Your Body

From Raw Vegan to Omnivore

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From Raw Vegan to Omnivore in the space of a few years and there is a good reason for that. This is probably the most embarrassing story I tell and not because I have done what seems like a 180 degree turn around in my nutritional perspectives. But because it involves a situation that was well… embarrassing and unnecessary in sooo many ways! I seriously wish it involved me running around seeing everything as a juicy steak like Leo the lion in Madagascar, but no….

The story really begins back in 2004 when Debbie was diagnosed with ME/CFS one of the first things we looked at was nutrition. Debbie was already gluten free which many recovery stories supported, but we increased fruit and vegetables and began juicing because I had come across anecdotal accounts of people finding it beneficial.  At the time we also read a lot of books by Patrick Holford too, and I remember buying Essential Omega oils to make sure our omega 3/6 ratios were balanced. It did not result in complete recovery but it all seemed to help so we stuck with it.

‘Following what already had seemed to work’ over the years Debbie became interested being Raw Vegan, and ‘clean’ eating. She was  influenced by people such as Ani Phyo and the ‘Thrive Diet’ by Brendan Brazier. In 2009, in preparation for trying for a baby we spent a year ‘detoxing’ and eating raw vegan diet. I joined in because I had seen a TV program where the quality of men’s sperm improved dramatically with clean diet and I obviously wanted my sperm to be as healthy as possible! 😉  Much of the raw food I liked, but I rarely felt ‘good’ on it and I always held a doubt about a diet that required supplementation (B12) to avoid serious health problems. One of the things I have learned about the ‘World Wide Web’ is that you tend to find support for whatever your current belief is. So there is plenty of expert opinions on the benefits of eating in such a way and a lot of anecdotal reports of people overcoming illness and disease with the approach. So why the change?

Whizzing forward to Sept 2013, I took on a short term contract as a Health Trainer. During my first day there was a sequence of events that meant I did not really get the time to go to the toilet properly and felt embarrassed about asking. By the end of the first day I was in a bad place. Desperate to pee, having spasms but seemingly unable to pass much water. I had a hideous hour and half journey home, stopping every 10 minutes, trying to find somewhere to go, but just never really passing anything. At home, phone calls to NHS direct suggested I may have been dehydrated, so I continued to drink. During this time I managed a brief period of relief while Debbie tapped on my EFT meridians for me. That tells you  how powerful EFT can be for pain relief. But after a completely sleepless night of trying to pee every 10 minutes, I ended up at the Doctors with a diagnosis of bladder spasm and Acute Urine Retention, probably aggravated by a prostate twice the size it should be for a man of my age! That was a shock; my prostate was twice as big as it should be for man my age?  But I exercise, eat right, deal with stress, how comes??? The GP just said it was a fact of life, a man’s prostate keeps growing and that is that! Really?!?

I look after myself, or I thought I did, so this was a real shock and I decided to seek advice. At the time I was working from Arturus Clinic in Totnes on a Saturday, so booked in to see Dr Stephen Hopwood, the man behind Arturus the clinic. Dr Hopwood is an ex-GP who has turned to Chinese medicine because he has seen how much more effect it is. During the consultation I was surprised that he seemed unimpressed with my diet. Indeed his comment was actually “you need to eat some organic chicken livers!”

When I got home I began researching his seemingly bizarre comment but I felt rough and did not look too hard. Indeed over the next five weeks I would go through having the catheter removed, seemingly getting an extreme UTI. That would result in no sleep for two or three nights, antibiotics, antibiotic induced diarrhoea and then gradually slipping back into retention. There were some real low times for me, often I was simply too exhausted with lack of sleep to focus on anything that I knew would help. The only thing I could manage was listening a Loving Kindness Meditation that I had recorded months previously. That did get me through some very tough nights too. I finally ended up in hospital for a couple days which was not fun!

I struggled in hospital. Some of the Doctors barely treat you as human, only seem to answer questions begrudgingly, contradict each other and the food is less nutritious than I give River (our dog). When I finally got home, still with a catheter in place, Debbie had prepared a meal of chicken livers…… God it tasted sooo good!

Now I started researching things properly and what I found surprised me immensely. I’m not sure the exact route I took, but I remember watching a Doctor Terry Wahls explain how she had reversed her MS, by eating a ‘hunter gatherer’ diet and then went on to read ‘Your Personal Paleo Diet: Feel and look great by eating the foods that are ideal for your body by Chris Kresser and then more importantly The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne and there it was…

Phytic Acid!

Our healthy bean based meals were not as healthy as we thought.

Our healthy beans were not as healthy as we thought. Phytic acid is in seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts in varying quantities.

Phytic acid in your gut binds minerals (zinc, calcium etc) so you pass them in your stools rather than absorb them.

Zinc deficiency is also related to prostate enlargement!!

Men who come from Hunter Gather cultures don’t suffer enlarged prostates as they grow older!!! Could it be because they do not consume large quantities of the foods that contain this ‘anti nutrient’ that robs us of zinc?

My so-say healthy diet would have something containing phytic acid with nearly every meal and it all began to make sense, not just with zinc either. Debbie had been told she had osteopenia years ago and just before our daughter Honey was born my teeth had began just breaking, was this due to phytic acid binding the calcium?

I continued reading and researching; finally coming to Perfect Health Diet: regain health and lose weight by eating the way you were meant to eat by Paul Jaminet and his wife. This book made a huge amount of sense to me and they are not dogmatic, but rather their suggestions are based on study, research and personal experience.

