Monday, December 12, 2011

One of my "go to" spice choices

I believe every kitchen should have an "easy go to spice".

I find most are pretty consistent with their tastes and spice choices. Some might even consider themselves a bit "stuck in a rut" and practicing the same cooking methods used by previous generations.

It's what we know right?

Some are garlic heavy, some enjoy the Italian seasoning blends and others are heavy hitters with the Lawry's seasoning salt.

Since practicing my Lower Carbohydrate/Primal diet, I have focused on not only taste of the foods I'm consuming but making sure the majority of my consumption benefits my body in some little way.

We have foregone the irradiated, GMO, Preservative, Bromide laden spices for organic natural choices in our home.

There are many healthful benefits to so many spices and seasonings that are delivered in their organic natural state. The natural organic spices also taste so much better. They should "burst" with flavor. Spices and herbs can provide us with anti-fungal, anti-oxidant benefits. These benefits contribute to healthy bacteria levels, anti-inflammatory activity and assist in preventing cancer.

I recently stumbled on this organic all-purpose vegetable seasoning from Aromatica Organics. It is 100% Natural, Organic, No Bromides, Non Irradiated and Non GMO. It has such a lovely flavor when added to soups, salads, steamed vegetables, cottage cheese and I have even used it to flavor a butter baste I made for a roasted chicken.

With just a hint of salt, this beautiful everyday seasoning contains 20 different spices and herbs. Some of these spices include garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato, orange and lemon peel.

I have been sprinkling this seasoning in my bone broth and sipping it each evening with my dinner. Don't forget about the therapeutic benefits of bone broth. It's your superior calcium source with beneficial amino acids and other nutrients for healthy bones, connective tissue and a healthy gut lining.

I found this lovely spice at Costco Wholesale. If your big box store doesn't carry some organics, be sure to fill out your customer suggestion card.

Enhancing the taste of the food and by default finding benefit to your health is a double bonus!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Thanksgiving "Clean Up"

I hope all of you in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Now that the day is over, we slide right into the Christmas holiday full force. How will you handle this next month?

You are going to be stressed, busy and if you're not sleeping, the carb monster will rear its ugly head and take total control of you.

The average person has the ability to gain a solid 10lbs. between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wouldn't it feel great to be a loser during this next month? Hey, being a loser in this sense of the word is a great thing!

Now is the time to make some choices for your post Thanksgiving "clean up". You can finish your left overs this weekend and plan to start fresh on your healthy eating plan first thing on Monday. This is going to require some planning and diligence on your part. Pull from the very core for strength and resolve. If you've just begun your healthy diet plan, this will be especially difficult for you.

If you're an experienced champ, you have probably already jumped right back into action with breakfast today. Congratulations!

It's a good feeling to be in the "hop back on with the very next meal" club. You are setting yourself up for lifetime success!

If you've got leftovers, here is some advice for you. Take note of how you feel at this very moment. Are you feeling lean and energized or do you feel tired and bloated? If it is the latter, let this be your very first sign that a carb heavy meal is not the optimal choice for day to day eating. If you're new to this site or any plan, you've experienced that elation of the dehydrating effect of carbohydrate restriction. After that large carb heavy meal, it takes you back to those old days of carelessly stuffing ourselves with highly insulinogenic disease causing foods. As Jeff Foxworthy might say "Here's your sign". Your sign is the bloat and lethargy and not only is it a sign, but a valuable lesson in foods that heal and foods that kill. I'm sure that's a book but haven't the author's name at the tip of my tongue.

If the left overs are abundant, you might freeze them for other family members who are not following the same plan. Donate them to a neighbor who might not have enjoyed the pleasure of Thanksgiving dinner, let the family eat them up while you get back on your plan taking advantage of focusing on yourself for a few days. (This is the time to treat yourself to a nice filet or your favorite food that others don't particularly care for)

If there is a small amount left that you find yourself returning to the refrigerator for time and again, just throw it out. I say this of course with great compassion for those who might be suffering monetarily.

L-Glutamine, an amino acid can work wonders if you're experiencing cravings. 1000-1500 mg. 3x a day can keep the craving monster at bay. If you're really suffering, open a capsule under the tongue for and in about 3 minutes, your craving will disappear.

Get that turkey carcass into a pot and get your soup going! Remember, there is a fabulous bone broth recipe on the website for you to refer to. Grab your celery, onions and carrots as well as your favorite spices and start simmering!

You can jump right back on plan with the very next meal and my goal is to help you achieve that sometimes difficult task.

Never in history have we had access to such an abundance of food as we do today. I'm not even sure there's a pause between Halloween and Christmas and the junk food diving we do is perfectly acceptable.

We act like hummingbirds in need of that constant draw of sugar water to maintain our energy levels from an over stressed, under nourished world we live in today. Don't be that carbohydrate dependent person because it only guarantees "dis-ease".

No matter your "clean up" choice, don't allow it to manifest through the Christmas Holiday or you begin again in 2012 with that same old resolution we've all faced year after year and a mountain of guilt that can be paralyzing and self destructive.

The perfect diet to gain control of those cravings would be the Restricted Phase I plan.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sea Vegetables-Fear no More!


Since ancient times, sea vegetables have been appreciated as one of nature’s most valuable food sources by coastal peoples from around the globe. Although their taste is distinctive and an acquired one for many palates, sea vegetables are incredibly versatile and may be added to just about any dish.

Soaking before cooking: Remember that dried seaweeds will expand considerably upon soaking. Save the soaking water, strain it, and use for soup broth and vegetable stock for a mineral infusion.

Storage: Dried seaweeds, if stored in a cool, dry place, will keep for several years in an airtight container. If the seaweed does become damp, simply dry briefly in a low oven.


Although they are part of the plant kingdom, sea vegetables are a complete protein source and one of nature’s richest sources of vegetable protein (up to 38%) and vitamin B12.

Ounce for ounce sea vegetables are higher in vitamins and minerals than any other food group. They are particularly high in vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6, and B12. Seaweed also contains a substance (ergesterol) that converts to vitamin D in the body. (This doesn't always convert to cholecalciferol so supplementation is still advised) In addition to key nutrients, seaweeds provide us with carotene, chlorophyll, enzymes, and fiber.

Seaweed’s saltiness comes from a combination of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and a myriad of trace minerals found in the ocean.

Because their chemical make-up is so similar to human blood, sea vegetables have a balancing, alkalizing effect on the blood.

Sea vegetables are known for their ability to reduce cholesterol, remove metallic and radioactive elements from the body, and to prevent goiter. Seaweed also has antibiotic properties that have shown to be effective against penicillin resistant bacteria.

Some popular sea veggie sources that most of us have access to include:

(Sea Cabbage) The most commonly used seaweed, kombu is particularly good as a mineral boost for bone broth.. Add a 4-6 inch strip to soups, stews, beans, or brown rice as they cook. When cooking time is short, soak kombu for 20 minutes first. Once cooked, cut up and return to the dish. Kombu contains glutamic acid, a natural flavor enhancer. Like kelp, kombu has the ability to soften other foods that are cooked with it.

Health Benefits: Kombu contains enzymes that help to break down the raffinose sugars in beans (the cause of excessive gas and bloating), increasing digestability. Kombu also acts as an antidote to excess sodium consumption and it is known to reduce blood cholesterol and hypertension. Kombu is high in iodine, potassium and calcium, as well as vitamins A and C.

(Sea Lettuce, Green Laver) Nori has a mild, nutty, salty-sweet taste. Best when roasted before using (pre-toasted nori is sold as “sushi nori”), wild nori is excellent crumbled into soups, salads and stews. Nori is also great as a table condiment either alone or with ginger. Nori, when sold in paper thin flat sheets, is used for wrapping sushi rolls or for cutting into strips to use in soup. Sea lettuce, “green nori” that resembles lettuce, is excellent in soups, salads, and in rice and noodle dishes.

Health Benefits: Nori is 28% protein, more than sunflower seeds, lentils or wheat germ without the potentially gut damaging lectins. It is also an excellent source of calcium, iron, manganese, fluoride, copper, and zinc. Of the sea vegetables, nori is one of the highest in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 as well as vitamins A, C and E.

A traditional addition to miso soup, this sweet-flavored and tender sea vegetable may be softened in water for only about 5-10 minutes before slivering into a green salad. Add a touch of Rice Vinegar and eat with your favorite sushi. Wakame goes well with land vegetables, especially cooked greens. It is particularly delicious when sauteed with onions. Lightly bake and crumble wakame for a mineral-rich condiment for side dishes. I always order a nice Wakame salad while enjoying sashimi tuna to assist in clearing any heavy metals that might be delivered with my sashimi.

