Tag Archives: chronic fatigue

Food.Tired.Sleep.Banana.

I’m staying home from work today.  I feel like P. Diddy.  I brused my teeth with a bottle of Jack.  So long as I’m going to be drunk in the mornings, I might as well take up drinking, eh?  Alcohol will kill whatever I got.

My head and eyes are swollen and my brain can only be described as having some activity on the seismic scale.  When I walk it feels like my body parts are not communicating with each other.  I’m going back to sleep after breaking my fast and watching Dr. Oz (which is not my cup of tea). I swear I’m going to lose all the Oprah and Oz fans if I come clean on my view of them.  I kid, Oz isn’t so bad…  Oprah is.

Usually, I scramble and search for the point in time where I went wrong to set off severe symptoms.  I’m trying to learn not to blame myself for something I did, I ate, I took, and later ended up knocked down.  I can’t prevent from causing every single flare no matter how much money I spend on organic food, how many pee-tasting potions I drink, or how much I deny my cats hugs and kisses (mildly allergic).  Buuut I’m stubborn and still chastise myself when I ‘think’ I know what I did.  Still beating my self up for the Vicodin I took yesterday.

My husband knows more about painkillers and medicines than half the doctors that are getting shut down in Florida do.  He warned me and was adorably vigilant in the way I took them.  I took them as needed, and only half.  But after taking them awhile, their effectiveness wears off and the moods begin to wobble.  I was desperate yesterday. I’ve read that Lupsters end up paying hard if they don’t manage stress and sleep like handling a Faberge egg. I haven’t slept well in 3 days (out of discomfort and/or missing my ‘body pillow’), was in pain, and tried to re-do the spare room without help, but I knew I had to make it to work today. Mmm hmm. Not gonna happen.  Being knocked out by the pill sure lessened the morning pain, I woke up okay in that department.  But I woke up sad and crying.  For no reason.  Watching Dr. Oz here on the screen, he would say that my dreams were subconsciously telling me there is something wrong in my life.  Ya think?  But he would need to be given the proper intel: narcs change your brain chemistry, Doc. Simple.

Once I called in sick, after much deliberation and harassing my sister via text and leaving Husband messages for when he wakes up in Miami about how I wanna make that money to get a food processor and need to be at work and the world was going to fall apart if I didn’t go assist administratively, it was like I finally had that cosmo and I relaxed.  My body is tired and stressed.  And for someone who has an inflammation and an oxidative stress disease, I’m attending my full-time job way too much.

I continue beating myself up and telling myself I need to save my time off for the chiropractor, for the rheumy doc, and maybe indulge the idea that I can take a real vacation day soon.  Trying to reason with yourself when your brain ironically would rather sing Ke$ha songs to protect you from hurting yourself… is not a good idea.  Take that dollar-sign from the universe and stay home.  Don’t I always say pay attention to your body?  I’m the first to admit I that taking your own advice is harder than pooping with someone standing outside the door.

The benefit of today: I had a real breakfast.  I ditched Quaker for a new man, Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats that all these hippies are talking about.  Quaker has never claimed to be gluten-free and there’s risk of cross-contamination.  And yes, they we’re much fresher tasting and yummier than the processed ones.  Soymilk, a monkey-sized banana, blueberries, and  quarter-sized dollop of peanut butter.

So, here’s what I was working on writing last night before my brain started to party in its skull:

This draft was supposed to be an I CANT HAVE PIZZA rant.  By the time I’m ready to post it, the winds of food have changed.  Brownies are too sweet, fast food seems so plastic-y, and I put the ice cream right back in the freezer after having two sorry spoonfuls.  I don’t even know who I am anymore, but I’m crushing on this new mysterious stranger.  This detox may kick my a$$ energy0wise, but the progression is noted.   I feel cleaner.  My appetite is not dangerous anymore, I’m desire healthier things, I don’t want to kill people who eat a slice in front of me.  Well, yes.  I still do.  But I didn’t know I had accepted my situation until today (that was yesterday).  Three recent things have happened:

Number 1: I walked into a Taco Bell and didn’t long for the gastric caress of a grilled stuff burrito (I went to get tickets to Nuclear Cowboyz, not a Chalupa).  The smell of crumbled mystery meat simmering in grizzle didn’t appeal to me.  I stopped to identify what was the longing sensation I was feeling: It was the emotional connection of being stuffed and indulged once I’ve gobbled the burrito without ever tasting it.  It was the immediate satisfaction.  Two weeks ago, I would’ve caved and ate it in front of my cats making them promise not to tell my husband.

Number 2: For lunch I found myself eating an apple, a handful of blueberries, roasted edamame, hummus, and celery sticks, and felt very satisfied and proud.

Number 3: I found this website http://hungryhungryhippie.com/. Please also see the Favourite Links page for the other website I added as well.  My life is about to change.  Now I’m sure this great lady doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal and I won’t, but I find her fantastic.  With so many diet restrictions,  I haven’t found a flexible, easy diet (because I get fatigued too fast when I make complicated and long meals) that makes palatable sense to me other than a macro diet, and the answer to that is: yea right!  I’m hungry and always will be.  Her diet matches my diet.  It’s interesting, versatile, and crunchy.  I have been perusing (that word is  so pretentious for wannabe writers) her website for two days now and couldn’t wait for the weekend to start trying some of her ideas.

For dinner I had leftover brown rice, threw a butternut squash in the oven, and mashed half a little hass avocado all folded in with the rice like sour cream.  And oh.my.god!  Food-gasm!  First I’ve had in a long time since I’ve been banned from what-we-consider regular food.  I made yummy noises that I shouldn’t be making when Husband is out of town.  Chelios and Mishka were terrified.

It's a celly pic, so pardon the quality.

Detox process is in full gear.  I am not craving crap anymore.  Or veggies that kick me around.  I’m not lactose intolerant but out of my own free will, I kicked the dairy habit.  Cheese naturally produces morphine and opiates after all; why do you think we GOTTA HAVE it on everything?

More mini updates:

  • I’ve had to drop the green tea.  Too twitchy, even though on low caffeine.  Slso acidity rate was becoming obvious, tummy burns.  It helped with inflammation immensely though, so that sucks.  Sticking to ginger tea and might try Turmeric tea.
  • That celery juice…added pure aloe vera, cinnamon and ginger to the blender. Bellisimo!
  • I now need a tofu press and a more fierce and bigger food processor that’ll whip foods hiney, literally and figuratively.  Eating completely different requires change in thinking, budgeting, and accessories.  I wish it required a new wardrobe too.

