Friday, October 03, 2008
...from a recent Dr. Mercola newsletter email - he sums up what I've had to figure out the hard way! (Not that I was taking lots of drugs, but before I was diagnosed with celiac I was taking Nexium for GERD, ibuprofen for headaches, Tylenol PM for insomnia and of course, my pal Synthroid for hypothyroidism.
Now I try to eat more alkaline (salads w/lemon juice and/or ACV-apple cider vinegar, raw fruits/veggies) than acid (no more grains, at least for now) for the GERD. I take vitamin D and exercise for the insomnia. I RARELY ever get a headache anymore, and if I do, I drink more water. I still take the Synthroid (and I'm grateful for it).
My total cholesterol got very high (for me) at 240 after my celiac diagnosis (prior to diagnosis it was always below, but I hope to blog about my cholesterol history in the future) and I attributed it to my "absorbing" more of everything. The doctor wanted me on statins, pronto. I declined and have been trying to understand cholesterol ever since.
So this rise in cholesterol coincided with my diet: it was also a time when I was discovering gluten-free grained products: lots of high-glycemic flours, sugars and fats. I got disgusted; pared down my grain carbs to take in only a gluten-free (gf) WASA-type "cracker bread" made by Glutino, and ended up eating lots more Yoplait instead (trading carbs and not necessarily in a better way). Anyway, the cracker bread was dry and stuck in my throat, so I quit that also. After I lose my weight, I hope to learn to work in some quinoa. I could probably do it sooner or now once in a while, but I'm a dork and quinoa prep scares me so I keep putting it off! LOL.
I have to admit that reading so much about health and cholesterol as a "layperson" has been confusing for me. "Saturated fat is not the demon we've been led to believe" or "saturated fat causes inflammation." "Coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid and is healthy for your thyroid/anti-inflammatory" or "coconut oil is a bad saturated fat." I was never an intuitive person when it came to food/diet despite the many books I've read for 26+ years (I "knew" something was wrong with me, but didn't know what, so was looking for answers!). I was too skeptical and not open. That's why I let the gov't food pyramid do my thinking for me. I never paid attention or realized how food could make you feel until I started reading after my celiac diagnosis when the miraculous happened and I started feeling like a human being. I'm paying more attention now and I'm listening. I'm changing and evolving and it's all good.
All things in moderation my mother used to say. I'm wading through what "all things" are for ME - we have different needs based on heredity and environment.
Here are Dr. Mercola's thoughts which I believe are true (for me):
"If you make drugs a last option, not a first choice, you will have taken a major step in the right direction.
For example, all of the following conditions can be treated or prevented with LIFESTYLE CHANGES, yet if you go to a typical doctor, you will likely be prescribed a potentially dangerous drug instead:
High blood pressure
I realize that it takes a massive shift in thinking to realize that your body can heal itself, and that often drugs only hinder the process. But I canít stress enough the importance of the most basic principle of HOW to resolve an illness: finding the underlying cause of the problem. Masking it with a drug that lessens your symptoms does not fix anything.
Disease can only be resolved by addressing its root cause.
What many people fail to realize is that it is possible to maintain optimal health by simply avoiding unnecessary drugs and by understanding the fundamentals of good nutrition and exercise, which include:
-Eliminating sugar and most grains
-Eating unprocessed, high-quality foods, organic if possible
-Eating your food as close to raw as possible
-Consuming enough omega-3 fats
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Well, it's October. And October means I change my door wreath, the leaves are falling and I'll pay more to the lawn guys to clean up the yard (bless their hearts*, I couldn't do it - those leaves multiply like bunnies and could cover the house for months). And it means candy for the trick-or-treaters. (Last year I gave dollar coins to the kids. Some kids' faces were palpably disappointed -- "Hey, where's the candy?" I'm sure they're thinking! This year I feel like going to a movie rather than answer the door and listening to the dogs bark, but I've had some neighbor kids ask me if I'll be giving out those coins again!).