Health Benefits: Wakame has many of the same nutritional benefits of its close relative, kombu. It is especially rich in calcium and contains high levels of B and C.

Whole Foods Companion by
Dianne Onstad, Cooking with Sea Vegetables
by Peter and Montse Bradford and Maine Coast
Sea Vegetables Recipes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dr. William Davis' "Wheat-loss Diet"

Have you been working on a weight loss project? Perhaps a low fat diet, eating whole heart healthy grains? There is a great deal of evidence that this heavily promoted food group is not only making us fatter but creating a lot of illness as well. This highly inflammatory little grain we call wheat is implicated in a whole host of ailments.

When I lecture, I call this the "Wheat Bomb". No one can believe that their high fiber, whole wheat cereal, bread, crackers and pastas are making them sick.....until they begin to remove them. Instantly, the waist begins to shrink, the joints are more flexible and less painful and an alert person begins to shine through.

Reacting with the opiat receptors in the gut, wheat is also highly addictive. This legal drug is grabbing us, giving us our high only to let us down with withdrawal and the need for more. You don't have to meet anyone behind a warehouse to get this legal drug either. No ID is required, no proof of the ability to consume, any child can walk right into a grocery store and grab a loaf for just pennies. It's affordable, and it's widely available and it has you "hooked". I know this sounds like a seedy description and I joke but this highly modified grass is wreaking so much havoc I frequently wonder who could have kept their colon or sadly, their life.

Wheat has a Glycemic Index of more than 70 and believe it or not, table sugar has a GI of about 50. Yes, a Snickers bar is healthier than a whole wheat piece of toast.

If you've been suffering from bloat, inflammation, elevated blood pressure, constipation, migraine headaches, a tourette style tick like I did, visceral fat, lethargy, and so much more, cut the wheat out of your diet. You'll feel so much better and you'll drop weight almost instantly on this "Wheat Loss Diet".

The following video is of Dr. William Davis, Cardiologist and Author of Wheat Belly. Every person should read this book because we are all affected. We must never forget, the obesity epidemic has hit 2/3 of us, and this number is growing by leaps and bounds. Save your heart, save your life and pass the word that wheat is the new tobacco.

Dr. William Daviss Wheat-loss Diet

Monday, September 19, 2011

Can Chocolate Reduce Cardiovascular Disease?

Recent studies (both experimental and observational) have suggested that chocolate consumption has a positive influence on human health, with antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects as well as influence on insulin sensitivity.

We frequently hear of the anti-oxidant benefits in the bioflavonoids of chocolate. Many are so surprised when I tell them that Cacoa (the true spelling) is a plant and as such, considered a "super food". When I lecture, I frequently talk about the power of super foods and they do not have to be sourced from a rare rain forest berry that you've never heard of much less afford. So much of our standard food supply can be considered full of "superfoods" if we just look at the nutrient profile and chocolate is at the top of this list.

Not just any chocolate will do. Much of the chocolate on the market is processed with alkali. This is a process used in Dutch Chocolates and unfortunately, it destroys most of the beneficial flavonoids. Remember, that white chocolate has no flavonoid benefit at all.

Chocolate is also good for the mood. Chocolate also has a more direct stress-reducing effect. It contains a compound called anandamide also known as the "bliss chemical" that binds to certain receptors in the brain to promote relaxation. This happens in a manner similar to the effect of some components of marijuana though the effect is much more subtle (and much more legal!). Chocolate contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease the body's ability to metabolize anandamide, thus "prolonging the high."

High in magnesium, Iron and copper, chocolate also contains lesser amounts of calcium, zinc, Vitamin A, niacin, and phosphorus.

How do you choose a quality chocolate that will be beneficial to your cardiovascular health?

1. Choose the darkest chocolate bar you can tolerate. The higher cocoa, the lower the sugar. I recommend 85-99%. This can be bitter for some so beginning at a 72% and moving up might be your best choice.
2. Choose an organic bar to avoid the pesticide residue.
3. Choose a chocolate bar that has not been processed with alkali.
4. Be kind to our global neighbors and choose "Fair Trade". Sourced from ethically traded cacao farms ensuring fair trade, responsible labor practices and sustainable farming

Your chocolate bar ingredients should be limited to; Cocoa, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Liquor and Sugar. Of course the higher cacao content will reduce the sugar content. Remember, sugar suppresses the immune system.

A very small amount goes a long way with this beneficial super food. 1-3 squares is a sufficient amount. If you're anything like me, having chocolate in the house may not be a good idea if you are in a weight loss mode. One would think that the slightly bitter taste might detour most from over eating.

Not me, I'm a true chocoholic! This is the reason I don't have a chocolate supply. It's my Friday night movie treat. Only purchase that in which you know you have control over.


Objective To evaluate the association of chocolate consumption with the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and observational studies.

Data sources Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, PubMed, CINAHL, IPA, Web of Science, Scopus, Pascal, reference lists of relevant studies to October 2010, and email contact with authors.

Study selection Randomised trials and cohort, case-control, and cross sectional studies carried out in human adults, in which the association between chocolate consumption and the risk of outcomes related to cardiometabolic disorders were reported.

Data extraction Data were extracted by two independent investigators, and a consensus was reached with the involvement of a third. The primary outcome was cardiometabolic disorders, including cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease and stroke), diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. A meta-analysis assessed the risk of developing cardiometabolic disorders by comparing the highest and lowest level of chocolate consumption.

Results From 4576 references seven studies met the inclusion criteria (including 114 009 participants). None of the studies was a randomised trial, six were cohort studies, and one a cross sectional study. Large variation was observed between these seven studies for measurement of chocolate consumption, methods, and outcomes evaluated. Five of the seven studies reported a beneficial association between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. The highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease (relative risk 0.63 (95% confidence interval 0.44 to 0.90)) and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels.

Conclusions Based on observational evidence, levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders. Further experimental studies are required to confirm a potentially beneficial effect of chocolate consumption.

Full Study:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Special Feature: Navigating Whole Foods Market

I thought I would share with you the recent interview article featured on Paleo Comfort Foods and picked up by Robb Wolf. Julie and I met at the Ancestral Health Symposium in August as I addressed the crowd during a discussion on paleo eating on a budget. I would encourage you to pre-order Julie's cookbook for those mouth watering comfort foods you've been missing on your carbohydrate restricted diet. If you're not aware, I am the Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market in my area. I assist the shopper with their nutrition needs and make recommendations based on their dietary goals and needs. It's been a real boost for me in this economy but more than anything, It has filled a need I have to share with the public, the value of a whole food diet. The picture above is of me at work handing out salad samples one of the easier duties of my job description.

Whether you are a Paleo or Low Carber, you will find a variety of recipes to work with. If you haven't read The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, check it out too as I know you won't be disappointed. When we can learn from each and every angle and take a few pieces from what we've learned and put them into place for our lifestyles and biochemical individuality, we truly began to expand our knowledge in a manner that was never available to us unless we spent countless hours at the library curled up with medical journals only to find ourselves in a dazed and confused state.

One of the most amazing surprises at the Ancestral Health Symposium happened during the fabulous talk given by Sarah Fragoso and Chrissy Gower (the two hot ladies who run the wildly popular Paleo Talk podcasts and seminars). Someone had asked a question about grocery shopping and affordability. A woman stood up and introduced herself (her name is Misty Humphrey) and she stated that she is the Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market (WFM), and shared with the group gathered for Sarah and Chrissy’s talk some of the pieces of advice that she gives on her weekly WFM tours.

Realizing the need to share even more of this information with the masses, I connected with Misty to share some of her insights, tips, stories and inspiration with you all. So many times people refer to WFM as “Whole Paycheck.” Here, Misty shares with us some of her experiences and tips to make the shopping experience more economical and healthy!

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, what it is you do for Whole Foods?

As an 85lb. weight loss maintainer, I took my “Low carbohydrate diet” to a whole new level when I attended the Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition. There, I learned the value of a whole food diet and turned my diet into not only a lifestyle but a journey I gladly share with others both in my home office as well, my position here at Whole Foods Market as the Healthy Eating Specialist. As a person who suffered ADHD, constipation, weight and other cognitive issues, I share with my clients and customers the value of transitioning from a SAD diet to that of a nutrient dense, whole foods diet. There are a few plans and challenges that are encouraged at Whole Foods but I have found that with my education and experience, my customers have great success with my advice to eliminate gluten, increase their fat and protein and decrease their carbohydrate.

