Lauri M. Aesoph, N.D.
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The food you eat can make your arthritis better or worse. This is not folklore or fiction—it is a scientific fact!
Using food as medicine is an ancient concept. For thousands of years healing traditions from around the world have relied on food to treat various conditions including arthritis. Today, scientists continue to uncover the medicinal and arthritic-fighting force of cayenne, fish, and other everyday foods. The foods have not changed, we just understand more.
Of course, battling arthritis is more than preparing select morsels; your diet must be full of health-building foods, too. In fact, using nutritious, wholesome foods to calm aching joints is a fundamental step still used by natural health practitioners everywhere to treat arthritis and gout. This book will teach you how to simply and inexpensively take this first nutritional step on your own.
If you want to stay on the road to recovery, you must also purge your meals of health-destroying foods—this idea has not changed. Removing these and other causes of arthritis, not merely masking symptoms with painkillers and other potentially harmful medicines, is the key to regaining robust health.
Caring for your entire body, not just swollen joints, is another vital part of treating arthritis. Did you know an ailing digestive tract can contribute to arthritic joints? Were you aware the immune system is tied to arthritis pain? Learning how this works and what to do about it is what natural medicine and this book are all about.
Many natural health experts shared specific therapies they use to treat arthritis patients for this revised edition. Also added are new scientific discoveries affirming the benefits of arthritis-eliminating foods. Read the still inspiring tales of men and women who have used nutrient-rich foods to repair and heal swollen joints . . . and more.
Are you surprised that, in this highly technological age, changing a basic habit like eating is such a powerful arthritis therapy? Don’t be. Food and how we eat it forms the foundation of our well being.
This book will help anyone interested in improving their health. For the stories and information written here are not just about how diet can heal arthritis. On page after page, former arthritis victims and doctors reveal how vital, whole foods not only calm arthritis, but can unexpectedly relieve constipation, indigestion, and other chronic problems.
Nutrition is not the whole answer to treating arthritis, nor are bad eating habits the entire cause of this difficult disease. Long-time arthritis or even habitual use of certain medications may cause irreparable physical damage. But using our very basic, simple, and inexpensive up-to-date dietary suggestions can help improve or even eliminate your arthritic pain.
Happy reading and good eating.
Lauri M. Aesoph, ND
How Restorative Foods Reverse Arthritis the Natural Way
You can eat away arthritis.
This is the message of the rapidly growing system of healing called natural medicine.
In fact alternative healing is becoming so popular that a 1990 survey estimated that one out of three Americans had used natural therapies in the past year to the tune of $13.7 billion1.
Many conventional physicians consider a book suggesting that you can eat away arthritic disease scientifically unsound.
For years, the Arthritis Foundation has been warning Americans that arthritis is an incurable disease. The symptoms can be suppressed by drugs. But the disease is always there, ready to flare up again at any time. To make matters worse, the Arthritis Foundation warns us that “arthritis will be the epidemic of the future unless appropriate actions are taken now to limit its impact”2.
According to the Foundation’s rheumatologists—medical doctors specializing in arthritis—the cause of arthritic disease remains unclear—although theories continue to mount. Arthritic disease is a collective name for the hundred or so different varieties of arthritis, one of which is gout. According to the Foundation, no drug can permanently cure any one of these diseases.
The Arthritis Foundation admits that excess weight provokes osteoarthritis and includes food allergies, fasting, and fish oils as possible arthritis treatments3. However, it has flatly stated that with the possible exception of gout, no diet or food has any important beneficial or causative effect on arthritic disease4.
But beginning in the late 1970s, a veritable explosion of new scientific information began to emerge from research institutions, medical centers and universities that first caused us to re-evaluate everything we previously knew and believed about arthritic disease. This research continues in full force today, and its ideas are seeping into conventional arthritic treatment.
From such widely varied branches of medicine as endocrinology, immunology, biochemistry, and nutrition, a mass of clinical evidence became available about previously unexplored areas of human nutrition. Although the answers are not all in yet, we already have at our disposal convincing proof that certain foods are a contributing cause of arthritic disease. More importantly, healthy joints seem dependent on gastrointestinal well-being.
Typical of the early research linking arthritis with a nutritional cause was the double-blind study conducted in 1979 by Dr. Anthony Conte, a Pittsburgh nutritionist, and his associate Dr. Marshall Mandell, a nationally-known allergist. According to reports, their study provided evidence that arthritis can be in many cases, an allergy-related disease that may be treated by simply avoiding certain common foods.
The study was conducted under rigorous scientific method using test subjects suffering from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis—two main types of arthritic disease. Of these, 87 percent were found to have allergies that cause such typical arthritis symptoms as swelling and pain. The study results were presented to the American College of Allergists and published in the January 1980 issue of Annals of Allergy.
In the following weeks and months, identical reports that arthritis is a nutrition caused disease began to filter in from physicians and scientists who were conducting similar but separate studies of their own.
For example, Dr. Robert Stroud, a prominent rheumatologist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, is reportedly one of many scientists to have done pioneering work to show that patients with arthritic disease respond very favorably when certain foods are eliminated from their diet.
Even more dramatic is the fact that for many people, arthritis symptoms completely clear up during a fast. This proves that food plays an important role in the development and treatment of arthritis. However, you can’t fast forever.
Fortunately, scientists have expanded on the food allergy theory during the past decade. Drs. L. G. Darlington and N. W. Ramsey, British rheumatologists from Epsom General Hospital, wrote a letter to The Lancet, a respected English medical journal, describing their successes using diet to treat rheumatoid arthritis. One-third of their 100 patients were still well after seven and a half years of diet-only treatment (that’s not to say that diet didn’t help others). Besides food intolerance, the doctors said the foods you eat can influence your digestive tract, the bacteria in your gut and inflammation—all which ultimately affect arthritis 5.
