Happy 5th Anniversary—Almost

This is a post I’ve been doing over a number of days. The main reason I wanted to consult with Shari’s naturopath is because of the pressure headaches I’ve been having, the tremor that’s manifested itself in my left hand following their onset and my tingling lips.

When I walked in the front door, I was carrying four bananas for sustenance following my fasting labs. I recognized the doctor from his picture as he asked, “Are you selling bananas?” I said yes, and they were only twice what he’d have to pay at the store.

After signing in at the desk, I had to fill out a detailed history. At the suggestion of the receptionist (who, I found out, is also the doctor’s wife) I’d gone early so I could do that before my appointment. Before I was completely through, I was called up to turn them in. Just then, I heard someone breeze through the front door and a voice shout, “I’d know you anywhere!” It was Shari—and I would have known her anywhere, too.

We didn’t have time for more than a quick couple of hugs before I was shown to an exam room that had interesting pictures (including one of the doctor’s gorgeous garden). He came in and we commenced to talk.

I showed him the tremor in my hand and told him about my headaches and he said he would suspect there is a link between the two. He believes it to be Parkinson’s but said the only way we could be sure would be for me to go for imaging and neither one of us wanted to do that. It’s fine if it would make a difference, but in the case of Parkinson’s, it wouldn’t. The really definitive way to diagnose it is with an autopsy but I’m not ready for that yet. My sister insists that it’s a familial tremor. Once again, it wouldn’t make any difference. The treatment is still the same.

Seeing my crestfallen face, he asked if it would be okay if he brought Shari in. I needed moral support so I gladly said yes. She came in and sat beside me through the rest of the consultation.

He loaded me up with some supplements he wants me to take. There’s Coenzyme Q10, E.P.O. (evening primrose oil), Zyflamend and LiquiNutrients. Also on the list is l-Glutamine but he didn’t give me any of that. The last thing he prescribed is L-Dopa. He was a little hesitant to tell me because he knew I’m a confirmed raw foodist. He said there were two ways to get it—pharmaceutical L-Dopa or fava beans and the beans have to be cooked. AND he said the beans need to be cooked to mush. The tremor I can live with as long as it doesn’t get any worse (and the fava beans are supposed to alleviate it to some degree) but the headaches are devastating.

He gave me a list of things I am never to eat. Here it is:

Sugar, coffee, black tea, dairy products, red meat, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, peanuts/peanut butter, chocolate, mayonnaise, margarine, Nutrasweet, Splenda and artificial sweeteners, shellfish, white flour, soda, beer/wine/alcohol, artificial coloring/flavors, additives, preservatives.

He said I can use salt but only sea salt. I asked about agave nectar later and he about went out the window. NO! It’s worse than high fructose corn syrup. I know that’s the result of a study done on one kind of agave nectar but another shows the brand I use doesn’t raise the blood sugar at all. I told him I rarely indulge. I’d bought a bottle early in my visit and it still wasn’t opened. He said I could use it but not much and not often. It was still unopened when I came back to Tennessee. It will be returned to the store where it was purchased.

Shari asked me how I felt about eating the fava beans and I told her I could handle doing that. It isn’t like I have been craving cooked and gave in. The fava beans are as far as I plan to go with cooked food. The doctor said he looks at food as medicine before he goes any other route. I appreciate that.

In light of my history of only having two surgeries (tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy when I was 7 and a tubal ligation after DD was born) and few health problems, he said he would say I am a healthy person. That was nice to hear.

When we left, Shari made some quick calls and found fresh fava beans. We went to a co-op where she’s a member and got enough to do me a few days—we thought. After shelling and cooking, they did me for one meal that evening and breakfast. DD and merm had to take me back there to get another $10 worth to last until my order of dried fava beans arrived from Amazon. I signed up to get them on subscription. That gets me a discount and I can cancel any time I want.

We looked everywhere, almost, in the Seattle area to find dried fava beans and there weren’t any to be had. I was glad I could order them online. Seems it’s the only reliable way to get them.

My possible diagnosis didn’t hit until later when DD and I were talking. I lost it and started crying. I know it isn’t the end of the world but it isn’t easy thinking this is what I may have to look forward to.

On Friday, I had to do a catch of my first urine of the morning and turn it in. He had some of the results of my blood work back and was concerned that my H&H is elevated. He said that can indicate a chronic exposure to carbon monoxide. I’m to get a detector and put it over the fireplace. I’m going to use it in my car first to see if there’s a leak. He confirmed the diagnosis of pernicious anemia and gave me a B-12 shot. He also gave me the l-Glutamine and told me to take one three times a day. So…I am eating cooked and taking lots of supplements and I have been preaching against both. It has taught me once again to never say never.

