Dangers of Modern Day Whole Wheat

Dancers of Modern Day WheatA few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend whose son suffers from Crohn’s disease. He’s in his early 20’s now, but has had quite a battle with this horrible inflammatory disease since his early teens. He’s not alone and within this small circle of friends, I have another friend whose son has battled Crohn’s since early childhood. I also know many others who have lived with this horrible IBD for a good portion of their lives and all of whom are young people. Knowing this makes my heart heavy. It’s tough seeing beautiful people suffer.  This made me wonder what these families and individual sufferers have in common. Why are so many young people developing Crohn’s?  One thing that I continue to see among people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases are major red flags in their diets. What they can’t see through no fault of their own, is that many of their healthy” food choices are instrumental in making them sick and keeping them in constant flare. Whenever I cross paths with anyone who has a chronic inflammatory disease, I always initiate a discussion about healthy eating, because I believe that there is a strong correlation between what we eat and how we feel. I also believe that with the growing number of chronic inflammatory diseases on the rise in not just young people, but people across the spectrum, that there is a direct link between chronic illness and our food source and it is this continued exposure to “harmful healthy foods” that is responsible for making us sick and keeping a great majority of our population dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.

In addition to GMO’s and dairy, my concern’s have always pointed toward wheat gluten and I’m not alone in my thinking. Preventative cardiologist William Davis, MD wrote a New York times best seller called “Wheat Belly” it is through his observation of over 2000 patients that he began noticing a connection between wheat and obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), gluten allergies like Celiac and  gluten intolerance such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other chronic conditions and diseases such as asthma, eczema and ulcerative colitis.

So, what’s the big deal about wheat? It’s an ancient cereal grain often ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas and pastries. Correct? It’s also packed full of vitamins such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. The most important part of this description is “ancient.” Yes, grandma’s wheat was healthy, nutritious and a great addition to a healthy diet. However, it is only the wheat of the early 20th century that we can refer to as healthy, because what we’re eating in our modern world is hybridized and *bioengineered wheat, thanks to big agricultural on its quest for a higher yielding crop. We can’t even call what we eat today “wheat” perhaps it should be referred to as “beat” short for bio-wheat, “wheatio” “hybro-wheat, or perhaps more appropriately “inflammo-grain.” For those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBDs such as Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis and IBS, this is another compelling reason to skip wheat based products and specifically wheat gluten protein, which has been altered through intense crossbreeding. The healthy amino acids and gliadin protein found in wheat has changed drastically over the years and it is this change that is potentially responsible for the 400-percent increase in Celiac disease that we’ve seen over the past 40 years. It is also modern-day gliadin protein that works as a powerful appetite stimulant and according to Dr. Davis this may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases that were are seeing on the rise.  Inflammo-wheat with its new biochemical code also causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity.

*Bioengineered wheat doesn’t just make you hungrier and heavier, it can also makes you nutrient deficient. The combination of digestion-impairing components in the seeds of grasses exposes you to a collection of poorly digested toxic, allergic and disruptive agents. Since modern-day wheat is a cross between wheat and non-wheat grasses, (that’s right grasses) through irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high does x-rays to induce the desired mutations. Our body’s poor reaction to this process is no surprise, since we as humans are not suited to consuming anything from the grass family. Graminivores such as cattle, sheep, horses and rabbits can obtain all of their nutrition from grass seeds, but humans can not and fortification does not change this one bit.  All grass contains high levels of phytates and ironically many grain breeders also select high phytate strains of grains because of their improved pest resistance. The modern-day whole wheat , corn and millet contain 800 milligrams (mg) of phytates per 100 grams, that’s approximately 3 1/2 ounces of flour. It only takes 50 mg of phytates to slash iron absorption by 80 to 90 percent. Phylates also reduce absorption of Zinc and Magnesium. An over exposure to wheat increases our intake of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) which is responsible for blocking the intrinsic factor protein produced by the stomach, which is essential for B12 absorption.

Wheat ingredients are found in most processed foods including candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce and wine coolers. It’s also in what people consider healthier foods such as pizza, pastas, whole wheat breads and cereals.  There are also grains which share similar properties of wheat because they contain gluten-like proteins, such as Rye, barley and oats. If you must include grain in your diet opt for quinoa, buckwheat, millet and wild rice, but only in moderation. A 1/2 cup is an acceptable amount to avoid triggering high blood sugar.

What should we eat in order to avoid chronic inflammation of the intestines, stomach and joints? My simple recommendation is always fresh organic fruit and vegetables, along with organic lean protein. Avoid wheat grain and all processed foods which might have wheat gluten ingredients and stock your kitchen with many wonderful grain-free substitutes such as: almond meal, almond flour coconut flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, olive oil, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and seed & nut butters to mention a few. Having these items on hand not only provide great pantry substitutes, but they can also help to correct the above mentioned vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by high grain consumption. There are also many gluten-free resources available these days with the high number of Celiac cases, along with the fact that more and more people are discovering that they have gluten-intolerance. Your body is always the best guide for what ails you, observe, listen and eat well.

