My Approach to Health
“You don’t learn anything new; you just remember everything you have forgotten!”
Fact: We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for us, we have just chosen to ignore these facts in favor of the standard American diet.
My philosophy with my health regime is simple: “When making nutritional choices, rather than choosing what is GOOD for my body, I choose what is BEST for my body”. So think of it this way: If the U.S. Government told each citizen that the car they now drive is going to be the ONLY car you will be allowed to own for your whole life, wouldn’t you always choose what is the best care for that car? If not and the car dies, you would then have to find other sources of transportation for therest of your life! You would get the best oil, fuel, transmission, tires, and keep its body clean and waxed. No question, right? Well, you only have one body! Why wouldn’t you do the same for your body as you would for your one-and-only car, as in the example above? I only wish I had recognized this philosophy for the first 53 years of my life, perhaps M.S. would not be an issue for me! Like many, I followed mainstream FDA and USDA advice on these matters, not realizing just WHO puts money in their coffers! (Meat and dairy industry, duh!)
Before Nutritional intervention and going raw:
On June 06 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was devastating to my wife and I to hear this diagnosis. I was later diagnosed as having Primary Progressive MS, which made things worse since there are no medications for this type of MS. In the following years, after trying many different medications for other types of MS, I was getting worse. My symptoms were extreme fatigue, right side weakness, cognitive problems, and tremors in my legs, bladder problems, numbness and tingling in my feet and hands, and other MS problems.
I soon needed a cane to walk anywhere and a scooter for distances greater than 100 feet or so. I slept each day until 2pm or later. The fatigue was debilitating. I began to believe I was destined to get worse, since all the doctors tell you that MS is a progressive disease with no cure in site.
Around April 09, after 3 years of progression in my symptoms, I went off all MS meds. I was getting worse, why continue with meds that have terrible potential side effects? I searched for alternatives and the internet led me to various diets that people have reported having success with MS. I went through all I could find and settled in on a raw vegan lifestyle. I also researched stem cell procedures for MS. At this time I was officially on disability, no longer able to work since Feb. 08.
There are so many diet/nutrition books out there for health and MS and I went through over 200 books on nutrition and over 1000 clinical studies. From my medical sales background I am able to read clinical studies and understand the results easily.
So many books helped shape my choices, but the five books that had I recommend to everyone are “The China Study” by T Colin Campbell, “The 80/10/10 diet” by Dr Douglas Graham, Pharmocracy by William Faloon, “Wheat Belly” by Dr William Davis and “Eat to Live” by Dr Joel Furhman. Once I read the China Study I understood what was behind most disease in the US. “The 80/10/10” diet made sense on how I should eat and why raw is appropriate. “Eat to Live” also brought a new sense of proper nutrition. “Pharmocracy” opens your eyes into the corrupt world of the FDA and their relentless effort to promote big Pharma and repress the supplement industry to the ill health and deaths of millions of Americans. Several blogs, including Stem Cell Pioneers, Raw Food Rehab, 30 Bananas a Day, Renegade Health with Kevin Gianni, Frederick Patenaude’s blog, Rodger Haske’s blog, Mercola.com and several others, helped guide me along the way and continue to help keep me committed to my whole foods plant based lifestyle. I also recommend everyone join Life Extension Foundation (Lef.org). You get their monthly magazine and it has an incredible wealth of info that is exceptionally researched. Their supplements are always of exceptional quality as researched by Consumer Labs. I also recommend that everyone who is serious about vitamins, supplements, herbs and any type of health drink or health product that is consumed, to join the Consumer Labs website (Consumerlab.com). Here you get actual independent lab tested data of over 900 brands of supplements as well as updates of recent FDA actions vs. manufacturers claims etc. It is well worth the two dollars and change per month to join!
After Nutritional intervention and going mostly raw:
Positive changes. I guess that is the best way to describe the changes in my condition and my life. Most days I am all raw. Maybe 1-2 days a week I might be 80% raw, with the cooked food being a veggie crock pot chili, heavy on veggies and beans. Most days it is green smoothies for breakfast and lunch (love them!) and for dinner a very large fresh salad with greens I get from a local organic hydroponic farm I visit 3 times a week. The veggies are so fresh I cannot bring myself to cook them, they taste so great raw! I do not do all the “exotic” raw food cooking I see everywhere, choosing to eat at local raw/vegan restaurants to enjoy those dishes. At home, I keep it simple for dinner doing a very large salad or raw “Savory Stews” by Roger Haske I also follow some local raw/vegan food groups and see all my new health-minded friends at events like Earth Day etc. There is a great raw/vegan following here in Orlando. My favorite restaurant is Cafe 118, all raw and great chef that knows how to cook raw and Ethos Café, all vegan.
