Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : ULCERATIVE COLITIS - MY STORY : PART THREE

HI. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. THIS BLOG IS SIMPLY MY STORY, MY OPINIONS, AND MY OBSERVATIONS. I'VE DONE MY OWN SEARCHES FOR INFORMATION AND COME TO MY OWN CONCLUSIONS. NOTHING IN THIS BLOG IS INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR PRETEND TO CURE ANYTHING. SUPPLEMENTS AND SOME FOODS CAN AND WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR. FINISH IN THEIR ENTIRETY, ALL THE MEDICINE YOUR DOCTOR PRESCRIBES.  DISCONTINUE YOUR MEDICATION ONLY WITH YOUR DOCTOR'S PERMISSION, AND ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU TRY OR DO ANYTHING NEW IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR UNIQUE HEALTH SITUATION.

So, now is the time to share with you what I discovered about why my body's immune system broke down so quickly.  This is my theory.  And I'm sticking to it.

First, I'm an adopted child.  I was adopted at birth by two wonderful parents who gave me a nice, loving life.  The year was 1952.  Baby boomers were being born, and I was one of them.  Life was good.  Modern medicine was creating vaccines for polio and other diseases and we were led to believe that science and invention were going to conquer all disease and leave us with a better and better life. My parents and I were part of that energy. The first group of wonder drugs, antibiotics, were being introduced.  Convenience consumed convention. No longer did mothers have to breast feed. Dads could help too as baby formula was coming into fashion.

The challenge with formula, even today, is that it isn't breast milk. Our scientifically formulated baby formula is missing the natural enzymes and other ingredients of mother's milk that researchers now know provides a boost to the child's evolving immune system.  There is no substitute for a mother's milk in immune system support and is far superior than any formula.

Plus, so much of today's baby formula is made with soy, an allergen for many.  Genetically modified soy (GMO), made by agricultural scientists eager to patent nature.   So, if you're going to use a soy based baby formula, make sure it's made with organic soy.  Organic soy is not genetically modified and is healthier for your child (assuming they're not allergic).  Soy is a potential allergen, so be aware of your child's reaction. Again, mother's milk is the natural and best nutrition of choice.

By being formula fed rather than breast fed, I believe the strengthening of my immune system was compromised.  Research suggests I probably did not have the same advantages as breast milk-fed babies had. No one knew it at the time.  Doctors, antibiotics, and food processors were our friends.  They tried to make the world healthy and satisfied.  It was the modern age.  Smoking was endorsed by 4 out of 5 doctors, for goodness sakes.

During my childhood, I had several bouts with illness, including a bad cough (maybe whooping cough) when I was about 12 years old.  I was out of school for about two weeks.  The doctor gave me antibiotics, the new miracle cure for bacterial infections.  I healed.  Again, I was sick again for about two weeks when I was 16.

Then, when I was 17, I started going to a dermatologist for my inflamed acne.  He prescribed antibiotics, tetracylcene, erythromycin, and aureomycin.  My zits went away!  I was so happy my complexion was improving, I stayed on the regimen of antibiotics and doctor visits for 18 months.  Daily antibiotics for 18 months.

Ten years later, I was diagnosed with IBD, my very own ULCERATIVE COLITIS.

Summarizing my de-evolution into dis-ease, only my opinion mind you, I was adopted as a newborn and not breast fed. Baby formula fed me but did little to nourish or strengthen my immune system. My childhood and adolescent illnesses were often treated with antibiotics.

Antibiotics were and are still used to this date on agribusiness meat and poultry. There was nothing about organic meat or poultry during the first 30+ years of my life and, feeding myself a lot of fast, convenient, packaged, pre-made food from convenience food places and coffee shops, I consumed a lot of meat and poultry treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics continue to be marketed by drug companies to agribusiness, promising fatter livestock that go faster to market.

(In 2011 according to the FDA, 30 MILLION pounds of ANITIBIOTICS were used on chickens and other food animals. The FDA in 2013, right now, is planning to ask drug companies to stop marketing antibiotics to agribusiness as a growth agent.  It is now 2014 and progress in this area is being made...buy organic when you can...)

Chlorine was and is still used as an antibacterial agent in our drinking water and swimming pool water.  Chlorine kills germs in our tap water supply and keeps the bacteria away in swimming pools.  We drink tap water (at home and when we go out to eat) as wsll as swim in and drink (yuck) pool water through our mouths, eyes, ears, and nose (ok, accidentally, but it's in and out of all our skin as we swim). Once consumed, chlorine has a similar effect in the long term on our human system.

Then, as a teenager, I was on a daily regimen of  antibiotics for about 18 months to manage my acne (which it did beautifully, by the way).  10 years later, I was diagnosed with IBD, specifically Ulcerative Colitis, an auto immune disease in which the immune system appears to attack itself as a foreign entity.

So, there might be a pattern of system-breakdown causality, under my theory, connecting the overuse of antibiotics with an already compromised immune system.  Being adopted, I'm not totally clear about what my genetic disposition might be to my diagnosis. I do believe I could have had this system-breakdown even if I wasn't genetically predisposed simply based on my own individual environmental situation.
My consumption of antibiotics in its many environmental forms - as medication and acne treatment, in water, in meat and poultry - led me to a silent, hidden history of incomplete immune system rebuilding that, in the long run, proved inadequate to keep me healthy. The good bacteria had been killed off for so often for so long, there weren't enough of them to do their main job: keep a balanced control of the bad bacteria.

The good bacteria were weak in population and the bad bacteria (also known as C. Difficile or C. Diff. for short)simply overran them.   And when bad bacteria is having a party in your gut, you're sure to be miserably inflamed. My bad bacteria simply overtook the good and had its way with me.  I've come to believe that the good bacteria are essential for me to manage my own inflammation.
I've come to believe that how inflammation expresses itself depends on one's own environmental factors and/or genetic propensity. I think there's a connection between generalized inflammation and the way an individual's body turns on the alarm system. Symptoms occur when a body is trying desperately communicate something. Like, "The house is on fire! Someone, please put it out!!"

IBD, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease, or Celiac Disease, as well as Lupus, hemorrhoids, psoriasis, and arthritis, are examples of auto-immune diseases associated with excessive inflammation.

Based on those inflammatory responses, doctors diagnose them and call them diseases so they can prescribe treatment. I believe that all inflammatory diseases are connected and that one approach to all - a nutritional based approach designed to enhance immune defenses and response - may have more to offer than the next round of pharmaceutical drug invention. But that's just me and my wild imagination.

It should be noted, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, or IBS, also due to inflammation, is different from IBD and less severe initially. It could lead to other diagnoses, for sure, so IBS is nothing to fool around with either. It's a possible warning flare from a soon to be listless boat in the ocean. It's better to find a life vest.

As the miracle organism that it is, the body is asked to filter everything it ingests and to eliminate waste along with toxins. When the body takes in more toxins than it can adequately filter, an accumulation can occur.

This is where a potential increase of FREE RADICALS (waste and toxic cells that were used up in the process of metabolizing energy and that now need to be removed from the body's system) may become problematic.  For some, a body's inability to efficiently remove waste and toxins can lead to CHRONIC INFLAMMATION. The body is simply asked to do too much for too long and can't keep up.   Free Radical elimination is hampered by the excessive consumption of potentially toxic substances such as smoking, alcohol, exercise, sugar, caffeine, medicines, antibiotics, sunshine, additives and preservatives and so much dead food (see my page that talks about the concept of dead food).  After a while, decades probably, parts start to go bad and break down. Sometimes earlier on, like me at 29 (representing 3 decades of dead food and antibiotics), a complete systemic breakdown occurs.