*The term Bioengineered should not be confused with GMO. These terms are not interchangeable. Wheat has not been “Genetically Modified,” but it has in fact been “Bioengineered.”

Reference:  “Wheat Belly” & “Wheat Belly Total Health” Interesting reading here on the The Positive Pear: Juicing, Healthy Whole Foods,

Are You Eating Real Food? Allergies, Inflammation & Cancer 3 Reasons to Go Organic!

Are You Eating Real Food? For those heavily involved in a holistic, natural and organic lifestyle this is a very familiar topic, but for many this might be your first exposure.  When the subject of healthy eating comes up in discussion, many often feel this is a non-issue because they refrain from eating “junk food,” without knowing that what they’re eating may not be considered healthy or even considered real food.  You’ll soon discover that what you choose to eat may not only make you sick, but it can also exacerbate symptoms of chronic conditions and with a weakened immune system it might also make you more susceptible to other conditions and diseases.

I find it very interesting that word “food” does not represent what we think it does.  We now have to use the term “real food” when referring to foods that have not been modified or tampered with in some way.  Over the last several years I’ve often wondered about the increase in the number of peanut allergies and not only gluten allergies, but gluten sensitivities, food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowl disease and the increase in “new” allergens. The most logical explanation that I could come up with for the increased number of peanut allergies was overexposure.  Since at one point you could find traces of peanuts as an ingredient or filler in many food products.  The same for gluten, its an ingredient in toothpaste, shampoo, make-up, gum, lotions, medications, sauces, gravies and all wheat products.  While we’re on the subject of wheat, this is one grain that you’ll want to keep your eye on, because it’s one of the next grains soon to be effected by what you read below.  Why is it that we have such high cases of food allergies and high levels of food intolerance IBS and IBDs, especially now when compared to 15 or 20 years ago? What happens to the GI Tract after it’s been exposed to toxic chemicals over long periods of time? You’ll discover the answers to many of these questions as you read on.  Once you begin to take a closer look at what we’ve been exposed to, you’ll quickly realize that overexposure is only a small glimpse into a much larger issue. To really understand where we are today, we’d have to travel back to the mid 90’s when we stopped eating real food.

 In 1996 the food industry changed and not necessarily for the good. New proteins were engineered into our food supply to maximize profitability in the food industry.  This was after synthetic protein hormones were injected directly into cows with adverse reactions in 1994, so the government had to find another way,which was adding the synthetic protein directly to the livestock food supply. While the US allowed the use of GMO proteins because it had not been proven dangerous, Canada, Australia, the UK, and 27 other European countries did not allow its use, because there were no studies available to show how these chemicals effected the livestock much less the effects on human health after consumption. When you hear the term “synthetic protein hormone” you have to wonder about both the long-term and short-term effects of exposure to elevated hormone levels on humans and if there’s a link to breast, prostate, colon cancer and other types of cancers.  In 2008 Dr. Leonard Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden, revealed clear links between one of the world’s biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup, marketed by Monsanto), to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer. Keep this in mind as you read along.  According to Livestrong and American Cancer Society, the US has the highest rates of cancer than any other country in the world. If you move to the US from another country your chances of developing cancer increase exponentially. According to cancer research studies 1 out of 2 american men and 1 out of 3 american women will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime.  1 out of 8 american women will develop breast cancer and out this group only 1 in 10 is genetic.  This means that 9 out of 10 of these cases are environmentally triggered.  These chemicals which cause allergic reactions, and trigger the inflammatory response in the body are also responsible for the increased incidents of certain types of cancer.

During the time that our milk supply was being engineered with a new synthetic protein there was an increase in the number of allergies, especially those dairy related. As dairy allergies were on the rise, so were other types of allergies. Since dairy is one of the top 8 allergens, you would not have to venture far to identify the next genetically modified food.  To no surprise soy was also engineered by scientist, with increased profits as the motivator,  especially since the primary use of soy was to fatten livestock. Scientists were able to modify the soybean, by taking genes from bacteria and forcing it into DNA of the soybean plant, causing it to produce a protein that would allow it to withstand increasing amounts of Monsanto Roundup Herbicide by absorbing its main ingredient glyphosate.  Soy is known as the first Roundup Ready crop, and was produced at Monsanto’s Agracetus in 1991.  In 1996 the US incorporated this newly modified bean into our food source. If this isn’t enough to make you cringe, just wait to hear what scientist were able to do with corn. There was an increasing concern of insecticide being sprayed over cornfields, so scientist were able to genetically modify corn by engineering this very insecticide into the DNA of a corn seed, so that as the corn plant grew it released its own insecticide.  As a result, corn was then regulated by the EPA as an insecticide. So in essence, when we eat GMO corn we are essentially eating an insecticide.

