Sunday, July 31, 2011

Morning Sickness and Hormones

This morning I met a young woman in worship who was not feeling well…experiencing morning sickness in her 17th week. I did the math in my head. “That’s not typical,” I thought. To me it seems that this women’s body is not producing enough progesterone. I found an empty piece of paper in my bible and wrote down some URLs from memory of where she could go to learn more about hormone balance and how progesterone, “the feel good, happy hormone absolutely necessary for the well-being of fetal development”. I had to step out of my comfort zone to be bold enough to bring this up after worship, and talk to her about it. Every women deserves to feel GREAT during pregnancy, it is a gift from God.

I have to tell you that as a woman in balance 13 years ago, I did not even know I was pregnant with our son until 16 weeks into the pregnancy. Pregnancy was great – I had lots of energy, redecorated the house, Christmas shopped in July so I would not have to do it with a baby in tow come December, etc.

Think about the word P R O G E S T E R O N E – what do you see? Progest. Progestation. Gestation. Progesterone is essential for progestation to happen. It is necessary to prevent miscarriage and necessary for brain development of the fetus. As women, when we become pregnant the level of progesterone in our bodies continually rises until we have a 100x more than what we would have had prior to become pregnant. There is no doubt that God has created us because only divine wisdom could build bodies such as ours.

If you google “progesterone and pregnancy” you will think I am crazy. Old information, mis information abounds on this subject. Although I am not a doctor, I have read A LOT about hormones this past year for personal reasons. Multiple sources, books, scientific studies, women’s health sites on line, claim the many benefits of the “procreation hormone”. To help weed through the contradictory information, one might start with the Progesterone Advisory Network. Their home page does a great job explaining why so little is known about hormone balance and why progesterone is so misunderstood. I highly recommend that if you visit this blog, to stop right now and read this first page at very least:

Doctor Katharina Dalton researched progesterone and pregnancy all the way back in 1968. Of course, here in the U.S. we do not hear of these studies, unless we go looking for them. There is no money for big Pharma in promoting a product that is all natural and made by the human body - it cannot be patented and therefore cannot make them money.

Dr. Dalton calls morning sickness “a sign that the ovarian progesterone is insufficient and the placenta is not yet secreting enough progesterone.” She says that giving the woman extra progesterone will ease the symptoms. PLEASE, PLEASE read this entire article, print it out and take it to your doctor if you are experiencing morning sickness. Check out the NPAN site for additional articles on progesterone and pregnancy. I have additional women’s health sites in my sidebar for your convenience as well.
Doctors may counter because of the misinformation that is out there. Again, please do your own diligence. When you consider that progesterone is key for pro-gestation – it makes absolute sense that you need it, and that it needs to be in balance with estrogen for the most pleasurable pregnancy experience ever.
The NPAN site also has available, in addition to a great e-book, a FREE 50 page PDF on progesterone and what you must know. This may sound silly, but print it out, burn it to a CD, and give your doctor a copy. I have taken it upon myself to educate my own doctor on hormone balance. My last physical, and something she has said, gave me concern that she may misunderstand what is going on during pre-menopause, and handed her one of Dr. John Lee's books, "What Your Doctor May Not Know about Pre-Menopause".
When I attended Dr. Stacey Bean’s women’s health seminar in Madison, November 2010, she stated that they received ONE month in all their years of medical training on hormones. ONE MONTH! Yet hormone imbalance is truly the cause of pretty much every disease and illness. Instead, the medical school curriculum is focused on treatment, and training heavily directed by the prescription drug companies. If your read the testimonies by other doctors who use the Natural Progesterone Advisory Network as their go to resource, they an attest to Dr. Bean's story.
Speaking of which, when you talk to your doctor about progesterone and pregnancy, do NOT let them prescribe HRT, synthetic progestin. They may think, "okay, this person wants to try progesterone, I will prescribe it". It is not the same! Drug companies ried tto reproduce that which God has made naturally, is not recognized by the human body as progesterone, and serious outcomes may be realized, with cancer being just one example.
Pregnant? Congratulations! This should be one of the most amazing experiences in your life. It is never too late to focus on getting hormones into balance. Food, environment, skin care, and sometimes even genetics can be a precursor to estrogen dominance. Take control. Learn. Act. You deserve to relish in the gift God has placed in your womb.

Rita S.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream - Part 2

Previously I shared how, where and when to apply progesterone cream – based on various resources and information provided to me. Generally, I am in agreement with the statement that “more is not always better”. However, I have seen a flip side to that coin – a side that Dr. Michael Platt shares in his book, “The Miracle of Bio-Identical Progesterone Cream.”
It’s important to understand that in his book, Platt shares patient case histories of which these people had not found relief for many years from the standard medical establishment. In approaching Platt for help – they were very desperate, and quality of life had been stripped away, often worsened by prescription drugs and a “band-aid approach” that were administered to them. Platt advocates for 100 mg. of bio-identical progesterone cream a day, whereas Dr. Lee John Lee feels there is no reason to dose that beyond which the body would normally produce in a day (30-40 mgs). As I mentioned in part one, I utilize 40 mg a day, which has contributed greatly to my ease of weight loss.

