This week we’re talking about chronic disease reversal. Over the past decade there’s been an emerging clinical awareness, with increasing research support, that many diseases we’ve been told are progressive and incurable can in fact often be turned around — or at least significantly ameliorated — through systems-based functional and lifestyle medicine strategies.
So here, Dallas and Pilar explore the approaches that are proving most successful in interrupting the chronic inflammatory processes involved in most chronic conditions. We highlight the exciting progress being made by leading practitioners who are disrupting the status quo and moving beyond conventional disease management strategies to address the real root causes of chronic ailments that affect millions.
We explore the power of elimination diets and other lifestyle medicine interventions to help identify and remove common disease triggers, and we consider the importance of supporting the body’s own healing mechanisms.
We explain why chronic disease reversal can no longer be the exclusive domain of doctors, and why it must instead involve us and our daily choices.
Finally, we offer you some experiments in re-framing what we’ve been encouraged to think of as incurable health ailments, and we invite you to re-imagine how a whole bunch of us might begin healing ourselves in ways the conventional medical system might not yet think is possible.
This episode also marks the beginning of a series of guest episodes with leading physicians and thinkers who are raising awareness of how numerous chronic diseases can be reversed, while helping regular people recover from ailments they were told they would suffer from for a lifetime.
“Chronic Disease Reversal” Episode Highlights
- The healing power of food and short-term interventions as evidenced by the Whole30 program (which was not designed to be a chronic disease reversal program)
- “Content as therapeutic” (a line borrowed from our functional-medicine colleague Tom Blue): How healing can start with simple self-education and awareness
- Lifestyle interventions that have proven effective in resolving chronic conditions: Elimination diets, intermittent fasting, gut healing and microbiome rebalancing protocols, basic nutrition supplementation, augmented rest and recovery, moderate exercise/interval training, mindfulness stress management and resilience training, resetting daily rhythms
- Why many medical provider-assisted interventions are unavailable to most people
- The often dis-empowering and discouraging approaches taken by many conventional medical-advice websites
- The difference between evidence-based, data-driven medicine and real-life personal interventions
- Books by leading physicians that outline chronic disease reversal interventions you can begin embracing — at least in part — on your own (see Resources below for links)
- Dr. Mark Hyman’s observation: 80% of his patients get 80% better using a nutrient-dense elimination diet alone
- The fundamental concept: Allowing your body to heal itself after removing offending/irritating agents and supplying necessary support
- Dr. Alessio Fasano’s three common drivers for all autoimmune diseases: Genetic pre-disposition to a particular disease, leaky gut (intestinal permeability), and a stressful trigger
- The importance of dealing with trauma of any kind (including inter-generational) while addressing a chronic illness
- Why you don’t necessarily have to understand all the science in order for many of these interventions to work for you (although understanding how your body works is often highly motivating)
If you haven’t already done it, do the Whole30 program. There are free resources on the website or you can buy the book for an all-in-one handbook. Changing your eating is often the single most important thing you can do to start reversing your chronic disease.
Look in the Resources below and read an article or book that speaks to you.
List the number of people you know (including yourself) who have chronic diseases — psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, etc. Or check out the “Weird Symptom Checklist” in Pilar’s book, The Healthy Deviant, to reflect on the ways your body may be indicating its displeasure with the way you are currently living.
- From Experience Life magazine:
- Dr. Alessio Fasano’s research on gluten-related autoimmune diseases
- James Maskell’s book, The Community Cure, on the power of group visits and supportive community in transforming chronic health conditions
- The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr. Dale Bredesen — addresses many forms of cognitive decline
- The Wahls Protocol by Dr. Terry Wahls — autoimmune disease reversal (including her reversal of her own multiple sclerosis)
- The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman and Always Hungry? by Dr. David Ludwig — diabetes and related heart disease and cancers
- Grain Brain and Brain Wash by Dr. David Perlmutter — digestive and neurological conditions (e.g., migraines, Parkinson’s)
- Healing Arthritis by Dr. Susan Blum — rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and other joint pain
- How to Make Disease Disappear by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee (and his TV show Doctor in the House) — a variety of chronic illnesses
- The Depression Cure by Dr. Stephen Ilardi — depression and anxiety
- The Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland — a case for rethinking how we diagnose and treat chronic disease
- Recent guest episodes from The Living Experiment on healing trauma: “Trauma 1” and “Trauma 2”
- Our related episode on “Functional Medicine”
- A TED Talk from Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on childhood trauma and health
- Information on The Institute for Functional Medicine’s elimination diet
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