Archive for the ‘gluten free’ Category

Winter Blues

???????????????????????????????Last night, I sat outside with my SU while soft, white flakes of frozen precipitation gently fell on my shoulders. The water in our spa was warm. The air was quiet. It was that kind of hush that only comes with freshly fallen snow. It was sublime.

Suddenly the quiet of the evening was interrupted by a very distinctive and recognized sound, a certain woosh of feathers and a coo. I identify birds by their calls, so I looked around for the source because I knew it sounded like mourning doves but this it too early.

If this were the halcyon days of spring instead of the dead of winter “my” doves, letting their presence be known, would not be unusual but doing so on February 3 is most uncommon. I finally spotted four of them, one lone scout and three fluffy companions resting comfortably in a decorative crab tree not far from where we lounged.

This morning, I was somewhat relieved to read that while they prefer to spend all year in the Greater Antilles and most of Mexico  (and who doesn’t?) they will also stay as far north as central Minnesota even through our nasty winters. I like to think they know they will be safe at my house where the feeder is always full and the bird bath is warm but still winter is winter and we have months of it left to endure.

In the middle of our winter blues spring tries to sneak in with the coo of one of the loveliest birds I know. Winter is here to stay for a while but seeing my doves has given me a certain confidence that spring will arrive sooner or later.

FYI

I was spurred to action on my blog by the recent conversations on Facebook. If any of my readers are not on Facebook and are not participating in the conversations on the thyroid groups you should know that our supply of T3 from south of the border has dried up.

I do not know all the details but here is what I do know. I placed an order the first of January 2015. Payment was accepted and I received a note that it had been shipped. I paid no more attention until this discussion came up on Facebook.

After I read several comments it seemed clear that yes, payments are being accepted but it doesn’t mean they have T3 on their shelves. One person who has been in touch with the pharmacy said they told her their credit card system is antiquated and doesn’t know how NOT to accept payment.

That comment prompted me to check the email that had been sent right after my order was placed in January. I clicked on the “track your package” link provided and much to my surprise it took me to my last order that had indeed been delivered. In November. It was not, as I thought, an email regarding my January order it was an automatically generated email from months ago.

Screwed

There I said it, I think those of us who order from this pharmacy are screwed. I don’t think they are being intentionally dishonest but their supplies ran out and they don’t know how to handle the situation. There aren’t just one or two people not getting their T3, their lifeline, there are many of us who placed orders as far back as November who are not going to be getting our T3.

Many folks are now reporting that they have been sent an email saying that the transaction “failed”. Those folks feel that this means the problem is not temporary it is permanent. Why the manufacturer would suddenly stop making Cynomel, I do not know but it is starting to point in that direction. Fingers crossed that this an erroneous conclusion and they will fill their shelves again and we will receive our T3.

Choices

Okay, so now that those of you who get your T3 from Mexico know your T3 supply is in danger it is time to pursue another source. I have resorted to begging my doctor to provide a prescription for an American made T3 from Perrigo (formerly Paddock). It is gluten-free unlike the American Cytomel which, by the say, is not guaranteed to be gluten-free. She will not be willing to prescribe the dose I need but anything is better than nothing until I figure this out. At the moment I have three months of Cynomel left and I can supplement what she is willing to prescribe to get my normal dose.

I suppose another choice is to try a natural desiccated thyroid med again. The most popular one right now is Westhroid. It is gluten-free and most people are feeling really good taking it.

Armour is another choice but most people feel it doesn’t  work as well as it used to. Armour has never recovered their reputation after they apparently made a formula change several years ago that they would not acknowledge but the humans taking it noticed a decline in their health.

ERFA (Canadian NDT) has reportedly been causing a return of hypo symptoms, just like Armour. Seriously, if a pharmaceutical company makes a formulation change why not tell the consumer that they have made a change no matter how slight or inconsequential. Patients need to be told before they start feeling a return of hypo symptoms, or worse, are sick on the couch again.

Thyrogold is an over-the-counter natural thyroid med that Dr. Lowe (who died three years ago after a bad fall and trauma to his head) developed and it is now being sold by his widow, Tammy. It sounds great but the cost might make it prohibitive. The general starting point is 2-3 capsules a day and 90 capsules are $54.95 plus shipping. That is approximately $60 a month if taking 3 capsules a day.

If you know of other possibilities please let me know. I will share the ideas on the Facebook groups but it will also help those who read Krisinsight and are not on Facebook.

Krisinsight

This blog entry has been almost entirely my viewpoint but let me share one more thought with you. Allopathic medicine is seriously damaged. Our system is so dysfunctional that it is harming the patients who have to use it. Doctors simply do not understand the thyroid and how it affects our bodies when it doesn’t work properly. They go by the book and the book is old and out of touch with reality.

We are forced to treat ourselves because our doctors look at low FT3 numbers and say all is well. They do not understand RT3 ratios and as long as you don’t have Wilson’s syndrome they tell you all is well when your ratio is revealing a thyroid resistance issue. When you take NDT or T3 your TSH will most likely be suppressed when you finally feel good. However, when your doctor sees a suppressed TSH they assume you are over medicated even when your body temperature is low, your pulse is low and your blood pressure is low. Come on, doc, you should know better.

Sadly, too many doctors tell patients who say they just don’t feel good on their current dose of T4 thyroid meds that they may need psychiatric help. Or worse than that, if a patient asks too many questions they are rudely informed that they are Google experts and will be dismissed as patients if they continue with this nonsense.

Ugh. This is our reality. I faced it five years ago and solved my heart problems (inappropriate release of adrenaline) by treating myself with T3-only. It wasn’t easy and I don’t recommend it to anyone but I did solve my problem so effectively that the SU has completely forgotten how ill I was 5 years ago today.

