Note from Shelley: Paul Berger is a holistic medical doctor. He encourages people to improve health with lifestyle changes, and occasionally, he says this creates miracles – such as Amber O’Hearn, who for years, had been prescribed mood stabilizing drugs to treat major depression and bipolar disorder, without long-lasting benefit. Then Amber changed to an unconventional diet. Here’s Paul Berger’s story . . . which is also part 2 of Amber’s story (45 minutes – music thanks to Lynn Patrick).
The best stories I can tell you from memory But I just found some that I had completely forgotten about. We can pause can’t we, if we want to look something up?
SHELLEY – What are those papers you’re looking through?
These are all the miracles.
What do you call them?
Miracles. These are the things where people just changed their diet a little bit and they had huge improvement in their health.
Paul Berger, did they change them all the same way?
No. Everybody’s different. Everybody’s an individual. And sometimes, some people can tolerate XY and Z but not Q and other people can tolerate QX and Y but not Z. Or they just made a different change in their life, so it’s very individual. All these stories are completely different.
What are some “miracles” you want to share?
What’s my favorite or where do you want to start? Do you want to start with the story about the one person who came to you? Do you want me to tell you my perception of her story?
Tell me this – Do you think we’ll have better perspective if you tell me other stories first, or do you want to go straight to Amber O’Hearn?
Oh that’s right we can use her name, can’t we. (Note from Shelley – Amber in advance approved her doctor telling this story, and she’s checked the transcript)
All-Meat Diet & No More Depression
Amber was one of my most life-saving stories
Note from Shelley (see Amber’s Story in her own words and voice here) – Amber agrees that how she changed her diet was life-saving. That’s because she suffered from adult onset depression. For over a decade doctors prescribed to Amber powerful prescription drugs to stabilize her mood. But they didn’t work well for her over time, and they had many side effects. So she was frequently, seriously depressed, and as part of that, had a long history of imagining suicide, and was at high risk to someday carry it out. Amber herself writes about it this way — and I quote: I’ve had periods where I wanted to kill myself, no question,. There was also an incident back when I was around 21 or 22 when I did start popping some pills, one by one, with suicide in mind, but I stopped long before it got truly dangerous,” That’s the end of the quote from Amber. Now back to Paul Berger . . .
I have blacked out her name in my files I have here today. When she came to me, these early episodes of her visits here, her face was always looking down and her children were running around the room and she wasn’t taking care of them, and she just looked disheveled and very unhappy and she came in telling me, “I’ve been depressed since I was twenty and I’m fatigued. ”
(Note from Shelley) – Amber agrees with this description of how she used to be. About Paul Berger’s description, Amber writes: “The stuff about not taking care of my appearance is quite true. I felt so badly about the way I looked that it seemed pointless to try to improve it, almost humiliating. I was so self-critical, that I would often have thoughts like “Why pretend you could possibly look attractive?” In other words, I was actually ashamed to try to show care for my appearance, because I thought it would be even more laughable. That kind of thinking is characteristic of depression as I experienced it: hopelessness and self-loathing.” Now back to Paul Berger . ..
She had no energy. And then I didn’t see her for three or for years, and she came back one day, with her kids, for an appointment. Not even for herself. ((For her new baby)) And she was actually interacting with her kids, and she had brushed her hair.
We did the baby exam first then I said, “Amber, you look great! What are you doing that’s different in your life?” She said, “Oh, I changed my diet.” And I said, “Oh! Well, I’m interested. Tell me about it.” Amber said, Oh, you wouldn’t want to know. And I said, “No, I DO want to know. You’re a very different person!” After all, she was looking up and looking out and taking care of her kids. I said, “I really do want to know what you’ve done.” Amber said, “Well it’s meat only . . .” like embarrassed about it. I said, “Amber, I can’t argue that. It’s WORKING for you. So just . . . wonderful!. Congratulations. See you . . . Why don’t you come in for your physical someday?