October is also CELIAC AWARENESS MONTH :), but you wouldn't know it because of the breast cancer awareness machine. And that's what I want to write about; that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month also. The major networks and celebs had their simultaneous cancer awareness charity drive (Stand Up to Cancer) on tv last week in a kick off for this special cancer that affects so many women (heck, and men), who knows why.
At least we KNOW the 'whys' for celiac disease or how to cure it per se. Often we hear that we're "fortunate" to have this disease when first diagnosed; when you're least likely to appreciate it- my gastroenterologist was the first to explain it to me in my anesthesia fog. Subsequent 'hearing' of the 'fortunate' truth came by way of books, and especially online chat groups (thank goodness people chat and repeat themselves to newbies. I needed to hear it many times before this truth sank in).
So, this week has been pivotal for me. I've been trying to walk 5 miles a day; sometimes I 'joggle' (jogging with jiggle) to the beat of my DD's iPod shuffle. I even like some of her songs - even the rap ones if I don't listen to the lyrics (they're just mean sometimes, and I'm not). It goes from rap to the Monkees to classical piano ... quite diverse. :)
Joggling=pivotal because I feel more energetic. I used to walk 3/day. My endo's PA pretty much inferred that I needed to step it up in the exercise dept, that eventually I should be running marathons like she does ... which scared the heck outta me ("but I have left hip sacro-ileac something and it's painful!" I'd whine). I have memories of exercising too much (?) after my CD diagnosis and not recovering, so this is hard to hear. Then I think of the Biggest Losers and tell myself to stop being a whimp!
So, FINALLY, I tried. My fasting blood glucose this morning was 84 (I joggled about 3 miles in the dark last night before bed). WoWsa, it feels great to have control over my life and finally get some results: I gained .2 lbs, too- ha ha. It's okay, we'll see where this new venture will lead.
*The yard guys are the only ones to notice and say "respectfully" that I've lost weight! I just went to a dinner party with neighbors and no one said a thing. But "I" can tell: 44lbs of tell - lol! I was so encouraged by one little thoughtful comment.
Back to Rethinking Pink and breast cancer. And of course, I know I'm not a doctor and there's lots to know about the different types, but I have thoughts just being lil ole big me. Susan G. Komen's sister and founder of her namesake organization, Nancy G. Brinker, was on Oprah; and though I half-watched (cause I was logging food/exercise into my SP journal!) I did catch a few heart-wrenching diagnosis stories. Who hasn't been touched by cancer? Emotions run high with cancer: please donate. I believe the business of fundraising is lucrative in itself. For whatever reason, my computer doesn't open .pdf documents, so I can't open their financials. I'd like to see where all the money has gone. Some money goes to grants for research (that's where I'd like to read more), promoting breast cancer awareness/screening, and helping those newly diagnosed through their journey. When I see programs about breast cancer, what I see mostly is about getting your mammogram screening/early detection -
If you know me, I like Vitamin D, so I found this statement on their Grants Application page most interesting:
"Washington, D.C. has the highest breast cancer mortality rate in the country. The neighboring counties in Virginia and Maryland also suffer from significant disparities, especially along lines of race, culture, income, and neighborhood. With funds raised at the Komen National Race for the Cure, grants will be made to support programs that reduce breast cancer disparities in Washington, D.C. and seven surrounding counties."
Where is the info regarding vitamin D supplementation and where is diet? When I hear diet mentioned, it's in a swift sentance and easily forgotten and taken for granted what that means.
Washington DC residents and surrounds are largely African-American; I hope one of these grants considers testing this. We know it takes longer for vitamin D to absorb through the melanin in their skin (a protective factor whilst living near the equator at one point in history), and they have higher risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, too. Our Western diet is certainly very different from their original diet in Africa. I think you have to look at their roots! Malnourishment can come from too many cheap carbs, fried and carmelized meats/foods (carginogenic oils from high temps, not 'just' transfats). And have you ever noticed the beautiful smiles from Africans? All that sunshine/vitamin D in their DNA, and lack of (much) sugar in the diet?
