Category Archives: General Health

Low Carb Flu? Get Back into Ketosis.

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Have you recently begun a low-carb diet and are feeling MORE fatigued than usual? Having a few muscle cramps, brain fog, dizziness, or headache? Ready to throw in the towel and chock up this eating plan as another failure? Don’t give up right now! It’s likely what we call “low-carb flu.” It is a state of transition. Your body is adjusting to burning fat instead of carbohydrates, and it will definitely pass. If you lowered your carb intake markedly, you are inducing ketosis. Soon, the opposite will be true, and you’ll be brimming with energy. Really!

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Once you have cleaned your body of sugar and junk foods that had nothing but empty calories, your life will be much more focused, and your body will join your brain in a state of clarity.

But for now, you need help getting through the low-carb flu (no, it’s not a true flu with fever, etc). Try eating more fat since it’s key in this way of eating. Fat is not the enemy as was once preached. Read a few up-to-date nutrition articles from reliable sources. You’ll see that low-carb, higher fat, and low carb eating is what our bodies thrive on. It can be difficult to make the switch after decades of believing the other way. If you fuel your body with fat instead of carbohydrates, it will adjust to burning fat instead of sugars and empty carbs. The energy you’ll experience will be SO worth your living this diet. Think mayo, cheeses, butter, steak, chicken with the skin on (not battered), half and half in your coffee, avocados, nuts, and sauces without sugars but with fat as a base (ex: Hollandaise sauce).

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In addition, be careful how much protein you consume. About 4-6 oz a meal is plenty. Your body might decide to convert protein you are eating into sugars and burn those instead of the fats. Balance is key.

You’ve heard that drinking water is vitally important to feeling your best. It’s even more important when you are on this type of eating plan. However, you flush away electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, sodium) when you drink good amounts of water. So, take a multi-vitamin every day. Also increase your sodium intake. I know, we’re flying in the face of recently-modern medicine but it’s now been researched and is becoming the norm given by health professionals.

 

Another idea if you are in a low-carb flu is to avoid sweeteners. They can cause cravings by their sweet taste.

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One last idea – move! It may be the one thing you do NOT want to do right now but just move a little. Just walk at a slower pace, and encourage yourself to do something besides lay around.

When you’ve eaten, had a drink of water, taken your multivitamin, and followed other actions to combat the low-carb flu, sit back and look forward to energetic days ahead!

Love you guys! Hang in there. It’s only temporary. Remember . . . good-bye sugary junk and hello new, healthy life!

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Carb-Sensitive? Want a Low Carb Diet?

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The above photo shows what many, many health professionals still believe should be a staple of our diets for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks. Have you taken a look at the Food Guide Pyramid lately?

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Please don’t take this guide seriously. I’m living proof that this way of eating is NOT healthful for every adult. Too many carbs. They are telling us that they majority of our eating should contain carbohydrates. After decades of fighting my overweight body (yet using doctor-recommended and professionally recognized “well rounded” diets), I figured out why I didn’t feel well most of the time and why I couldn’t maintain weight loss.

I tried a very low carbohydrate way of eating. I felt 75% better after just the first day!

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I have several low carb eating plans but stayed with Atkins because it was more familiar and because I needed the structure of their Induction phase. I used to think that the more variety I was given, the better I could work the diet. Not so this go round. I went a different route, and it’s working well. After reading much research on carbohydrates, I realized I was likely carb-sensitive. Another phrase that stuck with me was Insulin Resistance.

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What is carb sensitivity? It’s How your body processes sugars and starchesSome of us can down a pint of ice cream and not be affected. Others, like me, can eat a half a cup and stall their weight maintenance. I know, it’s not fair but that’s life. All bodies are not created equally. “Carbohydrate-sensitive people have exaggerated responses to sugars and starches that set the stage for increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and very efficient fat storage (Georgia Ede, MD).”

Try a low carb diet and see if it helps you lose unwanted pounds. Fat pounds, not lean muscle. Look up Atkins Diet or the Keto Diet and see if they’re for you. I’m glad I did!

The difference between Atkins and Keto Diets

Good luck on your journey, and enjoy the natural foods you eat.

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Low Carb vs Junk Food Diet

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I’ve made a discovery. I had to choose a path to travel when I approached a fork in the road. Ironic that it’s called a FORK when my diet is what drastically changed. Over the last couple of decades, I made junk food my go-to when I felt stressed, bored, afraid, or whatever other emotion I was dealing with. I was alone a lot in my first marriage and fell to food as a coping mechanism.

