By Clive Lindley-Jones | July 11, 2012 2:53 pm
What does a pensioner look like in 2012?
As the 2012 London Olympics finally arrive it is time to mention my own attempt to change my shape, get healthier and fitter and even, hopefully raise some money for my favourite two charities. The Sunflower Trust and F.R.O.M.E. the Fund for Osteopathic Research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
As the magic birthday 65 appears for me a few months down the track I am thinking quite a bit these days on the science and art of ageing and how to do it well. I tend to agree with Anita Moorjani, who wrote next month’s book of the month (Click here) that death is nothing to be feared, however, while we are alive, we can do a great deal to make that experience a healthier and happier one through many of the choices we continually make. So rather than just walk across the country like I did two years ago and ask for your sponsorship, this time I am setting myself a different, and some would say, tougher challenge.
That is to go from my old slightly podgy shape to a leaner, flat stomached, stronger state where I can lift my own weight and possibly even bench press Kerstin my wife’s weight. Not because these are in and of themselves that great, but rather as a bench mark, no pun intended, of the process I have made to add some muscle, the elixir of life, and loose some of that killer internal, visceral, as well as obvious external, fat. See my March Health-e Coaching.
So watch out for more next month of how I am getting along on the body changing task, and perhaps I can persuade you to follow my example or at least support my fund raising efforts this autumn.
Ankylosing spondylitis: Eating your way out of pain.
Recently I wrote a book review of the book Dangerous Grains May Health-e Coaching in which I touched on the damaging role that some grains such as gluten can have on us. Following on from this I want to relate another story that touches on the powerful effect that food can have on our health that is still not recognised outside About a year ago I was asked by a cousin what I thought her son could possibly do having discovered he had Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that effects mainly the vertebra of the spine and the sacral-illiac joints. All osteopaths know of this miserable disease. While it can be helped by exercise and postural advice that we give, is not much helped by osteopathic manipulation of the joints, as the problem stems from a chronic inflammation that effects the joints all over the body but especially in the spine.
I suggested he look into the possible beneficent effects of a low starch diet (such as is outlined by Carol Sinclair’s excellent book, The IBS Low-Starch Diet (click here). As she mentions many people seeking help from Irritable Bowel Disease do not always mention their other aches and pains, and some of them may have A.S.).
About 1 in 200 people have AS in the UK. It can come on gradually, usually in young men, usually with chronic back pain, but it can manifest with pain in other parts of the body including the eyes and gut pain and bloating. It is a genetically passed on disease and 96% of those susceptible have the gene HLA-B27. The further north your ancestors come from the greater the chances of this gene being in your genetic inheritance. But remember, the genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger! It usually takes something to set the gene on its more destructive path, and sometimes, with the right help, you can go a long way to reverse that path and send the gene the right information through your food or other activities, and turn down the damaging response.
At present the conventional view is that there is not much to do accept anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy to avoid the pain and serious stiffening effects of the progression of he disease. Most people will tell you that the research does not support the dietary theory of treatment. However quite possibly they are mistaken, and should you suspect AS as a cause of your ongoing problems, while difficult and irksome, a therapeutic trial of the low starch diet, as outlined so helpfully in Sinclair’s book, is perfectly safe and should show results in a month or so. If you have ever truly suffered from that kind of chronic pain, eating your way out of it will be a tasks well worth it.
So how can it work? It all comes down to bugs. To learn the whole story read on here How A Low Starch Diet Could Ease Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms.
So a year later when I’d forgotten all about our e-mail conversation I was very happy to hear from Jake about how he had responded to my forwarded e-mail in his story of what had happened. I had no idea that he had even taken my advice, so it was most gratifying to hear what had happened. While only anecdotal, his story can give hope and encouragement to others who may have given up hope of ever feeling pain-free and well again, and may have been told, as he was erroneously, that dietary changes were of no use and possibly dangerous. We all must think for ourselves and weigh up the risk benefits a little more carefully. After all, many of us are swallowing all sorts of drugs and drug-like fake-foods with gay abandon, hardly heading what they may be doing to us.
Here is Jake’s encouraging story…
“When I was finally diagnosed with AS in 2010; I had become used to feeling old and tired which was having an impact on life with my two small children. The outlook given by my rheumatologist was a long term dependence on anti-inflammatory drug and to hope that my disease would settle down by the time I was in my 50s, not much fun…
Fortunately for me, in 2011 with encouragement from Clive I tapped into a community of fellow AS sufferers and discovered that there was something I could do to take control of my own destiny. Despite what the medical profession had to say, I learned that what I choose to eat has a major role to play in managing my disease.
At first it seemed completely counter-intuitive – how could eating starchy food influence the inflammation in my back and joints? In addition, my initial reaction was one of horror! – “What? No bread? No pasta, rice or beans? What can I eat?”. In total it took me around three months and a couple of false starts before I completely made the switch to a starch free diet but after a month of consistently eating well I realised that I was feeling better than I had for many years; I had fewer aches and pains and I discovered a zest for life that had been missing for some time.
Although to start with I missed the comforting, starchy foods, I now really enjoy my new diet. I eat plenty of fresh vegetables; some fruit; sensible regular servings of fish and meat plus some “good fats” and, although it wasn’t my main goal, by eating well and cutting out all processed foods I’ve also lost my excess weight and am perhaps fitter and stronger than I have ever been.
It is a sad fact that the mainstream medical profession doesn’t seem able to share information like this with patients to help us manage our diseases through diet despite some interesting research by a range of professional such as Dr. Alan Ebringer. There is however, a wealth of information available when you know where to look; including an on-line community at www.kickas.org which is very informative and supportive.
In my wider reading I learned that many of the chronic diseases of the western world can be modified and perhaps even “cured” with a change in diet. The reliance on grains in our food is very recent in evolutionary terms and the even more recent change to the refined carb/low fat diet currently recommend as “healthy” is even more recent and seems to parallel the unending rise in chronic diseases of the developed world”.
Claiming Fees for your Osteopathic Care from BUPA
While most of our patients pay out of their own pocket for the health care that we provide, I know some of you are insured with BUPA and are able to charge your osteopathic care to your BUPA personal or corporate account. I have been on BUPA’s list of recognised consultant for many decades and up until now this relationship has served us all reasonably well. I know that the present recession has badly effected BUPA and their market. Sadly I have recently received a letter from BUPA informing me that the basis on which they pay for osteopathic consultation fees is shortly going to change radically. Although they have not informed us at what level, they have indicated that there will be a cap on the amount that they are prepared to pay per consultation. This is likely to be considerably less than the fees that we currently charge need to charge in a city as expensive as Oxford. Surprisingly, they have also indicated that they will not tolerate patients paying the difference between these fees (i.e. topping up).
In common with most of the osteopaths in this area, this presents me with a very difficult decision. Although nothing is certain at present, I thought I ought to let you know that there is a chance that I may, after many years, be forced to cease being a BUPA recognised consultant later this year.
This should not affect any course of treatment that you may be having either now or nearer the time, but may prevent you claiming fees in the future.
I would welcome the chance to explain or discuss the situation with you further and, following this, would encourage you, or the person who administers your corporate scheme, to contact BUPA Customer Services if you are as dissatisfied with this state of affairs as I am. Thank you for your help in this. To learn more go to: Bupa – Save Osteopathy.