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Monday
May062013

Are You Minding YOUR Mitochondria??, 

Terry Wahls is an Iowa City, IA based internal medicine MD who was diagnosed with a deteriorating form of multiple sclerosis, called secondary progressive MS.  She was steadily growing worse.  A doctor herself, she first consulted specialists in MS for relief, but without results.  The specialists didn’t seem to know more than she did, simply treating the symptoms and discomfort as her condition went downhill.  Desperate, this intelligent medical professional went to the Internet to learn about nutrition!  What she learned is what grandmothers have told every child within earshot:  Vitamin pills are fine, but Eat Your Vegetables!  She began to focus on eating a wide variety of vegetables of all colors, to get the various vitamins and minerals, some known, many NOT known, in order to feed her cells, especially the little workhorses within her cells called the mitochondria, all that she felt they needed to become healthy and productive.  She learned that the health of these tiny little engines is critical to the overall health of the body, and that when the mitochondria are not healthy, chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, cancer and MS may result.  To keep those tiny mitochondria healthy, you need abundant vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and if you’re not eating well, you’re selling your health short, aging faster than you should, and inviting major health problems.  Diets that are rich in veggies, especially greens, have been shown in study after study to lower the risk of cancers, eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. In her book, Minding Your Mitochondria, we learn how that Terry emphasized quality organic vegetables in her diet.  With that major change in diet, plus some electrical stimulation of her muscles to help them recover faster, within 18 months she was out of her wheelchair, riding bicycles and horses. A major change, which she largely accomplished herself.   

 

A lucky break? Maybe not. In the early 20th century, Ohio dentist Dr. Weston Price analyzed the diets and health of 14 primitive peoples on 5 continents.  He did physical assessments, dental x-rays and measured bone densities.  What Dr. Price found was that in the primitive diets rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. fish oils), the people had excellent teeth without cavities, strong bones, and virtually no degenerative diseases such arthritis or cancer. They also found that those individuals were stronger, smarter and less aggressive compared to those who ate a diet from the local groceries of those days. Some villages had neither police nor mental health workers, simply because they were not needed. Price concluded that lack of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) led to serious physical degeneration.  (Read about his conclusions in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration  www.Westonaprice.org .)  Dr. Terry Wahls would agree.  These primitive or “paleolithic diets” may be much of the answer to our chronic diseases, be they diabetes, arthritis, cancer, even autism. 

 

Can you afford to be healthy by eating this way?  Given the cost of medical care, a few bags of veggies seems cheap to me.  Last week, I purchased $30 of red cabbage, purple grapes, blueberries, yellow, orange and red peppers, carrots, celery and broccoli, the more different colors the better because it provides more variety in the vitamins.  I returned to our Tracy clinic and with the help of Master Wu and Scott our apprentice, we ran the whole works through our juicer in two hours. We stocked the fridge with 6 full quart jars of juice.  We’re now working on those-- a quart lasts me about 4 days. I’ve become the guinea pig for these experiments, and, “Hey, it’s not half bad!”  No stomach upset, more energy, sleeping a bit better, and feeling better.  At this moment in my 73 years of existence, I’m fortunate to be free of chronic conditions, but I’ve developed a passion for this “Moose Joose”, as Scott has christened it.  If you come to us with a chronic condition, our conversation may turn into a “kitchen session” to help you heal yourself by improving your eating. If we are what we eat, what better way to become healthier than by eating healthier! 

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