Your pancreas, the food pyramid, and the high-fibre / wheat myth

There has been a popular opinion that high fibre and grain filled diets are supportive to health.  Recent pancreatic research shows that these often wheat filled diets, coupled with the excessive fibre consumption creates inflammation to the pancreas.  If there is a stress or blood sugar imbalance, this further aggravates the pancreas due to a greater demand for insulin production, and has been linked to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas).  A pancreas that has started to experience discomfort may ‘let you know’ when you experience bloating or discomfort when eating even ‘kind fibre’ like oats, pulses, and brown rice.

We are aware of the difficulty with many people and gluten intake, but many people are unaware of the inflammatory nature of a protein-like compound within gluten called ‘gliadin’, which is known to irritate the digestive system, and by extension, the rest of the body.  Fibre is not digested very easily, and bacteria feeds off fibre. Now this may sound like a good thing, but the thing is that both the good and the bad bacteria feed off fibre, so if your good gut bacteria (probiotics) are low, then the fibre in your diet feeds the bad bacteria that proliferates and causes further difficulty in your gut.  It is usually a good idea to markedly reduce, or completely avoid all plant food while you repopulate your good gut flora.  Then slowly reintroduce the vegetables and fruits in a cooked (and therefore more easily digested) form. Thereafter, you can wean yourself back onto raw plant foods again.

When you inflame your pancreas, you inflame your gut, and the repercussions to the body are far reaching indeed. A pancreas that is ‘tired’ finds it more difficult to deal with its secondary function of blood sugar and metabolism regulation. A stressful lifestyle easily leads to sugar and carbohydrate cravings, which further depletes the pancreas, or sets it up to be over active, due to having to over produce insulin for erratic stress or food/drink related blood sugar imbalance.

Typical symptoms of digestive imbalance can be depression and other mood imbalances, memory loss, IBS, hormonal imbalance, poor immunity, and weight management difficulties, amongst a host of other symptoms.

Cow’s Dairy Confusion
There are a number of differing opinions about cow’s dairy products.  Some suggest that it is no problem at all and in fact, really ‘good for you’.  My opinion, based on my experience with clients and research, is that ‘big animal’ milk products are in fact not very helpful to the human (‘small animal’) body, for a number of reasons:

Molecular Mimicry
Casein, a large protein molecule for bone growth, is very difficult for the human body to digest in the quantities that it is found in cow’s dairy.  Humans are very commonly deficient in hydrochloric (stomach) acid, which is required not only for the assimilation of animal protein, but also the calcium in dairy. This low stomach acid   state often occurs due to high stress levels, as discussed in the section on stomach acid.  The inflammation caused by stress also compromises the gut lining, resulting in this partially digested food escaping the gut into the blood stream. Your immune system then sets up an ‘attack response’ due to the protein being ‘not self’.  Auto-immune disease (where the body ‘attacks itself’) is now recognised to be linked to this ‘attack response’ through a process called ‘molecular mimicry’ where certain food compounds (and some bacteria like the unkind Helicobacter Pylori) so closely resemble parts of your own body, that the immune system fails to recognise these as different from each other, and so attacks both the undigested food (the casein, in the case of milk or cheese) and your body (your beta cells in your pancreas, in the case of milk and cheese).  In this particular scenario, compromised beta cells lead to an inability for your body to produce insulin, which is produced in the beta cells.  Type I diabetes is where you cannot produce your own insulin.  There are numerous studies since the 1990s linking early onset diabetes in children to early milk consumption.  ‘Small animals’ like goats and sheep have similar amounts of casein to humans (other ‘small animals’).  An interesting thought is that humans are in fact the only ‘animals’ where, after weaning their young from their own breasts (if they even feed breast milk to begin with) they continue to feed their young another animal’s breast milk’.

Insulin Growth Factor (IGF)
Have you ever thought about the main function of milk?  Breast milk?  It is designed to feed infants and GROW them really quickly…from babies (calves/ goats/lambs/humans etc) to adults. In order to achieve this, a compound called IGF sends a signal to the body to ‘switch off’ apoptosis (‘cellular suicide’).  Apoptosis is an essential signal when someone has fast growing cells like cancer or AIDS patients.  In this case, it is completely inadvisable to consume any animal dairy whatsoever.  I recommend that my clients substitute with plant milk such as nut, quinoa, coconut or oat milk.  I do NOT recommend rice milk as it has a high Glycaemic Load (GL) or soy milk, a known goitregen that destabilizes the thyroid, amongst a number of other question marks such as promoting allergy reactions and having phytates that bind minerals.

Due to the large quantity of casein in cow’s (or other ‘big animal’) milk, consumption of this milk or cheese causes the body to over-produce acid in order to try and assimilate all the protein.  An over acidic body is dangerous, so it compensates for this hyper-acidity by leeching calcium from your bones, as in this form it alkalizes the blood.  This lends itself to reduced bone density and potentially osteoporosis.

For more information, or for a personalised nutrition plan that supports your body’s needs, book an appointment with Mary-Lou Harris. Mary-Lou will be at The Well Garden on:

Thursday 22nd October 2015
Monday 23rd November 2015
Monday 14th December 2015

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