My wish for all of us. That some day this will change. I pray that “some day” is just around corner.

Santé,

Kris

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Reading for Thyroid Health

???????????????????????????????It is officially autumn everywhere in the northern hemisphere. In south central Minnesota this morning, the long grass has a heavy coat of rime and mittens warmed my hands on the morning dog walk.

This, my friends, is the time of year when I break out Rosamunde Pilcher’s last book, Winter Solstice. Somehow her words help me adjust from the outdoor life of summer to the cozy, indoor life of winter with nary a whimper.

Suddenly a warming cup of tea seems so much more appealing or a morning coffee inside a cozy coffee shop in nearby Stillwater, Minnesota sounds heavenly. Cloudy, gray days become days of reading by the fire. Rainy days can even seem appealing when you read. This power of words on a page is remarkable and it reminded me that there is healing power in books as well. With the influence of words on my mind I thought I would share some thyroid resources with my readers.

Isabella Wenz

I actually have not read Isabella Wenz’ book but from reading the reviews I can tell that she has helped people immeasurably with her self-published book, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause.

She is a pharmacist with Hashimoto’s Disease. When she was diagnosed she made it her mission to find all the root causes of the disease and her research is invaluable to those of us with thyroid dis-ease.

I signed up for her newsletter and received her free first chapter and nutrient dense gluten-free recipes. In reading for exactly 5 minutes I have already learned something that is worthwhile. I eat out very seldom but when I do there is a good chance of cross contamination because I know very few restaurant kitchens have dedicated areas for preparing gluten-free foods.

There is a supplement that I am going to order that can help if I am exposed to gluten. Pure Encapsulations has a product called Gluten/Dairy Digest. As she says it doesn’t mean you can eat gluten again; it simply helps with cross contamination issues and I need that help if I want to enjoy an occasional meal out with friends.

Janie Bowthorpe

My favorite thyroid book and one I always recommend is Stop the Thyroid Madness. If you suspect you have thyroid issues or have been recently diagnosed with thyroid issues buy this book. It is also the best book to purchase if you have been on T4-only drugs (Synthroid, Levothyroxine) for years and really haven’t improved. This book has now been revised and in the second edition she has added information from patient experience and all the latest research.

In her book, Janie has compiled a list of “good docs” because honestly there are so many ill-informed doctors that one needs to know where to start. Every state should have at least one good doctor to help you finally get better. Unfortunately, Minnesota is rather lacking and I do not understand why.

Another issue that Janie’s book helps with are the questions that you as a patient need to ask your doctor. If you take your questions to your doctor and they laugh or are rude about their superior position and these silly questions, as she says, “fire” your doctor and find someone who doesn’t laugh at you or find your questions objectionable.

Thanks to books like STTM, doctors are no longer considered gods, they have been exposed for what they are. They are humans, just like you and me, with a certain set of skills (some with very little skill when it comes to healing a thyroid issue).

Finding a good doctor could be likened to finding good friends, some are more compatible than others and if you have thyroid problems you need a “good doc” to assist you on your path to wellness.

Paul Robinson

Paul’s book Recovering With T3 is the book to turn to if your adrenals become a hindrance to your healing journey. He also has a new book published The CT3M Handbook that goes into more detail on how to treat fatigued and worn out adrenals by dosing your T3 in a circadian rhythm.

His method has helped me a great deal. After being on T3 for two years I was still having issues taking enough T3 to eliminate symptoms. After I read Paul’s first book I started taking a dose of T3 at a time between 1-3 in the morning. After doing this for a while I was able to increase my dose to 50 mcg and with slight seasonal adjustments that dose has kept me pretty healthy for two years now.

I have never followed his method to the letter but my altered method has worked for me. For one, I couldn’t set an alarm clock to wake me up at an exact time every morning. If I did that I would just be up for the rest of the night. I am a restless sleeper at the best of times, so I awake many times to turn over or adjust my covers.

Since I am awake to turn over or adjust my body on the bed at 1, or 2, or 3 (not necessarily at all three times but at least at one time or the other) I just take my 25 mcg of T3 whenever I wake up to turn. That does mean that some days there are barely 4 hours between taking my dose and being up for the day but it hasn’t affected me negatively and I have only seen improvements. I advise anyone who asks what they should do about their adrenals to try Paul Robinson’s method as it is so much better than taking yet another drug.

Krisinsight

Those are only three books on the subject of treating thyroid disease but they are three of the most useful in my opinion. If you seek other voices on the subject there are many and they are all qualified in their own way. Researchers, doctors, and other people with thyroid issues like Mary Shomon, Broda Barnes, Mark Starr and  Datis Kharrazian. Any of their books will enrich your life and improve your health.

I love to read and I read daily, several different times of day no matter the season. Often books on health be it thyroid, diet, exercise, Reiki, chakras, and even meditation are my books to read when I want a break from housework. My Kindle is loaded with all of them. I get a task done and turn on my Kindle or my Kindle app on my iPad. I am presented with a plethora of books from which to learn something, anything.

That getting a task done to be able to read was a great idea I got from my sister-in-law, Jody. She gave me that very sage advice and I follow it to this day. She is an avid reader and in order to read as much as she wants she makes sure she accomplishes a work task like cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming the house, completing loads of laundry. When the task has been accomplished she makes a cup of tea and sits down to read.

Another bit of reader’s advice from a person who doesn’t sleep terribly well (me). I think t is important to read appropriately. I find feel good books (like Winter Solstice) are my bedtime books and mysteries (any book by Deborah Crombie for instance) are my get-me-out-of-bed books in the morning.

