I get a lot of questions from readers of this blog, submitted via feedback to various postings. While I often respond individually, sometimes the questions are so insightful that I’m compelled to share them here.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has spent time on this blog, or to anyone who had read Don’t Die Early, that I believe most of today’s modern diseases are the product of our unfavorable lifestyle decisions and, in fact, result from the small set of root causes, like poorly controlled glucose levels and rampant inflammation.
It’s also no secret, either, that I think most mainstream clinicians are too inclined to wait for diseases to manifest instead of focusing on prevention. (See my rant on preventive cardiac care for an example of how misguided standard clinical guidelines can be.)
Fortunately for all of us, there are some great physicians out there who see the bigger picture. They think like scientists and look beyond the symptoms to identify root cause instead of just writing a prescription and moving on.
One such physician is Dr. Bill Wilson, founder of the CARB Syndrome Project. The CARB Syndrome is Dr. Wilson’s name for an array of neurological maladies induced by overconsumption of high glycemic foods. As Dr. Wilson points out, the average person’s sugar intake 100 years ago was one pound per year. Today it’s 150 pounds per year. The human body, especially the brain, cannot withstand that glucose assault without being harmed. This harm manifests itself as “depression, ADHD, autism, eating disorders, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, PTSD, bipolar II, anxiety disorders and others.” In other words, many of the disease that have become household words today.
Today’s issue of the Dallas Morning News features the headline “Wide world: Obesity is spreading.” According to the article, hunger no longer holds much of the world in its grip, as the obese now outnumber the malnourished worldwide 2 to 1.
While I don’t doubt for a moment that this is true, what I find more alarming is that the so-called “experts” are still singing the same, fatally flawed tune about the cause of the world’s obesity being lack of exercise and the consumption of too much fat.
I received the following email recently, from a woman I’ll call “Sandy”:
“Both my parents died from heart attacks at a young age. I also have high cholesterol. I’m 44. Any advice for me? I would like to see grandchildren some day.”
My first thought upon reading this was, “Wow, Sandy, I certainly feel for you.” There’s hardly a person alive today whose life hasn’t been affected by heart disease. Either facing it directly, or having lost, or is at dire risk of losing, someone dear. Even those fortunate enough not to have lost a loved one to heart disease will hear stories about the friend of a friend who seemed healthy and passed all his checkups, only to suffer a heart attack. No matter who we are, just hearing that heart disease is the #1 killer today can cause us to wonder, “will that be me someday?”
For those of you trying to fulfill a New Year’s Resolution to be healthier, Don’t Die Early Kindle edition is free on 1/2/2013.
Happy New Year!
Most of Don’t Die Early’s sales are the printed book. I think this is because there’s so much information in Don’t Die Early that people like referring back to it over and over. As one Amazon reviewer stated:
This is a terrific book. I have read a lot of the books this author cites. The book is well organized and the appendices are some of the best sections. I want to share this with my family… I bought the Kindle edition, but I am buying the paperback one so I can highlight and bookmark it and leave it “lying around” for curious people to pick up.
Trailing printed sales are Kindle and lagging far behind Kindle is the Nook, which is about 10% of the Kindle sales.
Because the overwhelming number of Don’t Die Early’s electronic sales are on the Kindle, I’ve decided to suspend the Nook version for a period of 90 days so that I can try the Kindle Select program, which includes the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Because Kindle Select requires that I publish ebooks exclusivity with Amazon, during this 90-day period, Don’t Die Early will not be available for download from Barnes and Noble. It will, of course, still be available in printed version from Amazon.
If tons of potential Nook readers are inconvenienced or if the Kindle Select program is not as cool as Amazon says it will be, I’ll resume Nook sales in 90 days.
I was pleased to find a copy of the Wheat Belly Cookbook under my tree this Christmas. Written by Dr. William Davis, the author of the #1 New York Times best seller Wheat Belly, the Wheat Belly Cookbook is loaded with recipes for those seeking a healthful, wheat-free diet.
In the cookbook, Dr. Davis carefully makes the distinction between healthful, wheat-free eating and simply going “gluten-free.” Unlike gluten-free cookbooks that replace wheat with damaging, high-glycemic ingredients such as rice starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch, the Wheat Belly Cookbook uses far more favorable foods like chickpea flour, almond flour, and flaxseed meal. The result is tasty, healthful that doesn’t promote a damagingly high glucose response.