As we stand on the threshold of this exciting new knowledge, it is becoming increasingly clear that arthritis is not the incurable diseases we once believed.
What these doctors and scientists are now saying is that many forms of arthritis are aggravated by foods. While food allergies don’t cause arthritis, they may, along with poor eating habits and genetic susceptibility, encourage your body to attack its own joints.
For further confirmation that arthritis is a food-linked disease, consider the results of recent studies drawing a connection between what scientists called the “leaky gut syndrome” and autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis. Some arthritic individuals have sieve-like gastrointestinal tracts that allow partially digested food and other substances to seep into their bloodstream. This is how food allergies and possibly allergy to your own body, called autoimmunity, happens.
Thus medical science has at last confirmed what old-time folk healers have said for years—that certain health destroying foods are a primary reason for arthritis. By replacing them with certain health restoring foods, we definitely can encourage remission of this disease together with elimination of stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
These important new advances have outdated orthodox medicine’s capability to treat arthritis. We now have available a mass of new data linking arthritic disease with nutrition that simply did not exist when several present doctors were attending medical school.
But instead of welcoming these discoveries, as you might expect, conventional medical practitioners have almost totally ignored them. For most doctors and rheumatologists are too busy, overworked, and locked-in by their own medical school training to keep abreast of new discoveries.
Take the case of Arthur H. whose doctor had been treating him for rheumatoid arthritis for seven years. Arthur finally became so frustrated with his doctor’s lack of success that he consulted an allergist. Sensitivity tests revealed that Arthur had developed allergic responses to milk, wheat, and potatoes. When Arthur eliminated these foods from his diet, the arthritis disappeared within two weeks.
Arthur returned to his original doctor to tell about his success, but the doctor was unimpressed. He made no attempt to seek information about nutritional therapy from the allergist. Nor did he refer any of his arthritic patients there. Instead he simply went on prescribing drugs just as he had been taught in medical school.
Past experience has shown that the lag time between the discovery of an important therapy and the time that doctors actually accept and use it is often as much as 20 or 30 years. For example, it took almost 30 years from the time that diet and exercise therapy were demonstrated to be able to reverse heart disease until cardiac rehabilitation centers began to appear.
It’s been nearly 15 years since we first brought you this news. So hopefully your doctor is using some nutritional therapy to treat arthritis. If not, point him in the direction of the numerous published studies on the subject. Still, most doctors will continue to say that you must learn to live with your arthritis. And they will continue to prescribe noxious drugs as the main answer to inflammation and pain.
How can this plethora of new scientific findings help you reverse arthritis?
For at least 150 years (in some healing traditions, millennia), we’ve known that arthritic disease could be benefited and often permanently reversed by changing to a diet of fresh, natural, health-restoring foods. The disease usually disappeared for as long as the person stayed on the diet.
But not everyone was able to recover fully by changing their diet. Recent scientific discoveries have now revealed why.
Arthritis is not, as was previously thought, caused simply by eating devitalized, health robbing foods. Nutritional research has now discovered that food influences arthritic disease in two distinct stages. In the first stage, the nutritional deficiency caused by eating depleted, processed foods paves the way for a second stage consisting of one or more food allergies. It is these allergic reactions that may trigger our immune system to attack the tissue in our joints.
This explains why, in past times, some people who made a complete changeover from health destroying foods to health-restoring foods never completely got rid of arthritis. They still had allergies to one or more of the natural foods. We are also learning the tremendous importance of healing the gut and improving overall health.
We now have so much important new knowledge concerning arthritis that we are witnessing a whole series of modern nutritional miracles.
Among them is the discovery that you yourself can easily test and identify the exact culprit foods that are creating the allergy that may be causing your arthritis. You can use some of the identical tests that a professional allergist would make, and you can do it all easily and simply in the privacy of your own home without experience, equipment, or expense.
Other important discoveries show that the way you eat also affects the way you feel. Having a strongly positive attitude can halve the time it takes to recover from arthritis. Eat right and you’ll feel right.
But what really swings the odds in your favor is the discovery that the more you know about arthritis the more power it gives you over the disease.
The purpose of this book is to show how you can use this totally natural nutritional approach to lessen or even relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis and to restore yourself to perfect health.
New knowledge has come from the research frontiers of psychology and behavioral motivation to show that when you change your diet, you simultaneously benefit your whole person on the physical, mental, and emotional levels.
Natural medicine, once the property of folk healers and fringe practitioners, is quickly gaining respect in this country. While natural health healers range from scientifically trained naturopathic physicians and chiropractors to self-taught herbalists, the principles of natural medicine remain the same.
The natural approach to health says that total health is possible only when the whole person is functioning smoothly. The natural approach is not merely to ease pain and swelling but to end arthritic disease altogether by removing the cause.
The natural approach to arthritis says that drugs are not the only option. Nutrition is one of several gentle, alternative therapies that have proven as equally—sometimes more—effective than conventional care.
As a result, the natural rationale is creating a revolution in our approach to disease. Simply because conventional medical treatment is the established way to treat an ailment, it is not necessarily the only way.
The reason is, of course, that arthritis is made worse by our own incorrect eating habits. It has also been amply demonstrated that our health destroying foods are largely the cause of a whole class of degenerative diseases that includes heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, hypertension, adult-onset diabetes, diverticulosis, and chronic headaches.
What arthritis and all these diseases have in common is that they are not caused by a virus or a bacterium that could be wiped out by drugs. They are often activated instead by our life-wrecking eating habits.
