Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Crock Pot Heaven


I
love crock pots!

I have a girlfriend who insists that crock pots are for old ladies. Yes, she does have one but feels incredibly self-conscious about it.

Well, if that's true, then hand me a cane and colour my hair blue... because I have TWO!

I love them so much that I almost always have both of them going, all seasons of the year, never clean and empty, and never put away... and if I could, I'd have three.

Sadly though, I have run out of crock pot counter space...

I use my pots so much that you can see that they're well-loved! The fact is, that crockpots don't have to be pretty to make your life more fabulous! Sure it's nice if they are pretty... but nice is not a prerequisite for a crock pot. In fact, one of mine has completely lost all of it's knobs but has still been going strong for the about the last four years!

I suppose if I have one complaint about them, it would be that the plastic handles installed on the newer versions, by the manufacturing companies, are not heat resistant. As a matter of fact, after having 3 new lids sent to me by one manufacturing company, only to have the lid handle crumble again, I had HAD-IT!!

I finally just went to a second-hand store, picked up one of those old aluminum pot lids (you know, the ones that everyone had in the 70s and 80s), unscrewed the big black knob and screwed it onto my existing crock pot lid. It's been good for three years now. Now, if I could only figure out how to replace the temperature select knob that fell apart... sigh... thankfully a gluten free diet means that my fingers are no where near as stiff as they used to be...

*****

One pot, I use for at least one dinner per week and then the rest of the week it holds soup broth or even full fledged soup: Basic Soup Broth Recipes

The other pot, is where we throw all of our leftovers... and I mean EVERYTHING!!

This is the easiest way I have found to keep up with homemade pet food. Pretty much everything gets thrown into this pot full of water, much like a compost bin. A couple of exceptions would be too much raisins, chocolate, onion or broccoli, mostly because the majority of this pot becomes dog food... and too much of these items are toxic to dogs.

Dinner cleanup is a cinch! The crock pots are right next to the dishwasher, so everyone just scrapes their plates off into the animal crock pot and plunks the dish into the dishwasher. Easy peasy!

Even the stuff that I strain out of my bone broth crock gets thrown into the animal crock.

Nothing is wasted and the animals are in fabulous condition since we have not had a single visit to the vet in almost 5 years (with our German Shepherd who is almost 14 years old and our Rottweiler who is about 8 years old). Since we went gluten free, the animals did too... and their health has been entirely reflective of the fact that this diet is not only better for us, but better for them too!

Before they went gluten free, we had continual smelly gas issues (okay, occasionally we still do since the rottie seems to have beef and grain issues), ear infections, and the German Shepherd's pannus had almost completely blinded him. Yes, surprisingly, on a largely grain-free diet, his pannus cleared up almost completely. What an unexpected yet wonderful side-effect to a gluten free (largely grain free) diet!

Of course never forgetting to give much of the credit to living in Crock Pot Heaven!

In the photo below, you can see where the pannus (dark brown blob) has receded to the edge of the pupil. It also became less lumpy, which meant less aggravation and therefore, not more gunky tear streaks.

The pupil in this eye, (when we got him from the humane society, at approx. 6 years old at the

Once the pupil cleared, he not only stopped tripping on the children's toys but to our surprise, could run like the wind!

Apparently a veterinarian I ran into, completely by mistake, has had similar results with a younger shepherd also: please google DogtorJ (no - the "g' is not a typo) for more info. He attributes pannus to corn but in some discussion I had with him, his dog appeared to be gluten free also. This concurs with my dog's diet,which we purposefully ensured was gluten free, but inadvertently, was also corn free.
time) was almost completely covered by the pannus and he could not see toys on the living room floor.

And if I feel we don't have enough leftovers to make up a dinner for the dogs, I just add the cheapest meat I can find in the grocery store. This means that even if I have to buy some cheap meat/fish, my homemade, environmentally friendly, additive free dog food, is not only healthier but is actually more budget friendly (by a long shot!) than the big $80 brand name stuff that we used to get from our vet!

But I digress...

Every once in a while, I dump the pot contents into the bird compost pot (where we put scraps that are going out to the chickens and ducks), clean out the pot, fill it with clean water and continue on.

