Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where's the Beef?

In my last post, I promised you some information on red meat.  So, let’s start by reflecting on what the “experts” say.  We’re told that consuming red meat is the ultimate sin.  “Animal fat is bad”, “It’ll raise your cholesterol”, “It’ll give you cancer!” is what we’re told. 
Many of you know that I have been interested in wellness, particularly nutrition, for several years.  Often times, when the topic of health arises, friends will proudly announce “I don’t eat red meat!”.  It seems that many believe that as long as they avoid red meat and other fatty animal products, they’ll be healthy.  I’ve noticed that many caring, health oriented moms will feed their children corn chips, tofu, goldfish crackers and packaged mac ‘n cheese and think their children are eating healthy because they’re avoiding the devil, otherwise known as red meat. 
The confusion is understandable.  Every few months, a new book is published that tells us exactly how to eat if we want to be healthy.  I have many of these books: The Zone Diet, Atkins, Eat to Live, The China Study, New American Diet, Living on Live Food, and Skinny Bitch, to name a few.  Each of these authors has facts and statistics to back up his case and prove that his diet is the right diet for everyone.  How are we laymen to know the truth?  For that matter, how are the experts to know the truth? These authors can’t all be right as their suggestions totally contradict each other….or can they?
I’ve been telling people for years that red meat can be a healthful option but it needs to come from cows that are humanely raised and allowed to graze on grass that has not had a chemical shower.  I went to great lengths to ensure my children consumed products from clean, healthy animals when they were very young, including raw, unpasteurized milk from grass fed cows.  When I tell people this, I receive a number of reactions: head shaking, eyebrow raising, looks that say “are you crazy? Everyone knows that animal products are bad for you!”.  Some will go so far as to explain that we don’t have the intestinal track of a carnivore, we don’t have the teeth and digestive enzymes necessary to break down meat, so on and so forth.  They quote a never ending litany of facts and statistics and, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that red meat was the devil too.
Fortunately, though, I do know better (thank you, Dr. G). 
Now that I’m using red meat to reverse terminal cancer, I’m hoping you’ll open your mind and reconsider.  At the very least, take a few minutes and read the rest of this post.  The reason I’ve been a proponent of animal products for so long is because I know about a study conducted by a dentist in the 1930s named Weston A. Price.  Now that I know that Dr. Gonzalez uses the findings of this study to reverse terminal cancer, I’m convinced that this information is fundamental to optimal health.                     
Weston A. Price                                                                                                                       
Dr. Price was a dentist in Cleveland, OH who set out to travel the world and study the epidemiology of dental decay.  Back in Price’s day (1930s) and today, medical and dental students are taught that we are extremely fortunate in the western world to have high tech dentistry to help treat all types of dental disease.  Those poor, primitive people who didn’t have access to dentists would supposedly get dental decay and commit suicide from the pain.  This theory, although widely accepted, has never actually been proven.  
Price recognized that no one had ever done a study to analyze the epidemiology of dental disease and determine if these theories about the primitive cultures were true.  So, he and his wife set out on a seven year journey.  Price traveled the world to live with and study 14 isolated cultures including but not limited to the Eskimos, the Incas, the Masai, the Pygmies, the Polynesians and the Aborigines. He was an impeccable researcher and kept meticulous records that he backed up with thousands of photographs.  He studied the peoples’ dental arches and decay and would interview these people and speak with  doctors or health officials  that were available.  He also reviewed any medical records that existed.  Although he began the expedition with the intention of studying dental health, he eventually became interested in other diseases.    
In addition to studying these isolated cultures, Dr. Price traveled to the westernized towns and villages and observed their descendants; people who initially lived in an isolated region and moved to adopt a more western way of life.
What Price discovered was that these isolated cultures didn’t have dental decay.  In fact, they had perfect dental arches and no need for orthodontics. 
He also studied the incidence of other health issues and he found that they were in excellent health.    There simply was no asthma, allergies, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or hypertension.
Equally shocking is the fact that these indigenous peoples didn’t suffer from mental illness.  When asked about depression and life’s challenges, the Eskimos would break out laughing.  They said “with all the bounty of earth, how could anyone feel like that?”  Note that these were people living in the Arctic with ten months of darkness and no vegetation; yet, there they were, celebrating “bounty”.  They had a word for mourning; when someone died, they grieved.  But when feelings of depression and despondence were described to them, the Eskimos just couldn’t relate.    
Fertility issues that are so common today weren’t an issue for these indigenous peoples.  They  produced healthy offspring with ease, generation after generation.  (When I asked Dr. Gonzalez about the possibility of me having another baby, he said we’ll have to get rid of my cancer first and then we can talk about it.  He mentioned, though, that I have plenty of time; women on his program don’t go into menopause until they’re in their 50s.  Wow.  I hear that conventional doctors these days are telling women that it’s “normal” to begin menopause in their thirties.  Once again, I find myself so grateful for this opportunity to optimize my health.)
When Price studied the groups of people from these isolated cultures who moved into “civilized” towns  and adopted a westernized way of eating loaded with canned goods, preservatives, chemicals, additives and white foods such as flour, sugar and rice, he noticed a catastrophic change in health within only one generation.  Dental decay became rampant; gingivitis and periodontal disease became epidemic.  There were epidemics of asthma, allergies, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.  Cancer, too, exploded, even in the 20s and 30s.  Mental illness such as depression, bi-polar disease, and schizophrenia became very common amongst these isolated peoples who adopted a westernized way of living but these diseases simply didn’t exist in the isolated cultures. 
If you read Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” you’ll see, in mind-boggling photos, how healthy, disease-free primitives look; the ones who have been subsisting on their own diets for generations have beautifully formed faces, palates, jaws and teeth that are totally devoid of cavities (these people weren’t even brushing their teeth, let alone flossing).  Then there are pictures of these same peoples where white man and their modern foods have taken over.  Children (and the adults they become) with birth defects, deformed palates, rotted, missing teeth and ill health.
So, what are these healthy people eating?  
Because each of these isolated cultures was living off the land, each had its’ own unique diet.  The Polynesians consumed lots of fish and fruit while the African Masai lived on raw cow milk and cow blood.  Although they all ate differently, there are some similarities that can be summed up in the following six principles:    
1.      No human group ever lived on one diet that all humans followed.

