What is the best diet…low-fat diet

 

What is the best diet?

This is an ongoing review series of ALL the diets out there…so far, VLCD, no-carb, Paleo, frequent small meals, raw food diets have been covered…now on to an oldie and maybe not so goodie…

The Low-Fat Diet

It seems like for a while, low-fat was all we heard about. Starting in the 70s, doctors and the US government have been telling us that low-fat is the way to go. What happened along the way…as they started removing fat from food… is that they started adding sugar to foods. And come to find out, sugar is way, way, way worse for us than fat.

When the guidelines were first written, they believed that saturated fat was a significant cause of heart disease.

This is the reason that we hear…meat is bad / meat is good…eggs are bad / eggs are good, dairy is bad / dairy is good so many times in our lives. I think the large health organizations want to believe that fat is bad for us…but the proof shows otherwise.  As we moved away from meat, eggs and full-fat dairy products (high fat) and towards grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables (low fat, high carb) – we kept getting fatter and un-healthier.

However, the guidelines are still fairly adamant that low-fat is the way to go…even though the science and numbers of obese Americans shows that maybe they are wrong.

The Low-Fat Guidelines And The Obesity Epidemic

The first low-fat guidelines were written in 1977 – but the low-fat menu recommendation was a long time coming. Food producers started replacing fat with sugar and fake-fat starting decades before.

Here is a picture showing the numbers – pretty amazing results!

Low Fat Guidelines and Obesity Epidemic

Also, about this time…microwaves, tvs, and junk-food saturation became the norm – which also has a lot to do with the size of Americans.diet, body fat, low-fat diet

How Much Fat Should I Eat?

Experts recommend that most adults get 20%-35% of their daily calories from fat. That’s about 44 to 77 grams of fat a day if you eat 2,000 calories a day – so read the labels and see how much you are actually eating.

 

Ways to Cut Fat out of Cooking…

5 Tips for Low-Fat Cooking

  1. Trim all visible fat and remove the skin from poultry.
  2. You know that hard glob of fat that shows up on your food after you refrigerate it?  That’s nothing but fat…so soups, gravies, and stews – refrigerate those and then remove the hardened fat on top before eating.
  3. Bake, broil, or grill meats on a rack that allows fat to drip from the meat. Don’t fry foods.
  4. Sprinkle lemon juice, herbs, and spices on cooked vegetables instead of using cheese, butter, or cream-based sauces.
  5. Try plain, nonfat or low-fat yogurt and chives on baked potatoes rather than sour cream. Reduced-fat sour cream still has fat, so limit the amount you use.

So, the bottom line is that we need fat in our diet.

Low-fat doesn’t mean low-calorie…and basically it’s the calories that make you fat.  If you eat lots of fat you will gain weight.  If you eat lots of fruit you will gain weight.

Plant based, low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods that are low-fat are helpful in losing and maintaining weight.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the best diet…Paleo Diet

 

What is the best diet?

This is the…fifth diet review in this series.  I’ve discovered that I might be able to write diet reviews for the rest of my life…writing one per day…and never, ever run out of topics.

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What is the Paleo Diet?

The Promise

The idea behind the Paleo diet is that if you eat like a caveman, you will lose weight.

Loren Cordain, PhD, who penned the book The Paleo Diet, believes that if we eat like our prehistoric ancestors, we will lose weight, be thinner, and also be less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.

Other names for the Paleo Diet include the Caveman Diet or the Stone Age Diet.  The basic premise it to it’s basically consume a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan that promises you can lose weight without cutting calories.

What You Can Eat and What You Can’t

With aPaleo Diet, you should eat a lot of fresh meats (not lunch meat or canned meats), and lots of fish, fruit, and vegetables. Some fats are also a choice withPaleo dieting.

 

Besides real meats, fruits, and vegetables, you can also eat:
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthier oils, including olive oil and coconut oil

You should avoid all processed food on the Paleo Diet. Processed foods are anything in a can or box.

Additionally, since our ancestors didn’t farm…they hunted and gathered, you should not eat dairy or wheat products. Not to say that they didn’t come across some wheats and dairies – they might have happened upon some wild oats and such – but over all, those should be avoided.

