Healthy Fats

Posted November 28th, 2013 in Brain Health, Concussion Nutrition, Fats, Nutrition Articles by Rebecca Lane

Fat is essential for the proper function of the body, it is an integral part of every cell membrane, regulates the immune system, reduces inflammation, and vitamins A, C, E, and K require fat to be properly absorbed in the body. Deficiencies in these vitamins are linked to malabsorption, bone density issues, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome. Here’s a brief overview of the different fats, and healthy food sources.

Essential fats – omega-3 and omega-6 – These fats are not produced by the human body and must be acquired from the diet. They promote cardiovascular health, keep cell membranes fluid, lubricate joints and skin, boost metabolism, nourish the nervous and immune systems and help keep hormones in balance.

Food sources: mechanically cold-pressed chia seed, flax seed, hemp seed oils, algae, fish, krill and walnut oils; almond, black currant seed, borage seed, evening primrose seed, pumpkin seed, safflower seed, sesame seed and sunflower seed oils. Once you open the bottle, they need to be consumed rapidly – store in refrigerator.

Monounsaturated fats – important for the healthy function of the brain and all cell-membranes, and reducing reduce inflammation. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.

Food sources: avocados, cold-pressed avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, grape seed oils, nut oils.

Saturated fats – make up 50% of your body’s cell membranes, bones require saturated fat to properly assimilate calcium, your lungs and heart use saturated fat for nourishment and proper function.  Additionally, saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristeric acid and lauric acid), play a large role in immune health.

The brain is made up of fats and cholesterol, mainly saturated fat. A diet low in saturated fats deprives the brain of the building blocks it needs for proper repair and function. Saturated fats are also needed for nerve communication; they function directly as signaling messengers and influence the metabolism.

Food sources: Organic butter and ghee (clarified butter), cheese, grass-fed meat, free-range eggs and poultry, coconut oil and palm oil.

Cholesterol – 1/5th of the brain’s weight is cholesterol, it makes up much of the myelin sheath, facilitates brain communication and function, is a powerful brain antioxidant and is a precursor to steroid hormones and Vitamin D.

Food sources: Grass-fed meats, free-range poultry and eggs.

Fats to avoid – Refined, processed, chemically extracted, bleached, damaged, and hydrogenated oils are toxic to every cell of the body. Margarine and processed or genetically modified products such as vegetable oil, cottonseed oil soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, and any hydrogenated oils should always be avoided. These fats are anti-nutritive, denatured, highly processed, pesticide and solvent laden, rancid, and refined. Of course, we all now know about the dangers of trans fats so avoid all fats that have hydrogenation listed on the label. NO AMOUNT OF TRANS FATS is safe to consume.

Guide to Cooking with Fat

As a rule of thumb, if the predominant classification of an oil or fat is polyunsaturated, then we should never cook with it – regardless of its smoke point. Lipid oxidation and free-radical production quickly takes place when these types of fatty acids are exposed to any degree of heat – even very low heat. This is a big red flag for producing inflammation and irritation within our bodies.

Heat (above 350°F): saturated fats and cholesterol – lard from animal fat, butter, ghee, coconut oil

Low to medium heat (moderately stable oils): extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, rice bran oil. When cooking with these oils, use broth or water to keep the temperature down and stop them from overheating.

Not to be heated (very unstable oils): nut and seed oils (including grape seed oil) , camelina oil – delicious drizzled over salads, fruit, and steamed vegetables topped with some lightly toasted nuts and seeds. They are delicate and easily damaged by heat, light, oxygen, and moisture, so refrigerate in a tightly sealed, opaque bottle. Look for cold-pressed, unrefined versions only.

Additionally, therapeutic oils such as cod liver, fish liver, borage, black currant oil, and evening primrose should NEVER be used for cooking.

Food Conscious

Posted November 21st, 2013 in Nutrition Articles, Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post – almost a year! This has been an incredible year; the most important part is that I have been working with many different clients with many different issues. Working with all of you has been a great source of joy and inspiration for me.

I sometimes get asked, if I could give people one piece of advice to improve their health and wellness, what would it be.

All other things being equal, the answer is: Be conscious of the food you eat – understand the ingredients; know how it is prepared; and “consciously” ask yourself, do I really want to eat this food?

This advice is hardly revolutionary. But, in today’s world, one could say it is largely counter-evolutionary.

In the last several decades, our society has evolved into a world where we are less concerned with what we eat, and more concerned with how long it takes to eat it. Grabbing a “quick bite” has become more important than eating good food. Starting in about the 1950’s, mass produced burgers, wrapped in Styrofoam or wax paper became acceptable, even desirable, sustenance if it meant getting somewhere on time, getting more work done or pleasing your kids, who wanted the toy of their favourite cartoon character that came with their burger.

Even home cooked meals joined the rat race and were put into overdrive. Ingredients like sugar, bleached white flour, white rice and the beloved sodium became the fuel that drove the engine and, for many meals, the microwave became the race track.

So, how did this become the road most traveled? There are probably a number of factors that deserve honorable mention. But, none is more significant than communications technology. To illustrate the impact this technology has played in both how and what we eat, I’ll tell you story about my husband’s first encounter with a Blackberry.

In 2001, his brother was in Toronto on business and invited him to drive into the city and meet him for dinner. They were eating at a trendy restaurant in the Queen West area. It was about 9:30 pm and they had just been served their main course.  His brother’s Blackberry rang, either with an incoming call or email. He quickly looked at it and put it away. He then proceeded to wolf down his food before standing up and saying, “I’m going outside and deal with this.”

My husband said, “Hey, it’s quarter to 10 at night, they can’t expect you to just jump and get back to them. It is after hours, man, it is your time. You’re having dinner with your brother!”

His brother looked at him and with total seriousness, said, “When we were given these things we were told, if the office contacts you we expect you to reply 24/7.”

If the infiltration of communications technology into every waking moment of our day was not bad enough, it has been matched, gig for gig, by the equal proliferation of information technology, including news, entertainment and, most significantly, advertising.

We are all just so “busy.” Fast, mass produced and highly processed food helps us to get on with our “busyness.” And, all that advertising helps us know where to find it.

After many years of neglecting “what” we eat in favour of “how” we eat, something happened on the way through the drive thru. Somewhere along the line, we got fat. Between 1979 and 2004, obesity rates in Canada skyrocketed. In children between 12 and 17, the obesity rate tripled to just under 10%. For adults between 24 and 35, the rate more than doubled to over 20% and in seniors over 75, the rate also doubled to just about a quarter of all people. (Source: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/050706/dq050706a-eng.htm)

In the United States, where obesity is worse than in Canada, U.S. Surgeon General, Richard H. Carmonal, testified before Congress in 2003, saying:

“I welcome this chance to talk with you about a health crisis affecting every state, every city, every community, and every school across our great nation. The crisis is obesity. It’s the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in America. And it’s completely preventable. Nearly two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese. One out of every eight deaths in America is caused by an illness directly related to overweight and obesity.”

Dr. Carmonal went on to say that in the year 2000, obesity cost the U.S. economy $117 billion. By 2012, that number had grown to almost $200 billion, exceeding even smoking as the number one driver of rising health care costs. (Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/us-obesity-idUSBRE83T0C820120430?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews)  

Dr. Carmonal fingered lack of physical activity and poor eating habits as the two key culprits “feeding” this growing crisis. He identified the key factors to overcoming the crisis as, more exercise, better nutrition and improved health literacy.

It is the third of these key factors, improved health literacy, which brings us back to the advice I gave earlier. Food literacy is a component of health literacy. Be conscious of what you eat. Read labels – understand the ingredients you are ingesting – know how your food is prepared and what that means for nutritional value. And, consciously ask yourself, do I really want to eat this food.