I didn’t see her for months and months and six or 8 or 10 months later she brought in another of her kids. And this time, her child was sitting on her lap. She was reading a story to her kid. She had makeup on, you know, just a tiny bit of eyeliner or something. She looked just well taken care of, and I said, “Amber, what are you doing now?” And she said, “Oh same thing.” I said, “Meat only?” And she said, “Yeah. Just meat.” And I said, “You know, I recommend meat and vegetables for a lot of people. I’m sure you could have some vegetables. We’d have to pick them carefully . . . She said, “No thanks.”
I think it was the third visit when her husband came in with her, and I said, “Look. I’m sure you could have some vegetables. Aren’t you getting like constipated? Just meat? We’ll stay off the nightshades, and we won’t do starchy vegetables . . .”
And her husband looked at me and he said, “Dr. Berger, I’ve known Amber . . .” What did he say at that point . . . “for 20 years.” And he said, “This is the first time I’ve known her that she’s been sane. So just, leave it alone. Okay?”
((LAUGHS)) “Just let her eat her meat only!” So this is one of the beautiful examples where in medicine and in nutrition and chiropractic and in naturopathy we learn so much about diets and so many different diets can help so many people in so many different ways. I would never recommend meat only. But this is a wonderful example of, people are different. I would not recommend that for other people.
SHELLEY – Paul Berger, you’re a medical doctor. You just said you would never recommend an all-meat diet. Do you know why an all meat diet works for Amber? Why she does not have vitamins C deficiency, or B-Vitamin Deficiency . . . well, there’s a lot of B-vitamin in meat. But other deficiencies on this meat diet.
Well, Amber doesn’t come in very often. She mostly comes in for her kids.
Does that mean she’s pretty healthy?
I do see her walking around the neighborhood a lot, smiling and looking around, looking at the birds. I see her in the community, but I don’t know if she has any vitamin deficiencies because she hasn’t come in for a physical so I could check for vitamin deficiencies.
SHELLEY – What Amber told me . . . is that she is basically never sick. She hardly ever gets a cold or the flu. Her teeth are in great shape. If she had scurvy, which is one of the classic concerns about somebody not eating fruits or vegetables, her teeth would be loose. And that kind of thing is not happening. She doesn’t have cavities. She eats a lot of fat. She eats about 75% of her calories as fat, is my guess, from what she was describing. If she buys meat at the grocery store, she asks them to save their fats, so that she can have them, which she uses to grind together with her meat to make her sausage. She told me that some of the meat she eats after cooking them a very long time in the equivalent of a slow cooker to get lots of minerals out of them. Other meats she eats rather rare, which means she would be getting a lot of the enzymes that are naturally in them. So that’s what she described. She showed me all the different ways she prepares a huge variety of meats, but there’s nothing but meat.
Did she mention that she’s using bone, in bone broth at all?
Yes. Amber showed me how she makes bone broth soups.
Good. I think that’s one of the best supplements that she could take and that other people could take as well, is getting those minerals and vitamins in a slow cooker out of bones. So that’s wonderful. I do think we can get everything we want out of meat when you do it that carefully. But I don’t have proof for that. I don’t have her bloodwork. I don’t have her white cell analysis. There’s a few tests that check the content of your white cells for vitamins and minerals. They think that’s the best way to check. I’d like to do that on her.
Although you haven’t done lab tests on her yourself, you’ve seen her from the perspective of a seasoned medical doctor. You look at her and say, she’s healthier than I’ve ever seen her. Ever.
That’s definite. But I don’t know that it’s best for her longterm. I don’t know that she’s getting everything she needs for longterm health. And frankly, I don’t have the studies. I’m sure other people do, but I don’t have the studies on meat only diet for long term health.
