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Elimination Paleo Diet Here We Come!

by Fred Hahn on February 22, 2011


My knees hurt. They have been hurting now for almost 2 years. They hurt so badly that I can no longer do the things I love to do that require knees. The diagnosis – severe medial osteoarthritis caused mainly by being bow-legged (genu varum) which leads to deforming arthrosis. I remember as a kid people would often make comments to me like “Hey fella – did you just get off your horse?”


The X-ray above is not my knee but it might as well be. If you look at the inner part of the knee, you’ll see that due to the varus bend in the inside of the knee, the inside of the bones are completely on top of one another. This leads to premature erosion of the knee cartilages. The result of this is a deformation of the tendons – it stretches them across a greater surface area – and as the tendons fray, excruciating pain results.

The real pain started after a fall I took a few years ago in my backyard where my right knee bent so far backward I almost passed out. We have yet to put Bilco doors atop the hole that leads to the basement door. One day as I was carrying something large and unwieldy passed the hole and down I went.

But the years of running and martial arts also took it’s toll. After seeing my xrays and MRIs, my friend and former business partner who is also an orthopedic surgeon said “Fred it’s a good thing you’ve stayed strong over the years or all this would have come to haunt you sooner.” He also said that there is nothing he or I can do to resolve this. He said what everyone who is in my position fears to hear – you’re gonna need a new knee.

Well, I like my knee. He has been with me for quite some time. He’s been with me through thick and through thin and, may I say, I have grown quite attached to him. Parting is not an option.

One doctor told me that the condition could have been rectified as a youngster with proper braces. My parents, it seems, never noticed how bad it was.

So as you might guess, I have been doing everything possible to address the pain, but to no avail. You name the herb, I’ve taken it. Physical therapy is useless of course as I am 10 times stronger than any therapist could make me and no therapy can straighten the deformity. I have had Synvisc injections which did absolutely nothing. I tried a steroid injection which helped for 1 week but the pain came back with a vengeance (I know that steroids are bad but when you are in pain…).

I am now doing what is called Prolotherapy,. Prolotherapy is a series of injections, performed by a physician, of dextrose and Lidocaine designed to induce an inflammatory response. This response gets my body to put a little giddy-up on the healing process in the tendons so that the pain becomes manageable. Here is a video of a physician administering PT:

Wish me luck.

But there is another reason for the degradation to my knee joints and may very well be the reason for the deformity in the first place. It’s called called “leaky gut” and when you have this, all bodily hell can break loose in the form of autoimmune disorders.


Autoimmune disorders occur when they body attacks itself for one reason or another. My understanding of the conditions is that of a layperson, but I think I have a decent grasp on it. Essentially, elements that should not be in your blood stream enter the blood stream via a compromised gut wall (see the above diagram) and are attacked by the immune system. However, some of these invaders are so similar to the tissues and structures of our bodies that the immune system gets confused and attacks what it should not like knee cartilage, brain stems, etc.

Sometimes the disorder results in disorders as benign as acne. Sometimes the disorder results in disorders as horrific as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, multiple sclerosis or severe forms of rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. It can either cause or exacerbate an existing condition like it is doing to me. Here is a decent video describing it:

Enter Hans Keer, author and creator of Cut The Carb. He is an engineer by trade, but really knows his stuff with respect to paleolithic nutrition. I’ve been reading his blogs for a while now and I find them short, sweet and very informative.

I asked Hans a few questions regarding arthritis – osteoarthritis in particular – and he suggested I try an elimination diet. Essentially you remove all foods that are known to be potentially responsible for causing a leaky gut. You do this for 30-90 days or so and after this time, the symptoms you are experiencing should greatly decrease.

Certain foods you eliminate forever, others can be reintroduced to see if they cause a flare up. Here is an excerpt from his blog:

During a period of at least one month, but preferably three months, you abstain totally from the following foods:

1. All cereal grains like wheat, rye, barley, corn and rice and derived products like bread and pasta
2. Legumes like beans, lentils and dry peas, including soy and peanuts and derived products like oils
3. The nightshades like potatoes, tomatoes, (bell) peppers and eggplant (sweet potatoes are not nightshades)
4. Eggs
5. Dairy
6. All plant seed oils except coconut oil and some virgin cold-pressed olive oil
7. Nuts (they also contain a lot of the proinflammatory omega-6)
8. Processed and canned foods
9. Starchy foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks, candy, fruit juices
10. Alcoholic beverages
11. All additives

Number 10 makes me weep. I love my evening wine. But its worth it to see if my body will heal by adopting such a healthfull diet. Both my wife and I are going to give it a go.

Maybe you should try it too?