I do not beat myself up if I do not eat raw or eat something I should not, although that rarely happens. I know I am eating so much better than I ever have and I just jump back on the right track and recommit. Always ask yourself when facing a difficult choice, “Do I want what is good for my body or what is best for my body”? Having M.S. and all the complications are motivation enough for me. I just imagine myself in the future healthy, not in a wheelchair, and I stay the course!
So, my fatigue is GONE! I use a cane for balance and have used my scooter mostly for distance walking. My cognitive issues are gone and I now feel like a fog has been lifted from my life. I was considering giving up driving before I went raw/vegan. The change in my life is substantial. Swimming is my main form of exercise as well as using my YMCA for the 13 weight machines I added to my workout in Jan 2013. In Oct 09 I went to Tijuana Mexico for adult stem cell treatment and I have seen some improvement since. Is it the stem cells, the nutrition, or God? I believe it is all three.
I would like to add that in addition to my using plant based nutrition to battle MS, I also make my nutritional decisions and do research everyday with another question in mind: What can I do today and every day to avoid cancer? Why? Well, mostly because cancer is everywhere. We all know people who have cancer. We all see the effects. My wife battled breast cancer. Cancer is a demon. Having survived malignant melanoma, I choose to do everything in my power, through nutrition, to give myself the best chance of never having to face cancer again. Since what I have chosen for my fight against MS also happens to work against cancer, I feel confident that I am doing everything in my power to never have to hear the words “You have cancer” again!
In doing my research as to how I should nutritionally help my health issues I came across several disturbing facts about the Standard American Diet (SAD) most Americans have followed for years. Those facts are:
1. America is addicted to meat and high protein meals, even though they have no idea how much protein they should consume for healthy living.
2. America is addicted to sugar.
3. A majority of America is obese, with many chronically obese.
4. Most Americans are dehydrated.
5. Most Americans are constipated.
6. Most Americans consume far more dairy products than other countries, not understanding the dangers of beta casein protein from A1 cows.
7. All Americans eat way too much processed GMO foods.
8. Too many Americans are sick and over-prescribed on Statin, Blood pressure, mood enhancing and the numerous drugs pushed on physicians by Big Pharma and approved by the FDA**.
9. Most Americans spend more time researching what car they should buy and spend more money on those cars than they do researching healthy eating lifestyle alternatives, choosing to blindly follow doctors orders and not question what the consequences/side effects are of the drugs and care plan they are prescribed.
**Having said that, I do recognize there are many physicians and caregivers that do care about their patients and are open to at least look at other complimentary approaches for patients not responding to traditional therapy, or not able to afford costly therapies. I have been fortunate to have found that in my Neurologist and Primary Care Physicians.
As a result, I chose a mostly raw vegan lifestyle where I eat a mostly raw whole foods plant-based diet as found in nature, as much as possible. I ask myself: “Is what I am choosing to eat as it is found in nature, or is it processed or pasteurized so it is fit for human consumption” Simple. If the answer is yes to the first part, I eat it. Do you see cheese growing in fields? Do you see porterhouse steaks grazing out in a field? Are there any humans out there in fields grazing on wheat/grains? Oh and please direct me to the nearest “apple pie” field so I can pick some and bring them home! J
I eat all local grown and organic when possible for reasons you may or may not be aware of. When eating out in Central Florida, I like to find healthy choices like a raw food restaurant, Cafe118 in Winter Park, as well as many other Central Florida Vegan restaurants that use local organic grown foods. Dandelion Cafe, Ethos Cafe, Loving Hut, Infusion Tea are just a few. When with my family, I can go to almost any restaurant and make good choices. I find most good chefs like the challenge of cooking what I like! Nationwide, there are a growing abundance of healthy restaurant choices if you just do a little research. Always ask while you are there: “Do you support local organic growers?” As more people ask that question, you can be sure more healthy choices will become available. I do understand that we have an addiction to meat protein and dairy products in this country. Read the book “The China Study” to learn more about our dairy addiction and the many health problems (i.e. diabetes, heart disease and obesity) it may cause www.thechinastudy.com.
