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Older, Wiser, and Still Kicking Butt
I am going to be 46 years-old on April 26, 1998. I have a gorgeous husband and 3 year-old son, not to mention a successful career as an actress, stuntwoman, nutritional author, and producer. I train six days a week in the gym and I enjoy wearing spandex pants and tank tops. I was kickboxing and lifting weights the day my water broke, and my life is filled with positive energy. I am a food-combining vegan and I jump at the chance to run seven miles at a time, snow ski, water ski, horseback ride, precision drive a car, play the piano, and oil paint. I can either look at my life as being half over or just beginning. I cringe when I hear people say “act your age.”
Who, exactly, sets the rules for the proper behavior of particular age groups? If you ask me, people should spend a little less time on what other people are doing and spend a little more time working on themselves. When I go out for acting roles, casting directors always tell me that I look too young to play the part of a 45 year-old woman or that I don’t look like anybody’s mom. How ridiculous! I am 45 and I am a mom. Wake up people!
Throughout my life, no matter what I have undertaken, I have always tried to follow in the footsteps of those that had already walked the lonely path to success within that particular field. I have always respected the masters of a craft, those that have gone the extra mile, weathered the weather, coming out victorious in their efforts. Then why, when it comes to the hiring in today’s times, is society so convinced that only the youth of the world has all the creative syrup just dripping off of them? Doesn’t wine taste better with age?
And, you know what? Who are we, really? If you ask me, with the exception of a selected few, people, in general, are nothing more than a plethora of learned behavior, and they are not who or what they think they are. It is so clear to me now, that from the time of birth, humankind becomes a conditioned species. It is conditioned by family, friends, enemies, peers, the media, you name it. I believe, however, that in actuality, we are all incredible glowing lights of energy, full of love and kindness, with the ability to connect in a positive manner with everybody and everything around us. But we seem to have forgotten who and what we really are, and by doing so, we have become an egoistic bi-ped that seems to thrive on fear, pride, frustration, anger, anxiety, hate, etc.
I know, myself, that I was born into a highly dysfunctional family that had no idea just how dysfunctional they really were. In fact, during the 50’s and 60’s the average person would have thought that we were living the American dream. We lived in a beautiful, upper-middle class house and we had everything we needed on a practical level, even more. My father was a brilliant man, the first bioanalyst in the State of California, who had all the respect from his friends and colleagues that he could possibly ask for, yet he drank like a leprechaun to escape the pain and struggle of the very life that he had created for himself. He ultimately committed suicide in order to relieve himself of the unbearable pain that he experienced from complications due to an incurable disease.
My mother, now 85, grew up in an unloving environment, and when she couldn’t take her father’s alcoholic binges any longer, she left her home town at a young age to tackle life on her own. The problem was, she had to take the already conditioned “her” with her. You can take an Iowan out of Iowa, but you can’t take the Iowa out of an Iowan. My mother has ended up enjoying great financial success, but I wouldn’t say she is really a happy person. She is well-intended, but is extremely close-minded. We are talking about a woman who thinks that any man whose hair touches his ears is a good-for-nothing bum, regardless of how he lives his life or how much talent he has. Like most of us, she is very quick to judge others by her own standards. How limiting, how unfortunate.
The bottom line is, we need to begin to peel away the false layers of conditioned behavior that cover the real us. Society has really done a number to our heads along the way, which brings to mind how the word hag once meant the wise old woman or mid-wife of the village. The male ego eventually felt threatened by the hag’s place in society, and it got to the point where the politicians of the village were unable to make any real changes in their community without the hag’s permission. The lawmakers could not take it any longer, so they eventually launched an aggressive campaign to discredit the hag. From that point on, the powers that be portrayed the hag in folklore and drawings as an ugly old witch with a big hook nose who had the power to disguise herself as a young, beautiful wench. This, of course, gave man his power back and the leeway to examine, accuse, and ultimately torture and punish women who wouldn’t do what they wanted them to do. If necessary, they would even burn them at the stake to make their point, the hag and all of her wisdom eventually fading into the ether.
I find it interesting that ancient Chinese scriptures referred to God as a Goddess, a life-giving deity full of beauty, gentleness, tenderness, and kindness. Hence, the seed-bearing metaphor of Mother Earth. And even today, Quan Yin (the Goddess of Mercy) has a huge following called the Quan Yin Method. I am not trying to male bash here, but I do believe it is quite evident that the male ego over the course of history has competed with itself as to whose club or stick was bigger. This, in turn, has resulted in a number of atrocities, including world wars. If it was up to most of the moms of the world, I would be willing to bet that they would sooner give their sons a “time out” then to send them into battle, risking the possibility of visiting their kid in some V.A. cemetery somewhere. Over the millenniums, men have controlled the writings, rules and regulations of society, and what was once referred to as the word “she” in the doctrine of mankind has slowly become the word “he.” But the truth of the matter is that the real us, the soul, has no gender whatsoever.
I also find it curious that modern man has set sort of a life curve for women, whether they like it or not. As a young woman, it seems we are allowed to soar, but when we hit a certain age we are supposed to slow down. We are suddenly forced to fit into a mold that is somewhat useless. But what happens when we hit the big 50 and we still feel 18? What then? What if we want to go to the gym, wear a sexy bathing suit, wear short skirts, or maybe even have a baby? Is it right for society to judge us, to tell us to act our age? I mean, what if it has taken us a half-century to come out, to bloom, to come into our own? Should we be discarded like rotting meat?
The ego thrives off of negative energy, the soul off of unconditional love and acceptance. It’s that simple, and we need to return to our God-like essence, taking our spiritual power back as we learn to live life inspired for eternity.
Melatonin – Not Just for Sleep
I don’t know about you, but my life is full of stress! Just making it through my daily routines is enough to run me ragged — working, dealing with family and friends, raising my son, trying to maintain my health, paying bills, handling pet problems, you name it, by the time I get to bed it’s no wonder I have trouble falling asleep.
To come down from the day, I try to have a peaceful dinner hour, maybe watch a little TV, read a good book, perhaps even meditate, then maybe, just maybe, I’m lucky enough to shut out all the thoughts from the grinding day (not to mention what I need to accomplish tomorrow) long enough to go to sleep. Ah, yes — sleep! One of the greatest healers. To be able to go to sleep whenever I’d like, undoubtedly would be a great gift.
Well, the answer for people like me could be melatonin. It’s been called the master hormone because it helps set and control the body’s internal clock or “circadian rhythms” which cycle approximately once every 24 hours. Circa in Latin means around and dies means day. This is how our internal body clock is set up. But how it works is what you need to know.
When nighttime rolls around, our brain’s pea-sized pineal gland produces melatonin (a neurohormone) causing us to fall asleep. However, the level of secretion is greatly influenced by sunlight. Just as darkness triggers the release of melatonin, sunlight suppresses it. That’s why when I was a musician on the road during the 70’s, working all night until 4:00 a.m., sometimes 6:00 a.m., I’d get back to my hotel and was totally hyper. Once the sun was up, there was no way I could get to sleep. I wished I had known about melatonin then.
And have you ever suffered from jet lag? I have. It’s not fun. The symptoms include irritability, difficulty concentrating, headache, depression and fatigue. Melatonin can provide a quick readjustment of the body’s internal clock, thus relieving the symptoms of jet lag. The secret is to take the melatonin the night you arrive and you’ll recover faster — alert and full of energy the next day.
For people that don’t have a sleeping disorder, melatonin also offers an abundance of other benefits. It’s now recognized by scientists world-wide as a potential anti-aging substance that could prolong lifespan by preventing the killer diseases of aging. If your so-called “biological clock” is ticking, and whose isn’t, wouldn’t it be nice if you could shut it off for a while! As we age, the pineal gland produces less and less melatonin. Studies have shown that elderly patients have only half as much melatonin as compared to young adults. This is also why so many older people have trouble falling asleep at night.
Melatonin also has the capability to act as an antioxidant by neutralizing one of the most dangerous of all free-radicals, the “hydroxyl radical,” and freely enters and protects all parts of the body’s cells. Unlike other antioxidants, it fine tunes the cells, making whatever adjustments are needed to keep the body running efficiently. Research suggests that if the body doesn’t manufacture enough melatonin, it simply gets old and dies. That’s why people over 40 years of age may want to consider supplementing with melatonin. Slowing down the aging process also slows down the chance of heart disease, cancer and brain damage.
One of the physical problems of getting older is that the hormones that keep us young and supple begin to slow down, including melatonin, and the body has to constantly struggle to boost its immune system. Less and less hormones reach the DNA or genetic code, telling the body that it’s getting older. Even worse, a gradual depletion of melatonin may cause “diseases of the aged and subsequent death.”
Animal studies have shown that melatonin supplementation increases lifespan by an average of 25%. This is comparable to 20 extra years in human terms. Other studies show that melatonin helps prevent both the initiation and promotion of cancer, and when the production of melatonin is reduced, it leaves the cells of the body in a vulnerable state and susceptible to cancer-causing agents. This is especially important for people who live in and around electromagnetic fields caused by overhead power lines, computers, microwave ovens, household appliances, and cellular phones. Avoiding such exposure is virtually impossible because electromagnetic fields are everywhere.
Although melatonin is a very safe and natural supplement, it’s essential that it’s used properly. More is not always better. Take what you need and let the body do the rest. They say the appropriate dosage should be between 3 to 6 mg 1 hour before bedtime. Ironically, I really like the melatonin I’m getting from the UPTIME company (known for years for its ability to energize professional athletes with their herbs and vitamins).
They’ve come up with a sublingual formula that hits the blood stream almost immediately — a mixture of B-6 (pyridoxal5 phosphate), B-3 (niacin), chamomile, hops, passiflora, kava, valerian, skullcap, pure peppermint essence and other natural flavors. I dissolve in my mouth the three tablets that come in a packet the minute I want to go to sleep, and it’s not more than 10 minutes later that I can barely keep my eyes open. However, if I have to get up early, I can do so without any kind of drag or hangover. It’s really amazing. For people like me who go! go! go!, this is a real healing aid. And it’s nice to know that while I’m sleeping, I’m not getting older!
Give UPTIME a call at 800/441-5656 and tell them Spice sent you. Or ask your local health food store if they carry it. If not, I’m sure if you like it as much as I do, they’ll order it for you. UPTIME also has a website. You can link to it at www.up-time.com . Well, that’s all for now and sweet dreams…
Ritalin – Stop Drugging Our Children!
“Energy demands movement and expression. Creative energy seeks an unblocked channel in which to flow. We all possess the ability to channel creative energy; it is as much a part of our systems as breathing. Because creativity is so natural to human life, blocking the flow of creativity will result in pent-up energy and frustration.”
Terry Lynn Taylor & Mary Beth Crain
I’m so frustrated! What is going on in this country? Have parents completely handed their brains over to the pharmaceutical companies, the psychiatric industry, and the educational establishments in the United States? Contrary to what these institutions might tell you, Methlylphenidate Hydrochloride, aka Ritalin, is not good and safe for your children! For the sake of your kids, stop being fooled and start being informed, responsible mothers and fathers. Over two and half million American children use Ritalin on a daily basis, yet other countries have almost completely banned its use. American Enterprise is making a financial killing on this disgusting drug that many chemists say is a dangerous “speed,” in many ways equivalent to cocaine.
The use of Ritalin has shot up almost 600% in less than ten years, and in some schools, up to 40% to 50% of the students are being prescribed Ritalin on a daily basis. And the Drug Enforcement Agency says that it’s quite common that 20% of the students in some schools use this drug on a weekly basis. Since when did our children become so mentally disturbed? Have kids in the last ten years really been suffering more from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), or has society just become less tolerant to what is really normal adolescent behavior, a travesty brought about by the stress of living life in the late twentieth century? If, indeed, children today are experiencing more sociological problems than in previous decades, perhaps the real answer lies not in covering up the problem, but rather in scrutinizing how mankind has been evolving over time. We need to take a closer look at our diet, what we’re doing to our environment, and how we’re living our lives. Sweeping dirt under the carpet, still makes for a dirty house.
You may think Ritalin is new in the marketplace, but it’s actually been around for years. Bodybuilders used Ritalin back in the 70’s to speed up their metabolism to cut and rip-up their physiques, and cocaine addicts have been known to use it as a cheap high on the streets. The truth of it is, Ritalin is stronger than cocaine, and a number of school, medical, and psychiatric communities have sold our nation’s parents a bill-of-goods that is drugging our children with a deadly, addictive drug.
If there are children in your life, on any level, that are using Ritalin to control their so-called “mental condition,” please read this article very carefully. The information I’m sharing with you may change your perspective on the subject. Are you aware that drug companies have just come out with a peppermint-flavored Prozac pill for children, and further, that the ad campaign for this mind-altering poison is being designed by the very advertising agency that designs ads for McDonalds. What a disgrace. Isn’t the well-being of our nation’s number one asset, our kids, more important than the almighty buck? My God, maybe H.G. Wells wasn’t that far off.
I cringe when I see parents hesitating to give their kids healthy nutritional supplements because they’re “not sure if they’re safe.” Yet, when schools want to put their kids on a synthetic drug with major side-effects, including suicide, they don’t think twice about it because the school says it’s okay. What’s wrong with us?! I know humans are a conditioned species, but enough is enough! Do some research before you innocently poison your kids. What do you think America’s youth is thinking when parents and teachers drill into their heads to “say no to drugs,” yet when they show up at school every day, they see hundreds of their peers lined up at the nurse’s office to get their daily dose of a drug that they’re told will make them “normal” or make them fit in. Isn’t that a mixed message?
Don’t kid yourself, Ritalin is a narcotic, a highly addictive stimulant classified by the Food and Drug Administration under Schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act. The side effects include nervousness, insomnia, stunted growth via appetite suppression, dizziness, restlessness, irritability, mood swings, nausea, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, skin rashes, headaches, and rare reports of Tourette’s syndrome. Even the 42nd Edition of the Physicians’ Desk Reference says that sufficient data on safety and efficacy of long-term use of Ritalin in children is still not available. I don’t care what anybody says, if you give a developing child drugs to make him “easier to handle,” you’re asking for trouble. And beware. If you have a child on Ritalin, and you’re one of the smart parents who wants to ween him or her off this toxic junk, I strongly suggest you do it in conjunction with a medical doctor or qualified health practitioner. The withdrawl symptoms can sometimes be both horrific and dangerous and you need to do it the right way.
I find it interesting that one of the barometers by which schools administer this “wonder drug” has been compiled by the American Psychiatric Association, and their findings appear in a diagnostic reference book called the DSM (short for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Their “what to look for” list reads as follows:
- easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
- failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes
- rarely following instructions carefully and completely
- losing or forgetting things like toys, or pencils, books, and tools needed for a task
- feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming
- climbing or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected
- blurting out answers before hearing the whole question
- having difficulty waiting in line or for a turn.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a kid that didn’t show signs of these characteristics. What it really boils down to is that parents and teachers are overworked and underpaid for the amount of work they do. They’re stressed to the max and they’re having a tough time dealing with the high energy that these little kids are constantly putting out. I understand that, and I sympathize with their situations, but on the other hand, since when is it considered a mental disorder to be energetic, to fidget, to run around, to talk a lot, to daydream and to make mistakes? It’s part of the human experience. In fact, the brightest and most creative minds in history have been hard to handle. And the funny thing is, when they grow up and become famous icons, society calls them geniuses, but when they’re kids, that same society calls them disturbed or social misfits. Ever hear of Albert Einstein? Well, if he had been born in the last ten years, there’s no question in my mind, he would have been put on Ritalin. Think about it. The guy didn’t even speak until age seven and his teacher described him as being mentally slow, unsociable, constantly drifting in and out of reality. Then there was Thomas Edison whose mind often wondered and his body was perpetually moving in his seat. History tells us that he was an unruly student and too stupid to learn anything. Walt Disney, Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo DaVinci, Mozart, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and the Wright Brothers, all had similar behavioral patterns.
I believe a great part of the problem comes from the lack of proper nutrition. Most kids, if they eat at all, go to school on a breakfast of refined sugar and pre-packaged, chemically-ridden junk food — convenient meals for the “parent on the run.” It’s so sad.
Bodies are like cars, with a definite protocol in order for them to run at optimum levels. If you have a high performance car that is designed for use with high-octane, premium gas, and you use low octane, unleaded gas in the tank to save money, I assure you the car will begin to chug, knock, clunk, and eventually break down. Remember that children are growing everyday and they need mega nutrients to focus, learn and retain what parents and teachers are trying to teach them. But without the right food and supplements, they simply don’t grow the way they should, both mentally and physically.
I’m happy to say, however, that just recently, we’ve seen a new form of nutritional supplementation becoming available to the general public, and it can be found under the heading “nutraceuticals” — clinically proven natural food supplements that contain the glycoprotiens, phytochemicals, and full-food matrixes that can and will nutritional help your child to focus, calm down, and listen.
Scientists are beginning to realize that the American diet is lacking the nutrients that it once had, and many of them now believe that this may be a major contributing factor in the learning disabilities and behavior problems that we’re seeing so much of today — not only in children, but in adults as well. It doesn’t take a cum laude geologist to see what’s been happening to our soils, our air, and our waters over the past seventy-five years. It’s frightening for me to watch us make the same mistakes that great civilizations of the past have made before eventually perishing. Our grains are being stripped of their nutritional value in order to make them cook faster, and none of our fruits and vegetables seem to be vine-ripened anymore. It’s all about greed, folks!
The longer a fruit or vegetable remains on the vine, on the tree, or in the soil, the more nutrients it absorbs and the more nutritious it becomes. Plain and simple. But when growers pick them early (while they’re still green and undeveloped) to make room for a whole new crop, these foods ripen on the way to the grocery store and become nutrient-deficient. Not to mention all the chemicals and pesticides that are used to make them look shiny and beautiful. If you ask me, children are suffering from “nutritional deficit disorders,” not attention deficit disorders.
