Friday, April 29, 2011

Just as I thought

It makes me sick to know that people we trust to help us be healthy are hurting us by ingnoring important information that is available. - Deb

April 26, 2011

Arthritis Caused by Gluten and Food Allergies

Most, doctors specializing in the treatment of arthritis, joint pain, and autoimmune diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system  never even consider diet as an important factor in the development of these conditions.  I was formally trained in rheumatology at the VA hospital in Houston, TX, and I can say that diet and nutritional recommendations to patients were discouraged and in most cases frowned upon by our attending physicians.  It was actually this experience that prompted me to dig deeper into the connection between autoimmune disease and food.

Over the past 10 years, I have treated thousands of patients with arthritic conditions.  The most single effective therapies have always been diet and exercise.  The paradox with exercise…  It is harder to stick to if it flares up the arthritis.  The problem with food…everyone reacts uniquely based on their own unique chemistry.  But it only makes sense that if drugs can target inflammation as a treatment, why can’t food.  After all, isn’t food a drug of sorts?

I have found that medical research greatly supports this connection, but more importantly, I have found that patients get better after eliminating inflammatory foods from their diets.  What foods should we avoid to help recover from arthritis?  Depends on the person.  Everyone is unique.

Forms of  Arthritis That Benefit With Diet Changes:
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • spondyloarthritis
  • psoriatic
  • reactive arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Scleroderma
  • Myofascitis
  • Dermatomyositis

Dr. Peter Osborne

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When this Blog began...

Five years ago, March 26, 2006 I began posting on this blog and wrote the following.
After 20 years of seriously declining health, I started my new life just a year ago. The life where I don't eat wheat. The life where my bones and muscles don't ache, my stomach and bladder are calm, my skin is clear and I laugh out loud. My new life - where I feel more like 27 than almost 47. This blog will be a series of ramblings, rantings and ravings as I continue to figure out what I can eat and why none of the doctors I saw over the past 20 years ever thought that wheat could be my problem.
At that time information available anywhere about Gluten-Intolerance was sparse but I am so glad to say today that is a different story. I discovered though the years that the wheat was not my only issue and that the gluten contained in many grains was. As each year has passed I have learned more and more from and about my body. It's all a good thing.

Eating Gluten-Free has been a challenge but not impossible. Nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it. You have to decide. Decide what is important.

Eating well and feeling well go hand in hand. For many years I had though I was eating well but my body proved me wrong. Now my body is happy. Happily responding to the choices I am making. It is still a hard pill for me to swallow that I had to suffer for so long and that none of the doctors were of any help to me or my well being and instead of recognising the underlying issue of all my ills the continued to just offer me pills.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Power of Knowledge

I'm on the e-mail list for the Arthritis Foundation's news letter. Two years ago I was the local "poster child" for the Arthritis walk. That experience was another awakening to the closed eyes of so many that society counts on for real help.

Thus, I hardly ever bother to even open the regular e-mail newsletters I continue to recieve. After all it's all bad news. But today I decieded to open the link and was just for a minute was inspired by the catchy headline at the top.

The Power of Knowledge.
Mind Body and Spirit.

This inspiration lasted for less than a minute. It's all a bunch of crap! Knowledge. Bullshit!

What first caught my eye was an article about eating right. I read it. Right for what, I thought? Not me and most likely not you.

Grab-n-Go: Four Quick Breakfast Ideas

I know what saved me and I know it's saved quite a few others. And that is living a life free of the ingestion of Gluten. So I search the site to see how much this organization that suppossedly cares about "it's people"talks about this idea. A search of all the articles on the entire website linked to only 5 articles of these I could only find one article that used the word once. Just one reference. Just a faint whisper. Shit. I'm pissed again.

Okay, so it feels good to rant a bit but I'm not going to continue to give this negative emotion much energy. I've shifted my energy to thinking positive and thus I am going to again refocus my energy into doing good. Creating good. Good things to eat for people like me that know that life with out Gluten can indeed be a very good one.