So, I’ve had friends offer to cook for me only to find out that they have no idea what to make, even if they’re willing to change up their menu.  Another conundrum was the first time I rattled off the list of things I couldn’t eat to my sister so she can cook for me when I visit her back home.  She waited for me to shut my gluten-free no-pie hole and rightfully asked: “Well, what CAN you eat?”.  (Also coming to posts near you)

Here is an example of my green-light foods, I’m on a rotating diet of  (all foods must be organic or at least whole, artificial,dye, and preservative free)

  • Lentils (mine and Husband’s fav)
  • Brown Rice
  • Jasmine rice
  • Black Beans
  • Eggs (I’m doing Egglands best, but intend to switch to organic, range-free, from the farms where they don’t kill the irrelevant male chicks 😦 )
  • Tortillas (Salvadorian style)
  • Salmon
  • Non-spicy spices
  • All herbs
  • Corn Cereal
  • Rice Crackers
  • Rice Cake
  • Hummus
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almond butter
  • Apples
  • All kinds of berries
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli (I don’t care for cooking broccoli. Stinks.)
  • Watermelon
  • Celery
  • Carrot (sticks)
  • Cucumber
  • Onion
  • Soups w/o strong spices
  • Occasional Grass fed turkey or chicken (hardly ever, don’t care for the taste of dead animals)
  • Occasional Greek non-fat yogurt or white cheeses

Just added to my list:

  • Butternut squash… where have you been all my life?

It sounds boring to someone accustomed to a different diet, but I’m not bored by it.  I love it.  And when you can’t just go out and pick up a burger, you get really creative mixing and matching.  Recipes and pictures will write themselves eventually.  This week has sucked for energy and activity so when I feel whole again, I’ll share how I’ve been managing to cook lately.

(Drastic conclusion cut-off.)

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Filed under Foodsies, Housewifing, Loopy Lupus, Under the Weather

Deceptively Awesome, Poisonous Vegetables – EXPOSED!

(This is a long entry but if you or anyone you love suffers arthritis, any of the “itis-es”, or chronic pain…it might interest you.  These are very little known facts that are only recently being studied, no thanks to our lovely FDA and USDA.  If you don’t want french fries ruined for this group of people, don’t read it. I’m serious. I’m exposing the vegetables because we’re not on speaking terms.)

Imagine slobbering over your favorite food: a cheese pizza spilling all over its crust, slurping comfort mashed potatoes straight off the plate with no hands, a honky cheeseburger dripping condiments on your chin.  You’re so enthralled you don’t notice the stains on your white dress and your eyes are rolling to the back of your head. You don’t want this moment to end.

Now, imagine I come and slap it out of your hands.  Splat.

You blink at me, unsure of what just transpired. It stings a bit.  You’re confused, but it doesn’t process.  You start to take another bite, not defiantly but more because you are sure I did not just do that! One eye stays on me are your meal approaches your lips. But this time I snatch it and sit on it. That’s when you punch me and your own hand ends up on fire. You say it was worth it. It was and it wasn’t.

And that’s what happened to me.  I had inklings that some foods were having adverse reactions.  I continued eating normally, but with suspicions.  Eventually, they were verified by elimination.  You would think I was talking about starchy foods here as I do have a wheat allergy.  That’s not it;  leaving you to think maybe this is when she found out cookies are off the list. Nope.  Not it.  I can work my way around sugary treats (if I’m cleared for sugar): can you say gluten-free brownie (no flour)?

via gfdfw.blogspot.com; Thank you Bonefish Grill

I’m talking about vegetables. Wha she sayyy? Well some are faux-vegetable fruits, but otherwise known as healthy victuals, right? Wrong.

Apparently, there is a group of vegetables living secretly out there that are naturally toxic. More harmful to some than others, so some of you may come out of this article safely.

Of course, it’s the fun ones: tomatoes, potatoes, spicy peppers, bell peppers. The miraculous functions of the body help you clean out foreign agents that enter via mouth, skin, orifices…(fading out).  But in a chemical-overload world it can gradually affect our cleaning abilities at such high rates and begin to effect harm, defying nature’s intendion to battle it out for us so we can enjoy sucking ketchup packets dry (I never did that. Sure didn’t.)…

Well, just see for yourself in the following article (Random blue lettering will denote my personal commentary, in the voice of Tina Fey. The narrative itself, Alec Baldwin.):

http://www.getting-started-with-healthy-eating.com/nightshade-vegetables.html

Potatoes

During World War I, when the blockade of Denmark prevented the importation of food, the people of Denmark survived largely on potatoes as well as whole grain bread and porridge, cabbage, and milk. The death rate in Denmark actually fell during this time, as Mikkel Hindhede of the Laboratory for Nutrition Research in Denmark reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1920.

Hindhede noted that based on previous experiments, an exclusive diet of potatoes with fat will sustain good health for at least a year.

Additionally, both potato broth and raw potato juice have been used for healing purposes.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a staple of the healthy Mediterranean diet, along with olive oil, and other whole grain and vegetable foods. Mmmmm (rubbing tummy with closed eyes.)

Tomatoes are the best and most common source of lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red. Lycopene is a carotenoid, a cousin of beta-carotene. It’s a unique antioxidant that, especially in food form, fights cancer and heart disease. It even survives heat and thus concentrates in cooked tomatoes.

Chile Peppers

Chile peppers are rich in Vitamin C and carotenoids. Besides being fun for their sharp taste and stinging sensation, they will clear your sinuses and are particularly good for colds.

That stinging sensation is the result of capsaicin, one of the nightshade alkaloids.
Stinging. So…. let me get this straight?

Alkaloids

Nightshade family plants manufacture drug-like chemicals within their tissues. These chemicals are of a type known as alkaloids.

Nicotine is the most well known of the nightshade alkaloids. It’s produced by the tobacco plant, which is a nightshade plant.

A number of drugs and pesticides are derived from nightshade alkaloids. Drugs include belladonna, atropine, and scopolamine; some pesticides are based on nicotine.

A few of the nightshade alkaloids:

* Nicotine (tobacco)
* Solanine (potatoes and eggplant)
* Tomatine (tomatoes)
* Capsaicin (chile peppers)

Commence riotous pandemonium!  Protest the smoking of vegetables!

Green potatoes are toxic due to the alkaloid solanine. When potatoes are exposed to light, the potatoes’ increased production of solanine causes the green tint. Do not eat green potatoes! They are toxic enough to cause poisoning.

Potato sprouts also contain enough solanine to be toxic. Cut out the sprout and its eye before use.

Due to these alkaloids, the leaves and stalks of these plants are poisonous. The ripe fruits and tubers also contain the alkaloids, but in much smaller amounts.

Capsaicin is what is so hot about hot peppers; it has both medicinal use and potential subclinical toxicity. Ay ay ay! I’m the only non-spicy latina. Gotta go back to bland.