Each group ate what was available.  For the Eskimos, that meant whale blubber, seals and fatty red meats.  They lived on an all meat diet that was 80% saturated fat and 20% protein with no vegetation.  The traditional Masai lived on raw cow milk and cow blood; all animal based, about 70% fat, yet completely different from the Eskimos.  The Pygmies in the Congo had more of a plant based diet although they did eat animal products when they could catch them.

2.      No traditional group followed a vegetarian diet nor did any of these groups think that made sense.    

Even the groups that thrived on a diet that was largely plant based saw value in eating animal meat and fat. 

3.      No traditional group followed a low fat diet.

Some of the groups ate animal fat while others thrived on plant based fats but none consumed a low fat diet.

4.      The diets were natural, local and whole.

There was no access to processed foods of any kind, including white products (rice, flour, sugar and pasta) and canned, preserved and chemical “food”.  Is it necessary to mention that their produce wasn’t sprayed with pesticides?  Now, when people eat this way, they are such standouts that we have a special name for them: locavores.

5.      All traditional groups consumed some raw food.

The amount of raw versus cooked foods varied from group to group but all had some raw food that they thought was health promoting.  The Eskimos would take raw fish and bury it.  Eight weeks later, after it had fermented, they would dig it up and feast.  Not only did they enjoy it, they actually considered it dessert!

Note: Initially, I was a little nervous to try Dr. Gonzalez’ program.  What if I had to eat raw meat three times a day?!  Bluck!  When I first met with him, he asked me a couple of times if I was willing to eat red meat 4-5 times a week.  I had no problem with this but after he asked a second time, I said “may I cook it?”  He laughed and said that was fine.  Whew.  (LOL)

The truth is that I would’ve eaten my arm if that’s what it took to get well but I’m glad I didn’t have to. J

6.      Traditional diets produced enduring good health.

No matter what the diet, as long as these groups stuck to their traditional diets, they  experienced excellent health for the rest of their lives. 

