Saturday, September 8, 2012

Apple Pie

It took 2 1/2 hours for her to make.  Likely closer to 3.  She has made pies with her dear 'older' friend a few times now.  She's been getting better at it.  She goes over to her house a couple of times a year and they makes a dozen or so crusts to freeze.  They make at least one in to a pie, has lunch with her and then comes home.

I never made pies.  My mom hated making pies.  I bake.  I cook.

My favourite pie crust recipe is one my Gramma gave me - you mix it in the pan and it involves no rolling.  Perfect for me.

It was good that her friend was here.  She kept her calm when the crust was breaking apart.  I was ready to help her make a new batch when I realized we just needed to add more water.

Why is it that so many things become so complicated?  Pies shouldn't be complicated.  I've heard some people say that they are so easy, so fun to make.  I think she'll  get there before me.

"Maybe I should put a little less honey in this time.  Last time it was too sweet."

She is creating this recipe.  Deciding which ingredients will make her pie good.  Make it melt in the mouth, delight the consumer.

Make her pie win.

She's mixing, rolling, placing, blending, slicing, filling, pouring, sprinkling, brushing.  Shaping this lump, these sweet rounds, into her own creation.  I can stand back.  I make supper and watch her.  Where did my little girl go to?

The problems are overcome, and then the pie is complete - after what seemed like an eternity to bring it to perfection, it is placed in the oven to cook and brown.

It is lovely - wins 3rd place at our Niagara Food Festival - Children's Division.  Here's the recipe - it is sugar free, minus the sugar sprinkled on top but that was mostly done for looks!  I think next year we might just try one of our gluten free pie recipes...
(I've kept all the details to making the crust out - any crust recipe says the same thing - no brainer)

Rowena’s Sugar Free Prize Winning Apple Pie

Crust (makes 2 crusts)
2 cup all purpose organic unbleached flour
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp True Cinnamon (fair trade)
¼ tsp Nutmeg (fair trade)
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup lard
4-5 tbsp cold water

Egg white beaten for brushing over crust

8 cups Paula Red apples (or enough apples to overfill the crust) peeled and sliced thin
1 whole apple, cored
1/3 cup local honey
1 tsp True Cinnamon (fair trade)
Little nutmeg (fair trade)
1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
Dash lemon juice

Local goat milk

After egg white has dried on crust, place whole apple, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and lemon juice in blender.  Blend to liquid.  Arrange apples in unbaked pie crust.  Pour liquid evenly over the apples.  Add a drizzle of honey.  Place other crust on top. Brush with goat milk.  Add a sprinkle of sugar if desired.  Bake at 425, covered with foil for 10 min.  Then 50 min (it was a deep dish pie) at 350 – removing the foil the last 20 min.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Staying Cool When it's Hot...without a/c

I started this discussion on facebook and decided to bring it on over here - I am really hoping for some more input and ideas so please comment if you can!

I'm excited.  My kids are excited.  I am making them into mini me's and I never even meant to.  I guess that happens on it's own doesn't it?

We have never used our Central air much - maybe 2 or 3 times a year. (Like when my relatives come over or we have a house party)  Until last year.  It was super humid here and we likely used it more like 10 different times.  We don't like using it.  We try every other possibility before succumbing but sometimes you just have to succumb.

Last week my children enthusiastically declared that we should try to go without the air conditioning for the whole summer.  Sure.  Sounds like a great idea.  Until the next week hit.  It was hot.  Really hot - above 40 two separate days - with the humid-ex.  But we made it!  It is cooler now and I can proudly say - we did it!

WHY do we do this?
Cost. We're cheap.  That's one big reason.  Check out this link where you can calculate the difference between using a fan and using the a/c.  I am astounded.  A fan run 24 hours a day would cost $11.00 a month versus Central air costs $69 per month if you only ran it 4 hours a day.  (never mind the difference if you run your a/c 24 hours a day!)  I hadn't actually looked at this. Wow - quite the difference!

I want to reduce my ecological footprint.  

Not because I am fanatic about it or an 'environmentalist' necessarily but because I love God and I love His world and I just want to take good care of it and teach my children to take good care of it.  As much as I can do, I do.  Of course there are things I can't control, but that which I can - I do.

It connects us to the outside world.  Like camping, we are constantly connected to how the outdoors are doing - what is the weather forecast and how is it out there.  Should we open up? Close up?  When we have the a/c on I find we lose touch with the outdoors and I like staying in tune.

So, that said - HOW are we doing this?

I feel like we have come to a sweet spot this summer.  We have made some changes that I will include in this list - and truly - it is working!  Our home stayed at or below comfortable 27 degrees until the last day (it did get up to 31 on the hottest day)  Before I begin - we do have a ranch style bungalow.  No upstairs.  Including a basement.  Clearly this gives us an advantage over 2 story houses or ones without basements.

1. We replaced a lot of windows and insulated more this last year.

2.We bought an expensive dehumidifier and it runs a lot - this makes a big big difference!  Yes this pulls hydro too but not as much and it isn't the same impact as a/c.

3.  We open AT NIGHT and close during the day during a high humidity period.  This takes keen observation.  As soon as I feel a 'hot breeze' coming in to my home, (sometimes at 8 am!) we close everything up as quick as we can!

4. We run a box fan in our window like this and we sleep with it on low all night.  I love this fan.  It also has an exhaust feature so if it is hot in the house, like if I am cooking, I run it and it totally takes the hot air OUT! The children too have a fan in front of them while they sleep.

5. I bought blackout material this year from Fabricland.  I lined my West window curtains with them.  (It is not black but it is white! Thick white) It looks like this and it is miraculous!  Our front living room used to heat up like an oven after 2 pm - now it stays lovely and cool.  I don't know why I waited 10 years before purchasing this stuff.  Now I just have to make sure my curtains are closed before 2 - when the sun comes around - and if I do - wow - it stays lovely in here.  I think I might line all my curtains!!

6.  We take it easy on hot days.  I never use my oven, rarely my stove, I try not to vacuum, or clean house.  We lay low - do all our work in the early hours and then chill out or go somewhere - like the library or local pool to cool down during the heat of the day.  

Changing our habits during a heat wave can make a big difference.  Even if you still want to use your a/c - and I know some have to due to allergies and asthma - you can reduce your usage significantly by just being aware and slowing down.

What are your ideas? I would love to hear how the rest of you cope with heat waves?  What about those of you in high rise apartments with no a/c?  How hot does it get there and what do you do? 