I can tell you my son, Luke, is a juvenile diabetic. Like his mother and father, he’s a food-combining vegan. He’s never had any dairy, sugar or animal products. He eats six times a day, and at his main meals, he always has fresh steamed vegetables topped with cold-pressed essential fatty acid oils, along with organic whole grain rice and some kind of plant protein. He’s always eating fresh organic fruit and carbohydrates and plenty of plant proteins and fats to meet his daily nutritional needs. People that know him can’t believe how big, beautiful, smart, and well-mannered he is. But when his sugar gets out of control from the diabetes, he’s like a kid on PCP. He doesn’t listen, concentrate, or sit still. A shot of insulin to regulate his glucose level and he turns back into a little angel. Parents need to realize that their children are what they eat. If they have a chemically imbalanced diet, their kids are going to be chemically imbalanced.
Exercise, the use of certain herbs, homeopathics, holistic medicine, chiropractic, home schooling, lots of love, and a happy home can also be very effective in promoting a healthy child. School officials need to stop stuffing Ritalin down the throats of our children because it’s easy and cost effective. Check your local school district and examine the facts. If you see this tragedy taking place, do what you can to stop it. Meet with other parents and spread the word. The children of today are the adults and leaders of tomorrow. Start asking questions. Stop being sheep. And don’t be intimidated by school officials, teachers, nurses, school shrinks, and other parents that tell you your child has be on Ritalin. No one can prescribe it for your kid unless you allow it. I realize that many of these good people of authority really are well-intended in their actions, but remember, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Take the upper hand and try and educate them. If you don’t change, they won’t change.
If you really want to help your kids, make the effort to get them away from the tv, computer, and video games before they head off to school, and use that time to spend some personal, quality time with them. Hold them, tell them you love them, give them your approval, and tell them how special they are. In the end, that’s all that counts. Miracles grow from seeds of love.
For additional information about this subject, or if you would like to listen to an incredible audio tape by Dr. Erwin Gemmer informing you about what he calls, “Conspiracy Against Our Children,” go on line at http://friendsofnarconon.org/ . You can also write to Grace Spina, c/o Spice Of Life Co., 15445 Ventura Blvd., Suite 115, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403, or fax her at 818.881.8248. Grace will be glad to share with you how you can receive the audio tape and additional information on nutriceuticals, full-food matrix supplements, glycoproteins, and phytochemicals.
Dr. Erwin Gemmer is a health practitioner with over twenty-five years experience. During his years of active chiropractic practice, he’s attended over 400,000 patient visits. He has also spoken to more than 1,200 audiences on health-related topics and over one million people have heard his, “Who Stole America’s Health Message.” For the last five years, Dr. Gemmer has devoted himself almost exclusively to researching the role of nutrition in adult and childhood disorders, and to sharing his findings with others. During this time, he also grown more and more concerned, both as a parent and as a professional, about a huge drug experiment occurring in communities throughout the nation. It’s a powerful message, believe me.
Balancing Motherhood with Career and Fitness
Life is seldom easy, especially when you decide to have a baby. Things definitely get more complicated, and if you’re like me, every thought you have, every decision you make, somehow includes that baby. It really is a big responsibility, but when I look at my beautiful boy every morning, I know in my heart the extra effort has really been worth it.
I was told a lot of things when I decided to get pregnant at 42 years of age. A lot of my friends said I was too old to have a child, others were convinced I’d have to give up my career, my vegan diet, and my daily exercise program. It’s amazing to me how they all claimed to be experts on childbearing yet most of them never had a kid of their own. What is it about people that they like to forecast the doom and gloom in everything?
The key phrase here is it doesn’t matter what other people think! It matters what you think. Sure you have to make adjustments when you become pregnant, but you can still live an active, happy and meaningful life. You don’t have to become a non-social couch potato, shoveling pizza down your throat in front of the TV set.
And, yes, post pregnancy can be a juggling act, too, but contrary to what most people would tell you, it is possible to balance motherhood with career and fitness. I know — I do it every day. I manufacture a very successful line of vegan food, I work constantly as a Hollywood actress and stuntwoman, I write, train at the gym Monday through Friday, and still find an hour or two to kickbox twice a week. And through it all, I’ve never veered whatsoever from my dietary beliefs, and I’m still able to spend quality time with my kid. He goes to the gym with me, to the dojo, we read together, go on weekend outings, watch movies, you name it. I know it sounds like a lot to accomplish at one time, but if you focus and make your day work for you, and you don’t dilly-dally around, it’s really surprising how much you can actually get done.
My son, Luke Gregory, just turned four. He’s a handful, no doubt. Not to mention that he contacted a virus when he was only two, and because of it, he became a juvenile diabetic. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to have to test him ten times a day, and if he’s really having a bad day, to inject him with insulin every three to four hours. It’s a tough go sometimes, especially when he sneaks food and his blood sugar skyrockets. It’s like having a kid on PCP! But you know what? I still find the time to make it all work, reminding myself that there are always at least twenty minutes in a day that I can put aside to keep my body in shape.
Don’t forget that your muscles have memory and by just following a fitness program that puts even a little resistance on those muscles, they will at least stay in fair shape, waiting for that odd day when your kid takes a longer nap than usual and you can spend a little more time working out. Consistency, consistency, consistency! Even if you just get out of bed five days a week and stretch and breathe, do ten push-ups, twenty-five sit-ups and fifty knee bends, it’s better than nothing.
What you don’t want to do is to stop training totally! Baby or no baby, you have to stay active. I know right after having Luke, I was able to keep my body surprisingly together by working out less than a half-hour a day. And remember, it’s only temporary. Kids eventually grow up, they go to school, and more time will come your way. The big mistake, if you’re a diehard like me, is thinking that the morning after you drop your kid, you can hit the gym and train the way you did before you got pregnant. Well, you can’t! So don’t get frustrated. You have to ease back into it, little by little.
I know after having Luke, my ninety-minute training frenzies went down to what some might call a wimpy fifteen to twenty minutes. But I always, at least, made sure that I worked one body part every day. And if my routine missed a day here and there, I always made up for it on the weekend or did a little extra the following day. I had to take the pressure off myself by being flexible yet consistent.
As Luke got older, I also made sure that I chose a gym that had a quality daycare facility. What a Godsend! Luke learned social skills early on by interrelating with other kids, he always had a place to burn off glucose, and in my case, his daycare teacher, Grace Spina, turned out to be the find of the century. So much so, my husband and I ended up hiring her to home school Luke three days a week. So look around. Most gyms today have daycare centers, but if for some reason yours doesn’t, you might want to try and talk them into making the small investment it takes to set one up. If not, you can always change gyms, or better yet, you may be one of the lucky ones who has a loving family member that can watch your child.
Early on, a friend of mine turned me on to a cheap jogging stroller. These are the greatest! Lightweight, easy to handle, they’re just what the doctor ordered when you want to throw your kid in something safe and get your overly tired butt out of the house. Even if it’s just to stretch your legs, breathe in some fresh air, and walk at a brisk pace. Luke used to love it when I pushed him fast, the wind blowing against his little pink cheeks. I was able to get my cardiovascular in, and he had the time of his life. As he matured, of course, he was able to jog right along with me, and most recently, he’s learning how to ride a bike with training wheels. They sure grow up fast! Now when I run, I can barely keep up with him.
Luke also loves to do sit-ups with me now. And what a joy it is to see a four year-old do a full-on stretching routine, leg lifts, and push-ups. My son is awesome! Boy, if you can get your kid into nutrition and exercise early on, you really are on your way to having an all-around healthy kid. There’s nothing like it. My husband and I get to stay in shape and share valuable time with our son at the same time.
And by just “doing it,” you’re also teaching your child the art of discipline. Sure, I sometimes miss getting up at 6:00 am, watching the sunrise, not having to think about making breakfast for three, cleaning up my son’s messy room, getting him washed and dressed, checking his glucose levels, etc. But you learn how to compromise. You give up something to get something else. Nothing in life comes free, and as I look back, it really hasn’t been that big of a deal. I now get some business out of the way in the morning, then hit the gym by noon. I work out with weights for about an hour, then grab Luke from daycare and we head for the aerobics room where he runs around like crazy, burning off steam. It’s great. He has a blast doing his own thing while I get to practice my martial arts kicks, boxing and stretching — whatever I can do for the 30 minutes I get the room. It’s just customizing your fitness program to fit your day. The important thing is I’m doing something for my body before I head back to my office for more work.
To me, it’s kind of like the “family that exercises together, stays together!” I know the time I spend with Luke always gives me the opportunity to teach him about the foods that are good for him and why it’s so important that he eats carbohydrates before he runs at the park or goes to the gym. The benefits of including your child in your fitness program far outweigh any of the disadvantages. And the bigger they get, the heavier they get. When your kid falls asleep in your arms in the grocery store or at the bank, boy, can you get a good bicep workout! Think about it. Shifting twenty to fifty pounds from one arm to the other while you write a check or make a bank deposit is one hell of an arm builder! And if you’re really innovative, while you’re waiting in a line, you can always do toe raises with your kid in your arms. Talk about a calf pump!
I know all this may sound a little ridiculous, but it’s really not. You get out of life what you put into it. There’s a universal law that says the more effort you put out, the greater the result. If you’re stuck behind a desk all day and your desk chair has arms, take a small break and do three sets of tricep push-ups in your seat. Or while you’re sitting at a stop light, focus on contracting your stomach muscles and releasing them several times until the light changes. Get creative. When you bend down to pick up your kid, squat down, then lift with your glutes. This will not only protect you from a serious back injury, but you’ll be able to tighten your butt at the same time!
And, as I said, children do grow up, and eventually, you’ll get back the time and energy you need to return to your original workout schedule. Until then, I want all you new mommies out there to do yourself a favor and don’t let yourself go! If you do, you’ll end up regretting it, and I’ve seen it happen. The longer you sit around, the harder it’ll be to get back into shape. Your muscles will atrophy and your incentive will slowly dwindle, making it next to impossible to get back in the swing of things. The thought of starting up all over again will become insurmountable — depression will set in, and the rest will be history.
I’m now back to my six day training schedule at World Gym in Woodland Hills, California, where sometimes I run into icons like Cory Everson, Cameo Kneur and Debbie McKnight. All three of them are incredible ladies and when we get together on the gym floor, it’s like an estrogen club — a great place for three warriors to share war stories while sweating it out. Debbie McKnight, for instance, is really amazing! She’s managed to stay in competitive shape while having and raising four kids.
Debbie’s been involved in fitness for nearly twenty years now, in one aspect or another — teaching dance and aerobics, personal training, club management, and operating her own training and nutrition company. For ten years, she participated in competitive bodybuilding, winning the NPC USA Championships in 1989, and competing internationally with the IFBB until retiring in 1994.
As a single mother of four (ages twenty, seventeen, five, and one), it’s really been a struggle for her balancing motherhood with career and fitness, but she made it happen. When her two older children were younger, in the peak of her bodybuilding days, Debbie had a schedule of riding her bike early in the morning before getting the kids off to school. Then, after a full day of work, she’d pick up the kids on the way to the gym, where they sat at the juice bar doing their homework while she trained.
After moving to Los Angeles, however, this regime no longer worked for her because the gym she joined didn’t offer any kind of daycare. She then had to sneak in her workout at lunch or not at all. She spent a lot of time on her bike at home while helping the kids with their assignments, sometimes only being able to train at five o’clock in the morning when they were still asleep.
Of course, it’s easier now, since Debbie’s no longer competing and just wants to stay fit. She integrates activity with outings with her kids. A friend of hers gave her a backpack to carry her youngest in, so now she can go on long canyon hikes when the weather is nice. She even uses it to walk up and down bleachers and around the track at a local school while her five year-old plays close-by. Another idea Debbie came up with was to find other moms to swap off babysitting with. “The kids can have a playdate while you grab a quick workout… then you can return the favor.”
The bottom line is that motherhood does get a little complicated sometimes, but such is life. You do what you have to do. But if you were to ask any so-called “fitness mom,” they’d be quick to tell you that exercise is probably the best stress reliever on the planet. To quote Debbie, “My fitness program is the only thing that gives me sanity when the pressure is high dealing with life as a single working Mom.”
So, you see, it can be done, whether you’re a pro-athlete or just trying to stay in shape. Learn to be creative. Make the most with what you have available. Juggle things around and learn to be patient. Remember, no matter how hard it gets, it’s only temporary. I know when I’ve reached my limit, it helps a lot when I remind myself that “this, too, shall pass.” And you know what, it does! But at least, while the time is passing, my body’s not falling apart and I’m keeping myself healthy. I may be losing my mind, but that, too, comes back when your kid throws his or her little arms around you and he or she tells you how much they love you.
Childhood Diseases – Vaccines and Burying the Truth Part 1
he doesn’t know the truth…”
– Alan Phillips, Director
Citizens for Healthcare Freedom
Terry was a beautiful baby, the only child born to parents in Alabama. Blond and blue-eyed with what his mother described as a “healthy pink glow” to his skin, Terry had been a happy, healthy, strong baby from birth. He was lifting his head and attempting to roll over when he was two months old.
When Terry was nine weeks old, his doctor gave him his first DPT shot and oral polio vaccinations. In the 48 hours after his vaccinations, Terry started to sleep more than usual and his mother couldn’t wake him up to eat. Terry’s breathing became shallow and the pretty pink glow of his skin turned gray and mottled. When Terry’s mother called the doctor’s office, she was told to wait until the morning to bring him in. But Terry’s mother was so worried she decided not to wait until morning and took her baby into the doctor’s office without an appointment.
When the nurse saw the color of Terry’s skin, she immediately grabbed him and started oxygen therapy. An ambulance was called to take him to the hospital. When the doctor asked Terry’s Mom what had happened to him, she reminded the doctor that Terry had just gotten vaccinated but the doctor said he did not think the vaccines had anything to do with Terry’s condition. Still, the doctor wrote on the medical chart that Terry should not receive any more DPT vaccine.
At the hospital, Terry was put on a respirator. For the next two months, Terry was fed through a tube in his nose and had to remain on the respirator 24 hours a day while one lab test after another was performed to try to find out what had happened to him. All the tests came back negative. Terry’s parents kept talking about the vaccines he had been given but nobody would listen.
Terry spent another nearly six months in a major hospital while doctors searched for a clue to the cause of his sudden collapse and paralysis. One muscle biopsy pointed to Werdig-Hoffman disease, which is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease, but a follow-up biopsy failed to support that finding.
When Terry returned home after nearly eight months in the hospital, a local neurologist researching the cause for Terry’s illness found a reference in the neurology textbook that the oral polio vaccine can mimic Wernig Hoffman disease.
Today Terry spends most of his time in bed or in a recliner while he is visited by teachers, physical therapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists. Because the respirator that keeps him alive is so big, he is unable to leave his house most of the time. Terry is still in diapers and must wear a permanent catheter because of kidney problems. Although he can sometimes swallow a little bit of solid food, he is primarily fed through a tube in his nose. His nurses suction him regularly to keep the tubes allowing him to eat and breathe clear, but he frequently goes into respiratory arrest and experiences other medical emergencies that send him to the hospital.
Even with the severe injuries that the live polio vaccine left him with, Terry loves Barney and likes to have his parents and therapists read to him. His Dad says he gives you a special look when he wants something. He loves to be picked up and held close but he can’t hug you back.
In 1996, the US Court of Claims in Washington, DC, officially acknowledged that Terry’s paralysis was caused by the live polio vaccine he received as a baby.
Sadly, Terry passed away on January 8, 1999.
Today, the only cases of polio in the US are caused by the live oral polio vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are eight to ten cases of vaccine associated polio in the US every year but there is a question about how many cases like Terry remain undiagnosed. It has become such an issue, that the CDC has changed the guideline to stop using the Oral vaccine in January 2000.
— National Vaccine Information Center
Are you aware that the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) have all reported cases similar to Terry’s? And, in addition to these reports, there are also hundreds of published medical studies that document other vaccine failures and their adverse effects on infants and toddlers, not to mention the several dozen books available that condemn the overuse, or even use at all, of vaccines. Considering all these reports, it amazes me that most pediatricians and parents today are completely unaware of these findings and will look at you like you are a child abuser if you don’t jump to immunize your child.
According to my research, the NVICP has paid out over one billion dollars to parents of vaccine-injured or killed children, at the expense of our taxpaying dollars. And since 1988, the NVICP has received over 5,000 petitions, 700 of which were for vaccine-related deaths, and there are still some 2,000 total death and injury cases pending that may take years to resolve. Wow!
How can this be? How can pharmaceutical companies, in good consciousness, continue to manufacture unnecessary vaccines when they know the damage, pain and suffering they are causing to so many innocent families? It seems to me that they are the ones that are becoming “immune” — immune from any accountability for the consequences of using their products. Even after extensive legal settlements for vaccine damage, these same companies have been allowed to use “gag orders” as a tool to prevent disclosure of information to the public about vaccination dangers. I find the whole thing outrageous, and I believe the American public has the right to know what’s been going on behind closed doors.
Do not get me wrong. I am not, in any way, telling parents to vaccinate or not to vaccinate their children. That is, obviously, only a choice a mother and/or father can make. But I would recommend that parents take a good look at all the data available to them before they decide to allow toxic, pustule viruses, sometimes mixed with thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative), to be shot into their child’s body. Remember, there is “what we know to be true… and then, there’s the actual truth.”
You may say, what does Spice know anyway? She’s not a doctor. But you know what, neither were Augusto and Michaela Odone when they fought to save the life of their beautiful son, Lorenzo, who was diagnosed in early 1984 with adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). After participating in several failed therapies, this incredible couple exercised dauntless faith, utilizing all their resources and more. They researched, researched and researched, refused to give up, and eventually found a cure for their son’s “incurable” brain disease. It was a miracle and their findings absolutely stunned the medical community! Their incredible love for their son and their unrelenting drive for the TRUTH uncovered a secret that conventional medicine was unable to find for itself. So don’t always believe everything the so-called experts tell you. Yes, doctors are educated, knowledgeable, and well-intended, but they’re not gods. They are human, conditioned by the media, and make mistakes just like everybody else. Take your personal power back by finding your own answers in life. Research, ask questions, and most of all, use your intuition. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. I never came upon my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”
Thimerosal has been used as an additive to biologics and vaccines since the 1930’s because it is very effective in the killing of bacteria and for preventing bacterial contamination, particularly in opened multi-dose containers. The problem is that it contains 49.6% mercury by weight and is metabolized to ethyl mercury and thiosalicylate in the body. This is not a good thing when you consider that mercury toxicity is a serious issue these days. So much so, that on July 7, 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued, along with the Public Health Service, a joint statement that alerted all clinicians and the public of their deep concern over the consequences of using thimerosal. What’s even scarier is that all whole-cell diphtheria-tetanus- pertussis (DTP) preparations widely used today contain thimerosal and nobody seems to be doing much about it.
