Posts Tagged ‘gluten free’

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

Magnesium Stearate, Maltodextrin and More

IMG_1917 (2)What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, my writing day, was as beautiful a day as one could special order if that were possible. Today it is pouring rain and if you look closely, distressing as that is to do, you can see some white crystalline objects mixed in. Urgh! Oh well, I shall not complain. I have a new kitchen faucet being installed and the workman (aka Spousal Unit) does not need to be tempted out-of-doors by an Indian Summer day.

I can report that THE project has only just begun and already he feels like he is in the midst of a “reality show where you are working against a time clock” because some thingamajig is leaking constantly and he needs to be done asap. The sighs are audible and frequent and I predict a slight meltdown at some point.

Yup, I think this weather is just the ticket and by the end of the day I will have a new faucet installed that hopefully will work.

This week on Facebook

As you undoubtedly know by now I have a Facebook page called, what else, Krisinsight. This week a friend of mine asked me about supplements I take and had I ever thought about the supplements working against each other? Another member of Krisinsight had the correct answer “Yes, of course.” I have tried many supplements over the years and I worry or wonder about each and every one. I was comforted long ago by my then functional medicine doctor, Robert Bruley. I told him I had a pantry full of supplements and he confided that he and his wife did too.

While that seems like a lot what also made me feel better was he and his wife had their blood tested all the time to check the effects of these supplements and they basically saw good results or they quit taking them. Some lowered homocysteine levels or CRP levels and others showed positive results in lowering liver enzymes. All in all, the supplements they took showed positive results and, to me, that was comforting and reassuring.

Spectracell results

Dr. Bruley was a big proponent of Life Extension formulas and I started taking several of their supplements at that time (2007 or thereabouts). I also took some others like Dibencozide and methylcobalamin all of which had fillers and additives but were recommended by my thyroid group.

Around this same time I heard a discussion between Dr. Mercola and a Dr. Klinghardt regarding a micro-film that might form from using supplements with stearates. Also Russell Blaylock wrote a book called “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills” and I read it around the same time. One common filler is maltodextrin, an excitotoxin due to the way it is manufactured. Then going gluten-free  added new challenges to anything with additives and fillers. Even additives listed as “natural flavors” could contain gluten. Crikey! It was all becoming too, too difficult.

Then the coup d’grâce for the use of additives and fillers was my Spectracell test I had done in late 2011. Until this time I had taken the above listed supplements and one called “Anti-Alcohol Antioxidants” in addition to others that contained a full spectrum of antioxidants, CoQ10, selenium and zinc, not to mention up to 10,000 mcg of B12 sublingually every day.

In my blog from that time I wrote the following:

Vitamin B12, Selenium, Inositol, Zinc,  CoQ10 and my Spectrox (comprehensive antioxidants) were all listed as deficient. Why is this troublesome? B12 is often noted to be low in people who have dementia and a B12 deficiency actually mimics Alzheimer’s Disease.Selenium deficiencies are rare (the SU says he already knew I was weird) but can contribute to hypothyroidism. Inositol levels must be optimum to assure healthy brain function and even healthy hair growth. Zinc is a common deficiency and most often noted by white spots appearing in the nail bed but it also can lead to excess hair loss. CoQ10 is essential for healthy breasts and heart. As for antioxidants they are our life blood as necessary as the air we breathe.

What would you conclude?

Knowing you were taking all the nutrients that you have just tested low in what would you do? Also knowing that you, or, in this case, I, have a history of dementia in the family as well as heart disease, what would you surmise from these results? The facts were I was already taking more antioxidants and vitamins than the lab recommended in their prescription to improve my levels that were below acceptable levels. My overall low antioxidant level was really distressing to me given the supplements I was taking. Even though Dr. Bruley told me he was quite impressed with how many nutrients (like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, etc.)  were at or above average levels the things that were below average bothered me considerably.

With some enlightenment thanks to my Spectracell test,  I started looking very carefully at supplements that have fillers and additives as the words of Dr. Mercola and Dr. Klinghardt (Klinghardt as been somewhat discredited at the time this is posted in his Lyme Disease work and Chris Kresser just posted this article) rang in my head.

