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Few topics are as contentious as a person's dietary preferences.  People have strong beliefs on what they should eat, what makes a person healthy, and even the ethics of individual diets.


We have good reason to be passionate - immense healing power lies in what we eat.


Ancient medicinal knowledge has been passed down in the foods our ancestors have eaten. Many pharmaceutical medications today are made from herbs and foods used for thousands of years. Each time you eat, you not only connect with your own traditions but also tap into the oldest healing modality on earth. 


What food suits us depends on our unique biochemistry, genetics, nutritional needs, and the healing benefits certain foods can have on the conditions we have. 




A typical Western diet (high fat, high sugar, low vegetables, and high intake of processed foods) has been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, metabolic conditions, obesity, and autoimmune conditions. [1]

A diet high in processed foods is also linked to high inflammation and a greater probability of illness and early death. [2]

A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean or Okinawan diets - rich in vegetables and healthy fats like olive oil and low in sugar and processed foods - has been demonstrated to reduce mortality from cardiovascular disease, slow down the progression of aging, and improve lifespan. [3


Diet can not only improve longevity, but it can also be a primary instrument in restoring health after the development of a serious illness. 


Dr. Terry Wahls, a medical physician and professor, restored her health using diet and lifestyle changes after the progression of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis left her in a wheelchair. [4


She no longer needs a wheelchair and devised a protocol so others can regain their health. [5] In my practice, it is common for my patients with autoimmune disease and other chronic illnesses to have a complete resolution of symptoms using dietary and lifestyle changes along with nutritional medicines. 

It is unfortunate that most patients receive no information on how diet can drastically alter their health from their primary care physicians. This is the case even after they have been diagnosed with a condition that can be easily reversed with diet alone. [6]


This is often due to the lack of time in patient appointments, an overreliance on pharmaceuticals, and a general lack of education in nutrition in medical schools. 


Diet can also be used to prevent diseases once thought to be inevitable.  Many are worried about developing dementia especially if they carry certain genes like APO4.  News stories and documentaries highlight these correlations between disease and genetics, often stoking unnecessary fear. 
The reality is that patients can dramatically reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease with diet and lifestyle changes. [7] Individuals can even reverse dementia with lifestyle and dietary changes. [8
Environment and physical activity are also very important in the prevention of disease and guidelines are often added to patient treatment plans.
Nature also has an incredible capacity to heal and prevent diseases like cardiovascular disease and dementia - living next to trees has even been shown to reduce the risk of developing these diseases. [9]
There is also exciting research showing the benefits of hot and cold therapy. Sauna use in particular has shown great promise in reducing cardiovascular risk and cognitive decline. [10]




We use cutting-edge testing to see how well your body functions on a fundamental level. We can detect nutrient deficiencies, assess organ function and neurotransmitter health among many other factors. 


For those suffering from chronic illness, there are usually multiple food sensitivities that are making symptoms worse.  By removing those foods temporarily, tissues can heal while we rebuild gastrointerstinal health and address the underlying factors of your illness.


Specific foods contain compounds that are uniquely healing - whether you have an infection or want to prevent heart disease or dementia, your diet can be tailored to your health goals. 

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Very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets (paleo, keto) are extremely popular at the moment. While this diet can be beneficial for some, it can lead to worsening symptoms and impaired health for others.  


For example, patients with certain kinds of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can suffer from worsening health as a result of an extremely low carbohydrate, high-fat diet. 


In most bacterial infections affecting the gut, the liver is already burdened with microbe-induced toxicity.  Certain types of bacteria can produce their own toxins as byproducts called endotoxins, and it is this toxin load that can be detrimental to the liver.  


Not only can microbe-induced toxicity impair the liver, but it can also cause toxins to be recirculated back into the body - creating a cycle of illness.  


An already burdened liver with microbe-induced toxicity will have to slow or stop its healing to deal with excess dietary fat.  


Reducing dietary fat, even in the short term, can assist the body in resolving bacterial infection faster by supporting the liver. 


Adding adequate fiber is important in carrying out the waste produced by an infection and pharmaceutical-grade supplementation would be given to target the specific bacteria affecting the gut.  


A common occurrence in SIBO patients trying to treat themselves with 'gut healing diets' is that they feel great on these diets (like paleo, keto, or the Autoimmune Protocol or AIP) and have almost no symptoms in the short term but start having problems after a few weeks or months.


As soon as they stray off the diet for a piece of fruit or some refined carbohydrates - all of their symptoms come roaring back. This can indicate that the infection has not been eradicated, it is merely kept dormant by the diet. 