Modern “food” choices constitute a radical change from the way man has nourished himself for thousands of years.  As a result, each generation is getting progressively weaker.  Dr. Kelley (who created my therapy) said that he would rather treat an 80 year old man than treat a 20 year old one because each generation is getting weaker and the younger man may not respond as well.  Dr. Gonzalez says that he finds this to be true; in his practice today he receives calls from people in their 20s who have very aggressive cancers that used to be reserved for the elderly.  Multiple myeloma, my disease, used to affect mostly elderly men, especially those who were African American.  Somehow I, a white female under the age of 40 (when diagnosed), was able to contract it.  It seems to be gaining prevalence because I continue to hear about more and more people who are diagnosed with this disease.
One of the most important things we can take away from this study is that, although it’s extremely common to be sick in one form or another, it is not our normal state.  Our bodies are wired for health but it seems that we have forgotten that our normal state is one of balance and vitality.  If we’ll just feed ourselves whole, organic food and detoxify, we’ll dramatically increase our odds of living a life of excellent health.  All of the chronic diseases that are so common are diseases of a civilized world.  Unknowingly, it  seems we are participating in our own demise.      
There’s some truth in all of the nutritional books.   The reality, though, is that everyone has different needs.   I’m not suggesting that everyone eat red meat.  I am, however, proclaiming that some of us need it.  If you don’t like the taste of it or if it sits like a rock in your stomach, then you should avoid it.  But, if you’re like me, and you love it and feel good eating it, then you could begin including it in your diet because you probably need it to thrive.  Dr. Gonzalez always says that your body is smarter than any doctor, including him.  Some of his patients need red meat three times a day while others are vegetarians.  The moral of this story is this: listen to your God given body, not the academic "experts", to tell you the truth about what diet works best for you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Cells and White Cells and Hematocrit, OH MY!