One of the first recipes we tried was the Basic Focaccia. After nearly three years being wheat-free, I thought my days of dipping focaccia bread into a dish of flavored olive oil were long gone. Even though I no longer crave bread or bread-like foods, it’s nice to find a healthful substitute for something that I thought I’d never eat again.
In less than 20 minutes, we whipped up a batch of focaccia bread, which we used as a principal component of a wine and cheese dinner.
Wheat Belly Cookbook is divided into sections dedicated to breakfasts, sandwiches and salads, appetizers, soups and stews, main dishes, side dishes, and, finally, the chapter that may be most welcome to those new to a wheat-free life: the Wheat Belly Bakery. If you’ve gone wheat-free and you’re craving chocolate chip cookies, breadsticks, or pizza, this is the chapter for you.
Perhaps best of all, Wheat Belly Cookbook’s introductory chapters very effectively summarize the content of Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis’ best selling indictment of today’s frankenwheat. If you haven’t read Wheat Belly and are curious to know more about why so many of us are giving up wheat, these introductory chapters will certainly deliver.
While Wheat Belly shows us that a life without wheat is beneficial, Wheat Belly Cookbook shows us that a life without wheat can be tasty and fun, too!
I was chatting the other day with a family member about the importance of vitamin D for optimal health. I mentioned that vitamin D metabolism can vary significantly from person to person and this is why just telling someone to “take x amount of vitamin D” is less useful than saying “maintain a healthy level of vitamin D in your bloodstream.”
“My doctor checks my vitamin D level twice a year,” he said. “Great!” I replied. “What is your vitamin D level?”
“My doctor said it’s fine,” came the response.
I replied that many doctors think a vitamin D level of 30 is “fine,” while others recognize that values in the 60 to 80 range are preferable and I asked if he had ever been told his vitamin D value.
“Nope. But the doctor says it’s fine.”
Ok, then, but you still don’t know what it is!
While it’s perfectly admirable to have a trusting relationship with one’s physician, staying in the dark about things like your vitamin D level, lipid studies, or other lab tests doesn’t allow you to check for yourself whether or not your doctor’s opinion of “fine” is really in line with your opinion of fine. Moreover, having ready access to your labs will make discussions with other physicians easier, either because you’re seeking a second opinion or if it’s an unrelated matter (for example, your OB/GYN asks you what your vitamin D level is, you can give a number instead of saying “fine”). If you change physicians, having a copy of important test results can be a godsend if your records are lost or delayed in being transferred from your previous physician.
As useful as medical records are in preventive care, they’re even more important if you are being treated by multiple physicians for a more serious or chronic matter. In such cases, having copies of your records, and being familiar with them, can help you ensure that your physicians are communicating thoroughly and accurately. Ive been in a situation where one physician says “I’d like to run a blah blah test on you” and I respond, “Dr. X ran that test last month and here are the results.” In an ideal world physicians would communicate so effectively that there would never be a case of a needlessly repeated test but the last time I looked out my window, it wasn’t an ideal world. It’s up to each of us to be the principal advocate for our health and a backup custodian of our vital records.
It’s pretty simple to do: each time your doctor orders a test, ask for a copy of the results to take with you. I’ve never had a physician hesitate at such a request.
Most seem pleased that I care enough about my test results to keep a copy.
“Every 17 seconds an American is diagnosed with diabetes.”
So reads the cover of an informational booklet that recently arrived in my mailbox. Written by the PEO (professional employer organization) that handles my company’s HR and insurance, this brochure espouses the goal of “improving the health of our employees.”
Despite their laudable intentions, the brochure’s diabetes prevention advice is the same hogwash that’s gotten us into this diabetes mess in the first place.
Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a recipe for pumpkin bread, courtesy of my mother-in-law:
- 1.5 C almond meal
- 0.25 C whey protein powder
- 2 t corn starch (yes, I know corn starch isn’t optimal, but it’s just a couple of teaspoons)
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t cinnamon
- 0.5 t sea salt
- 0.5 t nutmeg
- 0.25 t ginger
- 0.25 t cloves
- 0.5 C butter
- 1 C Splenda
- 2 eggs
- 0.75 C pumpkin
- 1 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate, melted and broken into pieces
- 0.5 C pecans
- Mix together all dry ingredients, except chocolate and nuts
- Cream butter and Splenda
- Add egg and pumpkin
- Add dry ingredients
- Fold in chocolate and nuts
- Bake at 350 degrees for 65-70 minutes