education pathways

Home » Health

Category Archives: Health

Drop Acid–how to lower uric acid values

Drop Acid

by David Perlmutter
with Kristin Loberg

Be prepared when you read Drop Acid for a book that concentrates on a medical theory that attributes many of our medical woes including obesity, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, premature death, stroke, coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s and hypertension to high levels of uric acid. In his efforts to convince the reader of his theory, Dr. Perlmutter, a neurologist, spends about half of his book expounding in detail the scientific basis of the principles of his LUV (Lower Uric Values) Diet, a trademarked designator. He spends a further 16% of the book at the end on notes for further reading.

The second part of Drop Acid lays out a plan of action for the reader to follow in lowering uric acid levels in three main areas: food; sleep, exercise, exposure to nature, and timing of meals; followed by fine tuning the process. He concludes with recipes that he developed with Tricia Williams, a food therapist.

I was really excited to read this potentially life-changing book. Unfortunately, my eyes glazed over during the details of the first half, and I failed to be convinced that this is a program I personally want to commit to. Even the recipes are challenging. Although Perlmutter claims substitutes can be made in ingredients, I have to ask why one would suggest recipes that specifically include Castelvetrano olives, za’atar seasoning, Tuscan kale, or dulse flakes.

I apply a healthy dose of skepticism when members of the medical community make a business out of healthcare. Perlmutter, in an effort at full disclosure, shares that he is on the board of directors of a company marketing a device, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to measure and monitor blood glucose, a device he maintains is not necessary for his program but would be very useful. He frequently in the text refers the reader both to that device and to his self-promoting website. He also introduces the website of Tricia Williams where his business is again promoted and ready-to-eat meals following this diet are available for purchase.

I am not a scientist or a medical professional, and I have not tried his program myself. I am reviewing the book for readability and appeal, not evaluating the efficacy of the LUV diet.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Little, Brown & Co. for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2/5

Category: Health, Mind, and Body

Notes: 1. Perlmutter is the author of a family of five books focused on gluten-free diets. His flagship book for that effort is Grain Brain.
2. Perlmutter ties his Covid wagon to a uric acid star, seemingly willing to accept most of the pandemic deaths as the inevitable result of comorbidities associated with high uric acid rather than admit most could have been avoided with the right therapeutics.

Publication: February 15, 2022—Little, Brown, & Co.

Memorable Lines:

As you will soon learn, long before any symptoms develop, asymptomatic hyperuricemia may well be fomenting an unending, irreversible storm and subtly stoking biological processes that ultimately result in elevated blood sugar and blood pressure, bad cholesterol, excess body fat, and systemic inflammation, which opens the door for any number of chronic degenerative conditions.

Contrary to what Big Corn will tell you, fructose and glucose are not siblings with equal biological effects. Fructose is more like glucose’s evil twin: when you eat glucose, your body uses it to produce energy; but when you eat fructose, it triggers changes in the body that favor the storage of energy in the form of fat.

If elevated uric acid precedes and predicts biological mayhem and future risk for most chronic diseases, then we must start paying attention to this important metabolite.

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

by Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer

As a senior citizen, I realize I am each day closer to death than the day before and that no one, regardless of their age, knows when their time on earth will be over. With those things in mind, I agreed to review an advance copy of <i>In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later</i>. The first thing I noticed is that the digital copy provided was rather jumbled and therefore difficult to read. I am sure the final published copy will not have those issues. I plowed ahead, reading the Introduction, skimming the body of the text, and particularly noting the organization of the book.

This book provides timely advice and draws the reader’s attention to the multitude of decisions that should be made to help those responsible for end of life care and for the distribution of the estate. There are many decisions that, due to “advances” in technology, our ancestors would not have had to deal with (passwords, life support, etc.). This book both advertises and dovetails into their online planning system. In all fairness, though, they do refer readers to other companies besides their own, and by itself the book would be a good guide.

