I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend! My wife and I were able to escape without the kids and hit an Allison Krauss concert up in Jackson, MS, and it was a great time to unwind. It also let me put together some thoughts and data from another of my patients that has started following a Paleo lifestyle after years of dieting the traditional American way.
This particular lady is 56 years old, and I have seen her for around 5 years. She has multiple chronic medical problems including high blood pressure, non-insulin dependent diabetes, high cholesterol, and COPD. We had spend at least the last two years working very hard to get her sugars down. Our last effort was a medicine called Byetta, which is a twice a day injectable medication. These are great drugs from the standpoint that they have very few side effects, and are pretty effective at lowering blood sugars. Their best effect is by effectively lowering a patient’s insulin levels, leading to less hunger and at times substantial weight loss. Despite this, she did not get the results we needed. We were at the stage where insulin was our next option, and she asked if she had ANY alternative.
We spent some time reviewing the concepts of the Paleo diet, and she reluctantly agreed to give it a go. She has lived her life as a southerner, eating biscuits and gravy, rice and gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy…catching a theme here?! Despite all this, something I said finally clicked in her brain and she went for it. On the day we discussed Paleo she weighed 274 lbs, her HgB A1C 8.88, and her Total Cholesterol/Trigs/HDL/LDL were 286/199/69/176. She had long been unable to tolerate statin cholesterol medications because of elevated liver function tests from fatty liver disease.
35 days later she returned for a follow up. Now often when I discuss Paleo with patients they come back for their follow up apt and they lasted 2 days, cursed my name, and kept with the status quo. To my delight, this patient stuck to the program like a true champ. She was so nervous to see what the changes had brought her. She had significant problems at home with her husband and kids once she told them the diet changes she was planning. It amazes me how often family members show very little concern for my patients when I tell them to make changes. They simply don’t want to change to help in any way. Sad really.
Her weight on follow up was 263 pounds, her A1C was 7.2, and her cholesterol profile showed 210/70/65/113. I will stress again as I did in my last patient example, this was only 35 days of dietary change! I work long hours, I don’t see my kids as much as I would like, and there are days I wished I could never deal with another insurance company again; but the smile on this lady’s face was absolutely priceless. The lightbulb had gone on in her brain…she could control her health after all by making the right dietary choices! How awesome is that.
Two last things. Tomorrow my wife and I start our first Whole 30 from Whole 9 Life. I have to say, eliminating Diet Dr. Pepper from my life will be HARD!!! I’m ready though, and so is she. We are determined not to let any foods or drinks control us in any way. Let’s see how strong I feel in a week! I’m going to try my hardest to document every day of the Whole 30 on the blog, and share some photos of my food choices for the day. We will see how it goes. We may be crazy, but the last week of our 30 days we will be on vacation with our kids!
Lastly I hope to be announcing some exciting news concerning more formal patient data collection and analysis in the near future. There are phone calls to make, and plans to be sorted through, but I’m working on it. Once things are more final I’ll let every one know!
Please send this link to anyone you think may need encouragement or an introduction to Paleo. What better way to stay dedicated than to see yourself in another’s shoes who has taken the step and is reaping the rewards!