Using Food as Medicine

Some of the highlights for me from the introduction to using food as medicine:

You need to make sure you’re getting enough protein (a general formula is 1 gram for each kilogram of your body weight (so for me it was 47.5 grams of protein for 105 lbs)

Do you have a food sensitivity?  Best to rely on how you feel, fatigue, feeling puffy and stiff all over, difficulty concentrating, joint or muscle pain, and any kind of digestive symptoms, such as reflux, gas bloating after eating, diarrhea, or constipation.  Simplest way to see if you have a food sensitivity is to remove the particular food from your diet for 3 weeks and then reintroduce it, and see how your body reacts.  After completing the next section I started her elimination diet on the 1st of December for 3 weeks, eliminating gluten, corn, dairy and soy.  This won’t be difficult because I was already eating gluten and dairy free.  The only thing I’m really missing right now is tortilla chips…need to find a replacement rice chip (that doesn’t have corn added).  Susan includes recipes in each section that are excellent so far…..really loving the granola and rice bowl. 

Gluten.  The genetically modified wheat has been altered to have more gluten because it makes the plant heartier.  With all the processed foods we eat that contain gluten we end up getting highly concentrated amounts.

Celiac.  It’s possible to have no gut symptoms right now but have a reaction in another part of your body from eating gluten.  The first disease you might get is a different autoimmune condition (thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis or MS) before you get any symptoms of celiac.  Gluten sensitivity is determined when your lab tests are normal for celiac but your symptoms go away on a gluten-free diet.  Susan’s recommendation for people who already have an autoimmune diseases is to be gluten free as well.

Tests.  A positive AGA (anti-gliadin antibody test) could be the first sign of potential celiac disease….attacking other tissues in the body.  Hashimoto’s disease, Graves disease, MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis are most often associated with celiac.  The first tests you should ask for from your doctor are AGA and DGA (deamidated gliadin antibody).  Susan says that even though a majority of her autoimmune patients are not positive for this test, she still recommends that everyone with an autoimmune disease stop eating gluten.

Stay away from white flour and white sugar, saturated animal fat and trans fats,.  Eat instead, fish, flax, avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, olive oil and clarified butter (Ghee).  Choose grass fed, organically raised cattle if you do eat red meat.  Omega 6 (GLA) found in evening primrose, black currant and borage oil supplements….wild salmon, sardines; nuts, such as almonds and walnuts; seeds like sunflower and pumpkin seeds and leafy greens such as kale and swiss chard.

Vitamin D.  Your 25-OH vitamin D levels are good if they’re above 50 – 75 nm/l…take up to 4,000 IU/day monitoring every 3 months. Vitamin A is necessary for the absorption of Vitamin D.

Selenium and zinc.  It’s believed that one of the ways that autoimmunity develops is that the thyroid cells get damaged and look abnormal; then the immune system sees them and attacks, causing more damage and inflammation.  Zinc deficiency impairs your immune system, but zinc supplementation can reverse it….you can get zinc from sesame tahini, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate as well as a multivitamin/multimineral supplement.

Green Tea.  Epigallacatechin gallate (EGCG) found in green tea has been shown to be beneficial in treating and preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, neurodegenerative diseases and more.

Next week I’ll share with you how my self-assessment went and how my treatment program started.

On a side note….today I went to an endocrinologist.  When I first began experiencing exhaustion and flu-like symptoms 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue.  They told me because TSH measured very high one week then very low the next….going from hypo thyroiditis to hyper….after several years I was told by an endocrinologist that my thyroid gland was no longer there (she couldn’t feel it)  Well, she never did any tests to confirm it and I didn’t know any better to ask.  Today I had a ultrasound and was told by the technician that yes, I do have a thyroid!!!  My thyroid antibodies test is showing in the normal range (mine was 2.2, the range is 0 – 14.4).  So they are telling me I don’t have Hashimoto’s.  Wow!  Okay, now what…..they are retesting my levels (I’m taking 120 mg of Armour)…we’ll see.  The doctors I’ve been seeing either don’t know or don’t agree on what’s going on with me.  I really need a Functional Doctor, someone who can look at all areas and put it all together.  Unfortunately there aren’t any here on Maui and my insurance wouldn’t cover it anyway…..so, this is why I’m reading this book.  I’m going to get smart and do what I can on my own, then possibly find a functional doctor in Utah or Colorado if I need more help.  I’m ready to LIVE my life.

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