Dire Straits…
I have a friend with fibromyalgia. When I read the chapter in Dr. Platt’s book on fibromyalgia I saw my friend completely in the case study presented. I’ve known a long time that my friend was/is estrogen dominant – with complaints of hot flashes, brain fog, migraines, and a body shape prevalent in estrogen dominant women as described by Dr. Lee. After reading Platt’s book I knew I could no longer hold my tongue… I had to share with my friend that progesterone cream could very well improve her quality of life. She agreed to give the Prolief a try, and took my instructions for diet change somewhat to heart. With the Prolief I gave her the “how to” handout provided by Dr. Stacey Bean.
About a month later I receive an SOS call on a Monday friend had had a terrible day. She had attended a meeting that day and everything that was said made absolutely no sense. Her brain was in such a fog she could comprehend nothing, and felt like she had lost her mind. My friend was at the end of her rope and the distress in her voice was quite apparent. I had left a message a few days earlier, telling her I had to share with her what I had read in Dr. Platt’s book about fibromyalgia. She was ready to listen…and I quickly read parts of the chapter to her over the phone.
Again, I stressed the importance of gluten-free – which can be key factor in contributing to auto-immune disease. A person may not test positive for a gluten allergy, but the body can still react to it – gluten is highly inflammatory, and people with auto-immune are especially sensitive to inflammatory foods. I reviewed the 28 Day Jumpstart Elimination Diet with her again, put together by Cambiati Wellness. My friend said she had to do something, and would be more coachable and listen to my advice regarding diet changes.
I then shared Dr. Platt’s thoughts on progesterone dosage – being that he recommends 100 mg of USP progesterone per day. It seemed his patients were about as over the top symptomatic as she was, and suggested she consult with her doctor on progesterone dose, and also recommended her thyroid (important to test for TSH free) be checked (as fibro and hypothyroid go hand in hand).
My friend decided to increase her progesterone dosage to 3x a day – for a total of 60 mg of USP progesterone. Later that week, on Friday, I was teaching a hormone balance class in town, and I invited my friend to join us and learn more on the topic. When the Prolief was brought up she piped right up, and shared with everyone how desperate she had been five days ago. By increasing her dosage the brain fog lifted and she could think clearly again, and the pain in her arms had notably improved. Even I was surprised to learn of her body’s quick response to the additional progesterone, and I could hear hope in that voice for the first time in a long time. I guess that is why I love my job with Arbonne so much – nothing makes me happier than helping people feel better. I have an opportunity to make a real difference in this world…and that is why I am passionate about sharing my journey to restored well-being with all of you.
To your health!
Rita S.

Bio-Identical Progeserone How To - Part 1

I’ve been asked, “how do you apply progesterone cream” – and I am happy to say – very easily! What I share today is derived from a hand-out Dr. Stacey Bean has provided to Arbonne consultants, which is based on Dr. John Lee’s protocol for progesterone cream. However, I also add in that which Dr. Michael Platt tells of, as well as additional resources, which are noted.
First, let’s simply discuss the type of progesterone to use, and why transdermal cream vs. oral pill. To put it simply, both Dr. John Lee, Dr. Michael Platt, and a host of others, feel transdermal cream is the way to go – as oral pills have to bypass the liver and the end result is converted into a different type of progesterone. A transdermal cream, applied on thin skin areas, allows the bio-identical hormone of progesterone to go directly into the bloodstream so it can begin its effectiveness.
While Dr. Lee recommends alternating where the cream is applied each time: inner arms, forehead, face, neck, upper chest, breasts and bottoms of non-callused feet; Dr. Platt states to simply apply cream to the inside of the forearm and wrists. After having read the latter, I find it much easier to apply the cream at night when I am tired after a long day. I quickly pop the cap off my Prolief bottle, push down on the pump to deliver my ¼ tsp. of progesterone cream (free of trace metals), apply directly to one inner forearm, and then rub both forearms together until the cream is absorbed. I love the convenience of the pump as I don’t have to measure anything or even get any on my hands with this method. Convenience goes a long way in preventing me from skipping an application due to being wore out. For those who know me, I am up late almost nightly researching, blogging, and sharing what I learn…I go to bed when I realize I am nodding off at the computer. I have to talk myself in to brushing my teeth some nights!
However, when I am not feeling so lazy I do move it around from place to place as Lee recommends, but it is nice to know it is not necessary. I find Platt’s recommendation especially helpful if a man or younger person chooses to use the cream, and doesn’t want to have to think too much about where, how and when. Let’s face it, if it is difficult most people won’t do it.
Morning and night…twice a day for women. Men need only to apply progesterone cream once a day.
It’s important to apply progesterone cream on to clean skin – before you apply other lotions, oils, make-up, etc.; or after you have washed up at the end of the day.
Location! Location! Location!
Fatty tissue areas gets progesterone into the cells versus the bloodstream. An example would be on the breasts, and I am the first to admit when I received my first bottle of Prolief, I could not wait to apply the cream on the areas squished and damaged from my last mammogram, in hopes it could help heal any damaged tissues. Breast application was also done in a European study that Lee mentions in his book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer” to alleviate fibrocystic breasts symptoms.
Another example of applying transdermal cream to fatty tissue areas is for cramping…
For Menstrual Cramps
Doctors are quick to prescribe birth control pills to teenage girls with menstrual cramps. BCP, of course, contain synthetic hormones, and really tends to exasperate hormone imbalances, and side effects of birth control can really cause problems for a number of women, especially down the line.
The Natural Progesterone Advisory Network states: Try applying progesterone cream just above the pubic area at the onset of uterine cramping. For women who are still menstruating, the most effective time to apply progesterone cream is 12 days after the 1st day of your period, continue use for 14 days then stop. Repeat each month.
Dosage Amount
Prolief, the cream I use, delivers 20 mg of USP progesterone with each pre-metered pump. Dr. Lee is an advocate of a 20 mg dose in the morning and one in evening to mimic the amount a woman in her child-bearing years would naturally produce.
Platt, on the other hand, claims 40 mg a day is not enough for an estrogen dominant/progesterone deficient women, and in his book, “The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones” advocates for 100 mg of USP progesterone per day.
There are two sides to every coin, and I have to say – I see validity in both perspectives. For a person like myself, with estrogen dominant/insulin over production symptoms that really do not curtail my quality of life – 40 mg a day is plenty. For a friend of mine who had cramping, mood swings, breast tenderness – basically a bad case of PMS, 40 mg improved her symptoms in a month’s time. (It is important to note that Dr. Lee states it can take 3-4 months for symptoms to alleviate as the gap between imbalance begins to close.)
However, Platt’s method(s) do have a place, I feel…and I am going to share a story that illustrates when more may be better…but you will have to tune in to part two of this topic to come soon!
I have made it easy for you not to miss one of my blog posts - at the upper right of the screen is a "subscribe" option, that should notify you everytime I post a new thread to my blog.