SHELLEY – Amber told me that she studied historical documents such as Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the Arctic Explorer who lived with the Inuit, . . . and ate their all-meat diet, And although many people assume the Inuit – the “Esquimos” near the North Pole, ate fruit in the form of berries during the summer, or they ate the contents of stomachs from seals to get some vegetables. It doesn’t look like that really happened, according the historical accounts of Stefansson. He was even locked up in a hospital in New York afterwards, by very skeptical doctors who thought he must be lying about how he was eating. He said, just feed me what I want. They started out feeding him lots of lean meat, and he told them, no I want the fat in it, too. And they followed him around as he went and exercised in Central Park, and he came back, and he was totally healthy. That’s the kind of background that I think that Amber would say led her to decide, “Hmm, this may be working for other people. And there may also be forums Amber was looking at, where people study and eat all meat diets. She might not be the only person in the United States doing this.
Oh, no I’m sure she’s not. I’m sure there are many other people. I’m just saying I haven’t studied it. So I can’t guarantee safety because I haven’t read the literature.
And yet you know that Amber is somebody who has struggled with a major mood disorder, and she doesn’t now. Do you have any guesses about why an All-Meat diet, or choosing to make that choice, might make a difference?
That’s why I copied some other examples ((from my files)), because I’ve seen mood disorders improve in several other people. In fact a quarter of these examples ((in his “miracle files”) are mood disorder and three quarter are other things. But I’ve seen many instances where food irritates people’s brains and emotions.
But Paul Berger, we eat food through our mouths, it goes through our stomachs and digestive tracts and out through the other end. Nowhere in that path is a brain.
Remember, everything is connected to everything. You need nutrition in your stomach to feed your brain. That’s number one. But also, many many gastroenterologists — not all our conventional gastroenterologists, but many gastroenterologists over the years, and other scientists have said, Don’t forget, Many of your neurotransmitters are made in your stomach – in your intestines actually. So they like to throw out this line, ‘You really could consider your gut as your second brain.
Many of our neurotransmitters and hormones, are made in response to what’s going in and out of our digestive tract
Not in response Those cells make the neurotransmitters. The cells in your stomach make some of your neurotransmitters.
Meaning that if the cells that make the neurotransmitters are stressed – for instance, the food is stressing them, then they could send a very different signal than if they’re not being stressed.
Definitely. And they can be increased, decreased and limited by what’s going on in the intestines, because those are the cells that need to be healthy to make some of these neurotransmitters. And so, if you get inflammation, in that part of your body, it’s going spread to other parts of your body, too. But particularly, inflammation and inflammatory reaction from some sort of food sensitivity. We can’t call it allergy because it doesn’t all fit our definition of allergy, then you get malfunctioning cells in your intestine and you don’t get the serotonin and other neurohormones that you need for feeling good and for mental clarity. Because one of my examples is ADD, how gluten and dairy and sometimes other substances, ADD can be completely cleared up when you change the diet.
Well let’s hear some examples because from what you’ve just said, it varies from person to person.
Yes, it does.
THE BOY WHOSE DIET STOPPED ADHD
PAUL BERGER – So, today we were trying to find the name of this boy who came in years ago, and I said, well I just saw his sister. How old is she now? I think we figured out she was nine. And I said, go back to the day she was three years old, because the day that I saw her, was the first day I saw her family, and the brother was four years older, and he was in here that day. And the mother had this brand new baby, and she was exhausted from a difficult delivery, and she said, I know we’re here to see the baby, Dr. Berger, but what can I do about this boy? He’s driving me crazy!! And in this room, we’re trying to examine this newborn baby — this is really important to try to make sure she gets on her feet, right? And this boy is climbing, not just the walls. He’s climbing ME! To get at my stethoscope. Like a little monkey or an iguana. Climbing up – – – “Can I listen to your . . .” didn’t say stethoscope. He said, “Can I listen to that? Can you look at my eye? Look at that! . . . It was the most hyperactive kid I had ever seen. And he was very sweet. And he was clearly quite intelligent for his age. He MIGHT have said “stethoscope.” for that matter. . And I said, look, we have to examine your baby. We have to spend the time today on your baby. Just take him off of gluten and