In May 2011, we received a note from Dr. Matt Mechtenberg, Hospitalist and President of the Medical Staff of Parkview Medical Center in Brunswick, ME. Dr. Mechtenberg wrote, “Just wanted to share that I recently ran my first marathon in 10 years and without carb- loading, no Gatorade and a near-perfect Whole9-inspired diet. I PR’ed my marathon time by 18 minutes - the last of which I ran 16 years ago. All I can say is thanks for your info!”
This inspired us to contact Dr. Mechtenberg to ask him more about his Whole30 experience, and how the program has influenced his view as a medical professional. Here is his response, as sent in a series of email exchanges.
Dr. Matt Mechtenberg
“Because of our Whole30 experience, my wife Sunshine and I have become converts to eating real protein. (Your articles and links helped a lot in our dietary transition.) Sun had been a vegetarian for 22 years, I was for 15, but after our Whole30 and continued dedication to good dietary habits, we have more energy and our workouts are better. I won’t claim some amazing improvement, but I did PR my recent marathon, I recover faster from exercise, and have leaned out quite a bit, dropping two pant sizes. Sunshine also credits the Whole 30 and your nutrition advice with keeping her healthy, as we struggled with her dosing following her thyroid surgery. I know that I feel better at 40 than I can ever remember, and a lot has be do with your dietary recommendations.
Both you and Melissa present your information in an easy to understand and thoughtful manner. I am still working on ways to promote better diets and dietary suggestions to my patients in the hospital, but on average most people want me to give them another pill rather than change their diet. I will continue to try to promote the Good Food Word as much as I can. It really makes sense to me now that the stuff we put into our mouths and bodies on a daily basis is the biggest source of medicine, and could likely eliminate a lot of people’s need for meds if they were truly thoughtful about their dietary intake.
It’s crazy to think I received virtually no education in seven years of medical training on what a “good diet” should entail, but I am doubtful that any pharmaceutical company or agricultural firm would sponsor a study showing how clean eating can help you get off medications, lose weight, have more energy, eliminate allergies and make you feel ten years younger.
I have gotten my sister-in-law, father-in-law, my brother and his wife all on the Whole9 plan, as well as numerous friends – and the changes in their health are truly remarkable.”
Is the Whole30 Program Safe and Healthy?
Dr. Mechtenberg: “First of all, in my professional opinion, I do believe that the Whole30 program is completely safe and healthy. How much healthier do you get than eating real food?
I have shared my Whole30 experiences with some patients, and the results they have seen have been equally amazing. My role as a hospitalist exposes me to patients that are usually acutely ill, and it has been difficult to suggest drastic dietary changes, but I have promoted a “cleaner” diet to many of them. What I have learned from the Whole30 is that diet can make some drastic changes in people’s health – sounds simple, but in all of my medical training that fact was never stressed. The changes I have experienced have led me to promote dietary changes to many of my patients as the first step in medical treatment.
So in summary, I believe that the Whole30 is safe, effective and overall makes good common sense. The results for me have been life altering and very exciting. I really look at food as medicine now, and using diet changes as first line treatment for many disease processes makes much more sense to me after completing the Whole30 and trying to follow your dietary plan on a daily basis. “
Matthew Mechtenberg, D.O.
Parkview Adventist Medical Center, Brunswick, ME