Here's another way I look at it. The human body is an amazing processor of energy - sunshine, food, air and water.  Our body's main purpose is to make sure every cell is nourished and then filtered out upon reaching the end of its lifespan. Its an ongoing process that is occurring in all of us, even as you read this. I just learned that we humans shed 30,000-40,000 skin cells EVERY HOUR!  We don't feel the process so much as experience the results of that process.

A body hungers for attention every day of its life. As the body's owner and guide through this thing called 'Life', if you don't provide these energy sources to your body efficiently - if you're not able to get enough sunshine, your food sources are inadequate in terms of fresh, whole food, you don't drink enough water, or the air you breath isn't clean - your body is going to tell you by having a part break down or you can have a complete system malfunction, like I experienced.

Weight gain and stress can exacerbate internal inflammation. We also consume toxins such as alcohol, caffeine, prescription and recreational drugs, as well as antibiotics and chemicals in our food, water and soft drinks, not to mention cigarette smoke and air and highway driving pollution.

So, how do we maintain this filter known as the human body?

Well, we know that good health is tied to a healthy immune system.  A compromised immune system is more vulnerable to dis-ease.  So, how do we grow the good bacteria in our gut so that they can crowd out the bad bacteria and more ably lower inflammation and fight infection?  Is it even possible after months or years or decades of medication and toxin ingestion?

The wonderful thing about the human body is that it strives to live healthy and with a balanced PH.  The immune system wants its host to live long and prosper.  That's why, when it shuts down, you need to listen to your body. Because you're the only one it's talking to and you're the only one who can figure out what it's saying. It all starts with LISTENING. Once we listen, we can act.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : ULCERATIVE COLITIS - MY STORY PART ONE

HI. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. THIS BLOG IS SIMPLY MY STORY, MY OPINIONS, AND MY OBSERVATIONS. I'VE DONE MY OWN SEARCHES FOR INFORMATION AND COME TO MY OWN CONCLUSIONS. NOTHING IN THIS BLOG IS INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR PRETEND TO CURE ANYTHING. SUPPLEMENTS AND SOME FOODS CAN AND WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR. FINISH IN THEIR ENTIRETY, ALL THE MEDICINE YOUR DOCTOR PRESCRIBES.  DISCONTINUE YOUR MEDICATION ONLY WITH YOUR DOCTOR'S PERMISSION, AND ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU TRY OR DO ANYTHING NEW IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR UNIQUE HEALTH SITUATION.

THIS IS MY STORY: PART I.

In 1980, I had a total immune system collapse.  I was diagnosed with an INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE(IBD)called ULCERATIVE COLITIS (UC).  I had no idea what that was, had never heard of that disease and was confused over what had happened to me.  It came on so suddenly.  It's not like I had a history of intestinal problems.  On the contrary, I was active, engaged with life, a school teacher with a bright future and married 5 years to my high school sweetheart.  And then all of a sudden I was seriously ill.

I didn't know what hit me.  Those of you reading this know the symptoms only too well.  They are horrifically painful.  Every bleeding, rectal cramp drained my energy to where all I could do was cry until my tears wemt dry.  I was prey to my body as it appeared to be attacking itself.

(Children, turn away for a moment...)

I have to tell you, though, I was feeling so much dis-ease, I was willing to do anything to feel better. The bowel movements - did I say they were painful? -They are exquisitely, excruciatingly, blindingly, painful. I didn't just see stars, I saw new constellations that haven't been discovered yet. Oh, did I forget something? Oh, yeah, I've left out the explosive bloody splatter in the bowl. Tarrantino would look away from that scene, I swear it was that bad. And, after many, many minutes (feeling more like hours, months, & years) of cramping, enough to put a red ring around my exhausted, crying derriere, I'd pop out a stool the size of the tip of my pinky. And all from my new seat, my new window to the floor of the world: my toilet. Like nothing you've ever experienced before, unless you've experienced it before. And then you know only too well. I have felt this pain.

I needed a doctor.

Back in 1980, the internet was a distant future dream. I relied, as a patient should, on my doctor and pharmacist for the information there was. I trusted my doctor to treat and to cure me. It's the way I was brought up and taught to think about doctors. They are our healers.

My thought at that time was that my symptoms came on so suddenly, there had to be a trigger or maybe a mosaic of triggers, affecting me.
Homeopathy, naturopathy, whole food nutrition, acupuncture and yoga were terms I wasn't even familiar with. Food allergy diagnosis was confined to an allergist's office and a series of shots.

No, thank you very much.

So, my doctor, my proctologist/gastroenterologist, my ass doctor, the expert at all things rectal, had little else to offer except to follow his prescription. Which I did faithfully, as should any patient, by taking the medication prescribed for this disease. In my case, my prescription was for a drug called Sulfasalazine (U.S. brand name: Azulfidine; Europe and Hong Kong brand names: Salazopyrin and Sulazine.) This drug was developed in the 1950's for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

When the symptoms first hit me with their full vengeance - as this was no gradual breakdown - I went to the doctor, a prominent proctologist in my area. Proctologists are the ass doctors. They examine rectums all day long. That didn't seem to comfort me. Consulting with my doctor after the examination, diagnosis and prescription, I asked my doctor what caused my condition.

The same answer, common today, exited his lips, "We don't really know." I was advised to consider cutting back on red meat and dairy. And to take my medication.

Absolutely brutal.






I didn't want to eat ANYTHING because I wanted to put off having that dreaded intensely personal experience as long as I could. I SO hated the feeling. I felt powerless. Food just turned me off because I knew the pain of elimination was the end result (pun intended). I felt as though someone had taken a steelwool bottle brush to my intestines. Everything was on fire. I was miserable. It wasn't punny back then.

After the doctor's diagnosis, I started taking my prescription, Azulfidine, and sought out a nutritionist who prescribed a diet that was cooked, steamed or prepared in such a way that it was soft and easy to digest. Almost like baby food, which might be a good choice today because they've improved the taste and much is now organic. Today, if I was suffering, I would definitely look into baby food. Also, no red meat. No dairy. No alcohol. No caffeine. No soda. You know, none of the good processed stuff I loved to eat.

To replace the protein I was no longer getting from red meat, I tried adding soy based items like tofu to my diet.  I learned pretty quickly soy was an exacerbator of mine. Hence, all soy and tofu products were eliminated from my diet.  Small pieces of fish and chicken combined with rice were good.  It was a slow, grueling process.  The softer, easier to digest meals did make things easier.  Along with taking my doctor's prescription, I began to feel better.

11 months later, with the help of the medication (which, by the way, turned all of my bodily fluids orange) the symptoms had subsided and my doctor took me off the medication. Other than the orange part, the medication agreed with me and I didn't have any other noticeable side effects.

1981 began well. For about three months.

I was feeling better and, of course, I went back to some of my old ways...a cheeseburger and fries washed down with a large diet soda. Yum! I LOVE LOVE LOVE coffee and soda. I got back into the stuff and I drank a lot of it. I was a teacher; I needed that caffeine to survive, for goodness sake!

So, three months later, I had a flare up. Another dose of painful, bloody elimination.






I didn't understand. Wasn't I supposed to be all better? I had followed my doctor's advice and prescription for a year, and now this? I thought, "I hate this soooo much!" And here I was again, flaring, spotting, cramping and getting ready for the big explosion. I was so upset.

Of course, not fully armed with the information I would later, much later, have, I went back to my doctor. Where else was I going to go? This time, my proctologist prescribed suppositories. I left the doctor's office feeling 'Oh, this is great... A bandaid for my bleeding ass! Thanks doc!" as I cheerily danced away. I never even got a follow up call. I guess I wasn't yet ready for surgery so why bother? I don't know.

