In my last post Burn and the Bloat: Part 1, I outlined some the the reasons for my venture into functional medicine.  Please be sure to go back and visit Part 1 if you are new to this blog series.

Well, the results are in from my testing and it was surprising on some aspects, but not so surprising on others.  A few things were discovered from finding a new healthcare provider that practiced functional medicine.  The first set of results were examining my IgG comprehensive food panel.  The IgG testing revealed I am sensitive to several of the foods I was consuming on a daily basis.  The foods were ranked on level of sensitivity from Zero (0) no problems to Three (3) high sensitivity.  Some of these foods include:

  • Nuts and Seeds (3)
  • Coconut (3)
  • Eggs (3)
  • Gluten (2)
  • Dairy (2 and 3)
  • Oats (2)
  • Wheat (2)
  • Squash (3)
  • Turnips (2)
  • Tomato (2)
  • Whey (1)
  • Casein (1)

Looking at nuts, seeds, and coconut this was tough to take.  On a regular basis I was eating almonds, coconut, flax and chia seeds.  Theses were a major source of nutrition for me in my morning shake and some afternoon snacks.  Both in butter and milk form.

Another big hit was seeing eggs on this list.  Eggs were my easy go-to protein.  I would bake them up for Artemis (seen below) and I for the week and also eat them on the weekend for our morning brunch.  This was hard, but I understood and I needed to work on taking them out of my daily nutrition.


Set up for baking Artemis some eggs. Not for ME! Easy way to prep for the week. NOTE! Don’t use avocado oil! Use Coconut oil.



Baked Eggs.

Many of the other items were not too hard to eliminate out.  I was used to not eating several because of the link to my migraine headaches.  I learned through trial and error over several years that oats, wheat, gluten, and pasta all triggered migraines.  So they had been long gone for years.

I do have to say tomatoes was a interesting find.  I love growing tomato plants in the summer and enjoy a nice salad with them.  I have taken them out, we will see how my body begins to feel.  This might be one food I choose to try and incorporate back in with moderation when the summer time comes.


Summer 2014 June on left and July on Right. Pictures are about 30 days apart.


My tomato plants in the summer of 2014. I get these from Artemis’s father. He is a master gardener!


You might be asking; What is the big deal?  Why take these foods out of your diet?  Well, here is the thing.  Taking in these foods cause my IgG to get angry (trigger an inflammatory response) when they enter my stomach and GI.  This then results in inflammation in my gut and intestinal lining, when this happens my body begins to attack the food as an invader….not as a helper!  So, instead of the food helping me have great energy and recovery, my body is attacking it and trying to get it out.  It sees the food as bad; and when things enter the body that are recognized as bad; the body takes high priority on getting them out.  SO!  This is why the IgG food panel is important to ME.  Please do not try to replicate the things I discuss in this blog and my diet with yourself.  The path I go down with my nutrition is specific to me and only me!

  • The body makes different immunoglobulins(IgG) to combat different antigens.  For example, the antibody for chickenpox isn’t the same as the antibody for mononucleosis.  Sometimes, the body may even mistakenly make antibodies against itself, treating healthy organs and tissues like foreign invaders.  This is called an autoimmune disease.
  • Once an antibody is produced against a specific antigen, the next time that antigen enters the body, the immune system “remembers” its response and produces more of the same antibodies. In that way, checking for the presence of specific immunoglobulins in the blood can be helpful in diagnosing or ruling out infections or certain other illnesses.  Doctors also rely on the immunoglobulin test as one of the tools to help diagnose immunodeficiencies (when the immune system isn’t working properly).  A person can be born with an immunodeficiency or acquire it through infection, disease, malnutrition, burns, or as a side effect of medicines.  Doctors may suspect an immunodeficiency in people who experiences frequent or unusual infections.

If I can avoid triggering this response, the better.  I want my body focusing on creating antibodies to help sustain a healthy lifestyle.

The second piece of information discovered was that I had an over growth of Candidiasis.

  • Candida, which is a yeast like fungus, is commonly found in your intestines, however, in a healthy individual, its growth is usually limited by your immune system and by other good microflora.

I did not have a healthy  environment in my stomach, or GI.  Therefore this lead to an overgrowth of this fungus in my GI.  Common symptoms of for me included: fatigue, bloating, and gas.  This over growth was also confirmed by blood testing done with the comprehensive food panel.  I also want to point out that all standard western medicine blood testing was done.  A look at all aspects of every function happening in my body.  Other than these two things, my blood was extremely healthy.  My healthcare provider was actually surprised at the blood work and how well it read due to the level of food sensitivity my IgG revealed and knowing I was eating some of those foods on a regular basis.