If you still want to eat meat and dairy products, at least do your homework and choose beef, eggs and milk products that come from “A2 beta casein” cows vs. the “A1 beta casein” cows that most mass-produced dairy and beef comes from. For a discussion on A1 vs. A2, go here. Or drink raw goat or A2 cow milk from a local trusted source.
My nutritional choices
As far as what I do for nutrition, I use pure virgin organic coconut oil as a part of my health routine daily and find it to be indispensible. Love coconut, any kind. I drink O.N.E. brand coconut water. I buy whole young Thai coconuts, drink the water, eat the meat or put it in my green smoothies or make it into milk. I buy coconut oil by the gallon from www.tropicaltraditions.com and have 4-6 tbsp a day and also put it all over my body after a shower and use it in salads and cooking. I also buy shredded coconut I put on salads from them as well as coconut cream, coconut soap, coconut shampoo. Guess you could say I am coco-nuts! My coconut oil I get from www.tropicaltraditions.com. Look up coconut oil and its benefits here and here. I take 4-6 tablespoons a day and also rub it all over my body and face after showering and use it in cooking. I get the Virgin Gold Label organic gallons from them. If you sign up on the website, they do offer a buy-one-get-one, often. I also get their coconut soap, lotion and other things.
What you put ON your body (hairspray, hair dye, makeup, lotion, perfume, cologne, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc) is as important as what you put IN your body, and can be loaded with chemicals as you may know. For ladies, you can get makeup that is also good for your body. I am trying to eliminate as many toxins as possible from going in or on my body, to combat my autoimmune disease. I use Tom’s deodorant with no aluminum and Toms Cinnemint toothpaste with no fluoride. Look at your tube of toothpaste. Go ahead, get it. Do you see the notice in very small print on the back that says “if you ingest any more of this toothpaste than what is used on your brush, you should call Poison Control??” Why is that there? On my tube, with no fluride, there is no such warning!
I get my local greens from Heart of Christmas Farms in Christmas Fl, near where we live. Their greens are hydroponically grown to organic standards and fabulous! If you can find a local hydroponic farm that grows to organic standards near you it is very beneficial. Look at www.localharvest.com for good greens near you. If you live in Central Florida and Christmas, Fl. is too far from you; Heart of Christmas farms is also at local farmers markets two nights each week. At Auduban Park farmers market, 1842 Winter Park Rd at 6pm to close and College Park farmer’s market at 1600 Edgewater dr. at 6pm in front of Infusion Tea (love it). The owners/farmers are Richard and Diane and you can tell them I sent you. They know me very well. Their website is www.hocfarms.com; sign up on it for a weekly availability list they email out. Great greens, fresh picked that day for max vitamins and enzymes. They are the best tasting veggies I have ever eaten. For me, when that is mainly what you eat, you appreciate that! I love local, and I love organic standards, if they are followed. One way to assure that is to buy local from trusted sources! I am not going to get into a lecture here about farm animals and how they are treated, or mass farmed greens, but just go watch films like Food Inc., Forks over Knives, Sweet Remedy, Glass Walls, Green, Farmageddon and other films out there and decide for yourself if you think pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and certain antibiotics used on farm animals and greens are good for you. If you can find a legitimate clinical study that shows that, send it to me and I will stop using food grown local and to organic standards immediately! I have sent this doc out to many people and I am still waiting for that study! I also do not drink coffee and avoid decaf also. I avoid all caffeine for many reasons but mainly because I am building healthy bacteria in my gut with my well being, and caffeine (as well as vinegar and other substances) destroy those healthy bacteria. So why put something in my body that works against all that I have been striving for?
Daily I have Green Smoothies for breakfast and lunch. In my smoothies I try to keep them to simple organic whole fruits and veggies. You MUST have a high speed blender for the smoothies. I use a high speed Blendtec ICB7 blender exactly like this.