And that was the last time I saw any proctologist for my treatment. I really felt my diagnosis was a systemic problem that my procto could only treat. Infuriatingly, there was only the doctor's lip service to nutrition. I was determined to solve my own diagnosis by understanding all I could about nutrition and how my body metabolizes food and sources of energy and what were the sources of energy that I could consume without the aggravated outcome I'd been experiencing.

My goal was to understand my own immune system and become its best friend. And if that salvo was the best my proctologist could do, I was certainly going to have to do this without the help of western medicine. Western medicine gave me one of its best and brightest in the field of ass diagnosis and treatment and, in essence, gave me their best shot. It appeared they were going to treat my dis-ease as a lifelong condition, not cure it. With little sympathy outside the medical establishment, I chose to turn elsewhere.

I really wanted a cure. However, if I could manage my IBD diagnosis, my ULCERATIVE COLITIS, without drugs, I would consider it a huge victory, and a "cure" for myself. I would test myself over and over again for 20 years before I finally got the message. I examined a lot of information along the way and, one by one, I found out some information that I applied to my situation.

When my body experienced these symptoms, I couldn't hate my body. I had to flip that paradigm because what I discovered was that I had to fall in love with my body all over again. Loving my body, and acting in its own best interest, is part of what I believe I'm supposed to do. After all, I didn't make my body. It's a precious, precious gift of life. It turns out, I was poisoning my best friend. And I had to stop.

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : ULCERATIVE COLITIS - MY STORY PART TWO











HI. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. THIS BLOG IS SIMPLY MY STORY, MY OPINIONS, AND MY OBSERVATIONS. I'VE DONE MY OWN SEARCHES FOR INFORMATION AND COME TO MY OWN CONCLUSIONS. NOTHING IN THIS BLOG IS INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR PRETEND TO CURE ANYTHING. SUPPLEMENTS AND SOME FOODS CAN AND WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT AND MAKE THINGS WORSE.ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR, FINISH ALL PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE YOUR DOCTOR PRESCRIBES. NEVER DISCONTINUE YOUR MEDICATION WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S PERMISSION, AND ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU TRY OR DO ANYTHING NEW WITH YOUR UNIQUE HEALTH SITUATION.


MY STORY PART 2

My insides were so raw during the initial months of my diagnosis, I would have done anything to have a regular bowel movement. During that first year, in addition to following my doctor's advice, I started seeing a nutritionist who advised me on food choices that might allow my intestinal lining to be less inflamed on the inside. My nutritionist's belief was that it was possible. I had hope.

My nutritionist advised me to eat lots of easy to digest foods. Portions were always measured by the cup, and I learned to eat several times a day as a consequence. I follow that pattern today. Small portions, 5-10 times a day. Chicken or turkey or fish with a little (1/4 cup) steamed white rice and any kinds of steamed vegetables; apple sauce, bananas, papaya, scrambled eggs, cream of rice cereal, dark chocolate (72% or greater cacao content), water and chamomile tea or aloe vera juice with plenty of water throughout the day.

Vegetables and fruit were to be steamed or cooked until soft or liquefied, as in smoothies. I always eat fruit at a separate sitting or as a snack between meals. Fruit sugar or refined sugars when eaten after a protein meal can cause excess gas, heartburn, flatulence. This is due to the fact that sugar digests faster than protein. Protein slows the digestive process, the sugar ferments, voila! Where's my antacid?!? Like a lot of people, I love fruit and little sweet treats; I just can't combine them with protein dominant meals. And I don't want to get

I had to avoid all dairy products, which meant no milk, cream, cottage cheese, cheese, ice cream, yogurt; Also, no red meat, alcohol or caffeine and definitely NO SODA. My nutritionist's immediate goal was to try and remove the stress from my digestive system and, by doing so, bring down my inflammation. The working premise was that my diminished and fragile immune system needed to gain strength and use its energy to heal.

Working with both my doctor and my nutritionist, my symptoms did finally subside.






I credit nutrition as being part of my overall success. Nutrition, imagine that. Today, I've added almondmilk to my food choices. I'm allergic to soy. Plus, most soy in the U.S. is now GMO soy, or Genetically Modified Soy. Search: monsanto gmo soy

You'll recall, when I first saw the doctor, I was told they were unsure of the etiology, or cause and development of, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), specifically, Ulcerative Colitis. They only knew what some anecdotal, patient-reported exacerbators might be: dairy, red meat, raw vegetables, citrus, alcohol, caffeine and stress. I noted that those were my initial clues to healing from my dis-ease after that that first year and the subsequent flareup about three months later. I felt I was on the right track, but, my goodness, I didn't realize it was going to take 20 years of this to finally figure everything out for myself.

Eventually, I was convinced there was an answer for me beyond my doctor's initial diagnosis. I was simply determined - perhaps naively - that I wasn't going to live with this condition controlling me. Whatever it took, short of going back to my proctologist and his, for me, bandaid prescriptions, I was going to find my answer and control IT, whatever IT turned out to be. My diagnosis was confirmed by my proctologist, and I believe I was diagnosed properly and according to the modern medical book. My doctor took me as far as modern medicine could. I was hoping for another solution for me.

I was praying there was another, non-prescription answer. 

For myself, I felt there had to be an answer or answers to my dis-ease and I wasn't going to stop until I found the balance and management I was looking for. As I've said, I believed my symptoms to be systemic, that some mosaic of triggers in my body was causing my immune system to react as it did. It was my initial intuitive hunch. I egan exploring alternative medical approaches.If I could learn how to manage my dis-ease, without drugs, I would consider that a victory and a "cure". Without the internet at the time, I had to rely on the few books and articles available as well as alternative medical professionals, including my nutritionist and eventually my acupuncturist and homeopath.

I looked into holistic, naturopathic, acupuncture and Ayervedic treatments reputed to strengthen my immune system.

Along with the guidance of my nutritionist, I found a treatment that had over 3,000 years of usefulness in the healing arts, and I decided to try it: acupuncture. That was the next big step in my journey. For me, acupuncture provided the relief I was seeking, and I was so grateful. I didn't have to believe in it either. It really worked for me. My acupuncturist educated me about this amazing and fascinating healing art and about supportive herbal supplements and mental approaches to my healing process.

At first, my acupuncture treatments were several times a week, necessary to jump start the harnessing of my own energy (energy, or "chi", prounounced "Chee")in my own healing process. All needles are only used once per patient and then medically waste-disposed after the doctor removes them at the end of treatment.

Acupuncture is bloodless and painless (just a little twinge now and again as the acupuncturist's needles tap into your energy flow, your "chi") and lasts about 45-60 minutes. Eventually, after several months, my acupuncturist tapered me down to maintenance levels, about once a month or so. At that point, it was up to me, really. I had the control.

In the meantime, I learned a lot about the wisdom and history of acupuncture. It fascinated me that some person(s) 3,000 years ago thought to do this, to use needles to tap into a body's energy fields and elicit connective healing. Who the heck thought of this? For me, it was like a miracle gift of genius.

During my acupuncture treatment, I have to tell you, I used a bit of super-focused self-hypnosis. I employed specific visualizations and positive, healing affirmations along with the visual of white light, to relax and focus my entire being on healing. I continually visualized seeing light and sending that energy to be part of the healing my own inflammation.

I focused on my breathing, slowing it down and relaxing into the moment. I felt that by engaging my whole being in the process - mind, body and soul - I was able to better guide and therefore control my own upward healing arc. Internalizing positive, healing affirmations and directing that energy to my
gut healing, I would always rest my thoughts before drifting off to a relaxing sleep, with a personal suggestion that, when I awoke from treatment, I would awaken feeling alert, refreshed, balanced and re-energized.

