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Excerpt for Answers from the Gut: Increasing Health and Longevity SECOND EDITION by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Answers from the Gut





Improving Health and Longevity





SECOND EDITION













John E. Chalmers





Copyright 2018 © SCDiet, LLC

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, with exception for the inclusion of properly cited references and quotations.


ISBN-13: 978-1-7324976-4-1

ISBN-10: 1-7324976-4-8


Smashwords Edition



License Notes: This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Acknowledgments



First, I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to undertake and persevere through all the steps and processes required to bring this project to fruition. Without His blessings, I would not even be here, let alone be able to make this happen.

Over the years, I have interacted with many people with health challenges. My intentions have always been to help however I can. I want to thank those people whose stories I have shared with you. Hopefully their experiences will help the reader as decisions are made going forward.

I talked to several local published authors to gain their insight into what I was getting into. I also had discussions with Lucy tapping her expertise. Their views and comments were very encouraging. One author summarized her opinion by saying “forge ahead”. These encouragements mean a lot when a person is moving into unfamiliar territory.

I have had two book editors on this endeavor, Kathy and Marianne. I appreciate their comments and insights which has led to a much better finished product. It’s not always easy to take thoughts and ideas and communicate them to the potential audience. Their guidance has been much appreciated.

Maureen at Mo’s Art Graphic Design has been wonderful to work with. She has promptly and creatively worked on the book interior charts and graphs as well as the cover design.

My caring and supportive wife, Cheryl, has been with me in this journey of life and the journey to make this book happen. I am thankful every single day for her support and encouragement.





Disclaimer



This book contains the opinion of the author and is not intended to be medical advice. This book will be greatly complemented by discussions with your own medical doctor. A reader should consult their own qualified health care provider for medical advice related to their individual condition.



A reader using or misusing the content of this book does so at reader’s own risk and assumes sole responsibility for the outcome they experience. This book is sold and distributed with the understanding that the publisher and author shall have neither liability nor responsibility for any actual or alleged injury that may be caused by application of the contents of this book.





NOTE: In order to maintain the anonymity of individuals and places, some identifying characteristics and details such as names, physical properties, occupations, and places of residence have been changed.





Dedication



To my wife, Cheryl, who has traveled this journey of life and all of its challenges with me for over 50 years.

Life is in some ways like a roller coaster with many ups and downs. For many of those years, the uphill climb from the lows seemed insurmountable, but Cheryl has been supportive and always there, no matter what.





Proverbs 3



Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.



(New International Version (NIV))





Contents



Introduction



Part One

Chapter 1: Healthcare Costs Over $10,000.00 per Person

Chapter 2: Resetting the Goal

Chapter 3: Emphasize Prevention for Healthcare



Part Two

Chapter 4: My Childhood and Early Adult Years

Chapter 5: The Crash

Chapter 6: My Library Research Years

Chapter 7: A New Direction

Chapter 8: Major Problem Results in New Insight

Chapter 9: Airborne Allergens

Chapter 10: Understanding the Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Chapter 11: Finding the Answer

Chapter 12: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Chapter 13: What is Normal?

Chapter 14: Restricted and Indulgent

Chapter 15: Interacting with Others

Chapter 16: Answers Based on My Experiences

Chapter 17: “Normal” People Get Healthier



Part Three

Chapter 18: The Paleo Diet

Chapter 19: The Lutz Diet and Atkins Diet

Chapter 20: The Ketogenic Diet and the Body’s Need for Fat

Chapter 21: Gluten Affects Everyone

Chapter 22: Diet Sub-optimization

Chapter 23: Putting it Altogether

Epilogue



Appendix A

Appendix B

Additional Reading

About the Author

Endnotes

Index





Introduction



The experiences and conclusions that I’m sharing are extremely significant. I have come to the belief that what we eat directly correlates at a higher level than most realize in both our health and longevity. We don’t fully realize the consequences of what we eat and the potential opportunity if we change.

