How I beat bloat…

This might seem like a strange title, but I get asked this question all the time.  So the way I navigate my blog, is just like you.  I have written about many topics, so I type in the word I am looking for using the search button.  When I type in “bloat” a bunch of old posts come up, but specifically, the one that most people need to read is My break up with sugar and gluten.

So, I’ll be over here while you catch up.  Now that you know I have thoroughly done my research, I want to tell you about the next steps.  First, go to your pantry.  The one with all the yummies that perhaps the kids eat.  Maybe you eat them too.   But put them way out of sight.  Or buy bins and label them Kids snacks, but don’t go there for yourself.  I know, I know.  But believe me, you will feel better.  Next, make yourself a snack shelf.  Read the label of everything you put there.  Everything.  If the first ingredient is sugar, it goes in the kids bin.  If it includes any sort of wheat, etc.  Click my hidden links on those words if you don’t know how to figure this out.  it takes practice.

I’m sure some clients get mad at me…and I say GOOD.  Get mad at me for telling you that includes diet sodas.  It’s like Hell’s Kitchen up in your pantry.  But for real.  You want to feel better?  Do or do not.  There is no try.  Imagine tiny Yoda up there if it makes you feel better.  Use the force.  Push the food away.  Erm.  I went off on a geek tangent.  But I know this is hard.  I detoxed like I was having withdrawal symptoms…for real.  And you know what?  I lost 25 pounds.  My back was bending, my stomach was bloated, and I was actually shrinking.  I lost an inch in height!!  Can you believe that?  I did.

Me_1_yearWhen my friend took this before photo, and lied like a good friend, and said oh girl, it’s not that bad, I wanted to cry.  I kept saying something was wrong.  Why won’t doctors listen to me.  25 pounds in 6 months was not normal.  I was swollen, and working out.  I wasn’t losing a thing.  I never would have either.  If I hadn’t started researching what happened to my body after eating white bread.  Then the IBS symptoms.  Then the stomach pain.   You get it.  I thought I was doing great with the gluten-free, nope.  Sugar was still causing bloat.  The after photo is after 3 months without sugar as well.

I did start using things to help.  The “skinny” pack.  Why did I buy into it?  Here’s why…the wraps are completely all natural phytonutrients.  I looked up what everything did and saw that it could work to help relieve my bloat.  I needed to be on it for 3 months as well as do the above to really get the harmful effects of sugar and gluten out of my body.  My lymphatic system has slowed down to almost no movement.  I was sore in all 18 trigger points for fibromyalgia.  I knew I had it.  But, quite frankly, I had enough to worry about. If I accidentally ate something to cause bloat, I would take a fat fighter to stop the carbs turning into sugar.  It also helped to balance my blood sugar.  Next, I would take a hot shower and wrap every single Sunday night and leave the wrap on.  I felt amazing on Monday.  I would rub on my defining gel because my veins were doing weird things in my legs too.

I continued to research ingredients and put myself on the greens due to the probiotics I needed to fix my gut lining.  More research into leaky gut…you may use that and search on this blog.  I also took a ThermoFit if my gastroparesis (food just sat there for a million years) was doing it’s thing.  Again, I went to doctors and had tests so I knew what was wrong…they had not one suggestion on how to move forward that didn’t include drugs with horrible side effects.  Being on acid blockers like omeprazole would make me worse over time…so I took myself off based on more research.  I drink apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) now.

As you can tell…it does take hard work and determination to fix your gut.  If any of this sounds like you, I have more tips on my Facebook page Vitalize You, plus the tab at the top of this blog talks about more.  I had an open mind when I started this process because I truly believed I could help myself with all-natural products.  That’s why I started my business.  I believe you can do this!  Hashimoto’s, autoimmune, leaky gut, gastroparesis, IBS whatever you want to name it, it starts in the gut.  Don't quit

Author’s note:  I have now developed a new program, and it does not include any supplements, but will help you learn everything that I researched for years, in the space of 4 Weeks!!!!  <<< click there to learn more.

