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Monthly Archives: April 2012

End of month 4 and well supplied!

Softball-battercatcherumpireready

Softball-battercatcherumpireready (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the last day of Month 4: Supply Myself with Supplements. It has been a crazy busy month…well, they really ALL are crazy busy, but especially now that wedding season is starting up. I’m glad to have had the extra bit of energy that I truly believe came from my new healthy eating habits and the extra supplementation that I was taking. I have to say, I don’t think that I can continue drinking chlorophyll every day. Ick! I think I will lower the frequency to every 2 or 3 days instead. Perhaps the next time I will search for some of the freeze dried pills. I still have some of my liquid chlorophyll to finish off first though.

Apart from a greater sense of energy, I haven’t felt any different that I did without the supplements. However, I do think that a lot of the changes going on internally will probably take a little while longer to manifest. The intention is to add my supplementation to the other habits I’ve formed. I feel the strongest one I’ve formed so far has been the water consumption. Maybe cause I’ve done it the longest, but my body has really began to alert me if I’m low on my water intake. Stronger signals than I ever have had before. My body definitely does not like when I skimp on the hydration. I’ve been good, but the few times I slip up, my body is right there with a headache or strong thirst sensation, well before I get any dry mouth. As soon as that happens, I’m drink some water and my body goes back to it’s happy, hydrated self. I love it!

The movement has suffered a bit, as regular YOTD followers know, sometimes that aspect is hindered by pain. I hope that you will all be proud of me though, I’ve joined a co-ed summer softball league! It will really inspire me to get moving and has a wonderful social aspect. We had a brief practice yesterday, just to see where everyone was at and I did a lot better than I anticipated doing. Apparently, I can catch. I’ve been put on 1st base. So, who’s on first? ME! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) My muscles are screaming today in protest, but I feel really good about taking another step towards getting moving.

As far as eating raw is concerned, I don’t eat as much as I’d like to, but I eat a lot more than I used to. That is the goal. Upping those enzyme counts! If I had a personal chef and unlimited budget, it would be easy. I shudder to think what the organic month is going to be like, but I will do my best and I’m sure my body will thank me for every effort…even if my bank account doesn’t!

So there is the scoop on my journey so far! Have you done anything lately, like joining a summer softball league, that will help you better reach your health goals?

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Tomorrow is a Day of Jenn!

Tomorrow is simply a Day of Jenn because I have proclaimed it so! I went tonight to a preview screening of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and it was phenomenal. Due to the fact that I write reviews for Examiner.com and was there on a press pass, I can’t give anything away until it’s Canadian release date which is May 4th. I can however, tell you about the feelings I left the theater with. I left with a profound feeling that everything will be right in the world and that it is never to late to make changes in your life. There is a line in the movie that I will quote because it is available online, so I’m not really spoiling anything.

Everything will be right in the end. If it is not right, then it is not the end.

Those words really inspire me. I am not exactly where I’d like to be in life right now. In fact, I think the definition of living is always being in a state of improving on yourself, so I actually hope I never think I’m finished. I do, however, dream of a day when I make copious amounts of money with writing and photography. A day when I can travel on a regular basis to visit friends and make new ones. A day when I can buy the ‘good stuff’ and not feel anxiety over the price. But, one step at a time…

Tomorrow is one of those steps. I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve been neglecting myself. I know I have been, but I’m sure most people can relate to being in a situation where the work comes first. Especially if you’ve been or are currently, self-employed. So tomorrow, I will do the relaxing things I’ve been putting off for awhile. I can’t take the whole day because I do have some responsibilities, but I’m going to call it the DAY OF JENN anyways. The Hours of Jenn just doesn’t have the same ring to it. He he he

I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to relax while doing it! I’m going to see the Dalai Lama with my Mom on Saturday and I want to be ready to soak him up. Send me relaxing thoughts!

The last few days of sweet sweetness!

A pile of sugar.

