Listen to this fantastic interview on 1290 AM CJBK, London, Ontario about healing digestion and chronic pain and building optimal health with nutrient-dense foods.
For more information on healing and building health with nutrient-dense foods and seminars on this subject, see www.performancewithoutpain.com
Best in Health,
My book, Performance without Pain, focuses on nutrient-dense nutrition that can heal and prevent inflammation and build optimal health. Although superior nutrition is the cornerstone of injury prevention, working on structural symmetry is essential to pain-free movement.
Some people are more likely to have trouble with pain caused from asymmetry. Musicians and athletes often need to perform their work with repetitive asymmetrical motions. Many people do daily activities that require a constant uneven use of the muscles in the body.
Interestingly, females are more susceptible to asymmetrical structural changes because of the tremendous amount of flexibility in the tendons and ligaments of the pelvic floor which allow for childbirth. After a woman has children, she may experience a structural alteration that over time will cause pain.
While many people work with holistic practitioners such as chiropractors and massage therapists to alleviate pain, unless an underlying asymmetrical structural problem is addressed, the discomfort will immediately return. It is therefore critical to be aware that when you have a constant return of a particular pain, it would be wise to seek a different approach to your treatment regimen.
As a clear example, 8 years ago, after having two children, I developed a pain in my left hip when walking. I knew it was caused by a muscular tightening and not inflammation, because I had no injury and my diet was completely anti-inflammatory. Over the course of a few years I tried many common treatments such as chiropractic, muscle activation, exercises like squatting and massage therapy. These approaches seemed to help but the pain kept returning. Additionally, for three years in a row, I sprained muscles on only the right side of my body–my sacroiliac joint, the last rib of my rib cage and this year, my abdominal muscles while playing the clarinet! Had I continued playing my instrument and spraining the muscles of my abdominal wall, I knew I may become seriously injured.
I knew this was not normal. Sprained muscles on only the right side? Spraining abdominal muscles while playing the clarinet? What was wrong?
I decided to work with a trainer who did corrective exercise and work on symmetry. Unfortunately, while asymmetry was the problem, he did not understand the extent of my issue either.
Fortunately, my colleagues suggested I work with Stephanie Davies at SD Rehab in Chicago. She is superior occupational therapist who successfully treats high level musicians in the Chicago Symphony and the Lyric Opera. She also helps people with many other complicated physical therapy issues.
Through working with Stephanie, we concluded that my spine was twisting caused from a change in the pelvic floor after childbirth. Thus I had developed a diagonal support in my body structure. The tell tale sign was that my left foot was turned out when I lay flat because my entire leg had turned out from a structural alteration after childbirth and carrying children in my right arm. Therefore my left hip hurt and eventually as my spine twisted more and more, my rib cage was asymmetrical and the ribs on the left side of my body stopped moving properly. When I exhaled, the right side of my ribs moved unequally to the left side and created a strain to the muscles on my right abdominal wall, eventually causing a muscle sprain. Additionally, as I twisted more, my left collar bone was pressing on the nerves in my left arm, making it feel weak.
Stephanie opened a textbook detailing this disorder which exhibited a red path outlining a strained muscle pattern starting from the left foot, running up the outside of the left leg and hip and crossing over to the right torso area. As you can imagine, finding the underlying cause to this issue was a huge relief! The treatment will take some time however. First, the muscles in my left leg had to be restructured to allow my foot to step straight forward while walking. Then the muscles in my left rib cage had to be activated. I then had to work on getting my left rib cage moving for every exhale equally with the right which initially caused me to twist back to the right as if undoing a knot! Lastly I have a whole series of exercises that will strengthen the correct structure and alignment of the pelvic wall.
A twisting spine is a form of scoliosis and is not only common for women after childbirth, but also for violinists and violists who often twist their body to play their instrument. In fact, a close colleague of mine who was a child prodigy violinist can no longer play without pain because of this issue and must do constant physical therapy as his spine was twisting at a formative age and it has been much more difficult to achieve a permanent correction.
From this experience, I feel it is critical to seek a highly skilled physical or occupational therapist if you have a muscular pain that persists that is not totally solved by nutrient-dense nutrition and your current treatment choices. It could mean the difference of progression of the disorder or finding the underlying cause and permanently correcting the problem.
Best in health,
After decades of being told by the experts that a diet high in fiber and low in fat is the key to robust good health, why is it that one in every 5 Americans is being treated for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease, (GERD)?
Studies show more than 60 million Americans are currently being treated by their physicians for acid reflux. Last year there were 470,000 hospitalizations and 1.9 million visits to the emergency room as a result of GERD, commonly known as acid reflux. What’s more, GERD is now being diagnosed in children, birth to four years.
Since 1999 the majority of Americans say they are now following the dietary guidelines recommended by the FDA, eating at least 5 servings of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains each day. We are also following the advice of the medical community and eliminating from our diets traditional fats,(like butter) and decreasing our intake of protein—especially our favorite food-to-hate—red meat.
What is it, then, that such a large percentage of our population is doing that would promote the massive increase in this ailment? Should our entire nation succumb to popular medications that merely treat the symptoms but do nothing to remedy the underlying cause?
In my e-book, Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I pull back the curtain of misinformation to reveal the truth about why we are all chronically ill not only with GERD, but a variety of ailments including cancer, heart disease, allergies, dementia, even autism: see The Healing Diet for Acid Reflux Disease
Much of what we are told about good nutrition today is based on trends and faulty research funded by the Goliath factory farming industry. For 25 years I suffered from debilitating pain and chronic illness. Over that time I also suffered from symptoms of impaired digestion including persistent flatulence and at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with acid reflux that almost ended my career as a professional clarinetist. Even though I diligently followed popular health dictates as outlined in the traditional Food Pyramid and the resulting digestive illness and malnutrition nearly cost me my life.
If the Food Pyramid isn’t the answer, what is? In Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness I explain how our bodies actually work to digest and assimilate the food we eat.
Before the 1950s most of our foods came from small family farms. These high quality foods were from animals eating their natural diets. Cows ate grass, chickens ate bugs and worms, and all fish were caught in the wild. These are nutrient-dense foods our bodies need for optimal health and digestion, but unfortunately, this is not what we find at our grocery stores today.
Consider how many ads you see for drugs to address chronic health problems like acid reflux, gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Pharmaceutical companies expect to earn a whopping $400,000,000 in annual sales from going over-the-counter with the ‘little purple pill. This remedy for acid reflux is nothing more than a slow death.
Current information on so-called healthy eating will not heal digestive disorders and will ultimately lead to nutrient deficiencies, illness, and even death, it behooves us to learn the difference.
The principles of a truly healthy diet are but one aspect found in this exceptional e-book. Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness also provides information on where to find nutrient-dense foods, shares delicious recipes and menu ideas, and makes the road to true healing informative and enjoyable.
Best in Health,
Help for Singers
Effective Nutritional Solutions to Healing Acid Reflux Disease
Imagine: You are rehearsing for your first major singing role with an opera company and your vocal range has become unpredictable. Some days you have your full range; others, you do not. But you have never experienced this problem. The opening night is in just one week. Your doctor says you have a nodule on your vocal cords, which has developed because you have acid-reflux disease. He tells you that you must rest your voice and not do the performances. You are devastated.
Health problems that affect performance are extremely frightening. They not only affect you physically, but they are an enormous burden to your mental well-being. Acid-reflux disease is a serious ailment that can permanently damage the voice. If we heed the profound statement of Hippocrates (460-370 BC) that ”All diseases begin in the gut,” then we must make a serious pursuit finding the root cause and correcting the source of any digestive issue. Since the longevity of a vocal career depends on health, it is imperative that true solutions are found to this problem.
Have you ever asked yourself why digestive ailments have become so common? There are endless radio, television and magazine ads about medication that helps acid-reflux and other digestive complaints. What is a large percent of our population doing that would promote this massive increase in the incidence of digestive disorders? Should the entire population succumb to these medications? It would seem that there are underlying reasons that so many people have these disorders.
I had acid reflux disease in my early forties just prior to becoming extremely ill with a life-threatening digestive disorder that nearly ended my musical career. I am the clarinetist and executive director of the Orion Ensemble, now in its 18th season. We tour throughout North America, present three series each year in the Chicago metropolitan area, and perform a live, internationally broadcast series on WFMT, Fine Arts Radio in Chicago. Besides playing principal clarinet with the Lake Forest Symphony, I frequently perform with the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra. In addition, I have taught for over 30 years and have served on the faculties of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Northern Illinois University, Indiana University and Bradley University. In 2004, the Hal Leonard Corporation released my solo album of Bach unaccompanied cello and violin suites and sonatas transcribed for the clarinet.
In the fall of 2001, I became chronically ill for two years, suffering from a severe inflammatory condition in my spine, which caused debilitating pain in my arms, shoulders, hands and fingers making it difficult to play. I developed chronic diarrhea and my embouchure, the facial muscles I use to produce my sound, also began to shake uncontrollably. This was ultimately diagnosed as coming from a long-term digestive problem, intestinal damage and malabsorption as a result of following common nutritional dictates and Celiac disease—an intolerance to gluten grains.
Of great significance, despite the fact that I was chronically ill for two years, is that I had experienced ongoing musculoskeletal inflammation, often of a severe nature, since my 20s and relieved it through physical therapy-type approaches common to the field of music—you name it; I became an expert at it! In my late twenties and throughout my thirties, I was constantly “chasing” pain and stiffness from practicing and performing. When I would solve the discomfort in one area, another area would become irritated. I was also trying to eat a healthy diet and closely followed popular guidelines for healthy eating.
Along with inflammatory conditions, I had early digestive illness symptoms starting in my childhood. Beginning in my youth I had ongoing flatulence, which is a sign of poor digestion and intestinal bacterial flora imbalances. When I was 42, I began to experience acid reflux disease. A very distracting problem for a wind player, I felt a constant pressure in my throat and the sensation of wanting to burp. Of course, when I did burp, acid would be released into my esophagus. This was very frightening and I sought answers to this problem. At this point, my solution was to stop eating wheat, which was quite helpful for the time being. However, several years later, I developed a spinal inflammation followed by a severe digestive disorder—life-threatening chronic diarrhea and malabsorption. Obviously, cutting out wheat was not the full answer to acid reflux, as my digestive disorder, unknowingly to me, continued to develop.
We have become complacent in accepting the widely publicized recommendation that a low-fat, high fiber diet is essential to good health. I later learned that the nutritional advice I was following was not based on the study of healthy people, but on trends. Although I thought I was eating a healthy diet, and for years had faithfully followed the US governmental guidelines, these modern conventions were clearly causing health problems.