Honestly, though, even without having a crock pot for animals, I would still keep two pots just for us. One for completed soup that's always at the ready and one for soup broth in progress.

Here are just a few other things I've used my extra pot for in the past:

1) Reduce broth to the point that it's almost pudding-thick and added some balsamic vinegar to create meat rub or to further mix it with a bit of honey and pureed raspberries for a fabulously original salad dressing.

2) Taken frozen fruit out of the freezer, tossed it in the crock pot and let it stew down to make a fabulous topping for bread, waffles, dessert (ice cream, custard, etc.) or cake (in lieu of sugar-filled icing).

3) Keeping french fries warm (covered with a towel though so they don't go soggy).

4) Cooking rice in that can be tossed in at the beginning of the day (with soup broth, of course) that is deliciously ready by dinner time.

5) ... and so many more things!

Life is good, and warm, and healthy in Crock Pot Heaven (even with blue hair)!



For basic soup broth recipes, please see here: Soup Broth

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Recovery Regimen: Enter, The Smoothie

We've been doing vitamin smoothies for a long time now.

Smoothies are great for hiding all kinds of things in. I've hidden cabbage juice in them, celery juice, carrot juice and even pureed sea vegetables.

But mostly I've used them to hide vitamins in.

At the beginning of our diet, I noticed that every time we made a mistake (which happens a fair bit to everyone for about the first year), it took about 7 to 10 days to get past it, symptomatically speaking.

I felt that we needed to set up a 'recovery regimen' for when these mistakes happened. Seven to ten days was just too long for my liking. This is where the chicken soup and epsom salt baths kicked in. The chicken soup recipe had already been developed and after reading about epsom salt baths and how they affected people with cerebral palsy, I knew it would benefit my little boy who's joints would stiffen right up, it seemed, the minute he even so much as smelled gluten.

So, about six months in to our diet, I started a therapeutic regimen of vitamins for all of us (after a LOT of research into vitamins and minerals). Now, I had already figured out that rotation was key for us, so I was pretty set against taking vitamins every day.

There were three problems:

1) I bought seven different kinds of children's vitamins, none of which contained therapeutic doses, so the children would have to take a handful to get a therapeutic dose; and there was either a disgusting amount of sugar in them (and my boy could not yet tolerate ANY refined sugar at all) or there were those fake sugars that might do funny things to your liver... And nevermind that, the children reacted negatively to ALL of them.

My husband and I found the same problem with the adult multies.

The best vitamin supplement I found was one that was in liquid form. Not only was it easier to take, but it also seemed to yield better results for each person that took it. Was it being digested better because it was ground up and dissolved in a liquid? I don't know, but in theory, it seems to make some sense. The problem was, the expense. Liquid vitamins must be the most expensive on the market.

2) getting them into everyone (if it wasn't a liquid vitamin), especially the children and

3) when we didn't take the liquid vitamins, I noticed that moods (especially in the children) and energy levels (in the adults) were not as good as they were on days that we did take them.

And so I began buying individual vitamins, sitting at the table with my calculator and charting out how many doses each pill would be for each person. For the children, the easiest thing was to make up about 24 ice cube sized popsicles out of the smoothies and they'd be set for the week.

We started out taking them every day for two weeks. Then we took a week off. At the end of that first week off, I started noticing moods swinging a bit, so we did another two weeks on, one week off.

Then because I was nervous about high zinc doses, vitamin C rebound and niacin doses affecting livers, we started taking them for 4 days and then 3 days off. Then the next week we would take them every other day. I kept altering this schedule and we seemed to hit a comfortable place where moods and energy levels were fairly static.

Eventually, we ended up requiring vitamins only twice a week. And five years later, found that we only had to take them as needed (usually due to extra stresses that may arise - a few times a year in the form, usually, of gluten contamination).

I find that I still require them about three times a week, the week before my period but the children don't seem to generally require them any longer.

And so enter, the smoothie.

Now, I don't know how many people know what B vitamins taste like but bad liver with a side of rancid fries might about cover it. No... I take that back... they're actually worse than that.

