Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Let's Fix It

   Several weeks ago we talked about the importance of the health of our gut.  And boy am I relearning this lessons as I have had a reoccurrence of Clostridium difficile that has put me out.  I am by no means an expert on this so I won't pretend that I know what the best treatment is.  I do know that I will continue to take Sacchromyles Bourdii the rest of my life to help keep a recurrence from happening again.
   Today we will talk about how to repair the gut.  First I want to start by sending you a great link to a study that was just released about the connection between leaky gut and autoimmunity. leaky gut connection.
   The first thing to do which is not always the easiest to do is to change your diet by stop eating foods that damage and inflame the lining of the gut.  It can take a minimum of three months to heal the gut and can take up to two years.  The best diet to heal the gut is a strict paleo diet.  This includes removing all grains, legumes, sugar and for the most part dairy products.  I always like to remind people when transferring from the American Standard diet to paleo its perfectly ok to go slow.  Some people like to just jump on board and change their diet all at once, if you are one of those go for it.  If diet change sends you into stress induced panic then go slow, start by cutting gluten out, then sugar, then dairy, then grains, etc.  Don't let it overwhelm you.  Once switching to paleo and you're still not seeing the results you want try cutting out nuts, eggs and or nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes).
    Second, begin to get rid of any gut infection including bacteria, yeast, parasites, etc.  If you are unsure if you have any infection I recommend that you see a functional medicine doctor, nutritional therapy practitioner or functional diagnostic nutritionist to help you find out what may be going on.  if you want to go it alone both Great Plains Laboratory and Entrolab offer at home test kits that can be ordered. (I have no connection with either one but have used Great Plains Laboratory in the past.)  Depending on what may be going on there may be different approaches to take.  Some of the supplements I have had success with over the years are Oregano oil, Kolorex, caprylic acid, Humaworm, food grade diatomaceous earth, pau d'arco tea.  Make sure to rotate whatever you take every four days.  Most of the supplements will help with bacteria, bad yeast and parasites.  Some people may need to cut out natural sugars and fruits in order to completely get rid of whatever may be growing inside.
   Third restore gut flora.  You need to replenish your gut with lots of healthy, good bacteria.  This can be done at the same time as the first two steps but don't take in the good bacteria at the same time of the day as you are taking the supplements to kill the bad guys.  This can be done several different ways and I have found that it is best to to do more than one thing.  Some of the cheapest and easiest ways are to eat with each meal a fermented food.  This not only fills the body with good probiotics but enzymes as well to help your body break down and use the food you are eating.  Some fermented foods to start with are keifer (dairy or coconut), sauerkraut, kimchi, homemade yogurt.  Kids will really love some homemade yogurt with a little fruit.  Check out Cultures for Health for many great recipes.   Adding in a probiotic in a pill form can also be very beneficial.  My favorite brands are VSL#3 for those who can tolerate dairy.  It can be bought at Costco in the pharmacy department with out a prescription.  I personally take HLC brand that I love.  There are many great brands that each do great things.  Please chime in and let me know if there is a brand that you've been helped by.
   Fourth heal the lining of the gut.  This process should be done concurrent as the other steps.  It will take longer to heal the gut though if you are eating foods that are damaging it or there is something growing in there that shouldn't be.  (Doesn't that sound lovely.)  Foods that help heal the gut include bone broth.  Bone both is the holy grail of gut healing.  This is because it is cheap to make and it has so many great benefits.  It heals leaky gut, overcome food intolerances, improves joint health and reduces cellulite.  This occurs when the bones are simmered and they release compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine.  According to the Weston A Price Foundation bone broth also contains minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others.   The magic happens from collagen and gelatin.   Collagen/gelatin is the jiggly layer in bone broth.  It contains the amino acids arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline.  Proline and glutamine are especially helpful for healing the gut.  If making your own bone broth seems overwhelming or your in a busy stage of life like I am now there are other things you can do.  Taking a grass-fed gelatin contains great amino acids and other properties that help in healing the gut.  A tablespoon twice a day can really help.  One of my favorite supplements is Metagenics Glutagenics.  It contains L-Glutamine that has been proven to heal the gut lining, DGL (licorice) and aloe.  It is very healing and soothing.  Happy gut healing.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I didn't disappear

     I didn't disappear or quit blogging, life has been busy these last couple of weeks.  My daughter turned 11 and three days later my husband turned 40.  We are currently living in a furnished town home so trying to celebrate with family and friends when I don't have my own stuff has been challenging.  We are also building a house and the last couple of weeks we have had to make tons of decisions.  If you ask me now if you should build a house my answer may be different than when we are actually living in it in a couple of months.  We have a great builder who has been great with two first born, indecisive people.  :)  
     If all goes as planned I'll be back next week with regularly scheduled blogs.  For your weekend enjoyment I am leaving you with this great TED talk.  Not only is it hilarious, it focuses on how the mental aspect of life effects all other parts of life including our health.  I know from personal experience that once I got a grasp on the mental aspect of autoimmune disease it helped the day to day of autoimmuntiy much more manageable.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Not What I Planned