Now for the good news. The times they are a changing. With health costs soaring and the baby boom generation getting older and having to focus more on staying healthy, there is renewed interest in “what” we eat. The signs are all around us. For example, a growing percentage of customers going into drive thrus are ordering salads. Cafeterias in schools, hospitals and other institutions are improving the nutritional value of their menus, sometimes removing soda pop and high sugar foods. Terms like “whole foods,” “free range,” “Grain fed,” and “organic” are becoming more and more common in our food vocabulary (though they should not be accepted at face value).

There is some more good news. The human body is an incredible organism. Our bodies want us to succeed and to be healthy. They can, if properly treated, reverse a great deal of neglect and self-abuse. In other words, except in extreme cases, it is never too late to eat right and get healthy.

The purpose of this article is not to lay out a specific diet plan. There are many resources available that can do that. The purpose of this article is to drive home the point that you need to be conscious of what you eat. The food we choose to fuel our bodies is one of the most important and personal decisions that we make and affects our health and wellbeing more than just about anything else we do.

Knowledge is power and knowledge of the food we eat can power us to better health and to just plain feeling good.

Some of the most valuable knowledge available to us, not to mention by far the most accessible, is what we can learn by LISTENING TO OUR BODIES.

When people say things like, “I like hot and spicy wings but they don’t like me.” Guess what, your body is telling you something. It doesn’t like hot and spicy chicken wings.

By asking themselves a few very simple questions, most people can create a meal plan that will be as good as any you read in a book or magazine. What food nourishes me and makes me feel good? What food gives me energy and supports my feelings of health and wellness. Conversely, what foods make me feel sick or bloated after eating? What food gives me heartburn?

Looking at a very specific example, many people go through their lives constantly feeling tired, bloated, heavy and sick because of an intolerance to wheat and gluten. Let’s face it, we are a bread society. It goes with every meal. Toast and bagels for breakfast; sandwiches for lunch; and what dining out experience would be complete without the “welcome to our restaurant” basket of bread for dinner. For those suffering from an intolerance to wheat and gluten eating must feel like a virtual mine field at times. They could feel so much better if they understand their condition and adapted to it.

The questions we need to ask ourselves about good eating are simple, yet so many people choose to ignore the signs.

Another key question to ask about the food we eat is, what do I hunger for? Are you eating because you are feeling frustrated, lonely, bored, or just plain ticked off at the world and want to take it out on someone, even if it is you. Self-sabotaging eating habits are all too common. They are also almost always self-defeating. The sad truth is, whatever your problems, food will not provide your answer and, in fact, can make things a whole lot worse.

There is no doubt that one of the most critical factors contributing to our food choices is our mental state and mental health. If you have problems, talk to a friend, family member, colleague, counselor or therapist. Let food do one thing – nourish your body.

Earlier, I said that the key questions we need to ask about the food we eat are counter-evolutionary. Actually, we may be witnessing a revolution after all – a revolution where a growing number of people are saying, enough! It is time to slow down and closely look at the food we eat. It is time to place our focus on eating well, nourishing our bodies and feeling good. In the end, that is when we are at our best and are the most productive.

Simple Ways to Bring Greens into your Life

Posted April 11th, 2012 in Cooking classes, Drinks, Nutrition Articles, Recipes, Salads by Rebecca Lane

Life is much easier if I plan out the meals for the week ahead of time. Now life doesn’t always go the way I planned it, so I allow for a couple of meals where I only have 15 to 20 minutes from the time I get home until the time food is on the table. It’s all about the preparation.

When I sit down to plan, I often choose a couple of new recipes to try. Nothing too complicated because I’m usually tired by the time supper rolls around. I have several favourite web sites: whfoods.org (really easy, fast and healthy recipes), 101cookbooks.com (these are a little more challenging, but always delicious), nourishingmeals.com, domesticaffair.blogspot.ca – and several favourite cookbooks: Get it Ripe by jae steele, Enlightened Eating by Caroline Dupont and refresh by Ruth Tal are my top three at the moment.

From these recipes write out all of the ingredients – and make a list of what you need to get! The easiest way to go grocery shopping and not forget half of what you need is to create a list – checking it against what you already have in the pantry. I find if I have a list, I’m more focussed and not as easily swayed by tempting prepared foods and treats.

Coming home from the store

Unpack everything and put the dry goods away. If you buy in bulk, transfer to mason jars for ease of use. I keep all of my flours, grains, nuts and seeds right where I do my food preparation so I have them right at hand. I put most of the bread in the freezer, taking out only what we will eat in three days. That way it doesn’t get wasted.

Right away, I get my veggies ready to use for the next couple of days. That way I don’t have to chop, grate and wash every night – it’s already done! Here are some suggestions:

  • Greens – wash and tear what you are going to be using for salads in the next couple of days. I usually put them in the salad spinner and spin them just once, leave the water in the container and put the whole thing in the fridge. My family uses more than a spinner full per day so I put the separate greens in a vented bag because they take up less space. If they are going to be there for more than a day, wrap them in wet towels.
  • Carrots – I usually wash and chop in large coins about 4 carrots, cut some into snack-sized pieces and grate 4 carrots in the food processor. I put them in separate containers and store in the fridge.
  • Sweet peppers – wash and chop half at a time into small enough pieces to throw into an omelette or salad at a moments notice. Cut the other half into snack-sized pieces for dipping.
  • Celery – wash, chop into snack-sized pieces, dry and place in a container.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, etc) – chop into serving sizes, wash, dry and store in container.
  • Beets – I love beets and they are delicious grated in a salad, or throw a handful into your green smoothie. Grate some up after you’ve done your carrots and put them in a separate container.
  • Squash, turnip – I put off these until the last because I find them so hard to work with but peel them, cube them and store in container. Do it now or you won’t later!
  • Asparagus – wash, snap stems wherever they break and store upright in a glass of water. Somehow these always get knocked over in my fridge so push them to the back where they are out of the way but not out of mind!
  • Fresh herbs – make sure they are dry before you put them away, then wash only when you are about to use them. They don’t like to be prep’d ahead of time.
  • Parsley/cilantro – wash them, dry them, cut off the tips of the stems and store upright in water, lots of water.
  • Garlic – press a whole bulb at a time, that way you’ve always got it ready. Store in a jar.
  • Sprouts – I usually leave them in the carton they come in. They are so easy to make yourself and the kids enjoy watching them grow.

So now that you’ve got everything ready to go, adding vegetables to your meals will be easy and quick. I came across a great resource – The Periodic Table of Produce from Simple Life, Fall 2006 and here’s a link where you can print it out: http://www.slashfood.com/2006/09/22/periodic-table-of-storing-produce/. Slashfood is also a great recipe resource, just beware of the sugar content in some of the recipes!

Building a salad

Fresh greens Sulfur veggies Bright colours Herbs Toppings
Start with a bed of fresh greens (about 2 cups per serving). Choose organic if possible, I like a mix of spinach, arugula, romaine, red lettuce, radicchio. Kale, swiss chard, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage (red and green) Brighly coloured veggies and fruit add lots of phytonutrients to the mix. Try cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, beets, celery, fennel, fresh berries Full of nutrients and vitamins: fresh mint, basil, parsley, chives, dill, cilantro, dandelion greens Top off your salad with sprouts – like broccoli, mung bean, alfalfa, sunflower – and nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts)

Don’t forget the dressing

 A great way to get your daily dose of essential fatty acids (EFAs) for healthy cell membranes and immune function (among other things) is with a tasty dressing to pull all the flavours together. Here are a couple of quick and easy recipes.

House Dressing (from Get it Ripe by jae steele – this will quickly become your favourite!)

1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp nut butter
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed
Freshly ground pepper
¾ cup flax seed oil (or olive oil, walnut oil – your choice)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 

Mix everything together in a jam jar. Stores in the fridge for up to one week.

Easy Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Mix everything together in a jam jar, then pour on salad!