What inspired you to get into this line of work?
Inspiration or obsession? I frequently tell others that I was so obsessed with how great I felt, how quickly the weight fell off and the thousands of ancedotal stories I was a witness to for the past 11 years on a variety of message boards. I was astounded with the amount of maladies disappearing as well as my own with this transition that it excited me to the point of further education. I am a Certified Holistic Nutrition Educator and am currently enrolled in Reed Davis’ Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program to further my personal practice goals.

Part of what you do is give food tours of WF and how to purchase good food for the family. Let’s pretend we’re a family, and on tour with you, and our food budget for the week is $200. What kinds of things will you make sure to point out and/or stress to us?
As I tour a family or individual through the store, I point out a variety of values. We work with many manufacturers to provide a coupon book called “The Whole Deal” where the customer can locate quite a few quality coupons not necessarily devoted to packaged and processed foods. Second, I remind all customers to review the Wednesday specials which feature a nice cross section of whole foods on sale. Our 365 brand is comparable to all major leading retailers so I always encourage customers to choose the 365 brand if no coupon or sale exists at that moment on other products. Finally, we have our Friday special where one can find a product at about 50% below retail. This sale will quite often pertain to seafood and meat. Wild Salmon, Grass Fed Ground Beef, Organic Air Chilled Chicken and of course the recent sale on prawns. So frequently, we get into the rut of serving the same dishes week after week. I encourage my customers to watch ads, be aware of the Friday special and browse the coupon book while making their choices for menu planning. Look outside the box and try something new if it’s on sale and for the lowest prices, choose local, in season products.

What purchases do you advise families against?
I’d like to begin with the gluten free lecture and store tour that I provide twice weekly. So many are attracted to the gluten free products which I am quick to remind have an equal if not higher impact on blood glucose than that of the wheat. I generally recommend they experiment with squash, zucchini and root vegetables rather than that of a low quality pasta dish. I find it’s less expensive, more filling and of course, nutrient dense. I also encourage the purchase of a quality water canteen for children and the school lunch as opposed to high sugar fruit juices.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in educating families?
I find the biggest challenge to be the resistance in home preparation of whole foods. Overcoming time objections with a busy family is difficult but I might make recommendations such as packing the picnic for a soccer game, enjoying a variety of easy to grab finger foods and of course taking one day off per month to pre-cook some animal proteins to quickly put together family meals, and we must never forget about the slow cooker. I will frequently remind the “cook of the home” that an investment of time in the human frame now will save time from illness later.

If you could name one (or two) best “bang for your buck” meat/veg/fish/nuts/staples at Whole Foods Market, what would you say?
Wild Alaskan Salmon while in season is frequently on sale for $9.99 lb., our 365 brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil is $5.99 for a one liter bottle and a bunch of Kale is $1.99. I challenge anyone to find these values at their local Safeway.

No doubt you’ve met a lot of individuals and families in your work and seen some amazing changes. Are there any particular moments or experiences with customers that most resonate with you?
I have two very special stories for you:
Barbara is a 67 year old diabetic and breast cancer survivor. Barbara has been a diagnosed type 2 diabetic for 20 years. She came in to my class room one day and during our appointment she mentioned that she had been using Dr. Barnard’s vegan diabetic plan and was finding that she was utilizing a great deal of insulin which consequently was making her sleepy and ill. I recommended she try a lower carbohydrate approach. After 3 days Barbara’s blood sugars were dropping but when she entered my office she exclaimed “My Dr. doesn’t like your diet, I’m going back to Barnard’s program”. I said “I know and I’m not surprised. Barbara, you must do what makes you feel comfortable but understand you have a glucose metabolism imbalance”. I knew at that point that Barbara’s decision was made out of fear for her cancer but 4 days later, Barbara is in my office again and almost in tears because she had once again lost control of her blood sugar and with the previous information I had shared with her regarding glucose metabolism and cancer, she was scared to death. In this short period of time Barbara had felt such dramatic differences that her trust in me escalated. From over 200ml on her glucose readings now down to 120ml and dropping, Barbara wrote on her customer comment card and is not hesitant to announce in every group class “Misty has literally saved my life”. Barbara happens to be a senior citizen who has a $200 shopping budget and with some hints and tips, she is able to shop at Whole Foods primarily.

Tina brought her 8 year old son Zach in to see me after we met at an event where I was representing Whole Foods and the Wellness Center. Tina was desperately defending her son in school with his teachers because his ADHD was so extreme. Keep in mind this child is enrolled in a special education school so you can imagine her frustration. I gave Tina some information that I had studied regarding food and ADHD including gluten, food dye elimination and reduction to elimination of sugar. 2 weeks later Tina entered my office with tears in her eyes. Zach brought home his first progress report showing “All Stars” on every level. “Misty, he’s a different child” exclaimed Tina and with this information, Tina’s entire family has not only eliminated gluten but endured testing as well and have all proven to be gluten intolerant. That day, Tina and I cried together because not only was I so sympathetic to Tina’s case, I wished I had this information when both of my children and myself suffered ADHD.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to share that when I began this job, there was no information on the floor regarding a Paleo lifestyle. Currently, we are carrying Loren Cordain’s books and are working to expand on this. I have a lot of customers who are finding themselves leaner, healthier and of course happier than they’ve ever been. When I first began here almost 8 months ago, my meat dept. was skeptical. I am happy to report, their sales have increased and we have a mutually beneficial relationship. Of course when there’s a great sale, they come to me and ask “how many pounds?” now. I have also teamed up with a local boot camp and am excited to announce our 100lb. challenge sponsored by Live Fit Boot Camp and Whole Foods Market. In one year, with a collaborative effort, we will transform 10 Men and 10 Women in a kind and paleo manner.

We applaud Misty and the work she is doing to really make a difference out there for so many, and for sharing some great tips for all of us! Thank you, Misty, for what you are doing and sharing your “insider’s tips” and inspirational stories with us!

Chemical Element Dominance-Sodium Deficiency

Sodium deficiency in an overly processed society?  You bet it is!  I have had many a friendly debate with those utilizing the typical iodized salt shaker.  So frequently I hear, "salt is salt".  Not according to Dr. Victor Rocine, a Norwegian homeopath.  In the 1930's, Dr. Rocine had studied the works of a variety of contemporary European biochemists who had begun to analyze and measure the amounts of the chemical elements in many of our common foods.  This growing body of nutritional knowledge had hardly been noticed in the US at that time.

Rocine proposed that deficiency or excess of any of the primary chemical elements needed in human nutrition was at the root of most human diseases, maladies and mental problems.  In addition, he wrote and lectured extensively on his theory of chemical dominance, that is, the dominance of any particular chemical in a person's makeup such as calcium, silicon, or sulfur creates in that a person a particular and identifiable temperament type.

Like Hippocrates, Rocine believed that food, together with exercise, rest, sunshine and positive attitues is man's best medicine.

Rocine taught that certain foods have certain effects upon the body.  For example, it was taught that in the case of over-activity, or under-activity of the thyroid gland, iodine foods would be needed to restore chemical balance in the thyroid gland.  Not as obvious, Rocine taught, in cases of joint troubles or digestive system troubles, sodium rich foods would be needed.  Underlining the observation, Rocine stressed an important distinction; much of the population understands sodium to mean table salt.  However, this form of sodium is inorganic and uselss to the body.  The type of salt the body needs is bio-organic sodium salts, which are formed in plants by the internal processes of living cells.  Sodium slats are crucial to replenish the sodium used in the joints, stomach and bowel to neutralize acids and to aid in other metabolic functions.

The discussion of the function of chemical salts fascinated Rocine.  Much of his work is focused on the effects of balancing slats in the body.

Common table salt is a combination of sodium and chloride (a form of chlorine) in equal proportions.  It is inorganic sodium and chloride.  It is not as valuable as that sodium which we find in organic foods.  The human frame is organic or organized.  The sodium that we get from plants and vegetables is organized sodium; it is organic.  On the other hand, sodium in ordinary table salt, or manufacture salt is inorganic.  When inorganic salt is taken into the system, it will over tax it.  As a result, your body will have to work harder in order to throw off the inorganic chemicals introduced. 

You might just be surprised to hear that strawberries, spinach and carrots for example are quite high in sodium or organic salts.

Foods rich in sodium are often rich in chlorine oxygen and potassium.  Chlorine is the "laundryman" of the body, Sodium neutralizes acids and chlorine helps to carry impurities off.

Sodium Deficiency is Common
So frequently we hear that we should avoid the salt if we want to avoid high blood pressure.  As you've just learned, salt is a necessary component to good health and the human frame.