     Well I had planned to finish up my post on healing the gut and then on workout recovery this week,   but my body had other plans.  After not near enough sleep a couple of nights this week I have felt less than great this week and ended up with a bad headache. So now that I'm back to normal (relatively speaking) :) I thought I'd do a post about what to do when a bad day (or week) hits.
    First and foremost start by drinking lots of water.  Water will not only clean out and hydrate your cells it can help with energy.
  Second sweat it out.  Sweating will help you release toxins and I don't know about you but I would rather be warm than cold any day.  There are several ways to get your sweat going.  I once knew a guy who when he would start to feel sick would go for a long run to sweat it out.  He rarely got sick.  While this sounds good in theory its not something I ever feel like doing but if you love to run, have at it.  My favorite two ways would be to take a mustard bath, yes you read right a mustard bath.  Check out Dr. Singha's mustard bath http://drsingha.com.  Not only are they great for general detox they are very effective for when and if respiratory yuck hits.  Another favorite would be an infared sauna.  Infared saunas get deeper into the cells of the body thus giving you a deeper detox and helping you sweat even more.  I am getting one for Christmas and will keep you all posted on the first hand benefits.
    Third support your liver.   There are multiple ways to cleanse the liver.  First there are multiple herbs such as dandelion root, yellow dock and milk thistle.  There are also supplements that combine different herbs to give you a synergistic effect.  My favorite supplement for detoxing the liver is lecithin.  Typically lecithin is derived from soy but if you are like me and don't tolerate soy Now brand makes a lecithin from sunflowers that works great.  Coffee enemas are another great way to detox the liver and colon.
     My last suggestion is just to crawl in bed and take a nap.  Sleep can help in repairing the body.  Sleep can decrease and prevent inflammation.  It also assists with modulating the immune system.  And it just feels good to get enough sleep.
   Hopefully these tips help with those inevitable bad days.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meaty Stuff

    Hope you all had a great weekend.  We are still enjoying weather in the 70s which is unusual here in Oregon.  It was a nice treat for my daughters 11th birthday party yesterday.  
     This recipe is one of my sons favorite meals.   He's a picky eater and tends to eat the same thing over and over again.   This recipe is a way to allow him to be a picky eater and know that he's getting all that he needs.  

Meaty Stuff
1 lb ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
1-2 lbs of diced veggies (I usually throw zucchini, spinach and or kale in the food processor)
1/4 cup of gelatin (I use Great Lakes unflavored gelatin)
1/4 cup of coconut oil
sea salt to taste
Melt coconut oil in pan.   Add turkey and vegetables.  When the meat is about 75% cooked through add the gelatin.  The gelatin will make the meat and vegetables have a slight crunch and provides you with the great collagen joint benefits of gelatin.  Cook meat thoroughly and add sea salt to taste.  Enjoy!
   On an unrelated note if you'd like to read more of my healing journey I did an interview for Eileen's blog phoenixhelix.com.  It can be found at http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2014/10/05/angelas-story/

Friday, October 3, 2014

Feet: Part Two

    Well I received my shoes from Amazon.  I really like the feel of them.  I haven't noticed any huge changes but have noticed that on days I wear them the majority of the day my hips and feet don't really hurt.  Today we will talk about how to go about finding the best shoes.  These are just tips and my recommendation is to find a shoe store with knowledge staff to assist you.  I'm not sure about the rest of the country but here in Oregon I would recommend The Walking Company or The Good Feet store.
    Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. The size of you feet changes so always have you feet measured.
  2. It is good to know if you have high arches, flat feet, wide feet, narrow feet or anywhere in between.  
  3. It is very common to have one foot longer than the other always fit the shoe to your longer foot.   And try on both shoes so you make sure they fit both feet properly. 
  4. In order to find the correct fit make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe without causing the shoe to bulge.  
  5. Make sure to walk around for several minutes in order to get a good feel for them.  Make sure they are comfortable and do not ride up and down on your heel as you walk. 
  6. Shoes should allow the feet to naturally roll slightly inward (pronation) and outward (supination) to help absorb the different forces acting on the body. (Many people have a tendency to under pronate or over pronate)  Finding shoes that can correct this problem can be critical to resolving body mechanics issues.  
  7. Check out this great article from the University of Illinois. Foot types and Shoe buying
  8. Last but not least if you choose to wear heals make sure you have a good massage therapist. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gut Health: The basics

