What is happening when your body just hurts all over?
Many patients have non- specific pain in both joints and muscles, have tried anti- inflammatories that work for a bit and then stop, and yet, according to their doctor, are showing no signs of arthritic changes.
The body is a web and symptoms are never in isolation. What else may be happening that will help to diagnose the cause of the chronic inflammation? Interestingly, in the extraction and investigation of the cause, there are 2 possibilities that may contribute to Chronic Inflammation.
Pyrroles are normal by- products of hemoglobin synthesis. Pyrrole disorder is a genetic (but fairly common) over- production of Pyrrole molecules. Pyrroles, in themselves, have no function in the body but they love zinc and B6 and bind to these substrates, pulling them out the body when the pyrroles are excreted. The result of this is a functional deficiency in both zinc and vit B6. Why is this important? Because the depletion of both zinc and vit B6 manifests in some unpleasant signs and symptoms, one of which is Chronic Inflammation.
What are the signs and symptoms of Vit B6 Deficiency?
A vitamin B6 deficiency can, over time, cause symptoms including:
Changes in mood, such as irritability, anxiety and depression
Worsening of PMS symptoms
Symptoms of anemia which may also be associated with iron deficiency or vitB12 deficiency.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers compared blood levels of vitamin B6 and 13 different indicators of inflammation in 2,229 adults enrolled in the Framingham Offspring study.
Although previous studies have linked low blood levels of vitamin B6 with various signs of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), researchers say this is the first large-scale study to look at the relationship between the vitamin and a variety of inflammation indicators.
The results showed that people with the highest overall inflammation score based on the 13 different indicators had the lowest blood levels of vitamin B6.
The reverse was also true. Those who had the highest blood levels of vitamin B6 had the lowest levels of chronic inflammation.
Skin, nails and hair. Zinc deficiency may manifest as acne, eczema, xerosis (dry, scaling skin), seborrheic dermatitis, or alopecia (thin and sparse hair).
White spots on nails
Diminished Vision, smell and taste. …
Compromised Immune system.
Poor Cognitive function
The following is a questionnaire to narrow down any possibility of pyrrole involvement.
If you have mood disorders, alcoholism, OCD or are bipolar, there is a possibility you have problems with pyrroles. However, signs and symptoms of B6 or zinc deficiency may not mean you have pyrroles in the urine but it is a good idea to check out any low nutrient status .
Both Pyrolurea and nutrient deficiencies are easily corrected.
___ ___ Do you sunburn easily? Do you have fair or pale skin?
___ ___ Do you react poorly to stress and avoid stressful situations?
___ ___ Do you have poor dream recall or only nightmares?
___ ___ Is it hard to recall what you’ve just read?
___ ___ Are you anemic or easily fatigue
___ ___ Are your eyes sensitive to bright lights?
___ ___ Do you sneeze in sunlight?
___ ___ Do you get frequent colds or infections?
___ ___ Are there white spots on your fingernails?
___ ___ Are you prone to acne, dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis?
___ ___ Do you have stretch marks on your abdomen or thighs?
___ ___ Do you prefer not to eat breakfast or even experience light
nausea in the morning?
___ ___ Are there severe mood problems, ADHD, mental illness, or
alcoholism in your family?
___ ___ Is your hair thin and sparse or do you have prematurely gray
___ ___ Have you been described as anti- social?
___ ___ Did you reach puberty earlier or later than normal?
___ ___ Do you frequently feel anxious or unreasonably fearful?
___ ___ Do you have frequent headaches?
___ ___ Do loud noises bother you? May also relate to a magnesium deficiency.
___ ___ Have you noticed a sweet fruity smell to your breath or sweat when ill or stressed?
___ ___ Do you have a poor appetite or a poor sense of taste?
___ ___ Do you have any upper abdominal pain? Do you easily get a stitch when running?
___ ___ Do your knees creak when bending or ache?
___ ___ Does criticism offend you?
___ ___ Do you have frequent mood swings and/or severe PMS?
___ ___ Do you tend to carry excess fat in your lower extremities (a pear-shaped figure)?
If you answered yes to more than 8 of the symptoms, it is worth investigating further. In this day and age, the possibility of simply being nutrient deficient, rather than having Kryptopyrrolia, is very possible but the impact of untreated nutrient deficiency grows as we age and some small changes to diet, as well as adding carefully chosen supplements is very do-able.
Food is medicine and the right nutrients, from a good diet, go a long way in supporting the body to begin the healing process itself. However, often when I discuss this with my patients, they express the impression that healthy food is so expensive. This is a myth. Healthy food is only expensive if you add it on top of all the unhealthy snacks and treats we consume in our day but if you take into account the following tips for healthy eating, in fact, changing your diet away from food that diminishes health to that which enhances, will also save you money.
Many convenience foods include a heavy markup in the final price. Convenience foods are packaged in boxes and containers that require their own manufacture, printing, labeling and marketing. When you are faced with an array of 20 different breakfast cereals, each one vying for your attention and each with its own marketing strategy, you can be sure that you are paying for that marketing. To top it all, we have the wool pulled over our eyes with labels like ‘9 vitamins added’ when the quantity of vitamin is barely more than a wave over the manufacturing vat.
