Tag Archives: disease

Weekly Round Up

16 Apr

We got all discussy this past week. Here are some links and food photos to whet your appetites!

Jan's Finnish whitefish caviar with shitakes.

Higher levels of PCBs in organic milk when compared to conventional milk.

Underground Wellness featured Dr. Tery Wahls.

Shift work and it’s effects on diabetes risk. 

Coffee’s effects on adipokines, liver function, triglycerides and LDL.

Connection between blood levels of some of the phthalates and increased prevalence of diabetes, even after adjusting for obesity, blood lipids, smoking, and exercise habits.

Vitacost promotes “eating like a caveman” in their latest newsletter!

Jan wins "Mr. Paleo 2012".

Chris Kresser tackles salt in his latest series of blog posts.

Riiiiight. The obesity epidemic is a simple math problem!

Mel HGL serves up a post that covers the traditional use of cold therapy.

Perhaps the best weight loss article ever written?

Humans apparently evolved the ability to produce omega 3 and 6 fats to feed our brainz. But in today’s world this may serve as a mismatch and is prolly royally screwing us up!

Chronic dieting isn’t doing very much good for our waste lines.

Russ's colcannon with just a smidge too many leeks - but he thinks onions are gross anyway.

Paindatabase.com urges us to stop all the negative thinking!

Fecal transplants may sound downright horrid, but if you’ve got a case of C. diff you just may want to seek out a healthy poo donor.

The BBC covers the revival of fermenting foods.

Jarred baby food is pretty devoid of nutrients. 

Honey’s effect on human evolution.

FED features a comprehensive post about the merits of cooking in human evolution.  

Notes from Andrew,  our resident Bastyr Doctor of Naturopathic medicine student:

  •  Chamomile (matricaria recuita) is kind of amazing. It’s the most potent herbal nervine known. It contains matricine which get converted in the gut to chamazulene. Chamazulene powerfully stops the conversation of arachidonic acid (a major source of oxidation) and inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 (think low, low dose aspirin). Chamomile alo contains apigenin which reduces DNA oxidation, is chemoprotective, and induces apoptosis. Squiterpense give chamomile it’s bitter taste which stimulate cranial nerve 9 and 10 causing an increasing in stomach acid, salivation, and peristalsis. Many of these benefits are in the volatile oils of chamomile so teas must be covered as they steep otherwise the volatile oils will evaporate. If your chamomile isn’t slightly bitter, find a brand that hasn’t bred the medicinal qualities out of their chamomile.
  • Also, how to make the computer less addicting at night. control + option + command + 8 Try it out.

Jenny decided that Saturday nights are perfect for boning.

Weekly Round Up

8 Apr

What kind of krazy krap do we talk about in the HBP discussion group you ask? Here you go. You asked for it!

Amanda's amazing pork loin with spicy cranberry for $2.50 a serving!

Some beautiful food art for sale.

We all KNOW it’s an important topic, so here’s another piece about how maternal diet affects the health of babies.

Lustig was on 60 Minutes this week, and Alan Aragon responds!

Can mummies reveal the secrets to cure obesity?

Curious about what varying body fat levels actually look like? You may be surprised about what you find most attractive.

For the lacto-Paleos. Greek yogurt, strawberries.raspberries.blueberries., a bit o maple syrup.

Girls are cool and strong!

Researchers identify distinct metabolic responses to high & low GI carbohydrates in healthy, non-obese individual.

Superhuman Radio was a biggie for us this week with two Paleo interviews. Paul Jaminet gives another great interview and so does Robb Wolf .

Carly's cottage pie.

Is the U.S. obesity epidemic even greater than reported?

Julia's scallops!

Here’s a new and interesting egg recipe by The Domestic Man!

Saccharomyces boulardii is a beneficial strain of yeast, a probiotic, that appears to be medicinal.

An enzyme in saliva helps regulate blood glucose.

Amanda's crab cakes (ever need some Paleo catering? HBP cooks are amazing!)

“A secret of our industrial food system is that it pumps chickens with arsenic, caffeine, Benadryl and Tylenol — even illegal antibiotics.”

Robb Wolf has a great, tear jerking post on his blog.

Japan’s new love affair with wheat. 

J. Stanton posts a good read about nutritionism. 

Jan's Finnish herrings.

