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My journey with functional medicine -- wheat-free,dairy-free,sugar-free

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    My journey with functional medicine -- wheat-free,dairy-free,sugar-free

    This is the beginning of my journey. I'm not sure where I'll go with it, or if it will impact my MS symptoms. But, I'll try to post updates on this thread as they occur.

    Last week, I went to a doctor who believes that "Food is medicine." Dr. Garrett believes that most health conditions are just a result of choices. Some choices are made with the knowledge of risk, but many are made without any knowledge of a health consequence. He believes that most conditions are natural reactions to chemicals in our environment, high glycemic diets, and over consumption of food that either lacks nutrition or lacks any relationship to actual food. He believes that conditions may appear to be genetic, simply because we tend to make similar choices to those in our families.

    I went to the appointment with some skepticism. I still have some of that, but I came out less skeptical than I began. He spent most of the one-hour appointment asking questions about me and explaining his perspective about chronic illness with diagrams, etc. He took some (expensive) lab work; results will be available in about 3 weeks.

    He uses the lab work to come up with a specific plan for each person; he doesn't appear to believe in a one-size-fits-all approach for the specifics. He believes he can get rid of my symptoms within two years. I think. I've only had one visit yet, so I'll wait to hear more about what he has to say.

    Yet, he is very firm in his belief that everyone should work towards giving up wheat, dairy and cane sugar completely.

    I took my husband to my first appointment. I was glad that he was along, because I'm not sure that I would have been able to explain everything to him adequately. He has some skepticism too, but was supportive of spending the $80 on the appointment and the $350 on lab work.

    So, I'm beginning to work at moving in the direction of wheat-free,dairy-free,sugar-free.

    Because his specialty is a form of "alternative" medicine, none of it is covered by insurance. Dr. Garrett is highly (Ivy-league) educated. He graduated from Harvard, and attended additional classes at Yale. He specializes in Chiropractic, Dietetics and Naturopathy. He focuses on reversing acute and chronic conditions naturally through a focus on the triad of lifestyle medicine, functional medicine, and clinical nutrition.

    Other doctors who are listed as practicing functional medicine include Dr. Terry Wahls, Dr. Oz and Dr. Ax. Functional medicine is heralded by some as highly scientific and dismissed by others as "quack". So, please feel free to form your own opinion, as I am also working on forming mine.
    ~ Faith
    MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
    (now a Mimibug)

    Symptoms began in JAN02
    - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
    - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
    .

    - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
    - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

    #2
    I hope this works wonders for you Mamabug. I will be following the thread.
    God Bless Us All

    Comment


      #3
      Good for you Mamabug!

      My husband and I have been seeing a combined Dr with a ND(naturopahy)/MD degree and we have been following this same diet for a few years now, along with different supplements she recommends.

      My husband calls it the "No" diet. No refined white flour (only whole grains), no sugar and no dairy. I am also on a gluten free diet for other reasons. We drink almond milk, some goat cheese (which is low in casein), a kind of olive oil based butter that has no diary products. We are fortunate that a good organic food store is somewhat close where we always shop. It may be more expensive, but better health is a top priority.

      We seem to be doing ok with it, but with occasional cheating, as we're only human
      It has made no difference in my MS symptoms and I continue to decline with SPMS, but overall I feel pretty good and not as fatigued as I used to be. We also limit meat and poultry (me more than him) and eat tons of organic veggies. I believe all this had added to my well-being.

      I wish you lots of luck on this diet. It was hard at first (especially cutting out a lot of sugar), but well worth it.
      1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
      Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Seasha View Post
        ...
        ...
        It has made no difference in my MS symptoms and I continue to decline with SPMS, but overall I feel pretty good and not as fatigued as I used to be. We also limit meat and poultry (me more than him) and eat tons of organic veggies. I believe all this had added to my well-being...
        Thanks for your comments. If it has made no difference in your MS symptoms and you continue to decline, in what ways, other than reduced fatigue, has the diet added to your well-being?
        ~ Faith
        MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
        (now a Mimibug)

        Symptoms began in JAN02
        - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
        - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
        .

        - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
        - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

        Comment


          #5
          I got through the first week of no added sugars by keeping a bag of carrots on hand. Dried fruits are tempting to satisfy the sweet tooth but may end up providing even more sugar. For me, the decrease in sugar consumption has alleviated muscle spasms to a substantial degree. Id be curious to know if it has that effect on you as well.

          Be careful in going gluten free in that many of the GF substitutes are rice flour based and 20 minutes from becoming sugar in your digestive system. Having tried many GF pastas, Banza brand, based on chick peas, is great. If you dont own a spiralizer for making zucchini noodles, treat yourself. Ive only had success with the coarser side of the spiralizer using green zukes on the slimmer side. If you fill the diameter of the tool, it is too difficult to exert the pressure needed to get a noodle. You may want to read about the marvels of aquafaba- the water left over from cooking garbanzos.