If you aren’t sleeping well and you love tension filled television shows before you go to bed or you must watch the horrible television news before you nod off, take a break, read one of the three books on healing your thyroid. You may just sleep a little bit better and, at the very least, if you don’t sleep well you can spend the night ruminating over the facts you have just discovered and put them to work for you the next day.

Santé,

Kris

When Asked, Do Your Research!

???????????????????????????????It is a gorgeous late summer day in Minnesota, one of a handful we get each year, but last night was a harbinger of colder days to come. I awoke to frost and, of course, the end to the fragile vegetables that grow in my garden.

I had plenty of warning of this impending rime of ice, so yesterday, with some reluctance I picked every tomato, ripe or not. Every pepper was plucked and the yellow summer squash was gently removed from the vines that would soon be dead. With a lot of reluctance I left my garden a mere shadow of its summer self.

I am always sad to see the seasons change and my once burgeoning garden die but, just like we humans must change, the seasons must morph from summer to autumn, autumn to winter, winter to spring and back to summer again. It’s the cycle of life.

 

Iodine or not?

Speaking of change helps me segue to my next topic. I had an interesting experience this week that has caused me to change my mind. I was asked to be a moderator on a thyroid group, to try to help people who have this perplexing disease. That is what Krisinsight is all about, so at first I jumped at the chance to help even more people but then turned it down.

Why you ask have I turned down this opportunity? It seems I turned it down because I am not up-to-date with the latest thinking on iodine. I had said I would help out but then decided I should make sure I agreed with the recommendations the group makes. In asking some questions I discovered that they recommend iodine supplementation. I am not a supporter of iodine supplementation and that did it for me, I turned them down.

You see, 4 years ago my mentor was a “no iodine if you have Hashimoto’s” kind of gal. Her thinking, which is still correct, was based on the fact that iodine supplementation can cause flare-ups of Hashimoto’s and believe me flare-ups are not pleasant. She used to tell all of us that our thyroid medication filled all of our iodine needs and any further iodine would just make us sick.

I have adhered to this philosophy pretty stringently and it has worked for me. However, I have done many things that have improved my health including taking T3-only and healing my adrenals with Paul Robinson’s Circadian method of taking T3. I got my electrolytes normalized by taking slow release potassium and Celtic sea salt. I regularly take selenium and two years ago I went completely gluten-free which was one of the best things I ever did.

It is really hard to pinpoint that one thing that has made the difference but the hard truth is I may be healthy enough now to start supplementing iodine.

My Iodine history

I have a good reason for being wary of iodine despite the fact that it helps our bodies fight disease. I did take iodine about four years ago and I took 50 mg of Iodoral upon recommendation of another thyroid site dealing with iodine and Dr. David Brownstein. The idea is you detox bad things and the iodine feeds your thyroid and you get healthy with no other intervention. (Keep in mind that is a very simplistic and succinct statement it is far more complicated.)

At the time I took iodine my TSH went up to 13 which has never been the case not even when I was first diagnosed with thyroid problems umpteen years ago. That scared me and I lowered my dose but did not stop taking it. Once I started following advice on the RT3 Yahoo group I gave up additional iodine completely.

On changing one’s mind

Fast forward to my thinking as of today, my mentor’s advice is still sound when dealing with really sick and fragile people but there has been good patient feedback, according to Janie Bowthorpe, with healthy people taking small doses of iodine (as little as 3 mg of iodine and up to 12.5 mg of iodine).

My mentor was also correct we do get iodine in our thyroid medication but the amount of iodine in thyroid medications like Cynomel/Cytomel and NDT is measured in mcg and is inadequate to provide enough for your body as “the body is made up of about 1500 mg of iodine in all our tissues”. With the constant bombardment of fluoride and bromide (we need iodine to push the fluoride and bromide out of our thyroid receptors) it is reasonable to think that we need more iodine (measured in mg) than our thyroid medication (measured in mcg) is providing.

Krisinsight

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to me to start supplementing with iodine but in very small doses. I am going to start with capsules by Pure Encapsulations (If you would like to order from iHerb you can use my coupon code YAN884 and get a discount on your first order) that only provide mcg of additional iodine. I already supplement 200 mcg  of selenium which is a must (start with selenium and then add iodine if you want to try it). I am going to add additional B1 and B2 because iodine works synergistically with those co-factors and also Vitamin K (which is also needed to utilize Vitamin D).

My thinking, and no one else’s, is if a small dose has no ill-effect on me I will raise my dose and eventually take 6.25 mg but no more. High dose supplementation as recommended by Dr. Brownstein and others just did not work well for me and I do not care to repeat my experience.

I have always really respected Dr. Joe Mercola and his ability to rethink his advice. Over the years he has changed his recommendation on the amount of water one needs to drink, how much protein your body requires and even the type of exercise that is the most efficient. I think we really need to be willing to change. If patient’s are being helped with some iodine supplementation and not experiencing an autoimmune flare-up, my time has come.

Santé,

Kris

P.S. My recent Vitamin D test result was lower than February’s result yet again. In March my result was 74 ng/ml August’s results were 61 ng/ml. Every summer it is the same, my result is lower than the winter result when I am using my Mercola Sunsplash D-lites. This has now been true for 5 years.

 

 

Awesome Autumn

IMG_1917 (2)Happy first full day of autumn. It is feeling very fall-like in Minnesota and thanks to a second half of summer drought our leaves are already turning. They change color not because of autumn but because they are struggling to survive. We started out the summer wet and cool but the second half left our landscape parched and thirsty. It is so sad to see about 20 trees dead or dying around our rural acreage but Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes.