Apparently we are going to have lots more this summer so let's get together and do some brainstorming!  


Saturday, June 23, 2012


Holford calls this chapter “The Attention Deficit Disaster”.  A recent estimate states that 8-10% of children in the world have ADHD.   The Good news is that more often than not – children with ADHD have one or more nutritional imbalances which once identified and corrected – can dramatically improve their energy, focus, concentration and behaviour! Fantastic!

Ritalin – contains many properties similar to those of cocaine – one study actually found it more potent than cocaine (pg 310 Optimum Nutrition for the Mind).  This study concluded that the only reason it is not as addictive is because it takes longer for the Ritalin to take effect (about an hour) whereas Cocaine takes only seconds.  Nearly 1 in 5 children in the US are on Ritalin.
Holford goes on to explain how Ritalin initiates changes in brain structure and function that remain long after the therapeutic effects have dissipated.  And then he points out that RITALIN DOES NOT WORK.  The US National Institutes of Health concluded that there is no evidence of any long term improvement in scholastic performance on Ritalin. (pg 310) One report in 2005 concluded that, “the evidence is not compelling that the drugs improve the thinking or quality of life of adults or help with adult anxiety or depression” and there is “no evidence on long-term safety in young children or adolescents.”  Of course most of us know that a child given Ritalin or other stimulant drug is more likely to become addicted to smoking or abuse other stimulant substances later in life, such as cocaine.

Okay – enough about Ritalin – Where else can you turn?

Nutritional Deficiencies: 
A person with ADHD could be deficient in Magnesium, B6, zinc, any number of nutrients.  Dr Lendon Smith – for example -  reported that approx 80% of children were able to stop taking Ritalin after as little as 3 weeks once they start supplementing 500 mg of magnesium daily. (manganese, iron, zinc, Vit C and B6 also help the body produce noradrenalin – which is likely the reason why magnesium helps so much)

One study found that 95% of children with ADHD are deficient in Magnesium.

Another study found that B6 and magnesium are 10 times more effective than Ritalin!

I don’t want you to get the idea that only these specific nutrients will help your child.  It is the complete picture that will be oh so very helpful!   Healthy diet with a great broad spectrum supplement with some boosts in these nutrients are great ways to start...and of course...

You knew this would be listed right?  How much have we learned together these last months about how ESSENTIAL fats are to our brains?!  Here is a short list of symptoms of deficiency: Excessive Thirst, dry skin, eczema and asthma.  Some feel that children with ADHD have a higher need of EPA’s because they are absorbing them poorly or they aren’t able to convert them well into prostaglandins which help with brain communication..

“Children receiving extra essential fats in supplements were both behaving and learning better within 12 weeks.” (pg 316)
Eat more oily fish and seeds and nuts. (I have talked more about this here)

Lead, copper, alumincum.  Many toxic elements deplete the body of essential nutrients like zinc which of course causes nutritional deficiencies. Hair mineral analysis would rule out heavy metal intoxication. I am not sure yet how to get this done in Canada but I think this site is where to start.

Artificial Food Additives – we can end up eating as much as 5 kg of additives a year. No wonder the incidence of ADHD is increasing exponentially!!
 89% of children with ADHD reacted to food colorings, 72% to flavourings, 60% to MSG, 45 % to all synthetic additives, 50% to cow’s milk, 60% to chocolate and 40 % to oranges. (pg 317)

They placed 78 hyperactive kids on a ‘few foods’ diet eliminating both chemical additives and common food allergens and 76% improved. With this study they even checked for a reverse placebo effect and found that the children’s behavior rapidly became worse and so did their performance in psychological testing when the sensitive foods were secretly introduced.

"Combining vitamins, minerals and essential fats while eliminating allergens can be remarkably effective at relieving the symptoms of ADHD" (pg 318).

Feingold Diet:
A friend of mine has her whole family on this diet – it eliminates the artificial additives but also natural compounds called salicylates.  She finds this diet enormously effective for her children and studies have found that it is.  Holford encourages that since the list of foods containing salicylates (Granny Smith apples, strawberries etc.) is extremely long and contains otherwise nutritious foods, this diet should be considered as a secondary course of action.  Salicylates inhibit the conversion and usage of EFA’s so it may be sufficient to increase the supply of EFA’s which as we discussed earlier, has proven to help.

Sugar – I have had doctors say to me that sugar does not affect behaviour.  And it is true that some studies say that sugar actually produces a calming effect.  This may well be the initial normalization of the blood that is hypoglycemic.   A diet that is full of refined carbs, stimulants, sweets, chocolate etc and empty of fibre to slow down the glucose absorption is going to lead to behaviours that are up and down - fluctuating wildly throughout the day. It is inevitably going to lead to serious problems with the blood-glucose levels.  It is completely necessary for everyone but especially a child with ADHD to eliminate all forms of refined sugar and replace them with whole foods and complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, oats, lentils, beans, quinoa and vegetables) and always eaten with half as much protein.  One example is  nuts with fruit. 
(Remember - Chromium also helps stabilize blood sugar.)

Holford stresses the importance of seeing a qualified practitioner who can devise a specific nutritional strategy for your child.  I hope that this post helps you realize the significance of the possibilities that are out there for treating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  The possibilities can change the world!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Week One Down! Ups and Downs of Candida

Well - I have done it!  Seven days in and I have done it! Only seven more WEEKS to go!!
Overall - definitely great.  It did not take me long to start feeling really well.  (like I said - I live a very healthy life anyway, so normally it does take more time than this to feel such positive effects)
Let's see, after one week, here are the drawbacks:

  • Expense of groceries.  Especially the initial expenses like Flax Seed Oil and Raw Almond butter.  Those kinds of things set me back quite a bit initially.  Now it is just the expense of making sure there are lots of fresh veggies and fruit in the fridge so I can snack easily.  I know once the garden is really going this will be a big help.
  • The time cooking for two separate meals.  I tried, for the most part, to cook simply - like stir fry for all of us and then add in rice for the rest of the family.  But it was exhausting - I felt like I had to be in the kitchen the whole time.  This week I hope to master the cooking better.  As much fun as it is for me to try new recipes, I just don't have the time for this!
  • Convenience food - hard to find.  Once we didn't get home for dinner till 6:30 - the family is hungry, I am hungry - what to eat that doesn't take at least 15 minutes to prepare?  That did not go well...Mommy had a bad day that day.  I need to plan ahead better.
Okay so those are the drawbacks - what are the BENEFITS?
  • Fog is lifting.  I didn't go on this diet because of my foggy head.  I didn't realize I was foggy, until it started to lift.  I remember now - I remember 14 years ago when we got married and I did a similar cleanse.  I always loved the clear headed part and I had forgotten what that was like.  It's back and I embrace it wholeheartedly!
  • The FOOD - I have made some INCREDIBLE dishes (mostly for myself) - like this pizza recipe - wow it was perfect!  And this tortilla and avocado guacamole type recipe (without the fish so far).  I am having these amazing fruit filled shakes for breakfast - it is wonderful.  I am - after almost 13 years of having babies - finally - feeding myself for myself and it feels great! "No honey you can't have those strawberries - those are for mommy on her 'special' diet!! Nope - not the yummy chicken breast either" How lucky can one Mom be? (Don't worry - my children are eating just fine!! They are enjoying this too I think!)
  • Energy returning.  I am getting my usual amount of sleep, except I wake up when the alarm clock goes off and I feel well and alive! Ready to embrace my day.  Rather than forcing one foot in front of the other for my morning walk, I feel like actually taking the walk!  Now - this is in general - there were definitely and still are days where I feel more tired as I am still really detoxing , but in general I have much more energy than before.
Thanks for reading and if I am inspiring you I would be happy to tell you more of the details!  This is so great, I honestly can't tell you!  I may never go back...??? ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

Remember I am studying Patrick Holford's book New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind and that is where all my blogging is coming from on this topic right now.

SWINGING from low lows to high highs! 

These swings can be generated by a huge number of factors - such as too much coffee, stress, hormone imbalances, food allergies and nutritional deficiencies.

How effective are SSRI's really?
There is an INCREASED RISK of suicide on SSRI’s (pg 263)
“No randomized controlled trials show that patients with bipolar disorders who receive drugs do better in the long term than those who receive no medicine… against this background, let’s take a look at the nutritional approaches…” (pg 263)

3 ways for a person with bipolar to minimize the risk of disruptive moods.
1. Take the nutrients that help to stabilize mood – helping mood swings in either direction
2. Take nutrients and herbs that help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
3. Take nutrients that promote healthy sleep patterns.

Blood Sugar Imbalances or Food Allergies
Remember the brain is almost totally dependent on glucose for its supply of energy so keeping a stable level of glucose is crucial for improved mental health.  Avoid sugar, stimulants, cigarettes and excess stress.

Omega 3 fats –definitely fish oil.   Eat cold water fish – herring, fresh tuna (in moderation), salmon, sardines and mackerel.  And to turn these essential fats into building materials for the brain what do you remember what you need? B vitamins!  Are you with me?  Did you guess that from all the other entries I’ve done?  More info about Fats and B’s is found here:  
(please note that fish-liver oil supplements are UNSUITABLE for treating mood disorders because in order to take enough of them, you will get too much vitamin A – possibly leading to toxicity)  They have yet to determine how much is optimum but generally 1.5-4 g of EPA is adequate to improve mood in patients with Bipolar.  Be sure to check the EPA not just the mg of oil.
Vegetarians can try to substitute flax seed oil, as long as they take optimum amounts of magnewium, zinc, B’s, C and biotin – all needed to convert flaxseed oil into EPA and DHA – Fish oil is ideal as it is very difficult for most to make enough EPA from flax seed or another alpha-linolenic acid.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium.  Average diet gives around 200 mg while the RDA (recommended daily amount) is 300 mg. (500 is the ODA – optimum daily amount)  Depression, insomnia, constipation and nervousness are all from a long list of magnesium deficiency symptoms.

Chronic stress depletes magnesium
A study in the US of patients with major depression found that they recovered rapidly, in less than a week, by taking magnesium at each meal and at bedtime.  (pg 246)
Food has far less magnesium than it did 100 years ago – because of refined foods but also due to chemical fertilizers – many nutrients are missing from our food supply – not just magnesium. 
Green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium because of the chlorophyll – raw nuts and seeds are a great source too.  With one tbsp of seeds, at least three servings of dark green veggies and 100 -300 mg of magnesium daily, you will ensure you are getting enough magnesium. (Do not supplement more than 300 mg total)

Broad-spectrum Multi
Best place to start is by supplementing a multivitamin and mineral.  Nutrients are synergistic – they need each other to be absorbed and to work well in the body. One study recently done in CanadaUniversity of Calgary – demonstrates how effective this is with manic depression.  A group of manic depressive adults were given vitamins and trace minerals in addition to their prescribed meds.  Over six months, on average – they halved their need for the medications and every patient experienced between a 55 to 66 % reduction of symptoms. 

 If it is high (get it checked by your doctor– high is above 10 mg/dl) start supplementing folic acid at about 1000 mcg and 500 mcg of methyl-B12

Use AMINO ACIDS and HERBS (like St.Johns wort) only under the care of a trained professional, if bipolar and on antidepressant medication.  

SLEEP encouraging a regular pattern of seven hours of uninterrupted sleep can help to smooth out the curves.  Sleeping less and less rapidly depletes nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and vitamin C.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Candida Diet - Day One

I started a cleanse today.  I haven't cleansed for 13 years.  I've been pregnant or nursing for most of that time so that has been my excuse. I've been counselling people for years to do Candida Cleanses, Gallbladder Flushes, Liver Detoxes but most of them I have never really strictly done myself.

My birthday was last weekend.  I ate cake, ice cream, chips - even a ginger ale which never normally passes these lips.  I prepared myself for the 'day after the long weekend'.  It is time.

 Perhaps you are wondering - as my son said to me today...
"Mom - why are you going on a diet - you're like the healthiest!"

Well, son - and whoever else cares - I am pretty healthy.  I feel well most of the time, I don't have a whole lot to complain about.  Yet - I do have some symptoms such as the ones listed here  and they aren't going away by just eating my wonderful healthy diet.  I know that without some severe measures the symptoms will not truly go away.  And so - I am starving those little sugar, starch, fungus loving yeasties inside of me.

Phase 1 - lasts for 8 weeks.
No grains, no starchy vegetables, no sugars, no dairy...
no nothing?  

Sure I can have lots of other things! All the protein, veggies and limited fruit I want so it isn't all bad!  While I starve them I kill them too - with things like Oil of Oregano (ouch!) and Caprylic Acid. And then I also replace them with fantastic probiotics (not from my sugary yoghurt either - sorry but that does not count!)

