While the foundation of the Paleo lifestyle has been around for decades, over the past few years the grassroots rumblings have exploded into the mainstream spotlight. Interestingly, it seems that the same could be said of the obesity epidemic and the introduction of autoimmune disease into the spotlight as well. Coincidence?
What’s a Sjogren?
Recently, famed tennis star, Venus Williams, was diagnosed with Sjogren’s disease. An article in the Mercury News about Sjogren’s brought this to my attention. I then found this Good Morning America interview with her where she goes into depth on the disease and why it forced her to stop tennis. The symptoms are very similar to other autoimmune conditions (chronic joint pain and fatigue) but Sjogren’s includes issues surrounding the mucous membranes (dry mouth, dry eyes, swollen salivary glands, etc) as well as a tingling in the hands. Sounds pretty awful.
Strangely, within a day of hearing about Venus, I heard about Caitlin Beadles (ex-girlfriend of Justin Bieber) who apparently has Crohn’s disease. As you may know, Crohn’s is another widely reported autoimmune disease that is a massive inflammation of the gut that is excruciatingly painful and causes chronic diarrhea and vomiting. Not pleasant.
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, both Kim Kardashian and her mother, Kris, have psoriasis and both Toni Braxton and Lady Gaga have said that they suffer from Lupus. They also state that 50 million Americans have one or more autoimmune diseases, with up to 75% of them being women.
You Are What You Eat
In doing a bit of googling, it seems that many sufferers of Sjogren’s have improved their conditions, or removed it completely, by going paleo. I have searched for information on Lupus because a friend of mine has had the condition for the last 10 years and I’m hoping she’ll give paleo a try. After seeing this amazing testimonial, it would be crazy NOT to try it. According to Robb Wolf, the mechanism behind Lupus is very similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis which is another debilitating autoimmune condition and one in which people has seen complete remissions after going paleo.
Robb has spoken many times about his time as a vegetarian and his battle with IBS that (when facing a bowel resection) drove him towards eating paleo, realizing he had a gluten intolerance, and changing his life (and the rest, they say, is history).
Anecdotally, I spoke at length to an associate at work who has a 9 year old son with Crohn’s that was potentially facing surgery as well. Fortunately, his nutritionist put him on an elimination diet and eventually landed on what amounts to a paleo diet for him. From what I hear, he’s doing great and now his father has gone paleo too and tells me he’s never been healthier and is a total believer.
So what’s going on here?
Is this just a coincidence that as obesity is on the rise, more and more people in the public eye are being diagnosed with autoimmune conditions? While at the same time, thousands of people (if not hundreds of thousands) are healthier than they’ve ever been (I certainly am) by following the most common sense approach to diet and exercise and reversing the very same conditions that millions of others are suffering from?
Perhaps I’m crazy, but to me this sounds like the convergence of PROBLEM and SOLUTION in a way that we may not have seen in ages. It is time for us to realize that this is another Inconvenient Truth that we need to face but instead of Global Warming its our own health that’s at stake.
How do we connect the dots?
I constantly hear from various authorities, “Well if we could just fund a study….”, which is immediately followed by “….but they’re too expensive, so that’s not going to happen.” WTF!? If there are organizations like the AARDA whose mission is:
AARDA is dedicated to the eradication of autoimmune diseases and the alleviation of suffering and the socioeconomic impact of autoimmunity through fostering and facilitating collaboration in the areas of education, public awareness, research, and patient services in an effective, ethical and efficient manner.
Then why can’t we get these studies to happen? Why is it that the AARDA talks about finding cures, but in discussing treatment, its all about drugs, steroids, hormone replacement, etc. which merely addresses the symptoms. I never saw diet or food sensitivities mentioned, much less as a potential “cause” of these conditions.
This is a “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” moment folks. I don’t want to be “that guy“, but by the same token, with our country in a health care crisis and our economy crashing and burning (another coincidence?) anything that can improve the health of our nation could have an enormous impact on our future as a productive and prosperous nation. The efficacy of the Paleo lifestyle has been proven repeatedly through countless n=1 “experiments”. Its time to push the myriad of organizations claiming to support the various autoimmune conditions and get them to put their money where their mouth is (literally). Fund a study that attempts to show how a paleo lifestyle affects their condition.
I personally am going to begin contacting these organizations, make the suggestion and see if anyone will listen. If you have an autoimmune condition or know someone who does (and let’s face it folks, who doesn’t?) join me in seeking out that particular condition’s organization and tell them to “go Paleo!”. Especially if you’ve seen results with the paleo diet.
C’mon tribe! Who’s with me?
Have contacted the following Organizations asking for clinical trials testing the efficacy of paleo diet against autoimmune condition. Will continue to contact other organizations and let you know as any information comes in.
Additional list of famous people who have had autoimmune diseases. The list is extensive and includes historical figures as well as celebs from today.