The True Cost of Convenience.
All those special designer coffees, take away’s, readymade convenience meals in their special, microwavable containers, are not only expensive but take their toll on our health and energy. If I could factor in the true cost of poor meals, in time away from work, visits to the GP or specialist, extra money when we go over our medical aid threshold, the cost of the food would be astronomical. Pain is masked with prescription drugs. Energy is lifted using temporary energy drinks, or high sugar ‘Energade’ that lifts one temporarily, only for us to crash an hour later, requiring another take away cappuccino. All hidden drains on our finances.
Another factor to consider is the cost to the economy. Feeling sluggish, with brain fog, migraines and poor health also affects productivity. Companies have to take this into consideration. Many do, with Wellness Centre’s and health care professionals on the premises but people use these Centre’s when they are ALREADY feeling unwell. How much better for productivity if employees never needed these Centre’s because staff felt well and vibrant.
The only benefit to readymade food is the time we save, but how much of that time we feel we do not have, is a result of the vicious cycle of low energy that results from… a poor diet. We work all day and come home starving and want to just crash in front of the TV. Often our family life suffers because communication plummets with our children. They are also in front of the box, or behind their cell phones. Children too have lost their energy to play and interact, because a poor diet saps them as well. Is this really ‘living’ or just existing on that hamster wheel with no joy and no motivation to go out and try interesting and special activities.
The price we pay is larger than we think and it becomes a downward spiral, that requires more and more effort to get out of, like swimming against the current.
We do not need to spend more to eat healthy!
Even if time and money aren’t on your side, you can still eat healthy. This is one of the most common misconceptions I hear. I understand the challenges of trying to eat well with limited financial resources, limited time, or both. But you don’t have to be rich or retired to eat well and take care of yourself.
Good quality, healthy food need not take time to make, nor cost a lot. We don’t need to cook with ‘special’ ingredients.
The top items purchased in supermarkets are:
These are all addictive substances. Just giving up, or even cutting back on the above, will substantially free up funds for healthy food.
Healthy food is also very accessible. Shop in the outside aisles of the supermarket, or even better, get a group of office friends together and order online from an organic veggie market that will deliver. Then you can divide the produce between all of you.
Preparing healthy food, with the right equipment, is super easy. A steamer does your veggies for you. Then a quick turn in the frying pan, in a dab of butter with spices, will add a delicious flavour and take less time than waiting for the pizza delivery. Sauces can be made in bulk over the weekend and will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge. Have 10 recipes on hand, that you can easily rotate, that require only small tweaks to feed you and your family during the week. Over the weekend you can be more adventurous. Preparing large quantities of a delicious chicken casserole that can be stored in smaller containers in the freezer will also save time and energy
Ideas for budget healthy cooking
Keep a journal for a week. Record what you eat and the costs for 1 week. Add everything. At the end of the week, review what you must have and the cost and what you can do without, and what you will save. This will be an enlightening experience.
Choose a few items from your journal that you can do without. For example, don’t buy that convenience coffee every day — these add up to R100’s a year! Extrapolate the costs of these items over a year to see what you will save by eliminating them.
Buy in season. Local is better Order from local markets who will deliver. Form a veggie group with a few friends in your office.
Learn the Dirty Dozen. Organic and grass fed is more expensive and sometimes there is no firm guarantee you are indeed getting organic but the more you can, the more you will avoid GMOs and have better health. To learn the most and least pesticide-ridden foods, visit this link.
Frequent family owned grocery stores. Search out cheaper sources of fresh, whole foods in your neighborhood. Support the small businessman. It may appear that his food is more expensive but it is putting the circle of money where it belongs, within your own neighborhood and not in big corporate hands.
.Keep some essentials on hand. Develop around 10 easy, cost effective and healthy meal plans you can rotate. Have the ingredients available at home at all times so you don’t get stuck eating food that doesn’t make you feel well or help you create the health you want. You will only need to plan this once.
Create a “food club”. Have coworkers share the responsibility of making lunch for the group once a week or every two weeks. You get to eat real, home made, fresh food and only have to cook a few times a month. Or create a “supper club” with a group of friends; rather than go out to dinner, once a week or once a month rotate dinner parties at one another’s homes. Sociable and healthy. Swap recipes to build your recipe base.
Buy some items in bulk. Certain items keep well and are cheaper in bulk, such as rice, some spices and coconut for example
Make your own salad dressing with lemon juice, olive oil and spices. Far cheaper, tastier and more healthy than the store bought one that is full of MSG and other preservatives.
Cut up the salad ingredients every weekend and store in glass containers in the fridge. Then all that is left is to toss in the lettuce. Add colourful fruit to your salad. Pears, naartjies and well washed strawberries.