Green Vegetable Smoothie (this smoothie is like having a salad in a glass – another easy and fast way to bring greens into your daily routine)

1 handful baby spinach leaves
10 stalks parsley
6 stalks celery
1 lemon, peeled
1 cucumber, whole
Pineapple juice 

Throw everything into a blender, in opposite order. You can use a sieve to remove most of the fibre, or leave some to help with digestion.

Can You Eat to Reverse Multiple Sclerosis? #concussion

Posted March 25th, 2012 in Concussion Nutrition, Nutrition Articles by Rebecca Lane

Reprinted with permission of Helen Papaconstantinos from www.insightfulnutrition.ca. I have included it here because of the brain supporting healing benefits of the nutritional support suggested here by Dr. Terry Wahls.

 

If you have a loved one with multiple sclerosis[1], (as I do), you’ll love what this next post is about. It features the inspiring story of Dr. Terry Wahls[2], who reversed her multiple sclerosis after seven years of deterioration — simply by changing her diet. That she did it within 8 months and went on to complete an 18 mile bicycle tour is nothing short of miraculous.  No drug has ever been able to claim the same results. Coming across her story late last year was the best Christmas present ever.

Dr. Wahls is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa, where she teaches, and does rounds in a traumatic brain injury clinic. This conventional medical doctor had the courage to step outside the medical paradigm and persisted until she found a way to literally get out of her chair. Initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2000, she went the conventional route and was taking chemotherapy drugs and other immune suppressants in an attempt to slow the disease.

By 2003, Dr Wahls transitioned to ‘Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis’ (the more advanced form), and had to begin using a tilt-recline wheelchair because of weakness in her back muscles. In MS, the immune system becomes sensitized to and attacks proteins in the myelin sheath that protects the axons of the central nervous system.[3]

Like anyone with a degenerative condition, she wanted to forestall further deterioration as long as possible. Because of her medical training, Dr. Wahls knew that research in animal models of disease is often 20 or 30 years ahead of clinical practice.  She stayed up late each night to scour through peer-reviewed research on www.PubMed.gov and read the latest articles on multiple sclerosis research.

She knew that most of the studies were testing drugs which would take years for FDA approval so turned instead to the research on vitamins and supplements important to mitochondrial and brain health. As she continued to research late into the nights, she came across studies showing that over time, the brains of MS patients tended to shrink. This spiked her curiosity and led her to research other diseases that share similar brain shrinkage, namely Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) caused by multiple concussions to the brain).

One thing that was common to all these degenerative conditions was poorly functioning mitochondria.  Mitochondria are like little ‘batteries’ in your cells that manage the energy supply to the cell.  If you forget to feed them the correct foods or nutrients, your cells wither and die.  Muscles shrink, brain volume drops. All the other cells in the body are also compromised.

Getting Better but not Quite There

In doing her research, Dr, Wahls discovered that three nutrients in particular are essential for proper mitochondrial function: 1) animal-based omega-3 fats; 2) Creatine (a compound that is involved in the production of energy in the body); and 3) Coenzyme Q10 – preferably in the ‘reduced’, best-absorbed version known as Ubiquinol. After taking these supplements, her decline slowed somewhat but she was still in a state of declining health.

The Big Change – Getting Nutrients from food

By the fall of 2007, Wahls had an important ‘aha’ moment. She wondered what would happen if she changed her diet so that she was getting these important brain nutrients not from supplements, but from the foods she was eating.  Dr. Wahls wanted to eat all the foods that helped to make myelin – notably B1 (Thiamine), B9 (Folate) and B12 (Cobalamin). For her mitochondria to thrive at their peak efficiency she needed B vitamins, sulphur and antioxidants.

To accomplish all of this, she adapted a standard hunter-gatherer diet (basically eating what a caveman would eat) included roots, seeds, nuts, oily fish, grass-fed meats, organ meats and natural iodine from sea weeds. Iodine is good for many things including myelin repair.  She also ate 9 cups of non-starchy vegetables and berries each day (3 cups each of greens, sulphur-containing vegetables, and colourful vegetables).  

In case you are wondering, sulphurous vegetables include kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, onions, chives, leeks, mushrooms, asparagus, etc. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes or grains such as rice were not eaten unless her 9 cups of other vegetables were eaten first.  Tips on eating ‘the Wahls way’ can be found on her website: http://www.terrywahls.com/eating-the-wahls-way?EID=18923451&CID=3395727 You can also purchase Wahl’s  book, Minding my Mitochondria, to find not only research but recipe and menu suggestions.

She called this way of eating ‘Intensive Directed Nutrition’ and it is easy to see why. She soon found she had more energy and felt better. Within 3 months she was able to get out of her wheelchair and walk down the halls at work using one cane. Later, by adding exercise and other therapies she progressively got better.  

Why Cruciferous Vegetables and Sulphur?

Sulphur is responsible for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the human body. Together with antioxidants, sulphur helps the mitochondria to survive. By weight, sulphur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body – the average person contains about 140 grams of it at any one time. Sulphurous vegetables also help with creation of a potent antioxidant – glutathione – which could help prevent further damage to neurotransmitters. Sulfur is also necessary for the synthesis of Taurine, an amino acid needed for proper functioning of the muscles and central nervous system.  

Foods to Avoid

The diet of the typical North American is so poor in nutrients that they do not have the building blocks to feed the mitochondria or to make/repair myelin, a protective covering on nerves that becomes destroyed over time in people with multiple sclerosis.  

It is very important to remove from the diet all refined or pre-packaged foods and Omega 6 oils and fats. You find Omega 6 fatty acids in corn fed meat, corn oil, safflower and vegetable oils, soybean oil, margarines and fried foods. That does not mean that one must remove all fats and oils from the diet however. ‘Healthy fats’ such as fish oils, flax seed oils and extra-virgin coconut and olive oils are encouraged.  

Anything inflammatory and processed must be removed – so no sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, allergens, dairy (including raw dairy), grains, or legumes, including soy beans.  Dairy, grains and legumes, especially, are implicated in auto-immune reactions for people with MS.[4]  Small amounts of high-antioxidant raw cacao beans, and raw honey are allowed occasionally.  Those who cannot manage going grain-free are encouraged to try going gluten-free first, but faster results are expected when the guidelines are strictly followed.

MS and Eggs

Organic, free-range, antibiotic-free eggs (if tolerated), are recommended because they contain choline – which together with inositol – is critical for myelin sheath repair. Synergistically they work to create natural lecithin in the body. Making it this way means that one does not have to rely on soy-derived lecithin.  

Generally, people with autoimmune diseases should not have egg whites due to a problematic protein in the egg white called ‘lysozyme’. Usually it is harmless, but it can bind with some proteins and inhibit trypsin and prevent it from doing its job to digest protein. Some of its compounds can pass through the gut wall and aggravate damaged guts. Avidin, another substance found in egg whites, binds to a B vitamin called Biotin, which is responsible for fatty acid synthesis and blood sugar regulation.  Even when well-cooked, Avidin continued to inhibit Biotin absorption by about 30 percent.  

So how do you know if you are sensitive to egg whites? One way to find out is to eliminate eggs at first and add them back after a few weeks. They may be eaten if there is no reaction to them. The same thing can be tried with tomatoes and eggplants, which cause joint pain in some people. If you find you cannot get your choline from egg yolks, food sources of choline include beef liver (highest source), chicken and turkey, scallops and shrimp, salmon, collard greens, Swiss chard and cauliflower.[5] You will also find choline in sesame and flax seeds. Inositol is found in high amounts in legumes (not allowed in this diet), however you can find it in high amounts in grapefruits, oranges, mandarin oranges, cantaloupe, rutabaga, blackberries, artichokes, okra, kiwi fruit, and nectarines.

How else can you Rebuild Myelin and prevent its Destruction? The term ‘balanced diet’ is the key.   The myelin sheath is composed of about 75 percent fats and cholesterol and the rest is protein[6]. The first building block needed to make myelin is Omega 3 fatty acid, which you get from pure fish oils, wild fish and grass fed meats.  The 3 cups of greens daily provide B vitamins and folate, which you need for your brain to keep it from shrinking.  (Indeed, many people on this diet report marked clear-thinking and removal of the ‘brain fog’ they had earlier).  