 I am going to win this battle!

So far so good.
I had a nap this afternoon.
I feel hungry.
I bought groceries today, I found some yummy recipes on line and I am feeling confident.  If I can't do this myself how can I ask my clients to do it?

Granted, most of them don't cook for 5 children under 12, but that's okay - I know I can make it through.  I made them make their own sandwiches today for lunch, while I munched on my green salad.  It is hard but I know it is good too.

I will let you know how I am doing through out this phase.  Stay tune for the Depression blog in the next day or two as promised!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Atypical Depression and Chromium

Do you have Atypical Depression?
Are you one who
-         Tends to gain weight?
-         feels tired all the time, for no obvious reason?
-         craves carbohydrates?
-         could sleep forever and feels groggy?
-         Is hurt easily by rejection from others?
-         began feeling depressed before turning 30?
(versus classic depressive is suffering from weight loss and insomnia)

If you answer yes to even ONE of these questions – chromium will likely help you!

Chromium – crucial mineral that helps stabilize blood sugar – (because without chromium, insulin – the hormone that carries excess glucose out of the blood into the body and brain – can’t work!) supplement 200-600 mcg – take it in the morning as it may cause insomnia and vivid dreaming when taken right before bed.

Our diets are generally very deficient in chromium - you lose chromium through stress and by eating the refined carbohydrates, sugars, caffeine.

Some studies have found that chromium is MORE effective than SSRI’s (it is totally okay to take both if necessary!)
**Has no side effects even at very high amounts (extremely safe!)
**Usually works faster than SSRI’s
**Has been found through many studies that it reduces symptoms more effectively than SSRI”s (page 246)

Our diets are generally deficient in chromium and as we age we need more – the more refined carbs (fast releasing carbs) you eat the more chromium you will lose.

Use this general diet outline that began this journey: here. 

Diabetes connection: since the 17th century when one doctor saw the connection regarding diabetes he wrote, “Sadness and sorrow often proceeds this disease.”  They actually have found that the incidence of diabetes in depressed people is 2 ½ times that of the general population.  Often depression precedes diabetes by 20-30 years.

So clearly - though supplementing with chromium is critical for atypical depression it is also critical for avoiding diabetes down the road!

Manic Depression coming soon...have I lost you yet?  Stick around for this next post - it is going to get you as excited as I am!  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Intro to Depression

Taken from Optimum Nutrition for the Mind by Patrick Holford

 “More people suffer from depression and schizophrenia than any other mental health problem.  1 in 20 people are diagnosed with depression.  1 in 100 are diagnosed with schizophrenia.”
Both are, for the most part, curable with the right nutrition plus psychotherapy.
This section of the book was full of hope for me and I am hopeful will be for my readers too!  My heart was racing as my eyes skimmed through the pages – I had heard whisperings for years, knew people first hand who had successfully fought these illnesses without drugs – but I had not held in my own hands the weight of research behind this idea - not in one spot - until now.  

In this post I talked a bit about how things like blood sugar and allergies are all linked to low mood.  If you suffer from depression and haven't already read this post, please follow the link and start there.

Depression is 10 times more common today than it was in the 50’s

Classic symptoms are:
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death
  • Loss or increase of appetite and weight
  • A disturbed sleeping pattern
  • Slowing down – physically and mentally
  • Agitation 

Four or more of the above symptoms? Read these posts!

There is no single cure.

BUT it's a good idea to keep neurotransmitters in balance – that is what the drugs aim to correct but have lots of nasty side effects.  Holford recommends 100-300 mg of the amino acid 5-HTP twice a day to boost serotonin levels. Tyrosine at 500-1000 mg 2 x daily helps those who feel a distinct lack of drive as well.

St.John’s Wort – gentle with minimal side effects, not addictive, enhances sleep and dreaming.  

Annual death rate of death by overdose on antidepressant drugs is 30.1 per 1 million prescriptions 

No one has ever died from an overdose of St.John’s Wort! (pg.243)

Other supplements that have been proven to help are:
  • Omega 3 fats (and in order to turn omega 3's in to building materials for the brain....we need the B's - especially...)
  • B12 Folic Acid,, B3 and B6 , which in turn further promote the brain's production of serotonin and other key neurotransmitters....We are fearfully and wonderfully made aren't we?
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese

Under-active Thyroid is a common link to depression as well- best way to find out is to do the basal temperature test - most accurate method!

Patrick Holford has a website I recommend this free questionnaire through his site- I took the questionnaire myself a while ago and it helps to narrow down your specific needs and things you can talk to your health practitioner about - like which blood tests would be good for you to take, what areas like allergies or blood sugar that you might want to direct your attention towards.

Looking for more research pertaining to depression and nutrition? some is listed  here

I am writing more - much more - this is a HUGE topic - coming soon - Atypical depression and Manic depression!

Monday, April 23, 2012


 (taken from chapter 32 of “The New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, by Patrick Holford)
 I know I said I was going to do Manic Depression - still on it's way - this topic came up and was a bit more pressing for me so I hope you don't mind the diversion!
  •         One in four people are addicted to SOMETHING – tea, coffee, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, tranquilizers – something!
  •          Genes are important and play a role
  •          But genes are only one side of the equation – predispose it but don’t determine it
  •         “By providing optimum nutrition for a person…their mood, energy, and general well-being can be so substantially improved that compensations using addictive substances no longer become necessary.” (pg356)
  •         One study with mice prove this – two groups – one group given junk food the other given a healthy diet – both with free access to water and/or alcohol.  The junk food mice soon became alcoholic and died prematurely.  The healthy mice did not choose the alcohol and lived to a ripe old age.
  •          Also to note is that the mice, as they became more interested in the alcohol they became less interested in any food – leading to a downward spiral…

Most alcoholics and drug addicts have HYPOGLYCEMIA – one way of raising your blood-sugar level is to smoke a cigarette, drink coffee, eat chocolate, drink alcohol or take a drug.

Addictions have a lot in common with hidden allergies.  Often the allergic substance becomes addictive, and if it is not consumed, withdrawal symptoms set in, which can be relieved by consuming the allergen.

Many people who regularly consume alcohol also become allergic to it, or to something in it.

