Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mood Repair Primer

Here is a primer for what I mean by “Mood Repair Project.”

  1. Emotions are based on the physical/chemical.
  2. A healthy person has ups and downs, positive thoughts and negative thoughts, but they are not something they have to fight with for years!
  3. Hormones play a part, so women are more prone to these problems.
  4. However, aging, pain, sickness, and stress* tend to deplete serotonin and other neurotransmitters. Men are at risk also. The Standard American Diet or even a “healthy diet” that is less than optimal, is a basic reason why so many pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed.
  5. Some of us are “sensitive”– digestive issues, allergies, poor diet, periods of chronic stress*, etc. all play into creating our individual biochemistries. Embrace the understanding that you are a sensitive person. And there are remedies.

*Stress: Including stressful childhood, periods of depression, life events such as divorce, death of loved one, combat, abuse, neglect, and long periods of sub-optimal nutrition (which is the most common for most of us).  Also including, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, long term illness, long periods or chronic over-work, history of not sleeping well or sub-optimal sleep.

Here’s a thought:  You “are” what you do.  All problems are relationship problems. So, the actions you take ARE CAUSAL and they define WHO YOU ARE!  If you help the biochemical balance of your brain, it will not be an overnight miracle, but it will be EASIER for you to grow:  to choose different actions.  It will be easier to have a more positive spin on things.  The things are what they are, but the meaning you make of them will determine how you act and therefore who you are (and how other people see you).

I love the bumper sticker “Don’t believe everything you think.”  I have tried for years to embrace that.  But, I just couldn’t, when a “false mood” came over me.

Foundational changes:

1. Natural Substances & Amino Acid Formulas – Take appropriate amino acids (including 5htp), vitamin/mineral supplements and herbs (Sam-e or St. John’s Wort, etc.) while you are doing your Mood Repair Project. This helps you get through lifestyle transitions. For every individual it will take a different formula and a different amount of time. Some may never get off the “helper” supplements. That’s ok. It’s healthier and safer than taking pharma drugs. Pharma drugs might be necessary for some people, but I urge you to read the books below before you make a decision to go on or stay on pharma drugs.

2. Digestion – the gut is where tons of things happen. The fate of your serotonin rests on digestion. For those of us with messed up digestion, we might need to tend to this part of our constitutions the rest of our lives on this Earth. Picture yourself dressing as a gardener, put on those gloves and start cultivating the soil of your gut. You will need probiotics, Betaine HCL and possibly digestive enzymes. I also recommend taking digestive bitters twice per day prior to, or during your meal (Bitters blow my mind!). I can keep adding on more things that you can try/add/do and many of them I am doing myself right now and plan to do them indefinitely until I feel my health becoming vibrant. Do NOT take antacids unless a doctor confirms that you have high acid.

3. DIET & BLOOD SUGAR LEVELING – exercise, digestion and diet must all be changes that you begin to make a permanent part of your life, for the rest of your life.  This is addressing the root cause of the chemical imbalance. The diet is basically Paleo with plenty of complex carbohydrate. Most certainly very low sugar and lots of protein. Eating at regular times MUST become a way of life because your digestive tract needs time to DIGEST the RAW MATERIALS needed to make your hormones and neurotransmitters!  You must eat 3 meals and probably some snacks in between.  Never skip breakfast or lunch.  You must have protein in regular, moderate amounts through the day.

4. Spiritual – Things that I put into the “Spiritual” category:

4a. Exercise. Modify your life to add 3 longer walks per week (listen on headphones to the walking meditation…)

plus some exercise that gets your heart pumping.

4b. Breathing.  Learn this and do it twice per day. You must do it regularly. The only way it will “work” is by doing it daily for a long period of time (listen to what Dr. Weil says in the video.

