Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Salicylic acid, my favorite word!

It really isn't though. I hate this chemical and wish it never existed. Or at least if it has to exist, it would leave me alone. Yesterday, I came across 2 blog posts about this intolerance, even though I was pretty sure I was one of the few people to have ever heard about it, let alone self-diagnose. But, no! There are other "scientist moms" out there who have uncovered the existence of this little chemical that can wreak havoc on certain people's entire body, head to toe.
Now, I want to say that I find it amazing that anyone can narrow down what seems like "allergic" reactions to this chemical that is present in hundred if not thousands of products. I really haven't a clue how many things have it, but its in plants and cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions (how am I to use anti-aging products, I'm gonna look really old), cleaning supplies, etc. I discovered it by getting a "natural" tomato soap to improve my complexion and my complexion got worse. At the same time I was growing tomatoes in the garden and my hands were covered in pin prick like holes all over, where it seems my skin was being eaten away. I went to the doctor for my hands and she prescribed a cortisone. I asked if it could be from the tomato plants and she said no. Well, when I stopped touching the tomato plants, my hands no longer had holes in them. I googled to find the reason why tomato was in the soap? And the reason was the "natural" salicylic acid in it is an acne medicine. Well, that salicylic soap that I would use in the past for acne never worked on me, so I made this connection. I then saw the list of all the fruits and veggies with high amounts of salicylic acid in them and guess what, these are the foods that give me unbearable stomach pain. Some time later with a little more googleing and I found the Ulcerative Colitis/ Salicylate exposure.
    I then found the salicylate senstivity website and saw all the foods and products that were high and low (explained why coffee made me have such a headache and ringing in my ears, I thought I had a brain tumor) and I then went on a no-salicylate bland diet and slowly added things back into my diet to see what I can tolerate and the different way things affect me. For example, mint will not give me stomach pain, but too much, even if it's through the skin in a lotion or oil, will make me nauseous, have a headache, dizzy and wanting to die. But it's not immediate it's about 12 hours later. On the other hand, eating egg plant or zucchini will cause a lot of pain about an hour after eating it. Eating chillies makes my nose water while I eat it.
My daughter will vomit and have bad eczema from these foods.
My skin cleared and my daugther's eczema improved with salicylate free hygiene products from
The other symptoms resolved with a low salicylate diet and a lot of trial and error.
Here are the links to the articles I read yesterday. I think there are more people out there that deal with this issue and don't know about it. Raising awareness that this is real can really changes lives.
The Paleo Mom
S is For Salycilate

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Grocery List

A note from yesterday is Chromium is contained in cinnamon. The study made it seem like they were supplementing Chromium but it is actually a component of cinnamon. Which is why they were talking about it with the polyphenols that are in cinnamon.
Anyway, it's grocery shopping day and I am attempting to save money and be more organized (accept my lot in life, this is my job, I should try and be a little professional). Therefore, I am making a shopping list! One that hopefully I can follow. The problem is the list is on 4 different pages and has just become a bunch of recipes and it's mixed with a bunch of stuff that I already have. I am debating whether to go through my list and pick out what I need to buy thus making a new list.......

Friday, January 17, 2014

Can I improve my insulin sensitivity with cinnamon?

