~ S P E C I A L ~ F E A T U R E ~
The Gold Coast Cure
by Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram Larson
an excerpt from the new book
The Gold Coast Cure is a new diet and fitness book that began as a program for treating multiple sclerosis (MS). The excerpt, below, explains how fitness trainer Ivy Larson and her husband, surgeon Andy Larson, developed The Gold Coast Cure after Ivy was diagnosed with MS.
Ivy had been reduced to near immobility, relying on a catheter to drain her bladder. Ivy and Andy built a diet based on Dr. Swank’s popular program that has been used by MS victims for over 20 years. They combined it with a fitness routine tailored for those who suffer chronic pain from a variety of debilitating diseases. Within a few months, Ivy Larson was able to remove her catheter, walk without pain, and resume a symptom-free, active life. That was eight years ago.
The Larsons took The Gold Coast Cure to a wellness program in New Jersey and repeated the phenomenal results, over and over, year after year. With just five weeks of guided training, hundreds of participants shed inches from their waistlines and hips, reduced their cholesterol levels, and in many cases regained mobility that had been presumed lost forever. The program is particularly effective for those suffering from inflammatory diseases, including asthma, allergies, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis as well as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.
The Larsons finally published their program in book form in 2005. More information about the book and authors Ivy and Andy Larson follows the excerpt.
How I Defeated Multiple Sclerosis
by Changing My Diet
by Ivy Ingram Larson
If you saw me chasing after my four-year-old son in the park or running with my husband on the beach you’d probably think I’ve always been healthy. You’d never guess that as recently as seven years ago, I struggled to walk up a flight of stairs due to weakness in my right leg, I was often incontinent, and I could barely make it through the day because I was constantly exhausted. At the age of twenty-two I felt like I was eighty-two, and I was seriously worried that I would never feel better.
Ironically, at the time I became ill, I was working as a health and fitness instructor at a medical center on the Gold Coast of Florida. I loved my job, which included evaluating patients, developing exercise prescriptions to help them regain mobility and teaching fitness classes. Many of my clients had serious health conditions like arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity, and I felt truly rewarded by my role in helping them back to health.
Although I worked out regularly, I didn’t pay much attention to what I put in my mouth. I was blessed with a fast metabolism, and I happily took advantage of it: My all-time favorite food was ice cream. I pretty much ate what I wanted, then hit the gym. I looked fit and healthy, but that was far from the truth.
I suddenly began suffering from bladder infections — as many as three a month. I constantly felt the urge to run to the bathroom, and I literally planned my days around access to a toilet.
I spent an entire summer visiting physician after physician, yet couldn’t obtain an accurate diagnosis. One doctor told me I was a “nervous-natured” girl, and another told me to sit in a hot bath four to six times a day to relax, and another insisted that using the bathroom 20 times a day was normal!
Things got progressively worse. My right leg got numb, and I lost considerable strength in my right hip muscle, making it difficult for me to lift my leg. Teaching exercise class was nearly impossible, and I was becoming more depressed with each passing day.
~ The Diagnosis ~
On night, thinking that another bladder infection was beginning, I followed doctor’s instructions and drank nearly four cups of cranberry juice and water. Thirty minutes into The Horse Whisperer, I thought my bladder was going to explode. I ran to the ladies’ room, but couldn’t go. I wound up in the emergency room, and I left the hospital wearing a catheter. While I knew something was terribly wrong, I was terrified to imagine what it was.
Still wearing the catheter, I traveled with my parents to the University of Miami to obtain a diagnosis. After extensive testing by a prominent urologist, I was referred to Dr. William Sheremata, a world-class neurologist. Frustrated at what seemed like another dead-end, I wondered how a brain doctor was going to fix my bladder.
After sending me for MRI scans of my head and spinal cord, Dr. Sheremata did have the answer, but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear: “Multiple sclerosis,” he said without hesitation. I sat in his pea-green office in a daze, listening to him enumerate the symptom of the diagnosis, many of which I already had: bladder problems, visual disturbances, depression, impaired memory, loss of mental clarity, debilitating fatigue, weakness, paralysis, inability to swallow, numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulty walking, Loss of coordination, and overwhelming dizziness.
I thought my life was over. The disease sounded like a living nightmare to me. Grim thoughts flooded my mind: Would I ever be able to have children? Would I always need to wear a catheter? Was I going to end up in a wheelchair?