ALCOHOL: the greatest anti-nutrient of them all.
            Well proven to deplete almost every vitamin (A,B1,B2,B6,folic acid, B12,C,D, and E), mineral (calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium) and amino acid(trypophan, taurine, glutathione etc.) essential fat (omega-3, omega 6) as well as disturbing blood sugar control.
            MANY OF THE SYMPTOMS AND PROBLEMS OF ALCOHOL ABUSE ARISE DIRECTLY FROM THESE NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCES.  For example, tryptophan depletion leads to depression, while B-vitamin deficiencies make you anxious, unable to concentrate, and even feeling like you are crazy.

            In a rat study, rats given B1 vitamins cut their drinking by a staggering 80 %

Lots of nutrients protect the liver too – Taurine, choline, glutamine, glutathione, and many others.

  •          Alcohol: a number of researchers reports have found that mega-doses of a cocktail of nutrients, given orally as supplements or intravenously, can virtually eliminate symptoms of withdrawal.  “A whole-food diet plus a multivitamin kept 81 % of alcoholics off booze six months after withdrawal, compared to 38% left to their own devices.
  •        Cigarettes: an alkaline diet with plenty of fruit and veggies and high doses of Vitamin C and niacin as well as other nutrients.  – most smokers are hypoglycemic so a diet with COMPLEX carbohydrates (brown rice, beans, lentils, no refined white flour products) AND no sugar, tea, and coffee is essential.  Extra chromium, B6 and zinc also help to stabilize blood sugar.  Nutritional factors PLUS counseling are highly effective

In Summary:
  •          get professional help and guidance
  •          deal with psychological issues with a psychotherapist
  •            increase your intake of nutrients, including a high strength B complex plus niacin 500 mg, pantothenic acid 500 mg, vitamin B6 100 mg, folic acid 1 mg, vitamin C 3-10 g a day spread throughout the day.
  •           Take L-glutamine powder, 5 g am and pm plus enough essential fats including GLA, EPA and DHA and minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
  •             Come off your addiction slowly
  •       Eat an extremely healthy diet that supports your brain:
 Eating Healthy    what does it look like? More info in my older posts but here it goes again! 
  •           wholegrains  (such as rice, buckwheat, millet, rye, oats, whole wheat, spelt or quinoa), lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables.  Eat five or more servings of fruits and veggies per day.  Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans and peppers, either raw or lightly cooked and limit your consumption of starchier veggies like potatoes.
  •           Choose fresh fruit such as apples, pears, berries, melon or citrus fruit.   Have bananas in moderation.  Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruits infrequently in small quantities preferably soaked.
  •           Avoid sugar and foods containing sugar – this means anything with added glucose, sucrose, or dextrose, malt sugar, honey.  Don’t be tempted to go for sugar substitutes – they all keep sugar cravings alive and most are detrimental.
  •          Combine PROTEIN foods (fish, meat, eggs, beans)with carbs by eating cereals and fruit with nuts or seeds, having carbohydrate rich foods with protein rich foods (fish, chicken, lentils, beans or tofu)
  •          Eat breakfast every day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sleeping Eazzzzy...

As I go through this book, and as you go through my posts, you will see some common threads.  Though this post is specifically about sleep, it is all interrelated as we are all quickly learning.  If we are not well, then we are often not going to sleep well,  and if we don't sleep well we will very quickly become less well.  Sleep has to be a priority, so rather than ignoring it or turning to over-the-counter, addictive medications, read on and find some simple solutions!
  • Find ways of relaxing and de-stressing in the evening
  • make sure your supplement program includes vitamin B6 100 mg, and zinc 10 mg – up to 30 if no dream recall
  • Supplement 400 mg of calcium and 300 mg magnesium in the evening and eat calcium and magnesium rich foods – such as seeds, nuts and crunchy or dark green vegetables
  •  Maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day– eat protein rich foods at EVERY meal and avoid refined foods, coffee, sugary foods and drinks and minimize alcohol.
  •  Balance your sleep neurotransmitters- serotonin which aids in making melatonin (a neurotransmitter - without which it is difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep)- B6 and the amino acid tryptophan are needed to make these.  Read this post about serotonin, tryptophan and 5-HTP
  • If necessary and you suffer from insomnia supplement either 200 mg of 5-HTP - direct precursor to serotonin (discussed here) before bed. (Incidentally 5-HTP has also been shown to reduce sleep terrors in children when given at an amount equal to 1 mg per pound of body weight before bed.) 
  •  avoid sugar and stimulants (caffeine!) especially after 4 pm
How significant is caffeine and my sleep?
One study done in Israel found that volunteers given regular coffee, compared to decaf, slept an average of two hours less. (pg 189). Melatonin  production is suppressed by caffeine for up to 10 hours.

A note about Valerian - considered nature's Valium and worth a look
**valerian can interact with alcohol and other sedative drugs so please only take under close medical supervision **

One double blinded study in which participants took 60 mg of valerian 30 minutes before bedtime for 28 days found it to be as effective as oxazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety. (pg 193) Recommended 150-300 mg

Sleep well!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


(remember this is a summary from the book by Patrick Holford called New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind - you can purchase it here)

I think I need this one. Bad. Anyone that has seen me in the last few weeks can see it. I’m irritable, I talk quickly, I can’t relax. I need to relax – oh help me relax!!

Do you know that in ONE WEEK in Britain – (okay the author of this book is from Britain so that is why there are so many UK stats) they pop 10 million tranquilizers, puff 10 million joints and drink 120 million alcoholic drinks – don’t’ think for a second that we are any better.

Anti- anxiety drugs (tranquilizers) like Valium (diazepam), Librium and Ativan are very effective at reducing symptoms of anxiety in the short term but they are highly addictive in as little as four weeks. Did you know that doctors are strongly advised to NOT prescribe these for more than four weeks!

Even the new class of drugs = nonbenzodiazepines that were developed in order to be a safer, less side effect option, are proving to be just as bad.

“Dependence can develop in as little as one week of continuous use.”

So... What is the alternative?

GABA – is a neurotransmitter which is the brain’s peacemaker, Holford says. It helps to turn off excess adrenalin and calm you down. Tranquilizers (ie.Valium) discussed above promote GABA.

Natural GABA promoters ensure you produce and release GABA when you need to. Those promoters include amino acids, minerals and herbs and he lists the most effective as being: GABA (it’s a neurotransmitter and an amino acid), Taurine, Kava, Valerian, Hops, Passionflower and Magnesium.

As much as I am not against these options – they all are reasonable and safe options- I am going to spend more time looking at giving your body what it is needing…this is my bent…if you are lacking a specific nutrient for your body, you are going to be experiencing symptoms, so let’s look at what your body is needing if you are experiencing anxiety and stress…

Like Magnesium.