Vacations and your health

I have just returned from two weeks abroad and while I am feeling good and not too tired, I have some acrimonious aches and pains that are immobilizing me at the moment. While hiking in the Borders of Scotland I tripped on a gnarly tree root that was slippery from morning rain and went right down on my chest as my hands were elsewhere, I guess. That fall knocked the wind right out of me and jarred an old injury to my ribs (caused by two poodles who whisked me off a porch in pursuit of a squirrel).

My right side is so sore sleep is, at best, restless and broken. Once home I spent as much time as possible with my fabulous grandsons and having picked up and cuddled two boys for two days I know that is “verboten” as well. I am unbelievably sad about not being able to pick up those boys and cuddle them but I can’t aggravate this injury anymore.

Barefoot running and Morton’s neuroma

Before my holiday, I was running barefoot on my paved driveway and had gotten up to a mile of barefoot running. Around the time we left my right foot was hurting and now I know I have a Morton’s neuroma that is alive and well. I have had a neuroma in my left foot for ages that came on after walking barefoot  or with my Vibram- 5- Fingers on the beach in Florida for a few days. That neuroma seems to have faded away with time but now has been replaced by this one which is causing me considerable pain and discomfort. I guess barefoot running is also a forbidden sport, at least for now.

Aches and pains be damned

So, aches and pains aside my holiday was lovely. The weather was very summer-like and the cottage we rented for the second year in a row was perfect for us again this year. This wee croft cottage is extremely private (if you don’t count the sheep, deer, otter, dolphins and passing boats as a crowd) and we can walk unimpeded by other humans for hours.

One day we lunched on the shoreline of a nearby private cove looking out to sea. As we watched shipping traffic in the faraway sea channel we saw a few black “things” jump from the water. Then we saw a few more and in the end probably 2 dozen dolphins in a pod. They were obviously following a school of fish but they entertained us for nearly an hour eventually coming up our inlet (Loch Feochan) and frolicking right in front of us.

I love our weeks in Great Britain. After living there in the 80’s we fully intended to live there again one day but Osama’s grand plan (otherwise known as 9/11) got in the way, so instead we rent a cottage here and there and live the good life for a week on our own. Our second week is very dear to both of us as we spend it visiting our long time friends (former neighbors and lifetime friends) who just plain make my heart happy.

On being gluten-free and on holiday

This year staying with friends was more difficult since I have gone gluten-free. I knew the one friend would be fine with it as she has a sister who is gluten-free. She kindly dedicated a corner counter to me in the kitchen. She scrubbed her toaster and made some gluten-free treats basically having us all eat gluten-free as much as possible. I didn’t ask her to do that but she did and I enjoyed and appreciated her efforts. Probably more than anything she didn’t make me feel bad about it; she just accepted it and made me feel okay about my change of diet.

My other friend really didn’t understand being gluten-free, so she struggled a bit.  At one point she even said to me, in a very gentle voice, “A little gluten won’t hurt you!”. The odd thing is this friend is a pescatarian (they say vegetarian but they do eat fish) and if meat even touches their food they won’t eat it, so I thought she might be more understanding but alas I don’t blame her for being irritated. Being gluten-free is not an easy thing for me either.

Some helpful gluten-free travel tips

Before we left I carefully updated my profile on Delta to say I needed gluten-free food. This, it turns out, was a useless endeavor. It simply was never recorded I guess, so I had to pick food that seemed the least touched by flours and grains. Meanwhile, because there was someone on both flights that had nut allergies the entire plane was warned and nuts were not available (but pretzels were). I don’t blame the people with nut allergies but I wish Delta Airlines would take gluten intolerance as seriously.

On the way home, by now somewhat chagrined by my experience with Delta, I asked the flight attendant why they didn’t know I needed gluten-free food and drink.  To her credit she relayed my question to someone who could answer it. What I was told was I needed to request gluten-free food for every flight I take. Apparently updating my profile did absolutely no good which is, needless to say, disappointing. My advice: Make sure to inform the airline on every flight you take where food is served, that you need gluten-free food.

Delta Airlines aside, I was amazed at all the gluten-free items available in England and Scotland, especially Tesco, Booth’s and Sainsbury’s. Restaurants are very careful to keep you safe if you tell them you are gluten-free. Also, if you are travelling in Britain, if it doesn’t say “Gluten Free” it probably isn’t. Sometimes even if it does say “Gluten Free” you might check the ingredients carefully. One bottle of Worcester Sauce (a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce) said it was gluten-free but in looking at the ingredients (I started having some heart irregularity) it contained malt vinegar which is not technically gluten-free. I know, picky, picky but this trip was so much better than any I have had in years I am convinced being gluten-free is right for me and sometimes you have to be “picky”.

One treat that perhaps I shouldn’t have indulged in, but did, is bread. If you like toast or sandwiches while on vacation in Britain most grocery stores sell the best gluten-free bread. It is the Genius brand. It is the same size as normal bread and has the same texture as other bagged breads. I came home thinking surely I could find a similar bread here, which I did. At least it was called Genius but it isn’t the same and I can tell you not to bother buying it. The Genius bread here isn’t even as good as Udi’s Gluten free bread and it is more expensive.

The proof is in the pudding, gluten free  pudding that is

In past years, I have “treated” myself to one or two weeks of gluten while on holiday. In fact, whenever I have gone on vacation I was eating gluten be it abroad or here in the States. At home I was gluten-free but I would throw caution to the wind when away from home thinking this was mentally good for me, basically a total break from the norm.

What was happening though was not good for me. Almost every night I was away from home I would wake up about an hour or two after going to bed with a pounding head and heart. My heart beat would be in excess of 100 bpm and the only thing that calmed it was “tincture of time” and a big glass of salt water. I would read for a couple of hours and then crawl back in bed and sleep until morning. Inevitably, I would lower my dose of T3 which did help but did not eliminate the problem. For some reason, it never occurred to me that gluten might be implicated until last winter.

