The Larsons finally published their program in book form in 2005. More
information about the book and authors Ivy and Andy Larson follows the
How I Defeated Multiple Sclerosis
by Changing My
by Ivy Ingram Larson
If you saw me chasing after my four-year-old son in the park or running
with my husband on the beach you'd probably think I've always been
healthy. You'd never guess that as recently as seven years ago, I
struggled to walk up a flight of stairs due to weakness in my right leg, I
was often incontinent, and I could barely make it through the day because
I was constantly exhausted. At the age of twenty-two I felt like I was
eighty-two, and I was seriously worried that I would never feel
Ironically, at the time I became ill, I was working as a health and
fitness instructor at a medical center on the Gold Coast of Florida. I
loved my job, which included evaluating patients, developing exercise
prescriptions to help them regain mobility and teaching fitness classes.
Many of my clients had serious health conditions like arthritis, heart
disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity, and I felt truly rewarded by
my role in helping them back to health.
Although I worked out regularly, I didn't pay much attention to what I
put in my mouth. I was blessed with a fast metabolism, and I happily took
advantage of it: My all-time favorite food was ice cream. I pretty much
ate what I wanted, then hit the gym. I looked fit and healthy, but that
was far from the truth.
I suddenly began suffering from bladder infections -- as many as three
a month. I constantly felt the urge to run to the bathroom, and I
literally planned my days around access to a toilet.
I spent an entire summer visiting physician after physician, yet
couldn't obtain an accurate diagnosis. One doctor told me I was a
"nervous-natured" girl, and another told me to sit in a hot bath four to
six times a day to relax, and another insisted that using the bathroom 20
times a day was normal!
Things got progressively worse. My right leg got numb, and I lost
considerable strength in my right hip muscle, making it difficult for me
to lift my leg. Teaching exercise class was nearly impossible, and I was
becoming more depressed with each passing day.
~ The Diagnosis ~
On night, thinking that another bladder infection was beginning, I
followed doctor's instructions and drank nearly four cups of cranberry
juice and water. Thirty minutes into The Horse Whisperer, I
thought my bladder was going to explode. I ran to the ladies' room, but
couldn't go. I wound up in the emergency room, and I left the hospital
wearing a catheter. While I knew something was terribly wrong, I was
terrified to imagine what it was.
Still wearing the catheter, I traveled with my parents to the
University of Miami to obtain a diagnosis. After extensive testing by a
prominent urologist, I was referred to Dr. William Sheremata, a
world-class neurologist. Frustrated at what seemed like another dead-end,
I wondered how a brain doctor was going to fix my bladder.
After sending me for MRI scans of my head and spinal cord, Dr.
Sheremata did have the answer, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear:
"Multiple sclerosis," he said without hesitation. I sat in his pea-green
office in a daze, listening to him enumerate the symptom of the diagnosis,
many of which I already had: bladder problems, visual disturbances,
depression, impaired memory, loss of mental clarity, debilitating fatigue,
weakness, paralysis, inability to swallow, numbness and tingling in the
extremities, difficulty walking, Loss of coordination, and overwhelming
I thought my life was over. The disease sounded like a living nightmare
to me. Grim thoughts flooded my mind: Would I ever be able to have
children? Would I always need to wear a catheter? Was I going to end up in
As frustrated and frightened as I was about my symptoms, I learned that
many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients suffer from problems far worse than
mine. An increasingly common disease of the central nervous system, MS
tends to strike at an early age, and although the course of MS is highly
unpredictable, the disease can ultimately result in significant
After the initial shock wore off, my doctor gave me hope by telling me
that MS can be controlled by adhering to a healthful lifestyle. He gave me
the option of taking a disease-modifying drug to treat the MS, and he also
advised me to try the Dr. Swank diet for multiple sclerosis. I decided to
hold off on the medication and try the diet first.
~ Enter Andy Larson ~
At the time of my diagnosis, my future husband, Andy, was studying at
one of the top three medical schools in the country. Despite his medical
training, Andy questioned my decision to try nutritional therapy instead
of prescription medication; he'd never heard about treating MS with diet,
and he was skeptical. He spent hours at the University of Pennsylvania's
medical library reading all of the available literature. Only then, to his
astonishment, was he able to confirm that the Swank diet did in fact have
Although it seems like common sense that anyone suffering from chronic
illness should maintain a healthful lifestyle, many medical doctors remain
highly suspicious of, or at least unimpressed with, nutritional therapies.