A pile of sugar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking at the calendar I am realizing that I only have a few more days to eat the terrible, sugary foods that I know are bad for me. It’s all I can do not to have Oreo breakfasts and Mars bar suppers! Ew, actually even now, that sounds gross! I know that I will feel much better once I can eliminate them from my diet without the initial symptoms of withdrawal. I am sure I’m going to have those, I’ve experienced them before. A few years ago I had to fight a candida infection and to remove many things from my diet. The list included anything with sugars, which are in almost everything. It was so bad, I literally couldn’t eat fruits and even some vegetables that had high amounts of natural sugars. I hope to NEVER have to do that again. Eventually you get tired of eating. No, that wasn’t a typo where I forgot to say what I was tired of eating, I was tired of eating, period.

Removing refined sugars from my diet shouldn’t be as hard as that was, so I guess I can count myself lucky. I still fully intend to eat fruit and I’m looking into allowing myself Stevia, but I can guarantee that for a few days into it I will be dreaming of cakes and cookies. The same thing happens to me when I go for too long without red meat, though I think that’s my body’s way of saying I need it…rather than ‘want’ it.

I am somewhat excited about this next chapter. I have been pretty good with my water intake, though I don’t always make the 8 glasses, I am very close and sometimes exceed it. My activity levels are still lower than I would like, but a lot of that has to do with pain…the rest with my will power. He he he. I have been including a lot more enzyme rich foods in my diet that I used to have. I feel strange if I accidentally go a day without raw. I think it may have only happened once or twice. With all these changes I was sort of hoping to see a reduction in my body weight or at least size. The composition is slightly altered, but the weight and therefore the BMI, remain the same. I attribute that highly to my sweet tooth. I love sweet. I could give up fast food and not miss it much, except for maybe the occasional poutine. Oh, the cheesy, gravy goodness! But sweets…they are my biggest weak point. I crave them after most meals. Sometimes even after breakfast! I know, I know, I’m terrible. Cutting out the sweet may allow my body to burn more calories and release more fat. Hopefully with a concentration on that fat that sits around my middle. Yikes, it is unpleasant to look at! Maybe with a loss of weight in that area, my abdominal area will be able to heal whatever is wrong with it. I know that it will definitely help with the candida in my blood. I know there are some bits lingering in there, I saw them when I had my live blood test. I’m also sure it will have an affect on my body as a whole, so I am pumped about that. I’m just not sure how I’m going to handle treats for movie nights.

Any suggestions for portable snacks I can sneak into the theatre? Any things that are sweet to satisfy my cravings?

PS – If you are in the Ottawa area, I will be on Daytime Ottawa on Rogers tomorrow sometime between 11 and noon to talk about last month’s detoxing. Tune in if you can!

Add a little sunshine to your day!

20/2.2011 vitamin D

20/2.2011 vitamin D (Photo credit: julochka)

As I look outside at the pouring, snow and rain…(yes, for some odd reason we have snow right now!) I long for the sun. Mostly because when it is sunny, it is easy to be in a good mood but also because of the fantastic effects you can gain with vitamin d absorption. That is part of the reason that I included a 30 minute outside break every day, weather permitting, in my supplement month. Unfortunately, the truth is that even if I get outside for that brief amount of time per day, I won’t be absorbing the amounts of vitamin D that my body craves.

Canadians spend many, many months every year avoiding the cold winter season. Even when we do go outside, we are so bundled up that we are not able to absorb the sun’s rays. That’s why the majority of Canadians when tested are shown to be vitamin D deficient. More and more doctors are starting recommend a Vitamin D supplement for their patients and with good reason.

Nearly every body tissue has receptors for vitamin D, among them the intestines, brain, heart, skin, sex organs, breasts and lymphocytes, as well as the placenta. The vitamin, which acts as a hormone, is known to influence the expression of more than 200 genes.”  – Jane Brody, NY Times blog

So, your skin can absorb the vitamin D from the sun, but the power to absorb doesn’t stop there. If you are ingesting the it as a supplement, your body will be more than happy to absorb it any way it can! Health Canada has a chart which tells you what your recommended daily intake should be.