As you can guess I changed the way I was eating. Occasionally, because sometimes it is convenient, we do eat some of these foods, but it is now rare rather than daily or even weekly.  Phytic Acid can also be removed/reduced by soaking so that is also an approach we use for things like nuts.  Although we are now all meat eaters, we are very choosy about the meet we do eat. Making sure the animals are grass fed and treated with respect.

Six months later the Consultant said my prostate seemed a normal size. He just put this down to the first Doctors being a bit rubbish, great that they have so much faith in each other! I’ve not taken medication to reduce the size of my prostate because it is linked with increasing the risk of prostate cancer. I did take Tamsulosin for a few months as it seemed sensible to help break the pattern I was in, but I came off that after a few months too. What I really believe has been effective is the combination of diet change, visualisation, Acupuncture and finally Cranial Osteopathy for a twisted pelvis. Indeed I had the confidence to come off the Tamsulosin after the Cranial Osteopathy.

The irony of the story is that to save myself the embarrassment of saying I needed to pop to the loo at the beginning of a meeting in my new job, I ended up with 6 weeks of far more embarrassing situations! Perhaps with hindsight it did me a favour though?

The Short Story

Phytic acid is in foods like seeds, grains, legumes, and nuts etc and binds minerals like calcium and zinc. Skip the foods or eat in moderation if you would like to avoid problems like osteoporosis and enlarged prostates!

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Three Things to Help You Survive Cancer

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Stormy road ahead?
Bleak journey ahead?

There can be few things scarier than being diagnosed with Cancer, I still remember when my mum was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and given a few years at best to live. As a family we functioned, but in shock and with an almost paralysing sense of fear dragging me down everytime I awoke in the morning. I have regrets over that time because I did wrong, but it was a long a time ago and I lacked the knowledge I have now.

So if I could turn back time what would I do differently? In truth I believe there are many things that contribute towards self healing and being healthy, but I would start with these:

Firstly I believe hope is the most important thing to foster. So watch this now. 

Doctors seem paranoid about this and and scared of giving false hope, personally I would be more scared of living without hope because studies have shown that when it comes to beating cancer even ‘denial’ is better than the stoic acceptance that some people think you should have. Hope is crucial because without hope what is the point of doing anything?

I would recommend reading books like: Radical Remission, How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter etc to read about stories of how other people have survived against the odds and the theories behind how it maybe possible. Once you become open to the possibility that you can survive and thrive in spite of a prognosis to the contrary, you may be surprised at how many others have done so too and maybe you can be one of them. Here is the story on Youtube of one chap who did not consciously do anything, but still survived against the odds.

When you open your mind there is so much out there, and some it from forward thinking Doctors, like  that talk from Doctor Lissa Rankin which I find amazingly inspirational.

Secondly it is vital to get into the right state of mind to heal by acknowledging and reducing any fears, stresses or negative beliefs, while promoting positive thoughts and emotions. This is an area that I now specialise in because I know how important it is to regaining health. In simple terms every thought you have, conscious or subconscious starts as an electrical impulse, then creates chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body. Telling your cells which genes to switch on and off, which immune cells to create etc. There are now plenty of studies linking emotions like anger, and fear with various illness and it is well understood that stress or the fight or flight response drastically changes our biological systems which long term have a negative effect on our bodies. So it is vital that you get help to let these go. Find someone with a good reputation, who resonates with you, that can offer techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that really do help you let to go of unhelpful thoughts.

As every thouInfinite Healing Wordsght you have does result in chemical messengers that flood every cell in your body, so replacing your fears with more positive thoughts is also important. Starting a gratitude diary may seem tough after a diagnosis of cancer, but blogger Gabi MacEwan credits the practice to her survival and it is a good way to foster positive emotions. Read more in my post: Three Strategies for Gratitude If Your Life is Tough. 

Practising a daily meditation/self hypnosis to encourage your body to heal is also vital and there are many such tracks available commercially. Email me if you would like one of mine to listen to.

Thirdly, start eating the right foods! This will probably involve you forgetting everything you have previously been told from ‘authority’ figures, but the evidence is there for doing so. Many people attribute changes to nutrition, often drastic changes, as being responsible for beating cancer. One of those I stumbled across recently is Fred Hatfield, who was given three months to live when he came across the idea that adopting a ‘ketogenic’ (high fat) diet would help him. The story I came across was written a year after he adopted that way of eating and he was still free of cancer. Others like Kriss Carr have found a diet of plant based nutrition has helped them. So here is the dilemma, how should you eat to beat cancer?

Now although initially these may look like drastically different approaches, which they are, if you look at the detail there are many similarities. So while one approach predominately involves starving the cancer sells of their primary energy source and the other predominately involves increasing anti-cancer vegetables, they both have similarities in what is avoided (and I have posted about that before).

In 1931, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. Otto Warburg, who discovered that cancer cells and malignant tumours tend to feed on sugar (glucose and fructose). This theory has been expanded upon by others such as Dr Seyfried and Dr. Dominic D’Agostino and is the basis of using a diet that is high in fat, causing the body to use fat derived ketones for energy. As cancer cells cannot use ketones they die, while the rest of the body functions well, if not better on ketones than glucose. 

So while diets like Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet do not aim at ketone generation, many of the meals involve only sugar derived from carbohydrates, which when combined with increasing the intake of vegetables known to be beneficial in fighting cancer, may be enough for you to beat the cancer.

However, after doing a lot of research into healthy eating I would say that the ketogenic approach seems to make more sense and that is what I now recommend. Here are lots of resources you may find useful.

I would also recommend this FaceBook Group and Patricia Daly’s website comes highly recommended.