Change your breakfast ideas. Eating cereal just because it is convenient is very unhealthy. Consider a new breakfast mindset with brown rice and lentils for example or oats and nuts. Oats make an easy breakfast. (not instant oats). Either make a large pot for the week, or cook as needed, in the microwave with cinnamon, raisins and apple.
Protein does not always mean meat. Beans and lentils are nutritious and easy to make in advance. Be cautious of tinned beans as many are loaded with sugar. Both keep well in the fridge and can be added to precooked brown rice for a quick, super healthy, breakfast.
Make soups in advance. In winter, slow simmer a large pot of ‘everything colourful you can add’. Either divide and freeze or keep in the fridge and serve a small bowl daily, to cut your hunger while you wait for dinner to cook. This will prevent the tendency to eat biscuits and unhealthy snacks because you arrive home starving.
Make double of everything. Most foods, except for fish, will store well for 3 days in the fridge. Make double quantities and either freeze or eat 2 days later.
Share quick healthy recipes with your friends. Start a competition for the most healthy, with quick and easy as a criterion.
Many patients come to me with dry, itchy skin, cracked heels and flaking nails. The first question I ask is, ‘What does your diet look like?’ and almost invariably, their diet consists of highly processed foods, foods cooked in sunflower or canola oil, take away foods, and the occasional salad or vegetable. Alternatively, the opposite is true. The patient has removed all fat from their diet in an attempt to lose weight and the result, in both case, is problematic.
Our body needs good quality fat to function optimally. Every single one of our approximately 100 trillion cells, is surrounded by a fatty membrane. In addition, the precursor to our hormones, is cholesterol, so a balance between saturated fats and Omega 3, with minimal omega 6, (with the exception of omega 6 oils such as evening primrose), is essential for health.
So how do you know if your body is not getting enough good quality fat?
Dry skin and cracked heels
Inflamed and painful joints
Dry, flaky nails
Hard ear wax
Small bumps on the backs of your arms
Memory and mood problems
Poor stress management
While the body is an interconnected web and some of the conditions mentioned have a cascade of other contributory factors, low and poor quality fat intake is a player in poor health, in contrast to the outdated belief that fat is bad for you.
Not one of us would consider building our house using poor quality bricks and cement and yet we continue to feed our body with food that ultimately leads to poor health and in some cases, catastrophic challenges such as cancer. Far better is developing a practice of feeding the body with high quality materials that will result in prompt and efficient repair, high energy and efficient cellular communication.
Poor quality fats result in a cell membrane that is stiff and rigid and not soft and fluid. A fluid membrane allows the transference of nutrients, vitamins and hormones that assist the cell metabolism. In contrast, when the membrane is rigid and inflexible, the receptor sites are distorted and do not offer docking sites conducive to efficient transfer.
In addition to that, because communication between cells is poor, this increases susceptibility to inflammation, immune problems and DNA damage, as necessary vitamins and minerals are also prevented from reaching their targets. Consuming healthy fats also helps us absorb the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
What foods must I avoid
Processed foods. These contain cheap fats, high levels of omega 6 and trans fats
Please see the following article on oils and fats used in processed foods.
Deep fried take away and commercial foods.
We all love that heady smell of take- away chips. That delicious aroma of salt with a touch of vinegar, crispy edges, soft inside. Yum. Or what about that quick mid afternoon snack of crisp chips, purchased from the vending machine or the company kiosk.
Aside from the sublime eating pleasure, what are we really putting inside our body and is it worth it?
A few years ago, we were told that saturated fats were lethal for heart health and that margarine or ‘heart healthy’ tubs of spread were suddenly a healthier choice. Food manufacturers were delighted with this. Liquid fats such as sunflower oil, corn oil and canola oil are cheaper than butter and coconut oil but the downside to these liquid fats, is that they destabilize and deteriorate quickly. Light and heat negatively affect their chemical structure. To stabilize these oils, manufacturers ‘hydrogenated’ them (combined them with hydrogen atoms using a nickel catalyst) and lo and behold.. a longer shelf life. However, this process produced trans-fats which are deadly to health. There are no safe minimal levels to trans-fats and as consumers have become aware of this, manufacturers have been forced to re-look at the way they produce their processed foods. Many processed foods such as biscuits, popcorn, frozen pies, pizza, coffee creamers and many others, still contain hydrogenated fats and margarine. Indeed margarine is still sold as a ‘healthy’ alternative to butter in spite of undisputed evidence that it is not healthy at all. On the contrary, it is downright risky.
Now few people are unaware of the dangers of trans-fat. We look for labels that state, NO trans-fats and we believe we are doing the right thing. We use sunflower oil to fry at home and because sunflower seeds are plants, we again believe we are making healthy choices. Butter bad, sunflower oil good!
Some manufacturers have reverted back to the liquid, more unstable fats and this is where the ‘hidden’ dangers lie.
Buying deep fried ‘slap’ chips for example.
The oil in the deep fryers is re-used repeatedly and the degraded oils have health as well as practical disadvantages. One of the practical disadvantages is a ‘mist’ of polymers that clings, like a varnish, to stoves, extractors and even the clothes and hair of the cooks.