To say diet causes all disease is too simplistic. Fallen health is the result of a chain of events beginning with genetics and fostered by stress overload, a sedentary existence, and pollution. However, the foods we eat and how we eat them can swing the health pendulum from well to sick. Cultures that still eat a primitive diet chock full of unprocessed, whole foods rarely contract civilized disease like arthritis. Easy living and poor eating has made us sicker. One way to reverse these diseases is to eliminate the cause, that is, by rehabilitating our suicidal eating habits.
Drugs cannot alter what we eat. Hence it should come as no surprise that mainstream medicine has yet to produce a single bonafide cure for any of the degenerative diseases.
All that medical science can do is to mask or suppress or cut out the symptoms of these diseases. Aspirin may temporarily alleviate the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis, but neither aspirin nor any other drugs can cure arthritic disease. In fact, aspirin and other pain killers may even accelerate joint damage in diseases like osteoarthritis6. On the other hand, a natural therapy like nutrition can only help.
Ever since she was 18, Betty M. had suffered from frequent migraine headaches. At age 31, after the birth of her second child, Betty began to experience stiffness and pain in her left knee on rising. Soon the pain and swelling spread to her fingers, wrists, and ankles. Based on lab tests, her doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis.
Within 18 months, Betty was so wracked by agonizing joint pains that she was unable to walk or do housework. Meanwhile her headaches became even more excruciating. Altogether her doctor prescribed 16 aspirin daily with Nalfon and Tolectin plus routine shots of cortisone. But nothing helped. Her doctor admitted that the drugs could only suppress symptoms. He told Betty that the cause of rheumatoid arthritis was unknown and the disease was medically incurable.
One day, Betty read about the benefits of natural foods in a health magazine. Out of sheer frustration she decided to act. She hobbled downstairs and dragged out every canned, packaged, and convenience food in the house. When her husband came home, she had him replace them with natural health restoring foods just as the magazine had recommended.
Ten days later, the pain and swelling in her joints began to subside. And simultaneously her migraine headaches began to taper off.
In six weeks time, Betty was well enough to walk and resume housework and her headaches had also disappeared. A naturopathic physician whom she consulted explained her recovery as due to the fact that both the arthritis and migraine had been caused by the devitalized foods on which she had lived for years. When the cause—the health-destroying foods—was removed, both diseases disappeared.
We can’t guarantee anything, of course. But if you already have another degenerative disease (cancer excepted) in addition to arthritis, you may notice an improvement in the other disease as well as in the arthritic disease. For all degenerative diseases are aggravated by our same incorrect lifestyle habits. When we remove this irritant by cleaning up our habits, chances are good that any of these other diseases you have may also gradually disappear.
As researchers and scientists assess this new information, many have already reached a rather obvious but nonetheless startling conclusion.
Arthritis, along with most other degenerative diseases, are simply not curable by medication. Our medical schools have not trained doctors to recognize the cause of degenerative diseases nor to treat them by therapies that actually work.
Even cutting out a diseased organ does not remove the cause. When a heart patient with cholesterol choked coronary arteries is given new arteries in a by-pass operation, absolutely nothing is accomplished towards removing the cause of his disease.
Often, within as short a time as one year, the new arteries again become choked with cholesterol caused by the same high-fat diet which blocked the original arteries. The only “cure” for heart disease that really works is to change to a diet of health restoring foods.
So even heart disease is not really a problem solved with surgery and drugs. As with arthritis, the “cure” lies in something we can do for ourselves. That “something” is to use nutritional therapy to change our life-threatening eating habits. We can become our own nutritional therapists. Instead of cutting out organs, we can cut out at least one cause of arthritic disease.
Because conventional medical science has no bonafide cure for any degenerative disease, natural oriented healers prefer to avoid using the word “cure.” Instead, they talk about “reversing” gout or arthritis. Many degenerative diseases can be reversed and kept in a state of remission only as long as a person practices healthful living habits. Even infectious diseases, usually “cured” with a germ-killing drug, can be avoided with proper eating and healthful living.
When gout sufferer John R. changed to a diet of low-fat natural foods, his gout soon disappeared. For 3 years John stayed strictly with his diet without a further trace of gout. Then he became careless and while on a cruise ate several meals of rich meats with wine. A few days later he hobbled off the ship with both big toes swollen, hot, tender, and throbbing.
This book is not written to challenge conventional medical treatment. We most strongly urge and recommend anyone with any kind of chronic or persistent pain to consult a physician for a professional diagnosis.
Arthritis-like pains, such as stiffness, swelling, and inflammation of one or more joints can be caused by a variety of infectious diseases. Hepatitis, strep and staph infections, TB, pneumonia, meningitis, syphilis, and gonorrhea can all create symptoms similar to those of arthritis. Untreated cases of advanced gout have also caused hypertension, renal disease, diabetes, and heart disease.
These diseases may be medical emergencies which, if not treated, can cause rapid and permanent destruction to joints, heart, kidneys, eyes, and other vital organs. When these diseases are cured with antibiotics or other emergency treatment, the arthritic symptoms quickly disappear. Using emergency treatment to cure infections and other diseases of rapid onset has been conventional medicine’s greatest triumph.
That’s not to say that natural medicine can’t help these conditions. A professional trained in natural therapeutics can tell you if alternative treatments are appropriate for what ails you. It’s also very fitting to use natural remedies as an adjunct to drugs and surgery, to both speed healing and decrease side effects. The trouble is that conventional medicine uses the same kind of emergency treatment to deal with degenerative diseases that often take years to appear.