To your health!
Rita S.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Infertility and Miscarriage - Prevalent in Our Times

Today as I drove through the industrial park in Middleton, I noted two newer facilities, both specializing clinics in infertility. Surely these facilities are a sign of the times we live in. A time when infertility is at an all-time high, and miscarriages have become an epidemic vs. a rarity, with one in three pregnancies ending in miscarriage.
One must question, why? Why is it so difficult for women to conceive? What is the underlying cause?
To shed some light on these questions one has to look at the physiology of the human body. What is necessary for pregnancy to take place?
For certain, hormone balance plays a crucial role. However, we live in an industrialized nation in which we are exposed to chemicals that produce xenoestrogens. These faux estrogens enter our body as we come in contact with pesticides, herbicides, household cleaners, skincare and cosmetics, food dyes and preservatives…that’s just the tip of the iceberg. All disrupt the endocrine system, which is an intricate communication network within the body. And all make many, many of us (men and women alike) estrogen dominant.
For women trying to get pregnant, this is a problem. When we, as women, have too much estrogen we also have too little progesterone. Progesterone, sometimes referred to as the “hormone of pregnancy” is essential for ovulation, for fetal development, and helps prevent miscarriage upon conception.
Per the Virginia Hopkins web-site: Ovulation is the first requirement for pregnancy, but we can’t take it for granted, even in young women. As reported by Peter Ellison of Harvard, a study of 19 presumably healthy premenopausal women with a mean age of 29 found that six of them -- or 31 percent -- failed to ovulate at any time during their menstrual cycle.
From the same article, which you can read in its entirety here: “Exposure to pesticides or other petrochemical xenobiotics (environmental substances with hormonal effects) during the embryonic period is particularly damaging to the development of ovaries. (For details, read Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn et al.) That is, the mother may not show toxic effects to minute doses of these toxins, but the embryo is exquisitely sensitive to them. If the embryo is female, her ovarian follicles may be damaged.”
Check out the entire article here:
You may recall from previous posts that petrochemicals are in our food dyes and preservatives, and also in our U.S. formulated skin care and cosmetic products, often in the form of mineral oil, which is an inexpensive filler made from crude oil.
An excerpt from the Natural Progesterone Advisory Network reads: “During pregnancy, rising progesterone levels prevent the premature shedding of the uterine lining (pro-gestation). If progesterone levels drop due to inadequate progesterone production, then a premature delivery could result, or bring about a miscarriage in the early trimesters…
To protect the fetus the body secretes ten to fifteen times more progesterone during pregnancy than at other times. Dr. Lee tells us that the placenta becomes the major source of progesterone. per day during the third trimester. What a great protection we have during pregnancy with this incredible hormone! And with no known dangerous side effects.”
Lee also states that it is important for high risk pregnancies to continue using progesterone cream throughout the pregnancy, and to wean off slowly when going off.
I have also read about the correlation between too little progesterone and adequate in regards to the effect on brain development of the baby, with progesterone deficiency being linked to ADD, ADHD, and other possible brain disorders.
There is so much more I could write, but please check out the links instead. Suffice it to say, when my parents were young infertility clinics may not have even existed. Now we can have two such dedicated clinics less than a mile part. Think about it!
If you would like to learn more and live in the area, email to find out about a hormone balance class coming up this coming Wednesday, July 27th. Information will be shared that women of ALL ages hould hear. It may be life changing.
To your health!
Rita S.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Garden Recipe - Beets!!

If you don't have beets in your garden - you can find them in the farmer's market. Growing up I LOVED pickled beets. A fellow beet lover asked me to post the recipe for her, but before I do - let's find out why beets are good for us...
Nutritin and You declares, Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants present in this plant have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and have anti-aging effects. states: Beets or beetroots, as they are called, belong to the Chenopodiaceous family. Health benefits of beet roots can be attributed to their richness in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are a source of carotenoids and lutein/zeaxanthin. Beets are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Beet is a source of beneficial flavonoids called anthycyanins. They are very low in calories but have the highest sugar content of all vegetables. It is also used to make refined sugar.
Beet fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides by increasing the level of HDL. Rich in folate, beets are great for the pregnant women. One cup of raw beets is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. It contains phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, as well as fiber, vitamins A and C, niacin, and biotin. So although it may not fit into a truly low-carb diet, sometimes a vegi has so many health benefits that I don't even care about the carbs.
An article at writes: Not only are beets a great boost to your physical well being and a wonderful source of iron, it has been shown to be an immunity booster and guard against cancer. Additionally just as one learns to appreciate and discover and acquire tastes for various wines or cheeses, beets are one of those overlooked vegetables that once you realize all it beholds, you will cultivate a new appreciation and yes, maybe even love for them!"I have to agree -perhaps you have a disdain for beets. Well, give this recipe a try! None of the other members in my family cared for beets until I made this roasted recipe, which is a great side dish with grilled steak, pork or chicken this summer.

Out of This World Cooked Beets (Serves 6-8)
6 cups of raw, diced beets
Diced onion (1 small or half of large)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dry thyme
salt/pepper to taste
2 T. no salt butter cut into pieces (organic preferred)

Directions: Peel beets and dice. Spray 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray, grease with butter, or thinly coat with olive oil. Mix beets, onion and garlic. Spread evenly into pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 375 degrees uncovered for 25 minutes. Stir in 1/3 c. water, white wine vinegar OR balsamic vinegar. Place chunks of butter on top. Bake 10 min. more. Serve.