Light bulb moments

It wasn’t a momentous occasion but I did have a regular wheat crust on a pizza right after Christmas 2012 and immediately had issues with the racing heart and a sleepless night. I hadn’t had any gluten at that time since September’s vacation, so the light suddenly and finally went on. I had a gluten problem. It wasn’t just that I shouldn’t eat gluten because Dr. Mercola condemns wheat and grains I actually have gluten intolerance and possibly Celiac’s Disease. Now even coffee seems to be off the “treat” list as my joints scream at me “No more coffee!” as soon as I indulge. Just so you know, if you have trouble with gluten you may have trouble with coffee.

Another light bulb moment for me was last autumn when I got shingles shortly after my autumn indulgence, aka vacation. What I finally remembered was that almost every autumn within weeks of returning from my gluten filled weeks I would get, not necessarily shingles, but a rash on my lower back that, according to my doctor, was most likely Dermatitis Herpetiformis. It was initially a burning pain on my back and within a day or two would break out in this ugly dark blistered rash. When I got shingles I assumed that rash had been shingles but in talking to Dr. Lane she said it was most likely Dermatitis Herpetiformis because of its location and the fact that it did cross a center-line of my body.

Krisinsight

I really didn’t intend this to be all about my gluten-free lifestyle but every thing seems important to mention just in case you have suffered similar effects after eating gluten or if you happen to have a holiday to Britain in the works and you are gluten-free. I hope you found the gluten-free information helpful but I really wanted to talk about my latest Vitamin D test.

This was my fourth year of testing because I started in August 2009 as part of a test group for the Vitamin D Council. At that time my D level was 64 ng/ml. That winter (March 2010) my D levels were 92 ng/ml. The next August they were 58 ng/ml. The following March they were 70 ng/ml. August 2011-56 ng/ml. February 2012-70 ng/ml. August 2012-91 ng/ml. March 2013-84 ng/ml.

This August my levels were 64 ng/ml. That is down from February’s 84 ng/ml but mostly typical of what my summertime results have been with the exception of August 2012. I really can’t say why my winter results are almost consistently higher than my summer results. I use my Sunsplash Renew more in the winter than the summer but I am outside in the summer and I do expose my body to sunlight at midday at least three times a week in the summer. I seldom take D supplementation relying solely on my Sunsplash Renew and the summer sun. I never wash after sunbathing (or using my D lights) always letting 24 hours pass before a shower and even then I only soap vitals areas (as per Dr. Mercola).

Suffice it to say, my levels are always within normal limits but I would prefer they stay closer to 90 ng/ml, so long as my sole source of Vitamin D is natural and not supplementation. I have one more year to be part of the study, so come February I will test my levels again. I am trying to spend 20 minutes three times a week in front of my Sunsplash Renew to see if that brings my levels up in February but now I wonder if what I need to do in the summer is take Vitamin D supplements to maintain a level that helps my compromised immune system since I do have Hashimoto’s.

Ah, in the end life it just one big experiment isn’t it?

Santé,

Kris

Food Sensitivities

IMG_1917 (2)This has been a week dominated by fire watching from afar. We have watched fire consume acres of land around our private bit of Idaho ravishing livestock and wildlife as it raged through. For the last few days we have watched as hungry flames quite literally eat the landscape around Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley but for now our cabin and land remain untouched.

We, my SU and I, watch our computer monitors with mouths agape as fire fighting helicopters wrestle with what they are calling “Fire-nadoes”. These are virtual whirlwinds made entirely of fire fueled by summer dried trees and sagebrush. Fire fighters on the ground are filthy with soot but keep doing their job of saving lives and structures.

They have done their job very well indeed, as few structures have been lost and no humans have perished thus far. Even the animal shelter near Hailey, Idaho was protected so well you can see the burn came right down to the structures but nothing was touched, it wasn’t even licked by flame and that, my friends, is fire fighting at its best. Just so you know, all the animals (including some bomb sniffing dogs) were safely removed and re-housed in other locations until the fire danger passed.

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota it is dry and warm. It is mostly stereotypically August although we often are much warmer than we have been. I don’t hear anyone complaining (with possible exception of those who own boats who shall remain nameless). Today, smoke from the western fires will waft over us but mostly it will be a Sunday like many others, me writing my blog for publication tomorrow morning bright and early and John catching up with unfinished business from Friday.

Food sensitivities

MSG

I have talked about food sensitivities on this site many times and it is still a subject of some curiosity for me. You all know about my burning mouth syndrome and irregular heartbeat issues. I explored numerous food issues from MSG (excitotoxins) to gluten in the past. Through very unscientific research I concluded that MSG wasn’t causing my irregular heartbeat but excitotoxins (as described by Dr. Russ Blaylock) are not good for us whether or not we have obvious reactions and I avoid them if at all possible.

Bioactive Amines, Salicylates,Nightshades and others

I found this great article titled “Natural Food Toxins” in my research this week. Chloe, research assistant and friend, and I were talking this week about aches and pains and causes of said A&Ps. She brought up nightshade vegetables and the fact that eating potatoes makes her feel quite upset. Nightshades are notorious for reacting this way on people and sure enough they are included in the article “Natural Food Toxins”.

You all know about my Burning Mouth Syndrome and I remain perplexed by the causes but I am starting to narrow down some of the culprits. I am not sure of their connection, if any to each other, but coffee is a definite culprit. Ground peppercorns on my eggs this morning caught my mouth on fire. I believe that supplements with rosemary extract ignite the issue as well. Any kind of mint be it peppermint, spearmint or wintergreen will make my mouth burn for days. What do all of these things have in common? Yup, you guessed it, they are all natural food toxins.

