Fasting – It’s the Big Trend

You probably have some friend on Facebook promoting fasting.  I know I do.  So what is with all this fasting talk?

How People Fast

If you do a Google search for the word “fasting,” you will get about 43 million hits.  You can find rules for fasting, and lots of articles on intermittent fasting (at least right now – that’s the popular way to fast right now).  Most religions have some sort of fast, which can range from one day to a month long (with the fast broken at dinner).

Intermittent fast, which is very popular right now, really is not just one way to fast.  Many styles fall under the umbrella of intermittent fasting.  Sometimes it means extending the time between dinner and breakfast (or whatever the first meal of the day is).  Other people will chose a day or days each week to fast completely for the entire day.  I feel like intermittent fasting is heavily promoted right now because it is not as hard to do as complete fasts.  If you can eat your dinner earlier in the evening (and not eat after dinner), and push your breakfast until later in the morning, you are doing an intermittent fast.

fasting, water

Why Fast

Obviously when people fast for religious reasons, there is a hope for spiritual growth or enlightenment.  However, I think the majority of the promotion of fasting right now is for health. One of the most highly promoted reasons is for weight loss.  With obesity rates continuing to increase, methods and gimmicks for weight loss continue to be everywhere.  Some research is showing that intermittent fasting can help with moderate weight loss – if you do not increase the amount you eat while not fasting.

One reason why people fast is for improvement of overall body function.  Cells repair themselves when they are at rest.  Sleep is important.  In addition, if we are eating constantly, some of our cells (GI tract, liver, pancreas) never get a rest.  In addition, hormones, like insulin and growth hormone are optimized by fasting.

Some research is showing that intermittent fasting can help with oxidative stress (this is the damage that is done to body cells that can be prevented by eating foods that are high in antioxidants).  In addition, it also appears to help the body respond to inflammation.  In addition to inflammation being the cause of redness, burning and tenderness when you get a cut, inflammation can also lead to long-term conditions like migraine, joint pain, eczema, and even diabetes and heart disease.

The Science of Fasting

Last night, the hubby and I watched a documentary on Amazon called “The Science of Fasting.”  This covers a more extreme type of fasting.  It starts with a medical center in Russia, where people typically go and fast on water only for a period of around 21 days.  In addition to the fasting, patients also exercise for 2-3 hours per day, utilize a natural hot spring, sauna, and have colonics.  Next, the documentary moves on to Germany.  It seems like the treatment and duration are similar here.

One thing that struck me as interesting about both of these, is that the people who come to the “clinics” were suffering from conditions of inflammation – arthritis, eczema, diabetes.  These conditions of inflammation are also the target of our food sensitivity test and diet.  In addition, people at those clinics fast for a period of 2-3 weeks.  I have learned in my food sensitivity training that the immune system will start to calm down in this time.

The other notable thing from these two programs was the use of detoxification.  Sweating, whether from exercise or a sauna, helps the body to get rid of toxins.  So basically, these two programs are combining reducing immune system stimulation with removing toxins in the body.

fasting, broth

The Germany program briefly talked about reintroducing food after the fast, and both programs emphasized the importance of having medical supervision.  Both of these areas left me wanting more.  Maybe I will get to go to Germany and learn details from the program.  I would love to know what exactly is being monitored, and, of course, how they reintroduce food.  We reintroduce food based on an objective measure of how the body responds to specific foods and chemicals.

Fasting and Cancer

After the general information about fasting clinics in other countries, the documentary moves on a Southern California.  Researchers here are looking at how fasting impacts the body, and specifically applying it to cancer treatment.  While the other programs use fasting as the treatment for conditions, here they are using fasting to enhance treatment.  There were fascinating stories of people who fasted before chemotherapy, and it minimized the side effects of chemotherapy.  They also showed how fasting put the healthy body cells into “protection mode,” but made the cancer cells more likely to be killed by the chemotherapy drugs.  Having lost my mother to breast cancer, this was especially interesting to me.

