Tag Archives: disease

Better Than Before: A Hypochondriac Discovers von Willebrand Disease

 von Willebrand DiseaseThe worst thing you can tell a hypochondriac such as myself, is that there is another illness out there waiting to be experienced. Case in point: The little-known bleeding disorder, von Willebrand Disease (vWD). While it sounds like something you can only catch from effete German aristocrats, it is, in fact, named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish pediatrician who first discovered it in 1926. And the only reason I am writing about it now, is that it turns out that I know someone who actually suffers from it, and she recently described her symptoms to me. (Note: When innocents start doing this and my husband, The Lawyer, is present, he desperately, tries to stop them before I personally start to manifest the symptoms!) Amazingly, it is remarkably common – if not well understood – and by some estimates, affects as many as 1 in 100 people. A genetic disorder, it is non gender-specific, meaning men and women are afflicted equally. Most cases, though, go undiagnosed because the symptoms tend to be very mild.

In order to find out more about vWD, I consulted with the specialty-trained clinicians in the Express Scripts Bleeding Disorder Therapeutic Resource Center, offered through Accredo, who have disease-specific expertise. They help patients understand and manage their condition and treatments. In other words, they are good for me to get to know. (Both the experts and the treatments, that is!)

Here is what Leslie Oygar, a clinical nurse liaison in the TRC, tells me:

Von Willebrand factor (vWf) is one of the key components of the process that helps blood clot. It is produced in the bone marrow and the lining of the blood vessels, where it is also stored. In 99% of us, VWf is released into the blood when an injury occurs and works with platelets to start the clotting process, which ultimately stops the bleeding. If the supplies of vWf are inadequate, it can result in uncontrollable, or poorly controlled, bleeding.

There are three types of vWD. Fortunately, a vast majority –roughly 75% – of patients have Type 1. These patients typically experience less severe symptoms. Type 2 is caused by a qualitative dysfunction of the vWf. There’s enough clotting factor but it does not function the way it should. Type 3 is the most serious, and rarest, of vWD. These patients have a a severe deficiency of clotting factors, and experience significant bleeding –including joint bleeding. Type 3 requires treatment with an intravenous clotting factor containing vWF.

Now for the scary part as far as I’m concerned! That would be the actual symptoms. According to Oygar, these can range widely depending on the person’s gender and type of vWD.

“They can be as minor as light bruising or small knots under a bruised area,” Oygar says.

The more alarming ones include bleeding from the gums and prolonged bleeding after a dental extraction, blood in the urine (kidney bleeding) or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Female patients, as one would imagine, can have additional signs including prolonged or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, which are in some cases very serious, requiring blood transfusions until it is under control. Postpartum bleeding is of concern as well.

The good news? vWD is treatable, Oygar points out. How? Glad you asked, because Oygar has answers.

• Symptoms of Type I and some forms of Type 2 are often treated with an intranasal spray, Stimate, also offered in injectable form.

• Oral medications, like Aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid, are available to help prevent the clot formed from breaking down after the bleeding stops. They are often used before and after dental procedures.

• Some other forms of Type 2 and Type 3 may call for an intravenous plasma-derived clotting factor.

For patients with any form of vWD, however, below are six useful medication management tips to help ensure that their condition is well controlled. They are important suggestions to keep on hand on your journey to feeling Better Than Before:

1) Be on the alert: If you have vWD, as with so many conditions, the first step is prevention. Similar to people with hemophilia, obviously avoid activities that can lead to cuts and internal bleeding. Less obvious is food-intake related actions. Sharp-edged foods, such as corn chips, may scratch or pierce the soft tissue inside your mouth and cause bleeding. Chewing gum can lead to biting your tongue. And if you are already bleeding, avoid hot foods and beverages, as they can cause vasodilation, causing bleeding to worsen.

2) Have First-Aid handy: Keep popsicles in the freezer as a first line of care for oral bleeding until medication can be administered as ordered by the hematologist. The ice-cold treat aids in vasoconstriction, which is part of the first stage of coagulation. Ice packs for topical use on other areas of the body should be in the freezer as well.

3) Cover all contingencies: Especially in the case of your children who may have vWD, have a plan and discuss it with the school nurse or teachers, and other caregivers. Ensure that medication is available in the school clinic for any episodes of bleeding.

