Welcome back! Last week, we learned of an Oregon family’s journey to health through the KETO diet. If you haven’t seen the comments on this blog, or read the Guest DO’s response, I encourage you to do so.
This week, we visit with Judith Kroll, as she talks to us about her personal experiences using Food as Medicine. Let’s check in with Judy and see what she has to say in this week’s blog! ~Linda Tate
Your Body Knows
I was sick, around 40 years of age, and the prognosis was I had two months to live. It started with a miscarriage that I had at home. I had problems and had a D&C, also known as dilation and curettage. It is a surgical procedure often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage. I was given 500 mgs. of antibiotics. I didn’t realize at the time that I should take yogurt, or acidophilus, so because I didn’t know that, my path down the slippery slope of health issues began. Since then, I do take acidophilus when on antibiotics, and it has saved me over and over. I might mention that a country doctor in the hills of West Virginia told me, “ya know, my grandma always told me to take yogurt when I was on antibiotics. I would highly recommend you do that from now on.” I do.
At first I believed the doctor, and was preparing my mind and soul to die. I had written letters to my sister in law, my husband, and my three young children, to be distributed to them after I left this earth. I couldn’t eat, and just slept around the clock. I was down to 90 pounds. Genine, my wonderful sister in law, was helping me and my family as best she could. As she was helping me one day, I happened to remember a book by Adelle Davis. The title was Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit. Adelle was a nutritionist, and her books dealt with foods that were healthy. My dear Genine happened to have that book. In one chapter there was a formula for wheat germ, and honey, and a few other items that were blended together. “Well”, Genine thought, “why not”, and got all the ingredients to make the concoction for me to take in.
From the stress of my disorder, my immune system was virtually nonexistent, and eventually my body started eating itself, starting with the liver and spleen. The doctors could not put a name to the disease, so they called it a virus. This lasted over a year. I developed an ulcer from all the stress my body was subjected to. Since I had no immune system I developed 7 infections. Mono, bronchitis, ulcers, etc, my body mimicked having Epstein-Barr , Lupus, MS. One doc said it was like having a bad flu ten times worse than normal.
Genine, started me on Adelle’s concoction and a 1000 milligram every hour of vitamin C. I started to improve. All of a sudden my body was craving hot peppers. Now the doc said hot peppers would kill me and not the ulcer! I listened to my body. I ate the hot peppers. The ulcer was gone and it never came back.
I was telling this to my cousin’s husband, Jim, who has MS. He then told me a story. He always believed in tasting every food as it was presented to him. “Just a taste”, he said. (parents with young children might find his reply helpful) . I asked him why and his response was, “so your body will let you know what to crave. You cannot crave something you never tasted.”
Jim went to his doctor and he said “Doc, if you had no medicine, and you wanted to help my MS, what Food would help me?” The doc said “Omega 3”. Again Jim asked, “what FOOD will I find Omega 3 in?” The doc pondered this for a few seconds and said, “Sardines.” Jim smiled to himself because he was craving sardines and had already started eating them. To this day he is still walking. By the way, I was craving sardines as well. Sardines and hot peppers. Great combination!
I am not against doctors as they have helped me in so many ways, it is just that I feel we need to be aware when our bodies speak to us.
Each person is different, and therefore, what might work for one person might not work for another. However, when we are sick and someone is going to feed us, the first question they ask is, “What do you feel like eating?” The body knows.
A response to Judith’s blog by Sally Mangum, PhD., DO
Judith, thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear that at some point you witnessed a physician recommending yogurt while on antibiotics, there are studies now that support this same idea that our Grandmother’s had figured out years ago! Also, you’ll be happy to know that some studies are showing benefits of vitamin C in critically ill patients and so it is being used more in hospitals too. I think one of the major problems with medical research today is that it’s hard to get funding for studies on nutraceuticals or using food as medicine. As doctors, we often recommend management for our patients based on evidence-based research and so without these studies doctors are not equipped with knowledge about how helpful foods can be in the healing process or for preventative health. Unfortunately, research is more likely to be funded if it supports a pharmaceutical agent or a specific intervention that can be turned in to a pharmacological medication. With that said, I agree that listening to your body is important. Our cravings can not only uncover nutritional deficiencies but, can help us to take in the nutrients we need for our metabolism and immune system to function optimally. I’m happy that you are well enough today to write about your experience.
About Sally Mangum PhD, DO
Sally was raised in Alaska and completed her BS in chemistry and PhD in biochemistry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her doctorate research focused on the nutritional properties of wild berries and their ability to decrease inflammation. She worked for the USDA at the North Carolina Research Campus where she studied the effects of post harvest handling practices on the bioactive compounds in blueberry fruit. Sally was called to medicine and attended the Pacific Northwest University of Health sciences for her medical training. She is currently a second year Internal Medicine resident in Corvallis, Oregon, and has a strong desire to return home to Fairbanks after residency to help fulfill the need for primary care physicians in her home community. Sally continues to be passionate about the healing properties of food and has been known to prescribe fruits and vegetables to her patients. She enjoys yoga, cross country skiing, and spending time with her two toddlers.