If following modern dietary trends resulted in digestive problems, what then were the answers to healing? In order to not only save my career, but also save my life, I needed accurate information. This complicated puzzle was solved through a radical change in my diet based on studying the work of Dr. Weston Price that reversed my acid reflux and intestinal damage, and provided my body with the nutritional elements necessary for building health. I am now recovered and vibrantly healthy! For the first time in 25 years, even with a full performing, practicing and teaching schedule, I have had no pain or inflammation in my body for over four years. My embouchure is completely strong and I have excellent stamina and muscle strength.
Dr. Price was a prominent dentist in the 1930s who was baffled by the large percentage of degenerative illness in his patients—chronic ailments of all sorts such as arthritis, inflammatory conditions and digestive complaints, fertility problems, cavities, crooked and crowded teeth and behavior and learning problems in children. He sought answers to these problems by traveling worldwide to see if there were cultures free of these types of conditions. He found 14 vibrantly healthy isolated cultures that had no signs of degenerative illness and had eaten the same foods for centuries from generation to generation. Although their diets were completely different, he analyzed their foods and found common characteristics that determined their diet’s ability to promote optimal health and genetic potential in humans. He was able to cure chronic illness in his own patients through his findings. He wrote an incredible book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. Through his unprecedented work and the development of the Weston A. Price Foundation, (www.westonaprice.org.) there is a growing movement of people who are finding solutions to healing chronic conditions and serious illness through traditional foods.
What are some of the foods that Dr. Price found to be absolutely essential to optimal human health? The surprising traditional practices involve high-fat, easy-to-digest, nutrient-dense nutrition from pastured animals and wild-caught fish including:
• Nutrient-dense, high-vitamin A and D foods, such as liver, cod liver oil and egg yolks—essential for nutrient absorption (Price found that healthy populations had 10x the amount of Vitamin A and D from natural sources in their diets.)
• High quality traditional fats critical for digestion and nutrient absorption, such as raw butter and coconut oil.
• Bone-broth soups made from chicken, beef, or fish with vegetables, simmered for up to 36 hours that heal the intestinal tract, are easy-to-digest, and provide essential nutrients in an easy-to-assimilate form, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other amino acids. Secondly, they provide important bone and tendon-healing components.
• Easy-to-digest, high-enzyme, traditionally cultured foods to help develop a healthy intestinal flora, such as homemade sauerkraut, pickled beets, and raw milk kefir and yogurt from grass-fed cows.
• High quality proteins—meats, raw dairy and dairy products, poultry, eggs and fish—from animals eating their natural diets.
By focusing on eating ample nutrient-dense, traditional foods that support good digestion, such as raw milk from grass-fed cows often cultured into kefir or yogurt (yes, it’s legal—for details on finding a certified raw milk source, visit www.realmilk.com ), traditional lacto-fermented vegetables, egg yolks, meats and poultry from pastured animals, liver and organ meats, wild-caught fish—especially salmon and seafood, bone-broth soups daily, cod liver oil, and ample traditional fats, I was able give my body the nutritional elements to heal and build optimal health. Through these easy-to digest, nutrient-rich foods that supported the development of a healthy intestinal flora, I also corrected the low-acid state of my stomach, which ended the ongoing stomach and intestinal fermentation that I had experienced for so many years. Therefore, I no longer suffered from flatulence or any other digestion ailment symptoms, including those from acid reflux and a hiatal hernia. And after five years of following the principles of that Dr. Price discovered, I continue to notice improvements in my well-being.
Since my recovery, I felt that I needed to write a book that would help people in high-performing fields and others understand how our modern foods are causing so many health problems and offer accurate answers to healing. I knew that many artists were desperately trying to find solutions to serious career-threatening ailments, and had often exhausted all available resources. With the help of co-authors, Sally Fallon, international lecturer on nutrition and the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Dr. John Turner, DC, CCSP, DIBCN, the doctor who helped me with my recovery and has over 25 years of experience treating athletes, artists and the general public, I wrote a book called Performance without Pain (pub. 2006 by New Trends Publishing) and an acid reflux e-book called Acid Reflux: A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness: Achieving Lasting Healing with Traditional Foods.
I have given over 70 seminars since 2004 for the general public, performing artists and families with children who have Autism. Since then, I have had the opportunity to witness how powerful Dr. Price’s principles are in helping world-class singers permanently recover from acid-reflux. The following are two recent stories that chronicle recovery with traditional foods:
I am a successful, internationally acclaimed singer in my fourteenth year of singing professionally. In that time, I have often struggled, plagued with GERD or performance anxiety that resulted in a reduced performance capacity. Let me start from the beginning, though, before I became a singer.
I grew up poor in a small town in Indiana. I was blessed to live in an area where growing one’s own vegetables or going to local farmer’s markets was common. We drank powdered milk and ate lots of red meat, all of which was corn-fed. Wonder bread was a staple, but, luckily, junk food was an expensive indulgence, as was eating-out, so we seldom experienced either, although we had our fill of KoolAid. I was diagnosed at the age of seven with a nervous stomach, which I now believe was reflux. I avoided sausage and very spicy foods, which seemed to make we feel the worst, and didn’t think anything else about it. I was always a very high-strung person, with lots of energy, nervous and otherwise, and I attributed that to metabolism and personality.
Fast-forward to college, when I am finally singing on a daily basis. I experienced problems with lots of unfocused, frantic energy that made settling into singing difficult. I also panicked easily. I would experience my “nervous stomach” problems before important events, and would never really know when I would have trouble with my voice. Being an extremely determined person, I soldiered on and performed well by sheer willpower. I advanced and improved and managed to make it into Orlando Opera’s Resident Artists program. I shortly thereafter was admitted into the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I had to complete my work with Orlando, which included many exhausting programs for children and adults, sometimes having three to four shows in one day. I snag myself into a vocal node, and was on vocal rest for almost two months, only talking for two minutes a day. The first time I sang in public again after the node was my house audition for the Lyric; thus began my vocal descent.
My node never healed, my “nervous stomach” got much worse, my range was erratic, my voice unpredictable, my nerves shot. People heard that I was in trouble, but attributed it to bad repertoire choices and tried to change my fach. I still had the same willpower, which did help me get through performances, but it wasn’t enough. I had my biggest successes during this time, but suffered from the fact that my voice wasn’t “stellar” like it used to be. On a day that I was in vocal distress, I visited an ENT in Portland who scoped my cords and informed me that the node I had contracted five years earlier had never healed, and the “nervous stomach” from which I had suffered was indeed GERD. Scared, shocked, and a bit relieved, I visited a famous doctor who specializes in vocal surgery, which was very successful. My surgery was very successful and my cords were perfect again, and there was no reason that I should struggle anymore. Yet, I still had GERD, which acid reflux medicine and the diet the doctors prescribed didn’t help, and it wasn’t consistent enough for me to want to be on a medication constantly. My nerves were still shot, also, and I was panicked beyond belief. I found a wonderful teacher and got into therapy, which helped enormously. I also had a baby, which tends to affect the voice in a positive way, but I still could not get rid of the GERD, so my top range was inconsistent, and my focus and nerves were spotty on the best days, like I couldn’t stop the constant stream of noise in my head.
I met Kathy Pirtle when I was a guest performer with the Orion Ensemble, of which she is a founder. She saw I was drinking a lot of water, and had mentioned that I had GERD, which is a bad combination. She talked to me about Weston Price and the book she herself had just written about her performing problems and the life-changing diet she discovered. At this point, I had tried everything, from vegetarianism to Atkins to South Beach to the Blood-type diet, so I was willing to try anything. I was terrified that such a high fat diet would make me blow up like a balloon, and I had just gotten rid of all the weight I had gained from giving birth, but I thought my voice and health were more important. From day one, I noticed that I was hungry on less, and felt vital. My mood calmed down and my nerves settled, so that I could focus and think while singing, which is something I was rarely able to do. Also, reflux was a thing of the past, as well as gas, which I thought was something with which all people had to deal. I also continued to lose weight, and didn’t bloat the way I used to at any hormonal times of the month. If I decided to cheat and eat lots of refined grains and sugars, I would bloat up again, quickly put on pounds, get gassy, and might have reflux that night, so the proof for me has been, so to speak, in the pudding. Now, I am happier in my singing than any other time in my life, and feel I finally have the stamina to do it.
Another huge reason I decided to take up the diet was because of my mother. She recently has been diagnosed with breast cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, high blood pressure, Atrial Fibrillation, plantar fasciatis, bone spurs, thickening of the uterus, and depression. It all started for her with GERD, which went unnoticed for fifty years. I knew if I did not do something, I could end up in that condition. It wasn’t all about my voice, it was about my quality of life after my singing career was through.
Here is another professional singer’s story of healing from acid-reflux through traditional foods:
When I was in my early 20′s, I remember having a ‘sensitive’ stomach but thinking it was dorm food in college or stress. I didn’t think much of it. My stomach would hurt but I didn’t have throat burning or excessive throat mucous. This was prior to the first surgery.
I had my first vocal surgery in 1992. I was 33. I had a varicosity on my left vocal cord that needed to be cauterized. They had no idea what caused it. They said
it could’ve been overuse—hereditary—they weren’t sure. No one at that time mentioned acid reflux. I had been experiencing erratic vocal symptoms. Sometimes I felt great, strong, like I could sing anything and for extended periods of time. Other times I would experience quick fatigue, muscle tensions that I couldn’t control and tightness in the throat. I later learned it was from the varicosity, which would swell sometimes but not always. He thought it had probably been there a long time and was working it’s way to the surface of the cord. It eventually burst which was how I figured out what was wrong. I lost my singing voice entirely when that happened. It was like I suddenly went hoarse.
I had another vocal surgery in 1997 for a similar thing. This time I had a pollup on the left vocal cord but when they went in to take it off, they found more varicosities on the cord, which they again cauterized. At that time, my doctor mentioned that he thought I maybe had some acid reflux symptoms and suggested I go on some medication. I can’t remember which one it was—maybe Nexium? He said I could take it whenever I felt it was necessary so I messed around with it a little but didn’t feel like I wanted to get dependent and didn’t end up taking it. I didn’t really believe him because at that time I wasn’t experiencing throat burning or even upset stomach. This surgery was a surprise. I had been singing regularly and had been feeling great. He thought it was a ‘vocal accident’—just a fluke.
By 1999, I had started my own business and was having more severe problems. I would notice that certain foods seemed to trigger symptoms. I was experiencing painful upset stomach and lots of gas and burping. I tried to control it with eating blandly and eating more often in lesser amounts. This helped some. I was under a tremendous amount of stress at that time with a new business and trying to get pregnant with our second. We eventually ended up adopting. I was noticing that the acid reflux was sometimes affecting my endurance and my voice would tire more quickly. I also felt like I needed to clear my throat a lot which of course exacerbates the symptoms. I was in a vicious cycle and it was starting to mess with my head. I felt I had no control over my instrument and couldn’t rely on it. Sometimes it was fine. Other times I felt nothing but struggle. I was experiencing a mild form of depression because of it. I had fantasies of quitting entirely and just giving up.