4) Use as directed: Nasal sprays, injectables and intravenous medications for vWD require a hematologist’s supervision and approval and should be used exactly as prescribed. Over-dosing or under-dosing can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Always consult a hematologist or an appropriate clinician for questions about dosing changes. Missing doses or discontinuing the medication could cause the bleeding to resume.

5) Monitor fluid intake: Over-hydration in patients on a nasal spray or injectable form of medication can cause seriously low sodium levels which could lead to seizures.

6) Talk to your clinician: Heavy menstrual bleeding can be dangerous and must be reported to the hematologist or clinician. Let your hematologist know at least 2 weeks prior to surgery or dental work. Be sure to report any symptoms or changes.

As for me, I’ve decided that from now on I probably should stay away from sharp knives; and just to be sure, all cooking utensils! The Lawyer will just have to fend for himself in the kitchen. (Who cares if the odds are 99 to 1 that I don’t have vWD!)

The Healing Powers of Burgers and Fried Chicken

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 4.10.30 PMCan burgers and fried chicken really be good for you? Yes. But not the Five Guys killer burger—not that kind. It’s burgers and chicken you cook yourself. And why do you need to cook them yourself? Here’s why.

Eating out can kill you, especially if you eat fast food or the addictive processed sugar and fats typically packed into almost every food that is made in a factory. The average American eats 29 pounds of French fries, 23 pounds of pizza, 24 pounds of ice cream and consumes 53 gallons of soda, 24 pounds of artificial sweeteners, 2,736 grams of salt, and 90,700 milligrams of caffeine per year. Do we really think we can create health in that toxic food environment?

A young New Zealand woman with eight children recently died after consuming 2.2 gallons of Coke per day, which, by the way, contains two pounds of sugar and 900 milligrams of caffeine (enough to give an elephant palpitations).

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a study that showed life expectancy declining among women in America, especially in the South (the area with the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the country). The authors of the study were quoted as being surprised by this data. One Harvard researcher said that trying to figure out why “is the hot topic right now, trying to understand what’s going on.”

Really? Life expectancy drops as obesity, diabetes, and the consumption of junk food, fast food, and sugar soars, and researchers fail to see the connection? It’s not rocket science. And yet, Harvard scientists are perplexed, and the National Institutes of Health spend $800 million each year studying the cause of obesity.

The cause of obesity is complex, to be sure—increased stress, environmental toxins, our sedentary lifestyle, and our sleeplessness as a nation all play a role. But the elephant in the room here is our toxic industrial food supply, specifically sugar. To paraphrase President Clinton, “It’s the food, stupid.”

I just returned from China where they are experiencing the same chronic diseases and obesity we find in the West because, on every corner, at every turn, our industrial food culture has permeated their world—KFC, McDonald’s, Subway, Coke, Pepsi are everywhere. Today, China has the most type 2 diabetics in the world. Yes, they have more people, but their diabetes rate is about the same as that of the United States: about 10 percent. Thirty years ago, I traveled to China and saw only one overweight woman, and she was riding a bicycle. In 30 years, the rate of diabetes there has gone from one in 150 to one in 10, and now, one in five people above the age of 60 in China are diabetic—and 60 percent are not even diagnosed. Obesity and diabetes are rampant there, increasing at a far faster rate than in the United States, and this shift can be tied directly to how fully they have embraced our processed, industrial, high-sugar diet.

I am the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and we were asked by the Chinese to come and teach their physicians how to deal with lifestyle-related chronic disease. A group of us went to show them how to return to their traditional ways of using food as medicine.

It’s sad that a country in which food has long been considered medicine—with specific care taken to include special foods with healing properties at every meal—would need to relearn this knowledge. In fact, the word for “take your medicine” in Chinese is “chi yao,” which means, “eat your medicine.” We went to a special restaurant where everything on the menu was chosen for its medicinal properties, including all sorts of exotic fungus and plants and animals like sea cucumbers.

But we don’t need to eat funny-looking plants and animals with weird textures and tastes to eat our medicine. In fact, we can start with burgers and fried chicken.

