Amino Acids Therapy≈“Study” Week 1

Written by: Rebecca Baird, June 30, 2010

Well, I have officially completed week one of my amino acid therapy “study” and I am here to report that I feel better than I have in years. When I first began to take the amino acids, L-Glutamine, L-tyrosine, DL-phenylalanine, GABA, and 5-HTP, I wondered if this would work for me. I have always been super sensitive to any type of supplement, so this was indeed a huge step for me. I had no adverse side effects to any of the supplements. What I did have was more energy, not jittery energy, but real “feel good” energy. For the first time in years I was able to clean the shower myself without getting muscle spasms in my legs, also there was no muscle soreness the following days. I also don’t have lower back pain any more, amazing! That is miraculous to me.

I also found that my attitude improved greatly. I had been having trouble with depression, especially in the mid afternoon; likely caused by the fact that it was in the mid afternoon that I got the call that my daughter Kelly had been murdered. Anyway, the depression ceased, completely.

The other thing that is really intriguing is that I have a much better appetite, but the appetite is for good food, not chocolate, sweets, or bread. When faced with a sweet treat, I feel like I could maybe have a taste, but I am not all that interested, which also intrigues me. I am able to eat eggs, which is new, before now they tasted really nasty to me, but now they really are delicious (my husband can’t believe this).

I have started taking the thyroid supplement as well and will see how that goes. For years now I have had symptoms of low thyroid, and have gone to mainstream physicians only to get the blood test and no help whatsoever, but I had many of the symptoms of low thyroid. Some of my low thyroid symptoms “were” depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, weight gain, inability to lose weight when doing heavy exercise, intolerance to cold, dry scaly skin, and tingling hands and feet. I say were because most of the symptoms are gone, in just a few days of taking this thyroid supplement. Click here to see a complete list of low thyroid symptoms.

I will post an update to this amino acid therapy “study” so that you will know how it is working. ***If you would like to be part of the study, please let me know by posting a comment below or by contacting me on Facebook.

Food Obsession or Eating Disorder

Written by: Rebecca Baird, May 9, 2010

People in the United States, and all over the world, have created an “eating disorder” which is being portrayed, by television shows on the Food Network, as entertainment (Knoblauch, 2008). Cultures, all over the world, have placed so much importance on food that it is no longer the way to stay healthy, fuel our bodies, and live, it has become a status symbol.

During the early days of airline travel food was served to the passengers, who were sitting at large round tables, on nice plates with real knives, forks, and spoons. This type of travel was reserved for wealthy and socially elite individuals. Today, airline travel has changed dramatically to offer air flight to everyone, regardless of their monetary status (Knoblauch, 2008).

There has been an obsession with food and status since early in the world’s history. This was obvious in Biblical times when the Israelites freed from Egyptian captors, by Moses, in order to free them from slavery and oppression. As they wandered through the wilderness, in an attempt to get to the Promised Land (the land of milk and honey; more food), they complained because they no longer had access to the garlic and leeks of Egypt; Manna from heaven, provided by God to fuel their bodies and stay healthy, was just not good enough for their sophisticated pallets.

If we fast forward to the early days of the United States, we see that Columbus brought with him the culinary status of the European culture. Native Americans consumed foods which would keep them alive, healthy, and fuel their bodies. The early colonists were appalled by the primitive foods which were available to them. According to Katherine Reagan, curator at the Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, by “the end of the 19th century, America’s expanding economy and growing upper class fueled desires for elegance and self-indulgence with respect to food” (Reagan, 2002).

It is no surprise that food in the United States has taken center stage as a status symbol and has brought with it some of the most sophisticated entertainment available on television. History has shown us that the culture of food has always carried with it a perceived status reserved for the wealthy.

Healthy Shopping ≈ Fresh First

Written by: Rebecca Baird, June 16, 2010

Shopping for healthy food has become an art form. There are so many choices to make, how does anyone know which item to choose? Well, a good place to start is to choose fresh first. When you enter the grocery store, start in the produce section first. Items to look for are: organic, local, and high fiber fruits and vegetables. Most markets have a fairly good selection of organic items in the produce section.

