March 2013Monthly Archives

The Coming Paradigm of Pursuing Biological Balance

I am currently reading An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases by Moises Velasquez-Manoff.  In a nutshell, it is about how the decreasing biodiversity of our environment is creating more disease.  It is about how our agricultural methods, sanitation methods, and compulsive cleaning have in very short order eliminated many of the microorganisms and parasites that we evolved to deal with.  We for the most part no longer live with farm animals.  We seldom come in contact with excrement where in our not so distant past, it was all around us.  Our agricultural growing and distribution methods result in near-sterile produce.  Now that our immune systems have little to contend with, they turn on ourselves.  We are seeing increasing asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases with each new generation living in an environment devoid of the organisms our immune systems are familiar with.

The book begins in a bizarre way.  The author is seeking to infect himself with hookworms in a desperate hope to improve allergy and autoimmune conditions.  The very idea of it is so counter to the paradigm of eradication that we have been living in for the past century or two.  We think we are doing a good thing when we eliminate parasites; and yet when one practitioner dewormed pregnant women, she discovered that their offspring suffered from allergies at a greatly increased rate.  In contrast, some who have purposefully infected themselves with worms have seen reductions in allergic and autoimmune symptoms.  Lest anyone think to do the same, it must be remembered that the science of balancing one’s internal biology is still in its infancy.  We are a long way off from having dependable protocols for balancing the immune system in our modern world.

This book points to a new health specialty coming maybe ten or twenty years in our future, I would guess.  Practitioners of this specialty will use genetic testing, culture testing, and multigenerational environmental history to develop custom protocols for balancing internal biology and preventing allergies and autoimmune diseases.  The genetics of our immune systems are highly complex.  They were shaped over time by the prevailing biological environment in any given locale.  Since there is vast variation in environments, there is likewise vast variation in the immune strategies developed in our genetics.  What will stimulate one individual toward health could cause in another an immune system meltdown.  For this reason, protocols will ideally be custom-made for each patient.

So what does all of this have to do with diet?  Early attempts at achieving biological balance have included probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, and cultured vegetables, as promoted in The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity by Donna Gates and Linda Schatz.  This may not be entirely without risk.  For instance, Moises Velasquez-Manoff says in his book that overabundance of even a generally friendly organism such as Lactobacillus acidophilus in the small intestine can cause problems for some, resulting in a condition called Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO.  Chris Kresser addressed this topic with Steve Wright in a recent interview.  In this interview, Chris Kresser mentions that he has found the use of soil-based organisms to be helpful in the treatment of SIBO.  Indeed, my understanding of what I have read of the topic so far would indicate that a diversity of organisms is needed for best results.  I look forward to the day when the science of balancing internal biology reaches its maturity.

The Body Ecology Diet and Probiotics

Last week, I went to the free Super Charge Your Health Class at Soothe Your Soul in Hermosa Beach.  This seminar is given once or twice a month at the store.  The headline on the email advertising the class said that it would be about leaky gut and other digestive issues.  I had been concerned that I had seriously upset my gut biology and metabolism with the Master Cleanse a couple of years ago, so I was interested in what Rena Joy at Soothe Your Soul would have to say.

The class focused on healing the gut by populating it with helpful organisms to correct dysbiosis.  The presentation was primarily based on the book, The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, by Donna Gates and Linda Schatz.  The plan uses probiotic products such as cultured vegetables and young coconut water kefir to boost populations of helpful organisms.  Food combining strategies promote optimal digestion.  Troublesome foods are eliminated from the diet at least until the digestive system is stronger.

In the book, Donna Gates said that kefir was the most beneficial of the probiotic foods.  The mix of organisms is different than yogurt, or at least it’s supposed to be.  Kefir culture includes a friendly yeast that is not in yogurt.  The only commercial kefir recommended in the book is the plain unsweetened version made by Helios Nutrition.

You can learn more about the Body Ecology Diet at the Body Ecology website.  There are testimonials for digestive problems, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, allergies, autism, weight loss, and more.  You can take the Candida Quiz to determine if candida overgrowth might be a problem for you.

If you decide that you want to try the Body Ecology Diet, there’s a Quick Start Guide you can use to get you started.

Rena Joy of Soothe Your Soul taught us how to make kefir with young coconut water.  Coconut water kefir is great for the early stages of probiotic recovery when dairy is not well tolerated.  To make the kefir, you will need:

1 quart Young Thai Coconut Water
6 half pint jars, 8 oz., with lids
1 packet Body Ecology Kefir Starter
2 scoops Body Ecology Eco Bloom
6 capsules Udo’s Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic

  1. Warm the coconut water to 90 degrees (warm to touch).
  2. Distribute the dry ingredients among the jars, starting with the Kefir Starter. Open the probiotic capsules and dump the contents into the jars.
  3. Distribute the coconut water among the jars and stir to mix.
  4. Put the lids on the jars.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for 2 to 4.5 days.  Refrigerate any remaining kefir after that time.  The probiotics will weaken after refrigeration.
  6. Start consuming after 1.5 to 2 days.

One quarter cup of kefir can be used in place of the Kefir Starter to culture a new batch.  Reculturing with kefir can be done up to seven times. Do NOT use kefir that has been refrigerated to start a new batch since refrigeration inactivates the cultures.

Soothe Your Soul sells all supplies for the coconut water kefir except the jars.  The jars can be found at suppliers such as Smart & Final, OSH Hardware Stores, and Ace Hardware Stores.

The Body Ecology Kefir Starter contains

  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
  • Lactococcus lactis subsp. diacetylactis
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
  • Lactobacillus kefyr (thermophilic)
  • Saccaromyces unisporus
  • Kluyveromyces marxianus

Udo’s Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic contains

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus salivarius

Helios Nutrition kefir contains

  • Lactobacillus kefyr
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • Lactococcus cremoris
  • Lactococcus diacetylactis
  • Leuconostoc cremoris
  • Candida kefyr
  • Saccharomyces unisporous