In Foods that Heal Dr. Bernard Jensen reminds us that people between the ages of seven and twenty-one do not require very much sodium, for 100 adults, there is a lack of sodium rather than an excess.  Interestingly enough, so many that I speak to over the age of 21 are watching their sodium intake rather than that of their carbohydrate intake.  Most of this information is either   conveyed to them via their Dr. or morning news program or our most recent health guru Dr. Oz.

The body utilizes the sodium in a variety of ways that you may never have guessed or even heard.  Commonly, we hear of hot temperatures but cold climates use up sodium slats in the body as well.  Being in love enables a person to take up more sodium salts under favorable emotions, sodium is more rapidly assimilated or utilized.  Under unfavorable emotions of passions such as fear or anger, sodium salts are eliminated in the urine.  This is just one more example of how a loving state of mind is favorable to your good health.  Temper, excitement, jealousy and ugly melancholy passions always have an unfavorable effect upon the chemistry of the body and consequently, upon health.

A sodium deficient persona feels well one day and then the next, might feel sick.  They feel as if though something is going to happen all the time.  A fear of the unknown or anticipation of negative event.  They are sleepy during the day and at night, his/her brain is quite active and even more so after midnight.  Roller coaster emotions can ensue where the world can be accomplished one day and later, one is sleepy and depressed.

Sodium excess is usually excess of sodium in the tissues, not in secretions.  There is never an excess of sodium in the blood and secretions, but therre may be an excess of sodium in the joints and tissues.

When sodium is lacking, the nerves are on fire, judgement is unreliable, concentration is poor and there is greater tendency to heat or sun stroke.

Sodium is lowered by drinking water which washes the sodium of the system.  People really do drink too much liquid for their own good.  Coffee, tea, soda, copious amounts of bottled water are all consumed in excess in one way or another even if deemed healthy as in the case of water.

As I always tell my clients, "Try to eat your water".  Yes, this always produces a funny look but when you consider that a great deal of fresh vegetables contain a high water content, this really does make sense.   

Sodium is lowered through temper and excitement as well.  The more high tempered you are, the more sodium you burn.  At some point, you may suffer from indigestion due to your temper.  Again, for this reaosn, it is much better to cultivate affection than to cultivate anger.

Salts & Pregnancy
An expectant mother needs calcium, sodium, iron and silicon in abundance because the growing unborn baby uses those salts and a great many others.

Morning sickness is an indication of a lack of sodium claimed Rocine.  Adding slat or high sodium containing foods like chicken and turkey gizzards can increase sodium to the pregnant woman.

So, when the Dr. tells you to stop eating sodium, make the decision to throw your conventional salt shaker and the packaged foods out and begin consuming fresh sodium containing foods and a sprinkle of a quality sea salt.

Sodium deficiencies are most commonly seen as very low blood pressure and muscle cramping. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Obesity No Longer A Circus Side Show

Would you or anyone you know have been considered a circus side show just 100 years ago? The photo to the right is Chauncey Morley, once considered a "morbidly obese side show freak" for the PT Barnum Circus.

While I don't condone the behavior of side show attractions, I find it interesting that just a short period of time ago, this form of obesity was unusual where now, it is far too common.

Sadly, Chauncy died at the very young age of 43 and while I can't find any clear data of the cause, we can only imagine it must have been obesity related.

I frequently wonder after observing a darling obese gal in the airport on my way home from the Ancestral Symposium on Sunday, August 7th. I say darling because through the extreme puffiness was a beautiful face waiting to be liberated. I was taken back at the great amount of effort it took for this girl to carry herself through the airport at probably 200 lbs. over weight (if I had to guess).

I so badly wanted to approach and offer her a 6 month nutrition package at no cost but would that be taken too personally? Would I have been rejected?

It is my intention to spread the word of a low carbohydrate/Paleo lifestyle. I have found such freedom myself and in the past few years have watched with great pleasure as others have benefited as well.

I know the biochemical reasons of her obesity driven state. She is more than likely insulin and leptin resistant. Insulin resistant due to high running glucose numbers and leptin resistant because there is too much circulating leptin in the blood.

I would love to hear from you. If I were to approach you, tell you I am an 85lb. weight loss maintainer and have found a great secret to success, would you be approachable from a kind and gentle offer perspective?

Knowing how desperate for answers when I was obese, I would have been ecstatic at such an offer but I'm quite approachable. Had someone approached me and made this offering all while telling me my hunger would vanish, I would have jumped at the opportunity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream Review

Finally, an ice cream without Maltitol! I was excited when Whole Foods brought So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream in. You see, I'm a big coconut fan and I also love ice cream. Normally, I make my own small ice cream treat with heavy cream, erythritol and a few frozen raspberries but it melts so quickly and doesn't have the true consistency of dipping your spoon in and pulling out that frozen goodness that just melts in your mouth.

While Maltitol is touted as a low carb sweetener, it is said that 50% of those carbohydrates are in fact metabolized as glucose. What a mislead that was for the first few years of my low carb lifestyle. I ate many low carb treats with this tummy grumbling sweetener and endured some distress in other ways as well. Now that would have all been worth it had I not metabolized 50% of that garbage!

Now the So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream has a couple of slightly undesirable ingredients such as carrageenan and cocoa processed as alkali, (remember, I'm a bit of a purist) but since I'm so diligent about healthy food and never eat sugar, wheat, legumes, polyunsaturated oils, etc., a couple of ingredients once every few weeks shouldn't bother me. It's often said that if we feed the body a little something undesirable it actually builds antibodies so there ya go! I like the fact that chicory root is added because not only is it a natural "fiber sweetener" it's also beneficial as a pre-biotic which feed the bacteria in the gut. The prebiotic sits in the large intestine while the probiotic sits in the small intestine. You see, when I'm eating my ice cream, I tell myself I am encouraging healthy gut bacteria. Ah, long as it's for something healthy, I guess it's acceptable!

With 72 grams of carbohydrate in the entire container, we can subtract 40 of those carbs due to fiber. That's only 32 grams for the entire container. It states that there are 4 servings.....well, let's just leave it at that and you can use your imagination. Remember on my website, I'm a self proclaimed food addict and this ice cream only comes home once a month.

Enjoy! I hope you have more control than I do.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Link found between DNA damage and immune response

Researchers offer the first evidence that DNA damage can lead to the regulation of inflammatory responses, the body's reaction to injury. The proteins involved in the regulation help protect the body from infection.
The study, performed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, is one of the first studies to come out of the recently established NIEHS Clinical Research Unit (CRU).

Appearing in the March 31 issue of PLoS Genetics, the research suggests that an injury to chromosomes alters the expression of a family of genes known as Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs are proteins that play a role in the immune system by defending the body from infection. Following damage, the TLRs interact with the tumor suppressor gene p53 to regulate the amount of inflammation. The NIEHS investigators also establish that the integration of p53 and inflammation only occurs in primates.

Healthy volunteers with informed consent donated their blood cells for the study. The scientists separated white blood cells from the samples and exposed the cells to anti-cancer agents to activate p53. They then examined the expression of TLR genes. The team detected large variations among individuals, but found that p53 generally led to the activation of several TLR genes in patients' cells. They also found that TLR activation could be prevented by adding the p53 inhibitor pifithrin.
"We would not have found this connection if we only worked with rat or mice cells," said Michael Resnick, Ph.D., principal investigator in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics (LMG) and corresponding author on the paper. "We needed to have human samples, so our collaboration with the CRU was crucial for these experiments."

Stavros Garantziotis, M.D., a principal investigator in the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology (LRB) and the medical director for the CRU, is a co-author on the article. He said that the publication had two main findings: humans evolved an inflammatory response when subjected to DNA damage, and the variation in TLR activity among humans suggests that some people are more prone to inflammation following DNA damage, for example, after receiving cancer therapy.
"Physicians don't have this information now, but understanding who would likely benefit from anti-inflammatory treatment after chemotherapy would greatly increase a doctor's ability to help his or her patient in the future," Garantziotis continued.

As a physician and co-author of the publication, LRB principal investigator Michael Fessler, M.D., went a step further in his explanation of how stimulating the human immune system could treat infection, and autoimmune and environmental diseases.

"The immune system very likely plays a role, not only in all inflammatory diseases that afflict humans, but also in cancer," Fessler concluded. "Because of the new connection discussed in our paper, we may have a new means to manipulate the responses that affect those diseases."