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps to get energy into the muscles but it also helps with myelin repair. Organ meats – which traditional societies have always eaten – are recommended once a week to get natural cobalamin or B12 into the body. Organic liver is very good for that. Natural iodine from sea vegetables not only helps with myelin repair but would also aids the liver and brain to clear out mercury and other heavy metals from the body.

Bone broths are also recommended daily because they are full of minerals and help to heal any loose ‘tight junctions’ in the gut, which might be contributing to auto-immune reactions generally. Another way to rebuild lost myelin is to submit the muscles to the ‘stress’ of daily exercise – more on this later.

The Use of Fats and Oils with Multiple Sclerosis Unlike others who suggest drastically reducing saturated fats in an MS diet, Wahls is saying that healthy fats –  from cod liver and salmon fish and oils,  walnuts, chia seeds, ghee from a grass-fed, pastured animal, extra virgin olive and coconut oils … and even lard… are fine.  Ghee, or clarified butter, by the way, has had the milk proteins poured off. Keep in mind that you need trace amounts of copper to activate these healthy fats so that they can go to work repairing the myelin. Food sources of copper include dried oregano and thyme, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.  

Cod liver oil is high in vitamin D. A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 found that Vitamin D significantly reduced the risk of demyelination. Wahls believes that Vitamin D should be over 50 ng/ml but under 100 ng/ml to obtain the best benefits – lowered risk for autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.  How do you know how much you need to get there? Take a test every 1- 3 months and take 4000 IU vitamin D3 daily, or more if needed.  At levels over 150 there is an increased risk of excessive calcium in the blood, hallucinations, psychosis, and kidney damage.

For some unknown reason, the concentration of oleic acid (a type of healthy saturated omega 9 oil found in olive oil and avocados), is lower in the myelin of people with MS.  Oleic acid promotes the production of antioxidants in the body and slows the development of heart disease.  In other myelin-destroying diseases, oleic acid is used to formulate ‘Lorenzo’s oil’, which helps patients with adrenoleukodystrophy.  

Creation of New Neurons and Synapses plus More Energy

With properly functioning mitochondria, Dr. Wahls hoped that her body would also get maximum energy from glucose, a key factor in reducing or eliminating the fatigue so common with MS.  With more energy you can exercise and do more. She also wanted her diet to be high in antioxidant capacity because that would not only increase protection of her neurons but also increase production of neurotrophic factors – a family of proteins responsible for the growth and maturation of new neurons and synapses.[7]

Antioxidants from spices such as turmeric were also added because of the wealth of animal and human studies showing that its curcumin component helps to prevent oxidative damage.[8] Just how curcumin might work to prevent demyelinization remains unclear, but researchers at Vanderbilt University believe it may be interrupting the production of IL-12, a protein that plays a key role in the destruction of the myelin by signaling for the development of neural antigen-specific Th1 cells, immune cells that then launch an attack on the myelin sheath.[9]

A Synergistic Approach: Hitting MS with many things at once With her intensive daily nutrition foundation in place, Dr Wahls continued to do research into additional supplements that might help to feed the mitochondria. Supplements, she points out, can be helpful, but a nutrient-intense diet must always come first.   There is wisdom in this — brightly coloured vegetables and berries may contain beneficial cofactors and compounds not included in supplements which scientists may not discover or name for years, even though they work.

This is what is referred to in research as ‘efficacy’.  It works because it works, and waiting for ‘evidence-based research’ to prove they work is not always helpful since experience tells you there is little risk in eating vegetables and fruits, together with a myriad of benefits.   Today Dr. Wahls uses 200 mg B complex, 200 mg of Coenzyme Q 10, 1 g of Alpha Lipoic Acid, 600 mg of Acetyl L Carnitine, 120 mg of Gingko, 2 g of N Acetyl Cysteine, 2 g of Taurine, 2 g of Glutathione, 200 mg of Resveratrol, and enough Lithium Orotate to yield 13 mg of elemental lithium, on a daily basis.  

Putting it all together By December 2007 she had combined intensive directed nutrition with a program of progressive exercise, electro-stimulation of muscles[10], and daily exercise.   Daily exercise, even for those who cannot walk, is excellent because any ‘stress’ to the muscle causes the body to produce new myelin and development of new neurological pathways. Exercise also leads to decreased production of inflammatory proteins. Various animal experiments have shown that exercise increases ‘neurotrophins’, a family of proteins induce the survival, development and function of neurons.  

The results stunned her physician, her family, and even herself.  Within a year, she was able to walk through the hospital without a cane and even complete an 18-mile bicycle tour. Instead of becoming dependent on others, Wahls regained the ability to commute to work on her bicycle, and to do her rounds on foot without the need for canes or a wheelchair.

Up from the Chair and Helping Others Grateful to have her energy back, Dr. Wahls has spent the last three years researching, lecturing and speaking about her journey to wellness and shares how others may help themselves with intensive directed nutrition.   Dr Wahls now has enough energy left over to start writing up research grants again.  She has brought together an interdisciplinary team to conduct clinical trials using intensive, directed nutrition and neuromuscular electrical stimulation to combat advanced Parkinson’s disease and both secondary and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. 

This time she is conducting a randomized intervention clinical trial on Nutrition and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.  You can read about it here: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01381354?term=wahls+sclerosis&rank=1

To help raise awareness and funds for her research and her non-profit foundation, Dr Wahls has recorded many of her public lectures.  Fifty percent of the profits from the sales of the lecture DVDs and audio CDs are used to support clinical nutrition in the area of nutrition, massage, exercise, and neuromuscular stimulation. These resources are available on Dr. Wahl’s website:  http://www.mindingmymitochondria.com/  

In the meantime, here are a few words from Dr. Wahls:  

“There is a lot we can do to restore our health without needing a physician.  Here are ten suggestions for how you can help spread the word.

1. Talk about Minding My Mitochondria on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Tell your friends that you have read this fabulous book that is changing your life.

3. Tell your co-workers the reason you have so much more energy is due to Minding My Mitochondria.

4.  Tell your family that Minding My Mitochondria is changing your life and could change theirs too.

5. Write a review for Amazon.  It is easy.  Just a paragraph, written from the heart, will be fine.

6. Write a review for your local paper.  Or a letter to the editor.

7. Buy the book for a friend or a member of your family whose health you’d like to see improve.

8. Interview Dr. Wahls for your local newsletter, club, or paper.

9. Follow the suggestions Dr. Wahls makes in Minding My Mitochondria.  As you become a healthier, more vibrant you, others will ask what your secret is.

10. When others ask what led to your looking 6 months younger than the last time they saw you, tell them why.  That your mitochondria are healthy again, thanks to Minding My Mitochondria. Be healthier, more vibrant, more energetic.”     


