Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Auto immune disease ramblings ...

Med Research 101 today. Welcome to class.

I have been reading about erica's fast on her blog. The fast is her attempt at ending some chronic pain that has been a part of her life. She started a rotation diet some time ago with this same mission, but has not yet achieved a level of health that she has been hoping for. I have been watching this because I have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called sarcoidosis and other than taking a steroid with very nasty side effects the doctor can offer no more help. As I have done a little research on how the naturopathic world would handle things I see that a vegan diet is primarily recommended. I know that some autoimmune diseases might be considered environmental/ lifestyle induced, however sarcoid has strong genetic factors which I must offer a sarcastic thanks to a dad, his sister, and my sister --- it affects our lungs the most.
Gallstones in the liver and gallbladder reduce the amount of bile necessary to digest food properly. ... Much of the undigested food begins to ferment and putrefy, leaving toxic waste matter in the blood and lymph .... These molecules have a strong acidifying effect on the blood. To avoid a life-threatening disease or coma, the blood must rid itself of these minute toxins. Accordingly, it dumps these unwanted intruders into the connective tissue of the organs. The connective tissue is a gel-like fluid (lymph) that surrounds the cells. The cells are 'bathed' in the connective tissue. Under normal circumstances, the body knows how to deal with acidic waste material that has been deposited in the connective tissue. It releases an alkaline product, sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3, into the blood that is able to retrieve and neutralize the acidic toxins and eliminate them through the excretory organs. This emergency system, however, begins to fail when toxins are deposited faster than can be retrieved and eliminated. Consequently, the connective tissue may become as thick as jelly; nutrients, water and oxygen can no longer pass freely and the cells of the organs begin to suffer malnutrition, dehydration and oxygen deficiency.

Some of the most acidic compounds are proteins from animal foods. Excessive proteins are temporarily stored in the connective tissues and then converted into collagen fiber. The collagen fiber is built into the basement membranes of the capillary walls. Consequently, the basement membranes may become ten times as thick as normal.
This info comes from ENER CHI WELLNESS CENTER (the bolded words are my emphasis). Although found amongst information about a uninary tract system, I found the explanation of what happens to toxins in the body being "dumped" into the connective tissues (joints) of importance to my own understanding of a process that may be occurring causing other problems. I also realize that gallstones are not the issue for most, but undigested food in the body system is also known as food allergy as the immune system begins to attack these "foreign" large molecules of food that cannot be absorbed properly. As people age and in many auto immune diseases achey, painful joints are an issue. I have also read about how cancer survives in an acid environment, although cancer is not my issue it appears that it and auto-immune diseases with achey, painful joints have acid environments in common.

I know that Dr. Joe Fuhrman is a recognized name for vegan food bloggers thanks to the lunchox gal Jennifer Schmoo. The following information actually came from a site called Here's their intro, "Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. has spent much of his professional life treating disease by fasting his patients. He has an entire chapter in his book, Fasting and Eating for Health, dedicated to the subject of autoimmune disease. He is convinced that fasting with subsequent dietary changes is a much superior approach to autoimmune disease than conventional treatments."

ON FASTING (click for a link to original site)

The human body is designed with the capacity to fast. Although fasting is safe as well as effective, it is advisable to be under medical supervision when on any extended fast.

"Man lives on one quarter of what he eats. On the other three quarters lives his doctor."
- Inscription on Egyptian pyramid, 3800 BC.

Fasting is very different to malnutrition. A poor quality diet consumed for a month results in a lowered state of health. Fasting, on the other hand, gives the body the opportunity to cleanse and heal itself. When free from the responsibilities of digestion, the capacity for self-restoration is enhanced.

  • Fasting leads to detoxification and improvement in organ function simultaneously.
  • Fasting often achieves results where other methods have failed.
  • Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time.
  • Fasting is inexpensive and universally available
Sometimes when people try to make major dietary changes without the benefit of fasting they become frustrated. Beneficial changes that can take months or years with careful eating happen quickly if a fast is utilized. Once a person begins to realize the health potential and can see the results, he or she is more likely to become committed to a lifetime of healthful living.

Nature tells us to fast. When we have no appetite during an acute illness, fasting is nature's way to accelerate recovery. Feeding the sick individual when his digestive powers are diminished only serves to further complicate the illness.

Function; Reasons For Use
During an acute viral illness, fasting activates white blood cells and causes more interferon to be produced.

Conditions responding to fasting include: Headaches, hypoglycemia, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, acne and eczema, tinnitus, vertigo, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, cervical dysplasia, chronic neck and back pain, polymyalgia rheumatica, and many others.

Physicians who have used this approach have recorded improvement or recovery from conditions of every description that patients had been needlessly suffering with for years. Besides the diseases already mentioned, one should assume that in the vast majority of chronic medical conditions this approach may give the disease sufferer the best chance to achieve a complete recovery and avoid a lifetime of suffering or medical treatments.

The withdrawal symptoms of addiction to such drugs as alcohol, cocaine, nicotine and caffeine are resolved quickly while fasting. Most people are amazed at how easy it is to quit smoking while fasting. Those who have fasted begin to respect their body in a new way that enables them to take better care of themselves in the future.

When non-human animals feel sick, they do not eat. Listen to your body when you are sick and have no appetite. Fast for a few days, then proceed to a light diet of fruit and salad vegetables for a few days and you will quickly recover your health.

