Food & Body Chemistry

HELLO! I’M BACK! Part 5 

I’m sharing my story because I am not alone in this. Almost every human being I talk with has a similar, if not milder, a worse experience. This is not a gender issue. Most people are unaware of existing mineral deficiencies and should be informed about the compounding effects of pharmaceutical drug-induced mineral depletions.

This is an extra long post (5,700 words). It’s doubtful that you will read it all in one sitting. But I hope you will read it and make use of the links provided so as to do your own research long before you need it.

Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that you self-diagnose like I have. I take full responsibility for my choices. This information is for sharing only. Do your own research, speak to your health care providers if you need to. The following is my story and I am not recommending what I’ve done to help myself as procedure or protocol. 

In the years after 2005 and BEFORE 2014, once I figured out that all my bizarre symptoms were early onset peri-menopausal symptoms (or so I thought) (9a), I explored natural remedies, such as raspberry leaf and red clover etc. I would search for the top herbs used in female/ peri-menopausal health. I made my own ‘female tonic’ using plant recipes from ancient Mayan traditions as well as Hortence’s Formula (10). Hortence’s Formula was amazing and is what drew me to Belize in 2016 to study with Rosita Arvigo (11). You can read Rosita Arvigo’s remarkable story in Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer. She is also a novelist who translates turbulent ancient Maya times through historical fiction. Originally, I was introduced to Arvigo Abdominal Massage via Barbara Loomis (12) with whom I had a Skype session in March 2015, which led me to finding local practitioner, Renée Warner RN (13) in Vancouver. Renée introduced me to Hortence’s Formula and within a week of using it, I noticed that the Hydrocystomas (small bumps below the surface of my skin) on my forearms were shrinking, which was an interesting side effect since I was using it to deal with my irregular, tender uterus and too frequent menses. It was recommended to only use the heroic Hortence’s Formula once or twice, so after that I switched to the curative Female Tonic. 

I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t stick with Female Tonic. I still have jars of my homemade tincture. I can only speculate that my symptoms became more intense with time and I felt that I had to keep searching. Maybe it’s time to dust them off?

All the while, I’d played around with elimination diets such as the Blood Type Diet as well as did the more personalized ALCAT blood test (which in the end broadened the selection of foods I ate) and followed the plan according to my results. Remaining true to nature working with nutrition (homemade bone broths, reading Weston Price (14,15)/ Sally Fallon (16), and listening to Denise Minger’s cautionary tale (17), I tried to integrate more of that whole foods philosophy into my life. Even though I already was very whole foods minded, organic and local-source focused and avoided plastic — known for being a hormone disruptor. I learned about phytates, oxalic acid and the reason why sprouting nuts, seeds and grains was essential. I learned so much during those years but at the same time it was very exhausting because my kids were having their own worrisome health challenges and besides, as if all the details that go along with raising little humans isn’t enough, my declining health made it all the more difficult.

Brain Fog…

Looking back I can see how much I struggled with mentally processing the food preparation information into practice —my brain just couldn’t focus and it was becoming more and more difficult to finish tasks. I felt like an idiot — why couldn’t I do such basic things anymore? Nouns were escaping me. Starting projects or chores was always easy but the finishing was near impossible. I wasn’t a lazy person, I liked to get involved and help out and do things but my behaviour suggested otherwise. I was avoiding social events, one-on-one was manageable, and I’d figured out how to smile and fake it…sometimes. From this side of health, I can say that my lack of focus felt a lot like ADD. I can see the contrast now since I’ve been restoring my minerals, I’ve been back in the kitchen, some days easily whipping up recipes (even though I’m not one hundred percent back –there are still good days and OK days). It’s likely that it was these Whole Foods that kept me just getting-by until I became so much further depleted from sweating out minerals in Hot Yoga followed by the drug-induced mineral depleting effects of bio-identical and mainstream Hormone Replacement Therapy.

But I’m jumping ahead again. Hopefully, this isn’t too confusing to follow 🙂

LATE 2016, I experimented with over the counter tincture, Fémance (18) by St. Francis, but it didn’t seem ‘powerful’ enough for my symptoms. Then while waiting for delivery of Pueraria Mirifica, from the US, I tried over the counter Harmony Menopause Max (19) which, within a few days of starting, was super effective. But within a week the Pueraria Mirifica arrived and I was anxious and curious to try it so I stopped Harmony.

I learned about Amata Plus (Pueraria Mirifica), from Dr. Christiane Northrup (whose name is synonymous with Women’s Health “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” fame and everything Menopause). In her book, The Wisdom of Menopause, the author gives many options for herbal/alternatives as well as suggestions for Hormone Replacement. I did not read the entire tome so don’t know if she talks about Zinc specifically, but she does talk about the importance of minerals and supplementing. I have since looked in the index and cannot find any references.

Why didn’t I read the book in its entirety? Brain fog, fatigue, inability to focus to name a few reasons. It’s probably a really good idea to stay a few decades ahead in terms of personal health reading. Although, I must say that I’d always been an avid reader about everything health and wellness but it really is different when it’s happening to yourself. And when you’re in a state of chronic brain fog without realizing it, processing information is not straight forward.

It’s like: 

Looking without seeing

Listening without hearing

Participating without engaging

Excessive Sweating Depletes Minerals

Pueraria Mirifica (20) is a root grown in Thailand that Dr. Northrup has processed in an FDA lab in the U.S.. PM is available from other sources but I felt more comfortable getting mine through her. It worked brilliantly well for 6 months, within a few days (no hot flushes, but still had chronic pain) then gradually it stopped working in early August, around the same time I was four months deep into sweating out the remainder of what minerals I had left in Hot Yoga, which by the way, historically, I never liked the idea of —stuck in a sauna climate room, packed to capacity with next to no ventilation, breathing recycled air, just didn’t seem like an excellent idea. However, this facility had no carpeted floors and they took care with hygiene. The Ashtanga Yoga studios where I had studied and practiced years before were always amply heated, I was always soaked from sweat and I always replenished with coconut water after practices. When I practiced at home I always felt warm enough, but as years passed, and because my body was experiencing so much chronic pain I felt that I needed this added heat source, besides it being encouraged by my Naturopath.

Please note that I don’t wish to bad mouth any health care providers. Not everyone can know everything; all of us work diligently based on beliefs, especially experts in their field. And clearly, this was a journey I had to take and write about. All the information is out there, and why I/we miss seeing the writing on the wall is another story.

I had been going to Hot Yoga 3-4 times per week from April – July 2017. My over the top hot flushes gradually came back in July and intensified so much that by August 2017, I had to put my membership on hold —I haven’t been back since. And besides my shoulder pain (that frozen shoulder pain so common among peri-menopausal/menopausal women), was getting worse and wrist pain had returned, despite everything. I also had a right hip issue that stemmed from my TFL (tensor fasciae latae) which seemed like a type of cross syndrome, left shoulder + right hip.

Sept 28. 2017 – Started Bio-identical Hormone replacement therapy with a Naturopath. (This means two different topical creams: bio-Estrogen in the morning and Progesterone before bed. I was also taking Pregnenolone (a pill) first thing in the morning. (I’ve since learned that there’s something called Pregnenolone Steal). (21)

The following 3 months (Oct., Nov., Dec., 2017) I was experiencing severe sleeplessness due to extreme hot flushes around the clock. 

-Each hot flush, some more intense than others, would last approximately 4 minutes, every twenty to sixty minutes/24 hours a day). Face, neck, complete upper body dripping wet, then clammy followed by chills. Most of the time I’d wear my full length down jacket, not in summer, but I was more bundled up (layered) in the warmer months than what is considered reasonable.  Sleeping at night was not really sleeping, I forfeited R.E.M and no longer was dreaming. I felt like a non-violent zombie during the day, just aimlessly going through the motions.

Why did it take me so long to do something about it? I was in a fog. I was just trying to get through the day. This kind of back and forth, hot/ cold extremes leaves a person rattled. Trying to make appointments or even getting to appointments only added to the stress.

It’s very distracting, to say the least, to experience this kind of interruption a few times per day (which I had no problem dealing with for years, which is why working with herbs was fine), but to have it go on all day long and throughout the night was beyond bearable — which made me a perfect candidate for HRT –I’d tried everything else! During the day the episodes stunned me and amazed me. Besides it being exhausting, it was fascinating to witness this physiological phenomena happening in my own body —at times it was mesmerizing. Now I recognize why t-shirt clad people have their car windows rolled down in sub-zero temperatures! :/ Because I was one of them.

In contrast, the sleep-interrupting hot flushes were not at all entertaining to observe; sheets soaked from extreme sweating multiple times per night, type of intensity. And my husband being, at the best of times a light sleeper, was now getting less sleep than me. Our household was hanging by its fingertips on the edge of a crumbling precipice.

January 2018, some tweaking was made to my bio-identical hormone treatments.

March 2018, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was becoming more fatigued, depressed, unable to make food for my family, attention deficit was increasing, chronic pain intensifying, hot/cold flushes persisted etc., I listed all the symptoms in earlier posts. At my husband’s urging, he suggested, maybe it was time to talk to my Ob/gyn, who dismissed bio-identical HRT as not effective and further research revealed to me that bio-identical is erroneously considered safer, (22) (which is why I finally agreed to go on bio-identical in the first place —it seems to be a huge misconception).

Depends who you talk to!

There is so much conflicting research. Each doctor seems to have a different philosophy with mounds of studies to support them.

One reported problem with bio-identical is that it is compounded (a blending or combining) of different hormones into a topical cream. According to some doctors, this makes it very difficult to measure each application as well as knowing exactly which hormones/medicines have been mixed together. However, CEMCOR states here that Prometrium (an oral pill) along with others are bio-identical. I had been led to believe that bio-identical was only available in compounded creams.

At this point, “throwing in the towel point”, I came to the conclusion that if mainstream HRT is what it would take to bring me back to life, even at the risk of developing something worse down the road like Cancer or shortening my lifespan, that I would rather have one, five or ten really great years than continue on this declining-zombie-aimless existence for ten or more years…I was no longer having any fun. I felt a burden to my family. It felt like I was just going along for the ride, watching them live their lives, I was no longer actively engaged but a non-participating observer. In my formerly depressed condition, I was of the opinion that longevity in this condition was no way to live.

Just a side note: A couple years ago, I spent so much money on physical therapy, supplements and alternative medical practitioners that the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) requested receipts to prove this over-the-top spending. “No one spends that much money on their health!” [my words]. Health Care in Canada is free but not for those looking for answers —non-pharmaceutical answers, like I was.

