This Heading in our newspaper caught our attention and we are thrilled to add Timi Gustafson, R.D. to our list of people whom we respect and would like to recommend– she doesn’t publish the same things we do, but we know you will appreciate some of her articles. We also highly recommend a most wonderful and common sense article by her Guest Writer Mark Hyman, MD, which we will also include here.
Timi Gustafson, R.D. writes-– When people hear the word “diet,” most think of calorie restriction, deprivation, making up for past indulgences, and so forth. There is something unpleasant, almost punitive about the whole concept of dieting, which is unfortunate because it can make it harder to turn to healthier eating regimens.
Dieting Is Not About Following a Program But Taking Ownership Of Oneself As a Healthier Person
“The main goal of going on a diet is to get off it as quickly as possible,” a client of mine used to say. I’m sure his sentiment is widely shared.
Another reason why diets are unfavorably looked upon is that they don’t work in most cases, even if they show initial success. It can be maddeningly frustrating to realize the futility of one’s sincere efforts when lost pounds return with interest, seemingly for no particular reason.
Being intimately familiar with the scenario, I tell my clients from the get-go that if their diet leaves them feeling deprived and unsatisfied, they will not be able to maintain it in the long run, no matter how beneficial it may be to their health.
In its original meaning, the term “diet” does not describe a departure from one’s regular eating styles. On the contrary, it simply means what and how someone usually eats. Certain eating habits may have developed over long periods of time, often starting during childhood.
When established patterns begin to cause problems, e.g. unwanted weight gain, elevated cholesterol levels, adult-onset diabetes, etc., some form of intervention is likely to be required. How effective the intervening measures will be depends on multiple factors.
All need for change starts with a crisis, benign or serious. Nobody arrives at the decision to change his or her eating patterns in a vacuum. There may be acute health problems, issues of vanity, a desire for winning back youthful rigor – whatever. An important question is how do the required changes fit into someone’s existing circumstances.
Few people can completely undo and remake their current lifestyle features. There are families, occupations, commitments, and multiple other concerns involved. Diet and lifestyle are intertwined with all that. How can we expect, for instance, someone to eat in unaccustomed ways, establish and maintain an unfamiliar exercise routine, stop all detrimental habits like smoking or drinking at once and go on with life as if nothing happened? It’s a ludicrous proposition.
Then there is the matter of personality. Some (very few) people are able to turn on a dime. The vast majority tends to implement changes only in small increments. In my book, “The Healthy Diner,” I describe different personality types I’ve come across over my many years of health counseling. There are people who find it relatively easy to try out new approaches, others prefer to stick with the tried and true. Others again are ready to take up whatever is new and exciting but lose interest or don’t have the stamina to see things through over time. None of these attitudes are to be judged as better or worse, but they are predictors of how likely a person will succeed with certain methods.
So what would be the best way to get on a healthy path that is effective and also endures? The simple answer is that none fits all.
What that means in practical terms is that before you sign up for Weight Watchers, South Beach, Mediterranean, DASH, or whatever seems most promising, ask yourself how this or that program fits you – you as that unique individual at a particular moment in your life. Examine carefully your natural tendencies, your strengths and weaknesses, and also your situation and how people and things around you are affected by your decisions.
Eventually, you should be able to come up with what I call the “right diet,” which is specifically designed for you, and the only one I trust to produce lasting results. You may be successful by following, at least in part, a particular prescription, or borrow from several. In the end, however, it has to be all yours.
THE ONE DIET THAT CAN CURE MOST DISEASE
If I told you there was one diet that could cure arthritis, fatigue, irritable bowel, reflux, chronic allergies, eczema, psoriasis, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease, migraines, depression, attention deficit disorder, and occasionally even autism, and that it could help you lose weight quickly and easily without cravings, suffering, or deprivation, you might wonder whether Dr. Hyman has gone a bit crazy. But it’s true.
The Whole Person, Body And Mind, Can Be Treated With The Right Dietary Changes
The story goes like this. Food is medicine. Bad food is bad medicine and will make you sick. Good food is good medicine that can prevent, reverse, and even cure disease. Take away the bad food, put in the good food – and magic happens.
The problem with current medical thinking is that it treats diseases individually, requiring specific diagnoses and labels: “You have migraines,” “You have depression,” “You have psoriasis.” And then you get the migraine pill, the antidepressant, and the immune suppressant.
What if you didn’t have to treat diseases specifically or even need to know their names? In fact, I often see patients who come with 20 pages of analysis from a dozen different doctors.
