extreme

I happened upon this short excerpt of Dr. Amy Myers (a functional medicine MD) speaking at a Wellness Summit about people’s skewed view of health, normalcy, and diet. She sums up society’s problems in a few short sentences.

I addressed this in my post about functional vs. traditional, and I am still having these conversations with people. For them, it is just so much easier to take a pill than to change your lifestyle and diet for the sake of your health.

PS A friend of mine with RA was aghast that occasionally I eat cauliflower for breakfast. I believe she’s currently on 3 different meds for her condition while I remain Big Pharma-free.

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human reaction

When we first went paleo, it was a real struggle. It wasn’t just the cleaning out of the house and changing the way we ate. That was the easy part. It mostly, at least for me, was realizing that what I’d been taught my entire life was a lie. Not only had our government misled us, but so had science. If you read Cordain’s, The Paleo Answer, you’ll find all the references to why we should not be eating dairy, whole grains, legumes, etc. To top it off, it’s not just that it would be better for us not to, but there is evidence that illustrates why we shouldn’t and other evidence (fat argument) that shows how we’ve been purposely misled because of a personal agenda. The fat argument has come to light again recently in articles such as The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease.

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information

I have this love/hate relationship with the news media. I love to stay informed, but one must define what “informed” is exactly. Is it informed or overwhelmed? There is a fine line, and my trigeminal neuralgia excels at pointing out the difference. I check different news sites—everything from the BBC, NY Times, CNN, and NHK. By far the most irritating or amusing, depending on your point of view, is CNN.

• How Pilates can help women with MS
• 11 ways to manage spine arthritis
• Solving the riddle of RA
• Tips for a sound sleep with MS
• 8 rheumatoid arthritis exercises
• The 123s of treating afib
• 8 ways to live better with RA

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Betaseron

I distinctly remember reading this article in the NY Times. My hands already hurt from what I suspected was RA yet to be diagnosed, and I felt utterly defeated. Our neighbors kids were visiting for the summer, and they were outside. I could see them out the window to the left of where I sat at my computer. I had the flash of walking upstairs to get my pistol, out into the yard (don’t make a mess inside), and killing myself. I thought that would be a rather rude thing to do to those kids so I sat glued to my chair. That was my exact thought process.

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control

In a previous post I spoke of my aunt, my mother’s sister, being diagnosed with RA. Her daughter, my cousin, was also diagnosed with RA last month. This in turn led to long discussions about family history and I found out the following:
• both my maternal great-grandparents had RA
• of their 6 children only one seemed to present with RA (not my grandmother)
• of my grandmother’s 5 children, 3 presented with RA (my mother, and a younger sister and brother)
• the next generation would be mine where I and my cousin have both been diagnosed
• my cousin has two young daughters—I think we could make an educated guess about their fate, unfortunately

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ramblings on disability

I endeavor not saying, “MY” MS or “MY” RA. I always felt it gave too much power to the disease. I was somehow relinquishing control as if that’s WHO I was—THE disease. The solution for me was to name them. At that time my neurologist was female and my rheumatologist was male. I decided to name the MS, Lucy, and the RA, Ricky. Yes, a reference to Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. One must find amusement where they may. I look at Ricky and Lucy as a part of life. I recognize them, am aware of them, but they don’t control me or what I do. Of course, I have limitations. We all do no matter the age—disease or no disease. They, however, do not define me.

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methotrexate

Methotrexate is the “gold standard” of RA treatment—or so said my rheumatologist back when I was initially diagnosed. He worked hard trying to get me to start taking it by telling me of its huge success rate, how it was well-tolerated, easy to take, and just really “no big deal”. It’s not that I believe he did not have my best interest at heart. He believes in what he does and is very good at it. He didn’t want to see me crippled with RA and the quickest way to avoid that, or so he was taught by the ivory towers of traditional medicine and, therefore, believes, was to get me started on Methotrexate.

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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.

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methylation

VERY simply stated, methylation is a process that happens in all cells of the body so that you’re able to make the chemicals you need to function. It is tightly linked to folate metabolism and requires vitamin B12.

What exactly needs methylation reactions? The short list would include cellular repair, detoxification, neurotransmitter production, proper immune system function, and specifically important in my case, inactivating histamine. Those are some important functions, indeed.

MTHFR stands for methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase which is the enzyme which is responsible for methylation; there are several genetic variants which result in suboptimal methylation. I have one copy of C677T gene for MTHFR.

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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.

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