With my acupuncture, there was never any drug-like hangover feeling, ever. Just calm, relaxed, focused and synergistic healing energy. That's just me. I always left the acupuncturist's office feeling great. Even after the first session, I felt better and more in control. I needed this time for me and I took it. I had to invest in me because I was worth it.

For me, ACUPUNCTURE had wonderful healing benefits. It tapped into my body's own healing forces. So, I followed my acupuncturist's advice and, along with some herbal supplements he suggested, I healed again. I felt I was really on my way toward understanding and managing my ailments. For me, acupuncture was part of the answer. As I felt better, I exercised more with cardio and weights and began to get back the tone I had lost during the illness.

Acupuncture was gradually reduced to just doing a tuneup every month or so. Keeping to the dietary guidelines was still important. And I was good.

Again, for a while.






I was again lulled into thinking I was now managing my IBD, my ULCERATIVE COLITIS. And, again I backslid. The IBDelicious taste of all that processed foodstuff kept tempting me back to the dark side of processed food consumption. I started the backsliding process slowly at first, just treating myself, just testing the waters. Everything seemed ok so I indulged some more. And about 6 weeks later, wouldn't you know it, another flareup...

So, between 1981 and 2001, I bounced around from being mostly in good health to having some flareups. Each time I would have a flare up, I would scold myself for backsliding and thinking I could get away with it. I would be so angry with myself. I knew what to do, didn't I?

Why wasn't I able to stick to the guidelines? Oh, right. That other stuff just tastes so good. All the fat, salt, sugar, creamy, carbonated, carbodelicious treats were so tasteful and alluring (and, I've learned, addictive).

This time, THIS TIME, I was REALLY determined. I had to eliminate my exacerbators once and for all. This time, I would REALLY listen to my body. After all, it was screaming at me again.

In the meantime, because a flareup took a few weeks to heal, I'd have to go through a mini-healing process again of doing my acupuncture, seeing my naturopath, and following the dietary guidelines I knew were part of my regimen. And, having had probably more than a dozen or so flareups in this period of 20 years, I began to really connect the emotional and physical dots.

Ok, so I'm a slow learner. I've been living with this diagnosis since 1980 and I've only been symptom free since 2001. All that I think I know about myself is being put into this blog.

I probably should've done some of this with talk therapy, but I didn't. I would be in it now, though, especially if I was still suffering. Talk therapy can be good. It sometimes helps to see your issues through the eyes of an objective professional, to understand the deeper things going on and help keep you focused on your goals. Consider talk therapy as a possible outlet as we with IBD tend to keep a lot on the inside, too.

Part of the healing process is to let toxic thoughts find their exit relieving you of some of the stress you feel, a natural exacerbator for much of what ails many. Stress is a killer. Talk therapy helps you balance the emotional load and encourages you to take time for yourself.

So, for me, independent of therapy, I realized my pattern of backsliding: After healing, I would be good for a little while, maybe a few months or more, and I would convince myself into thinking I was again invincible, all healed and good to go, and then I'd be tempted again and I'd backslide with the crap. And, after I started up again with the crap, while I was consuming the crap, it took my body about 6 weeks before my next flareup. 6 weeks to break down. Ugh.

So, this time was my second to final epiphany. I was determined more than ever to heal once and for all. There would be no more backsliding into unhealthy choices! In my research online, I looked at what others wrote about the food choices of those who live to be a healthy 100 years of age or more. That became part of the mozaic of my motivation. To live a healthy, long life.

No more breakdowns.

That fickle finger of fate (I hate the word 'finger', by the way. You?) and final fateful flareup occurred in the year 2001.

The culprits? Soda pop, coffee, energy drinks and energy bars, and more caffeine, soda and coffee. I finally put two and two together and stopped insisting the total was 5. Ding, ding, ding! Epiphany!

It took my body less than a week of caffeine withdrawal headaches to flush it from my system. Water and tea and aloe vera juice are what I now drink exclusively. I love Rooibos (pronounced: roy-boss) tea, camomile tea, and hybiscus tea. All are naturally caffeine free. I might have a glass of wine socially.

That said, I sure do miss the combination of sweet bubbly cola and caffeine racing down my throat.  I could easily slug a six pack during the day. But, no more. Done. Finit.  Finished.  Kaput. I've since learned it was like drinking acid; I believe it broke down the natural ph balance of my body and affected my gut's ability to fight off inflammation. For me, it was like drinking fire. I had to put the fire out.

Around that time, the internet became my friend.  I searched for information regarding immune system support.  I discovered the value of food combining, anit-inflammatory natural supplements, the nature of inflammation in the body and how to manage it.  I discovered much about the human body and what an amazing system it is.  Overall, it helped me support healthy food and supplement choices.

I've gone (mostly) organic and eliminated a lot of processed foods. I cook more and I'm in control of the kinds of meals I eat. When I eat out, I'm careful to avoid exacerbators.

Even though I've eliminated some tasty processed treats from my buffet, I don't feel limited. Being symptom free for over 10 years, I have learned to eat small portions several times a day. I can eat pretty much whatever I want (except for the processed exacerbators). I have reintroduced red meat into my diet and make a mean organic turkey and grass fed beef chili. Yes, I use chili powder. Yes, I eat jalapenos and I love a little spicey meatball every once in a while. Counterintuitively, spices are my digestive system's friends. Certain spices are plant based SUPERFOODS.

Too, I'm a Dodgers fan, living in LA my whole life, so when I go to a game, I always have a Dodger dog with mustard. I just don't overdue it and on those days I indulge, I make sure I have my digestive enzymes and fish oil capsules with me. The capsules of fish oil help the meat digest and eliminate smoothly with no constipation at all.

Because I now follow the best advice I've been able to discover, I feel that if I'm good 98% of the time, for goodness sakes, I can indulge with a little crappy - yet oh so tasty - meat every once in a while. But, remember, I've been symptom free for over 10 years. I've become knowledgable about my condition.

No more soda, though. The more I read about soda, the more I'm glad I'm away from it. It's one of the worst exacerbators for my Ulcerative Colitis. And these new energy drinks are so full of inflammatory chemicals and caffeine, they're like an atom bomb of ACIDIFICATION. More about ACIDIFICATION on another page of this blog.

So, for me, it's water, chamomile tea, rooibos tea, and hybiscus tea, almondmilk, ricemilk, aloe juice, coconut water, and an occasional glass of wine. I eat tuna, chicken and turkey, organic grass fed beef, wild-caught salmon and fish, and organic eggs. I can have small salads with any combination of thin sliced, raw veggies of any kind with an oil and vinegar dressing, as well as Greek yogurt for its probiotics. Naturally, I continue to steam and soften my veggies in my meal creations, often incorporating mushrooms, kale, baby spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichoke hearts, jalapenos, onions, garlic and other spices into my egg dishes and my beef and turkey chili.

Equally important, I also watch how I combine my foods. There's really only one rule I follow here: I don't combine sugary foods like fruits or sweet treats with protein meals. I always have my sweets and fruits separate from a big protein meal because of this: In the stomach, fruit or refined sugars digest faster than protein. So, if you're wondering why you get indigestion after following that steak and potatoes with chocolate cake or pie ala mode, this is the war going on in your tummy: The sugar is trying to get to the blood steam fast, and the protein is simply slowing that process. When sugar follows the protein, the result is quick fermentation, causing gas, noisy discomfort and odiferous flatulence. Not a socially winning formula, to be sure.