This is a broad category of foods including some dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs. The article at Healthknot.com is well worth reading and the link is there if you click on the first mention of “Natural Food Toxins”.

Gluten

Gluten free has become the new buzzword for food sensitivities and allergies. For some, the mere hint of gluten in their food can cause their throats to tighten and swallowing impossible.  Others are more intolerant than allergic. For me it is a culprit behind many negative health issues including ensuing malaise and seemingly irregular heartbeat. I cannot tell you, the reader, how or why gluten affects my heart but I think and have had it confirmed by others in the thyroid groups that being “glutened” can and does cause autoimmune attacks and since my heart is prone to irregularity an autoimmune attack seems to be a trigger.

Lactose

Lactose intolerance is the number one food people have trouble with. Whether it is a true allergy or an intolerance doesn’t really matter to the person who is having issues with a food. My friend Chloe totally eliminated dairy from her diet to see if it was a culprit in her fibromyalgia and found, perhaps to her delight, it really didn’t seem to make any difference. Nothing changed and she was true to no dairy for months. I can’t see that dairy affects me negatively. I never ache after consuming dairy products. My heart never bothers me (no change in pulse even). I cannot see that dairy is a negative for me in any way other than calorie content. That is not true for others and for them lactose causes too much distress to make consuming it worthwhile.

Krisinsight

Consuming gluten causes me to ache all over, have autoimmune issues within weeks of consumption and my heart reacts negatively within hours of consumption. The odd thing (at least it seems odd to me) is for most Celiac patients coffee has a similarly negative effect. They cannot tolerate coffee and this week after two episodes of achy joints I connected the dots.  I don’t have coffee very often but I do have it as a treat once in a while particularly on weekends and at my daughter’s house.

Last Saturday, we had coffee and that night I had a ruined night’s sleep as I tossed and turned with aches and pains in my knees like you wouldn’t believe. Sunday night was okay and I slept well but then I didn’t have coffee on Sunday. Monday I had coffee at my daughters and unbelievably I hurt all night long again. My knees ached and my hip ached. I got up during the night and I could barely walk my ankles were so stiff (I thought this was from running barefoot on my driveway at the time). I was starting to feel very old for 59. Then Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the nights this week were full of good sleep with no achiness. Of course, I have avoided coffee ever since Monday.

I mentioned that my ankles were stiff and they were and I did blame the running but it suddenly went away with no residual soreness or stiffness once I had the coffee at least 48 hours out of my system. I have since run barefoot all over my driveway and yard with no issues. Yesterday, I even did lunges across our backyard in addition to jogging. This did affect my left hip-joint last night but nothing else ached, so I conclude coffee is as bad for me as gluten.

I don’t know about you but I keep wondering what will be next and why. Do people with autoimmune issues just have more aches and pains? Or, as I tend to think, do we know that this is not normal? Do we just not accept? I know that aches and pains are not a normal part of aging, that they represent a problem. The problem is inflammation. That inflammation is a result of some thing that your body is missing, is reacting to and/or to which your body just wants you to pay attention.

I think it is important to pay attention to these aches and pains before you need a hip replacement, before your fingers are crooked with arthritis. Pay attention before your cells go crazy and multiply and some doctor tells you that in order to live you need chemotherapy and radiation. Hello Kristin!!!! Are you paying attention now? I sure hope I am. I am going to try really hard to do as I say and stop doing as I have been doing and get rid of these aches and pains.

Santé,

Kris

 

 

If At Once You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

IMG_1917 (2)It has been a big week. I returned from my holiday in Idaho and Bayfield, Wisconsin and got right back in to the swing of things. I had my obligatory two days of dental hygiene and then one day of family and friends and yesterday, Friday, I had to stay home and clean house and prepare for company.

It was also a week of difficult decisions the biggest one of which (yes, big) was deciding to re-open my Krisinsight group on Facebook. This is a big decision because it is a time consumer like no other one thing I do but I found I was missing the interaction with people and the sharing of the latest health information.

Also some folks who perhaps only checked out Krisinsight once in a while were feeling that they might have done something wrong and I had deleted them from the group. That was absolutely not the case, no one was ever deleted, every opinion was and is important and valued. Alas, and with some hesitation (but not much), Krisinsight on Facebook was reborn.

Success: The accomplishment of one’s goals

I really enjoy experimentation as most readers well know and I have to admit that some succeed, some fail and some have an indeterminate conclusion. Recently I have run some very unscientific trials and I feel like I have reached some conclusions that I can share. This doesn’t mean I recommend them for you just that I feel I can share the outcome of my testing and its results on my body.

How to stop the cramping

You are undoubtedly aware that I have some muscle soreness from time to time (back and hip issues are better this week) and I have tried a plethora of things to appease these nasty aches and pains including C1/C2 chiropractic adjustment. In addition and even more irritating I was plagued by muscle cramping for quite a while and I just know I do not have to accept this as normal. I decided, with the input of various people on Krisinsight, to try some products to alleviate the cramping in my feet and calves and the restless leg feeling at night that makes me want to stretch my legs constantly.

I tried the following products: ReMag Solution (thanks Bonnie Scott for this recommendation), MagMind (magnesium threonate recommended by Mercola and Life Extension) and Ionic Fizz (research buddy Chloe uses this product and has for a long time). The winning combination is Ionic Fizz Mag Plus and MagMind. Try as I might I could not get the ReMag combined with MagMind to take away the cramping and it left a sour taste in my mouth as if I had acid reflux.