[1] Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused through a demyelization process. Myelin is the insulating, waxy substance around the nerves in your central nervous system. When the myelin is damaged by an autoimmune disease or self-destructive process in your body, the function of those nerves deteriorate over time, resulting in a number of symptoms, including:  muscle weakness, imbalance, or loss of coordination, astigmatism and vision loss, and muscle tremors.  
[2] Dr Wahls is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Carver’s College of Medicine, where she teaches Internal Medicine. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, posters and papers and is currently conducting clinical trials on how a nutrient-intensive diet can help to reverse MS symptoms.  
[3] Research has shown that fragments from foreign proteins (i.e., from infectious agents and foods) can activate myelin-sensitive immune cells through cross-reactions.  Many new foreign proteins were introduced into the human environment by the agricultural revolution, 10,000 to 5000 years ago. Some new proteins have crossed over to humans from domesticated animals (e.g. Epstein Barr virus) and from completely new food types such as dairy, grains and legumes. Humans have been around a lot longer than 5,000 years, and our gut flora has not evolved enough or become sophisticated enough to know what to do with some of these grains and legumes.  
[4] The role of lectins and legumes in MS is interesting. According to Dr Loren Cordain PhD, a top nutrition researcher, lectins from grains, legumes and tomatoes may be involved in activation of the myelin-sensitive T cells.  It has been long known that protein fragments derived from various foods such as milk and from gut bacteria can activate myelin-sensitive T cells through molecular mimicry. For this to happen, however, the foreign protein fragments must get across the intestinal barrier. One possible way for this to happen is by way of disrupted cell junctures or a “leaky gut”. Even if one does not have a ‘leaky gut’, various lectins will still attach themselves to various protein fragments in the gut from foods and gut bacteria and then transport themselves across the intestinal barrier by means of the Epidermal Growth Factor receptor. In this way they act like a “Trojan Horse” by bringing the “enemy” past the protection of the gut wall. Epidermal Growth Factor was discovered by Stanley Cohen of Vanderbilt University along with Rita Levi-Montalcini. Both received the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986.
[5] See: World’s Healthiest Foods: choline. http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=50  
[6] Schmidt, Michael A, PhD., Brain Building Nutrition: How dietary fats and oils affect mental, physical, and emotional Intelligence. Frog Books, Colorado, December 2006.  
[7] In the brain these factors are important for learning, long-term memory as well as regeneration and growth of nerves. Studies suggest these brain-derived factors play a protective role against amyloid beta toxicity – a type of plaque that seems to build up in the brain as we get older.
[8] Natarajan C, Bright JJ. Curcumin inhibits experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by blocking IL-12 signaling through Janus kinase-STAT pathway in T lymphocytes. J Immunol 2002;168;6506-6513. Available at: http://www.jimmunol.org/content/168/12/6506.full.pdf Researchers gave injections of 50- and 100-microgram doses of curcumin, three times per week over a period of 30 days, to a group of mice bred to develop the experimental form of MS known as EAE, and then watched the mice for signs of developing MS-like neurological impairment. By day 15, the mice that did not received curcumin developed EAE to such an extent that they developed complete paralysis of both hind limbs. By contrast, the mice given the 50-microgram dose of the curcumin showed only minor symptoms, such as a temporarily stiff tail. Mice given the 100-microgram dose fared best of all; they appeared completely unimpaired throughout the 30 days of the study.
[9] Natarajan C, Bright JJ. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonists inhibit experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by blocking IL-12 production, IL-12 signaling and Th1 differentiation. Genes Immun 2002;3(2):59-70. 2003. Available at: Natarajan C, Bright JJ. Genes Immun. 2002 Apr; 3(2):59-70J Immunol. 2002 Jun 15; 168(12):6506-13. J Immunol. 2002 Jun 15; 168(12):6506-13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11960303.
[10]Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation involves the application of electrodes and electrical input to various muscle groups over the body with goal of strengthening the muscles. The technique was pioneered in the Soviet Union to improve athletic performance and is still commonly used by athletes, especially for healing muscle damage. Today portable NEMS machines are available and it is a do-it-yourself therapy.

Incoming search terms:

  • dr terry wahls
  • taurine multiple sclerosis
  • dr terry wahl
  • 1 point cretene is equal to how many mili
  • dr terry wahls amyloid proteins
  • is wahls plus good for cancer patients
  • terry wahls amyloid

Malnourished Minds: The Link between Nutrition and Depression #concussion

Posted March 25th, 2012 in Concussion Nutrition, Nutrition Articles by Rebecca Lane

Reprinted with permission of Helen Papaconstantinos from www.insightfulnutrition.ca. My reason for including it here is that many of my clients with post-concussive syndrome exhibit severe depression symptoms and this information can support them.

Originally published on October 29, 2011.

Dr. James Greenblatt

Last night at the University of Toronto’s medical sciences auditorium, I attended a lecture entitled, Malnourished Minds: The Link between Nutrition and Depression, presented by Psychiatrist James M. Greenblatt, MD, based on his book, The Breakthrough Depression Solution available through the following on-line book sellers, as well as Dr. Greenblatt’s websites: http://www.comprehensivepsychiatricresources.com and http://www.jamesgreenblattmd.com.

The event was organized through the Canadian Orthomolecular Medicine Society http://www.orthomed.org/csom/csom.html and the International Schizophrenia Foundation http://www.orthomed.org/isf/isfbrochure.html .

Dr Greenblatt is a dually certified child and adult psychiatrist and pioneer in integrative medicine. He is the Founder and Medical Director of Comprehensive Psychiatric Resources (CPR), an integrative medical practice that uses a biologically-based approach to treat mental health disorder such eating disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, ADHD, and depression.

His Integrative Psychiatry approach addresses all of the factors that may incline an individual towards depression – genetics, nutrition deficiencies/excesses, and levels of stress. Where needed, he uses technology (rEEG) to ensure that medications and treatment are targeted towards individual biochemistry.  His nutrition-based approach often reduces his patient’s use of medication and minimizes drug side-effects.

By identifying and addressing all the factors that contribute to depression, his experience has been that depression can be successfully treated, and the patient is less likely to relapse. As a young psychology undergraduate, decades ago, I had worked in clinical, classroom and group-home settings with young individuals who were on psychiatric medication for various disorders.  How I wish we had this information way back then. 

Why is this topic important? Why should we care? By 2020, depression is expected to be the leading cause of disability worldwide, second only to heart disease.  And despite the dozens of antidepressants on the market, millions of people who seek treatment for depression fail to find relief from their symptoms. According to Greenblatt, standard treatment for depression successfully eliminates symptoms in only 33% of patients.  In about 70% of cases, the symptoms recur.  

Depression disrupts the lives of tens of millions of people is North America – women in particular. It is a leading cause of work disability. Each year in Canada, about 12% of the adult population has a diagnosable (i.e., clinically significant) mental disorder, with major depression being the most common. The costs – for medical care, lost work time, and loss of life – range in the region of $40 billion dollar annually, although one can never put a price on life. People who suffer from depression have much higher rates than average for various types of diseases, from heart ailments to alcoholism. Doctors estimate that as many as 8 million women and 4 million men in the United States are treated for clinical depression every year. 

But could a simple blood test change all that?

Research has shown that an over-accumulation of homocysteine, (whether due to a deficiency in folate, B12, B6, or zinc), can lead to depression.  In this way, testing for levels of homocysteine in the blood could be a very useful form of objective testing.  It is about time because depression is one of the many psychiatric disorders that lack objective testing for diagnosis and treatment.  Because of this, psychiatry is often referred to as a “measureless medicine.”    

Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid that is quickly converted to another amino acid called cysteine. If conversion of homocysteine to cysteine is somehow impaired, homocysteine levels rise and become harmful. Too much homocysteine may increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, free radical activity, and depression.

Several important, mood associated vitamins and minerals (folate, vitamins B12 and B6, and zinc) are responsible for the conversion of homocysteine into the non-harmful cysteine.  Therefore, deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to an accumulation of homocysteine.  

So elevated homocysteine levels can indicate early stage deficiency of folate or vitamins B6 or B12 before blood levels can detect deficiency! This means that checking homocysteine levels in the body is very important if you wish to maintain health.

Not so strangely, many drugs can cause Folate Deficiency States (and therefore lead to high homocystein, inflammation and Depression). Anti-depression drugs are among them:

  • Anticonvulsants (phenytoin, primidone, Phenobarbital, carbamezepine)
  • Oral Contraceptives
  • Sulfsalazine
  • Methhotrexate
  • Triamterene
  • Pyremethamine
  • Trimethoprim
  • Alcohol
  • Antacids
  • Metformin

Amazingly, the brain knows and the gut, knows how to make its own antidepressants (for example, serotonin), given the right conditions. If that is true, what causes neurotransmitter deficiencies, dysfunction, and depression?  Integrative Psychiatry sees these anomalies as linked to many factors:

  • Genetics
  • Diet – for instance, junk food, caffeine and nicotine can lead to hypoglycaemia or not enough glucose/fuel supply to brain.
  • Stress – it was noticed that women were 2X as likely as men to be clinically depressed.
  • Neurotoxins – brain allergies, molds, fungi, yeast, candida, airborn chemicals, sugars, caffeine.
  • Inflammation – bad fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.

