Karl Dahlke and food additives

Today I stumbled upon Karl Dahlke's personal website. I found it while searching for information on how blind people interact with computers, which led me to his article on the value of the command line interface. I was impressed by his methodical approach in interacting with computers as a blind person - he has programmed his own directory listing utility as well as an editor-cum-browser to navigate the net. I went on to read other articles on his website, and I found his articles about his family's experience with foods and food additives to be of particular interest. It's fascinating stuff, the more so because he isn't indulging in panic fits and throwing around irrational arguments mostly centered around "going back to nature" (whatever that means) like so many people who argue against anything "artificial" (so bread grows on trees?); but he is instead methodically documenting his own, his wife's and his children's experience with certain foods. For each instance, he documents how he came to realize that there's a connection between a certain problem and a certain food or dietary habit; and how he worked to identify the culprit, which sometimes was straightforward, and sometimes required several years of trial and error before the real cause was found.

Not everyone has sensitivities to wheat, or corn, or dairy, or food additives and preservatives, or salicylates; but then again, many people may have problems that may be related to foods and they don't realize it. And when they do realize it, they go and have overreactions, suddenly seeing problems everywhere.

Many of us are likely to be affected by a food sensitivity problem at some point in our lives. There are people in my wife's family who needed strict diets to get better - oh, and BTW: it's not like any doctor pointed out the need for them. In one case, the doctors actually caused the sensitivity with sledgehammer antibiotic treatments, but then they had no idea how to treat the sudden onset sensitivity to what seemed like all food. The patient had to find help elsewhere to come up with a diet that, over the course of several months, helped him recover and eventually resume eating normally.

I find the totally artificial Kraft Fat-Free Cheese Singles to be a godsend - a single slice has 30 kcal and 5 grams of protein. It's also full of all sorts of preservatives, artificial colorings and additives, like much of the other stuff that's in our fridge. I believe I have been blessed not having to avoid all these processed foods - it's easier that way. But for those times when there's something in your food supply that's actually the reason why you're having a reaction, I'm glad that people like Karl Dahlke have been beating the path that most doctors refuse to - identifying the substance or dietary habit that is hurting a particular person, and eliminating it.

The double blind experiments employing many test subjects, the kind that I and science love, don't seem to work so well when a specific problem only seems to affect one person, especially if only at a certain time.


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