Vaccines, vaccines, vaccines! When will it stop? We have shots for hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), Haemophilus influenzae type b, and chickenpox. From the moment a child is born into our beloved country, he or she is barely able to digest his or her mother’s breast milk before a needle is shoved into his or her fragile little body to introduce the hepatitis B virus. And if the same infant has a hepatitis B-negative mother, he or she will receive a second dose of heptitis B vaccine at least one month after the first dose, with a third dose shortly thereafter. Think about it. Before a kid even reaches puberty, the following vaccines and schedules will more than likely be administered and adhered to by conventional pediatricians:
i) DTaP (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine) given four times by the age of 18 months, with subsequent routine boosters every ten years;
ii) three H. influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccines before the 6 month mark;
iii) two inactivated poliovirus vaccines by the age of 2 and 4 months, followed by two oral doses at 12 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years;
iv) the rotavirus vaccine which was created to combat severe diarrhea among children 6 months to 2 years of age. (I think it’s important to note that health care providers were being warned about this vaccine and have being asked to suspend its administration to unimmunized and partially-immunized children. It was causing a condition know as “intussusception,” a disorder wherein the intestines begin to telescope in on themselves which, in turn, causes severe pain and blockage). It is now dead and gone and will not be used again;
v) the second dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) at age 4 to 6 (the first having been given at 12 to 15 months), and then finally, the varicella vaccine is administered to replace the “chickenpox parties” that most of us over the age of forty remember having when we were kids.
Taking into consideration this relentless self-induced “virus invasion,” is it any wonder why our children have weak immune systems today!!! Nature gave us our immune systems, and believe it or not, it wasn’t doing that bad of a job before we began pumping a grab bag of diseases into our little ones. The two key questions parents need to ask themselves are whether vaccines actually work, and if so, are they prepared to gamble with the growing number of adverse reactions children seem to be experiencing by receiving them. Health authorities may credit vaccines for disease declines, and assure us of their safety and effectiveness, but these seemingly rock-solid assumptions are directly contradicted by health statistics, medical studies, FDA and CDC reports, and reputable research scientists from around the world. In fact, according to Alan Phillips, independent investigator and writer on vaccine risks and alternatives, infectious diseases steadily declined for decades prior to vaccinations. His extensive studies also show that there are thousands of vaccine reactions each year that result in hundreds of deaths, maladies and permanent disabilities, including chronic immunological and neurological conditions. Something is wrong here and we need to open our eyes and really look at the facts.
According to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, childhood diseases decreased 90% between 1850 and 1940, paralleling improved sanitation and hygienic practices, well before mandatory vaccination programs were even implemented. In fact, both smallpox and polio immunization campaigns were followed initially by significant disease increases, and during smallpox campaigns, other infectious diseases continued their declines in the absence of vaccines. I, for one, know my dear friends, Paul Dallas and Don Laing, both got polio from their vaccines when they were children. Did Paul and Don’s vaccines protect them? I think not. And it seems to me that vaccine advocates point to incidence statistics rather than mortality rates as proof of vaccine effetiveness.
At best, vaccinations can be credited with only a small percentage of the overall decline in disease related deaths during the 20th century. And even this small portion is questionable since the rate of decline remained virtually the same after vaccines were introduced. Whether or not vaccines actually helped in the decline of these diseases is hard to say in light of the many variables which brought about the initial declines such as improved sanitation, hygiene, improvements in diet, and natural disease cycles. It was a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report which found that the disease and mortality rates in third world countries have no direct correlation with immunization procedures or medical treatment, but are rather closely related to their standard of hygiene and diet. So, credit given to vaccinations for our current disease incidence is, and I agree with Alan Phillips, grossly exaggerated, if not outright misplaced. Measles, mumps, small pox, polio, and Hib outbreaks have all occurred in vaccinated populations. In fact, in 1989, the CDC even reported a measles outbreak in a documented, 100% vaccinated population.
The clinical evidence for vaccinations is their ability to stimulate antibody production in the recipient, a fact that no one can dispute. What is not clear, however, is whether or not such antibody production constitutes immunity. “Agamma globulin-anemic” children are incapable of producing antibodies, yet they recover from infectious diseases almost as quickly as other children. It was noted by the British Medical Council in 1950, during a diphtheria epidemic, that there was no relationship between antibody counts and disease incidence; researchers found resistant people with extremely low antibody counts and sick people with high counts. Natural immunization is a complex phenomenon involving many organs and systems; it cannot be fully replicated by the artificial stimulation of antibody production.
Viera Scheibner, PhD, is a retired principal research scientist with a doctorate in natural sciences. She has published three books and some 90 scientific papers in scientific journals. During the 1980’s, she helped develop the Cotwatch breathing monitor for babies at risk of cot death or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Her extensive research into vaccines and vaccinations brought her to writing “Vaccination: The Medical Assault on the Immune System,” published in 1993. She has found a definite link between “shaken baby syndrome” and Vaccinations. “Sometimes,” says Dr. Scheibner, “A hepatitis B injection is given shortly after birth while the mother and child are still in the hospital. However, a great number of babies now die within days or within two to four weeks of birth after hepatitis B vaccination, as documented by the records of the VAERS in the USA. So, the baby stops progressing, starts deteriorating, and usually develops signs of respiratory tract infection. Then comes the second and third injections, and tragedy strikes: the child may cry intensely and inconsolably, may stop feeding properly, vomit, may have difficulty swallowing, become irritable, stop sleeping, and may develop convulsions with accelerating progressive deterioration of its condition and mainly its brain function.”
What Viera Scheibner writes about in her published work found in Nexus Magazine, Volume 5, #5, Aug-Sept ‘98, is a definite link to vaccines and brain swelling, intracranial bleeding, ocular retinal hemorrhages, and broken skull and other bones found in babies of parents that had been unjustly accused of abusing their children. Says Dr. Scheibner, “Ever since the mass vaccination of infants began, reports of serious brain, cardiovascular, metabolic and other injuries started filling pages of medical journals.” This is not surprising to me considering that vaccines, like the pertussis vaccine, are actually used to induce encephalo-myelitis (experimental allergic encephalomyelitis) in laboratory animals. (Levine, S. and Sowinski, R. (1973), “Hyperacute allergic encephalomyelitis,” Am. J. Pathol. 73:247-260). What a nightmare!
In closing, I have decided to bring this information to you in two parts as it is virtually impossible for me say all that I’m compelled to say in only a few pages. With permission, I have tried to take as much information from reputable books, articles, journals and web sites that I could to instill in you a need and want to educate yourself to a much greater level. Know that there are three exemptions from having your child subjected to vaccines within the United States: medical, religious and philosophical. If, after you have studied all the data, you still choose to vaccinate your child, then at least find out the safest way to do so. Heed any warnings from the AAP, ACIP, and the actual vaccination manufacturers themselves, i.e., is your child acutely sick with fever or respiratory infections, currently taking medication that may suppress the immune system, does he or she have a personal history of convulsions or neurological disease, is your child past his or her seventh birthday, or has he or she had severe reactions to a previous dose, etc. National Vaccine Information Center lists additional contraindications that are available on a web site called www.909shot, or you can call 1-800-909-SHOT.
Until, next time, please don’t let you and your children suffer because you were not an informed parent!
Pregnancy and the First Trimester
Well, if you read my last article, you know that I’m now well into my second trimester (26 weeks total to be exact).And contrary to what a lot of women have said to me, “The second trimester’s a breeze compared to the first,” up until a couple of weeks ago, I have continued to experience a poor appetite, insomnia, indigestion, headaches, diarrhea, back pain and nausea.So, I guess the lesson I learned is not to necessarily believe everything I hear, and that every woman is different.
And I got to tell you, since I got pregnant, it seems everyone I talk to is an expert on pregnancy.Doesn’t anyone respect a person’s space anymore?People tell me how I should feel, how I should eat, what I should wear, even what kind of doctor should deliver my baby.Guys, give me a break!I’m a well-educated free spirit that does her homework, and I’m more than capable of making my own decisions in life.I don’t mind someone’s opinion if I ask for it, but just to force it down my throat when I’m obviously not interested, to me, is a sign of self-indulgence.And believe me, when these same people quiet down long enough to hear what I have to say, they totally freak out, “Oh, my god, you’re not eating any meat or dairy?!””You’re still kick boxing, lifting weights and walking 30 minutes a day?!””What do you mean you don’t have a doctor?””You can’t have a baby in a birthing center — what if you need a C-section?!”Theprehistoric babble goes on and on.
Well, my dear skeptics, if any one of you happen to be reading this article, let it be known that I’m now feeling better than ever, the baby’s as healthy as can be, and my blood work shows that my protein count is equal to or greater than those who eat meat.The key is not to allow antiquated thinking to dictate your life.If it feels right for you to remain or become a vegetarian during pregnancy, then do it.It’s your choice, and it doesn’t matter what other people think.If it did, adventurers like Christopher Columbus would have never ventured out and discovered America for fear of falling off the edge of the Earth.Don’t be pressured by well-intentioned but ignorant family and friends who try to talk you out of your vegetarian convictions.If they’re eating right and properly supplementing their diet with high grade vitamins and IV pharmaceutical grade “free-form” amino acids, pregnant vegetarians can get more than enough protein in their diet, and mommy and baby will be as healthy as humanly possible.
In fact, a 1990 report by the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences that determines the government’s Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDA’s) concluded that vegetarians are more likely to have adequate intakes of vitamin A during pregnancy than meat-eating women — an important point when you consider that Vitamin A deficiencies have been linked to a large number of miscarriages, not to mention that birth defects are commonly linked to a lack of folic acid which is commonly found in raw green vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals.Many meat-based diets lack these essential vegetables and whole grains in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Your family and friends may not perceive protein deficiency to be really that big of a deal during the first trimester when you’re eating a lot of complex carbohydrates to build a fat and healthy placenta, but during the second trimester, when the fetus is busy growing its vital organs such as the brain and heart, believe me, you’re going to be bombarded with ill-informed people who will become extremely concerned about whether or not your baby is receiving enough protein to grow.This is simply hogwash (no pun intended), and anyone questioning you about your protein intake because you’re a vegetarian is simply not up to date on the latest vegetarian research.All you have to do is check the facts and you’ll clearly see that many doctors are now warning their patients to cut back on meat because of its tendency to deplete calcium from the body, resulting in osteoporosis.And we all know how important calcium levels are to the skeletal development of the fetus.
As for me, I’m what is known in the nutritional world as a “vegan” — someone who refuses to eat anything that comes from an animal, including fish.In other words, I never eat anything that had a mommy!There are, however, several other types of vegetarians (the word vegetarian, by the way, is not derived from the word vegetable, but rather from the Latin term “vegetus” which means whole, sound, fresh or lively): There are semi-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, eggs, chicken and fish, but no red meat;pesco-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, eggs and fish, but no other animal foods;lacto-ovo vegetarians that consume dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh; lacto-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, but no eggs or animal foods;ovo-vegetarians that consume eggs, but no other animal food; and fruitarians that consume only fruit, nuts, seeds, olive oil, honey and occasionally whole grains.
It’s my personal belief, however, that the consumption of meat and poultry are potentially very dangerous during pregnancy — especially if you think about the amount of chemical toxins that bio-accumulate in the bodies of North American animals year after year until they’re digested by humans.Unlike the pesticides on many plant foods, these chemicals unfortunately cannot be washed off.And what about the incredible amount of antibiotics and sulphur drugs that are given to these animals, not to mention the hormones that are regularly added to their feed in order to accelerate their growth?Where do you think these poisons go?I’ll tell you where they go: into the bloodstream of the unsuspecting mother and her fetus.
And when it comes to fish, you can’t believe how contaminated United States waters are.Swordfish, marlin and bluefish are exceptionally dangerous, and any fish from the Great Lakes or the Hudson River should be completely avoided during pregnancy (and in general).Freshwater carp, wild catfish, lake trout, mackerel, striped bass and whitefish are likely to contain high levels of PCBs and also should not be eaten.
Then, of course, there’s “good old dairy products” (what a joke) which are linked to allergies, systemic candida albicans, yeast infections, and gut-lining bacteria overgrowth.Stay away from them.They coat the stomach lining and intestines, inhibit digestion, and cause most of the food you eat to rot and putrefy.Bear in mind that most people that eat meat and dairy products only absorb between 20% to 30% of their daily calcium intake, or about 240 mg’s per day, in comparison to those that get their calcium from the likes of broccoli and leafy vegetables.Think about it.Four ounces of tofu processed with calcium sulfate has 250 to 765 mg’s of totally digestible calcium, and a cup of cooked collard greens, spinach or turnip greens has over 350 mg’s of calcium.There’s also many legumes to consider, including pinto beans, black beans and soybeans which have at least 100 mg’s of calcium in a half-cup serving, not to mention the wellspring of calcium found in sesame seeds, fortified soymilks and blackstrap molasses.
If it’s protein you’re after, there’s plenty of meat alternatives to choose from.Not only do they taste like the so-called “real thing,” they’re complete proteins free from carcinogens, hormones and saturated fats.All you have to do, if you haven’t already, is take a trip to your local health food store and look around.You’ll be amazed at what’s out there and how good everything tastes.There’s soy burgers and cheeses, tofu hot dogs, seitan, tempeh burgers, even my own product line of textured vegetable protein (TVP) called”Spice of Life Meatless Meats.”
In closing, as a pregnant vegan, I must say I have noticed a tremendous change in my muscle density.And yes, I’m not quite as strong as I was before, and no, I’m not 9% body fat right now.But you know what, who cares?It’s only a nine month process.At least I’m healthy — my hair, nails and skin getting thicker, stronger and more beautiful by the minute.I truly have that “prego glow,” and I know as I continue to train during my pregnancy (with modifications of course), I will come out of it all with leaner, denser and thicker muscle tissue than ever before.So, don’t think pregnancy is going to ruin your body forever.Sure, it will slow you down for a while, but if you do your work, I think you’ll be very surprised in the end.Not only will you have created the miracle of life, you will have created the miracle of a beautiful body.
The following chart shows a cross-section of healthy foods, including whole grains, vegetables and fruits, designed to show you that you don’t have to necessarily eat meat to get adequate protein.
|Food||Protein Count||Carb Count||Fat Count|
per 1 tofu hot dog
|8 grams||1 gram||0 grams|
|15 grams||10 grams||3 grams|
|17 grams||16 grams||6 grams|
|21 grams||14 grams||1 gram|
|7 grams||43 grams||0 grams|
|Fat Free Soy Cheese 1 oz||7 grams||2 grams||0 grams|
|6 grams||6 grams||16 grams|
1 cup cooked
|14.8 grams||42 grams||1 gram|
|Beans (Garbanzo) 1/2 cup raw||20.5 grams||61.0 grams||4.8 grams|
|Rice (Brown)1 cup cooked||3.8 grams||37 grams||0.9 grams|
|Pasta1 cup cooked||6.6 grams||37 grams||0.9 grams|
|EdenSoy Milk 8.45 fl oz||8 grams||25 grams||3 grams|
|Soy Yogurt 8 oz.||7 grams||32 grams||4 grams|
|Whole Grain Bread 1 slice||3.7 grams||14 grams||0.1 grams|
|Firm Tofu 4 oz||15.2grams||4.5 grams||6 grams|
|Broccoli 1 cup cooked||4.6 grams||6.7 grams||0.4 grams|
|Brussel Sprouts 1 cup cooked||5.5 grams||8.3 grams||0.5 grams|
|Papaya 1 large||2.4 grams||40 grams||0 grams|
|Raisins 1 cup dried||4 grams||111 grams||0 grams|
|“Spice of Life” Meatless Meats
2 oz (reconstituted)
|10 grams||4 grams||3 grams|
Eating or Not Eating For All the Wrong Reasons
Are you eating for your health or for how you look in your clothes? Answer a few of these questions to find out what your priorities are and who dictates your health. The fashion industry, or how you feel?
- Do you buy foods because they advertise the words “light” and “low fat”?
- Do you order only a salad for lunch because you think it’s diet food?
- Do you fast for a day or two after you pigged out the night before?
- Do you feel you need water pills to make you feel skinner?
- Do you use laxatives after you ate food you think is fattening?
- Do you think avocados are fattening?
- Do you think baked potatoes are fattening?
- Do you avoid all fats, including plant oils?
- Do you exercise without eating carbohydrates before you train?
- Do you step on the scale to measure your diet progress or failure?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be choosing your foods for the wrong reasons. We need to look at our food as chemistry that will be working with our biochemistry or body. And it’s our consciousness of health that will keep us on the right track and not be swayed by sales propaganda used to sell a product.
Do you buy foods because they advertise the words “light” and “low fat”?
Here’s where nutritional education is extremely important. Many people have receive such poor information over the years by food companies that want to stay in the so called “health revolution”. These companies have altered their ingredients so as to use the latest buss words like, “light” and “low fat”.
Using artificial ingredients, dyes, partially hydrogenated oils and artificial sweeteners to substitute for what some people believe to be fatten are not only dangerous to the body, but can work against your endeavor to look and feel healthy. These terms are misleading and geared for the uneducated buyer. So what if the nutritional label reads zero fat, zero carbs and zero protein and zero cholesterol….so does bleach. But you wouldn’t want to put it into your body. You feel like you’re getting away Scott free because the numbers are low to zero, but in reality, you could be doing more harm to your body by taking in artificial substances. Always read the ingredients and look for products that offer natural ingredients. The body can only utilize and recognize what is natural to it. So if you’re choosing your salad dressing because it says its “light”, check the ingredient list and see if the ingredients are healthy.
