My whole family ate dinner last night at Beef O’Brady’s with a bunch of friends after a soccer game.. I hate Beefs because everytime I eat there I usually leave feeling pretty rotten. And, if I don’t feel terrible when I walk out of the place, it is a pretty good bet that I will feel terrible within a few hours or the next morning when I wake up.
It certainly wasn’t my choice to go to Beef O’Bradys. If it was up to me, I would have chosen some other restaurant that wasn’t a chain.
Chain restaurants serve the worst quality food, have you noticed? To get a decent meal, you really need to go to a sole proprietorship type of restaurant where the cook is usually the owner (or at least milling around the kitchen area) and there is some degree of pride in the quality of the food that is served.
But, you can’t live in a bubble, especially if you have children. When a bunch of friends want to go to Beef O’Brady’s to hang out after the big game, you go along and try to eat whatever will cause the least amount of pain and suffering later.
I’ve tried the “I’m going home to eat” approach and found that it just doesn’t work very well. Socializing with friends over a meal is a big part of getting to know folks and enjoying their company. Figuring out how to navigate the processed food landmines at a place like Beefs is just part of learning how to stay healthy in a world of garbage food. It isn’t easy, but it’s just part of the challenge.
All this blah blah blah about Beef O’Brady’s is a roundabout way of bringing me to the main point of this blog: Industrial Food Sickness, also known as IFS.
What is Industrial Food Sickness anyway?
Anyone who has embarked upon an unprocessed, Real Food lifestyle instinctively knows exactly what I’m talking about here.
|Food That Will Cause Industrial Food Sickness|
Industrial Food Sickness is the short term illness folks experience when they eat highly processed, msg and additive laden food when their diet is unprocessed, nutrient dense, and whole foods based the majority of the time.
Dealing with IFS is one of the biggest concerns folks express to me when they transition to the unprocessed, Real Food way of life to experience their best health.
“Why can’t I eat out anymore without feeling terrible for 2 days afterward?”
“Church and school potlucks make me feel ill and I find that I don’t enjoy going anymore, why is that?”
Why do folks suddenly become prone to IFS? Why do foods that never seemed to bother you before you began to eat healthy suddenly keep you up all night with any combination of IFS symptoms: stomach cramps, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, dizziness, and the most common symptom: absolute exhaustion (note: I zonked out on the couch for about an hour after getting home from Beefs).
The reason is because when you start eating whole, unprocessed Real Food the majority of the time, your gut begins to heal. Beneficial bacteria begin to re-establish dominance over the gut pathogens that have been ruling the roost for years, maybe even decades. Nutrient absorption improves tremendously as the perforations in the gut wall begin to heal and the enterocytes that are responsible for breaking down our food into particles that can be absorbed into the blood grow stronger with each passing day.
Throw some highly processed, additive laden food into this improving gut environment and suddenly, the entire healing process takes a violent step or two backwards. Processed food does not nourish beneficial gut flora; it encourages the growth of pathogens. This is why even a single meal of highly processed foods can cause a rapid surge of the gut pathogens at the expense of the beneficial flora. This battle between good and bad bacteria in your gut is what makes you feel so tired and sick after a meal at a typical American style restaurant, a potluck, or a birthday party with supermarket cake and high fructose corn syrup juice boxes.
Industrial Food Sickness can be compared to a teetotaler drinking a fifth of vodka and ending up in the Hospital Emergency Room with alcohol poisoning whereas a drunk doing the same thing would show little signs of drunkeness.
The difference is that the drunk is used to it!
Does being “used to it” mean that the fifth of vodka isn’t harming the drunk?
Absolutely not! The drunk’s liver is still getting slammed every time he drinks a fifth of vodka.
Similarly, just because you used to be able to go to Beef O’Brady’s and eat whatever you wanted and not feel sick for 2 days does not mean that it wasn’t devastating your insides!
Be thankful that now your body has healed enough from your Real Food lifestyle to tell you that it is in distress from the garbage you just fed it!
Industrial Food Sickness is your canary in the mine that what you just ate wasn’t the best of choices.
I used to detest Industrial Food Sickness. It used to bother me that I couldn’t eat garbage food anymore without feeling terrible.
Now I realize that IFS is just a signal that my body is so much healthier than before. My body is well enough to feel sick when it is assaulted by processed food instead of just numb. That is a very good thing!
If you are reading this and you haven’t ever experienced Industrial Food Sickness, I would recommend that you change over to the Real Food Lifestyle as quickly as possible. You are like the drunk drinking a fifth of vodka and not feeling a thing. Your body is so messed up it has become numb to the pain.
