January 4, 2016

The Pizza and Beer Diet

I'm just finishing this brilliant book by Dr. Steven Bratman (Health Food Junkies) and just have to Bratman's book, he shares case studies from his practice to bring certain points home.  He dedicates 1/3 of his book examining (comparing and contrasting) the many popular diets out there from The Zone and Blood Type to Paleo and various supplementation.  After undressing each, resulting in the same conclusion (the science doesn't support one over the other), he shares a case of two patients, seemingly healthy and focused on eating well and exercise, suffering from chronic infections and fatigue.  Both clients were dedicated to healthy (perhaps restrictive) eating and were ready to make whatever changes they needed to feel well again.

 Test after test could not pin point the cause of each patients' health concerns.  The first patient, "Wendy", worked with Bratman to examine and alter diet with the hopes of decreasing the monthly rate of bladder infection.  To no avail, after a while working with her, Wendy faded into the distance not to return for a year.  A year later, she walked into his office looking vibrant, rested, and well.  When asked what she did differently, her answer was "the pizza and beer diet".  She reduced/eliminated her monthly bladder infections while increasing her energy levels by eating pizza and beer three days a week while not paying attention to her diet the other four.

Bratman's second client, "Mark", was trying to manage the symptoms that come with Lupus and, after trying his best with diet alterations and restrictions left Bratman's office in a final huff not to be seen again for some time.  When he did return, he reported feeling healthier, more energetic, and his Lupus had gone into full remission.  Again, Bratman asked what he did to reap such healthy results and Mark replied, "the pizza and beer diet"! He had gotten the idea from patient of Bratman's he met at a party. After following in Wendy's footsteps, his health improved.

Like the telling of a fairy tale, this story shared by Steven Bratman, highlights one of the most important morals of this healthy narrative.  One of the most important factors to good health (that tends to be overlooked as we so desperately seek out the means to a healthy, pure, clean diet)......is stress.  While we may eat "cleanly" stress and anxiety tend to seep into our thoughts, beliefs, and actions as diets become disordered.  Stress may result in concern over eating out, eating at a friend's house, eating on the road or spending countless hours and too much energy planning out meals and menu plans.

Removing the concern over healthy eating had an overwhelming influence on the health of both patients and served as a reminder to me that obsession with healthy nutrition can soon become turn against us and become what ails us.  Although the message isn't sexy or newsworthy and although you don't see this reminder on those irritating pop ups and facebook adds, moderation is the key to health. 

If food is our medicine and medicine our food...sometimes it's necessary to enjoy a healthy dose of pizza and beer!


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