Conditions for which fasting is not recommended include extreme weakness or debilitation, severe anemia, nutritional deficiencies, porphyria, evidence of weakened kidney or liver function, and pregnancy. Malnourished patients with cancer or AIDS should not fast. Medications should be tapered and discontinued prior to fasting whenever possible.

References & Further Information
A very useful book is Fasting and Eating for Health, A Medical Doctor's Program For Conquering Disease. by Joel Fuhrman, MD. 1995.

I made some great chocolate raisin bran muffins with cardamom, but I added a little to much oat flour. They didn't rise much and were a little dry. I crumbled them up onto a baking sheet and baked them at 25o degrees F in the oven until they were crunchy. I have been sprinkling this on top of my soy yogurt and fresh strawberries Yum! Less calories (but tastier) than granola.

I made my muffins using stevia and applesauce. Without the oat flour I am usually very pleased. I will post my stevia sweetened bran muffin result soon. (I even have pictures!) I remade my muffins without the oat flour and am having one with a large bowl of lentil soup with greens added for lunch.


Shananigans said...

Wow, I never knew fasting could have such a powerful effect on your health! Very interesting.

BTW, that bean spoon still has me chuckling.

david santos said...

Thanks for you work and have a good day of flowers

Anonymous said...

Wow amazing info! thanks.

erica said...

Whoa Dori! I love that you are researching this so much. I would like to add for the readers that my fast at the moment is more of a very, very limited diet - all raw organic foods, but I am definitely eating solids in addition to fresh unpasteurized juice. Some people have lived extremely healthfully on this type of diet for 30 years or more.

You asked how long I am going to do it, I originally planned 30 days. That ends May 11th, I think. Then I will eat some cooked food and see how I feel. If I don't feel as good on cooked, I am going to stay pretty much raw indefinitely, until I have to stop (and there's not much reason I'd have to stop - you can even get B12 from raw sources such as AFA algea).

I love the spread of the nautral health message!

erica said...

oops, I meant "Natural"

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Glad I showed up for class today because I learned a lot! I've been toying with the idea of fasting and this was so informative - thanks! I love how you recycled the bran muffins & used them to your advantage. :o)

KleoPatra said...

I fast one day a year - Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement - and that's enough for me. I did learn quite a bit more than i knew about fasting here...

i guess part of me never really want to think about it (other than objectively, as in reading what you wrote here) because as i have mentioned (once, somewhere, on my blog i think!!) i suffered from a six-month bout of anorexia during the time i was 15-16 years old... and fasting was a part of my life :o(

aTxVegn said...

Hi, Dori. I, too, have been fascinated by what Erica is doing. I have Dr. Fuhrman's fasting book. The testimonials are amazing.

Carrie™ said...

Dori, I'm am very sympathetic to your health problems. Kudos to you for doing so much research, and taking such a pro-active approach.

Michelle said...

you are just fab on the research, girl! thanks for all that interesting info.

Melody Polakow said...

I feel for you, having an autoimmune condition... they can be tricky and sneaky and irritating and the treatments are almost always worse than the underlying condition. I was diagnosed with lupus several years back...

I've never successfully completed a fast.

Urban Vegan said...

I have another Furhman book, and love his work. I find that I feel much more energized after a brief fast. I think it can be dangerous to fast for too long--though, so be careful, everyone. I hope it helps you.

Also check out Alex Jamieson's book, the Great American Detox Diet.

When you're all done your fast, Dori, and are feeling better, you can ener my new recipe contest!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Fasting can really put you in touch with yourself and your surroundings. I enjoy this. Our church has the first Sunday of each month set aside as Fast and testimony Sunday.

Your muffins sound wonderful. I love cooking with stevia. Can't wait for the recipe!

laura jesser said...

This is some great info, Dori--thanks for doing the research. I am ready to start fasting more often and more effectively... This absolutely convinces me of all its benefits.

erica said...

(I finally updated, Dori)
Fasting is only dangerous if you water fast without supervision longer than 3 days, juice fast without supervision longer than 7 days, or continue to fast past the point of hunger - then it is starvation. After two or three days of juice fasting the hunger signal is "turned off". When the hunger signal comes back, it is time to eat food. Your body lets you know when it is time.

erica said...

Oh I just read your comment from several posts ago, about the doctor who had cancer and reversed it w/fruits and vegetael diet. I think you are talking of Dr. Lorraine Day, she has some weird ideas about the world in general (like, she totaly discounts acupuncture and yoga as being beneficial to healing, and thinks that Jews are conspiring to take over the world) but is right on when it comes to natural medicine. I've been watching her tapes I got from the library: Drugs Never Cure Disease, Cancer Doesn't Scare Me Anymore, You Can't Improve on God, and a few more. Sorry to take so long to reply to that one, I don't have email notification turned on for my comments. And sorry for hogging the comments section of this post :)

Dori said...

Hi all. I agree with you Urban V and Kleo, one cannot take fasting to an extreme. Thanks for the additional info on this post erica, feel free to post as much as you have to say :)

Kate said...

Dori- thank you for all the information, I learned a lot. Fasting is spoken about at great lengths in the book "Back To Eden" By Jethro Kloss.

Czes Kulvis said...

Hi Dori,

Do you know that when you are fasting, enzymes, usually used to digest food, can do a body repair and detox jobs.

Usually that's connected with healing

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's crazy man. They should really try to do something to fix that.

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