Friday, July 29, 2011

[Article] Insulin Multi-Tasks

I've just learned something that is mind-blowingly helpful and informative about insulin.

Before I tell you what it is however, I want to give you a few small tidbits of background about myself.

In a nut-shell:

Diabetes runs in my family. One of my two brothers has it. My mother did have it, and reversed it through limiting refined sugars and highly sweet fruits. I have aunts and uncles who have it.

Diabetes can be triggered on and off in the genes. If you have the gene for diabetes, then you will get it if your body becomes unhealthy in particular ways. If you do not have the gene, but your body undergoes the same unhealthy habits that would cause diabetes, then you'll simply develop other issues instead.

From wikipedia: Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

Wikipedia also says "All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became available in 1921, and type 2 diabetes may be controlled with medications. Both type 1 and 2 are chronic conditions that usually cannot be cured" which is a load of crap. It usually can be cured, as shown by a number of documentaries including "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and "Dying to have Known" and the book "Sugar Blues" and so on.

In any case, I undoubtedly have the diabetes gene. So, if I were to "trigger" that gene, as Dr. Mark Hyman would say, then I would become a diabetic.

I react harshly to all refined sugars. White sugar, brown sugar, molasses, crystallized white stevia, maple syrup, yaccon syrup, xylitol, agave nectar, coconut sugar, etc. I have written about it in detail in many places, including my FAQ if you want the details on my reactions to sugar.

This would suggest a couple things to me: Refined sugars are bad, but also that my body has more difficulty coping with this particular toxin than most people. A harsh reaction like this is something that isn't usually developed until past middle age. Why do I have it now?

My array of sugar reactions point to thyroid, pancreas and insulin dysfunctions. Undoubtedly caused by damage from a completely cooked mal-nourished diet from birth to age seventeen, and from being repeatedly sick and put on antibiotics, combined with staying in an unclean somewhat toxic home and never getting outdoors (because I hated having to deal with heat, cold, bugs, dirt, inclines, etc)... If you want the sappy details of my incredibly unhealthy childhood I have it written out in detail along with a time-line of photos.

Now, lets explore something I've believed was unrelated.

Many people, especially me, have issues with eating high-protein foods. I talked to a woman who had gone vegan and was afraid of not getting enough protein and was eating beans twice a day in addition to nuts and she was incredibly ill. I told her to cut back to having beans once or twice a week, no more than one slice of bread a day, and no more than a few nuts a day. And her health problems vanished.

In the raw vegan community, it's known more commonly than anywhere else that the hyped up need for protein is just that, it's hype. Especially cooked proteins which are virtually impossible to utilize within the human digestive system. Notice that no other animal on the planet cooked their food, much less eats huge platters of cooked beans to get their protein. Herbivore animals have no problem building muscle with raw wild vegetation.

But why do some people, like myself, have particular issues with eating anything with high protein?

You see, if I ate a half cup of cooked beans right now, I'd wake up with a cramping, aching, lurching stomach the next morning, indicating that it would still be undigested.

To a lesser degree I react similarly to nuts. Large portions of nuts cause severe reactions from me that doesn't happen with eating similar amounts of fat from other sources. Macadamia nuts which have the least protein and the most fat never seem to give me any trouble at all.

Bread also gives me a lot of trouble in particular. White bread is around 11% protein, whole wheat/whole grain bread is around 22% protein. And we're not talking raw amino acids here, we're talking long chains of amino acids that form proteins. This is an important differentiation, because when someone says that spinach has "available protein" what they mean is that spinach has amino acids that your body may use to build protein.

Flax seeds are around 12% protein, and while I've never noticed an issue with seeds, I suspect this is only because I never eat seeds in large quantity.

Now, how is this related to what I started this entry talking about?

I've just learned that insulin does more than just regular blood sugar levels.

"Not only does insulin regulate blood-sugar levels within an extremely narrow range; it is also responsible for getting fat stored in our fat cells (adipose tissue), getting sugar stored in our liver and muscle cells (as glycogen), and getting amino acids directed toward protein synthesis (muscle building). Due to these varied actions, insulin is sometimes thought of as a “storage” hormone because it helps the body put all these great sources of energy away in their respective places for use later." From The Cortisol Connection by Shawn Talbott, PhD

This indicates that both my problem with refined sugar and my problem with protein, are really the same problem. Either I'm not producing enough insulin, or for some reason my insulin isn't being utilized very well.

I found this very fascinating, and so I've shared it with you, my wonderful reader.


~ Raederle

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Article Blog] How To Get Energized: When It's HOT

I've been hearing people say, "I'm just too tired to do anything in this heat," a lot lately.

I'm also seeing facebook statuses like "I have no energy to work out lately."