That doesn’t mean I never take a supplement that has stearates or rice powder but it does mean I don’t like them and would prefer no additives or fillers. I don’t see the reason for them and I have contacted a number of companies about adding them unnecessarily only to be rebuffed.

Ignore me and thousands of others if you want but the fact remains additives  and fillers are really not necessary they aid in the manufacturing process and they make supplements unnecessarily large (only a problem if you have a dry mouth as so many thyroid patients do).

Krisinsight

In answer to my friend’s question, I think about the supplements I take and when they don’t work I quit taking them. I have been particularly fond of the formulas that Life Extension puts together but I don’t like their use of rice powder, maltodextrin and stearates. Also if you take a formula of assorted nutrients how do you know what is working and what isn’t? What if one thing actually would make you feel better but mixing it with other things is making you sick? Thus, I try to take single ingredient supplements until I know the effect each ingredient will have but again don’t hold me to these words as I can think of several formulations I take right now.

I, as you know, use very few scientific studies to prove my unique observations. My personal experience is what Krisinsight is all about. You can take it for what it is, one person’s experience with her health and use it accordingly. My experience has taught me that taking supplements with additives and fillers apparently did disrupt the absorption of these nutrients.

This poor absorption issue may have something to do with my hypothyroidism as a person afflicted with hypothyroidism may tend to have absorption issues, aka leaky gut. Especially for others, like me, who might have absorption issues avoiding fillers and additives may be something to consider. For instance, if you are low in B12, it might be a good idea to talk to your physician about methylcobalamin injections as even sublingual B12 may not be helping you increase your levels.

As for the aforementioned faucet project. I can happily report that my faucet has been installed and long before I have finished writing. Yea! I guess the profane words stayed firmly stuck inside the installer’s brain because I heard nothing other than the original “reality show” comment and several sighs. I asked him about this and he told me sometimes thinking them makes you feel just as good as voicing them. I am married to a truly gentle man and I am grateful. The new faucet is lovely and nary a drip falls after two years of a faucet that was “fixed” but dripped profusely. Now if the weather would quit dripping all would be well.

Santé,

Kris

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

I Think of My Favorite Things and Then I Don’t Feel So Bad

IMG_18322012 was a year of great happiness (my daughter is pregnant and due in January), tremendous sadness (the senseless killing of 20 innocents and 6 brave adults in Connecticut) and a plethora of learning experiences. Our lives are defined by a series of events. Some will leave us smiling; some will leave us crying and bereft but through it all we grow and become better human beings.

As humans we all have the capability to feel others pain and joy and we need to accept this gift and use it to the best of our ability. Laugh with your mother, cry with your daughter, hug your grandchildren, hold hands with your significant other, in general, embrace the world and the rewards will be plentiful.

I wanted to post this year’s favorite things today because it is New Year’s Eve and what could be more fitting than to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope 2013 will bring you great joy, fabulous health and an explosive amount of newly gleaned knowledge.

On being number one

IMG_1833I can’t say there is really one thing that stands out as a favorite over others but I can truthfully say that a gift I received from a thyroid friend is one of the dearest and most touching. These magical dolls arrived on my doorstep the other day. They are for my grandsons, so the eye color and hair is as close as the doll’s creator, Ms. Lisa, could get to perfection. Odin is a brownish blond with hazel colored eyes and his doll reflects him beautifully. Arthur, who is as of today, unborn will most likely be born with dark hair and eyes just as Odin was and his doll just makes me all the more anxious to meet him and get to know him as I have our grandson Odin. If you have a special someone to whom you would like to give a touch of magic contact Lisa at lisaolko@embarqmail.com

My BBBF-aka best book by far

IMG_1837 Kindle (2)It would be impossible to pick one book but I can safely and conclusively say that my Kindle is the best “book” by far. I have it packed with 150 creative endeavors by authors like Matt Stone and his 180 Degrees-Diabetes (talk about a book that goes against all conventional wisdom) to my favorite novel writer Rosamunde Pilcher and her Winter Solstice (a book I read every autumn and have for several years). I have tens of books that were free and continue to collect them if they seem like a book I could learn something from. I have free books about stevia, raising children, going Paleo on a budget, and so on. If I were stranded on a desert island my Kindle would provide hours, no, I take that back, it would provide weeks of entertainment and mind expanding knowledge.

