Ken, a 62-year-old television producer, was feeling lousy! He was constantly stressed, ate and slept poorly, and suffered from uncomfortable and frequent heartburn. But what concerned him most was that he noticing worrisome memory issues.
After an examination, Ken’s general practitioner prescribed a small dose of a statin drug as a result of elevated blood pressure and mildly elevated cholesterol. Also realizing that Ken was on his way to heart disease, his doctor suggested that Ken “eat a healthy diet”. Weeks went by and Ken continued feeling awful despite following his doctor’s advice, so he sought additional help from an integrative medicine physician and me, a personalized nutritionist.
Ken is one of many people who come to me with this kind of history - poor diet, poor quality of life, nebulous symptoms, medication and a diagnosis that doesn’t tell the full story.
At our initial meeting getting to know Ken, I learned that for 14 years, Ken had this crazy unconventional commute where he was getting up at 2 am to drive into the city, returning home at noon. He was living on cereal, croissants, pizza, sandwiches, and take-out food. The major components of these foods are refined carbohydrates and poor quality fats, a very damaging combination since carbohydrates encourage the storage of fats that are highly inflammatory and stimulatory of his situation. I knew Ken was in trouble and needed my help...
Examining a broad range of Ken’s biomarkers, we found significant underlying dysfunction in his glucose/insulin regulation system which drives and interacts with all other systems creating the perfect storm of disease that Ken was experiencing which including his memory problems. In fact, he was one step away from Type 2 Diabetes!
I designed a personalized therapeutic nutrition plan for Ken to re-boot his glucose/insulin regulation system and bring it back to a healthy, functioning system that, in turn, would affect his other systems. I did this by dramatically reducing carbohydrates and poor quality fats in his diet and increasing levels of organic vegetables, fiber (especially soluble fiber), clean proteins and high-quality fats. My job was not simply to advise Ken to eat healthier, but give him the “How” -- the specific steps and the comprehensive action plan to do so for both the short and long term.
Not only did Ken’s symptoms start to subside, but he felt so much better that he was back to biking 40 miles at a clip. Beyond that, his aberrant biomarkers normalized and optimized. Ken’s life took a turn for the better in a gigantic way. Though not our primary focus, he lost 27 pounds as a side effect of balancing his health and nutrition.
Ken is a prime example of the power of personalized nutrition and one of the many people whose lives I’ve helped transform in my role as the Personalized Nutritionist at the Far Hills Pharmacy.
Although I’ve been a nutritionist for over twenty-five years, it wasn’t until I faced a life-changing tragedy that I learned how critical personalized nutrition can be. Twenty years ago, my Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer resulting in surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, leaving her “cancer free” but with a severely impaired GI tract and unable to be nourished by what little food she could force herself to eat. At that time, we didn’t understand the therapeutic power of nutrition for cancer. I had very little to offer my ailing mom aside from my love and support. While this meant a lot to her, it wasn’t enough. She died of malnutrition after enduring two horrible years of suffering.
The devastating experience of losing my mother mobilized me to refocus my training towards personalized nutrition, an approach that looks deeply at the foundations of complex chronic disease.
It's not the conventional "eat your peas and carrots" nutrition but a model that examines our individual biochemical make-up. Coupling personalized medicine with personalized nutrition, we are able to intervene at any stage of an illness -- from prevention to subclinical symptoms, disease manifestation, and progression, and make a difference!
With personalized nutrition, I am able to look under the surface and uncover the imbalances in order to target nutritional therapy and address what’s really going on.
For over nineteen years at the Far Hill Pharmacy, I have helped so many people like Ken live healthier, more fulfilling lives. My work gives my life real meaning by making a difference, one person at a time, through individualized nutritional counseling. I work with clients with all types of complex chronic diseases, issues, stress, autoimmune, diabetes, obesity, food sensitivities, Alzheimer’s disease and so much more, with a focus on increasing function and health. I work closely with doctors and pharmacists who understand the importance of integrated wellness.
When a patient comes to me, we have a conversation -- what I call a “deep dive”. I collect information about symptoms, medications, lifestyle, and anything pertinent to get to the root of the patient’s issues, not just put a band-aid on the symptoms. This is followed up with a comprehensive, individualized program of treatment and short and long-term monitoring.
If you are currently experiencing disease, perhaps a personalized nutritionist like me is the answer. Hopefully, through an individualized nutritional plan and an integrated approach, you’ll be back on the right path towards good health – just like Ken.