Lunch With An Old Friend

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
October 30, 2017 [printfriendly]



Lunch with an old friendLast 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.



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LANAP Case Study

evolution rMillennium Dental Technologies published my case study of one of my patients. In their published bio of me, they refer to my use of ancestral nutrition with my patients. Click on the link below to see their publication.
LANAP Danenberg Case Study
Today, I use this unique laser procedure to treat gum disease. It has revolutionized gum treatment. It requires no cutting of the gums with a scalpel and no sutures. Patients are getting much better results with new bone growth and practically no discomfort. They are able to return to work the next day!
The procedure is called LANAP, which stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure. Every patient I treat also learns how ancestral nutrition and lifestyle changes will enhance their lives and improve their mouth health. The LANAP procedure, in combination with ancestral nutrition, is cutting edge. It only makes sense.

Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

evolution rA friend of mine is an avid workout guy – at least an hour a day, 5 days a week. He also eats non-fat foods and lots of whole grain cereals and grain products. He tells me he is eating healthy. I recently told him about ancestral nutrition, effective exercise, and their relationship to overall health. He not only blew me off, but he was angry that I tried to confuse him. In my opinion, he actually was upset because I gave him information that conflicted with his personal beliefs and challenged who he really is. I could only say I was sorry – sorry that he wouldn’t consider my point of view.
There is much evidence-based research today that has created a path for the discerning person to follow to regain and maintain the health that the human body was designed to possess. My friend was not that person, but are you that discerning person? If yes, then the path starts with you making a decision to change your life – to change your health.
Some people need a personal tipping point like a stroke or a heart attack to make a change. Some people need a love-of-their-life like the birth of a granddaughter or a grandson to institute a change. Some people are motivated after they get a new job or move into a new home. Some people only need information that they never knew existed. Which discerning person are you?
Here is some conventional wisdom that I have found in my personal pursuit of health that requires further consideration:
• Fat makes you fat
Consider this: Carbohydrates make you fat because of excessive insulin production. Healthy fats satisfy your hunger and provide fuel. Ingested fat will not become storage fat unless insulin is excessive from too many carbs.
• Running 5 miles a day is good heart exercise
Consider this: Chronic exercise produces oxidative stress, is unhealthy for the cardiovascular system, and discourages fat burning. Lifting heavy things a couple of times a week and sprinting once a week are much healthier for your heart as well as your waistline and need only take 10-20 minutes each. In addition, a couple of hours of aerobic exercise spaced out during the week and physical non-exercise movement throughout each day will round out a healthy routine.
• Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day
Consider this: The most important time to eat is when you are hungry. If your hormones are in balance, you may actually not need to eat until noon or later. When you do eat, each meal conceptually should be a plate of food partitioned like this: at least half of the plate should include non-starchy veggies either raw or sautéed in healthy fat; a quarter of the plate should be some type of free-range or wild-caught protein including their natural fats; and the last quarter could be made up of some of these – some nuts or seeds, deeply colored fruit (like berries or citrus), a small starchy vegetable.
• Whole grains have plenty of nutrients
Consider this: Grains contain elements that irritate the gut and interfere with normal absorption of necessary minerals. Grains were only introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago, and the human gut never evolved to digest them properly. For 2.5 million years before grains were introduced, all the necessary nutrients the body needed were provided by eating animals from head to tail, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
• Vegetable oils are healthy
Consider this: Vegetable oils are mostly inflammatory and are chemically unstable. When they are introduced into the body, they potentially create serious health problems. In addition, chemically altered trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats are toxic to the body. Saturated fats from coconut oil, avocados, animals that are pastured and/or allowed to eat their natural diet, and butter from grass-fed cows are necessary for healthy cell function.
• Artificial sweeteners are good for you and help you lose weight
Consider this: Artificial sweeteners are toxic to the body. In addition, the brain senses the sweetness of these sweeteners and stimulates insulin production.
• Eggs are bad for your heart
Consider this: Free-range eggs provide excellent nutrition for the body unless you are allergic to eggs. Some people who have reactions to convention eggs do not have problems with pastured eggs. The cholesterol in pastured eggs is not a problem – especially if the egg yolk is eaten soft rather than scrambled or hard-boiled.
• If your stomach does not hurt, you don’t have gut problems
Consider this: Many diseases begin when the intestinal lining becomes permeable (called a leaky gut), and stuff that should never enter the blood system starts invading. A person does not have to have digestive symptoms like gas or pain or constipation or diarrhea to have a leaky gut. But, before other disease manifestations can be resolved, the gut must be made healthy.