  1. Do the 4-7-8 breathing cycle 4x TWICE per day. This stretches the vagal nerve and reduces parasympathetic response. And, it’s quick. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html
  2. Kaiser FREE podcasts. Much better if you download the MP3 because if you’re listening to one longer than 20 minutes via the website it will cut off.
    https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health/care/!ut/p/a0/FchBDoMgEADAt_iAzYZEYfFmhH6hhdsGiZIIGELt99seZ9DjC33hO-3cUy18_uxCLD22md9bqnCnLVZ8okd_Nd4zoysVAocj_o9bT-GM6IzVap2MBamlBCGsgEWPBohoUkKp8UErXjnTZxmGL2IKPpI!/
    -“Panic attacks and anxiety” – esp. “Body Scan”
    -“Stress” – esp. “Walking Meditation”
  3. http://drsircus.com/medicine/function-vagus-nerve/ – there is a vibrational (vocal) technique to learn on the first video. (Learn it and teach it to the patient. You don’t have to mention that it is “sexual” or anything. Vagal nerve is related to a LOT of things, as this article describes. Calm the vagal nerve and reap the benefits (see #1 just above).

4c. Prayer & meditation. Whatever works for you!

4d. Counseling. The Mood Cure doctor, Julie Ross, said that counseling could finally be effective after someone with a neurotransmitter imbalance got healthy. This is why as a psychologist she brought in a nutritionist to her office. You can read about this in her book The Mood Cure.

Admitting you need this:

I didn’t know that what I was experiencing–mood changes or things that looked to me like thoughts– was based in my physical health.  It was at times impossible to observe my thoughts. Or, when I was observing with cognitive, it was like I had a whole different person with different thoughts.  That sounds like some sort of crazy split personality disorder, but I am speaking here of a very subtle thing that I came to understand over the course of my adult life.  My symptoms looked like PMS, so it seemed like something to expect, and not look further.  It was not easy for me or my family during those times.  It didn’t seem medical (beyond “PMS”), after all, I was trying my best to be healthy.  When I got irritated, angry, frustrated, broody, self-deprecating, negative… I either decided the problem was someone else’s behavior or that it was a “thinking” problem of my own (I would try to “think my way out of it”).  Problem was, I couldn’t think my way out.  Positive, constructive thoughts just don’t come when there’s not enough serotonin in one’s brain.  I could have even thought that it was a spiritual problem.  But, thinking, including the mental fortitude to make decisions that affect my spirituality, was based in my biochemistry.  Tending to spiritual matters CAN make a difference, and in some rare cases is MIGHT entail spirit bringing matter into balance (this is a matter of mystery and possibly faith or grace).  But, when there is a scientific explanation sitting right in front of us, I can’t imagine not trying it!  God gave us these minds to decipher how this universe works.  Molecules follow the rules God made.  And, once your biochem starts coming into balance, lovingkindness and the fruits of the Spirit are so much easier to exhibit.

I’m sure this all takes years. But, it starts now.

Watch the video on this page: http://www.moodcure.com/

Then PRINT the quiz and have the patient fill them out and write the date on the pages (this will give you benchmark). You can then put the answers into the website to get your score to understand the patient’s Mood Type. Put the paper questionnaire away for future reference.

Books

Books list has moved here:

Mood Repair Books List

 

Peace starts with making peace in your cells.

Love,

Rachel

Banishing Cravings

Let me tell you a little story about my own mood repair project.

I did not ever know how I was going to be able to stop food cravings. Honestly, I didn’t even know what it was like not to have cravings! OK, I’ll be truthful: I did get close to no cravings when I had previously done low sugar diets in the past. But, I couldn’t explain or maintain it. Plus, I’m sure that as soon as I felt like, “Oh, I don’t feel hungry right now,” I would skip a meal and then the downward cycle would begin. Because eating regular amounts of protein throughout the day is super important for me, as I have now deciphered with the help of the mood repair books.

Now that I have begun as many of the directives as I can, I have experienced what it is like to not be craving. I have been off of chocolate for 4 months now. But, let me explain further: I was eating a dark chocolate bar every day. On Feb 7, I put it all in the basement out of sight. I have been eating SOME, but the difference is that it was first a straight month of no chocolate and thereafter maybe once a week. I’ve binged once, but it was more of a cognitive decision rather than a craving. I put the chocolate away that night and returned to my plan the next day.

The difference is that I can feel the underlying discomfort and know that I’m craving protein and that chocolate will not help. I can feel the blood sugar swings and know that it’s my job calling me.

The difference is 5htp, which raises my serotonin. I am no longer a monster at 3:00 p.m. for the rest of the evening. I’m no longer fighting with inner bad mood, trying to hold my tongue from saying the irritated things.

