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Thread: Installment 33 - Ask The Patient with Pioneer Member Rich G

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    Default Installment 33 - Ask The Patient with Pioneer Member Rich G

    Rich is known as Gator871 on this forum. We thank him for this very informative Ask the Patient session.

    Before Nutritional intervention and going raw:
    On June 06 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was devastating to my wife and I to hear this diagnosis. I was later diagnosed as having Primary Progressive MS, which made things worse since there are no medications for this type of MS. In the following years, after trying many different medications for other types of MS, I was getting worse. My symptoms were extreme fatigue, right side weakness, cognitive problems, and tremors in my legs, bladder problems, numbness and tingling in my feet and hands, and other MS problems.
    I soon needed a cane to walk anywhere and a scooter for distances greater than 100 feet or so. I slept each day until 2pm or later. The fatigue was debilitating. I began to believe I was destined to get worse, since all the doctors tell you that MS is a progressive disease with no cure in site.
    Around April 09, after 3 years of progression in my symptoms, I went off all MS meds. I was getting worse, why continue with meds that have terrible potential side effects? I searched for alternatives and the Internet led me to various diets that people have reported having success with MS. I went through all I could find and settled in on a raw vegan lifestyle. I also researched stem cell procedures for MS. At this time I was officially on disability, no longer able to work since Feb. 08.
    There are so many diet/nutrition books out there for health and MS and I went through about 100 books on nutrition and over 1000 clinical studies. From my medical sales background I am able to read clinical studies and glean info out of them easily.
    The three books that had the most profound impact on me were ?The China Study?, ?The 80/10/10 diet?, and ?Eat to Live?. Once I read the China Study I understood what was behind most disease in the US. The 80/10/10 diet made sense on how I should eat and why raw is appropriate. Eat to Live also brought a new sense of proper nutrition. Several blogs, including Stem Cell Pioneers, Raw Food Rehab, 30 Bananas a Day, Renegade Health with Kevin Gianni, Frederick Patenaude?s blog, Rodger Haske?s blog, and several others, helped guide me along the way and continue to help keep me committed to my whole foods plant based lifestyle.

    After Nutritional intervention and going mostly raw:
    Amazing. I guess that is the best way to describe the changes in my condition and my life. Most days I am all raw. Maybe 1-2 days a week I might be 80% raw, with the cooked food being a veggie crock pot chili, heavy on veggies and beans. Most days it is green smoothies for breakfast and lunch (love them!) and for dinner a very large fresh salad with greens I get from a local organic hydroponics farm I visit 3 times a week. The veggies are so fresh I cannot bring myself to cook them, they taste so great raw! I do not do all the ?exotic? raw food cooking I see everywhere, choosing to eat at local raw/vegan restaurants to enjoy those dishes. At home, I keep it simple for dinner doing a very large salad or raw ?Savory Stews? by Roger Haske I also follow some local raw/vegan food groups and see all my new friends at events like Earth Day etc. There is a great raw/vegan following here in Orlando. My favorite restaurant is Cafe 118, all raw and a great chef that knows how to cook raw. For my birthday I asked my family to join me there to experience Raw. I also am going to a local vegan restaurant for Father?s day with the family.
    I do not beat myself up if I do not eat raw or eat something I should not, although that rarely happens. I know I am eating so much better than I ever have and I just jump back on the right track and recommit. Having M.S. and all the complications are motivation enough for me. I just imagine myself in the future healthy, not in a wheelchair, and I stay the course!
    So, my fatigue is GONE! The tremors in my legs are nearly gone. The numbness in my fingertips and feet is dissipating. I no longer use a cane at all and have not needed my scooter in quite a while. My cognitive issues are gone and I now feel like a fog has been lifted from my life. This past Memorial Day 2010 we traveled to visit our relatives here in Florida, about 200 miles away. I drove both ways with no problems! I was considering giving up driving before I went raw/vegan. The change in my life is miraculous. My family we visited had not seen me in about 10 months. I had lost 55 lbs, I was walking with no cane, I was full of life and hope, and they were all in disbelief. I walked on the beach and went for a swim. Swimming is my main form of exercise. My family could not believe it was my nutrition and stem cells that did this. I traveled with my Blendtec ICB7 blender and they all were curious about my diet, especially since my cousin has MS also and she was happy to see my progress. I did not deviate one bit from my nutrition while I was there visiting. You see, when you are battling a progressive auto immune disease it is easy to stay committed to a regime of healthy plant based whole foods! Currently, I do not feel my MS is progressing any more. Some would say the non-progression of a progressive disease is progress in itself. I do!
    I felt so good that in Oct 09 I went to Tijuana Mexico for adult stem cell treatment and I have seen more improvement since. Is it the stem cells, the nutrition, or God? I believe it is all three.
    So that is my story which continues each day with healthy eating, exercise and hope. I would be happy to share more of it if asked!
    Rich G

