dentists, and taking antibiotics

Here’s a letter I got recently from a wonderful dentist who reads this blog/site. I won’t give my own response until I hear some of yours. What are your thoughts?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

I think you are pretty conservative and avoid antibiotics, but I had an interesting experience recently in my dental practice that I want to share with you.   You influence a lot of people to make better choices for their health, and if you agree with me and my position as a health care provider and trying to do what is in the best interest of my patients, maybe you can pass this on to your readers.   The AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) currently recommends that persons who have had total joint replacements should take one dose of antibiotics one hour prior to high risk dental procedures (not a whole week of antibiotics, just one dose) to avoid bacteremias forming in the artificial joint and causing a systemic infection and possibly failure of the artificial joint.   I had a patient recently who refused to take an antibiotic before a procedure because she avoids taking antibiotics in general.

I contacted her orthopaedic surgeon, and the nurse from his office recommended the same protocol for her, and she still refused.   She walked out of my office informing me there was no way she was going to take the antibiotics and she would find another dentist who would do the work without making her take the antibiotics.   I worry about her health and the risks she is taking.   I also worry about the dentist she finds to treat her without following the standards of care, as his license may be in jeopardy for treating her this way if complications were to arise anytime down the road.

I try to avoid antibiotics whenever I can for myself, but there are times when it may be worth the major complications which could arise.   I am not willing to put my license and my career on the line to treat someone who refuses to follow the written protocols and standards of care for surgeries which they have had done in the past, which now place them in a higher risk category.   I don’t know if you understand what I am saying here, but let me know if you agree or disagree with me.

this is what it looks like when I’m sick

True confession: I got sick on Tuesday. I did yoga and worked out with my tennis team from 8-11 after waking up feeling a little weird and weak. I went home and took colloidal silver, with some powdered Vitamin C mixed in, every few hours. I texted my massage therapist Kortni, who fit me in and worked on my neck/lymphatic system.

In the afternoon I felt a little feverish, so I climbed in bed and slept for a couple of hours. Then I got up and worked at my computer and took care of my kids, feeling about 50%. I watched TV for the first time in a year and slept 8 hours that night (which is 2-3 hours more than normal). I took a big spoonful of my friend Charlene’s Anti-Plague formula before bed, which is raw apple cider vinegar and raw garlic and 8 immune-strengthening herbs. (It’s based on a Dr. Christopher’s formula which you can buy.)

Then I woke up feeling fine and normal the next morning, went to the gym and ran 4 miles.

In my 20’s, I used to get sick a dozen times every winter. I’d go into a dark depression because I couldn’t seem to get healthy. I believe this happened because of MANY rounds of strep throat and antibiotics when I was a child weakening my immune system. Finally when I was 28, I got strep for the last time. I’d been reading a lot, starting into better nutrition, and becoming less enamored of medicine. Also, I was pregnant. So I refused to take antibiotics, and instead took the herb GOLDENSEAL. The strep disappeared quickly and has never returned.

I’ve never had any respiratory problems or sinus infections or bladder or yeast infections, ever—since abandoning the S.A.D. and drug interventions.

So often I hear people say, “I never get sick” as evidence that they are very healthy. I’ve known a number of people who suddenly have Stage 3 cancer even though they rarely got viruses. My point is just that whether or not you’re susceptible to viruses is only ONE measure–not even necessarily the most important measure–of how your immune function or even your overall health is. There are many functions of immunity.

That said….I now get sick about one day, every year or two, and even then I’m totally functional. If that were the ONLY miracle that occurred from our switch to a whole foods, mostly plant-based diet 17 years ago, it would still be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

And, your body flushing out with clear, thin mucous when you get a cold or slight fever is a POSITIVE THING. It’s necessary and it builds those immune-function “muscles.” Suppressing a fever is unwise. Read Dr. Robert Mendelssohn (who was a pediatrician and wrote How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor) on how utterly rare an out-of-control fever is, and how helpful and necessary it is for the body in resolving the illness.

What ISN’T healthy is when that mucous becomes thick, yellow, green, and/or stagnant. Thick, acidic mucous sitting in your throat, sinuses, and lungs is a breeding ground for infection and cascading problems. Lots of alkaline water, lots of green food, living plant food, and extra REST, are the best enemies of that condition.

How often do you get sick? Should I buy hand sanitizer?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I was wondering, while eating the great raw food diet that you eat, when is the last time you “caught a cold.”

Can you give us an idea about whether you and your kids have been sick or the magnitude of it? Do you or the kids get a cold and you are able to fight it off much quicker with a healthy diet OR do you guys not get sick at all.