Chronic Pain

In some people, the nightshade vegetables appear to cause arthritic pain, arthritic deformity, nerve pain, and other central nervous system problems. Preach!

When Norman Childers of Rutgers University reviewed the veterinary literature about livestock that grazed on nightshade plants, he connected the reported illness, crippling, and death to arthritis and other manifestations of chronic pain in humans.

The alkaloids found in common nightshade vegetables are powerful, with effects on various tissues, including the membranes of the cells of the body. They bioaccumulate: they remain unprocessed by the body and simply accumulate in tissues.
Lord have mercy!

In addition, nightshade alkaloids are cholinesterase inhibitors, just as organophosphate pesticides are. They affect the central nervous system and cause, among other adverse effects, pain. No pain, no gain?

Avoidance For Pain Relief

For sufferers of chronic musculoskeletal pain of any cause, Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD recommends eliminating the nightshade family for a three-month trial. Serious time. According to Dr. Rogers and Dr. Childers, most people with chronic pain get major or complete relief from nightshade avoidance.

This requires:

* Avoidance of nightshade vegetables and nightshade spices
* Avoidance of tobacco (or co-workers who blow smoke in your face, literally ruining the waking next hour)
* Avoidance of nightshade ingredients in processed food

Basically, I need to check into rehab.

Chile pepper or paprika is in cola drinks (hence “Dr. Pepper” as well as the more famous brands), snacks, breadings, meat flavoring, and more. Frequently these spices are listed on the label only as “Spices,” “Flavors,” or “Natural Flavorings.” I’ve learned this the hard way. Over and over. So, maybe I’m not quite learning it so much as just knowing it.

Potato starch, often in processed foods, may be listed only as “starch” or “protein” on labels. A true heartbreaker for I thought I had green light on some of the most finger-slurpin treats. Better than average flour mixes. My husband would eat my GF brownies! Which was fine because I was on the floor after I finished mine. (If you have no food allergies, I recommend this.  It would be healthy and delicious to ease up on wheat products.  American’s accidentally eat too much wheat anyway.):

All containing potato starch! Which explains why in less than 5 minutes of eating, I'm doubled over in agony, everwhere, conflicted whether I should desist the madness, or suck it up and sit in a vat of numbing ice and sleep it off.

Potato starch is a frequent filler in medications and vitamin supplements. Sneaky, sneaky.

More on How To Do A No Nightshades Diet

Unhealthy And Addictive Uses Of Nightshade Vegetables

The nightshade alkaloids appear to be addictive, which is amplified by the vegetables’ abuse in unhealthy foods.

I believe the combination of nightshade alkaloids with addictive food processing methods makes the following so addictive:

ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE:

* French fries made with trans fats, MSG, additives
* Pizza made with trans fats, white flour, artificial flavors, MSG, additives
* Commercial Mexican food made with trans fats, MSG, additives
* Commercial Szechwan food made with MSG, additives
* Commercially breaded foods
* Cola drinks
* Chile pepper in processed food

Speaking of which, this was taken on my cell phone. They actually SELL raw neurotoxins for about $1. Pop rocks and coke for your brain.

That’s right…EXPOSED.

List of Nightshade Vegetables (Solanaceae Family)

Culinary Vegetables

Bell pepper (sweet pepper)

Italian pepper

Chile pepper Before my diagnosis, when I switched over to a natural diet, I quadrupled the amount and types of spices I would experiment with, not noticing all the while that it only makes perfect sense that food that makes you tear and lips crack might also have other adverse effects. Indian food, I will miss you dearly. Mexico, adios.

Examples of varieties:

fresh
Anaheim
Fresno
Jalapeño
Pimiento / pimento
Poblano
Serrano

dried
Ancho
Cascabel
Chipotle
Guajillo
Habañero
Pasada
Pasilla

Eggplant
Potato
Tomato
Tomatillo

Spices
Cayenne
Chili powder (some ingredients of)
Curry (some ingredients of) (WAIT I DIDN’T KNOW THIS ONE…HAND ME THE PAPER BAG. STAT!!!!)
Paprika

Sauces
Ketchup I will never love another french fry. Doesn’t matter anyway because I can’t eat potatoes.
Tabasco Parting is such sweet and spicy sorrow.

Culinary Fruit
Cape gooseberry
Goji berry
Pepino
Tamarillo

Other
Tobacco I could use this case against co-worker habits. Mwahahaha. (Yes, just breathing it makes my head pound and my brain irate.)

End of Article.

Now you may be thinking you’re home free; that it doesn’t apply to you.  And you may be right; but there are many alternative ways to have an optimum lifestyle and diet is the key.  Too much of any good thing is not a balanced diet, even certain veggies.  I lived with vague symptoms until I turned 27 years old, to be put on an anti-inflammatory diet and suddenly started feeling better.  I always felt healthy during vegetarian and vegan diets, but something was missing.   It built up until it was too late and only a few months ago I was enduring the most severe times of my life.  As a matter of fact, we couldn’t understand why every time I ate my organic and simply seasoned salmon I’d still end up stressed and bawling my eyes out 15 minutes later.  Who knew paprika was the culprit?  If you tend to feel sick after you eat almost every time… start getting curious and researching.  If you feel great when you skip dinner, sleep overnight, skip breakfast, and feel sickly again at lunch…be open to suspicion.  PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY.   It’s trying to tell you something.

I imagined it was all in my head many times, that I was being paranoid; people thought I was ridiculous, a hypochondriac. Even doctors scoffed at my suggestions and referred me to psychiatrists. Not anymore.  If my Rheumatogolist did anything to ease the pain in my life, it was to point me in the right direction. So the best place to start is an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET.  Understanding it makes for a successful experiment.  Your bones might start cracking less if you decide to do humor this diet, or all of a sudden you might lose  8 lbs of straight up inflammation like it happened to me.  If you could never get rid of belly fat or lose weight no matter how many salads full of colorful veggies you forced down your throat, check this book out.  The inflammation is can very invisible.  People will multiple sclerosis do as similar diet.  Some go hardcore and do the Paleolithic Diet (great for gluten-free and Multiple Sclerosis inductees) and live extremely wholesome lives after this; great moods and sharp minds.

The Inflammation Syndrome

P.S. Given the information, I really don’t know if this means you can have just a measure of these veggies if they’re not processed, but it would seem so if you’re generally healthy.  However, with my personal toxicity level, I’m leaving them out until Dr. Dana checks my food sensitivity readings after the detox. There is still hope, although not guaranteed, that I may be able to reintroduce certain foods in my life once my blood gets a good scrubbin.  I will not count on it, but it’s nice to have it in the bottom of the hope bag.  I may choose not to go back to a more leniant diet even if my body gets clean, only because with my post-damage genes it might be safer. And I’ll stay thin without so much struggle.