Now, the researchers are taking advantage of another NIEHS translational program, the Environmental Polymorphisms Registry (EPR), an ongoing study to collect DNA samples from nearly 20,000 North Carolinians. The EPR study will allow scientists to look for genes linked to disease. The study is a collaborative effort between NIEHS and the General Clinical Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Daniel Menendez, Ph.D., and Maria Shatz, Ph.D., are two LMG scientists who share first authorship on the paper. Menendez added that the EPR work will permit researchers to further examine the association between p53 and inflammation. "In related studies, we are looking at individuals who have genetic alterations in the way they might respond to p53 activation," he said. "We will try to determine if their cells behave differently, and if these subjects have changes in their inflammatory response, or an increased risk for certain inflammatory diseases."

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Hormone That Fights Fat For You

Can your own hormones be responsible for all the bad food choices you make? They can according to Dr. Tony Goldstone of Imperial College of London and Hammersmith Hospital.

Dr. Tony Goldstone is an Oxford-trained scientist who has spent his career studying how hormones effect diet.

His new breakthrough comes from understanding how the hormone ghrelin affects appetite and influences the food choices you make at the dinner table.

He says ghrelin influences your brain and activates its "reward centers." That literally makes you crave high-calorie foods over healthy ones.

Hormones Activate Hunger

Dr. Goldstone and his team studied 18 healthy men and women, all in their early 20s.

Over a series of tests, he injected half with saline... and the other half with ghrelin.

He then showed them pictures of high - or low-calorie foods. Afterwards, he asked them to rate the appeal of the foods by giving each picture a score of one to five.

High-calorie options included chocolate, pizza, and burgers. Low-calorie foods included fish, vegetables, and salads. But he didn't rely on their written responses or scores... he also confirmed them using an MRI to measure and record their brain activity.

In every case, people injected with ghrelin had a much greater response to high-calorie foods. The increase was measured against the placebo group and there was a dramatic difference in every person. Every time, ghrelin increased a person's desire for "bad" calories.

Dr. Goldstone then switched the groups. Those who were given saline injections were given ghrelin. And vice versa. He then repeated the experiment to ensure his findings were accurate.

His findings are being embraced by the scientific community. Dr. Daniel Bessesen of the University of Colorado, Denver, says this research shows that "ghrelin turns up the attractiveness of food."

But this shouldn't be viewed as bad news.

''The message doesn't have to be hopeless," says Dr. Bessesen. Instead, it's the key to fighting fat.

He says this knowledge explains why you're attracted to bad foods. And with that knowledge, you can control your bad food impulses at the hormonal level. That's because there are simple, natural ways to control ghrelin.

Combat Bad Food Impulses

There is one simple solution to balance ghrelin. You simply have to eat more.

This advice may sound contrarian but it's critical to controlling ghrelin production.

You simply have to keep your appetite sated. If you're not hungry then ghrelin "hibernates."

So you need to select foods that keep your hunger at bay. And you can do that by eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.

Several studies show that protein keeps ghrelin levels low better than any other food. That's because it digests slowly, keeping your hunger satisfied longer. So you should aim to increase your protein intake. Opt for grass-fed beef over grain-fed beef; cage-free eggs; free-range fowl; and cold water, fresh caught fish.

Walnuts and almonds make for a great snack. And they're loaded with protein and vital nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids.

A second solution also keeps ghrelin in check. It's linked to how much water you drink.

That's because ghrelin regulates thirst. So if you drink plenty of water, you satisfy ghrelin and lower its production.

Many say you should try to drink an eight-ounce glass of water 15 minutes before dinner... because that lowers ghrelin levels and reduces appetite. This is bad advice as it could dilute your digestive juices and create problems with digesting and assimilating nutrient.

Drinking your water throughout the day, eating a quality meal 3x a day with plenty of fat will reduce your body's need for ghrelin.

Statin Drugs Produce Harmful Results

In a large prospective cohort study, statins were investigated in order to find any adverse or unintended effects.

Statins are said to lower the risk for adverse cardiovascular events. Of the two million study participants out of the UK, about 225,00 were new statin users. Each participant received one of five different statins: fluvastatin (Lescol ®), pravastatin (Mevacor ®), rosuvastatin (Crestor ®), simvastatin (Zocor ®), or atorvastatin (Lipitor ®).

Statin use was associated with a heightened risk of liver dysfunction, acute kidney failure, myopathy, and cataracts.

These adverse effects were true for each statin prescribed, and risk returned to normal after treatment.

Source: British Medical Journal, May 2010

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

U.S. Gov't: "We Failed to Protect Your Beef"

A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that many dangerous substances, including pesticides, veterinary medicines, dioxin, and heavy metals like arsenic, are winding up in the nation's beef supply because government agencies haven't worked together to set limits. The report makes clear that coordination between the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is lacking, making it difficult to recall beef contaminated with these harmful substances. "They're all pointing their fingers at one another," says Tony Corbo, spokesman for the nonprofit watchdog group Food & Water Watch.

THE DETAILS: The audit report, released by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service's (FSIS's) Office of Inspector General, found that common contaminants that can make their way into beef are not currently restricted in meat, even though contamination could harm human health. For instance, FSIS says the following medicines, feed supplements, and other contaminants could harm human health when people eat tainted beef.
1. Flunixin, a veterinary drug that can cause kidney damage, stomach and colon ulcers, and blood in the stool of humans.
2. Penicillin, a drug that can cause life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic to it.
3. Ivermectin, an animal wormer that can cause neurological damage in humans.
4. Arsenic, a known carcinogen that is allowed in some non-organic animal feeding operations. (It is commonly fed to chickens, and chicken litter, or feces, is sometimes fed to feedlot cattle—the majority of supermarket and fast-food beef in this country comes from feedlot operations.)
5. Copper, an essential element we need for our survival, is harmful when too much accumulates in our bodies. And it is being found in beef we eat, although U.S. agencies haven't been protecting consumers from it, even though some third-world countries manage to do so. In 2008, Mexican authorities rejected U.S. beef because it contained copper in excess of Mexico's tolerance levels. Because the U.S. doesn't have a set threshold for copper in beef, the meat was sent to U.S. stores, and ultimately, purchased by consumers.

WHAT IT MEANS: When we think of food safety, we generally think about E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes contamination making people sick, but this report sheds light on the problems of drug, pesticide, and heavy metal residues that can also accumulate in our bodies and make us sick. According to the report authors, "while cooking meat properly can destroy these pathogens before they are consumed, no amount of cooking will destroy residues. In some cases, heat may actually break residues down into components that are more harmful to consumers."
That's why it's more important than ever to seek out meat from sources you trust, and ideally, from farms where you can visit and perform an on-site inspection yourself, asking farmers what the animals eat, and seeing what type of conditions they live in.

Here's how to avoid getting sick from contaminated meat:
• Cut it out. The overuse of antibiotics in raising cattle and other livestock helps create antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases, which sometimes have lethal consequences. One such strain, MRSA, is estimated to kill 18,000 people a year—that's more than annual deaths from AIDS in this country. Support congressional efforts to eliminate the overuse of antibiotics on crowded, filthy cattle-feedlot operations, where animals are crammed together and fed unnatural corn and soy diets (they should be eating grass), which has been shown to increase the proliferation of the dangerous drug-resistant E. coli O157:H7 in the guts of the cattle.
Currently in Congress: On the House side, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has introduced H.R. 1549: Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009. This would limit the excessive use of antibiotics in farm livestock. The bill was S.619, sponsored by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) on the Senate side.

• Know your farmer. Buying organic, grass-fed beef often seems more expensive than conventional supermarket meat, but many food experts agree that feedlot meat doesn't reflect the true cost of the meat. In feedlot operations, thousands of cattle are squashed into a small area and fed antibiotics, hormones, and unnatural, government-subsidized feed to accelerate their growth and stave off infections. Virulent E. coli outbreaks have been linked to feedlots, and researchers are finding MRSA in supermarket meat, as well. It's best to buy from someone who you know raises animals in unconfined conditions, and who allows them to eat a natural diet to cut back on disease. Also, hormones and antibiotics are banned in USDA-certified organic meat production, so buy organic to protect your health. Visit for healthier beef options.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Year in Pills

2010 will go down as the year the diet pill Meridia and pain pill Darvon were withdrawn from the market and the heart-attack associated diabetes drug Avandia was severely restricted.

But it was also the year the Justice Department filed the first criminal, not civil, charges against a drug company executive. Lauren Stevens, a former VP and assistant general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, hid some 1,000 instances of GSK-paid doctors illegally promoting Wellbutrin to other doctors, say authorities.

It was also the year prominent psychiatrists Charles Nemeroff and Alan Schatzberg were accused of writing an entire book for GSK called Recognition and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders: A Psychopharmacology Handbook for Primary Care.