An interesting book, The Hungry Planet-What the World Eats, shows food pantries from countries around the world. There's a pic from a family in the Sudan and their larder consists of (gluten-free!) sorghum grain, no dairy, goat meat, dried fish, limes, peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans, red onions, garlic, dried okra, dried red peppers and tomatoes, RATIONS(!): sunflower oil, white sugar, salt, corn-soy blend grain/starchy food.
Speaking of rations, if you've ever read about the Pima Indians, you'll realize that they started having health problems (diabetes, alcoholism) after the white people started bringing their food to them.
Okay, back to Rethinking Pink: I'm very interested in learning more from Susan Love and her organization because she's interested in foremost the CAUSE and PREVENTION of breast cancer. She's a doctor I've seen often on nat'l news. Their info sites research studies and "her thoughts" about those studies, which I find insightful (I find similar insights - which just goes to show, studies are helpful, but like everything, not the "be all to end all".)
And consider reading these alternative sites first for more insight to the other sites:
Vitamin D and breast cancer: www.sciencedaily.com/releases
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Food Cop alert! woo woo woo (that's a siren).
Can't believe I've been seeing tv commercials FOR the "moderate" (think anyone really "moderates" and what IS considered "moderate" anyway?) use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our daily diet!!!! I sat there incredulous knowing that there are people out there who'll actually be lulled into believing that garbage. How can a person be "moderate" when it's in about everything the average consumer eats/drinks? And if it's not HFCS or sugar, it's soy, if it's not soy, it's wheat/gluten and/or a bit of all of those allergens! If you haven't read Michael Pollen's "Omnivore's Dilemma" I highly suggest it. He takes you on a political and nutritional journey into understanding "whytofors" (as my mother would say) of corn, including HFCS.
How about the bubbly happy background music accompanying the piece? I'll associate happiness with the use of killing my pancreatic beta cells - yay!?
Here's the commercial: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEbRx
Here's their site: www.sweetsurprise.com
Honey may be "natural," but it also will kill your beta cells, esp when "moderately" used with "moderate" HFCS and other moderate sugars/fructose/grain carbs etc! Helloooo!
Other Sweet Surprises on my mind:
Infertility. I've seen it a few times now on the telly-vision. Months ago and locally there was a news segment regarding Jordan Rubin's "Maker's Diet" which worked for a local couple (doctor interviewed said it was "anecdotal" and not proven ... diet rarely is proven because there's no profit in telling someone to eat fermented vegetables, right?). I was just glad it got on the air.
Yesterday I watched with interest a piece (Rethinking Fertility) on the Today Show about "alternative" ways women took to overcome their sterility issues after years of medical fertility treatment and thousands of dollars. I perked up when Tanya Aldinger was able to share "dietary" and other means: "No dairy, no sugar, no wheat" - yay and high five to Tanya for sharing! It's a sad commentary that cleaning up the gut is considered "alternative" though - can't wait for this info to be "mainstream!" Reducing stress is always a good idea no matter how you do it.
35737#26735737 (Tanya's interview is around minute 4 into it.)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Do I look fat in my genes? TOTALLY! It seems my ENVIRONMENT has kicked off my innate ability to expand my cell-size - some people have it, some don't. Sometimes I think wearing my fat is like a big red scarlet letter "A" for ALLERGY. But even 'allergy' sounds innocuous; like a little sneeze, but it's not. Just like hayfever, it can wear you down. You get by, but your quality of life is very compromised.
I say 'allergy' because it's more understandable to those who don't understand the autoimmune part of celiac ... maybe it's not the best way to describe it, but to me, my 'allergy response' to the gluten in grain carbs was fatigue, depression and weight gain - this was way before I ever manifested the steatorrhea (the presence of excess fat in the stools, usually caused by disease of the pancreas or intestine, and characterized by diarrhea and weight loss (per dictionary.com ... of course, I didn't have the weight loss)- a couple years before my diagnosis. The fatigue and depression manifested into my being too tired to exercise, and then wanting more carbs to raise my serotonin probably - one of those vicious circles that spiral downward.
