's a staple in our house. We also eat steak frequently, although I might need an intervention for my addiction to prime rib. I also use real cream, real butter and add fats to nearly everything I eat. Heard of the benefits of coconut oil yet? Amazing stuff, from head to toe, inside and out.

Being the skeptic, I did undertake my own research into nutrition and found out how mainstream advice just isn't all that ... and a bag of chips. Starting with the movie "Fat Head" to many experts in the field of nutrition (see Nutrition and Metabolism Society), when the BS is tossed away, bottom line is, carbs/sugar are bad, fat is good, protein is good in moderation.

There are lots of people eating a primal or paleo diet who hardly ever touch veggies. I eat very few these days, especially raw. Salads tend to make my tummy very unhappy, and with my newly discovered thyroid issues, any cruciferous veggies must be cooked.

As for soy - last year I went on a diet that consisted of packaged meals made of mostly soy isolate protein. I am convinced that this was the cause of these thyroid issues, or at least the exacerbation.

1:37 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Dunkelzahn4prez said...

They can have my bacon when they pry it from my cold, dead, greasy hands!

2:00 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Keoni Galt said...

Dr. Helen,

Google FODMAPS. You may find out why certain fruits and vegetables are problematic for you while others are not.

2:02 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Keoni Galt said...

Or you can read what Dr. Kurt Harris has to say about FODMAPS:

2:04 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Leatherwing said...

Dr. Helen,
I must have missed something. What type of no vegetable diet have you been on. I think I like the sound of it. (I barely ate any veggies as a kid. I eat more now, but only because I think I need to.)

2:20 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...


I really love vegetables but many of them make me sick. I had allergy testing and found out that I am allergic to apples, pears, carrots, cauliflower, etc. I avoid those but even salad hurts my stomach.

My sad diet consists of oatmeal, bacon, toast, some fish, chicken, meat and rice. I do throw in some veggies on occasion if I feel I can tolerate it.

Keoni Galt,

Thanks for the links!

2:59 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger LissaKay said...

Helen -

Have you thought maybe it isn't the veggies, but perhaps gluten or grains in your diet that is causing the problems?

I used to think I couldn't eat beef or anything with a lot of fat, because I'd always get a belly ache after doing so. Then I cut the carbs to nearly nothing - no grains, no sugar, no starch. All of the sudden, I could eat beef and fat again with no distress. Those foods were not the problem themselves, it was when they were eaten in a diet that included the grains.

Just a thought ...

3:07 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Stosh2 said...

ZorroPrime: You could have just bopped over to The Emirates where they have pork sections in most grocery stores. They're generally separate rooms clearly marked 'For Infidels Only' and reminded me of the old time porn sections at movie rental places.

3:45 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

@Stoch2: Been there. Ate that. I also got pork in Bahrain and had it wrapped up as "Veal" at the butchers. Standard procedure for going back into Allah's Litterbox.

3:51 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...


It could be. I am supposed to be tested for celiac disease at some point so that could be the cause...or not. Thanks for bringing that up.

3:55 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Fowl Ideas said...

I cover all the bases by eating both vegetables and bacon.

7:07 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

When I was a kid, my grandmother taught me that a plate was a protein (beef, pork, chicken, fish), a carbohydrate (potatoes, rice, beans, macaroni and cheese), one green and one yellow vegetable. That's what I eat.

In a lot of the dishes I make, I use yellow onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. With some seasoning salt and lemon pepper, you can make just about anything delicious. I also like zucchini, corn, green beens, and an occasional avacado or tomato. Oh, and whole wheat flour and bread.

I like bacon too. But pretty much everything I eat is something I made up over the years.

8:18 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Firehand said...

I eat a lot less carbs and fruits and sugar now; but I'm not giving up fudge!

Or the occasional garlic bread

10:36 PM, August 03, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soy is high in estrogens, which is why men shouldn't consume it.

10:39 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Well, welcome and happily to the cynics club. While I take doctors as having some grain of understanding, or something, I have learned from tons of personal experimentation that they are absolutely not to be given any real or total power of decision. I'd be dead allowing them control, almost was.

I mostly prefer meats, high fat, often high salt (Italian style cold sausage and cheeses along with fresh ripe meat off the bone). I have a 15% ejection refraction and both ventricles are enlarged (but cholesterol is great). They don't know what the problem is and I'm not just going to let them experiment with surgery or devices, not until we see if medicine works (my choice, my call, even on those). They missed heart failure (now advanced) thinking the exhaustion and dysfunction were psychological... for 20 years and change. So you will excuse my fiery rage at them.

I would guess I am only alive because I finally broke with them and refused to abide them. A few doctors finally noticed something odd and found the real problem. I think I'll... do what I find best. You'd be advised to do likewise. If soy isn't it, for you, don't swallow it for their sake. They are fragging idiots, no offense.

1:33 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...


I am sorry to hear about your heart problems. An ejection fraction of 15% is low. It seems hard to miss but then, they missed my heart attack too. However, the doctors I have now are terrific and have helped my heart tremendously. Don't give up on all docs. Some listen, treat and heal.