It’s not easy to cut some things out of your life, even if they’re not healthy for you. But sometimes after enough lashings you learn your lessons. And I’m staying away from the pasta. If not, I have a friend ready to roundhouse any cherry tomatoes I try to pop right out of my crackling knuckles.

Coming soon:

Stay tuned in the next few days and behold the story of what such a crass and sudden restriction of delicious vegetables does to a woman.  Hear the heartbreaking ups and downs of a love affair with tomatoes. See the horror of relapse, the concerned relatives, and wait until you hear about the secret escapades with the forbidden fruit, it will be ugly…  Outright, gory… And sssaucy. Will she overcome this healthy addiction, gone compl-lete-ly wrong? Next on 20/20.

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Filed under Foodsies, Indulgence, Loopy Lupus, Picture of Health, Stimulating the Economy, Under the Weather

Pacing myself, Schmacing myself

Living with chronic fatigue and inflammation, the trick is to learn how to pace yourself. Pacing myself is something I’ve never known and might never learn.

Tonight, there is no in-depth and motivated housewifing or organic products to share.  I left work a few minutes earlier so that I may go home and rest since I felt some stress shoving up against the threshold.  The plan was nap, then exercise, then housewife.

But once I was home free, it was so breezy and sunny out….

The plan turned into: go shopping for things that weren’t on the list, reorganize the pantry, refry yesterday’s batch of black beans, make dinner, wash dishes, pass out hopelessly at 6pm with swelling from head to toe, swollen throat and mild flu-like symptoms.

Dang it.

My strength may or may not pick up again and the inflammation may or may not decrease.  At this point, I have to coddle my bratty immune system if there exists any chance of finishing my plans or I’ll end up watching all of Wednesday’s NBC line up.  If I do feel better, I’ll be making more celery juice for wellness and taking advantage of some exotic plants I found during my earlier fake-energy boost exploration.  I discovered a Latin supermarket and bought aloe vera and nopal, the spiky gooey plants that have been Aztec medicinal secrets for centuries.  Getting in touch with my Indian roots. I don’t know how to use them and their exact health benefits, but if I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

via enchiel.blogspot.com

So here is a little treat I prepared a few days ago. Check it out: I created a new page, a link tab of favorite blogs.  The list will be ever increasing, but just a few for now. Gotta pace myself.

https://housewifingaround.wordpress.com/favourite-links/

Shout-out to friends: To those of you who know I have meeting tonight, Husband is out of town so we’re going together tomorrow to another one. Will miss you.

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Filed under Housewifing, Indulgence, Picture of Health, Stimulating the Economy, Under the Weather

Lovely Lady Lumps With Classical Stretch

I used to make the stairmaster cry. Push ups were my cake.  Asphalt was my playground.  Of course, for a time, I did it all for the love of eating cake in monstrous amounts on cheat day.  The secondary motivation behind inviting pain and suffering were of the aesthetic kind.  Not vanity, because every human appreciates the symmetry of healthy muscles and skin sat nicely upon them.  However, without the right balance, exercise is addicting to an unhealthy level, which I fit that category for quite a while.

It’s taken an illness and restrictive diet to understand the purest health factor of exercise.  It’s not just for the loaded burrito reward after burning 800 calories or for the knock-you-out tris after never ending dips.  No longer do I feel the need for an extreme burn in my thighs to feel like I am truly and wholly benefiting my body.  I can push my tendons and ligaments to their individual limits without exerting them.  When I finish a workout, I don’t drive to the nearest pizza shop and get my own large pie.  Mine own. My precious. And it’s no longer for the heavenly sound of size 3 jeans buttons snapping together.  I used to define my limits by how much and hard I worked out.  Even though I relished on gym days to the point of blowing off good times with friends until I got the last bench press set in, I didn’t realize I wasn’t getting the full benefit of exercise.

Nowadays, I can’t stack on the leg press with 45lb plates or can’t do a back row without dislocating something essential  -even if you offered me an iced cookie- but I can finish a kind and healing workout without making beer and cheese fries the focal point. Not only because my allergen diet doesn’t give me a choice, but because inside… I’m not the fat little girl anymore.  I’ve finally grown up, physically and foodie-ly.  (My vocabulary still needs some maturing.)

However, I still need a workout for my ailing and very sedentary lifestyle.  Sitting down and resting as much as a Wolf Girl (A Lupster) (an autoimmune condition sufferer) has to do for someone who use to squat metal for fun is indescribably intolerable.  When I see joggers around my neighborhood with their hair swinging to the beat without a care, I literally want to cry; or yank their ponytails down until they face-plant.  And no matter how much exercise is meant to maintain systematic fitness, let’s face it: gravity is always fighting our husbands’ favorite body parts.

There are so many reasons we need to keep moving, even those who hate sweating. It’s good for you, simple as that. No but(t)s. (Pun intended). The following exercise modalities have proved in so many ways to therapeutically affect your body and mind.  They may not burn enough calories to have a gluttonous cheat day though.  For that you need to add at least 20 minutes of interval cardio every other day.

Reasons for working out no matter how much exhaustion, laziness, or pain present (without mentioning weight or looks):

1) A body in motion, tends to stay in motion; A body at rest, stays at rest.  You may not want to lift a finger in the morning or after work, but as soon as you do a thorough warm up you suddenly have what it takes to move.  I’m going to put energy in this category too.  You have to kickstart your own ATP and mitochondrial production. What are those? The energy sources and powerhouses in the cells.

2) Cleans your blood from toxins, waste, and by-products. Stimulates your lymphatic system.  If you ate a lot of junk food, too much emotional stress, or sat next to a smoker, you want your body to clean it out. Help it. Otherwise it stays in your body for quite a while, creating the potential for overload; henceforth, disease.  The lymphatic system does not move on it’s own. Must be stimulated.

3) Endorphins.  Your life may still suck after, but you’re much more ready to handle it with grace.  I never cried on a treadmill. Trust me, I tried.  You could slap me after a run and I’d just giggle and squeal like a red muppet on crack.

4) Range of motion.  Use it or lose it and expand it.  The older we get, the more limited movement we have.  It’s also amazing the length our body will allow if we only teach it how to stretch, no matter what age.  It’s never too late to be bendy. *wink

5) Brain power.  As well as a stimulant for everything else we’ve mentioned, there are performance piano players, successful business men, novelists who go for a jog before working on a their masterpiece.  People with ADHD can manage their concentration better if they activate the brain via movement.

6) Strength. The more muscle you train, the less risk for injury in the long run.  Less chance of creating imbalance in the body through simple movements.

