Thyroid—you might have a problem and not know it

All estimates I’ve read are that 25 to 50 percent or more of American women have significant thyroid issues. Possibly over half of women over 40. Most of these women are undiagnosed. If you have low thyroid, which is the most common thyroid problem, symptoms may be low energy, slow metabolism / weight gain, dry skin, bags under your eyes, fatigue, hair loss, depression, poor circulation, low immune function, and insomnia.

My best friend since childhood, on the other hand, has the “auto-immune” condition of hyperthyroidism, which is just as miserable. Her thyroid is always revved and overproducing. She goes the drug route. The symptoms are a racing heartbeat, weight loss, increase or decrease in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, mental disturbance, infertility, thinning hair, itching and hives, heat intolerance, and tremors / shakiness.

All the endocrine disruptors in the environment and food supply affect thyroid function. Don’t eat soy! Don’t expose yourself to pesticides, or plastics, or heavy metals. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and unchecked stress.

Doctors will likely put you on synthetic hormone. Remember that the drug thyroid is not bioidentical to the thyroid produced in your body. It’s been molecularly altered, each drug different from each other, to earn a patent.

If you find a clinic that specializes in bioidentical hormone, the cost is far less, and your body can assimilate and utilize the hormone effectively, like the hormone your own thyroid produces.

I spent four years on a synthetic thyroid drug, many years ago, before I knew any better. It helped me drop the 40 lbs. I’d gained in a year since I became hypothyroid. But it increased my risk for cancer. I happily transitioned to bioidentical and have been on it ever since. Recently I went completely off thyroid to test whether perhaps my good diet compensated, and maybe I could produce hormone effectively by myself.

The good news is, my baseline was much better than it was 10 years ago when I first was tested. The bad news is, I got ugly bags under my eyes. I made some videos last summer in Denver when I was completely off thyroid, and I can’t even look at them. Ugly. My body makes about 60% of the thyroid I need. I take a few drops of nascent iodine each day, now, and my bioidentical thyroid keeps me happy and balanced.

You can read whole books on the thyroid phenomenon by Mary Shomon, a bestselling author. Too many women are hypothyroid and going without treatment. Remember to google “bioidentical hormone” rather than starting with the standard M.D.’s practice of automatic drug-oriented HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

And remember, having an M.D. check you for T3 will not give you the whole answer. When I gained 40 lbs. because I was very hypothyroid in my mid-30’s, I was tested for that and the doc told me it was “normal.” I knew I was NOT feeling normal, but what was I to do?

You must get the full blood panel and have a highly specialized bioidentical practitioner look at the interplay of T3, T4, progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and a variety of co-factors. When I did that, my life changed dramatically because they could treat my whole body, rather than just drug one element, throwing other critical elements into imbalance.

If you’re feeling healthy but want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, using refined salt with chemical, synthetic iodine enrichment, is harmful. If you want ways to get more natural, bioavailable iodine in your diet, to enhance your body’s ability to make and utilize thyroid hormone?

Talk to your holistic practitioner about whether you should take nascent iodine (available online, google it) or Lugol’s solution (prescription). My practitioner had me paint a 1”x1” patch of my inner forearm with drugstore iodine, and if it disappeared in an hour, she said that was a sign my body needs iodine. (However, I believe others dispute this test as valid.)

Food-based sources are kelp (which you can take in tablets, or it’s a wonderful salt replacement seasoning), or dulse, or nori sheets (seaweed). Those are high-iodine sea vegetables. If you take too much, you would notice being jittery, anxious, shaky, so if so, you could back off those foods. But generally, you’d have to eat an awful lot of sea vegetables to create an imbalance.

Why do I get constipated or not lose weight on green smoothies? Part 1 of 2

This is Chris, the GSG webmaster. Robyn has been in Michigan for a week and I have been posting her blogs. I accidentally posted part 2 yesterday without part 1. I remedy that here:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I’m drinking green smoothies, and you said they were low calorie, high nutrition! Why have I GAINED two pounds in the last two weeks?

Answer: Most people quickly LOSE weight on green smoothies, and most people’s digestion improves, in my research. (Discussed in depth in The Green Smoothies Diet.) Logic bears that out, since drinking so much volume, of only 200 calories, bumps out other food that is invariably higher calorie. And green smoothies are so high in fiber that digestion should improve. Keeping all other things constant, simple physics DEMAND that you are increasing your metabolism in many ways, you are burning fat, and you WILL lose weight. Note that the sentence began, “KEEPING ALL OTHER THINGS CONSTANT.”

(I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence, so forgive me for this. Hopefully it goes without saying, that if you’re increasing your consumption of junk food, because you feel that your new green smoothie habit justifies it, that could be why you’re not losing weight. That’s all, on that topic.)