I have created something fabulous to share with the world. Something to sweeten your day. Something to bring a smile and healthly fill your tummy as well. The first products I am bringing to market are cookies and scones. Unbelievably good and unbelieveably GLUTEN-FREE. I call my company GLUTEN-FREE GOODNESS. Look for futher information on at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I met a nice “Young Man”

I’m hardly shy, especially when I hear someone utter the phrase “GLUTEN-FREE”. So when I heard a young man inquiring about available GF deli items at The Merc, I couldn’t help but speak up. “You’re GLUTEN-FREE? I asked as if I had just found my long lost nephew. Have you tried these? Oh, my gosh. They’re wonderful.” As I spoke I opened the bakery case to our left and pulled out a package of The Merc’s own GF treat Bumble Bees.

Now you have to understand, when you become a dedicated GF you automatically join a wonderful group of kindred spirits ready to share “what works” for them. We met again at the checkout where I learned that my new friend was more than GLUTEN-FREE.  He was following the Paleo diet and boasted of his GRAIN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE Muffin recipe. I asked if he would mind sharing his recipe and handed him my business card with my e-mail info.

Just as I left the store I began questioning myself. Why can’t I just go along and take care of my own business. Why did I have to talk to him?

Within a day I received this e-mail


I'm the young man with whom you were discussing gluten-free products yesterday at The Merc.

I forgot to mention that in addition to being gluten-free, I generally try to abide by the "paleo" diet: no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no yeast/leavening, etc.  With that in mind, here is my current "(mostly) paleo muffin" recipe that you requested.      RECIPE FOLLOWS AT END OF THIS POST.

I couldn’t help but wonder what had made this robust, twenty something, guy make a commitment to such restrictive diet. So I when I e-mailed him back, to thank him for the muffin recipe, I sent a link to this blog and asked him if he had a story of his own. When a few days had past with no e-mail response, I gave myself another lecture about minding my own business.

Yet within the week, I received the anticipated e-mail and it blew me away. I was supposed to talk to him. I think he needed to share his story as much as so many others need to hear it. The following is his reply which he has given me permission to share on this blog.

LJW’s Story

I've never been very "hardy"; I was the kid who always arrived home from camping trips sick, I was sensitive, I wasn't athletic, etc.  But things started getting particularly bad after I experienced a serious depression in late 2002.

My energy levels started to sink, I had frequent fever-like sensations in my forehead, and was experiencing what I later dubbed "post-exertional malaise" (I felt terrible after exercising).   A few months later I saw my family doctor.  He took some blood tests and then diagnosed me with Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus.  This is the virus that causes mononucleosis, so I had, in a sense, a form of chronic mono.  I spent the next few months following my doctor's request to take it easy, but things got worse.  My doctor, though, said there was nothing he could do about it.

Since then I have seen practitioners of virtually every brand of mainstream and alternative medicine (infectious disease specialists, allergists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, body workers, energy healers, etc.), tried many forms of exercise/movement (walking, yoga, tai chi, etc.), and tinkered with every lifestyle variable and dietary choice imaginable.  There has been no silver bullet.

However, I am MUCH healthier today than I was in 2003, and I don't think it's necessarily because of the body's time to heal itself.  Along the way I have accumulated an in-depth knowledge of what helps my health and what detracts from it.  This experimentation culminated in the spring in 2008, which, despite being the worst few months of my life (for emotional reasons), was the healthiest I've felt since I was a child.  (That experience, for me, put the nail in the coffin of the idea that our minds and bodies have a very simple, direct relationship.)

So here are my biggest health breakthroughs, all of which I was following by the spring of 2008.

1.  Cutting down or cutting out dairy.  A mainstream doctor actually recommended this to me when I was in junior high school, in response to my complaints of fatigue.  Today I find that dairy makes me lethargic and, most interestingly, interferes with my thinking and my speech--almost like I'd had a cocktail.  (In fact, I once came across some information on casein [milk protein] causing opiate-like symptoms in some people.)  I tend to make verbal mistakes and stumble over my speech more when I have dairy, and my brain becomes less sharp.