Even though we view physicians as the ultimate authorities when it comes
to health, the average medical student receives less than 30 hours of
training in nutrition and no instruction in exercise therapy or
nutritional supplementation. Most medical students graduate uninformed
about these keys to good health unless they develop their own intellectual
Although Andy and I were impressed with the results of the Swank
program, I was having a difficult time sticking to the bland diet. Hoping
that a more enjoyable program existed, we pored over countless medical,
exercise, and scientific journals, reading everything we could about diet,
exercise and MS. After extensive research, we discovered an irrefutable
connection between the foods I was eating and my MS. Armed with this
information, we developed an enjoyable eating plan consisting of healing,
anti-inflammatory foods and a supplementation regimen that controlled my
MS by fighting inflammation and keeping my immune system optimally
I then customized an exercise program to rebuild my muscular strength
and keep MS complications at bay. In the past I had worked with MS
patients who were more disabled than they needed to be as a result of
inactivity. Many of them had problems with balance, muscle atrophy,
fatigue and weakness that could have been greatly improved with consistent
resistance training exercise. Although I knew exercise alone wouldn't
"cure" my MS, I knew a consistent program of strength training could
dramatically improve my quality of life.
~ A Dramatic Improvement ~
My health improved rapidly. First I noticed a dramatic increase in my
strength and energy levels. The catheter was removed, and I have never
experienced another bladder problem since that night I ended up in the
emergency room. The awful sensations of urgency and frequency also
diminished. I began waking up fewer times at night and holding my bladder
for longer periods during the day. The incontinence stopped altogether,
and the strength in my right hip returned.
As I noticed my health improving, I also noticed that I was falling in
love with Andy. Luckily for me, he was feeling the same way. We were
married several years later and when we vowed to love each other in
sickness and in health, we knew in our hearts we were speaking the
Four years ago, I gave birth to our incredibly healthy son, Blake, and
never experienced a post-pregnancy flare-up that is so common among women
with MS. It has been seven years now since I was diagnosed, and today I
can honestly say I feel better than ever. Not only am I measurably
stronger and healthier than I was at the time of my diagnosis, I no longer
feel like my body is betraying me. I have stopped going to bed worrying if
I will wake up in the morning with some horrible MS symptom. The
psychological burden of MS is gone.
~ The New Jersey Experiment ~
After witnessing firsthand how effective nutritional therapy was in
fighting my inflammatory condition, Andy and I realized that our plan
could treat other modern diseases because it combats two culprits that
cause and exacerbate disease: inflammation and malnutrition. By reducing
or eliminating these two problems, our Gold Coast Cure could
treat ten chronic diseases -- arthritis, asthma, heart disease, allergies,
fibromyalgia, type II diabetes, vascular dementia, obesity, osteoporosis
and multiple sclerosis -- as well as offer protection from certain types
of cancer and improve cholesterol ratios.
After sharing our recommendations with friends and family, we brought
our program to the public through a wellness class at the prestigious
Atlantic Club in Red Bank, New Jersey. The class was advertised as a "5
Week Shape-Up" for club members who had health problems ranging from high
cholesterol and high triglyceride levels to asthma, fibromyalgia, type II
diabetes, obesity, MS and arthritis.
While we were confident we could help our clients, we weren't sure we
could obtain measurable results for such a wide variety of conditions in
just five weeks! As part of our first class, we performed extensive
testing on every client, including a complete cholesterol profile, blood
pressure testing, triglyceride testing, waist and hip measurements, and
body fat analysis. The class met three times a week for one hour for five
The results were nothing less than astonishing: In as little as five
weeks every client saw measurable improvements in not only their
appearance but their health. Every single person lost weight, decreased
their body fat percentage, and lost inches from either their waist or
hips, or both. Every person who had high triglycerides saw a decrease;
every person who suffered from an inflammation- mediated condition such as
asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia enjoyed a marked
improvement in their symptoms; and every person except for one saw
improvements in their total cholesterol level and their overall
cholesterol profile. For example:
A fibromyalgia patient enjoyed significant improvement in her energy
levels, sleep quality and relief from the pain and stiffness associated
with her disease; her total cholesterol decreased from 208 to 179; she
lost two inches from her waist and hips.
A middle-aged woman decreased her cholesterol from 252 to 213 and
lost four inches from her waist and hips.
A fairly healthy fifty-five-year-old man joined the class hoping to
reduce his high cholesterol level. Not only did his total cholesterol
drop from 305 to 245, his "bad" LDL cholesterol dropped from 229 to 187
and he decreased his body fat from an already fit 17.2 to an even leaner
A fifty-nine-year-old man lowered his body fat from 29.5 percent to
26 percent and lost 4 pounds. He lost 4-1/2 inches from his waist and
hips, lowered his cholesterol from 250 to 196, and lowered his
triglycerides from 87 to 70.