To Round Up:
Other people have survived and thrived and you could be one of them. Nurture your hope and do what ever it takes to believe that you can survive and thrive too. Your thoughts and emotions are vital to your bodies ability to heal and fight cancer, get the help you need to let go of fears and develop a rock solid vision of a healthy happy you. Ditch the standard western diet and follow a ketogenic diet.

If you would like to know more please see my website.

 

 

Can’t get Pregnant? Have you considered this?

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State of mind effects ability to concieve
After three sessions my client’s negative emotions around conceiving a baby were gone, and several months later I heard the good news.. she was pregnant!

 

Are you struggling to get pregnant? We live in an age where more and more couples struggle to conceive a baby; so, although it may offer you little consolation, you are not alone.

When I first started my practice, the first person to contact me was a lady who was struggling to get pregnant. She asked for my help because she blamed the negative emotions she was experiencing for her inability to conceive. Her belief, and mine, was that moving past her negative emotions would help her conceive and have the baby she so wanted so desperately.

After three sessions she was much happier, more relaxed and positive. Several months later, I heard from her to say she was pregnant, and over a year later I bumped into her with her new little girl at a post-natal baby weigh-in (where I was taking my daughter, I hasten to add)!

What is this About?

Since the 1980s the link between negative mental and emotional states of mind and infertility has become more understood.  Our states of mind can have a real impact on our ability to conceive. This is something that believe so strongly that I was rather surprised and taken aback today when a gentleman questioned “how on earth could I help with fertility and pregnancy?

"Being considered 'older' parents meant we did everything possible to increase the chance of conception."
“Being considered ‘older’ parents meant we did everything possible to increase the chance of conception.”

Research supports the fact that your state of mind affects your ability to conceive
How indeed?  Well although when one normally thinks about fertility, test tubes and medical interventions spring to mind, we need to also take a real consideration for how our state of mind and emotions can have an affect on our body.  An eminent researcher in the field or fertility, Dr. Alice Domar has proven the benefits of improving your state of mind in regards to improving your chances of conception. An assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the author of numerous books, Dr Domar has been involved in various research projects proving the benefits of mind/body practices for overcoming infertility and helping couples conceive. In 2000 she published the results of one study in The Journal of Fertility and Sterility. The s400Young-love-Couple-smiltudy involved 184 women who had been trying to conceive for between one and two years. Her article explained that the women who underwent her mind/body programme were almost three times more likely to conceive and get pregnant than those who didn’t.   Her programme involved the women learning  emotional release, nutrition advice and relaxation training.  After her programme 55% of the women conceived, as opposed to 20% of the control group.

I often work with people to change their limiting beliefs, because they can sabotage you at a subconscious level.  Limiting beliefs are negative thoughts, such as ‘I am not good enough’, ‘That will never happen’ etc. It was inspiring to see Dr Domar also working to change limiting beliefs such as “I will never have a baby” into more positive ones such as “I’m doing everything I can to get pregnant”.

For those of us interested in the mind/body connection Dr Domar’s reserach should not come as any big surprise. But if you are just starting to understand the amazing link between our bodies and our mind, it may come as a revelation.  The mind/ body link enables us to see how our mindset may be affecting our body’s ability to conceive. In order to have the best chance of conceiving your hormones need to be in balance.  Hormones are chemical messengers often created as a result of our thoughts.  So, if our conscious or subconscious thoughts are negative, these chemical messengers will adversely affect the body’s hormone balance.

Stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels

An example of this mind/body hormonal link can be seen in the realm of stress.  Constant stress causes a decrease in your progesterone levels.  The hormone progesterone is needed if you want be become pregnant and stay pregnant because it nourishes the lining of the uterus in preparation of the implanted fertilized egg and feeds and nourishes the uterus during pregnancy.  So if you are stressed, this may be having an adverse affect on your progesterone levels which may be reducing your chances of conception.

Why is this Important?

Assuming you have seen your GP and ruled out all the physical reasons that might be preventing you from becoming pregnant, you may be confused and lost for a reason as to why this seemingly natural process is eluding you.  If you can identify with that description, this post is important for you because it may be your state of mind that is causing the struggle.

Ironically, unless you understand the importance of this knowledge, the delayed ability to conceive can often lead to a downward spiral of unhelpful emotions and thoughts such as failure, guilt, jealousy, anger, etc that all add up to more stress, which impacts on your ability to conceive.

How do I use This?

Photo by Luca Fazzolari
Photo by Luca Fazzolari

Now you know how stress and negative thoughts and emotions may be impacting on your ability to conceive, you have the choice to act on that knowledge. You have the ability to change your thinking patterns and trigger your relaxation response. It can be difficult to change on your own, but help is available and I will give you a link to some free downloads to help you in a minute.

Often the stresses of daily life simply rob us of the motivation and energy to change. I wonder if I asked you to scale your motivation between 1 and 10 where you would honestly say it was? Once you have decided on a figure ask yourself why it is not less? You may be surprised at just how motivated you are to change once you think about it in this way.

Often all that you really need is the motivation to change because once you have that motivation then things like the belief you can change and the knowledge of how to begin that change begin to slot into place.

Free Help for a Better Mind, a Better Body and a Better life!

Sign up for a Newsletter and get news later this month of a Deep Relaxation download to help you relax.

Other pages you might find useful:

Gratitude can be a great way to stay positive and avoid stress these posts explain how.

Resources
Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women

Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility

The Stress-Infertility Connection
Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women
Restore Hormonal Balance for Improved Fertility

Hypnosis Can Get you Pregnant

Hypnotism-gave-baby-I-longed-for

 

I was wrong; You really can get stronger and fitter with 12 min of exercise a week

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I’ve seen claims like this before and laughed at them. Keeping fit and strong has been a life long interest, well at least since I was 15 and started weight training and running. I even did a Gym Instructor course a few years ago simply for interest. During all of this time the recommendation to train for strength 2 to 3 times a week, and cardiovascular health 5 or 6 times a week has never changed. Those workouts would often involve sessions around an hour long too.