2.  Cutting down on sugar.  Everyone knows that sugar is evil!  (But, unfortunately, a necessary evil sometimes.)

3.  Avoiding gluten.  Over the years I learned through trial-and-error that wheat makes me feel awful.  However, according to an MD allergist I saw, I am not allergic to wheat and I don't have celiac disease.  (He took a blood test, which I know is not the gold standard of celiac tests, but....)  Regardless of the true cause of the symptoms, my experience has shown an undeniable correlation.  When I have gluten, I experience sensations of heat in my forehead, malaise, irritability, etc.--but, interestingly, no intestinal issues.  ...I went strictly gluten-free in mid-2006.

4.  Essential fatty acids (Omega 3's in particular).  Helps with my mood, depression, etc.  However, after years of taking Udo's Oil (flax oil, basically) on and off, I noticed an inverse relationship between my EFA consumption and my sex drive.  I read up on it and discovered that flax contains high levels of phytoestrogens--so does soy.  Some seem to think that phytoestrogens are good, but there seems to be a growing consensus that they are bad (at least in high quantities, especially for men) due to their disruption of natural hormonal processes.  My dad recently showed me a really scary article in Men's Health magazine that described a man from Texas who started to grow breasts after drinking three quarts of soy milk a day.  Yikes!  Anyway, my sex drive normalized and my overall health improved slightly when I switched to fish oil supplementation.

5.  Avoiding protein powders, especially those made from soy (see above).  I don't know what it is, but they just don't make me feel good.  Some people say it's because humans didn't evolve eating refined protein.  I now use pasteurized egg whites in my shakes instead of protein powders.

6.  New Chapter's Berry Green (a grass-less greens powder).  This stuff is GOLD.  I can cure a headache with a tablespoon of it (I'm serious).  However, it's really expensive (about a dollar a tablespoon) and it tastes nasty.  But if I were rich, I'd consume a canister of it a day!  It's the only commercial product that I'm evangelical about:

7.  Paleo diet.  This is probably the biggest breakthrough of all, but that's partially due to the fact that it incorporates all the previous breakthroughs!  The idea is this: People have been eating grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, lots of salt, etc., for only 10,000 of the roughly 2,000,000 years of human evolution.  In other words, for 99% of humanity's time on earth, we ate nothing but meat, vegetables, fruit, and some nuts.  This, therefore, is probably the best diet for us and the one most suited to our genetic history.  That's the concept, but the proof is in the non-dairy pudding, right?  Well, I tried a strict paleo diet for the first time in late 2007, and the changes were more stark than any other dietary change with the exception of avoiding wheat, which was about equivalent.  Most notably, I didn't have to sleep as much.  I was used to needing nine or ten hours of sleep, but after I started the diet I'd wake up naturally--and unusually refreshed--after seven or eight hours.  No other dietary change had affected my sleep that way before.  The other change was in evident when I sat down behind my drum kit.  At the time I was a drummer in an active rock band, and playing just became easier after I started the diet.  My limbs seemed to move quicker and more smoothly, and my stamina increased.  It wasn't night and day, but it was immediately palpable to me.  ...You asked about gluten-free grains.  I still eat them fairly regularly, but in small quantities--especially corn, which messes me up in a variety of subtle ways.  Rice is the most neutral grain to me, and that's the one I eat the most.  However, I have to emphasize that I while I feel good if I just keep it to some rice and a little bit of corn, I feel best when I don't have any grains at all.

8.  Taking a 30-minute walk daily.  Call me lazy, but I find it hard to do this on a consistent basis.  But when I do, it helps very much!

Runner up: probiotics seem to help with my seasonal allergies and with my immune system, but I'm not totally convinced.  I take them nonetheless.

Lastly, I wanted to mention two books have utterly shifted my paradigm when it comes to diet, both of which I read in the last two years.  The first is "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain, the one that got me hooked on the idea of paleolithic nutrition (although there are other books on the subject):

The other is "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by science journalist Gary Taubes.  The book tells in almost excruciating detail the fantastic story of how we came to believe that saturated fat causes heart disease (it doesn't), cholesterol is bad for you (it isn't), and that low-fat diets help people lose weight (they almost never do!).

