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Effect of food on physical issues - placebo?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by KatieDid123, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. KatieDid123

    KatieDid123 Peer Supporter

    Through my journey I've joined several support groups (which I no longer look at much), but many involved various food plans, such as Paleo, vegan, macrobiotic. In many cases, people would report that they felt drastically better when they began cleaning up their diet. For example, a man with severe arthritis in his hands started the Paleo diet and his inflammation and pain either drastically reduced or went away. Or a woman who did a juice fast and her fibromyalgia went way. I have talked to a woman that had trigeminal neuralgia after getting electrocuted by a washing machine and was completely disabled with pain. She started eating a raw vegan diet and doing deep cleansing and she is now 100% out of pain after a year of eating that way.

    In these cases when people change their diets and see very positive results in regards to their pain, conditions, or symptoms, how do you explain that? Is it a placebo effect? Are the "clean" foods actually reducing the inflammation or healing old wounds? Is it a combo of eating foods that reduce inflammation and genuinely believing that the foods will heal? Is food even important in a healing process?

    I'm so confused because I've seen miraculous healings in these food groups, but I've also seen miraculous healings in this group. Is the mind what's causing the healing in all cases?
    Homestead Hermit and Renee like this.
  2. Renee

    Renee Well known member

    What a great question. I've been wondering this myself in relation to a low oxalate diet for vulvodynia. Without realizing it I started eating high oxalate foods and over a period of time developed a very painful flare up. Did my unconscious cause me to stray from the diet so I would develop symptoms? I ask this because since I hadn't even paid attention to what I was eating I wasn't thinking that those foods would cause pain.
  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Since this is the TMS Wiki, it's placebo effect. What they've all done is become proactive in taking back their lives through nutrition, thus finding a positive distraction to replace the negative psychosomatic pain.
    Homestead Hermit and BruceMC like this.
  4. KatieDid123

    KatieDid123 Peer Supporter

    Good point, Tom. I guess since I'm posting on the TMS Wiki, the answer is placebo. Whereas if I posted on one of the food groups, it would be the food. I do believe that even if you eat the healthiest diet in the world, and your mind is not in the right place, the food will do you no good. That's true though, with the success stories I mentioned, eating healthy became the new obsession, and maybe that replaced the pain obsession.
    Homestead Hermit likes this.
  5. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I would say "Go with whatever works!" Since those folks aren't doing anything harmful, but instead are probably eating healthfully, I'm thrilled for them. If at some point they no longer are pain free, despite sticking with the food plan, then perhaps they'll discover TMS, and realize that their minds held the key all along.
    Homestead Hermit, andy64tms and plum like this.
  6. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

    I think eating a healthy diet is vital! Do you think you can be healthy eating junk food, diet coke and snacks all day?
  7. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter

    You've brought up a great point and I have no doubt that placebo plays a role. Not only are expectations about one's health changed but unconscious fear may also be reduced because of the purported protective effects of the diet. People may also change other health behaviors along with the diet change.

    However, placebo effects often fade and diets do play a strong role in health. When I changed to a whole foods plant based diet, I had some expectations about weight loss, blood pressure, and disease risk but I did not expect my joint pain to go away, that my contact lens prescription would have to be lowered, that my dry eye would go away, or my 25 years of low back pain would disappear. My back pain improvement did not coincide with weight loss but more closely fit the timeline one might expect for reversal of atherosclerosis of the blood vessels that passively supply the vertebrae with oxygen and nutrients. There is scientific evidence that occlusions in these blood vessels are one cause of back pain.

    So why do many varied diets have such positive effects? Again, I am sure placebo plays a significant roll but paleo, raw vegan, juice fasting, etc have more in common than might appear to the extent that they emphasize fruits and vegetables and avoid dairy and processed foods. These dietary commonalities reduce systemic inflammation which is a general mechanism of disease.
    andy64tms and Lily Rose like this.
  8. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

    Good post mm718! I also am eating a whole foods plant based diet. And, although still in pain, I know I am doing my body the best thing I can for it! I believe a good diet helps mentally. So, mentally, I hope to be able better to cope and understand my TMS to get better! For Good and Forever would be a miracle!!!!

    A Whole food plant based diet is scientifically linked to not ever having a heart attack, diabetes, and other diseases.

    I believe that Eating junk food can make you more depressed, and mentally unstable and less equipped to understand and deal with your TMS.
    andy64tms, Lily Rose and JanAtheCPA like this.
  9. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    All the Buddhist monks in my country eat all organic vegetable diet their whole life, but many of them still died from heart attack, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Most of those that died from those diseases mentioned joined the monkhood due to life circumstances, not due to personal choice.
    I think the key is a balance and varied diet, not too "junky" or too "healthy". Too obsessive about what we eat can "caused pain". A happy and healthy mind is a lot more important than what we're going to have for dinner tonight. People of Okinawa, Japan and Sardinia, Italy are two population that have the world's longest and healthiest lives. They eat meat and seafood. They drink alcohol.
    Here is an excerpt from the article: "The Island where people forget to die":

    In the United States, when it comes to improving health, people tend to focus on exercise and what we put into our mouths — organic foods, omega-3’s, micronutrients. We spend nearly $30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements alone. Yet in Ikaria and the other places like it, diet only partly explained higher life expectancy. Exercise — at least the way we think of it, as willful, dutiful, physical activity — played a small role at best.

