Health risks of using baby powder

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Did you hear? A court ruled that Johnson & Johnson must pay a family 72 million in damages. A woman’s death (ovarian cancer) was linked to using baby powder & shower to shower for decades.

While pregnant, I remember being told that baby powder is no longer recommended because of the risk of respiratory problems.

Baby powder can cause breathing trouble and serious lung damage if a baby inhales the particles. And the particles are small enough that it’s hard to keep them out of the air during use. – Jennifer Lowry (Pediatrician).

I wasn’t aware that it can also cause health problems in adults (cancer).

Here’s more on the story: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/court-orders-johnson-johnson-payoff-talcum-powder-ovarian-cancer-case-n524456

If you’re tired YOU ARE tired whether you have children or not

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I will be the odd one to say that I don’t agree with this. If you don’t have kids and are exhausted, you still ARE exhausted. I believe you. Not sleeping for whatever reason sucks. And sometimes there’s a medical reason why a person feels tired 24/7. A couple of years ago, I had untreated hypothyroidism which made me feel sluggish ALL the time. No matter how much sleep I got, I was exhausted. A coffee or nap would NOT help.

Now having had a baby, I’m TIRED. She’s 8 months old and not sleeping through the night. The early days were pure sleep deprivation torture. But I would never laugh at someone who doesn’t have kids and tells me that they are exhausted. Yes, it’s a different kind of tired. But being exhausted no matter the cause stinks. And I will sympathize, dear one.

Hypothyroidism, Gluten Free, and Vitamin D

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post of my attempts to improve my overall health in 2014. For me, with hypothyroidism, taking care of my thyroid is very important. I must take medication (I think of it more like a supplement) because my body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. I’m still taking Synthroid 75mcg, and as of Feb. 1st, started taking 25mcg of Cytomel. A healthy thyroid produces both T4 and T3. The Synthroid medication is the T4 and the Cytomel is the T3. Again, in a healthy individual, the body converts T4 into T3 beautifully. For some reason, my body isn’t converting T4 (Synthroid) to T3 very well. I was within the lab range of “normal”  for T3 but on the low end of normal. I was still experiencing hypothyroid symptoms despite having good TSH and T4 blood work for almost 2 years! Some of the symptoms I was still experiencing while on T4 (Synthroid) alone were: sluggishness, constipation (a slow metabolism), and irregular cycles.  I’m happy to report that on the T3, I’ve noticed an increase in energy, I’m regular for the first time in years! and my cycles have improved.

Gluten free update: I suck. I tried. It’s sooo hard to be 100% gluten free. It becomes next to impossible to eat in other people’s homes and go out to dinner. I know this isn’t ideal, but I consider myself “gluten reduced” 🙂 In our home, we are 99% gluten free (need to make my own salad dressings). When out, I attempt to find gluten free options whenever possible. Otherwise, I do eat some gluten here and there and try not to fret over it.

Vitamin D: In January, I opted to have this tested even though it’s not covered by OHIP. It was $33. I’ve been taking 1,200IU of Vitamin D per day for the last 2 years. I wanted to see what my level was like. Much to my surprise, my vitamin D was flagged for being very low. I’ve since switched to liquid vitamin D instead of the pill form to see if that helps. Little fact: if your vitamin D is low, it can affect how your body converts T4 to T3!

I’m so grateful for an online thyroid community that have educated and encouraged me to be an advocate for my health. I wouldn’t be taking T3 if not for them, I wouldn’t have learned the connection between hypothyroidism and gluten sensitivity, as well as I wouldn’t have paid to have my vitamin D tested. I’m sharing my story of my road to health (starts with my thyroid) in the hopes that it may be helpful for someone, somewhere, at some point. I haven’t arrived health wise, but I’m doing my part. While I’m much thinner in 2014 thanks to clean eating weight loss in 2013, I’m on my way to helping my interior…one day at a time.