As for being in the cynics club, been there now for most of my life. It's good to see I have some fellow travellers.

6:28 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger theObserver said...

If you want food and veg consider buying a juicer.

My lunch :
half a cucumber
3 green apples
1/4 a large pineapple
Large handful of spinach
2 celery
half a lime

9:18 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Doom/Helen - It seems to me that some doctors diagnose via statistics. My family doctor once told me that the chances of a side effect weren't clinically significant.

They're using backwards deductive logic. Sure statistics can help, but you don't rule out because the odds are long. My cousin's daughter has a malady (can't remember the name) of which she is one of less than 100 sufferers in the world. What are the odds of that?

Another doctor once told me that no medicine would do that, referring to side effects. He needs to look up all the unpredicted side effects of medications from thalidomide to phen phen. Part of the problem is that sometimes the doctors are so arrogant in their "knowledge" (ignorance) they won't listen to anything else.

9:41 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Yep, I am working with the doctors. But I am checking every dang thing and taking my own situation into consideration. Since it seems to be working, I give a little more trust and allow them incremental changes.

But I can't ever really trust them again. How could I. At least the junk seems to add to function enough to track what is going on and pay attention a great deal better.

I honestly wonder if that doctor attitude has more to do with the overwhelming sense of what is expected of doctors. Either that or the autocratic means by which they are taught? I even understand that a bit, they aren't being taught to work on replaceable toys, it has to be exact and exacting. Still, I think many of them miss the point of the drill and think that it means when they graduate they know it all.

Missed a heart attack? Drugs "can't do that"? I have had medicines, high blood pressure stuff, absolutely crush me while they just said, oh, no one else has that problem. Idiots. Bah!

Still, interesting to see how soy works out for you. I think I'll stick to my artery clinging stuff, especially since it doesn't. My butter to your tofu, check and mate. :p

10:52 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger LissaKay said...

I think I'll stick to my artery clinging stuff, especially since it doesn't. My butter to your tofu, check and mate. :p

Yup. Funny, most doctors will nod and agree all the way through this: arterial plaque is caused by inflammation. Inflammation is cause by high blood sugar and insulin levels. Blood sugar and insulin level increases are caused by carbs and sugar. But then they tell you to cut dietary FAT and eat lots of whole grains for heart health.

Wait ... what???

11:13 AM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

drugs and surgeries are what pay the doctors, so drugs and surgeries are what you will get.

a friend recently became crippled with sciatic inflammation and was booked for a surgery to drill into his spine to relieve the pressure on his sciatic nerve.

i showed him some stretches that i learned in pre-natal class (!) when my wife was pregnant. they really helped me when i was plagued with the issue some years ago....and he found immediate relief and is now not getting the surgery.

regarding diet....americans eat way to much of everything anyway. i eat small amounts of a variety of things throughout the day. men shouldn`t eat soy as it contains estrogen.

if you bought a ferrari you wouldn`t put crap in it or on it, so why do that to your body?

and back to doctors for a moment; i think it`s healthy to ask questions of these people and hold them to their answers, and if they can`t answer satisfactorily, then move on...just like in any other critical part of our lives.

and a dentist flat out killed my mother in 1976 by ignoring her asthma medication when administering anesthetic for jaw surgery. she had a reaction that put her into a coma which she never came out of. most never cause such chaos in people`s lives with their arrogance, just varying degrees of suffering.

i recently had a urinary tract infection which had complications and a resulting spasmed prostate which needed meds to relax so i could urinate properly again. i realised that i had induced the spasm myself trying to piss while infected, and so did some relaxation exercises and the problem dissipated so i didn`t need the meds, which made me drowsy, sick and dizzy.

the treating doctor told me that i would probably need meds for the rest of my life and that i would have to undergo a battery of tests which she blithely booked me for telling me that i probably had an inflammed prostate...


1:39 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Robert said...

Read this one carefully. The lesson you learn will last a lifetime.

This woman is 51

She is a TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and ill health, promoting exercise, a vegetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetables. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements, also making statements that yeast is harmful, that the color of food is nutritionally significant, and about the utility of lingual and fecal examination.

This woman is also 51

Nigllea Lawson is a TV cook, who eats nothing but meat, butter and deserts.

Any questions?

2:54 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...


"Any questions?"


3:22 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

Only the Brits would have a TV health guru who looks like she was fished out of Boston Harbor by the police at 3am, filled with eels.

3:26 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

Robert: Send those two links to Roissy. I'll bet he makes a post about the power of denial.

3:28 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Robert - I have a question.

Do you have Nigella Lawson's phone number?

4:22 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

Seconds on the juicer, I juice green apples, and some veggies in that. Cured me of migraines (mostly).

Coconut oil is a gift from God, and most doctors should be killed, just for not knowing about it. My ex-doctor said it was bad for cholesteral! Idiot! Best thing ever for dry nose! Eat it, bathe in it.

Every time I try to get away from so much meat eating, I get sick. Fruits are good, as long as they are juiced. Don't get a juicer with a metal bowl, it alters the enzymes.