Those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disease want to be especially mindful of these facts, because these same harmful chemicals can also exacerbate these conditions and make those of us with weakened immune systems even more susceptible. Symptoms such as inflamed irritated stomachs, discoloration of stomach lining, leakage of intestines, as well as behavioral symptoms of irritability and anti-social behavior have been associated with animals who consume glyphosate. Inflammatory bowel disease in humans has risen 40 percent since 1992, though the consumption of GMO foods and IBD have not been scientifically linked, there are many scientist who suspect a connection. Don Huber, Emeritus Professor at Purdue University and senior scientist on USDA’s National Plant Disease Recovery System, a plant physiologist and pathologist for over 40 years. Addressed many of his concerns in a  letter to the US Secretary of State Tom Vilsak which was leaked in February 2011. He speaks about a pathogen “new to science” in glyphosate-tolerant GM crops and its negative physiological effects on plants, crops, animals and humans.  If you have doubts on the effects of ingesting GMO foods simply read the warning label of any herbicide or pesticide.

You might wonder how these foods were introduced into our food supply without human trials.  Well, thanks to a term known as “substantial equivalence”, a conceptual tool used by the tobacco industry to facilitate the approval process of something for which no human trials had been conducted, we were exposed without our consent. Its was in 1997 that legalization of Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing was enacted by the Food and Drug Administration, approximately one year after GMO foods were introduced into our food supply. Timely, and a great opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on the many sick people who GMO foods would soon create.

The FDA has very strict food labeling regulations, even the organic food industry has to meet a rigid criteria before food products can carry the USDA Organic label.  Despite the fact that mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods in the United States has been proposed, there has been no law passed requiring it.  At least 35 other countries have adopted mandatory labelling for any product that has been genetically modified. The European Parliament passed laws in July 2003 on products containing GMO foods, lifting the seven-year ban on the introduction of new biotech products. As of April 18, 2004, all products containing an ingredient that contains more than 0.9 per cent of GMOs must be labelled. Animal feed containing GMOs will also must be labelled. One way to protect ourselves here in the US is to grow our own organic foods and when you must purchase foods, buy organic or look for foods labeled Non-GMO project verified. Keep in mind that all livestock has been exposed to genetically modified foods so this effects, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, milk, soy, corn, and all products carrying these ingredients,which are countless.  In the mid to late 90’s when I became aware that we were being exposed to GMO foods, I made the decision to go 100% organic. In spite of this effort I know there were many times that I or my family members were exposed to GMO foods and that was anytime we weren’t eating at home.  Though I’m grateful that I was able to make the decision to purchase organic foods, some people can not afford to make this same choice.  It’s frustrating to know that our tax resources have gone to subsidize the growth of the crops with chemicals and GMO foods. While organic food farmers who grow foods without harmful chemicals are charged absorbent fees, which they in turn to pass on to us.  Plus, they are not privy to the same  insurance and marketing that GMO food farmers have. Even conventional farmers are adversely effected, now having to pay royalties on these newly engineered seeds or risk being sued.

Tell the FDA that we have a right to know what’s in our food

What about the manufacturers who use GMOs in their food products? Kraft, General Mills, Kellogg, Coke, Pepsi, Heinz and Walmart meet the demands of their consumers in other countries by using non-GMO foods in their products that they distribute outside of the US. Ironically these same companies have jumped on the “organic” money train by offering organic products or purchasing long-standing organic brands. (We’ll question the integrity of these organic products in another post.) If these companies can make these non-GMO food exceptions for other countries, certainly they can distribute these affordable products here in the US, giving us the ability to choose as consumers. Of course, costs become an issue when GMO has become the industry standard, but it is possible as a corporation to thrive in a non-GMO environment. Take the Pro-Terra Foundation for example, who announced that since 1996 it has distributed 4.8 million tonnes per year of traceable and verified socially responsible, environmentally stable, non-GM soy and in a bid to encourage more food manufacturers to switch to non-GM soy, cereals and grains, plus they’ve introduced a new not-for-profit organization consumer orientated logo which has been set up around the established ProTerra standard.

You have to also wonder about the impact that being exposed to these high toxicity levels has had on our healthcare dollars, not just us individually but also a country.  The US spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world, 16% of our gross domestic product or (GDP) goes to managing disease. Companies spend more money on healthcare for their employees then they do on the products they actually sell or promote. This not only affects us individually but it affects our country’s competitiveness in the global marketplace.