Age                          Recommended (RDA)/day             Tolerable Upper Level (UL) per day

Infants 0-6 months             400 IU  (10 mcg) *                         1000 IU (25 mcg)

Infants 7-12 months             400 IU  (10 mcg) *                         1500 IU (38 mcg)

Children 1-3 years             600 IU (15 mcg)                                 2500 IU (63 mcg)

Children 4-8 years             600 IU (15 mcg)                                 3000 IU (75 mcg)

Child/Adults 9-70 yrs             600 IU (15 mcg)                           4000 IU (100 mcg)

Adults > 70 years             800 IU (20 mcg)                                  4000 IU (100 mcg)

Pregnant/Lactation             600 IU (15 mcg)                               4000 IU (100 mcg)

 

As per this information, I’ve set my daily intake between 600-4000 IU, normally about 800 – 1,000 IU. It is important to note that many multivitamins have only 400IU included. That means that at minimum I would be missing 200IU every day. According to many trials done with the supplement, a 400 IU a day didn’t have any effect. It was only once the dose was upped to 800-1,000 IU in different trials that researchers started to see more positive results. (Nutrition Action, 11.2007)

Positive results and the lowering of risks were seen in many diseases, including:

  • Cancer

Lower risks of breast, prostate and especially colon cancer.

  • Diabetes

Helps with optimum insulin secretion

Lessens tooth loss, gingivitis and gum inflammation.

  • Mental function

Some studies claim low levels contribute to poor mental function in the elderly.

 

Why does vitamin D affect us on so many levels? Well,  D is a raw material for the body to use when it is communicating between cells. Hormones like estrogen use cholesterol, which in our diets are plentiful, but vitamin D can often be in short supply.

Some people are worried about vitamin D toxicity. There have been studies conducted in which the patients were given up to 40,000 IU a day without negative result. The major danger is if the D raises the levels of the calcium in the blood too high. However, for that to happen, all the carriers in your system would have to be completely saturated. Taking 1000 IU a day, in all presented evidence, should not only be safe, but very beneficial.

Obviously, there is much more to look at in regards to this fantastic vitamin, but I’ll give you a few days to go out and buy some D3 supplements. Then I can wow you with more information that I’ve discovered.

Do you take a D supplement? Did you notice any difference in your general health once you took it for awhile?

Folic Acid: The Double Edged Sword

Folic Acid

Folic Acid (Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall)

As part of my detox, I’m taking a folic acid supplement. It has no beneficial detoxing effects, but it is important that I consume enough. Folate is a B vitamin that helps prevent anemia by helping cells grow and divide. It is also suggested for the prevention of spina bifida, a birth defect that causes a child to be born with an incomplete spine. For years, Health Canada has been requiring companies who make pastas, breads and cornmeal products to enrich their products with it. Birth defects plunged down by 50% after this was instituted. (Nutrition Action, 09.2011) A big reason is that women were not consuming adequate amounts of folic acid in the first month of fetal development, where it mattered most. I’m not planning of having children anytime in the near future, but I’ll call folic acid my ‘lil insurance policy in case my plans change. I would definitely suggest that any woman who is in the ‘baby making’ age category be taking a folic acid supplement, especially if you are not someone who consumes the products that are enriched with it.

If you are not in the above category, you need to watch how much you are consuming. Too much folic acid has been shown to double the risk of colorectal cancer. Not only that, but it can triple the likelihood of prostate cancer in men. (Nutrition Action, 09.2011) Now don’t get overexcited, these studies are not entirely conclusive. On top of which, you need to be taking more than 800-1,000 micrograms of folic acid to reach those levels. But if you are eating fortified foods, taking a multivitamin and adding a B complex on top of that, you may be exceeding those doses every day.

So, as a Canadian who is already eating a folate enriched diet, what should you be doing?

If you are a man or woman and you want to take a multivitamin, look for one that has 400 micrograms of folic acid. You don’t even need really need to take one if you have an enriched diet and eat lots of leafy green veggies! If you are a woman in your child bearing years like yours truly, you should take a folic acid supplement or look for a multi-vitamin that has 400 mcg, or close to it. 1,000 mcg is more than any healthy person needs.

What happens if you already take a multivitamin that has more than 800 mcg of folic acid? Well, according to all the studies, most of them didn’t find any negative affects until subjects were followed for six years. So, start cutting them in half or buy a new supplement.

I’m going to just point out here that I am not a doctor or registered dietitian, so if you are worried about your folate intake, it’s always best to consult with an expert.