To your health!
Rita S.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hormones - God's Synergy Within

FACT: Men and women produce exactly the same hormones, albeit in different amounts.
FACT: Out of balance hormones affect both men and women with a myriad of symptoms and disease.
FACT: Synthetic hormones cannot moleculary duplicate that which God has made.
The truth of the matter is that God created amazing machinery inside us. I wish I could show you a computerized simulation of how DNA, cells and more work inside our body from session 2 of the Truth Project series on science. When I saw that video it was liking watching all the books I have been reading come to life! It was awesome!
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14
God created hormones that work synergestically together - when our hormones are in sync our bodies are in harmony. When our hormones are out of balance our bodies cannot heal itself as God designed. God did not create a world full of chemicals... man did. These chemicals find their way into our foods, environment, skincare, and even the air we breathe. They alter our hormones - and mess up that which God made. How sad. Sad mostly because we are in general a sick population of people, versus a healthy one. Business is booming for the health care industry - because our hormones our out of whack. Today I am sharing some notes from reading Dr. Platt's book. However, these notes are somewhat repetitive to what I have shared previoulsy in reading Dr. John Lee's books, and more. For me, finding the same information in a multitude of resources gives credibility to the information.

Another fact: Progesterone is necessary for both men and women.
Estrogen is known to cause cancers in both men and women.
1. Breast (men are also diagnosed with breast cancer)
2. Uterine
3. Cervical
4. Vaginal
5. Colon (this includes men as well!)
6. Ovarian
7. Prostrate (around age 50 men’s production of progesterone drops to very low levels)
Excess estrogen may cause Alzheimer’s, strokes, heart attacks, inflammation, fibroids, endometriosis, adhesion, fibrocystic disease, high blood pressure, asthma, migraines, gall bladder, and more.
Progesterone produces a cancer-protective gene known as p53, and it is also effective in rebuilding bone mass in osteoporosis patients.
Why do women need bio-identical progesterone?

• Women never stop making estrogen – it is probably the only hormone that never has to be replaced. It is made by fat cells, skin cells and adrenal glands.
• Women stop making progesterone, and because of this there is always a risk for developing breast, uterine, cervical cancer, etc. (progesterone production decreases during peri-menopause in which a woman may no longer ovulate every month)
• Every problem related to estrogen is caused by progesterone deficiency.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency: depression, anxiousness, allergies, asthma, acne, PMS/mood swings, brain fog, infertility, fatigue (experienced late afternoon generally caused by high levels of insulin), morning sickness, migraines, gall bladder pain, cysts, polyps, hot flashes, fat gain, memory loss, etc.
Excerpt from page 161 of Platt’s book:The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones
“Interestingly, it is more important for men to receive bio-identical hormone placement than it is for women. The consequences of altered hormone levels in men may lead to coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s, prostrate cancer, colon cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and other diseases.”

I DO hope my brothers and father read my blog and come across this - but of course I plan to "beg" them to start using progesterone cream. My husband is all set to start, but I suggested he wait until age 50 when his progesterone levels notably drop. Meanwhile, his healthier lifestyle of eating whole foods, vitamin supplementation, and weaning off the statin drugs will go a long ways in contributing to his good health.
An excerpt from “Hormone Healthy” web-site:
Remember: Progesterone is the “mother of all hormones”. It is the raw material from which your body makes all other hormones. It is not simply a sex hormone as it is commonly assumed. If your body is overloaded with environmental estrogens and cannot produce enough progesterone to counteract and balance them – disease is the result.
Progesterone is not an “alternative remedy”, it’s an essential need. If your body cannot produce enough progesterone of its own you need to help it by giving it what it needs to protect your health.
It has been shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that supplementing with USP natural progesterone cream raises progesterone levels and corrects these unchecked estrogens providing relief to a wide range of health issues.
For the complete article visit:

Per Dr. Michael Platt, bio-identical progesterone (not to be confused with synthetic progestin) is the only hormone that is harmless, yet has many, many benefits. All other hormone supplements, such as DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, etc. should be monitored closely.
I hope what I provide today helps you in some way, and perhaps spurs you to think outside the box. I encourage you to share books by Platt and Lee with your doctor, and help them continue their education beyond that which the drug companies teach them. If bio-identical hormones interest you and your doctor is close-minded, there are doctors out there who are willing to listen and even some who use natural hormones in their practice. The Women in Balance web-site, linked in the sidebar at right, has a search engine in which you can type in your zip code and find a doctor near you who incorporates bio-identical hormones into their practice. The Madison area is blessed with several. Follow this link to an excellent article that you could take along with you on your next visit to your primary care provider.

To your health!

Rita S.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Vegetable Quinoa

I don't know about your garden, but the summer squashes are starting to become abundant! It's time to come up with new ways to use zuchinni! (LOL) The other day I added it into a salsa I make, and changed my usual fare up with what I had on hand. I shall post that recipe as well.
Quinoa is a high protein substitute for rice, with a wonderful nutty flavor. There is some debate on whether or not it is a true grain. Paleo enthusiasts would probably say it is, I am not sure. Either way, our kids have really come to love quinoa. Cooking it with organic chicken stock vs. water, I think it adds more flavor. Today's recipe would be an excellent side dish to grilled rib-eye steaks patted down with coarse sea salt. The sea salt falls off when the steaks are turned - I saw the grilling master, Steve Reichlin, do this on television this morning in one of his "primal grill" episodes. It might be worth getting some coarse sea salt, thick rib-eyes and giving it a try! No matter the steak, or any type of meat - this side dish of quinoa packed with summer flavor is sure to be a hit!

