Having always been a relatively fit, thin and “healthy” eater, I was floored when I found out I had contracted a life-threatening auto-immune disease and severe cardiovascular disease.
I was young and in my prime, with the immortality of my 30’s still lingering in my mind when I started on a steep downward slope towards disabling illness. Soon after waking up with immobile finger joints, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease which caused high levels of inflammation in my body, bowel disease and exhaustion. As many people do, I started medical therapy and put my head down and trudged forward with all my might, exercising and doing physical projects until I almost collapsed one day.
Soon after, there I was visiting the folks in the cardiac unit, being wheeled into surgery for stent placement to open up a 99% blocked coronary artery. My nurse laughingly reminded me they call that particular artery the “widow maker” as they took my vitals.
All that being said I needed to make some drastic changes in my life. Turns out I needed to rethink the largest factor we all have the power to change: What we eat and drink. We eat 35 TONS of food in a lifetime, maybe it makes sense that it’s the biggest cause of modern day disease?!
I’d like to illustrate three of the biggest most consumed poisons out there: MILK, SUGAR, and ironically, ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER.
The research is compelling and the patient feedback clearly leads me to believe that not all people should drink milk or eat dairy products. Even with “negative” allergy testing, people can have significant, life-altering reactions to milk products. Milk can cause a pro-inflammatory state in a large portion of the population that can exacerbate general allergic symptoms, gut problems, asthma and eczema. I personally have nearly cured countless patients of severe eczema by convincing them to go dairy-free. Same goes for acid reflux and gas/bloating. You have nothing to lose, try it for two weeks and see how you feel!
Artificial sweeteners may cause more under-reported ailments than any other food product. If it’s not killing people outright, don’t expect the FDA to do much research on this multi-billion dollar industry. I spent years adding them to my coffee and downing diet soda, all the while suffering from daily abdominal pain, severe bloating, and finally three bouts of bloody colitis (inflammation and infection of my colon. . . Not fun). It wasn’t until I poured through the medical reports that clearly indicate these symptoms as a potential side effect. Since I stopped ingesting artificial sweeteners, I have had NO SYMPTOMS. Sadly, I was evaluated by two gastroenterologists and had a colonoscopy and was deemed healthy. Yes, that happens to doctors as well!
Sugar is BY FAR worse for us than potato chips or fried chicken. The fact is, fat and cholesterol were demonized in the 70’s & 80’s by the government and the food industry responded in turn by reducing tasty fats, replacing them with tasty SUGAR. We have all suffered for it. From now on, when you read “FAT FREE,” I want you to see “ADDED SUGAR” on your labels. Eating sugar has one major effect in your body: It increases insulin. Insulin has one major purpose: To use the little we need at the time and store the majority as fat. Elevated insulin has more bad effects on your body than I can list. Sugar is also known to cause total body inflammation, which in turn makes any disease or malady worse. Sugar is also extremely addictive. Recent studies have shown similar neurotransmitter release and brain response to eating sugar as using cocaine or heroin. It has also been tightly correlated to worsening ADHD symptoms in many individuals.
As you can imagine being a doctor who nearly died from heart disease, I explored any and all treatments. This trek led me to visit the Cleveland Clinic, one of the top cardiac centers in the world. As a patient, I was treated like a VIP and reassured that the docs in Greenville did everything they could have done and my (then) current plan of cholesterol lowering drugs and exercise was all I could do.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS I met with two cardiologists I happen to know personally who opened up the pearly gates.
In my next column, I will share the life-changing information these doctors shared with me that very few people know and that cardiologists are just now beginning to sparsely discuss with their patients. Is there a cure for heart disease?