Diary Update

If there is even a single soul following my second adventure with an antibiotic protocol, I apologize for not updating my AP diary 2 in the past six months. When crazy pain rolled in during month two, I unfortunately avoided my diary like the plague. Updating it was the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day because thinking about the state of my body only sucked the joy right out of me. And once you let something go, it’s all too easy to continue on that path.

I am now seven months into my second go with this approach and updated my diary May 16 if you want to know more. Things have unfortunately taken a turn for the worse in the past few weeks and I finally made myself write it all down. I have a follow-up appointment with my rheumatologist next week.

May you be blessed today!

 

Advertisements

No More Yummy Easter Bunny

A few things. First off, I freaked out last night when I discovered a YouTube video containing a commercial at the bottom of my latest post. AAAKK!!! I have since learned that WordPress has chosen to place ads on your blog unless you give them $30 a year. I am now faced with the decision of whether I want ads that advertise Lord only knows what representing me on my blog, or cough up $30. I had no intention of ever advertising on this blog. I also had no intention of ever paying money to maintain this blog. Decisions. Until then, please know that I am not happy about the ads recently thrown up on my blog. 😦

Secondly, when did Easter in America become about poisoning our children and glorifying a bunny? When my children were gifted candy recently by someone other than me, I cringed because of what they were going to consume in the name of Easter and our risen King.

Say hello to the infamous peep. I ate them as a kid and they were delicious. Now I know what is in them and the joy is gone.

IMG_2120

They look sweet and innocent enough until you flip the package over. One might even think, “Gluten free–they must be OK.” And how could anything made in a city named Bethlehem be bad?

IMG_2122

But I think the ingredients speak for themselves, don’t they? Please tell me they do. Please tell me that you understand the dangers of corn syrup and synthetic dyes and chemical preservatives? Please.

IMG_2123

I realized something else about the Easter candy as I was photographing it. I noticed that there was no mention of Easter. The box just said, “Happy”. That’s it. What happened to Happy Easter? Merry Christmas has gone to the wayside for Happy Holidays. Have we lost Easter too?

IMG_2124

I dare you to read the ingredients. But please know first that he was “Proudly made in the U.S.A. since 1948”.

IMG_2125

Maybe it should read, “Recklessly causing unexplained, incurable disease and allergy triggers since 1948”. Just saying.

IMG_2126

Do I need to get into the horrors of hydrogenated vegetable oil? Do I? I am not even going to get into the highlighted words right now. But I wanted to point out something on the label that I have never seen before: “U.S. Certified Colors”. Guess how many colors in this bunny? Six. Gag. And it says U.S. Certified because some are banned in other countries (that acknowledge the dangers). Banned, people!

This is Red #40:

disodium 6-hydroxy-5-((2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo)-2-naphthalenesulfonate (source)

Still yummy? You might also know it as petroleum. Yuck. Ignorance was sweet bliss. But knowledge is power, right?

Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, have been proven to be tainted with cancer-causing contaminants and cause a host of physical and behavioral problems. (source)

Personally, after spending over $400 dollars on a blood test that my insurance wouldn’t pay for, I’ve learned that out of the handful of things my immune system does not like–dyes make the list–red and yellow specifically. You think I don’t want to keep it out of my children like a crazy lady now? It kills me that they have access to it at school. But it doesn’t matter. Because it is everywhere in our society and we are giving it as gifts at all of the holidays. It’s not easy to decide whether or not to allow my children to have it in limited quantities or not at all. And it’s a losing battle in this day and age.

My hope is that one day the bells will go off and the plug will be pulled and the people in charge will shake things up for the sake of our health. In the meantime, I pray that mommies and daddies and young and old will become aware and more vigilant about keeping dangerous toxins out of their diets.

The Beauty After the Storm

Easter was memorable yesterday in a powerful way for me. I lay down on the floor in my three-year old’s room to take a nap with him and promptly passed out. Both he and I were at some point shaken awake from our sleep. I felt the floor shaking under me and loud rumblings echoing outside in what seemed like the endless sound of thunder. It was amazing. Both he and I talked about it for some time later into the day. My fourteen year old pointed out that it was pretty awesome to have felt a storm shake the house on Easter because of what we believe.

Matthew 27:50-54:

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the hold city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

This is the sunset that followed Easter evening. It made me giddy. What a gift it was.