Summer Vegetable Quinoa2 cups quinoa
4 cups organic chicken stock
¼ sun dried tomatoes (not oil packed)
½ c. boiling water
½ c. shredded zuchinni
½ c. shredded yellow summer squash
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. chopped green onions ( ½ c. chives may be substituted)
Salt to taste
Pinch of curry powder (optional)

Directions:1. Toast the quinoa in deep skillet on medium high for one minute, stirring until light brown. Stir in curry to distribute throughout.
2. Add chicken stock and bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. If stock has boiled away add a little more. Cook until quinoa has absorbed liquid, approximately 25 minutes total.
3. Soak sun dried tomatoes in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain in colander and set over bowl to reserve liquid. Allow to cool and chop tomoatoes.
4. Mix together tomatoes, shredded zuchinni and yellow squash, diced red pepper and green onions/or chives in small skillet over low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.
5. Add into quinoa skillet and stir until all flavors are well mixed. Taste and add sea salt if needed. Serve.

There are plenty of vegetables in this dish, but a side of grilled asparagus might be nice, or garlic infused baked beets - which is another recipe I plan to share soon! Enjoy your summer produce!

To your health!
Rita S.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Breakfast Casserole the Primal Way

Today I want to point you towards a site that offers good recipes for low carb eating. The site is called Mark's Daily Apple and I recommend bookmarking it or adding the link to your own site to make it easier to find a recipe.
Today's recipe comes from MDS. I have never had turnips before, but it is farmer's market season and I know I will find some. Basically, the rest of this post is credit to Mark's Daily Apple. Enjoy, and let me know what y0u think of it.

The recipe below can easily be doubled and baked in a 13×9 pan for a larger crowd. Simply mix the ingredients together, cover the pan with foil, and freeze until you need it. The casserole can go directly into the oven from the freezer. You don’t have to freeze the casserole ahead of a time, of course. You can mix it together and put it directly in the oven the day you’re serving it. For the sake of your sanity, however, you might want to consider the freeze-ahead option. This way, you can still be half-asleep the morning after Thanksgiving and hardly lift a finger to feed the masses.
Approximately 4-6 servings.
■1 pound ground breakfast sausage or other ground meat
■3 turnips, peeled and grated (a food processor works well for this)
■4 eggs, beaten
■3 scallions, chopped
Sauté sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula, until almost cooked through.
Mix the sausage with the rest of the ingredients.
Spoon into a 8×8 baking pan.
When ready to cook, heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes then cover the pan and bake for 25 minutes more. Let cool 15-20 minutes so the casserole sets before cutting into it.

To your health!
Rita S.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yes, MSG Makes Us Fat

A new study confirms that MSG makes you fat (me too). Published by the American Journal of Clinicial Nutrition, the study confirms what previous researchers and studies have said. SO, not only does MSG kill off brain makes us a fat population of people. Who do we have to thank for that? Well, it would be the food industry for certain, who when it was made known MSG adds flavor and it could sell more product, began pumping it into every processed food imagineable.
Since World War II our nation has had a steady increase in obesity...that is no coincidence folks!
Want to know the technical aspect of this revelation? I will try to keep it simple. Per neurosurgeon, Dr. Russel Blaylock, MSG toxins destroy a group of cell receptors in the brain called hypothalmus, which send out the signal when you are feeling full.  MSG totally thwarts the sensitivity of these cells, thus you keep on eating.
Of course there are those who try to discredit the studies. Turns out one doctor/scientist who poo pawed the idea of MSG being toxic to the brain happens to work for the Ajinomoto company, a primary manufacturer of MSG. I wouldn't bet a steak on his word.
In the past I had posted on the effects of MSG as an excitotoxin, attributed to many behavioral dysfunctions such as ADD or ADHD. You can check out my topic cloud to find past postings on the topic of MSG. The sidebar on the right does contain a link under "healthful sites" which will give you a list of the many names for monsodium glutamate.
I am tempted to continue about a report that links ACE inhibitor medication (taken for high blood pressure)  to breast cancer, but I wouldn't want that topic to get lost in this one.

To your health!
Rita S.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Healthy Eating - Korean Bulgogi

Many have asked for our recipe for Korean bulgogi (barbeque), so I figure it best to post on my blog so it is easy to keep track of. The original recipe is from Jay Iguchi, a Korean women I met in Rockford, IL in 2001 at our culture training days through Lifelink Adoption. I have substituted some ingredients for healthier options.
Bulgogi is pronounced bul-koe-kee, as Jay had told us. Once we had Korean BBQ, we have never had red meat served in any other way that was as good. It is simple to make as well.

Recipe serves 4
1 lb. organic, grass-fed boneless top loin, sirloin tip, or ribeye steak
1/4 cup Tamari sauce (found next to the soy in the super market)
2 T. Agave Nectar
2 T. Sesame oil
1/4 t. black pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped (or use 5-6 chives)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Trim beef diaganally into 1/8" thick slices. (Hint: partial freezing makes it easier to cut thin slices.)
Mix marinade using all remaining ingredients. Place beef in shallow dish and pour marinade over top, coating well. Refrigerate 30 minutes, turning meat over if desired. Refrigerating overnight produces the most flavor.
Stir fry in wok or for even better flavor, grill outdoors. Smaller pieces can be placed on skewers or BBQ basket.
Note: Tamari is a liquid drained from the aging process of miso, and is fermented, which is very important when consuming soy products). Unlike soy sauce it is pretty pure, without additives. Unfermentd soy products can potentially cause thyroid problems.
Fresh tuna steaks are amazing as well when marinated in the above marinade, and grilled to flaky tenderness. Although I have not tried it with chicken, I can only imagine it will be tasty.
When buying sesame seed oil always purchase small bottles as it is an Omega-6 oil, which quickly produce free radicals when the bottle is unsealed. Keep in the refrigerator after opening.

Traditional bulgogi is served with white rice, wrapping both the rice and meat in romaine lettuce leaves. You can substitute with my quinoa recipe cooked with garlic, onions and dried cranberries (look up recipes in my topic cloud) for incredible flavor.
Leftover bulgogi is amazing in a salad, comprised of baby mixed organic greens, halved grapes, cubed pear, roasted sunflower seeds, almond slices or cashews (or both!), served with the dressing I posted a few days ago for the Asian Cole Slaw recipe.
To your health!
Rita S.