You’ve heard this tale before by many others BUT mine hit me square in the face tonight. With hubby number two off at a meeting, I was bored and hungry. Instead of choosing the low carbohydrate foods in my pantry, I turned backward and drove to a taco stand. It sounded so tasty, and it HAD been a month since I’d changed my diet. I deserved one meal I craved, right?

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I crushed the tacos in a bowl and added salsa. I sat down to watch a sit-com  – anticipating the first bite of an old delicious friend, a taco with an actual crunchy shell on it.

Boom! There was the taste. Only it wasn’t what I remembered. It had a stale, kind of burned taste, and the texture of the meat was odd. It was packed together tightly but get this . . . there was almost no taste at all. It WASN’T delicious. It was greasy and bland and not even close to what my mind remembered.

I finished the tacos anyway, secretly hoping each bite would find me enchanted again with my old habit. Nope. So, I ate until I was too full (like I once did) and felt like crap! Within fifteen minutes, I had a headache. I kid you not. MSG? I knew there was no “going back.”

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I had taken a path of clean eating over the last month, and it prevailed. I was both encouraged and disappointed. I didn’t have the old habit I once counted on as my Band-Aid.

Yet, I faced a new path . . . one with a healthier destination.

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I now walk in the light of health and won’t have the old unhealthful habits. I guess that’s one way to quit a habit you hate. It becomes something you detest after a while.

My bare feet take me to a happier and tastier place, and I do enjoy the journey much more than I used to. Soon, there will be no fat, headaches, mood-changing sugars, or any other detriment that I once held so closely.

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I wonder what else 2018 has in store.

Happy February, dear ones ~

How Clean is “Clean?”

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What tiny creatures lurk on your face? Even your cleanly washed face?

Demodex Mites!

According to Lucy Jones with BBC, “They are microscopic mites, eight-legged creatures rather like spiders. Almost every human being has them. They spend their entire lives on our faces, where they eat, mate and finally die.”

Want to see more pics? I thought you might. Here are the arthropods:

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Cute little guys, eh? (shiver!)

These mites live in your pores, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands. What’s even more exciting to learn is that they also may live in out genital areas and on our breasts. I’ll never feel clean again.

There are about two mites per eyelash on your lovely eyes. Want to see another pic? I knew you would.

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So, what do these crab-like critters actually “do?”

Ms. Jones suggests, “Some people think they eat the bacteria that are associated with the skin . . . Some think they eat the dead skin cells. Some think they’re eating the oil from the sebaceous gland.”

Nice, any one of these gives me the creeps but it’s nature. It’s our miraculous bodies.

How do the mites reproduce? We aren’t sure of that, either. Other types of mites even resort to cannibalism but it’s not been shown in the Demodex.

Lucy Jones also states, “They’ve never been known to eat one another,” says Thoemmes. “It appears that they come out at night to mate and then go back to their pores.”

Ugh.

The mites lay a few large eggs around the base of a pore – but these guys don’t “go to the bathroom.” They have no anuses. So, it’s thought that they save it all up in their bodies until they die or explode on our faces.

(Don’t you just love this blog?)

It has been stated that there is a link between Rosacea and the Demodex Mite. People with Rosacea have more mites per square centimeter than people without Rosacea. But rather than causing the skin condition, it’s thought that it’s not the Demodex who start the process but are merely present in skin that is of older adults or that has been exposed to extreme weather. Less oil means easier skin irritation.

See photo of a more severe case of Rosacea below:

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Demodex have also been shown to be more prevalent in people with compromised immune systems, as in AIDS or cancer patients.

Can you get rid of these mites? Would you want to? They actually may be eating bacteria and dead skin cells, which isn’t a negative. Even if you did rid your face of these, Jones says, “It looks as if there is something special on our faces that they need. Even if you kill them off, you’re going to get them again, because they’re everywhere and they want to be on your face.”

Our bodies are teeming with microorganisms. 90% of our cells are made up of them. So, Ms. Jones is accurate in saying, “There is a simple lesson here. You are not just you; you are a walking, talking community, an entire ecosystem held within one body.”

Now, how clean is “clean?”

Quinoa – Do We Really Know What We’re Eating?

Thank you to Julie R Thomson of Huffington Post for a fantastic yet simple article. See below. I will past it here in case the link becomes inactive. Have fun reading. I did!

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/19/what-is-quinoa_n_7612836.html

Bolivia Quinoa Dispute

Second only to maybe kale, quinoa is the health food star of our time. The Food and Agriculture Organization named 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, after all. This tiny grain-like food is full of good-for-you nutrition and tastes great in just about anything: salads, omelettes and even cakes.