Other foods to avoid while on the Paleo Diet:

  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Refined vegetable oils, such as canola

Is the Paleo Diet hard?

One good thing about the Paleo Diet is that there is no need to count calories.  Dairy and carbs are the bulk of our non-junk food diets, so cutting those will reduce your calorie intake.

Cheating on the Paleo Diet:

While on the Paleo Diet – there is some wriggle room. In the beginning, “they” recommend eating what you’d like for up to three meals every week.  Challenge yourself to cheat less as time goes on.

Preparing / Shopping for the Paleo Diet:

 There is definitely more shopping and food prep than normal “out of the box” diets. You’ll have to get fresh foods and wash them well. Ideally, you will buy non-GMO and organic foods.  This will add to the cost as well as shopping time (GMO-free and organic choices are slim in the “normal” grocery store – so to get a full menu, you might have to make several stops).

Are Packaged foods available for the Paleo Diet?

No – if it’s processed, it’s not Paleo. If it is in a box, it’s not Paleo.

Exercise while on the Paleo Diet…

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read this…the guy that wrote the book on The Paleo Diet says that exercise isn’t necessary, but recommended for overall health. This to my is funny because if you think about it – being a hunter / gatherer society, they were constantly walking and working and chasing down food.  In order for any diet to really work, you should also get some physical activity. But if you are going to eat like a Caveman, you should work like a caveman.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Can a Vegetarian or Vegan do Paleo?

If you don’t eat meat, this diet would be difficult to follow – since Cordain says that beans and other legumes are not allowed.  You would be severely lacking in protein if you don’t consume eggs, seafood, or meat.

Is Paleo Low-salt?

You don’t add salt to this diet – so the only thing you have to watch is the sodium level on your cheat days.

What Else You Should Know

Eating a lot of organics, non-GMOs, meat and fish can raise your grocery bill.

Check out the other types of popular diets:

VLCD

No-Carb

Small Frequent Meals

Raw Food Diet

Leave me some comments on what you think – ideas – questions – feedback… [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

What is the best diet…Raw Food Diet

 

Raw Food Diet

So, here is the fourth entry…Raw Food Diet. Don’t forget to look back at the VLCD, no-carb, and Frequent Small Meals diets to get a full review of your options.

Raw Food Diet

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How it works: 

The Raw Food diet is pretty self-explanatory. Believers and followers eat only raw foods. To be considered raw – the foods you eat must not have been cooked, microwaved, heated about 115 degrees F, genetically engineered, treated with herbicides or pesticides, or processed in any way.  Foods naturally have vitamins and minerals that they body uses to build new cells - and the theory is that cooking and processing food kills the integrity of the food.  Many raw food dieters are vegan (which means they don’t consume ANY animal products: butter, cheese, milk, meat, gelatin, etc). However, some will consider eating raw milk, fish, and certain kinds of raw meat – although eating raw milk and meats / fish is a risk of a different matter.

Does the Raw Food Diet help to lose weight?

Typically, following the raw food diet will result in weight loss simply because fewer calories are consumed overall – no carbs, no chips, no soda, no candy, no ice cream, no cake, no cookies, no lunch meat, etc. Since everything is fresh – and needs to be planned out ahead of time, there is very little chance of random snacking from a vending machine or at a party / office food event. You’ll just have to pass on everything.

Does the Raw Food Diet help with overall health?

I think the answer to this question is obvious. Yes…eating whole foods free of additives and artificial junk is tremendously important to your overall health and wellness. This doesn’t just apply to your body (weight, health, disease fighting, etc) but also applies to your mind and mental health. Eating REAL food keeps your brain working better. Remember – what you eat is what creates cells to replace old and dead cells.  If you are replenishing cells with processed food – it’s just not going to work the same as a cell replenished with natural food.

Pros of the Raw Food Diet

The raw food diet is super trendy. It’s the cool thing to do these days: eating organic, whole foods…it’s a definite conversation starter.  People tend to use this as a way to be better than their counterparts. Especially if they can get their kids to eat raw food diets as well.

An option that some are doing is the mostly raw food diet…or the raw food diet detox / cleanse - eating raw foods for a few weeks every so often to jump-start a weight loss, detox after a while of “bad” eating, or just as a cleanse.  That might be easier for most to handle.

