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The Immune System Recovery Plan: A Doctor's 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease Hardcover – April 2, 2013
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“The Immune System Recovery Plan is a must read for everyone with autoimmune disease. Dr. Blum masterfully presents the latest scientific information and gives patients practical, natural, and safe ways to help the immune system heal.” (Joel M. Evans, MD Founder and Director of The Center for Women’s Health, Stamford, CT and author of The Whole Pr)
“In the tradition of Hippocrates, Dr. Susan Blum re-establishes food as the most fundamental and powerful mediator of health and wellness. The Immune System Recovery Plan provides a wealth of information, based on leading-edge science, that will surely have a profoundly positive impact on the vitality and longevity of its readers.” (David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, author of GrainBrain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar - Your Brain's SilentKillers)
“The Immune System Recovery Plan is a godsend for the millions suffering from autoimmune disorders. This book’s information is life-changing!” (Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause)
“A clearly written, practical, person-friendly and comprehensive approach to relieving the suffering and reversing the damage of autoimmune disease. Thank you Dr. Susan Blum.” (James Gordon, MD author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression, and founder/ dir)
"When treating autoimmune disease, Dr. Susan Blum takes the whole person into account, using practical tools such as understanding food as medicine and stress management, healing your gut, and supporting your liver. The Immune System Recovery Plan is an empowering, revolutionary approach to treating the causes of all autoimmune conditions." (Joshua Rosenthal Founder and Director of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition)
“The Immune System Recovery Plan is the right book, at the right time, by the right person. We are witnessing a significant increase in autoimmune inflammatory diseases, which include more than 80 different diagnoses. Dr. Blum has done a magnificent job helping the reader to understand how this family of inflammatory disorders, including arthritis and fibromyalgia, can be managed with the diet and lifestyle program she developed in her practice. Her step-by-step approach is based on her considerable years of experience as a physician, and the emerging medical science that, for the first time, has developed an understanding of how genetics, lifestyle and nutrition play a role in origin of these disorders. The approach described in Dr. Blum’s book represents the leading edge in the lifestyle management of chronic inflammatory disorders. It is a ‘news to use’ book that provides real assistance to those with inflammatory disorders who are looking for a clinically sensible approach to their problems.” (Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., FACN, President, Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute)
About the Author
Susan Blum, MD, MPH, is the founder of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, New York, an advisor to the Institute for Functional Medicine, and serves on the Medical Advisory Board for The Dr. Oz Show. An assistant clinical professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she has been treating and preventing chronic disease for more than a decade. She lives in Armonk, New York, with her husband and three sons.
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The one problem I have that I did not see in others reviews is it is very expensive. Once you get to the part with the plans details...there is a 30 day gut cleanse plan and then a 21 day liver detox plan...you see all the supplements you need to purchase (sold in kits on her website) and man is it expensive. As of now. The gut cleanse is $295 and the liver is $175. You then can purchase the relax kit for the relaxation portion and purchase the recipe books as well. Both my husband and I have an auto immune of reactive arthritis, spondyloarthritis and this would cost us about $1,000 for for the two of us to have 51 days of supplements. That's some very expensive supplements!!! I am sure they are good and if it would completely cure us that would be great. Unfortunately, we are low income and can not afford it so that's that. I just wanted to let everyone know before they purchase the book. I may just do a juice cleanse like Joe cross ( I think that was his name) in fat sick and nearly dead (documentary) as that seemed to cure his auto immune and I can afford that.
Both books present very similar arguments and plans for health improvement, but have different presentations. I found reading the two of them in conjunction with each other helpful.
Junger's "Clean Gut" is stronger on summarizing the argument made by both books. He compares modern medicine, with its specialists, focus on the use of drugs and symptom reduction, to trying to fix a dying tree by painting its leaves green, when instead, one should be feeding the roots of the tree. In his words (p. 27), "(T)he gut is the root of health, and gut repair is the mother of preventative medicine." His book provides somewhat more elaboration than Blum's does on the mechanics by which gut dysfunction can translate into disorders such as asthma or skin rashes.
