I stumbled on a highly effective hunger-free weight loss program 15 years ago. It was 1998 and I was twenty-two years old when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). At the time I was diagnosed my neurologist at the University of Miami suggested a change in diet and lifestyle could make me feel better and help slow the progression of my disease. I quickly learned that MS was a disease made worse by inflammation and that I would need to do absolutely everything I could from a lifestyle standpoint to reduce inflammation, which primarily meant changing my diet. I was a fitness instructor at the time and I had always been slim, so the whole concept of “dieting” was foreign to me.
My husband, Andy Larson, M.D., is a surgeon now, but at the time I was diagnosed he was in medical school and I asked for his help in researching the best anti-inflammatory diet to follow. Even though Andy was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which is consistently ranked one of the best medical schools in the country, nutrition is not something that was emphasized in medical school, so he pretty much had as much learning to do as I did.
The more we learned together about anti-inflammatory nutrition and disease the more we realized that the common link between MS and many seemingly unrelated diseases (asthma, allergies, heart disease, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, arthritis, etc.) was inflammation. Andy decided to start the anti-inflammatory “MS diet” with me because he figured it was a healthy diet to follow even if you don’t have MS or any other inflammatory condition. Although he was not overweight when he started, Andy promptly lost 15 pounds without even trying (he was not restricting portion sizes or trying to count calories, etc.) and reduced his borderline high blood pressure down to a normal healthy level. That was sort of an “ah ha” moment for both of us.
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With the hundreds of supplements on the market today, it can be confusing to pick the right ones for you and to know that they are safely manufactured with the best ingredients. The FDA does not evaluate supplements before they reach the market so it is up to the consumer to know if what they are taking is healthful and beneficial.
Dr. Stephen Barkow began to see this as a problem in his practice when many patients would come in asking about a particular supplement. He noticed that most people don’t have a direction when taking supplements.
Out of those experiences, the idea for Illuminutri was conceived. Dr. Stephen Barkow and his wife, certified clinical nutritionist Pamina Barkow, decided to combine their expertise to create their own line of supplements to use with their patients as part of a comprehensive health plan.
“Patients come in with a variety of pain, from inflammation to complications from surgeries to chronic pain. I ask myself, ‘What can I do more naturally to reduce pain?’ and then I come up with recommendations for patients. It’s more of a lifestyle change than easy fixes,” said Dr. Barkow.
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After movie star Anne Hathaway found out she had received her dream role as Catwoman in this summer’s blockbuster The Dark Knight, she went right into training with certified wellness coach and weigh loss expert Jackie Keller.
In our interview, Keller explained that she started working with Anne in February 2011 to develop a diet that lasted nearly a year, until filming was over. Her anti-inflammatory diet consisted of three meals, three snacks, and one salad, which came out to about 1,500-1,800 calories a day. Anne would eat about every two-and-a-half to three hours, depending on how long each day was. The diet was considered nearly vegan because it consisted of no flesh, which was how Anne preferred it.
Since she didn’t eat meat, Anne got most of her protein from things like high protein grains. Keller shared some insight on Anne’s diet. For instance, her favorite snack was whole wheat lavash bread (extremely thin and low-fat bread) with an all-natural peanut butter. One of her favorite carbohydrates was yams. Also, on her OK-to-eat list was barley, soy, whole wheat cous cous (alternative to rice), and green tea.
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