Brain food

Almost all of us are deficient in magnesium and it is said that magnesium, not calcium is necessary to prevent weak and frail bones. Now the news comes out that to protect our cognitive abilities we need magnesium as well. Not just any magnesium but magnesium threonate. Why this form over others? Because in controlled tests it is the only form of magnesium that actually crosses the blood brain barrier. If you want to preserve your cognition it seems this is THE magnesium to do the job.

I jumped on this one as I have an avid interest in preventing dementia (familial issue) and once Joe Mercola endorsed it as the magnesium to take I investigated the best price and brands that exist. I have taken Life Extension (Neuro-Mag) and Jarrow (Mag Mind) forms of magnesium threonate both of which have additives and fillers that I don’t like but they both worked wonders and the cost was acceptable. I finally found Doctor’s Best “Best Brain Magnesium Threonate” which lacks the excipients I detest but doesn’t seem to work as well and costs quite a bit more. In the end, I concluded that I will be taking either the Life Extension or the Jarrow Magnesium Threonate because even with the fillers they actually worked and they are affordable and both are sold at iHerb.com and Amazon.com. If you try it let me know what you think.

That one recipe that you make over and over and then this is over

IMG_1812This one is really hard to narrow down but I am going with Odin’s choice, *Pumpkin donuts with Cinnamon Butter Glaze. They are so simple and taste so good as to be decadent. I think the glaze is amazing as it is tastier than a glaze has the right to be and yet is packed full of nutritious goodness.

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup of ghee or butter
  • 1/4 cup of roasted, creamy almond butter
  • 1 TBLS honey
  • 1 TBLS ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a few drops of Vanilla-Creme Stevia

In a small saucepan heat the butter until just melted on low heat. As soon as it is melted remove from heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients until a smooth glaze forms. Pour into a bowl or cup and set aside. It will thicken as it cools which is ideal for the glaze to stick.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts:

  • 2 1/3 cups almond flour (Honeyville works the best)
  • 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (Farmer’s Brand has no BPA in the lining of the can) or I used winter squash from my garden
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup of walnut oil

Preheat oven to 350° and grease your donut pan. Mix almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices in a bowl. Pour into a blender. Add wet ingredients and blend until smooth. You will need to turn off blender, scrape sides with spatula and keep blending to ensure all the dry ingredients are mixed. Pour batter into each donut mold, filling almost to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert the pan to remove the donuts (they should slip out really easily) and cool on a cooling rack.

To Serve:

Using a spoon or cup pour glaze onto each donut. Serve warm but they will keep for 4 days if covered tightly.

* I have included a link to the original recipe out of respect for the creator but also because I adjusted things to suit my tastes.

The Ultimate

In the end, my favorite thing is knowing that someone might benefit from what I have learned and share on Krisinsight. I am not a doctor, nor dentist nor researcher. I am a private citizen with a degree in dental hygiene. What I do have is a keen interest in the health of my body and a desire to share what I have learned from  my experience with medicine, both conventional and alternative. I gather knowledge from books, online articles, friend’s experiences, and my discussions with some very good doctors. When I learn something new I really can’t wait to share it with you my readers. I hope you share knowledge gleaned with your friends and family. Just think how much better our world will be because we all learned something and then paid it forward.

Go ahead pay it forward, help someone. If you help so much as one person feel better it will make your year and mine.

With love from me,

Kris

A Big Bowl of Comfort

Of late I have become totally addicted to soup. I know it is winter and quickly becoming the season of my discontent but whatever the reason soup tastes really good in the evening, kind of like having an entire bowl of comfort. I guess that is why they call foods like soup “comfort food”.

I thought before the season passed and we start craving salads and hamburgers on the grill I would share a soup recipe I found on Eat Nourishing. This site emphasizes healthy alternatives to foods that otherwise might not be as full of nutrients as they should be. For instance, Chocolate Cream Frosting and No Bake Cheesecake would normally be considered full of bad ingredients and empty calories but the versions offered here sound delectable to me and have some nutrient value. The following recipe, while originally from the site, has been altered to suit my tastes and ingredients from my garden.