Although conventional medicine is opening its eyes to the benefits of exercise and other lifestyle changes, treatment for arthritis invariably begins with drugs. For example, as many as 16 or more aspirin per day may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation, a treatment you must continue daily for life. When aspirin doesn’t work, or worse yet, makes you sicker, another drug—usually one of the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) family like ibuprofen or acetominophen—is prescribed.
While nutritional science is gaining favor among rheumatologists, most arthritis research in the last 15 years has focused on new and better drugs. The NSAID list (which includes aspirin and other salicylates as a subset) now totals 20 or more different kinds7. Over two billion dollars worth of NSAID drugs were sold in 1994 alone8.
Aspirin, the “jack of all trades” when it comes to pain, and its NSAID cousins reduce pain and inflammation by blocking the production of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins. These substances are usually made by your body’s immune system to defend itself against infection and to promote healing by initiating the swelling, heat, stiffness, tenderness, and redness of inflammation. However, in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is out of control and prostaglandins are churned out at an incredible rate. The result is red swollen joints.
Even though aspirin and NSAIDs soothe symptoms and curtail prostaglandin production, it’s a quick fix. Reining in prostaglandins isn’t such a bad idea—naturopathic physicians do this all the time for various inflammatory conditions including arthritis. But if you only reduce prostaglandins and don’t pay attention to the nutritional causes of arthritis, you’re right back where you started.
The harsher drug cure is hard on the patient—you. Read this quote from the Textbook of Rheumatology, a mainstream medical textbook:
As every practicing physician quickly learns, the more aggressive and potent is the pharmacologic attempt nonspecifically to suppress this reaction (inflammation), the more defenseless the resulting host. The preoccupation of rheumatologists with nonspecific anti-inflammatory remedies reflects our ignorance of the specific proximate or ultimate causes of many of the diseases we are called upon to treat9.
In other words, doctors use anti-inflammatory drugs because they don’t know what causes arthritis. And these medicines ruin your ability to fight illness. Drugs’ side effects are a problem too.
In an Arthritis Today article entitled “Following Doctor’s Order’s . . .” Christopher Lorish, PhD, assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Related Professions, says drug side effects are the most common reason patients give for refusing or skipping medications10.
In its booklet Arthritis The Basic Facts, the Arthritis Foundation admits that aspirin taken in large doses can cause stomach irritation and ringing in the ears.
But according to the British medical journal Lancet, when cardiac patients took three or more aspirin a day on a long-term basis, ten-to-twenty percent experienced dyspepsia, nausea, and vomiting.
A report by Walter W. Ross in the December 1980 issue of Reader’s Digest (page 133) states that of every 100,000 persons who seek medical attention for severe gastro intestinal bleeding, ten-to-fifteen percent have this condition as a result of regular aspirin use. A 1988 British study found that aspirin and other NSAlDs accounted for more than one-third of bleeding peptic ulcers in people over 6011. In the U.S. NSAID-associated gastric ulcers are estimated to cost more than $100 million per year12. As a matter of course many doctors prescribe, along with pain pills, anti-ulcer medicines to both prevent and treat aspirin or NSAID-induced ulcers7.
Everyone who takes aspirin loses approximately half a teaspoon of blood from the stomach lining with each tablet taken. Regular aspirin use can lead to asthma, skin eruptions, kidney malfunction, colon ulceration, and problems in vision and taste.
Ross’ report concludes that if aspirin were to be discovered today and tested by modern standards, it would be obtainable only by prescription.
The NSAIDs acetominophen (Tylenol™) and ibuprofen have become almost as prevalent as aspirin for arthritis pain. Unfortunately, these increasingly popular drugs merely have different side effects (in some cases more serious than aspirin). For example, besides causing stomach problems, some NSAIDs can hurt your liver13.
Judith P. from Watertown, Massachusetts, shared her frustrations regarding drug therapy in a letter to Arthritis Today (January/February 1996), a magazine for arthritis sufferers published by the Arthritis Foundation. She expressed her frustration about the huge profits made by drug companies, adding “(it) seems the Arthritis Foundation subscribes fully to such (drug-base) approaches to disease treatment.”
When a doctor was quoted in the magazine as saying “because there are effective drugs that have been tested for the management of arthritis available to you, there is no need for homeopathic medicine,” Ms. Poole responded with: “This ignores the fact that anti-inflammatory drugs are known to have potent side effects. Tolerance for them varies. I suffered with an ulcer and now have compromised kidney function from the use of NSAIDs. I wish that I had turned to naturopathic and homeopathic treatment sooner”14.
When these fail, treatment moves on to steroids, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs but with such adverse side effects they can be used only in very low doses for very short periods. Still, steroids like prednisone are used for 10 or more years by some people with rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. John Sibley, a Canadian rheumatologist from the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, found patients who used prednisone for a decade did poorly. Not only was their arthritis worse than their steroid-free counterparts, but fractures and cataracts were more of a problem15. Gold salts are another drug treatment with extremely limited use because of devastating side effects. “Many doctors fear the unknown,” was the opinion of an editorial in The Lancet, “and will settle for an old friend even if there is associated toxicity. Perhaps this is why gold (an expensive, dangerous, and often ineffective drug) still has so many proponents”16.
Among other medical treatments are anti-malarial drugs which are also notorious for severe side effects. And among the more experimental drugs are cytotoxic agents, identical to those used in transplant operations to suppress the immune system. Hair loss and intestinal upsets are common among users.
To some extent, cytotoxic drugs and gold do relieve rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting the immune system. Interestingly enough, they do so by suppressing the white blood cell population, the very same cells that have been found to multiply in response to food allergies. These surplus cells then attack joint tissue, thus causing rheumatoid and similar varieties of arthritis.