    What a boring title, almost as exciting as feet.  I'll work on making my titles a bit more creative.   As someone who has had their fair share of health issues and as someone who has read extensively on healing I have come to the conclusion that a healthy gut is key to healing.  Wether it be healing from a cold or flu or from an autoimmune disease or even from cancer healing the gut should be the first focus or done in conjunction with treating whatever ails you.
    Why is healing the gut so important?  Scientist estimate between 70%-85% of the immune system is in the gut.  If the gut is not functioning properly or in the best of working order your immune system won't be running as good as it needs and your body won't be able to fight off the virus, infection or whatever.
    Lets first talk about what causes the lining of the gut to break down.  Many factors can and do but the most common and destructive are antibiotics.  Antibiotics wipe out all bacteria both good and bad.  This leaves the gut with an unbalanced amount of good guys versus bad guys.  This provides the perfect breading ground for yeast, parasites, viruses and bad bacteria to take over. This is also known as gut dybosis. Good bacteria are needed to create enzyme secretions that helps the body remove all of the waste from the body.  Beneficial bacteria also break down hormone secretions that discharged from the liver to the small intestine. For instance, if you lack the bacteria to break down estrogen and the intestinal permeability has been altered, now you are reabsorbing estrogens in their original state.  I know this to be true from first hand experience. At the age of 5 my daughter started showing signs of puberty, much too early for any girl.  We put her on a strict GAPS diet and healed her gut.  She will turn eleven next week with no signs of puberty on it way.                                                                                          
      Another cause of gut issues are dietary factors like alcohol, grains, dairy, food allergies and sensitivities.  While foods that contain grains, dairy or the occasional alcoholic drink may not bother some people, there's a growing percentage of people that do have a problem with these foods. Enzymes are needed for the body to properly break down, use and dispose of foods that we eat.  As we age our bodies decrease the amount of enzymes made.   When there is a constant onslaught of these foods that the body can't break down food allergies and sensitivities will appear.
    Other medications can cause the gut to work at less than optimal levels. These medications include over use of antacids, NSAIDs like aspirin, Excedrin, Advil and Tylenol.  These medications are bad because they inflame the intestinal lining and cause a widening of spaces between the cells.
    Other factors also include lifestyle factors like chronic stress, consistently not getting enough sleep, and over activity including working out too much.  In other words, self care is important and should be a priority in your life.
    Our bodies need a healthy mucosa to allow nutrients to pass the barrier while blocking the entry of toxins.  In a healthy small intestine the epithelium maintains tight cell walls. The mucosa is important because it contains components that neutralize any toxins that it comes in contact with.  It also helps  the small intestine absorb vitamins, minerals and enzymes that the body needs.
   Next week we will talk about what test to run to check gut function and what can be done to heal the gut.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kale Chips

    This is for you Carrie.  Years ago Carrie introduced us to kale chips and thus began my and my daughters addiction to kale chips.  Since that day I've been working on perfecting the recipe. I've finally come up with how to make them crispy but not burnt in the least amount of time. 
     First before the recipe let's take a look at the benefits of kale:  
Kale is high in iron, it has more iron than beef
Kale is high in Vitamin K
It is an anti-inflammatory food
Kale is a great detox food since it filled with fiber and sulfur   
It has more calcium than a cup of milk

Kale Chips
1/2 bunch of kale 
olive oil
garlic powder
sea salt

     Preheat oven to 325 for regular or 275 for convection bake oven. Tear kale into bite size pieces removing the stem. Place into a mixing bowl.  Pour a small amount of olive oil on top.  You want enough to cover each piece but not so much that it's dripping off. Sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt.   Then massage the oil, garlic powder and salt into the kale.  Spread kale on a cookie sheet.  In a regular oven bake for 6 minutes then turn off the oven and leave for 10 minutes.  If cooking in a convection bake oven cook 8 minutes then turn off the oven and leave for 10 minutes.  Take out to cool and enjoy.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Feet: Part 1

