Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Side effects vs. healing reactions

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding side effects and healing reactions.  

When I work with clients, I usually will get an email, text, or a phone call to explain that they are experiencing side effects from the supplement or food plan that I have them on.  All of the time, they are actually experiencing healing reactions and not side effects.

It is very important to understand the mechanism behind a healing reaction or a side effect so that we can act appropriately and understand how our body works.

A side effect, according to Merriam Webster's Dictionary is: "an often harmful and unwanted effect of a drug or chemical that occurs along with the desire effect" or "a result of an action that is not expected or intended."

What is important to understand is when someone introduces a pharmaceutical drug, the goal tends to be to subdue the symptoms.  If someone has been diagnosed with depression, they want to subdue the effects of having low serotonin and take anti-depressants like Zoloft.  

Here are some potential side effects of Zoloft:

  • Fast, irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling faint
  • Hallucination
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts or mood changes
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Vomiting
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sex drive
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased sweating
  • Tremors

Summary of Black Box Warnings of Zoloft
Suicidal Thoughts or Actions in Children and Adults
  • Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide.   
  • Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications.  This risk may persist until significant remission occurs. 
  • In short-term studies, antidepressants increased the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and young adults when compared to placebo.  Shortterm studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24.  Adults age 65 and older taking antidepressants have a decreased risk of suicidality.   
  • Patients, their families, and caregivers should be alert to the emergence of anxiety, restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness and insomnia.  If these symptoms emerge, they should be reported to the patient’s prescriber or healthcare professional.   
  • All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should watch for and notify their healthcare provider for worsening symptoms, suicidality and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment.

A couple things concern me about this list.  First of all, most people who are on pharmaceutical drugs are unaware of all the potential side effects.  Second of all, a side effect of Zoloft is suicidal thoughts.  More and more young people are being prescribed Zoloft and other anti-depressants and some with a very sad ending of a planned suicide.  The parents point to the drug that is causing this.  Is it worth it to risk a life by taking an anti-depressant?  

I don't know if it is worth it.  Each person needs to have the knowledge, the risks, and the options in front of them.  The problem is that most people don't know that there are more than one option.  Is the pharmaceutical drug the only known solution or are there other solutions to depression?  

There are some situations where a pharmaceutical drug is needed and warranted for intervention.  However, the biggest problem the I have with pharmaceutical drugs is that there is usually never a plan to help someone ween off the drugs and resolve the underlying issues.  The "plan" is to keep someone on a particular drug for the rest of their lives.  

Further, the potential side effects come from the synthetic, chemical compounds in the pharmaceutical drug that our liver has to process as a toxin and causes unwanted or undesired effects on our body. The higher our toxic burden load, the more work that our liver has to do and the more likely that we will feel sicker and sicker and sicker.  Many times, one intervention leads to the next intervention which leads to the next intervention.  When will it stop?

A healing reaction, on the other hand, is far different than a side effect.  For one, a healing reaction in my profession is actually a desired and expected reaction.  Our bodies are hard wired to heal given the right environment and the right nutrients.  When given the proper nutrients needed to heal, new tissue will replace old tissue and old toxins and traumas will be released into the blood stream.  When these old toxins and traumas are released, we may feel the symptoms of this release which is referred to as a healing reaction.  

This type of reaction is one of the most misunderstood aspects in the natural healing realm.  The healing reaction is also referred to as a die-off reaction, Herxheimer, retracing, healing crisis, cleansing, or detox reaction.  When a therapeutic, supplement and dietary plan is introduced into the body there will most likely be a period of time when the body produces less than desirable symptoms.  This is an indication that the plan is working and the body is healing.  How many supplements have you tried and noticed absolutely nothing, whether good or bad?  Most supplements are not healing the body, thus a true healing reaction is not experienced.