Through using cytotoxic agents on human guinea pigs, conventional medical science has helped prove that food allergies are, indeed, one contributing cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
It’s not enough that drugs may have harmful, and at the very least, uncomfortable side effects. Many arthritis medicines also rob you of valuable vitamins and minerals. Think about this for a minute.
Not only are eating habits central to healing arthritis, but medications prescribed by your doctor to treat this disease make mediocre eating habits even worse. Aspirin, a nutritional time bomb, steals iron, folic acid, and vitamins C, B1, and K from you17. (See Appendix B for “Drugs that Steal Nutrients”). We only need small amounts of these and other nutrients for survival, but without them we become very sick or die.
Vitamins and minerals play a number of roles in the body ranging from metabolism to converting food into energy. Scientists are also discovering how important specific nutrients are for optimal immunity.
Modern society is fraught with nutritional bandits. Stress from noise, pollution, overcrowding, and other daily demands misappropriate vitamins and minerals. Today’s soil is suffering from its own nutrient deficiencies due to modern farming practices. Processing and refining strip whole foods. If this weren’t enough, storing and cooking foods withdraw more nutritional value. Older individuals—the group hardest hit by arthritis—has its own set of special nutritional needs.
If you add nutrient robbing drugs to an already taxed diet, you begin to understand why standard American fare hardly, if ever, meets daily nutritional requirements. The higher nutritional demands of arthritic disease are certainly out of reach.
As of this writing, we can say that not a single one of these drugs can cure arthritis. A review of their various side effects includes such conditions as nausea, vomiting, headaches, impotence, hypertension, severe bone loss, confusion, drowsiness, insomnia, double vision, moon face, and deep personality changes. Many arthritis drugs have already fallen into disrepute due to their excessive and intolerable side effects. To cap it all, the drugs often fail to relieve either pain or inflammation. Some even promote joint degeneration.
In reality, not a single drug in the entire pharmacopoeia is entirely free of side effects. Every single drug shows a toxic allergy response in food tolerance tests.
All of which means that drugs actually intensify and worsen overall health, immunity and the very arthritic diseases which they are supposed to relieve.
If all this conflicting advice by doctors sounds confusing, it is. On one hand, we have doctors of conventional medicine telling us that arthritic disease is medically incurable and can be treated mainly with drugs. On the other, in total contradiction, a new breed of naturally oriented M.D.s and naturopathic physicians are telling us that arthritis can be reversed with nutritional and other natural therapies.
These alternative physicians are also highly critical of the discouraging no-win advice given to arthritis sufferers by the Arthritis Foundation and the allopathic medical profession. Numerous medical studies have already proved the value of the placebo effect. Because arthritis is presumed incurable by some doctors doesn’t mean it cannot be reversed or improved by other safe and effective approaches.
In its booklet Arthritis The Basic Facts, the Foundation states: “. . . the major forms of arthritis are chronic. This means the condition, once started, continues, usually for life. It means that one does not ‘heal up as good as new’ as after a common cold, measles, or a cut in the skin. It means that whatever damage takes place may remain permanently . . . and tend to get worse unless proper precautions are taken to prevent it. It means that treatment must continue on and on.”
The same booklet has these discouraging words to say about gout: “Medications to keep uric acid levels down must be continued for life. Medication controls rather than cures the disease.”
Today, thousands of health professionals trained in natural medicine believe that this negative advice destroys all incentive to try to recover through an alternative therapy. The pessimistic prognosis given by most doctors crushes all expectations of recovery and any hope that joints will move freely once more.
Such a gloomy view closes the door to any therapy but drugs. It destroys all hope, faith, and belief that health can be restored. And it effectively discourages anyone from taking an active role in his or her own recovery.
It is not our intent to raise false hopes, but part of the emerging knowledge about arthritis concerns the tremendous power that suggestion plays in boosting recovery. Studies have shown that people with strongly positive attitudes who firmly believe they will get well can expect to recover from any disease or injury in 25–50 percent less time than someone with a negative, passive, and helpless attitude.
In contrast, the power of orthodox medicine’s negative suggestions can be more crippling then the disease itself.
The decision to change your diet is the turning point in recovery from arthritis. The moment you decide to stop being a passive recipient of drugs and to strike out and act on your own, you subconsciously transform yourself from a helpless, disease-prone individual into a cheerful, positive, optimistic person in full control of your own body, mind, and destiny.
At 42, Mary R. was a typical rheumatoid arthritis sufferer who had developed a deep sense of helplessness through being told by her doctor that cure was impossible and that she must learn to live with arthritis for the rest of her life. Her attitude became increasingly dependent and passive.
By the end of her second year with the disease, Mary had mentally turned her body over to her doctor. “Drug me. Cut me open. Make me well,” were her thoughts each time she saw her doctor. Mary believed that her health was beyond her control and she mentally transferred all responsibility to her physician.
One day, Mary heard an evangelist on the radio who urged listeners to wake up and take charge of their lives and their health. She felt suddenly inspired. She tossed out her aspirins and abruptly dropped from taking 14 a day to taking none (a course not advised in this book).
At the same time she consulted a chiropractor who specialized in nutrition. She was advised to immediately change to a diet of fresh, natural foods and to stay strictly away from all processed, canned, and convenience foods.
That night, Mary suffered the worst flare-up she had ever experienced. Without analgesics to ease the pain, the agony was torturous. But she grimly held on. By the end of the second day the continuous pain had subsided. Slowly, the heat and swelling in her joints gradually improved.
