While athletics enthusiasts are celebrating the UK’s record haul of gold medals this week, another celebration is in order! John Scott, who long-term Foodsmatter supporters will remember suffered from such total and comprehensive food allergy/intolerance that, when we first met him, he had been surviving for nearly 15 years on elemental infant formula, is having to go on a diet!!
Now that may not seem a big deal to many readers but, when you have been unable to eat even a spoonful of yogurt or a slither of lightly steamed chicken without setting off a major eruption of your Crohn’s disease and putting yourself in bed for a week and feeling like death for at least two days it is unbelievable.
And it is all down to around 35 wriggly little Necator Americanus hookworms, otherwise known as helminths or parasites: what Western medicine has gone to great lengths to eliminate in first world populations because, in excess, they can cause illness or, even death.
However, the theory (which is expounded in very much greater detail by John and others in the foodsmatter.com helminthic therapy section) is that over many millenia primitive man and parasitic worms had learned to cohabit successfully. Because hygiene was basic and humans lived in close proximity with their animals they could not avoid being infected by parasites. But a healthy human immune system is able to deal with moderate infestations of parasites and a symbiotic relationship grew up in which the parasites lived happily in the human gut where the immune system prevented them multiplying to dangerous levels.
But the 20th century’s obsession with chemically induced clinical levels of hygiene has driven the parasites from their place – and left the immune system with time on its hands. With no parasites to keep under control, it seeks other occupation and, for lack of pathogens to fight, turns on itself hence the explosion in allergy and autoimmune conditions such as coeliac disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis etc, etc.
Certainly, for John this seems to be the case. Less than a year ago, he infected himself with his first clutch of hookworms and, after some initial teething problems as they settled in, he has not looked back. (Read more.) To the point where, in an email to me over the weekend, he said that he was now eating so well that he had put on so much weight that he needed to go on a diet!!
He says that we will now need to reduce to three meals a day rather than four and has planned the following diet for himself:
Breakfast is likely to be something like live goat milk yogurt with banana and blueberries, followed by a few nuts and/or seeds. Or maybe a couple of eggs with buttered crisp breads (rye, rice or corn) and a mango.
Lunch will be either cheese or nut butter on crisp bread and fruit.
For dinner, I’ll haveÂ a salad including fresh home-grown sprouts and either fish or fowl andÂ 1 1/2 (yep, that’s one and a half!) pints of freshly juiced veg, including at least half a dozen different varieties.
Not bad for someone who eighteen months ago, when the manufacturers discontinued the only infant formula he was able to tolerate, seriously considered that he might eventually starve to death… Celebrations definitely in order!