The authors differentiate between the critical issues that need to be done immediately (Plan of Attack), those items of lower priority, and other things that you might want to consider (Side Mission). They really do cover all the bases, for me anyway, and they recognize that even considering this project is difficult for many people in so many ways. Even as I write this review, my anxiety level has risen, but the idea is that if you make a plan you will not just feel, but actually be in control of, some aspects of your future and help those you care about during their time of grief.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Workman Publishing Co. for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Self Help, Relationships, Grief

Publication: December 22, 2020—Workman Publishing Co.

Memorable Lines:

In order to really make a difference for people at their time of greatest need, you had to help people get a plan in place ahead of time.

We all love instant gratification, but this type of planning forces you to look beyond your own personal gain and know your family has a well-lit path forward if you’re not around.

Naturally Thin–Lasting Weight Loss without Dieting

Naturally Thin

by Jean Antonello, RN, BSN

Naturally ThinAs both the holiday eating season and 2017 draw to a close, sharing a book on losing weight seems appropriate. So many of us focus on resolutions at this time of year, especially health related issues.

A little personal history: In the late 80’s I read the first book by Jean Antonello, RN, BSN, entitled How to Become Naturally Thin by Eating More. I remember successfully following the principles. Fast forward to a lengthy period during which, due to health problems, my concern was being underweight. Fast forward again to better health, but also to some life changes which resulted in an undesired weight gain. Recently I wanted to lose that weight, and I did lose some with a low carb diet, but then I hit a plateau for well over a month despite adherence to the diet and increased exercise.

In the back of my mind I remembered reading a book about eating, with a blue cover, written by a nurse, but that was not enough information for Google to help me locate it. As a book reviewer for NetGalley, I have an incredible number of books that I can request to review. Almost unbelievably, Jean Antonello’s new book popped up on my screen as I was seeking out answers for the plateau. Immediately I knew this was the same author. Naturally Thin_oldWhile I was waiting for my request to be approved, with names now in hand, I was able to find not only the new book, but also a picture of my original book which is now tucked away in a box in NM while I am in Mexico. I felt like I had just found the Mother Lode!

So what do I think of Jean Antonello’s theories and her revised book about 30 years later? It makes so much sense to my personal situation, and she has backed it up with years of research, working with clients, and eating according to the principles herself. She advocates listening to your body’s signals for hunger and for being full. She calls for eating real food and plenty of it. This is not a diet. You are encouraged to eat good foods and never let yourself get hungry which then results in bingeing. She refers to the season of adaptation a former yo-yo dieter needs to go through as “recovery.” You are in charge of your own eating for a change. The plan is based on the feast and famine physiology of our bodies. Dieting is counterintuitive to your body because when you hold back good food, then your body perceives a famine and does not want to let go of the fat. It also slows down the metabolism to protect us from starvation. Both of these things explain my plateau.

There is so much more theory and research in her book, which is written in a very user friendly style. The approach is not complicated, but it does require commitment, not to hunger as in a diet, but to listening to your body’s signals and not thinking like a dieter any more. Antonello debunks lots of dieting myths such as the blame game that is put on overweight people that they are lazy, have psychological problems, and lack will power. She does not guarantee the fast weight loss most diets promise. She does offer freedom from obsession with food and something that rarely happens with diets—you will eat like a naturally thin person and you will not regain the weight.

Obviously I am impressed with the book. I am going to implement the mindset changes, and I anticipate that this will be a gradual process. Will it work? I don’t know. This blog is primarily about education, books, and Mexico. I only occasionally insert personal posts, but I promise to follow up this one with information on my progress or lack of it. According to Naturally Thin, I can’t put a time table on that because everyone’s body is different. I like that viewpoint, and I like that she recognizes people as individuals.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Heartland Book Company for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Health, Nonfiction (Adult)

Notes: The Appendix includes a 31-Day Quick Start plan. These are motivational readings that reinforce the principles and help you make the mental changes necessary after years of being subjected to the dieting industry’s mantra of eating less. There is also a Reader’s Guide of questions for each chapter to help you focus on the principles in that chapter and apply them to your situation.