As frustrated and frightened as I was about my symptoms, I learned that many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients suffer from problems far worse than mine. An increasingly common disease of the central nervous system, MS tends to strike at an early age, and although the course of MS is highly unpredictable, the disease can ultimately result in significant disability.
After the initial shock wore off, my doctor gave me hope by telling me that MS can be controlled by adhering to a healthful lifestyle. He gave me the option of taking a disease-modifying drug to treat the MS, and he also advised me to try the Dr. Swank diet for multiple sclerosis. I decided to hold off on the medication and try the diet first.
~ Enter Andy Larson ~
At the time of my diagnosis, my future husband, Andy, was studying at one of the top three medical schools in the country. Despite his medical training, Andy questioned my decision to try nutritional therapy instead of prescription medication; he’d never heard about treating MS with diet, and he was skeptical. He spent hours at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical library reading all of the available literature. Only then, to his astonishment, was he able to confirm that the Swank diet did in fact have merit.
Although it seems like common sense that anyone suffering from chronic illness should maintain a healthful lifestyle, many medical doctors remain highly suspicious of, or at least unimpressed with, nutritional therapies. Even though we view physicians as the ultimate authorities when it comes to health, the average medical student receives less than 30 hours of training in nutrition and no instruction in exercise therapy or nutritional supplementation. Most medical students graduate uninformed about these keys to good health unless they develop their own intellectual interest.
Although Andy and I were impressed with the results of the Swank program, I was having a difficult time sticking to the bland diet. Hoping that a more enjoyable program existed, we pored over countless medical, exercise, and scientific journals, reading everything we could about diet, exercise and MS. After extensive research, we discovered an irrefutable connection between the foods I was eating and my MS. Armed with this information, we developed an enjoyable eating plan consisting of healing, anti-inflammatory foods and a supplementation regimen that controlled my MS by fighting inflammation and keeping my immune system optimally fueled.
I then customized an exercise program to rebuild my muscular strength and keep MS complications at bay. In the past I had worked with MS patients who were more disabled than they needed to be as a result of inactivity. Many of them had problems with balance, muscle atrophy, fatigue and weakness that could have been greatly improved with consistent resistance training exercise. Although I knew exercise alone wouldn’t “cure” my MS, I knew a consistent program of strength training could dramatically improve my quality of life.
~ A Dramatic Improvement ~
My health improved rapidly. First I noticed a dramatic increase in my strength and energy levels. The catheter was removed, and I have never experienced another bladder problem since that night I ended up in the emergency room. The awful sensations of urgency and frequency also diminished. I began waking up fewer times at night and holding my bladder for longer periods during the day. The incontinence stopped altogether, and the strength in my right hip returned.
As I noticed my health improving, I also noticed that I was falling in love with Andy. Luckily for me, he was feeling the same way. We were married several years later and when we vowed to love each other in sickness and in health, we knew in our hearts we were speaking the truth.
Four years ago, I gave birth to our incredibly healthy son, Blake, and never experienced a post-pregnancy flare-up that is so common among women with MS. It has been seven years now since I was diagnosed, and today I can honestly say I feel better than ever. Not only am I measurably stronger and healthier than I was at the time of my diagnosis, I no longer feel like my body is betraying me. I have stopped going to bed worrying if I will wake up in the morning with some horrible MS symptom. The psychological burden of MS is gone.
~ The New Jersey Experiment ~
After witnessing firsthand how effective nutritional therapy was in fighting my inflammatory condition, Andy and I realized that our plan could treat other modern diseases because it combats two culprits that cause and exacerbate disease: inflammation and malnutrition. By reducing or eliminating these two problems, our Gold Coast Cure could treat ten chronic diseases — arthritis, asthma, heart disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, type II diabetes, vascular dementia, obesity, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis — as well as offer protection from certain types of cancer and improve cholesterol ratios.
After sharing our recommendations with friends and family, we brought our program to the public through a wellness class at the prestigious Atlantic Club in Red Bank, New Jersey. The class was advertised as a “5 Week Shape-Up” for club members who had health problems ranging from high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels to asthma, fibromyalgia, type II diabetes, obesity, MS and arthritis.