Cons of the Raw Food Diet

Rare food dieting is the opposite of convenient. Buying and preparing fresh food is time consuming…even if there is no actual preparation – finding, sorting, storing, washing, cutting, and storing again is work. There are few raw food restaurants available – and while most grocery stores have organic foods, the selection isn’t close to that of processed, treated, GMO foods.

For those with a family – getting the whole family on board is a trick. Even just getting a husband to eat raw is difficult, but with kids it’s virtually impossible to shield them from the outside world of “un-whole” foods.  Not to mention party planning, celebrations, holidays, etc.

Besides the planning and coordinating aspect…it’s very expensive.

 

What’s the best diet…no carb diet

 

No-Carb Diet

Here’s another post on dieting styles.  Be sure to check with other posts to see reviews on dieting / eating lifestyles. So far I’ve talked about the very low-calorie diet and the three-hour diet…here’s my review on another popular diet trend…the no carb diet.

What are carbohydrates / carbs?

Carbohydrates (carbs) are foods that can be converted to saccharides or sugars. There are two types of carbs: simple, monosaccharides and complex, polysaccharides. The simple carbs are compounds found in white sugar, fruit, and pasta. The complex carbohydrates are harder to digest, making them more filling and providing the body with more energy. These complex carbs are found in bread, rice, vegetables and whole grain cereal.

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What is the no-carb diet?

As with any dietary changes and exercise plans, be sure to check with your doctor first. There are many safe and effective ways to lose weight – and there are other, more dangerous and unhealthy ways to lose.  What is good for one person may actually be harmful to another.

Many calories in a person’s diet come from carbohydrates, because your brain and your body work together to get that type of energy into the system.  Carbs quickly and easily convert to starch and then to sugar. By cutting carbs out of the diet, the body must resort to stored fat for energy. The more overweight you are, the better and more effective this diet style.

Before deciding on a no carb diet, you must understand that this diet is not a long-term or lifestyle type diet. Muscle cramping and confusion might result from prolonged lack of carbohydrates in your diet. However, short-term no carb dieting can be an effective weight loss tool.

What are no-carb foods?

There are different options of no-carb foods in almost every food group. That’s one of the appealing aspects of this diet. You are just cutting out a specific element of food – not an entire food group.

  1. Drinks. Water is the most important part of any healthy eating plan. In addition to water, there are many no carb options available such as coffee and tea – no milk or sugar, and coconut water. Many people chose to add diet soda to their drink menu – however, it has been shown that diet soda actually adds to your sweets cravings by tricking the brain into feeling like you’re missing out on something – like you should be getting a sugar rush and you’re not…so you must need more sugar. Read more about diet soda addiction here. Plus, for every cup of caffeinated drink you consume, you should add another 2 cups of water to your intake. For proper hydration of cells and flushing of your system (to rid your body of toxins and fat), you will need to drink half your body weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you will need to drink at least 100 ounces of water daily. Yes, that’s a lot of water. But – it is what it is.
  2. Eggs. Eggs should be a staple: no carbs and high protein. Also, eggs can be boiled or poached, scrambled or omleted – so the variety they offer is important – it will help you keep interested.
  3. Meat. High in protein and vitamins - beef, pork, veal, duck, goose, chicken and turkey do not contain any carbohydrates. Meat should be real meat – not processed, canned, salted, or otherwise messed with – also…watch the salt content!
  4. Fish. Also high in protein, but low in carbs and fats: salmon, trout, halibut, sardines, and mackerel.
  5. Vegetables. While many vegetables do contain carbohydrates, many of the leafy green vegetables (spinach, lettuce, celery, kale, and turnip greens) are great choices for the no carb diet. Other vegetables that are no-or low-carb include peppers, squash, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, asparagus, onions, green beans, and carrots. Avoid starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes.
  6. Fruits. Most fruits contain carbohydrates (which makes them so yummy and sweet), but cranberries and raspberries are a great no carb option. Avocados and tomatoes are fruits that do not contain carbohydrates – although we’ve been taught they are vegetables.
  7. Dairy Products. Avoid milk, but be sure to include other dairy products – but no more than 4 ounces of cheese. Be sure to read the labels – carbs can sneak in…look for cheese without carbohydrates. Butter and margarine are high in fat and oils, but don’t have carbs…so can be used in moderation.
  8. Condiments. By condiments, I mean herbs and spices more than mustard and ketchup. Adding condiments to a no carb diet can make foods much more enjoyable. Oregano, peppers, thyme, parsley, and rosemary are great flavor enhancers. Watch salt!