One of our clients, a nurse who directs a prominent cardiac
rehabilitation program, came to us hoping to improve severe arthritis
symptoms. She'd been unable to cross her legs for years due to the pain in
her knees, she couldn't walk up a flight of stairs, and she could barely
bend down to pick something up off the floor. Our initial blood work
revealed her cholesterol level to be dangerously high.
At the end of our five week class, she was crossing her legs, climbing
stairs easily and without pain, and walking miles a day on the streets of
Manhattan! She lost seven pounds and decreased her body fat percentage
from 33 percent to 28.5 percent. She was so impressed with the results she
invited us to talk about the Gold Coast Curewith advanced
practice nurses representing the Tri-State Society of the American
Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. From there the
word spread, and we've been presenting our program to patients and health
care professionals ever since.
~ We Wrote This Book For You ~
We wrote this book to share what we've learned with everyone who
suffers from the chronic conditions we target. Having personally
experienced the tragic consequences of lost hope, we want to share with
you our message that things can improve. Our dear friend A.J., to whom
this book is dedicated, also had MS. His physicians gave him medication,
but they didn't give him a reason to think he could feel better. They
insisted that nutritional therapy was a waste of his time. Without a
medical background, our friend had to rely on the MS "experts" for advice
on how to control his disease. When his symptoms took a sharp turn for the
worse, despite painful injections of a disease- modifying medication that
was becoming increasingly ineffective, A.J. took his life at the age of
thirty. We firmly believe A.J. would still be here today if he had been
given the hope of a brighter future.
The Cure offers hope. Although we were initially devastated to learn
about my MS, once we learned there was a blueprint for health that could
slow or even reverse the progress of this debilitating disease, we became
hopeful for our future. And there's hope for you, too. Whether you want to
lost that last stubborn ten pounds, get your diabetes under control or
simply have more energy to get through your days, the Cure can work for
~ Small Changes, Big Effects ~
You don't have to be ill to be on The Cure. This is a
lifestyle plan that you can follow in sickness and in health
because it prevents and reverses degenerative disease and whittles your
waistline. By following The Cureyou'll not only improve your
health, you'll also improve your appearance.
Within five weeks, you and your physician alike will see real results.
You will appreciate a definite difference in the way you feel and the way
you look. Your measurements will improve. Your clothes will be looser.
Your physician will be able to measure statistically significant
improvements in your cholesterol profile, body fat percentage,
inflammatory markers in your blood and most likely your blood
All of these results can be obtained in just five weeks. We've seen it
happen over and over with hundreds of our clients, friends and family
members. The best part is that your entire family can follow The Gold
Coast Cure lifestyle together. The foods we recommend are nutritious
and delicious, so you can prepare one meal and satisfy everyone in your
household. Everybody, especially growing children, should be eating the
balanced, nutrient-rich whole foods we recommend.
The Cure stands out among alternative health and wellness
books because our advice is scientifically proven and socially realistic.
Our general philosophy is one of moderation and balance. The substitutions
are simple, and the additions are painless. Switch from margarine to all-
natural, better-tasting spreads. Cook with extra-virgin olive oil instead
of standard vegetable oil. Use flax oil and extra-virgin olive oil instead
of standard vegetable oils in your salad dressings. Switch from refined,
processed grains to whole grains. Use whole wheat flower products instead
of enriched flower products to ensure that you are fueling yourself with
nutrients instead of empty carbs. Supplement with essential fats, vitamins
and antioxidants. Add omega-3 foods to your diet. Eliminate trans fats
from your diet. Perform our resistance circuit- training workout for
thirty minutes three times per week. Making even one of these changes can
result in markedly improved overall health.
We hope we've provided sufficient motivation. We hope our story and the
stories of our clients serve as inspiration. For us it took the diagnosis
of multiple sclerosis. What will it take for you to improve your
In today's world, you, not your physician, must be your own advocate.
You must take charge of your health, and you must take the initiative to
educate yourself. Your doctor can't explain the principles in this book
during a ten-minute office visit. We're giving you the opportunity to
become your own advocate with The Gold Coast Cure. So make a
difference. Take charge like so many of our clients already have. Have fun
along the way. You only have one life. Make it a good one.
About the Authors
Ivy Ingram Larson, A.C.S.M.
Ivy holds a bachelor of science degree from Palm Beach Atlantic
University in West Palm Beach, Florida and the Thames Valley University in
London, England. She is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
certified health fitness instructor. Ivy received additional comprehensive
training in anatomy, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and exercise
prescription from Florida’s distinguished Fitness Institute International.
