Food

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

 

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.

Fast Results

Pumpkins

Yesterday, Monday night, I had to get to the grocery store. After the long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend of eating Roast Turkey and homemade Turkey soup, my refrigerator was running low on supplies. Around 5pm I announced that I’d be going to the grocery store, but somehow didn’t manage to get there until 7pm. I’m telling you this because it was due to this delay in timing that I ended up speaking with this woman (who would like to remain anonymous). I walked into the health section of the store, where this woman was looking around. She asked if I worked there, since there wasn’t any staff in that section at the time. “Do you work here?” Boldly, and actually quite surprising to me I blurted out, “No, but I can help you”. She laughed. We both laughed. The store was closing so we talked very quickly and covered quite a bit of information. She offered to send me the comment that you will read below.

Thank you for stopping and speaking to me and giving me encouraging advice. For the last 10 years, I have been suffering from:

  • extremely high blood pressure that did not respond to any medication;
  • excessive sweating;
  • extra weight;
  • arthritis in my hips and knees;
  • swollen legs, and especially feet;
  • sores that did not heal;
  • several acid reflux;
  • varied digestive problems.

This all resulted in many visits to my family doctor, every possible specialist (including cardiologist, skin specialist, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist) as well as many very expensive and time consuming tests.  Not one of the doctors seemed to help and my situation was getting worse and I was becoming quite desperate.

I am a very active female (both professionally and socially) in my late 60’s and I could not see going on like this for the rest of my life and did not see any solution.

Three weeks ago, I spent a weekend with friends and I mentioned to them how well I felt after it.  What I did not realize is that they have no wheat in their diet.  They lent me the book “Wheat Belly” and I decided to cut out the wheat.  In just two weeks, most of the symptoms disappeared and I have lost almost 10 pounds without trying.  In addition, I have no cravings for bread which I had before.  I can also go without eating for many hours, which I could not do before.

My advice: give it a try for a few months and see what happens.  I have started with the resolution to give up wheat for six months.  I may never go back to it although may miss the taste of the fantastic breads I have been buying over the years. I am not a vegetarian and eat everything else.  This has been much easier than I thought.  Today I had a most fantastic gluten free chocolate cake in a mainstream restaurant.  Everyone is becoming more aware of the problem and I am sure that as the time goes by, there will be more choices. So, thank you again for your help.

Wheat

Wheat (Photo credit: Big Grey Mare ~ on vacation for 2 weeks)

The big, heavy question that came up last night was: “Why don’t the doctors tell us?” The answer is that most of them don’t even know themselves. Doctors are put up on a pedestal, by us. They are human and get tired and have to deal with a lot. Most often their own health suffers as a direct result of their demanding profession. They believe what they are taught or told from the powers that be  (as do we) – it is a cycle. We should be grateful for those who are medically trained, who can help us in case of emergency. But sadly, our entire population has become ‘infected’ by a system of going-with-the-flow, more is better, all-you-can-eat type of mentality. With an attitude that THEY, those doctors and scientist will surely come up with something to fix our chronic state of disease to keep us comfortable as we age and decay.

We need to understand that we have to help ourselves. Banning certain foods, in my opinion, is not the answer. Rather, we need to educate ourselves and learn to make the right choices for our unique systems. And most likely, the direct result from choosing to NOT buy toxic food products is that they will lose their popularity and strong-hold on the market. If we don’t buy it they won’t produce it. No demand = no supply.

I’ve mentioned this article before: “Is Sugar Toxic?” by Gary Taubes and the video by Dr. Robert Lustig: “Sugar: The Bitter Truth“. The video is long (1.5 hour), but if you really want to be healthy and understand WHY what you are doing may not be working, then you need to watch this video (maybe many times) and read this article (maybe many times) until you really understand the information. My goal is to be able to explain this information to my children so that they are able to make their own decisions. Not just tell them that they can’t eat or drink certain things because those things are “bad for you”.

Slowly, I try to explain to my kids in basic terms what I have learned. This morning my daughter said: “Well, if you hadn’t given us those foods in the first place, we wouldn’t have gotten used to them.” My answer: “I didn’t know the information then, but now I do. We will educate ourselves and make these changes together.” Additionally, the important lesson for the kids to take away from this is that adults – even highly educated doctors – don’t know everything. We are all learning new things all the time. Each of us is an experiment of ONE. It is crushing when we discover that what we are doing is contributing to our disease. Belief is a powerful thing.

The natural state of the human body is to be healthy. You see how quickly this woman’s body responded to eliminating wheat/ gluten. She is not an isolated case. At a cellular level the human body tries so hard to maintain a natural homeostasis. But in order to do so, we have to participate and support an environment in which this incredible community of cells can do its work. Read Dr. Bruce Lipton’s book, Biology of Belief. He is an educator/cell biologist who explains this complex subject with ease.

Of course, I could go on forever but will end it with this one thought. In the day, do you hear yourself saying: “I can’t live without my…” or “I need my…” Consider that you actually can live without it. If you NEED it you are being controlled by it. It all takes practice.

I’ve embedded Dr. Lustig’s video for your convenience.

“A calorie is NOT just a calorie.”

Just The Food, Log

Baked Cajun Rubbed Rainbow Trout - Ruby fleshedIt takes me quite a bit of time to piece together a “day in the life” log. At this point, if you’ve read my other Food Log posts, you will have an idea of my patterns. So to make everything simpler – easier for you to read and easier for me to upload, the following is examples of JUST the food. As I’ve mentioned before in Rx Food that I have been experimenting as much as possible with eating my food in the right order, as per Dr. Mercola’s suggestion. Everything I eat is according to Blood Type O, non-secretor lists via the research done by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, Eat Right For Your Type. As well, I have been consciously cutting back on fruit. As far as Gary Taubes sees it, he doesn’t “think there’s much meaningful evidence on the benefits of fruits in the diet.” I used to eat fruit with abandon thinking I was making a healthier choice. As it turns out, our bodies don’t differentiate much on where the sugar comes from. (More on the sugar/fruit subject another day).

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.

DAY 1

7 am My Breakfast: (in this order)

  • on an empty stomach: 20 mL Salus Artichoke Juice, followed by 6 oz. water
  • Salus Artichoke Juice2 soft boiled eggs, sprinkled with sea salt
  • 5 oz. Steamed Spinach (1/2 bag of Stahlbush Island Farms Frozen Spinach), with 1-2 TBSP. EVOO & fresh Lemon Juice
  • 4 Organic walnut halves
  • 4 Organic pitted Prunes (no preservatives)
  • small banana
  • 12 oz. water

Day 1

8:30 am: 

  • 1 heaping TBSP. Salus Red Beet Crystals mixed with 8 oz. water (or 250 mL San Pellegrino)

Beet Crystals & Water

Day 1

11:30 am My Lunch: (in this order)

  • Lunch MainLunch Salad(All Re-heated), baked Sockey Salmon seasoned with dill, garlic, Olive Oil, lemon juice.
  • Baked Ruby flesh Rainbow Trout, seasoned with Luisiana Cajun rub & Olive Oil
  • Purple Thai Sticky Rice, Quinoa, Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/fresh ginger, cilantro, green onions, Olive Oil & lime juice
  • Steamed Kale

Salad:

  • Organic Romaine Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, fresh mint leaves and fresh basil leaves
  • Half red & orange peppers
  • Half organic Hass Avocado
  • Organic broccoli
  • EVOO & fresh squeezed lemon juice

12 oz. water

Afternoon snack, around 3:45 pm

  • 1 Can Mackerel
  • 4 Brown Rice cake thins
  • 5 organic dried mission figs
  • 5 mini organic carrots

Canned Mackerel

I don’t usually have time to photograph dinners because it’s mostly too hectic.

Day 1

6 pm My Dinner: (in this order) 

  • 8 oz. BBQ Grain-fed NY strip loin, (seasoned with drop of Olive Oil, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder).
  • Steamed Kale
  • Roasted Sweet Potato w/ unsalted butter
  • Plain risotto w/ a pouring of saffron tea
  • Mix of wild & brown rice
  • raw carrots & broccoli
  • 12 oz. water

risotto w/ saffron tea

Generally, when I know that I’m going to use the oven or BBQ, I will plan ahead and grocery shop accordingly. For example, if we are having Salmon for dinner, I will buy enough to have leftovers for the following day. Assuming we will eat a total of 1.5 pounds of Salmon at dinner I will buy 2 pounds to ensure leftovers for the following days lunch or snack.

I will also bake two other types of fish, seasoned differently, with the purpose of having those ready for lunch or dinner the following day as well.

When I BBQ, I tend to prepare my NY strip loin, marinated turkey cutlets and sweet potatoes at the same time – with the intention of having leftovers.

When I prepare rice or pasta, I will make enough and a few varieties at a time to ensure leftovers.

I try to always have washed and cut up carrots & broccoli as well as a steamed green vegetable like, Kale, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard or Green Beans ready to eat in the fridge.

Preparing my family’s food supply in this way actually makes for less work and much less stress on my part. It definitely has taken a lot of daily practice for me to figure it all out, but as a result, I know my way around my kitchen better than I ever!

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.

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High Performance

Local Fruit and Vegetables

What grade of fuel runs your living machine?

Though I appreciate their aesthetic, sound and performance, I couldn’t write about how high end sports cars or motorcycles run without doing some serious research.  I do understand, however, that these high performance engines require high octane fuel.

As a human machine we perform, function and recover best when we have been fueled with fresh (unprocessed) whole foods. But what if the fresh whole foods we choose are not compatible with our living machine?

I love serendipity. I just happened to flip open Outside Magazine (July 2011) to the article below.  This article could have been written for me. The article is about how gluten sensitivity is becoming more prevalent.  It is a quick read that will provide you with some great information.

I started experimenting with “Eat Right For Your Type” in December 2010, which categorizes certain foods as Beneficial, Neutral or Avoid according to one’s blood type.  I was experiencing on-going joint pain and inflammation for a number of years.  It was not getting better so I decided to experiment with food as medicine.  To my good fortune it is working.  Every once in a while when I let my guard down and reintroduce a “forbidden” grain, I get hit with that familiar joint pain. Read my post on Motivation for the full story. https://youasamachine.com/inspiration/motivation/

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

-Hippocrates

I don’t believe that there is one single approach for everyone.  I think we need to experiment and borrow ideas and create our own salad, so to speak.  Since reading the Outside Magazine article I will experiment more with eliminating all gluten.  According to the blood type diet, rye and spelt are neutral and I have been eating small amounts of those grains.  However, what I want to share with you, though it may seem very confusing or complicated and one too many steps ahead for you at this point especially if you are just learning about how food could be a factor in our health.  For the blood type diet there is what’s called a secretor or non-secretor:

“A secretor is defined as a person who secretes their blood type antigens into body fluids and secretions like the saliva in your mouth, the mucus in your digestive tract and respiratory cavities, etc.  A non-secretor puts little to none of their blood type into these same fluids.” From the Official website of Dr. Peter D’Adamo

In his updated Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia, Dr. Peter D’Adamo lists which foods are compatible for secretors and non-secretors.  So once I became familiar with the secretor list, which is what is in his original book, I still felt that I needed to refine things. When I discovered the non-secretor list, I speculated that perhaps I was a non-secretor.  I ordered the saliva test (which I have yet to do and send to the lab).  So here I am bouncing between these two lists.  When I eat Spelt, which is acceptable on the secretor list as neutral and listed as an avoid on the non-secretor list, I experience joint pain in my hands.I’ll keep you posted on my secretor status!  But in the meantime, I’m going to stay away from spelt and rye just to see what might happen.Many will panic at the thought of eliminating grains.  What can I eat?  There’s so much to choose from that we don’t even give ourselves the opportunity to explore because we get stuck in a pattern of convenience. What I love about the blood type diet is that I am filling my refrigerator with more foods from the Beneficial list.  Instead of making salads with Romaine (which is neutral for me) I hunt down Escarole.  I eat more vegetables than ever before.  I consider myself a vegetarian who eats meat.  I am an O type and completely need meat and fish protein. There is so much more to say on this topic but will leave it for another day. Our bodies are constantly changing.  It would be wise for us to adapt and work with these changes as opposed to resisting.
I’m quite happy to leave these gluten guys out of my life if it means less joint pain, better recovery and a body that can play hard.
_______________________________________________________________________
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2011 Outside Magazine, July 2011

ARE YOU TOO SENSITIVE?

The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.

By: GORDY MEGROZ

IT WASN’T A FREAK STORM or pulmonary edema that nearly derailed Dave Hahn’s attempt to top out on Mount Everest for the second time, in 1999. It was a piece of bread. For two years, the mountaineering legend had battled a host of maladies—upset stomach, diarrhea, and a lingering weakness—but he never suspected the foods he was eating to fuel himself (pasta, cereal, bread) were the root of his problem. Hahn, it turned out, had developed celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. “It was hell,” says Hahn, recalling the trip. “I was supposed to be the old hand, but because of me we got back down late, after it was already dark.”

Now 49, gluten-free, and trying for his 13th Everest summit, Hahn has never felt better. “I could not have continued climbing had I not been diagnosed,” he says.

Since Hahn’s near disaster at 29,000 feet, celiac disease has reached almost epidemic proportions, afflicting 1 in 133 Americans and creating a $2.6 billion market in gluten-free foods. Now, growing evidence suggests that it’s not just athletes with celiac who may benefit from giving up their pre-race pasta feed. A study published in March by the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research suggests that approximately 20 million people who don’t test positive for celiac or its less potent cousin, wheat allergy (which affects roughly 500,000 people), suffer from gluten sensitivity. Symptoms can range from fatigue to depression to joint and abdominal pain.

Like celiac, gluten sensitivity prompts the immune system to inflame cells throughout
the body. And though the symptoms usually aren’t as severe as with celiac, which causes toxic particles to leak into the body, gluten sensitivity can have a corrosive
impact on athletes trying to stay at the top of their game.

Just ask professional mountain biker Brian Lopes. Though he has never been tested for celiac, Lopes gave up gluten eight months ago and is riding 5 to 10 percent faster. “I stopped eating gluten because my friend said it would make me fart less,” says Lopes, who’s won four world championships. “Now I don’t fart and I’m faster.”

According to Alessio Fasano, M.D., lead author of the Maryland study, Lopes’s bowel distress is a common side effect of gluten intolerance. “And if you do have a sensitivity to gluten,” says Fasano, “exercise may make the problem even worse.”

That’s old news to Robby Ketchell, the director of sports science for the Garmin-Cervélo pro cycling team. Since 2008, riders have experienced improved post-ride recoveries, which Ketchell attributes to the team’s gluten-free diet. “When our guys ride, they’re tearing muscle fibers, and that creates inflammation in their bodies,” says Ketchell. “We need to get rid of that inflammation so they can ride strong the next day. The last thing we want is something that causes more inflammation.”

Scientists aren’t exactly sure why there’s been an increase in gluten intolerance in recent years, but they believe it may have something to do with the proliferation of bread, pasta, and other gluten-laden foods in the American diet. “Gluten is increasingly found in the things we eat,” says Fasano. “It may be that our bodies just aren’t equipped to handle that much of it.”

Currently, there is no test for gluten sensitivity. But Shelley Case, a Canadian dietitian and author of The Gluten-Free Diet, offers this advice to help you determine whether you’re better off without it: Run a mile and time yourself, then go on a gluten-free diet for four weeks. Keep notes on how you’re feeling. Then do another one-mile test. “If you’re feeling better during your training and you perform better, you may very well have gluten sensitivity,” says Case.

The next step is finding enough carbohydrates to substitute in your new diet. A moderately active person requires about four grams of carbohydrates for every 2.2 pounds of body weight per day. For a 150-pound guy, that’s about seven large potatoes. Nancy Clark, a Boston-based sports dietitian and author of nine books on sports nutrition, recommends eating things like bananas, lentils, corn, and quinoa instead of muffins, bread, and pasta. “You can’t just stop for pizza after a race,” she says. “You need to be careful about what you eat.” Really careful. Gluten is found in everything from deli meats—it’s often used as filler—to sauces and salad dressings.

Fasano doesn’t recommend everyone go gluten free—after all, wheat is an effective fuel for athletes who can tolerate it. But since the Garmin-Cervélo team gave it up, Ketchell says that no rider has told him the diet isn’t worthwhile. “Part of that,” he says, “is that eating gluten-free foods forces you to avoid processed foods, and that just makes you healthier.”

Outside Magazine, July 2011

Fuel

Farmer plowing in Fahrenwalde, Mecklenburg-Vor...

The modern world has a strange relationship with food.

While early humans foraged for survival, modern civilization indulges in the increased production and availability of food, which has enabled us to focus our attention on other pursuits.

Food has become an affordable disposable luxury item for the developed countries, while the majority of the third world’s population cannot get enough to eat.

How is it that we over-eat until we feel sick then do it all over again? It is a cruel Pavlovian reflex.

We eat or drink to celebrate.  We eat or drink because we feel we ‘deserve’ a treat or as an emotional response.  We eat or drink to be social or to ‘fit-in’.

And sometimes we do not eat enough with the hope to control our weight.  Both extremes can leave lasting negative outcomes.

 In his book How to Be Compassionate, The Dalai Lama says:

“There are many discrepancies between the way things appear and the way they really are.  Something that is impermanent can appear permanent.  Also, sources of pain, such as overeating, sometimes first appear to be sources of pleasure, but in the end, they are not.  They actually bring us trouble.  Although we want happiness, in our ignorance we do not know how to achieve it; although we do not want pain, we misunderstand its workings, so we end up contributing to its causes.”

This can also be the case with exercise. Pushing so hard, not taking enough time for the body to rest and recover to the point of developing stress fractures; knowing better but not listening to your inner voice or the physiotherapist for that matter.

Can you find a parallel in your life?  Something that you do in excess or even in what might seem like a negligible amount that you know is harming you or will harm you in the future?

Will you stop this cycle?  Do you want to?

Were you able to stop this cycle?  How did you do it?