Having had a baseline mammogram done to ensure I was a good candidate for HRT we then filled a prescription for the lowest amount of hormones. If it didn’t help me we could increase dosage or if I had any sign of pre-cancerous cells, I was offered Effexor as the alternative therapy. Effexor is an anti-depressant whose side effects stop hot/cold flushes; that option remained on the table.

Backing up again to late 2016, I had gone to my GP for Prometrium, but was still on the fence. I couldn’t really remember all the previous attempts I’d made with bio-identical, specifically Prometrium (in 2011, see post titled Mother Nature) after reading Jerilynn Prior’s book Estrogen’s Storm Season. Brain fog was at it’s peak. I was given a prescription for Prometrium only (2016), but never filled it opting at the time, to explore over the counter herbal options. Talk about a scattered mind!! Not only was I juggling what was going on with my body and trying to keep it together, but also putting my all into doing the best job possible raising kids along with their mounting personal expanding lives.

Again, more time passed and before starting AMATA in 2017, I took my daughter to the doctor for something, so had an opportunity to discuss my current state, still trying to figure out what to do about HRT and feeling ready to dive in; strangely, I’d forgotten that I’d already taken bio-identical hormones for fourteen months in 2014-2015 or Progesterone topical cream in 2011 – 2013!!! As it turned out my GP was out of town and so saw a Locum. Within a few minutes of describing my situation, the Locum offered Effexor (this was the first offering of Effexor, second offering -2018 – was from the Ob/gyn as back up) touting its benefits for depression, anxiety and hot flushes. She warned me that everything I would read about it on the internet could be off putting, but that it was very effective.

I handed the prescription in to a pharmacist to put on my file, while I went home to do research. The Locum was absolutely right, everything I read convinced me that I’d never want to take Effexor.

I didn’t.

But came very close. 

At my darkest hour (while taking regular HRT), I was reduced to contemplating Effexor as my last resort. At a loss of what to do for me, my husband was weighing the alternatives, to call 911 or go pick up my Effexor prescription.

Reminder: April to June 2018 (for three months), I was taking regular HRT. Hot flushes were under control, I was sleeping soundly through the night but increasing depression, fatigue, listlessness, chronic pain, etc. 

Diana saved my life!

One day I walked into Pure Pharmacy (one of the places where I would replenish my supply of Multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Iron etc.), and chatted with Diana, who recognized me as a regular.

Diana was very approachable and sincerely interested, as I noticed her taking extra time to chat and give undivided attention to all her customers. Every time I walked in, she’d ask for an update, and it seemed like I was getting worse with each visit. Finally, she stepped away and returned with a piece of paper which listed Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletions (23). At the very top of the page was the listing for Nutrients Depleted from Hormones (Conjugated Estrogens and Bio-Identical Hormones): 

  • B2
  • B6
  • B12
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Beneficial Flora

I found this very interesting since none of my health care providers had mentioned any of this to me prior to starting bio-identical or regular HRT over all these years. I can’t remember ever thinking about drug-induced mineral depletion. I’ve thought about how different drugs or supplements and even food can cause interactions; but effects on depleting minerals? No.

When I got home I placed the paper next to my computer. Either I was too fatigued to look into the information or got distracted.

I carried on, in a low/ depressed state of functioning. A few days later, on what my husband and I have coined my last and turning point of darkest days, he was ready to call for help (as mentioned earlier), he’d never seen me so low, somehow he managed to get me out for a walk and motivational talk. I can’t remember much from that day, but he explains that once we got home I went straight to my computer and spent the remainder of the day researching. Somehow, I intuitively latched on to Zinc from the list of depleted nutrients. 

He says that I came to bed angry: “It’s F@*#! zinc! I’m bloody zinc deficient!!”

Despite supplementing with iron, I learned that my chronic low iron levels would not improve due to my zinc deficiency. (24, 25, 26)

Zinc, Not Iron, … But zinc AND iron are both required to build red blood cells (RBC), and deficiencies often occur concurrently. (27)

So the next thing I researched was which Zinc supplement to take. Cross referencing gave me two to choose from and then narrowed it down further. I then had to figure out how to optimize supplement taking. As it turned out, it seemed like I had been doing everything humanly possible to further deplete my already low minerals. I’d been interfering with the absorption of my iron and some of my other supplements because I was taking them at either the wrong time of day or too close to taking my HRT or with other supplements that would cancel each other out and even the caffeine from espresso or the green tea I thought was beneficial. Also from eating beans, grains, nuts and seeds that weren’t sprouted. PHYTATES!

I found a useful info timing chart, A Guide to Timing Supplement Intake (28) to use as a model for my list of supplements.

And so here’s the what happened.

The next morning upon waking (from a hot flush) around 6am, I took 30mg of Zinc with water. Then I went back to sleep. I probably got up at 9am, which had become my wake up time.

The following two mornings I did basically the same thing except I woke up an hour earlier each day. Took Zinc at 5am then went back to bed, but got up easily at 7am. The following day woke up at 4am, took Zinc, then went back to sleep but shot out of bed by 6am.

Something was happening. My body started vibrating. I was feeling alert. Any of the old feelings of depression and sadness that shrouded me as a constant companion were nowhere to be found. Evaporated. It was difficult to even conjure memories of feeling that way. There was no therapy required.

My physical strength just reappeared. I had not been doing any physical training to acquire strength. My muscles had atrophied so much that in order to move a 12 inch pot of Rosemary on my deck I’d have to tip it over and roll it. This day, I reached down, using two fingers on each hand, effortlessly lifted this formerly lead-weighted pot. I will never forget that moment. I stood up feeling like Super Woman…super human strength had returned. This was freaking incredible!

Then my husband invited me to go for a bike ride. Normally, I’d take a pass. To his surprise and mine, I agreed. We rode on mostly level terrain but at the point for turning back home he suggested (always the motivator) either we head home or we could ride down the hill towards a relatives house. But that would mean having to ride back up the hill. Naturally, I could opt to walk the bike back up the hill, but I could tell that my former all-or-nothing attitude was hovering, waiting to get back in the game. Yikes!

I was feeling good so agreed to the down+uphill challenge. All the time weary of this being “too good to be true”. Up hill was challenging but not as impossible as I’d expected. My throat and upper chest felt that winded burning sensation that you get when you overexert yourself at a cardio vascular activity that you haven’t done in a long time. I rode up the hill switch back style, and started to imagine how I’d feel once delayed muscle soreness kicked in the next day. I knew I wouldn’t regret it, but wasn’t particularly looking forward to the aching muscles. To my surprise, I had no muscle soreness, and was suddenly going for long fast paced walks, making meals, washing up all the dishes, able to do the laundry — fold AND put away. My ADD and fatigue was gone. I could now finish a task. 

What has zinc got to do with fascia?

And my most favourite observation to share with you is about fascia. Gradually, over the years, my entire body had seized up like an aged person. My fascia felt brittle; to the point that I’d injure myself when stretching. Some of my joints cracked, popped and made grinding sounds. My hip flexors were tightening up more and more and I felt myself curving forward, bucket seat style. With each passing day, after starting zinc, without coaxing it along, my body became more limber and flexible. My hip flexors started to open up and naturally my body asked for lunge-style stretches, and back bending.

Two things to keep in mind, and they are not lost on me: 

1) the placebo effect accounts for 30% of all improvements. 

2) I was still taking HRT (the benefits could be attributed to a cooperative interaction between HRT and zinc.)

Everything works synergistically. Or does it?

“We think of ourselves as ‘in’ landscape, but sometimes we forget that landscape is also in us. We are formed by the ground we walk on: that which lies beneath our feet. That which holds us, supports us, feeds us. Ground is where we stand, the foundation for our lives.” —Sharon Blackie, The Enchanted Life

Both points separately and combined could easily explain my sudden burst of energy. But I don’t know how placebo effect alone could cause my lips to become fuller, and have noticeably more colour to them and my gums as though the iron was finally getting to where it needed to go. As well as past injuries or cuts started to heal? But the biology of belief is profound.

Zinc is to Progesterone and Testosterone as Copper is to Estrogen

By July 11/ 2018 (one month after starting zinc and three months after starting HRT) I reported back to my Ob/gyn how the zinc had made a huge difference. He was not familiar with drug-induced nutrient deficiencies so was unable to have a conversation about it. I was thinking about stopping all hormones but we had decided that carrying on for the next three months would be wise at which point I could just stop (not taper off) and should my symptoms return I could easily call his office for a new prescription. 

Eight days later I stopped all hormones.

For a couple reasons. 

1) I had been feeling a bit too wired. It felt as though my own hormones were starting up. So it made sense to me that I could stop all the supplementary hormones and work with minerals and vitamins to bring myself back to homeostasis. And if it didn’t work then I would go back on the HRT, but this time at least my mineral stores would be on the road to becoming replenished and I wouldn’t risk falling into depression.

2) I wanted to know if it was the zinc that was helping or if it really was a placebo effect. I already knew that HRT alone stopped my hot flushes and that it did nothing for my chronic pain and put me into a deep depression. Piecing the puzzle together, I now know that it was the Estrogen + copper (yes, copper), which were likely the culprits for keeping my in chronic pain and depression. More on that down the page.

I also had been researching everything I could find on Zinc. I was really concerned about taking too much zinc and causing zinc/copper imbalance. I spoke to a white coat at one of the pharmacies (not Diana) who gave me some advice about stopping the 30mg of zinc I was taking and start taking 15mg zinc to 2mg copper balance. So I started following that plan around July 23, 2018. 

After stopping HRT, my hot flushes started to slowly return! Remarkable isn’t it?!

But now I question if it was the introduction of copper supplement to my already excess levels that nursed the hot flushes. 

By July 24, 2018 my hot flushes were back. It dawned on me to try Pueraria Mirifica since it had been so effective before, and I was hopeful with my new mineral support I could manage mild hot flushes. But it didn’t work. Very quickly the hot flushes returned to full power. I stopped Pueraria Mirifica on August 2 and the next day started Harmony Menopause Max, which had been super effective so long ago. Within three days I knew it wasn’t going to cut it. My hot flushes were now disrupting my sleep in a big way and I was having hot flushes all day long as before.

From the position I stand now, with all the information I’ve gathered leads me to believe that these very good quality herbs couldn’t stand up to the zinc deficiency and copper overload. Had I been in a more mineral balanced state they might have been sufficient.