 

No-Carb diet review summary

Well – that’s the low down on a no-carb diet option. Again, it’s effective, but for some, very difficult to maintain. No pasta? No rice? No bread? No crackers? No chips? That’s right … just remember – that healthy eating doesn’t include junk food. There’s just junk…and there’s food. Not both.  But, how much processed food, sugars, and carbs you go back to once you’ve met your weight loss goals is up to you. You very well could just start gaining the weight right back, so be careful.

Diabetics and those with allergies and gluten issues do well a no carb diet for sure. Carbs usually pack in a lot of calories into a little bite. Remember: even 3500 extra calories of grapes and peas will cause you to gain weight.

What’s the best diet…Frequent Small Meals

 

Here’s the next installment of my What’s the best diet series. This go-’round…I’m talking about frequent small meals.

Is “frequent small meals” the best diet plan?

Frequent small meals is a tried and true eating plan.  It’s not so much a diet as it is a true lifestyle change. Looking at history, it seems that this is the way our ancestors ate – as they looked for food, they ate food as it became available.

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Frequent Small Meals

When you are planning on losing some weight, losing a lot of weight, or just eating healthier – it’s always important to talk with a doctor first. You need to get started the right way – and know where you want to be. Are you dieting to get off meds? Prevent the start of taking meds? Lose weight? Control a medical issue? Just be healthier in the long-run?  So, once you figure out why you are looking into changing your eating style, you’ll know better how to make those changes.

Counting calories

With frequent small meals, you will eat every 3 hours or so. The big idea is that you don’t overeat because you are never truly hungry and won’t binge. You will still need to watch your calories.  Even though you are keeping your metabolism on high, you can still consume too many calories.  To lose a pound, you’ll have to cut / burn 3500 calories. That’s right. One pound is 3500 calories. Read here for more information on that!

Meal and Snack plan

With this plan, you have a normal breakfast: eggs, cereal, bacon, whatever you would normally eat…maybe just a little less. For the sake of this writing, we’ll go by a normal schedule of waking around 6:00 am and going to bed around 11:00 pm.  So…eat breakfast around 7:00 am. Then around 10:00 am, have a light snack. Normal (slightly smaller) lunch around 1:00. Snack around 4:00. Then dinner at 7:00 pm. Then…no more eating the rest of the day.

Split Meal Plan

Interesting idea: eat half your breakfast at 7:00 am, then the rest at 10:00 am. (Eggs and yogurt at 7…bacon or cereal at 10). Then, eat half your lunch at 1:00 pm…the other half at 4:00.  Eat a light dinner at 7:00 pm…no more eating after that!

Bags of calories

This is one that I also like…I just bag up an estimated 100 calories of what ever food I feel like eating. 100 calories of lettuce. 100 calories of apple. 100 calories of chocolate. 100 calories of crackers. I have enough bags each day to equal about 1200 calories.  I eat every 2 – 3 hours.

This is a great way for my brain to see what is the best choice for eating. If I’m really hungry, 100 calories of celery or kale chips is going to look a lot better than 100 calories of chocolate.

The trick to frequent small meals

Don’t overeat! Snacking in between meals might have been what got you in trouble in the first place. Make sure that your snacks are nutritious and worthy of eating. Make sure that the snacks are food, not junk.

Drink lots of water! Remember: 1/2 your body weight in ounces every day. Drink consistently through the day so your body is absorbing the water – not just flushing it out.

I give this diet my thumbs up! It seems to work well for a lot of people, and the amounts of food are controlled. But, more importantly – if it’s not time to eat, don’t eat. No more snacking! No more mindless eating without needing the food or even being hungry! If you ate at 10:00 am…you should not be hungry until 1:00. Just. Stay. Away. You’ll be fine until 1:00.  Then…make good choices.