Curbing Insulin Overproduction

My last post addressed insulin, a hormone that when over produced, causes obesity and numerous other diseases. Today I want to share how you can combat the over production of insulin, which many of us over produce daily by age 30 or so. With the current culture of processed foods, junk foods and sweets – I suspect insulin is over produced in many grade school students as well.
Insulin production can be reduced with two primary resources: an obvious one, is food choice. A not so obvious resource that can help in the “battle of the bulge”, is natural, or bio-identical progesterone cream. Progesterone is the only hormone produced by the body that can help reduce the production of insulin, per Dr. Michael E. Platt. Platt, in his book, “The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones”, states that progesterone is the only natural hormone that is harmless while being substantially beneficially. (Do not confuse natural progesterone with synthetic, harmful progestin. The media is very misleading and confused by the two.) Platt has helped 1000s of people, who come to him for weight loss, by balancing their hormones and putting them on his low-carb, or carb-free diet (catering to each individuals needs).
Personally, when I began incorporating Prolief natural progesterone cream into my daily journey to regain health, the pounds came off effortlessly. I have said this before, but I lost 80 lbs. without exercise. Now that the weight is off, a bit of exertion feels great instead of painful!
In addition to reducing insulin, a huge benefit of progesterone is that it counters the estrogen. Estrogen LOVES fat cells and not only wants to store itself and retain fat, when over proliferated it can mutate and become cancerous. It all causes inflammation throughout the body - which can manifest into a host of problems. I am a huge advocate for the use of natural progesterone supplementation, for both men and women. As I read Platt's book and chapter on prostrate cancer while on our recent vacation, my husband is interested in using progesterone, even though he has no belly to speak of. Since all men who live past age 70 are bound to have prostrate cancer cells – he figures why even give estrogen the chance to produce those cells when you can combat it early on with progesterone and stay ahead of cancer. It makes sense – we all have cancer cells within us; but it is what we do to and how we counter those cells that will affect how cancer affects us. At age 50 men start to produce less and less progesterone, about 10-15 years later they start to produce less testosterone, and estrogen reaches an all time high. That is not good news! When my husband hits that 50 mark, adding progesterone to his daily routine makes sense.
But I digress – I definitely want to address prostrate cancer as a wholly devoted post in the near future.
Returning to insulin – food choices also control the production of insulin. Carbohydrates are the culprit – so if you want to either lose weight or get off your diabetes and cholesterol meds – cut the carbs! When I changed my food choices I did not turn my life upside down overnight. Again, it is not willpower, but education, that will lead to successful weight loss, or I should say, permanent weight loss, and healthful living.
Start with the obvious – processed foods and junk food. I actually just learned that two of my favorite low-fat snacks, pretzels and popcorn, are actually two of the highest carbohydrate foods! I am not sure what to do about this new found knowledge yet, as I love hot air popped corn. We may have to start snacking on steak bites! (LOL)
Shop around the outer edges of the grocery, but again, watch the frozen foods for breading, read the labels for MSG, and beware of soy additives, which also have estrogenic properties.
Next, limit sweets. Assess how often you enjoy sweets each week…and gradually cut back so it is only once a week, as a reward for making good choices the rest of the week. Keep in mind that fruits high in sugar are also high in carbs. Choose berries as much as possible, which offer a host of other health benefits. Choose Braeburn apples instead of Red Delicious, and choose Granny Smith instead of Braeburn…wean yourself gradually off the sugar. Grapes are extremely high in sugar, but I admit I enjoy red grapes in my salad now and then. I am not telling you to cut sweets 100%, but be aware and reduce. Eating strawberries or grapes is a whole lot more beneficial than a cookie or a muffin, or a candy bar for a mid-afternoon pick up!
Checking off processed foods, junk foods, deep fried an sweets…now comes the one that is most difficult for many – white breads!! When I hear, “I can’t give up my white bread” that tells me the person is more interested in immediate satisfaction than living a healthier life. Quality of life is up to you – and it IS based on the foods you choose, don’t be fooled into thinking it is not. If you don't care enough about yourself to change, consider your family members and what a severe illness would put them through. After seeing a dear friend in the end stages of prostrate cancer last year, it gave me resolve to not put my family through such trials if it can possibly be avoided.
Beyond bread…simple carbs include white potatoes, rice, PASTA and a multitude of breads such as bagels, English muffins. All carbs produce insulin, but simple carbs produce more than complex carbs, such as brown rice, quinoa, and other vegetables. Complex carbs take longer to digest and process within the body, and therefore the insulin release is more graduall than a spike you get with simple carbs. Reducing breads is often the most challenging – ease in to it. Substitute. The “brown” or multi-grain varieties that you “abhorred” previously will actually grow on your tastebuds, as soon as your brain, programmed to crave the simple carbs and sugars, weans itself off the chemicals that trigger the cravings for unhealthful, past choices. Nowadays, if I indulge in a pastry or such, it is distasteful as my brain no longer craves it. Often it tastes like lard - yuck!
Want a taste of how delicious eating to lower insulin can be? Check out this recipe for grilled kabobs!
Bon appetite!
Rita S.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Insulin - A Hormone That Wreaks Havoc