And every once in a while if I felt like someone needed a big dose of vitamin C, well, that just doomed the wonderful smoothie.

And so, I did a lot of fruit gymnastics to make an edible smoothie that the children actually enjoyed. A bit of the downfall was the expense, one that we couldn't afford, and so the children would doctor up the rejects with honey, mostly... and usually extra bananas or peanut butter.

"It's disgusting." they would say.

"Well then add something so it's not disgusting. I don't care how you get it in, just so long as you get it in." I would say.... Okay, some days I wouldn't say... I would snap... I'm only human after all and feeling, on some days a little sensitive about our tight budget and my kitchen failures.

I kept noticing that they would always go for the nut butter and the honey first. So, I began to think about how to sweeten it.

Eventually, I happened upon the frozen grape and the frozen apple. I know that during regular shelf life, they're sweet... but no where near sweet enough to cover up B vitamins in a smoothie. However, once frozen, they become amazingly, strongly, almost overpoweringly sweet.

And luckily, my son eventually came to be able to tolerate orange juice much better, and so I took out the yucky C vitamins and used concentrated orange juice (unmixed).

It sure made life a lot easier once I established which vitamins were of the most benefit to us (everyone's an individual in this respect) and then found a delicious way to get them into us.

The entire soup, bath, smoothie regimen has brought our recovery time to 2 or 3 days, as opposed to the 7 to 10 we experienced before.

Sources:

Liver Damage Caused by Drugs
Niacin
Zinc
Zinc Overdose (this also refers back to how important your phils are)
Magnesium
Magnesium Overdose
Vitamin C
Vitamin C Overdose
Magnesium
Epsom Salt Baths as Cerebral Palsy Therapy

What made me write this all out, finally, today? We only go to restaurants about once or twice a year because even the restaurants that cater to gf diets are generally too risky for us.

But this last month, since we've been doing so phenomenally well for so long, we went to our favourite restaurant 3 times this past month (and were having issues - a pre-migraine and a depressive swing for me and whiny, whiny children) that made me say to my husband "It's like we've been glutened, only I can't figure out where."

Then, on the way home from Toronto, we stopped to have our favourite dish once again, only to be informed that they just realized our foods were being cross contaminated the oil in the deep fryer! Ughh!

I give them four stars for trying, and four stars for telling us as soon as they knew about it. Honestly my hat's off to anyone in the food industry who tries to cater to those of us in the gluten free world!

The bigger question is, when am I going to start trusting my instincts and our symptoms? Sigh.



Then we went back to

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Book Reviews - Antiques

One of the things that I have never tired of doing over the years, is perusing books for new information that is either really new, or old and overlooked or forgotten.

I have an enormous collection of diet books, not because I ever considered practising any of them, but because I wanted to look for commonalities in the reasoning for both their successes and their failures.

I also wanted to be able to isolate, scientifically, why their mutual successful ideas were working for fairly large masses of people.

Hopefully here, I can give an overview of the various books that I found both exciting, telling and helpful for either including practises in a healthy lifestyle, or discluding them.

One of my favourite categories of books are those that show in the 'antiques' section. Why? Because the knowledge in them is often based on practical practises that are affordable to everyone, do not require large amounts (if any) of medication that may cause additional reactions and were written in a time when the giving of medication was not as acceptable as it is in this day and age, when it is handed out like mints after dinner.

And so, it is the Antiques section that I will begin with because last weekend, perusing an antique store, I came across a book that was immediately exciting to read with information that I have been looking for, for years, but never found what I thought to be, a reasonably well-rounded compilation of information in one place.

Goodbye Allergies
by Judge Tom R. Blaine (new revised edition), The Citadel Press. Secaucus, New Jersey, and Musson Book Company, Don Mills, Ontario, 1976

Most of the books that I find tremendously exciting are the ones that are written by laypeople. That is, people who live the life.

Some of these people are medically qualified, many are not. This one is not. However, since the writer is/was a judge, it suggests that he was the type of person that does not take anything at face value and will dig a little more for accurate information than most people will.

Goodbye Allergies is about the endocrine system. I have long suspected that my son's endocrine system is involved in his dilemna. And though, on our special diet, we have all but eliminated even the common cold, I still search for answers because, the minute we veer too far off our required food program, illness begins to recur.