Another thing to watch out for…

Some believers of this type of eating think that you don’t have to limit or restrict your food at all: pizza, chocolate, ice cream, etc…are all okay. As long as you stick to the small portions and schedule, food choice isn’t an issue.  I’m not too sure about that idea.  I think I’d have to stick to healthier choices in order to lose weight. I still have to be at around 1200 calories daily.  If you have a tendency to over-eat – I’m not sure if you’ll be able to accurately judge “small” portion sizes. Also, this isn’t taking into account any exercise – or lack there-of.  So, consider that when you are choosing how to eat. This doesn’t mean that you can eat two or three slices of pizza five times a day.

This might be my favorite diet so far.  I still have several to review, but I like the ease and consistency and accountability of this one.

 

 

What’s the best diet… Very low-calorie diet?

 

Weigh-in …

what is a very low-calorie diet?

 

Low-calorie dieters usually consume between 800 and 1,500 calories daily. The normal recommended calorie consumption is 2,000 (that’s an average). I generally consume around 1200 – 1500 calories per day – with light exercise – just to maintain my weight. I’m 5’2 and currently weigh 120 (that’s a size 4 / 6).

What are low-calorie diet plans?

There are two types of low-calorie diets. One is where you purchase the foods from a store or on-line – the daily package is all you are allowed to eat.  The packaged kind of very low-calorie diets are usually a powder shake that provides all of the nutrition required. Also, carbs may be also very low, or absent all together.

The other type is where you survive on eating the same types of low-calorie foods every day, all day (the grapefruit diet, the green bean diet, etc).  This is not normally the kind of dieting that is supervised by a medical professional. These are not usually nutritionally complete and should be avoided.

Very low-calorie diets are not to be confused with over-the-counter low-calorie meal replacements.Those are shakes or bars that replace one or two meals daily – resulting in a lower caloric intake than normal.

How Effective Are Very Low-Calorie Diets?

If you are considered obese – which is a BMI over 30, then a very low-calorie diet may let you lose about 3 to 5 pounds per week, for an average total weight loss of 44 pounds over 12 weeks. Calorie restricting – when done with commitment and consistency – is very effective at weight loss.

One pound is the equivalent of 3500 calories – so in order to lose 2 pounds per week – you will be cutting out 7,000 calories. Extra weight will come off at the beginning because of water weight as well.

After the weight loss goals are met – it is easy for people to go back to eating as before – which will result in pounds coming back on.

 

Very low-calorie diets may improve weight-related medical conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. However, for long-term health  – very low-calorie diets aren’t any more effective than more modest diets. The key to maintaining any lost weight and weight loss goals is to change your lifestyle. You will need to make a commitment to healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Are Very Low-Calorie Diets Safe?

As with any diet program – you will want to check with your doctor before beginning this type of eating plan. Low calorie diets are not for everyone.

Some doctors believe that if your BMI is greater than 30, it will be safe to use the very low-calorie diet under proper medical supervision. For those with less weight to lose (BMI of 27-30), a very low-calorie diet might be effective for helping with weight-related medical problems. But again, medical supervision is key.  Proper nutrition must be addressed. Severe medical problems can result if a dieter isn’t getting enough protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Of course if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, a child or teenager, or over 50 years-old, you should not consider this type of dieting.

What Are the Side Effects of Very Low-Calorie Diets?

The most common side effects reported by people on this diet for 4 to  16 weeks include constipation, nausea, fatigue, and diarrhea.  Usually the discomfort is not severe enough to make a person quit the program – and the issues usually resolve within a few weeks after starting the program and will most likely completely go away soon after completing the program.

Gallstones are a common serious side effect of this type of diet. It’s not known if the gallstones are a result of rapid weight loss, the diet, or the amount of lost weight in general. But, in most cases, the gallstones were very small and didn’t cause many problems and resolved after a normal diet was started again.

What Are the Other Drawbacks of Very Low-Calorie Diets?

In order to be healthy, you need a variety of foods. Getting the proper nutrition is difficult with only 800 calories per day. If you decide to go this route – be sure to monitor your nutrition intake.

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting this type of diet.

Next…we will discuss another popular weight loss program.

Interesting Conversations about Probiotics

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Today I had the most wonderful day ever. I got to stand…yes stand…outside in the 80% humidity for seven hours talking to people about their troubles.