dairy and come and see me next week. Well I didn’t see him that week. But she came in the following week — for him. And she said, you know he has ADHD, hyperactivity. So you know that he has occupational therapy already, so we’ve started that but we were getting nowhere. And she said, so we just did what you said. We took him off of gluten and dairy. So we brought him to OT a few days later, and the OT said, “I’ve never seen anyone change so much in one week, with ANYTHING.” Not even Ritalin has changed her patients this much. And sure enough, he was there, and he asked me the same question. “Dr. Berger, could I listen to that. Today?” But he did it standing in the middle of the floor, looking up at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes instead of climbing me or climbing the wall. And he would look at the ottos’ope or the othalmascope on the wall, and say, C’an we look at that next? And I said, yeah. Can you wait a moment? “Sure!” I mean, this is two weeks later! This kid was completely changed. And then I saw him like six months or twelve months later. And then a couple of months later. And the mom told me that here was this five year old boy who would go to birthday parties, and he would say, because he’s so smart, he would say to these parents at this birthday party, “I’d really like some cake and ice cream, but I don’t like how it makes me feel. Just magnificent story about this family. Since then, he’s like 11 or 12 now, and since then, he goes off the diet a lot, and I have the followup notes from his mom her comments of what he’s like about when he gets off a little bit and he gets a little bit more irritable, and a little bit more unmageable, and he knows, and he tries to go back to the diet, but he doesn’t really want to, because it’s so restrictive.
SHELLEY – This boy is a teenager now, and he can’t eat pizza. Pizza and ice cream. And sodas.
And all his friends are. And it’s hard to stay on it. And I’ve got a similar story about an 80 year old, when you’re ready.
Well, I’m thinking about the boy, who was probably on ADHD medications when you saw him when he was five. Do you think he was?
He wasn’t on medications. No.
I’m sure many of the people working with him were thinking of putting him on medicines.
Oh, yes. They really wanted him on them ((until he became dramatically more calm on his own)).
What do you think was happening so that simply by eliminating dairy and gluten, which means bread and wheat based products especially. What do you think was going on?
Other people will give you more biochemical explanations than I have available to discuss. But I”ll give you kind of a general explanation. As we were talking about before, you make so many of these neurotransmitters and hormones in your gut, and the balance or imbalance is determined immediately, and those hormones go to the rest of your body. You can damage your kidneys if you have inflammation in your gut. So it’s about the immune system, and it’s autoimmune and I don’t know. Some people think they do, and they have wonderful theories about how the immune system flares up and cytokines are released. From inflammatory process and how it changes the actual hormones and the balance of hormones.
SHELLEY – Loren Cordain would say that it comes from the anti nutrients in foods. . . . Foods don’t really want to be eaten. Grains would really rather go through us undigested so they can end up in a big pile of fertilizer and grow again. So they have certain “anti nutrient proteins” that if they get into the digestive tract, those chemicals will break through the intestinal wall in minuscule ways and will cause the immune system to say, oh my gosh, there are undigested proteins here. They must be viruses. We must attack. With dairy, it’s the opposite. In a small infant, substances from the mother – certain larger molecules —need to get through the digestive tract and into the bloodstream as part of immunizing and inoculating and protecting a baby. But once we mammals get past the stage where we need those nutrients, Cordain warns those special molecules in milk still can open up the gut. Only now, they increase the risk that undigested proteins from other foods will also go through — into the bloodstream where they can alarm the immune system. So that’s a geeky way of explaining this.
Well, geeky it’s also anthropomorphizing a little bit and I love the story of it. But what you’re also getting at is the leaky gut issue and the microbiome. But what you were describing is the leaky gut issue we’ve been talking about for 30 years, when the gut gets inflamed, then the normal gut wall barrier just breaks down. Like if you don’t have good skin to keep bacteria from the outside from getting in. Well in a gut, if you don’t have a good barrier to keep those macromolecules you’re talking about from getting into the bloodstream, then you’ve got molecules, basically, of gluten and molecules of peanut or molecules of . . . cauliflower! that get through. And your brain, instead of just letting the gut absorb the calcium you need from the cauliflower, and the calcium going to your brain. You’re getting whole molecules of cauliflower.