Why choose Organic? Organic foods offer more in the way of nutrients than foods grown in the conventional way. Organic foods are grown in a way which allows nutrients to be composted back into the soil, hence allowing the future plants access to these very important nutrients. Conventional farming does not allow this process to occur; the land is stripped of nutrients every year and chemicals are used to enhance the growing process. So, if you can find organic, buy organic. Another good source for organic produce (and other neat products) is the farmers markets.

As soon as you finish with the produce section, you will venture to the other portions of the store where you can find processed foods in all shapes and sizes. Beware of the packages marked low fat as these products tend to have more sugar than the normal fat products. Also, if you can find whole grain products, buy those before choosing the refined grain products. Refined grains are simple carbohydrates, which are linked to high triglyceride levels, weight gain, and increase free radical damage in the body.

Choose meat and poultry which are hormone-free, antibiotic-free and if possible organic. Eggs (cage free/organic) are a great source of protein and do not contribute to cholesterol levels in the blood (BBC News, 2009). Fish and shellfish are great sources of protein; stay away from canned or processed fish which may contain nitrates. Nuts and seeds are a good source of non-essential proteins and a source of good fat. Stay away from packaged meats and deli meats which contain high amounts of sodium and preservatives. Some markets have deli meats which are nitrate free; check sodium content if you are sodium sensitive.

Healthy Choices ≈ First Steps

Written by: Rebecca Baird, June 15, 2010

Lifestyle changes can seem daunting and fearful to some individuals, especially if they have eating habits which are somewhat unhealthy. To ease the burden of making dietary changes, one should always start by adding items to the diet rather than taking away. An easy addition to the diet is increasing the amount of whole foods consumed daily; fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains . The daily recommended amount of fiber needed is 30 to 40 grams. This will help to satisfy the appetite, increase nutrient consumption, add fiber, slow digestion, reduce cholesterol, and give a sense of accomplishment to the individual. Find more recipes, ideas, and other healthy ideas by going to http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php. Below is a list of foods which will increase nutritional intake:

FRUIT AMOUNT FIBER (grams)
Apples with skin 1 medium
5.00
Apricot 3 medium
0.98
Apricots, dried 5 pieces
2.89
Banana 1 medium
3.92
Blueberries 1 cup
4.18
Cantaloupe, cubes 1 cup
1.28
Figs, dried 2 medium
3.74
Grapefruit 1/2 medium
6.12
Orange, navel 1 medium
3.40
Peach 1 medium
2.00
Peaches, dried 3 pieces
3.18
Pear 1 medium
5.08
Plum 1 medium
1.00
Raisins 1.5 oz box
1.60
Raspberries 1 cup
8.34
Strawberries 1 cup
3.98
VEGETABLES AMOUNT FIBER (grams)
Avocado (fruit) 1 medium
11.84
Beets, cooked 1 cup
2.85
Beet greens 1 cup
4.20
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup
2.76
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup
4.5
Brussels sprouts 1 cup
2.84
Cabbage, cooked 1 cup
4.20
Carrot 1 medium
2.00
Carrot, cooked 1 cup
5.22
Cauliflower, cooked 1 cup
3.43
Cole slaw 1 cup
4.00
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup
2.58
Corn, sweet 1 cup
4.66
Green beans 1 cup
3.95
Celery 1 stalk
1.02
Kale, cooked 1 cup
7.20
Onions, raw 1 cup
2.88
Peas, cooked 1 cup
8.84
Peppers, sweet 1 cup
2.62
Pop corn, air-popped 3 cups
3.60
Potato, baked w/skin 1 medium
4.80
Spinach, cooked 1 cup
4.32
Summer squash, cooked 1 cup
2.52
Sweet potato, cooked 1 cup
5.94
Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup
3.68
Tomato 1 medium
1.00
Winter squash, cooked 1 cup
5.74
Zucchini, cooked 1 cup
2.63
CEREAL, GRAINS, PASTA AMOUNT FIBER (grams)
Bran cereal 1 cup
19.94
Bread, whole wheat 1 slice
2.00
Oats, rolled dry 1 cup
12.00
Pasta, whole wheat 1 cup
6.34
Rice, dry brown 1 cup
7.98
BEANS, NUTS, SEEDS AMOUNT FIBER (grams)
Almonds 1 oz
4.22
Black beans, cooked 1 cup
14.92
Cashews 1 oz
1.00
Flax seeds 3 tbs
6.97
Garbanzo beans, cooked 1 cup
5.80
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup
13.33
Lentils, red cooked 1 cup
15.64
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup
13.16
Peanuts 1 oz
2.30
Pistachio nuts 1 oz
3.10
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup
4.12
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup
7.62
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup
3.00
Walnuts 1 oz
3.08

