The Personal Story Behind This Blog
So here's the personal story behind this blog: I grew up in Portland, Oregon and played soccer and tennis through high school and college. I attended Pacific Lutheran University in Washington, where I met my husband, Tuan. I am not much of a cook, but thankfully he is, so the majority of the recipes you find here are his creations. But alas, I digress. I went to Oregon Health and Science University for dental school. I got an Army scholarship, and as my "payback" I was stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany for 4 years as a general dentist. And yes, it was as great as it sounds. I pretty much hit the Army jackpot.
While overseas, we were bit the travel bug and we were able to travel to over 30 countries by the time we were 30 years old. Even our dogs were able to go to more countries than most people do. During that time we made amazing friends, and I found that I really enjoyed the surgical aspect of dentistry, which brought me back to OHSU for an additional 3 year residency in periodontics.
Meanwhile, I had been struggling with IBS for years and been unsuccessfully treated by numerous physicians, none of which even mentioned diet. At the time I assumed that it was just how my body responded to stress. Afterall, I had been in some sort of high-stress school environment for a total of 8 years after college. I had accepted my fate until the week of my board certification exam. The pressure and exhaustion caused my IBS to flare, and something had to give. My passion for nutrition took root when friends introduced me to the Paleo diet in an effort to treat my IBS. To be honest, I thought that giving up bread and eating more eggs and bacon sounded a little ridiculous and I was sure it wasn’t going to work, but sometimes desperation drives you to make a change, even one you aren’t sure of. Thankfully, going gluten free immediately relieved my symptoms, and I have never looked back. I only regret that I didn’t even consider a dietary change until then.
I still love helping patients and performing surgery in my day job at Riverplace Periodontics, but I am especially passionate about finding ways to help my patients improve their health and surgical recovery through diet. This became especially true after Tuan and I had children. We were blessed with twins, but soon after their birth I experienced severely debilitating back pain. After months of not being able to walk on my own or even pick up my newborn babies, I eventually needed surgery. This was quickly followed by a life-threatening infection and another major surgery.
After a long and difficult healing process, I began to realize that although my diet was significantly better than before, it was still not optimizing my ability to recover from this trauma. I continued to search for answers, and still do. I am constantly listening to health podcasts, reading books and blogs, and attending seminars. Seriously, my husband and I dork out on this stuff.
If I were to face surgery again, there are many things I would do differently, and I would like to share those things with you. My eyes (and stomach) have been opened to a whole new world of nutrition - I now see that eating is not simply something to stave off hunger pains, but is actually fuel for your cells and brain. And I’d like to put the cleanest, highest performing fuel into my engine! One of the ways we've done this is that we recently decided to put our money where our mouth is, so we've started our own small farm, called Petit Four Farmstead. This way we can raise plants and animals for our family that are well cared for without antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides.
I will no longer rest the fate of my health in the hands of government recommendations and dietary dogma.
If you look at the increase in diabetes, heart disease, metabolic disorders, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and many other modern health issues, it is clear that how we have been fueling our bodies in the past 40 years is not working. A vast number of epidemiological studies correlate poor oral health to these conditions. The gingiva (gum tissue) is an area of the body where inflammation is easily identified in its early stages. This gives dentists a unique opportunity to identify health problems that may otherwise go undiagnosed for many more years to come. And inflammatory disorders are like misery – they love company. People who suffer from one inflammatory disorder are likely to suffer from multiple inflammatory disorders. So let’s get to the root of the issue and combat the inflammation itself rather than constantly try to put out the fires that it has created.
Of course, there are likely many etiological factors at play here as well (think about environmental factors, genetics, stress, etc.), but making dietary changes is really quite simple and so effective that it is a logical place to start on the road to regaining our health. I hope that this site can be a resource to you as we take this journey together. I really would love to work myself out of a job by giving you this information, but the sad truth is that approximately 50% of the US population suffers from periodontal disease. Unfortunately, once the bone level around the tooth root is severely affected, surgery is often indicated.
It’s like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So even if you don’t have oral health issues, I’d like to share with you the information that I’ve found to help keep you that way! And if you do have oral health issues, well, you’ve come to the right place to learn about how to support the healing and regeneration process.
Ultimately, I hold no judgement over what you choose to put into your mouth. What you eat has no direct impact on me. But how you choose to nourish yourself does have a huge impact on your inflammation. And on how you feel. So it’s my goal to give you the information that you need to go against the conventional wisdom and make an educated decision on how to do this.
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