Curing My Colon

Last post was my personal gastrointestinal story.  Did you come back for more?  Really?  I know.  Forget Freud and his envy idea.  Freud had it all wrong.  I have the real psychological envy theory figured out.  What is it you ask?  Drumroll.  We all desire something actually within our reach.  More drumrolling.  Whether male or female.  Final drumroll.  Colon health.  Yep.  Forget those nether male parts.  I want none of that.  But colon health?  Sure.  A little bit of “colon envy?”  Probably so.

How did I achieve the object of my heart’s desire, colon health?  Let me tell you.  (But let me first remind you that this is a personal story.  It is not intended and should not be used as medical advice.  Eating real food could be dangerous for your health, and I must tell you so for your own good.)

1.  Massive nutritional intervention (aka dietary overhaul):

Did I say massive?  Oh, man.  Was it.  My nutrition has changed so much, I don’t even recognize food served at potlucks and ball parks anymore.  (Our soccer club is begging for parents to work in the concession stand.  Not this mama.  I’d lose sleep if I handed any of that stuff out.)  I started a diet called GAPS and followed it for 18 months before diversifying what I ate.  People really get hung up on names of diets, which I disagree with, but I certainly now know that a person has to have a blueprint to follow to start changing their diets.  I would have failed without a guide. What people eat has become so off base, so unnatural, that we CANNOT see it.  A real food-based diet was key.

So what do I eat?  The bottom line is I eat REAL, unprocessed food and I usually try to avoid grains.  My diet is rich in vegetables (all types but particularly greens), fats (plenty of it), fruits, and fresh meats.  You will find my diet devoid of processed foods, sugar, processed flours, low in grains, and devoid of processed oils like vegetable oil.  Did I mention that my diet was rich in vegetables?  Well, my diet is rich in vegetables.

But diet alone wouldn’t kick the colon and relieve my envious spirit.

2.  Identification of food intolerances:  

I was shocked, appalled, and disgusted when the GAPS introduction diet helped me identify food intolerances for two reasons.  One, I love to eat.  Two, food intolerances seemed so, oh, I don’t know, just so weak and finicky.  (I didn’t like the thought of being that dinner guest.)  For awhile, I told myself the intolerances were just in my head.  But careful exclusion and reintroduction revealed that I had sensitivities to dairy, nuts, coconut, chicken, eggs and certain fruits and vegetables.  I also knew that gluten was problematic too.  Definitely some of those foods slowed my gut down and I had to take them out.  Out.  Out. Out.  Dairy, nuts, gluten, and eggs were worst offenders for me.  (This will lead to my next saga of curing my leaky gut.  Leaky gut leads to food intolerances.)

But diet and removal of problematic foods were not Holy Grails in my colonic development.

3. Experimented with probiotics: 

I have used many types of probiotics and probiotic foods (and drinks).  I don’t always use the same kind.  My gut is moving now with one called Jarrow Ideal Bowel Support (lactobacillus plantarum).  But last fall before I got pregnant, it was moving with VSL #3.  (VSL#3 increases butyrate.)  There was a period where it moved with GI Pro Health’s lactobacillus  acidophilus.  But never could I deviate from my diet and  high dose magnesium.  Some people have success with S. boulardi and soil based organisms, but these didn’t help me when I tried them.  For me, it does seem valuable to drive up the dose to about 40 billion colony forming units daily.  That is usually much higher than the labeled dose.  Probiotics may help decrease inflammation, provide a better environment for the host’s normal bacteria, and may also make metabolites to feed other host bacteria.

Although much improved with diet, intolerance identification, and probiotics, my colon was still in Freudian-like angst.

4.  Removed Mirena IUD:  

I do not recommend this if you REALLY do not want an addition to your family.  (For us–Welcome Baby Girl Number Four!)     But progesterone is known to influence GI peristalsis, so to gain any edge I could, I had my Mirena IUD, which provides a little progesterone, removed.  Incredibly, for about two weeks after the Mirena was out, my gut moved well on its own, only to revert to its usual slow self.  Hormones definitely play a role in constipation.  I hope to have more posts on this later.