Do you order only a salad for lunch because you think it’s diet food?
So many people think eating just a salad at lunch is being healthy or will keep them skinny. It’s so important to have a health consciousness. You know, like spiritual consciousness or body consciousness. In choosing your food for lunch, you should ask yourself if you’ve had your protein for the day, or do you need more carbohydrates. Sometimes when you don’t eat enough food, your body goes into a starvation mode and hoards the fat thinking it will need it for a raining day. If you think you can out smart your body, you have to get up pretty early and have a talk with God. Now if your choice was made because none of the food looked good, safe, not up to your standards, then your making a conscious thought and must decided where and when you’ll be able to supple yourself the missing protein or carbs for that day. But thinking that just a salad is ok because you’re afraid of eating for fear of getting fat, then you’ve made the wrong choice.
Do you fast for a day or two after you pigged out the night before?
I always laugh when someone tells me at a party, “I’m eating so much, but it’s ok ‘cuz I’ll just fast for the next two days.” You’re body is going to use what it can, and store what is doesn’t have time for and waste a lot of energy detoxifying itself from the trauma it receives from an out of control party guest. Most miscombined foods will rot and putrefy, turn to gases and poisons and cause you a lot of gastrointestinal uncomfortablness the next couple days. The stomach is 104 degrees and with all the acids pouring into your digestive tract to handle the food, the combination becomes lethal. However, the peristalses ( intestinal muscle reaction of pushing food through the intestines) proceeds whether or not your food has been digested. Without scrubbing, cleansing and enzymic foods to following the food extravaganza to help flush out the obnoxious mess, then you have to wait until it finally rids itself. But just like an extra rinse cycle in your washing machine, it’s important to learn to use your foods instead of abusing them. Fresh pineapple, papaya, kiwis, strawberries, mangos and grapefruits are very high in the enzyme bromelan and papain. These fruits are excellent to eat when you want to cleanse the intestines and large colon.
Do you feel you need water pills to make you feel skinner?
Probably one of the most dangerous and misused drugs is Lasix. A drug known as a water pill that is used for edema ( An excessive accumulation of serous fluid in tissue spaces or a body cavity). Many people, mostly women, will use this pill when they are close or having their menstrual. Extracting the water out of your tissues may temporary make you feel less uncomfortable, but when it’s because you ate too much, you are not going to lose any weight. Weight is muscle and bones. Water molecules adhere themselves to carbohydrates. If you pigged out on too many carbs, then cut back on the carbs the next day and eat more cleansing fruits and vegetables. Believe it or not, watermelon is an excellent diuretic food and the vitamin B-6(peridoxal-5-phosphate) will also work as a safe supplement in adding you to shed some H20. But water is water and fat is fat. You lose a little water, drink a glass of water and you’re right back were you started. Using Lasix or any diuretic to!
Feeling skinny is extremely unhealthy and should be avoided.
Do you use laxatives after you ate food you think is fattening?
Laxatives work by forcing fluids into the bowels to create a softening effect. In doing this, you can put yourself into grave danger by extracting your electrolytes. People who use laxatives to lose the food they ate, lose a lot more than just the food substrate(the material or substance on which an enzyme acts.) If you think rushing your food out of your body with an EXlax or Correctol is going to prevent you from gaining fat, you are horribly wrong. You are better off eating cleansing foods and less carbs for a couple of days and maybe up your cardio a little. But thinking you can quick fix a pig out with a laxative is the most uneducated choice one can make.
Do you think avocados are fattening? The body is made up of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It’s the kind of fat you put into your body that makes it fat. Not just any fat. Certain fatty acids are extremely beneficial to your body and actually help you to lose fat. Avocado are made up of protein and fats. However, this kind of plant fat is actually good for you. Especially because it hasn’t been altered by denaturing processing in order to extract the oil for other purposes. Now, just because an avocado is good for you, does not mean eating five a day is better. Even healthy food can over load the system and cause harm to the body. But understand that the body does have a balancing mechanism. You need more carbohydrates than proteins and more proteins than fats. Essential fatty acids balance your hormones, keep your skin soft, your hair nice and immune system strong. Every body is different, but their is not one body out there that can exist without any fats. So choose the health fats and keep your body in balance.
Do you think baked potatoes and whole grains are fattening?
A baked potato or a bowl of whole grains/rice, is a complex carbohydrate. Eating before you train, or to sustain you in a long day at work, for a mid-afternoon snack, these little bundles of minerals and carbs are perfect little meals that can keep us going up to 4 hours. One average size potato is about 21 grams of carbohydrates, where 1/2 cup of whole grains could be up to 44 grams and will turn into glucose for energy. This kind of energy can actually help your body burn fat. For instance, at the gym, when you are feeling energized, you train better and harder and therefore can burn up more than if your were feeling sluggish and tired trying to force your way through a work out. Bake potatoes have no ingredient list and neither do whole grains.. Man did not make these carbohydrates, he must grow them. They are pure and natural and the body accepts them without confusion. What is fattening is what people chose to put on them!
Do you avoid all fats, including plant oils?
When you avoid all fats, you are setting yourself up for an imbalance. And in actuality, the right kind of fats will help you shed some unwanted fat. The key is in what kind of fat you use, buy, and how you use your fats. I will only purchase oils that are from organic sources and have been cold pressed under strict refrigerated control. They are put into a black bottle to keep the light from denaturing it and Kept in the refrigerated state. I treat my oils like medicine. They are not to used with heat and I take from the bottle what I need and put the lid back on fast and very tight. Oxygen and heat are the biggest destroyers of these precious fats. These little guys can save your life. People who go completely fat free are making uneducated choices. You have to have the essential fatty acids(omega 3,6 & 9) in your body to balance your metabolism. All of these come from plants. Flax seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed, borage, olive, etc… Learn to use these oils by pouring them onto your foods, mixing in a protein shake or just taking a couple of tablespoons a day to assure you’re getting your proper intake.
Do you exercise without eating carbohydrates before you train?
One of the most dangerous actions is to exercise without carbohydrates in your system. You would never go on a long trip without fueling up your car and checking the oil and fluid levels. Yet people will get up and go to the gym without any food to power them through their work outs. These same people believe that their body will burn fat instead for fuel. Wrong. The body’s not that stupid. It needs amino acids for glycogenic fuel and glucose for energy. In twenty minutes of concentrated thinking, the brain uses more glucose than the body does in a full hour of working out. What does this tell us. The brain is a very demanding organ. If the body doesn’t have the right amount of glucose or fuel, it will beg, barrow and steal from other organs, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The heart is a great source of tissue to eat up for the brain. This is why anorexic die of heart attacks. The walls of the chambers in their hearts become so thin from a process known as catabolization. It’s almost like the body become a cannibal and begins to eat itself up in search for fuel. All that hard work you put into building muscle can be thwarted by not sufficiently carbing up before you exercise. All because you think you’ll burn fat for fuel if you don’t eat. This is very wrong and dangerous.
Do you step on the scale to measure your diet progress or failure?
When ever I’ve counseled a person, the first thing I make them do is throw out their scale. This stupid little metal box is not God. The scale can not tell you how much weight you have lost or gained. Listen closely. If you take a piece of meat and drop it into a glass of water is will sink to the bottom. If you take the fat from it and drop it into a glass of water it will float. Weight sinks, fat floats. One pound of meat can fit into your hand, one pound of fat is like a pound of cotton balls. If you are becoming leaner, denser or firmer, you are most likely are going to weight more. But if the scale says you weight less, it could be that you lost muscle and still have the fat. This little box has cause more dieters to crash and it’s all a mental game because it’s not accurate. If you want to weigh your fat vs. your muscle, have your body immerse in water in a fat composition test to see how much fat you have. That’s one of the best ways to measure your progress and throw the damn scale out the window. I have to laugh every time the doctor puts me on it. He has no idea what I’m made up of. A lot of fat and little muscle or a lot of muscle and little fat. How is the scale going to tell him that. It’s so antiquated and yet, every gym and doctors office continues to tract their progress that way. I say do the pinch test. grab a handful of fat and skin and check every other week to see if your grabbing any less or more. If you get use to assessing yourself and become more in tune with your body without a little box telling you some kind of a number, you’ll find you have more control over your life and eating choices.
Be your own truth seeker. Ask yourself why you are eating what you’re eating. Try to categorize your answer. For your health, don’t like the way your body looks, or emotionally you feel a void. Take your power back by making conscious decisions about what foods you put into your mouth. And know that if you are completely honest about it and decide that it’s because you feel hurt, lonely or scared, that’s ok too. At least you’ll be getting in touch with your feelings and ultimately be able to separated your foods from your emotions and make educated choices for yourself.
Pregnancy and Vegetarian Diet
Well, if you read my last article, you know that I’m now well into my second trimester (26 weeks total to be exact). And contrary to what a lot of women have said to me, “The second trimester’s a breeze compared to the first,” up until a couple of weeks ago, I have continued to experience a poor appetite, insomnia, indigestion, headaches, diarrhea, back pain and nausea. So, I guess the lesson I learned is not to necessarily believe everything I hear, and that every woman is different.
And I got to tell you, since I got pregnant, it seems everyone I talk to is an expert on pregnancy. Doesn’t anyone respect a person’s space anymore? People tell me how I should feel, how I should eat, what I should wear, even what kind of doctor should deliver my baby. Guys, give me a break! I’m a well-educated free spirit that does her homework, and I’m more than capable of making my own decisions in life. I don’t mind someone’s opinion if I ask for it, but just to force it down my throat when I’m obviously not interested, to me, is a sign of self-indulgence. And believe me, when these same people quiet down long enough to hear what I have to say, they totally freak out, “Oh, my god, you’re not eating any meat or dairy?!” “You’re still kick boxing, lifting weights and walking 30 minutes a day?!” “What do you mean you don’t have a doctor?” “You can’t have a baby in a birthing center — what if you need a C-section?!” The prehistoric babble goes on and on.
Well, my dear skeptics, if any one of you happen to be reading this article, let it be known that I’m now feeling better than ever, the baby’s as healthy as can be, and my blood work shows that my protein count is equal to or greater than those who eat meat. The key is not to allow antiquated thinking to dictate your life. If it feels right for you to remain or become a vegetarian during pregnancy, then do it. It’s your choice, and it doesn’t matter what other people think. If it did, adventurers like Christopher Columbus would have never ventured out and discovered America for fear of falling off the edge of the Earth. Don’t be pressured by well-intentioned but ignorant family and friends who try to talk you out of your vegetarian convictions. If they’re eating right and properly supplementing their diet with high grade vitamins and IV pharmaceutical grade “free-form” amino acids, pregnant vegetarians can get more than enough protein in their diet, and mommy and baby will be as healthy as humanly possible. In fact, a 1990 report by the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences that determines the government’s Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDA’s) concluded that vegetarians are more likely to have adequate intakes of vitamin A during pregnancy than meat-eating women — an important point when you consider that Vitamin A deficiencies have been linked to a large number of miscarriages, not to mention that birth defects are commonly linked to a lack of folic acid which is commonly found in raw green vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals. Many meat-based diets lack these essential vegetables and whole grains in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Your family and friends may not perceive protein deficiency to be really that big of a deal during the first trimester when you’re eating a lot of complex carbohydrates to build a fat and healthy placenta, but during the second trimester, when the fetus is busy growing its vital organs such as the brain and heart, believe me, you’re going to be bombarded with ill-informed people who will become extremely concerned about whether or not your baby is receiving enough protein to grow. This is simply hogwash (no pun intended), and anyone questioning you about your protein intake because you’re a vegetarian is simply not up to date on the latest vegetarian research. All you have to do is check the facts and you’ll clearly see that many doctors are now warning their patients to cut back on meat because of its tendency to deplete calcium from the body, resulting in osteoporosis. And we all know how important calcium levels are to the skeletal development of the fetus.
As for me, I’m what is known in the nutritional world as a “vegan” — someone who refuses to eat anything that comes from an animal, including fish. In other words, I never eat anything that had a mommy! There are, however, several other types of vegetarians (the word vegetarian, by the way, is not derived from the word vegetable, but rather from the Latin term “vegetus” which means whole, sound, fresh or lively): There are semi-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, eggs, chicken and fish, but no red meat; pesco-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, eggs and fish, but no other animal foods; lacto-ovo vegetarians that consume dairy foods and eggs, but no animal flesh; lacto-vegetarians that consume dairy foods, but no eggs or animal foods; ovo-vegetarians that consume eggs, but no other animal food; and fruitarians that consume only fruit, nuts, seeds, olive oil, honey and occasionally whole grains.
It’s my personal belief, however, that the consumption of meat and poultry are potentially very dangerous during pregnancy — especially if you think about the amount of chemical toxins that bio-accumulate in the bodies of North American animals year after year until they’re digested by humans. Unlike the pesticides on many plant foods, these chemicals unfortunately cannot be washed off. And what about the incredible amount of antibiotics and sulphur drugs that are given to these animals, not to mention the hormones that are regularly added to their feed in order to accelerate their growth? Where do you think these poisons go? I’ll tell you where they go: into the bloodstream of the unsuspecting mother and her fetus.
And when it comes to fish, you can’t believe how contaminated United States waters are. Swordfish, marlin and bluefish are exceptionally dangerous, and any fish from the Great Lakes or the Hudson River should be completely avoided during pregnancy (and in general). Freshwater carp, wild catfish, lake trout, mackerel, striped bass and whitefish are likely to contain high levels of PCBs and also should not be eaten.
Then, of course, there’s “good old dairy products” (what a joke) which are linked to allergies, systemic candida albicans, yeast infections, and gut-lining bacteria overgrowth. Stay away from them. They coat the stomach lining and intestines, inhibit digestion, and cause most of the food you eat to rot and putrefy. Bear in mind that most people that eat meat and dairy products only absorb between 20% to 30% of their daily calcium intake, or about 240 mg’s per day, in comparison to those that get their calcium from the likes of broccoli and leafy vegetables. Think about it. Four ounces of tofu processed with calcium sulfate has 250 to 765 mg’s of totally digestible calcium, and a cup of cooked collard greens, spinach or turnip greens has over 350 mg’s of calcium. There’s also many legumes to consider, including pinto beans, black beans and soybeans which have at least 100 mg’s of calcium in a half-cup serving, not to mention the wellspring of calcium found in sesame seeds, fortified soymilks and blackstrap molasses.
If it’s protein you’re after, there’s plenty of meat alternatives to choose from. Not only do they taste like the so-called “real thing,” they’re complete proteins free from carcinogens, hormones and saturated fats. All you have to do, if you haven’t already, is take a trip to your local health food store and look around. You’ll be amazed at what’s out there and how good everything tastes. There’s soy burgers and cheeses, tofu hot dogs, seitan, tempeh burgers, even my own product line of textured vegetable protein (TVP) called “Spice of Life Meatless Meats.”
In closing, as a pregnant vegan, I must say I have noticed a tremendous change in my muscle density. And yes, I’m not quite as strong as I was before, and no, I’m not 9% body fat right now. But you know what, who cares? It’s only a nine month process. At least I’m healthy — my hair, nails and skin getting thicker, stronger and more beautiful by the minute. I truly have that “prego glow,” and I know as I continue to train during my pregnancy (with modifications of course), I will come out of it all with leaner, denser and thicker muscle tissue than ever before. So, don’t think pregnancy is going to ruin your body forever. Sure, it will slow you down for a while, but if you do your work, I think you’ll be very surprised in the end. Not only will you have created the miracle of life, you will have created the miracle of a beautiful body.
The following chart shows a cross-section of healthy foods, including whole grains, vegetables and fruits, designed to show you that you don’t have to necessarily eat meat to get adequate protein.
|Food||Protein Count||Carb Count||Fat Count|
per 1 tofu hot dog
|8 grams||1 gram||0 grams|
|15 grams||10 grams||3 grams|
|17 grams||16 grams||6 grams|
|21 grams||14 grams||1 gram|
|7 grams||43 grams||0 grams|
|Fat Free Soy Cheese
|7 grams||2 grams||0 grams|
|6 grams||6 grams||16 grams|
1 cup cooked
|14.8 grams||42 grams||1 gram|
1/2 cup raw
|20.5 grams||61.0 grams||4.8 grams|
1 cup cooked
|3.8 grams||37 grams||0.9 grams|
1 cup cooked
|6.6 grams||37 grams||0.9 grams|
8.45 fl oz
|8 grams||25 grams||3 grams|
|7 grams||32 grams||4 grams|
|Whole Grain Bread
|3.7 grams||14 grams||0.1 grams|
|15.2 grams||4.5 grams||6 grams|
1 cup cooked
|4.6 grams||6.7 grams||0.4 grams|
1 cup cooked
|5.5 grams||8.3 grams||0.5 grams|
|2.4 grams||40 grams||0 grams|
1 cup dried
|4 grams||111 grams||0 grams|
|“Spice of Life”
2 oz (reconstituted)
|10 grams||4 grams||3 grams|
Nine Months & Still Kicking
I usually have the energy of three people, but I have to admit, 38 weeks into my pregnancy, I was feeling pretty tired. It was an overcast Tuesday morning when I dragged myself out of bed, forcing myself through my usual wake-up ritual of fresh pineapple, mangos, papayas, strawberries and other various fruits from the tropics. I then headed for the bathroom, took care of business there, finishing up with a large bowl of whole-grain breakfast cereal covered in soy milk.
I got to the gym about 8:30, started stretching by 8:45, kickboxed until 10:00, then all but crawled over to the free-weights area for a 90 minute chest, shoulder and tri routine. By 11:30, I was so exhausted, I could barely stand up. People looked at me like I was crazy, but a pregnant die hard like me has got to do what she’s got to do. Besides, to me, pregnancy is a natural event, not a medical emergency.