I use the Blendtec ICB7 because it has 3.5 hp and a 4 inch blade and spins 300 MPH to break down the greens and fruits to micron size so they can go right into your body’s cells. It is also the brand one sees in smoothie shops so you know they are the best made and they last long (20 years+). If you want more info on this blender I can get it for you. The Vitamix 5200 is good also, but not as powerful, but used by many in the health industry and a great choice. I do not juice much because I prefer blending to also get the fiber, but if I did juice I would juice wheatgrass in a great juicer, that is very expensive, like this. Note: it pays to spend $$ for a blender and a juicer, believe me. (Remember my car story above?)
What I put in my smoothies:I put sprouted sunflowers seeds fresh harvested, a variety ofsome of the following: (organic) apples, rarely a bananas, some frozen mango, Pineapple cores, blueberries (always-natures perfect food), Strawberries, 1 1/2 cups coconut water or coconut milk, 1 ½ cups pure distilled water or fresh watermelon when in season, 2 tsp chia seeds, whole flax seeds, hemp seeds for omega 3’s and fiber, ½ tsp Ceylon Cinnamon, 1 tsp cocao, half a lemon with skin, 1/2 inch of ginger, 2 tbsp Brewer’s Yeast (for the very best form of folic acid), ½ tbsp bee pollen and sometimes 1 tbsp Agave Nectar or stevia. I also I add 1 tsp Hawaiian spirulina, I tsp food-grade disiginous earth, then add fresh greens like (young) Kale, chard, spinach, collards, dandelion greens, Romaine etc, (all the colors!) and blend again. I only blend at high speeds for one minute or so to avoid oxidation. Then before pouring into my cup I add 12 drops of Moringa so it is in the cup and not all over the blender. I drink this for breakfast and lunch and through the day. I always rotate the greens weekly at least, no need to rotate the fruits, but I do some times. I ask for “young greens” from my farm because they have much less bitterness. I sometimes get young Thai coconuts and split them open, drink the coconut water, than scrape out the meat and put it in my smoothie! Or I get the coconut water or coconut milk from Whole Foods. The brand coconut water I like, that tested best by Consumer Labs is now Zico because it tested true to its claimed nutrition on the label and is not heat processed. Also local restaurant Cafe 118 in Winter Park (raw food Restaurant) sells fresh Coconut water by the gallon, when they get it in. I drink the 3+ qts green smoothies for breakfast and throughout the day until 4pm or so.
I am not a gourmet cook by any means, and my dinners are mostly a raw salad with the veggies I get from local farms and I add all kinds of good whole foods and shredded coconut to that. I make my own salad dressing from veggies, or use organic coconut oil and organic coconut vinegar. Occasionally, I will also lightly steam veggies, make grilled or baked Portobello mushrooms (my steak!) and I do a great veggie chili with lots of beans, veggies and seasonings. I do not do too much of the soy products that mimic meat but do have them once in a while and mostly at restaurants that offer them, in a pinch. If you enjoy cooking there are many vegan cookbooks out there like this one I have that I like.
I love to make raw ice cream from frozen banana’s, strawberries, and a little water. I blend it or put in a food processor. I bought a great banana ice cream maker called “Yonanas” from Bed Bath and Beyond and it works great. I would like to use a good dehydrator like the one made by Excaliber. Again get the best!
The water I drink is always distilled using my inexpensive home distiller I purchased after some research, shown here $99 . I am very happy with it. Only takes about 3-4 hours to make one gallon, so I put it on 1-2 times a day and I always have plenty of pure water I can trust. I know when you distill water you take out the minerals, but I get plenty of minerals from my diet and I want pure water free of all the contaminents found in water supplies today. Reverse Osmosis systems are also good (and expensive) but you MUST keep up with the filters and change them regularly. Nothing provides better water than distillation, IMO, but you can do the research yourself.
I get all my vitamins etc from my food but I do only take liquid vitamin D drops if I can not get sun for the D, Or a vitamin D spray from Mercola.com and a under tongue spray B12, Complete Probiotics and CoQ10 (I use Mercola’s Ubiquinol CoQ10 which anyone over 40 should use) from www.mercola.com. I also buy from Life Extension many of my herbs and vitamins (www.lef.org) . I also take several capsules of quality herbs each day: Cinnamon, Turmeric, Milk Thistle, Hawthorne, Chlorella, Saw Palmetto, ALA and Folic acid (from the brewer’s yeast I put in my smoothie above). I researched what dose, what brands to buy cheap (Walmart), local, and the very best quality herbs and minerals that have been extensively tested for purity and freshness. You can get that info also from Thepeopleschemist.com and Consumerlab.com. I also take a No-Fenol Chewable Multiple Enzyme from www.houstonnl.com and a probiotic from Mercola.com.
