For many years, the greatest frustration in my life and the source of much sadness has been my inability to help my wife Ginger recover from her severe immune disorders that in the last few decades have caused her daily severe pain and grave physical limitations. The most recent official diagnosis was ulcerative colitis with shifting joint pains. Today she is free of all symptoms and looks svelte.
In my own healthcare, my main physical frustration has been my inability to lose weight and to control my blood pressure. Now I have lost 28 pounds and no longer need blood pressure medication. My asthma and allergies that required daily nasal sprays and various inhalants, and that led to the use of antibiotics a few times a year, is barely a problem anymore.
What changed our lives?
I have always wished to meet a truly scientific nutritionist with whom to work in helping people improve their lives, but I never found one. Then, a few years ago, nutritionist Pam Popper got in touch with me, not to sell me on her approach to eating, but generously to help to publicize my work. You may have seen her in the great film, Forks Over Knives, or read her book Food Over Medicine. Pam introduced me to a remarkable scientific lineage in nutrition going back to biochemist T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study.
Pam is convinced that the solutions to most of human healthcare problems depend on scientifically informed medical decision-making, including in the fields of nutrition and mental healthcare. My drug-free approach to Empathic Therapy™ based on caring relationships seemed to parallel her emphasis on scientific nutrition. Pam saw her work and mine as based on how human beings have evolved and what they need to thrive. She appreciated both my critiques of contemporary psychiatry and the approach to healing in my books like The Heart of Being Helpful and Guilt, Shame and Anxiety.
After a few years of working with Pam, including co-sponsoring her two most recent annual conferences, I decided on April 1, 2017 to start eating her plan for a vegetable based, low fat, absolutely non-diary diet that, for Ginger and me, is also gluten free. Pam is not an ideologue, and although she is vegetarian, her science-based diet allows for a limited intake of fish from the sea and organic lean meat.
The weight melted off me. After a month, when I started to feel lightheaded a few times, I wondered if was my rather rapid weight loss was weakening me. No, it was the opposite. My blood pressure had return to normal and a small dose of anti-hypertensive medication was dropping my pressure too low.
Ginger, who felt disappointment and even betrayed by a variety of nutritionists and diets, was skeptical. But she was happy to help me try to eat in a new ways. Over the next three months, she became joyful about the changes in my health and saw how easy and inexpensive it was to eat properly. In early July, she began the diet and it took only a month for her miracles to begin setting in. Now she is free of gastrointestinal and joint pain for the first in my memory, and her allergies have much diminished.
Learn lots more about healthy eating and a healthy personal life by attending our upcoming joint conference with Pam Popper in Columbus, Ohio November 10-12, 2017. In addition to some the world’s greatest nutritionists invited by Pam, I have invited two the best people in mental health to join me: Peter Gøtzsche, the great Danish physician and critic of psychiatry, and Jeanne Stolzer, a developmental psychologist who studies and believes in loving human relationship.
Peter R. Breggin, MD