Monsanto threatens to sue Vermont?

Evidence that humans used fire 1 million years ago. 

Taurine is good. It prevents heart disease (in amounts you would get in your diet and not super dosing with pillz). A possible mechanism is that taurine inhibits non-enzymatic glycation and lipid peroxidation. 

Melissa McEwan’s part deux of her evolutionary biology series. 

Jan's Oxtail.

Antibiotics effect gut flora which screw up your vitamin producing bacteria, and more in this post by Dr. Ayers. 

Denise Minger’s adds a section to her blog just for vegans. Very helpful and interesting.

Interesting paper on the effects of saturated fats vs n-6 PUFA on liver fat. 

FED takes on Self Determination Theory.

Does Yerba Mate fix your funky leptin?

Weekly Round Up

26 Mar

Here’s a sampling of just a few of the things we’ve discussed in the HBP group this week, oh yeah, plus some food porn:

Londoner Carly's lunch: Smoked bacon with homemade guacamole.

Matthew says, “I don’t have a problem with any of these foods and its great to make tasty gluten free stuff if people want it. It just doesn’t have anything much to do with how our ancestors ate and is probably quite capable of tripping out your food reward circuits,” in reference to this post.

Use your slow cooker to combat chronic pain!

Elizabeth shares the fact that 110 new fake meat products were introduced in 2010/11.

Matthew might be a student bachelor, but he sure doesn't eat like one!

Mash wants to start a barefoot running program. We gathered some great tips and fails: start slowly, consider minimalist runners instead of going fully bare and run on just grass or sand first.

The New York Times hosted an essay contest titled, “Tell Us Why it’s Ethical to eat Meat.” Our rants are just too long to post here, but rest assured, we tossed this one about.

Matthew shares this novel therapy, CLA for Crohn’s disease.

Mal shares this Suppversity article that delves into some of the possible mechanisms for why gastric bypass surgery has such powerful metabolic effects, and how you can perhaps mimic these results through diet, (hint…GLP-1).

Pat's fish head stock.

Lucas shares some interesting findings about the effects of music on the brain.

A new blog with but one post, but a good read: The Leptin Marketing Miracle.

The BBC aired a special titled “The Truth About Fat” for those not in the UK you can see it on YouTube.

Andrew has been planning this treat all week. He didn't get sick, but overall it was meh.

Our supplement fetishist club led by Stabby endorses Astaxanthin! Just 2mg are shown to have benefit.

Dr. BG talks about the effect that pesticides has on our mitochondria, which we should ALL know by now are those little energy producing organelles.

Giulia shares the four things you should never buy at Costco.  Bad news folks, shrimp tops the list.

Lamb shanks.

JuBa has a new web presence that she launched this week.

Russ composed a great post right here on this blog about the difference between “being” Paleo and eating Paleo.

Devika shares some good news regarding red meat and depression.

Russ's BBQ setup. Catching the goodness of drippings.

What? Popcorn has more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables?

This Friday, March 30th is our group’s deadline for submitting our first HBP Iron Chef Paleo Challenge. This round we must use egg, kale, mushrooms, onions and a tuber. No more than three unpowered kitchen gadgets and no more than three seasonings. Future rounds to be announced via our facebook page and here. Be on the lookout because we are looking for submissions from outside of the group!

Bree's eats up some birds (duck). She better be saving that rendered fat!

Weekly Round Up

12 Mar

In between ice baths and 9 egg omelette breakfasts, we managed to talk about the following this week in …HIGHBROW PALEO.

Patty pesto peas plantains piquant... primal

Marissa wrote a great blog post about epigenetics and urban planning.

Stabby says, “Otzi ate a lot of grains. Otzi suffered from a lot of infections. Otzi is one confounded mfer. I wouldn’t use Otzi to say anything about anything, even grains or infections because it could be all the grains or all the infections.  Invalid inference!!!!!!!! Mainstream media Y U so suck?” in reference to this article.

Speaking of Stabby, that raccoon has one hell of a crush on Byron Richards, from wellnessresources.com. Here’s his take on the supplement pantethine. It’s great for mellowing out acne (especially the hormonal kind), raises BDNF which is like youth serum for da brainz, and enhanes GI tract healing.

Apparently this piece of awkward weirdness was making the rounds on the interwebs.