My big problem has been time though, over the last few after walking dogs, being Dad, promoting the business and actually seeing clients and helping people there has not been much time to weight train. I’d start and then a couple of weeks later I’d be missing sessions.

So when I watched the Cereal Killers Movie and saw 41-year-old Donal O’Neill completing personal bests at things like pullups after reducing the frequency of his training and doing high intensity stuff I got me thinking.

A bit of research later and I found Doug McGuff’s Body of Science and so for the last few months I have been doing the shortest hardest routine I have ever done. In a nutshell the idea is that you do one super slow set of a bunch of compound exercises. Choosing a weight that results in failure after about 90 seconds and taking around 20 seconds to complete one rep. Doing it that slow is hard because there is no momentum to help. So shoulder press is followed by lat pull down, then chest press, followed by seated row and finally onto leg press and that is it for a week or two! Shortest amount of time I have ever spent training.

The thing is that it works. After a couple of months I worried that I was not working my core and went in the gym to use a cable machine and do some wood chop style moves. Much to my surprise I easily upped the weight from what I had been doing 6 months before. Equally after a couple of weeks break from swimming, with the McGuff routine as my only exercise I significantly increased the number of lengths I could swim without a break. I think I have also put on about an inch of muscle around my chest, although I have also lost a lot of body fat and never measured myself before starting the routine.

Interestingly the real proof for me has come no I no longer have gym membership. With nowhere to keep weights I have decided to try Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint for fitness, a body-weight more functional based exercise routine.  This routine involves an assessment of how many pushups, pullups, and squats you can do followed by how long you can hold a plank. Depending on your results then depends on whether for example you do pushups against a wall, on your knees or inclined etc.

To my joy and amazement I managed 24 pushups, easily over twice what I have been capable of for several years. 5 pullups, 70 squats and I held a plank for over 2 minutes. Not bad for someone who is 50 years old this month.

It will be interesting to see how things workout over the next few months on the new workout. There is a lot I like about it, so I am optimistic that I will continue to gain strength and hopefully muscle mass.

Watch this space, maybe I will even be doing nude selfies lol, actually that is probably reason not to watch this space!!!!!!

References

Cereal Killers Movie

Body of Science

Primal Blueprint for Fitness

 

So I today I bought a Frisbee…

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Not sure whether it is synchronicity or my brain filtering for what it wants to see but I’ve had several separate sources that have made me aware that I don’t do fun anymore. Isn’t that sad? Lol I meditate, I train, eat well, and generally ‘practice what I preach’, but in all that I have forgotten about play and fun.

The first reminder came while I was receiving Cranial Osteopathy for several nagging issues. Kate Hands, a wonderful  Osteopath,  mentioned that I was a bit like ‘Flat Stanley’ a fictional character from a children’s book. Apparently Flat Stanley is well… flat, two dimensional when he should be three, or even four.  Initially I was surprised but subconsciously I knew she was right. As Kate said sometimes we just get flattened by life circumstances. But if meditation, EFT and all the other tools I know were not helping what would?

The second reminder came while reading Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple blog. I stumbled across his Primal Blueprint for Fitness, a free Ebook that details a functional fitness routine using progressive body-weight exercises. Now since our move I have no room for my weights, and my gym membership expired so this routine appealed. The guy is also 57 and physically impressive, so I read more.

Mark’s reason to exercise and be fit involves enjoying life and enjoying play. Indeed he says  “the ability to play, to engage in unscripted, random bouts of youthful exuberance with loved ones, friends, and family – is the ultimate goal of Primal Blueprint Fitness”.  This nurtured the seed that Kate planted and has been slowly germinating in my subconscious for a few days now.

Then this week I began seriously working through Dr Rosy Daniel’s Health Creation Programme in preparation for training to be a Health Creation Mentor. Part of that involves an assessment of my potential for health and low and behold but it flagged up again that I don’t have enough fun! Now part of this preparation involves seeing the Programme from the other side of the fence and being Mentored myself. So one of the goals suggested by my Mentor was to have ‘mandatory fun’ and to create a mood board or journal to write down ideas for how to accomplish that. So this was my third reminder!

Reading more of Mark Sisson’s resources  and I kept seeing references to playing with Frisbees, something that seems completely frivolous and  generates images of kids (in the US admittedly) having fun and laughing.

So I today I bought a Frisbee…

And this afternoon, I had fun throwing and catching it with Debbie.

Resources:

Health Creation

Mark’s Daily Apple: The Lost Art of Play: Reclaiming a Primal Tradition

Why You Should Avoid Gluten – Like the Plague!

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glutenIf you are unwell, and especially if you are unwell and your Doctors are struggling to find an answer, cutting gluten (a protein found in wheat and related grains) from your diet could be the best thing you can do to help yourself. If feeling better is not enough of a reason to change, it may increase your motivation to know that many autoimmune conditions start just like that, feeling unwell with no obvious cause.

Gluten appears to be linked more and more with people feeling unwell and conditions involving the dysfunction of the immune system, where the immune system begins to attack parts of your body rather than just pathogens.

What Is Wrong with Gluten?