We’ve been exposed to genetically modified foods for the past 16 years, this is enough time to learn of  it’s harmful effects. Most recently there have been studies which show an increase in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood leukemia, breast cancer, while also causing cardiovascular, nerve, respiratory, kidney, liver, and gastrointestinal damage. As well as reproductive damage resulting in infertility, sterility, birth defects, infant mortality relating to the consumption of GMO Soy and the ingredient glyphosate. A great quote to ponder from health advocate Dr. Mercola “I strongly believe that one of the most obvious clues about the danger of GMO foods are that just about EVERY species of animal that is offered a GMO food versus a non-GMO food will avoid the GMO one. Many times they will do this to the point of starvation, as they have an intuitive sense of the danger of this food.” What can we do when our own government can not see the error in its ways?  Well, we can’t afford to wait for legislature or regulation, we need to continue driving awareness and begin making the needed changes regarding our own individual health, whether we’re considered healthy or afflicted, and the health of our families by choosing to purchase, eat and grow real, natural and organic foods. This will in turn influence our communities and corporations while ultimately effecting the economy. Once we begin to take on this personal responsibility, combined with determination and passion, in the words of Robin O’Brien “we have the ability to effect remarkable change.”

Soy first Roundup Ready CropStatus of GMO Wheat, Herbicide Tolerance,” New Study Links Monsanto’s Roundup to cancer,” – June 2001,  GMO Soy Linked to Infant Mortality in Rats,  The Pesticide Education CenterThe Chemical Injury Information Network (CIIN)The Unhealthy Truth, Pro-Terra StandardSeeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods,

The Healing Power of Ginger

Zingiber Officinale also known as Ginger Root, has been used as medicine in parts of world such as Asia, India, and Arabia as herbal traditions since ancient times. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years.

Ginger is an incredible herb with powerful anti inflammatory properties.  I can attest to this, as I use this herb regularly to manage inflammation associated with an autoimmune disease that I have known as Ankylosing Spondilitis.  It’s also good for approximately 100 other arthritic conditions including Osteoarthritis.   Because Ginger is a natural and very powerful (cyclooxygenase) Cox-2 inhibitor, just as NSAIDs and aspirin are, it is also quiet effective for pain. I find it incredibly helpful for the pain associated with AS, as well as the widespread musculoskeletal pain associated with having Fibromyalgia.

There have been studies on ginger comparing its efficacy to that of aspirin and not only did it take smaller dosages to accomplish pain relief, there were also no known side effects.  In further comparison to aspirin, it is common knowledge that doctor’s recommend daily usage of aspirin to inhibit the blood thickening enzyme which can lead to clogged arteries.  The only issue with taking aspirin daily are the potential side effects, such as stomach upset, bleeding ulcers, joint discomfort and a potentially compromised immune system.  Other studies show that regular aspirin consumption increases the rate of mortality, and this would include the use NSAIDs.  One way to successfully accomplish the effects of aspirin without the harmful side effects, is to substitute with the use of Ginger Root.  A  cardiology clinic in an Israeli hospital now recommends that all of its patients take 1/2 teaspoon of ginger daily in place of aspirin.  Ginger is quickly becoming the “wonder herb” because of its incredible healing effects on the circulatory system, even transcending the potential of many modern cardiovascular drugs.  Heart disease is the #1 killer in United States, and individuals are becoming more “heart health” aware, wanting positive results without the harmful side effects, so its no wonder that ginger is growing by leaps and bounds in its popularity.

A group of researchers from Cornell Medical School published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 confirming that ginger did in fact inhibit the life-threatening process of platelet aggregation.  Because of ginger’s many physical healing properties, it offers synergistic cardiovascular effects, such as antioxidant, strengthening of the heart muscle and lowering serum cholesterol. Ginger is known to actually prevent cholesterol biosynthesis.

Because of Ginger’s stimulation of immunity and inhibition of platelet aggregation, it has a positive influence on cancer patients. Ginger also soothes the stomach and aids in digestion, so for this reason its great for symptoms relating to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flu, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, even chemotherapy related nausea.  It also eases cold symptoms, and works as a catalyst for other herbs making their effects stronger, so for this reason you’ll want to be mindful of other herbs and medications that you decide to use with Ginger. Because of Ginger’s effects on the circulatory system and its ability to regulate blood sugar it is great for diabetics and for those looking to give a boost to their reproductive system.  Researchers have concluded there is a significant increase in the sperm swimming ability and sperm content associated with ginger consumption, so with this being said Ginger has the ability to increase fertility.

Ginger is good for:

1) Inflammation

2) Pain

3) Stomach upset/Digestion

4) Nausea

5) Morning Sickness

6) Chemotherapy Related Nausea

7) Heart Health

8) Circulation

9) Immunity

10) Blood Sugar

11) Fertility

12) Cold & Flu

Ginger Root is great in many forms, Tea, Herbal Supplements, Liquid drops, Herbal Powder and Fresh Ginger.  Do not exceed 4g of ginger per day. Recommended dosage: 2 ginger capsules, or 90 liquid drops, 1/4 Fresh Ginger, 1 pre-packaged tea bag or 1/2 tsp of Ginger Root Powder. Take 3x times daily or every four hours as needed for many of the symptoms mentioned above.