I recently did a segment on The Dr. Oz Show during which I demonstrated how to use food as medicine, cooking recipes from my new cookbook, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. I carefully selected healing, medicinal, blood sugar-balancing ingredients, disguising them as our favorite foods.

It might surprise you that burgers and fried chicken can be healthy, but keep in mind, my versions of those foods have stealth healing properties. All the recipes in my cookbook contain medicinal foods. They are medicine, but they don’t taste like medicine, because at the end of the day, if they did, no one would eat them. But they are made from real, whole, fresh food cooked from scratch, and they taste amazing. To help you truly understand how food is medicine (not just like medicine but actually real medicine), I have analyzed two recipes from my cookbook that we demonstrated on The Dr. Oz Show.

Sweet Potato Burgers (on page 114 of the cookbook)

Here are the ingredients, along with information on how each affects your health and your biology:

  • Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which is reflected in their orange color. Their phytonutrient properties help with weight loss by increasing adiponectin, a fat-reducing, insulin-balancing, anti-diabetes hormone made by your fat cells.
  • EVOO, also known as extra virgin olive oil, is a phytonutrient superfood. It contains oleic acid and dozens of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory polyphenol compounds that lower blood pressure and promote health. They also contain good monounsaturated fats.
  • White beans contain good plant proteins, fiber, and magnesium. The fiber helps lower your blood sugar.
  • Curry contains turmeric and other anti-inflammatory spices. Obesity and diabetes are inflammatory conditions. Turmeric is nature’s ibuprofen. It also prevents cancer and dementia (both related to diabesity).
  • Almond flour contains protein, fiber, magnesium, and healthy monounsaturated fats. It helps lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, prevents diabetes, and promotes weight loss. People who ate more almonds have been shown to reduce their risk of diabetes significantly.
  • Avocado contains phytosterols, which are fats that lower cholesterol. They also contain omega-3 fats (ALA), as well as carotenoids, selenium, and zinc. Avocado has eight grams of fiber in one cup and is very low in carbs. The fats in an avocado help you absorb all fat-soluble antioxidants, just like the carotenoids in the sweet potato do. Avocado also contains these special seven-carbon carbohydrates that help to lower blood sugar.
  • Tahini is made from sesame seeds, which contain a special fiber called lignan (seamolin and sesamin) that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It is very high in magnesium and calcium, containing over 30 percent of your daily needs in just one quarter of a cup. It is the best source of dietary calcium (far better than milk).
  • Lemon zest contains limonene, which boosts liver detoxification, and the lemon juice contains anti-cancer bioflavonoids.
  • Garlic contains 1,2-DT (1,2-vinyldithiin), which is an anti-inflammatory sulfur compound that can inhibit the number of fats cells that form in our body. And it can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and is a natural antibiotic.

Not bad for a burger!

The next recipe is fried chicken. I call it “unfried” chicken. Click here to check it out!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Deepak Chopra: The Power of Ayurveda for Perfect Health

Does Ayurvedic medicine really work, and if so, how?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra is joined by Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, an renowned Ayurvedic doctor, to explore Ayurveda as a science of health, wellness, and wholeness. How can Ayurvedic practices be used to create balance and health? Dr. Kshirsagar explains that the purpose of Ayurveda is to connect to your spiritual self and remove the fear of death and disease — that health is a by-product of enlightenment. How do we move beyond a quantitative approach to healing to a more qualitative one?

Ayurveda is the holistic approach to healing that is greatly needed in an age filled with all manners of dis-ease. It is the mind-body-spirit approach to health and wellness that can provide a powerful alternate, or at least addition, to the medical practices we are more familiar with in the West. Unfortunately not everyone is quick to accept this ancient healing wisdom.

What do you think? Would you seek out Ayurvedic healing to address various health conditions and improve overall wellness? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak’s book, Perfect Health!

How to Balance pH for the Best Body You’ve Ever Had

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 5.04.26 PM

Summer is a season of renewal, and a great time to highlight pH balance, a critical factor in overall health, including maintaining a healthy digestive system, glowing skin, and a strong immune system. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance – in this case, between the level of acidity and alkalinity in your body. If your pH (short for potential of hydrogen) balance is too far in one direction or the other, it can be detrimental to your health.

