Food, Exercise, Environment … and Your Immune System
Written on July 15, 2009 by Dr. Laurie
Many of you with RA already steer clear of wheat, or nightshades, or sugar, but he outlines why these foods create an inner physical environment that encourages inflamed cells, and he demonstrates scientifically why this is so.
My last “serious” book report is about a book that has really opened my mind, but isn’t a title that automatically jumps out for the arthritis crowd.
Written by a doctor diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, the author was treated — only to have his cancer return — and now he lives with it as a chronic disease. He describes how he began to do serious research about his illness, and found very specific ways to involve his mind and body in healing.
What captivated me is that what he studied had as much to do with arthritis as it does with cancer. He approaches the disease from the perspective of inflammation and autoimmune susceptibility and what he proposes is as relevant to those with RA as it is for someone who wants to avoid a cancer recurrence.
Dr. Servan-Schreiber titles his book, Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life (Kindle Edition), and his intent is to inspire all of us to take our immune systems seriously. He is almost evangelical in his approach to the simple building blocks of food, exercise, our environment, and our mental habits — all things we emphasize on the CJ site!
What is added in this book is a raft of specific scientific studies that support his prescription for healthy living. He looks at how our traditional Western diet aggravates inflammation and suggests what to avoid. Many of you with RA already steer clear of wheat, or nightshades, or sugar, but he outlines why these foods create an inner physical environment that encourages inflamed cells, and he demonstrates scientifically why this is so.
He is just as compelling (and encouraging) talking about exercise and how easy it can be to do just a little — and the big difference it can make for our health.
The most portable of his lessons though is the one that shows the connection between stress and inflammation. He looks at how stress affects us biochemically — and he includes the ways we stress ourselves by the thinking we practice and the emotions we allow.
He talks about the “Type C” personality — the one who is always avoiding making waves, and becoming more and more passive about their own wants and desires. His final chapter describes some of the recent science about learning to change — attitudes, behaviors, and even healing some history.
It is possible for the Type C’s to begin to claim some space and get free of old baggage.
That is a road to better health.
You don’t need to have cancer — or even arthritis — to appreciate the wisdom of this book. Dr. Servan-Schreiber is very generous with his own story, and invites you to think about his science, and feel your way into a better stronger way of life. I recommend this enthusiastically and hope it offers you some practical information as you work on your own healing.