By 2002, I needed another surgery. This time, I had had it. I worked with a vocal therapist who told me that acid reflux can cause varicosities on the vocal cords. I had always been against taking medication and so struggled with the idea of taking something every day. But the therapist said I needed to take it regularly or it wouldn’t work. It needed to build up in my system. After the surgery, I had barely been talking, let alone singing and one month later, another swelling appeared on the right vocal cord (first time on this side). I went into a tail spin. I decided to go on the medication to protect my voice. I also decided to wait and see if I could ‘heal’ the problem naturally. I just wasn’t ready for another surgery. I found a great voice teacher who helped me get back on track. I was singing better but still feeling some vocal symptoms that I couldn’t control. (Weird fluttering in my mid register was the most annoying and prominent). I decided to have a fourth surgery in 2004 to get rid of the pollup. At this surgery, he said the cords looked cleaner and there was less redness and varicose problems so I felt like the medication was helping. I still felt uneasy about being on it indefinitely though.
Since that time, I have read your book and have been following the recommendations (at least about 80% of the time). I have taken myself off the medication and my voice is healthier than it’s been in a long time. I feel like my range has diminished slightly but other than that, I’m in good shape. This may be due to the fact that I’m older and am not using the upper most part of my range as much as I did when I was singing more classical music. It may also be because I’m peri-menopausal—at least that is what my doctor has suggested. I like to think that it has nothing to do with that, but I’m not sure.
Additionally, through eating this way, after suffering my whole life with debilitating back pain, my back is much better. I’m sure it’s all related. I have a ways to go but am doing what I can to get as healthy as I can. Your book, along with Sally’s and the Weston Price Foundation’s stuff has been an inspiration. I finally feel like I’m on the RIGHT track.
These are just a few examples of healing through traditional foods. Why did our food supply change? To better understand this, let’s first examine the drastic changes that occurred since the dawn of the profit-based industrial farming industry in the 1950s. The foods we are purchasing in our grocery stores today have almost no resemblance to the quality and types of foods that our ancestors ate for thousands of years. With profit as the sole guiding force, our livestock are fed unnatural diets, which are generating foods that are very low in nutrient value; we pasteurize, homogenize, irradiate and alter our fresh foods in countless ways; we use chemical fertilizers and spray our foods with insecticides and herbicides; the shelves of our grocery stores are bursting with processed junk food of all kinds and the average person is eating about 180 pounds of sugar a year.
Before the 1950s, most of our foods came from small family farms. These high quality foods came from animals eating their natural diets—cows ate grass, chickens ate bugs and worms and all fish were wild caught. The food from animals raised on their natural diet was nutrient-dense. The grains, nuts and seasonal vegetables and fruits were, of course, also naturally, or “organically,” grown. Sugar consumption was much less—at about 40 pounds a year per person.
With the industrial farming industry, came dramatic changes in land use. As our livestock were now fed grains instead of their natural diets, much of the land that was formerly used for pasturing animals was now allotted for grain production.
Significantly, profit from grains was essential to this new system of farming. This ignited a huge push to make profit from products made from grains. Thus the processed food industry progressed, vegetable oils were developed, the cholesterol-heart disease theory evolved and the Food Pyramid, which emphasized grains, became our nation’s nutritional guide. We went from a country that primarily ate nutrient-dense foods—raw whole milk and milk products; eggs; high quality meats, poultry and organ meats; traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil; seasonal fruits and seasonal vegetables—to a country that ate a lot of nutrient-poor grains and new-fangled processed foods, refined sugar, vegetable oils, and meats, dairy and poultry that were factory farmed. Beginning in the 1970s, fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world also gradually became available year round.
How did these changes to our food supply affect my dietary choices? As a child in the 1960s, my family ate plenty of grains—both whole, refined and in some processed foods—modest amounts of meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables, sugar and vegetable oils, including margarine, which was hydrogenated vegetable oil, and no butter or other traditional fats. I remember “Velveeta Cheese,” “Miracle Whip,” powdered milk (which my mother added to whole milk to make it stretch farther), “Blue-Bonnet” margarine, and many “new” sugarcoated breakfast cereals. All these exciting products had endless television commercials touting their wonderful attributes. My mom (thank goodness), having to stretch the family budget to feed 5 kids, did not let us have “Twinkies,” “Hostess Cupcakes” or other very popular—and expensive—snack cakes in our lunch like all the other kids—we got plain old, store bought, bargain cookies and fresh fruit. I also remember the “bran cereal phase” where my mother heard that bran was really good for you—fiber was the “craze” in the early 1970s. We had bran breakfast cereal with added wheat germ every morning! My approach to “healthy eating” beginning in college in the late 1970s, did not include the “new-fangled” processed foods, but incorporated lots of salads, whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruit, peanut butter (it was cheap), small amounts of meat, dairy and eggs, vegetable oils, little sugar and no “evil” traditional fats—the Food Pyramid was in full force in our country and the “key” to healthy eating.
The consequences of these dietary habits were profound. First, I learned that the lack of traditional fats contributed to my problems with digestion and nutrient absorption. Second, I developed malnourishment and a “leaky gut”—a factor in inflammatory conditions—because most of the foods I ate as a child and those I thought were so “nutritious” as an adult were difficult-to-digest, nutrient-poor, and created intestinal flora imbalances, an incomplete digestion of foods to occur and nutrients to be unavailable. In fact, without foods that promote a healthy intestinal flora, the whole grains that I consumed could not be fully digested, and contributed to the development of “gut dysbiosis,” where unhealthy bacteria thrive in the intestinal tract and cause bacterial fermentation and intestinal damage. When the intestinal tract become damaged, undigested proteins can “leak” through the intestinal wall, causing an immune system response and inflammatory chemicals to constantly circulate throughout the body. Third, the result of following the US high-fiber nutritional dictates was persistent flatulence and fermentation in the stomach from these bacterial imbalances, which lead to acid reflux—my first serious digestive disorder symptom.
Often, acid-reflux disease is a sign of a hiatal hernia, where part of the stomach protrudes up through the esophagus and stomach acid can easily be released in the wrong direction. A lifetime of fermentation in my stomach produced a constant upward pressure against the esophagus due to the undigested foods being acted on by bacteria and yeast, thereby causing both of these ailments.
Insoluble fiber is exceedingly difficult to digest, especially when digestion is not optimal, and historically, people consumed far less fiber in favor of more nutrient dense, easy-to-digest foods such as high quality dairy from grass-fed animals—raw milk, cream, cheese and butter—high quality meats and fish, bone broth soups and cooked vegetables with butter.
In a remarkable book by Konstantin Monastyrsky called Fiber Menace, (pub. by Ageless Press, 2005), the author describes major health problems that can develop from eating what’s considered a modern healthy diet high in insoluble fiber from grains, raw vegetables, fruits, legumes and even fiber supplements. He details how high-fiber diets cause large stools which stretch the intestinal tract beyond its normal range—eventually resulting in intestinal damage—and a drastic upset of the natural bacterial flora of the gut. The end results can manifest as hernias, acid-reflux, hemorrhoidal disease, constipation, malnourishment, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. He also provides numerous medical references to show that high fiber diets do not confer the benefits claimed for them.
The author of this book is a brilliant professional man who suffered a life-threatening illness from years as a vegetarian living on high-fiber foods. Konstantin Monastyrsky was trained as a pharmacologist, but after immigrating to the US from the Ukraine, pursued a career in high technology. He worked in two premier Wall Street firms: as a senior systems analyst at First Boston Corporation and as a consultant at Goldman-Sachs & Co. He has also written two best-selling books in Russian: Functional Nutrition: The Foundation of Absolute Health and Longevity, and Disorders of Carbohydrate Metabolism.
Monastyrsky explains that human teeth are fashioned to chop flesh and that our digestive system is built to handle mainly protein digestion, with only small amounts of fiber. When we eat too much insoluble fiber, digestion lasts longer and fermentation occurs, damaging the bacterial flora and causing problems such as bloating, flatulence and enlarged stools, leading to acid reflux, constipation or diarrhea, IBS and diverticular disease.
From eating a high fiber diet that encouraged poor intestinal bacterial flora, I also developed low acid in the stomach, further contributing to acid reflux. Where most research on poor digestion focuses on unhealthy intestinal flora, the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, Mmed (neurology), MmedSci (nutrition), (pub. by Medinform, 2004), uniquely points to many problems with gut flora actually beginning with an unnatural growth of the fungus, Candida Albicans, in the stomach when it is not producing enough acid. Dr. Campbell-McBride discusses that this overgrowth interferes with the first step of digestion by causing the stomach to produce inadequate amounts of the hydrochloric acid necessary to break proteins into “peptides” before entering the small intestine. For instance, under normal circumstances, the gluteomorphine and casomorphine proteins in wheat and milk are broken down in the stomach in the presence of proper amounts of stomach acid. However, with less stomach acid, these foods in fact begin to ferment in the stomach and are not broken down into peptides before passing into the small intestine. Besides causing an inadequate digestion of foods, the pressure of the gas created from this fermentation can lead to acid reflux, esophageal problems and even hiatal hernias, which are some of the most common digestive problems that people experience. Consequently, medications that curtail the production of stomach acid further exacerbate poor digestion and bacterial flora problems.
For those who worry about getting enough nutrients without eating raw vegetables and fruits, nutrient-dense animal foods contain concentrated nutrients because the animals spend their whole lives “chowing down” literally bushels of fresh green grass and other plant matter. The result is meat and fat containing all the vitamins and minerals found in fresh produce, not only in more concentrated form, but also one that is easy to digest.
In Fiber Menace, the author gives practical advice not to eat anything that your great, great, great, great grandparents wouldn’t eat . . . but when our grandparents did include high-fiber foods like grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables in their diets, they could do this without ill effects because they had a healthy intestinal flora from eating cultured beverages and fermented foods, and they knew how to properly prepare legumes and grains for easy digestibility through soaking, sprouting and sour leavening or, in the case of vegetables and even many fruits, by cooking. Additionally, they were able to eat these foods because they did not weaken the intestinal mucosal tissue by following a low-fat vegetarian diet.
It is wise to refrain from consuming raw vegetables and fruit until acid reflux symptoms are well under control for an extended period of time. After a full recovery, it may be possible to add small amounts of these foods providing symptoms do not return. The addition of grains, however, should be very cautious, as they may be difficult to tolerate or produce allergic reactions. It is best to only test properly prepared grains.
If you are concerned about constipation, some of the healthiest cultures had very little fiber in their diets. A diet with adequate traditional fats, fermented and cultured foods and beverages for a healthy intestinal flora, and easy-to-digest bone-broth soups will correct irritable bowel symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea.
Acid reflux is a very complicated problem that requires a thorough and honest assessment of all possible causes. As the optimal health of every body system is dependent on nutrition that supports the proper functioning of the digestive system, certainly studying and applying the essential components of the diets of cultures that had perfect health is a wise endeavor.