I enlisted the help of  Dr. Jeffery Morrison to explain the specifics around pH balance, as well as easy dietary choices that help to correct imbalances. A leader in the Wellness field, Dr Morrison is a medical doctor as well as a nutrition expert. He heads up the Morrison Center in NYC and is the author of the book “Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind.

What is the importance of the acid/alkaline balance in the body?

Dr. Morrison: Our bodies work the best when we are able to maintain the proper pH. When the body is too acid or too alkaline, it doesn’t work optimally.

What causes an imbalance?

JM: Our bodies are very efficient at keeping the acid/alkaline balance, but if we carry too much stress and our acid levels get too high, then the body needs to work extra hard to maintain that balance, leaving little energy for healing and repair.

When the body is too acidic, the cells become deprived of the oxygen they need to efficiently deliver nutrients and energy throughout the body. To buffer the acid in our blood and maintain a proper pH, the body also needs to steal calcium from our bones and magnesium from our cells. That is why people who are acidic over an extended period of time tend toward osteoporosis, low energy, and shorter life spans.

If too much acid can hurt us, why do we need it?

JM: We need the acid to help fight infection. We tend to become acidic when we are fighting an acute infection like a cold or the flu or healing a wound. The body’s response to infection is inflammation. Temperature and circulation increase while oxygenation decreases; it’s like localized chemotherapy. As a consequence, acid levels increase.

This is why people tend to get really tired when they are sick. Cells need oxygen to make energy and the acidic environment inhibits the cells from getting that oxygen. This is a healthy response. We want this to happen. This is how our bodies heal. However, when this acute reaction becomes a chronic one, then we get into trouble.

What steps can people make to create more alkalinity in their body?

 JM: Eating the wrong food plays a big role in how acidic we are. People who eat processed food, drink soda, and eat candy tend to be more acidic. Other things that play a role in our pH levels are chronic infections, long-term use of prescription medications, too much protein, and stress.

food-chartWhat foods are best to eat to promote optimum pH?

JM: The best foods to boost your alkalinity are leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, and swiss chard, as well as some fruits. To shoot for an optimum pH, people should eat a diet that is 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Acidic foods like nuts, grains, and proteins are an essential part of your diet but should make up only 30% of your food intake.

What about non-dietary factors?

JM: The other things that people can do to reduce the acidity in their bodies are moderate exercise, stress management, and to drink plenty of water.

How can people find out if they are acidic?

JM: There is a very simple test that anyone can pick up in a health food store: pH Balance strips. You can choose either urine or saliva, but I feel that urine is more accurate. Use the strips with your first morning urine. If you test below a 5, then it is likely that you are acidic.

What will people feel when they switch over from being too acidic to becoming balanced?

JM: When your body’s pH normalizes, you will feel more energized and less achy. You will sleep better, your mind will be clearer, your skin color will improve, and your ability to fight off infections will increase. This is because your cells will have proper oxygenation which will allow your body to function at its highest level.

For more inspiration, here are 4 pH-balancing recipes:

Kale Chips
pH Balance Juice
Berry Kale Smoothie
Beet Fennel Soup

 

Chart credit: Better Body Choices

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips

The Kaiut Method: Yoga For People Who Hate Yoga (Part 1)

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By Kiri Westby, with Ed and Deb Shapiro, who all attended the yoga class described here.

Doing yoga with Francisco Kaiut is doing yoga from the inside out. In fact, to say the word “doing” is already too active, too aggressive, as it’s more of an un-doing.

I am someone who has never felt very comfortable in a modern yoga class. Plagued by an inner clamoring about how inflexible I am, convinced I am doing it wrong and actually hurting myself in the process, I am often too intimidated to ask for support. When I do get talked into going to yoga, I put on my tough face and prepare to be sore for the following week. So that is how I came into the Kaiut yoga classes in Boulder last winter, prepared for a truly uncomfortable experience. Instead, I found something refreshingly different and even liberating…and everyone in the crowded room felt it too.

The Kaiut approach to yoga is inclusive, specifically catered to your body and very personal. Ever wonder what it would be like to have your favorite Chiropractor in yoga class with you? Well, Francisco Kaiut is a trained Chiropractor with a background in cranial sacral, polarity therapy, Tibetan Buddhism, and Hatha Yoga. He has used his in-depth understanding of the body, as well as years of research and experience within traditional schools of yoga, to develop his unique approach, which we can only call Kaiut Yoga (and why not? He invented it!).