•    Old tissue holds toxins and bacteria that are released into the bloodstream during the healing reaction
•    Old tissue is being replaced with new tissue
•    “Out with the old, in with the new,” detox symptoms ensue as the body heals

POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS (but not limited to this list)
•    Increased joint or muscle pain
•    Diarrhea 
•    Extreme fatigue and/or its opposite, restlessness 
•    Cramps 
•    Headache (believed to be caused by buildup of toxins in the blood) 
•    Aches, Pains 
•    Arthritic flair up 
•    Insomnia 
•    Nausea 
•    Sinus congestion 
•    Fever (usually low grade) and/or chills 
•    Frequent urination and/or urinary tract discharges 
•    Drop in blood pressure 
•    Skin eruptions, including: boils, hives, and rashes
•    Cold or flu-like symptoms 
•    Strong emotions: anger, despair, sadness, fear, etc. 
•    Suppressed memories arise 
•    Anxiety 
•    Mood swings 
•    New phobias develop

This list may seem similar to the list of side effects for Zolft.  However, it is very different because of the different in the end result of the healing and resolution that the body is able to express by balancing dopamine and serotonin levels naturally.  

This is a reason to celebrate because when my client is experiencing a healing reaction, this means that their body is resolving a long-standing issue, imbalance, or dysfunction in the body.  There is true resolution and true healing at the cellular level.  These symptoms last anywhere from 1 day to 4 weeks, depending on how and what the body is healing.  However, at the end of these symptoms, the resolution of this issue is worth the temporary pain of symptoms.  

I would much rather experience 4 weeks of healing reactions and receive recovery from my condition than to experience side effects that indicate the increase of toxicity in my liver and the other potential undesirable effects of a pharmaceutical drug.

If you are on a pharmaceutical drug, do not receive these words as condemnation.  Rather, receive them as hope that your body can heal and that you can come up with a plan with your doctor to ween off the medications.  It is important to make changes in your diet, lifestyle, and nutrition plan and to have a buffer to help in the transition.  Your doctor can help with the plan to ween off and you may want to find someone who can help you find the right nutrition plan to help aid in this process of healing at the root level.    

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Controversy and fear-based thinking

I realize lately that I have been blogging about very controversial subjects.  I think that it is important to not take things for face value and to ask the appropriate questions to understand why and what is the meaning behind this?  If we don't ask the questions and have the understanding that we need to have, we will be pushed and pulled into decisions that we may not have made if we have the knowledge and empowerment to move forward into a decision.

It is time that we make bold steps and to make bold decisions for our lives and the lives of our family's. One thing that inhibits this boldness is fear.  So much of our medical system and our food/governing bodies in this country is based upon fear.

Why is it that 93% of women in Brazil opt to have C-sections and over 30% of women in America end up with C-sections?  Is it because of our faith in our bodies, in our ability to labor and deliver a healthy baby, or is it because we are afraid of the pain, afraid of the unknown, and afraid of what may or may not happen.

The weird thing about fear is that it tends to lead you in the direction that you do not want to go.  Fear tends to attract that very thing that you are afraid of and sometimes to conquer that fear, you must experience that pain, or that rejection, or that wound in order to overcome.

Are you in a prison of fear?
How many of my decisions day to day are based upon fear?  Do I even recognize fear or has it become such a part of my decisions that I just operate in fear and self-protection at every moment of every day.  Fear can be subtle, but fear is very dangerous to our health.  Most people who have this struggle of fear every day find it hard to live their dreams and to envision success.

Fear keeps us from envisioning even our health and the health of our children.  I remember that I used to struggle a lot with the fear of rejection.  It would keep me from meeting new people, from speaking my mind and my opinions, and from simply living and trying new things.  I was so sensitive from past "perceived" moments of rejection that I could not find the strength nor the faith to rise above it and to simply live.

I had to conquer it through attempting the things that I was most afraid of.  I remember having panic attacks in Italy because I was about to move home to Minnesota to start raising support to be a campus minister.  In my heart, I knew that I had to do it and that I wanted to make the sacrifice to help college students find faith in God.  However, I was scared out of my mind to raise the support that I needed to pursue my dream.

I read a book about pursuing your dreams without regards to money and that money will come and serve your passion.  This book helped me to step out in faith (the little that I had) and to start talking about what was on my heart.  After 6 months of talking to people, I had raised 70% of what I needed to start as a campus minister.  I decided to just go and believed that the rest would come.  It did and I lived for 5 years on support so that I could do ministry on campus and in South Africa with orphans.  It changed my life and prepared me for the challenges that I have faced in building my own business in the health field.