Roasted curry chicken drumsticks, served with an arugula salad.

Rose shares this neat bit of information that goes into how food reward varies in obese and non obese people. Rose says, “It looks like this is saying that obese people responded differently to both hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic conditions than non-obese people with regard to (drum roll) FOOD REWARD. Non-obese subjects (in my reading) showed satiety and noninterest in food when blood sugar is high, while obese people did not have that prefront restraint system activation. And obese subjects reacted more to hypoglycemia as well, although I can’t tell exactly what those brain functions indicate about that reaction.”

Mallory shares this link which covers how omega -3 fish oil benefits thyroid function.

We listened to Jimmy Moore’s interview with Loren Cordain. Overall (sorry Paleo gods) we were a little “meh” about it. Andrew summed it up nicely for us when he commented: “Paleo logic for avoiding all foods #1: A subset of the population is intolerant to a food so nobody should eat it.”

Yahoo deems Paleo a celeb diet to avoid!  Tony give them the FED treatment.

Y'all HAVE to visit Tony's site. So good! (click the piture please).

Dudes – Stabby wants you to know that your high protein diet must ALSO be high FAT. Here’s why.

The list of presenters for the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium is up! Get ready people. It’s going to be on like Donkey….nevermind.

Kent's new love - Japanese sweets. #worklunch

Russ shares that smoothies are totally PALEO! Yay! (Since the coffee news from last week was so devastating).

Andrew comments that Matt Stone may be on to something with this whole “don’t drink the water” stuff. He was interviewed on UG Wellness recently here.

Ned Kock shares more in his series about gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time.

Mary shares this study which covers the important link between insulin resistance and depression among teens.

Finally, this satirical post pokes fun at the nutrional cult that is Paleo.  So funny!

Hello. I'm a nice snack. Sheep's-milk yogurt, maple syrup, berries, edible pansies.

Weekly Round Up

26 Feb

Fights, brawls, gossip, discussion and food ideas shared among members of the Highbrow Paleo Group.

The Paleo Summit by Sean Croxton started today. We listened to Mark Sisson and pretty much all agree that he was a stellar pick to kick off the presentations. So balanced. So open. So sane. I wonder if any of the other presenters will be his equal. We’ll see.

Here’s a nice Paleo Barbecue Sauce recipe from the Domestic Man (fingers crossed that this guy puts out a cookbook at some point).

Russ's Barbecue Sauce.

Pat from the Nutritionator blog shared this great new post listing tons of Paleo meal ideas with links to recipes. 

Mal was afraid that dropping her coffee habit for green tea would bugger her high iron levels. But Matthew saves the day with this piece about green tea polyphenols performing the same chelating function as coffee.

Matthew wonders if it’s true that modern women are going grey faster these days. If so, what could be some of the reasons?

Yay! A new experimental weight loss pill! Andrew says, “Obesity pills will never work for the US current condition because we are in a state of deficiency rather than a state of excess. Purgative therapies are easy but upper regulating metabolism on people who are deficient is going to be a disaster every single time.”

Julia and Adam share their love of the brine. Jules’ plain chicken breast went from blah to awesomeballs with a mere soak.

Adam's Chicken Brining Bucket

Is the “rule” about getting 8 hours of sleep a myth we’ve just all bought into?

Andrew shares Dr. Bryan Walsh’s short video on adrenal stress.

Rose shares a very interesting piece that goes a bit further in linking inflammation to metabolic syndrome.

Eeek! Sean links us to an article about dangerous levels of arsenic in rice and rice products, especially rice syrup!

‎”Did you know the USDA standards for organic beef only requires “grassfed” beef to be 30% grassfed?” No, no I did not. That’s messed up. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this info!

Amanda has been testing Negronis from a previous Highbrow blog post by WCC Paul, "Cocktailing for the non-sugar-addled". Try it with a pinch of sea salt! *hic*

In an effort to consume more kale, Julie is going to drink hers – margarita style! 

Thanks to Stabby we know a little more about the benefits of Vitamin D.  It regulates LPS-induced inflammation, getting better until about 50ng/dl. So, it seems we can feel good about emphasizing D for inflammatory conditions.

Kamal shares the fact that medicare covers the Ornish Program. Yoga, meditation and plants are great, but there’s just too much PUFA and grains to make this a biologically sound (B.S.) plan. On a side note, AHS can book Dr. Ornish to speak for $40K.