Although finding high-quality foods and changing your diet may at first be complicated, your health is your most important asset. Without your health, you may not reach your potential and your dreams may not become a reality. The foods that Dr. Price found that supported optimal human health are not the foods that are currently recommended by US governmental standards for healthy eating. However, these nutrient-dense foods were the permanent answer to correcting malnourishment, healing acid reflux and my digestive tract, and therefore, my long-term pain. The exciting news is there is a growing movement of people across the country that is turning to these same foods to improve chronic illness of all kinds.
Written By Kathryne Pirtle
Kathryne Pirtle is a world-class clarinetist whose career nearly ended because of performance difficulties caused by celiac disease, acid reflux, chronic inflammation and other health problems. Performance without Pain, written with Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and John Turner, DC tells the story of her trials and recovery. As a health educator, she has given more than 70 workshops around the country with Dr. John Turner and appeared on numerous radio and television shows. She has been published in the Autism File Global, Advance Magazine (a publication for Physical Therapy), Wise Traditions, International Musician, the Clarinet and writes a blog on her website www.performancewithoutpain.com about issues relating to building health with nutrient-dense foods. She has also just published an e-book called Acid Reflux, A National Epidemic and Precursor to Chronic Illness—Achieving Lasting Healing with Nutrient-Dense Foods.
Pirtle is executive director of the Orion Ensemble, which gives three concert series in Metropolitan Chicago, presents a live internationally broadcast series on Chicago’s WFMT-FM Fine Arts Radio Network and tours throughout North America. She is also is principal clarinetist of the Lake Forest Symphony and frequently performs with the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Grant Park Music Festival, The Ravinia Festival Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The book, The Mercury in Your Mouth–The Truth about “Silver” Dental Fillings, (Quicksilver Press), is another excellent source for learning about the effects of mercury toxicity. It contains the results of some of the most important scientific studies that have been done in relationship to dental amalgams. It is unfortunate that knowledgeable dentists are unable to openly write about this information without fear of losing their license and most people are quite unaware of the extent to which mercury may be the underlying cause of their health complaints. Therefore, the public needs to share this information.
The book describes mercury as a “cytotoxin.” It is poisonous to all living cells and can bind with any molecule called a “sulfhydrl”–which is found in most proteins–the building blocks for all tissues. As a result–mercury can interfere with virtually any process or organ in the body. Mercury has a long history of being reported as a poison. 2,500 years ago, the Greeks used it as a murder weapon by pouring it into the victim’s ear–thereby paralyzing the brain and causing almost instant death. It has been marked an extremely toxic poison in every encyclopedia description. In a widely-respected toxicological manual–The Pharmacological Basics of Therapeutics (Eighth Edition, Pergamon Press, 1990)–it states that:
Short term exposure to elemental mercury vapor may produce symptoms within hours; these include weakness, chills, metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dyspnea, cough, and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Pulmonary toxicity may progress to an interstitial pneumonitis with severe compromise of respiratory function. Recovery, although usually complete, may be complicated by residual interstitial fibrosis.
Chronic exposure to mercury vapor produces a more insidious form of toxicity that is dominated by neurological effects (Friberg and Vostal, 1972). The syndrome is referred to as asthenic vegetative syndrome and consists of the following findings (Goyer, 1985): goiter, increase uptake of radio-iodine by the thyroid, tachycardia, labile pulse, gingivitis, dermographia, an increases mercury in the urine. With continued exposure, tremor becomes noticeable and psychological changes consist of depression, irritability, excessive shyness, insomnia, emotional instability, forgetfulness, confusion, and vasomotor disturbances (such as excessive perspiration and uncontrolled blushing, which together are referred to as erethism. ) Common features of intoxication from mercury vapor are severe salivation and gingivitis.
To add to this scenario, dental office staff are carefully instructed about the careful handling of amalgam material as it is classified by OSHA as “hazardous.” Remarkably–once it is put in your mouth–it becomes safe? In 1992, the World Health Organization declared that mercury is so poisonous that no amount of mercury absorption is safe!
A study done by publisher, Sam Ziff and his son, Michael Ziff, DDS published in 1993–“A Consolidated Symptom Analysis of 1569 Patients”– compiled the changes in health that occurred with the removal of amalgams in people from Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Colorado. Here are some of the results:
- Chronic fatigue –45% reported this problem–86% of those reported cure or improvement
- Headaches–34% reported this problem–87% of those reported cure or improvement
- Vision Problems–29% reported this problem–63% of those reported cure or improvement
- Depression–22% reported this problem–91% of those reported cure or improvement
- Dizziness–22% reported this problem–88% of those reported cure or improvement
- Skin Disturbances–20% reported this problem–81% of those reported cure or improvement
- Memory Loss–17% reported this problem–73% of those reported cure or improvement
- Lack of Concentration–17% reported this problem–63% of those reported cure or improvement
- Gastrointestinal Problems–15% reported this problem–83% of those reported cure or improvement
- Allergies–14% reported this problem–89% of those reported cure or improvement
- Insomnia–12% reported this problem–78% of those reported cure or improvement
- Ulcers and Sores in the Oral Cavity–12%reported this problem–86% of those reported cure or improvement
- Irregular Heartbeat–10% reported this problem–80% of those reported cure or improvement
- Muscle Tremor–8% reported this problem–83% of those reported cure or improvement
- Gum Problems–8% reported this problem–94% of those reported cure or improvement
- Irritability–8% reported this problem–90% of those reported cure or improvement
- Multiple Sclerosis–7% reported this problem–75% of those reported cure or improvement
Dr. Ziff states that, “You wouldn’t take a leaky thermometer, put it in your mouth, and leave it there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Yet that’s exactly what happens when an amalgam filling is installed in your mouth.”
The book also discusses these important research studies:
- In animal experiments of Murray Vimy, DMD and Fritz Lorscheider, PhD, the presence of amalgam fillings in the mouth caused a decline in kidney function of 54% within 30 days and 60% within 60 days. These changes are considered sub-clinical as there are no “overt” symptoms.
- The research of Dr William Markesbery and Dr. Willaim Ehmann determined that there is a higher level of mercury in the brains of persons who died of Alzheimers–and a lower level of two major minerals which protect against mercury–zinc and selenium.
- The research of Drs. Vasken and Mary Aposhian at the University of Arizona, showed that two-thirds of the body-burden of mercury comes from amalgam dental fillings, with only one-third coming from food and the environment.
- Lastly, research by Dr. Anne Summers, a molecular biologist at the University of Georgia, determined that “the presence of mercury in the body stimulates antibiotic resistance among bacteria in the GI tract–that dental amalgam is an identified factor in the widespread development of antibiotic resistance.“
A summary of how mercury interferes with basic metabolic processes is eloquently described by Alfred Zamm, MD, FACP in this statement from his research:
Mercury poisoning is impaired oxidation. It’s like having an invisible cord around your neck that’s strangling you, but you can’t feel the cord is there. [The strangulation] is biochemical, but the principal is the same: mercury reduced the amount of oxygen you get. The body keeps adjusting, but with every adjustment it gets sicker and sicker. And ultimately you will die from this.
I realized that when you were at this level of impaired oxidation, then everything else would follow: autoimmunity, inability to deal with infections, bizarre illnesses that don’t make sense otherwise. These environmental illnesses are due to a lack of energy packages required for the detoxification process.
Therefore mercury toxicity deprives the body of oxygen-and any process in the body requiring oxygen will be less efficient in the presence of mercury.
Learning about the effects of mercury toxicity can alert us to the shocking evidence of how many epidemics in illnesses may have a relation to this issue. Besides personally taking steps to find a biological dentist who can assist us in the safe removal of these poisonous substances from our bodies, we can become a help to others by sharing this information.
Best in health,
The book, It’s All in Your Head, The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness by Hal Huggins, DDS, MS is a work of utmost importance. Since dental health has been completely compromised from our poor food supply, nearly every person has suffered the consequences and required cavitation surgery–the placement of fillings in the teeth. However, the most common material used for this important–literally “life-saving” treatment–not only contains at least 54% mercury, but is mixed with other metals (copper, silver, tin and zinc) that increase the mercury toxicity through galvanization–an electrical current produced from two or more dissimilar metals. So while the teeth are protected from further decay, the resulting heavy metal toxicity may be devastating to health.
Huggins discusses that mercury attacks the body in many ways so the symptoms of mercury poisoning vary from person to person. He states that “Mercury kills cells by interfering with their ability to exchange oxygen, nutrients and waste products through the cell membrane. Inside the cell, mercury destroys our genetic code, DNA, leaving us without the ability to reproduce that cell ever again. Immunologically, mercury embeds itself in a cell membrane, giving the cell the appearance of being”non-self, ” which is the trigger for the immune system to destroy that specific cell. With mercury in your cell membranes, the immune system will start destroying your own tissues, thus the term autoimmune disease. Examples of these are diabetes, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma and lupus.” Courageously, Huggins, and the growing community of biological dentists have shown us that many of these serious illnesses may be reversed through the proper removal of these amalgams.
Huggins categorizes the medical diseases he saw as related to amalgams into five categories:
- Neurological (motor and sensory)–tremors, seizures, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, emotional disturbances, unexplained depression, anxiety, unprovoked suicidal thoughts
- Immunological–lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis
- Cardiovascular–unexplained heart pains, irregular heart beat, high and low blood pressure
- Collagen–ie osteoarthritis and diseases that affect the collagen
- Miscellaneous–chronic fatigue, brain fog, digestive diseases and Crohn’s disease
Below is a list of common symptoms from his extensive study that are suspected to be of dental origin:
- Unexplained irritability
- Constant or frequent periods of depression
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Frequent urination at night
- Unexplained chronic fatigue
- Cold hand and feet, even in moderate weather
- Bloated feeling most of the time
- Difficulty with short-term memory
- Constipation on a regular basis
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Tremors or shakes of hands, feet, head, etc.
- Twitching of face and other muscles
- Frequent leg cramps
- Constant or frequent ringing or noise in ears
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent or recurring heartburn
- Excessive itching
- Unexplained rashes, skin irritation
- Constant or frequent metallic taste in mouth
- Jumpiness and nervousness
- Constant death wish or suicidal intent
- Frequent insomnia
- Unexplained chest pains
- Constant or frequent pain in joints
- Unexplained fluid retention
- Burning sensation on tongue
- Headaches just after eating
- Frequent diarrhea
Through the careful removal of amalgams, biological dentists are helping people to overcome serious health issues caused by heavy metal toxicity. As we move forward in understanding all of the necessary components to reversing and preventing dental carries and chronic illness through nutrient-dense foods, we will hopefully provide future generations with the correct knowledge to alleviate the necessity of dental fillings. In the mean time, we must be cognizant of the wide ranging symptoms of mercury toxicity so that we may understand their root cause, which diet alone will not correct.