          Daiya makes dairy free substitutes but many are a mix of oil and rice flour which will potentially clog your GI tract. Raw cashews (not toasted) soaked in water and then blended can be used to make a variety of creamy dairy free concoctions.

          Yes, please post the journey updates.

          Comment


            #6
            I will definitely be following. I know there are some studies on gut bacteria and various health conditions. I think most are by academia and by naturalists, not pharmaceuticals since no money in that (unless they can alter it). And I am sure certain industries oppose the research in the US.

            I have a friend who followed the Wahls diet. She had one relapse and some mild progression, but physically feels much better. She is funny, misses her cocktails the most.

            Lots of luck to you. Hope it helps. Glad you have your husband's support!
            Kathy
            DX 01/06, currently on Tysabri

            Comment


              #7
              Am Working on it!

              I have tried gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, only chicken and a little turkey , salmon, processed food- free, and never made it to sugar-free( although I do no add sugar to my food) and for a while, corn-free.
              I must admit when I stuck to it, I did do better. I missed corn grits in the morning (even though they were gluten-free) and went back to pop corn. This became my go-to snack.
              I eat organic fruits and vegetables, soy-free eggs and drink tart cherry juice daily.
              I have never had medication as when I was DX I was already too old for trials.
              I believe I have had MS since my early 20's, DX in my 50's an am 70.
              A good diet never hurt any one but can it help us? Time will tell......
              Positive Possibilities

              Comment


                #8
                I appreciate all your comments.

                Your perspectives and experiences will help me as I begin to form my own perspectives and as I begin to evaluate what I think about Dr Garrett's counsel.

                I have filled out all of his paperwork (questions about my health, diet, exercise, etc) and I'm keeping a food diary per his request.

                I was already eating less wheat/gluten than some. And no cow's milk, but not avoiding other dairy. Now, I've begun to make some additional small, incremental changes.

                But I'm nowhere near his current recommendations yet. And I expect many more recommendations to come.

                Next appointment:
                Wednesday, June 19.
                ~ Faith
                MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                (now a Mimibug)

                Symptoms began in JAN02
                - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
                .

                - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mamabug View Post
                  Thanks for your comments. If it has made no difference in your MS symptoms and you continue to decline, in what ways, other than reduced fatigue, has the diet added to your well-being?
                  One of the main positives of this diet, is that I have less constipation. I very rarely get sick (colds and flu), my complexion is better and no weight gain. It's hard to explain but I just feel better overall.
                  1st sx '89 Dx '99 w/RRMS - SP since 2010
                  Administrator Message Boards/Moderator

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Seasha View Post
                    One of the main positives of this diet, is that I have less constipation. I very rarely get sick (colds and flu), my complexion is better and no weight gain. It's hard to explain but I just feel better overall.
                    OK; thanks Seasha.

                    I had my second appointment yesterday. Dr. Garrett had asked that I bring my paperwork, my food diary and all of my supplements.

                    He glanced through the paperwork and food diary briefly and asked how I did with my diet. I told him that I'd made some progress in making good food decisions -- that I was working on less wheat and beginning to work on less dairy, but that I didn't do everything perfect. His mantra seems to be "progress, not perfection". I didn't eat a lot of sugar, but many mornings, I eat a handful of almonds and one small piece of Dove's dark chocolate. He recommended that I find a different brand, because for such a small piece, it has too much sugar.

                    Then he went through my supplements. I brought a big bag because I have a lot even though I don't take all of them. He looked at each one individually and read the ingredients. Some of them he said that I shouldn't take because they have GMO's. Some of them he said were good. Some of them he said that I could finish out the bottle and then replace them with a better brand.

                    He was ready to schedule another appointment for next week, but we'll be on vacation for awhile beginning next week, so next appointment is not until July 12. By then, the lab results should be back. It is intended to show my food sensitivities.
                    ~ Faith
                    MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                    (now a Mimibug)

                    Symptoms began in JAN02
                    - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                    - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
                    .

                    - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                    - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Mamabug View Post
                      Then he went through my supplements. Some of them he said that I could finish out the bottle and then replace them with a better brand.
                      Did he suggest a "better brand" or preferred source?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Marco View Post
                        Did he suggest a "better brand" or preferred source?
                        Yes; a preferred source. He said anything I purchase from Natural Grocers would be good because their products don't have GMO's, etc.

                        We have to drive to Wichita (30+ miles) to shop there, but Wichita is also where this doctor is. I don't get there often (except for these appointments now), but my husband goes there frequently for work.
                        ~ Faith
                        MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                        (now a Mimibug)

                        Symptoms began in JAN02
                        - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                        - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
                        .