Fast Responsibly

Fasting is not for everyone.  And it shouldn’t be entered into lightly.  It appears that there are health benefits to intermittent as well as longer-term fasting.  People who have disordered eating or an eating disorder should likely not start a fast.  Regardless of medical history, I highly recommend discussing with a knowledgeable health professional before starting any fasting program.

Are You a Brand Rep?

What is a Brand Rep?

A brand rep is someone who represents (serves as, speaks for) a brand.  Have you ever gone to a really good restaurant, movie, or hotel, and then told your friends and family about it?  Have you ever worn clothes that show the name of the designer or store?  If so, you have been a brand rep.  Generally, when we do those things, we are being a brand rep for free.  Sometimes we get some sort of bonus for sharing.  (And, when we wear clothes that show off the brand, we are almost always paying for the privilege of representing the brand.)

Why be a Brand Rep?

Periodically, we will look for brand reps, because we feel like it helps both of us.  As a company, it helps us get the message out that good health is possible to more people – people we likely would not meet otherwise.  For the brand rep, it provides extra motivation to find things that are leading to health problems and work on eliminating them.  We have tried to build in incentives in a variety of ways, because we truly want to help you live a healthier life.

What is Involved?

First of all, we want you to choose and follow through with one of our service packages.  We want you to get healthier.  If you could do that on your own, we are pretty sure that you would have already.  If you have any of the conditions that are helped by the Mediator Release Test and LEAP eating plan, there is a >90% chance that your symptoms will improve if you follow the eating plan.  That also means a small amount of people have something going on that is totally unrelated to food sensitivity.  We don’t want you to try to promote our business to others if you don’t really believe in it.  So, we want you to complete the package before you officially start as a brand rep.  (Of course, if you are feeling better before the package ends, we would love for you to tell people.)

Once your package ends, the brand rep contract period begins.  It will last for three (3) months. If you have not already, you will join our mailing list, and like and follow our Facebook page.  We also ask you to place a review of us on our Facebook page, and provide a testimonial for our website.  (So far, pretty easy, right?)

We also need you to promote us on social media.  This means liking, commenting on, and sharing content from our Facebook page.  You would also share our business in response to other people’s social media posts.  Remember that time you saw someone posting about their health struggles?  Just share your experiences with improving your health, and tag Nutrition First Solutions in your comment.  It’s that easy.

brand rep, share, promote, nutrition, social media

What are the Benefits?

Your immediate benefit is that during your contract, you will receive one month of Concierge Wellness Plan and two months of Basic Wellness Plan for free.  This extends your initial package by giving you three months of email support and one virtual visit.

At the end of the contract period comes your biggest incentive.  If you meet all of the contract requirements, we will give you back half of what you paid for your initial package.  Finally, if together, we decide to continue our brand rep relationship, you can get additional bonuses for people who are referred to our company by you.

Ready to Start?

If all of this sounds good to you, let us know you are interested in being our brand rep.  Then we will send you an application so that we can get to know you and your social media usage.  We hope to work with you soon!

Is it Beneficial?

Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 CSB

Perhaps you have heard that statement before.  It comes from one of the all-time most read books ever written.  When I think of this verse, it makes me think of a motto of the American Dietetic Association (now Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) from when I was in school.  (And vice versa, when I hear that motto, I think of this verse.)

What is that motto?  “All foods can fit.”  It was the mantra of the 2000s.  American Dietetic Association position papers from 2002 and 2007 on “communicating food and nutrition information” both promote this idea.

beneficial, apple, Cheetos, chips
U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Grace Lee

No Guilt, No Shame

On the one hand, it is a great concept.  It is not my job to make anyone feel guilty about their food choices.  I eat Fritos.  I even made some amazing sugar cookies that I will share with you someday.  There are also political reasons for taking this stance, but I will choose to not talk about that right now.

Another great reason to take that position is that nutrition is a baby science.  People have been studying physics and chemistry for centuries.  We have only been studying nutrition for about 200 years.  (I know, that sounds like a long time.  But other sciences have been studies 5 times as long.)