“Each person’s body is aging differently from the moment we are born.” Francisco explained. “Even in the womb we are favoring one side or the other. So we have to pay very close attention to each individual’s body, to see where they have developed rigidity over the years and where we need to focus our efforts.” Specializing in addressing complex injuries and chronic pain, students travel to Brazil from all over the world to learn this unique method of yoga and experience real healing.

For me, the enticing thing about Kaiut yoga is that its devotees are not typical über-athletes doing extreme exposes, but rather an assortment of folks from all walks of life, young or old, skinny or fat, who are suffering from chronic pain and discomfort in their bodies. “Finally!” I admitted, “I have found my people in the yoga world.”

In class, Francisco uses his more seasoned students to demonstrate preliminary positions, asking everyone to abandon their mats and come up close to see the form he wants you to begin with. But by the time he and his partner, co-founder Luciana Ross, have finished fine-tuning each person’s positioning, looking around the room one might think 50 different classes were taking place.

“We have to make the poses fit the person, and not the other way around. There is no one place where the leg or the arm has to be in order to garner the benefits,” Luciana explained. “It’s very important to constantly move around the room and connect with each student to attend to their unique needs. Each person should feel like they are giving their body exactly what it requires.”

Eco-Activist Zoë Tryon is a Kaiut Yoga devotee. She spoke with me about what makes this style unique. “I have been a student of yoga for over 20 years, trying many different modalities. What deeply impressed me, and created significant change for me when I found Kaiut yoga, was the truly holistic nature of the approach and the depth of knowledge that Francisco and Luciana have. They have an uncanny ability to read the body quickly and adapt the yoga specifically. I was able to heal physically but also release many of the emotional issues behind my physical problems.”

Stay tuned for part 2!

Photo credit: Francisco Kaiut

* * *

Join our Be The Change Meditate e-Conference with 30 eclectic meditation teachers, including Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, Gangaji, Joan Borysenko, Seane Corn, neuroscientist Richie Davidson, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Stiles, and us, Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of the conference companion book, BE THE CHANGE. Expect your life to never be the same again!

The One Diet That Can Cure Most Disease: Part 2

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 6.24.34 PMClick here for Part 1.

What if you could cure all your health problems and lose 10 pounds in just 7 days?

That’s an amazing claim, hard to believe for sure, but I have seen this miracle so many times in my practice (and now from all the people who have posted on my website who followed my ideas) that even I am starting to believe it! My true goal is to help people feel better. Period.

Because I once was seriously ill with chronic fatigue syndrome, I know what it’s like to wake up every morning feeling like you can’t go on or to have a thousand and one other minor complaints that lower your capacity to enjoy life. Now, of course, with more serious illness, it may take more than one week to find the cause and the cure (although by using the systems of UltraWellness and functional medicine, it is possible for so many millions with chronic illness to get better over time).

Functional medicine is medicine by cause not symptom. The ONLY way to truly heal chronic disease and address weight problems and disease is to get to the ROOT of the problem, to find the cause, and then get rid of it and help the body heal. And two of the major factors that make people sick and fat are being toxic and being inflamed. So, the secret of the 7 days is to very quickly stop the things that make you toxic and inflamed (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, junk food, processed foods, etc.) and do things that help you detoxify and cool off inflammation (eat whole real foods, stop all potential food allergens, clean out your bowels, deeply relax, and more).

That’s when miracles can occur.

The scientific research supporting the role of inflammation and toxins in illness is overwhelming, but most doctors don’t know how to help their patients deal with it. Think of it as an experiment and try to prove it to yourself. Don’t believe me. I was trained in conventional medicine, practiced it for 10 years, and helped many people using the tools I was trained in—namely, medications and surgery. While I worked in the emergency room, those tools worked amazingly well, bringing people back from the brink of death and relieving suffering. But I realized that I wasn’t helping the tens and tens of millions of Americans (125 million to be exact) who suffer from some type of chronic illness. And that doesn’t include the millions who just don’t feel well.