 Taken altogether, genes, poor diet, stress, neurotoxins and inflammation can lead not only to depression, but suppression of the immune system.

Fortunately, Dr. Greenblatt has reintroduced a biological orthomolecular framework for the understanding, treatment and prevention of Mood Disorders. He summarizes his personalized treatment approach as THE ZEEBRA approach, an easy mnemomic that covers each of the critical factors that should be addressed in the diagnosis and treatment of depression. It’s so simple that it’s elegant.

T– Take care of yourself – Getting plenty of sleep, eating right, and choosing activities that help lower stress and promote well-being are important steps to recovering from depression.

H– Hormones – Correcting hormone imbalances can often relieve depression.

E– Exclude – Exclude certain foods from the diet as problems associated with digesting these foods, such as wheat and dairy, can exacerbate depressed moods.

 

Z – Zinc and Other Minerals – Ensure adequate zinc and mineral levels; insufficient zinc is a frequent culprit in depression.

E – Essential Fatty Acids – Monitoring essential fatty acid and cholesterol levels are important to cardiovascular and mental health as low levels of these substances are often implicated in depression.

E – Exercise – Participating in exercise is known to combat depression on multiple levels.

B – B vitamins and Other Vitamins – Restoring vitamin levels to their optimal range can reduce symptoms of depression.

R – rEEG—This means ‘references EEG, which is a way of measuring brain activity much in the way an EKG might measure the activity level of your heart. If psychiatric medications are needed, rEEG can guide medication selection and eliminate trial-and-error prescribing.

A – Amino Acids and Protein

Let’s look at this again, in more detail:

Depression and THE ZEEBRA

 T – Take Care of Yourself

  • 5 Blood Tests are needed if you suffer from depression : 1) Homocystein, 2) B12 & Folate, 3)Total Cholesterol, 4) Celiac Screen, and 5) Thyroid (free T3 and T4)
    • Hundreds of studies support the relationship between folate and depression.
    • NB: Low folate is associated with increased incidence of depression.
    • With low folate, there is a poor response to antidepressant medications and higher relapse rate.
    • Celiac disease is associated with depression (2X higher rate) due to problems with nutrient absorption. (Ludvigsson JF, et al , 2007).
    • Exercise: Regular exercise may work as well as medication in improving symptoms of major depression.

 H – Hormones:

  • The brain is a cholesterol-rich organ and cholesterol is an important hormone as it is involved in the synthesis of all steroid hormones.  Don’t be afraid to eat eggs! You can have a couple a day, especially if the yolks are soft-cooked.
  • You need cholesterol for serotonin (a feel-good chemical in your brain) to work optimally.
  • Cholesterol activates oxytocin (your cuddle and bonding hormones)
  • It is needed to make bile so that you can digest fat and absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • You need cholesterol to make vitamin D, which is responsible for turning on or off many of the functions in your body.

E – Exclude:

  • Food Allergies – make an appointment with an allergist of immunologist specializing in allergies to find out what you are sensitive to so that you can avoid them and the inflammation and dietary malabsorption that allergens bring.
  • Sugar – the higher your sugar intake, the higher your blood lactate levels become.
    • Lactic Acid binds with calcium, so less of this mineral is available to keep your brain from spiralling into excitement mode.  Sugar, caffeine and alcohol all increase the lactate to pyruvate ratio in the body, resulting in anxiety.  
  • Vitamin Deficiencies – For optimal neurotransmitter synthesis, you need adequate folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and vitamin B3 (Niacin) among other nutrients.  
  • Mineral Deficiencies –A deficiency in say, magnesium, may manifest different symptoms, based on one’s own unique biochemistry and genes. In one person, a magnesium deficiency may manifest as irritability and depression, whereas in another person it may manifest as insomnia and anxiety. More on this below.
  • Amino Acid Deficiencies – Amino acids create sanity and well-being.
    • Amino Acids convert to brain neurotransmitters, which help it to function, have memory, emotions, thoughts, feelings, control depression, sleep, create energy and excitement.
    • You get amino acids from protein.
  • Heavy Metals –Vanadium toxicity can cause manic depression and melancholy.  
    • Taking high-dose vitamin C (ascorbate) reduces damage from excess vanadium. Studies in the Lancet and British J of Psychiatry show that levels of vitamin C in bipolar patients are so low as to indicate actual or borderline scurvy.
  • Toxins – these can be environmental, viral, or toxins produced in the body when you eat foods that you are allergic to.

 Ok, here’s the ZEEBRA, next:

 Z – Zinc and other minerals:

  • Zinc – depletion leads to apathy and lethargy
  • Magnesium – in terms of mood disorders, magnesium deficiency may result in depression, anxiety, irritability or depression.
  • Iron –chronic deficiency can lead to depression, weakness, listlessness, exhaustion, lack of appetite, and headaches.
  • Copper – usually a copper dominance can lead to problems. Zinc should be in a higher ratio to zinc. Watch that your house does not have copper pipes.
  • Manganese – you need it for proper use of vitamin C and all the B vitamins, and to make folic acid.
    • Manganese also helps to stabilize blood sugars and prevents hypoglycaemic mood swings.
    • Potassium – depletion is frequently associated with depression, fearfulness, and fatigue. A 1981 study found patients low in potassium were more likely to be depressed than those who were not deficient in potassium.

E – Essential Fatty Acids:

  • EPA and DHA (found in fish oils), help to lift mood and address inflammation in the body, which is also linked to depression.
  • Flax seed oil does not convert well into EPA or DHA.
  • Can get vegetarian (Algae-sourced) EPA and DHA but it is not as strong.
  • Body clues to low Omega 3:
    • Dry Skin, dandruff, frequent urination, irritability, depression, attention-deficit disorder, soft nails, allergies, lowered immunity, fatigue, lethargy, dry, unmanageable hair, excessive thirst, brittle, easily frayed nails, hyperactivity, ‘chicken-skin’ on back of arms, dry eyes, learning problems, poor wound healing, frequent infections, patches of pale skin on cheeks, cracked skin on heels or fingertips, aggressiveness.
    • Add fish to diet (especially cold-water fish like mercury and PCB-free salmon, mackerel, sardines) to diet, several times weekly.
    • Use butter and coconut oil for cooking and olive oil, flax, and borage oils for sprinkling over food.
    • Read food labels carefully and avoid all trans-fats and hydrogenated oils, including margarine.
    • Eliminate sugar – it creates inflammation and your EFAs are used up to put the fire out.
    • Take daily capsules of cold-water marine fish oil.

 E – Exercise:

  • Exercise boosts your circulation as well as your mood and production of serotonin, your ‘feel-good neurotransmitter (brain-chemical).