It leaves me continuing to think that if I just keep my ears and eyes open, a more permanent and effective idea may come along that will allow him to relax the need to be perpetually aware of gluten and/or ensuring that "too much" dairy is consumed.

This was recently brought to the forefront when a new-to-us medical professional decided we should add dairy back into his diet. When I refused, based on the fact that the last time I tried this, he ended up with three weeks of severe gut pain, extended food refusal and sitting in a specialist's office whose only advice to us was, 'stop feeding him dairy'.... Children's Services was called in.

Needless to say, all's well that ends well and the social worker, after seeing my volumes of books on chemistry, diet, binders and articles, understood that this was a case of disagreement in treatment... not "denial of treatment", as the medical professional indicated.

However, it got me to thinking... what about the people who don't have time to accumulate research the way I do? And again, it seems that medical professionals are not willing to do the research required to help my son continue to improve his quality of life. And so, it has re-lit the fire under me to persist in my own personal education... and the last place I left off was with my suspicions of endocrine exhaustion.

Within the first two chapters of this book, Mr Blaine makes it quite clear that in his case, his multiple "allergies" were caused by an over-taxed endocrine system that went untreated through the 1930's, 1940's and into the 1950's.

It was at this point that his life took an incredible turn for the better after initiating an endocrine renewing diet, along with some supplements. In fact, he ended up using his experience, at times, to defer divorce litigation until it was found that this diet/supplement regimen helped the people willing to try it, to overcome tremendous energy-deficit challenges, depression and more... Cancelling out these issues, in turn improved married life, which in turn cancelled out requests for divorce!

I would say, "Colour me surprised!" but I'm really not.

And so, with this book, we enter the next part of our journey...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Gluten, Cosmetics and Squalene

2008-02-15

Gluten, Cosmetics and Squalene

This is a new warning out about products that include brand names from Unilever (for example, Pond’s, Dove and more).
An ingredient called squalene is used for hair and skin products. Historically, it has been manufactured using shark liver. EWG (The Environmental Working Group) put some pressure on Unilever to change their source of squalene to a plant based material. Unilever has, according to Enviroblog, issued a statement that it will indeed switch over to plant based squalene.

HOORAY for EWG! We like sharks and don’t want them to be killed for our cosmetics.

Guess what the plant choices are? Yup, wheat and rice.

Luckily for us with the recent upswing in the price of wheat, they may choose rice… BUT if you as a gluten free consumer want to make your voice heard, now is the time!

Call Unilever (a company that many of gf folks depend upon – whether they know it or not - for their gluten free status of soaps, conditioners and more) and let them know that your vote is for rice-based squalene. If they get enough calls, they will hear the gluten free community.

As always, wishing you a higher quality of life,
KimS

References:
http://www.enviroblog.org/2008/02/unilever-takes-a-bite-out-of-y-1.htm
http://www.finfacts.com/irelandbusinessnews/publish/article_1012077.shtml

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

http://ocap.ca/rtr/diet/medic/tips

I'll be back later with more.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Oatmeal

Even gf oats have proven to cause inflammation in celiacs (another one that says it causes inflammation in the general public). They have even been proven to cause villous atrophy. But let's just consider the inflammation aspect of this particular food.

Now sure, inflammation isn't quite the same as a Marsh III lesion (considered for a celiac gold)... but still... if you're suffering malabsorption due to intestinal damage/challenge/stress... Do you really want to risk inflammation?

So what's the alternative? What about quinoa, which contains (what is said to be one of the most easily digestible proteins).

What about sorghum?

What about buckwheat?

Even being oat free, a rotation diet is still very doable... once you find your best food sources.

Does it mean that oats are all evil? Of course not. Our planet provides us with everything we need to live well. The real question is, are we using it well?

Food for thought.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15526039?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15186945?ordinalpos=8&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14992558?ordinalpos=9&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12013687?ordinalpos=13&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11867969?ordinalpos=14&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182488?ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16885694?ordinalpos=11&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15613257?ordinalpos=25&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16220051?ordinalpos=18&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

New, More Sensitive, Food Testing in the Future?

