*Starch, or the Decline and Fall of the AS Organism!*

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ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 6:45 am

The thread title is obviously a bit simplified. :wink:

To expand a little; I believe that the AS organism, ( autist, aspergers, etc ), has always existed, ( since the dawn of humanity ), that we were often amongst the most valued members of human society, ( because of our creativity, intellectual capacities, sensitivity, and sense of justice ), and that our recent decline and fall may have a lot to do with an increasing, permanent overload on the enormously huge, and enormously sensitive, surface of the digestive tract.

:?: Did you know that if you took your skin off, and spread it out flat, you would have a piece of semi-permeable membrane about the size of a door? But if you took out your intestines, a highly permeable membrane with an almost independent nervous system regulating it, and spread it out flat, ( villi too ), you would have a piece of membrane the size of a large tennis court/small football pitch.

We are like icebergs; most of our "skin" is below the surface. And, if threads on WP are anything to go by, most of us/AS have a hypersensitivity to sound, smell, sight, taste, or touch, ( or all of these ). Think about how some tastes or kinds of touch make you feel, and now think about the 150 times bigger surface area of your body which is your intestines, and the amount of data/signals coming from there every time you eat.

People used to eat far fewer individual foods in the past. A person living 500 years ago probably ate less than ten different kinds of food in the course of a day. Nowadays people routinely eat thirty/forty, or more, different foods in a day. :!: Bread often has ten ingredients; cornflakes five, mayonnaise has fifteen or more, chicken and mushroom soup from a tin twenty, etc.

And for at least 200,000 years, until the neolithic, 12,000 years ago, humans didn't eat starch/polysaccharides, ( much anyway ). We didn't eat cereals, or pulses, etc, because we didn't cook our food, ( except in a rudimentary way suspended over open fires etc ). Everything we ate was either protein, fats, simple sugars, or indigestible fibre which helped to keep our intestines moving.

The combination of cooking, the appearance of a new grass plant, ( wheat, containing a new protein that we call gluten ), at the end of the last ice age, and the invention and spread of agriculture, meant that we began to eat regular and large amounts of starch/polysaccharides for the first time in human history. And in the last 100 years even the rich/comfortably off are eating starch. They didn't use to, not very much anyway. They tended to eat meat and fish, fruit and veg, eggs and dairy, and spices and sugar. Starchy foods were for the poor.

Starchy foods/polysaccharides are difficult to digest; they slow down our metabolism; they encourage the proliferation of "unfriendly" bacteria in our intestines, and I think that they, together with the huge number of different foods we ingest each day, may be a common, ( but overlooked ), source of constant/incessant real and overwhelming/exhausting overload for AS, seriously affecting our ability to function.
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Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 10:59 am, edited 6 times in total.

ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 7:33 am

We need "gut reactions" in order to function well in community/society, and if the gut is overloaded, ( and its enteric nervous system with it ), perhaps our other/"chief executive" nervous system, the brain, has to take on that function, but it can only ever provide a prosthetic, ( unwieldy/clunky and energy-consuming ), replacement for a "gut reaction", not as good as the real thing.
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Last edited by ouinon on 18 Feb 2009, 10:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 9:20 am

I think this is probably why fasting was invented, why it is connected to religious/spiritual practices too. It renews our "gut-based" connection with the world.
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Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 9:55 am

So, is anyone going to point out the holes in this theory? :wink:

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Acacia
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17 Feb 2009, 10:23 am

That is a remarkable theory.
You have made a number of good points.
I've often wondered whether wheat (and dairy) were negatively affecting my body.
I do occasionally have some digestive difficulties, but the source was nothing obvious.
What you say makes sense, historically. The human digestive system evolved on simple meats, fruits and vegetables. All of the complex, processed and artificial foods that we eat must have a detrimental effect in the long term. Seems pretty obvious.

My problem is getting out of those habits.
I was raised on starchy, processed crap.
I still find myself wanting it, even though I consciously know it's not good for me.
sigh :?


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ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 11:46 am

Acacia wrote:
That is a remarkable theory.

Thank you. :D
Quote:
The human digestive system evolved on simple meats, fruits and vegetables. All the complex, processed and artificial foods that we eat must have a detrimental effect. Seems pretty obvious.