SHELLEY – Our digestive system is designed to break down complex food molecules like you might break down a Tinker Toy House, or a Tinker Toy Truck. Ie, the digestive system is supposed to take complex food molecules and break them down like a disassembled tinker toy. If it does, those individual simple protein components don’t worry the immune system much. If it doesn’t, and they “leak” into the bloodstream while they’re still complex molecules, then the immune system says, Wait a second. That might be an attacker.
Yes. And so then in the brain or in the kidney or wherever you start making this great big immune response, in here (the gut) after having it in here (in the brain) then you get more damage.
SHELLEY In any event, that’s the geeky side. But you’ve been observing people. And seeing how people change with their health and their attention, and this now young teenager is an example of a dramatic change. Now have you seen people where if they change, and they get rid of gluten and dairy, it makes no difference?
Oh, yeah. And those people get so disgusted with those of us who do feel sick on those things. They say, I don’t feel sick. So clearly it’s all in your head. ((MY REPLY TO THE CYNICS IS)) Well, no, you’re different and you’re lucky So thank your lucky stars! And sometimes those people realize years later, when ((THE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION)) finally builds up, and then they so, oh my goodness. Now I’ve got the same thing. Did I get it from you? Did I get it from my wife, who’s been complaining about this all her life? And I say, no, no, your body, your body finally got tired of it. And finally started recognizing the food as foreign and not the best for you
SHELLEY – Or can there be people who are sick and always eat those foods and never realize that’s adding a a subtle problem. It’s like someone who smokes and doesn’t realize that if they stop smoking and get through the addiction, they might feel differently, they might smell things differently, they might taste things differently. ,
I don’t think this is a new thing. Some people like to think this is because of GMOs and because of the chemicals we now have. But if you go to Colonial Williamsburg, and you take a tour, the first stop on the tour is the same stop that all those governors had to when they lived in Colonial Williamsburg in the 1700s, they all had to go by the apothecary to get through the day first thing because they were so unhealthy. They were so miserable. Their number one problem was getting constipated according to the tour guides, and their only treatment was mercury. So that’s how you could follow where they settled in the country in the 1700s by looking for mercury deposits.
That’s disgusting. But looking for traces of mercury at old campsites is how modern archeologists have mapped early American Settlements.
Yes, and they were so unhealthy. But my guess is that it had a lot to do with eating too much corn and wheat and dairy, and they just never knew it. It just took them hundreds of years to realize what was making them so sick. The Indians were pretty healthy
Of course the Plains Indians, the warriors, lived on an all meat diet. They actually, historically left the vegetables to be women’s food. Historically. So they ate Amber’s kind of diet.
And they were really tough. We think.
They were pretty healthy though, compared with the settlers.
They were tall. Some of them lived a long time if they didn’t die of accidents.
Getting back to today’s topics, you just shared the story of the young man where getting rid of wheat and dairy really helped him. What’s another miracle story?
HOW THE WIDOW “MARY” CURED HER ARTHRITIS AND FOUND NEW LOVE
Well, I want to tell you about the 80 year old. And she came to me when she was in her late 60s early 70s. She had rheumatoid arthritis. She came to me for referrals to rheumatologists so they could give her gold injections and methotrexate and then I didn’t see her for a number of years.
SHELLEY – Gold injections? Why are those supposed to help?
I don’t know the biochemistry, but I do know they’re very toxic.
And how about methotrexate? Is that something that basically puts a straitjacket on the immune system and basically says, don’t work right now, just hold still and stop attacking joints.
((BASICALLY YES)) And, so all those people get pneumonia more often, and colds more often
And cancer more often
Probably. I’ll bet you’re right.
Methotrexate is an immune suppressant, with the idea that if the joints are being attacked, let’s stop the part of the body that fights things. But it doesn’t just strop the immune system from attacking the joints. It stops the immune system from saving you from invaders.