2008 Feb

New Food Test Established to Identify Gliadin (down to 0.5ppm)

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/87/2/405

Canada, as far as I know, has the most proactive legislation to protect and support those with gluten sensitivity.

Presently the CA (Codex Alimentarius - International medical standards body put in place in 1963 by the FAO and WHO) allows a 200ppm gliadin count in food content in order to qualify for a "gluten free" label, while Canadian legislation only allows for 20ppm.

Interestingly, some people cannot even tolerate the 20 ppm, leaving them, frequently, to a paleo. diet for resolution.

This new testing is claimed to have a sensitivity down to 0.5 ppm in hydrolyzed food.

What does that mean for us?

It means that the legislative bodies can become even more strict about the standard definition of 'gluten free' food and as such, will mean that there would be more processed and packaged foods (labelled gf under stricter guidelines) available to more of the gluten sensitive population.

The end result is way off in the future... But it's exciting to think about the implications, nevertheless, with the impact it will have for our children and grandchildren who inherit this particular genetic coding.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Plant Oils Versus Lard

When first on this diet, most of our 'treat' food turned out to be things that were fried, like donuts and chicken balls (because I was really missing Chinese food).

Well, at first, I used peanut oil. However, my Dad began sneezing every time he ate my deep fried foods. So, I switched to grapeseed oil.

The grapeseed oil I had found was cold-pressed, which I knew was good. So we started using it on our salads and noticed a big improvement in the condition of our skin. So it became a staple at the table along with the salt and pepper.

However, once it was cooked, like in the deep fryer or for a stir fry, I noticed that skin eruptions began to occur. Eventually, I backed up fried foods to such an extent that the connection between cooked oils and skin eruptions became quite blatant, while raw oil seemed quite the opposite. (Henceforth my opinion is that, once heated, plant oils become something quite evil.)

And so I switched to pig fat for my deep frying and noticed that we no longer 'broke out'.

Eventually I came to want some lard to make some old fashioned icing sugar for a cake. Well, the store-bought lard looked oddly white to me, not to mention the fact that the additives made me shiver.

So, now that I've found my organic farmer who is absolutely passionate about her animals, their psychological and physical welfare and her final product, I've decided to finally make my own lard.

Of course, as always, I enjoy reading up on this stuff beforehand and found out such interesting stuff that I thought I'd share my startling finds and sources:

Pork fat is one of the highest sources of vitamin D. It *can* cause an improvement in heart health. It is*not* a saturated fat.

Like I always say though... too much of anything is *not* a good thing. So, keep it down to once a week... maybe twice. My strict belief after all that I've experienced is that the most important aspect impacting improved health is: Rotation! Rotation! Rotation!

The New Homemaker
Obsession with Food: Lard Rendering Recipe

My biggest problems regarding finding good information had more to do with the fact that typical pork has herbicide and pesticide residues... as well as the lard not being homemade but the grocery store lard which is a different animal altogether (figuratively speaking) as mentioned above. So, if there's anything good about grocery store lard, I figure that homemade is doing much better than that.

I had some trouble finding any science backup information that states lard is a monounsaturated fat or high in vitamin D, as stated in The New Homemaker. That doesn't mean it's not out there though, so I'll keep looking and add the abstracts when I find them.

The oil fumes article was extremely interesting. And since I'm always trying to pack some weight onto my kids and increase their protein intake, I was really happy to find several of the references. I especially enjoy the one about lard and it's use to help correct a thiamin deficiency and because of this, believed to be the reason for yielding positive results in some failure to thrive kids.

Recipe Link to "The Goblet"

Experimental Diabetes and Diet
Methylmercury Toxicity and Fat Intake
Oil Fumes
Cholesterol and Triglycerides, Lard and Vitamin C
Biotin Deficiency and Lard's Effect on Weight Gain
Red Meat is not Associated with Colorectal Cancer
Porcine Diet and Fatty Acid Development
Full Fat Diet the Cure to Hypertension?
Porcine Diet and Conjugated Linoleic Acid resulting in Saturated Fat
Bladder Cancer and Diet High in Meat and Fermented Product
Pork Livers Greatest Protein Quality
Thiamine Deficiency and Failure To Thrive
Vitamin E Supplementation and Lipid Stability
Porcine Supplementation Results

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Iodine Overview

Many areas of the world have a historical prevalence for thyroid issues due to iodine deficiency. One of those areas is the Great Lakes region which is rather heavily populated.