Best in health,
The Relationship of the Dietary Prevention of Inflammation and Digestive Disorders as a Protection Against Degenerative Disease
There is mounting evidence that as more people are experiencing healing from inflammation and digestive illness with nutrient-dense foods, that this factor is in itself a protection from degenerative disease. In articles from the Wise Traditions Journal–A Holistic Approach to Cancer:The Disease of Civilization, by Tom Cowan, MD and The Pilot Research Study, Live Blood Analysis of Adults Comparing The Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Conventional Modern Diet, by Beverly Rubick, PhD–we can see this relationship.
Dr. Cowan notes that “civilization is the cause of cancer….The hunter-gatherer indigenous populations that were dependent upon animals feeding on perennial grass-based environments lived free of cancer for literally thousands and thousands of years. Organic agriculture turned the soil nearly into a desert, and brought cancer to people who had no cancer. Weston Price got in at the tail end of this inquiry in the 1930s and documented the health of these people from the standpoint of their teeth. But again, whenever we look at the health of non-industrialized people we see the same thing: these people are without cancer, and also without heart disease.”
Cowan discusses how a diet high in hard-to-digest carbohydrates–including hard-to-digest raw vegetables–can cause dysbiosis, intestinal damage and leaky gut, which puts the body in a constant state of inflammation. This state of inflammation is what leads to degenerative illness like cancer and heart disease. It is by returning to the hunter-gatherer diet that we can correct this disease state. This is the same diet that Dr. Weston Price found in immune cultures and that is reversing chronic illness in so many ill people who follow this approach today.
I love Cowan’s statements in response to the question, “Is the hunter-gatherer diet “square with human anatomy?” He says, “I am not against changing certain patterns of the diet based on what a person can tolerate. But when someone says that their blood type needs to be a herbivore, a vegan, I think to myself well, yes, that would be fine if they had rumen. Let me tell you, the first cancer patients that come in with rumen, I’m putting them on a vegetarian diet. If they have very long intestines and a rumen with bacteria to ferment cellulose, I’d put them on a vegetarian diet.”
Cowan uses a nutrient-dense diet in his work with cancer patients. This diet eliminates all disaccharides–sugars in grains, lactose in fluid milk (even raw) and starchy vegetables. It emphasizes lots of healthy fats–butter, ghee, and coconut oil–grass-fed meats and organ meats, wild seafood, fermented raw dairy, low-starch vegetables, some fruit, bone broth soups and cod-liver oil. This is exactly the same diet that saved my life and that I have written about extensively for the last eight years. This is how I overcame 25 years of chronic inflammation and a severe digestive disorder. IT WORKS!
A new exciting study, The Pilot Research Study, Live Blood Analysis of Adults Comparing The Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Conventional Modern Diet, by Beverly Rubick, PhD, compares the blood from two groups of men of three age groups–one eating the Weston A. Price diet and the other a conventional diet. “The blood of the subjects on the WAPF diet showed reduced blood coagulation and clotting within forty-five minutes compared to those on conventional modern diets. Blood coagulation and clotting in fresh blood draws are generally associated with increased inflammation.” Here again, in the prevention of inflammation, a traditional, nutrient-dense diet is showing great promise.
As we see more people healing and being protected from inflammation, digestive disorders and degenerative illness with nutrient-dense diets, and even more research pointing to the support of this powerful traditional dietary approach, we will hopefully move our society in the direction of seeking true solutions for our ever-increasing modern health epidemics. As more people also seek the foods produced by traditional small-farm agriculture to accomplish this goal, we can reform our food supply to improve the health of future generations.
Best in health,
Most people who are interested in holistic medicine, the real food movement and organic foods understand how terribly toxic mercury amalgams and root canals are. I wrote an important post on mercury toxicity and candida overgrowth on my blog just after hearing the remarkable 6 hour seminar of Dr. Louisa Williams at the Wise Traditions Conference. Her book Radical Medicine should be required reading for every person on this planet!! Radical Medicine is not for people who want to keep their head in the sand–it’s for those of you who want to know “why” we are struggling with so many health issues. It’s for people who truly want to get better and know that diet–even the best Weston A. Price diet in the world is not enough!!!
I had all of my mercury amalgams removed about 20 years ago by a leading biological dentist. If you have read my book, you know that I got a cavity in each of my molars at age 16. Had I not had those amalgams replaced with composite fillings, I am certain, from what I know now, that I wouldn’t have recovered from my life-threatening illness. Let me tell you why!
Although I had all my amalgams removed, up until Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, I had one crown on the bottom right side of my mouth over my first molar. I needed that crown after I cracked my tooth on popcorn at age 20! This crown was porcelain with metal at the bottom and it enclosed a mercury amalgam-filled tooth. If you know anything about bad dentistry–this scenario describes one of them, because when you mix metals, you get what is coined “Dental Galvanism.” In Dorland’s medical dictionary, this is defined as:
“A physiochemical phenomenon in which two or more dissimilar metals that have been used to restore or replace missing teeth produce the flow of an electric current.”
Because amalgam fillings are made of a mixture of metals and people often have other metals in their mouth like gold or crowns made with metal, they can be suffering from severe heavy metal toxicity. Dental galvanism causes an amplification of heavy metal toxicity in the body. In fact, to protect the vital organs, the body will try to displace the toxic metals through neural pathways to less important parts of the body, like the breasts and the reproductive organs, thereby protecting the brain, liver , kidneys and heart.
This is what was happening to me with only ONE toxic piece of dental work in my mouth. Last summer I noticed a lump in my RIGHT breast, which I was able to massage away through the self-breast massage technique I talked about in an earlier blog article. I also was experiencing sinus drainage behind my RIGHT eye and eyebrow area this last summer and thought it was an allergy–only on the RIGHT side?–Not making sense is it! My RIGHT eyelid has had a recurring twitch for years. My RIGHT tonsil often was sore. My RIGHT ear was sometimes sore. I had shingles on the RIGHT side of my face years ago–excruciatingly painful. Was this my body’s way of trying to detoxify this ONE piece of bad dentistry left in my mouth. Of course! What else could it be.
So if you think that your mercury amalgams are not causing you harm, or your mixed metal crown with a mercury amalgam underneath is just fine, or your root canals are not causing any symptoms in your body that you know of—THINK AGAIN! Read RADICAL MEDICINE and think again–it could be the best thing you ever have done to protect your health besides eating a nutrient-dense diet! If you have any dental work done, it is imperative that you work with a highly qualified biological dentist.
Best in health,
In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic by accident when he found no staphylococcus bacterial growth around a mold spore (penicillin) that had contaminated his culture dishes. Although the miracle cure was an exciting breakthrough for the infectious diseases that were killing soldiers and civilians during the two World Wars, in 1945, Flemming prophesized in the New York Times that the “misuse of penicillin could lead to a selection and propagation of mutant forms of bacteria resistant to the drug”–an occurrence he had already experienced in the laboratory. Flemming saw that the bacteria could communicate and change their form to survive the antibiotic remedy so quickly that this approach to fighting disease would be like a dog chasing its tail–just as he thinks he’s got it–it gets away!
Since we know this to be true, it seems ridiculous that the medical community keeps chasing bugs, as this kind of health initiative is rather new in the history of health care. Yet the germ theory is preached almost like a terrorist plot–as if we can succeed in outwitting germs! The underlying reason for this insanity is, of course, money!
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food” was state of the art health care for thousands of years. As we return to this approach and build our immune systems with nutrient-dense, pasture-raised foods, we can live in harmony with “bugs.”
Best in health,
We have discussed the severe problems with mercury-laden silver fillings. Mercury is one of the most toxic metals in the world and amalgams contain 45% mercury. Dr. Louisa Williams’ important book called Radical Medicine”points to research done by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt in the 1990′s that shows how mercury amalgams initiate candida overgrowth.
He states that:
“Mercury suffocates the intracellular respiratory mechanism and can cause cell death. So, the immune system makes a deal: it cultivates fungi and bacteria that can bind large amounts of toxic metals. The gain:the cells can breathe. The cost: the system has to provide nutrition for the microorganisms and has to deal with their metabolic products.”
Also from the book The Mercury in Your Mouth-The Truth About Dental Fillings, it states that:
Indigestion and weak stomach acid are associated with mercury toxicity. The gastrointestinal tract is one of the organ systems which absorbs the highest concentration of mercury. Fillings are constantly bathed in saliva. When the immune system is weakened by mercury, candida fungus multiplies rapidly.
Although the removal of dental amalgams is a very complicated process and a biological dentist must thoroughly assess the health of the patient before removal can be recommended, the eventual removal of these amalgams is a prudent step in long-term health. Removing mercury amalgams along with a nutrient-dense diet will help to alleviate the pervasive health problems associated with Candida overgrowth and dysbiosis significantly.
Best in health,
Asthma is one of the serious epidemics we are seeing in our population. Since just 1995, the number of diagnosed cases of this illness has jumped from 14.9 million to 34.1 million! Although one would assume this jump is a direct result of toxins in the air, this is not the underlying cause in many cases. You may be surprised to learn that 41.1% of non-smokers who have a chronic cough and 60% of those who have asthma also have acid reflux!
How does acid reflux cause asthma? First, the refluxed liquid may cause people to inhale tiny drops of acid into their lungs thus aggravating the delicate pulmonary lining and initiating spasms in the airways triggering an asthma attack. Second, the digestive acid may damage the esophageal lining and expose some of the nerves that are connected to the lungs. The irritation of the nerve endings can create a constriction of airways, thereby causing an asthma attack. Additionally, the acid can cause inflammation of the throat and larynx. To make things even more complicated, some asthma medications that dilate the bronchial tubes can produce acid reflux symptoms as they may cause the cardiac sphincter to relax—allowing acid to escape up through the esophagus. Therefore, treating the symptoms of asthma without looking at the possibility of acid reflux is like holding your finger over the hole of a sinking boat!
If the acid reflux issues are symptomatically treated with yet more medications, there may be a risk for serious long-term health issues. Acid reflux is most often treated with acid-lowering drugs. However, the true source of most acid reflux problems is a Candida, or yeast overgrowth, in the stomach that is actually caused by low acid in the stomach itself! A yeast overgrowth slows down digestion and foods will ferment under these conditions. As Candida will also paralyze the esophageal sphincter, the gases from the fermentation push the food up through the weakened esophageal muscles.
Because candida only grows in low acid conditions in the first place–acid lowering drugs are going to further compromise digestion. As Candida proliferates, it can promote severe dysbiosis, or poor intestinal flora. With poor intestinal flora, foods are not digested properly, nutrients are not absorbed, intestinal damage is forthcoming and eventually malnourishment will occur. Besides compromised nutrient absorption, intestinal damage causes leaky gut, which can initiate allergic tendencies such as asthma! Therefore, one problem incorrectly treated cascades into more problems.