Cause and effect are very hard to study, and it is even harder to isolate it to a single food or nutrient.  And this is why one day eggs (or butter, coffee, chocolate…) are bad, and the next they are good.  (By the way, if you don’t mind hearing profanity, you should check out John Oliver explaining science.)

Allowed vs. Beneficial

But, just because something is “allowed,” does that make it beneficial?  Let’s start out with something fairly easy: chocolate.  Chocolate comes from cocoa.  It has some phytochemicals that provide health benefits.  If you Google it, there are varying answers to how much will lead to health benefits.  However, when I did my Mediator Release Test, I was moderately reactive – chocolate could be causing me migraines.  The horror!

beneficial, mint, peppermint, migraine, headache, painAnother one to consider is peppermint.  Google it, and you can find a whole list of conditions for which peppermint is beneficial (including headaches and migraine).  But is it beneficial for me?  Absolutely not!  It was one of two things that I am highly reactive to.  After eliminating it for a few months, I used some regular toothpaste one time.  Boom – migraine.

So, while many will still tell you that all foods can fit, I will tell you that you can choose whatever you want, but not all foods are beneficial.

Financial Cost of Pain

One Pain, High Cost

I have spoken before about the social cost of pain – how doctors as well as friends and family do not understand chronic pain.  Now let’s talk about finances.  Dollars and cents.  But let’s face it, the dollars are more important than the cents.  I think that most people know that having a chronic disease increases healthcare costs.  Fewer people may realize that migraine can be considered a chronic disease.  It has been reported that overall costs of having migraines range from $581 to $7089 per year.  I believe it!  I had never really sat down and thought about how much money I have spent on headache and migraine care.  Granted, some years have been better than others.  However, over the years, I have had countless visits to doctors, specialists, chiropractors, acupuncture and massage, as well as medications, supplements and essential oils.

cost, pain, migraine, headache, money, botox

A Year in My Life

In the roughly 13 months before I did the LEAP/ MRT program, I spent $3660.62.  That was my out-of-pocket cost.  The actual billed amount was $10,359.22.  So, what does a breakdown of my costs look like?

Medications 692.93
Primary Care Visits 322.61
Specialist Visits 767.58
ER Visit 570.46
Chiropractic 385.00
Procedures 922.04
Total $3660.62

Honestly, almost every category could have cost me more.  Thanks to my procedures (MRI and EEG), and my daughters ear infections, I hit our $3000 family deductible in the first month of our plan year.  Pretty much everything except the first neuro visit and those procedures were after my deductible, so I was paying 10%.  (Remember that billed amount >$10k?)

It Could Have Cost Even More

The last visit I went to before doing the LEAP/ MRT program was a Botox consult.  When the doctor told me he was going to stick me 31 times, I said no way.  I know a lot of people like Botox, and it “works” for them.  But here’s the catch: it doesn’t fix anything.  Botox blocks the pain signals, but it does not actually fix the cause.  You have to get the (31) injections every three months (to continue blocking the pain receptors), and it can take up to 2 weeks after the injections to feel better.  Finally, it can take 6-9 months (2 to 3 treatments) before it actually starts “helping.”

I never found out my actual cost of the procedure, because all of that added up to “not good enough” for me.  If you do a Google search, you can find out that a vial of Botox costs about $525.  However, that greatly underestimates the cost to you.  It takes more than one vial to complete all of the injections, and that doesn’t include the amount the doctor charges.  I have seen estimates ranging from $1500-2300.  Remember this is per treatment, and you need 4 treatments per year.  Forever.  I found another report of places charging $6000 per treatment.

cost, pain, botox, migraine

I was so glad that I had already found LEAP/ MRT.  When I talked about it with my husband, we both decided that it was better for me to do the blood test and change what I eat.  Honestly, even if it hadn’t worked, it still cost less than one Botox treatment.

