The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater

This has to be one of the most hilarious blog posts I’ve read in a long while.  I can soooo relate as I reflect on moments in my own healthy eating journey that mirror much of what Erica so satirically captured in this wonderful post.  Don’t forget to click the link to finish reading the rest of the story.~


The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater

August 1, 2012 by Erica · 602 Comments

I know you. We have a lot in common. You have been doing some reading and now you are pretty sure everything in the grocery store and your kitchen cupboards is going to kill you.

Before Your Healthy Eating Internet Education:

I eat pretty healthy. Check it out: whole grain crackers, veggie patties, prawns, broccoli. I am actually pretty into clean eating.

After Your Healthy Eating Internet Education:

Those crackers – gluten, baby. Gluten is toxic to your intestinal health, I read it on a forum. They should call those crackers Leaky Gut Crisps, that would be more accurate. That veggie burger in the freezer? GMO soy. Basically that’s a Monsanto patty. Did you know soybean oil is an insecticide? And those prawns are fish farmed in Vietnamese sewage pools. I didn’t know about the sewage fish farming when I bought them, though, really I didn’t!

The broccoli, though..that’s ok. I can eat that. Eating that doesn’t make me a terrible person, unless….oh, shit! That broccoli isn’t organic. That means it’s covered with endocrine disrupting pesticides that will make my son sprout breasts. As if adolescence isn’t awkward enough.

And who pre-cut this broccoli like that? I bet it was some poor Mexican person not making a living wage and being treated as a cog in an industrial broccoli cutting warehouse. So I’m basically supporting slavery if I eat this pre-cut broccoli. Oh my God, it’s in a plastic bag too. Which means I am personally responsible for the death of countless endangered seabirds right now.

I hate myself.

Well, shit.

All you want to do is eat a little healthier. Really. Maybe get some of that Activa probiotic yogurt or something. So you look around and start researching what “healthier” means.

That really skinny old scientist dude says anything from an animal will give you cancer. But a super-ripped 60 year old with a best-selling diet book says eat more butter with your crispy T-Bone and you’ll be just fine as long as you stay away from grains. Great abs beat out the PhD so you end up hanging out on a forum where everyone eats green apples and red meat and talks about how functional and badass parkour is.

You learn that basically, if you ignore civilization and Mark Knopfler music, the last 10,000 years of human development has been one big societal and nutritional cock-up and wheat is entirely to blame. What we all need to do is eat like cave-people.

You’re hardcore now, so you go way past way cave-person. You go all the way to The Inuit Diet™.

Some people say it’s a little fringe, but you are committed to live a healthy lifestyle. “Okay,” you say, “let’s do this shit,” as you fry your caribou steak and seal liver in rendered whale blubber. You lose some weight which is good, but it costs $147.99 a pound for frozen seal liver out of the back of an unmarked van at the Canadian border.

Even though The Inuit Diet™ is high in Vitamin D, you learn that every disease anywhere can be traced to a lack of Vitamin D (you read that on a blog post) so you start to supplement. 5000 IU of Vitamin D before sitting in the tanning booth for an hour does wonders for your hair luster.

Maxing out your credit line on seal liver forces you to continue your internet education in healthy eating. As you read more you begin to understand that grains are fine but before you eat them you must prepare them in the traditional way: by long soaking in the light of a new moon with a mix of mineral water and the strained lacto-fermented tears of a virgin.

You discover that if the women in your family haven’t been eating a lot of mussels for at least the last four generations, you are pretty much guaranteed a $6000 orthodontia bill for your snaggle-tooth kid. That’s if you are able to conceive at all, which you probably won’t, because you ate margarine at least twice when you were 17.

Healthy eating is getting pretty complicated and conflicted at this point but at least everyone agrees you should eat a lot of raw vegetables.

Soon you learn that even vegetables are trying to kill you. Many are completely out unless they are pre-fermented with live cultures in a specialized $79 imported pickling crock. Legumes and nightshades absolutely cause problems. Even fermentation can’t make those healthy.

Goodbye, tomatoes. Goodbye green beans. Goodbye all that makes summer food good. Hey, it’s hard but you have to eliminate these toxins and anti-nutrients. You probably have a sensitivity. Actually, you almost positively have a sensitivity. Restaurants and friends who want to grab lunch with you will just have to deal.

via The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater.

Sulfur Exclusion Diet

Cysteine is an essential amino acid and helpful for many body processes including (along with glycine and glutamic acid, the formation of glutathione (essential for detox).  Sulfur foods are rich in the amino acids methionine and cysteine.  Some children need to be fed more sulfur rich foods while others have to much free cysteine and need to restrict dietary sources.

Sulfur is a monothiol meaning that, when in excess, it can attach to heavy metals and “bounce them around” without actually causing them to exit the body in any significant amount.  This creates some behavior issues and lots of yeast issues.

Unfortunately there is no longer any lab testing available to evaluate plasma cysteine status .  This has nothing to do with cysteine status, plasma sulfate status, or liver sulfation status.  These can be independently high low or normal.  The only effective way of determining whether your child would benefit from high or low dietary sulfur intake is through a sulfur exclusion diet trial.