B- B vitamins, Folate, Vitamin D, and C:

  • Know that when you eat sugar, you are using your B-vitamins to metabolize the sugar. It is a no-win trade off. (Matthews-Larson,  PhD, Random House Pub. Group, New York, 1999, p. 158.)
  • Your emotional stability depends on a protein snack, not a Twinkie. (ibid)
  • Low B12is associated with fatigue, panic disorders, anxiety, OCD, Depression and Paranoia
    • Other symptoms of B12 deficiency include pernicious anaemia, confused mental state, tingling or numb feeling in hands and feet, sore mouth/ swollen red tongue, pallor, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, memory loss, cessation of menstruation, and fatigue.
    • Low B1 (thiamine) deficiency results in mental confusion, apathy, depression, fatigue and  increased sensitivity to noise. (ibid, p. 157)
    • Low B2 (riboflavin) deficiency causes nervous system changes and an inability to convert food into energy.(ibid)
    • B6 (pyroxidine) deficiency is the main culprit in neuropathy (needles and pins feeling) (ibid)
    • Low Folic Acid/Folate causes deterioration of the nervous system, withdrawal and irritability. It also makes it more likely that you will relapse on your anti-depression drugs.
    • Inositol has similar effects to the tranquilizer Librium. (1980s studies at Princeton Brain Bio Centre showed that brain waves were similar to those of Librium). (ibid, 157)
      • In 1996 Israeli researchers discovered that Inositol converts into a substance that regulated serotonin. (ibid, p. 158).
      • It has been used with OCD and panic disorder. At 18 grams/day it worked as well and as quickly as quickly as Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, and Luvox but without drug side effects.
      • Mental: Irritability, Apathy, Personality Changes, Depression, Memory Loss, Dementia, Hallucination, Violent behaviour, Anxiety
      • Physical: Diminished sense of touch and pain, clumsiness, weakness, pernicious anaemia, chronic fatigue, tremors, Gastro-Intestinal problems

r- Referenced –rEEG

Physicians report significantly reduced trial and error medication selection after using rEEG data.

Referenced-EEG is an objective, physiologically-based measure that helps psychiatrists make better prescribing decisions. rEEG measures electrical brain activity similar to the way that an EKG measures electrical activity in your heart. EEGs have been used for many years to help neurologists treat seizures and other neurological disorders. Now they are being used in psychiatry. Research has shown that although patients may have similar symptoms, they often have very different abnormalities in their EEG signal, and so would require a more individualized approach.  

A – Amino Acids and Protein

  • You need protein and fats to make the neurotransmitter ‘precursors’ that make serotonin (happiness hormone) and Norepinephrine helps to make Tyrosine (helps you focus), and Phenylalanine (helps you to feel calm).
  • BUT, you need stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) in order to break down protein properly.
  • If you are taking antacid medication, or medication for acid reflux, you can’t break down protein adequately.
  • Stomach acid  helps you to:
    • Break down protein
    • Absorb minerals
    • Absorb B12
    • Resist infection
    • Communicate to the brain that you already feel full and can stop eating (satiety)
    •  If you can break down protein, it is easier to get adequate Tryptophan, an amino acid which helps you to increase serotonin in the brain.
    • About 70% of serotonin is produced in your gut.
    • Serotonin helps make 5-HTP and Tryptophan

What Can You Do Today to Make Tomorrow Healthy?

Posted March 21st, 2012 in Nutrition Articles, Organic Food by Rebecca Lane

I was recently asked to speak at a Women’s Circle about three things that I think are most important to change from a nutritional perspective and I’ve outlined them below. As far as I’m concerned, the foundation of health and treatment of any health concerns revolves around three basic factors: nutrition [steps 1 and 2], elimination of toxins (nutritional [step 3], emotional [stress] and environmental) and exercise. If I could add anything more to my talk, I would have spoken on the importance of daily exercise and creating a daily meditation practice.

Step 1: Increase your daily water intake

Many common health complaints actually stem from chronic dehydration. The most common symptoms include thirst, dry skin, dark colored urine, headaches and fatigue. Other, less know symptoms of dehydration, can include:

  • Digestive disturbances such as heartburn and constipation
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Muscle cramps
  • High cholesterol
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Kidney problems

What kind of water should I drink?

  • Tap water – From the tap, the Town of Newmarket has its water provided by the Region of York and is treated through chloramination (adding chlorine and ammonia). Visit (http://www.newmarket.ca/en/townhall/resourcelibrary/2011WaterQualityReport-Jan202012.pdf) for the full recent report of the contents of Newmarket’s water. Our water is alkaline (avg 8.1 – where neutral is between 6.5 and 7.5) and in addition to the chlorine and ammonia, contains many other chemicals.
  • Bottled water – If you choose instead to drink bottled water, you might want to know that 40% of bottled water is actually bottled tap water! What’s also concerning is that the plastic in the bottles contain a chemical called bisphenol A, a synthetic hormone disruptor that has been linked to serious health problems.  When consumed, the plastic bottles themselves place a huge burden on our landfill.
  • Filtered water – The water in our home is filtered since that’s the most economical and environmentally sound choice. There are three main different types of filters: Reverse Osmosis, Ion Exchange and Carbon Filtration. There’s lots of information available on the benefits of each.
  • Living water – The ideal pH balance of your water should be between 6.5 to 7.5, which is neutral. Distilled water is too acidic and alkaline water is too alkaline (causing problems with low stomach acid pH). Spring water is in this ideal range. It is some of the healthiest water on the planet because it is “living water”. Living water, like living food is in its raw, natural state the way nature intended. We have unlimited access to a free spring located in Mount Albert – here’s the link http://www.findaspring.com/mount-alberts-communal-spring-mount-albert-ontario-canada/. The water is slightly sulphurous and a little murky but tastes delicious

How much water should I drink?

So, how much pure filtered or spring water should you drink per day? One litre? Two?

Here’s a good rule of thumb to determine proper hydration levels: Drink enough water to turn your urine a light-coloured yellow – no odour and very little colour!

Step 2: Increase the amount of veggies and fruit in your diet

Researchers have found that individuals with a high daily intake of vegetables and fruits (about 400 grams per day) demonstrate higher antioxidant levels, lower indicators of free radical-induced damage, and better cognitive performance. Notice that I mention vegetables first because they are FAR more important than fruits.

This ‘high daily intake’ really isn’t much – 400 grams – that’s approximately 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruit. A cup of shredded lettuce, for instance, will weigh about 55 grams. A cup of diced pineapple will weigh about 155 grams.

In my mind the main reason why eating raw, organic vegetables is important is because these “living foods” contain biophotons, small units of light stored by all organic organisms. Vital sun energy finds its way into your cells via the food you eat, in the form of these biophotons. They contain important bio-information, which controls complex vital processes in your body. When you take this vital energy into your body, you are re-charging it with health and encouraging it to return to a whole and balanced state.

Dr. Oz recently did a show that discussed Biophotonic scanning, a testing form that determines the amount of Biophotonic ability of cells (via measuring the level of carotenoids in the skin) – watch the video: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/cancer-fighting-antioxidants-pt-1.

With a bit of planning, it’s relatively easy to get plenty of fresh vegetables into your diet. You can snack on celery filled with raw almond butter, nibble on asparagus, cucumbers, carrots, sweet potato rounds, cherry tomatoes or red peppers dipped in hummus made from chick peas, and add leafy greens like spinach and kale to any meal. In the mornings, I make one huge salad for my whole family to take for our lunches. That way I know that between that and whatever fruit I send with them they are getting at least 2 servings of vegetables and fruit for lunch.  And I top my salads with herbs (like parsley, cilantro, lemon balm, peppermint) and sprouts like broccoli and sunflower seed – they add a huge micronutrient burst as well as great flavour.

Other vegetables, like zucchini and turnips, are mild tasting and can be blended into soups and sauces and you’ll never even know they’re there. Grated carrots and lentils can be completely hidden in a tomato sauce that’s delicious over spaghetti squash, or even your favourite rice pasta.

Probably the easiest way to increase your vegetable intake is to juice your vegetables. Fresh, organic, raw vegetable juice is easily digestible by the body and doesn’t damage either the micronutrients or the biophotons. I usually add a source of fat like flax oil or walnut oil to my juice to make it more filling. You may also find that adding some, or even all, of the vegetable pulp into your juice helps to make drinking the juiced vegetables more satisfying. I don’t have a juicer, so will process my veggies and fruits in the blender with some filtered water then filter some of the pulp out with a strainer or cheese cloth. Try adding ginger and lemon too.

Whatever method you choose, juiced or whole, raw or cooked, add at least one more serving of veggies and one of fruit to your meals today.