((NODS YES)) So she was on all those drugs for years, and you know, I talked with her back in the late 90s about some diet, and she didn’t come in to see me six years ago. She came in for her granddaughter’s physical, six years ago. I’ll call her Mary. Cause her name’s not Mary. I’ll call her Mary. Cause I always call her Mary. Because it’s the most common name. And I said, Mary, I haven’t seen you in years, and she said, Oh, I’m fine. And I said, why haven’t you come in? And she said, I don’t need to see you anymore!
And I said, what have you done that’s helped you with your rheumatoid arthritis?
And she said, Well, I tried your diet ten years ago, and I went off dairy and I went off gluten, and I felt better. But it wasn’t until I went off all grains. And the last one was rice, that look. Rheumatoid arthritis. It’s all gone. And I said, well that’s fantastic. Well, come in for a physical sometime. And we’ll just check your kidney and liver and your moles and all that. And I saw her a year or so later and then she said, you know, I’m starting to feel achey again. And I said, well, what’s different in your life? And she said, well, my old high school sweetheart looked me up and we’re both widowed. We started eating out. And in fact we went to Paris.”
And first time she went to Paris, she ate everything and felt okay. This is another big part of medicine and why I’m telling this aside. I think she hadn’t been eating those things very much, and B the joy factor was so huge. Seeing her old boyfriend and going to Paris. That I think somehow, the positive hormones that her body made in response to this wonderful situation made up for any inflammation and kept the inflammation away. But after they’d been dating for a few years and the travel and the food they were eating on these wonderful travels, she said, well, I’m having more food here and there and I’m relaxing my diet a little bit and I’m getting more achey and I think I need to see the rheumatologist again.
And then she comes in again and she says, “Look, it’s gone again. No more rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve been eating the diet really well, staying off ALL grains. ALL Dairy!”
And just as another aside for the record, it’s different food for different people. Some people have to stay off nuts. I’m one of those. I react to gluten and dairy and rice and nuts. Some people have to stay off beans . . . It’s getting close the Amber’s diet. Getting close.
GIVING UP BAGELS SAVED PAUL BERGER’S BACK
SHELLEY – Do you personally still eat fruit?
Oh, I eat very little fruit of other reasons. I eat very little fruit just because of the sugar, because of insulin problems within my family, and I do notice some insulin problems within myself.
What do you notice that makes you think you have insulin problems.
My gut. I still have a belly. So that’s syndrome X. Metabolic syndrome. This shape is the shape that is known to lead toward insulin resistance. Plus I have it in my family. So I try to eat very little sugar and carbs, including nuts. There’s a lot of carbs in nuts.
In other words, you eat a low carb diet.
Very low carb.
Very low carb. How many grams of carbs do you eat in a day?
Ideally I try to keep it to 10 to 20, but usually it’s 20 to 50.
Grams of carbohydrate a day? Did you realize, Paul Berger, medical doctor, that you are well below what the American Diabetes Association says that a person needs to be eating of carbohydrates to keep your brain working.
Yeah. My brain. I have scored better and better on my board exams every time I’ve had to take them. I scored a perfect score on two of the six sections, recently. Which I never did in my 20s and my 30s.
This is even though you’re older, and you’re not eating nearly as many carbs as the American Diabetes Association says you should be eating.
My brain is so much clearer. So that’s another example that I want to bring up at some point in time. You can’t believe lab tests. This I learned in Medical School. I was taught in medical school by the conventional internal medicine doctors, “Never Treat a Lab Test. Treat the Patient.” Because even though we have wonderful diagnostic capabilities with lab tests, they only give us a direction to look. You should not treat people simply because of that. Great information but information can be misleading too and you have to see how it fits the clinical picture and the individual’s clinical picture. So I do better. Amber does better. I’ve said that I want to check her vitamin levels. Even if her vitamin levels are a little bit low in certain areas, I’m not going to recommend gluten, dairy corn and soy. Or nuts.
How about watermelon, and bananas and lemons?
