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Rock on, the "lucky" diet

January 25, 2005

It's been over a year but yesterday I made the mistake of looking at the CCFA website which prompted this quick entry.

Mike McCready, the lead guitarist of the rock band Pearl Jam, has become a prominent CCFA spokesperson. For those of you unfamiliar with Pearl Jam, they are known for their personal integrity as well as their music. (One example, in 1994, to the detriment of their own livelihoods, they filed an antitrust suit against Ticketmaster for charging incredibly high prices for concert admission--Ticketmaster controlled access to nearly all big arenas in the U.S.)

Approximately a year ago, Mike McCready let it be known that he suffered from severe Crohn's disease. In a public service announcement (PSA) which may be heard on the CCFA web site. Mike McCready speaks of "searing gut pain" while playing in front of 20,000 people, taking "140 pills a week", and how the CCFA helped him realize he was not alone. He also says "I'm lucky, a change in my diet helped me manage aspects of my disease." The PSA quickly qualifies this statement by saying diet doesn't work for everyone and that people should speak to their doctor. But diet?
[boldface added]

Yes, diet. Not any diet but Elaine Gottschall's diet. Here's an excerpt from a June 25, 2004 interview with McCready:

Rick [Interviewer]:

So, you mentioned that diet is really important to you, especially recently you found something that is working very well for you. Is there trade-off there in terms of eating right for Crohn's, keeping your energy level up to be able to be energetic and perform?

Yeah, I think it's all-encompassing. I have to do something positive. I have to eat in a way that's good for me. People with Crohn's or colitis, certain foods, say a tomato doesn't bother me, but it could bother somebody else and could set it off.

It's different for each patient. The thing that has really been working for me right now is my diet and this book by Elaine Gloria Gottschall, called "Breaking the Vicious Cycle." [boldface added] And this doesn't work for everyone but, for me, it's worked. And it's basically a diet, of no sugar, no starch - so, no potatoes, no fries, no refined sugars. And it's tough. We have to make bread out of nuts and all sorts of stuff, but it's the only thing that's put this [Crohn's] thing in remission without being on a ton of drugs. Actually, it's the best I've felt since I was probably 15 or 16.
[boldface added]

I found this interview on a industry sponsored site named Healthtalk. The page with the link to the interview may be found here:

In case the link is no longer available--or has changed--a PDF copy of the interview may be found here.

Unsurprisingly, neither Healthtalk nor the CCFA, with its mission to cure/prevent/educate/etc, bothers pursuing McCready's mention of diet--except to obscure it as something "lucky". Having grown up when Pearl Jam was at it's height, I still believe in their integrity. But I have to wince after seeing it filtered through a PR machine. More about that later . . .