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Two weeks ago, after a lengthy, self-imposed fast, I indulged in some pineapple. My god, I love pineapple. I use pineapple to replace chocolate and donuts.


Or, I should say, worked.

Right up until I had a vicious month -long, multi-hospital, multi-urologist, god-awful bout of what we think was interstitial cystitis.

When I did the deep dive to answer the question WTF? man, I found a long list of do not eats. They included all my favorite high-vitamin C fruits including strawberries, pineapple and citrus. And yogurt. And tea and coffee and chocolate.

Those had all been staples of my diet for decades. That may have been part of the problem. Who knew? So I dumped all that (okay okay, but for occasional chocolate). Things calmed down.

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Until the pineapple episode. I also gormed a small contained of Chobani, because the 7–11 had few choices.

That night my body rebelled. Stupid. What part of “we don’t like this any more” did you not understand?

I was miserable for a few days, then it subsided.

Damn it all to hell.

Then last week I had lunch with my buddy Lisa. Two coffees.

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Same thing. Toxic.

Given that I really don’t wish to spend hours on the toilet again, or be hospitalized, or be drugged into near-comatose states, I am not going to test those particular waters again. The body has spoken. She is very eloquent.

Recently I wrote an article which posited a few ideas about food as medicine and food as toxic substances. One writer took grave issue with my comments about food’s being toxic. I will leave those comments for the reader to review. This person went to great lengths to call me out.

The problem I have with his callout isn’t that he called me out. It’s that he ignores the simple fact that some foods are indeed highly toxic, say, peanuts, or shrimp, or for me now, pineapple and coffee. Whatever the reason, be it our unique chemistry or how we have aged, certain foods that might be a boon for you could kill your kid. Ask any parent whose child has a peanut allergy and you know what I mean.

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Until I turned 66, I had no problem pounding down tons of yogurt, pineapple and citrus. Not any more. Doesn’t matter whether I like it. Doesn’t matter that I miss these things. I can no longer eat them. My body treats them as toxic substances, and the fallout is evil.

Because for my body, these foods are now received as toxic. While not as deadly as seafood allergy to those sufferers, the side effects are serious enough for me to behave.

From my article, here’s the advice I offered:

Ultimately, if you are going to live well, you have to listen to the only wise voice you and I have: our bodies. Do the research. Understand what your unique body needs, and how those changes shift each decade, through sickness and health and injury and aging. We are our own best doctors, but we must do the research, and find nutritionists we trust.

I stand by this. Because no matter what any nutritionist says, no matter what any doctor may recommend, the only true authority on you is you. Your body will register a given food or drink as beneficial, or not. It’s our journey in a world fraught with misinformation and special interest-driven “scientific studies” to decipher what keeps us happy and healthy. And as I have found out, through a combination of both emotional upsets and aging, what the body accepts and rejects may well shift dramatically.

So when you slice into your fragrant, juicy pineapple, I have to chow down on my crispy Red Delicious. A far cry from what I’d prefer, but that apple does indeed keep the doctor away and the symptoms at bay.

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