I had to conquer fear of rejection so that I could live in my purpose on earth, but I still have to reconquer it every day so that I can continue in faith instead of in fear.  Sometimes the only thing that we can do to conquer these fears is to put ourselves in the position to stare fear straight in the face and to say, "I am not going to let you control me and my decisions in my life, I am going to do it anyway and you are just going to have to bow down and leave me to live my life."

I hope that we can all do this.  Let's conquer our fears, get true and accurate information about our lives and our health, and not information that is twisted because of fear.  What decisions in your life are you making based on the fear of the unknown?  What new decisions can you make to face and conquer your fears?

I don't want to be afraid of my baby being unhealthy or having a horrible birth because I am envisioning my own defeat.  Rather, I want to envision my baby and myself as healthy and perfect and I believe that I will be creating (with God) my own successful birth and delivery.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Business of Being Born

As I have been moving forward with my pre-conception diet (which I love by the way), I have come across a lot of information about home births and midwifery.  I have always leaned towards having a home birth, but after watching The Business of Being Born my baby's fate is sealed as being born under my roof with the help of a midwife.  

This documentary was created by Ricki Lake (talk show host), after she had a disappointing birth in the hospital.  Ricki Lake found that after being given pitocin (a drug to increase labor intensity), she was in intense pain and needed an epidural.  In the U.S, more than 50% of people are given epidurals while giving birth.  

Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the potential risks of an epidural.  Here are a list of some of the effects that epidurals have on labor and delivery:

  They lengthen labor.
  They triple the risk of severe perineal tear.
  They may increase the risk of cesarean section by 2.5 times.
  They triple the occurrence of induction with synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin).
  They quadruple the chances a baby will be persistently posterior (POP, face up) in the final stages of labor, which in turn decreases the chances of spontaneous vaginal birth (see below).
  They decrease the chances of spontaneous vaginal delivery. In 6 of 9 studies reviewed in one analysis, less than half of women who received an epidural had a spontaneous vaginal delivery.
  They increase the chances of complications from instrumental delivery. When women with an epidural had a forceps delivery, the amount of force used by the clinician was almost double that used when an epidural was not in place. This is significant because instrumental deliveries can increase the short-term risks of bruising, facial injuries, displacement of skull bones and blood clots in the scalp for babies, and of episiotomy and tears to the vagina and perineum in mothers.
  They increase the risk of pelvic floor problems (urinary, anal and sexual disorders) in mothers after birth, which rarely resolve spontaneously (taken from CHRIS KRESSER "Let's Take Your Health Back Now").

One of the most concerning facts of the side effects of an epidural would be that your risk of needing a cesarean section increases by 2.5 times.  How is this possible?  It seems that one intervention leads to the next intervention and all of a sudden, a woman who desired a vaginal, "natural birth," is all of a sudden needing an "emergency" cesarean section.  

This is a highly problematic situation for the health of the baby because vaginal birth is critical to the baby receiving the gut flora necessary to build a healthy immune system and to develop a healthy digestive track.  While a baby travels down the birth canal, she or he receives gut flora from the mother's vagina in order to start building immunity to protect itself from the environment outside the womb.  Unfortunately, in a cesarean section birth, the baby does not receive gut flora from the mother's birth cannel; rather, the baby receives gut flora from skin contact or the breath.  This can cause major imbalances of gut flora and later on can develop into digestive, neurological, and immune system dysfunction for a child.   

In 2005, 1 in 3 births ended in cesarean section.  This is unbelievable.  Cesarean sections are treated so casually today because so many people are having them during labor and delivery.  A C-section is considered major surgery and the recovery is gruesome.  Further, the mother is put in the high risk category after having a C-section and most likely will have to have C-sections with the remaining pregnancies.  

C-sections take about 20-minutes to perform, but take so much away from the experience that a mother could potentially have in delivery a baby.  For example, in a natural, home birth, a women peaks during vaginal birth by having a release of oxytocin hormones that causes her to have almost an orgasm release while the baby is being born (specifically during the distension of the cervix and uterus during labor).  Oxytocin has been shown to be pivotal in the bonding of a mother and a baby and has become known as "the bonding hormone (Wikipedia)."

Epidurals have been found to inhibit oxytocin production and to keep it from rising during birth.  This brings forth huge questions that I am not sure that we fully understand at this stage.  The research that has been done on monkey's show that monkey's who deliver babies through cesarean section do not care for that baby at all because the hormones are not released properly (oxytocin as the bonding hormone is not released during a C-section).  