Whoooo! I had the hardest workout of my life. It was a tabata workout. Tabata is high intensity for a short period of time. Some of the exercises we would hold for 20 seconds (AAAHHH!) It was awful, but good awful (:
So, I think my insulin sensitivity is improving. I had written before that I think for me insulin sensitivity is everything when it comes to health and weight loss. #1, I am seeing the scale move the other direction, the good direction. #2, my skin is perfectly clear and #3, I think my mustache ( Yuck, I know)  is less noticeable.Cutting off the sweetened yogurt ( a.k.a. my favorite food in the world, Noosa is directly from heaven) has made a difference. I was thinking of ways to improve my insulin sensitivity even more (then maybe I can cheat and have my sweetened yogurt again?). I remembered a blast from the past: Cinnamon. Yes, I remembered learning about studies that show cinnamon to be more effective than Metformin with no side effects. The issue was you have to eat a lot of cinnamon. Here is the science for you:Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. (  Richard A. Anderson (2008). Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 67, pp 48-53. doi:10.1017/S0029665108006010.)
    This article says that 1-6 grams a day for 40 days showed the results of improvement. Right away, I went and took out my gram scale to measure how much that looks like. My scale wouldn't measure one gram. I measured 2 and cut it in half. 1 gram was about 1 tsp of pulverized cinnamon stick. (I always buy cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon)Why does the cinnamon work? For those who took chemistry, you'll enjoy this (it makes you feel smart). People with type 2 diabetes have"reduced phosphorylation" of the insulin receptor. Cinnamon increases the phosphorylation of the receptor and inhibits phosphotyrosine phosphatase (which inactivates the phosphorylation of the receptor) So, whatever the heck phosphorylation is, this is all increasing insulin sensitivity. Yay! This means you do not need to spit out as much insulin in order to use your blood sugar. Less insulin means your hormones will not be out of whack, because high levels of insulin in your blood sends out a whole bunch of signals that basically messes up your hormone balance and tells your body to store fat (and grow a mustache).
     This wasn't my topic today but this article talks about supplementing with Chromium (Cr) to aid the metabolism and how this reduced weight gain and helped improve insulin sensitivity. I just wrote about micornutrient deficiencies in the obese.This is what the article says, "Cr also decreases cortisol concentration in human subjects, which is important in relation to weight control because cortisol increases circulating insulin and increases fat accumulation. A meta-analysis of several human studies has reported that there is a significant reduction in body weight caused by Cr, but it states that ‘a body weight reduction of 1to 2kg during an intervention period of 10 to 13 weeks. 1kg/week) seems too small to be clinically meaningful’. Improvements in this range, if sustained, could lead to a loss, or prevention of gain, of approximately 4kg/year, which certainly could lead to large changes over time. Even if Cr only prevents the increase in body weight of 5–1kg/year, it becomes consequential with time. Improvements in insulin-related variables that affect body weight and lean body mass are a result of changes in metabolism and should not be confused with those associated with changes in dietary intake and energy expenditure. Lasting changes in insulin sensitivity and changes in metabolism could lead to lasting changes in body weight and composition. Additional long-term studies in this area are needed."
     I love the above paragraph, because this "inconsequential" change of only 1 kg in 3-4 months is not based on eating less or exercising. It is apart of repairing a malfunctioning metabolism. People will never be successful at weight loss (unless they are anorexic, which last I checked is an eating disorder) if the answer is to starve themselves and eat gross unappealing food and then gain that weight back as soon as they go back to "normal" eating habits.What if we tell people to eat real food that gives them adequate micronutrients and improves insulin sensitivity? Cinnamon is a spice. What other benefits do the other hundreds of spices out there have? Chromium is found in beef and vegetables. Broccoli has a very high amount.  What if we tell people to eat real food that gives them adequate micronutrients and improves insulin sensitivity instead of encouraging anorexia?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Malnutrition and Obesity