And, no, you can't just eat antacids. In a condition marked by digestive distress, antacids are the wrong answer. They're not even a good bandaid.

I never use antacids because I follow this simple rule: Eat smaller portions and don't eat your sugar after you've had a big protein meal. It's that simple. You're just going to feel sickly bloated and I don't want you to think that by taking an antacid everytime, everything will be fine. It won't.

The next thing you know, you're popping antacids every day (read the label: there's a two week limit on that stuff). Next up: Proton pump inhibitors or surgery anyone? And, don't worry. If you survive this endurance test, they'll have something new for you to try. Real soon.

As a matter of fact, they're looking to recruit people for experimental treatments. I wish for you not to become a cautionary tale.


The next professional I found was a wonderful HOMEOPATH.

HOMEOPATHS and NATUROPATHS are licensed and trained individuals well-versed in the nature of keeping your immune system strong and keeping you on your path to health. They are knowlegeable about supplements and dietary modifications to help with an individual's personal challenges. My homeopath, who I now go to only on occasion, has taught me much and kept me healthy and strong. Their goal is always your health, your immune system and how to strengthen it, and the nutritional balance in your life. Ayervedic medicine, too, has a nutritional based philosophy toward balanced health that is worthy of further personal investigation.

So, accupuncture, following dietary guidelines and supplements, involving myself in my own stress management activities (exercise - hot yoga is my new passion - meditation, self-hypnosis and talk therapy), a good NATUROPATH and the internet are all firmly placed in my arsenal.

I can still get hit by a bus, but I believe I won't have any more flareups.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE - 'DEAD FOOD' THEORY

NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS HEALTHY FEELS!

For more ideas regarding IBD management, copy and paste this link into your browser:http://www.pinterest.com/graybecker/IBD/

Also check out: http://www.pinterest.com/graybecker/FoodforGoodHealth


There seems to be little serious attention given to environmental factors that, if looked at more carefully, might provide some clues as to why we're so sick as a nation. We're taking more medication and we spend more on healthcare as a nation than other industrialized countries. We're commercially driven toward finding the next super drug to sell, and yet we're sicker than ever and releasing 'superbugs' into a post-antibiotic super soup that will only be getting worse in time.  It's part of a cultural mosaic that, once examined, might provide us with answers leading us the way out of this nation-wide epidemic of dis-ease.

I HAVE NO CREDENTIALS OR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE or RESEARCH EXPERIENCE TO BACK ANY OF THIS UP. THE INFO IS SIMPLY THAT: INFORMATION. YOU'VE GOT TO CHECK YOUR OWN SOURCES, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER, AND DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO OR WHAT TO THINK AND THAT GOES FOR ME, THE STRANGER WRITING THIS BLOG. SO DON'T BE DUPED. KNOWLEDGE IS EMPOWERMENT. ASK QUESTIONS, QUESTION ANSWERS, RESEARCH AND STAY INFORMED, AND ACT WITH THE GOAL OF ACHIEVING YOUR GREATEST EMPOWERMENT: HEALTH.


MY 'DEAD FOOD' THEORY - COMMENTARY BY GRAHAM BECKER

Modern medicine has described Inflammatory Bowel Disease as an immune system attack on its host, an auto(self)-immune disease.  For some mysterious reason, the body's immune system views a person's intestines as an invader and begins to attack it.

This is the premise upon which modern medicine addresses their treatment approaches.

Having lived through this dis-ease and suffered for over 20 years before discovering the keys to my complete remission - all through diet - I want to humbly offer a reframe of the diagnosis.

In short, our over-consumption of processed foods - dead food - has left our intestinal cells malnourished.  Dead food has little redeeming value except as a treat for the tongue.  If we're feeding ourselves dead food, and our digestive system is seeking in vain for nutrients, the chronic deprivation of nutritionally dense real whole foods, leads to a die-off.  With mostly dead food as nutritional sources, the digestive system simply stops working efficiently and cells begin to die.  Dead food in leads to dead cells inside us.

So, for me, there is not mystery to this at all.  There's no mystery as to why modern medicine is slow to embrace the evidence that SOME are being helped by a totally nutrition based approach.  

It's not about learning what not to eat.

The rule is simple: Don't eat dead food.


My IBD diagnosis, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, has led me on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, I've tried to make personal sense of it all.

The human body is an amazing organism. That something so beautifully delicate in its miracle of interconnected cells all knowing what their job is was given to me to care for is the big mystery of my life.  My guess is, you've got the same inkling.


I can't fathom the thinking behind asking me to take care of anything, after all I kill houseplants, but some cosmic force has expressed that confidence in me.

On the one hand, it's simply overwhelming to think, with all the processed food choices now available, that I could succeed at taking care of this body of mine.

On the other hand, it's overwhelmingly easy, once you know the secrets which only you can uncover for yourself.   That's correct.  You have to do all the grunt work.  It's your body, your mystery to solve.  All I know is that I, after 20 years of suffering, figured myself out.  The hardest yet easiest part is to act in your body's own best self interest.  Do what your body, and common sense, demand, and you might find the wellness I've discovered.

So, I don't make my body suffer my bad choices any more.  Slick marketing campaigns, tasty visuals, attractive talking heads, my weaknesses and my tongue, no longer run to show. I'm not alone on this.   There are others finding their own symptom management solutions.

Why Not YOU ?

What do I mean when I talk about Dead Food?

Dead Food covers all processed foods.  Anything that comes in a package, box or bottle, is a candidate for the Dead Food Category.

Here's an Incomplete List of Dead Food Processes and Dead Foods

Pasteurization is required for all bottled or packed juices such as orange and apple, and dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, cheese, butter, and yogurt.  Yogurt has the advantage because, after pasteurization, probiotics are added back into the product.

All grain processing resulting in cereals, pastas, breads, donuts, pizzas and pastries, are processed to death, leaving very little except for sugar.  That's part of the reason we consume these items in bulk.  They're processing acts on our addictive brain resulting in repetitive behavior.

Dead Foods are marketed to us every minute of every day.  If we understand they are not meant to be consumed every minute of every day, and that they're to be used as occasional treats or indulgences, then we can better inform our actions.

Like you, I really enjoy being healthy and feeling good. I'm lucky to feel that way much of the time. And grateful.

But there are forces that we humans have created that may result in some of us, many of us, (millions of us?) having our guts rot from the inside out. Inflammation is like a five alarm fire, hidden, inside the pathways of our guts, burning our cells to death, eating up the good bacteria, causing pain and ulceration to the intestinal lining, unnaturally.  Dead food leads to this.


Like zombies, we're rotting from the inside. The bad bacteria - the gangster bacteria, the bad, really bad guys - are beating up the good bacteria - and winning.  As a matter of fact, this spreading graveyard of dying cells is taking over.

DEAD FOODS = NUTRITIONALLY STARVED/DYING/DEAD CELLS = SPREADING DIS-EASE

So, if we're dying on the inside, where is the sense in killing or suppressing vital system processes?  Shouldn't we be addressing how to empower our immune system? Aren't we like flowers that, when we die on the inside, nutrients can bring our systems back into balance? Why would we be any different? Don't the same laws of nature apply to all living things, regardless of form? I believe so...and that belief empowered my healing.


DEAD FOOD IN = DEAD CELLS TAKE OVER

If modern medicine kills or suppresses any sensation of illness just because we can, I can't connect the dots between that and a cure or at least 100% drug-free management. Like many, after seeing my gastroenterologist, my proctologist, for the first time, my doctor convinced me of my illness with a diagnosis that I was going to have to live with for the rest of my life. VERY SCARY. As a result, of course, I believed I NEEDED my doctor's experience, wisdom and guidance and I followed the prescription for almost a year.

