Sunday, October 04, 2015

Would you change your eating habits?

How far would you go to change your eating habits for health reasons?

Okinawa diet pyramid
I was reading about a man recently who became a fruitarian. He was already following the Okinawa diet which is high in anti-oxidants, low in fat and sugar, no meat, eggs, or dairy but high in vegetables with some soya and fish but decided to follow the advice of Douglas Graham, long time food guru, athlete and creator of the 80/10/10 diet. This involves eating 80% of calories from ripe fruit (carbohydrates), 10% from fat and 10% from protein.

Fruitarian diet pyramid

Once on the diet, the writer found himself enjoying incredible energy and superior physical performance in sport. He felt fantastic. As time went on, however, he discovered some down sides including moments of inexplicable anxiety, emotional fragility and jitters. There was another problem too, which his wife didn't appreciate...

I remember seeing an episode of Castle (starring Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle) where his daughter Alexis gets herself a fruitarian boyfriend - Pi. Richard, being a protective father, was not keen on Pi, and kept up a low level of hostility towards him until Alexis felt forced to move out and set up home in a grotty flat with him. However, Richard need not have worried about Pi's physical attentions towards his daughter as, from what I read about being a fruitarian, Pi would have had the libido of a tomato!

Changing to fruitarianism and become a social pariah? Not for me thanks.

On the other hand, I'm interested in anything that will keep osteoarthritis at bay, and it seems that the Chinese, with their 3000 years of medical expertise, have some advice worth reading.
Foods to ban from your diet if you suffer from joint pain
You'll see from the above that all wheat and wheat derivatives are banned, as are dairy products, alcohol, sugar and tobacco. Also on the list are oats, beetroot, corn, buckwheat, rye, split peas and salt. The problem with all these foods is that they promote inflammation which leads to joint pain.

But diet is only one part of the problem. To be free of joint pain you also need to draw on the right herbal medicine, acupuncture, Qigong, massages, and ventouses (suckers). According to Chinese medicine, whatever the type of joint pain (arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, micro-crystalline arthritis), whether it's in your knees, wrists, elbows, hips, back or neck, it's the result of painful obstructions due to cold, wind and humidity. This means your Qi (inner energy) and Yin-Yang balance are unbalanced in favour of the cold, wind and humidity due to certain accidents, your emotions, food and bad posture.

The Qigong exercises recommended are called Lian Gong Shi Ba Fa - 18 movements to be done in the morning after a cup of tea but before breakfast:

I haven't managed to work them into my morning regime yet, mainly because I'm too lazy to get up that early, but also because I don't have room in my bedroom, although you're supposed to do them outside...! It's getting a bit chilly for that too.

However, I am taking some notice of the diet demands. Banning all twelve foodstuffs from my life is a bit excessive so I've decided to take the Option for Wimps: no alcohol during the week, no wheat unless I'm out (it's tough to avoid bread when eating out - no sarnies, no tarts, etc.), no dairy most of the time, no sugar (I suppose this doesn't include fruit) and no buckwheat as soon as I've finished the packet of flour I use for my gluten-free bread. I'll use fonio after that. I don't smoke, so that's no problem, and I can cut the other things out without too much trouble, except salt. I can't cook without salt even if I don't use much.

I'm sure there's an opportunity somewhere for someone to develop the Chinese Medicine Anti Joint Pain diet and gather recipes into one place instead of us trawling the Internet searching for ones which fit.

Do you eat with your health in mind too?


  1. Sort-of. I've totally given up very high fat meats like oxtail and streaky bacon. Also calves' liver which I used to love. No way would I ever give up wine.

    1. Life is to be enjoyed too, right?!
      Mind you, foie de veau is also good for you, as is offal in general.

  2. There are too many things on that list I love - dairy, wheat, oats. I could give up alcohol as am not a big drinker, nor am I a smoker, so I will stick to my morning porridge and continue to creak a bit as I walk upstairs...!

    1. It is restrictive isn't it? However, I want to avoid bulging finger joints because they are unsightly and painful so I'm taking a lot of interest in this list.

      I used to have porridge for brekkie but that was a phase, and I'm now on a boiled egg and my homemade gluten-free bread plus a banana. Sets me up for the day nicely.

      I rarely eat cheese but will have a little occasionally. It actually seems to be working, I'm glad to say. :)

  3. It's interesting to try these things and see what helps. I had joint pains and chronic systemic candida in my twenties and learned way before it was fashionable to avoid yeast, dairy and wheat. I still try to avoid them now but am too addicted to wine. I found the results immediate and brilliant with lots of positive side effects healthwise. With this one, I think the fruit could be too sugary long term but it's very cleansing so definitely has its place. Never heard of the libido problem before! So glad to hear your joints are improving and that you're finding different things that work / don't work for you. :)

    1. So how did you find gluten-free bread back then? Did you make your own or just stop eating bread? I'm glad you found a dietary solution to your problem instead of pharmaceutical. :)

      My joints don't seem to be getting worse which is already a bonus!

  4. Poor Pi. And poor girlfriend. :) Interesting post, Sarah - you've got me thinking about possible wheat/dairy influence on health again, but it seems too restrictive to be applicable in a family of five who love pasta and pizza.
    I've brushed up my diet considerably this year, and (to the amazement of those who know me well) gave up alcohol at the beginning of the year. It's been very beneficial - interesting, as I drank much less that my alter-ego, Mrs Playmo, who still downs a bottle of Bolly with a star for breakfast. Combined with running 3 times a week, I've managed to lower my cholesterol level considerably too.

    1. You're right about the family, there's no need to inflict gluten-free pain on hungry kids. I tried for about 2 days and gave up. If they want to look after their health when they're older, they can go on any faddy diet they please (at their expense!). :)

      Mind you, I don't cook them as much pasta as I used to and when I do, it's semi-complet bio. They yearn for Panzani lol.

      Well done on your own diet improvements. Of course, there's a big question over cholesterol levels now, but the important thing is to feel good. There's no beating exercise and a healthy diet. :)

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