If we can find the source of the asthma and acid reflux epidemic, we will have the answer to help millions of people. Both asthma and acid reflux have grown exponentially since the industrialization of our food supply that spurred the creation of processed, denatured and low-nutrient foods. Before this time, most people’s diets included foods that were high in nutrients and supported good digestion like meats, poultry, eggs and dairy from grass-fed animals and cultured dairy and vegetables like kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut and pickled beets. They also ate ample traditional fats like butter, lard and coconut oil and foods with natural sources of vitamins A and D like cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks, which are necessary for good digestion and nutrient absorption. With good digestion and a nutrient-rich diet, a person will diminish the probability of suffering from an illness like acid reflux, allergies and it’s related condition–asthma.
By returning to traditional farming and the foods that our ancestors ate, we will diminish the exponential growth of illnesses rooted in poor digestion. If we can move from the symptomatic treatment of asthma to solving the problem, we will help to support better health for generations to come.
For more information building health and treating acid reflux and its related illnesses such as asthma with nutrient-dense foods, see our new e-book on healing acid reflux.
Best in health,
The physical challenges that performing artists and athletes face have a lot in common especially in the area of pain in muscles and tendons. It is normal to have occasional muscle soreness after a heavy workout or practice. However, as most people know the difference between muscle soreness and chronic inflammation, it is important to understand that there is often a biochemical component in chronic inflammation that may not addressed even in traditional holistic therapies including massage and chiropractic.
Chronic inflammation is a frightening condition as pain may be present even when you have done very little and may be excruciating if you do the slightest bit more. It often does not go away–even with rest– and it can haunt you day and night.It also often moves from one area to another and you can end up literally “chasing” the pain in your physical therapy sessions to no avail–for just as you solve the problem in one area, another area becomes sore.
Ongoing inflammation cannot be solved permanently with physical therapy–sorry–as this kind of inflammation is systemic. If you don’t look at the “why” deeply, you will continue to suffer and this symptom may be just the start of more serious health problems down the line.
Systemic inflammation often is a sign of poor digestion and “leaky gut syndrome.” Leaky gut is most often caused from eating difficult-to-digest, nutrient-poor foods that create intestinal flora imbalances like Candida overgrowth. With poor gut flora or “gut dysbiosis,” intestinal damage is likely. When the intestinal tract becomes damaged, undigested proteins can “leak” through the intestinal wall, causing an immune system response and inflammatory chemicals to constantly circulate throughout the body.
Permanent healing is possible if you change your diet to focus on easy-to-digest, nutrient-dense, traditional foods that will heal the intestinal tract and build optimal health. Although at first this may seem like a daunting task, the benefits far outweigh the difficulty. You have spent your entire life dedicated to top performance, so isn’t your future worth the care that it took for you to come this far? Remember–”Your health is your wealth!”
Best in Health,
Instrumentalists, dancers and athletes depend on muscle and tendon flexibility for top performance. If you need to do yoga just to function–this is not optimal. If muscles and tendons are overly stiff, it may be due to a nutrient-poor diet and poor digestion.
In my 30′s, I had a lot of trouble with muscle and tendon stiffness. Without a daily yoga regime, I felt like my arms, back and fingers were stuck. In my 40′s when I became deathly ill with a digestive disorder resulting from years of eating a high-fiber/low-fat “healthy diet” and turned to easy-to-digest, traditional, nutrient-dense foods to heal, I noticed that eventually all of my stiffness melted away. So–in my 50′s I am more flexible than ever before!
Weston A. Price’s research on healthy cultures worldwide determined the nutritional elements that are necessary for optimal health. Most people today are following a high-fiber/low-fat diet thinking that this is healthy. However, this kind of diet was not even close to the kind of diets that Price found in optimally healthy populations. To the contrary, all 14 healthy cultures, though their diets were all different, consumed ample traditional fats and nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods that provided over 10 times the amount of vitamin A and D and 30 times the amount of other vitamins compared to diets in the US. Price found that without adequate traditional fat (butter, cream, lard, coconut oil) and Vitamin A and D from natural sources in the diet, you could not absorb the nutrients in your foods–no matter how good the diet.
Below are some of the basic elements of a good diet:
- Nutrient-dense foods such as meats, poultry, eggs and dairy from animals eating their natural diets and traditionally made bone broth soups
- Foods that help the digestive system function properly and promote good intestinal flora for optimal nutrient absorption. Examples of these are old fashioned probiotic, high-enzyme foods include cultured dairy–whole fat kefir and yogurt; lacto-fermented vegetables–homemade sauerkraut and pickled beets and cultured drinks like kombucha and beet kvass.
- Third, traditional fats like butter, cream and coconut oil which help with nutrient absorption, cell integrity and hormone function.
- Fourth, adequate vitamin A and D from natural sources like cod liver oil, egg yolks and liver also for nutrient absorption
For more information on traditional, nutrient-dense foods for optimal health and a healing diet see www. performancewithoutpain.com.
Best in health,
Regularly eating bone broth soup has many wonderful health benefits. There is an old Latin saying, “Good broth raises the dead.” So what are the magical attributes to this slow food that have given it such an honor?
Bone broth is one of the easiest foods to digest. It is loaded with a wide array of easy-to-assimilate critical nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, cartilage, marrow, amino acids and vitamins. The cartilage in broth will help you heal your own cartilage. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin, which can aid digestion and help to heal the intestinal tract.
In today’s world where everyone seems to have calcium and other nutrient deficiencies, good old-fashioned bone broth is the form of these nutrients that we can best utilize.
Bone broth can be made from chicken, fish or beef bones (for beef and chicken, pastured is best–free-range, organic is next best. For fish–wild-caught.) The most important thing is to add a little vinegar or wine to the water when simmering the bones as it pulls the nutrients out of the bones and into the broth. Here is a wonderful bone broth soup recipe made from beef bones.
Rich Beef and Vegetable Bone Broth Soup
1 knuckle bone
several marrow bones
several soup bones
2 T. vinegar
1-2 lb. stew meat
2 -3 large onions-chopped
4 large carrots-sliced
4 large beets-sliced
1/4 lb. Swiss chard-chopped
1 large bunch of parsley-chopped
other vegetables of your choice
2 cups dry red wine
filtered water to cover bones
Celtic Sea Salt to taste
In a large stock pot or crock pot, take the bones and cover them with water and put in the vinegar. Cover the pot and let the water come to a boil. Turn to simmer. When the meat from the soup bones and oxtail is cooked, take the meat off these bones and set aside in the refrigerator. Put bones back into same pot and continue simmering for about 24-36 hours!! (This is how you get nutrient-rich broth.) You may have to add water from time to time. After 24-36 hours, strain the broth and skim off the fat. Add the wine, meat from the bones, stew meat and vegetables. Simmer for about 2 hours. Salt to taste. (For easy lunches take a thermos of soup! Never heat in the microwave–it destroys the nutrients.)
For more information on a healing diet and nutrient-dense foods, see www.performancewithoutpain.com.
Best in health,
Artists know very well that the ability to concentrate is critical to both practicing and performing. However all of us need these concentration skills to do well in our everyday lives. In addition mood instability that curtails a sense of well-being may impact our success. Today the cutting edge treatments for working with children who have autism, ADD, ADHD and mental health issues is a dietary protocol based on nutrient-dense foods that also maximizes digestion and absorption. This is because this scientific community has proven that this approach has offered remarkable advances in the reversal of all of these problems. These very same advances for serious ailments in children have a direct relationship on how we can look at what is helpful for optimal concentration and mood in less critical health situations.
When the diet is high in difficult-to-digest foods like high-fiber, complex carbohydrate and processed foods or sugar, digestion can slow down and cause an overgrowth of candida in both the stomach and the intestinal tract. The byproduct of sugars broken down by yeast (candida) is alcohol and acetaldehyde. The byproduct of poorly digested gluteomorphine protein from gluten grains is a morphine-like chemical. Need I say more! That alcohol and morphine would affect both the mood and the ability to concentrate even in small amounts is obvious. Acetaldehyde will bind itself to proteins we consume and make their nutrients unavailable to the body. Additionally, these foods become very addictive because of the chemicals they produce under these circumstances.
Therefore–changing your diet to foods that are easy-to-digest and nutrient rich is the best way to insure that your body and mind are able to function at peak performance.
Optimal digestion requires certain components.
- The first is good intestinal flora, which helps us to break down our foods and keep the intestinal walls and villi functioning well for optimal nutrient absorption. Foods that enhance good gut flora are old fashioned probiotic, high-enzyme foods like cultured dairy–whole fat kefir and yogurt; lacto-fermented vegetables–homemade sauerkraut and pickled beets and cultured drinks like kombucha and beet kvass.
- Second, a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods such as meats, poultry, eggs and dairy from animals eating their natural diets and traditionally made bone broth soups
- Third, a diet that includes traditional fats like butter, cream and coconut oil which help with nutrient absorption, cell integrity and hormone function.
- Fourth, adequate vitamin A and D from natural sources like cod liver oil, egg yolks and liver also for nutrient absorption
For more information on healing and building optimal health with nutrient-dense, traditional foods, see www.performancewithoutpain.com.
Best in health,
If you are getting hungry two hours after eating breakfast, you may be choosing the wrong kind of foods for your morning meal and this may be a sign that you have absorption problems as well. Let’s look at both of these important issues.
First, a breakfast of cereal, toast or a bagel with non-fat spreads and a piece of fruit may not be the breakfast of champions! For years before I got deathly ill with a digestive disorder, my favorite breakfast was bagels, no-cholesterol “buttery flavor” spread and a piece of fruit. Another choice was a bowl of cold cereal. However by 10AM, I was very hungry again. This is not good. A healthy breakfast is not one that would leave you hungry in just a few hours.
Instead, a breakfast with higher amounts of protein and fat from traditional foods will literally nourish you until the afternoon and will offer far greater levels of nutrients. In our book we recommend a few great breakfasts that besides being nutrient-dense, will also help improve digestion. Smoothies made with 16 oz. whole fat kefir or yogurt (preferably raw milk from grass-fed animals), 2-4 raw egg yolks (from pastured chickens–not commercial eggs), fruit and 1 T. coconut oil are a fabulous breakfast. Another is old fashioned bacon (organic, no-nitrate) and eggs (from pastured chickens). Nutrient density is the key to building optimal health and maintaining blood sugar meal to meal. Nutrient-dense foods have ample high-quality traditional fats, protein and carbohydrates.
However, another reason that you are hungry just two hours after eating may be that you are suffering from inflammation in your intestinal tract. Inflammation is usually caused from bacterial imbalances in the gut flora like a candida overgrowth. When inflammation is present, nutrient absorption will be hampered and a person will feel hungry very quickly after eating a meal. After years of malabsorption, malnourishment is sure to follow.