I've come to the conclusion that, although I believed my doctor was accurate in my diagnosis and his medication did abate the symptoms (along with diet modification), the long-term treatment options and the goals for that treatment did not compute. Remission may have been what the doctor was offering; I wanted a 'cure', if that was possible (which, apparently, my doctor didn't believe was possible.)


ZOMBIE DEAD FOODS MIGHT ANSWER PART OF THE WHY. MAYBE, BABY.

This inflammation, this rotting of our guts, WHY might it happen?

MY ZOMBIE DEAD FOOD THEORY

Regretfully, my observations begin in the womb. And I ask, 'What was the nutrition and medical treatment of the mother like?'

If you live in the United States, Americans' food choices consist of the following:

62% Processed foods
25% Meat, eggs, dairy and fish
5% Unrefined plant food - fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds
5% White Potatoes as plant food - lowest in phytonutrients of unrefined foods
2% Whole Grains

As you can see, people living and eating in the U.S. have a heavy processed-food balance in their food choices. It's possible that expecting moms may have a similar lifestyle in terms of food choices and that any long-term consequences could begin with the nutritional desires and choices of each mom.

Not necessarily our intention, mind you, but the food products that we have created in our food laboratories may come with unwritten, often ignored or denied, side effects. Much food and marketing research has gone into entertaining our tongues and our taste buds, satisfying our prone-to-addiction and habit-forming brains, and filling our stomachs with empty, dead calories. Great marketing, the best in the world, has a way of convincing us that what they're selling is what we want, need and can't live without. It seems we can't live without our dead food.

Silly Observation, one of many: The edible products we feed ourselves today could be part of the mosaic of why we don't feel so well when we turn 40, 50, 60, and beyond.

For me, I've personally connected the dots: consuming an imbalance of processed foods over decades can and often does lead to a negative cumulative effect on our human ecosystem. Often times, this can begin in the womb and infancy.

A child is a favorite demographic pillar for food producers. All kids, big and small, love what tastes good. If they're encouraged to believe that what tastes good is always good for you, then you have a culture that guarantees the next generation will follow suit. For another lifetime and another generation, and on and on. Loyal product buyers are what keep this economy and our businesses thriving.

So, it's off to the races. Kids see their peers in commercials eating packaged foodstuffs. These foodstuffs are also marketed to give parents a break when the kids come home from school. (Never a carrot or an apple. What kid would eat THAT after a hard day of learning?) Parents see what their kids see, buy what their kids want to try, buy it for convenience (It's microwavable!), and continue on down the road, years down the road, a college dorm and a lifetime of poor food choices down the road. Until you blow a flat.

And much of modern medicine responds by saying it's the natural aging process at work. Here's a prescription. You'll be good as new. Or, at least you won't feel discomfort or pain anymore. That's good as healed, isn't it?

ALL ROADS LEAD TO MEDICATION, METHINKS.

But I've got some good news.

It's a given, Dead Food is a big part of our lives and our lifestyles. It's there, it's fun, it tastes good, it makes gatherings festive. I get it. I've had it, a lot of it, and now I've HAD it. No mas. Nada. Zero. Except on my terms at a ballgame. (Then all bets are off. Being good 99% of the time comes with its privileges. I'm gonna have that Dodger Dog. (I'll take my digestive enzymes and fish oil, of course, just to smooth the digestive process. I may eat a junky piece of meat every once in a while, but I'm smarter about it now.)

When I was sick, however, these were 'No, Thank You' choices. Turns out, Dead Food (much of it sugar), is food for the bad bacteria in my gut. Over time, the bad bacteria took over and began their process of decay. At the same time, my immune system was both my hardest fighter and my most vulnerable victim. I picture my previous symptoms as the writhing last gasps of a dying immune system, wounded from battle, fearing no escape, with no reinforcements in sight. I was at a loss, inflamed and sick, with nowhere to hide.


ZOMBIE DEAD FOOD IN INFANCY?

If a mother's nutrition was compromised during pregnancy by poor food availability, the child upon birth will suffer. After being born, is there evidence that we're feeding 'Dead Food' to the most precious resource in our lives, while not knowing it?

Like I've said, I don't know the answer. But here's an interesting observation.

You may have read about my infancy, that I was adopted as a newborn and bottle-fed infant formula, and not breast fed. And I believe that made a big difference in my developing immune system and its ability to fight off infection, both as a child and as I grew older.

Healthy, rich breast milk (not attached to a drug addict or some other person who has had their health compromised) is usually a superior choice for an infant's early nutrition. It's all natural and comes straight from the source, full of immune enrichment for a fragile little life.

Research that others have spoken about suggests that prematurely born babies, also known as "preemies", who are fed human breast milk can reduce the rate of life-threatening complications, curb mortality rates, and reduce healthcare costs. You can repeat that last sentence if you want.

So, interestingly, I've just come across some information regarding a company that is now mass-producing human breast milk to provide nutrition to premature infants. It appears that, for all these years, since formula became popular in the 1950's I imagine, premature infants have been getting formula with a base of cow's milk. Meant for calves, not humans, methinks. Pasteurized (boiled) to death, GMO corn-fed, hormone injected, antibiotic treated, cow's milk. Dead white cells with only protein left.

Before you read on, know that the company I refer to is a for-profit company whose baby and preemie formulas can cost $5,000-$10,000 per baby per hospital stay.

Know, too, that there is a non-profit alternative called the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, of which Kim Updegrove is President.


Hmmm. A natural, human-based solution for a human problem. Up until now, some of us were convinced that humans need cow's milk or soy protein when they're infants. I guess for the calcium and white teeth. And the vitamin D food scientists add back in (usually the cheaper vitamin D2, not the vitamin D3 which is the more expensive vitamin D.) And protein. As a culture, we're certainly convinced to buy enough cow's milk to have it available everyday while our children are growing up. Drink your milk or you don't get any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't drink your milk?!?

Does a calf drink milk from its mother for 18 years or more? Hmmm. I wonder why WE do. Pasteurized (boiled) to death and refrigerated. Yum.

I know, some of this information is a killer. I am such a party-pooper.


IN-HOSPITAL, PREEMIE CARE COMPLICATIONS

The complications include necrotizing entrocolitis, a bowel inflammation that often requires surgery. Death is possible and necrosis often adds weeks to an infant's hospital stay.

My stupid conclusion: Dead Food in, little infant body (so much smarter than mm) says, 'Theres no nutrition to be found here' (duh), body decays and dies. But only after modern medicine tries to kill the infection with antibiotics or cut it out with surgery.

I'm sure it's something else entirely, but it strikes me as modern medicine striking out until the natural solution is right under their noses.

And so, now, human breast milk (although it too is pasteurized!) is finding its way into preemies little tummies and all those life-threatening symptoms from possibly feeding preemies cow's milk are lessened and in many cases simply disappear. Connection to the kind and quality of nutrition? That's for modern medicine to answer.

"Dead Food Theory."
First of all, they say you are what you eat. So, if what you're eating is mostly what I call Dead Food (most all our processed, boxed, bagged, and canned stuff), what are your insides turning into? That's right: Zombies. The bad bacteria LOVE LOVE LOVE refined sugars and processed Dead Food. The bad bacteria take over your good bacteria in your gut and you've got zombies in your gut. Zombie bacteria, eating Dead Food, multiplying in your gut, with the inflammation of a five-alarm fire and a diagnosis to match, a fire that may take a year or more to put out. Been there, done that, thank you very much.