With enough serotonin, I feel better, more like my best self, and I can make better decisions about what foods to put in my mouth.

I finally can see that I don’t binge EVERY DAY like I used to. And, I’m left wondering, “Is this why some people seem more naturally in a good mood and able to resist the cake at a party?” Well, now I’m the person who is usually not taking a second look at the birthday cake.

I eat before I’m hungry. And, when I mess that up, which is often, I get back on track as quickly as possible by going and getting some protein. I can’t eat dairy and eggs, so this is even more difficult for me than most people. If you can eat cheese and eggs, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, make it your job to stock up on meat sticks, leftover cooked meat, hard boiled eggs, etc. (I eat a duck egg on most mornings. It only takes 20 minutes to cook thin pieces of frozen fish in the oven.)

I’m also eating complex carbs and vegetables. These are important. Complex carbs help you not crave sugar. Fiber slows down the digestion so that you can get more tryptophan out of the food so you can make more serotonin.

I no longer eat to lose body fat, although, that would be nice. I think it will eventually happen as my body repairs.

I eat to be in a good mood.

Eating to be in a good mood helps me avoid consuming sugar, which eventually will help me lose body fat. I just have to do this long enough to get my cortisol lower, or whatever it is that’s really going on in my body imbalances. And “long enough” now looks easier to do for a very long haul. Like til I’m dead. Because I do want to be in a good mood when I die.

Fish Oil, essential fatty acids

Here’s a mini supplement update on fish oil.

I’ve been taking cod liver oil for years. I recently started working with an integrative doctor at the Penny George Institute to improve my hormones and mood. She doesn’t seem to think I need the Vitamin A from cod liver oil–she must not be a Weston A Price devotee. I think the main reason is that she is trying to simplify my routine and she wants me to take a multivitamin, which would have vitamin A in it (I would make sure it is retinyl palmitate, not beta carotene. I’m pretty sure that with my likely nordic ancestry, I need the pre-formed Vitamin A). I will try to ask her about this again later, but for the meantime, I’m trying out her ideas in my experiment of one.

Switching to Fish Oil…

Her recommendation to me was to use a fish oil supplement with a 3:2 EPA:DHA ratio, with 1000mg of the EPA, which means that the DHA would be 666mg. Again, I’m not sure her reasoning for this yet, but I suspect it has something to do with my allergies.

I like the idea of the high potency fish oil because then I can take in the EPA without a high calorie/fat addition to my diet (I already eat a high fat diet and have no problem adding on fatty foods especially because I am eating a seed rotation diet and I love nuts and butter.)

So, the product that is the perfect solution is…

Nordic Naturals – Ultimate Omega Xtra

Amazon price is $67.96, and this seems so expensive, but look, I can take HALF TEASPOON and get the 1000mg of EPA. The price at the local co-op is $80, so I’m saving by buying on Amazon. (And, I am an Amazon Prime member, plus I get 3% cash back using my Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa).

I still feel like I will need to eat whole sardines (for the livers) as well as some other animal livers to obtain vitamin A.

Almost Sunscreen time!

Time to buy sunscreen!  Here are some of the best products with a dose of healthier. Continue reading

My Vitamin D levels

Why you care:

A) Maybe you have a high need for supp like I do and want to know what dosage you could be taking if you haven’t tested in awhile.

B) you need a nudge to go get re-tested. If so, you may need to convince your doctor and for insurance purposes you might need to say something like this: “I tested low in the past and have been taking a <high dose> of D3 and I want to make sure that my levels aren’t going too high.”

One doctor recently denied me a re-test. She was the same doctor who had previously freaked out when I had a high Vit D result (consequently she had my liver levels tested). She must have forgotten that, because this month, she stated there’s no correlation between fatigue and low vitamin D levels and she didn’t want to order the test.

I know better than that. As you will recall since I got on this bandwagon, I had a VERY CLEAR turnaround when I was so physically tired I could hardly function, just wanted to sleep all day (early 2011). I realized I hadn’t been taking Vit D for awhile, so I started back on it on a high dose and within 3 days had regained a ton of energy.

I’ve re-tested many times to figure out my level and have stabilized now with 4,000 IU per day.

Every person may be different, which is why each person should undergo this process. I have never had to order a home saliva test, but if I ever cannot get a doctor to do the test for me, that’s what I will do.