Industrial Food Sickness is the one illness you want to experience as it is a very strong deterrent to eating the foods that will bring you chronic ill health. It’s also a very good sign that your health is improving!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
This definitely happens to me and I probably eat more “processed” foods than you the blogger does. We took a trip to Las Vegas this past year and I was pretty much miserable the whole time. What do you suggest on a trip like that? We drove down and it’s about 6 hours from which means I can bring snacks but what to eat after that? Does this blogger drink alcohol? What’s the least upsetting alcohol to drink?
As a high raw-foodist, IFS was something I figured out from experience over time, and have tried to switch my thinking from feeling 'deprived' that I couldn't eat the old comfort foods, to embracing how great it feel to eat wholesome foods. I still suffer sometimes because I choose the-lesser, but I'd rather that then to be so used to eating garbage that my body was placid to the whole thing.
Oh, man, this post really hit a nerve with me. Every time I eat industrial food at a restaurant or at someone's house, I end up feeling sick afterward. But if I bring my own food, people look at me like I'm a fussy health nut. These folks have all kinds of health problems and chronic illnesses, but they don't put two and two together. No, I'm the crazy one!
Sarah, wow, you just explained why I get so tired after eating any restaurant food, with the exception of exactly two restaurants. Not to mention all the other symptoms.
I agree, this is a good thing, it means our bodies are healthy enough to object to the factory poison, letting us know not to eat it again.
What it comes down to is that we should not eat garbage. But in a world where most of the food is garbage, that is very hard to do.
Thanks again for sharing important knowledge.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Wordvixen, great comment. So true. I think most of us in our crazy modern lives suffer from adrenal fatigue to some degree. It is so pervasive and a very big problem with many people.
Bobbie- Sarah definitely knows more about this than I do, but in addition to the healthy gut thing, you might want to look into adrenal fatigue. I have a lot more energy since getting into whole, real food, but not like others have reported. Recently I found a few posts about adrenal fatigue on Real Food blogs (check here to start: http://thehealthyhomeeconomist.blogspot.com/search?q=adrenal+fatigue ), and I think that's one of my problems. It's at least worth looking in to.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Hi Bobbie, I used to be like you and could eat a brick and never even feel it. Especially if you are tired and sluggish all the time, your gut is likely really a mess (as in not digesting well at all) even after eating well for a year believe it or not. That is why you can put anything in there and not notice any difference. I find with most people who are tired all the time they still eat refined carbohydrates too much (crackers, chips, even from the healthfood store is bad). They just switch out the grocery store junk food for organic junk food. this type of food makes you extremely tired. Ultimately, one year is not very long at all to be eating well. It takes years for the effects of a modern lifestyle to be undone with proper eating.
My husband and I were just talking last night about this same topic(over our once a month dinner out!).We have been living a whole foods lifestyle for nearly a year(all free range, grassfed meats,raw local dairy, healthy fats, sprouted grains etc.)and while my husband and 2 littles(age 4 & 2) definatly notice a difference in how they feel(the 4 year old threw up once and the 2 yr old had diahrea recently after a wkend away from home eating junk!)I have never felt any different after eating ANY food.Does this mean that I am not as healthy? Also, we were discussing the fact that since changing the way we eat we have not seemed to notice that we really feel any better than before and are still always tired and sluggish(though only 32 and 25 yrs old). I am always reading about how people notice a drastic difference in how they feel and their energy level when changing to a whole foods lifestyle but that has never been the case with us. Would you have any thoughts or suggestions for me? I would greatly appreciate them! -Bobbie
This post was like a Light Bulb going off, that Ah Ha moment, a Thanks I needed that, kinda of thing.
Starting in May I started cutting out processed foods and eating real foods.
Now if I eat or drink some of those old "faux" foods they just don't taste good. When we do eat out, which is rare, I have noticed problems.
For years I've noticed that when we would go on a trip and we would be forced to eat more junk food as we traveled it would affect me horribly.
Now it happens at home, if we happen to eat that horrible food as well.
I'll need a new plan next time we visit relatives that's for sure.
Very helpful information. Thank you. Fortunately my husband prefers to stay home and eat at home. I am working on my talents, hopefully I do have some talents, in the cooking department. This way it will always be more interesting to eat at home and much safer. There are those rare times though when eating out can't be denied like you mentioned, 2 or 3 times a year. These are special times for us and my daughter loves it. But it is a challenge to know what to pick from the menu with all the knowledge I've been getting. Now I will know what is happening to us after we eat that way. My mother-in-law who doesn't get at all what I'm doing, brought store bought cake and terrible ice cream over day before yesterday. I thought, can't hurt once in a while, I really could have baked a cake though, I have eggs filling up my fridge. Yesterday I felt terrible all day. No energy, no motivation. Now I know why. Thank you.