While we were confident we could help our clients, we weren’t sure we could obtain measurable results for such a wide variety of conditions in just five weeks! As part of our first class, we performed extensive testing on every client, including a complete cholesterol profile, blood pressure testing, triglyceride testing, waist and hip measurements, and body fat analysis. The class met three times a week for one hour for five weeks.
The results were nothing less than astonishing: In as little as five weeks every client saw measurable improvements in not only their appearance but their health. Every single person lost weight, decreased their body fat percentage, and lost inches from either their waist or hips, or both. Every person who had high triglycerides saw a decrease; every person who suffered from an inflammation- mediated condition such as asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia enjoyed a marked improvement in their symptoms; and every person except for one saw improvements in their total cholesterol level and their overall cholesterol profile. For example:
A fibromyalgia patient enjoyed significant improvement in her energy levels, sleep quality and relief from the pain and stiffness associated with her disease; her total cholesterol decreased from 208 to 179; she lost two inches from her waist and hips.
A middle-aged woman decreased her cholesterol from 252 to 213 and lost four inches from her waist and hips.
A fairly healthy fifty-five-year-old man joined the class hoping to reduce his high cholesterol level. Not only did his total cholesterol drop from 305 to 245, his “bad” LDL cholesterol dropped from 229 to 187 and he decreased his body fat from an already fit 17.2 to an even leaner 15 percent.
A fifty-nine-year-old man lowered his body fat from 29.5 percent to 26 percent and lost 4 pounds. He lost 4-1/2 inches from his waist and hips, lowered his cholesterol from 250 to 196, and lowered his triglycerides from 87 to 70.
One of our clients, a nurse who directs a prominent cardiac rehabilitation program, came to us hoping to improve severe arthritis symptoms. She’d been unable to cross her legs for years due to the pain in her knees, she couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs, and she could barely bend down to pick something up off the floor. Our initial blood work revealed her cholesterol level to be dangerously high.
At the end of our five week class, she was crossing her legs, climbing stairs easily and without pain, and walking miles a day on the streets of Manhattan! She lost seven pounds and decreased her body fat percentage from 33 percent to 28.5 percent. She was so impressed with the results she invited us to talk about the Gold Coast Curewith advanced practice nurses representing the Tri-State Society of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. From there the word spread, and we’ve been presenting our program to patients and health care professionals ever since.
~ We Wrote This Book For You ~
We wrote this book to share what we’ve learned with everyone who suffers from the chronic conditions we target. Having personally experienced the tragic consequences of lost hope, we want to share with you our message that things can improve. Our dear friend A.J., to whom this book is dedicated, also had MS. His physicians gave him medication, but they didn’t give him a reason to think he could feel better. They insisted that nutritional therapy was a waste of his time. Without a medical background, our friend had to rely on the MS “experts” for advice on how to control his disease. When his symptoms took a sharp turn for the worse, despite painful injections of a disease- modifying medication that was becoming increasingly ineffective, A.J. took his life at the age of thirty. We firmly believe A.J. would still be here today if he had been given the hope of a brighter future.
The Cure offers hope. Although we were initially devastated to learn about my MS, once we learned there was a blueprint for health that could slow or even reverse the progress of this debilitating disease, we became hopeful for our future. And there’s hope for you, too. Whether you want to lost that last stubborn ten pounds, get your diabetes under control or simply have more energy to get through your days, the Cure can work for you.
~ Small Changes, Big Effects ~
You don’t have to be ill to be on The Cure. This is a lifestyle plan that you can follow in sickness and in health because it prevents and reverses degenerative disease and whittles your waistline. By following The Cureyou’ll not only improve your health, you’ll also improve your appearance.
Within five weeks, you and your physician alike will see real results. You will appreciate a definite difference in the way you feel and the way you look. Your measurements will improve. Your clothes will be looser. Your physician will be able to measure statistically significant improvements in your cholesterol profile, body fat percentage, inflammatory markers in your blood and most likely your blood pressure.
All of these results can be obtained in just five weeks. We’ve seen it happen over and over with hundreds of our clients, friends and family members. The best part is that your entire family can follow The Gold Coast Cure lifestyle together. The foods we recommend are nutritious and delicious, so you can prepare one meal and satisfy everyone in your household. Everybody, especially growing children, should be eating the balanced, nutrient-rich whole foods we recommend.