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My break up with sugar and gluten…

FYI…I originally wrote this for a magazine, well actually an e-zine that has published me before, but I am not sure if they actually published this piece, and quite frankly, I like it.  Plus, sigh, I write for free anyway.  So here it is:

A little over three years ago, I began to notice food was not my friend. It was a difficult concept and one I ignored for a long time in hopes that my instincts were wrong. Sadly, they were not. I started to have stomach pains, headaches, irritable bowel symptoms and more. Never in my life had I bloated from eating bread…until now. I was beginning to see a pattern so I scheduled an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The only thing he could really say was my stomach appeared to be having problems digesting food…and that I was NOT celiac. Okay, but that didn’t answer my questions at all. He put me on an acid blocker and sent me on my way. Why would someone who had been able to eat bread her whole life suddenly develop gluten intolerance? He could not help me. Not a clue. The idea came to me that perhaps I had developed gluten intolerance since I had also recently learned of my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis diagnosis.   When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. So for whatever reason, I knew that food was setting this off. I just couldn’t explain it.

I learned that the best way to figure out what was triggering my reactions was to start an elimination diet. First up, and one of the hardest things ever, was to eliminate gluten. To do that, I had to educate myself on what that meant. From the Celiac Disease Foundation: Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected (see Sources of Gluten).

I recently read that Celiac disease currently afflicts about 1% of the population, but the prevalence is increasing. 80% of people with celiac disease are unaware of it. So if you were to try to go gluten-free because you are experiencing some symptoms, it might actually help you. Because I am classified as having gluten-sensitivity, the side effects are actually very serious. And in this same article, it states that there is no clear definition of gluten sensitivity, or a good way to diagnose it, the only true way of knowing is by eliminating gluten temporarily from your diet, then reintroducing it to see if you have symptoms. More can be found from 6 Reasons Why Gluten May be Bad For You: http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

Several disorders have been proven to show improvement when gluten was cut from their diet. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, the doctor did not even try to help me. No diet changes, no mention of it being autoimmune, nothing. He was talking into his tape recorder and sent me on my way. RIGHT then he should have said “I want you to eliminate gluten for 30 days, and let me know how you are feeling.” But the thing is, 30 days is NOT enough. Over and over again in these support groups on autoimmune diseases, people say things like “Whew, that 30 days was hard, but now I am going to eat gluten again.” Stop!!! No!!   Wheat is completely different from what our ancestors ate back in the day, and adding it back in will just re-contaminate that tiny amount of work you did to start feeling better. After 6 months of being gluten-free, if I slipped up once, just once, I felt very sick the next day. I was in more pain, my stomach would bloat and I was back to running to the bathroom. My eyes, which had cleared up, would go back to red and itchy. From that same wonderful source of information I was reading about gluten, I found out that Modern wheat was introduced around the year 1960. It was developed via cross-breeding and crude genetic manipulation, which changed the nutrient and protein composition of the plant. This is a very interesting read: http://authoritynutrition.com/modern-wheat-health-nightmare/

It also HIDES in everything. Everything. I had to make my own salad dressing, muffins, cookies, chips, basically, if it came prepackaged and had even one word that was something I couldn’t pronounce, I stopped buying it. But it wasn’t enough to help me. Something was still wrong. I had long suspected there were other allergies. So back to the drawing board with my allergy doctor, who also said not one thing about autoimmune disease and allergic reactions. Not. A. Thing.   You can read more about that here: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/04/16/teaching-tuesday/

Absolutely every food I had ever loved was attacking me. It was unbelievable…but one thing struck me as odd. SUGAR. Who is allergic to sugar and what could that mean??? That led me down my path of research into people who have drastically cut sugar out of their lives and the benefits of what it does for your body. Whether or not you have autoimmune diseases, this is something that everyone needed to hear about.

Ok, so my GI track appeared to be a mess. It was getting mixed signals from everything and messing up my entire body. I was getting closer to my answer of pain, headaches, bloating, IBS issues, weight gain, stomach pains, etc. I had intestinal permeability, inflammation, and my good bacteria were completely off kilter, so I learned I had to remove all things causing this inflammation.