Which Diets Have You Tried?

What does “diet” mean to you?

Written by: Rebecca Baird, April 23, 2010

The word diet means: “food and drink considered with regard to their nutritional qualities, composition, and effects on health” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 2009). This word usually means something very different to clients. People who are overweight, or concerned about their health view dieting as a horrible last ditch effort to solve their problem. Diet, or nutritional food plan, should be considered the first step to getting healthy. The problem is that most people look at the foods they like to eat as “bad” or “tabu” because of the nutritional content of the food. There is a learning curve which happens during the beginning stages of food modification when people realize that they can have that chocolate cake, it just needs to be constructed a bit differently. Below is an awesome recipe for a flourless chocolate cake which is out of this world and is actually a great choice when having that chocolate craving.
The learning curve, for most any alteration in daily habits, is about 6 months from beginning to the time one is comfortable with the new idea or concept. Changing our eating habits is a gradual process. First we should incorporate more high fiber, whole foods into the diet, and then begin eliminating poor choices from the old diet. That makes the transition gradual enough and relatively painless.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup butter
4 eggs
¾ cup organic cane sugar
¾  cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Glaze
1/2 cup semi-sweet baking chocolate chips
Just enough heavy cream to cover chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a round 9 inch baking pan with organic canola cooking spray (or Pam). Take a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper and cut it in a circle to fit into the bottom of the pan. Place this in the bottom of the pan, and then spray with cooking spray. Set baking pan aside.
In small saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Turn off heat and add the 6 oz of chocolate chips and cocoa. Then add sugar, mixing well. Next add the eggs and mix very well.
Pour into the greased cake pan. Bake in oven approximately 40 minutes (check between 25 and 35 minutes to make sure it is not burning). When perfectly baked the top will have cracks in it.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool, undisturbed for about 12 minutes. Place cake plate over the top of your pan and then invert the plate and cake so that you are now looking at the bottom of your cake pan resting on top of your cake plate. Gently remove pan from cake, and carefully peel away the parchment paper.

For glaze: Place chocolate chips and cream in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave for about a minute and stir. You may need to microwave a bit longer depending on the wattage of your microwave. It should look smooth and creamy when it is ready. This is a ganache topping and can be refrigerated and re-melted if you make extra.
Top the cake with ganache topping (chocolate chip and cream mixture), let cool and slice into wedges. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy. 🙂

What’s missing in your diet?

Written by: Rebecca Baird, May 25, 2010

Fad diets limit or eliminate the necessary intake of vitamins, minerals, and fats. This is true because fad diets claim that the way to lose weight is by limiting or eliminating one or more of the major food groups; grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and fats. Grains supply the body with necessary fiber, iron, and B vitamins; thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid. Vegetables and fruits provide potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants which can help prevent diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Milk helps the body build strong teeth and bones and provides calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Meat and beans provide protein to help build muscle, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, and the B vitamins; niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6 (USDA, 2009). Fats are necessary for energy, to help our body absorb fat soluble vitamins A, S, E, and K, to help our body produce endorphins (substances in the brain that produce a feeling of wellbeing) and to protect cell walls. A diet low in fat will produce symptoms such as dry skin, low resistance to infection and bruising, hair loss, and poor growth among many other symptoms (Eating Disorders Online, 2010).

