Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vegan Diet: A closer Look

Most people can not maintain health for a long period of time on the Vegan diet. There are essential vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids that are missing that must be either added back in or supplemented. 

Vegan Diet in Perspective
In Primitive Cultures, special foods would be given to both men and women for a period of time before conception would occur. Dr. Weston Price's studies revealed that these foods -- including organ meats, fish heads, fish eggs, shellfish, insects and animal fats -- were rich in fat-soluble vitamins A and D as well as macro and trace minerals. It is recommended that couples planning to have children should eat organic liver and other organ meats liberally, fish eggs and other seafood, eggs and the best quality butter, cream and fermented milk products for at least six months before conception. Organic meats, vegetables, grains and legumes should round out the diet, with a special emphasis on the leafy green vegetables rich in folic acid, which is necessary for the prevention of birth defects like spinal bifida.
It can be very risky for expectant mothers, as well as nursing moms and their babies and children to exist exclusively upon a Vegan Diet. Also, teenagers who burn a lot of calories each day and whose growing bones and bodies still require a full spectrum of nutrients should not adopt a vegan lifestyle. This may be true for adults, as well, if they follow a vegan diet strictly for a year or two or more. Listening to one's body, and eating some "clean" and minimally processed animal foods as needed,10-20% of one's daily protein, is beneficial for most.
The vegan lifestyle is one that can be liberating and cleansing. By applying a vegan lifestyle for a time, one finds many different and fun ways to cook creatively outside of the regular North American carnivorous diet, while cleansing and beginning to feel extremely healthy. This paper will objectively look at the Vegan Diet from a nutritional perspective. Is the diet itself a reasonable and sustainable way for one to become healthy and vibrant, fulfilling all a person's nutritional needs and assisting to prevent disease over the long term?

The Vegan Diet
What does a healthy Vegan diet look like? One who is eating Vegan is not eating any red meat, poultry, fish or eggs for protein. One must be purposely eating other good sources of protein such as tempeh, nuts, beans and tofu.1 Silverstone says, in her book “The Kind Diet”, only 8 amino acids are essential (not produced by the body) and so we only need those 8 from the diet and not all at the same time. Beans and Rice can provide these amino acids. Legumes have an amazing effect in the prevention of disease such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. 2 A Vegan also eliminates any dairy products, substituting nuts, seeds, beans and dark green leafy vegetables for calcium. (118 grams of calcium in milk to 120 in chickpeas – and some experts say that the calcium in milk is not absorbed and in fact causes calcium to be pulled from the bones3) Silverstone encourages that adopting a Vegan diet will cause you to, “become stronger, your immune system will work more efficiently as your body releases excess fats and toxins.”4

There is little doubt that eating a vegan diet can and will help a person gain health benefits. By purposely consuming more vegetables and less animal-source proteins, the body automatically receives a break digestively, with more fibre and broader vitamins and minerals from the food taken in. This certainly results in the many health benefits of being Vegan. Studies have shown that those who are Vegan have less incidence of kidney stones, heart disease and some types of cancers. Silverstone looks at the negative effects of a high meat diet: too much saturated fats, which she says increases cholesterol and causes plaque to clog arteries, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. Although, among many health care professionals there is much division about whether saturated fats do indeed cause heart disease, or if cholesterol is in fact harmful and necessary to avoid. (The scope of this report is not large enough to cover this topic – please see bibliography for suggested extra reading)

Silverstone is sure supplementing is unnecessary if you are eating a healthy vegan diet 5 - except for B12 and that is only because we have a hyper clean society and so therefore we get no B12 from the dirt on the vegetables that we eat. She recommends only 2 micrograms a day and one should only need to supplement twice a week.
According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, B12 is available only in meat and animal products. B12 deficiency manifests as fatigue, tingling hands and feet, sleep disorders and manifests fully as depression, dementia, OCD, cancer and heart disease...Vegans and the elderly who don't have enough hydrochloric acid, are shown to have this deficiency. RAW milk products have lots of B12 in them – that is RAW milk because pasteurization makes it unusable.6

Silverstone recommends not to drink black tea with meals, as it will inhibit calcium absorption.
Most vegetarians are lower in zinc, essential fats, and protein according to a study at the Health Sciences Department of the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby Canada, which analyzed diets of vegetarian anorexics versus non-vegetarian patients. Low zinc levels leads to loss of appetite and more depression. 7
One might find that animal meat can satisfy the appetite much more than vegan choices. It is more than just the need for more B12 – there are other essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, zinc, iron, and calcium that are missing as well as essential fats that can not be absorbed well in plant forms.
Silverstone holds that plant sources of Omega 3's are more stable than fish oils and also that they have less saturated fats than fish oils – as she sees saturated fats as being the 'baddies'. 8
Patrick Holford, author of Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, on the other hand sees things quite differently, "We are currently to third or fourth generation with inadequate DHA intakes and experts now think this could have a lot to do with the increasing rates of neurological and mental health problems." 9 India has the most vegetarian population in the world. It also has the highest rate of blindness. A study done in India found that vegetarians rarely have sufficient DHA levels, which can lead to blindness. 10 This is connected to a deficiency in omega-3's since both eye and the brain are built out of DHA. A direct source of EPA and DHA – from fish or algae are therefore really important. We cannot avoid the reality that the most direct source of EPA and DHA is coldwater fish – mainly ones that eat other fish like herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna. We need 300-400 mg of both DHA and EPA a day – and even more if we have a disease of the mind or heart. In order to provide enough of these daily from flax seeds, which are a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) – the body must convert the ALA to DHA and EPA – not easily done -requiring optimum amounts of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B3, B6, biotin and C to convert it. A person would have to consume almost 10 times the amount of ALA to get enough DHA and EPA.