A reminder of how Hypothyroidism can cause a whole host of problems:

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The Food Pyramid has Brainwashed a Nation

Recently, while speaking with a Brit, I learned that England did away with the “food pyramid”. I find it interesting that the Canadian food pyramid has more farmers influencing it than nutritionists, with the large majority being wheat farmers (can you say biased?). Since the food pyramid’s introduction, we have been gaining weight as a nation instead of gaining health. Yes, the introduction of fast food has something to do with this. But encouraging a nation to eat 6-8 slices of bread per day (or equivalent in grains) as “healthy fiber” can’t be helping.

An example of our nation’s brainwashing re: nutrition comes in the form of a mother being told that her child’s lunch was not balanced enough and that the child needed to eat Ritz Crackers: http://globalnews.ca/news/975825/mom-charged-10-for-lacking-ritz-crackers-in-daycare-lunch/

ImageThe day that we believe that Ritz Crackers are adding an essential nutrient to a child’s diet we must surrender defeat. We have been brainwashed by the people who want us to buy their products.

I used to believe that the Food Pyramid was the be all and end all nutritionally speaking. I thought that the government had our best interest at heart. So I ate a diet full of grains thinking that I was doing a great thing for my body. I even felt that I was helping myself be “regular” by eating lots of grain products. Because grains are the only good way to obtain fiber, right? 😉

What’s interesting is that when I eat grains like the food guide suggests (ex: 6-8 slices of bread per day): I gain weight. Yup, lots of weight. And when I eat a reduced grain diet; go figure, I lose weight! I also don’t feel as stuffed or bloated as a result.  I experience less food cravings or energy crashes.  And good news – I’m not constipated! hehe. Who knew that there was sufficient fiber in fruits and veggies?  And what about the “magical” fruit (beans)?

This leaves me wondering….Food Pyramid: are you lying to us? Are you doing more harm than good? I am suspicious. Farmers have helped to form a food guide that is bent towards consuming grains at every meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love farmers! But maybe there’s some $$ involved here? Maybe. Just maybe…

Healthy in 2014: starts with the Thyroid!

While 2013 was my year for weight loss and achieving a greater level of health through my diet changes, the first month of 2014 has been centered around my health in a different regard. Instead of seeking to lose weight, this time, I’m looking to heal parts of my body that aren’t working as they should.

ImageFor over 2 years now, I have known that I have hypothyroidism. I have improved on medication (Synthroid) but I’m not as well as I could be. For the past 2 years, I have only had my TSH tested. Earlier this month, I asked my family doctor to test my free T3, free T4,  and thyroid antibodies (TPO and TG)  in addition to TSH. The results reveled that my T3 is too low. This means that my body is not converting T4 (Synthroid) into T3 like it should be. So I will be taking Cytomel (T3) in addition to Synthroid (T4) and hope to see improvements as a result.

The biggest shocker of the thyroid related blood work was that I came back positive for one of the two antibodies. This means that I have antibodies that are constantly attacking my thyroid gland. I could.not.believe that I have this! I had read that 90% of thyroid patients have an autoimmune thyroid disorder (antibodies that are attacking the thyroid), but I always felt a little proud that I was in the 10%. Wrong. I was never tested!

So what does this mean? Not a lot and then a whole lot. Antibodies aren’t something that you can take medication for. The goal of lowering antibodies involves taking thyroid meds, lowering stress, getting adequate sleep, etc. Basically take really good care of yourself. This news didn’t shock me. What has been difficult to come to terms with is that since I have thyroid antibodies it means that I need to go gluten free. Wow. This has been a hard “pill” to swallow. Even though we began eating clean in June 2013, we did not give up gluten. With all the hype these days around gluten, I must admit that I haven’t been buying into it (unless a person had Celiac). Now I am being strongly recommended to go gluten free to help lower antibodies. I’m still in the early days of processing this.

So to be healthier in 2014, I need to work on getting my thyroid in tip-top shape. To do that, I will take a T3 med in addition to my T4 med (Synthroid) and also, gulp, try to live gluten-free. It’s going to be a big learning curve to cut out all gluten. Just the other day, I chose a barely soup over a pasta soup thinking that barley was gluten-free. Wrong! Barley has gluten.

Here’s to a healthier me in 2014. It is going to be a journey.