Doom: eliminate ALL trans fats, even peanut butter. Try coconut oil, take lots of magnesium, zinc, DHA, and as much D3 as you can stand. Bathe in it. Try some astaxanthin, it's in the news lately.

Perhaps a bottle of nano-silver, too. Can't hurt.

6:06 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

I can fully concur with the premise that there are some shit-silly doctors walking this Earth, but, having worked at the Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary for several years (Harvard Medical School), and for one of the three top-rated ophthalmologists (ocular immunology) in the world, I can promise you there are some doctors out there that are borderline "God-smart."

Doctors are like mechanics, lawyers or shrinks: some are worthless, some are spectacular, and most are somewhere in between.

This thread is turning into a childish diss on the entire medical profession. Let's not behave like liberals, okay?

6:27 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger kmg said...


I think your problem with fruits and vegetables is entirely due to :

1) Being allergic to some of them.
2) Uncreative preparation.

Find out which ones you are not allergic to. Then find a number of creative recipes for them (look into foreign cuisines like Indian and Thai, where vegetable use is sophisticated).

But remember what Michael Pollen said : Eat mostly plants.

It is ironic that the Instahousehold can be so into the subject of longevity but also into the consumption of bacon.

7:47 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger kmg said...

One thing overlooked in dieting is that what works for person A does not for person B because of different ethnicities/genetics.

In short, eat what your pre-20th century ancestors ate, tweak that based on health.

This is why people from Northern Europe can't do vegetables as easily as Indians and Thais can.

This is why Chinese/Japanese can't do dairy.

So eat what was normal for your pre-20th century ancestors. It is what your genes are programmed to respond well to.

If you are mixed race, figure out what overlaps and work outwards from there.

7:53 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Winding down said...

Who'da reported in today news...the initial card deal. inherited gene hand
is main dictator/predicter of how your body is going age/deteriorate/fall a part. I like a bite or two 6-10 times a day...3mile walk... look both directions when xng the street
Hell i am in better shape and weigh less than I did 50 years ago. Moderation... and stay away from processed shi..stuff. If was not food for great grandma ain't for you

Couple glasses of red wine goes good, too

9:10 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

If you don't like fruit and vegetables because they make you ill then don't eat them. It is what it is, nobody wants you to feel bad.

10:10 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Firehand said...

Zorro, one of the problems is that even the doctors that ought to have their license yanked tend to act like they're Deity Almighty. And they can kill or cripple you through their ignorance/stupidity. By the time you or someone you know has gone through that, makes you really suspicious of most all of them.

11:10 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Lester Hunt said...

Genus homo ate fruits, veggies, and meat for 2 1/5 million years; grains, legumes and dairy for 10,000 (or less!) Your evolved to eat fruits and vegetables.

11:15 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

"And they can kill or cripple you through their ignorance/stupidity."

You can say the same of cops and high school vocational guidance counselors, too.

I take your point, however. My advice would be to first smell their breath for flammable vapors. If present, run.

11:19 PM, August 04, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

Sunday morning breakfast:
2 eggs, over easy, fried in real Irish butter
6 strips of bacon (yes!)
steamy grits with pepper on them, drowning in real Irish butter
7 grain bread toasted, again with real Irish butter
cranberry juice
Colombian coffee, cup after cup

My lone ritual.

6:29 PM, August 05, 2011  
Blogger Kurt said...

Dr. Helen--I've been transitioning to a different way of eating for the past 9 months or so. It's one based on the book Nourishing Traditions which overlaps with much of what Taubes has to say, and it also has some similarities to the primal/paleo diet (though some big differences there, too).

It focuses on animal foods and on traditional ways of food preparation which increase the availability of some nutrients and makes many foods easier to digest. It emphasizes probiotics, lacto-fermented foods, the importance of many kinds of fat, and traditional sauces to help aid in digestion. Other key components include the avoidance of refined foods (sugar and refined flour being among the worst), including refined nut and seed oils (most of which are heavily processed to cover up rancidity). Although the paleo diet teaches people to avoid grains, Nourishing Traditions teaches that whole grains are healthy and beneficial if they have been soaked, sprouted, or soured.

2:57 PM, August 06, 2011  
Blogger george said...

Life is too short and full of misery to eat vegetables. That is why so many left-wingers are so cranky. They tend to vegetarians. They are like the old monks who used to scourge themselves and eschew anything that made them happy.

Frankly, I don't care if carbs are bad for me. They make life worth living. And I figure if I wait long enough they will come back in style just like fat did. Everything we eat has aspects that are good for us and aspects that are bad for us. Since everyone is different the factors which dominate our outcomes will be different for each of us.

About the only rule of thumb I have is to stay away from organic fruits and vegetables. "Organic" is just shorthand for saying that sometime and somewhere, something took a dump on your food. Talk about an effective marketing tactic.... sheesh!

10:03 AM, August 07, 2011  
Blogger Bob's Blog said...

Give me a slice of tomato in my roast beef sandwich, and lots of watermelon and cold water to wash it down, and I am happy.

11:04 PM, August 07, 2011  

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