Contraindications and Precautions Ginger Root:

If you have any of the following, please consult with your doctor before taking:  Food Allergies, Medical problems associated with your Heart , Gall Bladder (gall stones), Brain or Nervous System. Do not take Ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, taking heart medications, on a blood thinning medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin or NSAIDs.

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.  Side effects from ginger are rare, but if taken in high doses the herb may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. Many of these side effects are avoidable if Ginger is take in capsule form, but remember it is highly recommended that you not exceed 4g of Ginger Root Daily.

Natural Pain Management

Fresh Raw Ginger-Cranberry Relish

The Kellogg Report: The Impact of Nutrition, Environment & Lifestyle on the Health of Americans, Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Medicinal Qualities of GINGER: Common Spice & Wonder Drug 3rd edition, Chart page 64, The Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study Research Group. “The aspirin myocardial infarction study: Final results.” Circulation 62 (6, Pt 2.)  (Dec. 1980): V79-84, Dorso, C., et al. “Chinese food and platelets.” New England Journal of Medicine 303, no. 13 (1980): 756-57, Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan ginger 2005 byYakugaku Zasshi, A Literature Review Of Ginger, The joy of ginger.” American Health, Bioscience Biotechnology biochemistry: Induction of  neutrophil accumulation by vegetable juice by Yamazaki M, Nishimura T, Ethnopharmacologic investigation of ginger (Zingiber Officinale) 1989, Biomedical Reviews (Bulgaria)-Pharmacological effects of spices

Low-Starch (or) Low-Carb? One Helps to Manage HLA-B27 Related IBS

What is a low-starch diet?  It is the reduction of both carbohydrates & starches.  All carbohydrates are starches, but not all starches are carbohydrates.  What is starch? Starches are long complex chains of simple sugars. Also referred to as complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are essentially sugar molecules, specifically several sugar molecules linked together.  Long chains of these sugar molecules serve as energy storage for plants and when we eat them our bodies then convert these carbohydrates into its own energy source. To clarify carbohydrates from plants fall into the low glycemic category, because they are made up of cellulose, which is the rigid cell wall of plants giving them their shape, also known as dietary fiber.  It is the high glycemic or simple carbohydrates that cause the most need for concern in a typical diet.  Higher glycemic foods, include many high carbohydrates foods, such as breads pizza, beans, potatoes, corn, rice, grains etc. In a typical diet eating balanced portions of legumes, higher carbohydrate vegetables, breads, pasta and cereals would be considered healthy. In a diet meant to control symptoms relating Anklylosing SpondylitisIBS, these foods might need to be reduced considerably or avoided completely.

Why is it that Certain Individuals Afflicted with Ankylosing Spondylitis Benefit from a Low-Starch Diet?   In 1973 through extensive research, scientist discovered at the time that over 95% of A.S. patients had HLA-B27, however not everyone with the HLA-B27 gene ended up with AS. Thanks to additional research in 1975 at Kings College & The Middlesex Hospital in London it was discovered that the environmental agent highly active in A.S. cases was a pathogen known as Klebsiella.

Klebsiella is a microbe that ordinarily lives in the intestines without incident, but in A.S. sufferers with the gene HLA-B27, it is suspected that there is an overflow.  What happens during a flare-up is that the A.S./HLA-B27 sufferer’s body is producing more Klebsiella antibodies. When you eat high quantities of starch you are contributing to the increase of Klebsiella in the bowel flora, when you have more Klebsiella than normal, your body begins to produce more antibodies causing an inflammatory response. A revolving cycle erupts, because Klebsiella thrives on undigested starch, the more starch you eat the more Klebsiella you have. The more Klebsiella you have, the more Klebsiella antibodies your body will produce, the more Klebsiella antibodies your body produces the more flare-ups you’ll have, including severe IBS symptoms for some.

Is HLA-B27 the only Identifiable Gene for Ankylosing Spondylitis?   No, thanks to much scientific research in recent years we’ve discovered that there are a number of individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis who do not have the gene HLA-B27 and in the last 4 years, researchers have uncovered several new genes which are directly linked to AS. Additionally, there are also many different diseases which fall under the umbrella of Spondyloarthropathies.  HLA-B27 was discovered nearly 38 years ago, so there have been numerous studies linked to this specific gene. AS sufferers who do not have HLA-B27 will not have an an overgrowth of Klebsiella, per the 1975 Kings College & Middlesex Hospital study.  However, according to research done by Linus Pauling Institute, or LPI at Oregon State University on inflammation, the Non-HLA-B27 group of individuals would benefit from a low-carb eating regimen.  Simply put, high glycemic carbohydrates contribute to inflammation and it is theorized that starches feed the bowel microbe Klebsiella, which is supposedly very active in the HLA-B27 Ankylosing Spondylitis group. HLA-B27 gene carriers with AS wanting to reduce the number of flares, according to this study would need to limit their starch intake & the Non-HLA-B27 group would need to reduce their carb consumption.