Another month down.  It is amazing to me how time is flying.  On my last therapy, time went so slow that it felt like it was moving in reverse.  I’d think to myself “Ok, I’ve been on the therapy four months, two weeks, three days and 12 hours.  Only 20 more months to go!”  Sigh.
This time around, I’m just living my life and my therapy is floating around somewhere in the background.   I’m still a little limited.  I can’t quite head to Disney for the week, but we did manage to squeeze in an overnight trip to Nantucket in December, and those of you who have been to Nantucket know it doesn’t get much better than that!  Yesterday, my cell phone rang and I ran, actually RAN, up the stairs.  When I picked it up and said “hello”, a huge grin spread across my face as I realized I wasn’t winded.  Wow, what an accomplishment!  I felt like celebrating on the spot.  It was only a few months ago that walking up the slightly inclined paved driveway to pick up my daughter at pre-school was a cause for heavy  breathing.  Two years ago I could barely climb the stairs.  Suffice it to say, I’ve come a long way.
In fact, the therapy is such a small part of my life that I forgot about my blood results!  I had my blood drawn last Monday and I knew it was likely that Dr. Gonzalez would call me on Tuesday evening with results.  On the nights that I expect his call, I walk around glued to my cell phone and avoid leaving the  house between 5:00 and 7:00 because I don’t want to risk driving through a dead zone and missing the call.  I suppose this just goes to show that we attract what we fear because I have missed the call at least three times when I’m doing everything I can to ensure I hear it ring.  This time, when I forgot about the call, I heard the phone ring loud and clear. 
So, last Tuesday night, I’m running around like a crazy woman trying to make carrot  juice, eat dinner, feed my little one and run out the door to pick up my oldest from dance class, when my cell  phone rang.  I was planning to skip it but took a peek to see who was calling and it was Dr. Gonzalez.  It took a second before I remembered that I’d had my blood drawn the previous morning.  Normally, on the day I’m expecting lab numbers, I walk around fidgety and antsy, nervously awaiting my results.  Now that I’m doing well, I am so relaxed that I actually forgot about them.
I learned from our call that I continue to have significant improvements in several numbers while one went in the wrong direction.  Dr. Gonzalez began the conversation by saying that blood work after the holidays is often off due to the stress his patients experience during the season.  When he asked if my holidays were stressful, I said that they were not.  I had my best holiday season ever!  My girls are at fun ages and I’m getting better.  What more could I ask?  Things are just plain wonderful.  However, what slipped my mind at the time, is that I had recently learned that my best buddy from Gerson died.  I’ve been so sad.  When I’m alone, I tend to walk around shaking my head “no” as if I can shake the bad news off of me and bring her back.    
Celia was a biologist from Calgary.  An admitted health nut, she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside (and that’s saying a lot).  Two years prior to our meeting in Mexico, when she was only 30, she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer which her doctors had easily removed with surgery.  She’d always been health minded and, after her surgery, she began to follow a strict raw foods diet.  She planned to live a long, healthy life. 
In 2009, the cancer returned and her doctor told her it was incurable.  At most, she had two years to live if she did chemotherapy.  She even flew from Calgary down to the world renowned MD Andersen in Texas thinking that they might have a more effective treatment and optimistic prognosis.  No luck.  After speaking with an acquaintance whose life had been saved on the Gerson Therapy, she told her oncologist she was going to try the alternative route and her oncologist got angry.  “You are going to die if you do this!” she yelled.  Well, the way Celia saw it, she was going to die anyway, so why not take a chance on something that could save her life rather than pursue the conventional track that was guaranteed to be a failure? 
I met about 25 late stage cancer patients at the Gerson clinic in Mexico, and I always felt confident that Celia would be one of the few who would make it.  During my visualization exercises over the last two years, I pictured us meeting in Vancouver for a celebratory hike and herbal tea toast.  She was young, vibrant and determined.  She had a wonderful family and they were committed to her success.  Her parents sold the family business and their house to move several hours away and live with Celia so that they could care for her on the therapy.
When Celia didn’t return my last couple of emails, I began to worry.  It didn’t take long for me to do some research and learn that she had passed away.  Given the 50%+ chance of success she would have had with Dr. Gonzalez, I can’t help but wonder if she would be alive today if she had pursued his therapy.  I’ll never know but it’s frustrating to me that she didn’t have the chance to evaluate The Gonzalez Therapy because she didn’t know it existed.
At any rate, once I hung up the phone from discussing test results with Dr. Gonzalez, I realized that the last month has been an emotional roller coaster and that may have affected my blood work (why is it that I always remember the important comments after we hang up?).
Regardless of the recent emotional ups and downs, I continue to be thrilled with my results.  To start, for the first time in well over four years, my red blood cells are IN RANGE!!  This month, they increased from 3.61 to 3.88.  My white blood cells stayed consistently strong at 4.8.  Dr. Gonzalez says he’ll be happy with 4.8 if they stay there for the next fifty years.  I love that comment.  I encourage anyone reading this to tell a myeloma patient or oncologist that you know someone who has IGA myeloma and is planning to live another fifty years and see what he says.  He’ll either want to read my blog asap or won’t believe you.  Sadly, it will probably be the latter…..but I digress.  Hemoglobin continued to increase from 9.7 to 10.1.  This is not surprising to me as I can feel myself getting stronger.  For better or worse, I can stay up very late without feeling too tired.  Hematocrit also increased a significant 1.8 points from 31.0 to 32.8.  So, three important numbers improved and I’m delighted.  The other number that we evaluate on a monthly basis is IGA, which is my tumor marker.  Unfortunately, it went in the wrong direction.  It’s never fun when that happens but I’m okay with it for the following reasons:
1.      I’ve had my blood tested for the lasts consecutive 30 months and know that, on any given day, it can fluctuate.  We don’t evaluate blood work based on one test, we look at the trend.  Since I’ve been trending in the right direction, I feel pretty good about it.  Dr. Gonzalez says that patients never heal in a straight line.
2.      Dr. Gonzalez said he finds hemoglobin to be an accurate measurement of success.  Most cancer patients are anemic and if they’re not getting better, their hemoglobin just doesn’t improve.  My hemoglobin has consistently improved over the last several months.
3.      Dr. Gonzalez says that he finds the hair test analysis to be far more accurate than any conventional tumor marker.  If you read my last post, you know I had a huge improvement in my hair sample results.
4.      Three important numbers including red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit improved!

As I told Dr. Gonzalez, I am thrilled.  I didn’t know if I would ever see the day when my white and red blood cells moved into range.  To see so many numbers continuing to improve makes my day.   I know that IGA can be unpredictable.

