The first meeting of the Make Yourself Healthy Meetup group happened last night in Berkeley. It went great. About 15 people attended. We heard four fascinating talks — five, if you count mine. About 10 people wanted to talk so there was far more material than time (the meeting lasted about 2 hours).
Here are brief recaps of the talks.
Me. I explained why I started the group. I described how I came to believe that non-experts can discover important things about health that health experts, such as doctors, don’t know. These non-expert discoveries deserve more attention than they would get on a online forum (e.g., a MedHelp forum about acne). They can help people with other problems and can encourage people with other problems.
Katie Reid. After her youngest child was diagnosed with autism, she tried many things that didn’t work. She tried removing gluten from her daughter’s diet — a common treatment — and that made things somewhat better. The partial success encouraged her to look further at food. On someone’s blog, she came across the idea that MSG (monosodium glutamate) can cause autism symptoms. To her surprise, she learned that MSG is in many things, including toothpaste and juice, without explicit statement on the label. When she removed all MSG from her daughter’s diet, her daughter greatly improved and now, three years later, attends class with normal children. All of her autistic symptoms are gone. Katie herself felt much better when she stopped eating any MSG. She lost weight and a low-grade headache disappeared. She has a website and a video about this. Here is a video about this by someone else.
Anonymous. He is 29 years old and has struggled with depression, anxiety and lack of motivation. No long term progress in therapy. Yoga has helped. He found some benefits from meditation, but to get the benefits requires consistency and consistency requires hope, which I don’t always have. He started thinking critically about what he eats. Read Eat to Live by Furman and Disease-proof Your Child. Eating whole foods plant-based lowered his blood pressure to 90/60, His weight went from 170 to 155 and is now in low 160s. (It was 160 when he was 19.) He has food addiction and technology addictions, demons that he is battling. Other attendees suggested six things he might try, such as eating more animal fat.
Kylene Miller. She spoke about the value of anti-oxidants. She became a Type 1 diabetic at age 5 and has been sick a lot in her life. She met Dirk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, who told her to eat a lot of anti-oxidants. She started eating large amounts of Vitamins E and C. Then she started trying get her antioxidants from food. She discovered healthy chocolate — cold-pressed so that the anti-oxidants aren’t destroyed — made by the Xocai company. It has a huge ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score. She had gastric paresis. Four years of throwing up first thing in the morning. She had stopped taking lots of antioxidants. After she started taking them again, her gastric paresis disappeared. She is a distributor for the chocolate. She passed out samples of the chocolate.
Janet. When she was 19 (she is now 22) she suddenly felt very tired most of the time, even though she was sleeping 12 hours per night. She decided what tests she wanted, but her doctor would not order them. After her doctor gave her the blood-test-order form to bring to the testing center, she checked the boxes for the tests she wanted. Three supplements have been especially helpful, including isocort and progesterone (both OTC, over the counter). You can listen to her talk here (thanks to Jane Cho).
I had worried that too few people would have stories to tell, but one attendee lived one block away She had high blood pressure and had lowered it without medicine. I wanted to videotape the talks but during the second one the camera battery died — and, anyway, I was doing it wrong, someone told me. I asked whether the next meeting should be in one month or two months and everyone voted for one month. We need a venue that permits longer meetings.