Food allergies and food intolerances have become a worldwide epidemic. And food intolerances may be behind your symptoms, like fatigue, skin issues, migraines, and many other types of symptoms. When talking to many holistic health professionals about your reaction to foods, they will likely tell you that you need to get some sort of food sensitivity testing done. Contrary to popular belief, virtually all of these tests are highly inaccurate and simply not scientifically valid. (And they’re usually expensive, to make matters worse.) Even though these tests may have the appearance of being very cutting-edge and scientific, the research actually shows that they’re far from it. You are basically throwing your money out of the window with most of these food intolerance tests.
Does that mean that it is impossible to find out exactly what food you react negatively to? No. It is very possible, and it is actually much easier and cheaper than you think. (So not only will this podcast show you a much more scientifically valid and accurate way to identify your food intolerances, it will save you a whole bunch of time and money in the process.)
This week, I am with Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby, who is a pioneer in the field of holistic medicine and has been an expert on food allergies and food intolerances for over 30 years now (even before food intolerances were even recognized as a thing, and during a time when everyone thought he was crazy for talking about it.) He has spent many decades transforming the lives of patients who visit his clinic with complaints of fatigue, migraines, and depression. Dr. Mumby has devised a simple, yet powerful, food intolerance test and way of eating that will help you identify if you have a food intolerance within days.
If you want to know if food intolerances are behind your symptoms (like fatigue, skin problems, hair loss, low libido, excess mucous, joint pain, migraines, IBS, etc.), then this is the podcast to listen to.
In this podcast, you’ll learn
- The bitter truth about food intolerance tests (the blood tests from labs)
- The easy and scientifically valid way to identify what food or foods you are intolerant to
- The huge difference between food intolerance and food allergy
- How you can often identify if you have a food intolerance within just a few days
- How food allergies and addiction go hand-in-hand
- Why elimination diets are a short-term solution (and why staying on them for longer periods of time can make you sick)
- The ways food intolerance symptoms show up (some of them might surprise you)
- How food intolerance can lead to chronic diseases
(Note: If you want in-depth guidance on how to find and fix the food intolerances that may be driving your symptoms, I highly recommend Dr. Keith’s book “Diet Wise”, which you can get HERE.)
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What Causes Food Intolerance? │How To Identify And Treat Food Intolerance (The Best Food Intolerance Test) with Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to The Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am your host, Ari Whitten, and today, I am with Dr. Keith Scott Mumby, who is a pioneer in the field of holistic medicine. He is an MD, or the equivalent of that, you have a bunch of letters over in the UK, MBChB, but it’s basically the same thing as an MD here in the United States, and a surgeon, and he is specifically a pioneer and an expert in the field of food allergies and food intolerances. Interesting fun fact, he wrote his first book on food allergies when I was two years old, back in 1985, so he’s been doing this a very long time. Welcome, Dr. Keith.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Thanks, Ari. It’s great to be here. Actually, it was just funny hearing you say that. Back in the UK, because back in the early days, when all this was so new, that food allergies, they used to call it Mumby jumbo in my city, because I was the kind of pioneer figure. Of course, they ended up eating their words by the end of the ’90s. Everyone understood it, but I was considered a quack in the late ’70s and early ’80s. In medicine, if you go from quack to respectable in less than 20 years, that’s meteoric in medicine.
Ari Whitten: As we just kind of alluded to, you’ve been doing this for a very long time, long before holistic medicine and alternative medicine was popular, like it is now, and you’ve probably seen a whole lot of fads come and go in that span of 30 plus years. So, I would love to kind of just have you talk a bit about how you got into this field, and the origins at the very beginning of being probably more in the conventional paradigm, and then kind of figuring out the whole food energy stuff and pioneering that. How did all of that happen?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Kind of serendipity, I guess, you know? There’s a lot of doctors got into this kind of specialty and interest because they were sick. They had migraine, and someone showed them about food allergies, and they found it was bananas, or wheat, or something. Migraine went. That’s it. They were instant converts.
That’s not true for me, Ari. I read a book, actually, by a British psychiatrist called Richard Mackarness back in ’76, it was published. I thought, “Phooey. This is either baloney, or it’s an amazing breakthrough. I better find out.” Instead of being like my colleague and saying, “What a bunch of baloney,” I put patients on exclusion diets. Lo and behold, I got spectacular recoveries, and I thought, “This really does work. It’s amazing stuff.” So, I made the jump pretty well from the orthodox field. I’m orthodox trained, as you said. I’ve trained as a physician, a surgeon. I used to win prizes at medical school, but very unsatisfying, you know?
I was pretty happy to jump the fence, and by the early ’80s, I was pounding along, doing this. By the ’90s, they were calling me the number one allergy detective, you know? In fact, in ’86, maybe I should tell you, I made medical-legal history, because that was the first time anywhere in the world that a court accepted the idea that food allergies could make somebody violent. This kid was murderous, tried to strangle his stepfather. Well, of course it can, because it inflames and brain, and brain allergies can lead to anything, from schizophrenia and depression, to violent outbursts, ADD, and all of these things, and including, of course, some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about.
It can either excite the brain and send you off the Richter scale, or it can calm it down to the point where you become depressed and lethargic, and life doesn’t seem worth living anymore.
So, I wrote a book, and then I wrote another book, and then another book, and I’ve been active ever since. It’s one of the most satisfying things that I could imagine in anybody’s medical career. I spend an hour, hour and a half with a patient on the first visit. You get to know people, and they become friends. It’s a very different model.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, very interesting. I should also mention that I read your book 11 or 12 years ago, pretty, I would say, early on in my education, and it was a big influence on me in those early days, so thank you for that. Is Diet Wise your most recent book? Have you written anything since then?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, I’ve written quite a few, yeah. I mean, Fire in the Belly is along those lines, but it’s a mixture of the human biome, dysbiosis, food allergies, things that just cause systemic inflammation, basically, so I called it Fire in the Belly. That’s where the fire begins. We’ve got parasites, dysbiosis, candida, all of those things. That’s just one of them. I’ve written a book on anti-aging, living longer and living younger. I’m in my 70s. Most people think, “What?”
Ari Whitten: I haven’t read any of your books since Diet Wise.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: I will send you a package, a shipment, because there’s about 10 you may not have got to.
Ari Whitten: Well, I’m happy to go and buy them off Amazon.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Right back, when we were talking in the early days, anti-aging was one of the first things I stumbled on. I was putting people on these exclusion diets, and they were coming back 10 days later saying, “Wow. I feel 10, 20 years younger. I’m so energetic. My mind’s alert. I’m looking so good, people are asking me what I’m on.” So, I realized there was a strong anti-aging impact in this, too. That’s how I got started on that. I’ve done a book on candida and dysbiosis on its own, parasites. I’ve got plenty of stuff, Ari. You’ll love it.
How you should feel when you wake up in the morning and why you are not
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Well, we have lots to talk about. I want to dig into a lot of the stuff you just referenced. But food allergies, let’s talk there. I want to go back to this … I wish I had it on my screen right now, but you said in the email exchange prior to this interview, something to the effect of, if you’re not leaping out of bed every morning when you wake up-
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah, bouncing with energy, bursting with energy to get the day … I mean bounce out of bed. I don’t mean drag yourself out from the sheets and crawl off to the bathroom. I mean bounce. But then you’re, in a degree, sick, you know? That should be our native condition. That’s what we’re like. I found long ago, decades ago, that the number one thing that interfered with that, Ari, was a food allergy, basically.