    Q & A

    Q: Is there a place to buy recipes or exchange them online?

    A: Yes so many places online, depending on what illness you are trying to combat with Nutrition. For raw foodists, some of my fav sites are:
    http://rawfoodrehab.ning.com/
    http://gliving.com/
    http://rawon10.blogspot.com/
    http://purejeevan.com/blog/
    http://rawdorable.blogspot.com/
    http://rawjudita.blogspot.com/
    http://therawchef.com/therawchefblog/
    http://blog.punkrawklabs.net/
    http://debbiedoesraw.blogspot.com/
    http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/
    http://sunshineboatright.com/home/
    http://aniphyo.com/
    http://www.thedailyrawcafe.com/
    http://www.rawmazing.com/
    http://roger-haeske.blogspot.com/
    http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/
    www.thechinastudy.com
    http://foodnsport.com/blog.html
    http://www.30bananasaday.com/

    Q: Is it important to blend certain fruits or vegetables together? When drinking the green smoothies is it better to use fruit in the morning and vegetables for lunch?

    A: Of course there are infinite numbers of recipes for green smoothies, and the originator of the Green Smoothie is Victoria Butenko (www.rawfamily.com). To make it easy I make a big blender full (my Blendtec blender holds about 100 oz) in the morning and I drink it from the morning to dinnertime and drink it whenever I feel like it. I do not designate a lunch or dinner smoothie, I just drink as I feel I need to. Also-never eat anything with your green smoothies! I always add 3 cups of distilled water or 3 cups of fresh local organic coconut water, fresh organic fruit, i.e. strawberries, bananas, apples, a pineapple core, and any other in-season organic fruit, and add ground flax seed. I pour one quart of that into my drink sipper cup to drink right away, to make room for greens. I then add one tbsp local organic raw blue agave nectar, and local hydroponically grown organic greens. The greens I use vary daily. Perhaps spinach, green or red leaf lettuce, romaine, Kale, Chard, dandelion greens, etc. I always add one or more of the above. The focus of my smoothies is to always make them with a heavy fruit concentration. They are approx 80% fruit and 20% greens, by calorie. This way they always taste great! Another note, I let the smoothie sit in my mouth for about 20-30 seconds on each sip, to start the digestive process before it heads down into the stomach.

    Q: I was told that certain foods are not good because they may be genetically modified. One such food is melons. Do you agree with this?

    A: I eat a lot of watermelon when I can, and make smoothies with them. I think people confuse GMO with Cross Breeding.
    You might not know that in order to produce seedless watermelons, seeded watermelons are planted *just for their seeds*, and in a big field of seedless watermelon you?ll find about 25% regular seeded watermelons that are used for their pollen so that bees can cross pollinate the other melons.
    It?s actually not that much more complicated than the other crossbreeding techniques and grafting techniques that have been used in agriculture for thousands of years.
    People who call seedless watermelon ?unnatural? are eating a ton of foods that are crossbred also without even knowing it, yet turning their nose up to seedless watermelon.
    If you want to go full-on ?natural?, the only way to go is to eat only truly wild foods and I don?t see a lot of benefits for doing that. If you are foraging all of your own food and taking only what was not planted by humans, you?re going to be doing a lot of work just to get enough to eat.