The Research that “The Low-Starch Diet” is based upon & is it a Cure?:   During my quest for answers and my own personal research on this subject, I discovered that the research relating to Ankylosing Spondylitis, HLA-B27 and Klebsiella is quite controversial in some circles. In fact, this subject has been discussed in the UK over the past 38 years, with those who are for and some who are against being split more or less right down the middle. In spite of the controversy within the community of people who have Ankylosing Spondylitis, regarding “The Low-Starch Diet and whether Klebsiella is truly the culprit, or if Dr. Ebringer’s results have been duplicated successfully or not, is completely irrelevant to me.  I’m only interested in results and the results for me have been positive, as it has for many with early onset, moderate and even some more severe cases of Ankylosing Spondylitis and those with IBS who have made similar dietary changes. While it’s important to keep in mind that there is no magic bullet, cookie cutter, one size fits all diet for anyone, nor is this article promoting a cure, only an alternative method to managing AS and symptoms relating to IBS.  I also feel diet alone is NOT the answer. One must adopt a “whole body” approach to managing their disease as it is outlined here on The Positive Pear. It is also highly recommended when eating for the purpose of healing, to avoid GMO foods & Bioengineered Wheat which are known to trigger an inflammatory response, allergic reactions and wreak havoc on the stomach and intestinal tract.  Those living with autoimmune disease, should also be wary of anyone promoting a single way of eating as a “cure” for their disease, especially when the disease itself is incurable. It is important to know your body and your symptoms well, while also paying close attention to how your body reacts to certain foods that you eat. Some individuals do quite well with low-carb, or a simple elimination of wheat-gluten, while others are forced to eliminate not only simple carbs, but also many higher-starch complex carbs, grains, wheat-gluten and additional sugars as well.

What is the Difference Between a Low-Carb & a Low-Starch?  It really boils down to the types of foods that you can and can not eat, low-carb allows for individual consumption of “good carbs” low-glycemic carbohydrates, and all fruit & vegetables  while avoiding all simple carbs. Whereas individuals attempting to eat low-starch might need to reduce considerably or potentially avoid many foods that are safe for low-carb consumption, including some complex carbohydrate vegetables, such as, beans, soy beans, peas, lentils, carrots and sweet potatoes. Safe low glycemic foods for low-starch eating would include: green leafy vegetables, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, etc.  Other inflammatory culprits to avoid for both groups are: dairy, nightshade vegetables, gluten & high amounts of sodium.

According to research of  Dr. Alan Ebringer, professor of Immunology & Rheumatology consultant to several medical schools and hospitals, the London A.S. low-starch diet is most beneficial in the early stages of an A.S. diagnosis and works best when combined with low dosages of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) (or for those who prefer to avoid the harmful effects of the meds, Ginger Root)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) & the HLA-B27 Ankylosing Spondylitis Connection:  As if having Ankylosing Spondylitis with its numerous symptoms isn’t enough, it is suspected that within HLA-B27 blood group that these individuals are also prone to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The source for this theory is a book by Carol Sinclair which connects HLA-B27 Ankylosing Spondylitis, and IBS in a very clear and concise manner. IBS is your body’s inability to digest certain foods.  As with many chronic conditions, there might be several different forms of IBS and some may experience more severe symptoms than others. The symptoms of IBS are not pleasant, from bloating, stomach distention to full-blown pain and agony. Perhaps even alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation. The older you get the worse IBS can become.  As I can trace my AS to childhood, I can also trace my food intolerance and digestive issues to the same time frame. Of course there are other contributing factors for some AS individuals, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and potentially damage to the stomach and pancreas as a result of taking medications meant to control symptoms of AS, as well as gluten intolerance due to excessive consumption of bioengineered wheat.

There are other conditions and diseases which have similar or overlapping symptoms to IBS such as, medication induced Gastritis prophylaxis, Pancreatitis, Pancreatic Cancer, ulcers, Crohn’s, diverticulitis & ulcerative colitis. When there is dramatic pain, weight loss and even difficulty swallowing food, these symptoms should be reported to your doctor, as further monitoring and medical attention are required for these conditions. Diverticulitis, is another chronic condition which effects the intestines, usually develops with age and may be a direct result of IBS.

Can I Expect a link Medically Between HLA-B27 Anklosing Spondylitis & IBS?  Many descriptions of AS include the inflammation of the intestines, relating to diseases of the bowel. However, if you do not have IBD, which is confirmed by a colonoscopy, then you might be left on your own.  Where IBS is suspected doctors might simply resort to treating the symptoms. Especially since several types of chronic stomach discomfort can easily be traced NSAIDs or other harsh medications. Often doctors prescribe OTC medications to treat the many symptoms relating to IBS, such as Prilosec for the stomach upset and Metamucil and Benefiber for the constipation and so on. Treating only the symptoms does nothing to resolve the overall problem, which is reducing the number of IBS flares. After a bout with H. Phylori & Gastritis prophylaxis, I was still experiencing severe pain and discomfort even after eliminating the infection, but I refuse to give up on finding a natural alternative to controlling my IBS symptoms and that perseverance lead me to discover “The IBS Low-Starch Diet”.  Which was instrumental in helping me understand the importance of eliminating starches, in spite of being a vegan who ate very few simple carbs.