How food intolerance and addiction go together
If I may take a minute to help and enlighten your listeners a little bit, let me explain that, because food allergy and addiction go together. You’ll remember that from the book. People get hooked on the very foods that make them ill. Addiction, I mean the basic definition of addiction is you suffer withdrawal experience when you stop it. That’s really the technical definition. You have a dose, it clears up, like morphine. If you’re addicted, you don’t get any, you feel bad, but if you take some, you feel better. I mean, nobody in their right mind would take heroin, would they? Except that it relieves those awful symptoms. Well, we get into this situation with food.
Most people, I think, are aware, even if they don’t suffer it, but heavy coffee drinkers, if they stop drinking, a headache will come on. So, they’re dosing coffee several times a day to keep headache away. That’s the whole mechanism phenomenon.
Okay, so what happens when we go to bed at night? We’re off foods 10, 12, maybe 14 hours off food, so you begin to get withdrawal symptoms, and that’s why people, when they wake up, they’re grumpy and tired, and we have an expression in Britain, like death warmed up, you know? They feel pretty grim. But then, they have breakfast, so they get their cereal with corn, and sugar, and dairy, maybe some coffee, so they get their caffeine, whatever it is that they’re needing to fix on, they get a fix, and within an hour, these withdrawal symptoms clear and away they go.
It just repeats the next day, and the next day. So, if you interrupt that pattern and find out which foods are doing this to you, it’s really a very quick passageway to, “Yay,” in the mornings. That’s my monitor. If the patient doesn’t come back and say, “Hey, whoopee,” we’ve missed something, you know?
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Yeah, fascinating. I’m curious. You’re putting this in a very interesting context, which is talking about it kind of in the same way we think of how drugs work, and in this case, how caffeine works, which has this very specific mechanism of caffeine goes into the brain and blocks adenosine receptors, and then the brain makes certain adaptations to that situation that lead to the withdrawal symptoms and so on when the caffeine is removed. So, there’s this very clear mechanism around caffeine, and we have caffeine withdrawal, and there’s quite a bit of research on that, but you’re saying this also occurs with, it sounds like, lots of other types of foods, as well.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, one of my fundamental maxims, Ari, is anything can do this. I mean, some are commoner than others, but there’s no food that hasn’t made somebody ill sometime or other in my practice.
One of the most startling … Well, I’ll give you a couple of examples. One was a lady with colitis. She had bloody diarrhea in her stools, blood and slime. She was in a bad way, thin as a rake. She was eating healthy, eating salads and doing all the good stuff, but she couldn’t get well. She came to see me, and we found it was lettuce. Lettuce was killing her. So, I said, “Cut the salads.” I mean, I joked, “You’ll be okay with the burgers and fries, Gail, but just don’t do healthy salads,” and that was it. That was the one and only food that was making her ill.
I had a kid who had epilepsy if he ate anything from the carrot family. That’s carrots, parsnips, parsley, dill, celery, that family of foods. They’re all related. It would cause epilepsy. If he didn’t eat the food, he didn’t have fits. He didn’t need drugs.
There’s no such thing as a food that is safe, so when I see these things like superfoods, or anti-inflammatory foods, I know they haven’t really got the idea yet. Anything can do it. Some are commoner than others, but you must have a system that will pick it up, whatever it is. Otherwise, you’re going to miss quite a few. We all know, of course, you know the gluten story, and the casein story. Everybody’s doing it. But if that isn’t the allergy, the person’s not going to get well. They mistakenly say, “Ha, it’s not a food allergy, then.” Well, it could be, as I’ve said. It could be almost anything, in truth.
The difference between food allergy and food intolerance
Ari Whitten: There’s so much there that I want to dig into, but there are some issues around language that I want you to clarify, which are allergies versus intolerance. What are the differences there?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: All right, good point. Way back when … Well, not way back when, but the early ’80s, when I was pioneering, there was a lot of controversies, and we got a huge amount of aggression and argument from our orthodox colleagues who said, you know, “The idea of food allergy, it’s just bunk.” That’s when they were calling it Mumby jumbo, as I said, in my city. They didn’t like that idea, because you couldn’t demonstrate antibodies, and to them, an antigen-antibody response is the whole mechanism of an allergy. If it’s not that, it isn’t an allergy. Now, we didn’t care. If there was something that you could show the person they shouldn’t eat, they were better without it, then we called it a food allergy, fair enough. I’m tagging on to the couldn’t demonstrate antibodies bit. Without the antibody mechanism, they said it wasn’t a real allergy, but as far as we were concerned, if it was something we could show was making the person ill, the word food allergy would do.
Later, it became fashionable to call it food intolerance, but nobody really understood what that was, either, you know? So, there was a lot of argument about this. But you know, Ari, I think these days, we’ve got a lot more light and understanding on the issue, which is tiny genetic variations in … I mean, you’ll understand, a piece of food, even a potato or a tomato, is an incredibly complex chemical assemblage of substances, and we have to be able to metabolize these things.
What we found is that there are tiny genetic variations called SNPs. That’s a cutie word for single nucleotide polymorphisms, which is a horrible mouthful, so we just call them SNP. It means a couple of little, tiny things switched around in a gene, nothing big, no big deal, so that you’ve got two heads or anything, but it might mean that you just can’t metabolize things from the nightshade family or grains in quite the successful way that everybody else does.
I think that’s probably closer to the core of things. There are still no, not much in the of way true food allergy, antigen-antibody responses. Those are the things like peanut, that will put a person in ER if they’re not careful, sudden, severe, and very drastic. These more common don’t get along reactions with foods, I think that’s probably the best explanation we have now, tiny genetic variants.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, interesting. With that in mind, what is actually … Is there an environmental or behavioral factor that plays into this, too? So, someone has maybe SNPs that predispose to a certain food allergy, but then, they happen to be consuming that food a lot, very, very frequently.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Oh, yeah. I mean, the addiction mechanism will still kick in. One of the most fundamental mechanisms that we understand these days, I mean, doctors who are doing the kind of work I do, is the overload phenomenon. I know you know about it, the barrel model, things dripping in the barrel. Eventually, the barrel will overflow. All of that is sort of fundamental mechanisms.
It’s the absolute rock core holistic medical truth and holistic medical mechanisms, if you like. Bodies can cope with amazing things. We have skin that keeps in moisture. We have livers that will detox chemicals, a lymphatic system that will drain the extra … Everything is good, blood that will bring nutrients, take away toxin. Without all these fabulous mechanisms, we probably wouldn’t last a half day, you know? They really are looking after us.
It’s only when they can’t cope anymore that something breaks down, and this is the interesting part, Ari, or interesting for your listeners. I know you know this. The key to what happens is what we call the target organ or end organ failure. For example, if it fits the brain or the cranium, the person might get migraine.
Somebody else might get a skin rash. Somebody else, they get aching joints, so they’re diagnosed as arthritis. These all sound like complex different conditions, and that’s where orthodox medicine is obsessive. What are the symptoms? How do we treat the symptoms? To us, it’s all the same thing.