DEAD FOOD

Current processing methods include growing crops with pesticides, raising GMO corn-fed cows, cows treated with antibiotics and hormones harvesting crops quickly, pulverizing, pasteurizing (boiling) liquids to death, all in the name of good taste. During processing, food scientists squirt chemicals and preservatives back in, and can then add sugar, salt, trans fats (soon to be eliminated by law in the U.S.), and acid to the mix. After a mushy paste or flour is created, processors then form it, bread it, bake it, fry it, and pre-cook it into recognizable fun shapes. For liquids, like fruit juices and milk, food producers are required by law to pasteurize (boil) all the 'bacteria' to death, supposedly making it safer for human consumption.

The next step is when the products are marketed to us as food choices, using whatever buzz words are currently in vogue: Low Fat! 1/2 the sugar! Fat free! Only 100 calories! Antioxidants! Low Salt! Gluten Free! Millions of dollars go into the creation of products by food processors. It really is a miracle of modern food manufacturing that they can do all the research and development, acquiring ingredients, creating a recipe and a name, package design, printing, packaging the product, freezing, transporting and getting the best shelf position in the aisle, all for $2.00. At 5 for $10, some frozen meals are just $2.00 each. How can they do that? And make a profit? The food processing industry is clever like that.

Ever notice, no one advertises for fresh fruits and vegetables? Maybe only markets that are having a sale. And that's usually local print ads. Even the large supermarkets have curtailed their advertising. Modern medicine is always there to remind you to consult your doctor for anything, including food choices. Most of the time, modern medicine will tell you there's no harm in food choices, eat whatever you want.

Remember, too, that modern medicine doesn't mind too much if you're ill. Oh, they might complain as a headline, but, let's face it, it's their business to treat illness. Modern medicine is making a nice living on illnesses of all kinds. Modern medicine relies on illness and promotes treatment options for those illnesses. Some have said modern medicine invents some of these illnesses so they can invent a treatment that pays well in a never-ending-treatment way. There's no money in cures. There's a lot of money in treatments. And all treatments are not created equally. Some are more profitable than others. I don't know about you, but I've got bills to pay.

I've concluded that, for me, my illness was preventable at the front end. Once I had been diagnosed, I was at the mercy of my doctor's treatment options. Then I was in the hands of modern drugs, and, perhaps like you, once I was there, I was THERE. I believe that if I was currently undergoing treatment with an immune suppressant or antibiotic, I would ask my doctor about a probiotic supplement they might recommend. If they don't have a preference, do your homework. A probiotic can potentially balance the killing off of gut bacteria caused by antibiotic/immune suppressant treatment.

Remember, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels! Eat clean. Eat paleo. No processed foods. No crap. Clean, whole foods. No soda, no coffee, no energy drinks, no alcohol, no big meals, eat several times a day, slow everything down, smooth everything down, and continue to heal with whole foods before, during, and after your treatment. Fall in love with real, living food. Be aware of any foods with drug interactions that might apply to your situation. Otherwise, eat clean whole foods from now on. That's the real medicine, in my opinion. My theory is that if you eat totally clean from now on, your body will heal faster and, in the long run, you may extend the time in between treatments. Fewer treatments, good. No treatments, best. All processed foods and refined sugars, bad. Natural prebiotics and probiotics found in fruits, plants and veggies, good.

Friday, January 10, 2014

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

January 10, 2014

L.A. Times/Business Section

Drugs
Forest to buy Aptalis Pharma

Forest Laboratories Inc. will buy Aptalis Pharma for $2.9 billion, adding treatments for gastrointestinal ailments and cystic fibrosis.  Aptalis generated $688 billion in sales in the 12 months ended in September 2013.Forest Laboratories, with $3.09 billion in sales in the last fiscal year, is seeking new products after the loss of patent protection for its former top seller, the antidepressant Lexapro.  Forest shares jumped 18% to $69.30, the company's biggest one-day advance since 1980


DECEMBER 1, 2013

Healthful eating has taken a dive, poll finds. As reported by Emily Alpert Reyes (emily.alpert@latimes.com) for the Los Angeles Times. Summarized and paraphrased by me, Graham Becker.

For most of this year, 2013, healthful eating has been at its lowest point since 2008, according to the Gallup-Healthways poll. In a poll of 150,000 Americans, we're eating worse than previously. You know what they say: Calories are cheap. It's food that's expensive. The survey found that every month this year, Americans said they were eating worse than during the same months in 2012. For instance, 63.4% of Americans surveyed this September said they were eating healthfully, compared with 67.6% in September of 2012. When asked about eating their fruits and veggies, fewer Americans said they were regularly eating at least five servings of fruits and veggies compared with last year. The only exceptions were in March and October.



NOVEMBER 24, 2013 As reported in the L.A. Times by lisa.girion@latimes.com Paraphrased by me, Graham

"Spending on drugs may top $1 Trillion"

Global spending on pharmaceuticals is expected to surpass $1 trillion for the first time next year, thanks to demand in China and other emerging markets, according to a new forecast from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

More than two-thirds of all pharmaceutical drug spending occurs in eight countries: The U.S., Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Spain, Japan and China, the institute found.

In the next five years, drug spending is expected to grow in China and other developing countries, while the U.S. will continue to lead the world in per capita spending on pharmaceuticals. Patients in the developing world are primarily buying generics, which sell for a fraction of the cost of brand-name drugs. The increase in doctors' diagnoses and prescriptions across large populations is driving the surge in drug spending, the institute found.



NOVEMBER 21, 2013 MSNBC NEWS TICKER:

RESEARCH: People who eat a diet rich in nuts are less likely to die of heart disease or cancer.


NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Article: L.A. Times/November 16, 2013/Business Section

"Putting Big Mac on the fast track"
McDonald's will add a third window
at some of its eateries to cut
service time to cars

Article by: Tiffany Hsu Summarized by Graham Becker

McDonald's is trying to put the fast back in fast food.

McDonald's opened its first drive-through in 1975. Back then, fast food restaurants in general derived 40% of their sales from drive-throughs; today, it's easily 65%, according to John A. Gordon, principal with Pacific Management Consulting Group.

In the year ending in September, there were 47.9 BILLION total visits to quick-service restaurants, a 1% increase from the previous year. In the same period, drive-through visits dropped by 1% to 12.3 BILLION visits.

McDonald's told investors this week that it plans to spend $3 BILLION opening as many as 1,600 new restaurants in the next year while revamping 1,000 other locations. The company already has more than 14,000 restaurants in the country, which together generate more than 30% of McDonald's total revenue.


NOVEMBER 13, 2013

WIDER USE OF STATINS URGED

My Editorial Note: They did it in 2001 and they're doing it again...It amazes me, the arrogance in some corners of modern medicine. That we as a species have lived approximately 200,000 years only to find out we need statins. As if nature deliberately left some ingredient for good health out of the equation. Billions of years of life on earth and these corners have the audacity to claim victory. More doctors convincing us that statin treatment is the way to control our lives (and our fear of death). With a $21 BILLION DOLLARS a year business at stake, and with generics coming onto the market, modern medicine and big pharma again conspire to create new, broader guidelines that will try to double the number of Americans on statins, from 36 million to 70 million. These new guidelines will go far to see that drug makers and modern medicine will continue to sustain their growth and profits for their shareholders.

Hoowee, I'm living in an upside-down world. Here's the article, summarized by me.

Front Page: Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2013
Reported by Melissa Healy

"Wider use of statin drugs urged" by Melissa Healy

The nation's cardiologists have rewritten the guidebook on how Americans should be treated with statins and unveiled a plan that could double the number of paitients taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs to about 70 million.

