Some Food For Thought….or Some Thoughts On Food

Letters to my children…

Hi My Darlin’ Kids and Kidlets,

Grandpa told me – more than once – that eating the nutrients that our body needs cures many issues that we deal with – addictions, cravings, moods and emotions as well as physical and health issues.  I am becoming a believer!   I see it much more clearly now than I did at the time.  Dad told me often that I needed to have a healthy meal with good protein ready for Dale when he came home from work – that it would help his craving for alcohol.  He also said to cut out sugar – it would help with many emotional issues – depression, anxiety and cravings.

 I’m trying to keep my body in good shape to live well for the rest of my life.  Grandma and Grandpa lived that way and I pooh-poohed it for a lot of years but the older I get, the more I realize that if I had paid attention earlier, I’d be having fewer problems now.  I’m very healthy but could have avoided some serious health issues that I’ve had to face.

 So I’m passing some info on to you.  This note is to help you.  I know some of you kids and grandkids are really into eating as healthy as possible and it makes my day.  I know that you’ll live a better life if you don’t put harmful substances – and garbage into your bods (and minds:).  I know you’ve all heard me repeat what my parents told me – repeatedly – that our bodies are no different than our cars.  They need the highest quality fuel to stay in tip top condition and last a long time.

 I know it’s difficult to care much when you’re young and feeling healthy and invincible.  I pray that you’ll pay attention.  Health issues are hell to deal with.  Aging has many challenges – and most of those are preventable.  Really!   If you study foods and take them very seriously,  listen to your body, pay attention to what you’re eating and breathing – and thinking – you’ll live a much happier, more balanced life.  You’ll never be sorry for the time and money you spend on quality foods.

 I’m inserting this link for Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet pyramid.  It’s simple.  The foods are inexpensive and simple.  Beans – especially pinto and black beans – are a protein staple with pretty amazing health benefits.  Cheap too.  Fresh organic fruits and veggies are a must.

 Potassium is lacking in almost all of our diets.  Supplements don’t cut it and can cause problems in some cases.  You can get all you need with fresh, dark green leafy veggies, a baked yam, a piece of cantaloupe, beans, cauliflower.  Steamed veggies preserve more nutrition.  Microwaving destroys nutrients.  Research the internet and find your favorite potassium-rich foods and include them every day.   An easy way to get a serving of potassium is with green juice.  This sounds much worse than it actually is – just try it and mix with a little juice….Make a green juice with collards, mustard greens, broccoli, parsley, bok choy, carrots, a fresh beet, celery, cabbage (you really wont even taste it in a drink).  You can store it in the refrigerator for 4 days.  I make extra and freeze it.  If you’d like for me to make it for you, you pay for the veggies (about $20 every two weeks or so) and I’ll be happy to do the shopping, make the juice, and deliver it to you.  Lightly steam a little spinach and kale, broccoli, red and orange peppers, a few carrots.   Some foods are more nutritious if lightly steamed.  Put a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them.  A little pepper.   It’s fast, easy, and much easier to take than medicine.  And it will keep you from having to take medicines.   Develop a taste for the good foods.  Be a food snob.  Eat organic and nutritious.  Get a taste for olive oil and balsamic  dressings – or any vinegar.

 Try for a low calorie, high nutrition diet.  Eat a lot of whole grains, seeds, brown rice, freshly ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds are delicious snacks and full of magnesium.  Magnesium promotes sleep and a healthy heart.  Potassium does the same.  Rice bran is tasteless in a bowel of steel cut oats for breakfast.  Add 1/2 tsp olive oil.  You wont taste it and it’ll give you some good fat.  It also helps stabilize your blood sugar.

 Sugar is deadly.    Grandpa quit eating sugar altogether when he was in his mid 40′s and felt it saved his life.  He was dealing with a lot of health issues that improved and cleared when he quit using sugar.   Sugar causes all sorts of problems – diabetes, cancer, heart problems.   My sister, Pat, quit eating sugar because of health and weight issues – she once told me she realized that she was putting poison in her body with every bite of sugar.  She started thinking of it as rat poison and it was easy to avoid it.  If you’re sweet tooth needs a fix, have some fresh fruit.   Eat foods that are in season.