However! I've been changing my environment, my genes are listening, and I'm encouraged. :)
One of the first books I read about celiac disease/gluten-free living was GLUTEN FREE LIVING FOR DUMMIES by Danna Korn. One of the diets she suggested proved very helpful for some celiacs was a Paleo-diet www.paleodiet.com . I kept it in the back of my mind as I meandered through a gluten-free world reading labels and being paranoid eating out in restaurants. I used to have nightmares I'd get glutened (frightened by the stories of pain) by being the 'old me' who'd pick up a random cookie/cracker from the counter; or licking my fingers when making gluten cookies for 'regular' people. I'm not reading labels much anymore because I've learned my favorite brands and/or my food doesn't have 'em. Which is more what nature intended.
Because of my newest discovery that I need to watch carbs, I've connected to Mark's blog to help me stay the course. This is the Primal Blueprint. I like the way he puts things; maybe you'll get something out of it, too:
and read what he has to say about blood sugar levels (you don't have to be 'diabetic'):
My favorite commercial is the Caveman Apology. The subtley of their facial expressions gets funnier every time I watch it. My links to You Tube sometimes don't work, but here it is for a chuckle if you're in the mood: tinyurl.com/6c8er9
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
He had an enlarged one like me. Or I have one like him. And I mean that figuratively and emotionally. He was big of heart. Little good that's doing him *now*. But maybe it will give me and/or us the kick needed.
His doctor said he was controlling his CAD and diabetes with diet, exercise and medication. Their recommendations weren't suited to him obviously. I really think you have to be aggressive with diet, and take supplements - maybe Mr. Russert was? I wonder about inflammation in his body.
Re inflammation, the gluten-free diet helped me, but my homocysteine was still higher than I wanted. (Doctors said nothing ... I swear, if I didn't scour the internet ...). There's a correlation between low B12 and higher homocysteine. I was also low on B and D vitamins again, so I've been regularly supplementing. Also on my list: I alternate between fish oil and cod liver oil (when I take a multi-vitamin I donít want to take too much vitamin A; I donít worry about the vitamin D, cause I know my level). My HDL ever so squeakily improved, my LDL went down 30 points or so.
I've tried lowering my sugars, but still find fruit hard to give up. I try to have more protein and/or fat when I do have fruit sugars. Though I recently read a study which said eating sugars and protein still adds to pancreas burden and thus my fat larder. oy.
I needn't tell you that TR was Irish ... probably grain intolerant. He had that ruddy complexion my DH has. We call DH our dear "punkin head." I think their complexion is very rosacea-like (an inflammatory condition). I doubt his doctors told him of THAT possible connection.
I've read so much about how just "looking at him" that you can tell he ate poorly. I can only say that to look at ME, I wonder what youíd think *I* was eating Ė you canít judge a book ALL the time. However, eating poorly for his genetics, based on the American SAD (standard American diet) probably got him to a point of "hard-return" as it were. That's where I am; trying to reverse my past. Also, stress kills. Hug your partner today to help relieve stress.
TR and Diet Coke and licorice "kept him going" in times of work stress: youtube.com/watch?v=lgY3R4aDFwY .
tinyurl.com/6bfusz (NY Times Article re his health)
I guess his triglycerides were higher (licorice?).
If you want to learn more about heart blood lab testing, try this site and talk to your doc. tinyurl.com/5kelzu . The routine cholesterol lab tests are an initial marker for further tests; but, even with my flags (similar to Tim's), my doctors have not ordered more tests. I'll be asking for these soon. And btw, my MIL was a skinny-minny and had congestive heart failure. She was an undiagnosed celiac with osteoporosis, too. You don't have to be fat to have heart problems - though it certainly adds to the burden as I well know.
I just ordered cardiologist Dr. Davis' book - it has been in my amazon cart for months. Check out his site to see what you think (he's not your standard heart doc and that's why I like him!) www.heartscanblog.blogspot.co
TR just gave me a wakeup call. The Irish Catholic in him would want God to rest his soul. Amen to his life and his legacy. And I thank him for his contribution to society. (rainbow emoticon here)
Get An Email Alert Each Time DOTSLADY Posts