Lemons probably. Watermelon is like cotton candy. Have you ever stuck watermelon into your dehydrator? It comes out — it looks, tastes and feels like cotton candy. If you want “healthy” cotton candy, put watermelon in your oven. It’s phenomenal.
Is it healthier that way?
Oh, gosh no! No, It’s pure sugar! Cotton candy’s not healthy
But is dried watermelon healthy?
No! It’s pure sugar! Is a spoonful of honey good for you? Well, the vitamins are good for you, but the sugar’s not.
SHELLEY – You know, I heard something from Dale Bredesen from the Buck Institute which is working to develop successful interventions in disease such as cognitive decline. He was talking about Glycosylation – the way that excess sugars in the blood stream can end up adding extra sugar molecules to body proteins, which can happen if sugar’s hanging around in the bloodstream. What he said is that, Once you have a protein that’s been glycosylated, it’s got a few extra molecules stuck to it, and guess what the body thinks it is? An invader. Because it’s changed its shape. Since the immune system goes after weird shapes it can mean the immune system says, Oh, my gosh, that must be an invader. Attack anything that looks similar to this. Bredesen suggests this is another way that autoimmune conditions can get set up, is through a sugar load in the blood stream changing the shape of proteins that are supposed to function in a very specific way and create a ball and chain of extra sugars stuck to them.
Oh, it makes a lot of sense.
But that’s geeky again. Let’s get back to how you like to look at medicine. which is look at the case studies. The individuals. Who else is a miracles.
I’ve had so many of them this year with just short little quips. ((READING FROM CASE STUDIES)) I went off gluten and this eczema I’ve had since a child is gone. I went off dairy and my mood disorder is completely gone. ((OR A MOTHER SAYING)) His oldest brother, father, they all have ADD. We did the elimination diet and it’s amazing, transformative. He’s a different child. Can I give him any wheat at all now? I don’t want him to go back the way he was. It’s so peaceful this way.
SHELLEY – Spoken like a mom!
That’s a mom. There are so many stories like that. Those three I just told you are the ones I tell the most. And then I get so many of these other. . . . You know, I could tell my own story.
I had acne from the time I was 12 until 19 and I was learning about different diets in college and I learned about macrobiotics, and I was already a vegetarian at the time, and went off dairy and overnight, overnight. Overnight. I woke up with no pimples. I was 19.
And what you changed was what?
All I did was go off dairy.
Then few years later in medical school I started getting back pain. In my early 20s. And I went to every chiropractor and acupuncturist and physical therapist in Boulder to try and treat my back pain. And I had it for 10 years, slowly getting worse, and they’d all make me feel better, but I’d wake up the next morning with back pain. Then I started learning around the year 2000 of people complaining about bloating and indigestion with gluten. I stopped eating wheat ((which contains gluten)), and overnight, the next morning, for the first time in ten years, I woke up and had no back pain. And my wife stretched her arms and yawned, looked across at me and said, you didn’t snore last night. I didn’t even know I was a snorer. But . . . Overnight! Just wheat . . . giving up wheat. And I’ve only had back pain two half days since then. And it was both days I had gluten-free products.
What caused your two half days of back pain?
Once, it was gluten-free English Muffins. I had two of these before ski day about seven years ago. I skied all morning but by mid-day I was starting to feel not so good in my back, and I normally ski a lot without any back pain. And then because it was a day where I didn’t know what food would be available, I brought a third English muffin . . . with peanut butter on it. And I was incapacitated. I couldn’t get up from the chair after lunch.
SHELLEY – Back pain.
Back pain came back, just like the back pain I’d had for 10 years that when away when I gave up wheat.
SHELLEY – One thing a chiropractor told me is that if the intestinal tract gets inflamed enough, then the pressure against the backbone puts . . .
Puts pressure on the spine.
That’s what I’ve been saying for 15 years.
So It was just a little bit of extra gas?
No not gas. It was inflammation of the intestinal wall. Not gas. It was fluids. In fact, I can gain 3 1/2 pounds within hours of eating gluten, and I can lose it in 24 hours of not eating gluten. Total water weight. Total inflammation weight in the intestines.