Health-wise, the aldehyde, caused by the chemical breakdown, is extremely toxic and has been cited in scientific journals as being responsible for several diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So even though manufacturers are eliminating trans-fats, the alternatives with deep fried foods, is not much better.
What alternative is now emerging?
The latest oil for frying is high in Omega 9. (That’s sounds better we think) We see combinations of omega 3, 6 and 9 in the health shops. Surely this is a healthier alternative. But is it?
Sadly, at high heat, omega 9 (including olive oil) denatures into acrolein, (acrylamides) a strong smelling, possibly carcinogenic aldehyde that irritates the eyes and respiratory tract. The oxidised monomeric triglycerides produced at high heat have also been linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Every time the oil is reheated, it breaks down still further and oils in factory settings are sometimes reused for up to 2 weeks. That is a lot of breakdown happening.
That is not the only assault to our health. The oils used are also treated to make them acceptable for commercial use. They are certainly not gently pressed and virgin, as we would hope from our salad oil. They are known rather as RBD oils. RBD stands for refined, bleached and deodorised.
This process involves the seeds being crushed and the oil extracted using solvents such as hexane. Then more chemicals are used to remove as much of the solvent as they can from the residue (not all is removed). The result leaves a bit of a gummy residue, which is then ‘degummed’ using acids or enzymes. At this point the oil is already hot and breakdown has begun.
Oh yes… and now it’s a bit smelly and not very appetizing so now the process of bleaching and deodorizing starts, using clay and then heating it to very high heat, at least twice, to get rid of the smell. ( I am smelling a rat by now!)
Food manufacturers also add chemicals to the oils to extend the ‘fry life’. Some of these are the same chemicals that are added to resins and varnish. One of these is actually the same chemical, propylene glycol, you put in your car as anti -freeze. After that, an antifoaming agent is added (a type of silicon called polydimetholsiloxane) plus an anti-splatter (Lecithin.) (Whew, I recognise that name, thank goodness.)
Oh yes, I forgot. Now there is an emulsifier added and sometimes filters are used such as silica, bentonite and perlite, to filter out the gunk from the previous day.
Deep fried commercial foods include: chicken nuggets doughnuts, chicken Kiev, yet when I looked on the label, none of the above was mentioned. This is because they are ‘processing aids’ and not additives, and therefore there is no legal requirement to mention them, but they certainly do not evaporate into thin air once the food is on my plate, about to enter my body.
In the US, the acrylamide produced by the high heat has been classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a ‘probable carcinogen’, especially to children. Crisps and chips have been identified as the biggest source of acrylamide in the diet of children.
Take Away Point We all love these convenience foods but the impact on health can be profound. I suggest you have a ‘food holiday’ once a month, where you allow yourself a day of enjoying the foods you love, but have abstained from for the month. You will possibly find that your enjoyment of them changes over time but if you really feel like a ‘cheat’ from health, you know there is a day allocated to enjoy them.
What shall I add to my diet?
Omega 3. Around 2g per day. Alternatively, add sardines and other small oily fish such as herring. Salmon is wonderful for Omega 3 but sadly most salmon is farmed and full of mercury. omega-3s, help lower levels of bad fats (triglycerides) and raise levels of good fats (HDL). Omega-3 fats make blood more slippery, reducing the likelihood of artery disease.
Healthy Omega 6 from whole nuts and seeds such as Brazil nuts
Organic ground Flax seeds or flax seed oil. Add the oil to your salad. Do not heat either olive oil or Flax oil
Coconut oil for cooking or frying. Coconut oil has beneficial medium chain triglycerides. Organic butter from grass fed cows is very beneficial. Use ghee if you are sensitive to dairy. Butter also does not denature at high heat as oils do.
Drinking water is the first action we can take that will make a huge difference to our health.
1. Water helps the kidneys to clean out metabolic toxins. An unhealthy, overweight body leads to a greater toxic load on the kidneys. Water flushes this out, keeping kidneys functioning. 2. Toxic overload on the kidneys means the liver must take up the slack. As the liver’s role is to metabolize stored fat, it cannot perform this function fully if it is also handling the toxins the kidney cannot deal with. 3. A poor water intake leads to constipation and an accumulation of toxins that leach back into the system, resulting in sluggishness, bad breath and again, an overloaded liver. 4. Water prevents fluid retention. If salt intake is too high, the body will retain water to dilute the salt. In addition, if water intake is too low, the body will perceive this as a survival problem and retain every drop it can. This leads to misleading weight gain, as well as swollen ankles and legs. 5. Water assists muscles to function optimally. The greater the muscle performance, as well as the higher the muscle mass, the higher will be the basal metabolic rate. 6. Water helps to alleviate headaches caused by dehydration. 7. Water improves the tone of your skin. 8. Water dilutes the concentration of cancer-causing agents in the urine and shortens the time in which they are in contact with the bladder lining. 9. Water lubricates your joints and reduces joint stiffness and pain. 10. It helps to suppress the appetite by offering a calorie free option to ingest instead of food.
How much water is enough?