7) Balance.  In this world, everything makes us lose balance. Electric machines humming, toxic foods, polluted air, stress overload, sitting too long, standing too long, sleeping on uncomfortable beds, staying up too late, listening to Lady Gaga too long. This will balance your spine, relieve pains, heal your body, fight disease, your chi.

8 ) You poop better.

So, from someone who used to bring the pain, I can tell you the workouts I do now are just as gratifying,  if not healthier and nicer to your body and just as effective, if not more.  Here are the workouts that streamline my life. (Click on the underlined for links)

  • Namaste Yoga – By FitTV – (I don’t recommend this to everyone for conscious reasons).  I personally don’t want my mind slipping blank and becoming available, but I skip anything that give heebeedie-jeebeedie vibes.  Usually, it’s toward the end of a class or episode, I just click it off or walk out.  This has healed many of my back problems and taught me to breath in an anxiety-ridden world.  Ones that doctors wanted me to spend time and money at chiropractors and take pills.  It recreates balance and aids composure.  Right now, I only do this on my most painful days that I can barely move.  I prefer the two below.

  • Pilates – This one not so much for relaxation.  It’s the toughest one of the three, but the one that would attest to the impressive god-given mechanics.  If you don’t have serious back problems to begin with, this will make your core strength stronger than any Muscle Max huffin’ and puffin’ at the gym.  It’ll make you feel and look graceful and straighten up your posture.  Even though I preferred the thicker muscle look, my best and slimmest body has always been when I did Pilates regularly (and cardio every other day). I learned how to do mine best from a book when I was 15 before even trying Winsor Pilates. Understanding your movements are just as important as actually doing them in any workout.

Joseph Pilates - The Creator

 

  • Classical Stretch – the public broadcasting system that brought you Yanni Live at the Acropolis and Katy Perry on Sesame Street now brings a workout that I call Free Xanax.  This is my workout of choice since I had to cancel my gym membership (tear, tear, soooob).  I saw this on PBS one morning that my ankles were stuck, tried it for less than 15 minutes one day and bought the full season within the next week.  I thought it was for the elderly at first and felt embarrassed; then I realized she created this for athletes and dancers. Through a method called Eccentrics, it pulls from modalities such as yoga,ballet, pilates, PNF (used in physical therapy), tai chi (the Chinese are genius), and brings balance you can feel in 25 minutes.  Painless, easy, refreshing.  You feel light as a feather and smarter when you’re done.  You stand up straighter the next day and realize how bad your alignment was to begin with.  If you can endure the horrible music and cheesy jokes, this Canadian ex-ballerina has become a favorite of mine.  She will teach your body to move and get the loveliest lady lumps, slenderest arms, and girlish-defined delts you’ve had since you were 15.  I’ve been down on that couch, toxins festering in my unmovable joints, and a few minutes into this idiot-proof workout and I feel as if I took pain meds.  I beseech you to check this out. It’s free on TV! Honestly, I just wanted to say beseech.  She even has a video specifically for back pain.

 

Click to link to history and benefits

About two years ago I had begun studying to be a Personal Trainer with the aim to specialize in nutrition.  For reasons that weren’t obvious then, I know now that my joints and muscles, need to be much healthier if i want to play that part.  The desire to help chicks have a healthy attitude and outlook about exercise, image, and health still lies within.  I know women want to feel good, look good, and find quick, easy, and effective preventative/preservative medicine.  I’ve tried many workouts in the last decade; studied up on them thoroughly.  So I’ve done the work for you.  Just pick one. Get your butt in gear.

Bonus: Here’s a great post from a great blog about health and image. This blog is amazing.

Bonus 2: A funny.

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Filed under Housewifing, Loopy Lupus, Picture of Health, Stimulating the Economy

It’s Definitely Maybeline

Don’t get me wrong.  When I wrote this little ethos (Because You’re Worth It), I meant every word.  It’s a guideline to survive by. But so long as I’m writing about confessions, I confess that sometimes you just have to swallow your own tasty words with your tail between your legs.  Realistically, it won’t always be followed to the letter and I knew this then.  This isn’t Mean Girls where you get kicked out of the lunch table if you break a fashion rule.  It’s impossible to perfectly keep up with a daily regime without developing or intensifying some form of neurosis. A cheer for all you women who make it seem effortless to be mascara’d and flawless every single day, rain or shine.  But ‘fess up!  There lies a midget psycho in you that tries to escape every day right? Don’t worry, the twitching eye will stop.

In my case, there still exists a pair of floppy sweatpants or two that need to be replaced.  I’m sure Husband would appreciate more matching unmentionables.  There’s been a bit of haircut and styling postponing.  I ate gluten in a bowl.

But I do have good updates. Since putting it on paper (and by paper I mean a web page), it’s been a reinforcement and motivator to keep up with my own suggestions a lot better. I’ve been putting on my face more often. With the exception of yesterday’s man-scale exceeding the average, the Minimalist Look with a Morning Dew is becoming a quick and easy look.   The Well-Rested concealer from Bare Minerals and nude-colored eyeshadow (two items I thought were irrelevant when I was a spring chicken) are as faithful as a BFF.  When the really achy and slow awakenings don’t give me time to slap it on, I lug around my little 2nd chance bag for later.  If I haven’t been able to keep up, I at least throw on the moisturizer and lip gloss.

via cuppycake fiend at Flickr

One of my recently developed habits, on days that I look disastrous because of these difficult mornings that spite me and/or creeping age, is that I come home from work straight to shower, puff some foundation on my face and pretty-it-up, even if I’m just in sexy-house-sweatpants.  I make-up for the ugly day I had.  When I feel that I look better, I get more done and with more spunk.  Yes, I have been known to put eyeliner on to do the dishes.

Writing it down, and most notably, sharing my Beauty Belief with everyone was just an extra push to live harder by it.  It’s like Weight Watchers, when you have people expecting you not eat hamburgers every time you have an emotional crisis, you are further encouraged by your teammates to fight the call of dead meat and cholesterol! Even if you slip up once or twice. Even if you skip a week and the girls don’t really give mind to your every ingested meal, you know the universe knows and it will tell on you if you give up on your self-made values.  Thankfully, they understand the downward spiral, but the gals get down because the power of the united cosmic fight requires more energy to be kept to standard for women all over the world.  I’ve never been to Weight Watchers, but I imagine it’s something dramatic like this.

I’m even thinking  of writing another guideline, this one about abstinence.  Vows of Food Abstinence to be clear. Because it doesn’t matter how organic the half box of whole grain chocolate chip cookies that I ate were, they were still loaded with gluten (note that I’m gluten sensitive).  I ended up with a guilty conscience, throbbing knees, and enough anxiety to become a Wall Street stockbroker in our economy.  This area needs tidying up.  It’s my livelihood we’re talking about here.