The third piece of information in my results showed I had no food allergies.  I had no response to IgA.

  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is found in high concentrations in the mucous membranes, particularly those lining the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears.

The only IgA I have is an allergy to grass pollen.  This I also already knew from years of growing up and having to avoid cut grass in the early summer.

The forth piece was looking at waste product of my body.  I will not go into detail about this, besides telling I did not have enough good bacteria in my GI.

So why change my nutrition if my blood work was looking spot on?  Well, except for the food panel and candida.  First I wanted to get off the nexium I was taking daily.  Second I was not feeling great.  The western tests showed I was healthy and doing well but this did not match how I felt.  I could not handle the stomach burn and the intestinal bloat.  It was just too much for me and I wanted to feel better.  Finding out my sensativites in the IgG testing would allow me to eliminate out the foods triggering a GI inflammation response and allow my body to begin healing the stomach and GI.  Creating as much balance as possible in my stomach and GI.

What happening now:

I officially began the nutrition modification after Christmas.  Monday morning on December 29 I was all in and ready to go.  I took out all the foods listed above and began to follow my new nutritional path.  I have to say as of today 1/14/15 I am beginning to feel some of the changes happening.  My mid section feels less and less bloated.  I am tracking this with standard tape measures from week to week.  When I first began (12/29/14), standing with my belly relaxed I measured 39 inches around the area of my belly button.  Right now I have seen this go to 38 3/4.  So about a 1/4 of an inch in less than 2 weeks.  I have also see my weight go down to 169 pounds.  I began at around 173 pounds.  I do want to point out weight loss is not the goal of this plan.  Weight loss is just a byproduct of getting my stomach and GI functioning properly with eating foods that work for ME.  I also had a plan for this switch.  I did not go into it cold turkey.  I will outline my nutritional plan in new blog posts.

I am now off the nexium and working in supplements to help heal my GI and also take the stress off my adrenal glands.  I am not going to list out those supplements, I feel listing out supplements will not help anyone.  My herbal supplements were prescribed to me by a healthcare provider with a certification in functional medicine and this I am keeping confidential.

I will be sharing how I am working with my new nutritional guidelines.  Tips on how I am getting all my protein in and also how I am working through the Precision Nutrition guidelines for my body build and activity level.  I am currently working on the Precision Nutrition certification now.

I am NOT having any stomach burning or pain.  Things seem to be falling into place and I am happy with where I am headed.  This is even after coming out of one of the most stressful November and Decembers I have ever had in my life.  Owning a business continues to test my desire and dedication to move from being just good to GREAT!

I am happy with this approach of treatment because it puts me in control of my body and learning about what helps MY body.  I was sick of just taking a nexium and masking the problems with my stomach and GI.  I believe I will get better and I believe my body will heal.  This hope and strong belief is what allows me to keep moving forward.  We must have the mind involved in the process as well.  The mind is so powerful and if used in the right way, nothing can stop us toward living a healthy happy life!

Putting out the burn and deflating the bloat! In this part one of a series of blog posts I am going to outline some of my personal stomach and gastrointestinal tract (GI) issues.  The course of treatment and the results they are having in my life from day to day, week to week, month to month.  This series of blog posts is to demonstrate a more functional method of treating some conditions we live with.  Working to resolve and heal a health condition with medical professionals that are skilled in the area of functional medicine and also know when is the right time to turn to standard western medicine.  Functional medicine is growing in popularity in 2015.

  • Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.  By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.  In this way, Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. – See more at:

My problems with acid reflux and stomach pain began at a very young age(about 14-15).  It began when I started taking an aspirin in the morning to help manage chronic migraine headaches.  As a teenager I would suffer from migraine headaches from a month to month basis.  The headaches would keep me out of school, home from fun events, and effect my athletic events in high school. The pain would be so bad that I was convicted that some damage had been done.  As management I was sent to see a neurologist for testing.  The treatment options were daily shots or taking a small daily dose of aspirin.  As a teenager there was no way I was going to stick a needle in my thigh!  So, I took the aspirin; and like every teenager I rarely ate a nice healthy breakfast.  Yes, I remember my mother telling me to eat…but I was too busy rushing out the door in the morning to catch up with friends to stop a moment and eat some food with this small little pill.