Conversations about Probiotics

Most of the conversations went like this:

Do you take probiotics? No? Well, have you heard of probiotics? Yes? Is there a reason that you haven’t started a program? Do you have any chronic health issues?  Before you answer, do they have to do with your skin? Headaches? Allergies? Digestion? Immune system? Pain? Blood sugar? Mental clarity? Mood disorders? Sleep issues?

Interesting thing is…everyone has something.

Actually, there were a few people with perfect health and happiness.  There was one lady who answered that she knows all about probiotics and she doesn’t need them because she only eats healthy…as she is feeding her kids (and herself) a cupcake with five inches of icing on top.

There was another lady who said she also knows all about probiotics and doesn’t need them because she eats fermented cabbage…but she was also experiencing an adult acne breakout that led me to believe that she isn’t eating nearly enough fermented foods to combat her Candida problem.

I did meet some really great people who are suffering every day…and taking daily prescriptions that are either not really helping, causing many negative side-effects, or at best – just masking the symptoms of their disease…not really treating the issue.

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What are symptoms of Candida overgrowth?

Candidiasis symptoms:

Physical symptoms of Candida overgrowth

White furry tongue coat or when white patches on the tongue are scraped off and the underlying red tissue bleeds slightly. Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath

Eyes – Erratic vision, spots in front of eyes (eye floaters) and flashing lights, redness, dryness, itching

Vaginitis, unusual odors, discharge, redness or swelling of the vulva and surrounding area, vaginal itching, burning or redness, or persistent infections.

Fungal infections on the skin or nails

Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness

Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis

Constitutional symptoms of Candida overgrowth

Diarrhea, constipation, stomach bloating, pain, gas, mucus in the stools

Bruising easily

Hair loss, scum on the scalp, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness

Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat

Frequent Headaches, migraines, brain fog, dizziness, etc.

Hemorrhoids, and rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness

Loss of sex drive, impotence, prostitis, penis infections, difficulty urinating, urinary urgency, painful intercourse

Allergies or reactions

Muscle aches and pain, numbness, burning or tingling, and lack of strength and coordination

Stomach – heartburn, indigestion, belching, vomiting, burning, pains, needle-like pains, food seems to sit in the stomach like a lump, etc.

Behavioral symptoms of Candida overgrowth

Intolerance to perfumes, odors, fumes, dust

Cravings or addictions for sugar, bread or alcohol

Insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.

Anxiety attacks, nervousness, jitteriness, memory loss, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, etc.

Autoimmune Diseases & the Candida connection

Many autoimmune diseases and other diseases have a Candida connection. Whenever the immune system is severely depressed and cannot function normally, it opens up the body to many diseases and malfunctions. Some, but not all, of these diseases are: Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity, Crohn’s Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus, Fibromyalgia, Graves’ Disease, HIV/AIDS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis, Sjogren’s, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Candida is very opportunist when the immune system malfunctions, with candida overgrowth found in most cases. Therefore autoimmune diseases respond well to the candida program, particularly the diet, because it builds up and strengthens the immune system.

One woman I spoke with was really interested in the rocks I paint. I paint a variety of rocks – I make hobbit homes, fairy doors, Day of the Dead skulls, birds, turtles, owls…etc.  As she limped off – I asked her about the pain in her leg. She told me that it is actually her back that is bothering her – and her heart, and head, and just about everything is wrong with her.  She has Takayasu disease.  She went on to tell me what it is and some of the side-effects of the illness. First – it’s very, very rare. Second, they can’t really figure out how to fix it.  Here’s what I found out…

What is Takayasu disease?

 

Takayasu disease is a chronic inflammation of the large blood vessels that distribute blood from the heart, including the aorta and its main branches. Inflammation of blood vessels is also called vasculitis. It is most common in women of Asian descent. It usually begins between 10 and 30 years of age.

Takayasu disease has also been referred to as pulseless disease, aortic arch syndrome, Takayasu’s disease, and Takayasu’s arteritis.

 

What causes Takayasu disease?

 

The cause of Takayasu disease is unknown. The immune system in patients with Takayasu disease seems to be misdirected to cause inflammation of arteries (arteritis). White blood cells called T lymphocytes are part of the inflammation.

