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Gut & Diet

Diet and Gut Consequences

May 10, 2016
Updated July 7, 2016

My diet was probably decent on the nutrition scale of "western" diets, but compared to a more traditional, "paleo" diet, it did include a lot of highly inflammatory items.

Gluten is probably the worst and most notorious lectin for creating inflammation in the body by destroying your small intestine lining (i.e. creating a "leaky gut") and causing gut dysbiosis (an microbial imbalance). The primary dietary source of gluten is wheat. Furthermore, today's American wheat is made "Round-up Ready." This means that the crops are tolerant to glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto's weed-killer, Round-up®. Glyphosate helps in several ways to increase crop yield, is used extensively in American wheat farming, but this chemical is also highly damaging to the gut[1].


Corn in the USA is genetically engineered (GMO) to produce a high amount of an insecticide called Bt-toxin[2]. Again, this increases crop yield but at the expense of gut health. Doctors are beginning to discover how important the gut microbiome is to human health; destroy its lining or the important bacteria therein, and you'll wreak havoc on your health.

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My Diet

When first I was told by a homeopathic practitioner that I needed to change my diet, I was in complete denial. I started referring to her as "The Witch Doctor." Then others I met with MS said they had been controlling their MS exclusively with diet; I began to let the idea sink in. Nobody wants to change the diet they've developed and rationalized over their lifetime. Nobody wants to ditch their favorite comfort foods. But the more I looked into it, the more I realized there was substantial evidence to support this idea. I realized it came down to a matter of changing my diet or losing the battle to MS. It's still not easy to do, but I believed I had no real choice.

I asked my MS neurologist about the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and Paleo diets. His response was that all his MS patients who have successfully managed to switch to and stick to that diet have reported great results. The big problem is that it's hard to do, and most don't succeed. He said he personally doesn't know very much about nutrition because they don't teach it in medical school. Wow. That threw me for a spin, especially because of his report of good efficacy. Seems to me that if you're a doctor, and something is helping some of your patients, you should want to know a lot about it. (Update, June 2019: Dr. West now advocates for his patients to follow a healthy diet, but he's not strict or clear about what that means.)

The bulk of the information I used to narrow down what I could and could not eat came from Dr. Ballantyne's book, The Paleo Approach. I also purchased the companion book, The Paleo Approach Cookbook, which I lent to a friend who's a chef, and I haven't gotten it back. I have since complemented my diet knowledge with information garnered from Dr. Stephen Gundry's book, The Plant Paradox, Gundry's website,, plus tidbits from and

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