I pray everyone had a beautiful Easter and knows how loved and adored you are by a God that said He would die for our sins and did, and said He would come back to life and ascend into heaven and did. He also said if we trust Him we get to spend eternity with Him in heaven. And if the sunsets on earth look like this, can you imagine the ones in heaven?

IMG_2096IMG_2098 IMG_2099

My Life in the Before and After

I love watching design shows. Love. Can’t get enough. I really love seeing a room transformed into something that brings the homeowners joy and functions well for them. I’m having the time of my life making our own house a home. It is something that gives me great pleasure (thank you very much, disease, you can’t take that away). It is good medicine to love your surroundings or at least feel at peace in them, if you ask me.

 And who doesn’t love a good before and after?

Unfortunately, with these crummy autoimmune diseases spawning all over the place, the before and afters aren’t always so pretty. I gathered a few disease related before and afters of my own to share. Sorry, have to show the toes again. If I am willing to once again throw my nasty toes up on the internet, you know there is love involved. I get more Google search hits for things toe related than anything else.

BEFORE

(Pre-antibiotic protocol)

IMG_0006

AFTER

(Five months into the protocol)

IMG_1931

BEFORE

neck

AFTER (Five weeks later)

(Large number of people praying for me, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, limited activity)

second MRI

BEFORE

(Pre-disease)

IMG_1107

AFTER

(The closest I can get to a sexy heel these days without my feet screaming, “Mercy!”)

IMG_1111

BEFORE

(My diet pre-disease consisted of artificial colors, artificial flavors, sugar, dairy, grains)

M&Mgroup

AFTER

(Post-disease I avoid all of the above as often as possible because it can make you sick!)

BEFORE

(View from my back porch and fog that causes me crazy pain)

IMG_1200 AFTER

(Relief…)

IMG_3866

What brings me joy amidst having a ridiculous disease.

BEFORE

IMG_4151

AFTER

(I still want to paint the ceiling. My neck doesn’t though.) 🙂

IMG_1587

And just for fun, because I have no shame now that you’ve seen my ugly feet. 🙂

BEFORE

IMG_1052

AFTER

(Someone at the mall did my make-up in this photo and I can not seem to reproduce the same look for the life of me. Darn those toxic, but beautifying products that I chose not to purchase!)

IMG_3846

Praying this finds all of you feeling the best you possibly can in the after!

Is Your Food Making You Sick?

The following article summarizes so well the dangers our modern U.S. food system poses to our health. When I think about the amount of children and adults on medications for various ailments, attention deficit disorders, auto-immune diseases in babies and children, tables at school for children with allergies, I think about the role our food plays in our health.

Copied from Dr. Mercola:

“More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to foods in the United States.

While each of these substances are legal to use in the US, whether or not they are safe for long-term consumption — by themselves or in combination — is a different story altogether. Many have been deemed too harmful to use in other countries.

When you consider that about 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods loaded with these additives, it’s no wonder most people are carrying a hefty toxic load that can wreak havoc on their health.

A list of ingredients that are banned across the globe but still allowed for use in America recently made the news. The list is featured in the new book, Rich Food, Poor Food, authored by nutritionist Mira Calton and her husband Jayson.

The banned ingredients include various food dyes, the fat substitute Olestra, brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate (aka brominanted flour), Azodicarbonamide, BHA, BHT, rBGH, rBST, and arsenic.

Seeing that the overall health of Americans is so much lower than other industrialized countries, you can’t help but wonder whether toxic ingredients such as these might play a role in our unhealthy conditions.

Meanwhile, Russia has announced that it plans to extend a ban on U.S. beef, pork and turkey imports coming into effect this month, due to the feed additive ractopamine in the meats. Ractopamine is a growth stimulant banned in several countries, including Russia.

Processed Foods Depend on Additives

When foods are processed, not only are valuable nutrients lost and fibers removed, but the textures and natural variation and flavors are also lost. After processing, what’s left behind is a bland, uninteresting “pseudo-food” that most people wouldn’t want to eat.

So at this point, food manufacturers must add back in the nutrients, flavor, color and texture to processed foods in order to make them palatable, and this is why they become loaded with food additives.