 

It sounds horrible and devastating. Worse…of all the specialists and professionals she’s met and consulted with – not one of them has recommended probiotics. She’s on a rainbow of medications to treat this and that – but not one person has mentioned that maybe her immune system is out of whack because of an unhealthy gut.

Also…I spoke to a lady with arthritis – again, never heard of probiotics. Thyroid issues. Psoriasis. Depression. Chronic sinus infection. Allergies. ADHD. Autism. Blood sugar diseases. Migraines. Torn ear drum (that one was concerning to me because the woman fears that the hole in her ear is allowing fungus to get into her brain). Nose polyps. Acne. Nail fungus.

The people I got to talk with were so very interested to hear about how nutrition and gut-health might be an answer to their prayers. After countless doctor visits and consultations, very few of these people understand how probiotics can help with these issues.

It’s time to change the way we view food. Your body and mind health begins in your gut. It’s not just what you eat, either. It’s what you don’t eat  – what you don’t get enough of that affects your overall health.

Probiotics and gut health are the first place to start with any health concern.

 

 

What is the best diet?

 

This is a great question!

Really, what is the best diet?

That’s like asking what is the best size shoe. Think about it…

I wear a size 7 women’s shoe.  Some shoes – I actually need a size 6.5.  There have been a few times that I needed a size 6.  Then – there are the shoes that are generic…  S   M   L   or 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 – I almost always have to go with the smallest option.

Then – the brands…Nike, UGG, Target, Toms…

Then – the style…flip flops, house shoes, slip ons, running shoes, dress shoes…

Every single foot is different. Every single shoe is different. Not just the brand or style is different, but the style within the brand.

So, my point is: to ask which diet is the best is the same as asking which size shoe is the best.  Notice that I’m not saying which shoe is the best. That fact is less debatable.  There are several shoes which are actually, factually, common sensically better. There are several shoes that will do in a pinch. There are cheap shoes that are good for lots of reasons. But to ask which size shoe is the best…that’s not even answerable.

I wear size 7.  My daughter wears size 7.  So we must love the same shoes, right? Her shoes must fit me very well. My favorite running shoes should also be her favorite running shoes, right? No way.

Here’s a conversation that will never happen:

Person A: “These are my favorite running shoes. I bought you a pair because I hear you love to run.  These are the best.”

Person 2: “Great, I love them. I see they are a size 6 narrow and I wear a size 8 wide…and Nikes usually make my tendon blister and my heel hurt, but yes – I tried these on and they are perfect. Thank you for giving me these great shoes. I love them!”

But diet / nutrition conversations do usually go like this:

Person 1: “This is the best diet / eating lifestyle. I hear you are interested in your health. This is the best.

Person B: “Great, I love eating that way. I see you eat lots of protein and fats. I’ve got gallbladder issues and can’t really process fat.  I’m also allergic to nuts, but that high nut serving sounds great. Thank you for sharing this great way of eating. I love it!”

That might be a bit extreme – but when we say that this diet or that diet is the best – you are assuming that every single person is made just like you.  That will never be the case. Even people with similar genetic make-up will have different food needs and tastes. Every one processes food differently, whether it’s carbs, meat, juice, alcohol, fruit, veggies…

I’m not going to go into specific diets here. I’ll save that as a day-by-day topic. But, please stop assuming that what I do will work for you or what you do will work for me.  That’s not how it works.

 

Why I do what I do

 

I love helping people. I’m a teacher. I teach children about how to learn. It doesn’t matter what subject I teach – I’m still just teaching children how to learn. They have to learn how to figure things out: things they don’t want to learn about, things they have difficulty learning about, things they couldn’t care any less about, things that are easy to learn about that they need to take to the next level. It’s why I do what I do.  In life, we must all learn how to do things. We have to learn how to be nice to mean people, how to operate computer programs that are ridiculous, how to pay bills, how to stay in relationships, how to get out of relationships, how to take care of loved ones.