For optimal health we need eat foods that are high in nutrients and also those that will support good digestion. For more information on building health and healing with nutrient-dense foods see Performance without Pain and our new e-book on healing acid reflux.
Best in health,
We have discussed the critical importance of the vitamins A and D from natural sources. Dr. Weston A. Price found that without adequate amounts of these nutrients you could not absorb the nutrients from your foods no matter how good the diet. The best sources of these vitamins are from fermented cod liver oil (see www.greenpasture.org.), pastured animal foods like egg yolks, liver, butter, lard and from fish eggs. Healthy cultures consumed these foods liberally and yet today we are told to avoid most of these because of their cholesterol levels.
But what about getting vitamin A from the beta-carotene in vegetables? The following article by Sally Fallon discusses this issue.
Vitamin A Vagary
by Sally Fallon
This article has since been expanded and updated on the Weston A Price Foundation site as Vitamin A Saga
“Eat carrots for vitamin A.” Such statements, found in many popular diet and nutrition books, create the impression that the body’s requirements for this essential nutrient can be exclusively met with plant foods like carrots, squash, green leafy vegetables and orange colored fruits. The low fat school of nutrition benefits greatly from the fact that the public has only vague notions about vitamin A; for the family of water-soluble nutrients called carotenes are not true vitamin A, but are more accurately termed provitamin A. True vitamin A, or retinol, is found only in animal products like cod liver oil, liver and other organ meats, fish, shell fish and butterfat from cows eating green grass.
Under optimal conditions, humans convert carotenes to vitamin A in the upper intestinal tract by the action of bile salts and fat-splitting enzymes. Of the entire family of carotenes, beta-carotene is most easily converted to vitamin A. Early studies indicated an equivalency of 4:1 of beta-carotene to retinol. In other words, four units of beta-carotene were needed to produce one unit of vitamin A. This ratio was later revised to 6:1 and recent research suggests an even higher ratio.1 This means that you have to eat an awful lot of vegetables and fruits to obtain even the daily minimal requirements of vitamin A, assuming optimal conversion.
But the transformation of carotene to retinol is rarely optimal. Diabetics and those with poor thyroid function, a group that includes at least half the adult US population, cannot make the conversion. Children make the conversion very poorly and infants not at all —they must obtain their precious stores of vitamin A from animal fats —yet the low-fat diet is often recommended for children.2 Strenuous physical exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive consumption of iron (especially from “fortified” white flour and breakfast cereal), use of a number of popular drugs, excessive consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, zinc deficiency and even cold weather can hinder the conversion of carotenes to vitamin A3, as does the low-fat diet.
Carotenes are converted by the action of bile salts, and very little bile reaches the intestine when a meal is low in fat. The epicure who puts butter on his vegetables and adds cream to his vegetable soup is wiser than he knows. Butterfat stimulates the secretion of bile needed to convert carotenes from vegetables into vitamin A and at the same time, supplies very easily absorbed true vitamin A. Polyunsaturated oils also stimulate the secretion of bile salts but can cause rapid destruction of carotene unless antioxidants are present.
It is very unwise, therefore, to depend on plant sources for vitamin A. This vital nutrient is needed for the growth and repair of body tissues; it helps protect mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs; it prompts the secretion of gastric juices necessary for proper digestion of protein; it helps to build strong bones and teeth and rich blood; it is essential for good eyesight; it aids in the production of RNA; and contributes to the health of the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency in pregnant mothers results in offspring with eye defects, displaced kidneys, harelip, cleft palate and abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels.
Nutrition pioneer Weston Price considered the fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, to be the catalysts on which all other biological processes depend. Efficient mineral uptake and utilization of water-soluble vitamins require sufficient vitamin A in the diet. His research demonstrated that generous amounts of vitamin A insure healthy reproduction and offspring with attractive wide faces, straight teeth and strong sturdy bodies. He discovered that healthy primitives especially value vitamin-A-rich foods for growing children and pregnant mothers. Working in the 1930′s, he found that their diets contained ten times more vitamin A than the typical American diet of the time. This disparity is almost certainly greater today as Americans have forsworn butter and cod liver oil for foods based on polyunsaturated oils.
In third world communities that have come into contact with the West, vitamin A deficiencies are widespread and contribute to high infant mortality, blindness, stunting, bone deformities and susceptibility to infection.4 These occur even in communities that have access to plentiful carotenes in vegetables and fruits. Scarcity of good quality dairy products, a rejection of organ meats as old fashioned or unhealthful, and a substitution of vegetable oil for animal fat in cooking all contribute to the physical degeneration and suffering of third world peoples.
Supplies of vitamin A are so vital to human health that we are able to store large quantities of it in the liver and other organs. Thus it is possible to subsist on a diet low in animal fatfor a considerable period of time before overt symptoms of deficiency appear. But during times of stress, vitamin A stores are rapidly depleted. Strenuous physical exercise, periods of physical growth, pregnancy, lactation and infection are stresses that quickly deplete vitamin A stores. Children with measles rapidly use up vitamin A, often resulting in irreversible blindness. An interval of three years between pregnancies allows mothers to rebuild vitamin A stores so that subsequent children will not suffer diminished vitality.
One aspect of vitamin A that deserves more emphasis is its role in protein utilization. Kwashiorkor is as much a disease of vitamin A deficiency, leading to impaired protein absorption, as it is a result of absence of protein in the diet. High protein, lowfat diets in children induce rapid growth along with depletion of vitamin A supplies. The results —tall, myopic, lanky individuals with crowded teeth, and poor bone structure —are a fixture in America. Growing children actually benefit from a diet that contains more calories as fat than as protein.5 Such a diet, rich in vitamin A, will result in steady, even growth, a sturdy physique and high immunity to disease.
So it’s a bit embarrassing to the low-fat people, especially as the truth is beginning to come out, even in orthodox publications. A recent New York Times article noted that vitamin-A-rich foods like liver, egg yolk, cream and shellfish confer resistance to infectious diseases in children and prevent cancer in adults.6 A Washington Post article hailed vitamin A as “cheap and effective, with wonders still being (re)discovered,” noting that recent studies have found that vitamin A supplements help prevent infant mortality in third world counties, protect measles victims from severe complications and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV virus.7 The article lists butter, egg yolk and liver as important sources of vitamin A but claims, unfortunately, that carotenes from vegetables are “equally important.” So vagueness about vitamin A continues, even among science writers.
Those familiar with the work of nutrition pioneer Weston Price are not so easily fooled. They know that vitamin-A-rich foods like liver, eggs, and cod liver oil are vital to good health. If you–or your children–don’t like liver, eggs and cod liver oil, don’t despair. Studies show that the best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A is butterfat,8 a food relished by young and old alike. So use plenty of butter and cream from pasture-fed cows for good taste and wise nutritional practice.
Vitamin A Vagary was first published in the Price-Pottenger Health Journal. (619) 574-7763
1. Solomons, N.W., and Bulus, J., “Plant sources of provitamin A and human nutriture”, Nutrition Review, Springer Verlag New York, Inc., July 1993, v. 5 1, pp 199204.
2. Jennings, I.W., Vitamins in Endocrine Metabolism, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois.
3. Dunne, Lavon J., Nutrition Almanac, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1990.
4. Solomons, Op. Cit.
5. Personal communications, Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
6. Angler, Natalie, “Vitamins Win Support as Potent Agents of Health”, New York Times, March 10, 1992.
7. Brown, David, “It’s cheap and Effective, With Wonders Still Being (Re)discovered”, The Washington Post, November 7,1994.
8. Fraps, G.S., and Kermerer, A.R., “The relation of the Spectro Vitamin A and Carotene Content of Butter to its Vitamin A potency Measured by Biological Methods”, Texas Agricultural Bulletin, N.- 560, February 1938.
Sally Fallon M.A., food historian and nutrition journalist, combines extensive background in nutrition with training in French and Mediterranean cooking. She is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, a full spectrum nutritional cookbook with a startling message —animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the human diet, necessary for reproduction and normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Mrs. Fallon’s book also provides information the values of Real Milk products, both to the consumer and the conscientious farmer. She is President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and editor of Wise Traditions, the Foundation’s quarterly magazine.
To order Nourishing Traditions, call 877 707-1776 or visit New Trends Publishing.
A Campaign for Real Milk is a project of The Weston A. Price Foundation
PMB 106-380, 4200 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington DC 20016
Phone: (202) 363-4394 | Fax: (202) 363-4396 | Web: www.westonaprice.org
For more information on healing and building health with nutrient-dense foods and seminars on this subject, see www.performancewithoutpain.com
Best in Health,
Embouchure and muscle weakness and lack of stamina in performing artists are often related to nutrient deficiencies and poor digestion.
When a performing artist suffers from unusual uncontrollable muscle weakness of any kind or an overall lack of stamina, poor digestion and nutrient deficiencies are often part of the problem. In determining if you have a digestion problem, ask yourself if you have any of the following symptoms:
- persistent flatulence
- gas or bloating after eating
- acid reflux
- irritable bowel
Any one of these symptoms may indicate that you are having trouble with digestion and also may have a candida overgrowth and bacterial imbalances in your intestinal tract. Digestive problems are extremely common today because our health dictates tell us that a high-fiber/low-fat diet is a healthy diet. However, high-fiber foods are often hard-to-digest, low in nutrients and can over time give rise to bacterial imbalances in the gut flora. We also absolutely need ample high quality saturated, traditional fats like butter and cream from grass-fed cows or coconut oil in our diet to absorb nutrients. So if we you trying to eat a healthy diet by listening to common dictates, you may ultimately develop digestive problems and nutrient deficiencies.
With both nutrient deficiencies and digestive problems, we can lack the energy needed to fuel our muscles for long periods of time–especially the small muscles used to play musical instruments.
Therefore, the first step to correcting stamina problems is to carefully evaluate your symptoms and understand their root cause. The most powerful road to recovery is to eat a diet rich in traditional, nutrient-dense foods that will heal and support good digestion. Although nutritional healing takes time, there are no short cuts to overcoming long-term malnourishment. This process is absolutely necessary to achieve permanent healing. Considering the years you have spent mastering your instrument, dedicating yourself to protecting your continued ability to perform is well worth the same effort.
For more information on a healing diet of nutrient-dense foods, see our book information at www.performancewithoutpain.com
To your health,
These profound words of Dr. Weston A. Price came as a result of a 10 year meticulous study of healthy populations worldwide. Dr. Price, a prominent dentist in the 1930′s, was a pioneer on the quest to understand why the majority of his patients in the United States had crooked and crowded teeth, cavities, facial deformities and degenerative illnesses of all kinds. He did not feel that this was normal and traveled during the summers of a ten year period to see if he could find populations of people with perfect health. He found 14 cultures who had completely different diets that had this perfect health–no cavities, perfect facial structure with plenty of room for the teeth and no degenerative diseases–including TB.