We need to drink between 8 – 10 glasses of water per day. The easiest measure of whether we are drinking enough is to always ensure that our urine is clear or a very pale yellow, with no odor. Don’t wait till you feel thirsty. We may be desensitized to the sensation of thirst, so drink water anyway. If you are trying to lose weight, drink a glass of water an hour before each meal.
Wine and cooldrinks do not count!.
What about cool drinks and fruit juice?
All juices, including fruit juices, will just make you fatter without adding even one, tiny smidgen of benefit to your body.
8 Reasons to give up cool drinks and fruit juice
1. Juices, including fruit juices are LOADED with sucrose and high frutose corn syrup. They are poison to your system and although fructose has been touted as being a healthier choice, this is a myth of epic proportion. Fructose is particularly bad if you are trying to lose weight or if you are diabetic. Giving even diluted fruit juice to your children will not only result in them developing the taste for the sweetened fluids, but will start, at an early age, the liver degeneration that fructose brings with it. The most ubiquitous form of fructose found in foods and drinks is ‘’high fructose corn syrup’’. Sugar and HFCS are not equivalent in the body. Using HFCS, which is sweeter than sugar (and cheaper as well), beverage manufacturers add what amounts to 17 spoons of sugar to a can of cool drink. This adds up to a staggering amount of sugar.
In addition: – As there is no chemical bond between the sucrose and the fructose in HFCS, the body does not actually have to digest them and so the sucrose impacts directly on the insulin, resulting in huge spikes of insulin, and the fructose goes directly to the liver triggering lypogenesis, which is the formation of fat and cholesterol. When an overload of fructose is repeatedly sent to the liver to be metabolized, it causes cirrhosis of the liver similar to that of chronic alcoholics. – Fructose from HFCS also erodes the lining of the intestines, leaving small holes where toxins and partially digested proteins that should remain in the gut, are now able to flow out into the blood stream, leading to inflammation and allergic responses. – Fructose neither stimulates insulin, nor Leptin, therefore does not help regulate appetite, which is handled by these hormones. – Fructose, from fruit, has a similar response in the body as does HFCS but this is minimal if we eat the fruit whole and do not just drink the fibreless juice.
3. Drinking a can of fizzy cool drink a day can accumulate to an added pound of fat a month and studies have shown that people who drink diet drinks do not lose weight. The chemicals in these drinks cause a cascade of hormonal and physiological responses that can actually lead to weight gain. Naturally the reverse will also apply. If you drink regular cool drinks and you make the decision to stop and drink water instead, you will exponentially accelerate your weight loss. A can of cool drink can contain anything between 90 and 150 calories per drink.
4. Canned and other sugar based drinks ( including the tonic in our G and T ), are highly acidic. As a result they cause more tooth cavities than eating sweets. As well as this, the high acidity leads to increased risk of osteoporosis. The higher the percentage of phosphates in the cool drink, the lower the level of calcium. Calcium and phosphate are inversely related to each other. The higher the intake of phosphates, the more the body will pull calcium from the bones to try and supplement the calcium deficit. Canned drinks are very high in phosphates.
5.High phosphoric acid in canned drinks promotes kidney stone formation
6. Research has also shown that drinking more than 1 soft drink a day is associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome describes a group of symptoms such as elevated cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, central obesity or low levels of LDL, (good cholesterol). Having 3 or more of these symptoms increases your risk of developing diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.
7. A high intake of sugar leads to an increased risk of early breast cancer.
8. Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder
May I swap to sugar free cool drinks?
Sadly the answer to this is NO!
Sugar free cool drinks contain aspartame or similar chemicals. The aspartate in aspatame is a neurotoxin that actually kills off neurons. Long term use of any product containing aspartame may lead to chronic conditions such as: • Memory loss • Epilepsy • Multiple sclerosis • Parkinson’s disease • Neuroendocrine disorders • Aggravation of diabetes • hypertension
Aspartame also causes increased levels of phenylalanine, leading to decreased serotonin. This causes emotional disorders such as depression, as well as schizophrenia and seizures in sensitive people. Furthermore, the ester bond in aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde and methanol, Of even greater concern is the fact that a 1litre aspartame sweetened beverage contains about 56mg of ‘methanol’. The US Environmental Protection Agency states that methanol is considered a poison and limits the consumption to 7.8mg per day. If one adds all the hidden aspartame laden products such as chewing gum and diet foods, it is possible to consume as much as 250mg of aspartame daily. The symptoms of methanol poisoning include: • Vision disturbances • Headaches • Nausea and stomach upsets • Muscle weakness • Memory lapses • Behavioural disturbances All artificial sweeteners have a similar reaction in the body. It does not matter what the manufacturers call them! A healthy alternative is a plant called Stevia but even Stevia will decrease your sensitivity to insulin so save it for special occasions.
Some interesting facts about water usage.