Hearty Hamburger Soup

  • 1 quart homemade turkey bone broth
  • 1 quart juiced home-grown tomatoes, frozen and thawed
  • 1 pound of grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced in uneven chunks
  • 1 onion in large pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, in large pieces
  • 1/2 of large head of green cabbage, sliced or cut in chunks
Before starting the soup put the broth and/or juiced tomatoes (if you have whole tomatoes just use them) in a blender and add the onion and garlic and blend until a *smooth puree is formed. Place the puree and broth in a Dutch oven and add large chunks of ground beef approximately the size of meatballs. Add the carrot chunks and cook on low heat for several hours (**perfect for the slow cooker) and then add sliced cabbage and the following spices:
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste (I add about 2 teaspoons)
  • Freshly ground black Tellicherry peppercorns

Now simmer until the cabbage is cooked to taste. I like it well cooked and soft but still identifiable. Serve in large bowls so you have a sensory experience as well as a savory one.

*Personally I think the key to the soup’s delectable taste is to puree the onion, tomatoes, broth and garlic before starting the cooking process. I have never done it with other soups preferring chunks of all the vegetables but whole frozen garden tomatoes necessitated it the first time and I came away a believer.

**I haven’t done this soup in a slow cooker but I see no reason why it couldn’t all be thrown in the slow cooker before you leave for work and left to simmer all day. The cabbage might be more translucent but the flavors will still be wonderful.

See you next week.

Santé,

Kris

Have a Merry Little Christmas Brunch

Yes, it is that time again, namely Christmas. In Minnesota we are barely holiday white but at least it is winter cold and every other day or so it snows for 5 minutes. It is part of the Christmas tradition in Minnesota to complain about weather, so if it is white we moan. If it is brown we groan but in the end we all love it this time of year white or brown.

Weather aside I am ready for the holidays and having my family together especially as it is my grandson’s very first Christmas. What could be more magical? Christmas Eve morning I am going to whir up a batch of waffle mix to serve on Christmas morning and I thought you might enjoy the recipe.

You can easily make your own oat flour in a blender (blend until floury), mix in the yogurt or kefir and water, blend again and let it sit. After fermenting all night the oat mixture is minus the usual phytic acid that is hard on teeth and digestive systems but still full of nutrition. You then can add the remaining ingredients to the blender the next morning and give it a whiz until smooth. When you pour the mixture out on to your hot waffle iron they turn golden brown quickly and have a buttery outer layer with a nice moist interior.

I got this tasty little recipe from NourishedMD on Facebook and I highly recommend “liking” their page just to follow their recipe suggestions. I even bought an e-recipe book this week on healthy and easy breakfasts to serve your children. I love breakfast and I am always looking for new ideas and if I can serve a healthy breakfast to my grandson someday all the better, for now he is much more attached to breast milk and the e-book was for the spousal unit and me.

If you want a less sugary topping for your waffles, make an apple-pear sauce in the oven by peeling 2 apples, 2 pears and slicing into a pan that has 1 or 2 tablespoons of melted ghee or coconut butter. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and put in the oven until the fruit is soft and can be mashed until smooth. The last time I made the sauce I covered the pan and I was happier with the results.

Overnight Waffles

Written by Chef Jackie White of Conveniently Fresh

  • 2 1/2 cups organic whole oats 
  • 1 cup whole yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder – no aluminum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda – no aluminum
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup organic butter or coconut ghee, melted

Directions

  • Grind oats into a flour.
  • In a medium bowl mix together oats, milk and cider (or juice or water).
  • Cover and leave on counter overnight.
  • In the morning blend in all other ingredients.
  • Adjust batter consistency with milk or water.
  • Portion batter using 1/4-1/3 measuring cup and cook batter in a waffle iron or on a hot skillet with butter. If using a skillet to make pancakes cook pancakes until bubbles appear on top, flip and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

I really can’t think of a better way to close Krisinsight 2011 than with a yummy but healthy recipe. I have had a great year and I hope you can say the same. If not, take heart, every year brings good and bad moments into the lives of every human on this planet. In my opinion, it is how we handle our life experiences that really counts.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip in 2011, every bump and pothole. See you in the New Year.

Happy Holidays,

Kris