A milk allergy can do all of those things. I’ve had milk allergy cause migraine, arthritis, asthma, severe depression, all kinds of other conditions, and you take away the milk, and all of those conditions will improve.
That’s the real disease, really, is the intolerance of milk mechanism. Just dwelling on symptoms and trying to treat those isn’t far enough upstream. Back to the barrel model, if you’ve got things pouring in the barrel, and it overflows, well for goodness’ sake, turn a couple of faucets and stop the inflow. Then, you won’t get any overflow, and the overflow is symptoms. It’s a much more workable model of disease, as you know.
Ari Whitten: Right. One interesting observation that I hear a lot, and you’ve heard a ton, is I hear from people who, let’s say, have a gluten intolerance, and then they go on vacation, and on their vacation, they’re having a great time, and they have some bread and some pasta, and they don’t react to it.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Right. That’s a common observation, and of course, I explained that at some length in my book, Diet Wise. It’s part of the overload mechanism we’re talking about. If you’re happy, you’re un-stressed, you’re not being beat up at work, times are good, you can get away with all kinds of things, because the overload effect is dropped.
Also, there are typically ambient allergens. A person living in their own home will become sensitized, to a degree, to their own furniture, carpetings, drapes. There may be molds there, not necessarily the really bad ones, but bad enough that they react to it.
’ Changing an environment completely means that the burden of load drops, and then, you can now tolerate the bad stuff. I mean, that’s a great diagnostic factor, when a person’s well away from home, but they are bad when they come back home. Most people would think immediately, I think of chemicals and ambient environmental substances, but actually, it really always engenders a subtle change in diet, as well, doesn’t it? I mean, who goes to the seaside and doesn’t want an ice cream, an extra slice of pizza or something? But you get away with it. It’s one of the Scott Mumby sayings, that what you do wrong now and again isn’t the problem. It’s what you do wrong every day, a day-to-day basis. That’s what wrecks your health. An occasional indulgence is not that big a deal.
Ari Whitten: I love that you’re quoting yourself. My goal is to get to a point where I’m so established, in 30 years of producing an epic amount of work, and helped so many thousands of people, that I can start quoting myself.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Have your own little maxims and axioms. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m sorry. That sounded a bit conceited, but you know-
Ari Whitten: Not at all.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: I suppose where it comes from, Ari, is that it’s patter, as well. I’ve sat down with tens of thousands of patients and explained what I just said, about what you do wrong now and again, so it’s part of my structure of self, never mind the way I speak.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I love it. One thing I’d like to have you talk about is, what are the consequences of having intolerances or allergies to certain foods and not doing anything about it? So, having this chronic situation of continuing to eat these foods that you are having this reaction to for years or decades, does that lead to anything? Does it affect the immune system or certain disease processes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, anything like that? Are there any links?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, of course, if you keep abusing the system, and I’ve talked about these wonderful protective mechanisms we’ve got, if you keep abusing them, sooner or later, something’s going to crack, and the target organ, or the end organ failure will tell you what symptom you get.
Yes, autoimmune disease is a common variant of this, but let me tell you the underlying principle, which I know you and your listeners would find very interesting, and it comes from …
This time, I’m not going to quote myself. I’m going to quote Hans Selye and his so-called general adaptation syndrome. He noticed that people who are sick get general symptoms. He wasn’t so worried about specific set of symptoms that would enable you to diagnose a disease. He noticed that almost everybody’s sick. These are often feverish. They’re dry. They’ve got a dry, coated tongue and so on. Very interesting chap, but he worked out three levels of stress.
It’s a little long explanation, but it will become very interesting. Trust me. When you first something, like say it’s a food that your body doesn’t like, when you eat it, you feel yuck, and you throw up and don’t eat it again, if you’re sensible.
If you insist on keeping eating it, and if you’re a child, you may have no choice. You see, maybe a child who is being force-fed cow’s milk, bottle fed, has terrible colic, belly aches and is screaming all the time, has terrible earache, but you’ve got no choice. Mom forces you to have it, because it’s good for you. She’s read all the propaganda. What happens is, you then adapt to the substance, so your body kind of gets used to it, in a sickly sort of way.
That adaptation process can go on years, decades, even, but gradually, it’s wearing down resistance, and sooner or later, there comes a point when you can’t resist it anymore, and you go back to being sick. This time, it’s a sort of tertiary sickness. You’re on the slippery slope to ruin, as it were. What happens, there’s a fourth stage, which Selye didn’t actually describe, but I’ve identified, and I call it the fourth stage, whereby dosing with the substance, you keep the symptoms away. That’s the classic sort of addiction phase.
Anyway, so back to the milk idea, the kiddie drinks milk or is made to eat milk, feels sick. Then, it moves on to no problem, really, but all the time building up trouble. Then, somewhere in the 40s, 50s, the person’s got arthritis now, and for years, then, they’ve been suffering from migraines.
I’m sorry. I’m just laughing, because I remember a lovely gal. She was 63 when she came to see me, Ari, and she had terrible migraines two or three times a week. I mean, that’s a heavy burden, right? It’s a grim symptom to be having that often. It was milk. It was only milk. She gave up milk, never had another migraine. Do you think she was really happy and grateful? She was madder than a hornet’s nest that’d been stirred up. She was angry with everybody, that nobody had told her that milk could do this for 60 years.
That important mechanism dictates a lot of what we see, whether the person’s in the first stage, which Selye called the alarm stage, so you eat it. That’s why, for example, people don’t get chronically sick on things like oysters and strawberries. We don’t eat them that often, so when you eat it, you break out in a rash, and you think, “Damn, allergic to strawberries,” and you don’t eat them again. But if it’s something that you’re eating on a daily basis, and we all grow up eating wheat daily, dairy produce daily. Adults are often doing caffeine, tea and coffee. But by constantly exposing yourself to it, it goes into disguise, and we call it a hidden food allergy.
The trick is to uncover those hidden food allergies. It’s very rewarding. It’s amazing. Unfortunately, people can get misled. They say, “Well, it can’t be milk causing my migraines, because I ate milk all last week, and I didn’t have a headache.” No. That’s exactly how it works. Going right back to the top of the talk, it’s often when you stop eating it that you get symptoms. So, it can be very confusing if you don’t follow a system.
How to perform an effective food intolerance test
Ari Whitten: Yeah. That’s such an important point to emphasize, because I mean, I’ve seen it all the time, where people have that response that you’re talking about. They say, “Well, you know, the last several times I’ve eaten this food, I haven’t had any negative reaction to it. Therefore, I must be fine with that.”
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, the key to the mechanism, Ari, is how long it’s in your bowel. Now typically, the average person, it’s about four days, bowel transit, so you’ve only got to eat it twice a week, and it means there’s already some inside you from last time. So, you eat some more, nothing necessarily happens, but if you go on an elimination or exclusion diet, and you clear all these foods out, you’ve now not had it for, say, 10 days, then you eat it. You often get a dramatic symptom. It makes a person … arthritis that puts them in bed for a couple of days. They say, “My god, how can I have been eating that food and not knowing it’s doing this?” But that’s what happens. As I say, you have to have a system to get around that, otherwise, you can baffle yourself.