Here in Jersey our kids go back to school soon and that’s the time I start to really worry about the “germs.” Do you believe in Hand Sanitizer and what are your thoughts on it. It seems like they are becoming MANDATORY on the Back to School Supply list and I was just curious on your thoughts about this.

Answer: I think the Hand Sanitizer is silly. Don’t get me wrong–I am a big fan of washing hands well. But there are millions of bad bacteria everywhere, air, counters, clothes, food. And all the antibacterial products out there are doing very little, if anything, to protect us. And they are possibly helping “bugs” become more resistant and super-virile. A spray or hand gel is like sticking your pinkie in the hole in the dam, when the dam is breaking.

Fact is, people don’t get sick because we get exposed to a “bug.” We’re being exposed to bugs all the time. Why did my tenant, who I saw every day and exchanged food with, etc., get deathly ill from swine flu last year for six long weeks, requiring an ER visit, and I didn’t, and neither did my kids? (My oldest son got a little sick for two days.)

If we are a good host for a bug to overpower our natural defenses, when we create an internal climate where nasty micro-organisms thrive, then we get sick.

How do we become that perfect host? We eat lots of acidic foods–dairy, meat, coffee, yeast bread, and especially sugar. (Stress, pollution, medications, and not sleeping enough also contribute to a highly acidic internal climate and susceptibility.)

If we drink lots of water, eat raw, alkaline food (greens being the very best on that list), and do all the other good stuff (moderate exercise, sleep, etc.), we are minimizing our risk of catching the “bugs” that are omnipresent.

As for when I last “caught a cold”–I can’t even remember. Maybe 3 years ago. I think getting a mild cold that lasts a day, with clear mucous, is a good thing. It’s a way that your body flushes itself out. Getting a “cold” once or twice a year is not a sign of failure. It’s when illnesses linger, when the mucous becomes stagnant and thick and acidic (yellow or green), or when we get things worse than a cold, that we know we’ve become the perfect host for illness. Strep, bronchitis, flu–”catching” these is a sign something is very wrong.

And at that point, it’s time to clean house. Lots of green smoothies, maybe a juice cleanse, and adherence to a 60-80% or more raw plant-based diet.

In my family, none of us has been really ill, or had the “flu,” or had anything requiring an antibiotic, in at least 12 years. But before that? When we were eating the Standard American Diet? We were sick constantly. All of us, especially me and my oldest son.

Always use an antibiotic for strep and ear infections, right?

With winter coming up, I know many of you have kids who get strep or ear infections or any number of other illnesses we have come to think of as “normal.” When my family quit eating processed foods many years ago, we eliminated any need for asthma drugs and antibiotics.

In Europe, antibiotics are used to treat ear infections only when patients experience recurrent drainage or pain, because infections resolve themselves over 85 percent of the time. One study shows that 75 percent of childhood ear infections are caused by viruses. One study followed 168 children with ear infections where antibiotics were prescribed only if the child had a history of meningitis or subsequent serious infection, or if the illness involved a high fever or profound weakness. Antibiotics were recommended for only 6 percent of the children. No serious complications were observed in the others, who recovered fully. Another very large international study showed that antibiotics did not improve rate of recovery in ear infections in nine countries.

Mothers who breastfeed have the highest chance of avoiding the ear-infection cycle that many are in today–the best preventative measure you can take, according to multiple studies.

More than 75 percent of patients seeking help with sore throats are given antibiotics by their doctors, when only 10 percent are caused by bacteria (or 30 percent in children). Even half of those who test positive for strep are positive because they chronically carry the bacteria even though it doesn’t make them ill. (I am one of them. When I had my last baby, they tested for Strep A and came rushing into the room demanding I be put on a “preventive” antibiotic because I was positive–fortunately, the baby came out before they could try to inject me.)

Doctors provide antibiotic prescriptions often even though they know they are unnecessary, because patients want a prescription. You are more educated than that. The scare tactics of “you must take this antibiotic or your child may get scarlet fever” are highly overrated (these complications are very rare and even most bacterial infections resolve themselves thanks to the human immune system).

My mother put me on antibiotics every time I got strep as a child; consequently, I got strep every few months. I spent 15 years trying to recover my immune system from so many courses of antibiotics. The last time I got strep, 15 years ago, I refused to take antibiotics and used goldenseal instead (an herb that kills bad bacteria without killing good bacteria, and it can also be effective against viruses). The strep went away and I never got it again. (In combination with the herb, I was changing my diet at that time and becoming much less susceptible to infections and have never had one since.) None of my children has ever had strep. One of my children had chronic ear infections as a baby, but I never gave her antibiotics and used natural remedies instead, and I did have tubes put in her ears.