ON AUGUST 6, 2018, I restarted HRT. Within a few days the hot flushes seemed to settle down a bit, but it might have been wishful thinking. My joints started to act up in mild and subtle ways and the hot flushes had returned now building with intensity even though I tried to deny them. Lots of denial: This can’t be, I just need to give it more time, It worked before…With each hot flush I told myself that the next one wouldn’t be so bad and so on. Now I was beginning to think I’d gone and totally messed everything up and that I’d probably have to tweak my prescription to calm the symptoms down. My brain fog was starting up again too as well as I was starting to be a lot less patient, more irritable.

At the time of discovering Zinc (June 11, 2018), I became worried about who I could go to to help me get my mineral levels where they needed to be. I didn’t feel very confident with going back to the practitioners that I’d been seeing all these years. I wanted to find a Woman Doctor who’d experienced exactly what I had, or find a regular person, someone who shared my story but figured it out for themselves. But really, I was still so overwhelmed and there is only so much time a person can spend on this type of research each day. So, in the meantime I took back complete responsibility for my health. If I messed it up, I had only myself to blame.

Q: What effects does Copper have on Estrogen?

By August 11 (looks like 11 is my number?!), I went back to google and asked the right question which helped me find Patricia Reed (whose symptoms very closely resembled mine). The Universe answers…

I’ve linked to her blog post–> (Part 4 here, which is longer than the post you are currently reading, so plan to read it over few days) because she explains everything!! No sense in me trying to re-write her findings, since I’m still decoding for myself.

“Copper and estrogen are directly linked – they feed each other.  The more estrogen you have in your body, the higher your copper levels go, and vice versa – the more copper in your body, the higher your estrogen levels.  There are also cases where low estrogen is observed, but with high biounavailable copper.  What is observed as low estrogen can actually be severely high estrogen trapped in tissues with unbound biounavailable copper, rather than showing up in the blood, making it very hard to detect through blood tests, making it appear as though you have low estrogen, when in reality, you may be very severely estrogen dominant.  In either scenario, the excess biounavailable copper wreaks havoc on your liver, not to mention your brain, your appetite, and your metabolism in general.  When you have too much copper in your body, it prevents your liver from being able to detoxify anything properly – including estrogen.  So you end up with more estrogen dominance, which feeds your copper imbalance, raising your copper levels even more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  And as excess estrogen blocks your body’s ability to convert T4 thyroid hormone to active T3 thyroid hormone, now you start experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism, even if your thyroid tests tell your doctor that your thyroid function is just fine.  It’s not!                                                     – Patricia Reed

So after reading this above and researching more and cross referencing it occurred to me that it was likely that I was giving myself more copper in an effort to balance my zinc/copper intake was further contributing to my problem. In addition to wearing the Estrogen patch! OMG!! My copper levels must be just over the roof!

My zinc level as of July 24, 2018 was 11.9 μmol/L (optimal range of plasma zinc is 13.8 – 22.9μmol/L and my ferritin was 67 μg/L (Iron 51-100: Possible Iron Deficiency).

Note: I’d been taking zinc supplements for six weeks prior to testing. I didn’t know to stop taking zinc 24 hours before my blood test (see below). And I’d been taking iron on and off for years.

Serum and Plasma zinc tests are not always accurate. (31)

Plasma Zinc

This is the main lab test done to establish zinc deficiency. Although it is very good at picking up major deficiencies it is quite insensitive to marginal deficiency because a change in plasma zinc does not occur until zinc intake is extremely low. So a patient with `normal’ results may still be deficient.

Plasma levels of zinc can be influenced by hypo or hyperproteinemia, acute infections, stress, time of sampling (how long after a meal), pregnancy, liver disease, malignancies and pernicious anaemia.

Zinc supplements will affect the results of plasma tests so one needs to avoid taking these for at least 24 hours prior to the test.

***The optimal range of plasma zinc is 13.8 – 22.9μmol/L ( 90-150μg/dl).***

Clinical signs of zinc deficiency may occur when plasma zinc concentrations drop below 9.9μmol/L (65 μg/dl).

Values less than 5μmol/L (33 μg/dl) are particularly associated with loss of the senses of taste and smell, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, skin rash, and loss of appetite. (32)

I have repeated a zinc tally test and tasted nothing — my kids too 😦 

pylouria_zincleveltasteresponse

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

To really get to the bottom of things I have to do a HTMA test (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Test). (29, 30)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

***

“Mineral ratios are as important, if not more important than mineral levels.

***

Copper for example, may be seen at a normal level, however, if the zinc/copper ratio is low, one may experience symptoms of elevated copper.

This principle also applies to toxic metals. For example, if the cadmium level is only slightly elevated but the zinc level is low the cadmium toxicity is more serious.”

                                                                                                               – CanAlt Health Laboratories

Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn Cu Zn

In addition:

Look Up Pyroluria: Also known as Mauve Factor (due to the mauve color visible on testing paper during urinalysis) or pyrrole disorder, pyroluria occurs when the pyrroles bind to pyroxidine (vitamin B6) and zinc, causing these vital nutrients to be excreted from the body in large amounts.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

– Thomas Edison

In following posts I will share a list of some authors that you can look into. My To Be Read (TBR) book stack has suddenly got a lot taller and less heavy on the fiction side of things.

In case you are wondering what I’m doing/taking now? I’ll share that too in the next post.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

(9a) 15 Zinc Deficiency Symptoms and Best Food Sources https://drjockers.com/15-zinc-deficiency-symptoms/

(10) Hortence’s Formula https://arvigotherapy.com/rainforest/node/96 

(11) Rosita Arvigo https://rositaarvigo.com/about-dr-arvigo/

(12) Barbara Loomis https://nurturance.net/meet-me/

(13) Renée Warner http://touchrootbodywork.com/about-renee

(14) Weston Price https://www.westonaprice.org

(15) Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price https://www.amazon.ca/Nutrition-Physical-Degeneration-Weston-Price/dp/0916764206

(16) Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions https://www.amazon.ca/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=1WCQNZWASV6TM8Y7PFA4

(17) Denise Minger https://deniseminger.com/about/

(18) Fémance https://www.stfrancisherbfarm.com/products/vitex-combo

(19) Harmony Menopause Max http://takeharmony.com.au/product/harmony-menopause-max/

(20) Pueraria Mirifica https://amatalife.com/index.php/menopause-relief?SID=58a9cbbd46a1eb0aaf65b78059b6132d

(21) Pregnenolone Steal http://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/archives/the-negative-impact-of-the-pregnenolone-steal/

(22) [Is Bio-Identical Safer?] Women’s Health Forum with Dr. Jennifer Blake Ob/Gyn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBqqo8cvbRQ

(23) Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion https://nutritionreview.org/2016/12/practical-guide-avoiding-drug-induced-nutrient-depletion/

(24) Iron deficiency or anemia of inflammation? Differential diagnosis and mechanisms of anemia of inflammation https:/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065583/

(25) Acute inhibition of iron absorption by zinc https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531707000954

(26) Zinc and IGF-I concentrations in pregnant women with anemia before and after supplementation with iron and/or zinc. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10376783?dopt=Abstract

(27) Zinc, Not Iron, May be the Answer to Anemia http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Zinc_Not_Iron.shtml

(28) A Guide to Timing Supplement Intake https://labdoor.com/article/a-guide-to-timing-supplement-intake

(29) HTMA Test https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/hair-analysis-test#1

(30) Hair Mineral Analysis https://www.canaltlabs.com/hairmineralanalysis

(31) Serum zinc levels in patients with iron deficiency anemia and its association with symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26931116

(32) Zinc Diagnostic Tests http://accurateclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Zinc-Diagnostic-Tests…..-A-guide-to-zinc-deficiency-tests..pdf

 

HELLO! I’M BACK! Part 4

In this part, I’m sharing the experience I had with taking certain remedies: prescription, herbs, supplements etc, that I explored over thirteen years from when my peri-menopausal symptoms were triggered. Some of these remedies work very well for a lot of people. I am not negating their effectiveness on the whole. Remember this is my story, and each of us is an experiment of one.

In the years leading up to 2017, I was tested for Lupus (and other autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis factor) — I can’t remember if there were other tests and don’t much feel like spending the time going through the paperwork to find the exact details at the moment, partly because I feel ambivalent.

Not only do symptoms of disease creep up on us when we least expect it, but they’re also a sure sign that we’re no longer in homeostasis. What do we do when we start having mild symptoms? Usually, we wait and see. It’s not such bad advice, except what are we waiting to see? Either that the symptoms go away on their own, which sometimes happens or they get worse and develop into something that needs treatment. Should we use treatments or pharmaceuticals for these symptoms or would we be better off working towards realigning our body’s equilibrium? In the end, the latter is what made all the difference for me.

Could It Be Zinc Deficiency?

In my early twenties I experienced daily mild nausea and tasted a metallic residue in my mouth. (1, 2) Amazingly, eating would suppress the nausea and I didn’t mind eating. I don’t recall when I stopped noticing the nausea or metallic taste but both lingered over a ten year period. I wondered if it was from my amalgam fillings, which I eventually had removed (in Vancouver) and replaced with porcelain. I remember clearly describing it to doctors in Toronto and to my new doctor upon moving to Vancouver in 2000. Once again, it was my husband who encouraged me to talk to someone about these peculiar symptoms.

Looking back over my calendar, I’m feeling both irritated and bored reviewing these lost years of my life. My calendar was the place where I kept track of mostly EVERYTHING: herbs or medications that I took, the pain I experienced, irregular menstrual cycles and for years I tracked my morning temperature…trying to identify patterns if they existed, anything to solve my declining-health-puzzle.

At my core I am an optimist, and am hopeful that learning about what happened to me may help others who are struggling in similar ways. It’s not as though this information is not readily available to everyone and am somewhat bewildered it took so long for me to unearth it. It boils down to asking the right questions, which is farcical. I think it’s safe to say that for most of us suffering from illness or mysterious symptoms, that we don’t know what the right questions are and so we ask a lot of random questions and offer our own suspicions hoping that someone who knows more than us will be able to grab a clue from our bizarre analogies and symptoms, and run with it.

I’ve always had a “passionate streak” that bordered on the obsessive, but lucky for me, generally, my interests were of a healthy nature. However, around 2011, I became negatively obsessed with saving the planet. I wasn’t fun to be around anymore and if I didn’t show it on the outside, I was a completely stressed on the inside navigating my way around the city watching how everyone’s daily habits were so oblivious to the pollution we were generating. Having school-aged kids at the time, my attention zeroed in in particular on all the daily waste generated in schools –what were we teaching our kids, the next generation? So in a moment of positivity and activism when my daughter (in grade 5 at the time) initiated an eco-movement, I helped her with the social media side of things (here) and a lot of sewing. My dark outlook on the depressing and futile future of our planet was weighing me down. I was trying to save the planet ALL by myself. I could no longer see that all the ways in which I was inconveniencing and further stressing myself to do the right things didn’t make much of an impact if the global population didn’t care. Note: More on obsessive tendencies later, and how I still feel passionate but the negative side has vanished as a result.

Ironically, it was the Earth that saved ME. 

I was so focused on protecting the Earth that I was unable to see what SHE was offering —all the while staring me right in the face. A bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the answer was with me (with all of us), only I didn’t know how to access it properly. Turns out, my instincts were on the right path, albeit a thirteen year path: it’s the Earth’s natural balance of what’s in the soil that will help us all.

If you didn’t already need a reason to tread lighter on our Mother Earth, hopefully this will give you something to consider. (3, 4, 5)

This is not an original thought, but somehow even though we know it in theory, there is a comprehension piece missing. And if you are demineralized like I am (and was severely demineralized over the last few years), making obvious connections to seemingly glaring signs is downright impossible. Yet, we all know that we rely on the planet for survival — but do we really understand what that means?

We are dependent on the minerals in the Earth’s soil and water for optimal health. As we deplete the Earth we deplete ourselves. It’s simple biochemistry.

The amount of minerals in food often depends on the mineral concentration of the soil and water, where farmers grew or raised the food.

We all know how important nutrition is, and most people I talk to believe that they’re eating very well. They either follow various ethically imposed diets or elimination diets based on disease or illness protocols, and yet almost everyone I talk with has some kind of unresolved health issue or concern. This is why I’m sharing myself as example because you probably haven’t heard it like this:

ME:

-someone who had been apparently healthy (but likely depleted from birth, due to genetics, familial habits and environmental exposure, also known as luck of the draw —this is why prenatal vitamins/minerals are encouraged), (6)

-I became further depleted through developmental years (because as a teenager I “knew everything and ate whatever I wanted” at least that described me and most of my friends), 

-a high intensity personality

-followed by lifelong high intensity exercise/activity, 

-two pregnancies and postpartum periods of child rearing and breastfeeding (16 months and 19 months).

-regular blood donations (during a one year period when my ferritin levels were normal)

-irregular and too frequent menses

-unsuspected drug-induced mineral depletion from bio-identical and regular HRT

-further intensified demineralization from vigorous long-term sweating in Hot Yoga

-finally on the edge of complete fatigue and failure to thrive, 

-I bounce back to life from a simple but essential mineral from the Earth:

Zinc.

“Zinc is an essential mineral that the body needs, and it supports your reproductive, immune and endocrine systems. If you don’t get enough zinc, you may be more likely to develop depression, skin problems such as acne, age-related macular degeneration, hair loss and neurological problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Ingesting too much zinc, however, can also cause medical disorders…” (7)

Let’s go back in time again: Over the years I either went to specialists and/or worked on my own, doing the following (not all at once obviously —this covers twenty years worth) and I may have forgotten some things…this list is from the top of my head and a quick scan through my calendar.

I’d go for regular:

  • physio or massage (Rolfing/KMI/ myofascial release work)
  • roll my body out with foam roller/Travel Roller
  • Thai Massage, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong
  • Pilates, Gyrotonic, Yoga (Trained and certified in each)
  • practice meditation, consult a psychic, reduce stress, calm walks in the forest, 
  • swimming 
  • Hot/Cold water therapy 
  • Homeopathy = Homeopathic remedies + supplements 
    • Vitamin C + Flavinoids; Magnesium; Vitamin D; Iodine (self-prescribed); Iron
  • Infrared sauna
  • Crystals
  • 2010-2012 Bio-identical Progesterone topical cream after learning about Jerrilyn Prior’s book Estrogen’s Storm Season (8) 
  • Integrative Medicine =supplements
  • Naturopathy = acupuncture + 2x B12 injection + supplements
    • Vitamin C + Flavinoids; Iron; Magnesium; Fish Oil; EstroSmart; Adrenal Support; Probiotics.
  • Dec. 2/2013 HORMONE 24 HOUR URINE TEST collection
  • Feb. 4/ 2014 – April 9/2015 Bio-Identical Progesterone oral and Estrogen topical (Rotation: Estrogen during Menses or 10 Days + Progesterone Day 11 – Day 25 or till menses starts)
  • Seed Cycling
  • Arvigo Abdominal Therapy (9) then took the self-care course so as to practice on myself
  • I even flew to Belize in Central America to study Spiritual Healing!!!
  • Fémance by St. Francis Nov. 3/16- Feb. 7/17
  • Harmony Menopause Max Feb. 14/17 – Feb. 21/17 (2 weeks) then switched to Pueraria Mirifica Feb 22/17 until August when it stopped working due to extreme sweating from Hot Yoga
  • Feb. 22/17 Advanced Hormone Testing: DUTCH Test (Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones).
  • Studying Herbalism
  • Vaginal Steaming
  • CBD Oil 3x/day
  • Sept. 2017 – April/ 2018 Bio-Identical HRT + Pregnenlolone
  • April /2018 – July 20/2018 Mainstream HRT
  • Zinc June 11/2018
  • July 20/ 2018 STOPPED ALL HORMONES
  • July 24/ 2018 HOT FLUSHES returning, MOOD normal and stable
  • July 25 to August 2/2018 Pueraria Mirifica (1 Tab 2x/day)
  • August 3 to August 5 Harmony Menopause Max (2 tabs 2x/day)
  • August 6/2018 RESTART mainstream HRT because HOT FLUSHES became intolerable as before.

To be continued in Part 5 (‘cause this is so long and editing myself to keep it short is taking too much time).  Next time I’ll go into more detail about what happened with each remedy and explain more about why zinc made all the difference for me. The next part is already written so I’ll post it within a few days. Please note: I am not affiliated with any supplement products company or pharmacy and that this is a true story. 

(1) Nausea and Low Vitamin D & Vitamin B-12 https://www.livestrong.com/article/547745-nausea-and-low-vitamin-d-vitamin-b-12/

(2) Metallic Taste in Your Mouth? https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/dental-oral-health/metallic-taste-in-your-mouth/

(3) Too Many Tourists? http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/too-many-tourists-rethink-how-you-travel-or-risk-ruining-destinations-says-expert-1.4775306

(4) Planet at risk of heading towards irreversible ‘hothouse’ conditions, new report says https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/world-hothouse-report-1.4775649

(5) Study: Plastic degrading in the oceans could be contributing to global warming http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38791434/study-plastic-degrading-in-the-oceans-could-be-contributing-to-global-warming

(6) Ancient Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow’s Children https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/traditional-diets/ancient-dietary-wisdom-for-tomorrows-children/

(7) Zinc http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-zinc-much-humans-5684.html

(8) Jerrilyn Prior Estrogen’s Storm Season http://www.cemcor.ubc.ca/resources/estrogen’s-storm-season

(9) Arvigo Abdominal Therapy https://arvigotherapy.com

Hello! I’M BACK! Part 2

My experience as case study: 

My kids, now teens, were born at home in 2002 and 2004; I had (still have?) a high pain threshold. Gradually, I became more fatigued after the second child. I was 34, with two young kids, naturally, I presumed a reasonable amount of exhaustion was to be expected. 

When feeling well, I’ve got a lot of physical energy, and some. Even during these fatigue years I was still able to get a lot done, despite chronic pain. This year I’ve read 48 books since January —primarily because I was listless. I like to do things and so if the least I could do was check off ‘book read’ from my TBR stack, then I was accomplishing something.

Example: in the past, on this blog I’ve shared a breakdown of A Day in the Life of movement/activity and meals from my early 40’s (under Food Log), so you can see I was getting it done.

Example: In my early 20’s, 1990’s Toronto, a buddy introduced me to the new In-Line-Skating craze. On a scorching summer day, swimming in oversized borrowed skates and two pair of wool winter socks (to make the skates fit), he and I would barrel down University Avenue (having started out at Lawrence and Bayview), weaving through and around moving objects, jumping this and that all the way down to the Lakeshore, eventually coming across places to practice our jumps. I’d follow behind with no particular grace or skill but sheer excitement for the thrill (completely risky in hindsight). One particular spot, had piles of rotting timber and the occasional rusted nail jutted out; we’d build up speed and fly overtop. Then we’d skate all the way back home—up hill all the way.

In those days, I was into Body Building and Fitness Competitions. I’d spend two to three hours a day at the gym. Take a 20 minute recovery nap mid-day, work with my Personal Training clients and teach Cycle Reebok “Spinning” classes and sometimes take clients for a run. Often commuting across the city on my mountain bike, eventually, securing slick tires to make the ride more functional, meanwhile studying and eventually becoming certified in Pilates and Yoga.

Having learned that I’d won a Ms. Fitness Canada pageant in ’94, a new friend at the time named me: “Super-Power-Babe-of-the-Universe”. HAHAHAHA! 

Essentially, the picture I’m painting is to illustrate that by my nature, I move. And when I wasn’t on the go, I was eating food or reading anatomy books. Side note: I believe in moving the body for health…the body as a machine which requires maintenance and proper fuel vs. to actually be a machine. Difference.

I’m sharing all this to emphasize that I consider myself in a unique position to talk about what being healthy and active is, and likewise, to detail the shocking, contrasting decline to the rock bottom of torpidity…and back again. 

How #KatCameBack And what all my health providers missed.

Reminiscing on what I used to do back then surprises me now, I almost can’t wrap my head around it. And yet it was so natural. Even to conceive the amount of activity I was capable of only four years ago is startling to my present self, since mustering up the energy or inspiration to go for a simple stroll a few times per week was a huge accomplishment these last few months. I’d pretty much stopped preparing any food for my family. If I did supply anything it would be mostly store bought (Ma & Pop shops in my community were my lifeline where I’d bring in my reusable containers for soups, salads etc.). Creativity gone. Motivation gone. Zest for living…gone 😦

I stopped preparing food for my family. If I had enough energy to do a grocery shop, I then would be completely zapped of energy or desire to prepare any meals upon returning home.

If I could muster up the energy to make something, I’d plead for my husband to tell me what I should make. Most days I ate very minimally. I was no longer exercising (the most I could do was stretch in bed in the morning, a requirement to get out of bed, usually way after 9am) and on a good day I’d go for a twenty minute walk in the woods, often overtaken with emotion and weepy throughout the day.

Basically, I stopped being able to make decisions for myself. Rote memory was what got me through daily activities. I had become mechanical 😦

I needed to bring my husband with me to my doctor appointments to speak on my behalf and to make sense of the conversation FOR me.

WTF!?! What happened to me?

Takeaway: This is NOT about being nostalgic about my ‘glory days’, but rather, to clarify that there was a time when I had the drive to commit to showing up. Remember, I coined the term: Self-Discipline Is Born From Being Consistent. As a result of this downward spiral and rebirth, I now understand that no matter how much a person wants to be healthy there is much more going on here than positive self-talk and ‘showing up’ to achieve self-discipline. There’s a whole group of people who are unable to show up, and I don’t believe that it’s necessarily ‘mental illness’ or laziness/ lack of self-discipline. Within three days of figuring out what was causing my decline my energy stores started to fill up. Like a plant, restricted from water, after receiving a deep watering we actually see the plant, before our eyes, straighten up expressing its life-force. That’s exactly how I felt. My body was vibrating. I even went for a bike ride for the first time in years, down a steep hill and rode back up, with no delayed muscle soreness the next day! Prior to this, vertigo-like feelings, declining vision and spacial awareness type of sensations kept me from playing…I just didn’t feel right or safe to make judgements. But now my mood has lifted and the brain fog is not as bad (it’s still taken me four days to write this tho).

Even last year from April to August 2017, I was a regular at a hot Yoga studio. My shoulder pain was at an all time high. I was hopeful that the heat of the yoga studio would allow me to move without pain or at least be able to move enough to correct whatever was going on, besides my Naturopath wanted me to sweat…but I’ll get to that later and explain why the heat may have been a contributing factor to my rapid decline.

Next up, I’ll share a list of all the symptoms and treatments I went through during these last thirteen years.

To be continued…

Comments are turned off until the end of this grouping of posts. 

HELLO! I’m BACK!

Not sure if you noticed my absence? I haven’t posted anything here since 2015.         Today is June 25, 2018. 

I’ve been unwell.

Despite doing all the “right” things, my decline has been gradual, not unlike the fable of the boiling frog. The only difference, is that I was able to hop out prior to boiling point.

The boiling frog is a fable which describes a frog being slowly boiled alive. If a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, the frog will jump out. But if the frog is put into tepid water, which is gradually brought to a boil, it will not perceive any danger.

The result: being cooked to death.

Up until two weeks ago, I believed that the last thirteen years of early peri-menopausal onset was exclusively due to my gene expression. Having done the 23andme genetic test in 2016, it was confirmed that I have the gene which puts me through menopause ten years earlier than the average woman. Some will argue, that just because I have the gene doesn’t mean that it will be expressed. (I don’t know enough about genetics to debate this). Unfortunately, we will never know. Should we be open to speculation that something ELSE was going on which triggered these symptoms which over time gradually brought me to boiling point?

The first thing that came to mind when I read the report, was that it made sense: Mum had a very difficult and drawn out peri-menopause too, even though comparatively, my sisters seemed to have minimal and manageable symptoms at typical ages. And I was grateful for the ‘official’ explanation for my untimely symptoms, which began at age 34.

What has this got to do about you? Essentially, that’s why you’re reading this. We’re all looking for answers for our own well-being. You may find some details going forward that either resonate with your health or someone you know.

My vision has always been to die healthy, at a ripe OLD age! But I was barely holding on to life at 47 years of age. I know that sounds dramatic, I was not hospitalized, but I felt that my expiry date was rapidly approaching. This slow, gradual decline that I’d been trekking had suddenly accelerated in the last six months and avalanched as of April 2018. My life started crumbling under my feet, like loose gravel overtop a seemingly solid trail. Depression’s fists were strengthening their grasp on my shirt collar and pulling me down, and I went willingly — I was giving up.

I never knew what Darkness meant up until this year. Really, I didn’t truly understand what depression was — because I’d never experienced it. Like so many others who don’t understand, I couldn’t comprehend how a positive attitude or encouragement from well meaning supportive friends and family could not pull you up out from your depths. “Cheer up! Smile!”

So what happened that brought me back to life? How’d I escape boiling point?

What happened that made Darkness leave? I never said good-bye to Darkness, by the way– I didn’t work at convincing it to leave me alone. Darkness just vanished, POOF! and what I was left with is empirical understanding. 

I’m heartbroken that so many people are walking around with despair as an unwelcome shadow and living with chronic pain.

I’ll share my story with you. It’s long, but I’ll keep it short-ish. There’s thirteen years of decline to cover — although there’s no doubt the early years prior set the stage.

I’d rather be doing other things than write this out, so I’ll be brief, for your sake and mine…after all, I’ve got some lost years to restore 🙂 AND, I’m still not at one-hundred percent. However, I’m feeling pretty amazing in contrast to how I was feeling just two weeks ago. There are so many FIRSTS that I’d like to shout about. Like the fact that I am here typing away, so naturally, words are flowing. I went for a LONG walk yesterday, I wake up refreshed, my strength has returned without having done any type of workout to have ‘created’ strength, to name but a few of my firsts.

I’ll post a little something every day, or so, to describe what happened.

At the root of this story is the failure of the experts. Oops! I did it again! I listened to the experts instead of my own instincts. Surly they know better –> tongue firmly planted in cheek. Years ago, I wrote a cautionary post about not relinquishing too much to the experts.

Did I forget? NO. But this is what happens when brain fog kicks in. What you know and interpretation of information becomes clouded…hence the term.

I’m pissed about this. Thirteen years of physical pain and aging like I were 70+. So, yes, I’m pissed. But I was eloquently reminded, that it’s better to be pissed than pissed on…unless you’re into that.

Silver lining: There is no success without failure. 

BOTH, the natural and allopathic medical systems failed in preparing my various doctors, who in turn failed me. But this story wouldn’t reach you, had they not. I wouldn’t have learned some pretty significant information about depression and health, had they not.

And so maybe, this will reach you or someone you love, in time to help. Despite doing all the seemingly right things for a healthy life, there are too many people slipping into darkness, suffering pain, premature ageing and dying.  

To be continued…

Comments are turned off until the end of this grouping of posts. 

What Is Normal?

We Are All Weird, by Seth Godin

Seth Godin published a little book in 2011 called We Are All Weird. Click on the title to read an excerpt.

You’ve really got to think hard about this:

Being normal is based on what the average person does, through conformity.

Following this logic, I am, therefore, far from normal. Not in every way but in many ways. But I’ve known this since I was a kid. Most of us so called “weird” ones have been OK with our standing. We know we’re different. But there are many who are still learning to accept their differences and with every ounce of their being resist their nature and struggle to fit in or to be “normal-like-everyone-else”.  I would like to encourage everyone to be true to who you are, not who you think you should be; there is a difference.

Let’s talk about food for an example.

On occasion people say this phrase to me: “Well, you’ve got to live!” Often in reference to doing things that they know that they shouldn’t be doing; for instance consuming certain foods or drinks.

Eating Contest

Eating Contest

Since when, why and how did engaging in risky behavior equate living? And why is it so often about consuming substances? Is it that charge of adrenaline that is so titillating – oh, how it wakes us up like we have never been awake before and bang! we feel alive. Again, let’s do it again, but let’s push the envelope a little further this time. It is a heavy question with reasoning that could fill the infinite scroll down potential of any blog. I think the adrenaline rush associated with extreme sport is a little different from the rush derived from consuming substances, but they straddle the same hemisphere. So if you will, allow me to ramble for a minute.

At a restaurant, about sixteen years ago, when I was just dating my husband, he said to me, “If I’m going to risk my life why would I choose to do so by doing something as unadventurous as eating mussels?” I fear, most people are ignorant of the toxins present in the foods or drinks they choose to consume. Some restaurants actually have a disclaimer on the menu where items such as mussels, clams and raw oysters are served.

Cooked Mussels

Cooked Mussels

I am very aware that how I conduct myself is not the norm. The fact that I feel like I am “living” everyday without sacrificing anything, would categorize me once again as weird.

Definition of Sacrifice:

“an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.”

Must we?

Ah…sacrifice. It is such an interesting word, such an interesting feeling. It has been a long road of learning, but I can honestly say that I am at such a place where sacrifice does not exist. There is nothing that I would have to give up to be where I am. I make time to focus and take care of myself everyday because that is where I want to be. I eat well all the time because I want to – because it makes me feel great; and because really, for me there is no alternative.

It seems to be more difficult for others to accept that I have accepted that celebration and reward does NOT come in the form of food or alcohol or excess. I am right where I should be and continue to learn more about my body, mind and health each day. I have chosen to represent this sentiment with a photograph of a bee in flight, just approaching a flowering chive. Why? Because bees have focus and it seems to me like they enjoy what they do. It comes down to perspective.

I choose not to eat or drink anything that disagrees with my system. I choose not to eat or drink anything just to please a host or because it was a gift. The story of The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey comes to mind when I think about this, because one thought always leads to another.

I won’t finish off something just to prevent it from going to waste. Forcing food to go through my body before it becomes garbage is no different than just throwing it away in the first place. Both are equally wasteful, but the former causes bodily harm. Better to learn not to prepare so much or order so much food. It is OK to have leftovers…I rely on them.

We can choose to make a thoughtful, informed choice or we can choose to sacrifice. In the end we have still made a choice. If we are going to bother to choose, shouldn’t we choose wisely?

“You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.”

~Rush the Band, Freewill

But clearly, weird is subjective. I think it is pretty weird to consume things that are known toxins, which contribute to lowering life expectancy, have potential side effects, which may contribute to birth defects, known diseases and cancer. And yet in the normal universe, which is parallel to my weird universe, this is considered living, by letting loose and not being so serious.

“I want to be normal!” – not me, thanks.

Just about everyone wants to be normal. Kids want to be normal; they want to fit in. They learn it at a young age. If they don’t conform they will be excluded.

“Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone…

In the high school halls

In the shopping malls

Conform or be cast out…

In the basement bars

In the backs of cars

Be cool or be cast out…”– Rush the Band, Subdivisions

They want to be able to eat or drink what everyone else does without thinking about the after effects or repercussions; they want to live in the moment. They want to live.

A few years ago when my husband and I were hosting our annual Canadian Thanksgiving feast, one of my guests, knowing that I was deep into the experimental phase of eliminating certain foods from my diet (to heal myself), said that she just couldn’t do what I was doing. So I asked, “I didn’t realize there were any foods that disagreed with your system.” Her: “Oh, yeah there are, but I eat them anyway and pay the price the next day.”

What?!

To me that’s CRAZY, insane even. I told her that I thought so. 🙂 

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

Except in this case I don’t think people are expecting different results. And we call THAT normal?! Only because the masses are doing it. If everyone is doing it, then it must be OK.

After that conversation, I started asking other people if there were foods or drinks that they knowingly consumed which caused a delayed negative reaction. One person told me that they would eat certain foods knowing that they would have to be practically connected to the toilet for the following three days. “OH! But it’s so worth it going down.”

Really?

This is the original more familiar version of the famous song Crazy – by Gnarles Barkley. I’ve transcribed the lyrics below so you can read or sing along. While looking for the song I came across this slower version, which is outstanding. I have posted the link here in case you want to have a listen.

“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

There was something so pleasant about that place.

Even your emotions had an echo 
In so much space

And when you’re out there Without care,

Yeah, I was out of touch, But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough

I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy?

Possibly [radio version] Probably [album version]

And I hope that you are having the time of your life


But think twice, that’s my only advice



Come on now,

Who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,

Ha ha ha bless your soul


You really think you’re in control

Well, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy, I think you’re crazy

Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb

And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun

And it’s no coincidence I’ve come, And I can die when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy, Maybe you’re crazy, Maybe we’re crazy

Probably

Uh, uh”

We need to practice thinking about what we practice.

We can choose.

Salt vs. Sodium & That Nutella Case

Table Salt

Table Salt (Photo credit: MoHotta18)

On January 10, 2012, I read Carly Weeks’ article featured in the Globe and Mail, “Harper must demand action on sodium levels, health groups urge“. To view the article in its entirety click here. I got so heated about this topic (can you guess why?) that I started to compose this post right then and there. I had other pressing chores that morning but could not let this go. In the end I didn’t have time to finish until now, six months later. But serendipity strikes again, for today (July 11, 2012) I read about the “California class-action lawsuit that slammed the makers of Nutella for ads suggesting the spread was a healthy food [it] was settled this week in favour of consumers.” (Tralee Pearce, Globe and Mail). To view the article recounting this ridiculous ruling click here.

Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme

Regarding sodium levels: Yes, I agree it would be good to bring sodium levels down, but more importantly choose to stop buying ready-made products; problem solved. Regarding Nutella: No, I disagree with the settlement. However, I think that this is a great opportunity to talk about taking personal responsibility. We, as a collective don’t really need to wait for our governments to take responsibility for ourselves – or do we? Can we not choose to prepare more healthy foods from home as opposed to consuming and relying so much on ready-made, pre-packaged food? Waiting on the ‘other guy’ to solve our problems or make us healthy hasn’t done much for us thus far. In these two cases, generally speaking, the problem isn’t with our governments or manufacturers, it is with the pre-packaged foods, which are loaded with sodium and unhealthy ingredients and making the choice to buy them in the first place. We need to take personal responsibility and read the labels. Better yet, cut back, if not stop altogether, buying and eating foods that come with labels. Eat less pre-packaged food and work on choosing whole natural foods that don’t come with ingredient lists. But, if you must, then in the case of sodium in particular, look for labels that have less than 5 mg of sodium PER SERVING (and good luck finding any, by the way – which takes us back to the first article). If nothing else we can use these points as an opportunity to start evaluating this one aspect of our health.

“Ay, there’s the rub.”

The conundrum is that if we don’t have the desire to self-educate, to ask questions and search for meaning then we can easily accept what we are told to be absolute. I squirm inside whenever I hear someone exclaim with a strong measure of conviction: “THEY say (or I’ve read) that (enter product here) is good for you.” How do THEY know? Who are THEY? And why do we believe THEM without experimenting for ourselves?

Read this from Dr. Mercola: “Why Your Doctor’s Advice May Be Fatally Flawed”

As we all know, there are countless products being peddled that purport to transform our lives. Beautiful images of apparently perfect human specimens lure us to buy everything from skin and body products to nutritional supplements. And all the convincing research, don’t forget the convincing research studies…

We are only as strong as our weakest link.

What if, you don’t know that you don’t know? If we are raised by seemingly well intentioned parents who don’t know much about a healthy lifestyle, and surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, and believe everything advertisers promise…”Ay, there’s the rub.”[1]

"The New Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lomb...

“I’m sick of parents blaming everyone from McDonald’s and their Happy Meal toys to cereal companies and their jovial cartoon characters for trying to make their kids fat and unhealthy, when it’s our job first and foremost to determine what foods they eat and don’t. It’s a little thing called personal responsibility,” she writes. “So congratulations on the [Nutella] lawsuit, but I find it ridiculous, and it’s frankly insulting to consumers and mothers who DO read labels.”

The Stir – Julie Ryan Evans

By the way, my daughter eats a version of Nutella (NocciolataFROM TIME TO TIME – NOT EVERYDAY! 

With respect to Nutella and ready-made products? Cut back on consuming them, eventually, eliminating them entirely. Many may panic at the idea of cutting back on the convenience of ready-made processed foods, but I promise, you will survive.

In fact you will likely start to thrive.

Over the last year and a half, I have been working on cutting out all processed foods – I open few containers and packages these days, which is having a positive impact on my carbon footprint. Mostly, I make everything from fresh whole natural foods. Sure, it takes time and practice, but just about anything is possible with enough practice. What could be more important than nourishing our health and the health of those we love?

“One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.”

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We’re smarter than we think. We can do this. (Read this book by Joshua FoerMoonwalking With Einstein)

Look at what the human species has accomplished, it is mind-boggling. In the same breath I can think of many inventions that are used everyday that are unfinished and by that I mean they have fallen short, causing more problems. Pre-packaged food is one of the items on my list. So take your pick: Convenience or your health. THEY want you to believe that you can have it both ways.

Hey, you gotta live!

(I say this with healthy dose of sarcasm in case it isn’t obvious. A kind of paradoxical-oxymoron.)

My strategy is to prepare enough food to ensure leftovers; this way, I’m never scrambling at the last minute and tempted to grab whatever is convenient. I’ve become a short order cook for my family, and I have learned to love it. Meal times have become more of an opportunity to educate and reawaken our natural instincts and intuition about what foods make us feel well, feel nourished and fueled.

Besides, imagine the environmental effect we are having on our planet by the amount of processed products we purchase each day! Have you seen this film?

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying that my kids always eat what I want them to eat. In fact they often want to eat the junk that their friends eat. As much as it makes me cringe, I know that it only makes up about 10% of their diet and one hundred percent of the time they admit to how lousy they feel from eating it. The lesson for me is that I have to let them experience these things for themselves, within reason. We talk about ingredients and how certain ingredients affect the body etc. It’s not easy training children to become responsible for themselves. They want to make their own decisions but our job as parents is to protect them from themselves. It’s not so different from having dogs. Our dogs like to eat everything they smell, much to their own detriment; they are indiscriminate with what they will ingest – because they don’t know that they don’t know!

The most important message I can leave you with is that children cannot eat whatever they want all the time. Their bodies will not “figure it out” as they grow-up. Many adults have said to me over the years that, they ate whatever they wanted as a kid and they turned out ok. It’s not about the size of our body or the amount of body fat we carry, it’s about the damage that we cannot see, what we are doing to our internal body, our organs and cells.

Lets review:

What is Sodium?

  • Sodium is an essential nutrient.
  • Sodium is one of the primary Electrolytes in the body.
  • All four cationic Electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium) are found in unrefined salt.
  • BUT too much Sodium is bad for you.
  • Sodium is a mineral.
  • It is a chemical element, Sodium (Na) also known as Sodium Chloride (NaCl).
  • Sodium is naturally occurring in most food sources.

salt

What is Table Salt?

  • Table salt is refined salt.
  • Table Salt is Sodium with additives:
  • Table Salt contains 97% – 99% Sodium Chloride.
  • 3% -1% is additives.
  • The additives vary from country to country.
  • Some countries that do not have fluoridated water add Sodium Fluoride to their Table Salt.
  • Some countries add Iron and Potassium Iodide Salts (Iodine) to their Table Salt
  • Some countries add Folic Acid to their Table Salt.
  • Some countries add Inverted Sugar Syrup to their Table Salt.
  • Most Table Salt contains anti-caking ingredients: Calcium Silicate, Sodium Thiosulphate, Sodium Ferrocyanide, Magnesium Carbonate, Tricalcium Phosphate etc.

What is Sea Salt?

  • Sea Salt has the same Sodium content as Table Salt.
  • Sea Salt is obtained by the evaporation of seawater.

What is Iodized Salt?

  • Iodized Salt has the trace mineral Potassium Iodide added.
  • Iodized Salt will be clearly labeled: contains dietary iodine.
  • Because access to natural sources of iodine, such as saltwater fish, sea vegetables or plants grown in iodine-rich soil are scarce in some parts of the world, Iodine is a welcome addition for health reasons.
  • The Thyroid gland needs a certain amount of dietary iodine to function properly.

CAUTION – Sodium in disguise:

Soy sauce, fish sauce & oyster sauce.

soy sauce [119/366]

One Tablespoon of Soy Sauce = ~900mg of Sodium

One Tablespoon of Bragg’s Soy Sauce (non GMO) = ~660 mg of Sodium

One Tablespoon of Fish Sauce = ~1190 mg of Sodium

One Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce = ~492 mg of Sodium

One teaspoon or 6 grams of salt contains about 2,400 mg of Sodium.

Which exceeds the Tolerable Upper Intake Level! For optimum health we should

NOT exceed 1,500 mg per day.

How much Sodium does the average Canadian consume each day? 3400 mg.

 

What happens when we consume too much Sodium?  Some associated diseases or conditions include: Stroke, Cardiovascular Disease, High Blood Pressure, Renal (Kidney) Disease, Stomach Cancer…

Too much or too little salt in the diet can lead to muscle crampsdizziness, or electrolyte disturbance, which can cause neurological problems, or death.[42] Drinking too much water, with insufficient salt intake, puts a person at risk of water intoxication (hyponatremia). Salt is sometimes used as a health aid, such as in treatment of dysautonomia.[43]  Source: Wikipedia

How much is an ideal amount of Sodium per day? From the age of one year and up the range is from 1000 mg to 1500 mg per day. (Tolerable Upper Intake Level – UL – and not to exceed is 2,300 mg).