This writing will provide the reader with stories and anecdotes of my own experiences on how I arrived at a position of much better health – out of the depths of poor health and a near-death experience. This proved to be a tough journey, but one that has led to some surprisingly and impressive results.

Quite unexpectedly, I discovered solutions to the laundry list of health conditions I endured, from asthma, allergies, arthritis, sinus infections, to psychiatrists when doctors didn’t believe me, and finally, to being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The result is what I believe has general application for others to improve both health and longevity for many people. I not only believe that a sick person like me can become healthier, but that a so-called healthy person can become even healthier.

It is time for people to start taking action to achieve good health and get out of the mode of reacting to health issues after they occur when the damage is already done. While we have impressive technologies in medicines and operations, it’s always better not to need them. We want to have the technology around in the case there are unexpected issues, but this shouldn’t be the main plan.

Additionally, the big debate in healthcare shouldn’t be cost and how to pay for it. What it should be is how best to pursue good health. We as a society should be emphasizing avoiding heart disease, cancer, strokes, and other major diseases. We should be proactive in approaching health through good lifestyle choices including good diet.

I started this quest as an effort born out of desperation to just improve my health and make living more tolerable. I ended up coming to an understanding of how people in general can greatly improve their health and enhance their opportunity for longevity, while at the same time, lowering medical costs. This important information needs to be shared and understood as it is very different from current thinking.

For many years of my life, I thought I was a candidate for the Suffering Hall of Fame, burdened with sickness and disease with no end in sight. Symptom layered upon symptom, illness upon illness, yielding a relentless misery. Every single day felt like punishment for living. With little if any hope for the future, for years it was a challenge just to get through the day.

The bodily damage that occurred through all of this was significant. Operations were performed to remove damaged tissue or to make repairs. Medications were prescribed, but the discouraging long term trends did not stop. In my state of misery, I was on a collision course to future disaster.

But now, life is different. All of the health challenges in the past are gone, and it was a lengthy list. As a senior citizen now, I’m blessed with surprisingly good health compared to my younger bad health years.

People found it hard to believe how someone like me who was in such bad shape before, well, how could he improve so much? And some I secretly believe thought maybe I wasn’t being honest how ill I was. But I was completely honest, and I was gravely ill.

This brings us to the debate over healthcare, where the most highly publicized issues are twofold: the cost and who is going to pay. The reality for many is that healthcare is too expensive and no longer affordable. My hope in these writings is to show you how the demand or need for medical services can be lowered, leading to lower costs.

My successes and failures have happened within the mainstream of the healthcare system. I didn’t venture outside of anything that didn’t originate within that establishment. Yet, within the realm of the medical world, there are more options than most people realize by what they eat. The answers are from the gut.













Part One







Chapter 1

Healthcare Costs Over $10,000 per Person



The course we are on as a country concerning healthcare has no good end. Costs have become astronomical. This is a relatively new problem. Advances in medical processes and techniques though bring forth products and services. This caters to what most people believe to be as solutions to their issues.



The Cost to Live

Healthcare costs have risen to the point that they average over $10,000 per person in the United States. That staggering number is presented in a report titled National Health Expenditure 2016 Highlights published by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. From that same report, hospital care, physician and clinical services, and prescription drugs account for 62% of spending.

That means that the average cost for a family of four is over $40,000. That’s not too far from the total average family income. $10,000 spread out over 330 million people in the United States works out to $3.3 trillion, a huge chunk of our GDP (gross domestic product) or about 18% of our economy and growing at a rate of over 4% per year.

The United States federal government spends about $32 billion on healthcare research and development (R&D).1 That is a lot of R&D dollars. That spending is geared towards developing innovations in prescription drugs and operations. Additionally, there are many private and not-for-profit organizations also funding and conducting research. This is the money that continually promises to find "cures". We all want cures, right?

The United States has basically entered an era that can be characterized as the healthcare age. The industrial age that we were in for many years has peaked and is on the decline. Following the industrial age, we went into what was termed the information age. Now that we have lots of computers and high technology devices, we’ve moved towards an era where healthcare is paramount. Our country and its economy now revolve around healthcare.



