Friday, December 12, 2008
Let's talk Phenols
What? Phenols? What are those? In layman's terms, phenols are chemicals found in all foods, however many foods have high phenols and there are people who cannot tolerate or process them as fast as they are consumed, causing an overload. they can actually back up in the system! What happens then you ask...well, like everything else, there would be "symptoms" or reactions which look like this: (and keep in mind that not all of these need to be present) dark circles under the yes, diarrhea, hyperactivity (this one is everywhere, isn't it? and we think it's normal kid behavior...not!), red face and ears, aggression, headache, head banging or other self-injury behaviors, inappropriate laughter, difficulty falling asleep at night and night waking for several hours. Just for the heck of it, the typical adult symptom of phenol intolerance is....get this....chronic fatigue syndrome!! I know more than a handful of people with this disorder and who would have thought that what you eat could be the cause?? Surprise surprise, you are what you eat!
So now we need to know which specific foods can wreak such havoc on us, right? The shortlist of foods you may want to eliminate or at least reduce to prevent overload is: food dyes, tomatoes, apples, peanuts, bananas, oranges, cocoa, red grapes, colored fruits and milk.
The highly phenolic/salicylate foods and ingredients that can be in anything from foods to cleaning and art supplies and they are: synthetic/artificial colors and flavors, CHA, BHT, TBHQ (all related to petroleum), natural flavoring, natural coloring (these ingredients are in just about everything processed, and I mean everything!), almonds, apples, apricots, berries (all), plums, prunes, tangerines, cider and cider vinegar, wine and wine vinegar (grapes), oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). Other items to consider are perfumes and fragrances, nitrites and nitrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolized vegetable protein, sulfites, benzoates and corn syrup.
Is your head spinning yet? How do you avoid these things, since they are in everything? It's easy, begin to read ingredients for everything you buy. Yes, it's daunting at first, but just like anything else repetitive, it does become second nature. The first few times you go shopping, ok maybe the first few dozen times, ha ha ha, it's hard and it takes forever, so make sure you have a full afternoon free! But comfort and ease comes with time. Initially, the menu for someone avoiding all these things (and more) is very limited, but that is ok. Over time you expand and broaden your options. We are still in the learning phase, but it's quickly become second nature for me to flip a bottle and look for ingredients. Everyone could benefit from avoiding dyes, artificials and preservatives, because if you don't already have a problem with these ingredients, they are SURE to do damage with increased intake. The bottom line is, eat natural whole foods, eat with variety (repetition of any food can cause sensitivity to it and/or an overload of chemicals), and buy organic whenever you can.