Where Should I Begin?  If you’re ready to give eating regimen a go, it is important to know that each person will have to determine the proper amounts of starch intake for their symptoms. One individual’s low-starch intake might vary considerably from another’s and the same with low-carb intake. It is important to balance your new-found eating plan with a reasonable amount of lean protein, many green leafy vegetables, fresh low-starch fruit in moderation, ample water, as well as omega 3-6-9, vitamins, minerals and amino acids combined with regular exercise, in an effort to compensate for what you are now loosing with being on such a restricted eating plan.  If you’re also looking for a way to manage pain & inflammation naturally consider adding Ginger Root to your daily regimen.  The need for reduced starch will diminish once the healing takes place and once your symptoms subside, you might find that you can return to eating higher amounts of starch when you’re feeling well, while limiting the amounts of starch on high flare days.  You are probably wondering how to start and precisely what you can eat. I would highly suggest using a food journal to note your reactions to specific foods, then immediately begin eliminating the major culprits such as: processed foods, breads, pastas, cakes, potatoes and all flour products. Focus more on eating vegetables, then note how your body reacts when eating these foods. You might find that you are fine with eating some higher starch veggies than you were with eating simple carbohydrates, or you might find that you’ll also need to eliminate starchy vegetables as well. When eliminating high starch foods from your diet, do so one by one. It is important to log your physical reactions for your own knowledge and when communicating your experiences to your doctor. Keep liquid iodine on hand to test your foods and if the food in question turn black, then its high in starch. (Discard & do not eat any tested portions) I’ll eventually post a low-starch food list and as this blog is new, there are a few low-starch recipes and food suggestions, but more are coming.

Is this Diet Endorsed by Doctors?  Most doctors typically avoid recommending a specific eating regimen to control symptoms and usually leave this decision to their patients.  Just so you’re aware, eating less than 130 grams of carbs per day, can lead to a buildup of keatones in the body. Ketosis can not only affect the breath, but can lead to a build up of uric acid in the blood. According to the American Medical Association, it is also important to limit the amounts of purine rich foods, when following a higher protein, low-carb or low-starch eating regimen, as high levels of uric acid in the blood cause crystals in the joints contributing to Gout.  When you must maintain a low-starch diet to control symptoms of AS, or related IBS, it really becomes about choosing the lessor of two evils.  However, it is helpful to eat at least the minimum amount of carbs and avoid excessive amounts of purine rich foods such as: anchovies, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus & cauliflower. Instead eat higher amounts of low-purine fruits & vegetables, while specifically increasing your intake of salmon, flax & fish oils, such as omega 3-6-9’s, dark berries and sugar-free,100% pure cranberry juice, to cleanse the kidneys in an effort to avoid UTIs and perhaps even kidney stones.  Be sure to also drink plenty of water, as a higher protein, low-starch and low-carb diets can easily dehydrate.

Though there are many highly marketed low carb diets on the web, which are all the new craze, it is not recommended that otherwise healthy individuals engage in low-carb or low-starch eating, other than those looking for alternative methods to managing symptoms of specific diseases or chronic conditions, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes & IBS to mention a few. It is highly recommended that you educate yourself about your disease or chronic invisible illness, then work closely with you health care professional to arrive at a course of treatment that actually works for you. Prior to beginning any major dietary changes consult with your doctor. This article is for informational purposes only and in no way promotes anything listed here as a cure for any disease.

Professor Alan Ebringer on Diet and Ankylosing Spondylitis:

London AS Low-Starch Diet based on research performed by: Dr. Alan Ebringer of Kings College:  1.) Ebringer and Wilson C. The use of a low starch diet in the treatment of patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Clinical Rheumatology 1996; 15 Suppl. 1, 61-65. 2.) Ebringer A. Ankylosing spondylitis is caused by Klebsiella. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, 1992 1/105-121


The Food Hospital Recently Aired an Episode Covering AS & Klebsiella Video Bite:

It is the responsibility of each reader to make informed decisions regarding their health. All information provided via The Positive Pear Blog is for informational purposes only. The Positive Pear, nor its writers are legally liable for the content, information or opinions expressed therein. When in doubt consult a qualified dietitian, doctor, holistic practitioner or medical professional.

Can Organic Juicing “Cure” Disease…Specifically Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Organic juicing can provide the most amazing healing benefits, including cleansing the body of free radicals and toxins, while offering anti-inflammatory benefits, and in the process stave off the effects of aging and degenerative diseases.  I juice regularly and I strongly believe in the healing power of fruits and vegetables. I’ve also been asked a number times if I believe that juicing itself, or if certain freeze-dried juices promoted by various companies can cure specific diseases such as cancer, arthritis and most recently AS.  In my humble opinion, the answer is “no” and here’s why.