That was four years ago. Only once, immediately following a nutritional lapse, has Mary experienced a flare-up. But she returned immediately to her diet and has had no more pain. Today, she swims, hikes, and practices yoga. Arthritis is just a memory.
Her chiropractor, a firm believer in the natural approach, told Mary that alternative medicine does not accept as final the stereotyped assumption shared by most doctors that adults are not willing to change their lifestyle habits.
As he told Mary: “The natural approach is that if you sincerely desire to be free of pain, you will take an active role in your own recovery.”
Treating arthritis yourself by nutritional therapy is not as easy as popping a pill. It demands that you become actively involved in your own recovery by making permanent changes in your eating habits.
The reason is that the body is a self-healing entity that will heal itself when the cause of disease is removed.
Once we remove the cause of arthritis by eliminating sickness-breeding foods, the body’s own recuperative powers will go to work to restore health.
Other important discoveries show that the way you eat also affects the way you feel. Gulping down food while rushing from place to place just creates indigestion. And as you’ll soon learn, good digestion is crucial to mending arthritic joints.
Identifying foods that aggravate your arthritis is also important on the road to wellness. While you can identify food intolerances on your own, you may prefer having your doctor perform a simple blood test to detect food culprits. Later on, we’ll point out the pros and cons of each method.
But what really swings the odds in your favor is realizing that the more you know about arthritis, the more power it gives you over the disease.
The body is you. It is not something you can turn over to a doctor and expect him to make you well. Drugs cannot remove the wrong habits that are the cause of arthritis. Only you can heal arthritic disease. No one else can do it for you.
For ten years, Marjorie W. had suffered increasing pains from rheumatoid arthritis. Life became a continual horror of drugs, pain, and sleepless nights. Nothing seemed to help. Finally, Marjorie’s hands became so stiff and swollen that she underwent an operation by a specialist.
For five weeks following the operation, Marjorie was unable to use her hands at all. Then her fingers became even stiffer than before.
During her ten years with arthritis, Marjorie’s doctors had prescribed a total of 15 different medications ranging from aspirin to steroids and powerful narcotics. But all they produced was distressing side effects. Finally, Marjorie could no longer comb her hair. After years of suffering, she became resigned to being physically impaired for life.
Throughout her years of torment, Marjorie had always assumed that arthritis was something over which she had no control. Healing was something that could come only from a doctor’s prescription.
Quite by accident, she learned about natural healing and the benefits of nutritional therapy. Out of sheer desperation she decided to give it a try.
Marjorie enrolled at Villa Vegetariana, a nutritional health school in Mexico. The doctor in charge was appalled by the long list of health-wrecking foods that Marjorie ate each day. Her own doctor had never mentioned a word about diet. Marjorie was immediately placed on a natural self-purification technique designed to detoxify her whole body.
Exactly six days after she stopped eating her usual foods, Marjorie was astounded to find herself completely free of pain. At this point, she was placed on a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eight days later, full use of her hands returned.
Each evening, Marjorie attended a lecture to learn how she was to eat for the rest of her life. She was advised to adopt a lifetime diet of fresh, natural, high-fiber foods.
Although she was then 62, an age at which most doctors believe our habits have become totally inflexible, Marjorie found no difficulty in adapting to her new way of eating.
For several years now she has stayed strictly with her diet of health-restoring foods. Not a single flare-up has occurred. And she has felt absolutely no urge to return to her former eating habits.
Marjorie no longer views natural foods as a hardship. She leads a completely normal, active life and she regards giving up trouble-making foods as a small price to pay for total freedom from arthritis.
Although she didn’t realize it at the time, Marjorie’s decision to act by changing her diet was the turning point in her recovery. Her decision to become actively involved expressed a powerful belief in her own body’s ability to get well.
Are you ready to do the same?
The Wonder Working Power of Restorative Foods
This book began when Norman Ford, a writer in retirement, developed an interest in arthritis. Each year for 30 years he talked with hundreds of men and women in adult communities throughout the Sunbelt States. When Ford originally did his research, approximately one retirement-aged American in four suffered pain and discomfort from some form of arthritis. Today nearly half of all Americans over 65 are so affected18. Since arthritic disease is a major deterrent to enjoyment of the later years, he made a point of finding out everything he could about arthritis and the chances for recovery.
Judging by the many people he met who were crippled by the agonizing pain of rheumatoid arthritis—a common form of arthritic disease—arthritis did indeed seem to be as incurable as the Arthritis Foundation claimed. As their booklet Arthritis The Basic Facts states: “The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet known. A cure is not yet known. . . . No drug yet developed for use in treating rheumatoid arthritis actually stops the basic disease process.”
If by the Arthritis Foundation’s own admission, the major forms of arthritis are incurable, and cannot be stopped by drugs, then why, Ford wondered, did I keep meeting people who claimed to have experienced a complete and permanent remission from rheumatoid and other forms of arthritis?
Fifteen years later, Dr. Lauri Aesoph was asked to update this information. After purusing the scientific literature and talking with several doctors specializing in natural health, she discovered that the original author’s observations about food and arthritis was even truer today.
As part of his arthritis-inquiry program, Ford made regular visits to some of the small Nature Cure resorts and natural diet arthritis clinics that dot Florida and the Southwest. And he began to attend natural food conventions. At these places, Ford met more men and women—people in all age brackets—who had achieved total and lasting remission from all forms of arthritis and gout. One of them was Enid C.
Three years after she had been stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, 41-year-old Enid C.’s knees were so swollen she had to give up her teaching job and take to a wheelchair. Enid’s doctor tried all the usual drugs but without success. Finally, in desperation, Enid consulted a practitioner of natural hygiene (a science of natural health).