    Q: Do you make everything up fresh or is it possible to make extra foods up and freeze them or store them in the refrigerator?

    A: I am mostly raw, so fresh is critical to me for best taste and as a vegan I taste things others may not in my food choices. I freeze fruits so I can have them in the off-season, but when you are eating raw, fresh is best, by far!

    Q: Can you give us some good combos to use when blending fruits and veggies for smoothies?

    A: First, please spend the money a great blender! Try Blendtec or Vitamix and get a 15 or 20 amp 3HP blender with a large blade.
    I always blend sweet with greens. The sweet being apples (red Gala) strawberries and I always put blueberries or blackberries in each smoothie. The goal is always a delicious fruity smoothie that is both green and delicious. If I put more bitter Kale or dandelion greens in the smoothie, I also mix in spinach and add agave for a sweet punch. Oh, and I add ? lemon (with skin) to the greens when blending, it balances out the bitter veggies. I also put in 3-4 bananas.

    Q: I know you mentioned on the forum that you lost a lot of weight. Do you limit yourself on what you eat on this diet or do you pretty much just eat as much as you like and not worry about calories?

    A: I eat until I am full, never count calories, and focus on the healthy way I am eating rather than following the ?watch and count the calories? mentality I used to follow and that persists on the Standard American diet. I can do this because I am eating plant based whole food as found in nature, unprocessed, and as nature intended. None of my food is destroyed by cooking. None of the enzymes in my food are destroyed by cooking. None of the vitamins are destroyed by cooking. I also buy local and organic as much as possible. I take no vitamins except a liquid B12 and I get my D from our sunny Florida days!

    Q: Some fruits and vegetables contain a lot of natural sugar and some have been engineered to have more sugar for flavor. Do you avoid these foods? Carrots come to mind. Can you add something like stevia as a sweetener or is that not something you would recommend? What about desserts?

    A: Ok, here we go. This involves a discussion of the Glycemic index, the accepted measure of sugar in food. Here I think Frederick Patenaude says it best: ?People like to get caught up in numbers for no reason, and avoid perfectly healthy foods like seedless watermelon just because someone created a neat little chart they could follow with foods to eat and foods to avoid. But based on what? The glycemic index measures the rise in blood sugar after eating specific foods. The truth is, a higher glycemic index is sometimes a good thing. Sometimes you DO want to eat something that will bring your blood sugar back up. That?s why I find watermelon to be the perfect post-workout food, as well as a ?lift-me up? kind of fruit when your energy is low. Also, you have to take into account your entire state of health and the ability for your body to handle sugar and carbohydrates. On a low-fat diet, with enough exercise, you will improve your insulin sensitivity and therefore you should be able to eat all kinds of fruit without problems. But if you keep eating oil and fat every day, then any carbohydrate you eat will send you into an unnecessary blood sugar swing. Watermelon is very high in water content and electrolytes, it is a food that is assimilated very quickly and helps rehydrate your body. Which means it?s perfectly healthy to eat a large bowl of watermelon for breakfast. You?ll feel instantly refreshed and rehydrated without the need to drink copious amounts of water to flush out your system every morning?.
    I do not avoid carrots because I do not juice, I blend carrots in my smoothies so the fiber is also assimilated and stops the spike in sugar you get from juicing. I do not want to get into a juicing vs. blending discussion here, but is fresh juice good for you? Yes. Is fiber good for you? Yes. So why separate the two by juicing?
    As I have said previously I choose raw blue dark organic Agave as a sweetener when I need it, which is not often. I get it from Glaser farms in Miami and it is low heat processed. Here is the link: http://www.glaserorganicfarms.com/sh...duct_list&c=96