On the other hand, risks of antibiotic use are significant and should be considered as well. Joel Fuhrman in Disease-Proof Your Child quotes a large study published in JAMA showing that women who used antibiotics fairly frequently had twice the breast cancer risk compared to women who took no antibiotics (over a 17-year period). Other medical studies show that children getting multiple rounds of antibiotics early in life are more prone to asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Killing the beneficial bacteria in your gut as antibiotics do (they can’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria) also means you have little defense against the next virus or infection to come around.

I use colloidal silver, oregano oil, and lots of alkaline water. I’ve never had to go to antibiotics. I much prefer methods of fighting infection that work WITH the immune system rather than against it.

You don’t eat meat? Then where do you get your protein?

I know, I’ve blogged about this more than any other subject.   But I’m going to say a few more things about it today, just in a slightly different way, because of that old statistic that people have to hear something 11 times before they believe it.   And because that’s the question we plant eaters get most often, “But where do you get your PROTEIN?”

 

The World Health Organization says humans need 5 percent of daily calories to be protein.   The USDA says 6.5 percent.   On average, here’s what plant foods contain:

 

Fruits                                                                                                   5 percent

Vegs                                                                                                 20-50 percent

Sprouts, nuts, beans, grains, seeds:             10-25 percent

 

So you get plenty of protein from plants.   When you eat these proteins raw, they’re undamaged by heat and therefore more usable by your body, too.   Greens are highest in protein of the vegetables, so they are ideal for building and repair in the body.   We have a protein excess in the Western diet, not a protein deficiency.

 

Amino acids are protein’s building blocks.   Animal flesh combines those amino acids in a highly structured way–that’s all it means when people talk about “quality” proteins.   On the other hand, vegetable proteins are comprised of free-floating amino acids.   The first 8 amino acids are called “essential” because we have to acquire them from food.   The last 14 are built from the first 8.   Vegetable proteins, in free form, are easier to digest, give you more energy, and contribute to beauty and feeling well!

 

Some say, “But I feel better when I get much more protein.”   Years ago, I felt the same way–I noticed I had more energy eating chicken and fish.   Then I recognized truth when a book I was reading said that many animal protein eaters experience weakness/fatigue when they go off animal protein because of the inevitable cleansing that results.   So they attribute the difference in the way they feel to “needing” meat rather than feeling poorly when they cleanse as an adjustment to ending an addiction.   (These opinions are then further supported by diet-plan promoters who advocate for unnatural amounts of protein, as well as scientifically unsupported “blood type” and “metabolic type” authors.)

 

I put the idea that my “feeling better” was related to cleansing, not need, to the test.   I can honestly say I have more energy now than ever before.   It’s not true what people say, that you’re just going to feel worse in your 40’s than you did in your 20’s!   I feel MUCH better at 41 than I did in my 20’s!   I just had to go off chicken and fish for LONG ENOUGH.   I plan to never go back to eating those foods  full of antibiotics, steroids, foodborne bacteria, and all kinds of pathogens.

Need motivation to eat less meat and more plants? . . . part 9 of 12

Some stats on hormones and  antibiotics in our meat supply, and Mad Cow disease:

U.S. beef cattle that receive hormone implants: 90% (100% in larger feedlots)

 

Independent European Union scientists’ report on the effect of hormones added to U.S. beef: they are “complete carcinogens” (able to cause and promote cancer by themselves) (hormone 17 beta-oestradiol)

 

Antibiotics administered to people in the U.S. for treating disease: 3 million pounds

 

Antibiotics administered to livestock in the U.S. annually for purposes other than treating disease: 24.6 million pounds

 

Antibiotics administered to livestock in Demark annually for purposes other than treating disease: zero

 

Adverse health effects as a result of Denmark’s elimination of antibiotic use for purposes other than treating disease: none

 

Prevalance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chickens in Denmark prior to ban on routine use of antibiotics: 82 percent

 

Prevalance three years after the ban: 12 percent

 

CJD or Mad Cow Disease: caused by feeding cows their own meat and bones

 

Still legal and widespread in the U.S.: feeding pigs and chickens their own bones, brains, meat scraps, feathers, and feces

 

Finding of Yale study examining brains of Alzheimers brains post-mortem: 13 percent of them actually had CJD or Mad Cow disease

 

How many Americans currently are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s: 4 million

Tell me: Why risk it?