 Organic vs commercial – Dr. Oz and his family eat only organic foods.  Oprah does.  So if you strive for that, you’re in good company.  Apples and potatoes are a must – they HAVE to be organic.  There are lists of foods that contain and hold more pesticides and chemicals than others and they are at the top of the list.  Any fleshy fruit that you don’t need to peel to eat need to be organic.  Leafy vegetables.  Root veggies.  Most veggies except corn, onions and garlic need to be organic.  Fruits that you have to peel to eat don’t need to be organic.   Grains and beans are best for you if they’re organic.  They’re cheap either way.  Seeds – pumpkin and sunflower don’t need to be organic.  Read about chemicals and pesticides on the internet.  Educate yourself about everything you put into your body.

 Apples, berries – blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, marionberries, avocados, pomegranates.  Bananas are nutritious and have a little potassium in them.  Melons.  Mangos.  Pineapples, plums, pears.   Oranges, grapefruit.   Lots of yummy choices.  Drink a half lemon in warm water first thing in the morning.  Mom and Dad did it every morning and promoted lemon to cleanse and protect the liver.  I do it now as well.  There are so many toxins that our poor liver has to process – it gets a workout!

 Fats – Extra virgin, first cold pressed olive oil is less processed than others.   It’s inexpensive at Costco.  Use it for everything – salad dressings, cooking, instead of butter.  It gets rancid quickly so it HAS to be in the refrigerator once it’s opened.  We pour it into wide-mouth small jam jars – any open mouth jar – after we open it.  It solidifies in the fridge and is easier to use if we can dip into it rather than try to pour it.  It’s a good fat.  Avocados are good fats.   Learn to dip bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar – like the Italians.  It’s delicious and healthy.   Butter is deadly and once you lose your taste for it, it’s just awful!  Tastes good but the after taste and sensation of fat in your mouth is really yukky!

 Nuts – especially walnuts – are good fats.  Nuts should be unsalted and unroasted for highest benefit.  You can lightly salt them yourself.  Presalted are way over-salted.  Another thing to watch for in your diet.   We should all have less than 2500 mg of sodium a day.  I challenge you to keep track of your salt intake for a day.  You’ll be shocked.  It takes a little effort to limit yourself to a healthy dose of salt – almost impossible if you eat fast food.   It’s as deadly for our hearts as sugar and fats.  Beware!:)  Learn about it.

 Please be just as careful of foods that you put in your mouth as you are with drugs that go into your body.  Know what’s going “down the hatch”.  Pay attention and live well.  You come from some good, hardy, long-lived stock.  Take advantage of it:)

 I love you….


Fear – How Do I Get It Out of My Life?!

Please PLEASE, Dr. OZ.  Help me!

I feel like I’m bordering on pathological fear and it seems to be getting a bigger hold on my life.  My physical symptoms are progressing and I want my life back.  How ever do I make this happen?

I’ve had test after test, including an angiogram.  Now my doctor wants me to have an MRI/MRA.  At this point, I think the basis of my physical ailments are fear about my health – and in some ways, for valid reasons.  I feel desperate – that I’m a time bomb in a race to find an answer before I have a stroke!

My blood pressure spikes are causing more consistent symptoms – the stinging pain in the top of my head, a droopy sensation at the temple corner of my left eye, and a stinging numbish sensation at the left corner of my mouth.  These areas  don’t look any different – but they feel very  different while my blood pressure is high.   They are new symptoms.  As is a periodic discomfort in my left eye.  I was checked by an ophthalmologist  at Devers Eye Clinic yesterday and he said my eyes are in excellent condition.  My eye feels slightly irritated and sometimes has a few seconds of feeling like it does when I have the flu.