Difficulty controlling yeast even with large amounts of anti-fungals and probiotics.  Yeast seems to acclimate to any anti-fungal used within a short period of time (this does not apply to Rx anti-fungals).  A lot of hyperness, poor behavior, meltdowns, self limiting to sulfur foods, etc…

The sulfur exclusion trial is done as follows:

All high sulfur/thiol foods and supplements containing thiol groups (see list below) are strictly avoided for a 5-7 day period to allow the effect of the last ingestion to wear off. The negative effects of sulfur occur over a 4-7 day period after the last sulfur ingestion, which means you need to exclude all sulfur foods AND sulfur supplements for at least a week before you know what is going on.

Then, after 5-7 days the high sulfur/thiol foods are added sharply back to your diet and you eat a lot of them for a week, noticing what happens to your health over this time. If you feel worse soon after introducing sulfur foods, you do not need to do this for a week as it indicates you are better off eliminating sulfur foods.  (

If your health improves while off the sulfur foods and regresses after adding them back, you have an intolerance to them and should avoid them.

(To make the most of your diet trial and test for a dairy intolerance too.  First reintroduce general sulfur foods, but not eggs, dairy, or soy.  Next bring back eggs. After a few days bring back dairy, and finally soy).  If your child reacts negatively to the general foods there is no need to continue.  If you child does fine on the general foods but reacts negatively to eggs, remove them for a few days then reintroduce dairy separately.  By this you should be able to determine if your child has a sulfur sensitivity or a casein intolerance.

This list is copyright Andrew Hall Cutler Phd, reproduced with permission.

For more information get the book:

Amalgam Illness Diagnosis and Treatment

Foods/supplements high in sulfur/thiols:

artichokes, Jerusalem but not French
bakery products containing whey, cysteine, eggs or enzymes
bean curd/tofu milk
bean sprouts
beans of all sort
bok choy
brussels sprouts
cheese of all sorts
collard greens
dairy products
green beans
lentils of all sorts
milk from any animal
miso soup
papaya (slightly)
pineapple (slightly)
turmeric (though not high in thiols, it  is really good at raising thiol levels)
yeast extract
NAC- N-acetyl cysteine
bromelain and papain
methionine (converts down into cysteine)

Foods low in sulfur/thiols:

acorn squash
almond milk
artichokes (french)
nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.. (not peanuts or soy they are legumes)
brown sugar
grains – wheat, rice, corn, bulgar, buckwheat, barley, oats
Poultry dark meat/ liver
coconut dried/fresh
cod liver oil
corn (sweet)
cottonseed oil
ginger root fresh
herbs fresh – basil thyme, rosemary
lettuce – but not other greens
seeds – sunflower, linseeds, pumpkinseeds, flax (not sesame)
sesame oil , but not  seeds
spaghetti squash
squashes – acorn, butternut, spaghetti, summer, winter, yellow crooked neck, zucchini
sweet potato
vinegar (white)
whole-wheat flower
winter squash

Related articles

Gluten Free/ Casein Free

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet 

Gluten (in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats) and casein (in all dairy products) can cause problems:

1. They are common food allergens, especially in children and adults with autism.
2. Certain peptides from gluten and casein can bind to opioid-receptors in the brain, and can have a potent effect on behavior (like heroin or morphine), causing problems including sleepiness, inattention/”zoning out”, and aggressive and self-abusive behavior. Like opioids, they can be highly addictive, and a lack of them can cause severe behaviors.

These problems appear to be due to:

1) A failure of the digestive tract to fully digest the gluten and casein peptides into single amino acids
2) Inflammation of the gut, allowing the gluten and casein peptides to enter the bloodstream and reach opioid receptors in the brain.
3) Gluten can increase symptoms of Auto-immune disorders

• Total, 100% avoidance of all gluten products and all dairy products. Even small amounts, like a bite of a cookie, can cause allergic and/or opioid problems. Many foods have trace contamination with gluten, such as dusting French fries and raisins with wheat powder to keep them from sticking, so it can be very difficult to avoid all foods and contaminated foods. (Tip: if your child begins to self limit or obsess over any food question it.)
• Digestive enzymes can also be helpful, especially if there is an accidental exposure, but they are probably not as helpful as a total avoidance of casein and gluten.
• Many children with autism also benefit by removing corn and/or soy products.

Children who most crave dairy and/or wheat, and who eat a lot of it, are most likely to benefit. Casein-free diets usually produce benefits within a month, and sometimes within a week. Gluten free diets usually take 1-3 months to produce benefits. In some children there is a worsening of symptoms for a few days (similar to a drug withdrawal) followed by improvement.

Dairy/Casien Free

Since sulfur issues are very common in our children, before embarking on a long commitment to be Casein Free, it is recommended to rule out sulfur issues.  The most direct and logical approach is to begin a low sulfur diet trial.  At the end of the exclusion week first introduce any foods on the high sulfur list other than eggs or dairy.  After a few days if your child has no reaction, you can introduce eggs.  Eat quite a few eggs over the next few days, if you still see no reaction introduce dairy.  If you then see a reaction to the dairy you can be sure your child has a true casein intolerance.

