Crazy-Good Living: Healthy Gums, Healthy Gut, Healthy Life by Alvin H. Danenberg



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ISBN: 9780999157312
Pages: 332
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Feeling great? Feeling lousy? Whatever you’re feeling, Crazy-Good Living: Healthy Gums, Healthy Gut, Healthy Life can improve your health from the inside out. It’s the only book written by a DDS/Medicine Practitioner who has proven the cellular connection between primal eating and health. An ancient diet saved his life after he switched from “healthy eating” to eating more like our ancestors. And his supercharged Ancient Nutrition Plan has worked wonders for some of his most severely disease-stricken patients.

Lots of books give a few good reasons for returning to a simpler way of eating. More still offer some dietary tips and recipes. NONE has offered all that plus first-hand scientific studies–documented proof for how and why primal nutrition works–and could one day save your life. Written by Periodontist, Certified Primal Health Care Coach, and Certified Functional Medical Practitioner Alvin H. Danenberg, it is destined to become a classic in the field of healthful living.

EXCERPT:

Over the course of 2.5 million years, our species evolved into a perfect functioning machine. Dealing with a host of environments and demands, our genetic structure developed the abilities to become the master control center of our well-being. But beginning some 10 thousand years ago, our species has been progressively at odds with our genetic code. In many aspects we have become an unhealthy people. Our modern lifestyles have brought us to the brink of either continuing on a destructive path or taking steps to repair our body.

However, for the most part, we do have control over these missteps. You may be surprised that poor lifestyle choices cause chronic inflammation, which in turn is a major factor in many of today’s diseases. But it’s true!

Interestingly, almost everything begins with our mouths. Certainly, that includes our source of nourishment. And, our mouths have become unhealthy----more so than ever before in our species’ nearly 3-million-year journey. That’s why I have chosen to start my story with the mouth. From there, the whole body becomes its playground.

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reported from its most recent data that approximately 91% of U.S. adults aged 20–64 had dental decay in permanent teeth. The prevalence increased to 93% for those above 65 years old.

A study published in 2010 demonstrated that 93.9% of adults in the United States had some form of gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissues surrounding the teeth.

Another study published in 2012 showed that 47.2% of the adult population over the age of 30 in the United States had periodontitis (which translated to 64.7 million Americans), and an astounding 70.1% of those over the age of 65 had this disease.

Periodontitis is more serious than gingivitis. Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease where the gums are infected and the bone surrounding the roots of the teeth are breaking down. This disease leads to bad breath, loose teeth, loss of teeth, sensitive teeth, pain, gum recession, and even spread of infection to other parts of the body.

This is what Pamela McClain, DDS (President of the American Academy of Periodontology at the time of the paper’s publication in 2012) had to say: “This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had. For the first time, we now have a precise measure of the prevalence of periodontal disease, and can better understand the true severity and extent of periodontal disease in our country.”

So, if you have gum disease or tooth decay, you are not alone.

Obviously, our primal ancestors did not have toothbrushes and did not see a dentist every six months, but they had relatively healthy mouths. They hardly ever had gum disease or tooth decay. Why?

Today, many people see a dentist every six months and also brush and floss daily, but they still have gum disease. How could that be? What we have learned to believe may not be so. Josh Billings (the 19th Century humorist) put it so clearly: “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”

The why’s and how’s are related to the nourishment we give ourselves and the lifestyles we lead. As I stated, our modern lifestyle has brought us to the brink of either continuing on a destructive path or taking steps to repair our body. The steps to repair our body are not complicated. The ultimate decision is yours. I’m going to make it understandable, interesting, personal, and easy to get started.

My Lifestyle-Repair Plan is an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet and lifestyle similar to those of our primal ancestors. My Plan is not a hard-core, black-and-white program. It is a way of eating and a way of living. It is a foundational platform that excludes specific harmful “foods” but allows a vast degree of variation based on one’s needs, tastes, and pocket book. It also presents the means to improve your sleep, streamline your exercise program, and effectively reduce your overall stress load, all of which support a healthier you. You can use my Plan as the cornerstone to create Your Individual Plan. Later in this book, I offer various tweaks to the Plan to address thirteen specific health concerns that may be of interest to you. And in the book’s Appendix, I have included some of my original recipes, along with some variations of popular recipes. These are nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory dishes you can prepare to help nourish your body. Throughout this book, you will learn that what happens on a cellular level anywhere in the body affects the entire human complexity and how specific foods can help keep your body running smoothly and efficiently.