A new book is out! A former vegan ditches the veggie plan and goes for his Granny’s old fashioned recipes – and LOVES it. It’s just nice to see support for traditional foods.

Jen's Kombucha is brewing!

Weekly Round-Up

22 Jan

Here’s but a sampling of links, discussions and posts that have been bandied about the Highbrow Paleo group:

Matthew's Drippings

  • We looked over Chris Masterjohn’s new paper about the benefits of green tea.
  • Carly quotes Dr. Cordain:

“If you are about 75% Paleo compliant, you won’t need any vitamin or mineral supplements (except possibly vitamin D and fish oil). Many new studies suggest that antioxidant supplements may actually increase overall mortality and disease morbidity. I have listed these references in my new book.The vitamin and mineral density of a typical contemporary diet based on Stone Age food groups (748 milligrams of C or 1247 % of the DRI) is quite high.”

What say you?

  • We talked over Melissa McEwen’s post over on Huntgatherlove.com regarding the invisible women of Paleo.
  • Smelts, you know those little fish you are supposed to eat bones and all. For Elizabeth it was a 50/50 experience. The bones were kinda gross, but she’s got quite a few heads with which she’ll make a nice stock.
  • Looks like many HBP peeps like their fish sauce. Winning brand is Red Boat. 
  • Since the people in our group are very much so interested in taking health and diet into our own hands, we tend to pay attention to “outside of the box” nutrition advice. However, Matthew offers up this blog post to stir some debate over how to stray from mainstream advice while staying out of the “crazy stuff”.

Julie's gluten-free coconut cake

Fazila's tripe, mutton and beef satay with mini cucumbers and tapai (fermented glutinous rice wrapped in guava leaves)

Herring with fermented DURIAN sauce and cassava shoots by Fazila

A Beautiful Balance

10 Jan

“In medical school I had not received any significant instruction on the subject. I was not alone. Only approximately 6 percent of the graduating physicians in the United States have any training in nutrition. Medical students may take elective courses on the topic, but few actually do… the education of most physicians is disease-oriented with a heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals — we learn about drugs and why and when to use them.” Robert Strand, M.D., Death by Prescription.

I was on an airplane late last summer while returning from a weekend jaunt of head-clearing and writing. On the second leg of my flight, I was seated next to a woman who turned out to be a liaison for a pharmaceutical company returning from a business trip. The primary purpose of her trip was to push her company’s new diabetes drug. She explained to me that the new drug she was pushing was groundbreaking because it was an inhibitor of a particular protein which extended the half-life of another drug which aided beta cell health in diabetics (beta cells are the place insulin is made).

She explained all of this using the language of he education: biochemistry and pharmacy. She also had an air of infallibility.

After she finished describing this drug, I only had one question for her: “What is the function of the protein that your new drug inhibits and what effect does that have downstream?” She looked at me with a puzzled and sheepish look and confirmed what I had been thinking all along. She had no idea.

Prior to this, we had spent close to an hour arguing about what she “knew” as a medical professional and where I was far astray regarding topics where I disagreed with the medical establishment’s conventional wisdom- which were many. But this was a turning point in our conversation because it was the opening for her to see what I had been trying to get her to understand during our conversation up to this point. She knew the biochemical mechanisms and pathways of the biological systems she studied. She knew that if you introduced this drug, the result would be the alteration of a particular pathway in a specific manner. However, what I was trying to get her to see was what I’d learned reading about and experimenting with various approaches, and eventually beating obesity, was that there is a common thread running through obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancers, and other modern illnesses and diseases.

Though our medical professionals are better equipped and more knowledgeable about the human body than at any other time in history, their main accomplishment has only been to keep a sick populace alive longer in its chronic state of illness. They have become masters of the microbiology while ignoring the “macrobiology”- I think the fact that that “macrobiology” isn’t a recognized word is indicative of how we’ve approached overall health. The point is that even though people are living longer, they are becoming sick and debilitated much earlier leading to a greatly reduced quality of life.

The reason for this is complex but at the base level I think it can be explained by the fact that our bodies are out of balance. We have strayed from our original stasis. Stasis is a Greek word that represents balance and equilibrium. There is a baseline of health and wellness that allows us to enjoy a high quality of life virtually devoid of the chronic physical pain and ailments, that have become commonplace in modern societies, well into old age- a beautiful stasis.