How much folate is in your multivitamin?

It’s not easy drinking green: chlorophyll and the detox

Chlorophyll Texture

Chlorophyll Texture (Photo credit: Anderson Mancini)

I’m sure some of you have looked at my goals for this month, saw ‘drink chlorophyll‘ and immediately wondered, why? It may be that you haven’t heard the word chlorophyll since grade nine science class. I have been drinking chlorophyll to help increase my body’s detoxification process. Many of my glasses end up with a green tint to them and when I wash them (we don’t have a dishwasher) the water turns greenish. I’ve managed to have chlorophyll every day so far, except for one. 10/11 isn’t bad.

What is chlorophyll? Consider chlorophyll like the life blood of plants. It is the vital component that allows plants to turn light into energy, otherwise known as photosynthesis. (There’s that flash from grade nine science again!)

Chlorophyll has been known to have health benefits for humans, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, chlorophyll can help speed healing. Oddly enough, one molecule of chlorophyll is virtually identical to a hemoglobin molecule from human blood! This makes chlorophyll very adept at oxygenating red blood cells. It helps remove drug residue from the body and also helps to get rid of pollutants more quickly. This has made chlorophyll a very popular supplement for smokers. There are also some claims that chlorophyll is an anti-carcinogen because of its ability to fight free radicals that may cause cancers. Along with all of these potentially amazing health benefits, it’s renowned for its apparent body odour elimination capabilities.

The chlorophyll I’ve been using is in the liquid form. In order to be stable in this form, it must be mixed with something like vegetable oil. Mine has chlorophyll, water and vegetable glycerin on the ingredients label. Other ways to consume it include freeze dried or fresh from source, like eating some alfalfa sprouts, although it won’t be as potent. I have to say, I have trouble drinking my serving every day. Chlorophyll is NOT that tasty. They do produce flavoured varieties, I’ve mostly seen mint. I tried that one…it was even worse! If you have trouble with your chlorophyll, just dilute it in a lot of water. That way you are getting your water intake and chlorophyll intake for the day. I’m also thinking that when I need to replenish my chlorophyll supply that I will look for the tablets. I didn’t see them the last time I went looking, but perhaps I’ll be able to find them now that I know what I’m looking for. With all of these benefits, I definitely want to find a way to take my daily dose of chlorophyll for the rest of the year, and not hate doing it.

Do you take a chlorophyll supplement? Any tips?

Easter and the resurrection…of my detox, that is.

To be completely honest, I’ve been feeling like my detox has somewhat fallen by the wayside. I knew when I started the detox ‘easy’ wasn’t going to crop up often in my vocabulary, unless it was in the sentence ‘It’s all too easy to fall off the detox wagon’. While I was hoping to create health habits by doing it one month at a time, as I add more to my detox it seems to be harder and harder to keep the old habits with the new. I definitely have been consuming more water, but do I reach 8 cups a day? Not always. I have been having an even harder time with the get moving portion from month two. This has a lot to do with physical pain, but still, walking is easy enough and because of the cold weather, I haven’t been doing much of that either. Month three just finished and already I feel like I’m not eating as much enzyme rich food as I should be. Sigh. So right now, I am proclaiming that Easter will have another resurrection. Perhaps not as incredible as the story of Jesus, but mine will still be magnificent. I will resurrect all the past month’s goals.

You get to a point in your year where your New Year’s goals seem like they never existed. I say, let’s use the coming symbolic day to get back on the wagon! After a weekend of calorie splurging on holiday feasts, getting out of synch with our schedules as we visit family and eating as many Cadbury Mini Eggs as we can fit into our mouths, it’s time to get back to us. As of Monday, it’s time to get back to the promises we made ourselves at the beginning of the year.

Although it has a much more powerful meaning to believers in Christ, we can still all see Easter as something personal to us. A day to resurrect the health routines, the stress reduction, the emotional outreaches and anything else where you said, 2012 will be my year to ____________. 2012 is the year that I reclaim my health! I have done well so far, but I know in my heart that I can do better. I can say that it isn’t my fault, that I’ve been busy. While it is true, it is still just an excuse. If I ask myself honestly if I could have done better, the answer is yes. I don’t want to shirk the responsibility I have to myself, to get my body back to a state of health. The truth is that if I don’t do it, no one will do it for me.