So, dear friends, that’s all for now.  Expect a new post from me in a few days where I’ll discuss why you should consider eating red meat.  (yes, you read it right)    

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hair Sample Test Results

A few weeks ago, I had my hair sample tested again.  I was planning to include the results in the next post when I share my blood work results but, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this health update warrants its own entry. 
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that the hair sample analysis provides information about what is going on in my body.  It tells us exactly how well all my organs are working as well as how much toxicity and cancer my body is harboring.  At my initial appointment and every six months thereafter, Dr. Gonzalez runs the entire test but at the three month mark, he ran only a spot check of my “CT Mass” which represents the amount of cancer I have.
 During my initial exam, I learned that the normal range for CT Mass is less than ten while my CT Mass was 27.  Dr. Gonzalez explained that the test is extremely precise and accurate, so much so that each point of movement is significant.  In his typical patient, the CT Mass decreases about one point every two months.  So, if that number decreases one or two points at my three month test, he said he would be ecstatic. 
First, it’s worth noting that I’ve never heard a physician say whether she cares one way or another about my health, let alone use the word “ecstatic”.  I’d like to think that my past doctors have cared but who knows.  Dr. Gonzalez’ patients rave about him because they know he cares.  I thought it was just really nice that he mentioned it.
Second, I’m going to share my new CT Mass number but not without a little suspense.  I want to get you excited here…..
So, you remember that we are going to be thrilled if this number decreases a point or two, right?  Humor me for a moment and just take a guess at how much my number decreased.

Drum roll please……

It decreased seven points.  SEVEN POINTS!!!!  Dr. G hoped it would move one or two points and it decreased SEVEN!!!  He says that although he has seen a patient’s number improve this much before, it is very rare and usually only happens when the patient is very compliant and has a great attitude.  So, this means that my CT mass has decreased from 27 to 20 and now the amount of disease I have is much less serious.  I’m ecstatic. 
The truth is that logically I know it doesn’t really matter how quickly I improve as long as I’m moving in the right direction, but I have to admit that it just feels great to know that I am responding so well.   Every month on the Gerson therapy, my results were stable and my doctor would ask “are you resting??!!!”  In my two years on the therapy, I learned that most Gerson practitioners believe that if the disease isn’t regressing, then the patient must be doing something wrong.  So, I rested and I slept and I slept and I rested, and when I got sick of resting, I took a nap.  I didn’t really do much of anything for two years but drink juice, eat, do coffee enemas and sleep.  By the time I was done, I knew I had executed the protocol perfectly but I was beginning to believe that there was something wrong with my body and that maybe I just wasn’t capable of healing.  By the time I began Dr. Gonzalez’ therapy, I had faith in him and his therapy but I was beginning to lose faith in me.
Well, it turns out that the problem wasn’t me, it was the therapy.  The Gerson Therapy just doesn’t work all that well for patients with blood disease and I’m lucky I held stable for so long.  Dr. Gerson himself struggled to help leukemia patients and, just like leukemia, myeloma is a blood cancer.   
Suffice it to say, I’ve been smiling and laughing a lot over the last few weeks.  I’m starting to feel like my old self.   
A Little About the Hair Sample Analysis
The hair test dates back 100 years to Dr. Abrams, a neurologist at Stanford, who believed that our cells, tissues and organs have an electrical field that can be measured and can provide information about various components in our bodies.  The former Chairman of anatomy at Yale and a group of English scientists followed in Dr. Abrams footsteps and developed an instrument that is able to translate that electrical field into meaningful data about various biochemical and physiological functions, as well as disease states. 
As far as Dr. Gonzalez knows, there is only one person who is performing the test properly in this country.  Her name is Joan and she was married to a former patient of Dr. Kelley.  After conventional chemotherapy failed to put her husband’s acute myeloctic leukemia, one of the most aggressive cancers, in remission, Joan’s husband utilized Dr. Kelley’s (Gonzalez) protocol.  On Dr. Kelly’s protocol, he achieved complete remission, only to die seven years later of causes unrelated to his cancer.
Before Dr. Gonzalez began utilizing the hair analysis for his patients, he put the machine and Joan to rigorous testing.  He sent Joan multiple samples for testing with no patient information whatsoever.  Joan was able to identify each patient’s problem and its’ severity with nearly 100% accuracy.
Once he understood the power and accuracy of the hair sample, Dr. Gonzalez began to use the analysis as an adjunctive evaluation method and to fine tune nutritional protocols.  He continues to use it for those purposes and, although he finds it to be more accurate than blood tumor markers, he still requires that his patients complete standard conventional testing in addition to the hair test.