The hygienist instructed Enid to practice a simple self-purification technique for seven days, then to eat light, nutritious meals of fresh natural foods. She was to stay on this diet permanently.
On the evening of the seventh day of the purification technique, Enid suddenly realized that her arthritis pains had vanished. Two weeks later, the swelling in her knees had almost disappeared.
Exactly six weeks after she first visited the hygienist, Enid got out of her wheelchair and walked—entirely free of stiffness and pain. In another three months she was back teaching school.
Enid has stayed faithfully with her restorative foods and has been completely free of arthritis symptoms for over three years.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, a remission, “. . . is the medical word used when a disease seems to go away by itself. The pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis, even in severe cases, may subside or disappear for months or years. In about one out of ten cases it never comes back.”
The italics are ours. But here, based on government surveys of tens of thousands of arthritis patients, is the official word. IN ABOUT ONE OUT OF TEN CASES RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS SPONTANEOUSLY DISAPPEARS AND NEVER COMES BACK.
Since 2,100,00018 Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis at any one time, this means that approximately 21,000 people achieve a permanent and complete remission from rheumatoid arthritis every year—whether or not they receive medical treatment.
Of all the people Ford talked with who had, or had previously suffered from, rheumatoid arthritis, approximately one in ten reported that, like Enid C., they had experienced a full and lasting remission. This seemed to agree entirely with the Foundation’s own estimate that in about one out of ten cases rheumatoid arthritis never comes back.
What was their secret? Why, Ford wondered, did one person out of ten with rheumatoid arthritis recover completely with or without standard medical care?
Starting about 30 years ago, each time Ford met a person who had recovered from any form of arthritic disease, he tried to find out what was different about him or her compared to others who still had the disease.
Almost every person he questioned had run the whole gamut of conventional medical treatment, usually without any significant relief or improvement.
Yet out of their answers a common pattern gradually emerged. In virtually every case, recovery occurred when, by accident or design, each person had decided to give his body a chance to heal itself. With few exceptions, each person Ford questioned had made a radical improvement in living habits just prior to recovery.
Some had cut out smoking or alcohol. But far more reported having made a major change in their eating habits, usually by switching to a diet of fresh, natural, unprocessed foods.
Surprisingly, the majority had not done so in the belief that they could reverse their arthritis but in response to the numerous books and articles urging Americans to reduce their risk of heart disease by losing weight and eating less fat. For some 30 years we have been repeatedly told that a natural diet of high-fiber foods reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, diverticulosis, and other degenerative diseases.
Americans were not told that it would also improve arthritis. But, in practice, a surprising number of former arthritis sufferers seem to have benefited.
In more recent years more men and women are changing their diets by enrolling at cardiac rehabilitation centers. Actual records from cardiac centers show that the same low-fat, high-fiber diet of natural foods that helps reverse heart disease may also benefit arthritis.
A smaller number of people had deliberately changed their diet through reading that natural foods could benefit arthritic disease. Others had learned about nutritional therapy from friends, nutritionists, and chiropractors. A few like Marjorie W., (see Chapter 1) had enrolled at one of the small natural health resorts scattered about the country where they had rehabilitated their diet under the guidance of nutritionists.
One way or another, by luck or coincidence, these people had learned about the benefits of nutritional therapy and had decided to take the initiative and give it a try.
Not all of the people who had changed their diets had successfully recovered from arthritic disease. Although all felt greatly improved, approximately four in ten had failed to recover completely.
A few years ago it was not known why this was so.
Yet today we know there is no such thing as an anti-arthritic diet that will work for everyone. The information avalanche of recent years has revealed that while some foods are so devitalized they inevitably lead everyone towards poorer health, including arthritic disease for some, each of us may also have our own individual allergies to specific arthritis-aggravating foods.
This is one reason why in past times a changeover to a natural diet benefited many arthritis sufferers but not all. Several who were not able to improve their arthritis significantly had allergies that extended even to some natural foods.
Due to the new work on arthritis therapy, the foods that aggravate some forms of arthritic disease can be identified by you.
This is not to deny the tremendous therapeutic value of natural foods in reversing both arthritic and other degenerative diseases. In heart disease, hypertension, maturity-onset diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, senility, diverticulosis, hypoglycemia, colitis, and similar diseases brought on by the vicissitudes of our own lifestyles, the best place to start is with a diet of natural foods.
But some types of arthritis differ in that they are also autoimmune diseases. This means that the nutritional deficiencies caused by eating devitalized, processed foods disturb digestion and may pave the way for food allergies that can trigger white blood cells to attack the cells in our joints.
Thus a complete remission often requires digestive healing and the elimination of specific allergy foods.
Many of Ford’s observations fit together with the latest discoveries of nutritional science like a jigsaw puzzle.
Scientific information then and now explained why all of the scores of people interviewed had been able to improve or recover from arthritis.
This book synthesizes all the scattered, pigeonholed discoveries of hundreds of people who have recovered from arthritis with the findings of scores of doctors and researchers, and meshes it into a collection of nutritional therapy successfully employed to reverse arthritis by natural health establishments.
When put all together, what emerges is a simple, workable program consisting of Six Recovery Steps that anyone can use to greatly benefit their arthritis.
We want to emphasize that the Six Recovery Steps are not “our” program. And this information is not meant to replace the services of your doctor or a skilled natural health practitioner.
All we have actually done is to integrate the methods used to improve arthritis by the hundreds of people interviewed with the most successful natural therapies currently being used by the many small allergy and arthritis clinics and natural healing centers across the country.
