Read an Excerpt
This book offers a new approach to mental and physical health. It shows how our physical environment can be responsible for a wide range of ills, from fatigue to headaches, from arthritis to colitis, from hyperactivity to depression. It also shows how these environmentally related problems can be dramatically relieved in a relatively short time without the use of drugs or harmful procedures.
This new approach is based primarily on diet. But it must be emphasized from the start that the kind of diet advocated by clinical ecologists has nothing to do with any of the standardized, mass-applicable dietary programs you may have heard about. It does not advocate the use of any particular nutrient, vitamin, or mineral in the fight against illness. Nor does it summarily ban any food.
Rather, it explains how you or your physician can detect and eliminate those commonly encountered foods and environmental chemicals that may be responsible for your ill health. The emphasis here is on the word you: this is an individualized approach. It concerns the interaction between you and your own particular environment, which is different from anyone else's. You must discover the foods and chemicals that may be making you feel sick without your being aware of their effect. You must eliminate them from your diet and environment or learn to control their intake in order to get well.
For many people, of course, "allergy" primarily means reactions to such inhalants as dusts, pollens, danders, and molds. Patients with these afflictions can also be helped by the methods of clinical ecology, especially whensuch allergies are made worse by hidden food and chemical reactions. In this book, however, reactions to common foods and chemicals shall be emphasized, and the more serious cases at that. They are emphasized because the allergic basis of such problems as hay fever is already well known, while serious reactions to foods and chemicals are still a largely unknown territory to most people.
I have practiced this approach to illness throughout my fifty years as an allergist in the Midwest. I have treated about 20,000 people for food allergies and related problems and have dealt with virtually every kind of chronic illness on an allergic basis. About 7,500 of these patients were suffering primarily from so-called mental problems. The majority of these patients have been helped significantly, often after conventional methods of treatment had failed. Sometimes patients have come to me with a single well-defined ailment. Typically, however, patients have been polysymptomatic, that is, they have had a long history of many problems, physical and mental, which had left them in a general state of misery. The more symptoms they accumulated, the less their doctors believed their complaints.
Usually, neither the patients nor their physicians have suspected food allergy as the root of their problem because most food allergy, by its very nature, is masked and hidden. It is hidden from the patient, hidden from his or her family, and hidden from the medical profession in general: It is said that often the solution to a difficult problem is right in front of your nose, but you cannot see it. In the case of food allergy, the source of the problem is literally in front of you, in the form of some commonly eaten substance that is bringing on and perpetuating chronic symptoms.
Of course, some people do know that they are allergic to certain foods, but generally these are foods that are rarely eaten. A person who is allergic to cashews, for instance, may break out in a rash on the rare occasions when he consumes these nuts. He overcomes this problem by simply avoiding cashews, and that is generally the end of the matter.
Allergies to commonly eaten foods are not so readily detected or avoided, however. Let us say, for instance, that you developed an allergy to milk early in life. At first, this may have resulted in acute reactions, such as a rash or a cough. In time, if the allergy was not recognized and controlled, the symptoms may have become more generalized and less easily detected. Since you probably went on drinking milk or eating milk products almost every day, one day's symptoms blurred into the next day's. You developed a chronic disease, such as arthritis, migraine, or depression. It never occurred to you that your daily dose of milk was the source of the problem.
In fact, you were probably "abusing" milk. You had become a milk junkie, a milk-o-holic. It is in the nature of this problem that a sudden loss of the craved substance can cause withdrawal symptoms. Since removal of milk brought on a particularly bad attack of the symptoms, you unconsciously learned to keep yourself on a maintenance dose. Milk in the morning with cereal, milk in your coffee, yogurt for lunch, a glass of milk with your dinner, and, of course, a platter of cheese tidbits before retiring.
Milk is just mentioned as an example. In fact, any food can be abused by overeating it. If a food is eaten in any form once in three days, or more frequently, it is being abused and may become a big problem for the consumer. Since it may take between three and four days for a meal to make its way through the digestive tract, the person in question is not free of that food before another dose is added to the stomach. Intolerance to this food may sneak up on the person who eats it after months, years, or even decades of day-in and day-out ingestion.
The chief reason these reactions to commonly eaten foods are not readily recognized is that they are part of a pattern of constant reactions in which periods of heightened stimulation may give way to periods of letdown, or "withdrawal" effects. In the beginning of the problem, eating the food has a marked, immediate stimulatory effect lasting up to several hours. Simply by eating a particular food, such as coffee, wheat, or…