Here are the drugs which make 2010's Hall of Shame.

Yaz and Yasmin

Soon after Bayer launched the pill Yaz in 2006, billing it as going "beyond birth control," 18-year-olds were coming down with blood clots, gall bladder disease, heart attacks and even strokes. FDA ordered Bayer to run correction ads that detail the drugs' risks though Yaz sales are still brisk. In fact, financial analysts attribute a third quarter slump to a Yaz generic coming online, not dangerous side effects.

Lyrica, Topamax and Lamictal

In August FDA ordered a warning on the seizure drug Lamictal for aseptic meningitis (brain inflammation) but it is still the darling of military and civilian doctors for unapproved pain and migraine uses. All three drugs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors according to their mandated labels, in addition to the memory and hair loss patients report.

Humira, Prolia and TNF Blockers

The drug industry's highly promoted biologic drugs are made from genetically engineered hamster cells and suppress the immune system, inviting tuberculosis and several cancers. Yet Humira is advertised to healthy people for "clearer skin" and Prolia is advertised to prevent osteoporosis in healthy women.


After 397 FDA cases of possible psychosis, 227 domestic reports of suicidal behaviors and 28 actual suicides, the government banned pilots, air-traffic controllers and interstate truck and bus drivers from taking the antismoking drug Chantix in 2008. Its neuropsychiatric effects were immortalized when New Bohemians musician Carter Albrecht was shot to death in 2007 in Texas by a neighbor after acting aggressively on the Chantix.


The sleeping pill Ambien was immortalized as the drug Tiger Woods reportedly cavorted with his consorts on and former US Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his Ford Mustang on, while driving to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night to "vote" in 2006. Law enforcement officials say it has increased traffic accidents from people who drive in a black out and don't even recognize arresting officers.


Is it a coincidence that Tamoxifen maker AstraZeneca founded Breast Cancer Awareness Month and makes carcinogenic agrochemicals that cause breast cancer? As a breast cancer prevention drug, an American Journal of Medicine study found the average life expectancy increase from Tamoxifen was nine day . Public Citizen says for every case of breast cancer prevented on Tamoxifen there is a life-threatening case of blood clots, stroke or endometrial cancer.

Lipitor and Crestor

Why is Lipitor the best selling drug in the world? Because every adult with high LDL or fear of high LDL is on it. And also 2.8 million children, says Consumer Reports. All statins can cause muscle breakdown called rhabdomyolysis. And Crestor is so linked to the side effect, Public Citizen calls it a Do Not Use and the FDA's David Graham named it one of the five most dangerous drugs before at a Congressional hearing.


Boniva and other bisphosphonate bone drugs are a good example of FDA approving once unapprovable drugs by transferring risk onto the public's shoulders. The list of dangers on the label includes waiting 60 minutes before eating or drinking anything except plain water, never taking the drug with mineral water, sparkling water, coffee, tea, milk, juice or other oral medicine, including calcium, antacids, or vitamins and not lying down after you take it.

Pfizer's hormone drug Prempro is linked to a 26 percent increase in breast cancer, 41 percent increase in strokes, 29 percent increase in heart attacks, 22 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and double the rate of blood clots. But its cognitive and cardiovascular "benefits" are being tested right now at major universities to debut an HT "Light," hoping the public has a short memory.

Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, SSRIs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Lexapro probably did more to inflate drug industry profits than Viagra. But many say the drugs have also inflated police blotters. In addition to 4,200 published reports of SSRI-related violence, including the Columbine, Red Lake and NIU shootings, SSRIs can cause serotonin syndrome and gastrointestinal bleeding when taken with certain drugs. Paxil is linked to birth defects.

Effexor, Cymbalta, Pristiq, SNRIs

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are like their SSRIs chemical cousins except their norepinephrine effects can modulate pain, which has ushered in your-depression-is-really-pain, your-pain-is-really-depression and other crossover marketing. SNRI's are also harder to quit than SSRIs. 739,000 web sites address "Effexor" and "withdrawal."
Seroquel, Zyprexa, Geodon, atypical antipsychotics

The antipsychotic Seroquel tops 71 drugs on the FDA's January 2010 adverse event report and is linked to unexplained troop deaths and many research scandals. But it's the fifth biggest-selling drug in the world. Atypical antipsychotics cause weight gain and diabetes, the tardive dyskinesia they are marketed to prevent and death in the demented elderly. Yet FDA approved Zyprexa and Seroquel for children last year and the new atypical antipsychotic, Latuda this year. Maybe the FDA is bipolar.

Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, Adderall and ADHD Drugs

ADHD drugs rob "kids of their right to be kids, their right to grow, their right to experience their full range of emotions, and their right to experience the world in its full hue of colors," says Anatomy of an Epidemic author Robert Whitaker. But they are a gold mine for the drug industry. During an August conference call with financial analysts, Shire specialty pharmaceuticals president Mike Cola lauded the "very dynamic ADHD market," and the "co-administration market" (in which kids don't need one drug but several.

Gardasil and Cervarix Vaccines

A pharma-government plot to inoculate the public with dangerous vaccines? Maybe not but why are governors like Texas' Rick Perry mandating vaccination of girls for HPV? And why was University of Queensland lecturer Andrew Gunn silenced when he questioned the Gardasil vaccine? The HPV vaccine doesn't work for all viral strains, requires a boo$ter and is linked to 56 US girls' deaths as of September, according to the CDC.

Foradil Aerolizer, Serevent Diskus, Advair and Symbicort

Unlike drugs that look safe in trials and develop "safety signals" postmarketing, the long-acting beta agonists (LABA), salmeterol and formoterol, found in many asthma drugs, never looked safe. Studies link them to an increase in asthma deaths, especially in African-Americans and children. They may have contributed to 5,000 deaths said Dr. David Graham at FDA hearings about the controversial asthma drugs.

Singulair and Accolate, leukotriene receptor antagonists

Leukotriene receptor antagonists also never looked safe. Original FDA reviewers said asthma control "deteriorates" on Singulair and it may not be safe in children. Last month, Fox TV reported Singulair, Merck's top selling drug, is suspected of producing aggression, hostility, irritability, anxiety, hallucinations and night-terrors in kids, symptoms that are being diagnosed as ADHD. It is huckstered to parents by the trusted educational service Scholastic, Inc. and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 2011 Success Story Feature

Welcome 2011!  Each month I will feature a success story for your inspiration.  We will have a variety of success stories so stay tuned!   

Our first story features CJ aka "Low Carb CJ".  CJ's story is especially inspirational to me because she was able to lose more than 200lbs. without surgery or diet pills.  Just when you think your own journey is insurmountable, I want you to look back on some of these featured stories and take not of some of the  trials, tricks and ideas that helped elevate these people.

Starting Weight 525
Current Weight 276 (with 40 lbs of excess skin)
Final Goal Weight 220
I'm 5'8" and 33 years old.

I started out with a 91" waist and wearing a size 56 woman's when I could find it or just ordering a 6/7x empire waist knit dress that would stretch. I had also ordered 8/9x men's shirts from King Size when I was my biggest. I'm now wearing an 18/20 in most things and after my surgery to remove the 40 lbs of excess skin I'll easily fit into a size 14.

249 lbs lost and 274" lost off all areas of my body that were measured.

Neck = 8" lost
Bust = 31" lost
Band Size = 24" lost
Abs = 46" lost
Waist = 38" lost
Hips = 37" lost
Thighs = 19" lost off each side
Calves = 5.5" lost off each side
Arms = 15" lost off each side
Forearms = 3.5" lost off each side
Wrists = 2" lost off each side

My ring size went from an 11 to a 7 and my shoe size went from a very wide 10 to a 8.5.

I would have to say that the best part for my health was lowering my body fat by 35% and lowering my resting heart rate from 110 to 65 beats per minute. Not to mention going from not being able to walk around the block to being able to walk 10k too.

Questions I asked CJ

1. What was your defining moment of commitment to a weight loss program?

I didn't want to die. I felt horrible, never had any energy, had to wear myself out just to do normal day activities and I was sick all the time. My Grandpa had passed away and we had just gotten done with his funeral arrangements and I didn't want to be next. I saw how much it hurt my Mom and when she looked at me even though she'd smile I could still see the worry in her eyes. She was very supportive and only brought it up when I brought the subject up or if she had heard of something that she thought would help me. She was never mean about my weight. Both of my parents were concerned but didn't force anything on me. They knew better, because it wouldn't have worked.