There is a clear connection between proteins and fats – they need each other for absorption. Our primitive ancestors survived on a diet composed largely of meat and fat, supplemented with vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts. Studies of their remains reveal that they have excellent bone structure, heavy musculature and flawless teeth. The Agricultural man added milk, grains and legumes to this diet.11
The RDA for protein is, “0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram that we weigh (or about 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh) 12. - which is about 10% of our calorie intake.
Protein is vital – most neurotransmitters are made from amino acids, derived from proteins, thus affecting everything from mood to memory.

A typical day on The Kind Diet might look like this:
  • Breakfast : Toast with avocado and tomatoes.
  • Lunch: Vegetarian burrito.
  • Dinner: Rustic pasta with marinara sauce, pecan-crusted seitan (wheat gluten), steamed broccoli, and garlic bread.
  • Snack: Peanut butter treats or a piece of fruit. 13
There are a few problems with this menu plan. The breakfast provides virtually no protein, and will not sustain one's glycemic levels through till lunch. Lunch, if it is chucked full of black beans or chickpeas could be delicious and healthy, but the dinner again only provides a marginal amount of protein. Some will argue that wheat and other grains are a good source of protein, yet we now know that even though many sources may list the protein as being high enough in wheat, for example, “wheat grown in Canada has more than much protein as that grown in England”14 - There are many variables in protein content that makes it very difficult to rely upon. Even microwaving alters the proteins in foods. 15

It is possible to get your protein from vegetable sources-nuts, seeds, beans etc.but it is trickier without the eggs or dairy. For example – 1 CUP of sunflower seeds, has 20 grams of protein -– whereas 2 medium size eggs give you the same amount of protein and it is a better, more absorbable source too.16

Taurine is found in fish, eggs and meat and is an amino acid that is essential for relaxation. Deficiency results in high levels of anxiety, insomnia, depression and even mania. It is necessary to supplement 500-1000 mg daily, if on a vegetarian diet. 17

What about Soy as a solid substitute for animal protein? The Weston Price Foundation states that “High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation (absorbtion) of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children...."18
    In addition, among many other drawbacks to soy, here are a few:
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy aren't absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods may increase the body's requirement for vitamin D.
  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
Ideally the Vegan diet contains no processed foods, no sugar and no white flour, thus fulfilling only ideal carbohydrate sources like vegetables and whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. This is an excellent guideline and is guaranteed to provide more nutrition and vitality. Unfortunately, because it is difficult to attain one's true needs for complete protein, the Vegan can end up craving once the initial cleanse 'high' is over and ends up choosing unhealthy carbs such as pastries and chips.

Weston Price, a dentist who studied extensively in the isolated areas of the world in the 1930's, found that those whose diets consisted largely of grain and legumes, while far healthier than civilized moderns, had more cavities than those living primarily on meat and fish. Skulls of prehistoric peoples subsisting almost entirely on vegetable foods have teeth containing cavities and abscesses, and show evidence of bone problems and TB as well.19

Suitable Options
Clearly a Vegan diet is not a suitable diet for most people to embrace over a long period of time. A person looking for a clean, nutritionally dense alternative may wish to explore the Alkaline Diet. An Alkaline Diet achieves great overall health through eating much less meat (and that meat that is recommended is clean – organic, hormone free, raised well). When we look at our chart with Alkaline and Acidic Foods, red meat is included on the acidic side. It is the goal that approximately 25% of the diet contain the Acidic sources of foods, including meats, grains and nuts . This guideline keeps us from consuming too much protein! “Excess protein can damage the kidneys...and contribute to the development of osteoperosis," 20as well as other draw backs like digestive issues and not enough fibre. If there are issues with digestion, the best solution is to address food combining and a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme, rather than completely avoiding the meat.
Along with our whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes, nuts and seeds, most of us are better off if we have some good quality meat, poultry or fish two or three times a week, eggs two times a week and raw fermented dairy products daily. We will feel the better for it. As we are all individuals and different from one another, the key must be to listen to our own body's needs and live accordingly.

Ballentine, Rudolph, MD. Transition to Vegarianism. Honesdale, PA. The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy in the USA,1999.
Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions.Washington, DC. New Trends Publishing, 2001
Holford, Patrick. New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. Laguna Beach,CA. Basic Health Publications, Inc, 2009
Rowland, David PhD, Cardioprotective Nutrition: A Critical Review of the Scientific Evidence. Self published, 2000
Silverstone, Alicia. The Kind Diet. New York, Rodale Inc.,2009

Resources for finding healthy food choices:
List of many resources including Annual Food Guide:
Sustainable fish choices:

1Silverstone, “The Kind Diet”, p 51
2 Ballentine, Transition to Vegetarianism”, p. 97
3Silverstone, “The Kind Diet”, p 39
4Silverstone, “The Kind Diet”, p 1
5Silverstone, “The Kind Diet” page 79
6Fallone, Sandy, “Nourishing Traditions” pg 227
7Holford, New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind, pg 369
8Silverstone, “the Kind Diet”, page 75
9Holford, Patrick, “New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind” p 40
10Holford, “New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind”, p 40
11Fallon, Sally, “Nourishing Traditions”, pg 26
14Ballentine, “Transition to Vegetarianism” Page 112
16Holford, “New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind” p 56
17Holford, “New Optimum Nutrtion for the Mind” p 177
19Fallon, Sally “Nourishing Traditions”, pg 27
20Transition to Vegetarianism page113

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!