My blood work results:

Blood Work

The following Tuesday, he saw me in the waiting room and said, “I have something very interesting to tell you.” I said that didn’t sound too encouraging. He took me on back to the exam room where he sat me down and read me the results of an allergy panel he’d had run. I’m allergic to sugar cane, baker yeast, dungeness crab (what will I ever do??!), and also mildly allergic to corn. Since I don’t eat that often, I’m not worried about it. I don’t swell up or anything. THEN he said, “This is what blew me away. Did you know you are highly allergic to spinach? I have never in all my 20 years of practicing seen any allergy that’s so high on the chart! It came in at a 5! You are never to eat spinach.” Spinach?? SPINACH??? That’s what I put in my smoothie almost every morning and using it so often is probably what made me develop an allergy to it. Since then, I have looked up the symptoms of a spinach allergy and they include tingling lips which I’ve had for several months.

Allergy Panel Page 1

Page 1 Food Allergy Panel

Allergy Panel Page 2

Page 2 Food Allergy Panel

He asked me if I were feeling any better and I had to admit I did. I had been headache-free except for some mild pressure since Sabbath. He gave me another B-12 shot (I wish I could go to him for that every time. He gives the best shots and is the best at drawing blood, too.) and an order for two B-12 shots a week for three months. Then he did a glutathion IV push. He told me I would get a taste like chocolate in my mouth but then he said he was only kidding. It would taste like vitamins and it did. He said when I could taste it, it meant it was going throughout my system.

He didn’t give me an order for another IV. He said we’d have a telephone consult in two weeks after he gets back from Costa Rica. He was taking 23 students down for a teaching tour. I’d like to go on an eating tour.

My budget has been a concern throughout this experience. I asked him when I could cut back/cut out and he said not for three months. I’ve been faithful about taking my supplements except one morning I got up and there they were, still in a little bowl on the counter. I took my LiquiNutrients at DS1’s place and walked off and left the bottle in the fridge. I have a couple ordered but they probably won’t be here for several days.

I asked for copies of everything and his wife gave me my lab results for the blood work as well as for the urinalysis. She said the UA indicated I wasn’t drinking enough water. DUH! I hadn’t been on my normal routine for well over a week.


A lot of my hours in the Great Northwest were spent online trying to find everything I need. It was mostly when DD and merm were working so it didn’t take time away from them but I would have rather been sunning (when there WAS sun) or watching videos on youtube but what had to be done had to be done.

I posted these developments on the forum and have gotten emails and private messages from several and a few have posted commiserations and advice. They are all being very supportive.

And now for a word to the wise…I still wouldn’t have known I am allergic to spinach if the doctor hadn’t ordered an allergy panel. It isn’t so comprehensive it leaves nothing out. I don’t think there is a test out there that would cover everything. However, if you are a raw foodist like me (and I still consider myself a raw foodist even though I’m no longer 100%) and you don’t have ready access to a variety of digestible raw foods, I would advise you to ask your doctor to order an allergy panel.

Later: I got the detector and put it in my car. Nothing. I put it over the fireplace. Again, nothing. Of course, only the pilot light is lit and I’m not going to turn on the logs with 90+ degree weather. I’m going to take it to work and see if it sets off the alarm. That would be scary. DD said surely they have carbon monoxide detectors. I know they have smoke detectors and I would hope they are CO detectors, too. When I walk, which is rarely, I try to avoid exhaust fumes but it isn’t always possible. The doctor ordered me to walk 30 minutes a day. There’s nowhere here at home where I can do that. I’ll have to talk to my boss and see if I walk 30 minutes in the mornings because there is no way I can split it up morning and afternoon during the summer.

On my way home, I went to that foreign country known as Cooking Appliances and bought a crockpot. It has my next few days’ fava beans in it. It took forever for it to come to a good simmer so I dipped out the water and boiled it in another pan and put it back. If they cook on low all night, they should be mush, for sure.

So…10 days before what would have been my 5th raw food anniversary, I started eating cooked. My sister asked how I felt about it. Of course, I was disappointed I didn’t make it to June 24 and beyond but it isn’t the end of the world. She said she was disappointed for me. That’s sweet. Stay tuned. I’ll be writing more about my odyssey.

11 Responses to Happy 5th Anniversary—Almost

  1. Shari June 27, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    I still think you can claim 100% raw because the fava beans are medically indicated. And how about soaking the beans overnight in water, drain, and then put them in the crockpot and just turn it on when you go to work? I used to cook a lot of beans like that and never once did I boil the water beforehand. Crockpots are not meant to boil water, they are s-l-o-w cookers!


    • Tommie June 28, 2010 at 6:30 am #

      Thanks, Shari! Two great minds…I was thinking last night that if food is medicine, then the fava beans are a medication. I guess there are people who would say it’s just semantics. So what?

      With the peeled fava beans, they start breaking down in water so I would have to retain the soaking water to cook them in but I’ll try that next time. It would be kind of like pinto beans without the skin. There’s nothing there to hold the mealy stuff in.

  2. Shari June 28, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    Are you talking the dried beans break down? That doesn’t make any sense. So how come you can’t just put them in the water in the pot and turn it on? Why bring the water to a boil?


    • Tommie June 28, 2010 at 8:18 am #

      They’re prone to break down because they are very mealy. The directions on the package say not to soak them but to bring them to a boil in 3 parts water to 1 part beans then reduce the heat and simmer them 40-45 minutes or until soft. Well, they are still crunchy so I simmer them much longer.