It not only relaxes your mind but it also relaxes your muscles too. Muscles aches, cramps, spasms, anxiety and insomnia are classic symptoms that you need more. We need 500 mg daily. Seeds and nuts are a great source as well as dark green leafy veggies (gotta love kale!) so if you are eating lots of these foods daily, supplementing with 300 mg as well is wise. If you are especially anxious, Holford recommends 500 mg in the evening.

Blood Sugar Level.  Again - this is coming up.  When blood sugar levels are going up and down, your body produces more lactic acid which surprisingly enough has been linked to causing anxiety attacks and hyperventilating - which actually produces more lactic acid again.  (incidentally this is why breathing in to a paper bag works - it levels out the glucose levels in the body)

"Finally, deficiency in vitamin B1 stops the body breaking down glucose properly, again promoting lactic acid.  So, make sure you are supplementing a good B complex or multivitamin."

Also - check for food allergies - see this link for more info.

Coming soon...sleep remedies and manic depression...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hormone Factor

chap. 16 of Optimum Nutrition for the Mind by Patrick Holford
Hormones and neurotransmitters are chemicals that tell the body and brain cells how to behave.
If hormones are out of balance, our moods get out of balance too…just like when the neurotransmitters aren’t working well.

Apparently, it is becoming a common trend in medicine to treat PMS with anti-depressants.

Holford says, “I have never seen a PMS sufferer who didn’t improve dramatically with the right diet and supplements.”

Here’s the bottom line. “If you are deficient in vitamins, lacking in essential fats and have poor blood sugar control, you are likely to suffer with mood swings when your hormones go up and down.”
So – the first steps are to go back to Patrick Holford’s first recommendations linked here.

Four most important nutrients for banishing PMS related symptoms are as follows: (and please remember that nutrients should always be taken in conjunction with each other – so take a good broad spectrum too) 1. 300 mg Magnesium daily : French researchers gave 6 g of magnesium daily for the week before and the first 2 days of the period - nervous tension relieved in 89%, weight gain 95%, breast tenderness 96% and even headaches in 43%

2. 100 mg vitamin B6 - up to 88% improvement from B6 supplementing

3. 20 mg zinc – not only helps vit. B6 work but also keeps copper lowered and high levels of copper with low levels of zinc have been associated with depression

4. EPO – Evening Primrose Oil –4 x 500 mg supplements daily will give you 200 GLA which is what you want. Several double blind studies have shown that EPO is highly effective in treating depression, irritability, breast tenderness and pain and fluid retention usually associated with PMS. And guess what? Magnesium, B6 and zinc are known to increase utilization and effectiveness of EPO

Menopause? Same thing as above will be of help. Also – serotonin deficiency is also very common among menopauseal women so they would benefit from 5-HTP

Men and Hormones? About 1/3 of men in the 40-69 age group complain of a range of symptoms that commonly include (in order of importance) loss of libido, depression and worsening memory and concentration. Holford calls these classic symptoms of ‘andropause’.

This needs to be taken very seriously. Men are hard to diagnose with depression because they become more angry than sad.

Also – they are more likely to commit suicide.

Andropause can be helped by supplementing testosterone and levels can be tested easily and accurately with a saliva test in Canada – for a provider. The provider can also assist in carefully bringing your hormones back into balance.

Also lots of protein and complex carbs, as well as antioxidants and zinc are crucial.

Okay folks - next we are on to stress strategies, sleeping better and then manic depression so stay posted! Thanks for helping me stay motivated!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mood: Serotonin

I am going to deal with Clinical Depression in a later post. Today I am just addressing the milder ‘blues’ and moodiness.
Your mood and motivation isn’t only in your mind – as you should have already learned from my older posts- it’s in the chemistry of your mind.
Ensuring optimum nutrition for your mind not only improves mood but it also gives you the motivation to make changes in your life.

Serotonin of course influences our mood. Adrenalin and noradrenalin- made from dopamine – influence our motivation. All the major antidepressants are formulated to influence the balance of one of these neurotransmitters. From a nutritional perspective – we are lacking the building blocks, those nutrients, that are going to help us produce these vital mood enhancing neurotransmitters.

Serotonin deficiency is linked to one of these 5 main reasons:
1. Not enough estrogen or testosterone (female and male): the hormone connection. And what you might not realize is that if you are deficient in vitamins, lacking in essential fats, and have poor blood sugar control, you are very likely to experience mood swings when your hormones go up and down.

2. Not enough light - winter blues anyone?

3. Not enough exercise EXERCISE: counters the serotonin loss that stress causes so get out there and get moving!

4.Too much stress (especially in women)

5. Not enough cofactor vitamins and minerals (B6,B12,folic acid, magnesium and chromium especially

6. Blood Sugar imbalances (is this starting to sound familiar?) Again –Eat small regular meals of natural, unprocessed foods, including protein and fiber at each one and taking a combination of B vitamins and the mineral chromium. We covered this earlier to some extent I know but it bears repeating!

Choose foods that help make serotonin: fish, turkey, chicken, cheese, tofu oats, beans and eggs all have tryptophan which is an amino acid that – you guessed it – help make serotonin (come on – you knew this too didn’t you?)

5-HTP – short for 5-hydroxytryptophan is derived from an African Plant called griffonia .You can buy this affordably at your local Health Food store. They have been studying this nutrient since the 70’s and have found amazing results. One study where the patients were given either a common SSRI antidepressant or 5-HTP found that after 6 weeks, though both groups had improved, those taking 5-HTP had a greater improvement in each of the four criteria assessed- depression, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms, as well as the patient’s self –assessment – and with no side effects.

50-100 mg two times a day Please note that though a recent review on 5-HTP confirms its safety again, Holford does not recommend you supplement this nutrient if you are currently taking SSRI medication.

Also – you may experience nausea the first time you take it but just decrease the dose and that should go away as your body adjusts. Try eating a piece of fruit when taking it but it is best if taken on an empty stomach – for absorption.

Oh and if you get very sleepy on 5-HTP then you probably don’t need it.

Anyone trying to find out their root cause for depression needs to take blood and urine tests to discover:
Serotonin and noradrenalin levels – do they NEED boosting?
Homocysteine level – is it too high?
Essential Fats – are your levels high enough?
Blood – sugar balance – is yours within a healthy range?

