April 26, 2018
I have been in practice as a Clinical Nutritionist for over 20 years. During that time, I have seen some interesting cases. One such case was a man in his early 50s who came to see me complaining of several health problems. He was overworked, overtired, and had little energy. His doctor had referred him to me because along with his lack of energy, he was 40 pounds overweight, had high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. More importantly, he was in constant pain in his joints, particularly in his big toe. He had gout.
He had tried to eat a healthier diet but had not been able to stick with it. He was very busy and usually ate on the run. He would grab anything quick and convenient just to stop being hungry. Breakfast was a donut. Lunch a cheeseburger. Dinner came out of a microwave box. Vodka or gin was always on the menu. Not the best choices for a healthy diet.
My client’s deteriorating health problems gave him a strong motivation to do better. To maintain his active lifestyle, he needed to clean up his act. He was eager to improve his diet.
After carefully reviewing his diet history, current diet, and his blood work lab report, I could see the problem. But to create a diet that he could stick with, I needed to understand my client’s unique lifestyle. This is something I normally do, I design customized diets to match each individual’s needs. This client’s hobby was unusual. He flew up to the Canadian wilderness on weekends, to hunt bear.
The natural breakdown of your body cells and food produces uric acid. Most of the time your kidneys filter out uric acid and it passes out of your body in urine. Unfortunately, rich diets: food high in sugar, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and large consumptions of alcohol, create havoc within the body. Over time, they can create so much uric acid that it overwhelms the kidneys, and they can’t keep up. The elevated levels of uric acid in the blood cause solid crystals to form in the joints. This causes the painful condition called gout.
To reduce uric acid, my client needed to avoid specific foods such as anchovies, most seafood, foods high in sugar, and junk carbs. He also needed to cut back on serving size. His lab results showed that in addition to his hypertension and overweight, he also had an undesirable lipid profile. This created added challenges in getting his gout under control.
When he was out in the wilderness on the weekends, hunting bear, he didn’t think he could keep to a healthy diet. He asked me to tailor a diet to his everyday life and yet allow him the freedom to eat whatever he could grab on the weekends. My challenge was to come up with healthy food that he could put in a bag, tie up, and raise twenty feet off the ground away from a bear!
I designed a diet which my client could easily live with. It encouraged him to select foods as close to their natural state as possible, avoid processed food, limit alcohol, rich seafood, and meat. When hunting bear, he needed flexibility, but I suggested he choose foods wisely and watch serving size. Not adhering to these suggestions could cause the return of excruciating pain associated with gout.
He returned for a follow up several weeks later. He felt better, he had more energy and had lost 18 pounds. His lab results showed improvement. Surprisingly, he said that it wasn’t as difficult as he expected to stick to healthy food when in the wilderness. He had become so diligent in following his diet that he didn’t want to deviate from it on the weekends. He was thrilled that he hadn’t had a single bout of gout for six weeks.
His new healthier lifestyle had become a way of life for him. He shared his healthier diet with his family, and they started making heathier choices. The positive changes in his health motivated him to continue losing weight. He started a brisk walking and weight training program that increased his energy and made him feel better. He said “I haven’t felt this good in years. I’m happy!”
An overweight, stressed out bear hunter turned his life around with a tailored meal plan. He realized he had one body and it was up to him to make his health a priority. Once you feel great it’s something you will want to continue for the rest of your life.