Colon health still evaded my pursuits…

5.    Working on GI colon barrier:

The integrity of the GI tract, its bacterial flora, and its mucous layer is important.  If I can help these to be restored, I can decrease chronic inflammation in the gut which could irritate and exacerbate my bowel troubles.  To work on my GI colon barrier I incorporate homemade broths and gelatin into my diet.  I remove known inflammatory foods and foods that I am intolerant to, which would increase inflammation.  I use the probioitics.  Butyrate is known to be anti-inflammatory in the gut, and I started taking that.

Yee-haw.  That just about takes care of it!

6.  Butyrate:

For me, this supplement called butyrate (butyric acid) finally allowed me to stop taking anything for constipation.  Now I have to get off of the butyrate again (like last fall)!  I have loads of posts on butyrate, and although it seems very safe, I still don’t like supplements.  Assuming you have the appropriate bacteria in your colon, you can eat particular foods to increase butyrate production.  After having a baby recently, I have once again resumed butyrate and will try to transition to butyrate-producing foods once again to see if I can be supplement-free for my GI tract like I was briefly last fall!

Colon envy averted.

7.  Other implemented changes that don’t work in isolation but help in a minor way:  

  • Find quiet time to sit without interruptions:  Not an easy task to accomplish but it seems to help.  No TV.  No cleaning.  Just sitting and reading. The gastro-colic reflex is great in the morning, and so getting up early before everybody else and before the stress of the day helps capitalize on this natural reflex.  If I miss this window, I may skip that day.
  • A warm drink in the morning:  It seems to offer a slight nudge.  Caff, decaf, or tea.
  • Feet on a stool to help anatomical alignment:  I used my kids’ little step-stool for a long time.  Then I bought a Squatty Potty, but my step stool was just as good.  Let me tell you, a Squatty Potty or step stool is NOT going to get your bowel MOVING again if you don’t even have urges.  But it may provide better anatomical alignment so that if you have stool in your rectal vault and an urge, it is easier to pass.
  • Large meals rather than grazing:  A large meal stimulates the gastro-colic reflex more than a small snack.  The term gastro-colic reflex refers to the movement of the colon in response to a meal.
  • Cherries:  I hate to mention one food which helps.  For so many years I had to listen to people tell me to just eat prunes, sauerkraut, pickles, or watermelon.  “If that doesn’t do it–you’ve got problems.”  Well, yes I did.  No food ever, ever helped me.  If it had, I would have been content to stop right there.  But this past summer, I found that those large, red cherries actually did help peristalsis.  Of course, bowls of them.  So I tried some dried cherries.  Worked, too.
  • Bowl retraining:  As the rectum and colon are under chronic distention from chronic constipation and stool in the rectal vault, they will “reset” themselves to accommodate more stool.  Thus, it will take even more distention and pressure to make it push stool out the vault.  If you’ve had constipation long enough, you may need to have some bowel retraining, which you can ask your doctor about.  It may require biofeedback exercises and enemas.  Enemas are not good to use routinely.

 

Closing:

Despite my attempts at humor, if constipation is your problem, so much so that you’re considering a colectomy, then I strongly encourage you to ask your doctor if it’s okay to try the things I talk about above.  I know some of you are just about unresponsive to anything.  You may not achieve complete success, but maybe if you can get some of the simple over-the-counter meds working for you again, you might be able to avert a huge surgery.  When I started this journey, I had to take high dose over the counter meds to get my GI tract to move three days later.  Slowly, with these changes, magnesium started working again.  And now, I’m actually confident I’ll be med-free for constipation in the near future.  And along the way, I’ve shed headaches, fatigue, and allergy prescriptions.  I’ve left some things out that I’ve tried since they didn’t seem to contribute greatly, but maybe they did more than I know.  I don’t mind questions.  Good luck.  The best to you.

Remember, this is my story.  Please seek the advice and treatment of a real, live doctor you trust.

Terri

The Unglorious Call to Action

IntestineThat is a personal problem.  Not a medical problem.

Here’s the poop.  No.  No.  I mean scoop.  My call to nutritional voodoo was, well, to say the least, not a glorious one.  Other nutritional blog hosts–oh such extraordinary, amazing recovery stories from horrible illnesses like multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis.  Motivating and inspiring us all to higher eating!  My issue–hmmm.  Right.  Not so inspiring.  Considered by the uninformed to be a personal problem, not a medical problem.  Ah, well.  Even if I arrived in Nutritional Nirvana via a clumsy fall on my derriere, I am here all the same.  My gut is working.  And the pursuit of that goal is pretty much what started this blog.