We’re willing to bet you’ve eaten a good deal of the stuff, but do you know what it really is? It’s okay if you don’t, because not many of us do. Today’s the day we change that with a few fun facts and photos that tell us about where quinoa comes from.

Here are 8 important things everyone should know about quinoa:

1. First, it’s pronounced KEEN-wah. Let’s just all get that straight.

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2. The part of the quinoa plant that we eat is the seed — it’s not a grain. It grows from a plant in the goosefoot family, which also produces edibles such as chard and spinach. So although we treat it like a grain, it is not in fact a grain.

A quinoa field in Cotimbora, Oruro, Boli

3. It’s a complete protein — meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acidswhich cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, so it’s perfect for healthy eaters. Bonus: This is great news for vegetarians looking to up their protein intake.

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4. Cooked quinoa looks like it has a little curly “string” coming out of it. This is not something that should gross you out — it’s just the seed’s germ.

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5. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa out there. The white, red and black are the most widely cultivated.

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6. While we’re just getting hip to this healthy seed, quinoa has long been a staple ingredient, dating back to pre-Columbian civilizations in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia.

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7. Quinoa is one of the few crops that not only survives but thrives in harsh, unpredictable climates. After all, it originated in the Bolivian Altiplano, known to have over 200 frost days and severe droughts. While many countries are jumping on the quinoa train trying to ramp up production — including the U.S. and Canada — results have yet to be as good as Bolivia or Peru’s quinoa.

8. Bolivia and Peru are at odds about quinoa farming practices. Bolivia used to dominate quinoa exports, but recently Peru has been climbing the scales. Bolivian farmers are unhappy about the way Peruvian farmers are ramping up production, using factory farming practices and heavy amounts of pesticides while driving down the price of the crop.

Enjoy! Now Google some yummy quinoa recipes! 😉

 

 

Bipolar Disorder, Be Patient, Dears

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Ever feel like you have a Jekyl and Hyde thing going on? I did but didn’t notice it as a problem until years after it began, and then finding the correct meds and behavioral therapy was like pulling teeth.

I’ve finally found the “cocktail” that works for me. Guess how long it took? TEN YEARS! No kidding. I was first diagnosed with depression, then Major Depressive Disorder, then Bipolar, then back to depression with ADHD. Finally, my new doctor said she wanted to treat me for Bipolar 2. I began Abilify (generic) and have been smooth sailing from that point on. Thanks goodness for perserverence. I just KNEW something had to work at some point.

These days, I am happy (but not too much) LOL. I’m not thinking that suicide is the best answer for me as I did for many years. I’ve also got energy again! Blessed be! It’s been gone for so long. Feels good to want to “do” things again.

The Take Away from this blog post is this: NEVER ever give up on finding what might make you feel like yourself again. It’s trial and error. It’s changing doctors multiple times. It’s being patient enough to keep your head up and your courage up even more.

If you or a loved one might have the following symptoms, please see your doctor and start feeling better! ((hugs to you)). See the Mayo Clinic’s information on Bipolar Disorder here:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bipolar-disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20307970

The “Highs” (mania). Symptoms of a manic episode may include –

  • Feelings of euphoria, abnormal excitement, or elevated mood

  • Talking very rapidly or excessively

  • Needing less sleep than normal, yet still having plenty of energy

  • Feeling agitated, irritable, hyper, anxious, or easily distracted

  • Engaging in risky behavior such as lavish spending, impulsive sexual encounters, or ill-advised business decisions

The “Lows” (depression). Symptoms of a depressive episode (bipolar depression) may include –

  • No interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Loss of energy and feeling apathetic

  • Difficulty sleeping—either sleeping too much or not at all

  • Thoughts of suicide, if depression is severe enough

When PMS & ADHD Pair Up!

When PMS & ADHD pair up, people nearby had better make themselves scarce. Go run errands, work on an outdoor project, visit the library . . . just get away from the woman with the fiery mood!

I say this because I am that woman some months. Right now, in fact, I’m dealing with this pair of clashing hormonal and mental hurricanes. I’ve told my husband some terribly awful things. I’ve alienated my step child. I’ve thrown a glass and have angrily folded/put away three large loads of laundry. That was all in the last hour. Lord help me. Lord help them.

I’m not saying there weren’t reasons why I responded negatively but it shouldn’t have been to the degree I reacted. I know these things intellectually but can’t physically stop the feelings – and have been trying to stay away from loved ones so I don’t hurt them further.