I became acquainted with the “nitty-gritty” of sugar. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, added sugars show up on food and drink labels under the following names: Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar (See Reference 1). Other types of sugar you might commonly see on ingredient lists are fructose, lactose and maltose. Fructose is sugar derived from fruit and vegetables; lactose is milk sugar; and maltose is sugar that comes from grain. For more, read http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/different-words-sugar-food-labels-8373.html

Now that I know sugar in is everything, I cringe when my children read labels that say “High Fructose Corn Syrup”. However, I know I am doing something right, because we read labels now. I feel like I have made a huge move to keep them safe from those words on all the cans that could mean anything. Did you know From 2001 to 2004, Americans consumed lots of sugar: an average of 22 teaspoons a day, the equivalent of 355 calories, according to this section on How much sugar does the average American eat? I know not all the readers are American, but this particular report was AHA’s 2009 scientific statement on added sugars and cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, too many Americans are drinking sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks. I have never been a soda drinker really, but since I live in the south, we drink copious amounts of sweet, sugary tea. I would be so tired during my day of teaching wee ones that I would occasionally go grab the largest size tea they had at a fast food chain near my school. That was the old me. The me before my body started holding onto weight.

Sugar, quite frankly, was making me sick. My body already had a few “hiccups”, many of which cause inflammation, leaky gut, and joint pain. In How Inflammation Affects Every Aspect of Your Health, Dr. Marquis states “The truth of the situation is that FOOD MATTERS. That’s right; it’s not just a movie (which by the way you should all watch!). Hyper-permeability of the gut, regardless of whether you can feel it or not is often a significant cause of an extremely long and ever-growing list of conditions.”

I would like to urge all of my readers to consider changing their diets, even if it was just for a month. Again, I must refer back to more of my research on the ever-changing food we eat. This said everything I needed to say and more: http://theburnedhand.com/2013/05/01/killing-me-softly/   When I watched that TEDx talk from Robyn O’Brien, I again felt validated. I kept finding so many pieces of this puzzle it was eerie. I’d like to conclude with some of the scariest facts. Friends around the globe are getting diagnosed with cancer before the age of 40 or close enough to it. I have five friends who I know of actively fighting. Two who have lost the battle with the big “c” and one newly diagnosed.   Wake up friends. Wake up. This is real. Start thinking about the bottom line: nutrition does matter.

Eat realAuthor’s note:  The road to wellness is paved with many pitfalls.  I learned my lessons over the years and now have healed my gut, my pain and am moving again.  I completed over 200 hours of yoga and additionally was certified in yoga for arthritis.  I also received my sports nutrition certification and created a plan off my years of research into the body and healing people using my Head, Heart, Health method.  Read more about it here.

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War on me…

The invisible war inside me threatens to take me down.

I suspect that if I were to take the posts about my food issues and put them together in a book, it would be helpful to many people.  I will briefly try to explain what has happened to my body as best I understand it.  When I was born, I was born with the C282y gene that the Irish people needed.  It not being the potato famine and all that, it continues to function in the way it would have by holding onto iron.  Basically, it is thought that this protein functions to regulate iron absorption, and mine is “broken” so to speak. Luckily, the porphyria cutanea tarda kicked in and gave me blisters all over and turned my urine dark.  Warning!  Warning!  Anyway, you can see other posts about all that.  Just use the search button.

So we have a kid loaded up on iron, fed by well water, eating collard greens like they are going out of style and taking her Flintstone vitamins.  Anyone see what’s happening?  Yes, you over there.  Poisoning myself.  That would be correct.  Because my body has no way of getting rid of the access iron.

Now let’s throw in mononucleosis at age 15 which left behind some Epstein-Barr virus and find out that EBV latently persists in the individual’s B cells for the rest of the individual’s life.  Hmmm.  Not sure what happened with this, but I KNOW it was reactivated about 4 years ago which started causing a number of problems and thus spawning more invisible diseases.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was found when my body starting attacking itself several years ago.  To use a bit from the Mayo Clinic:  Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.
Read that part again about coordinating MANY of your body’s activities.  READ it.  MANY.  I exhibited every SINGLE one of the symptoms for all of these diseases, but never in my life had a light-bulb gone off as when my good friend told me to read about Hashimoto’s.  I’m going to let you use the link above if you want to read more about Hashi’s but seriously it was the worst diagnosis.  I just didn’t know it yet.