My blood pressure normally runs great – 111-low 120’s/low 60s and on the low side in the night and mornings.   My pulse is usually in the low 50s (I don’t feel well when it’s in the low 50’s) to high 50s in the morning so I usually take my morning dose of Metoprolol 25 mg at 10:30-11 am rather than when I should be taking it at 9 a.  My blood pressure is usually in the mid to high 120’s  when I take my 9 pm dose.  When I try to go below this, I have a lot of palpitations/skipped beats.   My blood pressure has been up very high (190s-212/low 100s) at least 10 times this year – an unusual event for me.   The first few times happened in the night – woke me up.  No one has been able to figure a cause other than sleep apnea.   My symptoms include those of sleep apnea I’m told –  and from what I’ve researched.  It’s so difficult to be who I am with so little sleep.  I have no problems for a period of time and just getting comfortable with my body’s behavior and then it happens again.    I manage my blood pressure spikes with meditation and Lisinopril if it doesn’t come down with deep breathing and relaxation visualization.  I’ve been seen several times in the ER, admitted 3 times, had an angiogram as well as 24 hour catecholamine and many other tests.  Everything has been normal.   I have great doctors and they have deduced that I have sleep apena which is causing the blood pressure spikes, severe lack of sleep and anxiety.

I had a sleep lab study but couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report but did show hypopnea.   My doctor then arranged for a home sleep study which I had.   He told me that it showed apnea, hypopnea and very low oxygen levels which he feels awaken me.   Last night I had a sleep lab titration study but again couldn’t sleep enough to get a good report.   From research and a visit with a person at the sleep lab, I was told that home studies are very inaccurate.  I was told by my technician at the sleep lab that I don’t have apnea at all that he could see.  My doctor will have my report on Friday and I’ll ask my questions from him and find out the news.  I was so excited to have the study, believing that it would resolve the blood pressure spikes issue and that I could eventually get over my distrust of my body – and my fear.

I am so stressed and exhausted with all of this and I think the stress is keeping me from sleeping.  It’s a vicious cycle.  That is where my fear comes in – I’m terrified that I’m bringing on the very thing I’m trying to avoid.  I try every thing I can – medication regimen, meditation, read Eckhart Tolle’s books, in fact listen to them when I’m walking.  And I have a glass of wine now and then…

I’m a very strong and healthy 71-year-old woman with a wonderful life otherwise.   I have many reasons to live including 2 brand new great-grandchildren.   I have walked 10,000+ steps (thanks to your encouragement) every day for sometime, have lost over 30 pounds, gotten off my Metformin and now manage my type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.   I’m so grateful to you and your show!

I watched your show about sleep disorders and learned a lot.  I’ve had difficulties sleeping since I was a child.  In fact, my Dad has told me that I had a difficult time sleeping as a baby and small child – that he used to rock and walk me half the night.  I had never heard of genetic insomnia but I wonder if that describes my sleep problems.   I hope we hear about her treatment.   I’ve been taking occasional trazadone when I can’t sleep, anywhere from a quarter of a 50 mg tablet to the entire 50 mgs.   Sometimes it doesn’t work at all.   I definitely prefer natural treatments but am fearful about trying something else right now.  I’m normally awake at least every 2 hours each night and routinely get 3-5 hours of sleep each night,  rarely six, very rarely 7.  I’m so desperate that I can’t even tell you – for sleep, peace, no anxiety, no more fear – for getting my life back.

My fear is such a problem for me that it’s interfering with my life.  It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so fearful but am deciding if I’m going to get help for it, I have to talk about it.  There must be others in my situations.  As soon as I receive reassurance – reading my normal labs and other reports, I feel all right for a bit and then the fear starts creeping in again.  I no longer trust my body! What if my blood pressure rises again and I have a stroke.   I dread night time so much – no words – what if I lie awake all night and imagine the worst – despite my best efforts.  The less sleep I have, the more my emotional defenses are down.    I’ve had 17 deaths of family and best friends in the last 18 years, 6 of those (my Dad, two sisters, brother-in-law, and besties) in the last 5-1/2 years.   I’m still reeling from those deaths and definitely feeling my mortality.  My fear is beginning to include my husband and family’s safety.  It feels like fear is  taking over my life.  It is.  I pray.  I talk to my sisters and husband.  I journal.  I research.  I exercise the power of believing…

Have I missed one of your shows that dealt with fear?   Please schedule or replay?