Tag Archives: Amino Acids

Eat more turkey! And… Need turkey recipes!

Please send in turkey recipes – especially the tastiest or easiest!

This article extols the virtues of turkey for its amino acid profile. It’s a great place to start to get an overview of proteins in food.

Continue reading

Why I take 5-HTP. And, CAUTIONS!

*UPDATE 10/14/2016 My sources of folate are: a diet rich in leafy greens and a multivitamin. The brand I’m currently taking is Thorne Research 2/Day. I take one at breakfast with a 50mg dose of 5htp, and again both at 2:00 p.m.  I also take magnesium glycine and taurine. All of these together are the core of my “calm and happy” nutrient supplementation. You can see other posts throughout my site and in the future for more information about other supplements such as brain-critical fats (fish oil and phospholipids) supplements.

Original post:  Continue reading

Non-dairy protein powder 70:30 pea:rice

70:30 pea:rice blend… is seen as the vegan alternative to whey due to their similar amino acid profiles.”1

If you need a  protein powder that’s vegan and dairy-free and low cost, look for a pea-rice blend. Orgain protein powder awaits you at the nexus of Costco (low cost and convenience if you are a Costco shopper) and a Primal-ish yet busy lifestyle.

There are of course things I don’t like about Orgain.
1)  Real food is always a better option, IF that food is paleo style.
2)  Whey protein (non-denatured) is better, if you can.  My #1 reason is brain neurotransmitters.
3)  The fat that it does contain not ideal an ideal form. High Oleic Sunflower Oil.
4)  It can have a bit of a chalky taste.  I fear this is rancidity.  The large Costco size is not a great idea if you’re not going to consume it regularly. Don’t let it sit around a long time. Perhaps keeping it in the fridge is a good idea. I keep mine in pantry because my fridge is too full of real food. Maybe keeping a smaller portion out, while the bulk of it sits in a deep freezer is a compromise.

Good points:
1) Good blend of Pea and Rice
3) Chia seed and hemp protein added
2) Sweeteened with erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit extract. Not overly sweet
3) chocolatey

My 12 year old is making a lot of food choices that I’m not going to create a battle about. One of them currently is he prefers Orgain over whey powder.  He says he likes the way it tastes.

Quick SHAKE:

1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen (this is not vegan, but it is dairy free and it is high in glycine for a brain-calming effect)
1 scoop (half serving) of Organi
Milk of your choice. (My son prefers our whole, non-homogenized, low-temp pasteurized milk, which happens to be a convenience purchase in Minneapolis.)
Shake in a jar  (I use smaller mayonnaise jars)

When I need really fast protein, I grab this.  For my son, I will work at finding a whey protein recipe that he likes. I suspect it could be plain whey (not vanilla) with Mt. Hagen coffee granules.  Stay tuned.

Multi-Vitamin Breakdown

I looked at four formulas for a basic multi-vitamin for the mainstay of my mood repair project.
The first one:
$32 / 3 capsules =  $0.48 per serving
This is not a tight formula, and I doubt I’ll ever buy it.
Second, Pure Encapsulations’ Pure Genomics is $0.54 per day and it is a much better formula, and great if you’re on a really tight budget, BUT…
Better yet is Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/day. At $0.93 per day, you might be thinking, gee it is twice as expensive!  But, as I look it over, I see that it has nearly twice the amount of many of the nutrients, so in fact you are getting twice.  In other words, you could take half a dose.  Plus, you are getting also some nutrients that you don’t get in the Pure Genomics (see below). Note that the reason I even looked at this one is my doctor recommendation at the Penny George Institute.  She knows her stuff.  Notice that with this formula, I will not add on a B-complex. Cost justified!
The fourth one I looked at was the one sold by Chris Kresser: Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy.  If you buy the bulk bottle it’s $2.02/day and you take 6 capsules.  So, it is twice the cost of the Thorne Basic.
I am buying Thorne Basic on Amazon, but will also check to see if I can purchase at my doctor’s office in order to use my HSA pre-tax funds.

Thorne Basic vs. Pure Genomics:

I like the Thorne Basic overall formula better than the Pure Genomics. Here are the highlights:
  • Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate) 20 mg – PG doesn’t contain this activated form of this most important vitamin for our mood repair and reducing estrogen.
  • Thiamin B-1. 50 mg vs. PG’s combined total of two forms of thiamine 3 mg.
  • B12 – you can decide for yourself. Methylcobalamin can be very important for those who need methyl groups. But, agitating to those with problems in their methyl cycle.  I do not understand this. All I know is that I’ve been taking methyl form the past few months and I’m overall way better than before, so I assume that it’s not messing me up and may be helping.
  • 2x chromium, which I sense is important for our blood sugars.
  • There is copper in Thorne but not in Pure Genomics. I’m not going to worry about it. It also contains zinc and I’m eating sesame tahini every day for 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. And pumpkin seeds the other two weeks.
  • Thorne is missing choline & inositol (see action plan below).
  • My doctor liked the form of zinc Bisglycinate in Thorne better than the zinc citrate in PG.