So, I teach. I love teaching. But what makes me happy? It makes me happy when someone wants to know something and they ask me first. I get emails and messages and phone calls all of the time. People think of me when they want to know something…when they want to learn something. Sometimes I wonder why they just don’t look it up on Google themselves. I believe it might be because they know I enjoy helping them. In some small human way, they know that they are making me happy by asking me questions. Like when we let my mom bring 15 steaks for our family of five. It makes her happy. Like cashing a $5 check from grandma  – it just makes her feel good.

Why do I teach people about their health?

I love to research and discuss. I love discovering and making connections. Science, religion, psychology, philosophy, social…I love it all. So many interesting things are going on all around us – new discoveries every second…big and small.  There are so many people out there that need something. I feel fairly safe saying that everyone needs something. Everyone is lacking…or feels they are lacking…in some area. Money. Health. Love. Strength. Peace. Rest. Energy. Relationships. Confidence. Patience. Worth. Family. Joy.

I believe that with some knowledge- and support – people are able to fill the holes. That sounds silly to those of you who haven’t tried changing your diet.  For those that love healthy eating like I do, you are nodding your head…yes – that’s true. Filling the body with wholesome, nutritious food brings things into perspective like never before. Perhaps the holes fill themselves with proper nutrition. The desire to be something else…to have something else…comes from our brain. Some people believe that this emptiness comes from something Biblical. Others believe it to be more spiritual or universal. Others maybe feel that it’s scientific…that emptiness or desire to move on to the next level. That desire to be better today than you were yesterday. Some sort of survival of the fittest.

But…if you think about it, all of these feelings come from your own brain. Your hypothalamus regulates your basic needs and emotions: relationships, behaviors, hunger, thirst, and sleep. When these things – or even just one of them – is out of whack, everything can just get out of sorts. It leaves you wanting more. If you can’t have more money, or more joy, or more health, or more sleep, or more relationships…what do you do? Do you try to get more or do you just go the easy route and get more of something that is easily obtainable? Food? Drink? Chocolate? Ice cream? Maybe.

What makes me promote health?

I love being a health and wellness representative. People contact me with real problems that they think I can fix: I can’t sleep, I have migraines, I have eczema, I have stomach trouble, I crave junk, I am sad all of the time, I can’t lose weight, I can’t fit into my clothes. They have been watching me and watching my posts and watching my blog and when they’ve finally had enough – when they’ve finally reached their limit of frustration with themselves – they contact me.

I wish they would contact me before they get to their breaking point. They wait for that blog post or picture on Facebook that makes them cry. Then they reach out for help. But they know they need it now. I wish I could figure out how to get people to try it before they break down.

You don’t have to wait!  If you are feeling out of sorts, empty, lost, frustrated with yourself, generally crappy, lonely, angry, annoyed…whether it’s because of your choices or people around you…when you feel good about choices you are making for yourself – these feelings start to go away. If you are doing something for yourself to improve your health – you will be filled with purpose and determination. You will know that the little things are just little things. You will see yourself as a work in progress. You will see that when you can focus on the good you are doing, all of the negative drama that surrounds you has no footing in your life. You can just move on.

The promise

With consistent healthy eating, your body and mind will be well.  You might notice right away or you might be mentally or physically resistant to change. For example – I’m an immediate gratification type of person. If I run one day, I expect to see a difference right away. If I clean house for 10 minutes, I expect it to stay clean for a week. If I water the grass, it should be noticeably greener immediately.  If I make a little effort, I expect big returns. But we know that life just doesn’t work that way. We have to be consistent. Again, whether you are religious, spiritual, scientific, philosophic, or just getting by – one thing is universal…positive change takes time. It’s like the river eroding the stone.

Going back to the fact that I’m a teacher. We spend 13 – 18 years in school. We build on our knowledge every year. We learn the same basic principles every year…twenty thousand different ways. We learn different ways to take notes, take tests, do homework, work in teams, communicate with teachers, process information. Think about the fact that every year we learn about the same thing. We just learn differently and in incrementally more detail.  We learn about the same things repeatedly – but it takes years for our brains to take ownership of that information…to really understand it. It’s the same thing with our health – we have to come at it repeatedly and in different methods – we have to be told time and time again. We have to experience and suffer, and then we decide to make changes. But the seed is there. You know you have something that could be better. Don’t expect it to change overnight. Expect yourself to do great things over time.

Give it time.

Make the change.