The point is, we all have a set of rules we should stick to that help up stay on the mark.  Unless we have obsessive compulsive disorder, we end up breaking our rules to prevent from exploding estrogen all over the walls when things get tough and disheveled.  And if there’s anything that I share to you worth a rat’s patootie (I’m saying patootie until I write a age-and sensitivity appropriate disclaimer for my site), is that you should write down the things that matter to you and inner-confidence and check yourself against it every once in a while.   As silly as it sounds, sharing it with someone adds a seal of authenticity.  Depending on the frequency in which you break your own rules, you’ll know how frazzled you really are and that you need to readjust your wacky chi.

So on a day that you didn’t forget pick up the dry-cleaning, are wearing your shirt inside out and backward (true story), ran out of cat food, burned dinner, gained 4 stress pounds, forgot to pay the light bill, and you find yourself eating a snickers bar in the middle of your living room staring at your great masterpiece, not caring…take a breather.  Take out paper and pen and number of bullet a list of things that will help you either prevent or take care of yourself before things like this happen.  Type it up and laminate it.*

But IF there is splippage, don’t beat yourself up. There is always the clause section.  Not loophole section: clause section. And you can only have those amended if reviewed and approved by an official notary to prevent your sneaky alter-ego from changing your creed when momentary lapses occur. And they will. No matter what kind of sugar empowering high you’re on when you write the ethos.

Just keep checking against it to see how you’re keeping up by your own standards.  No one else’s.

 

via Janny Brocken @ Flickr

*No, I haven’t laminated mine. It’s typed neatly online.

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Filed under Housewifing, Indulgence, Picture of Health

I Saw Red#40!

It’s becoming a once weekly habit (habit that must be curbed) to talk myself into trouble. Thanks to insistent suggestions on prime time’s syndicated television, I’ve had a violent hankering for strawberry flavored ice cream. It’s a mystery how sugar depravity can make me slicker and enhance my self-justification skills toward any illicit actions. I can talk myself into feeling good about almost anything detrimental.

My diet must remain very low in sugar.  Confectionery items are allowed but sparingly within a month’s time.  The most important part, to ensure my immune system is working at it’s maximum, it must be limited to organic and natural treats.  At this point I have no excuse in my life to be eating anything with preservatives or high corn fructose syrup (Except that the nearest Whole Foods is a million miles away. That’s how far it feels when my body is complaining). Did you see how I just justified having any ol’ adultered cookie in my life again?

A few weeks ago, I read the McDonald’s ice cream portion of their Sundae nutrition facts online.  Although much less than 15 dubious ingredients, I knew the sugar content was high and that corn syrups make your digestive system work too hard.  This is not just because I’m more sensitive to foods; it goes the same for every person.   Additionally , dairy is another food group that I must tip-toe around carefully. Only minimally processed dairy, if at all, or here come the hives and tummy discomfort.  Mind you, I’m not lactose intolerant, but any foreign chemical in my body will tell my autoimmune system there’s a new playground to explore, so it best be pure.

I drive up to the window in shame, as I don’t belong there for any excuse in the book. At the talking, static-y menu, I order a strawberry sundae.  Pulling up to the pay window, it occurs to me I could be making a monstrous mistake.  I never checked the toppings list!  I ask the awkward-acne-freckle faced adolescent boy,

“Would you be able to find out if the strawberry sauce contains food color & dye #40?”

With a non-confident shrug he tells me, “Uhhhmm, I dunno. Uhmmm I don’t think so. Uh, I mean, it’s just strawberries.”

“Just strawberries?  JUST STRAWBERRIES???”, I clamored to the high heavens!  Well, what I really said was, “Do you mind checking to see if you can find out for sure?”

This coming-of-age teenager works at McDonald’s and yet he so innocently thinks what you see is what you get? He probably thinks those Big Macs are made from happy healthy cows skipping alongside fully-feathered flying chickens in a wide open field where the sky is always blue and it never rains!  Bless his heart again. I suppose it wasn’t my job to fill him in that there’s probably baby chick beak in his golden crispy nuggets.  What was I doing there?

Moving on up to the pick-up window, unbeknownst to the server, she hands me a sundae with the nuclear red fruit goop generously drizzled over my white sugary ice cream. Re-submitting my inquiry, she kindly checked with the scrambling servers in the back (it seems nobody in the Riverview McDonald’s has ever asked to know the nutritional ingredients, unless they’re smarter than I am and just stay away from such a place).

“Yes! It does!”,  someone hollered in the background between the french fry heat lamps and corn syrup dispenser.

I cussed up a storm with my inside voice, “Is it okay to change it for a caramel one? I’m not able to have Red #40.”

With a smile she politely obliged.  I paid and I was off.  I ate half of my sundae, justifying that half the damage is better than all of it.  I don’t even want to know what’s in the caramel surprise.

Check your favorite McD's Snack Ingredient Fact. Double dog dare you.

That switch spared me from being knocked down for 3-7 days with a migraine that comes complete with fireworks displays. It’s a 15 minute reaction time to any red artificial ingredient, but more so lasting with the FDA approved food dye and coloring.  Go figure.  Even the unsuspecting Sobe LifeWater will also give my vision and perceptive senses an ecstasy-like “wah-wah”, only with accompanying excruciating brain pain.

This account is not to say there wasn’t any more lesson-learning to be had. The difference between the cheap sundae  and the Natural Breyer’s Ice Cream I should’ve splurged $3 more on (in my defense, I was extremely weak from the work week and wouldn’t last a trip to the store)(more justifications), was still a strong acid response to an already out-of-balance body.  The next two hours I was tossed into bed with weird numbness in my legs and prickling in my shoulders before I could move smoothly again.

The moral of this story, don’t toy with a delicate balance, no matter how much sweetness one need in one’s life.  (Justification No. #I Lost Count: Husband has been out of town for abour 5 days now, the longest he’s every been, and my health logic is wearing thin because I miss his perky butt).

Let me sweetly reiterate that I do not condemn anyone else who does not memorize all the ingredients in restaurants and fast food joints. This is my lifestyle and its wonderful to those who do not live with such restrictions.  My sharing this episode to show what a fragile environment we live in, so that more and more people are becoming intolerant to unnatural ingredients, and that it should not come as a surprise to anyone, anymore, that what we unwittingly stuff into our mouths could be the reason why we’re so tired, achy, and sick.  If your lovely child is bouncing off the walls, get the food diary when you give him/her M&Ms.  No exaggeration: I’m one step away of recording my man-child’s reactions.

