I’ve just finished up today’s presentation from Nora Gedgaudas. That was a meaty presentation. I took five pages of notes which I shall try to condense here.
To put it mildly, Nora Gedgaudas (henceforth NG in this writing) has issues with the idea of “safe starches”, an idea furthered by Paul Jaminet. Mr. Jaminet was one of yesterday’s presenters. I didn’t listen to his presentation, but have read his material in the last year. His idea is that potatoes and rice and a few others are “safe starches”. NG brings out the idea that rice and potatoes are “post-agricultural” foods that are devoid of nutritional value and are not without concern when it comes to allergies. Jaminet argues that Asian diets show that rice can be harmlessly consumed, while NG questions whether it’s just the modest proportions that tend to be eaten in the Asian diet, not the material itself. She also is concerned about potatoes being nightshades and links it to inflammation, specifically mentioning arthritis and her own appendicitis-sort of inflammation.
Early on in her presentation, NG questions the view that Jaminet holds of breast milk being the “perfect food”. Pointing out that “human babies are pretty pudgy”. She points out that our brain must have access to some glucose but can do 85% of that job through ketosis. She also pointed out that only 2% of our body is carbohydrate and most of that bound up in connective tissue.
She addressed her concern that “safe starch” proponents use the “food reward” idea (my body is craving the starch, so I should give it some), pointing out that this is a long way from being “in tune” with our bodies (a taste for sugar is not necessarily a need for it). She later reminds that sometimes it’s an infection with some “critter” that is actually craving the sugar (a parasite, yeast, some organism that WANTS that sugar). Interesting point.
She next spent a bit of time talking about digestive issues being caused by low HCl levels. Linked in a bit of talk about the Thyroid/Gastrin/Parasympathetic nervous system, then talked about drinking too much fluids at mealtimes and mixing starches and proteins (bad idea says NG). Cortisol was the next topic. Chronically depressed cortisol levels are a big problem, says she. She ran through how the brain works with the adrenals and hypothalamus to regulate cortisol. She linked depressed cortisol levels to fatigue, inability to regulate glucose levels, more inflammation, low WBC counts, and low immune responses. NOT GOOD. I need to read more on this issue to understand it better, but she was making some great sense. Starches in general have a dampening effect on the immune system. She personally goes on a bit of a fast when she’s feeling under the weather. She feels that MOST people probably have some level of an auto-immune response going on, due to glucose messing with our systems.
She states that “mammals are designed to rely on fat”, musing that perhaps the reason people have failed on the Atkins diet is that they never became fully ketogenic (fat burners). She referred to Michael Eades’s talk at the AHS meeting regarding us being more carnivorous than foxes or wolves. Tying this back in to the craving for starches, she then pointed out that the discomfort for starches is often overly simplified, that it’s not perhaps just an addiction, but due to some other underlying problem/infection. She stated that “safe starches” is a worrisome idea since it’s such a “slippery slope” for many (ie. leading them back toward their addiction). Speaking of glucose she said: “I think that the body should be able to manufacture plenty enough to meet it’s own needs, assuming everything is working properly.” Also, she said that adding more glucose to the diet is perpetuating the problem, akin to putting a “band-aid” on it. This reminded me of Matt Stone’s examples of some of his clients who haven’t had success on the Paleo plan. I’m wondering if this failure to achieve a “fat burning state” is what they were observing. Hmmm.
She agreed with Jaminet in several major areas. These areas of overlap include limitations of the mainstream medical approach, damaging effects of pharmaceuticals, problems with legumes/grains, benefits of low-carb, paleolithic sway in general, higher fats(animal), significance of toxins, inclusion of minerals/supplements (not iodine or copper, though), role of anti-nutrients of post-ag foods, gut health/healthy gut flora importance, and overconsumption of protein problems. That’s quite a lot of overlap.
She named two possible reasons for needing to consume “safe starches”: 1. Elite Athletes, and she mentions olympic level here. People who are TRULY running through their glycogen stores. I think it’s safe to say that isn’t most of us. I think I have thought that I needed this at times when she would disagree. She points out that their activity is not natural, therefore they’ll need to supplement it in a non-natural way. 2. Possibly in pregnancy. Interesting.
This presentation was really worthwhile and certainly worth your time today if you can spare it. I’m going to grab her book and read it to fill in the blanks here. In my opinion, she was the best presenter of the ones I’d listened to. She was articulate and knowledgeable. Very helpful. She also has a podcast called Primal Body Primal Mind.
I need to give some good thoughts to my plan and how I’ve implemented it. I’m nearly sure that I’m someone who is feeding my addiction to carbohydrates through too many added “safe” ones in my diet. I’ll need to retrench. Hmmm. Good luck getting to all of the presentations today. I may not be able to listen to any more due to my schedule.