Before we go on, here is one fact that you need to know up front. Not everything that I discuss in this book has been proven without a shadow of a doubt. Not everything is supported by research that has been published in peer reviewed medical journals. If I were to wait for every fact to be researched by a peer review board, it might take decades before I could make those statements. Most of the information I discuss has been well researched and published in professional journals as referenced in the endnotes, but some of the conclusions I suggest will still need to be researched in a laboratory setting only to be published many years from now.

Who I am

I am a periodontist with over four decades of active patient care. A periodontist is a dentist who has taken a formal postgraduate program of at least three years to become a specialist in the area of gum (more specifically known as periodontal) disease and its related clinical problems. I currently practice periodontics in an office located in South Carolina.

The treatment I perform today for my patients with advanced gum disease is a laser protocol called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure). I began using this modality in my practice in 2010. It involves no cutting with a scalpel and no stitches. Patients rarely have any post-op discomfort or swelling or bleeding, and they can go back to their normal routines the next day. With this laser treatment, I am able to destroy the localized bacteria causing gum disease and assist the body in growing new bone around the roots of the affected teeth. But when I started using the laser, I still did not understand the critical relationship between nourishment of the body and gum disease.

In 2013, I started an educational path to learn about real nutrition--the nutrition that allowed our primal ancestors to survive and thrive for 2.5 million years. But, my life-changing journey started years before that.

My life-changing journey

My story is interesting because I could have died.

You would think that a healthcare professional like myself would have learned everything that was necessary to be personally healthy. But, not true. Medical and dental professionals have a paltry amount of nutritional training--and no training in the importance of primal nutrition and lifestyle.

My story begins in December 2006:

I had been in practice for thirty-two years. I was treating my body as well as I thought was appropriate. I ate low fat, high fiber foods including grains, skim milk, fish, and meat. I didn’t like non-starchy veggies, but I thought I was doing just fine. I exercised aerobically four to five days a week for about forty minutes a day. One of my loves was to snack on popcorn, which I believed supplied me with healthy fiber.

Then, in December 2006 I had a life-changing event. My daughter (who was staying with me and my wife while her family was transitioning to Portland, OR from Charleston, SC,) was sitting on our living room floor while I was standing with my laptop in my hands. All of a sudden I felt a shock travelling from the computer up my arm. I dropped the computer on my sofa, and my daughter exclaimed, “What’s wrong?” I said that I just got a shock from my computer. Her response was, “Dad, don’t be so melodramatic.”  A week later, I had a stroke.

The stroke must have occurred while I was sleeping. When I woke up, my grandson was at our house, and I attempted to ask him if he wanted to go out for breakfast. But, the words could not come out. I was unable to speak. I felt fine, but I couldn’t speak. My wife, who is a nurse, realized what was happening, and drove me to the hospital. I was lucky.

My doctors explained that the “shock” that I thought was from my computer was actually a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). Many people who have a stroke will experience a TIA days or weeks before the stroke as a warning sign of an impending crisis. I was not aware of such a warning sign, so I paid no attention to it.

While in the hospital for a week, my cardiologist and internist put me on three types of blood pressure meds, a cholesterol med, and an acid reflux med. My vascular surgeon put me on 81mg aspirin and Plavix. Their medical advice was for me to take these meds for the rest of my life. Within three weeks, I was able to speak normally. I returned to work after six weeks.

After my stroke in 2006, I knew that I needed to get educated about good nutrition. So, I began my reeducation. For the next six years, I actively pursued my needed education in nutrition. I thought I was doing well.

In April 2013, I enrolled in a five-day nutrition course that changed my life. I was excited because I believed that this was going to be the program I had searched for to confirm what I was doing currently was correct. I hoped to learn a few new things to hone my skills and update the knowledge that I already acquired. This program wasn’t about basic nutrition as I had been learning; it was about primal nutrition--the foods and lifestyles that allowed our species to thrive for 2.5 million years. What I learned in those informative and enlightening five days did change my life. I learned that almost everything I was doing was wrong. That blew me away!