My History

I’m a 39 year-old female.  I have had chronic constipation all of my life.  Although not a common issue, I can remember twice in high school when I had horrible stomach cramps prompting me to head to the nurse’s office.  On the way, the visceral pain overcame me, and I passed out leaning against the lockers in the hall.  As a sixteen year-old girl I did not make the connection between constipation and these symptoms.  Neither did anyone else!  “You just need to eat more.”  Mmm-kay.  It never dawned on me that my gut was trying to move against a brick and it hurt!  I thought bricks were normal.  I mean, nobody talks about bowel movements at 16!  (I suppose I’m not supposed to talk about them ever.  But since I’m a medical doctor, no orifice or function makes me blush.)

Each decade, my GI function worsened, and I did finally realize in pharmacy school that my gut was abnormal.  The next ten years brought rounds of different fiber preparations (I can make darn tasty desserts with Metamucil wafers), docusate, milk of magnesia, magnesium supplements, suppositories, Miralax, yogurt, probiotics, prunes, shredded wheat (half a box a day), and finally, despite my attempts to only use them sparingly, daily stimulant laxative became required.  Mind you, even with those stimulant laxatives which were needed at doses which would kill a normal human being, my bowel movements still only occurred about every five to ten days and still were not easy to pass.  My gut was slowing down from slow to stop and becoming refractory to everything I knew to try.  I visited several doctors through the years and I always got the same answer:  more fiber and water.  Got a colonoscopy.  Pretty negative.  Got checked for low thyroid and celiac disease.  Negative.

I decided to think outside of the box and took to the wilderness of internet medicine.  Talk about crazy.  How do some of these people say these things without a license?  Guess I’m glad they can because it tipped me off in the right direction, and I embarked on the odd diet called GAPS (at least that founder has a medical license)–before I knew about Paleo which sounds way cooler than GAPS.  (Ha!  Ha!  I actually have landed on a diet which has no name but uses the templates of several diets.)  GAPS helped me identify food intolerances and taught me how to eat a nutrient dense diet.  It got my gut usually responding again to high dose magnesium (Natural Calm), but I don’t think high dose magnesium is good to take for the rest of my life.  So my endeavors persisted.  My goal is NO supplement for my constipation.  For myself, I try to use supplements as a bridge to achieve my health goals.  Once my health goal is achieved, I’d like to try to maintain it with food choices if I can.  However, I recognize there are conditions which will require lifelong dependence on medicines and/or supplements, not to mention declining content of certain nutrients in our food sources.

Achieving Success

This week I’ve lived large, taken a chance, and dropped the magnesium which sustained me through pregnancy.  My gut is working daily!  Back in November 2013, my gut was also working very well daily, and I was set to write this post back then.  I had started butyrate (butyric acid), and although it isn’t supposed to make it to the colon, it worked like a charm on my gut.  My GI tract moved daily and even my stupid food intolerances seemed diminished just in time for Thanksgiving.

But I hate supplements (please know that I do take some). I wanted to allow my body (I consider those bacteria in my gut to be part of my body.) to make its own butyrate, so  I tried to incorporate green bananas, green plantains, cold potatoes, occasional bites of raw potato and sweet potato, some legumes, and potato starch slurried up in water each night to get my own gut bacteria to make butyrate.  Things were going great.  Just great!  I was able to stop my butyrate and still have the same effects.  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

Then, we were blessed with pregnancy.  Let me rephrase that.  We were blessed with a baby.  Pregnancy is no sleigh ride with jingle bells. (Increased constipation has always been in an issue in pregnancy.  This time was much better.  There was a time at about 14 weeks along where my gut completely stopped and nothing I did made it move.  I got worried, but after a couple of weeks, that lifted and magnesium helped again.)  However, I worked through all the food and supplement aversions and stomached magnesium, which I needed again every single day in excessive doses.  I bid “good-bye” to butyrate and resistant starch foods, which sounded disgusting during this time.  I delivered in July a beautiful, healthy girl.

About two weeks ago, I decided it was again time to get rid of that excessive magnesium and all that it was probably doing to my calcium balance.  Besides that, the magnesium didn’t always work daily.  I decided to take butyrate again and started incorporating resistant starch foods into my diet.  Would the experiment work for me again?  I was nervous since I had proclaimed success with butyrate in fall of 2013.  What if it failed?  I would have reported it, you know.  But I would have felt very stupid because I never want to lead anyone astray.  The experiment for me has successfully repeated itself.  Now all that needs to happen is to continue the resistant starch foods and see if I can taper myself off of the butyrate supplement.