I’ve only known I had ADHD for a few months, and this is the first month the disorder has clashed with a bout of PMS. It feels awful. Like I have no control of my emotions or actions.

I’ll spend the day in my room with a book and ipad. And probably some cookies. Hopefully the cats don’t make me mad . . . Only Kidding!

Lord help us all ~

Women in Midlife Crisis – Suicide

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I read an interesting and disturbing article today. It seems women in midlife (ages 45-64) are taking their own lives 24% more often than in 1999. That is a very large jump – in the wrong direction. 

I was also unaware that suicide is among the top ten leading causes of death for women.

Reasons? A few were suggested. Aging Baby Boomers are a large portion of these women – even from adolescence. Possibly, it is cultural with youth being celebrated and aging “getting a bad rap.” Social isolation is another explanation for possible midlife female suicides. Spouses die or divorce. Kids are grown with families of their own . . . busy and often living in other cities. A study showed that women who had strong social supports were less likely to have a premature death – by threefold. Another reason given was finances. With a lagging economy came more deaths. Finally, easy access to medications in the home didn’t help depressed situations. Pain killers can kill more than muscle or joint pain.

I’ve personally experienced seven years of Major Depressive Disorder and have medicated, changed my life (gotten rid of most stress), and introduced new friendships and activities to my days. I now have come through times of suicidal ideation and have a firmer grip on my emotions and behavior. Perimenopause isn’t helping much, though. Erratic hormones have turned me into a Jekyll and Hyde but I don’t give up, and I don’t give in.

We women of middle age are strong. We’re resourceful and wise enough to know how to change our circumstances. Fear will get in the way, though, if we aren’t constantly aware of our goals, and it will stall or even stop our progress toward mental and general health.

Remember Rosie the Riveter from the 1940s? We can do it!

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She Went From Fine to Dead in Three Weeks

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My sweet friend, Ann, a long time survivor of ovarian cancer was a published author of a nonfiction book on the subject of her ordeal and survival of that cancer. Her book was organized to help the cancer patient, her caregivers, and family. It was a fantastic compilation of biblical scriptures and uplifting advice from someone who had lived the disease and come out on the other side healthy!

She lived over a decade with much energy, fervor for life, a generous nature, helping others, and caring for her ailing parents and disabled husband.She gave me inspiration.

We, both, being writers, would set regular coffee dates and sit in out of the way booths with our laptops, paper, pens, books, and espresso-filled coffee concoctions. We laughed, shared the happenings in our lives, then we’d write for a bit and read the resulting masterpieces to each other for a quick critique or kudos. It was fun.

Then, I moved to Dallas to attend mortuary school and lost touch with Ann. When I finally moved back home, Ann and I didn’t get back in touch again. Our lives were full and changing. However, we “knew” the other was “there,” and that was somehow enough.

On November 4th, 2015, a fellow writer friend told me that Ann had suddenly passed away from cancer that had gone undiagnosed until it was too severe to treat. She was diagnosed, went into hospice care, and died within three short weeks. I didn’t know about it until she was gone.

I realize that true friendship doesn’t have to mean you see each other often or talk every day. You just have to know the other is nearby and just a call away. I knew that about Ann. I loved her, and I knew she loved me.

I wish I had taken the time to see her just for a coffee date, though. It would have been such a blessing to me now. I’m going to pay more attention to the people I love. I’m going to make it a point to tell them I love them. Life is too unstable, uncertain, and fleeting to assume anything.

Thank you, Rebecca Ann, for teaching me that lesson. God bless you my dear.

 

Perimenopause!

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Yes, I’m turning 49 again this year. I’ve never turned the same number twice so it’s new for me. Allow it.

I can’t mentally wrap my head around the number I’m supposed to quote to everyone when they ask which birthday this is. How dare they ask anyway; as a best friend of mine says, “It’s all about the event, not the number!” (Thanks, Les)

I have the standard symptoms, minus a few. No night sweats, thank god. That sounds awful. Here are a few you can expect if you haven’t already gone through this time in your life, ladies:

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Ain’t it beautiful? :-/

I’ve had all of these dwarfs. Nasty little things they are. So, how are we to deal with perimenopause?

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I love that the exercise says “moderate levels.” It sound like something I can actually DO. I eat too much sugar. That’s another of my shortcomings. Need to change that one NOW. My mom didn’t take hormone replacement therapy and now wishes she had. I think I’ll give it a try. I’m tired of having periods that last two weeks and foul moods that even make my cats stay away.

Ladies, I hope we come out on the other side with smiles on our faces and few wrinkles on them. XO!