What is even more concerning to me about hospital births is that America has the worst maternal mortality rates during pregnancy among industrialized nations.  In Europe and Japan, midwives deliver over 70% of the births.  In America, midwives are involved in less than 8% and some say the statistic is actually 0.5%.  In Norway, home births constitute 1 in 3 births; however, Norway statistically loses less women and less babies to child birth than in America.   

These are just a few of my concerns.  There are many more.  My concern primarily is that women do not know of their options.  There is simply the assumption that a woman who is pregnant will have a hospital birth.  In the 1900's, 95% of births were done in the home.  It became foreign territory to have babies born in the hospitals.  In fact, the doctors who began to deliver babies after receiving their education had never even witnessed a baby being born.  

Doctors began to systematically speak again midwives and to paint pictures of them as ignorant, uneducated people who did not possess the expertise to deliver a baby.  Throughout this process, the doctors began experimenting with different drugs to give a mother during labor and delivery, many babies were born without arms or legs because of the experimentation of drugs without full comprehension and knowledge of the dangers of these drugs.  

As women, I firmly believe, our bodies have been designed to give birth naturally.  We have all that we need from God and from nature to naturally conceive and birth a health, beautiful baby.  We have the hormones needed that are released during labor and delivery to ensure an other-worldly experience and an ability to bond with our baby in a way that we would not otherwise have without the release of these hormones.  Modern medicine interferes with this process to a large degree and takes away from women a potentially magical and pivotal moment of her life.  For me, I am excited to deliver a baby at home and to allow my body to do exactly what it was created to do:  give life.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fetal Origins Hypothesis

The more that I learn about the endeavor that I am about to embark upon, conceiving a child, the more freaked out I become.  I should have started this pre-conception diet when I was 5 years old according to the sources that I am reading.

I am taking it all in and doing my best to allow the knowledge to motivate me towards the humdrum daily tasks of fermenting my dairy, making sauerkraut, making ghee, eating soup over and over again….haha….

I have always been the artsy, creative type.  You may know the type.  You may not understand us.  One of the hardest things for me to do is to do the SAME thing day in and day out.  Talk about boring. Talk about breaking down my creativity.  And yet I find myself committed to my journey to create a baby that will change this world and that will not contract disease later in life.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  The studies that have been conducted on fetal development show that the nutrition of the mother during pregnancy can be directed correlated to the development of their baby even into adult years.

In fact, according to Dr. Barker, one of the forerunners in fetal health and development research, found that:

1.  Low birth weight links directly to the later development of heart disease in numerous studies in the US, European countries, and India.  In fact, the risk of a 5-pound baby is higher than a 6-pound baby, which is higher than a 7-pound baby and so on until the baby reaches 9-pounds.  Babies who are born small are not necessarily premature, rather, they developed slowly in the womb because of the lack of proper nutrition coming from its mother.

2.  In fact, low birth weight linked directly to the later development of diabetes.  Beta cells are cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.  Beta cells are formed in the womb and babies that are born at a low birth weight may not have had the opportunity to produce enough of these critical beta cells.  Thus, this may set up a baby to struggle with blood sugar handling later in life, possibly increase their chance of developing obesity and diabetes.

Just these two studies alone have enough impact to really rattle my mind and my emotions into action.  I must ensure that my child develops properly in the womb.

According to the researchers and scientists involved in the study of fetal health and development, our ability to thrive later in life in our bodies begins in the womb.  "The kind and quantity of nutrition you received in the womb; the pollutants, drugs, and infections you were exposed to during gestation; your mother's health, stress level, and state of mind while she was pregnant with you-all these factors shaped you as a baby and a child and continue to affect you to this day (Annie Paul Murphy, TIME magazine in response to Dr. Barker's research)."

In most traditional cultures, this is simply common sense and ancient wisdom that has been passed down from generation to generation which form and shapes the traditions and behaviors of those who continue to practice them.  For example, tribes who lived in the Andes mountain range send men down to the sea to collect fish eggs for their wives' who were preparing for pregnancy or for those who were already pregnant.  In a similar fashion, Gallic fishermen in Scotland would feed woman of childbearing age fish heads stuffed with oats and chopped liver.