And yet it isn't. The question is why?

For one thing, as in my iceberg analogy, the gut is invisible, unlike the skin, and it seems a small thing, all folded and curled and crinkled up in there, whereas in fact it is gigantic. If it were spread out around us, humans would be like clouds, and it would be clear that we could be touched in a vast way by our immediate environment.

For another I think that perhaps some/many people's brains respond very early on in life to the barrage of complex, intense stimulation of a modern diet and the constant, insistent, messages of distress from the enteric nervous system, ( of the gut ), by shutting/damping down the volume of those communications, and so it is only when the system is really exhausted that urgent signals become audible.

Until then the problem, the overload, becomes like so much background noise, a muffled din. The brain becomes relatively unaware of the gut, loses touch with enteric-messages, and can not rely on/refer to it, for the "gut reactions" which are such an essential part of living in society/community.

I wonder how that actually works; whether it is simply that if the gut is overloaded our brains lose capacity/concentration, or become oblivious to useful "gut reactions" , or whether the gut, in some way, sends messages about our "environment", ( which includes food in our gut ) which "guide" us. Perhaps why some still so-called "primitive" tribes have customs like tasting earth, and sharing food; it is a way to understand the world.

If the gut really does "steer" us then it is as if the brain receives the messages, and translates them into a desperate desire for downtime, a need to cut down on stimulation, to retreat/exclude things, without understanding that it is the gut which needs it, because the brain is no longer very aware of the gut's existence, having "ignored" it for years, in the interests of a bit of peace and quiet. :wink: :(

Quote:
I was raised on starchy, processed crap. I still find myself wanting it, even though I consciously know it's not good for me.

Remind yourself how astonishingly huge your gut is. Would you spend day after day in a crowded shopping centre with piped music, and roadworks going on outside? Treat your gut the way you would "yourself". It needs "downtime". It likes things simple, quiet, not too many things to deal with all at once, etc. Learn to love your gut, it's AS like you! :wink:

It is the brain's precious partner in life. :)

I cut out starches/polysaccharides 9 days ago, after 16 months of excluding gluten too, ( which had already sensibly reduced the amount of starch I was eating ), and I feel almost disorientatingly full of energy, and optimism, and initiative. But I am still AS.
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Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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17 Feb 2009, 12:40 pm

I think our guts are a bit like a vast "third world" country, controlled by a colonial power, our brains. And the "dark continent" is suffering from our abuse and exploitation. Intestines are crying out for freedom from oppression. :lol:

And I think that it is in our interest to liberate them, because in the same way that colonialism had pernicious effects not only on the colonised but on the colonial powers themselves, ( reinforcing hypocrisy, inegality, and exacerbating conflicts between colonial countries, etc ), so our abuse/neglect of, and indifference to, our guts perhaps impacts on our ability to look people in the eye ... ...

We "know" at some level that we are ignoring "someone", somewhere close by, who is in pain/distress, that we know, at some level, that we could do something about if we wanted to, and this awareness induces shame/guilt.
:?:



Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 1:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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17 Feb 2009, 1:06 pm

In fact you could say that our demands for society to take us/AS into account, to reduce noise, crowding, pace, smells, etc, are hypocritical so long as we do not do the same thing for our guts.

Why should NTs give up the things they love to make life easier for us if we will not give up our burgers, chips, paella, beans, fresh crusty bread, pasta and pizza, etc?

What if in fact it were possible to reduce overload ourselves? By doing the same thing we want NTs to do? Deprive ourselves of a few things.

What if one of the main reasons for AS visibility and disability the last 50 - 100 years was that we are subjecting our guts to a barrage of stimulation, as so many people on WP complain so frequently about NTs doing?
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Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 1:45 pm

Liberate Enteric Nervous Systems! :afro:

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Katie_WPG
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17 Feb 2009, 2:12 pm

Well, the one main problem with this theory is that most people with AS aren't gluten-sensitive. Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are independant of ASD's.



ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 2:15 pm

Katie_WPG wrote:
Well, the one main problem with this theory is that most people with AS aren't gluten-sensitive. Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are independant of ASD's.

This thread is not about gluten intolerance.

My theory is that eating a combination of starches and a huge number of different foods on a daily basis, ( please read the OP. ), is to our guts like putting an aspie in a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon, and expecting them to enjoy themselves.