Often people in these regions are misled to believe that their vegetables are a source of iodine when in fact, because the land is iodine deficient, so are the plants grown in that area.

Iodine is often an ingredient in medications and is often used to sterilize milking equipment in dairy operations. Therefore care must still be taken because if a person (children in particular) is ingestion large amounts of dairy and/or cough/cold medicines, there is a risk of too much iodine if supplementation is pursued.

This bit of knowledge extends to people who are on a homemade bread diet, gluten free diet or dairy free diet as they may not be achieving the iodine levels required for proper thyroid function. I urge them to talk to a medical professional about iodine supplementation (even more so for those who are on a dairy free, low salt diet).

Those who may be on a homemade bread (of any kind), grain low, paleo diet or grain free diet as they are not receiving the same supplementation as general society (who eat store bought bread that is artificially supplemented with iodine). This issue is often overlooked by medical professionals and review often needs to be initiated by the patient/spokesperson for the person(s) at issue.

Dr. James Howenstine has written an article that suggests even people on 'regular' store-bought bread are now running the risk of being low in iodine, since some breads may include bromine instead of iodine. He states that bromine not only replaces iodine in the bread but inhibits iodine uptake by the thyroid gland (iodine that comes from other foods).

Iodine deficiency can contribute to Grave's Disease, adrenal fatigue, Raynaud's, goitre, cretinism (rare if salt is supplemented with iodine and used regularly in the diet), fatigue, weakness, depression or weight gain. Even signs as simple as physical and/or mental fatigue can be an indicator of iodine deficiency. Lead toxicity is another issue that is affected to iodine deficiency. It is iodine that aids the body in the purging of lead. Insufficient iodine and lead levels have a better possibility of building up. It has also been strongly associated with breast cancer.

As always, my interest in failure to grow makes this an extremely interesting realm of information and anyone dealing with ftt (failure to thrive) should address the possibilities with their health care provider.

I have noted subtle differences that seems to emerge slowly in our family dynamic with addition/removal of high iodine foods. Whether it's the iodine levels or something else is debateable. However, we seem to fare better with these foods and I have found myself, several times over the past few years realizing that if I overlook the addition of these foods within our diet, we just don't do as well... whatever the reason.

Nevertheless...

Sea vegetables, like seaweed (dulse is one kind) can help prevent a myriad of issues that develop due to iodine deficiency. Likewise, this type of food, because of it's high levels of iodine must be carefully monitored by people on thyroid medications.

Though it is commonly believed that iodine added to salt is sufficient, there are many medical professionals who debate this issue hotly and insist that supplemented salt is not anywhere near sufficient for the thyroid gland to work as effectively as it should.

It is often said that Asian diets are higher in iodine. However, this type of blanket statement is debatable. Generally speaking, I would consider it a 'rumour' and not base my dietary intake on how closely a person follows an 'Asian Diet'.

A high fish diet is also not an indicator of iodine levels since one would need the knowledge of where the fish came from, on which to base this supposition.

One suggestion to increase iodine levels would be to add it (in the form of dried dulse or kelp) to two of your basic recipes (spaghetti sauce or taco meat) that are enjoyed twice a week. Sea vegetables are often salty and may subsequently require a reduction of salt in these recipes.

Sardines are another source and could be used instead of salt or sea vegetables in such dishes. If bones are intact, mash it all up and it will add a good bit of calcium to your recipe also. Oily fish will have the added benefit of essential fatty acids. It is said that because sardines have such a short lifespan, they do not have the same issues regarding mercury. Anchovies would be another suggestion.

Recipes to add these ingredients would be pizza (to replace the salt in the dough or tomato sauce), spaghetti sauce, taco meat, rice casseroles, etc.