    The reason I provide the link is because their agave is unlike any other agave I have ever tasted. No agave bought from the shelves from any store compares in taste, IMO. It is also available in Whole Foods Market and is kept refrigerated. I have researched agave to death and have read the good and bad about it. I have decided the good is far better than the bad. Most people against agave have an agenda, i.e., they sell honey on their website. Good info on agave here: http://www.allaboutagave.com/health-...ave-nectar.php
    Desert? I eat raw ice cream when I am looking for desert. I do not eat fruit for desert because I rather not put fruit, which breaks down rapidly, on top of other foods that break down slower. Raw ice cream is simply frozen bananas mixed in a blender with enough water to get the mixture moving. Then I mix some cocoa and agave to make chocolate syrup. It is simply sinful! I do eat at raw restaurants here in Orlando and they have great desserts. I never feel I desire sweets now at all.

    Q: If a person only goes raw part of the time, do you think this is still beneficial? I live in an area where fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to get at some times of the year unless you want to give up your first born to buy them.

    A: Yes! You do need to start somewhere. I took 1 year to get to 80% raw and I could not believe the changes I could see and feel during that time. Yes, organic fruits and veggies are costly during off-season, even here in Fl because we can only get apples from up north. I do not think one should go raw for the summer and then go non raw for the winter. I think it is better to find a way to stay say, 80% raw, all the time. Funny we all spend tons of money on cell phones and cellular costs, yet for our health we place a low priority on ourselves! If you can blog with local raw blogs you can find a way to make it work!

    Q: What do you do if you go out to eat? If you eat salads, is the dressing that is available at restaurants okay to use or should I bring my own? Do you have a good raw recipe for salad dressing?

    A: I still love going out to eat. My wife is not at all into the way I eat so when we go out it is for her type of food. I simply tell the chef I am a vegan and normally they come out and I explain I prefer raw or near raw veggies, steamed to al dente texture. I tell them I appreciate their creativity in helping me comply with my diet choices, and they like the challenge! They always come out and ask how the meal was and are more than willing to hear comments and suggestions since they serve vegans all the time and love to cater to those folks. After all, they know vegans often travel with non-vegans so they know vegans will come back and bring more business to them! Also, vegans are more likely to blog about their restaurant choices so it helps promote the restaurant. I can bring my own salad dressing, or give a recipe to the waiter and ask the kitchen staff if they can make it. If the salad is really good I do not need dressing. I avoid oils, especially heated, since they slow digestion. I do eat so well that an occasional half teaspoon of something is not the end of the world. I do work very hard to keep the healthy bacteria in my gut healthy. And I also work to get the very best enzyme impact for my body since I am fighting an autoimmune disease. Raw does that! I once asked a sports bar in a hotel to make me a green smoothie for breakfast. They did! I suggested to the waitress to have the kitchen staff try it. One by one the staff came out and commented how good it tasted and asked me loads of questions. I left feeling great knowing that all those folks were going to goggle ?green smoothies? that night!

    Q: Do you drink any juice or tea or coffee when on this diet?

    A: First, I do not feel this is a ?diet? in the classic sense of the word. A diet assumes a beginning and an end, normally marked by hitting a goal weight. That is where most go wrong with their eating choices. I feel this is a way of life, more than a diet for me. Losing weight was a side benefit, much needed, but not the main goal. If one eats as I do your body will select its natural healthy weight and stay there unless something drastic happens to one?s diet. The multi billion dollar ?diet? industry has made
    No, I do not drink juice, as discussed above. If I feel like it I will have herbal tea with some agave and I just got some outrageous cinnamon from Costa Rica that makes a very tasty tea. I stopped coffee and regular tea because the caffeine interferes with the healthy bacteria in my gut, and I have taken great care to keep it that way! So, now some are thinking, ?Why not drink decaf??? You now know what I drink each morning, with my green smoothies; do you really think I need a coffee jolt? Really?
    Last edited by barbara; 08-20-2010 at 09:58 PM.
    Still Pioneering
    Had UC treatment April 5th, 2007
    Had autologous treatment March 19, 2010
    Had bone marrow and adipose stem cell treatment (autologous) June 16, 2010

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