This makes sense – give the body what it needs! I will cover this more in a later post too.

Long again but good yes?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Better IQ and Memory Anyone....?

Okay - sorry about that last entry - TOO MUCH - got it. Rather than try to summarize all the great information in this fantastic book (buy the book - no I don't make any profits off it!) I am going to try to give some highlights that I think will be of interest to most folks out there. Here goes - and please keep the comments coming because I would love to know if this is hitting home for folks or not, and if I can help answer a question I would love to do that too.

I was really happy to know that I can improve my IQ and memory - believe me I need some help in this area! Lots of research backing this up once again...

like one involving 200 teenagers. They gave them either 20mg of zinc, 10 mg of zinc (the RDA - Recommended Daily Amount) or a placebo. Most kids get about 7 mg of zinc from their diet (so that would be the placebo group), so then the others would have gotten 17 mg and 27 mg (or so) per day.

The researchers found that only those taking 20 mg of zinc a day had faster and more accurate memories and better attention spans within three months.

1.Ensure you are intaking optimum amounts of vitamins and minerals from food sources as well as (good!) supplements. Zinc and all the B's are crucial

2. FOCUS on taking lots of essential fats - through flax seeds, oily fish and supplements too. You don't need a supplement if you are consuming THREE servings of OILY fish per week - (Mackerel, herring, Sardine, Tuna (not so much due to high mercury amts), Anchovy and Salmon -100g of one of these 3 times a week will get you enough - that gets you from 500-1400 mg of DHA each time) Supplementing 250-500 mg daily is recommended. (more if serious mental health stuff is going on but we will get to that later)

3. Eat Lecithin - but you have to eat a lot of it so there is another product called High-PC lecithin - it has 2x as much phosphatidylcholine in it which is vital for producing acetylcholine. You could also take 500 mg of choline

4. Watch the Blood -Sugar Levels again. Remember - eat slow release carbohydrates (the complex guys) and graze -no gorging!

5. Learn something new every day – keep your brain active! (wow –homeschooling grade 7- definitely doing that these days!)

As much as Memory and IQ are important, Beating the Blues is what I really want to spend some serious time on soon. If we are blue than everything in our lives is affected – our energy, our mood, our motivation, our spiritual lives. Beating the blues, to me – is key! So we are going there real soon! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Seven Brain Drainers

Okay ladies and gentlemen...that was the easy part - even though eating right is really very important - it is also about minimizing the here it is - the title of Part 2: Protecting your Brain by getting rid of the SEVEN Brain Drainers:

1. Oxidants - don't buy foods containing hydrogenated fats, (and don't heat up nuts and seeds - don't cook with flax seeds! Say no to Free Radicals! Flax is happier when it is stable) - they mess up the thinking process by taking the place of the good fats and even block conversion of these essential fats into GLA, DHA and prostaglandins- those spots are reserved for the good stuff - Omega 3's especially and if you aren't getting enough Omega's (see last blog) AND you are eating the bad fats, this is bad news. SMOKING too is bad news - no news really but here you have it - one puff of cigarette contains a trillion oxidants which are running to your brain...(ANTI-oxidants are vital for this reason - that's your Beta-Carotenes, Vitamin C's and E's and many others - another reason to eat your greens and take a supplement that is goooood)

2.Alcohol- moderate drinking - a glass of wine a day for example- is fine. Any more than that and you are seriously risking those intellectual capabilities.

3.Stress - When we are stressed, we forget things - why? Because stress increases levels of Cortisol - a hormone that damages our brain - shriveling up the dendrites - the connections between brain cells. The good news is that they can grow back once the stress has been removed. We will get into how to take that stress away more later. For now - stay cool! ;)

4. Nasty Sugar - Okay, we've been over this before - Holford esimates that, "a majority of people with mental health problems, from depression to schizophrenia, have blood-sugar problems as a major underlying cause." (pg87) One teaspoon of sugar uses up B vitamins - essential for maximizing mental performance. They have found that there is a correlation between consumption of sugar and IQ (the higher the sugar consumption, the lower the IQ - I know it isn't all about IQ of course - but it is a good indicator for knowing how the brain is doing) One study involving 1300 juvenile offenders placed on a reduced-sugar diet reported a 44 % reduction in antisocial behaviour. And still the doctors will say there is no connection between hyperactivity and sugar?? There are way too many studies listed in this book that I can't list here that clearly show that there absolutely is.

5. Stimulants - Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Colas -they are all stimulants and they are all addictive. Caffeine blocks the receptors for a brain chemical called adenosine - resulting in levels of dopamine and adrenalin going up...ahhh - that feels good - but then - as this cycle continues and you continue to consume caffeine, and need more and more, the body continues to push to produce these neurotransmitters, the net result is adrenal exhaustion - an inability to produce these important chemicals when you actually need them.

Okay - so do you hate me yet? (Well - just you wait - but before I go on to the last points) How do we stop consuming these things we love so well? Don't quit all at once. Do one thing at a time - you don't want to add too much stress on to yourself as you to get healthier! A good way to start is to avoid one item for a month and see how you feel. Consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take a good broad-spectrum vitamin again - these will help regulate your blood-sugar level and fill those spots where you are craving. (when we are craving, we are usually looking for some nutrient that is no longer in that product - sugar for example has choline in it when it is not refined and we need choline when we are craving sugar)

6.Brain Pollution- avoid! Heavy Metals are so prevalent today that the average person has body levels 700X higher than that of our ancestors.Lead (exhaust fumes); Cadmium (cigarettes); Mercury (Pesticides, Fillings); Aluminum (Cookware, water); Copper (water- from pipes - especially new homes and kettles); Tartazine (Food Colourings). The good news is that many nutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc assist with removing these pollutants from the body. If you have mental health problems, a hair-mineral analysis is recommended. I can't do those but a Professional like a Naturopath could help you.

7. Brain Allergies: This was a hefty chapter. I have read many books including Elaine Gotschall's Breaking the Vicious Cycle book which is wonderful and inspiring, but this book including so much of the scientific background that people have been asking me for - that was very exciting. To go in to it all here is impossible but I will do my best to summarize. Many studies in to allergies have been done and the connections between the brain and the gut are clear. In one study where 250 emotionally disturbed patients were examined - the highest percentage of symptoms occurred in patients diagnosed as psychotic. The emotional symptoms that they found were caused by allergic intolerance ranged from mild symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, anxiety, depression all the way up to severe psychosis. The most common food intolerances amongst the studies are milk/dairy and wheat, but of course not exclusively. This gives you a place to start. Each person is unique. Other foods common to these symptoms are eggs, oranges, other grains, shellfish, nuts, soy and nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant).