Closing

So you see, mine is not the most glorious nutritional conversion story there is.  But it’s real.  It has convinced me that eating a nutrient dense diet, excluding inflammatory foods, and supporting the body’s bacterial flora is key to health and curing disease.  I am pretty much 100% convinced that this experiment would never have worked two and one-half years ago in the gut that I had then.  I’ve worked very hard and tried a lot of things to rehabilitate my broken colon.  In the next post, I am going to list what I feel has been most important for getting my gut peristalsis in working order.  I will report what worked for me.  Don’t assume that what works for me will work for you.  I want to make sure you seek the advice of your doctor; I don’t want you to overlook serious health conditions because you’ve given up on conventional medicine.  Don’t use my story as medical advice.  That it is not.  This is my story.

~~Terri
Photo credit:

Originally from en.wikipeida.  Author Dflock.  Now public domain.

Play, The Abandoned Requirement of Childhood

A Gourmet Breakfast

Playing in mud

Mud. The friend of play and of white carpet.

I’d like to start our homeschooling school day at 8:30 in the morning.  But, geesh, after I make the gourmet breakfast of spinach quiche, almond flour toast, and poached pears with raspberry sauce, make all the beds, sort and fold up all of the laundry, call my mother, French-braid my daughters’ hair, have coffee with the friend who stopped by for a few minutes and read our daily devotions, it ends up being more like 9:45 in the morning or 10.  I’m a bit ashamed.  I know you all get this done, plus shovel the snow out of the driveway, and still start by 8:45.  Probably because you make your children help you with it.  I know.

I don’t make my children help me with all of this in the morning.  I should.  I know.  They’re going to grow up to be lazy mothers.  But, I get it all done myself so much more quickly if I just let them–

(Shhhh…Let’s whisper this word…I know there are neighbors watching out their windows to see if my kids do school…They’ll report me to the authorities if they see too much of this going on before noon…And then there’ll be a social worker knocking at my door and I’ll have to implement the emergency plan we have for this scenario…Don’t answer the door and pretend you don’t see them or hear them over the screaming baby and the roast cauliflower burning in the smoking oven.)–

PLAY.

At 7:30 in the morning, my kids are either up playing or reading.  Usually the older ones wake up reading, and the younger one soon wakes and begs them to PLAY.  (Shhh.)  And the ten-year old and the eight-year old soon jump right in to a game of Chuggle Monster, One-Two, Super Magic, or Hot Apple.  I’ve never heard of any of those games.  Have you?  Exactly.

Don’t Interrupt Successful Play

A child’s work is play.  Unstructured, honest to goodness play!  Play that does not include me.  I find it very hard to interrupt play time in the morning among my three daughters of different ages when they are getting along so well.  Learning to interact.  Compromising.  Getting along with all ages.  Using their imaginations.  Moving.  Spinning.  Sitting.  Creating.  So I let them play while I do all that cooking and cleaning.  My kids PLAY in the morning, and I let them.  A huge advantage to kids’ play is that you get so much done!  Ok.  Seriously, as much as I want to start school and get it finished early so I have some down time, I adore seeing my kids play.  More than anything, their play reassures me I’m raising happy kids.  At about 9:30 or 9:45 am we get around to doing math, grammar, and the works.

Play is More Than Play

Running up the stairs

No playing tag in the house.

It was Maria Montessori who said, “Play is the work of a child.”  It really is!  Without play, a child does not develop properly physically!  Last week I listened to two optometrists discuss how their optometry academies were recommending that children play outside for one hour a day to lessen nearsightedness!  And yesterday my sister sent me a link about children needing to play in order to help their body strength and vestibular systems to help lessen fidgeting, ADHD, and to promote learning:   Why so many kids can’t sit still in school today.  Do you laugh, cry, or fuss about how far away we have gotten from common sense when it comes to children?  Kids need to play (just like they need REAL food).  I’ve watched kids.  In many, physical strength is sub-par.  They can’t traverse a set of monkey bars.  They can’t climb a tree.