       I recently listened to a podcast by Jayson and Mira Calton, Calton Nutrition (while waiting for my car's oil to be changed), and they talked about how micro-nutrient deficiency leads to cravings that leads to weight gain. The micro-nutrients are your vitamins and minerals. If you correct your deficiency you will lower your weight without even realizing it. For example, sugar cravings can mean you need more magnesium and calcium.A strong chocolate craving could mean a vitamin B or magnesium deficiency. I think the nutrition community and industry concentrate on macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), with your low carb this and high protein that. I wanted to look more into this, besides the take a multivitamin dogma we hear.
        B-Vitamins, Vitamin A, C, D, K, Folate, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and many more are your micronutrients that the body relies on for basic functioning. When you are deficient in any one, there will be no flashing light reading low, but if you are chronically deficient you will feel it. For example, a folate or a vitamin B 12 deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia.  The symptoms can be pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, memory loss and even dementia.
      With the diets that are eaten now, a body can be obese and be deficient at the same time. There a number of articles on this topic. One reason for this is that a diet that leads to obesity is full of calories but not nutrients. You can eat rice, bread, cakes cookies and get enough calories but none of the vitamins and minerals you u need. At least, not in a sufficient amount. The nutrients that the body absorbs the best are found in whole food sources, not "enriched" sources or supplements.
       The article, The Malnutrition of Obestity: Micronutrient Deficiencies That Promote Diabetes, describes vitamin deficiencies that exacerbate diabetes.  "As with nearly all biochemical processes, glucose metabolism and insulin signaling require cofactors and vitamins that are essential in the diet. Deficiencies in any of these micronutrients have potential to impair glucose metabolism and cause insulin resistance. Clinical evidence supporting this hypothesis regarding the metabolic effects of specific deficiencies including vitamin D, chromium, biotin, thiamine and vitamin C is mounting. Unlike vitamin E, which has little to no proven clinical effect when given as a supplement, these vitamins are known to be deficient at relatively high rates in obese individuals and in diabetic patients. Clinicians should consider addressing possible deficiencies of these micronutrients when advising obese patients who are at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes. The medical care plan for obesity should include lifestyle changes, healthy food choices with high-nutrient content foods as part of a balanced approach for the prevention of the development of type 2 diabetes. Use of specific vitamin supplements may adopted into this rational practice." This is taken from the conclusion o f this article.
      Now I would say to get these vitamins from food as much as possible, by cutting out the starches, sweets, chips, crackers, etc.I don't believe taking a multivitamin is the answer. For example, another article I came across, Micronutrient Deficiency in Obese Subjects Undergoing a Low Calorie Diet, talks about how the low calorie, high protein  "formula diet" (I'm assuming they were on some kind of fortified liquid diet) did not bring up the micro nutrient levels in obese patients who were deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. There could be any number of reasons behind this. The article suggests that obese individuals need a higher amount of these vitamins and minerals. Could it be that they need real food and not just a shake? Could there be metabolic reactions taking place that requires them to need more vitamins or an absorption problem keeping them from getting them? Certain vitamins such as biotin, can be made by the bacteria in our gut. Could an imbalance in gut flora be a problem with this vitamin?
    There seems to be different factors at work when it comes to getting all our nutrient such as eating food that is full of calories and little else, gut bacteria imbalances, obesity, diabetes, the list goes on and on.
Here are some foods that  may not be part of your daily diet, that I suggest you start to incorporate:

Beets: A good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

Parsley and green onions
Parsley: Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
Green Onions:It is also a good source of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Bok Choy: Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.
Leeks: Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

New Year's resolution: I want a new camera

   I don't like New Year's resolutions. I mean I get the whole premise. People want a fresh start and want to accomplish things and get motivated. But it just reminds me of the people who make bad choices and then say, "I'll be good on Monday". The most annoying time of the year at the gym is the beginning of January. Parking lot, machines, classes, locker room, all full. It really is annoying to us members who continue to exercise past February.
     The number one resolution is weight loss. I think that is nonsense too. I know people want to and need to lose weight, but it just seems to me that other issues should be resolutions and then maybe weight loss will actually be able to happen. For example, instead of saying; "I want to lose weight", say," I will cut my processed food intake in half and I will eat more fresh, home- made food, by preparing my lunches for work or school on the weekend. I will get some activity every single day whether its just a simple walk on my lunch break or swimming laps while the kids have their swimming lessons". I think picking an action to commit to instead of the ever elusive"I must lose weight" mantra can be more helpful.
    I do have some resolutions myself. I want to get my kids to eat healthier and eat less junk food. My  6 year old son's eating habits are driving me crazy. He is so picky and he refuses everything I make and is always scavenging the cupboards for any kind of packaged junk. My plan here is if we don't have anything for him to scavenge (I feel like I'm talking about a raccoon) then he will be hungry enough that he will eat the lunch and dinner that I made.
     I've been slowly working up to this. He is now going after grapes and bananas when he wants to snack. An improvement, but yesterday I found that he raided the tostoda shells that were on top of the fridge. He still isn't eating much meat either. I don't want him to only eat bananas and grapes. The point is for him to actually get hungry so he will eat what is on his plate. I will have to work on getting lunch and dinner ready at a consistent time, basically before he starts scavenging. To get ready for the New Year, I took the kids to the store and asked them to pick out all the fruits and veggies that they want to eat. I realize my son has completely different taste from me. He likes the packaged ice burg lettuce salad kits (also known as fake salad). They don't even sell it in organic. What a sacrilege! I got it for him, because I thought baby steps. He wanted celery and carrots and broccoli. So, I did see this as progress. My 8 year old daughter, on the other hand, is so easy. She likes almost anything, except lamb and organ meats, which is a little annoying considering my Middle- Eastern cuisine.
     I guess I am evolving. I am no longer 22 resolving weight loss. I am 31 and I want my kids to stop getting cavities that I attribute to a poor diet. Maybe I am becoming less of a narcissist in my old age (: The whole reducing the cavities is kinda based on how much I have to pay to fill them, so maybe not...