Hungry anyone?  I have a stuffed fish head in my fridge, if you would like.  Haha.  There are plenty of healthy foods that we can feed our bodies if we are planning on conceiving or if we are creating life even now without being completely freaked out.

One of the best things for women who are planning on conceiving would be to make homemade bone broth from 100% grass-fed beef bones.  The amino acids, the minerals, the healthy fats make for the perfect food for women at the childbearing age.  One of the best benefits that I have notices has been an immense decrease in food cravings.  My body is so satiated by the nutrients in the broth, that I don't tend to overeat or crave towards any types of sugar (even natural and healthy sweeteners such as honey).

The grim reality is that more and more young couples are discovering that they are infertile.  As of now, the Mayo Clinic reports 15% of American couples are infertile.  In Canada, the infertility rates were 5% in 1984 and in 2009 infertility rates jumped up to 13.7%.

Why are infertility rates on the rise?  Why are cancer rates on the rise?  The National Cancer Institute predicts that 41% of all children born in 2012 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  41%??!!! This percentage is insane and completely frightening.  The solution starts and ends in our diets and in our food supply.

We MUST be educated as to what is in our food supply, water, personal care products, cleaning products, and how this can potentially destroy our genetic potential and turn on genes that express disease and premature death.

Unfortunately for Americans, the battle to be healthy is one of the worst in our land.  And we continually export our refined, processed, and chemically altered foods to other countries who will receive it.  Thankfully there are some countries that will not receive what we are attempting to send.  There are plenty of countries who are legally refusing the entry of GMOed food into their land.  That is where I want to move when our food supply has been destroyed.

I know that I sound dramatic to some people.  But when you start to learn and become educated about what is happening, you may start to sound like me and may begin to fight not only for your health, but for the health of your fetus, your children, your husband, and your friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Internal Bliss

So here I am, week 2 of a preconception intensive diet.  And I am realizing why more and more people never start to make major changes in their lives.  There are so many mental and emotional challenges and blocks to health.  We have to overcome so many things to embrace a health lifestyle.

I have had people say oh, I could never eat soup 3 times a day (Disclaimer:  the plan does not put me on soup 3 times a day for the rest of my life, it happens in stages of adding in different foods to help heal my gut).  Acting like it is the most horrible, worst idea ever known to mankind.  Instead of considering the internal benefits of this lifestyle and plan, people are considering their cravings and taste buds.  I would prefer to consider the concept:  "internal bliss."  What does it mean to have internal bliss?

Internal bliss would mean to me complete balance and synergy of body, soul, and spirit.  Each aspect of my life blossoming in beautiful health and life.  Feeling comfortable in my skin, in my body, and feeling like I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

The road to come to internal bliss in my life is the most challenging road, the most narrow road and includes the most obstacles, distractions, and pain.  However, it also contains the most rewards and the most benefits to living a full life.

As I said in the beginning of my blog, I know why people don't ever start.  When you start, you have all the obstacles that begin to come up:  a fear of failure, a fear that it is just not working, procrastination, perfectionism, sabotage, and those horrible habits of emotional eating.

Last week, my favorite shirt snagged on something and ripped.  My initial reaction, to go to the pantry and have a chunk of dark chocolate.  Now that is a healthy habit to continue with (sarcasm included..).  I am watching myself and seeing myself struggle from so many angles as I change my diet and lifestyle (yet again, for the 20th time…).

Also, last week, I slept for 5 hours during the day while I was dealing with a healing reaction of sorts.  It felt crazy and wonderful at the same time.  I knew that my body was dealing with some sort of healing process and that it was necessary to listen to my body and submit to the healing process.  Thankfully it happened on my day off and it all worked out.   I have had moments of feeling tired and listless and moments of feeling wonderful and satisfied internally.

With every moment, I keep in mind that it is worth it.  Beyond the scale, beyond my self-image, and vanity, my body is going to create the most beautiful and miraculous thing every known to man:  a baby.  And this is precious and sacred.  It has to be worth the efforts, the ups and downs and the mini failures that bring me back to that moment that I decided to begin and that I was going to complete my goal of preparing my body for pregnancy.

I keep coming back to that moment that I decided.  That to begin the journey of self-sacrifice and love as a mother, I would begin with sacrificing my whims and desires to the strategy and plan of pursuing internal bliss.