How food intolerance can cause discomfort
Ari Whitten: Yeah, such an important point. Now, another question for you, you’ve said that any food, basically any food can potentially be something that creates an allergy or an intolerance. I’m curious if you’ve found that certain symptoms have certain common foods that trigger them? What I mean, let’s take migraines, for example. Have you found that there’s a pattern of people with that specific symptom, of migraines, tend to have either maybe this food, or that food, or that food that they’re reacting to?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Not in quite the sense you mean. There are one or two curious things that I’ve noticed. I think a lot of people, for example, notice that the nightshade family, you know, potatoes, and eggplants, and so on, that’s commonly associated with arthritis. One of the really curious things I’ve noticed, Ari, is potato and skin. Now, a lot of people would tell me, when you’re doing a detailed history, they think they’re okay eating potatoes, but you get the story from them. When they peel potatoes, their hands are very sore, and they never really join the dots. If it’s hurting the skin on your hands, what on earth is it doing to your insides, you know? But I’ve seen so many people with catastrophic potato allergy leading to eczematous conditions.
Perhaps the most outstanding was a child of just a few months old. This child had been in hospital. They couldn’t figure anything out. They sent it home with steroids. The child was all blown up with fluid, basically sent the kiddie home to die. They came to see me, and I did a really detailed history, and the only thing it could’ve been, that would fit the bill, like repetitive enough, was potatoes, so I said, “Take him off potato.” This child literally peed himself down to size. His skin cleared up in about five days, and he passed about three or four liters of fluid. Even then, the parents didn’t quite believe it, you know? So, they gave him some potatoes, just to see what happens, and within an hour, he’s erupting and scratching until he bled, and so they got the message at that point. But potato’s a pretty common food. Most people eat it every day.
I’ve seen, I mean, another dramatic lady, adult, she had a pass at the ER. She could go in there any time to cut her pajamas off and soak them off when it got too bad, otherwise, she tried to pull her pajamas off, PJs, it would pull skin with it. She was in big trouble. They’d say, “Just come on in. Let us do it.” They’d soak her in saline and then gradually peel off the pajamas, give her some more steroid creams, and send her home. It was so satisfyingly easy when we found potato was actually the only thing doing that. So, I don’t know. It’s the nearest thing I can think of to a pattern of the kind you mean. There’s something about potato and skin that doesn’t work that good, necessarily.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Is there anything with migraines that you’ve found?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, I know you asked that, and honestly, no. I mean, again, as I say, anything can do it. One of the most dramatic cases I had was a girl with migraines caused by licking envelopes at the office, because the gum was cornstarch. It was quite a dramatic story.
But all I can tell you is, Professor John Soothill, back in 1984, published a paper where it was kids at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and they showed that 93% of migraine was food allergy, period. So, you put kids on an elimination diet. About 100% of the kids, that migraine went away. The lucky ones, their parents would listen and pay attention. Of course, what about the other 7%? Well, you know, I think those were probably environmental or chemical sensitivities. I’ve had kids who are sensitive to even a felt tip pen. When the teacher pulls the cap off to draw on the whiteboard, the kiddie gets a symptom, because he’s hyper super sensitive.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I have connected some dots to what you said earlier about kind of the withdrawal symptoms, and I was thinking about, in the context of migraines, and the reason I harp on this a bit is I have a friend, actually my wife’s sister, who has chronic migraines. I’ve sent her to a number of migraine specialists that I know, functional docs, and she’s had some success but hasn’t completely resolved. One of the things that I was thinking was about caffeine, in particular, and how a lot of the actual medications, the over-the-counter painkillers that people take, actually have caffeine in them, especially for headaches.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: So, I wonder to what extent that might be this kind of mechanism that you’re talking about, where dosing this thing you’re addicted to, which is just getting rid of the withdrawal symptoms.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, it also means that the person’s going to suffer if they, say a caffeine allergic gets a migraine and then takes a caffeine-based analgesic. This is going nowhere, as logic will tell you. Has this person done a full-on exclusionary elimination program, do you know? Perhaps you would know, since she’s close to you.
Ari Whitten: [crosstalk] diets and removed certain foods, like tried autoimmune paleo and things like that, but [crosstalk] done very [crosstalk].
The first step in food sensitivity testing
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, you’ve got to be systematic, you know? Again, I’ll quote somebody else for you, Dr. Doris Rapp. I don’t know if you Doris. She’s a great old lady of this field, of food allergies, pediatrician, and she did kids. She used to talk about the eight nails in the shoe trap. If you’ve got eight nails sticking up in your shoe, you’re going to limp. Well, if you pull one or two nails out, you’re still going to limp. In other words, you’re still getting your migraines. You don’t learn anything, because you haven’t hit them all at once. The only way to, of course, a totally secure way to hit them all at once is fasting, but that’s a bit drastic for most people. But she might be able to cope with four days of what I call a half fast, where you just eat lamb and pears for four days
Ari Whitten: Lamb [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Lamb and pears. Now, you think, “Oh, that’s grim,” but actually, pears are sweet, and the lamb is fatty and very fulfilling, so you’re not hungry. The combination of flavors works well. I’ve done this myself several times. It’s a bit boring, but you’re not going to starve. Just tuck into three or four lamb chops and half a pear that’s fried in the fat that’s rendered from the lamb. That’s a near a fast as you can get without being on a fast. What you’re doing, essentially, is gambling that lamb and pears are not going to be trouble, and they’re very unusual. That’s why we picked them. Maybe that would be worth a go. Of course, the big giveaway is not what happens after four days. The big giveaway, Ari, is what happens on day one. If a mother and father of a migraine come on by giving up all the other foods, then you know it’s going to turn out to be a food.
It’s heavy-duty, but she would have to suffer through that, just drink lots of water, take Epsom salts, use alkali salts, even just simple bicarb, if you don’t want to make the mixture of alkali salt, just get through it. But the last thing to do is take a pill, because, for example, the pill might be formulated with cornstarch, and if it is, and you’re corn allergic, that’s the cause of your migraines. You’re not going to get anywhere swallowing white pills because of the cornstarch that sticks them together. Personally, it’s my advice, and of course, that’s what I wrote Diet Wise about. It’s a sort of self-help way to approach it. Whereas it’s not infallible, it’s pretty damn successful, and I’ve got lots of testimonials to that effect.
A practicing physician would have a few more options, but self-help, you can do a lot, providing you follow the principles. For example, giving something up for two or three days to see what happens won’t work. You’ve got to clear the bowel. That’s what you’re trying to do, get all of those food things out of your bowel and then see how you feel. For most people, they feel better on an exclusion diet, but look, even if you feel worse, it’s telling you something. It’s telling you there is a food, and it’s something you’re now eating more of on the new diet, and therefore, you should look into those possibilities, as well.
Ari Whitten: Well, I love that there’s a very short-term way of figuring some of this out, like in this case, you said it’s how she feels on day one.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yes. Yes. If she’s going to get withdrawal symptoms, that’s when it’ll happen. She doesn’t need to wait for day five, see if she feels any better.
