Health Tip #41

health-tip-41

Past hurts and traumas have  very real effects on our health.  Health disciplines across the board, from holistic healers, to acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to modern mainstream medicine, all understand this connection.

Past Hurts and Traumas Can Make Us Fat

Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method, who weighed 409 lbs at his heaviest, explains about emotional obesity.  Emotional obesity is caused by traumatic events that cause our bodies to hold on to weight as a form of protection.  Jon uses  a number of techniques to overcome past trauma including visualization and doing a rewrite of past traumatic experiences.  Remember when we talked about how diets don’t work and how cravings for junk food aren’t really your fault?  When former life saving adaptations have become maladaptive and health damaging, this is part of the emotional obesity mechanism.

Past Hurts and Traumas Can Make Us Sick

Pediatrician, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris describes ACE’s (or Adverse Childhood Experiences) and toxic stress as childhood traumas that occurred before the age of 18 which have lifelong negative health effects.   Some of these childhood traumas include: physical, emotional and sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, parental mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration, parental separation or divorce and domestic violence. These ACE’s alter brain development, immune system development, hormonal systems and the way our DNA is read and transcribed.   17,500 adults studied, showed that the greater the number of ACE’s they suffered as children, the greater the negative health effects in their lives. Some of these negative health effects included greater susceptibility to:  heart disease, hepatitis, depression, suicidal thoughts and cancer.

It’s Not Even Our Trauma

Research has shown that another adaptation is at work when it comes to trauma.  Traumas suffered by our parents and grandparents may be genetically passed down to us.  Information about traumatic situations can be passed down from generation to generation so that successive generations can more easily adapt to their environment.  The trouble is, if our parents or grandparents lived through a war, and they pass that adaptation down to us, we may be living our lives as if we are constantly under attack and constantly in danger.

Methods for Healing Trauma

Fortunately there are methods available to us for healing past traumas.   These methods include mental health care, nutrition, holistic interventions and in some cases medication.  Many of mental health techniques for healing center around the idea of changing our beliefs about the past situations.  Some ways that we can change past beliefs are by doing visualizations and rewrites as Jon Gabriel describes.  Positive affirmations (thoughts) to replace the negative thoughts should be done regularly.  EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Faster EFT are techniques we can learn to do ourselves and involve tapping on acupressure points while bringing up emotionally traumatic events, feeling the emotions of them, releasing and letting them go.  Questioning away negative thoughts and feelings, as in Byron Katie’s The Work, is also an effective method.  In this method we learn to question our stories we create about our life events and to see the positive in every situation we have gone through.  Relaxation techniques such as meditation and focusing on gratitude are helpful techniques we have already discussed.

Advertisements

Health Tip #39

health-tip-39

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is an endocrine gland.  It helps to regulate metabolism and weight.  Thyroid hormones influence every cell and process in the body including growth and development.

How does it work?

The thyroid produces three types of hormones:  T3, T4, and T2.  These hormones interact with all other hormones in our bodies.  The liver converts T4 into T3 (the active form).  T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair and helps maintain body weight by controlling metabolism.  T3 can be disrupted by stress, infections, nutritional imbalances, toxins and allergens.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is and under-active thyroid, when when our bodies don’t produce enough thyroid hormone.  Many, many people have sub-clinical hypothyroidism with no obvious signs or symptoms.

  • Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

    • Some symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: tiring easily and lack of sustained energy, depression, feeling of a “heavy” head, falling asleep sitting up, weight gain, dry skin and chronic hives, hair loss, always feeling cold, low basal body temperature, stiff and popping joints, tingling and numbness.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is an over-active thyroid, when the thyroid secretes too much T4.

  • Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

    • Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: protruding eyes, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight loss, heartbeat irregularities, emotional instability, lack of mental focus, nervousness, restlessness, and frequent bowel movements.

Possible Causes of Thyroid Dysfunction and What to Avoid

Some possible underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction include: radiation exposure, chronic stress, nutrient debt (from eating processed foods, low HCl and malabsorption), heavy metal accumulation, pesticides, halogens (bromides, fluoride, chlorine), dysbiosis, free radical damage (low antioxidants), low iodine levels, low selenium levels, yo-yo dieting, metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) and goitrogens (in soy and cabbage family foods), Food allergies and sensitivities, and gluten sensitivity.

Testing thyroid function

Lab tests may be done to access the function of the thyroid including: TSH test, free T4 and free T3 test, and a thyroid antibody test to test for an autoimmune reaction.  A self test can be performed as an initial indicator of low thyroid by taking our temperature, with a basal body thermometer, each morning, before getting out of bed, for at least three days.  Average body temperature measurements should not be below 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.4 degrees Celsius.

What to Add In

Things to add in to our diets and lifestyles to nourish the thyroid include:

  • Clean”  whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) to help reduce her exposure to toxins in the diet, particularly pesticides as they interfere with iodine uptake.
  • Shop the outside perimeter of the grocery store looking for nutrient dense, unprocessed whole foods.
  • A primarily plant based diet of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, will provide her with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
  • Meals including protein and healthy fats to help us feel more satisfied and support blood sugar stability.  healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, egg yolks and omega 3 oils (like those found in cold water fish, walnuts and pecans, will not make us fat but instead nourish the thyroid and help to regulate our weight).
  • Slow down, careful chewing, avoiding or limiting convenience foods (which lead to inflammation and thyroid problems), as well as drinking between meals (not with meals) so as to not dilute HCl.
  • Drinking pure or filtered water, which does not contain any fluoride or Chlorine.
  • Sea foods and Sea vegetables, (such as: kelp flakes or mixed seaweed flakes), rich in trace minerals and iodine, have a salty flavor and can be added (undetected) to soups and stews. Note: Iodine containing foods are recommended for non-autoimmune thyroiditis only. For autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s), they should be avoided.
*For more information on Hashimoto’s and molecular mimicry, see my tip on going gluten free.

Health Tip #2

health-tip-2

If you want to put on weight, go on a calorie restricting diet.  You will inevitably lose weight at first but by the time you’re done, you’ll have added an extra 5, 10, 15…pounds.  Why is it that diets don’t work?  If you’re carrying excess body weight, there’s a reason for it.  Your body isn’t some stupid lug that doesn’t know what it’s doing.  Your body is ALWAYS looking out for your best interest.  The reason that diets don’t work is your body’s perception of stress.  I’ll speak more about stress in a later post but the human body is programmed to respond to stress as a signal for: fight, flight, fright, freeze, or famine.  In the case of dieting, in order to save you from eminent death, your body packs on weight.   When you diet, your body can perceive your decreased caloric intake as starvation and say, “don’t worry buddy, I’ve got your back, I’ll pack a little extra away for later”.

Yo-yo dieting can also lead to highs and lows in blood sugar which can cause insulin and leptin hormone dis-regulation.  Your goal should be to maintain a steady blood sugar level.   This can be achieved by eating a healthy wholefoods diet, and by avoiding refined sugar and carbohydrates,  and processed foods.  More on what a ‘healthy’ diet looks like in posts to come!