Blum's "Immune System Recovery Program," however, I thought was more useful for implementation of a recovery program. While Junger's book is targeted at anyone, whether ill or not, Blum's book is targeted at those with autoimmune disorders. The first chapter summarizes the triggers of these diseases: our poor modern diet, chronic stress (and associated adrenal fatigue), gut issues, and liver overload because of our high load of environmental toxins. Accordingly, Blum presents her program in four parts: Fixing your Diet, Reducing Stress, Healing your Gut, and Reducing Toxic Load (Liver support). Each of the four parts is presented in three chapters: one that explains the issues and how problems develop, one that has a series of self-assessments and a three tier recovery program (the three tiers being food, supplements and other things one can do on one's own, and medical support). She suggests focusing on trying to resolve issues with dietary changes as the primary method, then adding supplements and other self-care regimines (e.g., meditation, exercise) as warranted by the severity of the issue, and proceeding to medical support if self-help does not improve things. I like the self-assessments and the systematic nature of her program.
In contrast, Junger's program is more of a one-size-fits all approach (to start, anyway) focused on gut repair, with one month-long program divided into two phases: a three week diet change where one removes common allergens, takes a variety of gut-cleansing and gut-supporting supplements, adds meditation and exercise, reduces toxic exposures, and then in week four, adds back the two most-often missed allergens, gluten and dairy, one at a time, and then removing them again if one sees a change in bodily reactions.
In other words, what Susan Blum might have you do over a period of 3 months, Alejandro Junger condenses to one intense month. Some might prefer Junger's approach, but that means, for example, taking several supplements to reduce "gut dysbiosis" regardless of the existence or severity of symptoms. He believes everyone will benefit, while Blum's approach focuses on doing the gut dysbiosis reduction program only if one scores high on related symptoms. So there is a difference in treatment philosophy here, but the overall programs are remarkably similar.
One quibble I have with Blum's book is her ordering of the chapters. Her discussion of immunity, like Junger's, puts gut issues at the center, so I thought that the chapter on healing the gut should have come earlier in the book. Placed in Part 3, the centrality of the gut to immunity kind of gets lost.
However, Blum deals more with problems caused by low stomach acid--heartburn and even asthma (see also Jonathan Wright and Lane Lenard's "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You" and Jamie Koufman's "The Chronic Cough Enigma"), which could be helpful to those for whom those are issues would in particular benefit more from Blum's gook.
Both books provide illustrative case studies, recommendations for specific supplements (sold on their associated websites), and a series of recipes.
I vastly preferred the recipes in Blum's book. I am a vegan, and there was just too much meat in Junger's selection of recipes. In addition, the recipes had very long lists of ingredients and seemed more complex to prepare. Blum's book has some recipes featuring chicken and fish, but the majority of the recipes are vegan, with shorter ingredient lists and less complicated directions than those in Junger's book.
Blum also provides for free on her web site a series of guided programs for each of the four steps. I've signed up for all four, but since they haven't started yet, I can't say anything about them, other than that, while the program is free, each suggests that you buy an associated "started package" for that step, which ranges in price from about $80 to almost $400. But buying the starter packages is not required to participate, and you can find many of the supplements cheaper online than by buying them from her.
I liked that Hunger included involvement in community as one of his general well-being principles in the concluding chapter, and his discussion of dealing with "addictions" to bad foods by"crowding out" and "pulsing out."
In sum, I thought both books were useful--Junger's for the cogency of the argument (and the greater power and detail of his personal story) and Blum's for her self-assessments, systematic approach, and attention to detail. If I had to buy only one, I would buy Blum's. If I could afford them both, I would read Junger's first and then follow up with Blum's.
As for how this all works? We'll see. I currently am suffering from asthma, low iron stores, and an elevation of thyroid antibodies. I've bought some of the suggested supplements, have put myself on a gluten-free diet (I was dairy-free already, being vegan), and will see I am feeling and how my blood test results are in December, by which time I expect to have gone through all four steps of the program.
I'll try to remember to update in December (on the Blum review only, since it is the details of her program that I will be following).
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Would recommend it to anyone with immune system problems.