Step 3: Reduce your sugar, processed foods and grain carbohydrates intake

65% of Americans are overweight and 27% clinically obese. Most of the chronic disease that we see rampant in today’s society is the result of a diet that focuses heavily on sugar and grains. Processed foods are a key cause of the problem. We are addicted to a fast-paced life where hamburgers, fries and a soft drink are a regular meal choice. Not only are they full of preservatives and chemical agents, but they are also full of sugars and starch.

Consuming sugar throws off the body’s equilibrium and cause a variety of harmful metabolic consequences. Some of the most harmful include: suppressing your immune system; feeding cancer cells; causing heightened levels of glucose leading to reactive hypoglycaemia and potentially diabetes, producing a significant rise in bad cholesterol and causing a rapid rise in adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.

Grains, even whole unprocessed organic grains, are rapidly broken down by the body and drive insulin and leptin levels up. Spikes of insulin and leptin cause cravings and surges then quick drops in energy that make it difficult for our body to remain in balance.

Any meal or snack high in starchy carbohydrates generates a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream, which lowers the blood glucose level. Insulin is, though, essentially a storage hormone, developed over millions of years to store the excess calories from carbohydrates in the form of fat in case of famine. With no famine, fortunately, in sight, this storage mechanism has become an important cause of bulging stomachs and fat rolls in thighs and chins. Making matters even worse, high insulin levels suppress two other important hormones — glucagons and growth hormones — that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively.

So, take a hard look at what you’re eating meal by meal. Look at making changes that take your meal decisions away from boxed and packaged foods, and move you over to the fresh produce aisle. Fresh produce is much less expensive not only today, but for the health of your tomorrows.

(Written with research from http://www.mercola.com various articles)

Alkalising the body for healing

Two Phases of Disease and Health

A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending a META-medicine weekend taught by Richard Flook (www.whyamisick.com). META-medicine combines many energetic tools with the research of German New Medicine (http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/). I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but if you want to learn more about both or either of these methodologies I encourage you to visit their sites and read Richard’s book (Why Am I Sick) for a new way of looking at disease.

From a nutritional perspective, I wanted to discuss the two phases of disease so that you might be able to understand how our body works with respect to the food it craves.

According to both META-medicine and GNM, after the body undergoes a shock, there are two main phases – stress (immediately after the Significant Emotional Experience 2) followed by rest.

During the stress phase, the body is reacting from the Sympathetic Nervous System programming of fight, or flight. The blood thins, the blood pressure increases – the body is in a state of alertness and needs to be naturally acidic. To maintain this state, the cells are working and need energy. We need energy foods, and supplements or drugs that keep the body in this state of alertness. We crave foods like red meat, dairy, high sugar and salt foods, processed foods (quick energy), drinks like alcohol, caffeine, tea, high energy drinks, supplements such as caffeine tablets, drugs such as cortisone, smoking and chemotherapy. These foods both give quick energy and are acidic.

Activities such as sports, watching certain sports, intensive travel, fighting, arguing, worry all increase acidity further.

In the second phase, our body needs to heal and rest. The body is reacting from the Parasympathetic Nervous System patterns of digesting, relaxing and repair. The blood thickens, the blood pressure drops, the body becomes more alkaline.

To heal, the body needs to eat foods that alkalise, such as vegetables, some fruit, beans, grains and nuts, drinks such as camomile teas and fruit teas, supplements like Magnesium and Selenium.

This rest and regeneration phase is assisted by activities such as massage, meditation, energetic healing, yoga, emotional clearing techniques and naps during the day.

Our diets reflect what we are going through in our lives as well. We are naturally attracted to the foods that our bodies require in order to do the job they need to do. In addition, many of us are eating foods through habit, which keep our bodies stuck in the stress phase. The longer our bodies stay in the stress phase the harder it is to remove all of the toxins built up through the energy production and the break down of the cells.

In our current stressful lifestyles, it often takes the combination of an alkalising diet, meditation and mental clearing, and a detoxification program in order for our bodies to be able to regenerate and heal.

There’s a lot of information available online about alkalising diets, but I personally like best the information from Robert and Shelly Young who wrote The pH Miracle. Their blog is an excellent resource: Articles of Health. And you can get a free list of alkaline foods if you sign in at Energise for Life. A vegetarian diet that focuses on lots of raw and steamed vegetables (juicing is great too as long as you’re eating fibre elsewhere in your diet), sea vegetables, protein from the combination of whole grains (brown rice, kamut, quinoa, oats, teff, spelt, bulgur, amaranth), nuts and seeds, and beans, lentils and peas. Small amounts of fish and chicken can be added once the pH of your saliva starts to stabilize around 7.365. The longer you’ve been living a stress-filled lifestyle, the longer you’ll need to alkalise.

One caveat – If you decide to take alkalising supplements, I strongly recommend that you have the support of a naturopathic or homeopathic practioner. Also, your stomach needs to be acidic in order to digest food so you don’t want to be alkalising within one hour of eating.

Insight of the Day

Posted May 23rd, 2011 in Fats by Rebecca Lane
Heating vegetable oils to the point where they smoke can cause trans-fats to form

Heating vegetable oils to the point where they smoke can cause trans-fats to form

Just read today’s insight from Bob Proctor and had to share because it is something that I believe completely:

“One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” – Earl Nightingale, Author and Speaker, 1921-1989

This is something that I have always believed and never really followed through on. I’m always reading about food and its healing powers – and I really want to be knowledgeable so that I can share it with everyone that I meet. And I know that keeping on top of new research in the field is critical to helping people make change in their life.

Just yesterday, I was sitting at a Vegetarian Dim Sum restaurant in NY Chinatown with a table full of foodies and nutritionists. We had a disagreement about how trans-fats could be created. Most said that the flipped trans-bonds could be created only through hydrogenation – but I was sure that I had read somewhere that the trans-bonds could also be made from overheating vegetable fats and by deep frying. So, as soon as I got home (and remembered) I checked in Udo Erasmus’ book Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill and found that indeed trans-bonds can replace the natural cis-bonds if overheated – here’s the reference on page 107:

“Cis-double bonds have both hydrogen atoms on the carbons involved in double bonds on the same side of the molecule. The twist that occurs at high temperatures reached during frying, deep-frying, hydrogenation and, to a smaller extent, deodorization, flips the hydrogens on the carbons involved in double bonds onto opposite sides of the molecule.”

This is really important knowledge because frying unsaturated fats like olive oil and vegetable oil at high temperatures can cause not only the fats to break down and become rancid and full of free-radicals, but also can cause trans-fats to be formed which are unnatural and damaging to the body. If oils become so hot that they smoke or turn brown – the random free radical reactions due to light, oxidation-rancidity and heat-twisting effects combine, interact and synergize each other’s destructiveness.

Research has shown that damaged fats can produce atherosclerosis (trans-bonds are stickier than cis-bonds), can impair cell respiration and other cell functions, inhibit immune functions, and lead to cancer. (page 115 of Erasmus)

I realize that I need to give more background information and define some terms to make this valuable knowledge for everyone, but the point that I’m making is that removing margarine and shortenings and partially-hydrogenated oils from our diet is only a starting point. Fried foods can be just as damaging and we need to be aware of their effects on our bodies when we choose to include them in our diet. When heating vegetable oils, use vegetable stock and water to keep them cool and to stop them from burning and becoming damaged. This technique makes little difference to the taste but huge difference to the health of the oils.

Incoming search terms:

  • turning point nutrition centre REVIEWS
  • turning point nutrition centre side effects
  • turning point nutrition centre logo
  • turning point body fat

Interesting article at What Doctors Don’t Tell You

Posted February 24th, 2011 in Great reading, Nutrition Articles by Rebecca Lane

Interesting article at WDDTY http://ow.ly/42GHO – the UK government is cracking down on herbal remedies and withdrawing them from shelves.

Vitamin D linked to colon cancer prevention

Posted February 24th, 2011 in Vitamins by Rebecca Lane

Nutra Ingredients USA – Study at http://ow.ly/42FNv – Vitamin D linked to colon cancer protection