Some doctors and researchers are beginning to believe that gluten sensitivity may be a factor in every autoimmune disease. Certainly gluten seems to be involved with increasing the permeability of the gut lining which allows incompletely digested nutrients (good and bad bacteria, and other pathogens) into the bloodstream or lymphatic system creating an immune response. Leaky gut is the layman’s term being given to this phenomenon.  Exactly what leaks out of the gut will depend on the type of immune response, and therefore the symptoms you experience. However, this ‘leaky gut’ or increased gut permeability is bad news and is increasingly being linked with autoimmune conditions.

wheatIt is well known that autoimmune conditions may occur due to a genetic disposition, certain lifestyles and a trigger event but it also becoming evident  that a change in function of our gut lining is also a factor.

In addition to genetic predisposition and exposure to triggering nonself-antigens, the loss of the protective function of mucosal barriers that interact with the environment (mainly the gastrointestinal and lung mucosa) is necessary for autoimmunity to develop.

—ALESSIO FASANO,
“Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Diseases,”
Clinical Review of Allergy Immunology 42 (February 2012): 71–78.

Coeliac disease is a proven recognised example; four times more common today than it was fifty years ago, it is caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with coeliac disease eats gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine leading to all kinds of problems. Symptoms can include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, headaches, mouth ulcers, sudden weight loss, hair loss, anaemia and osteoporosis. Coeliac condition is an example of an autoimmune disease and more and more autoimmune diseases are being linked to gluten sensitivity.

Gluten is also likely to cause the production of auto-antibodies because there are many amino acid sequences in gluten that are very similar to those of the proteins in the human body. Organs of the body can then be caught in ‘friendly fire’ as the antibodies produced to deal with the proteins in gluten attack parts of the body made from proteins that look very similar.

There are actually 140 autoimmune diseases that we’ve identified, and the only scientifically agreed upon cause for autoimmune is gluten sensitivity. Now, there are other triggers for autoimmune disease. An infection can trigger an autoimmune disease. A vitamin deficiency can trigger an autoimmune disease, particularly vitamin D. But gluten tends to be kind of that central core hub that’s always present.

—DR. PETER OSBORNE, gluten-sensitivity expert

Why Is This Important?

The list of diseases with a known or suspected autoimmune  origin is huge (see the list below). Whether you have already developed one of these, or are experiencing a lack of wellness, changing your diet can be beneficial. Healthy functioning of your gut is crucial to your health and well-being.

How do I use This Information?

The minimum I recommend is for you to go on a gluten free diet for at least a month. A month without foods containing gluten seems a good way of finding out how it can improve your health.

Ideally I would recommend you follow either of the the diets described here:

Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!

Your Personal Paleo Diet: Feel and look great by eating the foods that are ideal for your body

See my Healing Diets: Paleo or Crazy Sexy Vegan Diet for Health? post for more details on those protocols.

Of Interest:
David Perlmutter MD‘s post.
References

http://www.celiac.nih.gov/prevalence.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886850/

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body

 

The following is a list of diseases that are either confirmed autoimmune diseases or for which there is very strong scientific evidence for autoimmune origins:

A
Acute brachial neuropathy (also known as acute brachial radiculitis, neuralgic amyotrophy, brachial neuritis, brachial plexus neuropathy, brachial plexitis, and Parsonage-Turner syndrome) Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
Acute necrotizing hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis Acute parapsoriasis (also known as acute guttate parapsoriasis, acute pityriasis lichenoides, parapsoriasis varioliformis, Mucha-Habermann disease, and parapsoriasis or pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta)
Addison’s disease (also known as chronic adrenal insufficiency, hypocortisolism, and hypoadrenalism) Adult linear IgA disease (also known as linear IgA disease)
Agammaglobulinemia Allergic granulomatosis (also known as Churg-Strauss syndrome)
Alopecia areata (AA; also known as spot baldness) American trypanosomiasis (also known as Chagas disease)
Amyloidosis Anaphylactoid purpura (also known as purpura rheumatica and Henoch-Schönlein purpura)
Angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia (also known as Castleman’s disease, giant lymph node hyperplasia, and lymphoid hamartoma) Ankylosing spondylitis (AS; also known as Bekhterev’s disease and Marie-Strümpell disease)
Anti-GBM or anti-TBM nephritis Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS or APLS; also known as Hughes syndrome)
Aplastic anemia (also known as autoimmune aplastic anemia) Arthritis psoriatica (also known as arthropathic psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis)
Arthropathic psoriasis (also known as arthritis psoriatica and psoriatic arthritis) Atrophic polychondritis (also known as systemic chondromalacia and relapsing polychondritis)
Autoimmune angioedema Autoimmune aplastic anemia (also known as aplastic anemia)
Autoimmune cardiomyopathy Autoimmune dysautonomia
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia Autoimmune hepatitis
Autoimmune hyperlipidemia Autoimmune immunodeficiency
Autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) Autoimmune myocarditis
Autoimmune pancreatitis Autoimmune peripheral neuropathy (also known as peripheral neuropathy)
Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome (APS) Autoimmune polyglandular syndrome, Types 1, 2, and 3
Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis Autoimmune retinopathy
Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura (ATP; also known as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) Autoimmune thyroid disease
Autoimmune urticaria Autoimmune uveitis (also known as uveitis)
Axonal and neuronal neuropathies
B
Balo disease (also known as Balo concentric sclerosis) Behçet’s disease (also known as Silk Road disease)
Bekhterev’s disease (also known as ankylosing spondylitis and Marie-Strümpell disease) Benign mucosal pemphigoid (also known as cicatricial pemphigoid, benign mucous membrane pemphigoid, scarring pemphigoid, and ocular cicatricial pemphigoid)
Berger’s disease (also known as IgA nephropathy and synpharyngitic glomerulonephritis) Besnier-Boeck disease (also known as sarcoidosis)
Bickerstaff’s encephalitis Bladder pain syndrome (also known as interstitial cystitis)
Brachial neuritis (also known as brachial plexus neuropathy, brachial plexitis, Parsonage-Turner syndrome, acute brachial neuropathy, acute brachial radiculitis, and neuralgic amyotrophy) Bullous pemphigoid
C
Castleman’s disease (also known as giant lymph node hyperplasia, lymphoid hamartoma, and angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia) Celiac disease (also known as coeliac disease and celiac sprue)
Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) Chorea minor (also known as Sydenham’s chorea)
Chronic adrenal insufficiency (also known as hypocortisolism, hypoadrenalism, and Addison’s disease) Chronic focal encephalitis (CFE; also known as Rasmussen’s encephalitis)
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)
Chronic recurrent multifocal ostomyelitis (CRMO) Chronic urticaria as a manifestation of venulitis (also known as urticarial vasculitis)
Churg-Strauss syndrome (also known as allergic granulomatosis) Cicatricial pemphigoid (also known as benign mucosal pemphigoid)
Cogan’s syndrome Cold agglutinin disease
Congenital heart block Coxsackie viral myocarditis
Cranial arteritis (also known as Horton disease, giant cell arteritis, and temporal arteritis) CREST syndrome (also known as limited systemic sclerosis or scleroderma)
Crohn’s disease Crow-Fukase syndrome (also known as Takatsuki disease, PEP syndrome, and POEMS syndrome)
Cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis (CFA; also known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and fibrosing alveolitis)
D
Demyelinating neuropathies (also known as idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating diseases) Dermatomyositis (DM)
Devic’s disease (also known as neuromyelitis optica) Diabetes mellitus type 1 (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes and type 1 diabetes)
Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) Dressler’s syndrome (also known as postmyocardial infarction syndrome)
Duhring’s disease (also known as dermatitis herpetiformis)
E
Endocarditis lenta (also known as subacute bacterial endocarditis) Endometriosis
Eosinophilic esophagitis or gastroenteritis Eosinophilic fasciitis
Erythema nodosum Erythroblastopenia (also known as pure red cell aplasia)
Essential mixed cryoglobulinemia Evans syndrome
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE)
F
Fibrosingalveolitis (also known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis)
G
Gestational pemphigoid (also known as herpes gestationis) Giant cell arteritis (also known as temporal arteritis, cranial arteritis, and Horton disease)
Giant lymph node hyperplasia (also known as lymphoid hamartoma, angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia, and Castleman’s disease) Glomerulonephritis
Goodpasture’s syndrome Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA; also known as Wegener’s granulomatosis)
Graves’ disease Guillain-Barré syndrome (also known as Landry’s paralysis and Miller Fisher syndrome)
H
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) Hashimoto’s encephalitis or encephalopathy
Henoch-Schönlein purpura (also known as anaphylactoid purpura and purpura rheumatica) Herpes gestationis (also known as gestational pemphigoid)
Horton disease (also known as giant cell arteritis, temporal arteritis, and cranial arteritis) Hughes syndrome (also known as antiphospholipid syndrome)
Hypocortisolism (also known as hypoadrenalism, Addison’s disease, and chronic adrenal insufficiency) Hypogammaglobulinemia
I
Idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) Idiopathic inflammatory demyelinating diseases (also known as demyelinating neuropathies)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF; also known as cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis and fibrosing alveolitis) Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP; also known as thrombocytopenic purpura and autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura)
IgA nephropathy (also known as synpharyngitic glomerulonephritis and Berger’s disease) IgG4-related sclerosing disease
Inclusion body myositis Insulin-dependent diabetes (also known as type 1 diabetes and diabetes mellitus type 1)
Interstitial cystitis (also known as bladder pain syndrome)
J
Juvenile diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes, and type 1 diabetes) Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and Still’s disease)
K
Kawasaki syndrome (also known as Kawasaki disease, lymph node syndrome, and mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome) Kussmaul-Maier disease (also known as polyarteritis nodosa)
L
Lambert-Eaton syndrome (also known as Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome) Landry’s paralysis (also known as Miller Fisher syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome)
Leukocytoclastic vasculitis Lichen planus
Lichen sclerosus Ligneous conjunctivitis
Limited systemic sclerosis (also known as limited systemic scleroderma and CREST syndrome) Linear IgA disease (LAD; also known as adult linear IgA disease)
Lupus (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus) Lyme disease, chronic
Lymph node syndrome (also known as mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome and Kawasaki disease) Lymphoid hamartoma (also known as angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia, Castleman’s disease, and giant lymph node hyperplasia)
M
Marchiafava-Micheli syndrome (also known as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria) Marie-Strümpell disease (also known as ankylosing spondylitis and Bekhterev’s disease)
Ménière’s disease Microscopic polyangiitis (also known as microscopic polyarteritis)
Miller Fisher syndrome (also known as Guillain-Barré syndrome and Landry’s paralysis) Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD; also known as Sharp’s syndrome)
Moersch-Woltman condition (also known as stiff person syndrome) Mooren’s ulcer
Mucha-Habermann disease (also known as acute guttate parapsoriasis, acute parapsoriasis, acute pityriasis lichenoides, and parapsoriasis or pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta) Mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome (also known as lymph node syndrome and Kawasaki disease)
Multiple sclerosis Myasthenia gravis
Myositis
N
Narcolepsy Neuromyelitis optica (also known as Devic’s disease)
Neutropenia
O
Ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (also known as benign mucous membrane pemphigoid and scarring pemphigoid) Optic neuritis
Ord’s thyroiditis Ormond’s disease (also known as retroperitoneal fibrosis)
P
Palindromic rheumatism Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration
Parapsoriasis varioliformis (also known as Mucha-Habermann disease acute guttate parapsoriasis, acute parapsoriasis, acute pityriasis lichenoides, parapsoriasis or pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta) Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH; also known as Marchiafava-Micheli syndrome)
Parry-Romberg syndrome (also known as progressive hemifacial atrophy) Pars planitis (also known as peripheral uveitis)
Parsonage-Turner syndrome (also known as acute brachial neuropathy, acute brachial radiculitis, neuralgic amyotrophy, brachial neuritis, brachial plexus neuropathy, and brachial plexitis) Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus (PANDAS)
Pemphigus vulgaris PEP syndrome (also known as POEMS syndrome, Crow-Fukase syndrome, and Takatsuki disease)
Peripheral neuropathy (also known as autoimmune peripheral neuropathy) Perivenous encephalomyelitis
Pernicious anemia POEMS syndrome (also known as Crow-Fukase syndrome, Takatsuki disease, and PEP syndrome)
Polyarteritis nodosa (also known as Kussmaul-Maier disease) Polymyalgia rheumatica
Polymyositis (PM) Postmyocardial infarction syndrome (also known as Dressler’s syndrome)
Postpericardiotomy syndrome Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC)
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) Progressive hemifacial atrophy (also known as Parry Romberg syndrome)
Psoriasis Psoriatic arthritis (also known as arthritis psoriatica and arthropathic psoriasis)
Pure red cell aplasia (also known as erythroblastopenia) Purpura rheumatic (also known as Henoch-Schönlein purpura and anaphylactoid purpura)
Pyoderma gangrenosum
R
Rasmussen’s encephalitis (also known as chronic focal encephalitis) Raynaud’s phenomenon, disease, or syndrome
Reactive arthritis (also known as Reiter’s syndrome) Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Reiter’s syndrome (also known as reactive arthritis) Relapsing polychondritis (also known as atrophic polychondritis and systemic chondromalacia)
Restless legs syndrome (also known as Willis-Ekbom disease) Retinocochleocerebral vasculopathy (also known as Susac’s syndrome)
Retroperitoneal fibrosis (also known as Ormond’s disease) Rheumatic fever
Rheumatoid arthritis
S
Sarcoidosis (also known as Besnier-Boeck disease) Scarring pemphigoid (also known as ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and benign mucous membrane pemphigoid)
Schmidt’s syndrome (also known as autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2) Schnitzler syndrome
Scleritis Scleroderma
Sharp’s syndrome (also known as mixed connective tissue disease) Sicca syndrome (also known as Sjögren’s syndrome)
Silk Road disease (also known as Behçet’s disease) Sjögren’s syndrome (also known as Sicca syndrome)
Sperm and testicular autoimmunity Spot baldness (also known as alopecia areata)
Stiff person syndrome (also known as Moersch-Woltman condition) Still’s disease (also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis)
Subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE; also known as endocarditis lenta) Susac’s syndrome (also known as retinocochleocerebral vasculopathy)
Sydenham’s chorea (also known as chorea minor) Sympathetic ophthalmia (SO)
Synpharyngitic glomerulonephritis (also known as Berger’s disease and IgA nephropathy) Systemic chondromalacia (also known as relapsing polychondritis and atrophic polychondritis)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; also known as lupus)
T
Takatsuki disease (also known as PEP syndrome, POEMS syndrome, and Crow-Fukase syndrome) Takayasu’s arteritis or disease
Temporal arteritis (also known as giant cell arteritis, cranial arteritis, and Horton disease) Thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP; also known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura)
Tolosa-Hunt syndrome Transverse myelitis
Type I diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus type 1 and insulin-dependent diabetes) Types 1, 2, and 3 autoimmune polyglandular syndrome
U
Ulcerative colitis Undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD)
Urticarial vasculitis (also known as chronic urticaria as a manifestation of venulitis) Uveitis (also known as autoimmune uveitis)
V
Vasculitis Vesiculobullous dermatosis
Vitiligo
W
Wegener’s granulomatosis (also known as granulomatosis with polyangiitis) Willis-Ekbom disease (also known as restless leg syndrome)