As always, be certain that you are not allergic to either seafood or iodine (said to be unrelated in some source articles though I'd imagine there are times when this claim would be debatable). Though some allergies are not common, it is always wise to be aware and take care. Consult your personal medical professional re: sensitivities to these foods.

Here is a link to more info. that I collected and posted at Neurotalk a couple of years ago:
http://neurotalk.psychcentral.com/showthread.php?t=1207&page=2


Sources:
http://www.vegansociety.com/html/food/nutrition/iodine.php
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=69
http://www.springerlink.com/content/x71g7280270127p4/
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A04E0DD1F38F932A35751C1A96E958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DEEDB1F39F937A35755C0A960958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=135#healthbenefits
http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james37.htm
http://www.allergy.org.au/aer/infobulletins/seafood_allergy.htm
http://www.naturalfoodpantry.com/news.htm
http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encyclopedias/Dulse.htm

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

What Do You Know About Your 'Phils'?

A Little Bloody Knowledge Goes A Long Way:

What Do You Know About Your 'Phils'?

When you have your blood checked (CBC - complete blood count), are you aware of your 'phil levels?

(WebMD explains what's involved in a CBC.)

Do you know why they're important?

For people with food sensitivities, "phil" levels can help you to figure out how well you're doing with your diet.

What are "phils"? It's a short term that we came up with when I began teaching my kids to read their medical reports. It encompasses a few fighter cells (associated with initial general immune response) including:

eosinophils (often related to breathing issues like allergies and/or asthma)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinophil;

basophils (often related to allergies and IgE levels)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basophil;

neutrophils (often related to bacterial infections)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrophil_granulocyte

How much do you *need* to know about them?

Well, just a little... not a lot really... for the sake of having a relatively intelligent discussion with your physician... if they are elevated (more common - very generally speaking) or low (less common).

Why are they so important to us (as people with food sensitivities)?

Because they *can* (if eosinophil levels are high) be an indicator that your diet is not being controlled well enough.

What happens if they remain high?

Well, these are fighter cells, so they will continue to 'do battle'. And where there is war, there is damage to the ground that the war is being played out on.

Extended tissue damage is something to be concerned about as, like a cut that can get infected, the tissue damage can lead to other complications. If tissue damage is extensive enough for a long enough period of time, then the tissue may never heal.

An example of tissue damage that won't heal would be refractory sprue that can be associated with untreated (read: diet not controlled) celiac disease.

Now, I don't mean to confuse issues because, as far as is known presently, phils are not used as celiac indicators. However, when a gut is damaged, two things *may* be considered:

The diet is not well enough controlled (not gluten free enough) and
therefore immunologically compromised. This means that the body doesn't
have the wherewithal to fight off viruses. (This is what happened to my
son.)

So because the gut is damaged, the body for some reason, can't handle simple viruses very effectively and begins to lose viral battles that should be easily 'won'.

The second scenario is that there are other foods that the body is reacting
to besides gluten, which means that either:

1) It is an additional sensitivity that may never be 'outgrown'. (like a casein - read dairy - sensitivity - my daughter deal with this more obviously than my son, even though he was the child that was clearly 'ill' and why we began this journey into the realm of food impact and exploration)

2) It is an additional sensitivity that exists only because the gut is not yet healed. Therefore these foods are causing extra reactions from the body and need to be eliminated only until healing takes place.

(This happened to my son with nightshades and the lily family... after about a year of healing, he seemed to be able to tolerate them just fine. And now his e. levels are good, which helps me to relax more about letting them back into his diet. Although at this point, though you might all realize that I am *very* pro rotation, meaning we *try* to allow any food into our diet only twice a week... so that if an 'e' reaction is occurring, it is hopeful that the downtime between ingestions of the offending food will be conducive to any tissue healing that *may* need to take place. )
**************

I quite realize that this may all seem a bit like a different language at the beginning. But for people dealing with celiac and/or multiple sensitivities, having this knowledge can mean 1) getting down to business and getting your diet under control; or 2) realizing that 'hey' I'm doing a pretty good job with my diet because my 'phil levels' are improving or becoming a 'non-issue'.

I really like being at number two with my son now because it's just one less thing for me to lose sleep over. ;)

hth
Kind regards,
KimS