My Aunt was in her 40's, diabetic and was having a lot of complications and got very sick and ended up in the hospital for a long time and sadly she's no longer with us. She wasn't near as big as I was, she was only about 400 lbs but she was shorter then me too. I felt like if I didn't do something right away while I was still young that I'd end up like her. I was ready to lose the weight, I was sick of feeling so bad all the time, sick of the way people treated me and looked at me. I just wanted to be "normal" sized, be healthy and to be active again.

I'll share a list that I have on my blog of why I got serious about weight loss:
1. I didn't want to die when I was in my 20's.....
2. I was sick of being 525 lbs (and then 430 lbs after I gained weight back from the accident)
3. I was tired of being on soma and hydrocodone from the pain.
4. I didn't want to be stuck riding the granny carts at the stores anymore.
5. I didn't like the doctors telling me I would never recover from my auto accident.
6. I didn't like the idea of giving up and being bed ridden.
7. I didn't want my dogs to become homeless because they outlived me.
8. I wanted to be able to go to the gym and do normal every day activities again.
9. I wanted to be able to touch my hands behind my back to put a normal bra on again.
9. I wanted to be able to bend over and tie my shoes again.
10. I wanted to be able to change my shoes in the car.
11. I wanted to be able to see my lap again instead of a huge belly.
12. I wanted my belly not to rub on my car steering wheel anymore.
13. I wanted to be able to fit into a restaurant booth again.
14. I wanted to fit into an airplane seatbelt and be able to put the tray down.
15. I wanted to fit into a stadium seat
16. I was sick of the stares and rude comments from strangers and sadly a few people who knew me too......
17. I was tired of being treated like less of a human because of my size.
18. I was tired of kids saying, "Look at that big fat lady!"
19. I was tired of being the biggest, fattest person in a public place.
20. I was afraid of being called, "Morbidly Obese"
21. I wanted to be able to comfortably take my dogs for a walk.
22. I wanted to participate in a walk for charity.
23. I was sick of having to mail order all of my clothes in a size 6x/7x (or larger)
24. I didn't want my Parents to have to bury me.
25. Most importantly I did it for me, because I deserved a better quality of life then I had at 525 lbs. and because I'm worth it!

2. What plan do you follow and how was it introduced to you?

I follow Atkins, and seem to feel best when I stay on induction level carbs. I first paid attention to the low carb way of eating when my sister-inlaw told me that she had lost 50 lbs by cutting out the carbs. She knew that I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and I'd been on diabetic medicine for two years even though I wasn't diabetic. The medicine wasn't helping me it was just making me feel worse. She had heard that low carb was helping ladies with PCOS and mentioned it when talking to my Mom so of course right away my Mom called me and told me to call my sister-inlaw.

I was very skeptical at first, afraid that I wouldn't be able to eat anything. But then I found out that I could still have bacon, cheese, meat and eggs so then I was like, OK I can do this! I had so many questions when I first started and my sister-inlaw told me to go buy the book and read it cover to cover before starting. I went and got both the Atkins and South Beach books and after reading them I decided to follow Atkins. It's been the best thing I ever did for my health. I'm truly low carb for life. I'm so thankful to my sister-inlaw for sharing her experience with me. For awhile I didn't want to talk about my weight loss because I was ashamed that I had been so big, but then I realized how many people it could help so I started helping people and participating in an online support group for ladies who needed to lose 100+ lbs. Then I started my blog and Facebook page and the feedback and thank you's have been overwhelming. It feels good to be able to help people who want to help themselves make positive changes for their health. 

3. Have you always struggled with weight issues and if so, what has your basic eating/dieting pattern been?

I was always chunky as a child, but it wasn't bad until I started gaining weight in High School. I'd lose and gain and lose it again but usually stayed between a size 16 to 18 in jeans, which didn't look too bad at 5'8". Then my senior year of High School I started gaining weight and gained 60 lbs during my senior year. I was very active and even went on an 800 calorie a day diet and ate very little fat. I even used metabolism boosting products and expensive meal replacement shakes and nothing was working long term. I would gain 50-60 lbs in just a few months and the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me. I kept gaining weight and they just assumed that I was cheating on my diet, when I wasn't. Come to find out I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) it does a lot of things but one of the big things that it does is cause weight gain. It basically effects your glucose levels which effect your hormone levels and your body doesn't process carbs correctly and you gain weight. The more carbs you eat the more your body craves and you're hungry all the time so you end up eating more. Unfortunately I didn't find out about PCOS until I was already 525 lbs.....

4. During this weight loss process what have your struggles or trials been and how did you over come them?

At first it was people questioning the way of eating, saying it wasn't healthy I needed to do low fat, not low carb. But I was 525 lbs in my 20's, if I didn't do something soon I was afraid that I wouldn't be around much longer! I had been trying the low fat, low calorie for years and it never helped me so I decided to try low carb since I was terrified of weight loss surgery.

Cutting out the carbs was NOT easy for me at first. The PCOS made me crave carbs like an alcoholic craves alcohol. It was very hard the first two weeks but then it got easier and the more I lost the more I realized that this was indeed a lifestyle change and not just some diet that I would only do for a short time. This is truly the way of eating that my body needs. Within the first 4 months I had lost 108 lbs and my doctors were shocked. Then I lost 200 lbs. total, maintained it for over a year, was in a car accident on bed rest for 6 months gained 130 lbs. back.... I lost 40 lbs. of it slowly over a couple years. Then it took me a few years to get serious about it again and now I've lost 249 lbs and feel so much better! I can go back to the gym and do normal activities. I had been told by 3 doctors that I'd never be able to go to the gym again after my accident and that was just pretty hard to swallow at 27 years old.....I didn't want to give up, I decided I just couldn't accept that and I had to try harder, not matter how long it took me I had to keep trying. You can't ever give up on yourself, even if it feels like everyone else has given up on you, YOU have to keep trying because YOU are worth it!

It took a few years to recover from that accident and I have been going to the gym again since September 2009. I had to start off very slowly and use more of the machines that I could sit on and just went from there, along with stretching and some things at home. Then in September of 2010 I participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure 5k walk/run. I walked of course, but it felt great to be able to do it. Since then I've also participated in a Lung Cancer 5k and a Pancreatic Cancer Walk. I plan to keep praticipating in the future. I'd like to run, but I'm not ready for that yet. I'm pleased with my progress so far and I'm happy to say that I've proved those doctors wrong! :)
5 Have you deviated from your program and gained at all? If so, how long, how much and was it difficult to jump back on plan?

Yes, after my car accident. I still wasn't eating sugar, but the starchy carbs creeped back in made me gain 130 lbs really fast. It was very hard to get that weight back off and I was still on lower carbs, but I'd have maybe 40-50 carbs per day and I wasn't really losing anything. It wasn't until I got serious about it again a few years later that the weight really started coming off again. With my PCOS I have to stay under 20 carbs a day if I want to lose any weight. At this point I'm pretty much in maintenance phase even though I'm very low carb (eating induction level carbs). If I really want something slightly higher in carbs once in awhile I might have it, but I measure my portion size and keep my total daily carb intake between 30-40 carbs for the day on a "bad" day. Then the next day I go back to 20 or less. I'm pretty content with omelets, meat and veggies, bunless bacon cheese burgers wrapped in lettuce so low carb isn't that hard for me to follow and I don't really want things higher in carbs very often. I could probably live on bacon burgers!

6 Do you practice this as a lifestyle?  In other words, do you think you've found a plan that works for you body, mind and long term success?

YES!!!!! Definitely, I'm low carb for life! I've lost 249 lbs, lowered my body fat by 35% and lowered my resting heart rate from 110 to 65 beats per minute. I was always sick and miserable before and now I feel so much better, I have a lot more energy and I'm able to be active again. That experience after my accident was definitely proof to me that low carb is a way of life and no matter how much weight I lose, I still have to do low carb to maintain it. It also taught me to get rid of my big baggy clothes so you notice right away if you're gaining weight back and just trying to avoid the scale.

 7 Did you begin your program with medical issues and if so, how have these improved?

I have PCOS and I'll always have it but I've greatly reduced the issues that it was causing. I won't go into a lot of detail about some of the things but it caused some women's health issues and I was anemic, had no energy, felt horrible, light headed, tummy problems, got sick easily and couldn't get very far away from the facilities.

Since cutting out the carbs my symptoms from PCOS have gone away and only occasionally bother me. At my last exam my doctor said I was completely healthy except for an issue that I'm having with excess skin. Having lost this much weight I have an estimated 40 lbs worth of excess skin that needs to be surgically removed at some point. It's pending insurance approval and they don't want to cover it, but my doctors say that it's medically needed and it really is, so hopefully they'll end up approving it. But I'd much rather have to deal with the excess skin then to be 525 lbs again!