    Social structure might turn out to be more important. In Sardinia, a cultural attitude that celebrated the elderly kept them engaged in the community and in extended-family homes until they were in their 100s. Studies have linked early retirement among some workers in industrialized economies to reduced life expectancy. In Okinawa, there’s none of this artificial punctuation of life. Instead, the notion of ikigai — “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” — suffuses people’s entire adult lives. It gets centenarians out of bed and out of the easy chair to teach karate, or to guide the village spiritually, or to pass down traditions to children. The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose. As Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, once told me, being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.
    You can read the entire article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/magazine/the-island-where-people-forget-to-die.html (The Island Where People Forget to Die)
  10. mm718

    mm718 Peer Supporter


    I agree with much of what you've said above but wanted to add a few things. The blue zone areas with the highest concentrations of centarians eat either no meat or very small amounts of meat. Those that do eat meat eat 5 servings per month or less as opposed to the standard american diet of greater than 60. The cultures you mention also eat very little dairy and eggs.

    In the 7th day adventist study there is a stepwise reduction in diabetes and hypertension the closer you get to vegan. With each step from omnivore, semi-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescotarian, and vegan risk drops. In the case of hypertension the risk was reduced by 75% and diabetes by 62%. When you take this a step further to a whole foods plant based diet you can achieve even more impressive results. For instance, in one study cardiac events in severe heart patients over 3.5 years were 0.6% in the whole foods plant based group and 60% in the group receiving standard care. Dean Ornish showed reversal of atherosclerosis 27 years ago.

    I agree you can absolutely become too obsessed with diet and food should be enjoyable. A whole foods plant based diet is not about deprivation. It is a beautiful and delicious way of eating. As you move away from salt, oil, and refined sugar you start to taste what real food actually tastes like. Your microbiome creates cravings for these foods and you enjoy a diet that will increase the quality and length of your live. The benefits spill over into almost every aspect of your life knowing that you aren't contributing to the torture of animals, the destruction of the planet, world hunger, and the health care crisis. You will lose weight, look better, and reduce the risk of the top 15 causes of death, including medical care which now rates as the third cause of death in the united states.

    Every person should be exposed to this information so they can choose for themselves. A good place to start is the documentary Forks over Knives available on Netflix.
    Lainey, andy64tms and Lily Rose like this.
  11. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

    Balto, do you have scientific proof for "All the Buddhist monks in my country eat all organic vegetable diet their whole life, but many of them still died from heart attack, stroke, cancer, and diabetes". I find that hard to believe.
  12. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    No sorry, I don't have any "scientific proof", No one come to our village to do one. I just happened to live for sometime in temple and went to quite a few funeral for monks. I knew what they died from. Just like all of us, they died from heart attack, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Like I've said in the above post, most of the monks with poor health were the one that became monk due to circumstances, not due to choice.
    the point I try to make is not if vegetable diet or meat diets is good or bad for us. The point I want to emphasize is don't just focus solely on your diet. There are much more important thing to focus on than our diet. I think trying to keep our mind healthy is a lot more important than what we eat or drink.
    see this post I've made a while ago: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/the-roseto-effect.4278/#post-77952 ("The Roseto Effect") , the Italian immigrant that settled in Roseto, Pennsylvania back in the 1960 somehow suffered much less from heart disease than the local population, even that they drink, smoke, work hard labor job and eat a high fat diet.
  13. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    If diets cured chronic pain (and other conditions), this wiki wouldn't exist. And neither you, nor I, would be here - it would be simple. Have arthritis? Eat XYZ. Have fibro? Avoid ABC. If diet is the cause and cure, then why does the same diet cure one person and have no effect on another person with exactly the same condition?

    When you start these diets, you are taking control, positive 'action' and perhaps taking better care of yourself. You have hope. That's why three people with the same condition will all tell you them were cured by three different diets. Of course, eating a balanced, nutritious diet can help you feel better overall but it's not a 'magic pill'.

