AHHA SELF-HELP ARTICLES COLLECTION
   


William D. Manahan, M.D. is an assistant professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He was in private practice in the Mankato area from 1973 to 1994 (with one year spent working in a neighborhood health center in Boston and six months in a squatter village clinic in Kenya, East Africa). A proponent of holistic medicine, Dr. Manahan is past-president of the American Holistic Medical Association and author of Eat for Health: A Do-It-Yourself Nutrition Guide for Solving Common Medical Problems. Contact Dr. Manahan at (612) 823-1910 or BillManahan@msn.com.


The American Holistic Health Association has compiled a collection of self-help articles to support your efforts to enhance your own health and well-being.

This article is part of the
article category
ENHANCING YOUR LEVEL OF WELLNESS
and the sub-category
NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTATION

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The answer is yes! How you feel, some symptoms, and certain diseases are linked to what you eat.

For example, John was a patient of mine who experienced intermittent headaches over a period of three years. They suddenly vanished after he quit drinking coffee.

Robert, another patient of mine, was amazed when he discovered that the four glasses of milk he was drinking each day to help his duodenal ulcer were actually making it worse. Robert's heartburn, abdominal pain, and stomach gurgling went away completely, following a two-week dairy elimination diet.

Melinda's seven-year old son, Sean, had been hyper a large share of the time and was prone to recurrent ear infections. When sugar was eliminated from Sean's diet, he began to act like a more normal child. When Melinda was told by a trusted friend that the change in Sean's behavior couldn't be due to eliminating sugar she restarted the sugar and Sean began to display hyperactive behavior again and got another ear infection.

There are six major culprits in the modern diet that can cause medical problems. They are caffeine, salt, milk, processed foods, sugar and fats. At least 150 different symptoms, complaints, and problems can be caused from eating foods that fall into those categories.

Those of you who wish to actively participate in your own health can begin to observe how what you eat affects how you feel.


There are at least 150 different symptoms, complaints, and problems that can be caused from eating such foods as caffeine, salt, processed foods, sugar, and fats.


First, are there any foods that you know tend to cause you some problems? Second, are there foods that you tend to crave? And third, are there foods that would be hard for you to give up entirely or at least go without for two or three weeks?

If two or three different foods come to mind as you ask yourself these questions (such as chocolate, bread, cheese, or ice cream), try going on a two-week elimination diet, completely avoiding those foods. If you feel any different at the end of these two weeks, it could be one of those foods causing the problem. If you are unsure, do a rechallenge test. On the fifteenth day eat a large amount of one of the suspect foods and then monitor how you feel in the next 24-28 hours.

When John drank several cups of coffee after going without it for two weeks, he got a very severe headache again. When Robert tried four glasses of milk after going two weeks without dairy, his heartburn returned. Like Melinda, John and Robert learned that elimination of the food improved symptoms and reintroduction of the food stimulated the symptom or disease. In other words, they learned that they had control over at least part of how they were feeling each day.