In order to get rid of SIBO for good, and not have to be on a strict diet for the rest of your life, you most likely need to have a treatment targeting the specific strain of bacteria you have. 



There are thousands of processes within the body that happen at every meal. What you eat is very important to your health - but remember that there is not just one healthy diet.  


Listen to your body.  If you feel tired, you can't sleep, you are experiencing anxiety or depression, excessive weight gain or loss, or don't have enough energy - then your diet (or another factor) may be to blame.  


Usually, becoming even more strict with your diet is not the answer. The healthiest diet for you will be one where you are not always hungry and will have sufficient energy throughout your day.  


If you have 'tried everything' or have reached a point in your healthy diet where you seem to be reacting to more and more foods then a functional medicine evaluation can help you pinpoint the problem and implement immediate changes. 

Your approach to getting healthy should be multifaceted one that should include appropriate testing, nutrition, genetic data, patient history, family history, and your current symptoms.




I offer functional medicine consultations over the phone or via video conferencing on the computer and am accepting patients worldwide. 


You can talk to me directly by scheduling a Free 15 Minute Consultation or you can call or text my office at 913-728-5291.


Disclaimer: If you think that you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Nor should you ever delay seeking medical advice or treatment due to the information contained on this Website. The information on this Website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. The information discussed is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Reliance on the information provided by this Website, Dr. Brian Lum, or Functional Healthcare Institute is solely at your own risk.


[1] Manzel, A., Muller, D.N., Hafler, D.A. et al. Role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 14, 404 (2014).

[2] Suksatan, Wanich, Sajjad Moradi, Fatemeh Naeini, Reza Bagheri, Hamed Mohammadi, Sepide Talebi, Sanaz Mehrabani, Mohammad Ali Hojjati Kermani, and Katsuhiko Suzuki. 2021. “Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Adult Mortality Risk: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of 207,291 Participants.” Nutrients 14 (1): 174.

[3] Capurso, Cristiano. 2021. “Whole-Grain Intake in the Mediterranean Diet and a Low Protein to Carbohydrates Ratio Can Help to Reduce Mortality from Cardiovascular Disease, Slow Down the Progression of Aging, and to Improve Lifespan: A Review.” Nutrients 13 (8): 2540.

[4] Institute for Functional Medicine, "Terry Wahls, MD, on New Research Into Diet and Lifestyle Treatments for Autoimmunity and Beyond," accessed June 7, 2023,

[5] Institute for Functional Medicine, "Terry Wahls, MD, on New Research Into Diet and Lifestyle Treatments for Autoimmunity and Beyond," accessed June 7, 2023,

[6] Taylor, Roy. 2013. “Type 2 Diabetes: Etiology and Reversibility.” Diabetes Care 36 (4): 1047–55.


Cox, Nate, Sam Gibas, Madeleine Salisbury, Julie Gomer, and Kelly Gibas. 2019. “Ketogenic Diets Potentially Reverse Type II Diabetes and Ameliorate Clinical Depression: A Case Study.” Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome Clinical Research & Reviews 13 (2): 1475–79.


[7] Baranowski, Bradley J., Daniel M. Marko, Rachel K. Fenech, Alex J. T. Yang, and Rebecca E. K. MacPherson. 2020. “Healthy Brain, Healthy Life: a Review of Diet and Exercise Interventions to Promote Brain Health and Reduce Alzheimer's Disease Risk.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 45 (10): 1055–65.

[8] Dalton, Clayton, "Lifestyle Changes, not a magic pill, can reverse Alzheimer's," Aeon, accessed June 10, 2023, 

Angeloni, Cristina, Rita Businaro, and David Vauzour. 2020. “The Role of Diet in Preventing and Reducing Cognitive Decline.” Current Opinion in Psychiatry 33 (4): 432–38.

[9] Astell-Burt, Thomas, Michael. A. Navakatikyan, and Xiaoqi Feng. 2023. “Why Might Urban Tree Canopy Reduce Dementia Risk? A Causal Mediation Analysis of 109,688 Adults with 11 Years of Hospital and Mortality Records.” Health & Place 82: 103028–103028.


[10] Laukkanen, Tanjaniina, Setor Kunutsor, Jussi Kauhanen, and Jari Antero Laukkanen. 2017. “Sauna Bathing Is Inversely Associated with Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in Middle-Aged Finnish Men.” Age and Ageing 46 (2): 245–49.

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