Specifically limiting or eliminating carbohydrates (from the grain, fruit, and vegetable food group) such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grain, from the diet can cause serious health issues including strain on kidneys and dehydration (Stein, et al, 1999). According to Web MD, strain on the kidneys, kidney stones, or possible kidney failure is caused by “Consuming too much protein which puts a strain on the kidneys, and can make a person susceptible to kidney disease” (Web MD, 2005-2010).

One study done by Australian researchers, over a period of one year, found that the low carbohydrate diet contributed to the participants experiencing feelings of anger, depression, and confusion. This is due to a lack of carbohydrate consumption, which is responsible for the production of serotonin in the brain (Prevention, 2010). Serotonin is a chemical which is produced by the brain and acts as a messenger to our brain cells. These messages to the brain cells control “mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior” (Bouchez, ND).

Maintaining a healthy, balanced eating plan and adding exercise, helps the body lose weight naturally by providing the body with proper nutrition and building muscle tone. Author Elizabeth Marglin states that “Rather than counting every calorie or scratching entire food groups from your diet make healthful eating — along with fitness and stress reduction — a part of your daily lifestyle (Marglin, para. 4, 2007). According to recent studies, “Researchers found that among healthy adults, the lowest risk of becoming overweight or obese may be obtained by consuming 47 percent to 64 percent energy from carbohydrates” (Oregon Wheat, para. 3, 2010). This information coincides with information gathered from the American Dietetic Association and the USDA food pyramid which states that carbohydrates should make up 50 to 60 percent of the daily caloric intake for someone who is on a 2,000 calorie per day eating plan (Duyff, 2006). On a 2,000 calorie a day eating plan, at least half of the caloric intake should be from complex carbohydrates; fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.

References:
American Dietetic Association (2005-2010). Back to Basics for Healthy Weight Loss; Balance Food and Physical Activity, para. 9. Retrieved on May 25, 2010 from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6847
Bouchez, C. (ND). Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers. Questions 1, 2, and 3. Retrieved on May 25, 2010 from http://www.webmd.com/depression/recognizing-depression-symptoms/serotonin
Duyff, R. (2006). American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide.  Third Edition. Ch.21, pg. 571. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Retrieved on May 4, 2010 from http://books.google.com/books?id=1PTsJgQI7w0C&pg=PA571&lpg=PA571&dq=american+dietetic+association+carbohydrate&source=bl&ots=Bvx6l7gwj9&sig=EoI2l7HBa7xygQZb0ah6UKKaeMw&hl=en&ei=8k_gS-TZLoOAsgP8luSyBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CDcQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=american%20dietetic%20association%20carbohydrate&f=false.
Eating Disorders Online (2010) Why Our Bodies Need Fat. Retrieved on May 25, 2010 from http://www.eatingdisordersonline.com/nutritional/fats.php
Marglin, E. (March 26, 2007). Losing weight naturally: No diet necessary, para. 4. Revolution Health Group. Retrieved on May 25, 2010 from http://www.revolutionhealth.com/healthy-living/natural-health/alternative-clinic/simple-solutions/natural-weight-loss/no-diet-necessary
Oregon Wheat (February, 2010). Low-Carb Intake Linked with Overweight, Obesity. Oregon Wheat, para. 3, 62(1), 29. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.
Prevention (2010). Carb Your Enthusiasm!. Prevention, 62(4), 45. Retrieved from Health Source – Consumer Edition database.  Accessed May 4, 2010.
Stein, J., Cray, D., Grace, J., Nordan, D., Park, A., & Sachs, A. (1999, November 1). The Low-Carb Diet Craze. Time Magazine, (4). Retrieved on April 20, 2010 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,992401,00.html.
United Stated Department of Agriculture (2009). My Pyramid Plan. Retrieved on May 4, 2010 from http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx.
Web MD (2005-2010). Weight Loss: High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diets. Retrieved on May 25, 2010 from http://women.webmd.com/guide/high-protein-low-carbohydrate-diets