• A bath uses about 90litres of water • A shower for 5 min about 40 litres • Running water while brushing teeth 10litres • Toilet: each flush 15litres
It takes: • 10 Litres water to make a sheet of paper • 40 Litres to make a loaf of bread • 140 Litres to make a cup of coffee • 1300 Litres to make a kilogram of wheat • 4800 Litres to make a kg of pork • 10855 Litres to make a pair of jeans • 15500 to make a kg of beef • 16600 to make a kg of leather
We would save more water not eating a kg of beef than we would if we choose not to shower for 6 months!
What about my coffee?
Coffee, in particular the caffeine contained within, stimulates the central nervous system and is a wonderful beverage if we are feeling sluggish and need a wake up and in moderate quantities, coffee is considered to be reasonably safe but drinking coffee does have several health risks worth knowing. • Caffeine is addictive • Over 1000 chemicals can be found in roasted coffee and at least 19 of these are known to cause cancer in rodents. • Coffee can damage the lining of the gastro intestinal organs, resulting in gastritis and ulcers • Caffeine in coffee can cause anxiety and irritability as well as sleep disorders • Certain chemicals in coffee have been shown to raise the levels of LDL, thus raising cholesterol. • Caffeine in coffee is able to cross the placental barrier and affect unborn babies, whose systems are unable to excrete the chemicals as adult systems can. • Heavy coffee drinking during pregnancy has been linked to a greater incidence of stillbirths • Coffee causes an increase in homocystein levels. Homocystein is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. • Caffeine increases the levels of cortisol in the body and increased cortisol is linked to increased visceral fat. • Caffeine dehydrates the body, increasing the effects of skin wrinkles and ageing • Some studies have linked coffee drinking with an increase in hypertension. • Coffee affects the absorption of iron • Examples of other products that contain caffeine are tea, cola, chocolate, red bull • Caffeine saturates all body tissues and fluids, including breast milk. The half-life of caffeine is 4-6 hours. • The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea varies based on brewing times and methods. General guidelines for beverage caffeine content include the following: • Brewed coffee (8 oz) – 120 mg • Instant coffee (8 oz) – 70 mg • Iced tea (8 oz) – 60 mg • Hot tea (8 oz) – 60 mg • Caffeinated soft drink (12 oz) – 50 mg
Well, at least may I have some alcohol!
Moderate (2-3 glasses a week) use of alcohol can be a pleasant, generally safe experience but long term or excessive use of alcohol can lead to:
• Liver damage such as cirrhosis or alcoholic hepatitis. • Increased risk of cancer in multiple organs • It increases the risk of cardiovascular events by causing a deterioration of the heart muscle as well as raising blood pressure, blood lipids and risk of stroke. • It compromises the immune system • Causes physical abnormalities in the developing fetus • It leads to sleep disorders • It drains vitamins • Alcohol offers no benefit to the body in terms of nutrition • It is ONLY a source of empty calories. Even the anti oxidant effects are outweighed by the systemic damage.
Fibre is what cleans out the lower intestines and adds bulk to food. The best news about fibre is that:
• It helps keep you full
• It contributes no calories to your meal
• Helps you lose weight faster
• By helping your body transport fat and calories through your digestive system, it causes some calories and fat to be excreted in your faeces.
• Soluble fibre coats the intestines, reducing the amount of fat absorbed.
• It takes longer to eat.
• It moves food quickly through the lower intestines, minimising the time toxins remain in the system
• Helps prevent constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticulitis
• It helps to balance cholesterol levels
• It slows the impact of carbohydrates, preventing sugar cravings and insulin spikes
• It lowers risk of developing colo-rectal cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.
• Leads to a more efficient absorption of water and minerals
Generally between 18g to 24grams of fibre are beneficial, with 25g –30g being optimal. It is found in bran, psyllium, vegetables, pulses, lentils and oats. When fibre is added to a diet, weight will begin to go down while the converse is also true, when refined foods are eaten, weight will either remain high or begin to climb. Initially though, if you are used to more refined foods and you swap to high fibre, you may experience some windiness. This is because fibre is fermented in the large intestines by the bacteria living there and this process produces methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. These side effects, while initially uncomfortable, are just part of the transition process and will settle as your diet improves. Introduce fibre more slowly into your diet and this will minimise the problem. Sometimes, as soon as we ingest more fibre, we become constipated. This usually happens if we are not drinking enough water. You can avoid this by increasing your water intake.
Soluble and insoluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre is the husk type fibre. This acts like a broom and ‘sweeps’ the colon clean. It can sweep quite quickly so we need the soluble fibre to slow it down. Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel like colloid in the stomach. This slows down the time it takes the stomach to empty and this contributes to how soluble fibre decreases the glycemic impact of the meal. The food enters the intestines more slowly and from there, more slowly into the blood. Without the carbohydrate sugars spiking in the blood, the insulin also rises more slowly.
• Introduce the fibre slowly, over a four-week period.
• Vary your intake of veggies and fruits.
• Stay away from all processed foods. These do not benefit the body in any way.
• Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
If you are being treated for any health disorder, please check with your doctor before beginning a high fibre diet.
Do not overdose on fibre. Too much may cause the body to become depleted in minerals and vitamins.