The common occurrence of ailments before the onset of middle age is a new phenomenon. On every level of nature there is a balance that holds each system together until an outside force upsets that balance and a period of disruption occurs until a balance is restored. It’s the way nature adapts. It’s the way we survive.

From a biological perspective, human beings in modern society are in a period of biological disruption. The rapid onset of obesity and other modern diseases are harbingers of the fact that we’re out of balance. The changes that are happening in our bodies are too rapid for natural adaptive mechanisms to take over and adapt to survive, so we end up sicker and weaker.

Even if we don’t get caught up in the speculative nature of looking too far into the past, just looking at present-day traditional cultures- those that eat and live closer to the way humans have traditionally-who are as a whole are almost always healthier and free of the modern illnesses and diseases than those of us in more modern societies. I’m not suggesting we fully adopt hunter-gatherer lifestyles.

Technology and modern society has provided us with many creature comforts that many of us don’t want to leave- nor should we. Science and technology progress have given us medicines and treatments for viral and bacterial ills that, in the past, would have killed many of us. Our lifestyles are different and many of us have permanently changed our biology in some ways where some things that have been innocuous in the past are now harmful.

Having said that, I do believe that scientific and clinical success has brought upon us an era of arrogance in the medical community where the main measurement of success is longevity with less and less focus being on quality of life. Myself and many others who eat an evolutionarily appropriate diet have taken control of our health because we perceive that the modern medical establishment has failed us. In response, we’ve taken control of our health and wellness and stopped outsourcing our overall well-being.

Our bodies aren’t like taxes you drop off at Jackson- Hewitt or the family car that we drop off at the mechanic. After battling obesity for most of my life with the health problems that usually accompany that, I began to research biology, microbiology, dietary literature, epidemiological studies and other sources trying to educate myself to better health. I discovered a lot- particularly about obesity and other modern diseases- about how diet is the main factor driving modern ailments and what foods and lifestyle choices are the most egregious offenders.

I don’t know everything, or anything close to it, but what I have learned is that we should be more proactive and educated when it comes to our health and not leaving it in the hands of the medical field, no matter how auspicious those certificates on their walls are

Weekly Round-up

8 Jan

Here’s a quick round-up of posts, links and topics that the Highbrow Paleo (HBP) Group has discussed in this past week. Enjoy!

Being, Having, and Doing: The Metaphysics of Disease

22 Nov

Several years ago, I had an acquaintance who had previously been diagnosed with diabetes. He began a low carb diet, against the advice of his doctor, (this was in the dark 90’s), and over a period of time his symptoms abated, until one day his doctor announced that he no longer had diabetes (though in a bizarre, but perhaps common feat of cognitive dissonance, she could not help but advise him that he “really should eat more carbs”). Of course, my friend hadn’t actually stopped being a diabetic. If he were to have started eating carbs again, as recommended, he would quickly have returned to his diabetic state. What it means to “be” a diabetic is to have the susceptibility to manifest diabetes under the right, or perhaps I should say wrong, circumstances.

We all have weaknesses, to a greater or lesser extent. We all have our own special ways in which our bodies break down in response to a poor environment. For some diseases, we call this “being”. We “are” diabetic, epileptic, alcoholic, schizophrenic. For some reason, we identify less with other diseases. A person merely “has” cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or MS, even though these are not considered less permanent conditions once identified, even if they can go into remission. It does seem somewhat arbitrary that a person who was theretofore “normal” suddenly becomes or acquires a disease that they then are or have for the rest of their lives regardless of whether the disease continues to manifest. There may be a sense in which we are all diabetic, for example, even never having had symptoms. We all have the potential to some degree, no matter how small, and just because the degree is not yet known, it doesn’t make it not so.

In any case, what truly matters to a person who is or has or happens to know they have a genetic predisposition to such a condition, is whether or not their body is doing that which characterizes the disease. It is for this reason that one would seek to optimize their environment: to prevent themselves from “doing” a disease state. The Paleo diet and lifestyle is conceived with this in mind. It is reasoned both from an evolutionary standpoint: eat only that kind of food to which the body is well-adapted; and from a clinical perspective: do not eat foods which tend to cause disease. Without seeking to re-enact the environment in which we evolved — an impossible, and not particularly desirable goal (civilization does have some benefits) — one attempts to create a metabolic environment which is maximally healthful, and to which we do not tend to respond by breaking down in our various ways.