It’s second nature to me, usually, to be hyper aware of every single food I consume.  I will not preach to you about hydrogenated oil if we go out to eat together, but I will send our waiter to the chef once or twice to verify that I don’t get any meals that will flare up my knees and elbows.  I will not always react strongly to foods, but for the most part I must be vigilant about what and how much I eat.  Also, I can take a joke or two about it, cause in the end its so hilariously surreal.

Some people are blessed with metabolizing chemical compounds like it’s nobody’s business.  I’m still waiting for Husband to break in half or for his liver to fall out of his butt. Doctors really are baffled at how he hasn’t reacted to years of accumulating compounds.  Makes me so sick I could shove a few Cinnabons down his throat just to get some relative empathy after I eat a Ritz cracker.  Luckily, he still shies away from enriched breads and greasy foods and may be his saving grace.

Well, yesterday night was rough and somewhere in the cluttered back of my head, I knew I would pay for it.  The battle to resist yummy foods continues…

…but if you ever see me reach for a pink cupcake without reading the label first, you’re free to smush it in my face.

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Filed under Indulgence, Loopy Lupus, Picture of Health, Post A Week, Under the Weather

The Autoimmune Epidemic and My Highlighting Skills

Today I look horrible, but I feel great.

No, that’s wrong:

Today I feel horrible, but I look great!

And that’s all that really matters.

Okay, but serious time now. Seriously. No jokes.  Seriously.

Before I knew what was developing in my body, I had heard about certain diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Mononucleosis,  Thyroiditis, Diverticulitis, and Diabetes 1.  I didn’t know they were autoimmune diseases.  I didn’t know what autoimmune was.  The first hint I got was about a year ago when doctors suspected I have Rheumatoid Arthritis; not your average arthritis.  That’s when I learned what autoimmune was.  Had I not been forewarned about my active ANLs and ANAs, I still wouldn’t know what an autoimmune disease really is.  I perused articles online (ignoring the severity of many, since Wikipedia states you’re gonna die from the common cold). I scanned  books about RA. When I read about RA, it seemed so similar to Lupus. But I just couldn’t have lupus, could I? It’s such an ugly word and I prefer a disease with a cool name like Hodgkins or Syphilis.  It doesn’t matter.  Lupus, RA, etc., they’re all in the same family.

Then I found this book. The Autoimmune Epidemic.  Epidemic is a serious word.  And you’re just gonna have to read for yourself how truly shocking and controversial this bug attacking my organs is, and how many people are at risk.  You thought cancer was popular?  I’m VIP.  (Not actually comparing the degrees and severity of the disease, just the occurrence). You can call it the indie disease, because the media sure isn’t giving it any attention (unless they’re pushing a med that causes incontinence).  Why not? Why is the general public unconcerned when it’s very likely you know a few people suffering one of these autoimmune diseases?

If you don’t like to read but are okay with skimming, I’ll highlight parts of  the book excerpt below worth having in your memory bank. It’s long so I don’t blame you if you don’t read it thoroughly. I borrowed this book from the library and since I was juggling books about allergen-free cookies and blogs, I only managed to read half.  The scary half.  I’ve yet to read the last hopeful half that won’t make me want to hide the book in the freezer.

One last note: A reminder that this blog does not advocate Autoimmune Disease/Lupus Awareness.  At least not as adamantly as some dedicated superstars out there.  It’s generally about how to live life with an obstacle in the way, which even the healthy have hurdles.  But since this is my obstacle, it will get mention from time to time when I find quality information….Now, scroll I say. Scroll!

http://donnajacksonnakazawa.com/autoimmune_epidemic_excerpt.htm

Foreword to
The Autoimmune Epidemic
by Douglas Kerr, M.D., Ph.D.

As a faculty neurologist and neuroscientist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore Maryland, I have spent the last decade evaluating and treating patients with autoimmune disorders of the nervous system. I founded and continue to direct the Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis (TM) Center, the only center in the world dedicated to developing new therapies for this paralyzing autoimmune disorder. Increasingly, I see that more and more patients are being felled by this devastating disorder. Infants as young as five months old can get TM and some are left permanently paralyzed and dependent upon a ventilator to breathe. But this is supposed to be a rare disorder, reportedly affecting only one in a million people. Prior to the 1950s, there were a grand total of four cases reported in the medical literature. Currently, my colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and I hear about or treat hundreds of new cases every year. In the multiple sclerosis clinic, where I also see patients, the number of cases likewise continues to climb.

Autoimmune diseases have not always been this common. The prevalence of autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes is on the rise. In some cases, autoimmune diseases are three times more common now than they were several decades ago. These changes are not due to increased recognition of these disorders or altered diagnostic criteria. Rather, more people are getting autoimmune disorders than ever before.

Something in our environment is creating this crisis. What you will read about in the following pages is a powerful and touching and scholarly exposé of what those things may be.

The immune system in our bodies is charged with an amazingly complex task: to recognize and ignore all the cells and tissues within our body and—at the same time—to attack any and all “invaders,” foreign cells, viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Our wondrously complex immune system can successfully protect our bodies while recognizing and eliminating billions of distinct infections with which we come in contact. When functioning well, the immune system immediately recognizes a virus or bacteria that has gotten into our body and initiates a spirited and robust attack on the invader, allowing us to recover from a cold after only a few days. But this precisely choreographed dance between the immune system and the tissues it is designed to protect goes badly awry in autoimmune diseases. In such diseases, the immune system mistakes friend for foe and begins to attack the very tissues it was designed to protect. The soldiers guarding the castle turn and attack it.

But what triggers autoimmunity to occur? Throughout human history, our exposure to such myriad infectious agents has triggered an evolutionary arms race. Our immune system has evolved increasingly sophisticated countermeasures and recognition systems to combat the increasing diversity of the infectious agents with which we come in contact. But this increasing sophistication comes with a cost: an increased chance of the system breaking down. We have evolved right to the edge of the immune system’s capacity.

Now, over the last 40 years, something has been pushing that system over the edge. Something is causing the immune system to increasingly make mistakes in which the line becomes blurred, the immune system attacks the body itself, and autoimmune disease occurs. In all likelihood, much of the reason for this often catastrophic mistake of the immune system comes from the countless environmental toxins to which we are currently exposed—toxins that interfere with the way the immune system communicates with the rest of the body. To paraphrase W. B. Yeats, when that communication is lost “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.”