After training, I took a shower and went home, ate a protein lunch, finished some business on my computer, went to my chiropractor, ran some errands, then wrapped things up by treating myself to a long overdue facial — just another day in the life of Spice Williams-Crosby until I got home and my water broke at approximately 8:00 p.m., and the following morning, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Luke Gregory Crosby.
The point I’m trying to make is that provided you’ve checked with your doctor or midwife, and all looks normal, you don’t have to live like a couch potato just because you’re pregnant. Sure, it can be tough during the last trimester, and sure, you have to modify your lifestyle and workouts the further along you get, but the bottom line is, it’s okay to stay busy and keep training. In fact, you’ll be doing yourself and the baby a favor.
I’ve recently been asked a number of questions I’d like to share with you from both men and women who were curious how a 42 year-old vegetarian can work out the way I do, eat the way I eat, and still stay in shape and have a healthy, happy baby.
Q: “How did your doctor feel about you working out when you were pregnant?”
A: Well, first of all, I really don’t have a doctor. When I have medical problems I can’t solve myself, I seek out appropriate help, but generally speaking, that rarely happens. As far as my pregnancy goes, I used a lay midwife (Tonya Brooks) and my birth took place in a birthing center without drugs. Tonya felt, after I reached 8 months, as long as I didn’t push my workouts to the extreme, and agreed to keep my cardiovascular training down to a bare minimum, all would be fine. And it was. The key for me was to use my intuition. If it felt okay, I did it. If it didn’t, I backed off.
Q: “Being a Vegetarian, weren’t you afraid of not getting enough protien for the baby?”
A: I’ve been what the nutritional world refers to as a Vegan (I abstain from eating all animal and dairy products) for over 15 years. When I had to get physically big for a New Line Cinema movie I did called “Stranded,” I was squatting 315 lbs. and bench pressing 225 lbs. I was never stronger and was able to maintain my size on a complete vegetarian diet. If you know what you’re doing through proper food-combining, protein complimenting, and amino acid supplementation, the human body is perfectly capable of getting more than enough protien to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Q: “Weren’t you worried about training too hard, having a baby and being over 40?”
A: Not at all. What’s there to be worried about? Yes, you have to be practical in life and not over do it, but at the same time, you don’t have to live your life in constant fear. You are what you believe. It’s that simple. And I happen to believe I’m capable of more than most people think I am. In fact, I had to be careful not to hurt the teenage boys that would wander into the gym from time to time, for they had nowhere near the discipline or muscle maturity that I’ve been able to build up over the past 15 years. Like fine wine, the longer muscle matures, the hardier it becomes. And being over 40 and pregnant is very deceiving to a 19 year-old. I enjoyed frying their little butts to no end!
Q: “Were there any exercises you couldn’t do during your pregnancy?”
A: I ran 3 miles every morning for the first 12 weeks, but intuitively backed off to a brisk walk during my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. As I said earlier, follow your heart. Other women I know have continued to run up until their 8th month. Everybody’s different, and it obviously felt ok to them.
I also stopped squatting when I began feeling my belly hitting my quadriceps. I felt some discomfort, so I changed to reverse squats, lying on my back and pushing up, eliminating or altering any exercise that compromised my uterus.
I even modified my martial arts training. There was no sparring below the shoulders, no falls, and no take downs. Kicks went from working on speed and form to working on form and stretch. Spinning kicks and hooks began very slow and focused on grace and balance. Boxing was great cardiovascular, and only became a problem from my waist down when I wanted to throw my hip into a right cross or really twist on a hook. Also, my belly would get in the way on both upper cuts and when I had to duck oncoming punches. All I can say is thank God my training partners were my friends!
Q: “Were you worried the baby fetus would be bothered by all the noise in the gym?
A: Not really. I always thought Luke would be the quintessential athlete anyway, so if it did nothing else, the noise at least introduced him to the world of bodybuilding, kickboxing and racquetball. Besides, most of the sounds and energy emanating from my gym are pretty positive. The management doesn’t play dissonant heavy metal music, and the staff and members work real hard to do the right thing and help each other as much as possible.
Q: “Did you train your abs when you were pregnant?”
A: No. I pretty much backed off, confident that all the lifting of my legs in martial arts, not to mention the lifting of free weights in the gym, put enough resistance on my abdominal muscles to keep them firm and toned. The thing to remember is that the further along women get in their pregnancy, the more their bodies secrete the female hormone “relaxin” into their muscles. This loosens up the pelvic area and prepares the body for delivery, making it harder and harder for women to lift heavy weight and have control over their kicks.
Q: “Did exercise cause your body temperature to go up and hurt the baby?”
A: Not as long as I kept my body temperature below 102 degrees, which is why I was real careful to cut back on my cardiovascular activity. Working up too much of a sweat, especially during the summer months, can cause dehydration and rob a “mommy-to-be” real fast of her much needed electrolytes and potassium.
Getting your heart rate up too high for too long will also divert the blood to the muscle and skin, and away from other organs where it’s needed the most during pregnancy, such as the uterus, liver and kidneys. Obviously, this is not a good thing when you’re expecting, so from day one, I began reducing my aerobic activity little by little until it was down by 70 to 80%, making sure my pulse never went above 150 beats per minute.
Q: “What kind of exercise is best for a pregnant athlete?”
A: Well, for the most part, they should pretty much stick to the same exercises they did before getting pregnant. Like I said earlier, the further along you get, the more you’ll need to cut back your intensity, but basically try and stick to a regime you’re already familiar with. Starting an entirely new program is treading on unexplored territory, with no reference point to draw from. I mean, think about it. If you’ve never done a particular exercise before, how would you know if you were actually backing off or not?
Q: “How much water should I drink?”
A: As much and as often as you can cram it into your body. I can’t stress how important it is for a pregnant woman to drink water. It holds everything together. More than two thirds of your body weight is water, and besides being the essential constituent of all your cells, it helps maintain normal body temperature, carries waste material out of the large intestine, and aids in the production of amniotic fluid.
Q: “Is it ok to wear tight clothing when I exercise?”
A: Although I was buying extra large sizes towards the end, I was wearing G-strings and spandex all the way up until the day I delievered. As long as your clothes are not overly binding and cutting into your body, you should be ok. In fact, when your body produces more blood and water, and your bones begin pulling apart, it actually feels good to be supported by your clothes. You really don’t have to worry about hurting the baby with snug outfits since he or she is in their own protective sack — sort of like an egg floating in a balloon of water. The pressure is equalized and the egg is safe.
In closing, I’d like to reiterate how important it is for a pregnant woman to exercise. If you train intelligently, and keep yourself in the best shape possible, you will, in my opinion, reduce your chances of having a C-section due to a lack of strength and endurance during a marathon labor.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) a/k/a The Lean Fats
We’re going to get a little technical this time around, so I’d like you to try and listen carefully. In today’s world of buzz words, the term “fat free” seems to have become a grandiose delusion that if consumers eliminate all fat, he or she won’t be fat! To a degree that’s true, but it’s an unhealthy approach and only a small percentage of the entire equation.
People used to believe that the way to lose weight was just to eat less. But whether the weight you lose is muscle or fat depends on how you do it. Just like certain diets help you stay lean while you’re gaining muscle, the proper diet will help you hold onto your muscle while you’re losing fat. And believe me, when it comes to fat loss, there are no miracles or shortcuts. It takes a good lean diet and plenty of aerobic exercise.
Instead of starving yourself, it’s important to give your body all the nutrients and calories it needs to be healthy. As I’ve said in previous articles, when you drastically reduce calories, your body thinks it’s starving, so it slows down your metabolic rate to save fuel, and you actually lose more muscle than fat. And since muscular tissue burns more calories per hour than fat tissue, if you lose muscle mass, your metabolic rate automatically slows down, and paradoxically, the cutting of calories actually promotes fat storage by increasing the activity of the fat storage enzyme called lipoprotein lipase.
There are fats, however, known as MCT’s, which we’ll talk about in a moment, that contribute less to fat stores than conventional fats or even carbohydrates. And to understand why, you first have to understand the basics of how fats are metabolized in the body. Conventional dietary fats found in foods are called “long chain triglycerides” (LCT’s), and are made up of long chain fatty acids (LCFA’s) which are 16-22 carbon atoms in length. These are the jiggling blobs that wind up being stored on your body, effectively lowering your self-esteem every time you glance in a mirror.
If you think about it, your body is about 70% water, and fat is not very soluble in water (oil and water don’t mix). Your poor body has to go through living hell to digest, absorb and metabolize LCT’s, not to mention what your gall bladder has to go through to convert them into little fat droplets known as micelles, which eventually meet up with protein carrier molecules which help transport the triglycerides. These protein-fat complexes are called chylomicrons and are released from the intestines into the lymphatic system, eventually reaching the bloodstream through the thoracic duct (the main duct of the lymphatic system). Once in the blood stream, the fats are circulated throughout the body, and insulin causes the fat cells to absorb the fat molecules and store them as body fat. Ugh!
On the other side of the spectrum, however, there are fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which are made up of “medium chain fatty acids” (MCFA’s) and are only 6-12 carbon atoms long. Unlike LCT’s, which are prone to being stored as body fat, MCT’s have a smaller molecular structure and are more soluble in water, allowing the body to absorb them easier. And because of their simplicity, MCT’s are transported directly from the small intestine into the liver by the main portal vein. They are then turned into organic compounds called ketones which the muscles can use for energy, and by the time the liver has completed it’s turn with these little gems, the MCT’s are pretty much used up, leaving very little left to be stored as fat.
So, there you have it. You basically have two kinds of fat to work with: Saturated and unsaturated fats which like to stick around and be stored in the body for later use (conventional fats), or the second kind which likes to use itself as fuel almost immediately (MCT’s). This, I want to make very clear, does not mean that you should delete conventional fats from your diet. Quite the contrary. In addition to your intake of MCT’s, unless you’re specifically dieting or cutting up for competition, you’re daily dose of unsaturated fats should stay somewhere between 20 and 30 grams per day. Without them, your hormones will eventually falter, your hair will fall out, your skin cells will shrivel up and die, and your body will actually begin to horde its own fat for fear of never having fat again.
Okay, by now, you’re probably saying to yourself, how does this all fit in with my exercise program? Well, if you’ve been training for a while and know anything about the recruiting of muscle and the burning of fat, you know how important it is for you to eat before each workout. Without calories before an exercise, your body goes into a cannibalistic state and begins to tear down and eat up it’s muscle tissue. The body’s not stupid and knows that there’s not enough nutritional value in fat to support its needs over an extended period of time, and will dig into to its muscle to find amino acids for fuel. This is why it’s so important to eat the right amount of carbohydrates before you work out. You need to supply the body with the necessary fuel, bearing in mind that fat doesn’t burn in the presence of carbohydrates and will wait until the carbs run out.
The smart thing to do before a workout is to take a dietary supplement of MCT’s, coupled with a modest portion of carbohydrates. That way, the body will have enough fuel to perform properly and will eventually dig into its own body fat storage to finish the job. My favorite supplement of MCT’s come in an ultrapurified form of fractionated coconut oil that has undergone a chemical purification process which strips out all the long chain fatty acids (LCFA’s).
As you know, different foods have different effects on your body. Foods like cheeseburgers and french fries tend to make you fat. On the other hand, it’s hard to get fat eating tofu and vegetables. Scientists call this “food efficiency” — the calories consumed of a particular food divided by the resulting weight gain. The higher the food efficiency, the more that food contributes to weight gain. Foods with a low food efficiency, like MCT’s, are more prone to be burned for energy instead of being converted to body weight, and within fifteen to twenty minutes you’ll begin to feel an energy rush. It’s not like drinking a cup of coffee. It’s more like a deep internal surge that powers you through your schedule.
MCT’s occur in small quantities in a variety of foods, and are present naturally in breast milk and the blood of the human fetus. Commercially, MCT’s are prepared by the hydrolysis of coconut oil and are fractionated by steam distillation. MCT oil has a caloric density of 8.3 calories per gram; one tablespoon equals 14 grams and contains 115 calories. In 1950, MCT’s were primarily used for the treatment of fat malabsorption in hospitals, but eventually found their way into the sport’s world, allowing athletes to obtain additional energy without getting fatter.
Because of their immense popularity, there are several different MCT products to choose from at your local health food store. Just be sure to buy the purest form available. Make sure it’s packaged in a dark brown bottle to keep light from denaturing the coconut oil, that it’s not inundated with unnecessary flavorings, vitamin E, lecithin, purified water, apple pectin, etc., that the company didn’t, in any way, denature or contaminate the coconut oil during its processing, and finally, make sure the company that you’re dealing with is a company that you can trust and you’re sure is ethical.
The company that I found that had all the qualifications I was looking for was a small manufacturer in Cincinnati, Ohio, called Parrillo Performance. I not only could taste the quality in their product “Cap’ Tri”, but I also saw immediate results. I don’t know what stores sell their product, but you can call them at 1-800-344-3404, and tell them Spice sent you. I was turned on to them by a very respectable professional, Dr. Michael D. Richard, who has gone out of his way to educate me on this particular subject.
Good luck with all this technical info, and I hope you’ll give this new supplement a try. And remember, “Variety is the Spice of Life”.
Pycnogenols – The Newest & Strongest Antioxidant
I’m always looking for the hottest new health food supplements on the market. Not just fly-by-night fads, but products that really do the job and are likely to stick around. Last time, I spoke about MCT’s, but this time I want to talk about what Dr. J. Masquelier of the University of Bordeaux isolated, identified, and characterized in 1986 as “Pycnogenols” — natural plant products shown to have powerful free radical scavenging activity that can counteract the effects of aging. They were discovered after 20 years of intense study to be a concentrate of a special class of water-soluble bioflavonoids that are almost instantly bioavailable in a human being.
For those of you that don’t know, bioflavonoids are a group of low-molecular weight plant substances with recognized anti oxidant (free radical scavenging) properties that have the ability to inhibit the activity of certain enzymes which cause inflammation in the body. There are over 20,000 different kinds, some more active than others, some more valuable than others. Unfortunately, until the discovery of pycnogenols, few have shown biological value in the laboratory and have not performed well when manufactured in commercial quantities, especially when tested in living animals.
Although bioflavonoids are not true vitamins in the strictest sense, they are sometimes referred to as vitamin P, acting synergistically with vitamin C to protect and preserve the structure of capillary blood vessels. They also have an antibacterial effect and promote circulation, stimulate bile production, lower cholesterol levels, and treat and prevent cataracts. When taken with vitamin C, they also reduce the symptoms of oral herpes.
It may be hard to believe, but Pycnogenols are 50 times more effective than vitamin E in fighting free radicals — the Tasmanian-like devils that bounce around in our bodies, banging into healthy cells, damaging DNA, altering biochemical compounds, corroding cell membranes and killing cells outright. They are present in our bodies at all times, emanating from industrial pollution, tobacco smoke, x-rays, car exhaust, ozone and other environmental pollutants. They’re ruthless and indiscriminatory in their actions, and if they hit a good cell hard enough, they can and do cause incredible damage, also contributing to wrinkles and stiff joints.
Pycnogenols are, without question, the “superstrain” of bioflavonoids, especially those that come from grape pips, and are the most powerful natural free radical scavenger and anti oxidant yet discovered. They’re incredible. Not only does the body absorb them in less than an hour, they also have the unique ability to bond to collagen fibers, rebuilding their crosslinks to reverse some of the damage done over the years by injury and free radical attack. They even inhibit the natural enzymes our bodies make that normally break down collagen.
The amount of Pycnogenols one should take varies from person to person, but obviously, larger people can handle more than smaller people. Therapeutic doses tend to range from 1.5 to 3.0 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. That is to say, a 150 pound man or woman would begin by taking between 100 mgs to 200 mgs (in order to reach tissue saturation), then would cut back after 7 to 10 days to one-half or less — about 50 to 60 milligrams per day — which would replace what’s eliminated over a 24 hour period.
I know by now you’re probably saying, ” Do we really need another supplement in our lives?” Well, the answer is yes! Biochemistry is a young science. We learn more and more each year about our bodies and what’s required to keep them healthy and free of disease. We know now, for example, that the familiar vitamins and minerals most of us take every day represent only a small portion of the health-building nutrients we find in our fruits, vegetables, and other foods. The astonishing importance of bioflavonoids (pycnogenols in particular) have only recently been recognized, representing a true advance in contemporary health care.
So, if you think you can get enough bioflavonoids from eating commercial fruits and vegetables, you better think twice. Have you thought about how modern growing techniques and food distribution have reduced or eliminated altogether the valuable nutrients we used to get out of our foods during previous decades? Probably not, since we’re all so snowed by what big business brainwashes us into thinking. Believe me, it comes down to the almighty buck — picking fruit before it’s fully ripened, and harvesting vegetables before they’re fully mature may produce a lot more product each year, but in the end, it reduces, and in some cases, eliminates the bioflavonoid content of food altogether. Freezing, canning, and cooking also has a catastrophic effect and will do its best to denature nutrients.
In closing, I suggest you begin to follow in the footsteps of many Europeans and American Indians who continue to rely on the alternative treating methods available today, rather than traditional medical remedies. Many people today are in search of wholly pure, safe and effective alternatives. In Finland, for example, users swear that pycnogenols are the only thing to take for hay fever. Also, in other countries, women take pycnogenols as a kind of oral cosmetic, keeping their skin elastic, smooth, and wrinkle-free by restoring the collagen and protecting it from free radical and enzymatic degradation.
Until next time, stay strong and sweet.
A Phyto a Day Keeps the Cancer Away
When you were growing up, how many times a day did you hear your parents say eat your vegetables! I know in my house, I either ate them or I was grounded. And when I asked why I had to eat them, my parents smiled and said they would help me to grow up to be big and strong like Popeye. Like I really cared. “Mom,” I would protest. First of all, I really don’t want to grow up, and secondly, if I do have to, I sure as heck don’t want to end up looking like a balding, big-chinned sailor with sledgehammer forearms (I’m paraphrasing, of course). Nowadays, most kids think vegetables are the lettuce and pickles on a Big Mac or the green in green Jello.