It took a little time, but slowly and surely I started to develop some stomach pain.  Along with the pain came some blood in areas I was not quite sure about.  Long story short I was a 15 year old with a bleeding ulcer in my stomach as diagnosed with an endoscope.  I was placed on a dose of Zantac(this was the early 90’s).  My stomach slowly healed and from that point on I was on stomach medications to control my chronic pain and discomfort.

Fast forward 21 years to this Fall of 2014.  I made the decision to seek out a medical group and a healthcare provider to help guide me through the process of getting off stomach medications.


I made this decision based on a couple of issues happening with me.  First, I was always feeling bloated in my mid to lower stomach.  This seem to have no rhyme or reason, and this feeling did not match my level of activity.  It seemed no mater what, this bloat feeling was always present.


I had grown so a custom to this feeling I seemed to always be walking around holding in my stomach.  This needed to change.  Second, I did not seem to be having good recovery from training.  Following a training session some areas of my body would feel very sore and almost painful, while other areas of my body felt as though I did not even train.  It did not make sense to me as a person who has exercised since the age of 12 and also as a professional with a BS and MS.  These two areas in my personal life lead me to seek out a new healthcare provider.

The search did not take long and I made a phone call to gather more information.  I had a great discussion with a representative of the healthcare group and was paired with a provider to match my needs.

The First Visit:

I was not too sure what to expect in the first visit.  They did the standard procedure of gathering critical health information and then my new healthcare provider came in to visit and examine me.  We talked briefly in the examination room then a standard physical was done.  Once this was finished we went to the office of the healthcare provider.  We sat and talked for over an hour.  She took notes and I filled her in on my past.  She was impressed with my level of detail in my nutrition and my memory from the past.  I explained to her that up to this point I had modified my diet based on how it affected my migraines and my energy level.  I listed the foods I take in on a daily basis and also listed out the natural supplements I was talking in daily.  At the conclusion of the appointment she decided I needed some standard blood work done but I should also have some more detailed blood work added in.  This blood work was something I had to pay out of pocket.  She explained that this was going to give us some important information in my nutritional needs and sensitivities.  This test was an IgG blood test for food sensitivities.  It looked at 150 different foods and the effects on IgG.

  • Immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most abundant type of antibody, is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections.

She also had some tests done on my body waste products looking for fungal and bacterial overgrowth.  I will tell you that this type of testing is still in the “questionable” area of medicine.  You see, if you go to many formally trained western physicians they will dismiss the test and say it does not give us much information.  I disagree.  I feel this can give important information as to what is happening in the blood when we ingest certain foods.

For 13 years or more I have been involved in the healthcare community, and I feel if we are not constantly progressing and investigating new areas to give us new information then we are not progressing at all.  When I first started in the rehabilitation area of healthcare, it was cutting edge to have certain ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) procedures done and cutting edge to have certain rehabilitation protocols used for a more timely return to sport and life.  We only progressed by pushing the boundaries and investigating new areas of the human body.  It has to make sense though….I am not game for using methods that do not make sense both medically and logically.  This is where I stand on IgG testing.  It give us information; how you use that information is up to us.  I will be using it to heal my stomach and GI!

As mentioned before I also had some testing done for fungal and bacterial overgrowth in my stomach and GI.  This can be valuable as well because I have been taking prescription medication for years that can have an effect on the healthy fungal and bacterial relationship happening in my stomach and GI.  More and more information is surfacing now on the importance of a healthy digestive tract.  If this balance is off in our digestive tract then we are not absorbing important nutrients to sustain a healthy life.  Like it our not….we are filled with many bacteria in our body….both good and bad.  We have to help support the good to help maintain a healthy and sustainable immune system.

I hope you enjoy this part one of a multiple series.  I have the next post in the works now!  Again, my blog is looking to provide insight, hope, and inspiration to other to seek out help to become the best person you can be.  Both physically and mentally!

Off to a great start in 2015…

As we encounter a new year we have many new challenges and opportunities.  As everyone has goals for the new year, I have several as well.  Some professional and some personal.  I am going to list off a few of my goals working into the 2015 year.  I will post on them and share progress on each one of them.  I will share my goals to let everyone know that WE at Iron Body Studios are authentic and never stagnate.  Both Artemis and myself strive to keep our services current and progressing toward being the best to our community.  We find many new things through personal experience and through education.  Talk the talk, walk the walk!

Goals for 2015:

1) Post on this blog at least once a month(it’s only 12 posts)!