 

Healing Diets: Paleo or Crazy Sexy Vegan Diet for Health?

Posted on Updated on

csd-vs-paleoHealthy eating is one of the key parts of the health puzzle, but what exactly is healthy eating? You will certainly struggle to find any anecdotal stories of miraculous healing following the government’s recommendation for 5 a day. The Standard Western Diet is just too full of rubbish to allow most of us to gain the full potential benefits of any fruit and veg we may add. However, more radical approaches often have many people citing them as reasons for their recovery.

So in this blog I want to look at an overview of two popular diets that people often cite as a reason for their drastically improved health.

By the time someone has decided to come and see me they are keen to make serious changes to improve their health and are often looking for a food plan to follow, as part of their healing journey. Normally I recommend either Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD) or the Paleo approach followed by the likes of Chris Kresser’s Personal Paleo Diet. Both of these diets have anecdotal accounts of healing and being at either end of the spectrum at least one should seem possible for you to follow. Kris Carr’s approach is what she believes has helped her recover from Cancer. The CSD is certainly very close to the way Debbie ate while recovering from CFS/ME and an autoimmune thyroid problem. While at the other end of the dietary spectrum, the paleo approach outlined by Chris Kresser also has many advocates, especially those with autoimmune problems.

On the face of it these diets are two extremes; CSD being vegan and Paleo often touted as meat heavy. I’m talking about CSD rather than just vegan or vegetarian as you can be vegan/vegetarian and still have a very unhealthy diet packed full of soy and processed foods. Crazy Sexy Diet is aimed at improving health and happens to be vegan. The concepts are also different:  In many ways the Crazy Sexy Diet is very modern; While on the other hand Paleo is an attempt to eat as our Paleolithic ancestors did in the belief that their hunter gatherer diet is optimal for our health because that is what we are designed to eat.