For example, I recently saw a patient treated by multiple specialists. She was on 42 pills a day for severe allergies, asthma, and hives. She even “died” twice and had to be resuscitated after anaphylactic shock. In just a few short weeks, simply by changing her diet, she got off all her medications, and her allergies, hives, and asthma were gone.
Another patient, who suffered for decades from reflux and irritable bowel, and whose symptoms couldn’t be controlled with acid blockers and “gut relaxers,” got complete relief from his symptoms only one week (!) after changing his diet.
What if you could just treat the whole person with dietary changes, upgrading the information given every day to your body through food? Food is information carrying detailed instructions for every gene and every cell in your body, helping them to renew, repair, and heal – or to be harmed and debilitated, depending on what you eat. What if you could send messages and instructions to heal your cells and turn on healing genes? And what if, by some simple changes in your diet, you could get rid of most of your chronic symptoms and diseases in just a week or two? That is entirely possible. Some people call it detox. Other people call it an elimination diet. I call it the inclusion and abundance diet. I call it Ultra-simple!
The best part of this approach is that you don’t have to trust me or any “expert.” You simply have to trust your body. It will tell you very quickly what it likes and doesn’t like.
If you are constantly putting in information that is making your body sick – such as hyper-processed industrial junk food, sugar, flour, chemicals, additives, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, inflammatory foods, or what I call anti-nutrients – it acts like poison. It inflames your gut and your cells leading to whole-body inflammation that you experience as pain, allergies, headaches, fatigue, and depression and that leads to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
This one diet, the Ultra-simple diet – which is getting the junk out, getting inflammatory foods out, adding healing, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory foods – has the power to heal in a way that medication can’t and never will be able to.
I have used it for decades with tens of thousands of patients with remarkable results. We are beginning studies at Harvard University that will look at how to tackle the toughest diseases with a simple change in diet.
This approach can work faster and better than any medication. The power of this simple diet change – getting rid of the bad stuff and putting in the good stuff – can often reverse the most difficult-to-treat medical problems and give people the experience of increasing wellness, even if they don’t have a serious illness. It is something everyone should try just once. Many of my patients say, “Dr. Hyman, I didn’t know I was feeling so bad until I started feeling so good.”
Let me share a story, one that is very common in the world of functional medicine, which is the science of treating the root causes of disease, the science of creating health.
One patient, a medical school professor and doctor, came to see me after struggling for years with psoriatic arthritis. He was crippled by pain and inflammation, despite taking powerful immune-suppressing drugs, including an ibuprofen-like drug, chemo drugs, and a drug called a TNF alpha-blocker that suppresses the immune response so much that its side effects include overwhelming infection, cancer, and death. Still, he wasn’t better, and at the age of 56 he was ready to quit. He couldn’t operate any longer and could barely walk up the stairs. He had psoriasis all over his skin, and it was destroying his joints. He also had reflux, depression, canker sores, constipation, and trouble with concentration. His liver function tests were abnormal, and he was overweight.
He had a horrible diet. He ate oatmeal with milk and sugar for breakfast, tuna with soup and cookies for lunch, and fish or meat with vegetables and potato or pasta for dinner. He snacked on cookies and protein bars. He avoided chocolate and fatty foods. He ate out more than five times per week and craved sweets and caffeine, consuming three to four cups of coffee and one diet soda per day. He drank about 12 alcoholic beverages per week, including wine and the occasional scotch.
So, I put him on the Ultra-Simple diet by getting rid of industrial food, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, and by adding whole, real foods. I also got rid of the most common food allergens and sensitivities.
At his first follow-up visit, he arrived pain-free and said he hadn’t felt so good in years. He reported an 80 percent reduction in pain, could climb stairs more quickly, and was no longer limping. All his pain and stiffness were gone. His hands had been swollen and difficult to open, but now the swelling was gone and he could operate again. He had discontinued taking all of his medications after the first visit (even though I told him not to). His reflux and migraines were gone. His mood had improved, and he was less irritable. He was no longer constipated and he had lost 15 pounds.
If there is one thing I could encourage everyone to do, it is to take just one week to see just how powerful a drug food can be. There is nothing to lose but your suffering. It doesn’t take months or years to see change. It happens in days or weeks.
Mark Hyman, MD is a physician and widely acclaimed book author. He is Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and serves on the board of directors of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. He is the founder and medical director of The Ultra Wellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.
We want to encourage you to check out his other Articles and website. We think you’ll be very glad you did!
TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH!!