Ari Whitten: You don’t have to wait weeks of clearing stuff from your systems and then reintroduce to…
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, the whole cycle might take weeks to go through, but you know …
Ari Whitten: But you can [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Honestly, Ari, most people don’t care. They’re going on an exclusion diet. They wonder how I know they’re going to wake up on the fifth day morning feeling wonderful, and they ring me up saying, “You were right. I don’t know how you knew it, but I just feel wonderful.” The answer is that it takes about four days to clear the bowel. When it’s all gone, all the symptoms disappear.
The person feels 10 or 20 years younger, as I was saying. All the fatigue disappears, the mind comes sharp like they’re 20 years younger. It’s really a great feeling. So, nobody minds being on that just a little while, while you figure it out. Some people are kind of a bit silly. You have to say, “Look, don’t … The first thing you test isn’t going to be ice cream or coffee. The first thing you test is some other kind of fish or extra fowl to build up your repertoire of proteins and foods, and then get onto the bad stuff.” But it’s worth the patience.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I love that you can start getting at least some potentially useful data on day one, that’s [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I say it’s a journey that everyone should do. They owe it to themselves to do this journey at least once in a lifetime. An exclusion or elimination diet sounds tough, doesn’t it, you know, no grains, no dairy, no caffeine, no manufactured food. Heavy, but the point is, you’re only on that for about 10 days. If you do the testing properly, you might find it’s only one, two, or three things that you need to keep off long-term. You don’t have to stay … It’s a test diet. This exclusion program is a test diet. It’s not a maintenance diet. Once you’ve worked out what the culprits are, then you go to work on long-term planning. If you’re dairy allergic, there’s so much stuff these days, Ari. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, there was nothing for the poor guy that was allergic to dairy, because goat’s milk isn’t necessarily safe, but now, you’ve got almond milk, and coconut milk, and all these wonderful things. So, it’s not such a big burden to give up dairy, actually.
What the food intolerance elimination diet entails
Ari Whitten: Yeah, absolutely. We should probably dig into some clear specifics on what actually an elimination diet is, and you’ve kind of alluded to it. I guess two questions here, so are there specific common food intolerances or allergens that are just the most common things that you find? I know, of course, Keith Scott-Mumby maxim is that any food can be an intolerant food, but are there certain common themes, and what is … I think this goes along with the first part, but what does an elimination diet actually entail?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah. Okay. It’s a good question. What you’re actually doing, Ari, is playing the odds, okay? You’re saying wheat is by far the most common in an adult, dairy most common in a child, but wheat’s by far the most common, dairy next. Corn is bad. Sugar, bad. Citrus is bad. So, you pick about the top 12, and you miss those out, okay? You have to eliminate manufactured food, because you never know what they put in there, right? My simple rule is, if somebody put a label on it, they stuck it in a tin, or a jar, or a packet, they put something in it, just assume. So, we’re down to the principle of whole foods, so that you can see on a plate what it is. It’s not smash, or mash, or some weirdo version of potato. It is a potato that you peeled, boiled, and mashed up yourself. We’re talking whole foods. That’s the important thing.
There aren’t that many things to give up. Grains, we do, not because of gluten allergy. I’ve had countless people who say, “I’m allergic to gluten,” and they’re healthy, but you give them rye, and it doesn’t make any difference. That’s not really gluten. Avoiding wheat is what does them the good. The grains family are the commonest, dairy and derivatives. Well, let me say wheat, for example. You’ve got bread, cakes, pastry, pasta, cookies, all of those things. Wheat is very common. That’s another reason why it catches people out, not that it’s particularly bad, but we eat it all the time, repetitively almost at every meal, same with dairy, pretty well every meal.
Essentially, let’s turn this around, and what you’re actually doing is going back to a hunter-gatherer type diet. These days, as you know, paleo is very fashionable, but back in the ’80s, when I was pioneering this, we used to call it the stone age diet or the caveman diet. The BBC, they used to come and interview me a few times, called me the Stone Age Doctor. I used to joke, “Well, that’s not fair. I’ve only got a few gray hairs. I’m not that old, you know?” But we know from experience …
Ari Whitten: [crosstalk] or something like that.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Sorry, Ari. The slow response, I missed your words.
Ari Whitten: They could’ve called you the Neanderthal doctor or something like that.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Oh, no. I wouldn’t have like that. You can be stone age without being Neanderthal, in fact, very much so. Cro-Magnon man, who followed the Neanderthals, was superbly and beautifully healthy. They had tall six foot skeletons, no sign of arthritis or disease, and they were eating a diet, they know from middens, and trash, and throw out things that they were eating a diet that was about 60% meat, oddly enough, and when they went vegetarian, had to eat more and more vegetable foods, the arthritis appeared, and we gradually shrank.
Anyway, there is a principle that I want to share, that will help your listeners understand what we’re doing here, which is hunter-gatherer is man’s natural condition, so those kind of paleo foods are the ones that nature thinks we should be eating. So, think of humans walking through the forest. They can pluck fruit. They can get at roots, leaves, occasionally catch a fish or an animal, and they drink water.
That’s the basis of the elimination diet. You just follow a paleo or stone age elimination diet. The troublesome foods, if you think about it, are what I call farmer foods, grains that have been raised on farms, cattle and dairy, and then all the modern stuff, you know, tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar, and all those very artificial things, anyway.
All we’re saying with an elimination diet is you’re likely to be okay on these foods. If you’re allergic to meat, you’re not going to be, and some people are, but it’s not usual. It’s not very common compared to being allergic to grains, so as I say, back to playing the odds.
The actual mechanism you’re doing is you avoid all of those foods strictly for a period of … I mean absolute, not a crumb. We’re not talking a slimming diet here, where if you’re being really good, a little bit of chocolate cake doesn’t … You still lose weight for the next few days. If you take any amount of the food, it means it’s back in your system, and it won’t clear for another four days, so you mustn’t cheat, and that’s the hard part for people to understand, but it’s not hard to do, because you can eat as much as you want.
If you’ve eaten a whole paleo meal, and you’re feeling hungry, cook the whole damn meal and eat it again. I’m perfectly okay with that. It’s nothing to do with weight loss. Having said that, almost everybody on an elimination diet loses weight gently and easily without being hungry, very satisfying, eating meat chops or fish, chicken. It kills hunger, so you feel well-fed. That’s the easy part. You avoid it and see what happens.
The truth about food sensitivity testing
Generally, I encourage people to wait about 10 days on a program like that. If you went on a fast, you need only wait three or four days. You get the result immediately like that, but if you’re on an elimination diet, it might take a little longer to come good. But sooner or later, you’ll feel your symptoms clearing. You then do what we call challenge tests. That means, I’ve got to say this, there’s no magical test for a food allergy. There’s no blood test that is faultless. In fact, blood tests are the worst. They miss a lot of reaction. Unless you do it this way, even eating the food isn’t a test, you know? You’ve got to exclude it, then challenge it. But if you do it right, you’ll generally get an accurate answer.
What you have to do is just eat large amounts of food on the test day, avoiding complications with other foods. If it’s okay, then you allow it into your repertoire. You gradually put back all the foods, but look, if you had migraines, and you’ve been on this diet two weeks, now three weeks, still no migraines, “Oh my god, this is great.”