For my part, I am a fat person living in a reasonably fit body. (Fat is one of those rare states that we treat linguistically as transient, even though the obese, pre-obese, and post-obese have a signature metabolic profile such that a formerly fat person is not the same as a naturally thin one. This contributes to the blaming of fat people for their condition that would never be tolerated for other diseases.) I have Bipolar II, but for some years now my moods have no longer been disordered, and I use no medication. I wasn’t able to achieve this with a diet that is “just” Paleo, however, or even just low in carbohydrate. My body continues to do fat and bipolar unless I eat nothing but meat (though coffee and tea are mercifully tolerated). No doubt, there are people for whom even this is not enough, and others for whom it is not necessary. My idiosyncratic susceptibilities are simply deeper than most. However, I consider it likely that a great many people will do without disease simply by following a Paleo or low carb diet, or both. If nothing else, they are starting points that make sense for anyone wishing to give their body the best chance to manifest wholeness and well-being, whatever its underlying constitution may be.

The Middle of the Story

12 Nov

Beautiful beets

My name is Amanda.  I’m a fairly boring housewife-type living in coastal New England with my little family; husband, almost 2-year-old son and almost 4 year old daughter, cat, and two canine mutts.  I’m a social worker and psychotherapist specializing in the advanced treatment of psychological trauma, though I don’t discuss the specifics of my work on the internet.  I’m home with my kiddos now while my career is waiting for me. One reason I choose to stay home is because the first year of my daughter’s life was a rough one.

I had to do fertility treatments to get pregnant with my daughter back in 2007.  I won’t dwell on that except to say that it sucked, and I gained some weight from the hormone injections.  But, it worked and she was born in the winter of 2008.  I was lucky enough to fall instantly and profoundly in love with her slippery little body the second she was plopped on my chest.  We had a wonderful time together in the beginning, despite some breastfeeding challenges and the usual sleep deprivation.  Those six months were some of the happiest of my life, though I didn’t know it at the time.  We never do.

Six months into our life together, I got sick.  I knew immediately that something was wrong, so I didn’t tell anyone, even my husband.  My hands were pins and needles.  I thought it was contact dermatitis, but, it spread and moved around my body.  Soon a band around my chest was totally numb, then my fingers went numb, then my feet.  It was scary and disconcerting, and I finally went in to see my doctor, assuming that she would brush it off as a B12 deficiency, give me shot and send me home.  My blood work came back however with very elevated CRP and Sed Rate, and I was positive for some strange antibodies like ANA and smooth muscle cell.  She immediately called a neurologist who had a cancellation and sent me for an MRI and lumbar puncture.

I’ll never forget the phone call.  I was home alone and Hazel was napping.  He was very nonchalant when he said, “So, you have

Carne Asada and Sauteed Spinach

significant white matter damage.”  I was hysterical sobbing and he told me to go to the hospital so I could get Solu-Medrol infusions.  He told me to look online and pick an MS drug before our next appointment.  The steroids were horrendous and I gained even more weight on top of the pregnancy and fertility treatments.  My husband had to take the week off work while I was recovering.  I had no idea what steroids even were and no one, certainly not my doctor, prepared me for the storm that would happen in my body over the next month.

I put together my list of all four injectable medications available at the time, the pros and cons for each, and a long list of questions.  My neurologist didn’t have the time to go over it all with me, and told me to just take Copaxone, a daily injection.  I discovered later that he receives money from Teva Neuroscience, the drug manufacturer, to give talks to the public about “Current trends in drug treatment for MS.”  I am a good patient though so the nurse came to my house and trained my husband and I to do the injections.  For a year, I did the shots every night, had all my questions ignored by my neurologist, had my MRI every 6 months and slept.  I was so tired beyond imagining.  I felt like I was constantly fighting my way up out of general anesthesia.  It made parenting very difficult.  my hands seemed to be permanently numb even after the high-dose steroids, and any increase in core body temperature, or an ambient temperature above 80 degrees would bring back all the old symptoms.  I would go on a mile long walk and sleep for three hours.  My adipose tissue was degraded where I had to inject, and I was covered in painful itchy welts from injection site reactions.  My life was limited and sad.  I pictured myself in a wheelchair at Hazel’s graduation.