Publication:   July 11, 2017—Heartland Book Company

Memorable Lines: (I probably highlighted half of this book in my efforts to absorb the plan. I have just cited a few portions here.)

When they diet, they force their bodies to quickly burn fat and at the same time create an increased need for fat for the future. This is why dieters always go off their diets—for the necessary restoration of the fat they’ve lost during the diet.

Just like going hungry regularly, eating a lot of poor quality food triggers the body’s survival response. Lousy food doesn’t satisfy the body’s need for nutrients.

…typically people eat too much and all the wrong stuff because they aren’t eating enough of the right stuff—at the right time.

Probably the most challenging aspect of recovery is the patience required for weight loss.

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection

by John E. Sarno, M.D.

Healing Back PainDr. Sarno, through many years of treating patients with back pain, has discovered what he considers an epidemic of back pain in the U.S. and states that usually the cause is not an accident or a degenerative disease. He attributes it to repressed emotions, usually anger or anxiety, and says that the stressful situation that causes the Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) does not always have to be resolved for the pain to go away. The patient just needs to recognize the mind-body connection that he is experiencing.

I have not tried to apply Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection’s seemingly simple techniques; I have only read the book. Dr. Sarno’s detailed discussion of the failure of traditional medicine’s handling of back pain does make sense. He advises someone with back pain to consult with a doctor to get that perspective, but then evaluate their symptoms in the light of his thesis. He also says many other conditions such as eczema, headaches, and irritable bowl syndrome may be attributable to repressed emotions also.

Dr. Sarno cites a lot of anecdotal evidence as well as data gained from surveys of patients to support his theory. He does not claim to understand how the brain can exert such powerful control over the body, but reminds the reader that there are many things about the way the brain works that are not completely understood yet. Dr. Sarno is a medical doctor, not a salesman, not a slick businessman ready to perform on morning TV. His background is displayed in his writing style, and my 4 star rating reflects that. His bold stance against the traditional and unsuccessful medical view of back pain and his obvious enthusiasm for helping those with back pain rates 5 stars.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Health

Notes:

  1. Much of the book is technical. The chapter about his technique is vague, maybe because it is so simple and we expect more bells and whistles from modern medicine. Because of these factors, I found the Appendix particularly valuable. It is comprised of “Letters from Patients” and shows concretely how various patients have applied his theory and their results.
  2. Having finished this book on the mind/body connection, which deals primarily with the power of repressed emotions, I was amazed as I started a fictional book to discover at least four prominent references in the first chapter to how the characters realistically reacted viscerally in various ways to stress inducing moments. I reflected that if people instantaneously respond physically (tightening muscles, a sinking feeling in the gut) to anxiety, then Dr. Sarno’s connection of repressed emotions and body pain seems rational even if ignored by the medical community.

Publication:   Original 1991, Kindle 2001—Hachette Book Group

Memorable Lines:

Though the low back is the most common location for an acute attack, it can occur anywhere in the neck, shoulders, or upper and lower back. Wherever it occurs, it is the most painful thing I know of in clinical medicine, which is ironic because it is completely harmless.

It is not the occasion itself but the degree of anxiety or anger that it generates that determines if there will be a physical reaction. The important thing is the emotion generated and repressed, for we have a built-in tendency to repress unpleasant, painful, or embarrassing emotions. These repressed feelings are the stimulus for TMS and other disorders like it. Anxiety and anger are two of those undesirable emotions that we would rather not be aware of, and so the mind keeps them in the subterranean precincts of the subconscious if it possibly can.

Traditional medical diagnoses focus on the machine, the body, while the real problem seems to relate to what makes the machine work—the mind. TMS is characterized by physical pain, but that acute discomfort is induced by the psychological phenomena rather than structural abnormalities or muscle deficiency.

%d bloggers like this: