Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Well, as you may have read, I got the results of my second parathyroid hormone (PTH) test and it continued to be elevated. Your parathyroid is a thermostat for vitamin D and calcium regulation. If you've had chronic Vitamin D deficiency, your parathyroid may get "stuck" distributing PTH, even if your D deficiency is relieved with supplements or sunshine. Often there's a correlation between having low Vitamin D and high calcium. However, my calcium is the lowest of the range, which is somewhat atypical, but apparently that doesn't let me off the hook. If your PTH is elevated (even if it's high once, lower the next time) -- you need to have a scan to check for tumor growth. My having osteopenia is consistent with symptoms for hyperparathyroidism.
The doc's office scheduler called to schedule my "sestamibi scan" for three weeks from now; all I'd have to do is take a radioactive pill she said. They'll scan me at 15 mins, then again at the 2 hr mark. I know I have to find out the ingredients in the pill for hidden starches, then the sources of the starches or the country of origin. It's Gluten Detective 101. I feel like the nurse thinks I'm a whacko for asking so many questions. I'm also to stay off all supplements and my (((((GASP))))) Synthroid during this time. I called the Radiology Dept at the hospital and the tech said I "don't" take a pill, but rather I get a shot. Well, okay, no detective work needed - unless there's a different allergen like ocean proteins/shellfish in there, cause I'm anaphylactic to oysters. Man, I'm a high maintenance babe!
I've been hemming, hawing, and fretting about this test. Didn't want to believe I had one more thing to challenge me. I wanted to talk to the doc to see if there was some mistake (drat, no) or if I could change my diet or supplements (drat, no). The nurse seemed perterbed with my questions, which made me uncomfortable. In the course of the conversation she said two things that ultimately made me change my mind.
1. Complications from unresolved PTH can lead to heart attack, and
2. By getting the homework done for the endocrinologist- we'll call him Doc #6 :), I'll get an appt more quickly than without. She said the wait generally is 3 months; there are only 4 in town.
From my online reading (parathyroid.com), I DO have a lot of symptoms:
(marked w/an *). You do not have to have celiac to have low Vitamin D - which seems to be a media darling this year - GREAT!
BONE PAIN* (I'm sick of it! My first year gf I felt so good and was on Vit D Rx. The first six months I played it mild and didn't go crazy with exercise .. I did ride my bike 9 miles around a city lake and I felt AWFUL during and after! The next 6 mos. I joined a gym and was sore constantly. I got tired of the pain, and quit exercising.)
DEPRESSION* (this was resolved for me while I was on Vit D Rx my first year gf after dx, but I've been slipping for a little while now)
ACID REFLUX* (Historically, very much so - esp after CD dx it was the worst around that time with weight gain. Today it's very very mild since I changed eating habits and foods) - isn't THAT interesting though!
CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS*!!!! (I've had them for over 8 years, mentioned them to three or four doctors ... so, this was a long time in coming! Prior to that, when the psychiatrist gave me Provigil for staying awake -- I had heart palpitations with that also. It made my heart feel heavy, so I cut my dose in half (yikes).
I also had those "GERD" heart attacks a few years before the palpitations were more prominent. I have never had pain/angina like I read about. My left ankle has had edema/mild swelling since 1998 when I was dx with depression and on Prozac, and before that, when I was PG in 1989 I had horrible edema (can you say elephant legs?)... do you think women who have edema during pregnancy could really have hidden heart problems? A few docs through the years took xrays, but otherwise said they didn't see a darn thing wrong. I just don't understand!!!! I tried to be a good patient! Thank goodness for the internet! I guess who would think: Vitamin D deficiency and edema/heart problems?
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (Historically, mine's been low; since CD dx it varies, but the past four or so months since my hematologist told me to take my bp when I was having palpitations -- it's lower bp.)
HEADACHES (hmm. Had them before CD dx, they went away with gf diet). Today my TOM started - same day as stopping Synthroid/supplements per nurse's instructions. I have a very nice big headache. :(
Headaches are the #2 symptom for young people (kidney stones is the first). The longer you don't get diagnosed, the more apt for strokes and heart attacks.
Please read parathyroid.com for more info - this is another highly undiagnosed disease that could be fixed with surgery. Are you osteopenic or have osteoporosis? It could be due to hyperparathyroidism!
I'm looking forward to getting this overwith. The worst part for me is not taking my Synthroid. Day 1 and it already sucks. Bear with me whilst I complain for three weeks. My sister told me to meditate. At first I wanted to meditate her face when she suggested it - see parathyroid.com for "cranky" symptom :). But I will try as it's a reason to maybe take a little siesta :).
So, why Toni Braxton you may ask? Well, she has a heart condition, and her son has autism. I have a heart condition, and I have an Aspie. I may be simplifying things, but I wonder what else we have in common? I sure can't sing :).
P.S. Toni's sister used to be on the now cancelled show, Starting Over, about women "starting over" - she suffered from depression.
Friday, February 29, 2008
(I have to laugh ... I want to put my life story on my SP page ... well, no one would read my first blog entry! lol Anyway, I can't keep adding to it, so I'm going to start using my journal ... dah!)
This pic was taken about 2 years before my diagnosis, at age 42, while on a trip to Southern Utah. For me to have hiked *up* and down 3 miles in 100* heat to get to Delicate Arch at Arches Nat'l Park was a feat for me. My kid stole my water, too, stinker! I felt so tired I could feel a "pull" or pressure in my face even. It sounds like it would have been a blood pressure problem (though mine was typically low) - look at how red my face was (rosacea)! Can you tell how sick I really was on the inside and through the smile? I didn't know either, nor did my doctors. When you think about it: my sickness is my fat. It's showing all over.
Today's thoughts: My first year gf was great, healing, and made me optimistic again. I was encouarged to have energy for weight loss because of how "light" I felt; I'd sunned my first summer - got plenty of Vitamin D with oil caps Rx from Doc #1. My depression left me. I joined a gym, including their Biggest Loser Competition for $325 for the trainer, just sure I would win. I was very happy and motivated. (Also a bit tired of being in gym clothes all the time!)
I worked out 5 days a week pretty hard for not having exercised in years (not including start ups and stops through the years, and basic walking). I have a history of pooping out. Pun not intended. I would think anyone would think I was lazy. I was just tired and sore. A lot of celiacs will tell you about fatigue. I didn't have "sudden" onset symptoms - mine were chronic and low-grade/just below the radar. No obvious anemia, just depression then the other symptoms I've mentioned, added on throughout the years.
Anyway, six months after diagnosis I find SP and the 100 lb Club team - still miss quite a few people over there (hi Poekster, Dawni, Mikeo, 5Kitties, etc). I'd just moved to a new state, was friendless, and found new friends in weight loss online. I was obsessed, but we'll talk about my "OCD" or overfocus issues in another blog entry. I was working out 1 hr with a trainer and 1 hr cardio on the elliptical 3x/week. When I see those BL contestants sweating and grunting and working hard: that's how I felt. I was giving it my all and it was work! In between those days I'd go to the gym and do elliptical for an hour/stretches/sometimes a circuit. My trainer tested my cardio on the treadmill at our first consult and could never get a heart reading. For 6-8 weeks I kept it up and lost a measley 14 lbs. My cals were in range. I may have been eating too much fat. I thought it was about "calories"? And whomever I asked about their Pain Quotient ... they were 'over' it in a few days.
The big last weigh-in for the competition my car broke down at the high school dropping off my kid. No problem: I call AAA and decide to walk the 3 miles in 30*! They were surprised to see me and were sorry to let me know that another competitor had lost 18 lbs. Good for her really - "She'd lost her water weight dagnabbit," I said to myself. But what a disappointment.
So not winning that $750 jackpot, and the fact that I found out I had an umbilical hernia and would need surgery someday (doc said "lose weight!") made me stop exercising. I was afraid to do core exercises to pop the hernia. Also, a big contributing factor was that I was sore.
You never hear the contestants on BL talk about how sore they are -- I guess they don't want a bunch of "whiney-butts" spreading their negativity in the forefront, cause it's not the point. But I'm very curious about it - I want to hear every moan and gripe to compare to my own story. Personally, when I was working that hard, I was sore daily, nonstop for that entire time. It never went away. Stiff, achy muscles and tight hip joints especially. After the competition I tried working out less because it seemed I just took longer to recover. But then I wouldn't lose weight. I felt like I was working out for nothing. What was "right" for me?
It has been 8 months since I quit the gym and haven't been back (I'd lost 31 lbs there and through SP. I have gained back 20, 12 since December). I paid automatic withdrawal dues up until last month - they require you to "go into" the gym to quit rather than do it over the phone. (My procrastination was a blatant disrespect for money; though I had all those good intentions of going back. I bought a new-used car and needed the money - that was my incentive to get my butt over there?!
Reminder to self: DOING SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING - even if you're sore!
So, let's fast-forward and get to the Osteoporosis and Hyperparathyroidism part, or the Moans, Bones, Groans and Stones:
1. I've had heart palpitations for at least 8 years. One doc, pre-CD dx, gave me potassium and magnesium supplements, but they didn't work because I was malabsorbing. It was about this time 8 years ago I found myself having a couple bouts of unexplained diarrhea. With the flu once, and esp if I'd eaten ice-cream or sunflower seeds (fat malabsorption). This came and went. I didn't have IBS daily like maybe 40-60% of celiacs do.
2. After-CD dx and living in a different state, I visit Doc #2 (Doc #1 was out-of-network and out-of-pocket -- good as he was - he's the one who gave me Vit D Rx), who said "Everyone has palpitations - even I do," and told me not to worry. I visited again with concerns and wanted my thyroid checked (which is all I could think of), which on one visit of two, was actually a bit hyper ... because my villi were healing, I didn't need as much Synthroid I surmised. Well, even with lowered Synthroid dose, my heart's still aflutterin' at odd times.
I decided to take matters in my own hands and not wait for Doc #2's referral. I contacted Doc #1 and he said to go to the "Best Cardiac Doc" in the state. I made an appt. The day before the appt. they call and cancel my appt! What?! They hadn't received my med. history. I call Doc #2 and nurse said he thought I didn't need the "Best Cardiac Doc" ... he wouldn't transfer my med history! ??? I talked the nurse into it ... and when I arrived the next day for the appt, Doc #2 called to cancel the appt for me. Okaaay. Doc #2 said I didn't have necessary tests to go up the ladder so high ... and so he finally sent me to another great heart doc for an echocardiogram. Never met Great Heart Doc #2 (has a good rep), only the tech who did the test. A report was sent to Doc #2. I had a little something wrong with the left valve apparently: Nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, my heart is still occasionally palpitating, esp after exercise.
3. Frustrated with Doc #2, I don't see any doc for a few months and don't know where to go/what to do. I decide to see Naturopathic Doctor who refers me to Doc #3 who believes in some holistic treatments as well. I tell him about my palpitations and ask for more thyroid tests - my TSH is normal, but my Free T3 and Total T4 (or the other way around) are elevated. He lowered my Synthroid dose again - this time, the third time, wasn't the charm.
Five weeks after, I recheck in with the hematologist (whom I'm not giving a Doc #!) for iron testing followup. Forgot to tell him that the iron was helping with my hair loss. I brought up palpitations to him, so he checked my TSH: 15ish. (You'd want between 1-2.5 for "optimal performance").
By the sixth week I crash. I'd just returned from Miami and in time for our famous local ice-storm/power outtage. Four days of 40* temps in the house and huddled and sleeping in front of the fire. Three or so days of handsawing broken trees and dragging them to the curb. No shower, no water. Got toilet to flush with buckets of pool water - brrrr! Was very grateful for that! :)
But I was miserable. I called Doc #3 for followup thyroid blood labs (since he's the one who writes the Synthroid Rx) - and my TSH is 22.6 or something wicked I've never had so high. Waaa!
4. My dose has gone from .175 to .150 to .125 to .100 .. the last one: not so good. I secretly think it was too soon to change down. I'm back up to .150mcg now. Those 6 weeks back into "normal head" were looong. I couldn't/can't think straight/concentrate! I can't read the umpteen books awaiting me stacked so invitingly by the fireplace.
5. Okay, somewhere in between these appts I visit my new OB-GYN, whom we'll call Doc #4. We do annual exams, everything's fine. I've never had my hormones checked mainly cause I've always had regular TOMs, but I wanted to know the skinny (or the fat of it!). We talk. He tests things I don't even know he's going to test: my A1C for example (5.5). And other tests I don't know how to comprehendo. He also adds in a PTH test. Calls me on a Sunday to tell me this is a "little" high, he wants me to go in for an ultrasound scan (take a dye). My last experience with a dye didn't go so well (anaphylactic shock), so I'm putting the breaks on. I ask him to tell me about this PTH test.
PTH: parathyroid hormone. Your vitamin D levels affect your parathyroid hormones which affect your calcium levels, which all affect your kidneys. And your calcium also affects your heart and muscles ...
My first test was 83. Top range shouldn't be over 80. I tell Doc #4, oh my: I had such a bad month with the lowered Synthroid dose, I didn't eat well: craved Yoplait as usual, and didn't drink water at all! I drank coffee for fake energy. He said, Okay, I had to go back for another test in a month. I wish I'd have had the energy to document my food in my SP journal during this time!
They call me to tell me that everything is fine! YaY~! right? I always ask for copies of my labs and when I get them ... there's no PTH test ... I call them back and they've erred. Please come in for free test. I do, they call on Monday to tell me that my new results are 120! yikes! I'd drank 4-6 glasses of water a day + other drink (coffee, tea).
If you google PTH, you'll find a famous saying, "Moans, bones, groans and stones." Well, I've had all three - just no stones. Thank gawd! Again, I believe when I look back, that I just had a feeling that my vitamin D was low last year; it started out with waking up early at 4am after I'd been sleeping well.
The last time Vit D was checked before December by Doc #3, was by the Gastro (Doc #5?!) at my annual celiac followup in March. Stupid me had taken my last Vitamin D pill, 50,000 iu!, one week before my D blood labs - so I believe the results were artifically inflated: at the time: 63 (high range is 60 I think). You want a lab of at least 50 - see the Heart Scan Doc blog written earlier. So I don't know how long that lasted. I got gerflempt about when to take what pills - don't take iron with calcium supps as they bind together. And take probiotics on an empty stomach, etc. Take a multi. I just gave up. Another huge mistake for a celiac!
6. Doc #3 didn't think my Vit D lab of 20 for D3 was bad. No action taken in Dec. I didn't feel good about this, but he wouldn't hear me. What am I to do? Find a new doctor AGAIN?! I'm sure I must have mentioned something to my OB-GYN about it during one of my appts. Apparently, his mother had hyperparathyroidism, he has hypoparathyroidism. And that's why he tested. How lucky is THAT?!
I know this is a long story, but compared to how I've felt, it's nothing! It just goes to show you should listen to yourself. I didn't have the energy to recontact Doc #2; his office was far away and I'd get lost driving there (since then, I bought a new-used car with navigation for people with memory issues! The first time I tried to "navigate" somewhere it couldn't find the street I wanted - ugh! lol ) From what I've read, it doesn't matter that my calcium is lower range. (Usually there's a high calcium, low vit D correlation). If the PTH is high - get a scan. Which brings me to my next issue.
I don't want to swallow a radioactive pill! It's gf I hear, but radioactive anything in me? Why am I tested like this?! I will continue taking my vit D supplements, and ask for another PTH retest next month instead. :)
Secondary hyperparathyroidism does have connections to celiac disease, obviously because of the low vitamin D levels. But anyone having low vitamin D should be checked. It's one of those silent killer things. You don't realize how bad you feel until you feel better. I've also learned that if you have parathyroid surgery, sometimes, by luck, the doc might also find nodules on your thyroid - or the other way around - even though the two work independent of each other. I hope you read the link/article for a better idea of symptoms and what nots. Just like celiac, this is nothing I ever expected.
More to come as it develops. And I hope it's not a tumor! :)
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This idea of bad fats not being bad might be getting more mainstream ... I'm excited to see it in the media. It's a start. I have a dream :).
Of interest to me: if people weren't eating fats because of the "fat scare" and low-fat diet craze I grew up with ... then what were they eating? Fats make a person more satiated - carbs don't! I'll tell you what I was eating (because a doctor told me it helped constipation): whole grains. Whole grains, which for me, created nutrient malabsorption - did you know Vitamin D, which regulates calcium, helps with cardio/heart function? That niacin (B3) helps reduce cholesterol? I'm finding out the hard way with palpitations the last 8 years or so. Please ask your doctor for Vitamin B and D blood panels! You could save your heart or that of someone you love.
Another thought: how sad for someone to feel or be so desperate to get gastric bypass, etc. and actually INVITE and PAY for these type of malabsorption issues ...
Also - just a note: anyone else notice you can't post "long" articles or if we have a word limit in our blog entries? A handful of my posts are cut/not accessible ... hmmm. I have to ask some questions of the powers that be (or tech support) :).
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
That's "quinoa" in the pic btw.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #1: Explore Other Grains-Gluten-free
Breads are the "staff of life," so they say. But the "staff of life" can hit you right in the gut and contribute to many a bloated and ailing belly. "But I eat WHOLE WHEAT bread," I hear, and see a baffled and confused face looking back at me. High on the food sensitivity list is WHEAT. If you are sensitive or allergic to wheat, you may be reactive to oats, rye, barley, spelt, because they all contain gluten. Gluten is a protein, a sticky glue-like stuff that binds and holds grains together. (Gluten adheres to the bowel in the same sticky manner.) Gluten sensitivities can show up as mild symptoms of abdominal bloat, stomach upset, runny nose, IBS, headaches, migraines, joint and muscle pain, sthma, eczema, and mood swings. Serious digestive health challenges such as Celiac Sprue may be present. With Celiac, the villi of the small ntestine are destroyed, which can lead to severe malabsorption of nutrients. This leaves one with a compromised immune system, weight loss, diarrhea, (constipation) and fatigue.
Whereas wheat or other food allergies can be detected through an allergy test, gluten sensitivity is difficult to detect with the typical tests.
In order to become aware of the cause and effects of gluten and suspected "sensitive" grains, TOTALLY omit them for 7-10 days. Reintroduce them into your diet and then listen to your gut.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #2: Eat 4 Servings of Veggies/Day
At the top of the Gut Wisdom Friendly Foods List, veggies are rich in antioxidant nutrients (cancer fighters). Cruciferous vegetables contain a substance called indol. Indols stimulate the production of certain enzymes that may help detoxify potential carcinogen. They are high in vitamins and minerals that build and restore your system. Because of the alkaline minerals in veggies, they help restore the body's alkaline level to a healthy level. Their chlorophyll (the green in green veggies) content neutralizes toxins that your body can do without. They are nonputrefactive, easy to digest (for most guts), and easily combined with most other greasy foods.
Green leafy veggies are an excellent source of absorbably calcium. (For example, two-thirds cup of collard greens will give 91 percent of the calcium in one cup of milk.) Veggies are also high in fiber, which helps sweep food through your digestive tract. These guardian angels of fiber and nutrients have your best interest in mind, protecting against cancer, ulcers, and constipation.
Organic veggies have been found to be richer in nutrients as well as free from toxic pesticides and herbicides. Veggies and fruits should be 80% of the diet.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #3: Eat 2 Servings of Fruit/Day
Many fruits are rich in soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin helps you absorb calcium. Citrus fruits, figs, kiwi, and apples are an especially good source of pectin.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #4: Juice It Up as Often as Possible!
Fresh raw fruit and veggie juices are healing nectars. They are chock-full of mineral enzymes and antioxidants. Ideally, drink an 8-ounce glass of raw veggie juice and 8 ounces of fresh fruit juices a day. Bottled juices, even those labeled "natural," are often made from concentrates, diluted with water, and packed with extra sugars. The benefits of fresh raw juices include:
- Cleansing and rebuilding of your gut.
- Instant energy. Raw juices need virtually no digestion, so the juices are easily absorbed and utilized for your healing.
- Moving toxins and waste from your body.
- Providing a plethora of nutrients that promote a strong immune system.
Wheat grass juice is abundant in alkaline minerals. Therefore, it is beneficial for overly acid body conditions such as candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue, and allergies. Wheat grass is not a source of gluten, so it is safe for wheat-sensitive individuals.* Wheat grass assists in cleansing the blood, organs, and gastrointestinal tract. It is extremely rich in chlorophyll, which protects you from carcinogens and detoxifies the liver (the liver filters out stored internal toxins caused by stress and external toxins). Wheat grass stimulates the metabolism, and it is also a natural appetite suppressant. It can be taken in tablet form but is most effective when consumed fresh in juice form. The suggested amount is 1 to 2 ounces.
1. Carrot: Very high in vitamin A as well as rich in other vital vitamins and minerals; helps soothe and tone intestinal walls; cleanses the liver to discharge stale bile and excess fats; stimulates digestion.
2. Spinach/Kale/Parsley: Rich in vitamins and minerals; all are high in chlorophyll, which increases bowel peristalsis and cleanses the liver, kidneys, and urinary tract.
3. Ginger: Neutralizes toxins; aids in digestion, absorption, and elimination; stimulates elimination of mucous; increases bile secretion, which supports elimination and antioxidant protection for the liver.
4. Beetroot and tops: A very powerful intestinal cleanser as well as blood-building juice; has been used to treat constipation, gall stones, anemia, and cancer (use mixed with other juices).
5. Cabbage: Probably the least tasty of the juices, but contains healing properties for stomach and intestinal ulcers.
A favorite juice for newbies is carrot, spinach, apple, and ginger. As you acquire a taste for this gut-soothing nectar, add greens such as kale, beet leaves, and parsely.
1. Apple: Eliminates toxins and is instrumental in enhancing the production of friendly bacteria.
2. Grape and Grapefruit: Known to help cleanse the liver, which in turn has healing benefits for your intestines.
3. Lemon: The fruit highest in vitamin C (move over orange!); increases bowel function and is believed to prevent gall stones (use one part lemon to three parts water).
1. "Sugarholics" focus on green vegetable juices. And if your gut is gassey, cut out the fruit juice (and those smoothies, too!), as too much natural sugar could add to gut fermentation, contributing to your gut's distress.
(*Dot's note: for celiacs, wheat grass is considered something to be wary of for fear of accidental contamination of glutenous grain seeds during harvesting. Use at your own discretion.)
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #5
Snacking on Nuts and Seeds Between Meals
Nuts and seeds are a rich source of amino acids (protein) and essential fats and minerals. Ideally eat nuts that are SOAKED; otherwise they can be difficult for most systems to digest. The second best way to eat nuts is raw or dry roasted. Avoid nuts and seeds that are coated w/sugar or salt.
1. To soak your nuts: cover the nuts with water and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator. Drain. Keep refrigerated and eat. If this doesn't grab you and you must eat roasted nuts, then chew, chew, chew and chew some more to help assist in the digestive process. Listen to your gut.
2. Nut Choices: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews (high fat), Brazil, filberts (hazelnuts), chestnuts, macadamia, pine nuts.
3. Seed choices: Sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame (contain an abundance of calcium).
4. Nuts are great snacks between meals or on salads and vegetables.
5. Avoid peanuts and peanut butters. Some peanuts have mold called aflatoxin and can potentially be toxic to your system.
6. Explore nut and seed butters made from cashews, almonds, or sesame seeds (tahini).
7. Though the fats in nuts are nutritious, eat nuts and seeds (and butters) in moderation unless you are trying to put on a few pounds.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #6
Enjoy Eggs in Moderation (2 Eggs 3x Weekly)
Their reputation has been tarnished over the past few years due to the fact that they were associated with high levels of cholesterol. But we know that high blood cholesterol is only one indication of a high risk of heart disease, and that could be due to heredity more than diet. Researchers have found that we get only 25% of our cholesterol from what we ingest, and that the remaining 75% is produced by our own livers.
The fact is that, although egg yolks are rich in fat, they are also high in lecithin, which breaks down fat particles. Thus these substances balance each other out. They are also an excellent source of protein that can be easily utilized by your body. Choose free-range organic eggs.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #7: Reduce Consumption of Red Meats and Replace with POULTRY, FISH, AND SOY PRODUCTS.
Red meat is difficult to digest, causing it to linger longer in our gut. On a high-acid diet - more meat than vegetables and fruits - your system can become mineral deficient. Minerals are needed to neutralize the excess acids in the blood, instead of doing their normal functions. The major acid-neutralizing minerals are calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
Calcium deficiency can result in osteoporosis, muscle soreness, and irritability. Calcium also plays an important role in cancer prevention. Calcium combines with harmful bile acids and fatty acids so they can get passed out of your gut before causing irritating effects on your gut.
A deficiency of potassium can contribute to bloating, infections, and heart irregularities. Magnesium deficiencies can result in elimination ailments, nerve problems, and weak bones and teeth. A shortage of sodium can result in digestive disturbance and weakness.
Meats contain saturated fats. Saturated fats contain a substance called "arachidonic acid" that encourages inflammation within the body. High intake of meat places undue stress on your liver. Meats also contain hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and preservatives that are often added in breeding and processing. (Choose grass fed animals vs animals fed grains or corn.) See Gesture #20 and consider taking enzymes to aid digestion.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #8: EAT FISH, but BE SELECTIVE!
On the friendly side, fish is a good source of easily digestible protein, low in cholesterol, as well as low in saturated fats. Cold-water fish (ocean fish) is a rich source of emega-3, an essential fatty acid found and needed in our brain cells, nerve synapses, and adrenal and sex glands. Plus, omega-3 can help lower cholesterol. Cold-water fish also have a high concentration of selenium (a mineral) that binds to toxins the fish ingest and basically renders them harmless. Avoid raw fish (sushi). Parasites are easier to get than you realize.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #9: Beans Are a Great Fiber Source
When you join beans with a whole grain, you get a plant source of essential amino acids - or a complete protein. Some tasty choices in the legume family are split peas, chick peas, navy beans, lentils, black beans, black-eyed peas, and soybeans (tofu, tempeh).
-To make beans more digestible/less gas-forming, soak your beans overnight, drain the old water, replace with new water, then cook several hours [Dots note: some vegans do this up to 20x].
-Begin w/small portions to allow your gut time to get used to this high-fiber source.
-Use Beano, an enzyme product, or ginger tea, to help digest and reduce gas incurred by these delectable friendly foods.
-As you experiment, listen to your gut. Does this extra fiber please it?
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #10: Substitute Soy, Rice, and Cultured Products for Dairy Products
Humans were never meant to consume anything other than human breast milk. Our digestive enzymes are not capable of breaking down a food that is meant to nourish another species. Up to 70% of Americans have an intolerance of dairy. Mucous clogs the intestinal villi that are needed for absorption of precious immune building vitamins and minerals.
Studies have also shown that dairy contributes to IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. These studies prompted the New England Journal of Medicine (1984) to state that "a physician should always consider the possibility that milk and milk products may be responsible for a patient's digestive symptoms."
Milk has been marketed as THE calcium source. Actually, the body's ability to absorb milk proteins is quite poor because of the processing and pasteurizing. Hormone residue, antibodies, and additives from cattle-raising practices also hinder calcium absorption. You may say, "But where will I get my calcium?" LEAFY GREEN VEGGIES, MUSTARD GREENS, BOK CHOY, KALE, COLLARD GREENS, SESAME SEEDS, ALMONDS, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, TOFU, AND SARDINES.
-Alternatives to milk: rice, soy and almond milk.
-Lowfat cottage cheese and goat cheeses can be tolerated by most, but soy cheese is a better choice.
-Eat butter in moderation.
-Here's an exception to the rule: CULTURED milk products contain live healthy microorganisms that "pre-digest" lactose, which is the sugar in milk that so many have difficulty digesting. Products such as buttermilk, acidophilus milk, kefir, and esp plain yogurt can be tolerated by most. (The Hunzas who lived to be 100 years old knew something!) Yogurt is a good intestinal protector that contains friendly bacteria and vitamin A, D and some B-complext vitamins. However, stick to PLAIN yogurt, as those fruit yogurts are often filled with sugar, which only COUNTERACTS the benefits, leaving you with gas (foe) instead of gut ease (friend).
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #11: Avoid Hydrogenated and Saturated Fats.
Despite fat's terrible reputation, we do need a certain amount of fat in our diets. Fat provides energy essential to our immune system, our metabolism, and our ability to heal and helps produce needed hormones. Fats are needed to build and repair cellular membranes, esp brain, nerve and white blood cells that keep inflammation at bay. But pay attention to the type of fats we eat.
found in foods such as dairy products, beef, pork (including bacon). Saturated fats, besides being cholesterol contributors, are health hazards. Research has shown that saturated fats are a potential contributor to colon cancer. Our liver secretes bile, which carries our toxins (from foods, medicatons, the environment) out into our intestestinal tract to be eliminated. If we are ingesting too much fat, our bile acid secretions can increase in the colon. Couple that with a lack of fiber (which carries out bile) and our daily gut stressors, and we end up with excessive levels of bile, which can be gut-irritators and tumor-promoters.
Are you a Low-Fatter?
Many lowfat products are now laced with synthetic fats. These are primarily used in snack foods. Eating synthetic fats reduces the levels of fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) in the body, which we need for a healthy functioning system. Synthetic fat cannot be broken down by our gut's enzymes; therefore it can't be absorbed and often causes loose stools. This is why packages of synthetic fat-laced products often have this warning: "Caution: May cause digestive problems or loose stools." REAL fat slows down digestion and make you feel full longer.
We do need "natural" fats from foods such as fish, fish oil, seeds, nuts and seed oils (for example, flax seed oil). These all contain important nutritients called essential fatty acids (EFAs). Our bodies do not create EFAs. EFAs are broken down into two categories: omega-3 and omega-6. Together they help in the creation and balance of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced by every cell in your body, and they:
---control inflammatory reactions
---strengthen the immune system
---protect your stomach and intestinal mucosal lining
---help eliminate food cravings and longing
---support proper liver function
---improve digestive function
---reduce PMS symptoms
---protect the heart
Severe EFA deficiency can manifest as or contribute to IBS, headaches, depression, anxiety, dry and patchy skin, and food allergies.
Omega-3 is found in tuna, salmon, mackeral, sardines, rainbow trout, pompano, canola oil, and primrose oil. Flax seed oil is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A substance found in flax oil called lignans has been reported to block growth of cancerous tumors, reduce inflammation, and help normalize hormone levels. This plays a key role in the prevention of colon, breast, prostate, and uterine cancers.
Omega-6 is found in sesame oil, flax seed oil, wheat germ, sunflower oil, and olive oil. Olive oil can raise levels of good cholesterol, which in turn can lower your risk of your heart failing.
-When purchasing oils, you want an oil that is labeled "unrefined" and/or "cold pressed" or you'll end up with an oil that has been bleached, deoderized, and filled with chemical solvents.
-For omptimum health, supplement your diet with essential fatty acid, omega-3 and omega-6 capsules daily.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #12: Wean Yourself Off Caffeine.
Salivary glands ooze even with the thought of creamy milk chocolate or the smell of freshly brewed java, but the common denominator - caffeine - does not serve our gut's health.
Caffeine is a substance found not only in coffee and chocolate but also in black tea, colas, aspirin, and diuretic pills. Here's the friendly news: Caffeine stimulates the production of serotonin, our natural feel-good chemical, which is a brain transmitter produced by tryptophan. Serotonin gets our gray matter perked up. If the early morning has you a bit sleepy or grouchy, a caffeine "fix" can improve your mood and increase alertness by releasing adrenaline into the bloodstream (not bad for you in little doses).
The "FOE" News
~Caffeine can produce oxalic acid that hinders calcium absorption.
~Excessive amounts of caffeine can exhaust the adrenal glands, the organs that secrete adrenaline (our fight-or-flight hormone). This hormone lets us push a little harder, lets us work a little longer, and denies us the opportunity to listen to our gut wisdom, which may be saying that it's time to rest and take a breather. Over time, pushing our fight-or-flight button can lead to other hormonal imbalances as well as adrenal exhaustion - which means we're tired all the time.
~Caffeine has been indicated as the culprit in PMS symptoms, hypoglycemic imbalances, bladder infections, and gut imbalances, such as IBS.
~Caffeine is a thief of B vitamins, it leeches them from the body. We need our B vitamins for healthy digestion, for elimination, and to keep our nerves calm. For many, caffeine (esp in coffee) may irritate the mucosal lining of our intestines, as well as the lining of the stomach, contributing to ulcers.
~Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will draw water out of your body and gut, leaving you with dehydrated, hard stools (constipation).
~Coffee is a very acidic beverage and it can lead to an imbalance of friendly vs. unfriendly bacteria, which, as you know by now, is a condition that causes a host of gut disturbances: IBS, constipation, colitis, candida, and so forth. Decaffeinated coffee (with the exception of Swiss water processed) can be even more injurious due to the chemicals used in the decaf process.
~Some research has observed that drinking two to three cups of coffee/day may elevate blood pressure and increase the body's production of a stress hormone known as cortisol.
-For the coffee-holic: begin by cutting back one cup at a time. Cut your cup with half-decaf (Swiss water processed). Begin replacing usual cups with tasty herbal teas. Green tea is very healthy and still offers a small "buzz."
-Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, to help get you through withdrawal symptoms (headaches, the jitters, anxiety, irritability).
-Journal as you're "getting off" caffeine. What feelings arise that caffeine may have been supressing? This is an opportunity to do some emotional exploration and healing.
BEFRIENDING GESTURE #13: Shake Your Sugar Habit!
Sucrose, white crystalline sugar, maltose, dextrose, corn syrup, fructose, honey, maple syrup. Oh, how we love it! How we crave it, and how we get addicted to it! We consume 130 lbs of sugar a year or about 1/3 lb daily. Many sugars are hidden: 5-9 tsps can be hidden in your sodas. Cold cereals - the ones for kids and esp the low-fat ones - can contain as much as 65% sugar. Ketchup, salad dressings, mayo, lunch meats, alcohol, and low-fat foods all contain sugar.
1. Suppresses our immune system: 1/2 c of sugar leads to a significant drop in phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up harmful bacteria and are required for a strong immune system - impairing its ability to fight infection and disease.
2. Causes our pancreas to secrete abnormally large amounts of insulin, which can be a major factor in hypoglycemia and diabetes.
3. Feeds our unfriendly gut bacteria, adding to gut putrefaction and fermentation, setting us up for bloat, gas and constipation.
4. Steals our vitamins and minerals. Sugars take from our bodies because they themselves have no nutritional value. Sugars need our nutrients to be metabolized in our bodies, leaving us depleted.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
...by Alyce Sorokie. I'm going to share some of a book I'm reading in the hopes it makes a difference to someone out there in SP Land.
Food: Friend or Foe?
Ahhh, food. For a few of us, food is simply fuel. For a few more of us, food is a pleasure we enjoy with friends and family. And for some, food is a source of emotional comfort, eaten when upset, angry or sad.
A delicately orchestrated symphony of biochemical changes occurs within us with each bite of food. Through the process of digestion, from organ systems to organs to cells to the reaction and action of molecules, our bodies are altered.
Molecules make up the cells that are the required building blocks of our organs. Molecules provide the fuel that each cell needs to carry out their specific jobs.
By choosing a healthy diet, we provide our bodies with the proper molecules that will reward us with optimum health.
ACID AND ALKALINE
Worry, anxiety, fear, and stress produce acid within us.
For health to be present, the body must maintain the bloodstream at a 7.4pH level, which is slightly alkaline. All veggies and fruits are highly alkaline. If the blood's pH level becomes too acidic, health is jeopardized. Protein foods (meat and eggs), dairy, soda, alcohol, sugar, and coffee are acid-forming, as are most nuts and grains.
In order to maintain balance, your body will leach calcium out of your bones and teeth as well as deplete valuable mineral reserves to neutralize excess acid.
To achieve proper balance, the choices we make are important. I've labeled foods "friendly" or "foe" depending on how supportive they are to the balance of your body and gut's health.
A "friendly"food is a food that leads the gut to peace -- freedom from indigestion, constipation, and other gut distresses. Friendly foods leave you energized and nourished. An "unfriendly" food is a food that can contribute to or cause gut ailments, such as bloat, gas, constipation, heartburn, IBS flare-ups, and a myriad of other bodily and emotional discomforts.
If the foods that you eat are unfriendly, you may experience:
-Digestive disturbances including bloat after meals, gas, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, nausea, indigestion/heartburn.
-Mental or physical fatigue, particularly after eating meals.
-Water retention (edema), where you lose or gain a couple of pounds in a single day.
-Food cravings and/or addictive eating.
-Skin eruptions (acne, rashes, psoriasis, eczema).
-Chronic pains in the form of muscle aches, pains, or arthritis-like symptoms.
-Emotional, mental, and behavioral symptoms, such as mood swings, irritability for no apparent reason, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and depression.
Many "unfriendly" foods are foods to which we may be allergic or have a sensitivity, and this can contribute to an array of physical and emotional symptoms.
FOOD ALLERGIES and SENSITIVITIES
For 12 years, Mary had severe migraines that landed her in the emergency room almost monthly. She was willing to let go of her wine, her chocolate, and her dairy, she was willing to go through a series of colonics and do yoga three times a week, but she would NOT let go of wheat, which was a food to which we suspected she might be allergic or sensitive. After working together for more than a year, she left discouraged. Mary called four months later to tell me that she had finally given in and surrendered her wheat foods. Her migraines stopped and have not returned!
Food Allergies -
Food allergies are adverse immunological responses and systemic reactions to foods that other people can eat without any reaction. When you are allergic to certain foods or substances, your body has an antibody reaction to those foods in the same way it would react to germs or "invaders." Your immune system generally goes to war to destroy the invaders. Classic allergic symptoms that most are familiar with are sneezing, hives, rash, runny nose, headache, and gastrointestinal upset. These reactions can be triggered by pollen, dust, animals, and certain foods. Immediate, dramatic reactions such as a person's throat tightening after eating peanuts are the ones that most people associate with classic food allergies, but these account for only 5 percent of adverse reactions to food. Allergies can be easily detected by your healthcare provider through the use of patch skin tests and/or RAST blood testing.
What happens when you eat a food you are sensitive to?
Frequently undiagnosed by conventional allergists, food sensitivities are a major reason why millions of us go through life with chronic gut ailments and other physical complaints. Food sensitivities may be at the core of a multitude of digestive and elimination challenges, as well as other physical and emotional symptoms.
Food sensitivities are usually triggered by common, everday staples such as milk, wheat, corn, yeast, sugar, and caffeine. Because these foods are often eaten daily, a person may not be aware of their adverse effects on the system. Food sensitivities may show up as symptoms anywhere from two to 72 hours after ingesting the foe substance. This makes a sensitivity a lot more difficult to detect than a classic allergy. For example, you may eat whole wheat toast on Monday but get the bloated belly and achy muscles on Wednesday. Reactions such as bloat, IBS, heartburn, and a host of other digestion and elimination ailments are common, but what many don't realize is that a food sensitivity may be the root cause of other symptoms, such as arthritic pain, weight gain, migraines, emotional mood swings (from depression to hyperactivity), and persistent food cravings.
A food sensitivity occurs when an enzyme deficiency causes us to be unable to digest particular foods. Large amounts of undigested proteins, fats, and so forth are left undigested, and the immune system treats these molecules are potentially harmful or toxic substances. As these larger molecules pass through your gut's lining, your supportive and protective immune system sees these molecules as "foes" and attacks them. An immune reaction is set into motion and an inflammatory response occurs. This response can contribute to inflammation and irritation within the gut (colitis, Crohn's, IBS, [celiac-my personal note]) and show up as symptoms such as headaches, muscular pain, fatigue and edema. Your body's wisdom attempts to reduce the irritation by retaining water, which dilutes the concentration of the offending toxic material. Tissues of the intestinal lining swell with protective water. In addition to a swollen intestinal lining, add gas formation from the putrefacation and fermentation of poorly digested food, and you have a gut that can make you look and feel months pregnant. Many people also experience daily fluctuations in weight. This is not a pleasant experience but a good way to detect a food sensitivity.
None of us are too happy with the pants we can't zip up, but you must remember that the wisdom of the gut is actually protecting us from excessive toxins and possibly even more debilitating symptoms. Our guts are showing us quite vividly and uncomfortably that something we are ingesting is not okay within us.
And there's more:
-Food sensitivities can cause seretonin levels to drop. Seretonin is a calming neurotransmitter that, when imbalanced, can lead to depression and anxiety, which can then lead to continued eating or "stuffing" ourselves with more inappropriate food. Serotonin imbalances have been implicated in cases of IBS and other gut ailments.
- Your blood sugar levels drop, which can make you fatigued, shaky, moody, and hungry for something to boost you up. At this time, one might gravitate towards sugary foods or caffeine, which just continues the cycle.
- Food cravings and addictive eating occur. Certain food sensitivities can cause a release of your very own opiates. You can literally become addicted to the "high" your food sensitivities cause and seek out the offending food in order to get a "fix." Research from the New England Journal of Medicine (volume 337, 1997) states that opiate chemicals may also increase our appetite.
Food sensitivities can be detected by blood testing for IgG or IgG4 antibody reaction, or you can listen to your gut: Remove the offending food for 7-10 days. Your symptoms should calm down. Continue the journey of healing your digestive and elimination system with the "befriending" information (I will post separately) in this book. In time, your body may balance toward a healthier state; therefore you may be less reactive to many of your previous food sensitivities.
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