I can relate. Growing up, I hated summer. I dreaded it like most kids dread school. Bugs, which bite. Sunshine, which burns the eyes and skin. Growing things, which make me itch. Heat, which drains the energy. Sweat, which is sticky and gross.

Right up until a year ago I hated sunshine. I not only sun-burned easily, but just the feel on the sun on my skin literally hurt. Within seconds of contact my skin felt like it was already burning. Literally burning. I wouldn't have dreamed of going outdoors in the sun without long pants, a sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and often a long-sleeved billowing shirt. I'd carefully craft my path to get as much shade as possible.

I've always believed this was the sane, correct thing to do. Obviously we should protect ourself from the aging effects of the sun!

And then I saw Markus Rothkranz, John Kohler, Mimi Kirk and others who are deeply tanned, well over fifty and not wrinkled. Complete exceptions to the rule. What do these three have in common? Raw vegans.

It turned out that the same is true for me. I used to burn in the sun within ten minutes, twenty minutes at the longest. Now, I tan easily without burning... And I don't burn. I've been outside every day this summer with no sunscreen, with shorts and sleeveless shirts and no burn. In fact, sunlight feels amazing and I craft my paths to avoid the shade!

I have to do more research on the cause of this, but here is what I've heard and read so far on this topic (but I am uncertain as to how true each of these is, they are just what I've read that explain why 100% raw vegans don't burn, tan easily, and don't experience aging sun effects):

The best sun protection is within our skin cells themselves. This protection comes from antioxidants in food.
The biggest cause of sun burning and sun damage is toxins in the sweat and in the skin.
Natural oil soap which leaves our own natural skin oils on our skin help protect from sun damage.

My other complaints have virtually vanished as well. Bugs are no longer half as interested in me now that my sweat isn't rich in junk. Eating foods with high amounts of refined sugars will draw bugs to you like a magnent. I used to be the one person who got all the bites when in a group of people. Now, I'm never that person. Also, the bites itch a lot less when I do get them.

My eyes still are not as strong as they could be. I used to get splitting headaches from going into the sun with sunglasses. I now rarely wear sunglasses, but I still sometimes need to squint in bright light. I notice this is better after I drink carrot juice two or three times in the span of five to seven days.

I no longer get rashes, swollen hands or a runny nose from gardening, at all. And I now do way more gardening than I did before. I used to love gardening, but I had to go in because my hands would swell from touching the wild plants. Now I eat many of those wild plants. Dandilions, burdoc, mint, plantain and clover all grow in my yard and around Buffalo everywhere. They're very good for you.

My heat tolerance used to be 78 degrees. By the time it got up to 80 degrees I could be found indoors, in front of a fan, my hair dripping cold water, reading a book or napping. I was rendered completely inert and helpless. I would take cold showers repeatedly trying to cool down and remove the sticky smelly sweat. I felt disgusting and loaded on deodorant/antiperspirant every morning and afternoon.

Sound familiar?

When I moved to California to live with my husband (whom I met online through OKCupid), I was very leery of the coming summer. More accurately, I was terrified.

When I complained to my husband of my sticky disgusting sweat, he advised me to drink more water. Back then, I hated water and the idea of drinking it was appalling. He persuaded me to drink it by adding lemon juice to it. Unsweetened lemonade, essentially. It was a huge start. When I got up to drinking three tall glasses a day, there was a noticeable difference in the smell and feel of my sweat. It was much closer to being bearable.

When I became a rawvegan in September of 2010 (and proceeded to be 100% raw vegan with no exceptions whatsoever for three solid months, and only very small occasional exceptions after that)... My sweat stopped smelling and sticking. Today, as I sit in a hot poorly-insulated attic to write this, in a room approaching 90 degrees (it was 91 up here yesterday), I'm quite comfortable. I'm sweating a little, but I don't even notice it anymore. It's not until my clothes are quite wet with sweat that it begins to bother me, and that's fine. Getting all covered in sweat once a day and then showering in a mildly warm shower is very good for the skin.

I am doing some things differently however to add to my ability to cope with the heat.

I'm very carefully avoiding foods that take more than two hours to digest. For a raw vegan, those are nuts, seeds, oils and avocados. Essentially anything with fully-formed proteins or fats. For people who eat anything/everything, that includes grains, meats, dairy, eggs and starches.

Digesting these dense foods causes your entire system work harder than it needs to, making you overheat more rapidly.

I'm eating almost entirely fruit this past week to keep from getting tired. Banana-mango smoothies, banana-kiwi-lemon home-made ice "cream" sherbet, simple spinach and lettuce salads with salt and a fresh-squeezed lemon juice, raspberry-banana pudding, grapefruits, apples, home-juiced lemon-orange juice, fresh pea pods out of the yard, and cooling salsas made up of cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers and parsley.