Foods that are rich in fibre include fruits, vegetables, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, whole meal bread, nuts, seeds, and bran. Foods that are high in soluble fibre are fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, and outs. Foods high in insoluble fibre are: whole meal bread, brown rice, fruits, and vegetables. It is best to eat a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre.
Some interesting facts about your colon, called your large intestines.
• It is about 6 feet long
• It serves to dehydrate liquid waste material
• Your appendix is attached to your colon
• Your rectum is a storage pouch that retains feces until your large intestines contract to expel the contents.
• Your colon is contracting all the time in moves called peristalsis.
• Your emotional state affects your colon health.
• While 90% of the water you take in is absorbed by the small intestines your colon also has special cells that reabsorb water and some nutrients, as well as cells that release mucous that lubricates the large intestines.
• When waste material moves through the bowel too quickly for water to be reabsorbed, you will experience diarrhea.
When waste travels too slowly, too much water is absorbed, leading to constipation. Constipation leads to the development of little pouches in the colon wall, called diverticuli. Small bits of old feces can get lodged within these pouches, leading to diverticulitis and other problems.
Causes of constipation
• Sporadic, small meals that do not elicit peristaltic contraction of the intestines
• Not excreting when you feel the urge to do so.
• Poor water intake
• Poor fibre intake
• Poor intestinal health
• Eat 3-4 larger meals during the day, not 5 smaller meals. This promotes the stretch receptors in the stomach, which, in turn, trigger peristalsis
• Do not suppress or delay the urge to go. The longer the waste remains in your bowel, the more water will be absorbed from it. In addition, the toxins will also be reabsorbed.
• Drink lots of water
• Consume plenty of fibre rich food
• Consume healthy fats, particularly omega 3.
• Maintain healthy bacteria in your intestines by taking probiotics
• Maintain low stress levels
Insulin Resistance and BellyFat
In a normal metabolism, when we consume carbohydrates, the pancreas will release insulin that carries the glucose (broken down carbohydrates), into the cells to be used for energy output.
When the body has been exposed to prolonged, excessive carbohydrate intake, and the pancreas has had to pour out increased loads of insulin, eventually the cells become less and less sensitive to the insulin and will no longer allow the insulin to carry the glucose into the cells. The result is that there are high levels of insulin in the blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. This condition is not yet diabetes but left untreated, may become type 2 diabetes.
If the insulin cannot carry the glucose into the cells, the body senses that there is too much sugar in the blood and the pancreas produces yet more insulin, eventually wearing itself out, much like constantly revving your car engine. This becomes Type 2 diabetes.
High levels of insulin, even before the official diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, has far reaching and damaging effects on the body.
Insulin resistance plays a role in the following conditions.
– increased risk of prostate and breast cancer
– Heart Disease
– Weight gain
– Difficulty losing weight
– Metabolic Syndrome
– Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (infertility)
– Increased triglycerides and decreased HDL
– Affects thyroid health
While factors such as exercise levels and obesity do play a part, not all insulin resistant individuals are obese. Other factors are involved, as greater than 50% of individuals with IRS are not obese, and individuals may have normalized insulin levels while still remaining overweight. The combination of genes and lifestyle may affect the individuals response to insulin. Nutritional intake may play a huge role in either offering some protection against insulin resistance or indeed, propelling an individual towards this. Apparently, the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake varies widely from person to person, with the degree of obesity only one factor, and each individual needs to be assessed with unique response in mind.
It is insufficient to simply look at fasting glucose to measure diabetes risk or status. Other factors need to be measured to fully understand the individual, particularly when the individual is experiencing symptoms such as:
– Belly fat
– Inability to lose weight no matter what the calorie intake
– Thyroid disturbances
– Sugar or carbohydrate cravings
– mid afternoon slump
What to do about it?
Consult a lifestyle coach or Functional Medicine Practitioner. Correcting Insulin Resistance is not a linear approach and each person is different. Certain toxins such as mercury play havoc with Insulin as well as the receptor sites on the cell membrane, for example, as well as mistakes in eating timing and food choice. Some basic minerals such as magnesium deficiency also affect the efficacy of Insulin and the integrity of the receptor site.
Once the status of the individual has been properly assessed, a program of nutritional and vitamin support that will re -sensitise the cells to insulin, plus an exercise regime that may easily be incorporated into the unique lifestyle of that individual, is required. Stress is also a factor in managing insulin resistance, as well as the impact on the thyroid. Success is elusive without a multi- pronged approach.
What can I do immediately, before consulting with a Functional Practitioner?
I recently turned 50 and it was as though I fell off a cliff. One day all was going perfectly with my health and the next, I could barely read a paragraph of my novel without wondering who the people were, let alone study. Measuring my hormones was a revelation. I found I had almost zero Progesterone. Who knows how long this had been dropping off.
I thought I would share the signs and symptoms of low Progesterone with you all… especially those of you who are 45 and older.
