Mine is the only way

With my hormone problem I have been trying to find out more about the relationship between hormones and nutrition. What has been disappointing has been the lack of information coming from my traditional sources – my usual sources of nutritionists and macrobiotics. In general I would assess their approach as being “if you take care of the diet the hormones will take care of themselves”. Whilst I agree with that in the long-term what do you do in the short term about hormone issues? One way is to go Chinese as TCM recognises hormone issues – although surprisingly Paul Pitchford, who writes much about TCM, has little to say about the hormones.

To start investigating hormones and nutrition I got into the book “The Perfect 10 diet”, and this has a lot to offer connecting the hormones (10
hormones) and nutrition. Unfortunately there is much to warn about in terms of the book along the lines of “Mine is the only way”. Throughout its reading flags were raised but I persevered because I was learning; but it was when I read this that I decided to write this caveat before anything else:-

Is It Healthy to Be a Strict Vegetarian?

That’s an easy question to answer: no. ” [p 116]

What is the tone of this? To turn people off vegetarianism. But in fact the only emphasis that he should be using in terms of his diet is the word “strict”:-

“I know we are constantly told that vegetarians live longer than people who eat meat, but this is a myth. Vitamin B12, which is present in animal products, is an important vitamin that is needed to lower homocysteine, a marker of heart disease.” [p116]

Is it a myth? I don’t believe it is but I have no evidence – and the author gives none. I was vegetarian on and off for a long while, but because I wasn’t health conscious I ended up with GERD. I am convinced of the benefits of a plant-based diet as is the Perfect 10 author, but I am now not a strict vegetarian.

B12 is a well-known vegetarian issue, apologies to Christine because of all the trouble she had but my favourite story is Christine Pirello’s story. Any vegetarian has to deal with B12, it appears some less than others. Once I became health-conscious I decided to eat some shell-fish, to be honest I have never been convinced of the purely-vegetarian solutions. I take some vitamin pills but am not convinced by anything produced in a factory. And there are too many arguments that the synthetic B12 cannot be properly ingested. Can the B12 in eggs provide what is needed? When I decided on fish I was not eating eggs – I hadn’t found the free-range eggs, maybe eggs can provide.

“Vegetarian diets are often high in carbohydrates, which can lead to exaggerated insulin secretions. A high insulin level equals getting fat.” [p116] I have no problem accepting this is true. Reducing a mainly-vegetarian diet to 40% quality carbs is probably not an issue – discussed later, it therefore is not necessary to dismiss vegetarianism contentiously.

“A vegetarian diet is also too low in fat. The greatest advantage of a diet with adequate fat intake is what it does to your sex hormones. A cholesterol-rich diet yields more sex hormones than a vegetarian diet. For guys, a body of research indicates that a diet with 40 percent of its calories from fat yields more testosterone than one with 30 percent of its calories from fat. The latest research clearly supports my diet plan. Strict vegetarians can develop a sluggish thyroid since their diet may be too low in protein, and an underactive thyroid equals weight gain. A diet low in protein may not support HGH production, the hormone that keeps you young and fit.” [p116]

I note here that in her conclusion Christine Pirello talked of increasing good quality fat.

Here is where it is getting “technical” for me. I think my diet (prior to the hormone issue) was too low in fat, but as a vegetarian I ate too much cheese and butter. I know that was not healthy but was it too low in fat? I haven’t fully come to terms with 40% fats yet (Perfect 10 says 40% carbs, 20% protein, and 40% fats), but I suspect the issue is not so much fat-intake as healthy fat-intake. Tons of processed cheese and butter is not healthy – my previous problem. For a vegetarian not to have 20% protein would have to be extreme, basically again a vegetarian who is not health-conscious so I don’t accept this crit either. I suspect mainly-vegetarian could be managed as 40/20/40, so the issue is to be hormone-conscious – and not to reject vegetarianism.

When he was contentious about veggies I decided to write this caveat, so here comes the other issues. Quite rightly he points out the issues of processed foods. In fact he pointed out something that I found very interesting concerning “white” foods, he says these refined foods badly affect insulin production – more than white sugar. I have always been conscious of white foods, here is a medical reason for that. I am never happy whenever I am forced to eat white foods – I usually carry my own cooked brown rice when eating out – even more so as I am now eating rice n peas. Processed foods are toxic so he spends time eschewing them. But what about antibiotics in meat? Does that mean perfect 10 people have healthy hormones and damaged livers? He mentions antibiotics in passing, but then he recommends duck. I am not a meat eater but by choice – not by hatred. I tried the duck and was almost sick. If perfect 10 means eating meat I’m out, but it doesn’t. Following his recommended meal schedule is out for me because there is too much meat, and unless you have a source of free-range meat I say the same to you. On [p116] he discusses animal fats “Animal fat has nothing to do with heart disease. It’s the manufactured fats, not the natural fats, that contribute to heart disease”.

But his style of writing is not inclusive of other dietary approaches, I definitely read him as someone who sees his way as the only way. I have not comne to terms properly with 40/20/40 as I don’t see my foods in terms of carbs protein and fats to know which percentages apply. My hormones were screwed and needed balancing. Acupuncture began that but my diet needs to address it. Readng his book is helping me decide, but in truth his diet recommendations are out the window as I have no source of healthy meat. One of my blogs will be about changing nutrition so hopefully it will be resolved. At the moment I don’t know how, because I don’t know how to get healthy fats.

He appeals to macho men, but men with huge glams are a disaster waiting to happen when they lose their fitness. Testosterone is only one of the 10 hormones, and to interest men in hormones you talk testosterone – so they can get it up. But testosterone is part of a package that should not be ignored – yet not emphasised.

I also recall that he recommends using artifical hormones but I haven’t got a quote so I am including it here as a possible caveat – if this sentence is not amended you know I didn’t find anything. I have one experience with artificial hormones – cortisone cream. Never again do I want to take hormones, it does not feel natural – and that’s my benchmark.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.
Blogs:- Zandtao, Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.