I may have thought my mom and dad were crazy at the time, but looking back, they weren’t that far off. A hundred years ago (before big business began destroying the environment), fruits and vegetables were picked when they were ready to be picked and our soils were rich with vitamins and minerals that not only helped our bodies to flourish with the strength and power of cartoon characters, but also helped us in the prevention of illness and disease by strengthening of our immune systems. Not anymore. Greed is a destructive beast, but that’s a different article.
The real crime is that by picking our fruits and vegetables before they ripen, we’re not getting the value out of our foods that we really need, specifically phytochemicals. The term “phyto” is derived from the Greek word for plant, and “chemical” is a substance with a distinct molecular composition. In other words, the phytochemical (when given half a chance) is what eventually makes the tomato ruby red, the carrot bright orange, the beet majestic purple, and the broccoli deep green.
These phytochemicals are derived from naturally-occurring ingredients and have evolved to protect plants from the free-radical and oxidative damage induced by certain energy rays of the sun. They are found in many fruits, grains, legumes, coffee, some teas, green peppers, garlic, onions, bran and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, papaya, pineapple, tomatoes and turnips. Now, when was the last time you ate 5-9 servings of all those foods in one day? For that matter, in one year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve talked with people that have never even tasted kale or don’t like Brussels sprouts and the other vegetables and fruits that you and I both know are good for us. They may not want to hear about it, but when those same people don’t have a steady supply of phytochemicals in their daily diet, they really compromise the longevity and quality of their lives.
Phytochemicals have been associated with the prevention and/or treatment of at least four of the leading causes of death in this country: Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. They have also shown results in the prevention and/or treatment of other medical ailments including neural tube defects, osteoporosis, abnormal bowel function and arthritis. Even the National Cancer Institute estimates that one in three cancer deaths are diet-related and that 8 to 10 different cancers have a nutrition/diet component in their makeup. Devra Lee Davis, senior science adviser at the US Public Health Service, says “there is growing evidence that these natural products can take tumors and defuse them… They can turn off the proliferative process of cancer.” Put that on your celery stick and eat it!
Various fruits and vegetables contain different kinds of phytochemicals. For example, broccoli contains “sulforaphane,” a small molecule that expedites the excretion of carcinogens from cells, and it seems to keep lab animals from getting breast cancer. Also present in broccoli is PEITC (phenethyl isothiocyanate), which prevents carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (organic compounds containing carbons and hydrogens that have a 6 carbon ring characteristic and are highly carcinogenic) from intercalating with DNA thus causing mutations, and indole-3-carbinol, an indole derivative (a white crystalline compound known as “C8H7N”) that aids in the metabolism of estrogens. PEITC inhibits lung cancer caused by chemicals in mice and rats. I know it’s a mouthful, but it’s a perfect example of how these miraculous little substances can play such an important role in a healthy lifestyle.
Research in the early 90’s led biochemists to suspect that both sulforaphane and its synthetic version work their magic by boosting the activity of “phase 2 enzymes.” These enzymes detoxify carcinogens by hooking them up to molecules that act like a transport system. Within hours of the broccoli’s arrival in the stomach, carcinogens are transported out of the cells before they can cause harm. So I guess former President Bush better learn to eat his broccoli, like it or not!
Tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, and green peppers have relatively high concentrations of p-coumaric and chlorogenic acid, two chemicals that reduce the production of nitrosoamines (a class of organic compounds with the general formula R2NNO or RNHNO found to be highly carcinogenic), thus reducing potential for carcinogenic activity. During digestion, the body routinely makes nitrosamines out of nitric oxide and components of protein called amines. Hot chili peppers, already known to be a rich source for the antioxidant vitamin C, also contain high concentrations of a phytochemical called capsiacin. Capsiacin helps in the metabolism of epoxide aromatic hydrocarbons, interfering with their ability to bind effectively with DNA. A phytochemical in strawberries, grapes and raspberries also neutralizes carcinogens before they can invade DNA. It’s called ellagic acid.
Although it’s really not that easy to get cancer, and a cell has to go through many changes before it becomes malignant, there were over 1,228,600 new cases that reared their ugly head this year in the United States alone. Since 1990, approximately eleven million new cancer cases have been diagnosed. These estimates do not include carcinoma “in situ” (non invasive cancer) except for urinary bladder, or basal and squamous cell skin cancers. According to the Americal Cancer Society, over a million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are expected to be diagnosed over the next twelve months, and, this year, about 564,800 Americans are expected to die of cancer — more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. One of every four deaths in the US is from cancer. Since 1990, there have been approximately five million cancer deaths. That’s a lot of people, and it’s no wonder that biologists are beginning to explore nutritional substances that seem to make a difference in the molecular structure of this disease, specifically phytochemicals which have shown great promise in the fight against this mighty foe. In fact, to quote epidemiologist, John Potter, of the University of Minnesota, “At almost every one of the steps along the pathway leading to cancer, there are one or more compounds in vegetables or fruit that will slow up or reverse the process.”
Even when all else fails, phytochemicals can intervene to fight off cancer. It’s actually not the little tumor that kills the patient, it’s the lump that grows which invades the bloodstream, sending metastasizing colonists throughout the body. That’s how breast, prostate and other solid tumors kill. But the original lump cannot grow without supply lines, capillaries that bring oxygen and other nutrients. Last year, German researchers announced that they had isolated a chemical in soybeans that prevents these vital supply lines from forming. Called genistein, it might one day be copied in the lab and given to people to prevent small tumors from growing. In fact, it’s been noted that the lack of genistein in the American diet may explain why Japanese men who relocate to the West for even a few years have a greatly elevated risk of prostate cancer. Without genistein, tiny tumors are no longer deprived of the blood vessels that let them grow.
It’s important to remember that a fruit or vegetable picked green contains little or no phytochemicals in the edible portion of the plant. Have you ever been to Hawaii or Mexico and tasted pineapples, mango or papayas that made your taste buds dance with unexplainable delight, your mouth drooling with the juice of the fruit after the first bite? Well, here in America, it’s hard to find a tomato that has any taste let alone any juice. Why is that? It’s because our growers pick fruit long before they’re ripened in order to make way for a whole new crop — money, money, money! Big business may not realize it, but nonetheless, it’s gotten in the way, resulting in an overall deficiency of these vital chemicals in the national diet.
The bottom line is you need to supplement your diet! But make sure that whatever brand of phytochemicals you purchase are made with vine-ripened fruits and vegetables and are in a capsule form and not a tablet. Tableting has a tendency to diminish the nutritive benefits of a product, not to mention that it’s usually processed with fillers, binders, preservatives and excipients that are used to hold it together. Also remember that the milligram count of a tablet is not necessarily its potency. Very often, a so-called 1000 mg vitamin C tablet is composed of only 200 mg’s of the actual vitamin and the other 800 mg’s are fillers and binders. Thus, the 1000 mg is really the tablet’s weight count.
Kids today are eating more and more junk food, and I’m disturbed that such a physically unhealthy generation is going to inherit the world. A recent survey of 3,112 children (grades 2 – 6) showed that 24% had no fruit the day prior to the survey, and 24.9% had no vegetables. Isn’t there something frightening about these figures? I think so, which compels me to tell you about an awesome children’s phytochemical product called “Phyto-Bears.” This is a product composed of phytochemicals in a base of vegetable gelatin and natural fructose. They are unbelievably delicious and look just like cute little gummy bears. So when it comes to making your kids eat their vegetables, here’s a safe and sure way to get the job done. And for children who are too young to chew, they also make capsules that you can break open and put into a bottle of juice. My 85 year-old mother had a hard time swallowing pills after her chemotherapy treatment for lymphoma, so the Phyto-Bears were perfect for her.
If you’d like more information on this subject or product, feel free to fax your address to Ms. Jackie Padgette at 818.989.4016, and don’t forget to mention that Spice sent you. I’m sure Ms. Padgette will be glad to send you any additional information you might require.
The Immune System
Have you ever wondered why most people seem more concerned about the way they look rather than the way they feel? I have. And the irony, of course, is that the latter is really the true measure of one’s health… How many times have you heard someone say, “He died? I just saw him last week and he looked great…!”
Well, it’s time to wake up folks…! Plastic surgeons work on the outside, not the inside. It’s up to us to take care of our health, and believe me — how, what and when we eat can and will prolong our quality of life. There’s no question in my mind that we should be able to live a disease free existence for 120 years or longer (our “maximum life span”), but because of the silly damage we insist on projecting on ourselves, human life expectancy has a way of averaging out at about 73 years (our “mean life span”).
When are we going to wise up and realize we’ve been given a magnificent gift — an envelope of flesh called the body — and it’s our responsibility to respect and treat it with care…? It’s so sad to me, that when it comes to nutrition, the majority of us fall prey to what big business labels as “fun and easy” rather than what’s really good for us. But you know what…? I wish I had a dime for every ailing geriatric that’s cried out, “God, if I had only known more about health when I was young…” My answer is that we may not be able to turn back the clock, but we sure as hell can do our best to stop it… Especially when it comes to the repairing and strengthening of our immune system.
We might as well face it. The immune system, and how well it’s working, is the key to our overall health and how we feel. Made up of the thymus gland, white blood cells (which make antibodies), bone marrow, the spleen, lymph nodes, interferon, complement and other disease-fighting molecules that do their best to maintain our physiological well-being, the immune system is sort of the “police force” that protects us from bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and atherosclerotic plaque cells.
We may not want to hear about it, but the real problems begin as we age — when it becomes harder and harder to fight off the body’s enemies without giving our immune system the ammunition it needs. “So,” you might ask, “what can we do to keep the wolves away…?” Well, it’s pretty simple really. In order to build a stronger and healthier immune system, we need to include foods and supplements in our every-day diet that are rich in “antioxidants” such as vitamins A, C and E, the minerals zinc and selenium, and the amino acids arginine, ornithine, cysteine and glutathione.
For those of you who don’t already know, the term antioxidant means exactly what it implies: “against oxygen.” It was given that name because of its ability to combat our normal course of oxygen metabolism wherein the body takes in chemical compounds that, unfortunately, possess unpaired electrons called “free radicals” — so-called Tasmanian devils that like to bang into, enter and destroy healthy living cells, not to mention their deteriorating effect on the non-living world such as plastics, rubber, paper petroleum and food.
It may sound contrary to what we’ve learned (that oxygen is a necessity of life), but believe me, over-exposure to it can cause damage or even death. For example, in the case of fats, too much oxygen will allow fatty acids to become rancid, and rancid fats can become carcinogenic which is why an overweight person who has a large amount of peroxidized fats in his or her body (fats which have combined with oxygen via a free radical catalyzed reaction) is likely to develop cancer and atherosclerosis.
In addition to protecting us from such illnesses, our immune system also plays an important role in the dreaded aging game itself in which there are two basic types of events: “random” and “planned.”
Unlike planned aging where our body has a series of natural programs which simply turn off, in random aging, our body becomes an unwanted victim of environmental damage or our own self-inflicted abuse… By that I mean, not all our wrinkles and sagging tissues are part of a natural aging process, and it’s up to each of us to combat the pollution, toxins and chemicals that we come in contact with by eating the right foods and taking the proper supplementations. For example:
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble antioxidant that we can find in nature in two forms: “preformed vitamin A” and “pro-vitamin A” (aka beta carotene). Preformed vitamin A is concentrated in animal products in which the animal has metabolized the beta carotene contained in its food into vitamin A… For example, one of the richest natural sources of preformed vitamin A is fish-liver oil, which is classified as a food supplement. Beta carotene, on the other hand, is found in plants and is abundant in carrots (from which its name is derived) and certain leafy green vegetables such as beet greens, spinach and broccoli… Unlike preformed vitamin A, beta carotene, my favorite, only converts to vitamin A when the body requires it, so you don’t have to worry about suffering from the toxic level known as “hyper-vitaminosis A.”
Vitamin A not only aids in the growth and repair of our body tissues, it’s also essential in the formation of “visual purple,” a substance in the eye which is necessary for proper night vision.
The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances of vitamin A are 1,500 International Units (IU) for infants, 3,000 IU for children and 5,000 IU for adults. These amounts increase accordingly during disease, trauma, pregnancy and lactation, and requirements vary for those of us who smoke, live in highly polluted areas, or easily absorb vitamin A. I personally take between 25,000 and 50,000 IU’s per day.
Vitamin C, in the form of ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient known not only for its stimulating effect on the immune system, but also for its ability to maintain collagen, a protein necessary for the formation of the connective tissues in our skin, ligaments and bones.
If possible, try and find a brand of Vitamin C that contains Rutin and Hesperidin in its formula. They are bioflavonoids and are essential for the proper absorption and use of vitamin C, and play a key role in the strengthening of our capillaries and blood vessels. If you don’t have any luck, you can always pick up a separate supplement or get your daily dose by eating citrus fruits, grapes, plums, black currants, apricots, buckwheat, cherries, blackberries or rose hips.
With respect to vitamin C, I personally take 10,000 milligrams over the course of each day, which I tend to increase if I’m overly stressed, sick or training heavy. According to scientist Dr. Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner, “The more vitamin C you take, the better off you are.”
It’s pretty hard to overdose on vitamin C because our body doesn’t manufacture it, and what we don’t use, we either urinate or sweat out, which is why I like doing myself and my immune system a favor by ingesting (through food and supplementation) a minimum of 2,000 milligrams of Vitamin C at least five times a day.
Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin (aka tocopherol), plays an essential role in the cellular respiration of our cardiac and skeletal muscles, thereby increasing their endurance and stamina. Without it, our skin and red blood cells would begin to deteriorate, there would be an epidemic of gatrointestinal disease, men would become sterile, and women would have extreme difficulty giving birth.
In the form of oil or ointment, Vitamin E also makes for both a great skin cream and salve for burns and cuts.
I take at least 3,200 IU’s a day of dry vitamin E in the form of d’alpha tocopherol acetate, which I augment by eating such foods as grains, wheat, oats, rice, wheat-germ, sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower oil, peanut oil, corn oil and olive oil.
Zinc, an essential trace mineral, is required for proper growth and the healing of wounds and burns, and may also play a vital role in the synthesis of DNA, which is the master substance of life, carrying all of our inherited traits and directing the activity of each of our cells. Because of its strong antioxidant qualities, the medical profession often uses it in the controlling of cancer, dandruff and hair loss.
My supplemental intake of zinc averages out at about 25 milligrams a day, which I tend to enhance by eating natural unprocessed foods, preferably those grown in organically enriched soil, such as whole-grain products, wheat bran, wheat germ and pumpkin seeds.
Selenium, also an essential trace mineral, works closely with vitamin E in many of its metabolic actions, and is a natural antioxidant which appears to preserve elasticity in our tissues by delaying oxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids that have a tendency to age our skin by solidifying tissue proteins.
A minute amount of Selenium goes a long way, so I usually try to stay under 500 micrograms (.5 milligrams) per day through supplementation and the eating of foods such as bran and germ of cereals, broccoli, beets, onions and tomatoes.
Arginine, Ornithine, Cysteine and Glutathione, known as non-essential amino acids, work together to induce the release of growth hormone as we grow older, enhance the production of our body’s T-cells, help maintain our skin’s flexibility and texture, and aid in protecting us from dangerous levels of toxicity, including ammonia and the aromatic hydrocarbons commonly found in air pollution.
In addition to my protein meals, I like taking a 3-5 gram pharmaceutical grade supplement of 21 different amino acids each day (including the four listed above) along with a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, some of which we’ve already discussed… It’s very important to take amino acids with vitamins and minerals (especially B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, copper and zinc) if you want your body to properly transport and absorb them.
As a precaution, please bear in mind, people suffering from Herpes simplex or schizophrenic tendencies should stay away from Argenine, and people with diabetes should use Cysteine with caution… So use good judgement, and if you have any doubts or questions, be sure to consult with your physician or nutritionist.
Anyway, until next time, here’s a couple of tasty recipes destined to keep the doctor away…
“TROPICAL NUTS” SALAD
Fat per serving: Approx. 14 g
Here’s a refreshing, nourishing fruit salad guaranteed to cool you off on those hot, muggy nights.
| 1/2 pineapple, cubed
1 papaya, cubed
1 mango, cubed
2 kiwis, cubed
|1/2 cup raw almonds (soaked for 24 hrs.)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 24 hrs.)
1/4 cup fresh bee pollen (optional)
Combine fruit in a large bowl, sprinkle with almonds, sunflower seeds and bee pollen, then refrigerate until ready to eat.
I’ve found the easiest way to cube papayas, mangos, kiwis and avocados is to cut them in half (lengthwise), remove the seeds or pit, then make small cube cuts in each half, scooping them out with a spoon.
Fat per serving: Approx. 4 g
This makes a great afternoon carb meal, and is especially good with warmed wheat bread rolls and a chilled glass of non-alcoholic beer. Watch out, though, because this will really clean you out.
| 2 medium beets, peeled and grated
4 carrots, grated 1/2 red onion, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 large cucumber, quartered and sliced
1 yellow crookneck squash, quartered and sliced
| 1 avocado, cubed
4 – 6 cloves of garlic minced
6 oz. natural rice vinegar (more can be used depending upon your taste)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss, then refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Bulemia – The Underground Epidemic
Why can’t I be like “normal” people…? How did I get this way? Will I ever be able to eat food without feeling like I have to throw up afterwards…?
Sound familiar? More than likely, since over seventy percent of us obsessed with body image (mostly women) suffer from the eating disorder known as bulimia… According to Dr. Manohar Shinde of the Eating Disorder Institute of California (EDIC), it’s a malady of epidemic proportions, and the sad thing is that most of us never admit that we have the problem in the first place. We’d sooner cop to a drug and alcohol addiction than admit we spend time puking up our food… I guess it’s just not a sociably acceptable addiction, and don’t kid yourself, it is an addiction.
And bulimia isn’t just an eating disorder… It’s also an emotional disorder. It’s about getting rid of the negative feelings that do their best to tear us down, primarily guilt, insecurity and shame… I find it an interesting paradox that some countries in the world fight to stay physically alive due to a lack of food, yet bulimics fight to stay emotionally alive by getting rid of their food. Think about it… Have you ever heard of a bulimic Ethiopian? I doubt it. And you know what else I can’t figure out? Why does the high-fashion industry pay millions of dollars to models who go out of their way to look like Biafra poster children. Something’s not right.