Among other things, I learned that most processed foods were making us sick. I learned that modern grains of any type were one of the worst things I could put in my body. I learned that healthy fats were essential, and anything that was processed to be low-fat or no-fat was unhealthy. I learned that all the fruit I was eating contributed way too much sugar to my body, and leafy greens and other multicolored veggies were required at every meal. I also learned that exercise needed to be efficient, sleep needed to be restorative, various stresses on my body needed to be reduced, and that sitting most of the day was almost as bad as smoking. Wow!

So, I traveled back to my home in Charleston, SC and informed my wife of what I learned. She was not happy. But, she allowed me to make a thirty-day test of my newfangled ideas. We removed all the processed foods, grain products, and sugar aliases from our pantry and fridge, which added up to seven grocery bags that I took to my local Food Bank. We joined our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program to obtain locally grown, organic veggies weekly. The foods we started eating consisted of grass fed beef and wild caught fish; all kinds of shellfish; free range chicken, liver, and eggs; all kinds of vegetables raw and cooked; some deeply colored fruits and occasionally nuts and seeds that we soaked overnight.

At that time in April 2013, my meds were still the same. My HDL was 48, my triglycerides were 120, and my resting blood pressure was 137/87 even with three blood pressure meds. I weighed 184 pounds. My physicians’ advice was, “Continue to take your meds.” Unfortunately, my physicians were ignorant of the science of primal nutrition and lifestyle, as I believe most physicians are.

As I write this, it’s January 2017--forty-six months since beginning an active primal lifestyle in April 2013. I am still practicing periodontics, and I plan to continue treating my patients for the foreseeable future. As I am writing this, my resting blood pressure is 119/72, and my pulse rate is 54. My HDL is 76, and my triglycerides are 78. I weigh 157 pounds. My medications have dropped from seven after I had my stroke to two, which I am currently taking but weaning off of. It has been stated that it takes one month of repairing a nutritionally damaged body for every year of the manifestation of a disease. I am still a work in progress; I have much farther to go to regain optimal health. I am patient, but I am diligent and motivated. I can’t believe the way I used to live was slowly destroying me. I can never return to the way it used to be. I am a changed person, and I want to spread the word.

The doctors, whom I depended on in 2006 while I was having a stroke, were exceptional. They saved my life, but I had to learn how to get healthy on my own. I only learned what was going on in my body after I learned about evolution and how our ancestors thrived.

Why didn’t my physicians help me understand why I had a stroke, and how I should improve my lifestyle to get healthy? Why didn’t my physicians explain how I should wean off my meds over time? The science is there, but most of the medical profession hasn’t gotten the message.

While making a change in my life, I also am making a change in my patients’ lives. In June of 2014, I received the designation of Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, which helped me understand why and how diseases start at the cellular level. In September of that year, I received the Certified Primal Health Coach designation, which brought the concepts of primal nutrition and primal lifestyle into a cohesive game plan to incorporate with my active periodontal treatment. In September 2015, I created the Periodontal Module for the College of Integrative Medicine, which offers a 300-hour CIHP (Certified Integrative Healthcare Practitioner) Program for existing healthcare professionals. At that time I was appointed to the College’s faculty.

In December 2016, I created and wrote a unique, 5-part, 7-hour CE course for dentists and dental hygienists titled, Beat the Beast of Dental Disease. It brought together concepts of primal nutrition and functional medicine together with insights of the development and prevention of dental diseases. Dental professionals now have an evidence-based prevention program they can learn from and that they can teach to their patients.

I teach all my periodontal patients the importance of an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense diet and lifestyle. When you enable each cell in the body to function properly by giving it what it needs--which is nutrient-dense real foods and exercise and sleep and reduction in all types of stresses--each cell will help all other cells to thrive. Your gut will become healthier; your overall body will become healthier; and your mouth will become healthier.

I’ve reenergized my life and reengineered my professional career. I offer the knowledge that I have learned to all my patients and to all who want to listen.


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