Another New Year

Can you believe it is already another new year?  I’m sure many of us are ready to say good riddance to 2017, but seriously, where does the time go?  It’s that time again – time for New Year’s resolutions.  What kind of resolution maker are you?  Do you make big resolutions that you never keep? Or small ones that you know you can keep with little effort?  Maybe you do not make any at all.  Resolutions are good, because they help us to grow into a better version of ourselves.  But we need to make sure to set ourselves up for success.  The words that we use to describe our goals (or resolutions) are key helping us succeed (but you still have to do the work!).

Specific

bullseye, specific, new year, resolution, goalThe first step in writing your resolution is to make it specific.  Sure, we all want less pain, but how much less?  Less of a certain type of pain?  Maybe you want to reduce the number of headache days per month.  Perhaps you want your fibromyalgia or arthritis to reduce so that you can walk two days per week.  Maybe you want to reduce the number of days each month that you take pain medication.  The choice is up to you – just make sure that you can identify what it is that you want.  If this step is difficult, ask a friend or family member for help.  Just make sure that whatever you choose is something that you really want.

Measurable

 

measurable, checklist, new year, resolution, goalsNext, we need to make sure we can measure the goal.  How will you know that you have there if you don’t know where “there” is?  This goes back to being specific.  How many days?  How much less?  Sometimes it seems easier to not make it measurable.  If I do not say how much better, then I could have achieved it with any amount.  But that also means that there isn’t a clear goal.  Is one less headache day acceptable, when you are having 15 headache days/ month?  Maybe.  I am not here to judge your goals – just help you set them.  We have tools that can help you measure changes in your health.

Achievable

finish line, goal, achievable, new year
(U.S. Air Force illustration by 2nd Lt. Kaitlin Daddona/Released).

We want you to succeed with your goals.  In order for that to happen, you have to be able to achieve them.  It seems unrealistic for me to say that I will have no more headache days.  But I can definitely reduce them.  I never thought that before.  Even the doctors didn’t seem to think it was possible.  But it was.  I no longer take daily medicine.  It is great!

We also want to make sure that the goal is a little bit of a stretch.  Do you eat out every meal?  Could you cook at home two times per week?  Let’s make that goal enough of a stretch to help you grow, without being so difficult that you could never achieve it.

 

Realistic

realistic, goal, new year, mirrorMaybe you want to exercise, because you know it is good for you.  You want to have the energy to keep up with your kids.  The exercise recommendations for adults are at least 150 minutes per week.  That’s a great goal, but is it realistic when you are in chronic pain, and maybe have not exercised in year?  Probably not.  Set a goal that works for you – not anyone else.  Do not measure your success compared to anyone else.  Only measure yourself against where you came from.

 

Timely

clock, timely, new year, goalsSometimes called time-bound, there needs to be a time frame attached to your goals.  Ideally, it should be something that you want to do now.  Setting goals with a later time frame makes you less likely to try to work on them.  If you have multiple goals, they could build on one another.  For instance, maybe you would like to exercise, but you have no idea how you could with your current level of pain.  The first goal could be to reduce your pain enough to exercise.  Then you could add a goal on exercising two days per week.

 

Enlist Help

Sometimes we can achieve our goals on our own.  Other times we need help.  We would love to help you find your best health in 2018.

All I Want for Christmas

It Started With Alkaline Water

A few months ago, my husband became interested in alkaline water.  He was talking about a system that cost $5000.  Before I spent that kind of money (which I probably wouldn’t have anyway), I wanted to see if there was any validity to the benefits of alkaline water (it seems to be a debatable topic).  My searching took me to the Environmental Working Group’s web page on water quality.  I have known for years that I wanted some sort of water softener – our water in Phoenix is incredibly hard!  (The calcium and magnesium in the water are actually good for your health, but bad for your pipes.) In my searching, I found that our water contains the following chemicals above “acceptable” levels for health: arsenic, bromate, chlorite, hexavalent chromium, radiological contaminants, and trihalomethanes.  (Want to find out what’s in your water?)  After reading that, I was very motivated to clean up the water in our house.

water

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

So, I decided to order a whole house water filter and salt-free softener.  It was our family Christmas gift.  After ordering it, I saw a video with Dr. Deanna Minich.  She stated that the #1 thing she would do to reduce toxins was clean up her water.  I was so excited.  I was already working on the best way to reduce toxins.