     Feet. Let's talk about feet.  As a massage therapist I am constantly telling people pay good money for good shoes and a good pillow.  These two things can greatly affect how our bodies work.
    Let's start out with some fun facts about feet.
   -Your feet have 1/4 all the bones in your body-52 bones
   -There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet and they excrete as much as half a pint of moisture each day.  (Yuck)
   - It is not normal for your feet to hurt.
   -There are times when you're walking that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight, and when you're running, it can be three or four times your weight.
    -Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet -- so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
     The overall health and wellbeing of your body starts on the bottom of your feet.  Here, there are millions of touch receptors, which are stimulated each time they make contact with the ground (by standing or walking).  These touch receptors form different patterns, depending on what part of your foot is touching the ground.
   These patterns of stimulation send a signal (message) to the brain as to the position of your body (posture) in space. The brain, acting on these signals, makes continuous micro-adjustments in the position of your body in order to maintain balance and prevent you from falling down. 
     Now imagine your body making these tiny micro adjustments to correct improper feet positions while running and putting 3 or 4 times your weight on them.  Over time this would really affect the proper use of your joints and in turn the proper use of your muscles.            
     When we wear improper shoes, shoes that are too wide, too narrow, not enough arch support, too much arch support and especially high heels our body has to make too many adjustments. 
   Next week we will discuss different types of feet and different foot arches and how to find the correct shoes.  I just ordered these from Amazon yoga sandal  to hopefully correct some minor foot imbalances and hopefully help elevate some knee and hip problems I've been having.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

School is back in session, here come the germs

    Germs by themselves aren't bad, in fact exposure to germs can strengthen the immune system.  Germs become a problem when our immune systems are run down and unable to fight off of the dreaded germ.  Last week my kids came home from school feeling less than great.  I immediately took action.  The first line of defense is to boost and protect the immune system.
    Here's what we did:
    A couple of days before, on a whim, I had brewed a big pot of pau d'arco tea.  I prefer the loose leaf and brew for at least half an hour.  According to the website www.exhibithealth.com pau d'arco tea increases red blood cell counts.  Bernhard Kreher a Munich researcher wrote his doctoral work on the immuno stimulating effects of Pau d’arco and found that the body’s defense system activity increased by more than 48% when Pau d’arco was regularly consumed.  My children enjoy it cold with a little stevia in it.  Honey would work nice too.  
   Next we upped our probiotics.   There are numerous ways beside pill forms to do this such kombucha, fermented foods, yogurt with low sugar.  I prefer the pill form when sickness is knocking at the door to avoid consuming any extra sugars that can feed what ever is trying to invade.
    Two completely free and very important things to do are increasing water intake and getting extra sleep. Proper hydration is key to healthy immune system.   It flushes out any toxins, keeps things moving and keeps our cells hydrated and working properly.  I try to remember to put a pinch of Himalayan sea salt in their (and my) water.  It helps the body's electrolyte system stay balanced by providing the appropriate minerals.  My children know that if they come home feeling less than great it means an early bed time. If you need motivation for getting more sleep here's a great TED talk on the importance of sleep.TED talk-sleep.
   To help the immune system we also began to take homeopathic remedies.   If you don't know much about homeopathy I encourage you to learn more.  Maybe I'll even do a post about them.  The basic principle is that "like cures like".  I really like the brand Professional Complementary Health Formulas.  (I am in no way associated with them).  We took the formulas Immune System Stimulator Drops and Bacterial Immune Stimulator.  
    Just by doing these things my son was back to normal within 48 hours.  My daughter took a little longer and ended up with a lingering cough that we used essential oils for.  We used eucalyptus and lavender oil down her spine.  This really helped her to sleep and helped with congestion.  
   A few other things to do include sweating it out, either through a hot epsom salt bath or even better an infared sauna.  Sweating is great because it not only excretes toxins, it increases your red blood cell count.  It's a natural antibiotic and can actually kill bacteria that  can cause infection through antimicrobial peptides.  Supplements like echinacea and colostrum can boost the immune system.  We are unable to take colostrum due to the dairy content but love Xymogen's IgG 2000 DF. (Again no way affiliated.)  And last but not least good old chicken soup.  Bonus points if its made with homemade bone broth.     
   What else would you add to this list?

Monday, September 22, 2014

This one is for you Deb

     This post if for you, Deb.  I've decided to start this blog at the constant nagging encouragement of my dear friend Deb, who also suffers has been blessed with multiple autoimmune disorders.  And this also goes out to my friend and mentor Carrie who first suggested I start a blog.
    The title of the blog comes from my grandma.  She always use to say "life is hard, then you die".  As a child I didn't really understand what she meant.  As an adult with multiple autoimmune disorders I have come to understand what she meant.  Life is hard and then you die.  And while life is hard, its finding joy, blessings and humor through the hard that makes life worth getting out of bed in the morning.
     This blog is meant to be a place of realness, the imperfections, the bad, the hard, the ugly but also the joy, the fun, the humor in life.  This blog is ultimately dedicated to my grandmother who also suffered from chronic illness but found joy in everyday life, in everyday people.
    I plan to start out writing three days a week.  Monday will cover a new recipe. Wednesday will cover a health topic.  Friday will cover a massage/bodywork topic.  Please let me know if there is a topic you would like covered.