And you can thinking that by pushing against the spine, that can cause back pain.
Pushing or pulling. If the intestines are swollen then pull forward. In my case anyway, the back spasms were trying to maintain the posture it’s used to.
Do you like not having back pain?
((WHEN MY BACK PAIN WAS AT ITS WORST)) I had to hire the kids next door to blow up my children’s toys. I couldn’t use the bike pump for those last three years of having back pain. I was waking up for years with back pain. I couldn’t use a bike pump. And I bike a lot now without any back pain. Unless I have too much gluten — and usually that’s just a little back discomfort for a few hours because I don’t do it regularly.
If gluten is so bad for you, why do you eat it?
Because I love to eat. I love to eat everything. I’ll usually have it when I go out to dinner and there’s a really good bread. I’ll look at bread at some restaurants and say, It’s not worth the backpain. I’ll look at this other bread and say, I don’t care if I’m going to be incapacitated for 24 hours. And that reminds me of having lived in Europe before, and my grandfather lived on bread and olive oil through much of his career. So I’ll only do it if it’s really worth it. But it might be dangerous. There might be some brain deficit if I have it too often. That’s not easy to pick up on. Brain deficit or heart . . . well, my heart scan is really good.
You mean a calcium scan score to see if there are abrasions in your heart valves, with the evidence being calcium left behind in the scar tissue. It comes out clear for you.
Almost clear. On a scale of 0 to 2,500 I had a 3. Single digit 3.
You avoid wheat and dairy because you like to get a perfect score when it comes time to do those medical tests.
It was amazing (to ace a medical test again) Pretty amazing.
Are you sure that wasn’t just because you’ve learned a lot more since medical school? Do you really think it was the diet you eat that helped you ace the test?
I’m pretty sure that most medical doctor scores decrease over the years. I’m pretty sure that’s the general norm.
SHELLEY – Have you ever had a situation where someone got better and the food that they changed, completely surprised you?
Amber surprised me.
What were some other examples? You haven’t had someone allergic to zucchini or cauliflower, have you?
No but there was an example of a food like that I didn’t expect. So even if you talk with a conventional allergist, they’ll say the top two food allergies in the country are gluten and dairy. Causing things like eczema. The next one is peanuts, and peanut tends to be more dangerous, causing an anaphylactic reaction.
So the peanut allergy, they can’t breath. They have to carry an epi pen.
They can die in half an hour. Gluten and dairy don’t do that. But there was a food that surprised me – it wasn’t a vegetable, but it was . . . here’s another whole category that I didn’t know about until recently, and that’s the nightshades. A lot of people have joint pain from the nightshades.
Tomato, basil, okra, white potatoes.
Basil? Basil?? I didn’t know basil was a night shade. That makes me so sad. You know what else is a nightshade that makes me sad? Goji berries. I love those dried raisin goji berries. I don’t want to have a lot of joint pain, because of the other changes I’ve made. But I don’t want to have it in the long run. Which is my concern about having some of these foods. So I don’t eat those bell peppers that I used to eat every day. Those fresh bell peppers off the vine or out of the store.
SHELLEY – Well, fortunately, there’s a lot of other food that’s good that you can eat!
Thank you. (LAUGHS AND LAUGHS) I can make a meat and vegetables taste really really good. I usually takes just a little bit of salt, and it also tastes really good on the grill. I’m out there at 6 in the morning, grilling my salmon and Brussels sprouts. Twice a week at least. This week it was five times this week.
Say, what’s the ratio of protein and fat in your diet?
I don’t measure my grams of protein because I don’t think I can count that high.
Do you eat lean meats or fat meats?
I tend to eat lean meats but I eat a lot of olive oil. Quite a lot. And usually I’ll have a tablespoon of coconut butter over coconut, because it tastes delicious. It’s like having a small macaroon on a teaspoon.
Shelley – Thank you. I appreciate all these stories.