The instructions said that anyone with basic plumbing knowledge could install it.  The directions were not much more helpful than that.  But, I thought, we are smart people.  We can do this.  So, on Saturday, we cut into our plumbing and started to put it together.  This first attempt (that’s right) looked like this:

water

After we turned it on, we had leaks.  Almost everywhere.  It was 9 pm.  We headed to a hotel.  After a good night’s sleep, we tackled the project again.  My husband did not want to do PVC again.  So he took a new attempt (and kept the one section of PVC that wasn’t leaking – yet).  Attempt #2 went a little faster, and worked for ~36 hours.

water

Yesterday, the one PVC section started leaking, so it got replaced.  Hopefully this works.  If not, I guess we have to hire someone who know that they are actually doing.  The hubby and I joke that this is the gift that keeps on giving.  It is giving us lots of trips to the hardware store.  He said yesterday was trip #23.  Our daughter said it was only #10.  Once we get it working and not leaking, it will be the gift that keeps giving us clean water for the entire house.  No more brushing our teeth or showering in contaminated water.

You’re a Pain in My…

What is “normal,” anyway?

Like several of my previous posts, I originally wrote this two years ago:

I don’t know about you, but I have lived my life surrounded by people who do not understand pain.  Sure, people have occasionally hurt themselves or gotten a headache, and then they take some aspirin or ibuprofen and it goes away.  They have no concept of chronic pain.

One of the medications that a doctor gave me for my headaches turned me into a zombie.  I was exhausted.  I had no energy to do anything.  I made it through my eight-hour work day, but I was too tired for a social life.  One of my friends was complaining, because apparently I was impacting her ability to enjoy life.  There was no consideration for how the situation was impacting my life!

alone, isolated, lonely, social, headache, migraine, pain

Now, fast forward many years.  I have been married for seven years and a mom for four.  My husband is getting tired of my headaches.  I know that he loves me very much and would really like the pain to go away.  Some days, though, when he asks me why my head is hurting, it seems like he thinks that I could control it if I wanted to.  As if I am choosing to have a headache.  When I have several severe headache days in a row (I literally have a headache every day, I have just learned how to go on with life most of the time), he loses compassion.  He gets tired of me not being able to do things like normal.  So, he forces me back into making decisions and taking care of him and our daughter.  I know he is at a loss as to how to deal with my headaches.  I am was, too.  But sometimes people who do not live with chronic pain just don’t understand what it is like.

My daughter is super sweet – most of the time.  I have had so many headache days that she will just come up to me and day, “I know you don’t feel well, mommy.”  No four-year-old should have to deal with a “sick” mommy as often as she does.  This is why I want to improve my health as much as I can in the areas that I can impact.

A new normal

Thankfully, this year I was talking with a colleague who suggested that I look into the LEAP/ MRT food sensitivity testing and protocol.  I am not completely headache-free.  Some days I do not have total control over the foods that I eat, so I still end up dizzy, lightheaded, or with a headache.  Sometimes there are other things – like hormone changes – that lead to a headache.  However, most days I feel much better than before.  I can go enjoy activities and feel like a human.  No more zombie life for this girl!

First Do No Harm

They Just Don’t Get It

As a sufferer of chronic pain, I know we have all been to doctors who just don’t understand.

do no harm

When my daughter was about three months old, I was fed up with my headaches and made a doctor’s appointment (I had to take Tylenol with codeine daily for over two months just to survive pregnancy).  My appointment was with a nurse practitioner who had a student.  The student spent an hour asking me every question in the book about every body system, and then the real nurse practitioner came in, spent two minutes with me, and told me to keep doing what I was doing (Excedrin and Zantac).  During those two minutes, I actually asked the nurse practitioner about gluten and headaches, and she blew me off like it was the most ridiculous thing she had heard.  (Six years later, I got tested and have a wheat allergy.)