Most of us, no matter how well-intended our parents were when we were growing up, suffer from some kind of emotional handicap. It’s no great secret that we develop the basis for our personalities long before the age of three. And since most of us experienced poor parenting skills during that time, it only makes sense that seven out of ten people today suffer from a self-esteem problem. So what happens to us later in life? Well, we spend most of our time and money trying to escape the pain of it all, either by denying that it exists to begin with, or by trying to overindulge our senses.
I know! I’ve been a bulimic for 11 years, and I can safely say, “once a bulimic, always a bulimic”… The trick is becoming an inactive bulimic. But first, we have to learn how, when and why this disorder surfaced its ugly head to begin with.
For me and my twin sister, food has always represented the good times. Therefore, whenever we’re down in the dumps, Jackie and I like to pig out to bring back those “good time” feelings… Food, having always been used as a reward throughout my life, never fails to provide me with that “instant gratification” in times of stress — you know, those moments when we experience fear, insecurity, guilt or shame. For me, it’s usually after an acting interview or conversation where I don’t feel good enough or pretty enough to get the job. Then I comfort the ill feelings by eating. After all, who’s got time to worry when your devouring a bowl of carob almond clusters.
I grew up with a lot of abuse (sexual, mental and physical), and eventually overcame a drug and alcohol problem. I was able to change from a couch potato to a hard working athlete. I really thought I was on my way to becoming a strong, confident woman. The problem is, I forgot to face the real demon… bulimia. I figured that if I stopped taking drugs and alcohol, and began exercising like a mad woman, I’d eventually stop wanting to binge and purge. Boy was I wrong.
I remember the nights when my boyfriend (who eventually became my first husband) would no sooner eat his dinner when he would fall asleep on the living room couch. God it was a horrible feeling. But you see, I took everything personally in those days and didn’t realize at the time that he was the one with the real problem, not me. What I was experiencing was a terrible sense of rejection, not realizing that I was somebody special and deserved a man that really appreciated me. So what did I do? I filled my emptiness with the richest foods I could find, worrying later that no one would love me if I turned into a fat pig. God, what a vicious circle.
Eventually, sticking my finger down my throat seemed to be the only logical answer. I could eat my way into oblivion, my husband would never know the difference, and best of all, when it was all said and done, the calories would instantly disappear! I felt so light — free from fat, oils and those horrible feelings of disapproval. I was back in control again… or was I? I guess those little feelings of disgust over what I was doing to my body really didn’t matter as long as I didn’t tell anyone. Wrong!
With time, things got worse and worse. My stomach began to ulcerate, my immune system weakened, my neck swelled, and the enamel on my teeth began eroding away. Quite simply, I was a mess and totally out of control. I kept trying to fool myself, but I finally had a nervous breakdown.
Hello therapy…! During my first session, my therapist, Pam, asked me if I had ever been abused, and if so, did I ever have bulimic tendencies. I denied it at first, but when I got tired of wasting my time, I decided to open up. And thank God I did. Pam clarified that when a bulimic shoves food down his or her throat, he or she is actually shoving down unresolved emotions carried over from childhood… She went on to explain that in the mind of a bulimic, if he or she can bury their feelings deep enough, they don’t have to face them eye to eye.
The problem is, and what I didn’t understand at the time, is that these feelings are like little gremlins that like to crawl up your throat, and unless you’re a very unique person, the only way to effectively eliminate them is to seek professional help… Either that or you’ll end up backing yourself into a very lonely hole.
My road to recovery began with several exercises that Pam liked to equate to potty training. For example, she would point out that during the first stage of infancy, we simply pee in our diapers… During the second stage, things begin to change and we become aware that we pee in our diapers. And during the third and final stage, we stop ourselves before we pee in our diapers and head for the bathroom.
In other words, if you’re bulimic, the first step is to admit it… And when you feel like binging, ask yourself what you’re afraid of — what you’re feeling. What exactly happened today that’s making you feel uncomfortable…? If you can answer these questions honestly, you’ve entered into stage two of “potty training.” It doesn’t mean you’re beyond binging and purging, but at least you’ll know what instigated the urge, and you’ll be a step closer towards reaching stage three.
Take it from me, the road to recovery can be a lonely one, so it’s really important to affirm the following: That you’re a child of God; That God loves you unconditionally, understanding you when everyone else misunderstands you; That God is the lover who cherishes you always no matter what your mistakes.
Right now, right this second, regardless of how silly it may seem to you, I’d like you to look in the mirror and say, “I’m lovable and valuable just because I’m me, and something I really like about myself is…….” When you finish the sentence, this exercise will bring you to the understanding of self love. The kind of love we have for babies who really don’t do anything to achieve it. They just are. They just exist. They cry, poop and sleep and yet we love them, no questions asked.
My advice to you is to never stop working on yourself, and sooner or later, the binging and purging will begin to fade away, and you’ll be on your way to stage three… I believe it was the enlightened Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in America, that said, “If you keep on trying, you will improve, for remember, a saint is a sinner who never gave up.”
In closing, I’d like to point out that recovering from bulimia isn’t just a mental battle, but also a physical one. You have to heal your body as well as your mind, and it’s very important to nutritional support yourself. I recommend taking easily digestible vitamin and mineral supplements along with acidophilus or megadophilus which will stabilize the intestinal bacteria and protect your liver. The first thing that bulimia attacks is the gastro-intestinal system.
With respect to protein replacement, free-form amino acids work the best, and when taken in conjunction with a vitamin-B complex, promote proper cellular function and aid in the digestion of foods and the assimilation of all nutrients including iron.
I know it can be frightening to think about eating solid food when you’re trying to stop purging… After all, bulimia’s not like other addictions where you can just eliminate whatever it is that’s causing the problem from your life. But If you stop eating, you stop living.
So with that in mind, I’m including a couple of fruit smoothie recipes to make it easier and start you off guilt free. They’re low in fat, jam-packed with nutritional goodness and are easy to digest…
How to Dine Out, Not Pig Out
When you decide to eat healthy and follow a diet plan, you don’t have to be afraid to dine out, and you don’t have to feel deprived by ordering a boring salad with ice tea.
People are under some misunderstanding that just because there’s a menu handed to them, they have to eat everything “the way it comes.” That’s ridiculous. It’s your life, your money and your prerogative to have food prepared the way you like it. I never follow a menu. I look at what a restaurant has to offer, then customize my meal to suit my needs.
Every eating establishment has something to offer a healthy-minded person. You just have to take charge. First decide whether it’s time to eat protein or carbohydrates, then call over the waiter. Let him or her know you’re on a special diet and that you don’t eat any dairy products (at least I don’t). That means no cheese in the salad dressing, no cream or milk in the soup, and no butter on the bread and vegetables. Naturally, be nice, but remember you never have to apologize for not following the masses. If the waiter makes a face, that’s his or her problem. And if you don’t already know, don’t be afraid to ask how the chef prepares whatever it is you’re planning to order.
If the people you’re eating with tease you, remind them that when they’re not around that you’re the one that has to look at the cellulite running rapid on your thighs, and you’re the one that has to deal with the pain of indigestion and potential colon cancer. Contrary to what your mother told you when you were a kid, you don’t have to eat what’s served to you just because it’s there or because there are millions of people somewhere who are starving to death. Take the weight of the world off your shoulders and don’t let anyone intimidate you into eating foods that you’ve made personal choices not to eat. When french fries come with your meal, you can always substitute them with extra vegetables and/or fresh sliced tomatoes. If you want results, take charge!
In the great words of author Vernon Howard, “Having someone tell you how to live your life, is like having the waiter eat your meal.”
I’d like to examine how you can eat a lot of food and enjoy a healthy meal at the same time. First, let’s discuss the food that’s served at what I call American or “standard” restaurants. You know the ones I mean. They tend to serve fish, chicken, red meat, salads, vegetables and some kind of complex carbohydrate such as pasta, potatoes or rice. If you eat meat and it’s time for a protein meal, your choices are fairly simple. Order a large salad with oil and vinegar on the side (a good way to control your oil intake), a large plate of steamed vegetables and your plain broiled chicken or fish.
If you’re a vegetarian, ask the waiter if they have any beans. I doubt it, but you never know. If they don’t, you can always order a dinner salad, sliced tomatoes and a bowl of plain steamed vegetables while there, then follow up with some kind of vegetable protein when you get home. If you’re an oval vegetarian, ask if the chef can either make you an egg-white omelette or add some hard boiled eggs to your salad which you, in turn, can peel and eat without the yolk.
Life’s too short and it’s more important to feel comfortable with an alternative plan than to feel stressed out because you can’t get what you want at the moment. Another option altogether would be to have a carbohydrate meal instead of a protein meal, made up of foods (which you can combine according to what’s available) including salads, steamed vegetables, pasta, baked potatoes, rice, oatmeal, breakfast cereal (without sugar), toast, or believe it or not, perhaps even a couple of hamburger buns with everything on it but the meat…! Be creative and imaginative, but whatever you do, don’t just sit there without a plan. If we were talking about your business, I’d be willing to bet you’d never go into an important meeting without a briefcase filled with alternatives.
Foreign foods are easy to improvise with as well. For example, Chinese food. An animal protein meal might consist of stir fried vegetables with garlic chicken, or steamed fish with sauted vegetables. The key is to first insist on no MSG, and second, to let the waiter know you like your vegetables stir fried in a little water and/or very little oil with no soy sauce. You can always apply it later with control. As an alternative, a tasty vegetable protein meal might consist of the same vegetables along with, for instance, tofu. If you’re in the mood for a carbohydrate meal, there’s always vegetable chow mien (vegetables with Chinese noodles), steamed rice, sauted broccoli and mushrooms, eggplant, string beans, all kinds of vegetables, including the ones the restaurant may not list. Remember, if you don’t see it on the menu, ask if the chef can make something up for you. It’s a pretty simple rule really, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
If it’s Japanese you like, there’s a world of wonderful choices. For animal protein, try loading up on sashimi or terriyaki chicken with a sunomono salad. As for vegetarians, along with your salad, you might want to try vegetable sushi and miso soup with seaweed and tofu.
Mexican food can also be fun, especially if you find a healthy-minded Mexican restaurant. If it’s animal protein you’re after, try a chicken tostada without the tortilla and beans which, if you think about it, is basically a chicken salad with salsa. As for vegetable protein, there’s a variety of meals. Just let the waiter know you don’t want any cheese or meat, and be sure to ask how they make their beans. Although most Mexican restaurants today cook their beans in vegetable oil and not lard like they used to, it never hurts to double-check. One of my personal favorites is a dish called “frijoes de oya” — fresh baked beans (not refried) seasoned with cilantro and sometimes garlic which I like to eat with plain corn tortillas and a large salad. Bean burritos and tostadas are also great without cheese or meat, and if you’re in a festive mood, you can always dress them up with a side of salsa and a frosted mug of non-alcoholic beer.
Needless to say, Israeli and Middle Eastern foods are invariably a vegetarian’s dream come true, thanks to the likes of humus, falafals, eggplant with tahina, tabuli salad and chipati bread. The big drawback is that much of it is deep fried in oil, so be careful and don’t over do it.
Italian food can either be fattening or healthy, the choice is yours. It just depends on how creative you and your chef can be. I was in Beverly Hills recently, and when I consulted with Prago’s world-renowned chef, Andrea Rogantini, I learned that today’s chefs try very hard to accommodate the customer, rather than the old myth that if you ask for something different, the kitchen help will spit in your food before they serve it. He informed me of some of the healthier meals he’s created and feels that any Italian restaurant would be willing to do the same. When it comes to animal protein, there’s a wide variety in an Italian restaurant. Fish, chicken, veal, beef and lamb. Of course, in my book, the latter three are very unhealthy.
At Prago’s, herbs go a long way. “Pollo all’Aglio e Rosmarino” is simply a boneless double chicken breast with garlic and rosemary. Add steamed broccoli and “Insalata Prego” (organically grown baby lettuce, carrots, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms with vinaigrette) and you’re home free. There’s also “Insalata di Pollo,” a chicken salad made up of grilled chicken breast, mixed baby lettuce, carrots and mushrooms. If it’s fish you’re after, no matter where you dine, ask the waiter for their fresh catch of the day and have them grill and top it with roasted peppers. Sliced seared tuna served over mixed baby lettuce with olive oil and lemon is also great. And definitely ask for extra virgin olive oil. I’d be very surprised if there’s an Italian restaurant anywhere in the country that doesn’t have a bottle somewhere in their kitchen. As for vegetarians, vine-ripe tomatoes, hearts of palm, cannellini beans, mushrooms and beets make a great entree, and if you’re a lacto-vegetarian, a dish made up of radicchio, arugula, hearts of palm, fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and olive oil is beyond belief.
When it comes to carbohydrates, you just can’t beat the pasta dishes. There’s nothing like angel hair pasta sprinkled with chopped tomato, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, not to mention a non-cheese pizza with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic and basil. Or how about quill-shaped pasta with black olives, capers, garlic oregano and tomato sauce? Every now and then you’ll get lucky with fresh homemade bread, but don’t get your hopes up until you ask what it’s made with.
The bottom line is, every restaurant has what you need, and a chef with a great imagination just waiting for a chance to help you with your special, healthy diet. Dining out can be just as festive as before, only now you’re making healthy choices and taking your power back. Don’t forget the most important ingredient of your meal is the company you’ll be sharing it with. If you concentrate on ordering a good healthy meal, then you’ll find you’ll enjoy your conversation even more and you won’t miss pigging out one bit.
Until next time, here’s a couple of recipes for dining “in.”
Hormones – You Can’t Live with Em, and You Can’t Live without Em
Whether you’re a young girl starting out on her hormonal journey or a mature woman in postmenopause, this article will more than likely interest you. And if you’re a man, perhaps the following information will help you to understand some of the dilemmas us women go through while temporarily housed in this small wonder we call the body.
I don’t think there’s a male alive who hasn’t had their fill of hearing the opposite sex complain about everything from PMS to hot flashes. Some doctors think it’s all in our heads, others treat us as if we have an illness. I don’t know how you feel about it, but since when did menstrual cycles and menopause become diseases?
With over 30 million menopausal women in North America, and another 20 million women close behind, it doesn’t take a Harvard genius to recognize that pharmaceutical companies have seen a potential diamond mine in the production of synthetic hormones and have been raking us over the coals ever since. For example, “Premarin” (derived from the words “pregnant mare urine”) is a popular estrogen substitute prescribed by countless doctors and manufactured by the US pharmaceutical giant, the Wyeth-Ayerst Company, taking in over $700 million dollars in 1992 alone. Women, it’s time to open your eyes! A large percentage of their advertising and research dollars are spent trying to convince us that estrogen will cure everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s, but the reality is that synthetic estrogens are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
And if that isn’t bad enough, are you aware of how Premarin is manufactured? I am, and it’s despicable. Pregnant mares are confined to tiny stalls for up to six months at a time without sufficient amounts of water, exercise and veterinary care. They’re hooked up to uncomfortable urine collection systems known as “pee-lines.” And for what? So that big business can continue to generate incredible amounts of money by making products that actually harm us? And what about the 75,000 or so foals produced by this industry each year — what happens to these “unwanted by-products?” I’ll tell you what happens to them. They’re fattened up, trucked to God knows where, then slaughtered, their flesh sold to Japanese consumers or dog food companies. Not only does this disgust me, it’s totally unnecessary.
There are a number of natural estrogen products available to us today, including “Estriol,” that will safely replace those created by the human ovary. We don’t have to abuse and kill animals to get them.
I became very interested in this subject after experiencing a skin itching problem some four years ago. In January of 1993, I woke up one morning feeling fine. Then suddenly, after taking a shower, I began combing my hair out when my scalp began to itch. It was a burning itch. It went from my head to my neck, down to my hands and feet, and before long, my entire body was itching as though I had hives. There was no sign of anything on my skin, yet my husband, Gregory, found me on the floor of the kitchen, hysterically crying from the pain. He ran out to buy me some Benadryl which stopped the itching for a while, but made me feel drugged-out all day.
Not long after that, I called my twin sister, and when I explained to her what was going on with me, she chuckled saying, “None of us ever said anything about it, but the family was wondering if you’d ever get the curse…” Apparently, she had bouts of similar itching, her doctors prescribing Atarax, a skin tranquilizer, to help subside the problem. My older sister began itching when she was 33 (18 years ago), at which time she was prescribed Periactin, another skin tranquilizer. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had been treated for years with synthetic cortisone for her itching, and needless to say, is now suffering the terrible effects of that drug.
Interestingly enough, following menopause, both my mother and older sister were placed on Premarin, and both wound up with not only hysterectomies, but my mom later contacted lymphoma cancer, and my sister just recently had a mastectomy. It wasn’t until it was too late that their doctors decided to take them off Premarin. One of the possible side effects of Premarin is breast cancer.
Being an author, actress, and stuntwoman, there was no way I could take Atarax or Periactin and be alert on the job. So I began experimenting with every possible kind of vitamin, mineral, herb and amino acid that I thought might help me to alleviate my insatiable itching. You name it, I tried it! But the only thing that really helped me was taking ice cold showers or packing my arms and legs in ice-packs. Doctor after doctor had no solution for me other than prescribing drugs that either might cause drowsiness or had the potential to cause birth defects in fetuses. What’s really curious is the day I got pregnant, all the itching went away, and the day I gave birth, all the itching came back.
Whatever was really wrong with me was a nightmare. My hair began to fall out, my skin became extremely dry, I was losing all my body lubrication and sex drive, and I had all the signs of thyroid problems. Every professional I went to said they had no idea what was wrong with me. Most just asked me why I didn’t want to take drugs to feel better. Sound familiar? Why does conventional medicine tend to want to treat the symptom and not the cause?