A different doctor wanted a re-test, so I did get it tested this week. I have been having tests done 1-2 times per year for a few years in order to get this dialed in, which at the same time being very consistent with my supplementation.

I have been taking 4000 IU per day of D3. I finally feel comfortable that I won’t need to test twice a year.

It’s all a little cludgy, because I was off of Cod Liver Oil for 2 weeks before having this test done. But, my doc wants me to take high-EPA fish oil instead of CLO. So, I’m not very concerned.

My next steps:

  • Aim for 4000 IU per day supplement of D3.
  • If I add other supplements that contain D, lower my main dose.
  • Perhaps to get consistent I could take 28,000 per week. But, having digestive issues, I have been taking it daily.
  • Re-test in a year or two. Maybe test every 3 years after that?
  • if I do get a dose of sun, I don’t take a dose that day or next day. I usually use sunscreen now: Being a redhead and having already had large doses of sun; having brown spots all over my arms and legs.

EO recipe: Bug Bite Blend

Bug Bite Blend

In a roller bottle, combine 30 drops each of these essential oils:

  • Lavender – lowers inflammation and soothes nerves in upset children.
  • Melaleuca – kills germs.
  • Peppermint – cools the burning feeling.

If this doesn’t fill the bottle halfway, continue adding equal parts of each of the 3 EOs.

Fill the top half of the roller bottle with a carrier oil such as doTERRA fractionated coconut oil or almond oil or even olive oil.

Roll this onto bug bites.

Develop Wisdom for Parenting Teens

I will tell you what’s in this article, because it prints out into 9 pages of solid text. Yes, it’s a good read if you need a parenting tune-up.

http://kindredmedia.org/2016/02/practical-wisdom-in-parenting-a-new-study-identifies-nine-processes-parents-use/

PHRONESISPhronesis

  • not just what parents think but how they think through their solutions to parenting dilemmas
  • wise parenting involves a constellation of skills, mindsets, and habits that can be practiced.
  • Insight into three parenting scenarios answered by three different mothers who scored highest “wisdom scores” in the study.

“More specifically, the study found that wise parenting involves 9 dimensions that make up the process of how parents think through, deliberate about, and solve parenting dilemmas. They are defined below and ideas for practice within each dimension are offered. Even though there may be no particular order in which these dimensions arise in real time, in practice it may make sense to begin with reflection and conclude with integrative thinking. Parents may benefit most from practicing practical wisdom with some type of parenting community of reflective practice, which could consist of just a significant other or other parents.”

Bitters blow my mind!

I contacted an old friend, herbalist www.herbcraft.org to ask him about enzyme production in regards to aging and supplementation. I recommend his article on bitters.

Jim wrote back and gave another amazing resource on the science of bitters.

This one blew my mind. Bitter receptors are throughout the body. They increase in numbers due to certain stimuli. Bacteria colonies react to them. Bitter receptors may be a part of our immune system. Tasting bitters activates several processes in the body, not just for optimal digestion. They can help regulate appetite and blood sugar.

You need to hear this.

Guido Mase is another great source of info on bitters:

https://soundcloud.com/urbanmoonshine
He takes it slow, so if you feel it is repetitive, please know that there is more sciencey information later in the talk. Keep going!

If you guys want to know brands and sources, please let me know and I’ll do another post. I feel that this is a supplement worth putting into my diet every day, either plants or tinctures. The value (cost/result) is a great promise. If your digestion bothers you at all, or you want to look at appetite or blood sugar control, this is a good place to start. These are all things I’m working on in my own health, and I’m glad to share my experience.

Stress reduction program

My new integrative doctor gave me the following directives to reduce stress and calm my nervous system.

  1. Do the 4-7-8 breathing cycle 4x TWICE per day. This stretches the vagal nerve and reduces parasympathetic response. And, it’s quick. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112/The-4-7-8-Breath-Benefits-and-Demonstration.html
  2. She also recommended these free meditation podcasts from KaiserPermanente. Much better if you download the MP3 because if you’re listening to one longer than 20 minutes via the website it will cut off. Especially:
    • -anic attacks and anxiety – esp. Body Scan
    • Stress – esp. Walking Meditation
  3. yoga
  4. some aerobic exercise several times per week.