And think about it.  For all that must develop physically as a child, what must be developed socially and psychologically in childhood?  Sharing.  Caring.  Learning to stick up for yourself.  Learning to stick up for others.  Learning when to ask an adult for help.  Brainstorming.  Learning to amuse yourself when bored.  Learning to ask others to join you so you can have more fun.  Learning to ask others if you can join in.  Laughing.  Controlling anger.  I’ve found, you can learn a lot about a child by observing them interact with others in play.  Do you watch your child play with others?  I like to watch mine.  Are they leaders?  Followers?  Likable?  Not likable?  Boasters?  Shy?  Whiners?  Lazy?  Overbearing?  Sneaky?  Patient?  Kind?  Inclusive of all who want to play?

There is no substitute for child’s play.  Kids need to play.  Outside.  With other kids.  Without technology made to amuse them.  (Have you ever had a play date and the kids beg to watch TV or play a video game?  What in the heck?)  And organized sports don’t count in the younger ages.  Lots of kids are shoved into organized activities all year long.  Bad idea.  “Oh, sorry.  Johnny can’t come play because of soccer.”  Next month.  “Oh, sorry.  Johnny can’t come play because of basketball.”  Next month.  “Oh, sorry.  Johnny can’t come play because of baseball.”

Play makes messes.  It is loud.  It takes time away from the school day.  But I think learning how to play is one of the few things that are necessary to be learned in childhood.

Turn off the TV.  Take away the phone.  Put away the iPad.  Ban whatever the video games are called now from your home.  Put out some toys.  Some crafts. Even pillows and blankets are great fun.  Open the door and point to the swing set.  Encourage them to play.  Expect them to play.  Let them play.

Music and foreign languages may be easier to learn as children, but learning how to play tops them all.

I have two questions.  Do people think play has been abandoned?  (Or do they think all this increasing the school day length, decreasing recess time, and increasing organized activities is beneficial?)  And what else do you think is important to be learned at a young age and that may leave large gaps in psychology/emotions/spirituality if not taught or given?

~~Terri

Grandma’s Osterizer and How to Clean It

Osterizer and the Best Way to Clean a Blender

Regarding Second-Hand Appliances

I figure if an appliance has made it to the second-hand vintage store, that means it’s probably not gonna’ break down on you.  It’s proved itself too hardy to be broken, even when thrown carelessly in the back hatch along with other garage-sale toss-offs.  However, you can pretty much count on your brand spankin’ new appliance breaking on a Friday night about 2 days before the warranty expires.  Not happened to you yet?  Just keep buyin’.  It will.  It has me countless times.  I’m a magnet.

She’s a 1960s Beaut!

I have a lovely pea-green Osterizer blender in my kitchen.  It is a favorite in our home.  How did this 40+ (FORTY PLUS) year- old appliance end up in our home?  Well, when my husband and I were both medical residents back in 2004, we decided to branch into this parenthood thing and delightfully earned ourselves a baby nicknamed “The Screamer” by her sitter.  I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to deliver our screaming baby to the arranged childcare situation.  Sometimes, if my husband and I were both on call, she’d be gone for three days.  This child care arrangement wasn’t ideal for many reasons, including that I nursed her (until she was 18 months), and I was chained to the iron pump when she wasn’t around.  So it was decided that my retired mother-in-law would come to live with us to spoil “The Screamer.”  When it came time for introducing food to our screaming baby, my mother-in-law went back to her house and came back with her ugly Osterizer to make baby food.  Boy did I think that thing was hideous!  I mean, come on!  It does not match my kitchen!  However, it has moved along with us ever since, although Grandma ditched us to go back to her own house.  This once-percieved-as-ugly appliance has become a shining star in my eyes.  (Tears, please.)

I have a love affair with “my” Osterizer.  I’ve given away the two blenders given to us as wedding gifts.  When my father-in-law comes, he checks it out for me and orders any necessary gaskets or blades for virtually the cost of shipping and handling.  Then, she runs like new.  Never a problem with her motor.

My sister saw it summarized best somewhere on the internet:  “Vitamix?  Ninja?  No way.  Give me an old Osterizer.”  IF this puppy’s motor ever goes, I’ll be getting on e-Bay and getting another.  It does great for all the challenges I give it.  I’ve never had a Vitamix, so I guess it’s not fair to say it’s better.  But it’s pretty darn good at only a fraction of the cost.  And eats ice like its warm butter.