The new approach, presented Tuesday November 12, 2013, by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, represents a stark shift from the way doctors have prescribed the popular drugs for most of the last decade.

Cardiologists will now urge doctors to focus their efforts on a wider range of at-risk patients, many of them still healthy, to drive down their odds of a heart attack or stroke. At the same time, doctors are being instructed to discontinue their efforts to meet strict targets for LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins), the "bad" cholesterol that's most closely linked to disease risk.

According to IMS Health, a research firm that tracks prescription drug trends, in 2012, Americans filled 255 MILLION PRESCRIPTIONS for these and other cholesterol-lowering drugs. Yearly spending on this class of drugs peaked at $21.3 BILLION DOLLARS in 2011, declining since then as more of those brand-name medications become available as generics.

Until now, treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs in the U.S. has generally been limited to patients with a 20% probability of a heart attack over the next decade - about 36 million Americans. According to the authors, the expanded guidelines would roughly double that figure to 70 million.

By explicitly counting stroke-prevention among statins' benefits for the first time, Dr. Neil Stone, chief author of the new guidelines along with the other contributing authors, hope to extend statin therapy to more of the patients who are most susceptible to stroke, including women, African Americans and the very elderly.

According to Dr. Stone, a cardiologist and professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, "Statins treat risk, not only cholesterol. They (statins) lower risk by lowering cholesterol."

Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist from the Cleveland Clinic and not involved in the drafting of the current recommendations, said "The result should be fewer premature deaths and patients disabled by heart attacks and strokes, though it will take years before such reductions can be tallied."

Doctors will now be switching to new tools to identify patients newly eligible to take statins, including the "cardiovascular risk calculator" available online.

Although current treatment practice, according to Dr. Michael Johansen, a professor of family medicine at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, targeting primarily LDL cholesterol, "haven't been shown to make people live longer or happier lives," Dr. Johansen called the new guidelines "far simpler and more effective to implement" than the current approach.

The new guidelines will be published in the 'Journal of the American College of Cardiology' and in the American Heart Association journal 'Circulation.'



NOVEMBER 8, 2013

LA TIMES.COM/BUSINESS BRIEFING

Drug Maker Salix to buy Santarus

Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., based in Raleigh, N.C., will buy San Diego-based Santarus Inc. for about $2.12 BILLION DOLLARS to add to its roster of drugs focused on gastrointestinal disorders. In after-hours trading, Salix shares rose 9.4% to $78/share, while Santarus stock rose 37% to $31.90 per share.


November 5, 2013

L.A. Times/Times Staff and wire Reports

Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company promoted powerful psychiatric drugs of unapproved uses in children, seniors and disabled patients, the Justice Department announced November 4, 2013.

the allegations include paying kickbacks to physicians and pharmacies to recommend and prescribe Risperdal and Invega, both anti-psychotic drugs, and Natrecor whcih is used to treat heart failure.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said, Motivated by profit, these companies made false claims that jeopardized the health of California's most vulnerable patients...and left California taxpayers with t eh bill." California's share of the civil damages is $89 million.

The agreement is the third-largest U.S. settlement involving a drug maker and the latest in a string of legal actions against drug firms that allegedly put profits ahead of patients.

Although doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines for any use, drug makers cannot promote them in any way that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The pharmaceutical industry has been known for overly aggressive marketing tactics, which include pushing medicines for uanpproved, or off-label, uses. The off-label prescribing of Risperdal added to millions of dollars in federal and state spending by health programs like Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veteran's affairs.

CROHN'S COLITIS CELIAC DISEASE : GMO's IN THE NEWS

January 10, 2014  News Item in L.A. Times Business Section: "Monsanto profit beats forecasts"

Monsanto Co., the world's largest seed company, reported fiscal first quarter earnings that topped analysts' estimates on rising sales of engineered soybean seeds and Roundup herbicide.  Revenue rose 6.9% to $3.14 billion.

NEWS ITEM:

IN PLAIN CHEERIOS, NO MORE GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms)

January 4, 2014, L.A. Times article by David Pierson, david.pierson@latimes.com

Summarized by me, Graham Becker

General Mills stops using bioengineered corn starch and sugar can in plain Cheerios.  Whole-grain oats, the chief ingredient in the cereal, are not affected by the change because oats are not available in genetically modified varieties.

General Mills uses GMO corn, soy, and beet sugar in many of its cereals.  This decision will only affect original Cheerios (usually a child's first finger food) and will not affect Lucky Charms or Cinnamon Toast Crunch because genetically engineered ingredients are so pervasive in their sourcing and manufacture.

Genetically Modified food is one of the most divisive issues in America today.  Farmers have always bred crops for special traits such as drought tolerance.  But genetic engineering takes place in a lab where plant genes are altered.

Proponents laud the innovation as a way to boost yields, build disease resistance and feed hungry nations.

Today, according to the U.S.Department of Agriculture, 93% of all soybeans and 90% of all corn grown in the United States are genetically modified varietals.

According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, up to 80% of processed foods in America contain genetically engineered ingredients.

There is no definitive science showing such foods are harmful to human health when consumed.

A June ABC News poll found that 93% of Americans favored GMO labeling laws and more that 50% believed GMO's to be unsafe for human consumption.

General Mills spent $2 million defeating the 2012 GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington. General Mills opposes state-by-state labeling laws because it would be too costly to fight.

64 countries, including all those in the European Union, Japan and Australia, require food manufacturers to indicate to consumers if their products contain GMO's.

Currently, there are no national labeling laws in the U.S.

General Mills supports a national initiative.

It is reported that Ben and Jerry's as well as Chipotle restaurant will be eliminating GMO's from their formulations this year, 2014.


More on GMO's...researched and reported by Graham Becker

WHAT ARE GMO's - GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS?

We now have agricultural scientists working for companies who are patenting scientifically altered and genetically modified seeds and fish. Companies large and small want to patent and own their company's creation of genetically modified seeds and now fish that they've created. Farmers planting these crops have just been told by the courts in the U.S. that they can't breed their own seeds from the seeds they have bought from this or any company creating these organisms. Farmers have to continue buying a new stock of seeds every growing season. It's against the law for them not to and farmers therefore can only use this company's seeds. They must buy their seeds from the company store, so to speak.

These seeds are unique in that nature left it to scientists to create a "better" seed. Corn and soy are two of these crops that are being genetically modified. As to the health consequences of eating scientifically altered, genetically modified food, no one really knows. It could be just fine, I don't know. There is at least one observation that bees are also averse to these new crops for some reason and some people have concluded that honey bees - needed for pollination - are treating these new crops as biological deserts.

These new seeds are bred to be resistant to pesticides; coincidentally, one company's own brand. My limited understanding is that the crop doesn't die as a result of being treated with the pesticides, only the infestation is prevented. It is theorized that the bees, just doing their beezness, so to speak, are impacted by the crops systemic pesticides.

Scientists are also working on making crops more drought resistant through chemistry.

In a similar way, scientists have created the current type of wheat we eat, called dwarf wheat. It isn't our ancestor's wheat, mind you, it's a modern incarnation and invention of a grain that didn't exist until we made it in a lab. The ancient grain is no longer a part of our food choices. Dwarf wheat was bred to be shorter in stature than the ancient wheat, grow faster, get harvested more quickly, and repeat. On top of that crop invention, we then pulverize the grain, add back some vitamins and minerals and even more gluten in some cases, and then we form stuff, put in a box and call it food. Just look around you (or is that 'a round you') and you'll see what I'm talking about. We're eating more dead food than our bodies can metabolize safely. We've become a danger to ourselves, methinks.