It's invigorating to see what some of the great minds from all over the world are doing to help their patients.
If Dr. Shallenberger's name sounds familiar, it might be because he is the Editor of the Second Opinion newsletter, which highlights cutting-edge therapies for everything under the sun. This guy is amazing. In addition to being very busy seeing patients in his office, keeping optimally physically fit, and leading a fulfilling personal and family life, he spends his spare time scouring the medical literature for new discoveries with potential to alleviate suffering and optimize health.
At the same time, he is eager to learn from others. My favorite quote of the weekend was, “I haven’t received that certificate that they hand out to doctors who know everything yet.” I can relate to that. Although he has pioneered some techniques that are now practiced by other doctors throughout the world--not the least of which is Prolozone therapy--he taught us some things he just barely learned at a conference himself.
Rather than regurgitate all the details of we learned about treating a variety of conditions (I have 44 pages of 11-point-font notes!), Chris and I wanted to highlight just a few pearls that we believe would be of value to all our readers. But it will probably take us a few posts to do it.
For example, as a country we go through cycles (you could call them fads) of promoting one or another diet that is supposed to be the healthiest on the planet for everyone to follow. You would have to be hidden in the closet not to have heard about the Keto Diet right now. Before that, it was Paleo. Then there's Atkins, vegan, vegetarian, and of course the "heart-healthy" low fat diet that the smart people in glass buildings wanted everyone to follow for the last 40 years.
It is true that there are some basic principles that apply to most if not all of us:
- Sugar kills.
- Junk food is junk, not food.
- Artificial sweeteners cause diabetes, obesity, and cancer, among other things (Stevia is not artificial, so you’re safe with it)
- We were designed to eat more plants than animals.
- Most of us fail to drink enough water to facilitate optimal cellular function and detoxification.
Beyond that, what is optimal for you might be crippling to me. If you have an immune response to spinach, you will get sicker eating spinach, even though it is healthy for the rest of us. If you are a fast oxidizer (determined using metabolic testing), you're better off eating more complex carbohydrates and will not handle the ketogenic diet well.
"One man's food is another man's poison." That's what Hippocrates taught us. This is why we practice functional medicine in our offices. Cookbook medicine dictates that everyone with condition "X" gets treatment "Y". It is true that many will get better with treatment "Y", but many will not. We have to be prepared to find out what works for you, not insist that it's your fault you're not getting better with the treatment that helped 59% of patients who had your same diagnosis in some clinical trial.
If you really want to find out what the best diet is for you from a metabolic standpoint, metabolic testing will give you the answer. Unfortunately, few doctors offices have the equipment required to provide this information. Short of this, don't wed yourself to an expert's opinion, no matter how certain he is of himself. If the diet you are following isn't working for you, even if it is working wonders for all your friends, be open to making a change, even if it goes against what the experts say. How do you know if a diet is working for you? Your weight, energy, and cardiometabolic evaluation (labs we check in our offices) will tell you. Come in and let's work on it together. We are your partners in health.
To your health,
Ray Andrew, MD
Chris Andrew, RN