2) Fix my torn up stomach and GI!  I am currently on a path to balance my stomach and digestive tract.  I will share my experiences of getting off stomach medications (the purple pill).  I have been on stomach medications since the age of 15.  I have found a supportive and educated functional medicine group to help me with this process.

3) Attend the Functional Range Conditioning(FRC) workshop in March and work on implementing this system with the Iron Body Studios community.

4) Become a Certified Precision Nutrition coach.  This Certification is the gold standard in nutrition coaching for clients and athletes.  PNC takes an evidence based approach to bring success with client nutrition.  I would like to bring the nutritional side of this coaching to post-rehabilitation clients, help progress them toward a sustainable and pain free life in movement and strength.

5) Learn and begin to implement an autism and special needs training program at Iron Body Studios.  This includes first learning more about the population, second hosting a autism fitness workshop, and third implementing a training program for the population.  I have had the privilege to connect with the leading professional in this area and looking forward to developing this professional relationship.

6) Share all my experiences as a person continuing to recover from back pain.  It has been a little over 3 years and I am always working toward keeping myself moving and healthy.  This is to provide inspiration to those looking for help.  The number of individuals that suffer from back pain is significantly high and can be something that can destroy individuals physically and mentally.  It is a condition that requires consistency and a systematic approach to overcome and regain movement and strength.  Over the course of 2014 many people have asked me to share my testimonial on recovering from dysfunctional movement and back pain.  I will do my best to share any and all knowledge gained from this journey!

Looking forward to a great 2015 and I hope you will follow the posts in Forging Fitness blog.

When we enter into the public eye as a professional in the fitness, post-rehabilitation or the strength and conditioning area we have to be conscience to the audience we are reaching out to.  We must be conscience as to how we project ourselves and we must respect the community who reads our information and the questions they have about the information we post.

This being said, recently I had an interaction on twitter with a fairly well known fitness and strength coach.  I was introduced to the professional several years ago and gained respect for the information he was publishing and promoting on the internet.  His information was always clearly outlined as to why he was supporting a certain system, method or individual.  Although on Friday night I received an email from this person promoting a free resource with hundreds of kettlebell variations from an expert in the area.

My first thought was not just to click on the link to the YouTube videos, but, I wondered who is this individual?   Why have I never heard of this person and I would love to learn something new.  Now, I consider myself NEVER to be educated enough and always have an open mind as to new thoughts and movement patterns, ideas.  I proceeded to google to search this individual out.   I found nothing for this person to be a an expert as described in the email…….

All that was listed in the email was…….

“Sometimes, it will be unique content from an expert I’ve learned from in our industry (like today’s e-mail – see below).

The first, is a YouTube page that my good buddy ______ created. This guy has a motor like none other, and here, he’s demonstrating…….”

He described the “expert” as his “buddy”.  This does not cut it for me.  I need more than this, I need you to tell me what qualifies this person as an expert.  As the standard english defintion of an expert is
“a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.”

I do not want to get into the details of the communications.  But, the point of the communication was missed completely by the individual sending the mass email and any professional objectively reading would see that in our twitter exchange.  I was looking for a professional endorsement as to why this fitness and strength coach was looking to refer so many people to this YouTube video.  I was NOT criticizing movements and training style….which is where he took it.

To finish, we are in the public eye daily and we even have our own blogs and websites.  I am open to all ideas and new concepts.  I am constantly changing and evolving in my own practice as strength is a skill.  But please list why you are supporting an induvidual you are classifying as an “expert” in an area.  Just calling him your “buddy” is not enough to draw me into learn from you.  Have professionalism, have a higher standard.  As stated by colleague of mine in Columbus Ohio, “I am not a hater. I just have higher standards.”  Please do not get angry  when you are challenged and asked questions, but instead give me an educated answer so I can make a educated decision about if I am going to continue to listen to the ideas you teach.  Because I do know, I am in the business to ask questions to better help the people I serve.

Eric Gahan

Co-Owner of Iron Body Studios


Welcome to Forging Fitness Blog by Eric Gahan.  In this blog you will read  my thoughts, experiences and readings as an athletic trainer who is passionate about helping people to eat great, move great, and move strong.  I am creating this blog for fitness professionals, rehabilitation professionals, and most importantly my clients to come learn and demand for better.  I always strive to give my clients and peers the best of what is available to them through me.  In this blog you will get to hear about what does work and what does not work in fitness and rehabilitation;  it will be all backed up with formal education and formal practical knowledge.

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