If you find you are ticking almost every box, there is hope! While hormones are not to be treated lightly and careful discussion with your doctor is required, as well as time well spent with a Functional Medicine Practitioner or nutritionist, there are several steps you can take for yourself, in order to ameliorate any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Cut out sugars and high GI foods. These inflame the body and make the brain fog, tension, anxiety and hot flushes worse.
Remove alcohol. A moderate intake of alcohol is 3 glasses a week. Anything more than that means the liver has to use up precious detoxification enzymes on neutralising the alcohol when these enzymes are better served helping the body process and remove hormone metabolites. Estrogen dominance occurs when our estrogen levels are high in relation to out progesterone. It is even possible to be Estrogen Dominant with very low levels of Estrogen, simply because we may have even lower levels of Progesterone. Too much Estrogen that is not being metabolised, increases the risks of endometrial and breast cancer.
Eat broccoli and cauliflower. They have a special phytonutrient called Indol-3-carbinol that is very protective against breast cancer.
Add fibre to your diet. A properly functioning gut will eliminate estrogen metabolites.
Add freshly ground flaxseeds for their lignans. Also protective against estrogen metabolites.
Keep your weight down or make a special effort to lose weight. Fat is able to synthesize Estrogen and if one is not eliminating Estrogen metabolites properly, the continual exposure to these metabolites will increase risk of cancer. Click here for a course on weight loss.
Keep Insulin levels down. Insulin promotes cellular proliferation, as does Estrogen and this contributes to increased risk of poor health. See the free lecture on Insulin and how it impacts on your health: Click Here.
Add exercise to your day. Even 10 minutes daily, while you are waiting for the dinner to cook, will positively impact on mood, well being, blood flow, insulin levels and sugar metabolism. Pump up the music and dance or run up and down stairs 10 x, or skip for 3 minutes. These are all activities that require no equipment, just determination.
Signs and Symptoms of Pregesterone Deficiency
· sleep disorders
· irregular menses
· hair loss
· low sex drive
· mood swings
· excessive bleeding
· Thyroid dysfunction or disorders
· Fibrocystic breasts
· Weight gain
· Gallbladder disease
· Low blood sugar
· Panic attacks
· Water retention
· Irregular menstrual cycle
· Blood clots during menstruation
· Magnesium deficiency
· Vaginal dryness
· Breast tenderness
· Muscle cramps, sore muscles
· Dry cracked heels
· Sugar cravings
· Low basal body temperatures
· Cold hands and feet
Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
Dry skin (which can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and brown age spots)
Loss of libido
Low self Esteem
My own experience has a happy ending. I responded very well to a bio-identical Progesterone cream which my doctor and I are continually monitoring.
Discuss the safety profile of synthetic hormones with your doctor. Synthetic hormones have a very poor safety profile, particularly unopposed estrogen, in other words a synthetic estrogen given with no progesterone. If you are on an estrogen replacement, talk to your doctor about adding progesterone (not progestins. These are synthetic and do not have a good safety profile).
Functional medicine looks at the interplay between our genetic inheritance, our lifestyle, stress and our nutritional status with regard to the condition of our health.
Specifically it looks at exactly how the nutrients we are deficient in, the toxins we are exposed to, and the choices in our present diet, may lead to many chronic diseases that never seem to clear no matter what medication we are taking.
We often have an idea we are doing something that is causing ill health but we have no idea what to change. FM offers solutions to the problem and advice on how to implement the solutions. FM does not treat any one specific disease. It turns your body into a fully functioning, healthy system and the chronic diseases tend to take care of themselves within the healthy body.
Functional Medicine investigates the underlying cause of the dysfunction as opposed to just suppressing symptoms.
i. It’s the difference between turning off the stove and just putting a lid on a boiling pot. ii. It’s the difference between treating the fire instead of blowing away the smoke.
FM is based on the cell and its function within an entire system no matter where that cell lies – whether it’s in your brain, your heart, or your bones. To create and maintain a healthy cell, we ask two questions.
i. What do you need more of – real food, sleep, exercise, nutrients, etc. ii. What do you need less of – medications, stress, alcohol, toxins, allergens, food allergens etc.
Five common things that make us sick are toxins, diet, stress, allergies, and infections. We help you rebuild your system just like we would rebuild a city, using basic building blocks.
We need quality raw materials to build an infrastructure, and we need access to a power plant – (healthy mitochondria). We need your cells to be able to communicate with each other (healthy hormones) and we want to be sure your cells have a sewage system. We need an effective transport system to bring in raw material and get rid of rubble (vascular and lymphatic) and we need to protect our city with good defenses. (Immune System)
In FM we investigate the sources of your poor health. Are your cells protecting you from the outside? Or maybe are they attacking you themselves. What are you doing to nurture yourself (one of the most important things we can do for our health)? Where are your weak points and where do you need to reinforce.
We want to know about YOU. What went on during your childhood, your family history, your life patterns? All those are factors that affect how you are doing today.
We want to know what you do to chill out and how you create movement in your life.What you eat and drink and what you are doing for love and meaning in your life. We don’t focus on your disease, we focus on you and creating a vibrant, health ‘you’.