So, in case you missed the main points of the story, here they are again: I hadn’t slept in three months, my headaches were bad enough for me to schedule a doctor’s appointment, and I just spent an hour in a doctor’s office only to be told, “keep doing what you’re doing.”

medication

My favorite, though, was my next doctor (I never returned to the previous office – which I am sure is shocking).  My main concern was getting my headaches under control.  My doctor’s main concern was my weight.  He only wanted to talk about my weight and get me to do things to lose weight.  He never really cared about getting my pain under control (although he did put me on a very questionable drug).

I get it.  Really, I do.  Weight status does impact health in a lot of ways (and it was measurable for the doctor).  What I also understand – that the doctor apparently didn’t – is that when you are in that much pain, other aspects of self-care are all but impossible.

Finding a Better Way

I want to help people improve their overall health.  I also want to do it in a way that is different from many doctors, personal trainers and coaches.  I am sensitive to the concerns of people with chronic pain.  I also want to help people expand past self-imposed limitations.  I can’t take away the pain for you, but I have found something (completely legal) that can help most people with certain types of pain. It’s not the easy road, but then again, neither is living in pain.  If you are tired of living in pain and are willing to do whatever it takes to get better, why not see if the foods you are eating are contributing to your pain and other health issues.  We would love to help you find a healthier you!  Schedule a pre-package consult with us, and we will find out if and how we can help you live a life with less pain.

If you are still not completely sure that the foods you eat are tied to your health, check out the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.

 

**Please note that it is safe to assume that links in our website are affiliate links and we would earn a commission at no additional cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. We only promote things that we strongly believe will add value to people’s lives and which reflect our values.

My Shoulder Pain

 The Saga Continues

Much like how the discussion of my headaches was written two years ago, the following was as well:

I am blessed with headaches as not my only source of pain.  I injured my shoulder, and generally speaking, it doesn’t hurt as often as my head, but when it flares up, it is pretty intense.

Back in college, swing dancing became popular – especially my senior year.  Several years later I made a new friend who is a good dancer, and she and I would go out to a ballroom for swing dancing.  I am not a good dancer, so the guys who were really good didn’t want to dance with me.  As a result, I was dancing one night with a guy who was not a good lead, and I was not a good follower.  I ended up severely straining or spraining my shoulder (I don’t know which) at a time when I had no health insurance.

shoulder
Photo from WikiMedia Commons

Fast forward nine years, and periodically I get a huge knot and intense pain in my shoulder.  Like right now.  I have been trying acupressure to release the knot.  I also put essential oils on it.  I need to ice it right now.

And Now…

Two more years later, and my shoulder was still hurting.  I honestly never imagined that foods may be leading to the flare up of pain.  I started the LEAP protocol in the hopes of reducing or eliminating my headaches.  About a week into my first eating plan I realized that my shoulder had not been hurting for a few days.  And it kept not hurting.  What a pleasant surprise!  I have also found that if I go off my eating plan, whether that means “cheating” or adding new foods while following the protocol, my shoulder pain comes back.  As much as I may want to eat a brownie, the shoulder pain just is not worth it.  (Although getting a massage might be nice!)

shoulder
Photo from Pixabay

Do You Give Thanks?

Gracias. Merci. Dankie. Shukran. Hvala. Danke. Mahalo. Grazie. Arigato. Obrigado.

thanks

November is the month of thankfulness.  All of a sudden, Facebook news feeds blow up with thankfulness challenges.  Then, on December 1, it all gets put on the proverbial shelf for 11 months.

If you follow various methods of self-help and/ or personal development, gratitude, or saying thanks, is often emphasized.  Sometimes it is promoted as the key to get what you want.  (I mean, just think about young children – they often get what they want simply based on attitude and how they ask.)

Sometimes gratitude can be a struggle when you are in frequent or constant pain, believing that good can come of the situation or being thankful can be difficult.  However, one way to deal with physical (or emotional) pain is to distract the mind.  A great distraction technique is to start thinking of things to give thanks for.  So, what are you thankful for?

1 2