Although their diets were different, Price found certain common key components. First, the diets had 10 times the amount of vitamin A and D from natural sources–like cod liver oil, egg yolks, organ meats, fish eggs and traditional fats–like butter and cream from grass-fed animals–foods that we are largely told to avoid. Next, he found that their diets had ample traditional fats such as butter, cream, lard, coconut oil and meat with its fat. He found that without both adequate vitamin A and D and traditional fats, that a person could not absorb the nutrients from the foods they ate no matter how good the diet. Lastly, he found that their diets consisted of high quality proteins from animals eating their natural diets, and they ate no refined foods whatsoever.
Importantly, Price found that when people from these same cultures moved to areas where they were able to have access to modern foods–white flour, pasteurized milk, refined sugar and vegetable oils–that they developed cavities and degenerative illnesses and in the next generation, the children had crooked and crowded teeth, cavities and poor health as well.
Today, cavities are commonplace, our entire population is exhibiting crooked and crowded teeth and the percentage of people–adults and children alike–affected by degenerative disease of all kinds, is growing at an exponential rate. Our modern food supply is a large part of the reason this is happening as our foods are highly nutrient-deficient.
If we follow Dr. Price’s work, we will see that the future of the health of our people lies in improving our broken food supply in favor of traditionally raised, nutrient-dense foods. When we correct malnourishment, healing and building optimal health are possible.
Best in health,
Foods from grass fed, pastured animals vs. organic foods–is there a difference? Which has more nutrients?
Deciding what is a healthy diet can be full of conflicting advice. However, if we ask ourselves what foods can offer our bodies the most nutrients, we will begin to understand what foods will best support our health. Unfortunately, the common dietary dictate that we hear over and over—ie. “Eat a lowfat/high-fiber diet and you will be healthy,” does not have nutrient density as an underlying principal.
However, even finding a good source of nutrient-dense foods can be confusing. When it comes to foods with the highest level of nutrients, eating organic meats, poultry, dairy and eggs does not guarantee a nutrient-rich product as organic can mean many things–like feeding the animals an unnatural diet of organic corn and other grains–or even donuts (hard to believe)…etc. It also does not guarantee that the animal has not been raised in a confinement system either. Organic–which often is accompanied by the highest price tag, therefore does not necessarily mean nutrient-dense.
However, we can be assured of the highest level of nutrients in the foods we eat when the animal has been eating its natural diet and is pastured on organic pastureland. It’s almost comical to remind people that cows eat grass and chickens eat bugs and worms. The nutrient levels of the foods from animals eating their natural diets is quite remarkable. In fact the book Pasture Perfect, by Jo Robinson, (pub. Vashon Island Press) compares the level of nutrients from the foods of factory raised animals and pastured animals–and hands down–there is an enormous difference. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that eating corn all day inside a barn would not be a very good idea for a cow….
Pastured foods are becoming more and more available from small family farm coops and in some health food stores. For a good source of pastured foods in your area check out www.realmilk.com. Who’s your farmer?
For more information on a healthy diet see our website at www.performancewithoupain.com
To your health!
Acid Reflux–a Serious Digestive Ailment that Can Lead to Other Chronic Health Problems and Inflammation
Acid Reflux—a National Epidemic and a Precursor to Chronic illness
Treatment of Acid Reflux/GERD with Traditional Foods
There are endless radio, television, internet and magazine ads dedicated to medication that treats acid-reflux and other related digestive complaints. In fact, 60 million Americans have acid-reflux and many people have acid reflux without knowing it. In addition to the typical symptom of acid-regurgitation, other less-known symptoms include hoarseness, belching, chronic throat clearing and sore throat, persistent cough, difficulty swallowing, nausea, asthma and wheezing and persistent hiccups in adults. In infants and children, frequent ear infections, excessive crying, nausea with or without vomiting, excessive coughing, respiratory problems, refusing food, excessive belching and burping.
What is the cause of this massive increase in GERD—there has been a 56% increase in the last few years of medicine for acid-reflux and digestive disorders in infants and children from 0-4 years old! Should our entire population succumb to these medications that magically “heal” the symptoms of these discomforts, thereby inadvertently expanding the wealth of drug companies? Could it be that there is a great danger in the “purple pill solution”—that the “purple pill” is the wrong answer to your health challenge? In fact, what you need to know is that untreated or incorrectly treated acid reflux may lead to serious, life-threatening illness—that it may be a precursor of severe degenerative conditions.
The most effective approach to the treatment of acid reflux with traditional foods. Through a diet of nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods from pastured animals and wild-caught fish, adequate vitamin A and D, and cultured foods that correct poor intestinal flora, acid reflux and intestinal damage can be permanently healed.
For more information see www.performancewithoutpain.com
A “Healthy” High-Fiber/Lowfat Diet may actually lead to digestive disorders and chronic inflammation
The “healthy” high-fiber/low fat diet diet that has been given the greatest press by doctors, ads and news reports may actually be quite harmful for your digestive system and leave you over time with chronic inflammation, allergies of all kinds and malnourishment.
High fiber foods are quite difficult to digest as they are high in cellulose. First, when we eat a high amount of fiber, it can expand in our stomach and cause digestion to last longer. This can lower the stomach acid in the stomach making it difficult for the food to be broken down. As soon as stomach acid lowers, bacteria, viruses and fungi can thrive in the stomach where they normally will be kept at bay. This can cause over time a candida overgrowth.
A candida-or yeast-overgrowth-in the stomach will pass into the intestinal tract causing bacterial imbalances and dysbiosis. Some of the symptoms of dysbiosis are acid reflux, flatulence and bowel disorders of all kinds like constipation or diarrhea. With a candida overgrowth, our foods are not broken down properly, we cannot absorb nutrients well, our intestinal tract can become damaged and inflamed and we eventually can become malnourished. This cycle can cause systemic inflammation throughout the body as well as allergies.
Traditional fats are essential for nutrient absorption. Dr. Weston A. Price (www.westonaprice.org) found that the diets of healthy populations worldwide included ample fats, like butter, cream, lard and meat with its fat from pastured animals, coconut oil and eggs from pastured chickens. He determined that without adequate fat in the diet, a person could not absorb the nutrients from the food no matter how good the diet. When the Indians and explorers could only find lean meat, they starved to death. Adaquate fat from traditonal foods is absolutely necessary to good health and without it, good digestion will not be possible and eventually one will become malnourished and have chronic inflammation.
Following the media’s “healthy” diet may not provide you with a life-time of good health. Building health with traditional nutrient-dense foods can offer healing and protection from digestive disorders and chronic inflammation.
For more information see www.performancewithoutpain.com.
New Options for Relieving Chronic Pain and Muscle Weakness
”All diseases begin in the gut.” Hippocrates (460-370 BC)
Imagine: You are a successful professional musician, having spent your entire life mastering your instrument. You however, are fighting a difficult struggle—you have chronic tendonitis, embouchure weakness, or other debilitating problems that make performance a constant struggle. You have researched thoroughly and tried every physical therapy treatment—chiropractic, massage, yoga, Alexander Technique, muscle balancing, Rolfing, etc., etc., etc…You are even eating a very healthy diet—but you continue to have recurring problems that are manageable only with a strict regimen of physical therapy treatments. Is this you? When chronic pain is ongoing, a digestive disorder may be to blame.
This was my story. Although I had been playing professionally and teaching for more than 25 years, I had spent much of that time in pain. Beginning in my late teens and 20s, I experienced musculoskeletal inflammation and early symptoms of digestive troubles such as flatulence—a sign of poor digestion. I relieved my pain through physical therapy-type approaches common to the field of music—you name it; I did it! In my late twenties and throughout my thirties, I was constantly “chasing” pain from practicing and performing. When I would solve the discomfort in one area, another area would become irritated. At 40, I developed acid reflux and in the fall of 2001, at 45, I became chronically ill with an inflammatory condition in my spine that left me with debilitating pain in my shoulders, fingers, arms, and hands. As my illness worsened, my embouchure shook uncontrollably and I suffered from chronic diarrhea and malabsorption. I thought would not survive.
Ultimately, I was diagnosed with a long-term digestive problem, intestinal damage, and malabsorption—all the result of Celiac disease (an intolerance for gluten grains), and surprisingly, following the common low-fat, high-fiber nutritional dictates. I found the answers to healing through a dramatic change in my diet, adopting the principles of Dr. Weston Price, whose research on healthy cultures worldwide during the 1930s led to the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org.), a foundation that helps people understand accurate dietary principles of human health and is helping to improve the food supply in our country.
I knew the problems I suffered were common not only to musicians, but to people in all walks of life as our country’s food supply has drastically changed since the 1950s. I decided to help others have access to this life-saving information by writing a book with Dr. John Turner, the chiropractor who helped me recover who is a former national qualifying gymnast, and Sally Fallon, the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Our book is called Performance Without Pain: Healing Pain, Inflammation, and Chronic Ailments in Musicians, Athletes, Dancers—and Everyone Else (New Trends, 2006).
In my book, we discuss what foods cause digestion problems and chronic ailments. We also discuss the vital necessity of eating traditionally raised foods, adequate amounts of vitamin A and D and traditional fats—fats that people ate for 1000s of years. Without these foods, digestion and nutrient absorption can eventually be severely compromised.
We also cover the importance of traditionally cultured foods that promote healthy intestinal flora, without which our foods are not broken down properly and unhealthy bacteria can thrive in the intestinal tract causing bacterial fermentation and intestinal damage. When the intestinal tract becomes damaged, undigested proteins can “leak” through the intestinal wall, causing an immune system response and inflammatory chemicals to continually circulate throughout the body. For musicians, dancers, or athletes, this can lead to a predisposition to injury and inflammation.
From his research, Dr. Price established a set of dietary requirements necessary for optimal human health that involve nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest foods with adequate traditional fats from pastured animals and wild-caught fish. These include:
• High-vitamin A and D foods—cod-liver oil, egg yolks, liver
• High quality traditional fats—butter, coconut oil, lard
• Bone-broth soups made from chicken, beef, or fish.
• Traditionally cultured foods such as kefir, yogurt and homemade sauerkraut and pickled beets.
• High quality proteins—meats, raw dairy, poultry, eggs, and fish—from animals eating their natural diets.
Through this approach, I reversed my acid reflux and intestinal damage, and provided my body with the nutritional elements necessary for building health. I am now recovered and vibrantly healthy! For the first time in 25 years I have had no pain or inflammation in my body for over four years. My embouchure is completely strong and I have excellent stamina.
Although finding high-quality foods and changing your diet may at first be complicated, your health is your most important asset. The dietary principles that Dr. Price found that supported optimal human health were the permanent answer to healing my digestive tract, and therefore, my long-term pain. The exciting news is there is a growing movement of people across the country that is turning to these same foods to improve chronic illness of all kinds.
For more information about our book and seminars see www.perfoprmancewithoutpain.com.