When you start the Paleo Diet, you may choose to count yourself among the dietary elite – knowing that about 6 billion people on the planet aren’t eating this way. And yet just 10,000 years ago – a mere drop in the bucket of geological time – there wasn’t a single person who did not follow the Paleo Diet – Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

I've been involved in exercise ever since I became a member of The Charles Atlas Club when I was 10 years old. In 1998, I founded and established Serious Strength on the Upper West Side of NYC. My clients include kids, seniors (and everyone in between), top CEOs, celebrities, bestselling authors, journalists and TV personalities.
my book. my Gym.

in Health/Fitness,Nutrition,Uncategorized · 15 comments

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paleolithic, diet, food, calories, nutrition, elimination diet, gluten free, leaky gut, healing, health, autoimmune
February 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM


Jeanie Graham Campbell February 22, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Wow, Fred. Sounds difficult, but I wish you much luck. I could give up the wine, but for me it would be the eggs and butter I would weep over. Please keep us informed on your progress over on FB!

gharkness February 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Oh, heck, I completely missed the “no eggs” part. I would and do understand a lot of these, but eggs? Do you know why eggs are off limits? Obviously they are inflammatory, but under what basis is that determined? I have not heard of this before.

Sounds like a meat and sweet-potatoes diet. I could go for sweet potatoes – I love them, even cold and with no butter, but the other issue for me would be nuts and/or peanuts but I already knew they were a problem!

Patty February 22, 2011 at 3:09 PM

I did this for 30 days a few months ago, and giving up the evening wine was definitely the hardest part for me. And the first thing I added back to my diet! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank goodness it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Next I added eggs back and no problem with them either, but I have been purchasing local pastured eggs, so the commercial ones might be problematic….don’t know. Added dairy…wham! Lack of sleep, hot flashes and knee pain. I seem to be able to tolerate nightshades, as long as I don’t over do it. But anything other than few shavings of Asiago or Parmesan, and the three symptoms above come back…every single time.

There are lots of great meals other than meat and sweet potatoes, and I know this is self-promoting, but it really is intended to help people see the great variety of dishes you can have on a Paleo or Primal diet. I have dairy-free, night-shade free, and egg-free categories on, and ALL of the recipes are sugar-free, grain-free, and legume free.

Good luck with your knee Fred!

Brandon Schultz, DC February 22, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Hi Fred,
I wish you a speedy recovery. Please feel free to email me if you wish if you have questions about anything. Your hard work reaching a larger and larger audience to become stronger and healthier is very much respected. Thank you for being so open regarding this process.

In health,

gharkness February 22, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Sent you a FB Friend request, Patty! I was really being facetious about the beef and sweet potato diet – I really know better than that ๐Ÿ™‚

Fred, make that knee get better!

Patty February 22, 2011 at 6:13 PM

I thought you might have been gharkness, but wasn’t sure! ๐Ÿ™‚ Friend request accepted! Thanks!

Leah February 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

I have had major problems with my knees since I was 13, an orthopaedic surgeon told me I was born with abnormal knee anatomy and I ended up having to have a tibial tubercle osteotomy at age 23 among other surgical procedures just so I could continue to walk. I really empathize with what you’re going through! I also have osteoarthritis and sad to say I noticed completely eliminating wine made a big difference for me, but I can drink vodka occasionally without problems. Good luck, I hope this elimination diet helps with the pain. I would love to hear your results, maybe I will give it a shot too.

Seรกn February 22, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Wow, that is quite a diet. Have it coincide with Lent, and you’ll be evoking the proper spirit (except the meatless part). I commend you wanting to take this route before something more serious is needed. A friend of mine has essentially been down and out for three months now because of allergy problems. He basically has zero energy and has brought his food variety down a lot to try to rebuild his immune system. I certainly wish you luck.

On another note, how do we explain people who eat many of the culprits listed above, and live healthy normal lives. Good genes? My wife studies people 90 and over, and I imagine that less than 5% of those people follow a low carb or a paleo diet. Just wondering.

Kim February 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Just sending virtual hugs Fred! Good luck. With your determination I know it will be nothing for you!

Kevin O'Neall February 23, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Fred, I’m sorry to read this about you. I’ve heard good things about elimination diets. Done right, it could lead you to answers. My guess is the wheat products or dairy are the big problem, not the tomatoes or lentils. But you’ll only find that out by eschewing all the listed foods then selectively adding things and seeing how they affect you.

The local news in Salt Lake City had an article on stem cell treatments. They’ve used it to regrow breasts in women who’d had mastectomies. I wonder if stem cells could regrow your knee cartilage?

Good luck,


Chris Lutz-Master Trainer February 23, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Ouch! Sorry, Fred. Seems weird though that abstaining from all cereals, grains, starches and sugars is supposed to help pain, but injecting dextrose (a sugar) directly into the joint is supposed to help it too.

Kevin O'Neall February 23, 2011 at 12:58 PM

All cereals and grains turn into sugar in the blood. This leads to increased silent inflammation. Injecting sugar into the joint increases inflammation within the joint, not the blood. Repair of physical damage always begins with inflammation.

Fred Hahn February 25, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Chris – How much have you read RE grains and lectins as well as other antinutrients found in many foods like nightshades and dairy? It’s not the sugar – it’s these antinutrients that compromise the gut lining causing leaky gut and autoimmune disorders.

Fred Hahn February 25, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Kevin – love to try a shot of stem cells!

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