When I started to feel like I had the flu every single day for the last 3 years, I should have known something more was coming.  The truth is, I did know.  I knew I had fibromyalgia, I knew I was living with pain and the swollen tender points daily, but what I didn’t know was that it was so hard for people to understand and/or believe.  From what I can tell, it is usually triggered by an underlying cause.  Read more about fibromyalgia here.

All this bring me up to date, but what I left out was what I did in between to feel better.  As the years went on, the extreme sensitivity to cold got to me.  My bones ached to their very core.  Still do, but cold is worse.  My stomach bloated like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon.  I would have to go to the bathroom more than normal people, but still couldn’t lose weight.  It was painful.  I went through all kinds of tests, again that portion is in the blog if you search.  Giving up gluten as BEST I could was not good enough.  I really had to be serious.  Then I suspected there was another trigger,  so I gave up sugar in November.  That was very, very, very difficult.  I felt like Paula Deen came over and took away my Southern License.

I am not teaching.  I actually could not continue.  The pain, fatigue, constant contact with infection had my body fighting hard just to stay alive.  Not to mention the phlebotomies, and the fact that now my blood cells are considered Microcytic Anemia stage.  I was dizzy, it was hard to get my breath, and my exhaustion was at the highest it had been since I could remember.

I will not go down without a fight.

I started a process by researching all-natural supplements and what would help my body.  I got off acid-blockers as my stomach was already having issues with digestion so that did not actually help.  I started taking apple-cider vinegar in water.  I added probiotics, see the tab here called Vitalize You for more on that, and I added vitamin D as well as a gluten-free supplement called It’s Vital.  I still have bad days.  Flare-ups, and days I stay in my pajamas, but the good days are now finally catching up to the bad days and for that I am thankful.  I am working with my all-natural supplements business and I am spreading awareness of “invisible” diseases because they sure as hell aren’t invisible on the inside.  Not at all.

Changed

Here is the Work With Me tab if you are interested in learning more on how I changed my life.

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Teaching Tuesday…

As some of you are aware, I suffer from a few “invisible” diseases.  There is little known about most of them and I have put most of my own facts together with the help of a few doctor’s tests.  Nine times out of ten, I have led the doctor in the direction of the correct test to find out what is going on.  I am not, by any means bragging.  Quite the opposite.  I wish more was known about these things, but sadly, there isn’t.  So to get you up to speed, I have Hereditary Hemochromatosis, a gene went crazy and decided to suck all the iron out of life and store it in my body, thus trying to kill me.  It failed because it spawned another disease called Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, making you think I am a vampire who will burn in the sun.  Thus producing horrible blisters years ago that alerted my doctor that something was wrong.  Aha!  Take that.  Many, many, many years of phlebotomies lulled my body into a false sense of security.  It awoke the “sleeping dragon”.  Ha.  Hashimoto’s Disease.  My joints were inflamed, and then my stomach started hurting pretty much every single day.  That was umm, 2 years ago I think.  Last year, I was diagnosed with stomach inflammation, no surprise there, but apparently gastritis is caused by guess what…anyone? Anyone?  Hashimoto’s.  Good answer.  All of this puts your hormones out of whack, thus causing Fibrocystic Breast Disease.  Which can be linked to the underlying cause of estrogen dominance by paying for a simple little spit test, in which you must collect your spit all month-long.  No joke, and freeze it.  Really.  No, don’t get that ice, umm, use the other.

So, are we on track now?  I hope so…because that brings you to the reason I am doing this.  No, don’t look.  Or look, but put your hand in front of your face and peek through.

SAMSUNGMy friends had witty things to say, and they made me laugh.  I really do want you to use humor as it helps me stay reasonably sane.  This is the first in a series of tests to figure out why my lips were swollen last week and what is going on.  It’s awesome.  I go back two more times.  I’ll know the last Tuesday of the month.  Hopefully, this will clear up my stomach pain once I eliminate whatever food might be causing some of this.  Just one more piece of the puzzle that is me.

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”  ~Michael J. Fox