I have always been interested in complimentary and alternative treatments, and received a lot of support from my massage therapist, my chiropractor and my acupuncturist.  I read books about alternative treatments for MS, including Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet.  Many MS patients don’t stick with diets that are perceived as “too limiting”, but having been a vegan and vegetarian for most of my life, I felt like I was prepared.  At the time, a typical day for me would consist of a bowl of Kashi GoLean cereal with skim milk for breakfast, or a bagel with low-fat cream cheese if I was out of the house.  Lunch was usually a sandwich or wrap of some kind, and dinner would be pasta or homemade pizza.  I did a lot of cooking, but because my husband was a vegetarian I rarely made any meat at home.

Grilled spicy Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions, and cucumber tomato salad

Around the same time, another woman I know with MS said that she was managing her disease with  the Paleo diet.  I remembered hearing something about the “cavemen diet” that was all steak or that it was like Atkins or something with no vegetables and immediately dismissed it.  I read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes around the same time that I read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma and everything started to fall into place.  it seemed so simple and natural, like water flowing down hill.  I had an epiphany, and sat my husband down to tell him that I was going to have to start buying and cooking meat at home.  My diet before was not one that had much to criticize.  My dietitian that I saw when I was pregnant told me that she wished all pregnant women ate like me; fat-free and low-fat dairy, whole grains, occasional lean meat, lots of fruit and veggies, very low saturated fat.

In desperation, I did a total turnaround.  I decided to give it 30 days after I read Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint.  I got rid of what little processed food that I had, and was shocked to find that my definition of “processed” had changed with my new information.  I started eating eggs for breakfast, sometimes with bacon.  I started cooking with butter.  I bought my first package of lard from pastured pigs at our CSA.  I started roasting whole chickens, one of my favorite meals since childhood and that I missed dearly.  I started eating even more vegetables than when I was a vegetarian.  

After 30 days, I was off all my medications and not only remained in remission, but I no longer had the symptoms that I was told would be permanent.  The fatigue was gone, I had total feeling back in my hands with no residual paresthesia, and I had no more heat sensitivity.  On a particularly nice day outside for a walk, my husband said to me, “If this was last year, you would be complaining so much about the heat, and going inside to take a nap.”  Everything changed.  I effortlessly lost about 40 pounds and felt like I was ten years younger.  I loved cooking again.  My husband began eating meat again and had similar results.   I was able to do yoga again, and lift very heavy weight at the gym.  My kids felt lighter, and I was shocked at how much I could get done in a day.  I cannot overstate how dramatic the changes were in my life.

I eat meat on the bone, and cook with chicken stock made from feet.  I make my yogurt and crème fresh and ricotta.  I buy a half

Tomatillos from our friends garden

a cow from grass-fed and finished, pastured cows raised by friends.  I eat so many vegetables.  I love food and the options are limitless.  I eat big salads, avocados, fruit, raw nuts, olive oil and homemade mayonnaise.  I braise lamb shanks, and ox tails and stew.  I roast chickens and sear ducks.  I drink tea and stock and seltzer and wine.  I eat butter and dark chocolate and brie and goat cheese.  I will stuff a fresh fig with blue cheese and honey and thyme for breakfast, and snack on homemade pâté.  I have meals of roasted broccoli, cauliflower, squash and beets with lemon juice.  I eat yogurt I make with heavy cream on berries with cinnamon.  I do not feel deprived of anything.

I struggle with sugar sometimes, and holidays, and alcohol and organ meats.  It’s a process that is constantly revolving and refining for me, and I enjoy that.  I have eaten an ancestral/paleo/primal/traditional foods diet for about 13 months now and stay off my medication and in a total remission with no new disease progress.  I have a new neurologist who supports my choices a hundred percent.  I no longer consider a wheelchair to be a part of my future.  I have a passion for sourcing, cooking and eating Real Food, and helping people, particularly people with chronic health conditions and people with children, transition to a traditional foods diet.  I’m also honored to know my fellow blog collaborators, who are some of the kindest, most knowledgeable and hilarious people I have met.  Truth.