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Nutrition Frustration: Navigating Health with Multiple Conditions - Foods to Avoid & Recommendations

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Excuse the rant. I have Nutrition Frustration.

With health, food, doctors, etc...


What do you do when you have multiple conditions that all have their own list of what they should and should not eat? This is the start of my search...


I have hemochromatosis (too much ferritin, but normal iron levels). The solution is blood draws, and low iron diet. This means also avoid Vitamin D.


"Oxalates impair the absorption of nonheme iron. Oxalates are compounds derived from oxalic acid and found in foods such as spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries and herbs such as oregano, basil, and parsley. The presence of oxalates in spinach explains why the iron in spinach is not absorbed. In fact, it is reported that the iron from spinach that does get absorbed is probably from the minute particles of sand or dirt clinging to the plant rather than the iron contained in the plant."


Avoid red meat, take calcium, eat eggs, increase Polyphenols or phenolic compounds (include chlorogenic acid found in cocoa, coffee and some herbs), and increase phytate (Phytates are found in walnuts, almonds, sesame, dried beans, lentils and peas, and cereals and whole grains) in the diet are all ways to help this condition.



I have an immune system condition that requires special plasma based medicine to be put in my bloodstream. As it builds up in my system, if I have a blood draw, it actually draws my immune system down to a point that I get sick really easy for a few months. I'm also finding that I've recently acquired a milk allergy (along mild lactose intolerance). That Immunologist doctor says, avoid the blood draw and focus on diet. He wants me to switch to extra OJ with Calcium and other foods high in calcium), but says he hasn't found much value in calcium supplements, so avoid that.


"This means limiting foods and beverages that are high in added sugars and salt, processed meats, and fried foods, all of which may have adverse effects on your body’s immune function."


I also have kidney stones, which get worse when I take vitamin D, spinach, and oxalate high foods, according to the urologist.


"If you’ve had calcium oxalate stones, you may want to avoid these foods to help reduce the amount of oxalate in your urine:

  • nuts and nut products

  • peanuts—which are legumes, not nuts, and are high in oxalate

  • rhubarb

  • spinach

  • wheat bran"


On the plus side, my Gastro doctor said that I keep getting polyps (in each of the last 3 colonoscopies) and I should avoid red meat, so at least two doctors agree. Pity my taste buds don't agree.


"Research suggests that eating less of the following foods may have health benefits and may lower your chances of developing polyps:

  • fatty foods, such as fried foods

  • red meat, such as beef and pork

  • processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats"


I have a history of breast tumors (Yeah, I know, I'm a basket case), so my breast specialist says avoid soy and estrogen based foods.


"To lower your risk of breast cancer, steer clear of alcohol, fast food, fried foods, processed meats, added sugar, and refined carbs."


Did I mention that I have ADHD? (We past the fact that I am a screwed up mess long ago.) Now they are saying I should avoid these foods...

"ADHD reactions include milk, chocolate, soy, wheat, eggs, beans, corn, tomatoes, grapes, and oranges."


Did I mention I'm trying to lose the last bit of weight to get to my goal weight and my cholesterol was just over what it should be. Not to mention the fact that I love a good steak, shrimp, and sweets, like chocolate.


All said and done, I can't hardly eat anything... If I avoided everything that I "should" avoid. Instead, I've taken the stance... Enjoy in moderation. Yes. It might take me a little longer to get to that goal weight. Yes. It could cause one of the other issues... But... Carpe Diem.


"carpe diem, (Latin: “pluck the day” or “seize the day”) phrase used by the Roman poet Horace to express the idea that one should enjoy life while one can."


In reality, a summary does show done hope and overlap.


It's important to note that everyone's nutritional needs are unique and should be tailored to their individual health conditions, lifestyle, and personal preferences. The following recommendations are general guidelines and may not be suitable for everyone:


Hemochromatosis:

  • Limit intake of iron-rich foods, including red meat, liver, shellfish, and fortified cereals.

  • Avoid Vitamin C and other supplements that may enhance iron absorption.

  • Consume foods that inhibit iron absorption, such as calcium, phytate, and polyphenols. These can be found in foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and certain herbs.

  • Avoid or limit oxalate-rich foods such as spinach, kale, beetroot, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries, and herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley.


Immune System Conditions:

  • Consume a balanced and varied diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

  • Limit added sugars, salt, and processed foods, which can harm immune function.

  • Consider foods that are high in calcium, such as dairy products, fortified non-dairy milks, leafy greens, and almonds, as well as vitamin D-rich foods like salmon, tuna, egg yolks, and fortified foods.

  • Limit or avoid allergenic foods, including milk and dairy, if you have a milk allergy.


Kidney Stones:

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and reduce the risk of stone formation.

  • Limit or avoid high oxalate foods, such as spinach, nuts, rhubarb, and wheat bran.

  • Limit sodium intake, as high sodium levels can increase calcium excretion in the urine.

  • Consume calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products, leafy greens, and almonds, as these can help bind with oxalates and prevent stone formation.


Colon Polyps:

  • Limit or avoid red and processed meat, as well as fried and fatty foods.

  • Consume a diet high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.


Breast Cancer:

  • Limit or avoid alcohol, fast food, fried foods, processed meats, added sugar, and refined carbs.

  • Consume a diet high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

  • Limit or avoid soy-based and estrogenic foods if you have a history of breast tumors.


ADHD:

  • Consider an elimination diet to identify potential triggers and allergens, such as milk, chocolate, soy, wheat, eggs, beans, corn, tomatoes, grapes, and oranges.

  • Consume a balanced and varied diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

  • Avoid processed foods, added sugars, and artificial colors and flavors, which can exacerbate ADHD symptoms.


It's always best to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to develop an individualized nutrition plan that meets your specific needs and goals.


Because of this post, I have gotten some great input and feedback from nutritionists. If you are a nutritionist, feel free to reach out. I'm compiling the information provided and will post, with links to that nutritionists information. I'll also be following up with some of my results and what has and hasn't worked for me. I would ask you to send me a message or provide a comment below if you know information that might be helpful.


** Note - Some of these links could be affiliate links and I could be compensated, but I only post because I personally use or believe in the information. This information and products are only provided to give a starting point for your own research and discussions with your medical/health team. I found these useful, but I know there are other products out there that could be just as good or better.


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