  3. Mary Jane June 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    I’m finally able to catch up! All very interesting.

    • Tommie June 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

      It was interesting from my perspective, too. And the last time I went to see the doctor, he gave me a big hug when my visit was over. That was a bonus!

  4. Steve June 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve been researching fava beans for some time now, and I’ve learned that sprouting the beans increases the level of L-dopa by as much as TEN TIMES. In addition, there is some indication that they are best when eaten as raw sprouts, not cooked. I’d been cooking my sprouted beans, but recently started eating them raw, without any ill effects. Whether you cook them or eat them raw, definitely sprout them first. Here’s how: soak them for 8 hours or so, drain and rinse them, and put them in a colandar, covered with a cloth. Soak them again every night. Drain and rinse them every morning and rinse throughout the day. In a day or two, the beans begin to sprout. I then peel and eat 4-8 oz of sprouted beans every day, or I peel and cook them. Good luck to you!

    • Tommie June 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

      Thank you, Steve! That sounds like quite a process but I’m willing to try it. I have a big package of organic beans that aren’t peeled. Can I use those? I’m wondering about the toxicity in raw beans. Would that not be a problem in this case? And, is it true that fava beans are actually a member of the pea family rather than true beans?

  5. Steve July 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Sorry for my slow response — I ran across your blog while researching fava sprouts, and then couldn’t find it again for awhile! Yep, fava beans (also known as “broad beans”) are a legume, like peanuts and peas. They’ve got a very interesting history, and from what I’ve read, they’ve been in cultivation for so many thousands of years that no wild form exists.

    From what I’ve read at this link: http://chetday.com/sprouttoxins.html, “Soaking alone causes a significant decrease in anti-nutrients, as the antinutrients are leached into the soak water. Soaking for 18 hours removed 65% of hemag-glutinin activity in peas.66 Soaking for 24 hours at room temperature removed 66% of the trypsin (protease) inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil, 59% in chickpea, and 100% in broad bean. Then as germination proceeds, anti-nutrients are degraded further to lower levels or nothing. Soaking for 12 hours and 3-4 days of germination completely removed all hemagglutinating activity in mung bean and lentil. Soaking for 10 hours and germination for 3 days completely eliminated amylase inhibitor in lentils. Normal cooking removes most or all of the anti-nutrients. ”

    I’ve been buying dried, unpeeled fava beans from Whole Foods for about two years now. I was soaking, sprouting and cooking them, but for the past two months, have been eating the sprouts raw with no ill effects. I’ve also steamed them lightly, and sauteed them in a pan with vegetables. The flavor, frankly, is better when they’re cooked, but a little salt helps. 😉

    I’ve found these links to have some very helpful information:


    • Tommie July 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

      The anti-nutrients must be in the peels, then, since the soak water removes them. Have you read the book I mentioned in my post by Perlmutter? He advocates using the lowest dose possible to get the desired results since the body can build up a resistance to the effects.

      As for cooking them to mush, I would surmise it would be to make them more digestible. Since I only eat raw food otherwise, eating cooked beans could be quite a shock to my system. My naturopath also “holds degrees in Agronomy and Soil Sciences, Human Health Sciences, and Nutrition…He holds a professional certification with the American Herbalist Guild and is an adjunct professor of Ethnobotany at Bastyr University.” I would think he knows whereof he speaks.

  6. Steve July 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    One more thing…I’m curious as to why the naturopath you consulted said the “beans need to be cooked to mush.” They do, as you mentioned in an earlier comment, break down when cooked, but when I sprout and peel them, it takes awhile from them to break down into “mush.” I’ve cooked them like that, added lemon, garlic and pepper for a delicious hummus-like dish, but they’re also delicious when cooked so that they still hold their shape and have more of an “al dente” texture.

    I’m by no means a doctor. I’m just a 43-year-old guy who read about the benefits of fava beans, and if they have only half the benefits claimed for them, I’m willing to eat them every day! Besides, I really like ’em.

    If you see the naturopath again, you may want to ask him about the very detailed (and somewhat intimidating) research done by Ken Allen in the link in my posting above (http://home.cogeco.ca/~allan/beans.html). I was happily eating the canned beans until I read his posting, which seems to indicate that cooking actually degrades the l-dopa. He writes “. . .My rule of thumb is that each sprouted fava bean contains two mg levodopa. . .When I am not rushed in the morning, I start my day with a half tablet of 25/100 carbidopa/levodopa plus 20 to 30 fava sprouts which I skin as I go.”

    I realize this is all just “stuff found online.” I could write a blog posting about the nutritional benefits of sand and it wouldn’t mean that I’m an expert…but it does seem that this guy has done a LOT of research and testing, and because of what he wrote, I’ve switched from cooked to raw fava sprouts. If I read anything that indicates that they’re toxic (as are, for instance, raw kidney bean sprouts), or if I find that they affect me badly, I’ll certainly update my comments on your blog ASAP!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.