Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
October 30, 2017
Last Wednesday, I had lunch with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in many years. Years ago, we were close. We used to see each other at least once a week. That was two to three decades ago. I was a dentist; he was a medical doctor. I’ll call him Sean.
We both lived similar lives – each with a family, a professional career, and a relatively busy lifestyle. By chance he called me and asked, “What’s new?” I told him, “A lot.” So, we arranged to have lunch together to catch up.
Things had changed.
What changed with me? I had a stroke at the age of 59. Then, I learned about ancestral nutrition and lifestyle, which turned my life completely around. I learned how to become healthy. What I learned saved my life.
What changed with Sean? I found out at lunch.
I am almost 71 years old; Sean just turned 70. Sean was not able to stand up straight. He had various surgeries for back problems. From what I could see, he was at least 40 pounds overweight. This wasn’t the Sean I remembered from thirteen years ago.
The hostess seated us at a quiet table near the back of the restaurant. We talked; we laughed; we reminisced. Both of us looked at the menu, ordered our lunch, and we talked quite a bit more. I ordered a duck salad and hot tea; he ordered a Reuben sandwich, fries, and sweet tea.
He told me about his kids, his grandkids, his wife, and what he was doing with himself these days. Sean was retired and had sold his medical practice, but he would go to a local clinic one day a week to treatment plan patients and triage their medical conditions. He personally had been dealing with various chronic diseases and was taking several prescription medications. He said he was happy; he looked very unhealthy.
I told him what I was doing with my life – treating patients one day a week, writing profusely, being physically active, and creating a new company and product line for the organic-conscious public. I showed him my new book, Crazy-Good Living. Funny, I just had a copy with me.
So, he asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about the lifestyle and nutrition of our primal ancestors and how their bodies were strong and healthy because of the way they lived. Being a periodontist, I wrote my book about nutrition starting in the mouth and then affecting the entire body. I explained that our modern world has diverged from the path traveled by our ancestors. The new path has led to an increased incidence of chronic disease. I described my book as a means to return to a healthier way of living by emphasizing nutrient-dense foods, restorative sleep, efficient exercise, and reduction of stress – a way to reverse some of the existing damage and possibly prevent future chronic diseases.
Sean thumbed through my book glancing at the front and back covers. He took some time to skim the table of contents and quickly read the one-page Preface. Then he told me that there are too many health books in the marketplace. He continued, “Every expert thinks he knows the answer. There are some people who eat to live, and there are some people who live to eat.” He followed that up with, “I eat whatever I want.”
We spent almost two hours at the restaurant. He drank three glasses of sweet tea. After finishing our meals and completing our conversation, we paid our checks and walked out of the restaurant. Before leaving, Sean grabbed a handful of mints near the hostess desk.
I am sure I will see Sean again. I also am sure Sean will never read my book. It appeared to me that Sean preferred to go down a path I would no longer travel.
It was obvious to me that at some point over the last thirteen years Sean and I veered off our similar tracks. Both of us have chosen different ways to live our remaining years. My goal is to strive for quality of life. This is paramount to me. Whatever I can do to prevent chronic degenerative disease that is within my ability is what I want to do.
I have learned that a primal lifestyle allowed our species to survive and thrive. It is not a fad; it is how our genetic code was designed to function. I am not interested in living like a caveman, but I am interested to learn what made our species physically strong and mentally superior. I am confident that a primal lifestyle that fits my modern-day existence is the means for me to reach my goal.
Since my stroke 11 years ago, I have changed my life. I strive to thrive. As I move through my 8th decade of life, I feel healthier today than I have ever been.