Thorne Basic vs. Metabolic Synergy

  • Some of the basic stuff is very high in MS, so you could take 4 capsules instead of 6 but then you would be getting less of some of the other important stuff. So, balancing price and nutrients, I think Thorne Basic still wins. However, there are some ingredients in MS that I would like to learn more about or consider adding some other way: potassium, ALA, Carnosine and Vanadium.  Also, I already know I would be adding Taurine and Inositol.  By the way, Carnosine and Taurine are not found in whey or collagen.

Rachel’s Action Plan: (July 2016)

  • Take Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/day
  • Do not add a B-complex. (This is another big benefit to justify the cost of the Thorne Basic.)
  • Add L-5-MTHF  Folate maybe. Or at least be eating lots of leafy greens for folate. UPDATE: Originally I mentioned adding sublingual B12. I will not likely be doing that as I have done a course of sublingual B12. But, I will, as you should also, continue learning whether I need the extra B12 support. The Thorne Basic contains 600 mcg, but it’s not sublingual. Adding more could/should be safe if you need to get some sublingually. But, if you do, be sure to add the L-5-MTHF.
  • If you are taking D, consider taking Thorne D+K drops under your tongue. The dosage math gets complicated but gets you some vitamin K if your gut flora is messed up. (If you have to choose between K drops and probiotics, choose the probiotics. But, the K drops can be pretty darn cheap when you figure out that you only need 1 bottle per year and you can probably share that with your kids.) Update: Yes the Thorne Basic does contain some Vit K.
  • Add inositol (reduce anxiety) and phosphatidyl choline (from sunflower not soy). My doc said take the choline, as opposed to tumeric, which I asked her about.  (I am finishing up products, and haven’t figured out best product yet.) Brands of phosphatidyl choline that she mentioned were: Thorne, Zymogen, Orthomolecular, and Seeking Health.
  • Add Taurine – this is cheap esp. if you buy bulk powder. I’m buying NOW brand.
  • Of course, take additional Vitamin C with every meal.
  • Investigate how much B6 I might actually need. Perhaps I need more? I will keep learning and referencing the mood cure books. Further Investigation: I believe it was a WAPF article that recomnends 100-200mg B6 daily for reducing estrogen and dealing with PMS. How much does Joan Mathews Larson recommend for mood?


I think the general feeling I get looking over the numbers here is that the Thorne Basic is like getting a B-complex already in it.  If I were to take the Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Genomics I would have to add a B complex.  I just looked at my Jarrow B Right bottle (I’ve take 2-3 bottles of this the past couple months) and compared it.  I like the numbers of the Thorne Basic as it includes similar amounts of B’s as to the Jarrow B Right.  The Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. or Genomics have very low amounts of B’s.  And, again, the forms of the B’s are looking good in the Thorne (activated forms).  There could be some questions for different people about the form of the B12, whether you want methylcobalamin, or adenosylcobalamin/ hydroxycobalamin (which the Pure Encaps contains).  My doc mentioned some people are sensitive to the methyl B12 because of some methylation defects.  I don’t know about myself on that yet, but I don’t think I’m that sensitive.  She mentioned knowing this by methylcobalamin being “agitating” and I took her meaning to be a noticeable nervous system agitation.

I guess I am looking for an overall simple solution, and hopefully simplicity will also help me shave some cost off of my total supplement bill.

DISCLAIMER: I do not have the credentials to recommend this to anyone.  I offer it only as my continually evolving plan for myself, as my friends like to see what I am doing.  I buy all my own supplements and I don’t get any kind of reimbursements to “sell” anything.

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.
    -“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 list has moved here:

Mood Repair Books List


Peace starts with making peace in your cells.



My Mood Miracle of (Magnesium) Glycine

Stress much?

Since I have been an avid proponent of magnesium in the past, I want to now enhance my position on magnesium, which in my attempted study of the literature on neurotransmitters brought to my attention the fact that I noticed a big effect* on my mood with the use of magnesium glycinate. Continue reading

9 Essential Amino Acids

Inspiration: book called The Mood Cure by Julie Ross.

I just verified all 9 essential aminos are in whey protein!

I’m so happy, and Meredith will be happy I’m not taking away this product from her, even though it’s chocolate.

Why?  I am weaning us off of certain foods that are depriving us of good moods.  I am upping our Paleo foods, getting rid of more and more sugar and junk.

This time I think it’s for good. We are going to still eat out, but home is getting a pantry cleanse.