Cost Per Person

No country on earth spends more per person for healthcare than the United States. It’s not even close. While the expenditures on healthcare are high, there are concerns about the resulting outcomes. Given the high levels of R&D and healthcare spending, the U.S. can reasonably expect to have the best care in the world. The question is, do we have the most healthy people who live the longest lives? No, we do not.

The federal government has control of a large portion of the healthcare system through programs such as Medicare. Administrators at Medicare use their clout to fix prices at lower than market rates. By arbitrarily paying for medicines and procedures at a lower level than previously found in the market, our government declares victory at reducing medical costs. Well, not really reducing costs, but reducing the rate of increase.



What is Really Happening

Our federal and state governments in recent years have become more and more involved in healthcare. A major attempt at overhauling a large part of the industry occurred with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Obamacare. Costs though continued to rise and politicians continue to work toward changes.

The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing as a result of federal government actions. In recent years, the trend is for private practice physicians to go the way of dinosaurs in favor of physicians groups that are often part of hospitals. Hospitals continue to go through mergers, acquisitions, and expansions that further confuses patients needing treatment.

An article in the New York Times titled When Hospitals Buy Doctors’ Offices, and Patient Fees Soar by Margot Sanger-Katzoffers the following explanation:



"Imagine you’re a Medicare patient, and you go to your doctor for an ultrasound of your heart one month. Medicare pays your doctor’s office $189, and you pay about 20 percent of that bill as a co-payment.

Then, the next month, your doctor’s practice has been bought by the local hospital. You go to the same building and get the same test from the same doctor, but suddenly the price has shot up to $453, as has your share of the bill.”2



The same article further explains:



"Medicare, the government health insurance program for those 65 and over or the disabled, pays one price to independent doctors and another to doctors who work for large health systems — even if they are performing the exact same service in the exact same place.3

This clearly shows an example of federal government intervention that is changing the healthcare landscape, and as a result, our economy. These changes have consequences. Doctors no longer report to the patients but report to the physicians group for which they work. Their allegiance now belongs to the management.

Over the decades, doctors have become organized according to their training and experience. A patient’s entry point into the system is often with general practitioners (GPs). Now, with insufficient GPs, many see lesser trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants. If the patient has a more involved issue, the GP often refers the person to a specialist. The specialists are organized by the issue’s location on the body or diagnosis.

For example, if a person has a skin condition, regardless of the cause, the patient may end up with a dermatologist. A person with a heart condition would be directed to a cardiologist. I look at these specialty areas like silos, each containing a different specialty fully designed to treat these symptoms and conditions.

For example, when my father broke his hip, he was hospitalized for treatment. The specialists studied his case very carefully as he was an elderly man with a heart condition. Eventually he was cleared for what turned out to be a successful surgery. After the surgery, my father wanted to be on a heart-healthy no-salt-added diet prescribed by his cardiologist during his hospital recovery and rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, neither the hospital dietitians or the specialist in charge would go along with it. My Dad’s heart surgeon, while sympathetic, would not intervene, so the walls of the medical silos involved in this case were not penetrable.

In fact, the hospital dietician did not admit that a no-salt-added to the food diet existed - only that a low salt diet was available. My Dad knew that he was eating too much salt as the fluid retention in his legs and ankles were increasing. When he returned home and got back on his diet, the fluid went down.



Healthcare Then and Now

Doctors in private practice historically have worked for the patients. They would treat patients and the patients would pay the bills. This is a typical free market system. Patients would balance the costs and results leading to future choices based on past outcomes. With the advent of insurance, the patients or employers mostly paid the insurance company, but still controlled the choice of doctor and providers of medical services. That is changing. Now doctors work for the physicians group as employees. This results as a big change in the doctor-patient relationship.

