Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why Dietary & Lifestyle Changes Continue to Meet with Scrutiny – Witness Ineffective Diagnosis of Gluten Intolerance*

[*Gluten Intolerance – an umbrella term that embraces both celiac and gluten sensitivity.]

Much of our current generation grew up in the era of the antibiotic. What a beautiful thing when a specific organism infiltrates the body and a specific solution is rendered to annihilate that organism and restore health. It’s so simple. Strep throat + antiobiotic = health. Pneumonia + antiobiotic = health.

When I was in college and studying pre-med as a molecular biology major, there was an avid search for the “virus” that was the cause of cancer. It was never found of course.

Those of us living in industrialized nations are not dying from infectious diseases in the main. We are dying from degenerative diseases. And those diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, don’t respond to a single agent such as an antibiotic. There is nothing to “kill” per se to make them go away.

This is a tough concept. We live in a “what can I take?” society. Patients want to know what they can swallow to “make it all go away”. Why? Because they (and I believe much of mainstream medicine) is stuck in the antibiotic era. We still want the one pill one disease solution.

What we know now is that inflammation is at the route of almost all of the diseases from which we suffer. Genetic vulnerability can play a role in determining if that inflammation will have more of a coronary insult than a cancerous one, but the root cause, we’re finding is much the same.

If only there was the “Alpo” diet. You who are dog-owners know what I mean. Dogs eat the same thing most of their lives. If you find a food that works well for your dog you’re encouraged to not vary from it. In fact if you do need to change it for some reason you’re cautioned to make the change very gradually as to not upset your dogs’ system. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was a perfect food that we could all just ingest for every meal and the result would be optimal body function? The downside is that it sounds a bit boring but if the upside was ideal health I could probably be convinced.

Alas it’s not so simple for us humanoids. Variety of fruits, vegetables, healthful fats, organic whole (non-gluten) grains and clean protein choices all need to be consumed on a daily basis. We couldn’t consume them all in each and every meal so we need to aim for at least getting a good balance daily.

And this food becomes information and good food is good, anti-inflammatory information that counters the inflammatory factors created by exposure to certain toxins, chemicals, and normal bodily functions.

What about junk food? Prepackaged, trans fat, artificially colored and flavored “food”? What kind of information do you think that brings? I put food in quotation marks above because you shouldn’t really call that food. It should be called consuming toxins. And if you consume toxins you’re going to get poor health.

I believe that much of the resistance that we witness to diagnosing and implementing a correct treatment program for gluten intolerance is that clinicians themselves don’t follow lifestyle changes. It’s difficult to recommend something to your patient that you personally feel is impossible to follow. This goes beyond opinion. For many years I’ve run into fellow clinicians at conferences who are convinced that asking their patients to make dietary and lifestyle changes is utterly impossible and doomed to failure. So instead they offer them medications because they ”know” that this is their only viable option.

At least in the field of Functional Medicine clinicians are employing the use of registered dieticians to refer their patients to. Often though these individuals are not in-house creating a disconnect between the two clinicians. Here at HealthNOW we do all our lifestyle and diet consultations in-house to ensure that they are being complied with.

This is not going to be a quick transition. Both patients and clinicians are going to go “kicking and screaming” into the concept of diet and lifestyle and nutritional interventions being the true solution to the health challenges we face.

Help me to move it along faster by spreading the word. Grass roots movements are very effective, especially when they are backed by truth – there are many, many research based papers that support my statements.

Please let me know how I can be of further help.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical CenterCo-author of “The Gluten Effect

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