Then, you know you’re looking for something. You’ve got to find it. So, you mustn’t have little sips, like say it was milk. You just have a little sip saying, “Oh, no. I feel all right. Milk isn’t it.” Down with a pint of milk. If you’re going to do it, push it. Really force it, and if downing a pint of milk doesn’t give you a migraine, it’s not a problem, on to the next food, do you see? Those are the key principles in just a few paragraphs, as it were.
Why blood tests for food intolerance are highly inaccurate
Ari Whitten: Yeah, beautiful. You mentioned just a second ago that there are no perfect blood tests. One thing I want to ask you about is the IgG Food Intolerance Test.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Right. Well, let me tell you about it. These are immunologically based tests, okay? Like I explained, IgE is an even more important one, because that’s the one that will put the person in hospital if they’re sensitive to peanuts and things like that. This is the most extreme kind of food allergy. It’s probably, in a sense, the only true food allergy, but it’s not the kind I’m talking about. You’ve used the word intolerance, which is good as any. The person can’t tolerate it, but we can’t demonstrate any immune response. You’re not going to be able to pick up on the important stuff if you do it that way. Those are the super-sensitive blood tests.
But there is another kind you may have heard, or your readers or listeners might stumble across, called cytotoxic testing, where you put everything out in a tray, and you drop some wheat in this one, some milk, and some bananas, and some coffee, and see what happens. That’s called cytotoxic testing. It’s generally done in a panel where you could test up to 120 things at once. If there’s a problem, you’ll see it, because the blood cells will be damaged, and you can see that. Actually, you can see it with the naked eye, but you can certainly tell it under a microscope.
The problem with that, Ari, is what we call false negatives. Now, a false positive isn’t the problem. It says you’re allergic to blueberries but you’re not. Well, you avoid blueberries, but you weren’t allergic to them, anyway. That’s no big deal. But if it says no, you’re perfectly okay with milk, and you’re not, so you say, “Ah, I’m safe with milk.” You drink milk. You’re never going to get well. That’s the problem with that kind of testing. It has a significant number of false negatives, and proper elimination and challenge dieting, I think, has got the edge over that, considerably.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Well, one more thing I’ll add to this, which I think is an even more significant problem with those tests that you’re talking about, I have a close friend named Dr. Alan Christianson who, he’s running an integrative health clinic for a long time, and he’s done a lot of split testing of these food intolerance panels, where he’s literally taken blood from the same person at the exact same moment in time, slapped two different names on the vials, send them off to the lab, and you get totally different results.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Right. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Or take your own blood, send it off to the lab, get your results, and then do it again the next week, and then you get totally [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Next week, you’re causing arguably different … But same blood, same person on the same day, it’s a bit of a giveaway, isn’t it? There’s something wrong. The trouble is, it’s sensitive to operator error, much more so. If you’re testing yourself, and you eat some apples, and you feel a bellyache, and you get diarrhea, you’re there. You’re the test bed, and you know it did something to you. But a person sat in a lab, looking down a microscope, it’s like, “Is that red cell normal or not?” and they’re counting the abnormal red cells, it can go wrong, sadly. My view, generally, is they’re not worth the money. They’re good value in the sense you can have a lot of things tested at once, but even if it’s only like 150 bucks or whatever, if you only miss one, one false negative can screw up the whole operation. So, I don’t encourage it, basically.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Well, I’m very glad to hear you say that, based on my experiences working with so many people who have done these tests, and also talking to a lot of clinicians who have just said, “Hey, this is bad data. This is not reliable data.”
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: So, it’s nice to hear you echo those sentiments from a different angle, as well. I think there’s a point worth emphasizing here, which is a lot of people, especially, I find, wealthier people, people with money, they think, “I’m going to go pay thousands of dollars, get all these fancy tests done, and this really scientific, and really advanced, and they’re giving me all this great information about my body and my personal needs, and they’ve customized my diet based on this food intolerance testing.” But what you’re saying is that this seemingly much less advanced, less scientific, less cutting edge, less technology-based, just very primitive thing of removing foods from your diet, and then reintroducing them and seeing how you feel, I mean, it seems to be way more primitive than the fancy food tolerance testing, and yet it’s actually way more scientific and way more accurate.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Once you understand the principles, yes, Ari. I say to patients, “Food allergy’s like a game. If you don’t know the rules, you can’t rules. But if you know the rules, there’s a good chance that you can come out on top.” The rules are the kind of things I’ve been explaining. Providing you do a proper exclusion and a proper challenge … There are one or two other caveats that I put into … I mean, what happens, for example, if you don’t feel any better on an exclusion diet? The fatal mistake is to say, “So, it can’t be food allergy, then.” Oh, yes, it can. There could be a couple of nails among the foods that you’re still eating, so you’ve got to work through those and so on. But your own body, by and large, is the test bed. You’re essentially asking your body what it likes and what it doesn’t like.
Now, can I share the … Do you remember the Luigi Cornaro story? It’s at the beginning of my book, that you were kind enough to praise. I’m sure you’ve come across it in other directions, too, but it’s very enlightening. I don’t know if we have time, but anyway, Luigi Cornaro was an Italian nobleman back in the 15th century. He was a contemporary, a Michelangelo, a Leonardo da Vinci. He was like all Italian noblemen, far too much money and not enough sense.
He drank himself virtually to death, ate everything he shouldn’t, and was on the point of death by the time he was 40. He was lucky enough to meet a sensible doctor who said, “Look, unless you pull yourself together and start living a proper lifestyle, you’re going to die.”
He actually took it seriously, all hail to him. He started this elimination and challenge, excluding and food testing. He knew nothing about food allergies, but he figured out what he calls strong foods, okay? That means the ones that didn’t really suit him. Interestingly, salads, he doesn’t say what in salads, he just says salads are strong foods. But he worked out what his body liked, and he stayed off the ones that his body didn’t like.
What good did that do to him? Well, I told you, at 40, he was nearly dead. At 50, he passed 50 healthy and well, vigorous. He passed 60 healthy, and well, and vigorous. He passed 70 healthy, and well, and vigorous, passed 80 healthy, well … This is in the days when not many people made their three score years and 10, right, never mind four scores, passed 80 fit and well. He wrote his first book at 84, his second book at 88. He passed 90 fits and well, wrote a third book at, I think it was about 93, and a fourth book at 96 years old. He lived, so far as we can tell from contemporary records, to the age of 98.
He didn’t quite make it to a hundred, though the romantics on the internet keep insisting he did. The evidence doesn’t point that way.
But look, what a life, you know? He was writing books. He was vigorous. He was healthy. He got involved in public works movements, and architecture and things. How worthwhile was that? And he could drink wine, by the way. He could tolerate 12 ounces of wine a day. That’s quite a lot of wine. That’s 3/4 of a pint of wine, isn’t it? So, it’s not necessarily what you think. You’ve got to ask your body, and that’s what Luigi Cornaro did, and he was very vigorous, hadn’t any fatigue at 93.
He was stomping around the streets of … I was going to say Verona, yes, Verona, where he lived. He started in Venice. He was a Venetian. They were a very rich family, a noble people. There’s a Casa Cornaro, and I’m trying to think … A Villa Cornaro, sorry. Casa is Spanish, Villa Cornaro. I think it’s Verona, anyway. So, he’s remembered to this day as quite an amazing human being, and it’s quite an amazing story.