The numbers are staggering: one in twelve Americans—and one in nine women—will develop an autoimmune disorder. And since it is clear that not every patient with an autoimmune disease is correctly diagnosed, the prevalence is certainly higher than that. The American Heart Association estimates that by comparison, only one in twenty Americans will have coronary heart disease. Similarly, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, one in fourteen American adults will have cancer at some time in their life. This means that an American is more likely to get an autoimmune disease than either cancer or heart disease. Yet we hear much more in the press about heart disease and cancer than we do about autoimmunity. And this silence is mirrored in relative funding by the National Institutes of Health, the major funding agency for biomedical research in the United States. Though the NIH has expanded funding for autoimmunity significantly over the last several years, the 2003 expenditure of $591.2 million is still only a fraction of the money spent for heart disease and cancer. The NIH budget for cancer is over 5 billion dollars, ten times that of autoimmune diseases. The NIH budget for cardiovascular disease is over 2 billion dollars, four times that of autoimmune diseases. We have not yet recognized the urgency of the autoimmune epidemic.

Why is the prevalence of autoimmunity increasing at such alarming rates? There is almost universal agreement among scientists and physicians that the environmental toxins and chemicals to which we are increasingly exposed are interfering with the immune system’s ability to distinguish self from non-self. Most of the risk of autoimmunity comes from environmental exposures rather than from genetic susceptibilities. So, have those environmental exposures changed over time? The answer is clearly yes. One example of this comes from a 2003 study in which blood and urine samples from Americans were tested for 210 substances, including industrial compounds, pollutants, PCBs, insecticides, dioxins, mercury, cadmium and benzene. The volunteers, none of whom had any occupational or residential risks for such exposure, had detectable levels of 91 of these. In other words, these are ordinary people with ordinary lives who have numerous toxins in their body from ordinary exposure. In a 2005 study, researchers found 287 industrial chemicals, including pesticides, phthalates, dioxins, flame-retardants, and the breakdown chemicals of Teflon, in the fetal cord blood of ten newborn infants from around the country—transmitted to the infants by their mothers’ exposures before and during pregnancy.

We are facing both an increasing prevalence of autoimmunity and an increasing exposure to environmental toxins. Is it clear that the increased exposure of environmental toxins is causing the increase in autoimmunity? Several lines of evidence suggest that this jury, too, has issued the verdict — “guilty.” Researchers recently showed that when added to the diets of rats, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, a breakdown chemical of Teflon and one of the chemicals found in the blood panel screenings mentioned above), causes significant impairments in the ability of rats to develop an appropriate immune response. Similarly, other researchers showed that mice given organochlorine pesticides were much more susceptible to getting the autoimmune disease lupus than control mice.

Are these data absolutely definitive? It’s not clear that the type of exposure these animals had is the same type that humans have. It’s not clear that lupus in animals is the same thing as lupus in humans. It’s not clear that a rodent’s immune system is the same as a human’s. Much more research needs to be done on this subject — in the form of both epidemiologic (human population studies correlated with exposures) and animal studies. Meanwhile, the difficulty in finding the smoking gun/definitive evidence of causality is increased exponentially by the number of chemicals to which we are exposed. Do we have to give animals the 287 compounds found in the fetal-blood-cord study cited above to examine their combinatorial effect on the immune system? Not only is such research impractical, it is unethical and probably still wouldn’t be viewed by some as definitive.

There are some who might say that this is nothing more than another case of ranting “the sky is falling” when it’s really not. I suspect those might be the same people who believe that the undeniable warming of the planet is simply a geological cycle that has nothing to do with human activity. But taking these positions—that environmental exposures are not adversely affecting our bodies’ health or that we are not causing our planet to get hotter—is dangerous. To miss the opportunity to change is to not only deny the evidence and miss what may be a fleeting opportunity to reverse these trends, but also, ultimately, a selfish position. What about our children and their children? If we have the opportunity to make a healthier future for them but fail to act either because of indifference or denial, what will tomorrow hold for them?

What is just as disturbing is that only 5.4 percent of the NIH budget for autoimmunity is dedicated to environmental factors that underlie autoimmunity. We need to recognize the urgency of the autoimmune epidemic. And we need to take steps to combat it. Future research is unlikely to define a single cause for autoimmunity, but rather varied triggers that include environmental exposures and infectious agents interacting in complex ways with an individual’s immune system. This research will, in all likelihood, clearly establish the link between these exposures and autoimmunity and will begin to define how these exposures cause autoimmunity. We won’t be able to eliminate autoimmunity in the future. Genetic predisposition and infectious triggers will always be with us. But the fight against autoimmunity needs to be fought on several levels: more extensive research, development of better therapies that more effectively treat these diseases, and action to decrease our environmental exposures. The last action will require personal responsibility, political action, and corporate accountability. If we do these things, autoimmunity will be a cluster of rare diseases that we treat with effective medicines. If we don’t, autoimmune diseases will increasingly devastate families, including five-month-old babies, and will increasingly tax our health-care system. If we don’t act now, it will be too late.

The book that follows is astounding. It is a combination of touching personal stories about individuals affected by autoimmune diseases and rigorous research of the medical and scientific literature. It is the kind of book that will scare you. It will make you angry. It will amaze you with the courage of some of the people described in the book. Ms. Nakazawa examines all of the theories about autoimmunity in detail, from heavy metals to toxic chemicals to viruses to vaccines and finally to the hygiene hypothesis. The Autoimmune Epidemic is every bit as compelling as Upton Sinclair’s groundbreaking novel The Jungle and every bit as necessary as An Inconvenient Truth, the startling movie featuring Al Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim, that shows us that global warming is upon us and may at some point in the near future be irreversible.

You will leave this book with no reservations about the veracity of the conclusions: put simply, there is no doubt that autoimmune diseases are on the rise and our increasing environmental exposure to toxins and chemicals is fueling this rise. The research is sound. The conclusions unassailable.

Ms. Nakazawa introduces a term, “autogen,” used to describe chemical triggers of autoimmune disease, drawing upon the term “carcinogen,” which denotes chemical triggers of cancer. This term, which should become part of our society’s lexicon, may serve as the clarion call for change that emerges from this book. The change needs to take the forms of personal responsibility and societal change. Companies should have to determine the effect of chemicals in developing autoimmunity as well as cancer, and state and federal legislation is needed to compel corporations to make this happen. This book will inspire you to want to do something to protect yourselves and your loved ones; to do what you can to restore a healthy balance between our environment and our bodies. What that something is will vary depending on the individual. At a personal level, no single recommendation fits all individuals and the degree to which an individual alters his/her environment will depend on the levels of exposures and his or her susceptibility to autoimmunity. The Autoimmune Epidemic ends with a logical and empowering solution to protect yourself and your family and, in so doing, to begin the process of cleaning up our environment in order to help reestablish a balanced immune system in our bodies.

Reading The Autoimmune Epidemic is a necessary first step. Reading The Autoimmune Epidemic is a life-altering event. It needs to be.

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Filed under Loopy Lupus, Stimulating the Economy