    Why are we so quick to request 'scientific evidence' when a respected member of our community tells us his first hand observations? But many seem so happy to quickly accept claims such as 'dairy is inflammatory', without requiring the same standards? This article is very interesting - Dairy causes inflammation and the Easter Bunny is real

    https://www.thinkingnutrition.com.au/dairy-causes-inflammation/ (Dairy causes inflammation and the Easter Bunny is real)

    Can people be healthy on a 'bad diet'? An amazing number of people seem to manage it. Just look around at your friends and family. Of course, a balanced, non-obsessive style of healthy eating e.g. whole foods, is probably better for your body and longevity but it is not the 'cure' in my opinion. Heart attack, stroke etc. would seem to have obvious links to diet, lifestyle and the mindbody but those conditions are not why people on this wiki are generally here. They are here for chronic pain, depression, OCD etc. Let's not underestimate the OCD component whose life becomes all about following one type of diet or another. Just another distraction.
  14. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

  15. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

    "Can people be healthy on a 'bad diet'? An amazing number of people seem to manage it." I don't think so.
  16. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    We may have to agree to disagree on this one. While diet of course plays an important role in your health, I can certainly think of people I know who eat 'very healthy' and suffer from a range of complaints and at the other end of the scale, a friend of the family comes to mind, a lady who loved all the wrong foods, drank and lived to 93. She also spoke her mind and loved life.

    May I ask what complaints you are suffering from or what brings you to this wiki? Are you familiar with the concepts of TMS? You of course do not have to answer if you would wish to keep such issues to yourself.
    Homestead Hermit, plum, balto and 2 others like this.
  17. nutragirl

    nutragirl Newcomer

    I have multiple autoimmune conditions and neurological problems. I believe that TMS and stress can play a role in disease, but I also believe that proper nutrition, exercise, are a great benefit to the mind.

    I guess it is all relative in what you say about diet. You could say the same thing about believing in a higher power who will either heal you or punish you into the pits of fiery hell because of the life you led.

    I want to believe and hope in something that will heal me. And everytime I turn around someone squashes me down.

    No, diet won't help! No, drugs won't help! No, ot won't help! No, TMS therapy won't help. NO, acupuncture and massage won't help.

    You see where I am coming from????? I need support and reassurance that something will help.

    If I eat bad, don't exercise, smoke drink and do drugs, maybe I could live to 93?

    Even crabby nasty people live long lives so it can't be all attitude.

    Help me out here, cuz I am going crazy!!!

    And, scientifically speaking, vegan diets DO help diabetes, cardiovascular problems and a whole lot more.

    I want scientific proof of what will help me.
  18. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    There is no doubt that a good diet and exercise are an essential part of a well-balanced lifestyle, and I don't think anyone here disputes that but what we are saying is that from many and varied personal experiences we have found that the crucial element of resolving our pain/equivalent has been to address our tension levels primarily by addressing our frazzled nervous systems.

    As important as diet and exercise are, they alone cannot soothe the amygdala, they cannot calm the heat and fire of an overactive mind and they can't resolve emotional hurts and traumatic experiences. They may help, and as my case illustrates, they may be an essential platform for the necessary psychological work but in the end to ultimately resolve these issues we do need to soothe our primitive brain.

    The scientific evidence is growing. Dr. Schubiner has published studies. Alan Gordon is running one (his programme run here last Summer was a quid pro quo). Rick Hanson frequently links to studies. Candace Pert, God Bless Her Soul, was a research scientist whose work was instrumental in Dr. Sarno's developing theories.

    The people here are on the frontier of mind-body medicine. We are our own experiments and our own healing. There is much to discover and much to learn about the mysteries of the nervous system and the psyche. Of most interest is what Sarno called the black box. By this he meant how do our emotions and personalities govern the autonomic nervous system?

    We may not be scientists but we are masters of our territory and this site is a home base for this enquiry. For many of us it is a sanctuary where we can explore the emotional and psychological elements of our healing. It can be this for you too.

    Embrace whatever diet you wish but please be aware that it is but one factor. My lovely mum is diabetic and manages her condition with a plant-based diet yet in 2016 she had a stroke. Clearly other issues are at play.

    Give the good people here the chance to help you. Relax a little and open up as and when you are comfortable about your life and about what you have or are going through that may creating the stress and tension that is contributing to your woes.

    Sending you love,

  19. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Peer Supporter

    I hear your frustration, but could you consider that your needing this proof is also a way that your mind is condemning you to pain? By procrastinating (which is a form of perfectionism) over the path you take, it's keeping you on the starting line. TMS could be considered a toughie to beat, because it requires that you focus only on the psychological, but it works for so many people. I came back to this board with hideous back pain, and after a tough day over the weekend when I refused to give it any physical 'babying,' - no ice, no heat, no painkillers, no attention - and instead told it to sod off, citing a great mantra of 'I have MindBody Syndrome and I can cure myself,' it's gone down considerably. I know I'm onto something, and while it may be a murky path to know that you're onto something, rather than the good doctor is going to 'fix you,' it's far more liberating in the end. And yes, that does mean cured.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  20. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    I never be smart enough to write this good.
    Beautiful Plum.

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