She holds professional certifications as a fitness instructor and fitness
testing specialist through the Fitness Institute International.
Currently, Ivy operates a private nutrition counseling practice and
specializes in teaching clients how to raise healthy children and families
while following a whole foods diet. She also conducts group cooking
classes teaching her clients how to integrate whole foods nutrition with
gourmet cuisine. In addition, Ivy custom-designs fitness routines based
upon the resistance circuit training program outlined in The
Gold Coast Cure.
Andrew Larson, M.D.
Dr. Andrew Larson is a board certified general surgeon with special
interests in advanced laparoscopic surgery and in bariatric (obesity)
surgery. He belongs to the following esteemed medical and surgical
The American Medical Association
The American Society for Bariatric Surgery
The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
The Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons
The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity
The American College of Surgeons
Palm Beach County Medical Society
Dr. Larson has published research in internationally distributed
medical journals and routinely presents at surgical conferences. He has
been honored for his surgical teaching skills, has presented his research
at national conferences, and has won multiple awards for his expertise in
clinical research and in laparoscopic surgery.
Dr. Larson completed his undergraduate education at Cornell University.
His course work has included advanced study in nutrition science,
biochemistry, and biology. Upon graduating from Cornell with distinction,
Dr. Larson went on to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania,
one of the world's leading centers for medical research. While a medical
student at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Larson studied nutrition
under some of the leading nutrition science researchers in the
Since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's School of
Medicine Dr. Larson has trained at some of the nation's most storied
medical institutions including:
Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Hospital
Philadelphia's Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
The Newark-Beth Israel Medical Center
New Jersey's Monmouth Medical Center
About the Book
THE GOLD COAST CURE:
The 5-Week Health and Body
A Lifestyle Plan to Shed Pounds,
Gain Health and Reverse
by Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram
Published by Health Communications, Inc.
378 pages, hardcover with DVD, $21.95
Available through this site or
also available from Amazon
US and Amazon
"In this eminently sensible and useful book, Dr. Andrew Larson and
exercise specialist Ivy Larson offer sound guidance for lasting health
-- David L. Katz, M.D., MPH, FACPM, FACP,
Director of Medical Studies in Public Health, Yale University, author of
The Way to Eat
"Finally, a diet book that I would recommend to friends, family and
clients. Dr. Larson and his wife, Ivy, are careful to separate scientific
fact from scientific opinion."
-- Lona Sandon, M.E.d.,
R.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition, UT Southwestern Medical
Center; spokesperson, The American Dietetic Association
"The Gold Coast Cure is about transformation.... This book
will indeed transform the paradigm of illness and health for many, opening
new doors to allow health to flourish."
Perlmutter, M.D., FACN. author of The Better Brain
"I applaud Andy and Ivy for reaching out to everyone in need of
lifestyle change, but mainly to those battling chronic diseases who are
searching for help and hope."
-- Jack Nickalaus, golf
"...it may be the enticing recipes included here that convince readers
to try The Gold Coast Cure.... the Larsons' formula, which
emphasizes essential fatty acids, nutrient-rich carbohydrates and circuit
resistance training, includes so many easily implemented tools, there may
be no excuse not to try it."
Finally, the diet that slims and tones and also heals the immune system
and prevents degenerative diseases!
It's rare that a diet book comes along that matters. Not one that just
helps you fit into your jeans but also changes your life. The
Gold Coast Cure is that kind of diet. It will slim your
waistline and keep you healthy. And if you're not healthy now, it can
reverse your symptoms.
That's what it did for Ivy Larson, whose multiple sclerosis left her
wearing a catheter and unable to walk up a flight of stairs. Undeterred,
she and her husband, Dr. Andrew Larson, devised an anti-inflammatory whole
foods diet and exercise plan to heal her. It worked. Today, her MS is in
remission and she has the extra energy to keep up with their healthy
The Cure is changing lives. Let it tone your
body, improve your appearance and prevent or reverse the following:
heart artery disease
type II diabetes
high blood pressure
The book also includes a bonus DVD featuring The
Cure resistant-training workout. The workout can be
completed in 10-minute, 15-minute or 30-minute intervals.
This extraordinary plan is: Family Friendly and Safe for Kids; Doesn't
Require Calorie Counting or Complicated Phases; Allows You to Enjoy
Coffee, a Sweet Treat and a Glass of Wine a Day.
Discover The Gold Coast Cure and transform
you body in just 5 weeks!
Copyright ©2005 by Andrew Larson, M.D., and Ivy Ingram Larson. All
Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file as
long as the contents are not changed and this copyright notice is intact.