Unfortunately, the increased intervention by government did not bring with it trends of reduced costs. Costs continue to increase. Additional government involvement so far has not brought with it a lot more healthy people. The big change is that the healthcare industry has more revenue opportunities. Obamacare initially required everyone to have healthcare insurance or be penalized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This resulted, as intended, in more customers for health insurance. Further aiding in the increase of healthcare insurance coverage for people is federal subsidies for low income folks. Again, this is more revenue into the system than before.

The politicians kept saying that the healthcare insurance plans available under Obamacare were high quality and affordable, but is it? Here is a true example.

A 64-year-old woman has a history of good health and had no health insurance. She earns too much to get a government subsidy, but both the penalty for not having insurance or the insurance premium would pose a financial hardship, creating a dilemma. She ends up buying an Obamacare healthcare insurance policy and starts paying the monthly premium to avoid the penalty. While in the first year of her newly acquired insurance, she is diagnosed with a melanoma. She is treated for the condition and it’s believed that the cancer has not spread. The cost of the medical procedures is less than the insurance policy deductible of $6,000. That means that all of her medical expenses were out-of-pocket. She works out with the provider a payment plan to pay off the bills as none was covered by the Obamacare insurance.

The net result of this cancer survivor's experience is that she paid the full cost of the treatment while additionally bearing the burden of the monthly premiums. This is common.

Most people have insurance for their car which pays for repairs, less the deductible, following a car accident. This type of insurance works as most people in a year don’t have accidents resulting in claims. Healthcare is different as almost all people use the system. The price tag has become staggering.



Are There Solutions?

For the long haul, I suggest that the demand for healthcare as we currently know it needs to diminish, while at the same time, the health of the population improves. We need to recognize that when a person is in a position where a cure is needed, it’s too late. The focus should be in preventing health problems rather than curing them. Therefore, the outcome of improving health and reducing the need for the present healthcare system should result in a longer, higher quality life.

Politicians also talk about having solutions or propose solutions to high and rising healthcare costs to society. With the present paradigms, there realistically is no solution going down the path we’re going. Something(s) must change. Innovation or doing something vastly different is required. Right now, people are faced with years of the same.

The medical establishment would transform if a lot of people didn't need it. The whole system would change and those changes would be dramatic. Costs would go down. Supply would better match demand. The advantage in the system would shift toward the consumer. Healthier people would inherently need fewer prescription drugs and operations. Money spent for health-related issues could be spent in other, more desirable ways.

When demand is high and exceeds supply, prices for medical care will likely go up. Increases of government regulations and prices will likely go up. The trend has been for medical costs to rise at a rate faster than inflation with no end in sight. Big problem!

The stakeholders in our healthcare system include the providers, the payers, and the patients. The least organized of the stakeholders is patients themselves. We live in a society that offers us the opportunity to take more responsibility for our health in order to become less dependent on others. That I think is the best choice for each of us.

I have reversed the health trend of my life, sick in the past and healthier now. The good news though is what happened to me can happen to many.



Chapter 2

Resetting the Goal



I propose changing our health goal from finding a cure to becoming so healthy that the body's risk for getting diseases and illnesses is significantly reduced. Going along with improved health is extended lifespans. Today, we’ve been counting on the medical system to be a primary source of increasing the length of our lives. That needs to change. If we had a clear direction, many of us would make greater efforts to do things that make a difference.

Therefore, the only way left to reduce healthcare costs is to reduce the need for it by finding ways to be healthier. Healthy people need minimal healthcare expenditures.

What is needed is for one's own body to rise to the occasion to fend off illness and disease with a resulting minimal need for medical interventions. So, the health goals (not healthcare goals) become:



1. Be so healthy that medications and operations are not needed for health-related conditions through most of a lifetime.

2. Be so healthy that life expectancy is extended. The extended life brings with it a high-level quality of life requiring little or no help from doctors.

3. Use medical tests (such as blood tests) primarily to verify good health.



Today, healthcare is generally a reactive system. The typical steps are simply to get treatment after one gets sick. When illness shows up, off to the doctor we go. The doctors go through their steps, give a diagnosis, and prescribe the treatment, often a prescription. If the diagnosis is not arrived at through a physical examination, then tests are often ordered to help in the data-gathering to zero in on the diagnosis.