The Cure stands out among alternative health and wellness books because our advice is scientifically proven and socially realistic. Our general philosophy is one of moderation and balance. The substitutions are simple, and the additions are painless. Switch from margarine to all- natural, better-tasting spreads. Cook with extra-virgin olive oil instead of standard vegetable oil. Use flax oil and extra-virgin olive oil instead of standard vegetable oils in your salad dressings. Switch from refined, processed grains to whole grains. Use whole wheat flower products instead of enriched flower products to ensure that you are fueling yourself with nutrients instead of empty carbs. Supplement with essential fats, vitamins and antioxidants. Add omega-3 foods to your diet. Eliminate trans fats from your diet. Perform our resistance circuit- training workout for thirty minutes three times per week. Making even one of these changes can result in markedly improved overall health.
We hope we’ve provided sufficient motivation. We hope our story and the stories of our clients serve as inspiration. For us it took the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. What will it take for you to improve your lifestyle?
In today’s world, you, not your physician, must be your own advocate. You must take charge of your health, and you must take the initiative to educate yourself. Your doctor can’t explain the principles in this book during a ten-minute office visit. We’re giving you the opportunity to become your own advocate with The Gold Coast Cure. So make a difference. Take charge like so many of our clients already have. Have fun along the way. You only have one life. Make it a good one.
THE GOLD COAST CURE:
The 5-Week Health and Body Makeover.
A Lifestyle Plan to Shed Pounds,
Gain Health and Reverse 10 Diseases
by Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram Larson
Published by Health Communications, Inc.
ISBN 0-7573-0235-1, 378 pages, hardcover with DVD, $21.95
Available through this site or directly from:
also available from Amazon US and Amazon UK
“In this eminently sensible and useful book, Dr. Andrew Larson and exercise specialist Ivy Larson offer sound guidance for lasting health benefits.”
— David L. Katz, M.D., MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director of Medical Studies in Public Health, Yale University, author of The Way to Eat
“Finally, a diet book that I would recommend to friends, family and clients. Dr. Larson and his wife, Ivy, are careful to separate scientific fact from scientific opinion.”
— Lona Sandon, M.E.d., R.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition, UT Southwestern Medical Center; spokesperson, The American Dietetic Association
“The Gold Coast Cure is about transformation…. This book will indeed transform the paradigm of illness and health for many, opening new doors to allow health to flourish.”
— David Perlmutter, M.D., FACN. author of The Better Brain Book
“I applaud Andy and Ivy for reaching out to everyone in need of lifestyle change, but mainly to those battling chronic diseases who are searching for help and hope.”
— Jack Nickalaus, golf legend
“…it may be the enticing recipes included here that convince readers to try The Gold Coast Cure…. the Larsons’ formula, which emphasizes essential fatty acids, nutrient-rich carbohydrates and circuit resistance training, includes so many easily implemented tools, there may be no excuse not to try it.”
— Publishers Weekly
Finally, the diet that slims and tones and also heals the immune system and prevents degenerative diseases!
It’s rare that a diet book comes along that matters. Not one that just helps you fit into your jeans but also changes your life. The Gold Coast Cure is that kind of diet. It will slim your waistline and keep you healthy. And if you’re not healthy now, it can reverse your symptoms.
That’s what it did for Ivy Larson, whose multiple sclerosis left her wearing a catheter and unable to walk up a flight of stairs. Undeterred, she and her husband, Dr. Andrew Larson, devised an anti-inflammatory whole foods diet and exercise plan to heal her. It worked. Today, her MS is in remission and she has the extra energy to keep up with their healthy toddler.
The Cure is changing lives. Let it tone your body, improve your appearance and prevent or reverse the following:
heart artery disease
type II diabetes
high blood pressure
The book also includes a bonus DVD featuring The Cure resistant-training workout. The workout can be completed in 10-minute, 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.
Over 75 Recipes
A Complete Pantry Makeover
A Brand-Name Shopping Guide
A Daily Vitamin Planner
This extraordinary plan is: Family Friendly and Safe for Kids; Doesn’t Require Calorie Counting or Complicated Phases; Allows You to Enjoy Coffee, a Sweet Treat and a Glass of Wine a Day.
Discover The Gold Coast Cure and transform you body in just 5 weeks!
Copyright �2005 by Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram Larson. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file as long as the contents are not changed and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.