Now how confusing is the following statement?

“When people are cutting back on salt in their diets, what they really mean is that they are concerned with their sodium intake, because it is the sodium that kills, and not the salt. It should be mentioned, that even when people avoid consuming salt, they might still get a lot of sodium from other sources. So in effect, staying away from salt is NOT the only solution.” 

You have to read it carefully to understand that it is not just the Table Salt “shaker” or the Sea Salt “Mill” that we have to cut back on, BUT to be very aware of the naturally occurring Sodium in the foods we are eating IN ADDITION to the ADDED Sodium, which is found in processed, prepared, and pre-packaged foods.

Help Yourself:

  • Begin weaning yourself off processed foods.
  • Start by noticing what your daily food habits are.
  • How many products do you eat each day that come from a package?
  • Plan ahead and pick ONE day to experiment with limiting your consumption of anything that comes processed.
  • When you are ready, try keeping a food diary one day a week.
  • And add up the amount of sodium from the foods you ate in that day.
  • Let me know how it goes.

[1] William Shakespeare.

Related Articles

Rx FOOD

“There is no ONE GIANT step

that does it,

It’s a lot of LITTLE STEPS.”

To date, I’ve been experimenting with food as medicine for a solid year and a half.

In a recently published post, titled: My Hernia, I described my experience with an umbilical hernia, and by the end of the article I commented on the fact that some exercises can be useless. Which triggered another thought…how certain foods can actually be useless too.

There are a lot of fancy exercises that are in vogue these days, that fall into the useless category causing more harm than good. Now, this is assuming we know better but keep on repeating them, regardless. However, because it’s unlikely that doing the occasional useless exercise likely won’t cause much lasting damage, it begs the question, then WHY would we do them in the first place? What is our motivation behind doing things that are useless? Our best bet is to stick with the basics, but also to work with an expert who can identify which basic exercises will actually be beneficial for our specific needs. (Collaborating with an RMT trained in Rolfing [Structural Integration] or KMI / Myofascial Release is my first choice). Sure, we can go ahead and do exercises, which are not appropriate for us and survive…(clearly, there are worse things we can do!). But, from my perspective, if we’re going to bother in the first place, doesn’t it make sense to at least try to do it right? Getting to the point of doing it right can take a lot of trial and error and a lot of research; if we’re too busy to learn and grow, then what are we here for? I have come to have this same opinion about food as a result of exploring which foods actually support my health. We can go ahead and eat anything for energy, but if we’re going to bother, doesn’t it make sense to do the research and fuel ourselves accordingly to actually enhance our health?

…Prescription Food, as I’ve come to think of it.

Why not?

I met Sandrine at my daughter’s school about three years ago. Our daughters have been in the same class over these few years and so naturally, we have had many opportunities to chat. And as parents often do, we talk about our daughters; their talents, milestones and of course the challenges: the sleepless nights, the food sensitivities/ allergies, which doctors 😉 or finding THE magical balm to soothe irritated skin, etc. – You get the idea.

Sandrine went the distance like no other to help both of her daughter’s with their skin issues. She had eliminated certain foods from her girls’ diet in the hopes that that would help. She would go so far as delivering fresh homemade meals to her girls everyday at lunch so they could stay true to their program. This kind of effort puts tremendous strain on a parent; anyone raising a child with allergies or food sensitivity knows only too well what I’m talking about.

Six months into my experiment with ER4YT, I happened to be chatting with Sandrine at our girls’ first chess tournament. Since Sandrine and I share a similar interest in following current news regarding health, our conversations often revolved around comparing notes on such topics. I told her about ER4YT and my suspicions about gluten causing my joint inflammation. She considered looking into it as a possibility for her daughters. Sandrine is a researcher…she will leave no stone unturned. Months later, once back to school in September, I sidled up to her to get an update on the skin issues…because when I greeted her daughter, it was quite evident the skin issues were no more.

“Soon after my child was born, I knew that it was food which contributed to her rashes and other issues.  The skin tests did not reveal food sensitivities, but food allergy.  However, avoiding the foods my child was allergic to did not bring relief, in fact, it got progressively worse over the years.  When I asked for their advice, Allergists and Dermatologists talked about elimination diet and its challenges. Recently, after almost nine years and two kids later, I discovered ALCAT testing.  ALCAT and our naturopath transformed my children’s life and naturally mine. With ALCAT, we are confident in what they can and cannot eat.  The recommended rotation diet along with the ALCAT test meant no more rashes or eczema, bleeding wounds from scratching, thick dandruff on the scalp, sleepless nights due to scratching, respiratory congestions, fatigue and failure to thrive.  Today, my kids are not only doing well, but thriving, all without the need for medicated ointments and medications.”  -Sandrine

 

This is an incredible story, and yet, elements of it are universal.

I know most of you reading this don’t know me and at this point are genuinely wondering if I am advertising for ALCAT or ER4YT. With all sincerity, I promise you that this is an information sharing website only. I do not have any affiliate codes associated with any of the links found on my site and am not receiving and discounts or support from the practitioners with whom I consult.

Any pop-up advertising you may see on my site from time to time is generated by WordPress, my host, who benefits from it in order to keep the operating costs down.

Sandrine did her research and took the blood type philosophy to the next level by actually having both her daughters and husband’s blood tested by ALCAT. Seeing her success with the program I am considering trying ALCAT testing for my family too. Right now, however, we are going to go the distance with ER4YT because we are still in the infancy with our exploration. My husband and I have done the Secretor Test, which helps to fine tune our beneficial food lists (I am blood type O+, Non-Secretor, my husband is AB-, Secretor). My kids will be taking the Secretor test next week – we are all curious for the results. My kids are becoming more and more interested in taking care of their health, now, and beginning to understand the significance of NOW, and the impact it will have on their adult health. Many people falsely believe that children can eat and drink whatever they want. They believe that kids will figure it out for themselves like so many of us did. I say, look around…there is an entire population plagued with an inability to figure it out for themselves. Our health will not fix itself. Raising kids on candy and sugar and processed foods is damaging, period. There is absolutely nothing beneficial or nutritious found in those products. But what if you’re like Sandrine or myself, who make every attempt to nurture healthy habits by introducing nothing but whole foods to our babies, to then being completely mystified that those supposedly healthy, super foods are not tolerated.

Yes, we can eat anything. We can drink anything. Most of us know of, or may even be related to people who do not espouse a healthy lifestyle in the least, but are still living- against all odds. You know, like James’ uncle who each day smoked half a pack of cigarettes, drank like a fish and never exercised, but lived to be 102. Mind you living a long time and living well for a long time is a horse of another colour. I often wonder what the longevity might have been for people like James’ uncle had they taken care of themselves?

I know a man in his mid-seventies who has been Diabetic (type 2) for thirty years. For many years when he had kept his Diabetes ‘under control’, his weight had stabilized at 200 pounds, which seemed like an acceptable weight for a man at a height of six-feet. He is currently sixty pounds over that weight. It seems like his weekly schedule is busy with regular check-ups with his doctors or advisers. When I ask him how he’s doing, he tells me that his doctors tell him that he’s doing OK. This frustrates me, so I ask him gently, “How can you be OK, when you are 1) Diabetic and 2) sixty pounds overweight? You are NOT OK.  This is unacceptable.” He continues to do the same thing he has always done, which rewards him with the same results he’s always gotten. No change to his health; just a slow decline. He tells me, “Well, we’ve all got to go sometime.” This is true, none of us is getting out of this life alive.

But there is a huge difference between accepting our fate and having the belief that there is no fate but what we make.

“Since the dawning of the Age of Genetics, we have been programmed to accept that we are subservient to the power of our genes. The world is filled with people who live in constant fear that, on some unsuspecting day, their genes are going to turn on them. Consider the masses of people who think they are ticking time bombs; they wait for cancer to explode in their lives as it exploded in the life of their mother or brother or sister or aunt or uncle. Millions of others attribute their failing health not to a combination of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual causes but simply to the inadequacies of their body’s biochemical mechanics. Are your kids unruly? Increasingly the first choice is to medicate these children to correct their “chemical imbalances” rather than fully grappling with what is going on in their bodies, minds, and spirits.

Of course there is no doubt that some diseases, like Huntington’s chorea, beta thalassemia, and cystic fibrosis, can be blamed entirely on one faulty gene. But single-gene disorders affect less than two percent of the population; the vast majority of people come into this world with genes that should enable them to live a happy and healthy life. The diseases that are today’s scourges – diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – short circuit a happy and healthy life.

These diseases, however, are NOT the result of a single gene, but of complex interactions among multiple genes and environmental factors. “

Bruce H. Lipton, PhD – author of Biology of Belief            (quote from pg. 20 -21)

I understand that our doctors only have about 5 – 30 minutes with each patient (the upper number if you’re lucky!) and it is equally frustrating for health care practitioners, because as much as they want to eradicate disease, their hands are tied. Patients MUST help themselves and be more than a willing participant who accepts pharmaceuticals as their cure.

There are so many websites promoting miraculous cures, from natural supplements, water purification systems to products or equipment. It’s easy for any consumer to be charmed by all the claims often accompanied by glossy photographs of eye-catching perfection. All these advertisements remind me of the traveling-snake-oil-salesmen from the 19th century – Are we still being duped? Clearly, the only way to know for sure is to experiment for ourselves (with caution!).

Having said this, most of us are skeptics and require a lot to convince us to buy a product. But isn’t it interesting that when we finally do decide to jump in, and put our whole belief into something, we become a self appointed spokesperson for said product. As if, because it might work wonders for us, we think everyone else should try it too.

Listen, I don’t know exactly what works for me. I’m still figuring things out. And it seems to always be that once I get a handle on what seems to work my body goes ahead and ages, bringing on new changes and challenges. We are in a constant state of change. I believe we have to stay alert to these changes and adapt to them.

 

KEEP

CALM

AND

ADAPT

to CHANGE

 

In writing this post it is my hope to encourage others to consider that: because none of us know anything for certain, that we have to try and keep trying and not sit back accepting our ‘fate’.