Ionic Fizz uses Magnesium Carbonate which is not highly touted as the best magnesium but since starting it, sometimes twice a day (because it makes my Celtic Sea Salt more palatable), along with MagMind (magnesium threonate crosses the blood brain barrier) I have no more issues. It is not scientific but it is working for me where other potions weren’t quite taking the cramp away.

Bugged by mosquitoes?

Another success story was my test of a product I have had around the house for a year or two, Botanical Outdoor Gel by Neem Tree Farms. We, in Minnesota, are having a bumper year for mosquitoes thanks to our record rainfall in the last two months. I have a vegetable garden, two poodles and 13 acres of land all of which cause me to be outside at the worst times of day for the biting buggers.

The other day I found my Neem Gel and the thought came to mind that I should give a try again. There are three less than ideal issues with the Neem Tree Farm product. None of which should stop you from trying it if bugs are a problem at your house:

  1. I am not too fond of the smell of neem (but it isn’t horrible, or so Chloe said) and it’s not as bad as the malodorous Off.
  2. I am also not crazy about the chemicals that are in it but they are minimal and they are not DEET.
  3. I also don’t like the lotion form because you always have to spread it instead of spray it.

Those negatives aside after I applied it I went out to my garden at dawn, the absolute worst time of day for said mosquitoes at my house. I started hoeing the Earth thus stirring them up a bit and one came up to my arm, sniffed it and darted off in the other direction. Okay, okay I am not sure it physically sniffed my arm but it did come close enough to be put off by the smell and it did fly away, never touching down on my mosquito feeding station. We tried it on Odin last weekend in Bayfield, WI and they eschewed him as well and that was at dusk near the great lake Superior. I have used it when walking the poodle boys near my mosquito breeding ground, otherwise known as the drainage ditch, with success as well. Sometimes I can still hear them enter my ear space (that area that is close enough to hear them buzzing) but they do not light on my skin and they do not stick their proboscis in my skin.

Water, water everywhere

You all know I am a dental hygienist by training and education. I like a lot of alternative or whole body approaches to taking care of one’s body including teeth and gums. However, in the past month I have rediscovered an old dental health instrument, the Water-Pik. I actually have had one for sometime but I primarily use it for irrigating my ears (I tend to get a lot of waxy build-up and at the gentlest pulse it really does help keep that to a minimum). Only occasionally I have used it for my teeth and gums. Well no more is it only an occasional treat for my mouth, I am using it every day.

I tested this years ago and was impressed by its cleansing capabilities but then it fell by the wayside and ended up stuck in the back of a cupboard, lonely and forgotten unless a doctor complained about my ear wax. Anyway, sadness for its previous demise aside, I started using it again about a month ago in the following way:

  1.  I brushed my teeth for two minutes with my Braun Oral-B. I flossed with a floss that I like Radius Cranberry Floss with Natural Xylitol and then I got my Water-Pik out filled it with warmish water and added about 2 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide (you could use Listerine but I hate that nasty stuff).
  2. I put it on a fairly good pulse toward the top of the settings (for removing ear wax it must never be above the second line) and pulsed that water around all my teeth pointing the jet of water toward the sulcus of the gingival tissue (the area where teeth meet gums). I was in disbelief at the amount of debris flushed out. I had brushed and flossed and still the days detritus was falling in to the sink in amazing amounts given my thorough dental hygiene.

The downsides to a Water-Pik are minimal. The water if you aren’t careful will shoot everywhere, so you need to have good control of the pik itself. It is rather large, so you need counter space but I think those are the only downsides I can think of and I highly recommend it for anyone who is serious about their dental hygiene (or who seriously wants to impress their dental hygienist).

Incomplete but worth a try

The eyes have it

Another product I have been using for two or three months is an eye drop by Life Extension, Brite Eyes lll. These eye drops contain a lubricant for dry eyes but also Carnosine in an acetylated form which has shown the potential to help prevent and treat cataracts.

I am not aware of any cataract formation on my eyeballs but I do have floaters (that appear when I look at a blue sky) and in reading the reviews at iHerb.com people felt that the eye drops did decrease the number and size of floaters. Others did give positive reviews to its ability to treat cataract formation as confirmed by their eye care specialist. The way I look at it I have dry eyes and a lubricant is a good thing, so these drops cannot hurt.

I am having trouble actually ascertaining whether it is helping. I mean how does someone count the floaters and their shape? It is damn near impossible but I feel the floaters are less intrusive and the big particles seem to have disappeared. The ones that are left are more filament like. I really want to try them on my Sidney as his eyes are getting that characteristic blue color but they are a bit expensive and he really doesn’t like me putting drops in his eyes.

Sadly, one failure

The No-Poo, boo-boo

There is one failed experiment to report, well really two but they both are No-Poo options for washing your hair. I was really fond of the No-Poo option for washing my hair. I am not saying they were colossal failures but after trying it for 9 months I finally did seek out some suitable commercial shampoos and conditioners.

I used the baking soda and vinegar rinse for many months. I added essential oils to my vinegar rinse which actually made my hair and scalp smell really nice, so that gets a thumbs up. I enjoyed the massage of rubbing baking soda and water in to my scalp and it did clean my hair, leaving it shiny. I also tried a honey-poo mixture and I liked it as well.

The real trouble was that my nearly waist length hair was not easy to wash this way, so I avoided washing it anymore than once a week. My scalp did itch a lot although I never noticed dandruff or flaking. Worst of all though was that I seemed to lose a lot of hair in those months of being Poo-less. I have no reasonable explanation for this but the hair would pile up in my sink and I laid a silver trail everywhere I walked. Alas, I finally conceded defeat while we were at the cabin where showering takes on a whole new meaning (outdoor shower with a fabulous view of the mountains that surround us but still outdoors).