Insulin – it is one hormone that too much of can wreak havoc with our bodies. An over production of it is the true cause of type 2 diabetes, not blood sugar levels. Both Dr. Michael Platt and Dr. John Lee made this known to me in their books, and the realization led me on a quest to change my eating habits and regain my health.
Besides obesity and diabetes (to name only two of many illnesses/disease caused by overproduction of the hormone), insulin is the #1 hormone to speed up the aging process, per Platt.
Unfortunately, per Platt, most medication given to diabetics stimulate the pancreas to generate more insulin, because the medications are formulated to treat high blood sugar. There would not be high blood sugar if it were not for high levels of the insulin hormone. Blood sugar, is as I gather, a side effect of excess insulin. To treat the cause, one must address the insulin levels.
Extra insulin pushes sugar into fat cells and the result is weight gain, especially around the middle. This is not a womanly issue, and actually more men have mid-belly spreads than women. Fat around the middle is known as visceral fat, and it is the most dangerous kind to have. It wraps around your liver, strangles your kidneys; it is linked to hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Platt states the only prescription drug that is actually formulated to address the cause of diabetes is Glucophage (generic term is metformin), and he is still checking into side effects of this drug. Instead of lowering blood sugar it increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus lowering insulin.
Where does all the excess insulin come from? Carbohydrates! How often are we told to avoid the fats, like red meat, butter, eggs and bacon….yet, the real cause of so many diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, clogged arteries, and more is not fat – but the CARBS!
If you listen to the television commercials all the food companies are pushing low-fat processed foods. Listen folks, fat doesn’t matter (for most people), but sugar and carbs have the U.S. leading the world in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
I would like to challenge you to EAT/BUY the butter, bacon and steaks…and OMIT the white bread, white rice, crackers, chips, cookies and other baked goods from your shopping cart.
When you do purchase meat – AVOID the deep fried meat found in your freezer section – half the time they are not real meat anyhow. It’s not the fat from the meat that is concerning, but the breaded ingredients itself.
High blood pressure? This may be news for you, but according to Platt a study was done in which the control groups consisted of people who consumed only fish and lean chicken, while the other group ate red meat, bacon, burgers...there was NO difference in the amount of cholesterol they had, clogged arteries, etc. Hypertension is also a result of a carbohydrate consumption, per Platt and a number of other books I have read.
Counting calories is not all its cracked up to be. When you cut back on calories there is an increase in brain signals that determine your body is starving. Your body is programmed to survive, and in response to the cut in calories is to hang on to that fat! Your body will burn muscle before it will burn fat, if it doesn’t have enough calories to fuel the body. Have you heard this before? I admit – learning this information this past year from about a half dozen different sources, was a huge eye opener. Satiate yourself with vegetables and meat – WHOLE FOOD variety – not deep fried, processed foods meant to simulate real food.
My goal today is to stress the importance of NOT counting calories, not eating low fat, not to be brain-washed by the food industry who wants to sell you a bunch of products that usually do not result in permanent weight loss. I challenge you to educate yourself, and once you do, I think you will change your eating habits, and feel a whole lot better.
As I was climbing a narrow pass in the Badlands a week ago, I realized in my climb that a year ago such a feat would have not been possible. I was not winded, my joints did not hurt – and I fit through the narrowest passage ways less than half my arm’s length wide.
I have the rest of my life ahead of me, and I am determined to never reach a point where it is difficult to get out of bed, or require nursing home care. God made us incredible beings, and made us to live fully and with vigor until our day’s end. The Creator also gave us freedom of choice…and our choices directly affect our health.
I realize I get passionate and up on a soap box and go on and on, so I will stop and continue this avenue of thought in the next post, where I will share how you can address insulin overproduction.

To your health!
Rita S.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

ADD and ADHD - Hormones Gone Awry

In Dr. Michael Platt's book, "The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones", he devotes a chapter and makes additional mention throughout his book of the relationship of hormone balance and ADD and ADHDHe offers the case of an adult patient, but also addresses children.  Platt is not the first doctor whose works I have read, or talked to, that have made an association between these behavioral issues and hormones.
ADD and ADHD share the trait of hypoglycemic, which means sugar is taken from the brain and causes one not to focus. In ADD the over production of insulin (a hormone) is the root of the problem, and low sugar levels in the brain cause a constant craving for sugar (such as juice, soda, candy, etc.). Kids with ADD often have a weight problem, the sugar adds fuel to insulin production, and as I learned earlier in Platt’s book, insulin stores fat.
In addition to insulin over production, kids with ADHD also produce an abundance of adrenalin. This hormone is like natural “speed”. Hyper-activity burns the sugar before it is stored in fat, thus ADHD patients are typically thin.
A symptom of ADD is often fatigue and sleepiness around 3-4 pm , or while driving, caused by low progesterone. If a person gets tired when starting on progesterone it usually means they were over producing adrenalin (ADHD). When the body starts producing the same amount of adrenalin as would be considered normal operating adrenalin flow, it takes a bit for the body to adjust. (Like coming off of speed.).