In fact, I now believe that most people walk around just accepting feeling mediocre—tired, achy, brain fog, memory problems, depression, headaches, congestion, allergies, digestive problems, joint pains, PMS, skin problems—things that may not even be a disease, yet rob them of the possibility of feeling great. Who can say they are fully alive, full of energy, and able to greet the day with joy and enthusiasm? How many of us can really do that?

Well, I know this is possible for most people. And the sad thing is that most people don’t know why they feel less than fully alive and healthy and don’t connect it to their behavior or habits. The key to creating health is figuring out the cause of the problem and then providing the right conditions for the body and soul to thrive. It isn’t taking another medication!

Over the last 20 years of practicing at Canyon Ranch, founding The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA, and working with dozens of other leaders in the emerging field of functional and systems medicine, I have found the few simple things that make the most difference for the most people. That is why I write the books I write. But I was overwhelmed by how the lives of people who never even saw me as a patient were changed. When I read these stories, I realized that I could offer what I have been giving to my patients one on one to help them feel great very quickly and lose weight immediately without compromising my true goal of helping people get to the root of their health and weight problems.

And it occurred to me that what I do for nearly every patient who comes to see me is to give them a chance to see just how sick they have been and how powerful making a few simple changes can be in just one week. Once they see by directly feeling how their food choices and their behaviors make them sick—and they experience a taste of UltraWellness—then, they are empowered to make changes that can help them feel great and lose weight for the long term.

The most important things to address at the outset for weight loss and creating UltraWellness are inflammation and toxicity. These are among the two most important causes of chronic disease and obesity. So, I put together a simple program called The UltraSimple Diet Challenge, including all the tricks and tools I have used successfully with thousands of patients for so many years. In one short week, I teach them how to detoxify and to cool off chronic inflammation.

That is The UltraSimple Diet.

I asked many of you in my online community to try it and give me feedback. I was overwhelmed by the response. We had thousands respond but could only accept about 150 into the testing. Even though I know what I recommend is effective, I was very surprised by the power of the program in people who I had never even met or for whom I created a customized plan. It had dramatic effects. We had 131 people complete the program. We asked people to track their medical symptoms—things like headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, congestion, joint pain, depression, and more. In just one week, they had an average of 51.15% reduction in their symptoms. And they lost an average of 5.53 pounds (and many lost over 10lbs) and lost an average of 1.37 inches from their waist and 0.94 inches from their hips!

To me, the weight loss is nice, but it’s not the main objective (it’s a nice side effect and happens automatically if you deal with the underlying roots or causes of illness). The real benefit is the possibility of experiencing UltraWellness, a state of deep and true health and vitality. And it happens so quickly. You don’t need to believe me—just try it for one week. Join me for a webinar on May 29 to learn about how you can join The UltraSimple Diet Challenge that starts in just a few short weeks. It’s only seven days—anyone can do it!

And tell your friends. Pass this along.

I believe that if enough people really get to experience the difference in their health created by one week on The UltraSimple Diet Challenge, it will change them forever. It could create a cultural shift that may be able to fight the overwhelming power of the food and pharmaceutical industry, which controls our health.

Empower yourself, transform healthcare!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Coping with Cancer: Join the conversation with Mallika Chopra, Steven Callahan, and more special guests!

For the culmination of our “Aspire to Inspire” series and in celebration of National Cancer Survivor’s Day (June 2) our last hangout will be about Cancer survival. Rich and Annette Leal Mattern will be joining us from Breast Cancer Answers. Steven Callahan who survived being lost at sea 30 years ago and two years ago was diagnosed with Leukemia will also be sharing his story with writer/director Justin Rubin who lost his brother and sister on the same day, 20 years apart, from the same type of brain tumor.

We hope these stories, and all the others from the rest of our Google+ hangout series, inspired you and gave you strength if you are coping with a similar situation. Please tell us your thoughts and share your own stories in the comments section below!

Also check out these beautiful short films by Justin Rubin on his experience losing his brother and sister to the same form of brain tumor, on the same day 20 years apart:

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and help us create dialogues around the issues that unite us all!

The One Diet That Can Cure Most Disease: Part 1

Red, Yellow, GreenIf 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 if Dr. Hyman had gone a bit crazy.

But it’s true. And the story goes like this.

