digestion

Betaine HCL: What's the deal? Does it increase stomach acidity? Does it help GERD? Improve digestion?

Now and then I get an email asking about using Betaine HCL to heal from GERD. I first heard about this supplement through Robb Wolf's podcast. By the time I heard of it, I already did not have GERD. I bought a bottle to use as a digestive enzyme after large meals like Thanksgiving, but it didn't do very much for me and I kind of forgot about it. 

Reasons for your worsening stomach problems on a paleo/ low-carb/ ancestral/ gaps/ etc. diet

With all these success stories about people feeling better on various diets, I think we forgot the people who sometimes feel worse. Probably because those people give up and don't stick around. I'm known many people who have adopted paleo, primal, ancestral, low-carb, gluten-free, or whatever diet. And instead of feeling better, they have all kinds of problems, particularly stomach problems. 

There are many reasons why this happens, here are a couple I tend to come across:

Can you digest bone?

 Possible too gross for some, via John Hawks, this article that mentions a most interesting experiment mentioned in an article on strange science:

Everything "rots" in your colon, and it's not a bad thing at all

 The internet is full of vegetarian and vegan websites claiming meat is bad because it "rots" in your colon. This is actually a very old idea, tracing back in the United States to neo-puritan vegetarian movements obsessed with the uncleanliness of the colon. According to folks like John Harvey Kellogg, the colon, like the genitalia, was a source of uncleanliness, so it must be bombarded by as much harsh fiber as possible and regular enemas to keep it "clean."

Acellular versus cellular carbohydrates and endotoxins

 A new free-full text paper by Ian Spreadbury has been making the rounds lately. "Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of leptin resistance and obesity" is interesting because it is written through a distinctly Ancestral Health lens to provide a new framework for thinking about possible causes of Western disease. 

Home is where the gut bacteria is

 Ugh, I got back from Europe this week and I feel like I have so much catching up to do. Books to review, emails to answer, projects to finish, mad programming skillz to acquire, apartment to spruce up... and somehow every night I go to bed with so much undone. More about my travels later, as there is an interesting new paper out.

Paleolithic Post-Modernist Cuisine

 This week I spent almost my entire food budget for the month on one meal and it was completely worth it even if it means I have to eat just ground beef from my dad's farm for the rest of the time. 

Why Paleo didn't fix my IBS

 Now that it's been over four years since I first heard about "paleo" diets, I have been reflecting on how such diets have worked for me. When I first heard about paleo, I definitely thought it was a solution to all my problems and it worked really well for most of them. The original bane of my life in the pre-paleo era, GERD, is gone. But my IBS symptoms were harder to fix and even now I find myself experimenting.

Good Soy, Bad Soy

 When I first moved into the college dorms, one of my favorite meals was Special K (with those freeze-dried "berries") floating in tan-colored soy milk. It was healthy and I thought it tasted pretty good. Looking back I shudder because it was quite clearly the culprit in many of the stomach issues I had, as it was rich in the dreaded Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPS). 

Once I realized that soymilk was one of the major causes of the bloating and other fun stuff I struggled with, I never bought soy milk again.