I also had injuries from the auto accident, with my knees being the worst and all of that extra weight was not helping them. I couldn't even walk around the block without stopping at one point. Now my knees don't bother me until I overdo it and then I can feel them telling me to slow down. But there's a big difference in now and then. I feel better now then I did when I was 17/18 years old.

8 Do others in your circle of friends and family support your eating style and continued weight loss efforts?

Some of them didn't think it was healthy at first. Some of them were curious and asked a bunch of questions repeatedly trying to understand it. Some of them thought it was great and always ask how I was doing if they didn't see me in person. The only ones who had negative comments and continued to do so were not really my friends and I just stopped contacting them because I don't need people like that in my life.

A few of them joined me. My friend has lost about 75 lbs and she's low carb now too. She made me cry when she told me that I was her inspiration for losing weight and getting healthy. She was so happy to have lost the weight before her wedding. I have another friend who started doing moderately low carbs because of me and she thanked me for inspiring her as well. She lost about 30 lbs.Then my own Mother started watching her carbs slightly at first and losing weight slowly and then she got excited and lowered them even more and lost weight faster. She's lost 81 lbs now and she's 18 lbs away from her goal, but I think she looks great now! I'm so proud of her and it's really touching when your own parent says that you inspired them to lose weight. She wasn't ever a really big woman, I've lost 249 lbs and I've lost a bit more weight then what she ever weighted at her absolute biggest point. She sent me some of her old clothes and they fit me and I think it kind of hit me when I was able to wear her clothes that while I'm still large, I'm not all THAT big anymore either. It's a nice feeling but kinda odd at the same time.

Then my Dad who's diabetic (as is 95% of his family) already watched his sugar of course but he started watching his carbs as well and told me how proud he was of me and what I've accomplished and he went to his doctor and told her about me and that I fussed at him to eat healthier. I was half way joking and half way lecturing him, but he took it seriously. It's not everyday that he gets a lecture from his little girl! His doctor said I was absolutely right and he told her that I was his inspiration to get healthier. So he's telling me all of that on the phone and I'm sitting there trying not to cry and thinking to myself how he was always my inspiration to try harder and always do my best while growing up. Then I started wondering when did he stop being my inspiration and I became his?                         

Luckily at this point I don't hear any negative comments and if I do they're quickly dismissed when I tell them how much I've lost. Mostly I just hear stuff like "You look great!", "You're doing a great job", "You're so pretty!", "You're beautiful", "I love your smile", "You look amazing", "Wow, just WOW", "You've lost how much???", "You've lost a whole person!", "You've lost more then I weigh!", "You're so inspiring!", "You're getting skinny", "If you lose anymore there's not going to be much left of you" (I roll my eyes at that one, but it's still nice to hear after being so big for so long LOL). I also get told "Thank you" a lot by people who are trying to lose weight, struggling or at a point when they wanted to give up or feeling like it was impossible or people who's family was skeptical. The feedback has just been amazing from my blog, the forum, Facebook, pm's and emails too.

My Mom just replaced some old photos of me on her wall with new photos. She said, "I feel like I have my daughter back and that she's not going to die before I do. I love you and I am so happy for you!" That kind of thing right there just hits home even more about how unhealthy I was and how much my parents worried about me. I feel like I have my life back now and I'm not going to waste any second of it anymore.

 9 How has your weight loss affected you emotionally and physically?

I can't even begin to fully describe the difference emotionally, but I'll try to at least describe it physically. Sometimes I can't even believe the difference myself. The energy level is amazing, I don't sleep much (which isn't good but my body just wants to go!). I feel so much better then I did before and I don't have to reply on pain medicines just to function. I do have pain, numbness, rashes and infections caused from the excess skin but I can't do anything about that until my surgery is approved so I just deal with it and move on.

I go to the gym and do normal every day activities again. I can reach behind my back and not only can I touch my fingers together, but I can put my hands around my wrists while my arms are behind my back. I can bend over and tie my shoes, I can see my toes, I can cross my legs, I can change my shoes in the car and also climb from the front seat to the back seat without hurting myself. I can see my lap again and my belly doesn't rub on the steering wheel of the car anymore. I can also sit in a restaurant booth without having to squeeze in and have my tummy pushing on the table. I can comfortably sit in one single airplane seat and fasten the seatbelt and put the tray table down in front of me. I can also fit into a stadium seat and not end up with big bruises on my legs, thighs and hips from the seat pushing into me.

I can safely use a step stool without exceeding the weight limit. I can sit on plastic lawn furniture without fear of it breaking. I don't feel like the whole room is watching me eat when I go to a restaurant, party or an event. I was so sick of the stares and rude comments. Some people really did treat me like less of a person because of my size. Luckily I have a few good friends who were always nice to me and accepted me for who I am instead of judging me by how big I was. Those are the true friends that I keep for life.

I've also had a lot of little kids making comments like, "Mommy, Mommy look at that big fat lady!". It was sad but true from the innocent mouths of children. While the Mom's usually apologized and told their child that wasn't nice to say those things, there were a few Mom's that agreed with the child. One lady said, "Yes she is really big, isn't she" They happen to have a cart full of snack cakes and as I was walking by I said, "Yes hun, if you eat all those twinkies and ding-dongs that your Mommy has in your cart then you'll end up big and fat like me!" and I kept walking. The Mom looked at me with a horrified look on her face, but I was sick of the rude comments and there was no excuse for what she said to me. Another time a child said, "Mommy is that why you don't want me to eat junk food?" The Mom said, "Yes honey, I don't want you to get big and fat like her"

A few months ago I was wearing a new teal blue  top while out running errands and I heard this little girl say, "Mommy, Mommy! Look at that lady!" I cringed thinking that she was going to say something about me being so fat. But I was shocked when she followed up with, "Look at her pretty shirt! That's the color that I want to paint my room." I wanted to go over and hug the little girl but of course I couldn't or else the Mom would have freaked out at some stranger hugging their child for no reason. So I just smiled and kept walking.

 It does feel nice not to always be the biggest person in a store or restaurant anymore. I've actually gotten dirty looks from ladies who are bigger then me now. I felt bad for them and wanted to tell them about low carb, but you can't just walk up to a stranger and tell them they need to cut out the carbs...... That's very rude so I only mention it if the chance comes up and they mention weight loss. It usually just comes up when I'm buying clothes. It's very nice to be able to go into normal stores and buy clothes that fit me, but it's slightly dangerous because I can shop at so many places now. I've had to replace my wardrobe way too many times, so I look for clearance sales and I've been pretty lucky lately, but it does still add up when you've lost this much weight and gone down this many sizes. I'd much rather have to deal with the excess skin and having to buy smaller clothes then to still be so big and feel so awful all the time.

10 Finally, what advice might you offer others who feel like their weight loss journey is insurmountable?
YOU can do it, because YOU are worth it!

Set yourself up for Success not Failure. If you don't have low carb foods handy and all you have is carb loaded stuff then you are probably not going to do very well. The first few weeks are the hardest, don't give up. Drink a lot of water and only eat when you're truly hungry. A lot of times we can feel hungry when we are really just thirsty. Don't skip meals, count your carbs, have carb friendly snacks if needed. Be sensible, don't starve yourself but don't eat an entire pan full of bacon just because you can..... unless you are really, really hungry and even after waiting awhile you still really feel hungry. Keep low carb snacks on hand, prepared and easy to access so you don't go for a bag of chips.

If you live alone or everyone in your house is low carb then it's easy to rid your house of non-carb friendly items. If you have people in your house who eat carbs then just rearrange the cabinets. Give yourself one cabinet or even one single self in the pantry for your items. Move all the junk to another cabinet or shelf so you don't even have to look at it. You can do the same thing with a shelf in the fridge or get a basket and put your snacks in there. If you do "cheat", you are only cheating yourself. So don't go eat a bunch more carbs because you feel bad about cheating, just suck it up, drink a bunch of water and go right back to being strict on your next meal. Then be extra strict for the next few days.

Make good choices and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself would you rather be unhealthy, unhappy and feel bad about eating the carbs or would you rather feel good that you took control over your eating and didn't eat the carbs and feel better in the long run? You control yourself, the food does NOT control you! This is a long term change for your health, you'll probably have some set backs but just keep going, get back on plan and don't ever give up on yourself, EVER!!!

 You can learn more about CJ, her menus and follow the rest of her story at

Stop by and say hello!

If you would like to be featured at the Free Healthy Diet Plans Blog, feel free to contact me!  No matter how much or how little you have lost, your story is always important!