"If you have a history of infantile colic, eczema, asthma, ear infections" (that was me!)"hay fever, seasonal allergies, digestive problems (especially bloating), frequent colds, or daily mood swings, or function better when you don't eat certain foods, you may have a food intolerance." (pg 116)

Often, there are other core issues taking place with intolerances too - mainly, digestive weaknesses like Leaky Gut Syndrome, Underactive stomach and Candidiasis. So, though it is completely safe to start eliminating culprit foods and adjusting your diet, you might find that you need to seek some aditional assistance with a solid plan - from a Nutritional Consultant. like what I am going to be in a year or so! :)
In the meantime, try to avoid Wheat and Dairy for two weeks and see how you feel. It might be difficult but many have gone before you and it is completely doable!

Part 2 done! Part 3 is Improving your IQ, Memory and Mood - Wow - for sure I'm in...what about you? :)

Optimum Nutrition for the Mind

Module 5 arrived on Friday. I am studying again. The first book I picked up from the six in the box has quickly become my favourite. (The New) Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, by Patrick Holford. I have recently felt very drawn to exactly such topic, and am enthralled and hopeful with what I have learned thus far. A lot of this information is not new to me but it is brought together in a consise and clear way, backed up by a major amount of research and study. There really is hope for those suffering mental health issues.

Humans have never been under as much enormous adaptive stress. Are we coping well with the pace of life? In many cases the answer is No."Fatigue, anxiety, sleeping problems, mood swings, memory problems and the blues are the hallmarks of our age. ADHD, autism, schizophrenia and suicide are all on the increase." I intend to spend the next few weeks summarizing some very realistic solutions for you and for those you care deeply about. My prayer is that it is not only helpful but life changing!

"I believe the solution to the mental health problems that plague our society lies in a combination of optimum nutrition and good psychological support, which includes having a place you can call home, being treated with respect and dignity and counseling." (pg 8) Holford practices in the UK and has worked for many years with a team of psychiatrist who, he claims, find that while drugs can be lifesaving in the short term - they become unnecessary when people begin to receive the correct combinations of nutrients and psychological support. So what does this right combination of nutrients look like?

The book begins with Part one: Five Brain Foods.
1.Balance your GLUCOSE: The brain consumes more glucose than any other organ, but don't eat simple carbs and sugars - instead consume the complex carbs that take a while to be digested and release their energy steadily and gradually - wholegrains, lentils, beans, raw nuts and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables
2. Essential FATS: keep your brain well and safely oiled - seeds and nuts again, coldwater carnivorous fish like herring, mackerel or wild salmon 2 -3 times a week - cut out fried and processed foods; supplement with filsh oils for omega 3's and borage oil and evening primrose oil for omega 6's.
3. Phospholipids: Memory molecules give oomph to the brain - lecitithin granules - one teaspoon per day sprinkled on your cereal in the morning (I have recently added this to my daily regiment! I will let you know how it goes!)
4. Amino Acids: The Brain's messengers - from proteins but if you are having mental health problems, supplement in adition with a free form amino acid
5. Intelligent Nutrients:vitamins and minerals that are in tune with your mind. Multiple studies have been done but one that I will highlight: They tested what would happen to school children if given an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals. Half were given an excellent supplement and the other half were on a placebo. After 8 months the non verbal IQs in those taking the supplements had risen by over 10 points. NO changes were seen in those on the placebos. The results are clear. Adults and children think faster and can concentrate for longer with an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals. In adition to 5-7 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables daily, supplementing with B's, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin C is vital.

In adition to these 5 areas - your homocysteine level is an indicator of how well your body is 'methylating' - faulty methylation (I am not going in to what it is here!) predicts depression, memory loss etc. Getting your homocysteine level checked at the doctors is recommended if you are suffering from mental health issues. If your homocysteine level is below 6 than it is not a concern, but if it is higher than 6 - especially higher than 10 he lists a number of temporary supplements as well - and then in 8 weeks get it checked again.

To sum up, receptors - the receiving stations in the brain - are made up of essential fats, phospoholipids and amino acids. Even the neurotransmitters are made up of amino acids. In order for amino acids to turn into neurotransmitters enzymes are needed and those enzymes must be nourished by specific vitamins and minerals.
It used to be thought that all the thinking and feeling is done in the brain - but now we know that the digestive system contains millions of neurons. The brain and the gut are in constant communication - every time you eat something the gut sends signals to the brain. This can work very well if the body is given what it needs. You truly are what you eat and absorb.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chores Revisited

I'm back! For today anyway - it has been a really long time but I just felt like I wanted to record this 'new 'leaf' for today.
I had a revelation this morning. Our weekly chore plan is not working and it is about to make me crazy. It is terrible. We have been trying to do "Zone Cleaning" for the past 8 months. Most of the time the zones go untouched and when we do get to it we panic and do more than one zone at a time. So - clearly this is not working for our family. I just received my 5th Module for my studies yesterday and I need to get my Family helping me to manage so that I don't loose it from too much to do.
One thing that is working is the daily chore plan. They each have the exact same chore to do each day - each meal in fact and they are totally doing this. When both mom and dad are out, for example, they do it like a well oiled machine. So if this is working - how can I adapt this to make it work for our big weekly cleaning? This is the plan. Give them ownership of one area of the house so that they can get good at that one thing - that is why the daily chore plan IS working. Each child is still responsible for their own rooms but now also a different area of the house - 12yodd takes care of living room/entrance way, 9yods bathrooms and hall, 7 yodd recroom - then the two little mermaids get to just do their room and the chalkboard. I am starting another Tidy Up chart for them too so that they can stay more on top of the daily cleaning up of their toys - man they can make such a mess!
The three oldest are responsible for cleaning, vaccuuming, mopping, dusting whatever area it is before Saturday at noon. They can do it earlier in the week if they like, but it has to be done by then. First of course we are in training mode - it took longer today because of stopping and teaching my son how to clean a toilet and scrub out a tub, for example. So this is going to take time - I get that. There may be tears, there may be struggles, but is it just me or is it possible for our house to be cleaner with less work from yours truly?
When I go to study in the evenings, knowing that the house is tidy and clean is a huge factor in whether I get lots of work done or not.
Let's see how it goes!