                        - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                        - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Temagami View Post
                          I got through the first week of no added sugars by keeping a bag of carrots on hand. Dried fruits are tempting to satisfy the sweet tooth but may end up providing even more sugar. For me, the decrease in sugar consumption has alleviated muscle spasms to a substantial degree. Id be curious to know if it has that effect on you as well.

                          Be careful in going gluten free in that many of the GF substitutes are rice flour based and 20 minutes from becoming sugar in your digestive system. Having tried many GF pastas, Banza brand, based on chick peas, is great. If you dont own a spiralizer for making zucchini noodles, treat yourself. Ive only had success with the coarser side of the spiralizer using green zukes on the slimmer side. If you fill the diameter of the tool, it is too difficult to exert the pressure needed to get a noodle. You may want to read about the marvels of aquafaba- the water left over from cooking garbanzos.

                          Daiya makes dairy free substitutes but many are a mix of oil and rice flour which will potentially clog your GI tract. Raw cashews (not toasted) soaked in water and then blended can be used to make a variety of creamy dairy free concoctions.

                          Yes, please post the journey updates.
                          I realized that I didn't respond to your post. Sorry. Thanks for the carrot tip. I don't eat a lot of sugar, so, so far, that part hasn't been real difficult. I think I cheated once, but I'll have to remember the carrot idea. Or even an apple or a piece of fruit might work. Regarding your muscle spasms, I'm glad cutting back on sugar has alleviated that. I don't have muscle spasms, so i can't comment on whether it would help that.

                          Regarding GF products, I've cut back on wheat products for about 7 or 8 years already, because I have some gluten intolerances. They aren't horrible, and, over time, with consuming less gluten, I seem to be even less sensitive. Gluten bothers me more when it is combined with yeast, so, in recent years, I haven't been very careful to avoid wheat. But, even when I was more careful, I haven't ever purchased a GF product. i've been worried that they would just taste like cardboard so I've never been tempted. Mostly, I've tried to focus on eating more meats, fruits, vegetables. I'm looking forward to getting my lab results so Dr. Garrett can tell me more about what foods he recommends that I avoid and which he encourages me to eat.

                          About the spiralizer -- that might be good for someone who likes to cook or mess with food. I only cook once or twice a week. My son cooks once. The rest of the week, we eat restaurant leftovers and fend for ourselves. I can't imagine that I'd have the motivation to use anything in my meal planning that took that much time and effort. I'm a real lazy cook, if I'm a cook at all.

                          For a milk substitute, I've used mostly almond milk for the past 7 years. What I'll miss is the cheese, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and occasional ice cream. I'm hoping Dr. Garrett will come up with some suggestions to substitute for those.

                          Thanks for your post! I'm taking in everything I hear and read, although I'll need some time to sort through it all in my head, to hear what he continues to add, and to figure out what changes to make in my own life.
                          ~ Faith
                          MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                          (now a Mimibug)

                          Symptoms began in JAN02
                          - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                          - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
                          .

                          - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                          - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            substitutes

                            I have found non-dairy cheeses and yogurt. The cheese even comes in slices. They have good flavor and texture.

                            I have used some gluten- free product and find them not to be cardboardy in taste. I now only use gluten-free breads and pasta. There are a lot of gluten-fee, dairy free an soy free product out there. I am not sure what is available in your area but I have ordered gluten-free online in the past.

                            I am finding that some thins I relied on in the past now have GMO's which I avoid. I do not buy sugar but will use honey when I need some sweetness in a smoothie. Sugar has not been fully conquered yet by me. I like the occasion sweet which is gluten-free, dairy- free, soy-free but not sugar free. Sugar is in so many things....

                            For me, this is a journey I am willing to take, if I can feel and do as well as I have.....
                            Positive Possibilities

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks, Kittin. I'm probably going to need to do this somewhat incrementally; one step at a time. It's good to know that you've found some products you like out there. But, old habits are hard to change (((sigh)).

                              But, we do have a health food store with some products that I might have to look at more carefully.
                              I'm leaving on vacation next week, so I'll likely wait until after I get back from vacation, and, probably, after my next appointment, when I am expecting to hear additional dietary suggestions from Dr. Garrett.
                              ~ Faith
                              MSWorld Volunteer -- Moderator since JUN2012
                              (now a Mimibug)

                              Symptoms began in JAN02
                              - Dx with RRMS in OCT03, following 21 months of limbo, ruling out lots of other dx, and some "probable stroke" and "probable CNS" dx for awhile.
                              - In 2008, I was back in limbo briefly, then re-dx w/ MS: JUL08
                              .

                              - Betaseron NOV03-AUG08; Copaxone20 SEPT08-APR15; Copaxone40 APR15-present
                              - Began receiving SSDI / LTD NOV08. Not employed. I volunteer in my church and community.

                              Comment

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