One of the most impactful books I read on health a few years ago. It took me on a crazy journey – from being paranoid to careless, and back to my new “normal” self. After reading it, I was never the same. And neither should you. Here are my key takeaways.
Just by reading a foreword by Dr. Mark Hayman, you can already see you are in for a rollercoaster ride.
If you are one of the many millions of people who know that they don’t feel quite right, but don’t know exactly why, this book is for you.
And he goes on to say:
1. Health doesn’t happen in the doctor’s office. Health happens where we live, in our kitchens where we cook and where we eat. The fork is the most powerful tool we have to transform our health.
2. Today we know that the foods most of us were taught to enjoy our entire lives, and many of us still eat every day, are actually making us sick. These foods include wheat products as well as sugar, dairy, and commercially processed fats.
These sentences were shouting “Get back to your driving seat!” at me and I knew I was in for a ride.
“You are fine; it’s just stress.”
Dr. Tom O’Bryan is a functional medicine practitioner who is specialized in the field of Celiac disorders and Non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity (NCGS). He is the founder of theDr.com which was created to educate the public about under-diagnosed and under-treated gluten-related disorders, which affect up to 30% of the population. He views the lack of recognition, diagnosis and treatment of these disorders as a massive public health crisis.
He uses his book “The Autoimmune Fix – How to stop the hidden autoimmune damage that keeps you sick, fat and tired before it turns into disease” to disclose the big myth about diseases. They don’t happen overnight, or because of age. He explains the underlying mechanisms of the most common illnesses we face today, and also shares with us the Transition Protocol that can help us change our lifestyle and prevent or reverse the disease.
No one gets degenerative or chronic diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, or lupus in their sixties or seventies. That’s just when the damage has accumulated to the point where it’s obvious. Instead, these diseases are decades-long processes, which now can be identified before debilitating symptoms appear.
He claims that the underlying cause of many of health issues is related to our immune system: the mechanism that is so overwhelmed by all the things we are doing to it, that instead of protecting us, it is harming us.
When the body attacks itself and causes organ and tissue damage, we call the disorder autoimmunity.
Earliest symptoms of autoimmunity are joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, depression, mood disorders, and fatigue.
When you see a doctor for all these issues, and nothing shows up on a blood test as a crisis, you usually get very generic advice such as “lose weight,” “get more sleep,” “eat cleaner,” or “reduce your stress.” Some of us might even leave the office with a prescription for antianxiety or blood pressure medication to help us “calm down.”
For inflammation to continue to a chronic state, have a life of its own, and cause autoimmunity, three distinct factors must be present: a genetic susceptibility, environmental triggers, and a loss of intestinal barrier function. All three have been shown to be necessary to develop the majority of autoimmune diseases. If you take just one of the three out of the picture, your body can begin to heal.
Over the past 25 years, medical scientists focused on the immune system research. In fact, most of the Nobel Prizes of the last 20-25 years went on to the findings on the immune system.
Unfortunately, you and I might be among the first ones to read those findings because according to this book, it takes at least 17 years for research findings to reach our local doctors. If our doctors didn’t go to school in the past ten years, their medical training didn’t have the newest cutting-edge science and findings.
From a cellular standpoint, we have an entirely new body every 7 years, because every cell in our body reproduces itself. Some cells (like inside our intestine) reproduce every 3-7 days. Others take much longer. The process of regeneration is going on 24/7 in our bodies.
No wonder a simple lifestyle change can bring such a difference to our health! Our body is so forgiving.
My patients find that within about 3-6 months, other people start noticing how much better they look. Your friends or family members who may not have seen you in a few months say, “Wow, you look different. You look good.”…. The reason is that by this point in time, your internal environment is replicating healthier cells. Now you’re shifting from a catabolic state to an anabolic state, transitioning from the mechanism of getting older to one of youth, vibrancy, and better health.
This book is teaching us how to help ourselves, how to take care of our body and uncover the weak link in our body – and make sure we protect it so it doesn’t break.
He suggests that with simple lifestyle changes we can arrest and reverse the inflammation and damage causing disease. In order to start healing, his Transition Protocol claims we should remove from our diet:
We can affect our internal environment in many different ways. That includes increasing our exercise and overall physical activity, pursuing lifelong learning for optimal brain function, learning lifestyle habits that reduce excessive stress, avoiding exposures to unnecessary chemicals and toxins, and changing our diet. In fact, one of the most far-reaching, impactful changes we can make to our environment is to both avoid foods that harm us and introduce foods that help us. As you begin to eliminate the foods that your body is sensitive to, you stop fueling the autoimmune fire. When this happens, the fire calms down. While it may not go down completely at first, when you stop throwing gasoline on the fire, you reduce the intensity of the inflammation and diminish inflammatory cascade.
Making any change is not easy, but it is worth our while. In case you need help with forming healthy habits, read my blog post on that topic here.
My journey since then
Since I’ve read this book, I had a chance to also read several books by Anthony William, better known as the Medical Medium (please go to bookstore or library and get them!), and I definitely don’t agree with Dr. O’Brian that our body is attacking itself by being overburdened with toxins. I just don’t buy it. But I am grateful how he gathered data and opened the door for more learning for me. If there wasn’t for his book, I would have most likely never opened my mind to more research.
For instance, thanks to this book I now see the play of words “common” and “normal” when we talk about health. Just because many people have the same/similar symptoms ( eg. weight gain, headache, depression, bloatedness, tiredness), it doesn’t make it normal (for your age or environment). It just makes it common. But it is definitely not normal and we shouldn’t accept it as a norm.
Also, now I understand that genetics is very helpful navigation tool for us. If your parents or grandparents have diabetes, it gives you a clear indication of where you will end up if you consume foods that cause it. But it doesn’t mean you will get it for sure! Just gives you a clear indication where your weak link is.
It is important to remember that genes rarely cause disease. Your genes may say, “This is the weak link in your chain. If you pull at the chain too hard with excessive inflammation, this is where the chain is going to break.”
I will share in future posts some of the more specific health-related facts from the book. I always wanted to write down somewhere accessible notes from this book, luckily I can do it here!
Comment below what books were life-changing to you. Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list.
Let’s bring health revolution on 🙂