On a shopping expedition to Ketchum, ID I found the Atkinson’s there carried Andalou hair products. Knowing I just couldn’t wash my hair with baking soda and rinse with vinegar in the back of beyond nor not wash my hair for an entire week I reluctantly bought Andalou’s gluten-free products for my hair. That week I washed my hair three times and just let it air dry as I soaked in the mountain sun and formed all kinds of Vitamin D on my naked skin. My hair after returning to commercial shampoos is soft, there is much less fall-out and the itchy scalp has disappeared.

I am not saying the No-Poo option is bad but long-term it wasn’t the best for my hair. I did read a month or more ago that the baking soda and vinegar rinse does not maintain a proper acid balance for your scalp, so perhaps that was a problem. Waist length hair is a problem for washing no matter what you wash it with and silver hair is frizzier and coarser, so that ‘s a problem.

I’m not over it yet, I still like the idea that baking soda, vinegar and raw honey are the only real products one needs in the house for cleaning almost anything but for now Andalou is in my shower and my hair is glistening.

Krisinsight

Some things come, and some things go and I thought it would be fun to report on both this week. I cannot say with certainty that I won’t continue to do some of the things that seem not to have worked. After all, in the case of No-Poo there might be a time when all you have is baking soda and vinegar and I will always have those in the house. I still have some ReMag, so I will use it up. I am almost out of the Neem Tree Farm Botanical Gel and just for the fun of it I ordered Mercola’s bug spray to see what I think of that. I know it will smell better (it has vanillin in the mixture and smells good enough to eat) but as I recall it isn’t as effective. We shall see. Yup, in many walks of life, we shall see and I will let you know how it goes ’cause that’s what Krisinsight is all about.

Santé,

Kris

Heat, Rapid Heartbeats and Me

IMG_1917 (2)I wasn’t going to post anything this week because I am at my mountain retreat, or as one of my dentists called it, my compound. It’s no compound but it is a retreat, a small dollhouse cabin with a blue tin roof  in the middle of the National Forest in Fairfield, Idaho. When we hike around our land and look back at our tiny footprint of a house in the middle of this gigantic  mountain it always leaves me in wonder.

That said, this time it is hotter than I remember it ever being. It is a scorcher everywhere in the west, southwest. I read today that planes aren’t taking off from LAX because of the extreme heat. It seems planes can’t get aloft as easily when it is hot and must either take a much smaller load or not fly at all. I think I must be related to airplanes because this heat is grounding me.

The thyroid person and debauchery

Ever since I started the CT3M my oral temperatures have been coming up nicely but I am now always warm. I really don’t know if this means I am slightly hyper or if this is just the way people feel when their body temperature at the end of the day is 99. What I do know is even though I am better medicated I am still not as “normal” as I want to be nor able to handle what seems like normal activity to everyone else.

The past day we were really warm for a mountain location and by bedtime last night I was just miserable. During the day we went to an altitude of 9100 feet which may have had some effect. We took a two-hour hike early in the day and that left me feeling slightly drained. While we were at 9100 feet I had two drinks containing alcohol (gin and tonic to be exact) because they just seemed refreshing at the time but they may have had an effect.

When we got home (back to 6000 feet) from our day of play at a slightly higher altitude in Ketchum, Idaho we had another icy drink and that may have had some effect. Whatever the cause I think the effect is a bit of a storm for my body and it isn’t up to the upset. I knew it when I went to bed and  I know it now at midnight as I write this blog entry heat, debauchery, high altitude and thyroid disease do not make for a happy body.

What I do when I wake up with a rapid heartbeat

My main issue as I write is that I am up at midnight with an elevated heart beat. When I was eating gluten and not being particularly careful I would wake up with this horrible rapid heartbeat, a pounding head and the overwhelming feeling of sweatiness. In the past few months, after swearing off gluten entirely (not even in lotions or potions) I have managed to avoid these episodes.

What I have now is not that miserable. When I awoke I was sweaty and my heart beat was elevated but the pounding head wasn’t an issue and the rapid beat was only mildly elevated; perhaps as in a hot flash. I was having rather vivid dreams but nothing disturbing and when I finally got up I realized I had been dreaming the book I had read until I turned off the light, as in I was dreaming every word and every action of the pages I had been reading. I also needed to go to the bathroom and I won’t bore you with details but this type of evacuation is not abnormal when my heart is beating fast.

Anyway the only thing I can do when this happens is get up, drink 1 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt in water and wait to get tired again. Now, as I always do when I am awake and it seems the rest of the world is sleeping,  I wonder if anyone else has experienced this reaction and what they do when it happens.

Krisinsight

There isn’t much insight from me at midnight on a too warm, too still night. I am guessing this bit of a storm my body is experiencing is a combination of factors, no one of which would be a problem but combined they add up to a sleepless night. Everyone has a sleepless night now and then and as my mother-in-law told my SU when he was a sleepless little boy, no one ever died of not sleeping one night.

Before I close (and hopefully go back to bed) I did want to share a snack idea with you that I think is really tasty and good for your thyroid.

Toasted Chips of Coconut

Heat your oven to 350°. Once the oven is hot place the coconut oil in a 9×13 pan and melt it in the oven. Add the coconut chips and toss well to coat the chips with coconut oil. If you are a thyroid person, salt liberally and toss again. If your adrenals don’t need salt, salt less liberally. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Watch carefully as the chips will brown very quickly. As soon as they are lightly golden remove from the oven and toss again, adding more salt if you want. Let cool in the pan and then store in an airtight container.

The taste is salty/sweet and satisfies that need for a snack such as chips or popcorn in a slightly more healthful way.

On that note, she says with a yawn, I think I will leave my garage (where we cook and have our computers) and head back to the dollhouse. Night, night.

Santé,

Kris