Do you have any health goals for 2014? Weight loss or diet changes or specific areas of your body you’d like to heal/improve?

Tips for dealing with the attention of weight loss

This year, I lost 30 pounds in 6 months time. I am short. Based on comments made on a weekly basis, people have noticed. Now, if you are at all like me, you may feel a little uncomfortable with receiving this new found attention. Here’s an example of this week:

Wednesday: man next to me at the coffee station in the cafeteria says, “I’ve just gotta tell you something and I hope it’s okay…” me: “yes?” him: “you have lost a lot of weight! I mean, wow! How many pounds?” For anyone wondering, he wasn’t trying to pick me up. He’s gay.

Thursday: lady in another work setting (who I barely know) says to me, “you have lost a lot of weight! How did you do it?”

Friday: a work acquittance, “you have lost a LOT of weight, haven’t you? What have you done?”

Here’s what I have found helpful in responding to these types of comments from people that I barely know:

1. It’s important to remember that these people are both curious and attempting to compliment. I’ve found saying something like this helps: “Yes, I have lost weight. Thank you”.

2. Wait to see if they want to know how you lost your weight. Often, they ask. This is an open door to share what has worked for you. For me it’s: 1. I cut out processed foods and sugar 2. I eat way more veggies and fruit and try to have protein at every meal and 3. I have more energy as a result.

3. Don’t lie or “sugar coat” the experience. I tell people that it was super hard for the first 2 weeks. That I never pictured myself capable of eating like I do now. And that I wish I could say that I lost my weight through exercise but that I can’t. It was through clean eating only.

4. Don’t let the compliments go to your head. The problem is that the more confident we feel in how well we are doing, the more likely we are to slip up. There have been many studies to this effect. Ex: someone who works out feels more entitled to eat a donut that day. Just because someone reminds me of my weight loss doesn’t mean that I get to “reward” myself with the very thing that I’ve cut out to loose weight! 🙂

5. Enjoy the attention while you can (while not letting it go to your head). If your weight loss becomes life-long (which is the plan) then soon people won’t remember you at your previous size. Your new weight will be your new normal. The phase where people who barely know you are giving you weight-loss compliments will end. Try and enjoy the attention while you can.

Psychological challenges with weight loss

Ten pounds ago, I was told that I looked good and that I shouldn’t lose any more weight. I was still considered “Over-weight” on the BMI scale at this time. Today, I was told that I looked good and that I shouldn’t lose anymore. I am barely “Normal” on the BMI, today. Definitely on the high-end of “normal”. I wonder why people say, “don’t lose anymore”. Especially when a person is not at ALL in serious risk of being considered underweight. Is it said in light of how much the person weighed before, that now they almost look too thin? Or does it come from a true concern for the person’s health/well-being? Besides comments like, “don’t lose anymore”, I also have heard that “I’m fading away to nothing” and been called “skinny”. These comments perplex me. I believe what they are meaning to say is that they recognize my weight loss accomplishments.  I have a hard time identifying with “skinny”.

Historically, this is the stage where my weight loss becomes challenging. I have struggled with weight for years. I have gained and lost weight before. Keeping it off has been the difficult part. One of the challenges for me in maintaining my weight has been psychological. I am royally confused when people go out of their way to say that I’m “skinny”.  New comments/labels given re: weight loss can challenge a person’s previous identity.

In addition to the things people say, I feel uncomfortable in my new skin. I’m not used to looking in the mirror and seeing my face looking much smaller. (This next point isn’t meant to be braggy at all… ’cause believe me I don’t think that I’m all that). After loosing a bunch of weight, I started to notice men noticing me more often.  This may be an ego boost for some, yet, it can have the opposite effect for me. Being noticed more makes me want to hide…under my previous weight.

I am glad to have reached my weight loss goal as health was my ultimate destination. Now that I’m here, I have to face new challenges to weight loss such as: being told I’m skinny and need not lose any more (when I still healthily could), getting used to how I look now, and feeling more visible. I believe that the psychological challenges with weight loss are very real and need to be examined for any chance of keeping the weight off. Here’s to self-awareness and finding a way to feel comfortable in my new skin.