How to Read a Label for a Milk-Free Diet
All FDA-regulated manufactured food products that contain milk as an ingredient are required by U.S. law to list the word “milk” on the product label.

Avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:
Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid
butter ester(s)
Casein Hydrolysate
Caseinates (in all forms)
Cottage Cheese
Lactalbum, Lactalbumin phosphate   Lactoferrin
Milk (in all forms)
Milk protein hydrolysate
Recaldent (R)
Rennet Casein
Sour cream, sour cream solids
Whey (in all forms)
whey protein hydrolysate

Milk is sometimes found in the following:
Artificial butter flavor
Baked Goods
Caramel Candies
Lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures
Luncheon meat, Hot dogs, Sausages   Margarine
Nondairy products
Calcium Additives

Open Sesame……. or rather beware of Sesame Sticks?

Dry sesame seeds

Well, I was just typing up a draft of a post I was going to call Finding the Autism or Searching for Autism or some such thing, all about our search for some measurable way to continue to watch him improve.

I may still post it at some point because it is about theory of mind tests and may contain some points of interest for some of you, but…….


Our search for the elusive autism came to a standstill today.

My powers of observation seem to be getting a little soft.  Sunday afternoon he was simply not himself.  Very over emotional, and whiny.  He was over reacting to almost everything.  I can’t call them meltdowns precisely as they wasn’t that severe, but I just kept thinking… What in the world was going on.  It has been many months since we’ve seen anything like this.

Adrenal?  No he got all his adrenals

Thyroid?  no he’s been getting that.  In fact I have considered retesting to see if he is ready for a decrease.

Yeast?  maybe…. it might be back… we are on round.  Hmmm,  but he isn’t hyper exactly…. hmmm

OMG its the sesame.

We picked up some lovely sesame sticks from the health foods store.  I thought these would be better than chips and personally I think they taste great.

My son thought they tasted great too, and he “enjoyed” quite a few of them.

Remember my Diet and Autism post about the low sulfur diet and how we don’t need it anymore?  Well…. we may not need to be low sulfur but perhaps a cup of sesame seeds was a little over kill.

Of course I didn’t come to this realization until almost bedtime.  I used to be a little faster on the draw.  Perhaps not having to be on the edge of my seat to figure out what supp I needed to toss at him has made me a little too comfortable.

Having finally put two and two together, I gave some OoO.  He was still a bit off yesterday (Monday), but he is back to his normal self today.  I imagine I will need to watch him for an increase in his “desire” for sulfur foods again now that he has been reminded how much he loves them, lol.  Or maybe he’ll just want sesame sticks.

Once upon a time his self-limiting was so bad that he only ate about 5 or so foods.  Those were dark

times.  But it just goes to show, while we are doing wonderfully over all, it isn’t time to relax completely just yet.

Whew… glad Sunday is only a memory.

Not Another Autism Diet…..uggg

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

But this one is easier than many of them.

We were GFCF for almost 2 years.  We saw such amazing changes when we removed diary it was like he just opened up.  Eye contact and socialization increased night terrors disappeared, he looked so much less “autistic” than before.

The we removed wheat and we weren’t sure if we really saw a difference but we kept both as that is what you should do.

My kiddo was a huge yeast/gut guy.  We were always struggling with keeping things under control.  When we started to chelate it just got harder.  We acclimated to every antifungal we tried after a month or two.  We had to use high doses and give it 4 times per day just to keep going, but we did it and we kept going.  Still I was always afraid that we were going go acclimate to everything and then we’d be out of options and the thought of having to stop chelating terrified me as we were seeing such profound changes in our son.

My son was a huge self limiter.  He only had a handful of foods that he would eat and I couldn’t help but think there must be some connection in his food choices as they were somewhat odd for a child, but I had never heard of cysteine or sulfur foods at this point so I couldn’t find the connection between peanut butter sandwiches, broccoli, and beans (he loved re-fried beans, foul, dahl, etc….).

When I first read the high sulfur food list the connection was immediately clear.  I pulled the high sulfur foods and never needed to do the “challenge” meal as the change was drastic.  The wild, loud, hyper, meltdown, spaced out kid was replaced with a calm reachable boy.  We never again needed uber-doses of antifungal and could manage yeast with normal amounts.  He no longer acclimated to the antifungals and we seldom had to switch.  It was nigh and day.

There is no test for high cysteine so no way to know if going low sulfur is going to be for you without doing a diet trial.  However, I think that the wow we saw after going casein free was related to the GFCF diet being initially low sulfur.

Cysteine is an essential amino acid and is helpful for many body processes so there is a lot written about increasing sulfur in the diet.   Sulfur is a monothiol, meaning that, when there is too much of it, it can attach to heavy metals and “bounce them around” without actually causing them to exit the body. This can create both behavior problems and a lot of yeast.

Andrew Cutler has suggested that a large percentage of children who benefit from the GFCF diet may actually  be benefiting from the low cysteine aspect of the diet.  An opiate or autoimmune reaction to gluten and casein require strict adherence, however, children differ in the amount of sulfur they can tolerate.

For more information on doing a low sulfur diet see: