wheat

It’s yet another one of those days when I try not to scream when I look at the news. I was glad that the New York Times seemed to be interested in printing information on the gluten-free lifestyle until I read the articles. The first article this week, A Big Bet on Gluten-Free, was mildly interesting from a business perspective, but it remained insulting with quotes like the following:

• “Look, the thing here, in my opinion, is that there is a small number of people who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant,” Mr. Hajarnavis said. “But there is a growing population of people who have somehow heard that gluten-free is healthier or think of it as fashionable, and when they remove gluten from their diet, they’re inadvertently taking out a lot of processed foods and are really feeling the benefits of eating healthier foods.” read more

Wahls

I watched a webinar last night by Dr. Terry Wahls. If you don’t recall, she’s the woman, a physician, who has cured her progressive MS with diet. She has an amazing TED talk which I previously posted in this blog post.

I came away with several things about her that I did not previously know:

• She said when she read Cordain’s book on paleo, it made scientific sense to her which is why she decided to go paleo.
• When she initially went paleo in 2002, it was mostly taking wheat and dairy out of her diet. She’s been a vegetarian for a long time, so she found the conversion to eating meat very difficult. She did a lot of meat broths to try to get used to the idea and didn’t initially consume meat as she now does (grass-fed beef, organ meats, fish). You might say that in the beginning, she went gently into paleo. I believe that might be true for many people.
• The answer to her remarkable recovery from the disease state of MS is paleo plus functional medicine.
• It was difficult for her to align her thinking as a traditionally-trained MD with the idea that diet has this much of an impact on our health. read more

die-off: it’s a pain

During the recent past it has finally been accepted, for the most part, that gut flora plays a huge part in our general health. More and more scientists and physicians are taking seriously the gut’s role.

I have fungal dysbiosis. In other words, my gut flora was very messed up from years of antibiotics, steroids etc. not to mention eating gluten and causing leaky gut and a plethora of food allergies. It’s not surprising that remedying that situation was part of my functional medicine MD’s plan. read more

P90X

In the fall of 2009, we started P90X. Being the over-achiever that I am, I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, it’s hard and takes 90 days…but it’s intense, and you see results. I like intense. I didn’t just do it once. I did it four times in a row before I slacked off to a maintenance schedule. None of that, however, is the point. The point is that while I thought I was getting fit and healthy, I was drinking smoothies with bananas, dairy, and whey protein and consuming a workout recovery drink with whey protein. My low-carbohydrate meals included tons of vegetables and meat but also the occasional potato (saponin treasure chest) or worse yet, pasta (my mortal enemy—gluten). Yes, I built a lot of muscle, but little did I know that I was also making my gut more permeable than ever with the gluten (leaky gut) and keeping my body in a full state of inflammation with the sugar (bananas) and allergens I was ingesting (dairy, eggs, gluten). My genetics held the secret I, at that time, had not yet discovered. I didn’t do myself any favors, and worse, set myself up for even more problems which were realized in 2012 with the RA diagnosis. read more

trigeminal neuralgia

December of 2012, I experienced trigeminal neuralgia–most likely related to MS. I distinctly remember that it is not what I told Santa I wanted for Christmas, but he was a shmuck that year, and that’s what I received. It started off cycling (about 20 minutes with pain, 20 minutes no pain), and I thought I could handle it if it continued to do that. It did not enter my mind how exactly I thought I was going to live as I was just trying to cope. It then stopped cycling. The trigeminal nerve has three main branches: opthalmic, mandibular, maxillary. Both the mandibular and maxillary branch were involved; it felt like I was having root canals on all the teeth on the right side of my face, both lower and upper jaws, without the benefit of a numbing agent. read more

the look

Oh, THE LOOK. The one that you receive when trying to explain the ideas behind, or relating your experiences with paleo to someone–particularly someone who thinks they are more schooled or smarter than you. The one that says, “Oh, you poor, naïve idiot. When will you learn than traditional medicine knows all and that we would have been told if there were such a simple cure as diet?”

I received THE LOOK from my rheumatologist when I told him that I was going to try paleo. “I practice in Boulder, and I’ve seen everything,” he said in September. By January, five months later, he was asking me what my secret was. read more

Dr. Gunshin

I know we’ll all be surprised when I say I’ve been in a hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Several times, actually, but that’s another post. 🙂

Dr. Gunshin, the MD I dealt with at University of Tokyo Hospital, is a prize. Now maybe it helped that he did his residency at UC Davis and spoke impeccable English, but this man helped us immensely while we were in Japan during a particularly challenging “vacation” in 2013. However, what I wanted to talk about in this post was the discussion we had concerning the Japanese and their evolving diet. read more

functional or traditional

In the very beginning of the rheumatoid arthritis saga in the summer of 2012, my partner and I were trying to figure out what to do. We were hedging our bets by kind of doing it all–seeing a rheumatologist AND a functional medicine MD, but I knew we were eventually going to come to a point where a choice had to be made. Namely, which path would we take. Aside from the obvious distinctions traditional medicine (pharmaceuticals) vs. functional medicine (whole body and supplements), the cost of each venture was nothing to discount. read more

too much?

My parents always placed a premium on education. It was important and invaluable to know what was going on in the world and to educate yourself. I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It was never even a question.

I’ve been sick all of my life, constantly in hospitals, constantly sick with everything from pneumonia to allergic bronchitis to asthma. My lungs demand more than their quota of attention. I remember sitting on gurneys being pulled from a hospital room to the laboratory to have blood drawn. I loved the lab and its many sounds. The whirring, beeping, and alarms. How could they find the answers in my blood? What were they looking for? Yes, I wished they’d hurry up and find it, but I was absolutely enthralled. The healthcare workers humored me by telling me in simplified terms, of course, what they were doing. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to look for answers and find out “why” things happened or went awry. I wanted to feel better, too, but I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. read more

paleo and rheumatoid arthritis

On June, 18 2012 I woke up with sore hands—more specifically a very sore right hand/wrist and a slightly sore left hand. There aren’t many things biologically that cause symmetric pain or difficulty. My first guess was Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I didn’t share this thought. I dutifully changed my laptop set up to make it more ergonomic, began Aikido hand stretches with the advice of a friend, and otherwise tried to ignore what, to me, was painfully obvious. Pun intended. It’s not the first time that my education and experience empowered me with information that I really would rather not have retained. I’m joking, of course, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like NOT to know the specifics of some health-related problem I’m experiencing. I’ll revisit this in a different post. read more