The new steps for the future, to start with, is to be healthy but go in to see the doctor once every year or two for a review of a few tests taken in advance of the visit. The physician reviews the results and confirms there are no unexpected findings, and the patient is good to go for another couple of years.

I have had multiple operations over the years and have taken many prescription medications. Pretty costly, but it was mostly covered by insurance. It’s good news that insurance paid for most of it, right? But what I really wanted was to be healthy. Being sick really interferes with life!



Medications and Surgery

Wouldn't we really want to be so healthy that we don’t need prescriptions or operations? Wouldn't it be better to not use the insurance we have? Wouldn’t it be great to be so healthy and feel so good that a pharmacy in the medicine cabinet is not needed? And not sliced and diced up by highly skilled and trained surgeons?

That thought goes upstream against experience. Most believe that as we get older, medical needs increase. More operations and medications are needed for older people compared to younger ones. It would be great if the really healthy portion of life could be extended to delay the onset of health problems until much later in life.

I have been a sick person, like many others, and have a history of taking medications and surgeries to keep going. Keep me going they did, but certainly not successful in transforming me into a healthy person. The "system" is not geared to making me so healthy that I don’t need drugs and surgeries. In fact, there seems to be a greater number of people than ever that are on maintenance doses of medications.

In order to become healthy, the root cause of illness must be found and effectively dealt with. In the absence of finding the root cause, we often treat just the symptoms. There are many diseases that the medical system still doesn’t understand regarding the causes and best treatments in dealing with the symptoms.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve given more and more thought to the prospects of wanting to live to a much older age. Most people would like to live a high quality of life for a very long time - me included. The dilemma I faced is I’ve been sick all of my life with various maladies, with one considered to be an incurable, debilitating disease. You would think that I’d be on many prescriptions given my history, but I arrived at age 70 prescription free. The doctors - I have two of them - could find no reason to prescribe anything other than that. I have not used over-the-counter medications for years either.

My goal years ago was just to get better, healthier someday, some way, somehow. What is "totally healthy"? To me it was being so healthy to not need any assistance from doctors. A person could be very active and do things they wanted to do. No prescription medications and no operations needed. Good high-quality years of longevity.

Given the progress that has been made in medical technology over the last few hundred years, you would think we could expect developments in terms of raising the level of health for people. Innovation is the word. We’re innovating better operations and medicines, but are we innovating better health? Let's stop and think through this for a moment.

There has been a lot of advances in surgeries. Many years ago, there were high mortality rates for many surgeries as technologies were crude by today's standards. The high mortality rates for surgery led to advances and levels of continuous improvements with doctors and scientists striving for improved results. As these incremental improvements in technology immerged, mortality rates declined.

Let's take the case of blocked arteries to the heart. Suppose a person is diagnosed with this and bypass surgery is recommended. Surgery is undertaken and the patient recovers. The surgical procedure and the result are closely tied together as the action and result are linked. Years ago, this surgery was not possible. If bypass surgery was tried a hundred years ago, the patient would surely die as the technology for a successful result did not yet exist. It has evolved to the point now that it’s commonly done and the risks are pretty low. This is an example of lifespans being extended through medical science.

Operations, while certainly not cures, are becoming more and more effective in dealing with damage to the body. In 1882, Dr. William Halsted performed the first successful surgery to remove gallstones on his own mother.4 Previously, the patient’s most likely prognosis was death. Today, gallbladder surgery is routine with recovery times short and success rates very high. Progress in surgeries over the last 130 years is very impressive, and one great benefit is immediate results.

Surgery and associated techniques are wonderful for cases resulting from injuries. Suffer an injury and the medical community has a lot to offer. Then there are operations for cases like the blocked artery in the heart mentioned previously. What if the heart disease doesn’t occur though? The need for the associated operations would be eliminated, or at least minimized.


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