I don’t know how, maybe it was divine intervention, but with time, I put two and two together and came up with the theory that my problem was actually due to an extreme hormonal imbalance, despite the results of blood tests that said differently. I finally met a doctor who explained to me that an elevation of estrogen can not only block the absorption of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) across the blood brain barrier, but it also suppresses the levels of progesterone in the body. Quite possibly, my pregnancy shot my estrogen up and it never came down. So, against my better judgment, I took his advice and tried taking a prescription of progesterone pills. At first, the itching did subside, but after a month, I began feeling depressed and the headaches were unbearable.
I wasn’t about to give up, though, and I continued my search for the real answer. Then one day, like manna from heaven, validation of my theory actually came to me by one of my readers, Kim Jacob, who with no prior knowledge of my condition, miraculously sent me a tape by John R. Lee, M.D. Kim belongs to a very reputable nutritional company called Life Plus, so Gregory and I took the tape seriously and began to listen to information that for the first time was answering all my questions including, “How could I be in such great shape and feel this bad?”
Dr. Lee began his orientation by explaining that men, and particularly women, today are suffering from hormonal imbalances around the world. What he discovered early on in his career was that the patients he had been treating with estrogen for menopause and/or osteoporosis were not, by and large, getting better. In fact, many of them eventually began to complain about dry skin, loss of hair, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, depression, hot flashes, water retention, weight gain, headaches, fatigue, body aches and bone mineral loss. He knew there must be another part to the puzzle, and later realized that whenever he and other doctors in the past had prescribed only estrogen without progesterone (which is known as unopposed estrogen), they were actually making a big mistake without realizing it. Their patients were becoming hormonally imbalanced. According to Dr. Lee today, in nature’s wisdom, the two hormones are meant to work together.
In an attempt to balance the ratio of estrogen and progesterone in his clients, Dr. Lee began experimenting with a natural progesterone cream he found that was made from plants, and the results were phenomenal. The women he was treating with it began to report that their hair was becoming fuller, their skin was becoming smoother, their fibrocystic breasts were normalizing, their vaginal lubrication was coming back, their aches and pains were disappearing, and above all, their osteoporosis was not only halting, but their bone mass density was actually getting denser.
Dr. Lee chose a natural cream because he realized that drug companies like to alter their products. You see, drug companies cannot patent a natural substance (take for instance a simple yam), and so they go out of their way to synthetically change its natural molecular structure just enough so they can call it their own. And the problem is synthetic hormones have molecules that are not intrinsic to nature and therefore cannot be properly broken down, regulated or absorbed. Thus, the body will eventually illicit a negative reaction from these abnormal molecular configurations, which is why the progesterone pills I originally took caused me to eventually dive into depression and headaches — their natural progesterone content was isolated and slightly transformed.
In his book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause,” Dr. Lee also goes on to explain that the most accurate of hormonal tests are those analyzed through saliva rather than blood. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been using saliva tests for years because of their accuracy and cheaper price. Bingo! — I knew right then and there that getting a saliva test was the way to go. I immediately called Aeron Labs in San Leandro, California (800/631-7900) and requested the saliva test. At that point, I intuitively felt I was getting closer to the answers I was looking for, but I still didn’t really understand why I itched in the first place or why it stopped during my pregnancy.
Further research into the nervous system, however, did finally put the remaining pieces together for me. We all know that the brain communicates with all the tissues and cells of the body via neurotransmitters circulating in the bloodstream and generated by nerve extensions throughout the body. We also know that when carried any distance, nerves are sheathed in an off-white insulating covering called “myelin,” which protects them from trauma and chemical erosion, and prevents short-circuiting of the electric impulse along the way. As in my case, if for any reason these sheaths become eroded, nerve function is adversely affected. Ergo, one can begin to itch. And guess what keeps the body’s myelin sheaths strong and healthy? You got it — progesterone. And as progesterone is made in the body, natural enzymes help change it into other hormones as well, such as corticosterone and cortisol which are responsible for mineral balance, sugar control, and response to stresses of all sorts, including trauma, inflammation, emotional stress, and immune responses.
Now you can understand why my itching stopped when I was pregnant, not to mention why my hair was thick, my skin was soft and smooth, and my body felt like I was hormonally seventeen years-old again. Under normal circumstances, a woman produces roughly 20 mg’s of progesterone a day. When she’s pregnant she can produce up to 400 mg’s. This was the final piece to my puzzle, so it didn’t take me long to order a natural progesterone cream that had at least 400 mg’s per once. According to Dr. Lee, anything less will not supply sufficient progesterone if you’re truly deficient, and even when a natural cream does contain progesterone, it may not be effective if it isn’t suspended in the right medium. For instance, products containing mineral oil will prevent the progesterone from being absorbed into the skin.
When I finally received the results from my saliva test, my conclusions once and for all were confirmed… My progesterone levels were actually lower than a postmenopausal woman. Pretty frightening, huh? I applied the cream and waited for my next itching spell, but it never came, and was Gregory ever happy to hear that my sex drive was back!
If you wish to know more about this subject or would like a list of different progesterone creams available, I urge you to purchase Dr. John R. Lee’s book (published by Warner Books) and get hip to your hormones. I guess the real question to ask is why we’re all becoming hormonally imbalanced to begin with. Could it be that man’s breakdown of the environment is ironically breaking him (or should I say her?) down?
Encapsulated Islet Transplantation – The Diabetic’s Key to Freedom
I remember saying, “God, it doesn’t get much better than this!” The Spice Of Life Co. was growing at an incredible rate, I had just landed three movie roles and my husband’s screenplays were in full force. I had (and still have) an incredible man in my life, a gorgeous little boy, my body was in great shape and the dogs were free from any problems. Then, within one week, our whole life began to change. It was September 15, 1996, when grandma Pat noticed Luke, our then 18 month-old son, was behaving strangely. He was begging for “baba’s,” drinking them all the way down, then almost immediately asking for another. He had an isatiable thirst and would pee like a horse. At times he would look distant and at other times act completely out of control.
My movies were overlapping. Some days I was only getting two hours of sleep, and I was really too tired to notice what was going on. In fact, when Gregory said he wanted to have Luke tested for diabetes, I thought he was losing it. “What, are you crazy? Nobody in our families has ever had diabetes,” I said. Gregory didn’t argue, he simply followed his instincts.
That Friday I had called to see how the visit with the doctor went. Gregory said, “Ok, I guess. The doctor said there was no need to test him for diabetes — that children with diabetes tend to lose weight, etc. He said that Luke was thriving and growing like a weed which was not a sign of diabetes. He said it’s probably the flu and that we should take the bottle away from him — that he was getting too old to drink from a bottle.”
Well, I wasn’t thrilled with the doctor’s advice, but I took away Luke’s bottle and began giving him his juice and soy milk in sipper cups. Luke went crazy, screaming for his bottle. He kept Gregory and I up, night after night. I finally called the doctor again who told me to hang in there and not to buy into his temper tantrums. I followed his advice, but subconsciously I didn’t agree with it. I guess I didn’t want to believe it, but deep down I sensed that there was more going on with my little boy than I cared to admit.
I knew something was really wrong when our housekeeper arrived on a Monday morning. She’s a religious mother who raised three children of her own. She walked in, took one look at Luke, his eyes dark and sunken-in from lack of sleep, and got down on her knees and began to pray. That did it! I was going back to the doctor to demand a blood test. However, he was on vacation, so I asked to see the doctor on call. I explained everything to him and asked him to test Luke. He said the lab was beyond busy and if I was willing to come back the next day, he would arrange for the test. At the top of my lungs I screamed, “No, now!!!” He turned ashen white and made immediate arrangements for the lab down the hall to take Luke’s urine and blood, after which I went home to wait for the results.
I barely got home when I witnessed a scene I’ll never forget. My beautiful little miracle, got up from the floor, his eyes rolled back in his head, he hit the kitchen cabinet doors, spun round and fell to his face. At the same time, the doctor who had gone home, called me screaming at me. “Get your kid to ICU immediately. His blood sugar is over 1100!” I said what should it be? “100. Go now, they’re waiting for you. He could die.”
Whether you’re a mom or not, you can understand the multitude of emotions I was experiencing at that moment. I emergency beeped Gregory, who by now was stuck on the 405 freeway, and grabbed Luke like he was a ragged doll. I actually wondered if I had time to fasten his seat belt. But knew I had to or he’d be thrown out of the car by the way I’d be driving. Thank God I’m a stunt driver. As I put on my flashers, rolled my windows down, and pulled infront of every red light yelling for free passage, I continued to slapped Luke’s face to keep him alert and not to go into a coma.
I made a 15 minute trip in 8 minutes and scretched into the emergency driveway, yanked him out of the car and ran into ICU. I threw Luke into the arms of the nurses who proceeded immediated to get a needle in his little arm and a eeg for brain waves and ekg for heart monorating. “What’s his name” they asked. I replied, “Luke Gregory Crosby” “Ok, Luke is a Juvenile Diabetic, Type 1” I was in shock. How I asked. We don’t have diabetes in our family. She asked me if he had experience a virus lately. I said yeah, about a month ago. “Well, that’s how we think these young kids are getting this disease. If they are born without a chromazone to protect them from this virus, then it attacks their pancreas and distroys the islet cells.”
How, could I know so much about nutrition, medicine, body atantomy, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, lab test, hormons, cancer, you name, but never did I study anything about diabetes. It just wasn’t something interesting to me. Finally Gregory reached the hospital to find me watching our child in a coma. We were devastated. We cried together, prayed together and began to blame each other for not doing what ever we could to somehow pervent this from happening. We were lost, confussed, scared and begged God to give this disease to us and not our inocent angel. Out of the conner of my eye I saw a priest come in to give last rights to a little girl who was dying. It was at that time I said, “Ok God, I can deal with diabetes. Give me the strenght and guidence and I’ll find a cure for this disease.” We both knew right then and there, we had no choice but to educate ourselves to the endth degree. We knew we had to learn more about this disease then even the teating doctors.
Thank God, we got an excellent doctor, Dr. Wesley Smith. We spent the next two months calling this man, at his request, every morning, noon, and night to give him Luke’s glucose report. Wesley knows that all parents are new to this way of life and wants to be there every step of the way to make sure we learn the right way.
God works in very strange ways and aftering praying for help, I received a call from my sister, Linda. She proceeded to tell me that conincidentally, the company she works for, funds Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong at VivoRx, Santa Monica, a surgeon who developed the encapsulated pancreatic islet cell transplant technique that was performed on California recepients, Steven Craig and Clarissa Hooper. I immediately went to work on learning everything and anything about diabetes and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
First you must understand how the pancreas works and doesn’t work. Simply put, upon eating, your foods turn into sugar or otherwise know as glucose. Through a series of digestion, the glucose drips into the blood stream and a message is sent to your pancreas to secret insulin into the blood to convert the sugar into energy. The pancreas is a small, long, irregularly shaped gland lying behind the stomach, that secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum and insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin into the bloodstream. Insulin is a polypeptide hormone secreted by the islets of Langerhans and functioning in the regulation of the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, especially the conversion of glucose to glycogen, which lowers the blood glucose level. When these islet cells are destroyed and no longer produce insulin, the sugars will build up in the blood stream and cause excessive thirst, frequent urination, acidosis, and wasting. Diabetes is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425. In the 1800’s it was called ‘Children by the well’ disease because no matter how much water you drink, the only way to dilute the sugar in the blood stream is through conversion of glucose to glycogen and not throught drinking water. Children and adults would sit by the drinking wells and drink ’til they died.
For years researchers have brought within reach a long-sought therapy for diabetes: an artificial pancreas. Such a device would secrete insulin in precise relation to th the level of glucose in the blood, improving the management of the desease and the comfort of the patient. However, no one was able to make the therapy work in animals larger than rodents. It was Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, with the Wadsworth group, who on the cutting edge of this research, was able to have dogs going two years without additional transplants to maintain their glucose management.
The problem was not the transplantation, but preventing the new islest cells from being destroyed by the body’s own immune system. In the begining, the Wadsworth researchers protected their islets with a gel membrane that unfortunately stimulated inflammation during the first few weeks. It therefore had to be accompanied by low doses of cyclosporine, an immunosuppressive drug. Despite that requirement, the group was the first to win permission from the FDA to begin human trials in 20 human diabetics who have had kidney transplants and are already required to take cyclosporine. Even frequent home blood testing to finetune diet, exercise and dosages of insulin cannot fully normalize blood flucose. A strict regimen can prevent vascular damage, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. This disease is the third-largest cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer.
The solution to all these problems will likely be found in the development of a device or technique that both protects the islets from the immune system and allows the necessary exchange of nutrients and insulin. This feat is made possible by a “selectively permeable” material or coating. The ideal material or coating lets oxygen, glucose, hormones, and insulin pass, but blocks passage of larger molecules – especially antibodies and the T cells of the immune system, which would destroy the islets. This is a triger reaction in which the body’s automatic response to a foreign invader is one of covering it’s enemy by a fibrous coating, effectively closing it off from the body. In 1980, Anthony M. Sun, M.D., of Connaught Laboratories in Toronto, reported reversing diabetes in rats by using islets placed inside capsules made of alginate, a material derived from seaweed. This was the first use of microencapsulation in diabetes. Dr. Patick Soon-Shiong, M.D. continued with Dr. Sun’s work and attributes the success of his encapsulation thechnique to changes in the traditional formalation of the seaweed-based alginate material. “Fibrous overgrowth of the capsule has been the major problem with this technology,” Patrick said. “We identified impurities in the formulation that were reponsible for the reaction and devised a purified formula.”
May 1993, at St. Vincent Medical Center, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong began the first U.S. human trials of an artifical pancreas that he hoped would someday free diabetics from the need for insulin injections. Steven Craig was the first to be implanted with an artificial pancreas in the abdomen after he had been suffering with diabetes for more than 30 years and has been unable to work for the last seven of those years because of complications. His muscles were growing increasingly weak and painful and jumped at the chance to join a medical revolution in treating this disease. 38 year old Steven Craig, who now lives in Anaheim, CA, saw his type 1 diabetes dramatically reverse after he received a transplant of specially packaged insulin-producing cells that cleared glucose from his body. “Two years ago, I was ready for a wheelchair,”he says, “Now I walk five or six miles everyday.”
In Long Beach, Clarissa Hooper who was only 35 years old, was the second recepient of this ingenious treatment developed by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in January 1994. As like Steven, Clarissa was plagued with complications from diabetes for over 22 years. “I don’t have those ups and downs anymore,” she says, and “my eyes are more stable, without the ‘blurry days,’ and I’m regaining the feeling in the bottom of my feet.” Clarissa has had multiple foot surgeries, and she notes that she’s healing faster afterwards now. Four years after becoming the first person with advanced diabetes to undergo an historic pancreatic islet cell transplant, Steven Craig continues to live with excellent blood sugar control and ongoing improvement of the nerve damage in his legs. The proceedure preformed in May and November of 1993 and again in January of 1996, found that some of the islet cells from the first two transplants are still functioning. “Based on these findings, we expect that patients will require a booster transplant every two or three years,” Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong explained.
The pancreatic islet cell transplant is a minimally invasive procedure that consists of placing islet cells directly into a small incision in the abdominal cavity. There they produce the steady amount of insulin needed to reduce or eliminate the need for injected insulin and reduce or reverse diabetic complications such as nerve degeneration and impaired eyesight. The transplant procedure is limited by a shortage of human donor pancreases. “Our early lab findings suggest it may be possible to clone human islet cells in the lab, so that there can be an unlimited supply,” Dr. Soon-Shiong said.
Gregory, Luke and I were very fortunate to take an audience with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. We were not only impressed with his work, but his genune kindness and love for the patients he works with and his future possible recepients. He keeps a photo album of all the children with diabetes who have sent him cards and letters of wishing him luck with his studies. For they know they will reap the harvest of this man’s work. Dr. Soon-Shiong informed us as to the patients he works with now are virtually in need of finacial help in order for them to go through the proceedure and clinical studies. A foundation has been established to help support these patients while they are paving the way for children like my little Luke. I urge anyone with the desire to donate to a chairty, to send a check to the VivoRx Foundation, ADDRESS, or call PHONE NUMBER for additional information.
Well, Luke is now 33 months old and is a food combining vegan. He eats no sugar, dairy, animals or chemicals. 3 days a week he runs 1 1/2 miles at the park with me and goes to the gym to do treadmill, pull ups, dips, tricep push downs and leg press. All with little or no weight. When we come home, if the weather permits, he’s in the pool for about 40 minutes. These are his choices. He is a born jock! His blood is tested every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and is injected every 3 hours. We are keeping very tight control on his sugar and he is just now learning how to turn on his own glucose monitor and tell us where he wants his shot. Luke now needs to learn to take his power back by making heatlhy decisions as best as a near 3 year old can make. But we feel if we teach him all these good habits while his still very young, the rebellous years won’t be so bad. One thing we know, he’s happy, growing, and an extremely loving children who is going to grow up with a little inconvinence until Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong says it’s our turn.
I received an e-mail from a woman who informed us about Clarissa Hopper.
It read: Just to update you on the second transplant receiver Clarissa Hooper. She told me that this procedure was not effective for her. She subsequently had both legs amputated, and a kidney transplant. She passed away in Livingston, Montana at the age of 47 on January 16, 2006 from heart failure.
Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones and know that she is traveling in the light without all that pain. The real treatment for diabetes is just around the corner and we’re so sorry that Clarissa will not be here to see that day!
Steven Craig died at the age of 43. Mr. Craig took his own life. After the experimental transplant, Steven had an amazing turnaround in his health. He no longer needed insulin injections, the constant leg and foot pain had disappeared, he was able to walk again, his nerve function improved and a foot ulcer healed in only seven days. In addition, he was able to have a full-time job for the first time in 10 years. He had increased energy and a general feeling of improved health. Steven received two more booster transplants, the last one in 1996. Steven’s isel cells were failing him after a while but he was told by Dr. Soon-Shiong that he was not eligible for any more islets. Once the funding is shut off, the patients go back to where they started. How horrible and scarry this thought is.
Steven Craig is now in the light and enjoying a life without pain.