A Blender Cleaning Tip

And lastly, my sister also saw somewhere how to best clean a blender–you know, way down in the sharp blade part where you darest not go–and it was such a simple, fantastic tip that I wanted to pass it on!  Just fill ‘er up with some water and turn ‘er on!  (Translation just in case:  Fill it up with some water and turn it on.)  So I’ve taken to rinsing out the blender in the sink and then getting the blade clean with her warm water and blend technique.  If I do this, it gets the green smoothie grime out pretty well!

May you have a glowing week!  Let me know–do you have a favorite old appliance that just won’t go away?  I may be in the market for it!

~~Terri

It’s Not Just Food. It’s Chronic Disease.

wpid-IMAG0924.jpgThe age is moving down.  High blood pressure.  High cholesterol.  Obesity.  Diabetes.  In medicine we call these chronic diseases.  Diseases that won’t go away.  Before I left practice, I was seeing many kids with these diseases that don’t go away.  I’m talking junior high boys with obesity and high blood pressure.  What is that?  Let’s see…thirteen years old!  Then I counseled weight loss and more activity, never providing a springboard for success.  Never saying or thinking that most of kids’ calories come from grains which are not necessary components of our diet:  wheat, corn, rice, and oats.  Never thinking or saying that nearly all of these grains are accompanied by sugar of some sort, artificial preservatives, and highly processed, oxidized vegetable oils.  Never suggesting that parents reserve these juiced-up grains for treats rather than every day meal choices.  I never suggested that candy need virtually eliminated, again reserved for real treats rather than handed out daily.  If you think your child doesn’t get (or have the opportunity to get) candy or baked sweet goods nearly every single day outside of your home, I’d ask you to start asking them and recording the opportunities available for them so you have a true picture.  It is ghastly.

Our children need us to be bigger.  Need us to pull up our pants and do the hard stuff.  So they can.  It’s “just food”, doc.  No.  It’s not.  It’s DIABETES.  HYPERTENSION.  OBESITY.  ARTHRITIS.  HEART DISEASE.  STROKES.  DEMENTIA.  ADHD.  GERD.  I am shouting.  Instead of saying it’s “just food,” say it’s any one of these illnesses.  And take out the excessive, repetitious nutrients and add in the good stuff to help eliminate these chronic diseases in kids.

Questions to ask yourself.

1.  Where is my child getting most of her calories?  Is it from bread, buns, crackers, cookies, muffins, bagels, pasta, and cereal?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

2.  Do the flour-based (even if they’re whole grains) products have sugar of some sort in them or artificial preservatives or colors?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

3.  Do you ask your child specifically each day if they had a sugary treat?  At school, such as a sucker, mint, birthday cookie, or Doritos swapped at lunch?  Or at sports practice?  Or at Wednesday night church or Sunday School?  Or the sitter’s house? Or with grandma and grandpa?  The kids answer “yes?”  Don’t shoot the messenger.  It’s just the truth.  This is a set-up for chronic disease.

4.  Have you given up on serving a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits because the kids won’t eat them?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

5. Do you regularly eat out?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

6.  Are you always in a hurry, relying on boxed-food choices?  Yes?  A set-up for chronic disease.

7.  Do you think the vitamins and minerals placed in processed foods are good enough to replace the foods they are naturally found in–foods your kids wpid-IMAG1697.jpg likely don’t like so well?  For example, vitamin D should be found in your fish–not your milk.  And folate should be found in your spinach–not added back to your refined, white flour so you can keep on eating so much of it.  Omega-3s should not be found in your peanut butter.  The photo at right is a peanut butter label with omega-3; they added sardine, anchovy, and tilapia to it.  Nice.

How Can You Fight Chronic Diseases for Your Children?

Shun sugar and sugar sources.  Reserve for real treats.

Limit grain products because the kind you buy at the store have been stripped of any nutrients and all you get are their side effects.  Reserve for real treats.

Become aware of highly processed oils (vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and margarine to name only a few) because they wreak havoc on the cells and functions of the cells in your child’s body.  Eliminate them.  They are found in most all processed foods.

Remove artificial preservatives from your child’s diet.

Dedicate yourself to the endeavor of making them vegetable-eaters.  This is where chronic-disease fighting vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will come from.

Do what you want.  But your children aren’t destined to have chronic diseases.  They are nurtured.  Not natured.  It will take some heavy-duty fighting for the cause.  Are you up to the challenge?  No?  See you at the doctor’s office.