It is common for people with ADHD to develop type 2 diabetes (a younger friend of mine has ADHD and is being watched for diabetes), and perhaps fibromyalgia. Adults with ADHD, fibromyalgia and RLS are all associated with over production of adrenalin. Platt treats with progesterone cream applied 3x daily, and the patient MUST cut back on carbs to reduce sugar and insulin levels.
Both ADD and ADHD are rooted in estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency, and per Platt, if a mother is estrogen dominant/progesterone deficient it is usually passed to the kids. In previously reading Dr. Lee’s books, he also surmised that women that are estrogen dominant while pregnant can pass their dominance and deficiencies onto the fetus, and studies are showing that children who are progesterone deficient are apt to develop what is coined as a behavioral disorder, when in reality it is hormone dysfunction. I have learned much from both Platt and Lee on the correlation between ADD/ADHD and hormone imbalances. I know several European studies are being done to look further into this link.
Personally I was curious about something, and googled “hormones passed through breastfeeding”, and found a number of cases... For instance, in a forum was a mom who had posted about her 5 mo. old developing breast buds. Her doctor said hormones were passing through her milk and she should stop breastfeeding. She asked this in a forum and of course all the breastfeeding advocates said she should keep doing it and the baby will return to normal when done. Unfortunately I saw no place to comment, but if one is going to breastfeed I feel it would be well for doctors to advise use of progesterone to get a grip on excess estrogen, and other hormones that may be out of balance. As estrogen does affect the brain, per Platt, I personally, would not want to risk the effects of excess estrogen on my baby. Unfortunately, so few women, and doctors for that matter, are versed on hormone imbalances.
If I were young enough to be having children again, and knowing now what I did not know then – I would cease use of all skincare products that use petro chemicals, such as mineral oil. I would be very careful of the foods I eat, approach bug control in a totally organic matter, and never set foot in a nail salon while pregnant or nursing. AND I would use progesterone cream. They don’t teach expecting mothers about what can be passed through breastmilk that might be negative, unless it is something obvious, like prescription drugs. I am an advocate of breastfeeding as well, but I feel proper education of how we must be responsible for what we are truly feeding our children, is lacking.
If an estrogen dominant women (and double if father has ADHD or ADD, or estrogen dominance of any sort) can pass the trait through to the fetus, then it seems logical that breastfeeding can do the same. I have read about this from several sources now, books and doctor's newsletters.
I recently met a woman who looked at the check list of estrogen dominant/progesterone deficient symptoms –and said she could check all of them. I had noted that her 5 mo. old baby looked like a little grown up in a small body. I also learned that her baby was starting to form pubic hair, which I looked up - it is called premature adrenarche. An endocrinologist on line, in answer to another mother whose infant had formed pubic hair, was on top of things enough to note that it was likely caused by hormones, and recommended seeing a family endocrinologist. Of course, one has to hope an endocrinologist knows enough about hormones to instruct the mother to cut back on her own use of estrogen-producing products and foods, and check on prescriptions she may be taking, such as birth control. I pray a medical professional would never put an infant on synthetic hormones (which are linked to cancer) to reverse symptoms of hormone dominance such as early forming breast buds, etc. One Arbonne consultant discovered when her own baby started going through puberty at 10 months of age from estrogen based baby products. Ceasing the use of popular brands, like Johnson & Johnson baby oil, caused the breast buds to reabsorb. In my opinion, that's scary stuff!
From all that I have been reading, it seems there is a good chance of an infant exposed to too much estrogen, whether it be invitro, through nursing, or by use of unsafe products used directly on baby's skin, may develop estrogen dominant symptoms as well. These hormonal dysfunctions seemed to have reached an epidemic proportion in the U.S., which totally coincides with the industrial/chemically laden nation that we have become.

Can we clean up our act for the sake of our children? I sure hope so! We can’t change the world alone, but if we refuse to buy products with mineral oil, foods with artificial dyes, and stop hiring “pretty lawn" people to kill our dandelions – our children would be healthier for it. We also need to be our own best advocate, and that for our children, and say no to prescription hormones, aka synthetic, which are not in our best interest, but in the financial best interest of the drug companies who produces such drugs.
To your health!
Rita S.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Having Trouble Losing Weight? Could be the drugs...

While reading Dr. Michael Platt's book I found the list of medications that prevent weight loss, and cause weight gain, quite interesting. Fortunately, my family is not on any of these drugs, but I recognize quite a few of them as ones being used by family members and/or friends.
If you are having trouble losing weight take a look at this list from Platt's book, "The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones" to see if your Rx is on there, and possibly causing your body to love its fat.
Anti-depressants cause weight gain, and also increase estrogen levels (SSRI – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).
• Zoloft
• Paxil
• Effexor
• Celexa
• Lexapro
• Prozac
Per Dr. Platt, the only anti-depressant that does not cause weight gain is Wellbutrin.
Beta-blockers – a prescription given for thyroid that guarantees weight gain.
Estrogen,  which is the largest selling drug in the world. Progestin, like estrogen, is also lipogenic, which produces fat and cellulite, and increases the risk of breast cancer. (Progestin is the synthetic form of progesterone made by drug companies, and must not be confused with natural, bio-identical progesterone which has the opposite effects/counters estrogen.)
Depo-Provera shots for birth control are practically guaranteed a 20 lb weight gain.
Diuretics – prescribed for high blood pressure and can elevate blood sugar, which then increases insulin. Insulin is a fat producing hormone.
Anti-Inflammatory drugs cause an almost immediate weight gain due to fluid retention.
Statin drugs commonly prescribed for high cholesterol (Lipitor, Zocor, Provachol, Mevacor, Lescol, Crestor, etc.) can cause weight gain because they lower CoQ-10, which prevents the conversion of thyroid hormone T-4 into metabolic thyroid hormone T-3. (By the way, anyone utilizing statin drugs should be taking a daily dose of Co-enzyme Q-10 to protect the brain from damaging statin drugs).
Platt states, “Obviously – all of the above are pretty familiar drugs, names many of us have heard of or use. We know family members and friends who are on these drugs. Obesity is a problem in this country – might these drugs contribute. I think so.”
Prescription drugs are known to be the 2nd leading cause of death. In reading this information, wouldn’t you want to avoid Rx at all costs, change your eating habits and use natural compounds, such as BHRT (bio-identical hormone therapy), if necessary, to heal your body? I have read the statistic on the relation of Rx to death causes from a number of books and newsletters now, authored by medical doctors now using a holistic approach. The statistic comes from a published study, not one these doctors have made up. Google the topic and you will find much, click here for one article. Think about how you want to live your life – do you want it full of life and vigor, or go through each day struggling to move, bend over, walk up a hill, or maybe even walk to the mailbox? Do you refuse rides at the amusement park with your child because you can't squish your body into the seat?  (that was me a year ago).

Platt’s book reaffirms what I have learned from Dr. John Lee’s books, as well as Dr. Jamie Fettig’s book.
Ailments that have plagued people for years can be alleviated with knowledge and use of the natural elements God has provided us. God didn’t create drugs and chemicals – it’s no wonder that their true cost (not that from the pocketbook) often results in more symptoms and additional illness.
When I finish Platt's book and another on thyroid by Dr. Brownstein, I plan to delve into my new book on alternatives to prescription medicines. My family is wanting to forgo the band-aid approach of Rx and look for real cures.

To your health!
Rita S.