I’ll repeat one thing I already said. I don’t like to repeat, but everyone should do this journey for themselves at least once in their lifetime. It’s rewarding, and it can give you 10, 20, 30, even 40 extra years. Who can know? But you know, it’s better than dying young, obese and run out, fatigued and clapped out long before your time, isn’t it? It’s worth it. It’s got to be worth it, Ari.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, beautiful.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: I think what you’re doing is great, teaching this stuff.
Ari Whitten: Thank you. Yeah. I have a couple more questions. Hopefully, we have time to just cover these relatively quickly. Are you running out of time here?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: No, no. I’m good. No. I’m here at your service.
Ari Whitten: We’ll try and get in five, 10 more minutes here.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: I’ll try and shorten my replies. I do go on a bit, don’t I?
Food allergies in GMO
Ari Whitten: Not at all. You’ve been great, so far. What did I want to ask you? Specific foods, do you have any thoughts, and I have kind of a little list here, specific foods and substances. Gluten, you’ve already mentioned, dairy, you’ve already mentioned, grains, you’ve mentioned, some other ones I have on my list, soy, corn, and then another kind of categories and substances, lectins, glyphosate, and GMOs. I’m wondering, you don’t have to answer all of them, but if you have any thoughts on maybe particular ones, I’d love to get your input.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Right. Well, I mean, there are many reasons why foods can make us ill. We’ve talked at length about the intolerance/allergy type phenomenon, but GMO foods are a whole different ballgame. It probably still comes under what I said about SNPs, small genetic variations, that some of us can maybe tolerate these foods, but for other people, it makes them very ill.
This is the problem with orthodox medicine, Ari. It says everyone’s average, so the average person can tolerate this much mercury or this much glyphosate, and it’s okay, and it’s safe and so on. Yeah, but you know the classic bell curve, where at the lower end, there are some people made sick by tiny exposures, and at the other end, there are people that are formidably healthy no matter what you throw at them. They’ll never get sick with it.
So, it’s no good taking the average, because there are no average human beings. There’s not a single human being on earth that is average. We can be average in height, and average in this, and average in that, but you put them all together, and nobody meets all the parameters.
What’s emerging is that foods now are being messed around with to such an extent, they’re becoming dangerous to an increasingly large percentage of the population. I think you can just say outright, Ari, that these are toxic. They’re just poisonous, so don’t eat them, regardless of testing for tolerance and sensitivity. Just stay away from them, if you can. The problem is, it’s very increasingly difficult now. Our environment’s full of these foods, and it’s back to the bell curve. If you’re made sick by weird foods that you know might be GMO modified, then you’ve got to try and have extreme organic supplies that you know for sure, or you’re fairly comfortable.
But what does organic mean these days, Ari? You’ve got a field, and it’s certified crops, responsible people, caring, loving farmers that will lead in this, but the rain is full of chemical garbage that comes from China. I’m not picking on the Chinese. It’s just the winds are East to West, right? But you can look at satellite pictures. You can see this chemical [inaudible] drifting across the Pacific. It’s called brown aerosol, and colleagues of mine who live in Arizona tell me they’re finding this stuff on the birds in the trees as far inland as Payson, Arizona, up in the mountains there. They can actually identify which Chinese power station, like chemical footprint and so on.
With all that stuff in the air and raining, every time it rains, it’s very gloomy, what you can do to get … There’s no way of getting pure anymore. The remotest lakes in the remotest parts of Antarctic, Arctic, and up in the Himalayas still have abundant chemical poisons. You can’t get away from it. It’s become a geopolitical issue, rather than a self-help allergy and lifestyle issue. You can’t escape. I suppose that would sum … Do you want to rattle through the foods again? I’ll see if I can pick another one up for you, but that was GMOs, anyway
How all foods are toxic
Ari Whitten: Yes, so the other ones of note, glyphosate substances, soy, corn-
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Oh, you mentioned soy. Maybe I can use that as a principle. First of all, let me tell you that almost all foods are toxic. The carrot, the humble carrot, has a nerve toxin in it, an organophosphate, which is related to nerve gas, right, actually in a carrot.
A witty friend of mine, well, colleague of mine, years ago, wrote that if the cabbage was subjected to the test that drugs have to go through, it wouldn’t pass. There are too many toxins in a cabbage. What’s the answer? Are we eating poisonous food? Well, we the answer is that we cook it. Because we discovered fire and water can boil our food, we can render a lot more food less toxic, but in its natural state, foods contain quite a lot of unpleasant substances. It’s emerging, for example, that soya has got all kinds of antinutrients and pseudo-hormonal effects and things like that, so we don’t think of that as good anymore. 40 years ago, it used to seem a good substitute for milk. Nowadays, we’d rather avoid that.
Antinutrients in food is another whole issue. It’s not the same thing as a food allergy, but you can get yourself into trouble by eating too much of the wrong thing. In general, eating anything repetitively is bad. Maybe I should finish on this note, which is nature does what we call rotatory diversified diet, which is to keep changing what you’re eating. If you eat the same thing day in, day out, day after day, year after year, it’s no big surprise, is it? You’re going to make yourself sensitive to it, even allergic to it. So, you vary things.
Now, historically, Mother Nature used to do it for us. Crops would come in in spring. We’d cook and eat them. But then, they’re all gone. It’s summer. Some of the fruits start to arrive. In the fall, there’s lots of fruit, so constantly, you’re changing your foods. I know you said you were only born when I wrote my book. You’re probably old enough to remember tomatoes as seasonal. I’m not sure here, but you used to have them only in summer, didn’t you? Folks would grow them in the greenhouse. When they were gone, they were gone.
Nowadays, you can eat tomatoes every single day of the year, and most people do. It’s one of the commonest foods, like potatoes. People eat tomatoes in some form virtually every day, so we’ve lost that repetitious variant that nature likes. She had it right, and was wise, and varied our diet. We are repetitive, very repetitive. As I said, look at wheat, you know, bread, cakes, biscuits, cookies, pasta, pastry. It’s even in ice cream. It’s everywhere. Okay. Maybe that’s …
Ari Whitten: What about lectins? Do you have any thoughts on-
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, listen, that’s a whole nother talk, you know? Lectins are highly allergenic substances that you find in food at all kinds of levels. I don’t find any worth whatsoever in the blood group type diet, which is based on lectins variance. In fact, generally, I don’t think any set diet is a good approach. A person should work out their own perfect, unique diet in the way I’ve explained. So, the story is that if you go on the blood group type diet, a lot of people get well, and they rave about it and write wonderful a story, so everyone thinks, “Oh, this is the way to go.” But other people aren’t made well, because they’re eating something they’re definitely allergic to, lectins or not. So, it’s only a part of the story.
Peter D’Adamo was the first person to launch it, wasn’t he? But I’ve noticed that Dr. Steven Gundry’s now been writing about this model, too.