Most commonly, additives are included to slow spoilage, prevent fats and oils from going rancid, prevent fruits from turning brown, fortify or enrich the food with synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace the natural ones that were lost during processing, and improve taste, texture and appearance. When reading product packages, here are some of the most common food additives1 to watch out for:

  • Preservatives: sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT, TBHQ
  • Sweeteners and artificial sweeteners: fructose, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K)
  • Artificial colors: FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2
  • Artificial flavors
  • Flavor enhancers: monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract

Top Offenders to Avoid

According to the Caltons, the following 13 additives are the worst of the more than 150 individual ingredients they investigated during their six-year long journey, which took them through 100 different countries.2

Ingredient Found in Health Hazards
Coloring agents: blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6 Cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese Most artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is a carcinogen
Olestra (aka Olean) Fat-free potato chips Depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids. Side effects include oily anal leakage
Brominated vegetable oil (aka BVO) Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas Competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, which can lead to hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer. The main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous, corrosive chemical, linked to  major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss
Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour) Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips See bromine above. Associated with kidney and nervous system disorders,  gastrointestinal discomfort
Azodicarbonamide Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods Linked to asthma
BHA and BHT Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer BHA may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. BHT can cause organ system toxicity
Synthetic hormones: rBGH and rBST Milk and dairy products Linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers
Arsenic Poultry EPA classifies inorganic arsenic as a “human carcinogen”

What’s With the Double-Standards?

The food industry has already formulated safer, better products for other countries, in which these and other harmful ingredients are banned. So why do they insist on selling inferior versions in America? For clear examples, take a look at a recent article on 100DaysOfRealFood.com.3 In it, Vani Hari shows the ingredient labels of several common foods sold in the US and the UK, such as Betty Crocker’s Red Velvet cake mix, McDonald’s French fries, and Pizza Hut’s garlic cheese bread. Amazingly, while these foods can be created using a bare minimum of additives in the UK (and sometimes none), in the US, they’re absolutely LOADED with chemicals.

“The food industry does not want us to pay attention to the ingredients nor do they care about the negative effects from eating them. They certainly don’t care about the astronomical medical bills that are a direct result of us eating the inferior food they are creating,” Vani Hari writes.

“…We as a collective nation must stop this trajectory of sickness and rising health care costs, by understanding the ingredients we are putting into our bodies. We must challenge the U.S. food industry to discontinue the use of banned ingredients that are not allowed elsewhere in the world. We deserve to have the same quality food without potential toxins.”

Russia Issues Long-Term Ban on US Meat

In related “questionable food” news, Russia recently banned US meat supplies after discovering it contains ractopamine—a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat. As reported by Pravda,4 Russia is the fourth largest importer of US meats, purchasing about $500 million-worth of beef and pork annually.

Effective February 11, Russia will no longer allow US meat imports, stating the ban “is likely to last for a long time.”5 All meat suppliers wishing to sell their meat and meat products to Russia must certify their meat as ractopamine-free—a condition the US has so far refused to comply with.

The drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia, but allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers ractopamine safe and doesn’t test for it, Russia’s chief health inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, claims there are “serious questions” about the safety of the drug. He previously told the New York Times:6

“For instance, use of ractopamine is accompanied by a reduction in body mass, suppression of reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, which leads to a steep decline in the quality and safety of milk.”

Ractopamine is also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and may cause food poisoning, according to Pravda.7 It’s also thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, muscle breakdown, and can increase death and disability in livestock. While other drugs require a clearance period of around two weeks to help ensure the compounds are flushed from the meat prior to slaughter (and therefore reduce residues leftover for human consumption), there is no clearance period for ractopamine.

In fact, livestock growers intentionally use the drug in the last days before slaughter in order to increase its effectiveness. According to veterinarian Michael W. Fox, as much as 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket. Despite potential health risks, the drug is used in 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys.

What’s the Simplest Way to Avoid Harmful Food Additives?

Ditch processed foods entirely. (If you live in Europe you may have more options than Americans, as you may be able to find some processed foods that do not contain any synthetic additives.) About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, so there is massive room for improvement in this area for most people.

Swapping your processed food diet for one that focuses on fresh whole foods may seem like a radical idea, but it’s a necessity if you value your health. And when you put the history of food into perspective, it’s actually the processed foods that are “radical” and “new.” People have thrived on vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits and other whole foods for centuries, while processed foods were only recently invented.

If you want to eat healthy, I suggest you follow the 1950s (and before) model and spend quality time in the kitchen preparing high-quality meals for yourself and your family. If you rely on processed inexpensive foods, you exchange convenience for long-term health problems and mounting medical bills.”