I’ve had several people ask me how I lost 40 pounds and how I’m keeping it off. Do I work out all the time? Did I do the South Beach or Adkins’ diet? No, I don’t work all the time. No, I didn’t do any of the current diet fads. What I did do is read Dr. Alejandro Junger’s two books: “Clean,” and “Clean Gut.” It was there that I learned how and what to eat. I used to think that organic produce and grass-fed meats were an unnecessary luxury. I had no health problems to speak of, although I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and ankylosing spondylosis back in 2000. I thought I was managing both just fine by what I thought was a healthy diet, meditation, and of course, exercise (no medications). I would have occasional flare-ups of both, with several months between episodes, and I thought it was something I could live with. But I couldn’t lose any fat, and my CRP (a blood marker of inflammation) remained way above normal range. The wife of a doctor that I do therapy on happened to see Dr. Junger on a Dr. Oz show and started on a nutritionally supported cleanse diet Dr. Junger designed,and she had lost eight pounds in two weeks, without feeling hungry at all. Intrigued, I pulled the show up on YouTube, and I avidly read the books. I was astounded on what I didn’t know about how the gut works and how what you put into it has such profound consequences for health and disease. Inflammation occurs when a set of chemicals in the blood are activated by something foreign or broken. These chemicals attract defense cells that protect tissues against whatever is injuring them. The repair system is also activated by calling in different cells to fix the damage. Ideally, inflammation is self-regulated, which means that as soon as it is triggered, it will start reactions that will stop further inflammation. However, if the body is constantly exposed to irritants, inflammation is switched on all the time (as in my case), not just at small specific sites, but systemically all over the body and throughout the blood. I was chronically inflamed.Paraphrasing Dr. Junger, the body is built to work in harmony with nature, to make sure inflammation stays in check. It naturally sucks up certain nutrients from foods that can switch inflammation on and off. An example of a nutrient that supports inflammation is omega-6 fatty acids; an example of a nutrient that switches it off is omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are designed by nature to exist in a balanced ratio everywhere, in our food and in ourselves. Our typical western diet of feed lot beef, slop fed hogs, and chickens fed in cages, are foods that are not ‘natural’. They contain an abundance of omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) and minimal omega-3’s. Thus, most Americans are in chronic inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of many of our serious diseases; cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Grass-fed cows have the correct balance of omega-3’s and omega-6’s, because they eat as nature intended. Even though I pay more for grass-fed, I actually eat less and feel better. My CRP reading at my last physical in August dropped to 38 from 50 the previous year. Although it’s still higher than I’d like, I’m on the right track. If you want to get the pounds off, feel better, and be healthier, I urge you to read “Clean” by Dr. Junger.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.