Life happens, we all know this. But to take responsibility as the creator of my own little universe. That’s a scary thought…but it has to be done.

So, what are the goals I will add in addition to my month four goals?

  • Get back on the boat and surround myself with water! I want to always have at least 8 glasses a day.
  • 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s leisurely.
  • Have raw food at least once a day, if not at every meal.

That’s it. Similar to all my previous goals and the habits I wanted to create RE-stated so that I can keep them clear in my mind and focus on them every day. Will it take planning? Yes. Will it be easy? No. Can I do it? ABSO-FRICKIN’-LUTELY!

How about you? Are there any goals that you set at the beginning of the year that you’d like to resurrect? How will you go about doing them?

Month 4: Supply myself with supplements

Vitamins!

Vitamins! (Photo credit: bradley j)

Now that I have fortified my body with enzymes and will continue to  do so, I’m ready to add some supplements to my diet. Hopefully all the steps I’ve completed have prepared my system to make the best use of the vitamins and nutrients that I’ll be giving to my body.

I sat down last week with my dietitian to make sure I was on the right track. If you are planning to add supplements to your diet, I would suggest meeting with your doctor or dietitian beforehand. It really helps to have someone look objectively at your diet and see where you may be lacking. Based on my diet, this is what we came up with.

The rules for this month are:

1. Take at least one serving of chlorophyll every day.

2. Take the RDA for the following supplements:
Vitamin D (Min. 600 IU – 4000 IU max.)
Calcium/Magnesium (1000 mg / 310 mg)
Folic Acid (0.4 mg/ day for pre-menopausal women ONLY)
Omega 3 supplement

3. Take a probiotic course for the month.

4. Spend at least 30 minutes in the sun every day, unless it is raining.

RDA stands for recommended daily allowance, the amounts that I have put up are posted on the Health Canada site, but they vary from age and gender. For example, if you are a man, don’t touch a folate supplement. You don’t need it and neither do women who are post menopause. The amount that you need is absorbed in small bits in your diet. Women who are of child bearing age need it (I raise my hand) because folic acid has proven very important in preventing neural tube problems in babies…but more on that later this month.

Although I’m only posting today, I did start all this yesterday. So far, so good.

Do you take any supplements? If so, which ones and why?

End of Month 3: What I learned about raw food

Orange, pear, apple

Orange, pear, apple (Photo credit: Joe Lencioni)

I made it! A whole month of raw at every meal. Fewf! I know I didn’t post any more raw meals. I did eat several more completely raw meals but I literally didn’t have the time to get new recipes to try. I can only applaud people who commit to a fully raw diet. It is a lot of work. I am in a play and so is my husband, so I couldn’t shlock the recipes off to him either. Where does he get off having a life at the same time as me !?! :p

What I’ve learned about adding raw to your diet:

1. If you don’t have a lot of raw in your diet already, add it in slowly. I found the first completely raw meal that I had left me with some indigestion. It is not the case for everyone, but it’s always best to take it slow.

2. Chewing is essential. If you find that you are having trouble digesting raw foods, make sure to chew it…a lot. It will make the foods much easier to digest and the nutrients easier to absorb.

3. Eating raw can be very easy or very hard, depending on the route you take. Having a salad and buying some raw dressing is super easy to do. Making a meal involving the soaking of nuts and/or needing a dehydrator…not so easy. If you are going to go on a raw diet, it takes a lot of planning and can be costly. I’m of course including the dehydrator you will have to buy in that budget.

4. Once you start adding more raw into your diet, your body will crave it. I no longer crave fried foods, but if I go a meal without a raw component, I start to feel it.

5. I could never go fully raw. Firstly, I’m way too lazy and secondly, I love meat. I have definitely cut down on the amount of servings and serving sizes when it comes to meat, but I like meat too much to give it up forever. This last one was something I learned about myself, which I think is very important to note!

So there you have it. I fully intend to continue adding raw foods to my diet on a regular basis, especially now that I have a crave on for them.

I’ve already started Month 4: Supply myself with supplements, more on that soon.