“Cure” defined by Wikipedia, means: “the end of a medical condition; the substance or procedure that ends the medical condition, such as a medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle, or even a philosophical mindset that helps a person suffer. It may also refer to the state of being healed, or cured.”  According to my definition, as someone living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a cure would mean waking up to no further, pain, inflammation, fatigue or symptoms relating to AS, or any companion diseases falling under the category of spondyloarthropathies.  Although juicing can not cure auto-immune disease, the addition of juicing to one’s daily health regimen, combined with a healthy lifestyle can do wonders.

What exactly does juicing offer?

Juicing gives the body a well needed break from digestion, so energy can be directed toward healing. During this time your cells receive well needed recovery through the rejuvenation process of detoxifying and repairing themselves.  Juicing allows us the opportunity to load the body full of valuable nutrients, minerals & enzymes.  Enzymes are very special proteins found in a all living cells, which act as catalysts in the metabolic process.  They are indispensable and essential actions for the chemical reactions that make life possible and without them, life simply would not be. Enzymes are found in all living things, including humans, plants and animals.  When foods are cooked, the enzyme content is reduced considerably.  This is why it is important to consume  as many servings of fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.  Drinking freshly squeezed juices allows us this opportunity, without the burden of eating and digesting such large quantities of food.  Consuming minerals & enzymes offer amazing healing benefits and the most powerful way to multiply our intake of these powerful nutrients is to consume green drinks.  Green drinks consists of green leafy vegetables, often combined with certain fruits to make the drink more palate pleasing. Many green leafy vegetables also offer many anti-inflammatory benefits such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, collard greens & turnip greens. Many fruits also offer anti-inflammatory benefits such as: lemons, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries & kiwi.  The proper combinations of these fruits and vegetables are crucial in reaping the healing benefits of juicing, without doing harm to the body such as raising your blood sugar levels, or effecting symptoms of reactive arthritis such as IBS.

What you juice is just as important as what you eat.  How much you consume of certain foods, is just as important as what you consume of foods in their full form ie; a diabetic juicing fruit.  Combining  the proper foods when  juicing can yield amazing healing benefits for just about anyone.  However, juicing should be done so with caution for Gout sufferers, needing to avoid purine-rich foods & autoimmune arthritis & IBS sufferers choosing to refrain from consuming large amounts of sugars & starches.  Juicing can offer incredible healing benefits for many, especially those living with chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

What can juicing offer to those living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, and other inflammatory conditions?

In addition to newly found energy, a clearer complexion and mental clarity, juicing and drinking green leafy vegetables can offer amazing anti-inflammatory benefits.  Reducing inflammation without question has a positive impact on a the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylisits, as well as other inflammatory conditions; such as eczema and asthma.  As someone who lives with AS, who has also used juicing for many years, I can attest to the positive impact that juicing  the proper combinations of foods can have on autoimmune arthritis related inflammation. The consumption of freshly squeezed green drinks, from vegetables high in anti-inflammatory properties reduces the inflammatory response of Ankylosing Spondylitis..at least in my case and it might also work for you.

When it comes to such beneficial remedies as juicing, it’s imperative to choose the proper terminology when describing its effects on specific conditions. In terms of healing, there is both physiological healing and wound healing.  Research has shown that both fruits and vegetables have physiological healing properties, so its safe to say that juicing offers the same healing benefits.  Consuming higher amounts of enzyme rich foods via juicing, without the burden of digestion can be instrumental in staving off degenerative, age related diseases contributing to inflammation, such as heart disease, along with certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis, as the foods these juices are derived from offer these very benefits.  However, once a person has a disease, especially an incurable autoimmune disease, going so far as to suggest juicing as stand alone cure, is a stretch.  Promoting juicing as a “cure” immediately puts it into the category of snake oil remedies, thus invalidating  the importance of  its use.

The Positive Pear recommends juicing daily with the proper food combinations. Buy Non-GMO, local and organic whenever possible, especially when eating for the purpose of healing or controlling inflammation.  Using lots of dark green leafy vegetables and when adding fruit, make sure its simply enough to lighten the flavor. If you’re on a Low-Starch Diet, be sure to remain true to the diet even when juicing or the symptoms that you’re eating to control might return. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods and you just might be successful in controlling your AS inflammation via juicing as I have. What do you have to lose? Give it a shot.

Click here to view our “Kale, Cucumber, Lemon & Ginger Fresh Juice Recipe”

Dr Oz on juicing, Dr Oz has his favorite juice daily. Definition of enzymes & healing according to Wikipedia.  Positive Pear Article: The Best Medicine for Stress is an Inner & Outer Smile regarding controlling stress & inflammation. Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods & Recipes here on The Positive Pear. Green leafy vegetables considered cancer fighting foods according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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