Overland Park, KS


LJW’s soon to be famous “mostly” Paleo Muffins

4 eggs

1 tsp coconut flavoring

1 tsp almond flavoring

1 tsp coffee flavoring

4 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup arrowroot

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup water

2 T cocoa powder

4 T dark chocolate chunks

6 T coconut oil

a smidge o' salt

1 and 3/4 cups of finely shredded unsweetened coconut (or coconut flour)

2 cups almond flour

Mix all ingredients well, pour into parchment baking cups (no greasing necessary) in a stainless steel muffin pan, and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 325 degrees F.  Makes 12 small (or 9 medium-sized) muffins that are MUCH more filling than they look!

NOTE: the recipe can be simplified by ditching the arrowroot, the cocoa, the chocolate chunks, and some of the flavorings (I wouldn't get rid of the coconut flavoring, though), and putting some honey in its place (1/2 a cup, perhaps).


Monday, August 10, 2009




                    CARE TO JOIN ME?

Wellness is an active process

of becoming aware of

and making choices toward

a more successful existence.


Process means that improvement is always possible

Aware means that we are continuously seeking more information about how we can improve.

Choices means that we consider a variety of options and select those in our best interest.

Success is determined by each individual to be their collection of life accomplishments.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009



Lawrence, Kansas August 4, 2009  If anyone needs to watch their words it would be Shelley Case. According to her website Shelley Case is a registered dietitian and a leading international nutrition expert on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. From the list of her credentials and affiliations it’s that apparent she as well as a few others regard her views on Celiac disease and the true benefits of a Gluten-Free diet as gospel and even pay her quite handsomely for them. Dang, that’s scary to me.

Scary because I believe the lives of millions of people are at stake. Yep, I’m am seriously talking about life and death issues here. I’m sorry, I know you’re lost. I’m just really heated right now. Let me take a deep breath and back up a bit.

I just came upon a May 13, 2009 press release authored by Shelley Case regarding her opinions on Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s new book release "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten Survival Guide". Because of Hasselbeck’s high celebrity profile her book is garnering quite a bit of attention to the possible health benefits of adhering to a Gluten-Free diet. Now, directly quoting the mentioned press release; “Case worries that too many people will look to the diet to solve a multitude of problems such as arthritis, ADHD, elevating energy levels and even weight loss.”

Say what? Now where exactly is the problem here Ms. Case? What I hear you saying is that it could be a problem if too many people living lives of pain and misery from a multitude of health problems such as arthritis, ADHD, poor energy levels and even weight issues would seriously consider the possibility that there lives could actually and truly get better by a change in diet. Now where again is the problem?

I see the problem with you and so very many like you Ms. Shelley Case. You and so many other esteemed health professionals who have all the right initials after your name. Appearing to have the best interest in peoples heath you are actually (intentionally or not) misleading those that gather at your feet. I see it as a matter of mixed messages when one clear message to all is what is important here.

Just one paragraph down you come back to reality with these words. “The disease (Celiac Disease) effects people differently. For some, the symptoms may include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, while for others it might be fatigue, bone or joint pain, mouth ulcers, migraines, irritability or depression. In fact, anemia is one of the most common symptoms in adults according to a study co-authored by Case and published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences.” So what I am I so huffed about? I’m huffed about disclosing the complete facts and making sure that as many people as possible know them.

FACT – It is possible that many people can regain their health and reverse an array of apparently unrelated major health issues by going Gluten-Free. Hear me – many people, not everybody but many people. It’s a possibility. I real proven possibility. Case in point – ME. I lived that life of pain and misery for way to many years. Every moment not spent thinking about my pain I spent trying to find a way out of it. When someone is searching for answers they need to be told of all the options to consider and not to just run along and look the other way. HELL NO! They are hungry and thirsty for any chance to feel better, to be well.

My point in all of this. I had to live through 20 years of pain and many ignorant doctors to come to the self discovery that the ingestion of gluten was killing me. Now I know that a Gluten-Free diet will most probably not save the world but knowing that it could possibly save their own life would mean a world to another.

So watch your words and please spread the word that there is a whole lot more information out there scientifically proving a connection between the ingestion of gluten and autoimmune disorders, arthritis, cancer, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, brain, depression, headaches, epilepsy, and IBS to name just a few.


Debra Clemente, GFHHM (Gluten Free Healthy Happy Me)

If you'd like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview with Debra Clemente please call 785-218-6028.