Defy the trend.  It’s not just food.  It’s chronic disease.

~~Terri

 

 

 

Folate Delivery Dressing

I have one more post on folate to share before I leave it behind.  It is a recipe I use to help my family eat more greens,Greens eat good food including the folate-powerhouse spinach.

Goal: 

Eat more folate-rich foods, including greens.

Why:

Some people–maybe you–can’t metabolize the form of folate called folic acid very well.  Folic acid is what is added to most grain-based processed foods and used in most vitamins.  These people do much better with folates found naturally in foods.  Since they don’t metabolize folic acid very well, their bodies are basically functioning on a “folate deficiency” despite adequate intake of folic acid.

So what?

I don’t know.  Which reason do you want?  Folate deficiency may play a role in depression?  Bipolar disorder?  Birth defects?  Anemia?  Atherosclerosis?  Alzheimer’s?  Chronic fatigue syndrome?  Gout?  Hearing loss?  Blood clots?

Although the research on folate’s connection to many of these conditions is not clear-cut, there are some suggestions.  On something as simple as eating real, folate-rich food, I don’t see a need to wait around for the million dollar research study.

Plan:

When it comes to folate, spinach leads the pack.  I use this simple dressing which the kids enjoy to deliver folate-rich greens, including spinach, to my family.

 

Folate Delivery Dressing

1/3 cup of bacon drippings
1/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey or sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Diced onion (may omit)
Salt and pepper to taste
Spinach (or greens of choice)

Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Add the maple syrup and whisk.  Allow to thicken and bubble.  Add apple cider vinegar and whisk again.  Allow it to reduce and thicken a little.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Use the dressing to pour over fresh spinach, tossing to wilt.  Use just enough to coat as desired.  Alternatively, the greens may be added to the pan and cooked a little.

 

warm bacon dressingBottom Line:

Nutrient deficiencies abound.  Not huge deficiencies that can be pointed at directly.  But little micronutrient deficiencies.  Feed yourself and your families fresh vegetables, fruits, and foods to overcome these deficits.  You’ll feel the difference!  It is important.  I just wish I could emphasize this enough!

Thank you to my lovely, young daughters for the graphics on this post.

~~Terri

Do You Check Papers?

Being a medical doctor requires honing observational skills.  I used to observe patients, but now I try to observe successful parents and teachers to see what tools I can pick up for use in my home.

She Checked Their Papers Every Day

A couple of weeks ago a well-seasoned mom with grown children shared something with me about her children’s success in school.  She raised two valedictorians and three doctors, although she and her husband attained only high school diplomas.  I thought her words were worth sharing even though the idea is so simple.  (Aren’t simple truths often the greatest truths?)

I’m not a smart woman–but I learned right away that I had to look at my kids’ school papers every day.”

She checked her children’s work every day.  She went on to say that every day the kids dug through their bags to show her their work.  If not, she dug through the bags.  (“And, hey, any love letters were fair game!”)  Together they assessed if the child had done their best or not or if there was just a lack of understanding.  Stupid mistakes were called out (and called just that) and real mistakes were worked through together so the child understood (and understood they were not “stupid.”)  A 65% was never criticized if the child did not understand something.  A 90% was sighed over if the child was in a hurry and missed easy questions.  Often the dad was called to the kitchen table to help sort out a math problem the mom couldn’t help with.  Although they did not “homeschool,” learning was a home endeavor.

Asking Questions

My family does homeschool, but I want to check each lesson without fail too.  And with each lesson I want to ask my children, did you do your best?  Were you in a hurry?  What do you not understand?  What can I help you with?

I’ve been asking myself, what did checking their work every day teach this woman’s children?  How did it help them succeed?  What was it?  Was it knowing the parents cared?  Was it the actual knowledge the parents were able to help with?  Was it the accountability?  Was it the caution against “stupid mistakes?”  (And if you knew the woman, you’d know it wasn’t a threatening environment or a desire for the children to be the best or outdo someone else.)

What do you think?  Do you check papers daily?  Or when your children were younger, did you check them?  If you homeschool, do you let your children check their own work or do you check it (or both)?  What do you think “checking” fostered in this woman’s children?  I’d be fascinated to hear.

~~Terri

P.S.:  Our newborn is a little fussy, but I’m still tracking iodine and other nutritional topics.  Your patience is appreciated until I have two hands free again to hit the keyboard!