The key fact is that both diets have their supporters who claim huge benefits to their health by adopting their respective diet.

So lets do an overview of the approaches and start by comparing what the diets both exclude. I’ve done the comparison using Chris Kresser’s 30 day reset tweaked for those with autoimmune problems. as that seems fairly standard recommendation for a lot of health conditions.

Diagram showing how Paleo compares to Crazy Sexy Vegan
A comparison of foods excluded by Paleo and the Crazy Sexy Diet.

Crazy Sexy Diet vs Paleo – What they Exclude

The diagram opposite shows the foods that are excluded, on the left from the Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD) and on the right from the suggested Paleo diet tweaked for autoimmune problems. In the middle cross over area are the foods excluded from both. You can click on it for a bigger version

As you can see there are actually more similarities than differences which may begin to explain why they can both seemingly facilitate healing. If the key concept is that some foods are damaging our health, then what is excluded may be more important than what is included.

Adding ‘nice things’ really is a joke as both diets can include truly delicious meals. It is the reaction of most people though to focus on what they will be missing rather than all of the nice things they can have.

 

A comparison of what you can eat on both diets
A comparison of what you can eat on both diets

 

Crazy Sexy Diet vs Paleo – What Do They Suggest I Eat?

Lets look now at what you can eat on each diet. Both diets once again contain an overlap of foods that the authors say are good to eat. The diagram on the right shows an overview. Both authors certainly agree more on what not to eat though. It is also worth mentioning that  supplementation of B12 will be needed on a vegan diet; I’ve not included that as it not a food but rather a supplement.

The key thing here seems to be that the Crazy Sexy Diet gets a lot of protein from beans, nuts and legumes, where from a Paleo perspective meats offer a more nutrient dense source of protein.

Crazy Sexy Diet vs Paleo – The Contradictions

The source of protein is one of the big discrepancies between the two diets;  it would seem that the Crazy Sexy Diet relies on a food source that is actually excluded from the Paleo approach and the Paleo diet relies on animal products that are excluded from the Crazy Sexy Diet.

Let’s look at at why beans and legumes excluded from a Paleo diet, when they hold such an important role in the CSD. This seems somewhat of a grey area. Some experts say they are excluded because of the phytic acid they contain.  Phytic acid is said to block absorption of some nutrients like zinc.  However, according to some sources it seems that beans and legumes have less phytic acid than some of the foods that are included in the Paleo approach. Compounds called lectins which cause leaky gut and inflammation are another reason for excluding beans and legumes, but it seems that research suggests most of that is destroyed by heat and cooking. FODMAPs* are another reason, but then there are other fruits and vegetables that contain FODMAPS that are not automatically excluded. Chris Kessner seems to exclude them because they may cause problems and more importantly they are less nutrient dense than animal products, and those nutrients they do contain may also be less bio-available.

Time to move onto to why animal products are excluded from the Crazy Sexy Diet. Two main reasons are glaringly obvious; firstly the inhumane treatment of factory farmed animals, though obviously this is a moral standpoint rather than a health based one. Secondly the research between fat, red meat and cancer. On the face of things this would be damning to the Paleo approach, but when you look at the research there are potential flaws. A lot of Paleo supporters have pointed out that the study linking red meat to cancer seems to include a lot of meat eaters who are overweight, smoke and are inactive. The quality of meat eaten is also ignored and those following the Paleo approach would agree that factory farmed produce is bad for our health.

The diets also disagree on Fats;  Crazy Sexy Diet is promoting that saturated fats are bad for us and lead to cholesterol. This seems to be a rather outdated view point though. The Paleo diet promotes saturated fat as good energy source that we were designed to use.

In terms of ethos the Crazy Sexy Diet’s thrust is eating  clean and ‘alkaline’ foods for detoxing and health. Where the thrust of the Paleo approach is to eat nutritionally dense foods that allow the gut to heal which they believe is key to correct immune function. That is a brief overview of ethos and really needs a more comprehensive post in it’s own right, which will follow soon 🙂

Crazy Sexy Diet vs Paleo – Where They Agree

Both diets also agree that inflammation is linked to many diseases and that the fatty acid omega 3 is very important for an anti-inflammatory diet. They also promote eating ‘clean’ in terms of reducing toxic load from pesticides and fertilisers etc. We also saw that both approaches agree on a lot of the foods to be excluded in a healthy diet. Although this paragraph seems short, in reality I think there are still more important aspects they have in common than not.

In Summary

This blog is an brief overview rather than an in depth comparison because so many people are completely unaware of what these diets involve and how they compare. Eating healthily is is confusing, with advocates on all sides claiming scientific reasons behind their choices and those choices do often conflict. These two specific diets are no different. However, the worst thing you could do is continue eating a standard western diet because you’re confused. I have little doubt what these two diets agree to exclude is crucial in the healing process.  I will be looking at both approaches in greater depths over the coming weeks, but I would love to hear your comments of how you got on with either/both approaches below 🙂

Pete

References
Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It!

Your Personal Paleo Diet: Feel and look great by eating the foods that are ideal for your body

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body

Further Reading
Raw Vegan, Blood Type O, Paleo, Low Carb High Fat Diets – what do they have in common?”
*FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides and monosaccharides and polyols,” which are basically a group of highly fermentable, short- and medium-chain carbohydrates that can cause digestive problems such as wind and bacterial overgrowth due to being poorly absorbed by some people.