For those interested in exploring Prescription Food for Our Individual Health, I have imbedded the links to the sites that I have personally explored. I have done Dr. Mercola’s Nutritional Typing questionnaire, which pegged me as a Protein Type (which is very similar to ER4YT, just without the blood typing). One thing that I took away from Dr. Mercola’s site that I have been experimenting with is: the order in which I eat my beneficial food.

Dr. Mercola says:

“In addition to eating the right foods for your body, believe it or not, we discovered that it is not enough just to make the right food choices…It is equally important to eat your foods at each meal in the right order!

 

  • Many leading protein types should eat their meat first.
  • Carb types should eat their vegetable first.
  • Mixed types should eat their meat and vegetable together.

When your food is consumed this way, digestive and nutritional efficiency will improve dramatically, shown by:

  • Improved meal satisfaction.
  • No need for snacks between meals.
  • No more food cravings.

 

Dr. Mercola has a basic Nutritional Typing Plan. Click here to view Dr. Mercola’s Nutritional Typing.

ALCAT Testing Website: ALCAT

Eat Right 4 Your Type website: Eat Right For Your Type

ER4YT: Secretor/ Non-Secretor Information page

ER4YT: Salivary Secretor Test Kit

 

In addition, this 5 minute video presented by HU Medicare Local, Australia talks about Understanding Pain. There is a lot we can do for our own self-care. Whether we live a long or short life, I think that we can all agree that the best choice would be to live out our days at a healthy weight, without pain or debilitating disease.

 

This goes out for anyone struggling with mental, physical, emotional or spiritual challenges…I care about your well-being and hope that the information in this post will be useful for your exploration. Just try and keeping trying.

 

 

 

What Is Visceral Fat?

Illustration of obesity and waist circumferenc...

Image via Wikipedia

After yesterdays post on “What Is A Wheat Belly?”, I received a few comments from readers wondering how they can be tested for the presence of visceral fat and how can they reduce the amount of it?

I just found this well written, clear and concise article from the Health Bulletin site.  They list a few options for testing visceral fat such as CT scans, bioelectrical impedance and circumference measurements. CT scans are expensive and put the patient at risk for unnecessary radiation especially when the circumference measurement test can be done at home, with a simple measuring tape.  When I was a fitness appraiser I did at least half a dozen waist-to-hip ratio tests per day.  Basically, if the ratio from the girth circumference measurement from your abdomen is larger than the girth circumference measurement from your hips (taken at the largest buttock protuberance) then consider yourself in the visceral fat category.  You can also take an honest look at yourself in the mirror to know where you’re at.

A word of caution: It is also possible for people to be “skinny-fat”.  I’ve seen many who’s body fat is so evenly spread over their body that they don’t have the typical body shape of someone who is overweight; they tend to ‘carry it well’ (at least in clothes).  I often see this in men who wear business suits.  The suit hides it and just makes them appear ‘solid’.  This is worrisome because they ‘get away’ with not exercising and eating recklessly because they don’t show an outward appearance of carrying excess fat (until the suit comes off!).

Check out the Health Bulletin site it has a lot of very useful information.

A word on BMI: BMI stands for Body Mass Index. Often doctors use this measurement to determine if a persons weight is acceptable for their height.  It has it’s draw backs and in our household this test is a laughing stock.  My husband, who at 5’9″ weighs in at 168 lbs. of solid muscle and at approximately 7% body fat –  according to the chart he is overweight.

So as with everything, one must do their homework and think through the process, beyond the numbers.

What Is a “Wheat Belly”?

Wheat (Triticum aestivum) near Auvers-sur-Oise...

By chance I caught this audio segment from CBC Radio‘s The Current.  Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist from Wisconsin postulates that the wheat grain used in agriculture today is very different from the wheat grain grown from fifty years ago.  As a result of this difference, he believes (aside from the increase in sedentary lifestyles) that the consumption of this grain is actually addictive which not only leads to overeating but also to an increase in the “accumulation of deep visceral fat – that is fat that accumulates around the organs but is shown on the surface as a large belly…It is this visceral fat that is different – it is unique, metabolically different from the other fat, say, found on your back side or arm or leg – it is metabolically active, it produces inflammatory proteins, it causes diabetes, hypertension etc.”

He calls this large belly a Wheat Belly, which is also the title of his book.  You might imagine the controversy his theory is generating among grain farmers and others.  Of course, I find this most fascinating especially if you consider my latest post titled, Full But Empty?

He briefly talks about the fact that in an effort to be healthy we are encouraged to eat more whole grains or complex carbohydrates most often in the form of whole wheat…’because complex carbohydrates sounds healthier versus simple sugars,’ but in fact they (the whole wheat grain) may very well be the source of the problem.  He comments on how people or his patients who complain that since they’ve been eating ‘apparently healthier’ or exercising more they have strangely put on more weight and can’t seem to shake it.

Something we need to address is: what is a complex carbohydrate in the first place?  Do you know?  The first item that comes to mind for most people is GRAINS.  But in fact, complex carbohydrates abound.  Here is a list from Livestrong.com of some, not all complex carbohydrates:

GRAINS millet, oats, wheat germ, barley, wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat, oat bran, cornmeal and amaranth.

FRUIT apricots, oranges, plums, pears, grapefruits and prunes.

VEGETABLES Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, turnip greens, eggplant, potatoes, yams, corn, carrots, onions, all types of lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes and aspragus

Soy milk made from soy beans is a complex carb and dairy products like low-fat yogurt and skim milk are also complex carbs.”

As you can see, complex carbohydrates are in abundance, we are not at a loss if we should eliminate wheat as an experiment.  In fact if you do, you may find that you end up eating more vegetables which is a better choice regardless.

Here is the link for the audio segment from CBC Radio’s, The Current featuring Dr. William Davis. It is 24 minutes long.  When you open the link, just below the title/ opening paragraph you will see a black bar which reads- Listen: (Pop-up). Turn up your volume.

Maybe whole grain wheat could be utilized for other things such as cleaning products? It must be useful for something other than food. I would LOVE to hear any comments or stories that are relevant to to this topic…please share your ideas below.

Related Articles:

Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat, by Mark Hyman, MD

Full But Empty?

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...

A strange thing happened on the way to the cupboard…seriously.

I wrote the below commentary at BodyRockTv in response to a post in which a fellow BodyRocker had written about emotional eating.  I can’t say I’ve ever really been an emotional eater, I’ve been a big eater of the non-stop variety (just ask my friends), but the following is what came to mind.

Once I started to not only regimentally analyze what I chose to eat, but actually started to assess how those food choices made me feel, physically – in my gut and energy-wise, that’s when things really started to change for me.

I’ve attached a link to an interesting, short article for you to read, which in a nutshell talks about: how if the foods we choose don’t supply our body with the required nutrients for our system to function –  we keep on eating. The article is called: “More Food Doesn’t Necessarily Mean More Nutrition” byBrendan Brazier who is Vegan, though I don’t think we all have to be vegan to be healthy, (at least I’m not at that stage yet – don’t hold it against me), but I do believe that the information in the article applies to everyone as well as being helpful if we take a closer look at how and why we consume food.

“We are living in a very strange time, a time in which people who are overweight or obese can be (and most likely are) malnourished. Yet how can it be that a person who eats an inordinate volume of food can show signs of malnourishment? After all, isn’t food synonymous with nourishment?…” http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-health/more-food-doesnt-necessarily-mean-more-nutrition/

At the beginning of Brendan Brazier’s article, he talks about how some people can wolf down a loaf of white bread for example, and still not feel satisfied.  I had a similar thing happen to me enough times that I can actually tell which foods trigger this empty nutrient reflex!

I found a new brand of chips made with lentils and adzuki beans (no potato), I thought awesome, looks totally healthy – I’ll give them a try.  Got home, ate the whole bag.  Felt terrible.  Next day went back to the store in search of the same chips.  Bought two.  Got home, ate one bag…COULD NOT STOP, then opened the second bag and only stopped half way because my husband showed up and with a worried look on his face asked, “are you going to eat that entire bag?” (not knowing I had already polished off the first!).

So then, feeling really lousy, and not just because I’d eaten a bag and half of what I thought were healthy chips, but because they just didn’t sit well in my gut.  That was when I was just beginning to consider the relationship with Blood type and beneficial foods; so I cracked open the Eat Right for Your Type book…interesting: Lentils – AVOID, adzuki beans – neutral and likely the oil used was on my avoid list too.

Since then I’ve noticed that when I eat the foods on my avoid list this kind of nutty, obsessive eating pattern takes over me.  And it truly feels, as the article writes that my body is not absorbing any usable nutrients, so I just overeat in a manic way to fill up.  It is very strange indeed.  It makes me wonder if there is a place for the possibility of this empty nutrient theory for those who THINK they are overeating as a result of emotions. Could very well be that the food choices are simply not doing what the food is supposed to be doing in the first place which causes this vicious cycle?

By the way, since I’ve been eating from this approach, I don’t overeat, I end up eating regular sized meals and feeling completely satisfied.  (Satisfied and feeling full are very different sensations and important to learn the difference -it does take practice!) However, I do have to eat more often, every 1.5-2.5 hours.  As a result, I have to be VERY organized and have healthy food prepared in the fridge otherwise the tendency is to go to the cupboard and grab whatever is there.

I just had to add this in…If you have read My Log you will have noticed that I like to have a square or two of good quality-high-cocoa-count chocolate, often daily!  Long story short, I came across another brand made from acceptable ingredients (according to my needs).  I devoured the first square.  A-MA-ZING chocolate.  I was ready to post about it – tell the world- you have got to try this – kind of post.  But then I went back to the cupboard and devoured a second and third piece.  That crazy eating feeling was coming back – I COULD NOT STOP.  Within a few hours the bar was gone!  That bar should have lasted a week had I only had two squares each day.  This was not a case of will power or emotional eating.  Whatever was going on in that chocolate had triggered something in me and I had lost any sense of sanity…really.  So, of course after a few days I hunted down the chocolate bar again. Bought two.  Maybe it was a fluke – I might have been pre-menstrual.  Surely I could control myself this time around. BOTH were gone within two days.  I decided I would never buy that bar again.  I’ve gone back to my previous chocolate which doesn’t make me crazy, but satisfies me…of which I can walk away – we have a good relationship.

Does this kind of thing happen to you?  Maybe it has nothing to do with emotional eating or will power, but rather how our body reacts to the food.  So if we don’t react well to something, accept it, and like The Most Interesting Man In The World says on Success: “Find out what it is in life that you don’t do well, and then don’t do that thing”.