So while the Six Recovery Steps program is not based entirely on recent discoveries, the methods used have been proven successful by the well authenticated and scientifically validated work of many university scientists and research physicians.
Chapter by chapter, the case histories collected over the years provide living proof of the effectiveness of each of the Six Recovery Steps.
The program described is based on medically sound methods that are already being used with great success in a number of small allergy and arthritis clinics. Some are experimental units associated with major universities and medical research centers. Several respected natural health doctors are also using these methods.
Changing the way you eat is the focus of this arthritis self-help book. And truthfully, every health program (and disease treatment) should always start with a nutritional overhaul. Such a basic concept is overlooked by too many doctors. However, there’s more to arthritis and other degenerative diseases than diet.
While revising this book, we spoke to many natural health doctors who all agreed that nutrition was basic to healing arthritis, but eating poorly doesn’t create swollen joints in everyone. Genetic susceptibility, your body’s weak point, needs to be considered. So while eating processed foods might aggravate your rheumatoid arthritis, it could cause heart disease in someone else.
Other factors besides diet have to be considered too. There’s no doubt that repeated joint injury promotes osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” arthritis. Vaccinations cause joint pain in some children19 and adults20. Even medications contribute to some arthritis types. The classic NSAID treatment for osteoarthritis promotes joint destruction over a long period of time6. Estrogen replacement therapy, used by many women to offset menopausal symptoms, actually increases risk of developing systemic lupus erythematous21. There are even illnesses, like Lyme disease, that can mimic arthritis22.
Sometimes, arthritis treatment involves complex detective work on the part of you and your doctor. While improving the quality of foods you eat will undoubtedly help your arthritis—85 percent or better are said to benefit from diet changes—don’t ignore other causes.
All too often, long term use of such medical treatments as steroid drugs or gold injections can cause irreparable bodily harm. However, in the great majority of cases, you can expect at least some relief and perhaps a complete remission of arthritis symptoms for as long as you continue to avoid arthritis-aggravating foods and stay faithfully, instead, with a health-restoring diet.
Ten years of discussing business deals over rich lunches and dinners left 45-year-old Ralph A. with sharp, stabbing gout pains in his big toes, insteps, and ankles. Seldom was more than a single joint attacked at one time, and the swelling and tenderness were excruciating.
On the advice of a nutritionist, Ralph cut out all seafood, meat, refined foods, caffeine and alcohol and replaced them with health-restoring natural foods. Gradually, the hot, shiny purple flesh around his afflicted joints turned to a healthy pink and Ralph’s pains disappeared.
One day, a friend persuaded Ralph to try some anchovies and sardines on toast served with wine—all notorious gout-causing foods. Ralph thought that a single dietary indiscretion would hardly make a difference.
How wrong he was! By the following evening his left big toe began to throb and Ralph was right back where he began. Since then, Ralph has stayed strictly away from all gout-promoting foods. That was four years ago, and he has been free of all flare-ups and gout symptoms since.
Ralph’s experience is vitally important. To remain free of the symptoms of gout or arthritis—as well, probably, as those of other degenerative diseases—you absolutely must stay with restorative foods for the rest of your life. If you stray back to your old health-destroying foods, even for a snack, you may experience a sudden flare-up. Or you may wake up next morning to find that all the old stiffness has returned to your joints.
This may not mean having to give up all of your favorite foods forever, of course. But it does mean you should add more variety to your diet. If any favorite food is identified as provoking your arthritis, you may still be able to eat it provided you eat it less often and eat a variety of other health-restoring foods in between. Yet some foods are so harmful, they should never be eaten again.
As the Arthritis Foundation correctly states, arthritic disease cannot be cured. But you can decrease symptoms and even keep it in complete and permanent remission for the rest of your life.
Essentially, what this book does is to reveal the secrets by which one-in-ten people have helped their rheumatoid arthritis. The same secrets promise remission from all forms of arthritic disease.
Cure or remission? What difference what we call it provided you can lead a normal, active, pain free life without a trace of the symptoms of arthritis.
Within the limitations just described, you can take control of your health and arthritis, and still enjoy eating.
As the natural approach to healing has demonstrated, the more powerful your faith and expectation that you will recover, the better your chance for a speedy recovery. For as the natural rationale proves, nutrition is a critical factor in sound physical, mental, and emotional health.
The Six Recovery Steps are your beginning to better health and more manageable arthritis. Many people have reported a complete disappearance of arthritis symptoms within a week or so. For others it may take several weeks. In other cases, relief may be partial or more gradual.
Much depends on which type of arthritis you have. Rheumatoid and similar forms of arthritis often respond well to a change in diet, while recovery from gout may take a bit longer, and recovery from osteoarthritis may be very gradual.
How about structurally deformed bones and joints? No nutritional therapist can promise miracles. Through nutritional therapy you can end pain and regain joint mobility. But badly deformed joints may never regenerate completely. Nonetheless, you will have put a stop to further damage.
Yet among those one-in-ten people who permanently recover from that most crippling of arthritic diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, amazing examples of regeneration have occurred.
Never forget that the body is self-healing. It wants to get well. As your nutrition improves, your circulation will improve also. The rich body-building nutrients from the restorative foods which should now comprise your entire diet are carried into the bloodstream to nourish damaged muscle, bone, and tissue.
It is a really good book, the first thing I did is cut Wheat and night shades veg. inflammation has
been reduces after just 3 wks.
Not at all what I expected. Far too complicated. It just was not for me. If there had been a more in depth review of this book I never would have ordered it.Published 22 months ago by Jean Willcocks
A good common sense book, with great advice about diet, but not enough about osteoarthritis. I believe that diet is extremely important but would like more detailed information... Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2004