What Would Happen If….?

evolution rImagine an animal in the wild – a cute, cuddly little thing. And let’s say this animal was living 200,000 years ago. In order for this animal to survive and thrive, it needed to chew its food to get the necessary nutrients into its body. As this animal was growing up, something was happening. Its teeth began to decay, and its gums started to bleed. Soon, this fury guy started to have pain when he chewed his food, and eventually his teeth started to get loose. Then his teeth began to rot and fall out. And this was happening not only to him but also to most of his brothers and sisters and their offspring. What do you think would happen over time to this animal species?

The answer is that this species would eventually die off because it could not survive without its teeth to chew the food to get the nutrients that were critical for life.

As a matter of fact, primal man and woman hardly ever had tooth decay or gum disease during the 2.5 million years of evolution. Our evolutionary ancestors ate a nutrient-dense diet and had healthy gut bacteria that allowed their teeth to stay healthy. Then things changed about 10,000 years ago.

As grains become a staple part of our diets, our overall health declined. Today, the Standard American Diet consists of refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, lots of sugar, and a variety of processed foods. However, not everybody eats this way.

There are people living today in isolated parts of the world as hunter-gatherers. They eat the food that their natural environments provide. They never have been exposed to the Standard American Diet, and they do not have tooth decay or various degenerative diseases that plague most of the world’s modern population. Unfortunately, when some of these people leave their native surroundings and start eating unhealthy diets in the “Western” world, their health begins to decline rapidly.

The solutions are learning and believing what nutrient-dense food and healthy gut bacteria are all about as well as yielding to the needs of our individual cells.


You can stop gum disease

evolution rThis is a mighty big statement that requires an explanation.


First, think about this question: If there were a species whose only means of getting nutrition was by chewing food, and if this species had rampant tooth and gum disease causing the loss of those precious teeth, what would happen to that species over thousands of years of evolution? The answer: This species would die off, because it couldn’t survive over time.
Now consider this fact: Primitive man and woman from Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods did not have gum disease or tooth decay. Why is that?


Let’s step back and consider animals in the wild. They don’t develop dental decay or gum disease or degenerative diseases like modern-day humans, and they don’t get fat like modern-day humans, either. They may lose a tooth in combat, and they do gain weight intentionally to prepare for the cold, winter months or hibernation, but they use this storage naturally and lose it naturally. They eat food in the wild when their bodies tell them they are hungry, and they stop eating when their bodies tell them they are full. But get this: When chimpanzees and other wild animals are raised in captivity, they do have dental problems; they do get fat; and they do develop chronic degenerative diseases if they are not fed their natural diets.


The differences between wild animals and us are that there are no fast foods or sugary drinks or frozen dinners with a gazillion additives and preservatives in the wild. Wild animals don’t eat meat that has been artificially fattened with hormones and antibiotics. And they don’t eat genetically modified foods that have never been tested for long-term effects on their bodies. Wild animals eat what their bodies have been designed to eat for thousands of years. In contrast, we eat what has been processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified over the last several decades. Our bodies are rebelling.


Primitive man and woman were hunters and gatherers. They ate the foods that their environments provided for them. They did not eat the processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified “foods” we stuff into our bodies every day.


Today, over 95 percent of all gum disease and tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria in our mouths. And harmful bacteria in our mouths are created by harmful bacteria in our gut. And harmful bacteria in our gut are increased by certain foods we eat—specifically dense carbohydrates and refined sugars—those highly processed, refined, hybridized, and genetically modified “foods” of modern-day lifestyles.


Current medical evidence suggests that many modern-day diseases, including gum disease, may have their root cause from the unhealthy bacteria in our gut. If we can transform the harmful bacteria in our gut into friendly bacteria, then many of our modern-day diseases might be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether. Wow! What a powerful possibility!


What do you think might happen to gum disease if we actually address the nutritional causes of the disease, and then treat it with the most cutting-edge method that is becoming the standard of care in dentistry today?


Here is what you could do: You could make healthier choices with your meals by eliminating the bad foods, specifically grains and grain products, as well as processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars. In addition, you could include fermented foods like sauerkraut
and yogurt and kefir daily, which may help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut and replace the bad bacteria. Of course, this will take time. It won’t happen in just a few weeks. So be patient.


Along with improving the nutritional balance in your body, the source of major gum problems could be treated with the PerioLase® Laser, which kills the bacteria causing this disease without harming healthy cells and without using a scalpel or sutures. It also helps grow new bone.


Laser treatment results in better outcomes with less discomfort and quicker recovery times than traditional surgical methods. The laser treatment is called LANAP® (Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure).


So here’s the bottom line. You can stop gum disease by:

  • Making healthier food choices
  • Repopulating the friendly bacteria in your gut by eating a variety of fermented foods
  • Eliminating unhealthy mouth bacteria through the use of evidence-based, patient-friendly treatment
  • Repairing any damage that has already been done in your mouth with necessary dental treatment
  • Maintaining a healthy body through healthy eating and a physically active lifestyle, incorporating effective exercise, proper sleep, and stress reduction.


(This article originally appeared in CH2)