Health risks of using baby powder

Johnsons-baby-powder

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

Time saving tips

Who doesn’t like to save time? We live in such a fast-paced world; a little time saved here and there can really add up. Most importantly, taking some short-cuts can reduce daily stress levels. Here are a few of my time saving tips:

1. Fill up at the gas station before work instead of after work. If I do this before work, there are no lines. I go straight to a pump!  After work — I always have to wait and it can be stressful trying to find a line when drivers are all over the place.

2. Do your grocery shopping on a week night. This only works if it’s after 6pm (I guess a lot of people grab groceries after work before heading home?). Saturdays are the WORST to grocery shop. Everyone leaves their grocery shopping til Saturday it seems. Friday nights are surprisingly empty. Who wants to grocery shop on a Friday night?! Well, if you want to beat the crowds it can be a date night activity 🙂

3. Cook two meals at one time. If you know that tonight’s dinner is going to require spending a lot of time @ the stove top see if there’s another meal that you can prep while tonight’s dinner is cooking. This could look like tonight’s dinner +: prepping veggies for tomorrow’s salad, baking something in the oven (while food is cooking on the stove top), having a crockpot meal put together so all you have to do is plug it in in the morning.

Have you tried any of these before?  Do you have some of your own time saving tips? I’d LOVE to hear them!

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:

causes-of-hypothyroidism

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?

A review of 2013: The good stuff!

As I reflect over the past year, several highlights come to mind. Here’s a re-cap of the positives of 2013:

1) I can’t seem to choose between financial health and physical health. What I mean is that I’m grateful that in 2013 we were able to pay a little more than just the minimum for our mortgage. Also, in 2013, I advocated for my health (hypothyroidism) and have seen improvements as a result. Running a client group on assertiveness and presenting at a conference re: teaching assertiveness skills must have paid off! 🙂

2) I joined a small group @ church called, “The Daniel Plan”. This 6 week small group series taught me a lot about sugar, processed foods, and eating for health. “The Daniel Plan” was the push I needed in the right direction. Looking back now, I can barely believe the results! From June to November of 2013, I lost the weight I had been trying to loose for over 4 years!  I will be forever grateful for the health and nutrition that I gained in 2013.

3) We took a vacation in the summer and saw Colonial America (lots of former presidents homes, Williamsburg/Jamestown) as well as Washington DC. From Baltimore, we flew out to California and drove from LA to San Fransisco stopping along the way. Then we drove back to LA via the desert to see Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. This was a CHECK off of our travel bucket list and a great time together.

4) Summer of 2013, I rediscovered my love for reading. It had been a couple of years since I read a book cover to cover. I forgot how much I enjoy reading and how greatly it nourishes my soul. Since the summer, I have read 6 books cover to cover and started a book club!

5) Derek and I have grown in our relationship in 2013. Our communication has improved, patience with one another has grown, and our love has deepened. I can honestly say that our relationship has never been better than it was in 2013.

Another year has come and gone. 2013 will be no more. I am glad to document the positives of this “blink of an eye” year. It wasn’t a perfect year as loss and joy seem so intertwined to our human experience. But there was gratitude, self-improvement, and love. And there was always a roof over our head with plenty to eat. 2013: Thank you for your many blessings. Please give 2014 the memo to be kind. Au revoir!

 

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.