Author: Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS
Review by Marjorie Tietjen
Do you feel chronically sick and tired? Are you having problems receiving a definitive diagnosis? Have you been told by your doctor that your long list of symptoms is all in your head? Ann Louise Gittleman, the author of Guess What Came to Dinner, speaks of a widespread health problem which may be at the root of chronic illness for a vast majority of sufferers. "It is a silent epidemic of which most doctors in this country are not even aware. Yet, according to parasite expert and medical researcher Louis Parrish MD, at least eight out of ten of his patients have some kind of parasite infection."
Most people, when they think of parasitic infections, automatically picture health problems which only involve the intestinal tract. What's not generally known is that parasites can cause a much wider array of problems than that. Gittleman goes into great detail explaining the health issues which can result from these microbial freeloaders. The author even provides comprehensive charts listing the name of each parasite, its source, symptoms it causes, how it invades, where it resides in the body, and how it can be diagnosed and treated.
Many of us may wonder why there should be such ignorance about the prevalence of parasitic infections and the symptoms they cause. The author sums it up by claiming that, "Lack of education is to blame. In the United States, physicians are simply not educated in parasitology and are, therefore, inexperienced in recognizing common clinical symptoms. A doctor's introduction to parasitology may come from a chapter here and there in a microbiology course in medical school. If parasitology itself is taught at all, it is as a specialty in the department of tropical medicine at some universities."
Guess What Came to Dinner also tells us what these parasites love to eat and what foods encourage them to thrive. Knowing this is crucial so that we can create an environment that is inhospitable to them. The author also talks about certain sexual practices which can easily transmit parasitic infections.
Some of the warning signs which can indicate infection are: "constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, joint and muscle aches and pains, anemia, allergy, skin conditions, granulomas (a mass inflamed granulation tissue), nervousness, sleep disturbances, teeth grinding, chronic fatigue, and immune dysfunction." Gittleman further expands on each of these warning symptoms.
Most of us are aware that a person can contract trichinosis, from undercooked pork. However, the author warns us that, "Pork cooked in a microwave is particularly infective; because of uneven heating, microwaves don't always kill the trichinella. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that pork cooked in a microwave reach a temperature of 170 degrees F. This is particularly important for the internal parts of the meat."
Gittleman also informs us of the parasitic dangers of other foods and how to safely prepare them. The author includes a helpful section concerning pets, which are unfortunately another major source of parasites.
The traditional method of diagnosing parasitic infections (testing random stool samples) is inaccurate. The author not only goes into detail as to why this is so but she also discusses what the effective testing methods are and includes a resource section to aid you in finding the labs which conduct these tests.
Treatment protocols (including homeopathic and herbal), diet, detoxification, personal hygiene, food handling, prevention, and travel tips are all subjects included in this comprehensive book. An enormous amount of helpful information is packed into 164 pages.
Reading this book has discouraged me from consuming certain raw foods, such as meat and fish. We have been told by many sources that eating raw foods can be healthy and safe. Others, like Gittleman, don't necessarily agree. Perhaps taking a middle-of-the-road approach is the best answer. Making sure our meat and fish come from healthy, clean sources, can be one way of minimizing parasitic infection. Freezing meat for a period of time can destroy some parasites. But most importantly, as the author mentions, we must keep our immune systems in tip-top shape. It is also a good idea to consume foods rich in probiotics (fermented foods) and supplement with digestive enzymes. One way to have better oversight of the production and handling of our food is to grow our own or buy from local farmers.
Even though we live in a modern world with advanced technology and advanced knowledge of hygiene, parasites are still a problem and continue to cause untold misery. Much of this misery can be prevented. I highly recommend this book to those who want to better understand this major cause of chronic illness.