All of the above will digest in an hour and a half or less, meaning more energy now and less energy wasted digesting food.

Let's return to why I used to hate summer for the first 21 years of my life: "I dreaded it like most kids dread school. Bugs, which bite. Sunshine, which burns the eyes and skin. Growing things, which make me itch. Heat, which drains the energy. Sweat, which is sticky and gross."

Bugs rarely bite me because I don't eat refined sugars or flour. Bites no longer itch as much or for as long.

Sunshine no longer burns my skin, and now feels pleasant.

Sunshine hurts my eyes less, especially when I drink carrot juice. I no longer require sunglasses.

Plants no longer cause my hands to swell or itch at all.

Heat no longer drains my energy or makes me feel tired.

My sweat is no longer sticky or smelly. I don't wear deodorant or antiperspirant anymore.

And now I love summer! So many beautiful flowers, so much fresh produce, and everything is so very gorgeous in the sunshine! It bathes the world is gold.

If you want to start enjoying your summer, try this:

Be a fat-free raw vegan until 4:00pm each day. Eat whatever you like after 4:00pm, but for breakfast, brunch and lunch, eat nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, drink plenty of water. If you dislike water, add a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice &/or orange juice. The glass of water I'm drinking now has several slices of orange in the glass.

Important note: Never remove salt entirely from your diet. Natural sources of salt include celery and seaweed. I also add additional salt to my salads. This is very important. You do require salt to survive, and without it you will not be able to hydrate. You also need potassium to be able to hydrate. A combination of a salted salad, plenty of water, some celery and a few bananas in one day is a great combination for getting fully hydrated.

In the middle of this heat, I'm finally getting back to working out regularly. Now that I've settled a bit since the move. One trick I use to get myself to work out is to be aware of my energy level at all times, and when I realize that my energy level is higher than usual I tell myself, "I've got the energy, there is no excuse not to do just one minute of working out."

Once I've done one minute, sometimes I'm game to do five minutes or ten. Often I just do one minute, but one minute is better than none! Besides, this usually happens three to seven times a day. If I do squats and lift weights for one minute at a time seven times in a day, that's still seven minutes worth of squats and curls.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

[Blog] Veghealth Awards 2011

My blog is a contender for best raw vegan healthy recipe blog in the Veghealth Awards 2011!

The Veghealth Awards is put on by The Vegetarian Health Institute. Their focus is to help people defeat deficiencies on a vegetarian, vegan or raw diet: to ensure that your food choices, regardless of their reason, are healthy choices. Hardly every vegan is a healthy human, so their work in educating the public about how to be healthy as a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist, is important work.

The Vegetarian Health Institute has a twitter that may be followed to keep up with the progress of the Veghealth Awards. I'm following.

Voting in the Veghealth Awards gives you access to a free 10-day course on veg health secrets. Also, as an added bonus, you're entered for a chance to win $247 worth of online education from The Vegetarian Health Institute. There will be five winners of this prize!

On October 1, 2011 at World Veg Weekend in San Francisco, the winners will be announced.

Also, as an aside to this awesome event, The Vegetarian Health Institute is giving away two free ebooks. I've read them both, and I believe the information is very valuable and helpful, whether you're a vegan, a raw foodist, a vegetarian, or not.

The ebooks:

“How Vegans Get Calcium, Iron, Protein, A, B12 & D”

“14 Ways To Supercharge Your Health With Whole Foods”

For anyone who is reading this post and saying, "hey, I want to know what's new with Raederle!" a quick update:

I'm now pretty well adjusted after the move back home to Buffalo, NY from Walnut Creek, CA. My husband has adjusted well also. We're very thrilled to have such a vibrant growing garden full of edibles. Peas are in season right now and we're enjoying eating them off the vine. Photos of the garden to come. (Before and after photos!)

We're considering various composter designs since we need to build a large one. The one that was already here when we arrived only took us a couple months to fill entirely. We need one that we can fill throughout the entire winter.

I've been enjoying many different smoothies as of late. I can't get enough of them during these hot beautiful days. When the weather is this nice I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen preparing food. I want something fast and delicious and energizing, and smoothies are perfect. I've been especially fond of using raspberries and "nog" seasonings.

But of course, I still continue to make lots of other creative things on occasion, because I really just can't help myself. I've recently posted a simple blueberry banana cream pie recipe.

I have some recent photos on facebook of myself with various nifty creations, including me with raw vegan pizza!

In the near future I'm looking forward to going fruit picking. It's good for saving money and getting more enzymes and flavor all at the same time.

Anyway, click here to vote for my blog and officially make my day.

Thanks for reading.

~ Raederle