Sorry this is so long, but I am trying to summarize many years of research and discovery into just a few pages here! Yes, nutrition has pretty much become my passion! I only read nutrition authors that use good sound clinically based foundation for their writing. Having sold with clinical studies, I can tell a valid study vs. a non valid study. I also follow the blogs and Facebook pages of Roger Haske, Fred Patenaude, Kevin Gianni (Renegade Health), Dr Sears, Life Extension, The People’s Chemist, Victoria Boutenko (green smoothies), T Colon Campbell, Dr Doug Graham, Dr Furhman, Dr Mercola and many others. I take different things from those different sites, recognizing that what I am doing works for me. I am open to new things always, but I do not want to change my health routine unless the reason is compelling to do so, as in the case of my adding LDN. If you can, get the movies “Food Inc”, “Eating” and “forks over Knives” (New), Sweet remedy, Glass walls, and watch them! You will understand just what we are doing to OURSELVES because of our dietary choices and the years of deception by the corrupt FDA and USDA! Also the ebook “Hidden Truth about Cholesterol” by Sean Ellison is eye opening! I would also say I am on a path of total elimination of all wheat and wheat products. There is a very valid reason why Diabetes and Obesity is a world-wide epidemic! Read “Wheat Belly”.
Since following this healthy lifestyle and doing some swimming and light weights- I use exercise bands- they are great and they travel with you!
I am now off all 5 medicines I have been on in the past for M.S. I no longer have much of the debilitating fatigue, have less muscle spasms, numbness, tingling in extremities. If I do feel numbness the product I use to fix that is call The Rebuilder. They have a home unit that works great and Ins does pay for it. My cognitive issues are gone; it is like a fog cleared in my brain. I chose a vegan lifestyle, mostly raw, because I have researched and read many of the books on natural ways to get and stay healthy, and beat MS and came up with my approach. This approach may not get everyone with M.S. off their meds, but it will definitely lead you to a better, healthier life. At least consider this lifestyle to augment your MS, or other health related medications. I do take Ampyra now, the walking pill. Just started that and it has helped my walking.
I drink 4-5 quarts of fluids a day, including the green smoothies until my urine runs clear. My research led to the conclusion that most people in this country are following the high protein standard American diet, causing many health issues, and are constipated and dehydrated ( I was for way too many years!). I am now neither, and feel better each and every day. I still have some symptoms of MS like right-side weakness, and it affects my walking distances and Ampyra and the Bioness system is my plan to increase my walking distance. Do not even think twice about using a cane, walker, wheelchair or scooter! They are not taking away your freedon, theya re helping you take part in life, so go for it! My progressive autoimmune disease is progressing slowly , IMO. I no longer see my Neurologist except for routine annual follow ups, except now I will be visiting their office every 6 weeks as a follow up on LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) and how it is affecting me. I no longer worry about all the side effects that taking M.S. CRAB meds would have caused me.
I follow all the research going on with MS around the world, as I am the Research Advocate for the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Central Florida. Great things are happening in MS research. My goal is to remain as healthy as possible and continue to pray for a cure.
I hope you choose to take charge of your health using nutrition as I did. Be proactive, and read, read, read, every day. I am sure you are smart enough to wade through the good and the misleading info on the internet.
3-14-11- I have now added prescription drug Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) to my MS health routine, ask me for the info and I will send it to you. You can also go to www.lowdosenaltrexone.com for more info. I have over 150 hours of research into LDN so I am adding it to my approach since I do not find LDN will disturb my nutrition program, cause no side effects to speak of, or cause me any long or short term health issues. I have read over 800 in-depth MS patient testimonials re LDN and the results are very promising, if not encouraging. LDN shows better outcomes for slowing or halting progression, than any of the CRAB drugs, IMO. The cost of the drug is about $25.00/mo TOTAL (with no insurance- pricing from Skips Pharmacy in Boca Raton Fl.). LDN is an off-label use of Naltrexone and is also showing amazing promise for cancer and any autoimmune disease. For as great presentation by DR Burt Berkson on LDN and ALA in use for several diseases, even cancer.
Look it up!
In good health, Rich