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Plqx
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17 Feb 2009, 2:42 pm

My main problem with this would be that bread and cereals are the main sources of fibre in my diet... So if I cut them out then I lose the fibre too.

Oh and the fact that baked potatoes and beans on toast are such easy meals for a student like myself.



ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 2:57 pm

I am suggesting that the gut, which has a surface area 150 larger than our skin, and is constantly exposed to the outside world in the form of food, ( unless fasting ), may in AS, because of their greater sensitivity generally, be experiencing overload, ( with modern diets ), and that this may be responsible for AS experiencing such urgent needs for downtime, or low/reduced levels of stimulation, etc, aswell as generally lacking energy, oomph.

And I think it possible that chronic gut overload may be partly responsible for absence of/slow response rate of our "gut reactions" to people/situations. It is as if our brain takes a long time to get messages of that sort.

More controversially :wink: I am also wondering whether it is possible that it is the reason we have so much difficulty looking people in the eye; our eyes behaving the way a guilty person's do, is because the brain knows that it is routinely abusing/causing pain/distress to some semi-"live" creature ( the almost independent enteric nervous system ).

Plqx wrote:
My main problem with this would be that bread and cereals are the main sources of fibre in my diet ... and the fact that baked potatoes and beans on toast are such easy meals for a student like myself.

So are apples, pieces of cheese, nuts, boiled egg, dried fruit, avocado mush with carrot and cucumber sticks, among many many other things, ( many rich in fibre ).

Very few people today seem to take the Enteric Nervous system/the gut seriously. It's the same attitude as towards oppressed people. Of no importance unless clearly causing trouble that won't go away with a few painkillers/symptom suppressors.
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Last edited by ouinon on 17 Feb 2009, 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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17 Feb 2009, 3:51 pm

I am not saying that NT behaviour, tastes, priorities, etc do not contribute to AS overload/incapacity/disability in modern society, they obviously do, but that there is one very important source of overload, perhaps the most important, that we could deal with already. Diet.

And that if we did that we might find the strength/courage etc necessary to take back some of the power in society which we have lost in the last 50-100 years or more, and which would enable us to actively contribute to organising/guiding society the way I think many AS used to do.

And I think it is important to remember that NTs, though not in general as sensitive, may also be suffering negative effects from the abuse/neglect of, and indifference to, the Enteric Nervous System. It is possible that some of the most destructive aspects of modern society are the result of over-stimulated NT guts. :wink: And so we would be, as in the past, proposing something which would be good for everybody.

I think AS are like canaries in coal mines; hyper-sensitive to threats and dangers. Like the rabbit exposed on the hill that wags its tail to signal the arrival of a fox. Vulnerable, but good for the species.

I think that calling on NTs to restrain themselves, make allowances for our sensitivities, etc, is hypocritical so long as we continue to happily overload our own systems ourselves. As if 300 square meters of surface area exposed to the outside world were not worth protecting from overload.

The only excuse for it is "not knowing any better", as middle-class men in Victorian England professed themselves astonished by women's discontent at being confined to the house and home, ( though oddly enough one of the first campaigners/writers about women's rights was a man ).

So, are you going to liberate your Enteric Nervous System ( gut ) from systematic abuse? :wink: :?:

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ouinon
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17 Feb 2009, 4:12 pm

ouinon wrote:
So, are you going to liberate your Enteric Nervous System ( gut ) from systematic abuse? :wink: :?:

Because if 300 square meters of surface area is of no importance when looking at "overload" then what would be?

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Plqx
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17 Feb 2009, 4:30 pm

Quote:
So are apples, pieces of cheese, nuts, boiled egg, dried fruit, avocado mush with carrot and cucumber sticks


apples and cheese I have a lot too. Eggs I'm always scared I will break on the way back - at present the nearest shop to my halls of residence that sells eggs is a 30 min walk away. Nuts and dried fruit (except raisins) are VERY expensive, and as for the last one... :roll:

I'm not saying that I don't consider that sort of thing - and I do eat a lot less starchy foods than most people seem to. It's just that I feel if I did this properly (ie getting rid of just about all starch from my diet) then I would cause more harm to my health than good.