Food is medicine. Bad food is bad medicine and will make us 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—like one I saw yesterday—who came with 20 pages of analysis from a dozen doctors from the Mayo Clinic. Her “diagnoses” were “muscle pain, fatigue and insomnia,” and she had been given no recommendations for treatment. Not very helpful!

I recently saw a patient treated at Harvard 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 with reflux and irritable bowel and whose symptoms weren’t controlled with acid blockers and “gut relaxers,” got complete relief from his symptoms 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 one week (or maybe two!)?

That is entirely possible. Some people call it detox, Some people call it an elimination diet. I call it the inclusion and abundance diet.

I call it UltraSimple!

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 toxic, sick, and fat—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 in the body. 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 UltraSimple Diet—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 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 profound wellness, even if they don’t have a serious illness. It is something everyone should try just once. Most 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 roots 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 56 years old, he was planning 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 UltraSimple Diet, getting rid of industrial food, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar and 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% 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. And he had quit all 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 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.

In my next blog, I will explain exactly what this diet is, why it works, and how it heals your body. And I will show you how to get started.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, I can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Don’t fail to die.

death-achieved

 Have you noticed, did you know that perfect societies exist? Maybe in imagination only, yes, but still they do — places where beings, humans, live in perfect peace for there is no reason for violence. Did you know? You might not have realized if you are not a lover of stories, but there are places, realms, worlds were human lives are devoted to growth and expression, entirely. Where no one lacks for food nor shelter, where there is no need to strive, to gain, to protect, to survive. There is only freedom to be what you are. To grow and create and experience.

Do you know which stories are those? Which people?

Those who do not die.

Elves, wizards, the immortals. Free of the nagging fear, free of the all consuming drive just to live, just not to die — they live fully and completely. And they enjoy living.

I have thought about this for the last few days. I have thought about this since the day when the famous boobs came off in defense against death. I wondered — what would I have said if asked about my flagrant disregard for yearly checkups, mammograms and cancer protections, my lack of interest in defenses against disease, defenses against death?

What would I say if asked why do I not strive to survive, to gain, to protect, to remain alive just one more day, just one more?

I would say: death is not a problem.

I would say: death is not a problem because I will not end. The body will change, the mind will dissolve and I will transform, graduate and open to the next adventure. I rather look forward to that.

I would say: death is not a problem. Fear is.

Without the fear of dying I am free to live life that is nothing but freedom to be what I am. To grow and create and experience. Free of the need to strive to gain, to protect, to survive.

I would say: death is not a problem because it is not an end — it is a change.

I would say: avoiding death is not my purpose. Avoiding change is not my purpose.

My purpose is to live well.

My purpose is to die well.

First Human Stem Cells Cloned! (Video)

HopeBefore you start dreaming about that twin sister you always wished you had, or an army of “mini me’s,” there is still a ways to go before full on human cloning (if that’s the direction were even headed.) But scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) announced their success in reprogramming human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, which can transform into any other type of cell in the human body. This is a major breakthrough in the realm of disease treatment and regenerative medicine, as previous trials have only been successful conducted using cells from monkeys. What, exactly, are the implications of this development?

If you consider conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries, the ticket lies in being able to replace damaged cells using stem cells. The researchers used a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT which involves transferring the nucleus of one cell into an egg cell with its genetic material removed. This unfertilized egg cell is then able to develop and produce stem cells that can grow into any number of cell types. (Another interesting aspect of this – no fertilized embryos are employed in the process, which would mitigate that aspect of the debate surrounding stem cell research.)

As the lead researcher, Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov writes:

A thorough examination of the stem cells derived through this technique demonstrated their ability to convert just like normal embryonic stem cells, into several different cell types, including nerve cells, liver cells and heart cells. Furthermore, because these reprogrammed cells can be generated with nuclear genetic material from a patient, there is no concern of transplant rejection. While there is much work to be done in developing safe and effective stem cell treatments, we believe this is a significant step forward in developing the cells that could be used in regenerative medicine.

Watch this video to get a better sense of the scientists’ process:

Video of the cell manipulation process filmed using a microscope equipped with a video camera from OHSU Video on Vimeo.

What do you think of this news? Are you excited by the prospect of stem-cell based treatment? Let us know in the comments section below!

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