Of course, you never get to hear about the failures. All they ever broadcast is, “Well, this person did it and felt well. That person did it and felt well.” The people who did the diet as prescribed and felt absolutely crap are not going to tell anybody. They don’t usually ring up D’Adamo or Gundry and say, “Look, I did your diet, and I felt awful.” This kind of feedback doesn’t come in. But if you do it the way I say, your body is your own feedback, and it will tell you yes or no, basically.
Ari Whitten: One more thing I’d add to that discussion, I think is important, which is, my personal opinion is, I think it’s odd to create a diet that is based around villainizing a food group that is also extremely commonly consumed among the world’s healthiest populations. I mean, I [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yes. It can’t be the whole story, can it?
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Of course, there’s going to be individual variation, but it’s tough to make a case that this food is the central cause of chronic disease when it’s simultaneously a central staple food of pretty much all the world’s healthiest and longest-lived populations. I just personally find that to be kind of a big contradiction.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah. No, you’re absolutely right. You’re very wise in that, but you know, people get these bees in the bonnet, and they go on and on, and it becomes a dogma. Dogma doesn’t work in medicine. That’s the one thing I’ve learned in 40 or 50 years of clinical practice. Dogma doesn’t heal much.
Why elimination diets are a short-term process and should be kept that way
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, my final question to you, which I think is an important one, as we’re talking about elimination diets, and as people can potentially get rid of certain things they’re intolerant to, or kind of feel better on an elimination diet, one thing that I’ve seen is a lot of people end up on very strict elimination diets, essentially forever.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: You’re absolutely right, and that concerns me, too. It’s a very sensible concern, Ari, and it’s ignorance, really. They think, “Well, that solved the problem, so I’m going to stay on it,” and of course, sooner or later, they’re going to start running into deficiencies, because they don’t have an adequate and varied diet. You see, you can go onto a bunch of safe foods, feel good, but a year later, one or more of those foods is now starting to make you ill again. That’s really why it’s very important to understand the principle …
Ari Whitten: As some of those new foods, then, you start to get intolerance to those. Then, you get on an increasingly strict and limited diet. Then, I’ve found that that becomes counterproductive, because the lack of diversity in the diet not only creates nutritional deficiencies, but also creates a lack of diversity in the gut microbiome, which I think also contributes to problems down the line.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yes. Yeah, I completely agree with you, and as I say, that’s perhaps another whole talk, in a way. But the person has to understand that if you feel better on the … You give up 20 foods. You feel great. It doesn’t mean all 20 are to blame, obviously, maybe one or two. So, you just stay off those foods. You’ve got all the other variables in rotation, and no matter how good you feel, keep moving through the foods. Pretend it’s seasonal, if it’s not.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: It’s a very important principle.
Ari Whitten: One more layer that I want to add to that, which is let’s say someone has an intolerance to potatoes, or to bananas, or to citrus, or dairy, or whatever it is, but they’ve identified the specific thing they’re intolerant to. Should they stay off that specific thing forever, or should they go off for a period of time, and then is there a protocol to slowly reintroduce that food to develop tolerance, or do you generally advise, if you found something you’re very reactive to, just stay off it for good?
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Sometimes, a food is unnecessary, so it wouldn’t be any big effort to stay off it, but you’ve touched on a very important principle, Ari, which is what we call cyclical and fixed allergies. Fixed allergies are the kind of peanut, shellfish, you come out in a rash, and that never goes away. 20 years later, the person still can’t eat shellfish.
But the kind of allergy or intolerance mechanism that I’ve been talking with you about, it’s like a fire. It blazes, but if you dampen down the blaze so you’ve got burning embers, like I said, you can do it now and again. It’s not going to hurt you. If you throw fuel on this fire by eating the food repeatedly and often again, it will blaze up again.
So, if providing you rest the food, and it can be as little as a few weeks, actually, but certainly three or four months, or six months off a food, that’s often sufficient to try it again. It’s calmed down. It’s settled down, and you can now, with a considerable degree of respect for that food, just take a little of it into your diet. You can never go back to 10 cups of coffee a day if coffee was the problem, but you can probably have a decaf once in a while, and you get away with it.
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Yeah. Good point.
Ari Whitten: This has been a blast. I’ve loved talking to you, and after all these years of having first read your work very early on for me in my career, and it being very influential, it’s wonderful to finally connect with you and have this conversation. For people who are experiencing symptoms and maybe are suspecting that it might be coming from a food allergy or food intolerance, what would you recommend to them, your Diet Wise Academy? Is that the best place [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Well, let’s start with the book. Diet Wise Academy would be good, if you really want … I’ve put 50 instructional videos up there. I’ve really done the business. There’s almost nothing that isn’t answered in these 50 videos.
Ari Whitten: By the way [crosstalk]
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Let’s start with the book. It’s a $20 book. For many people, they read the book. They do what it says, of course. Reading the book is not going to solve anything. You read the book and do what it says. There’s a very good chance you can sort it out for yourself. The Diet Wise Academy’s there to back it up, so if you like the principles, you’ve understood them, but you’re just not quite … you’re a bit shaky on what you’re achieving, then I would say join the academy. It’s like what, a couple hundred bucks. You could stay in there as long as you’d like, but it won’t take you more than … It’s not going to take you a year to solve the problem. It’s a matter of months, really. So, all the help is there. Then, of course, they’ve got a person like you to back it up, so you’ll understand the principles, so they can communicate with a live person and say, you know, “I’m doing all this stuff, and there’s something wrong somewhere. What could it be?”
Ari Whitten: Yeah.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: So, it’s a kind of pathway. Start with the book. Then, go to the Academy. Then, get some expert help.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. Well, I’ve obviously read the book a long time ago, and then, I checked out your Diet Wise Academy just in this last week, and it’s really wonderful. I’m a really big fan of your work, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s been very influential for me, and I still emphasize to people the importance of elimination diets and figuring out your intolerances. That’s really thanks to reading your book so many years ago. So, thank you for this wonderful interview. It’s been an absolute pleasure to do this.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: I enjoyed it enormously, too, and I hope it was helpful to your people.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. No. I’m sure that it will be. For anybody listening, trying to figure out your symptoms, definitely pick up a copy of Diet Wise and consider joining Diet Wise Academy, as well, really just immensely useful, in terms of all the details and specifics of working through figuring out your intolerances. So, Dr. Keith, been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much, and have a great, great night.
Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby: Thanks for having me. Good luck.
What Causes Food Intolerance? │How To Identify And Treat Food Intolerance (The Best Food Intolerance Test) with Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby – Show Notes
How you should feel when you wake up in the morning and why you are not (5:59)
How food intolerance and addiction go together (6:49)
The difference between food allergy and intolerance (10:53)
The link between chronic diseases and food allergies(18:22)
How to do food allergy testing effectively (22:58)
How food intolerances can cause fatigue, migraines, and other chronic symptoms (24:00)
The first step to food sensitivity testing (29:29)
What the food sensitivity testing elimination diet entails (34:47)
Why blood tests for food intolerance is highly inaccurate (41:54)
Food allergies in GMO (51:06)
How all foods are toxic (54:50)
Why elimination diets are a short-term process and should be kept that way (1:00:03)
If you want in-depth guidance on how to find and fix the food intolerances that may be driving your symptoms, I highly recommend Dr. Keith’s book “Diet Wise”, which you can get HERE.)