However, as 175 people in my initial study radically changed their nutrition with the green smoothie habit, these were fairly common reactions within the 18% who experienced a negative initial reaction:

Bloating, constipation, not losing weight

Why does this happen? First of all, anytime you change anything, there are always a number of consequences (some more noticeable than others). Hundreds of things are changing in your body. It is receiving nutrition it has needed from the beginning, but as you begin supplying it, you may notice fits and starts, hiccups and burps and discomfort.

All the new fiber is supposed to act as a broom, sweeping the intestines and colon. However, what happens when, in addition to lots of that, the colon begins loosening and releasing hardened material that has perhaps been there a long time?

The colon can get backed up. There’s over 30 feet of intestines and colon, and often when you’ve been eating the S.A.D., peristaltic action has slowed and become very sluggish. You can perk it up over time by clearing it out and feeding it high-fiber food at EVERY meal and snack.

Your kidneys can get backed up. (Do this for a couple of decades and you’ll need a kidney transplant.) Your liver can get backed up. (Ever seen anyone whose eyeballs are yellow?) The lymph system can get backed up. (Your neck has big, bulging, painful nodes.) The tonsils get backed up. (Doctors say, take them out! They are, in fact, yet another organ of elimination, little understood.)

The heart and arteries can get backed up (this is what ambulances were built for). The skin gets backed up (four letters: Z-I-T-S). Need I say more? We could go on for paragraphs. The parts of your body that aren’t holding things together, and building/repairing, and locomoting you? They’re detoxing you.

I know I’m grossly oversimplifying. But your colon is the most obvious, simple organ of elimination, and the toxic fuel you choose is 90% of why every single one of these organs gets weak, and gets sluggish, and THEN…..when the miracle happens that you change fuels, they get backed up.

This can happen within days of starting green smoothies, or at any point down the line. You didn’t get in the shape you’re in, in two weeks, and it’s going to take you longer than two weeks to truly “clean house.”

Read part 2 here

 

what I’m eating on the detox

Patti wrote and said, “I hope you’ll be willing to share with us a bit about your detox experiences as well as a few ideas on raw meals for those of us who can only be with you in spirit as our budgets right now are overloaded.”

When you detox, the liver, kidneys, lymph system, digestive system, or bloodstream can sometimes get overloaded as your body throws off accumulations of chemicals and waste products. Common symptoms are headaches and digestive changes (usually diarrhea, but bloating, gas, cramps, or constipation can happen).

You can slow down a cleanse, if necessary, with a baked potato or other cooked vegetables. I stay away from grains and legumes while I’m cleansing–too heavy. (No sugar, no meat or eggs/milk products either. No drinks except water–drink lots of water!)

Debbie in Portland, who set up the three classes I’m teaching first weekend in Feb., wrote me her dietary plans, below. They look a lot like what I’ve been doing, except for the tuna & mayo, and I have just GS for dinner rather than what I make my kids. Debbie calls chocolate “non-negotiable,” LOL!

I sometimes have hot chocolate: Cocoa Mojo/Coconut Milk Powder from my store. And once I broiled quartered corn tortillas to eat with guacamole. One day I had some Turnip Leek Soup (Ch. 6 of 12 Steps, it’s really yummy). And I eat a little dried guava or mango that I brought home from Africa. Everything else is GREEN SMOOTHIE and salads and HOT PINK SMOOTHIE. I was hungry the first couple of days, but that diminishes as you adjust. Your metabolism relaxes so your body can focus on detoxification.

I love detoxing. I’m glad Tera (GreenSmoothieQueen) asked me to collaborate with her to do this with our readers. I feel light and energetic when I eat virtually all raw. I don’t have cleansing reactions, probably because I “run clean” all the time anyway, so it’s not a very dramatic shift like it will be for those eating the S.A.D. It may take you a few years of eating a whole-foods, mostly-raw diet to arrive at that place where a detox doesn’t throw you for a loop. (One reader said all she can do is SLEEP.)

Here’s Debbie’s meal plan for January, eating what she makes for her kids for dinner (and she didn’t say what that is):

Daily- pre-breakfast (about 8:30 a.m.)- 3 cups green smoothie

– dinner 1 cup green smoothie with a tablespoon hydrated chia seeds, main dish of soup, legume or starchy-vegetable based.

M-W-F– breakfast (about 11:30 a.m.)- 2 cups fruity-ish smoothie, soaked grains or sprouted bread

— lunch (biggest meal, about 3:30 p.m.)- 2 cups gr. smoothie, big green salad with pumpkin seeds/ beans/avocado for heartiness, GSG salad dressing, dark chocolate bar (quantity as needed)

T-Th-Sat– breakfast- 2 cups hot pink smoothie with about 1 tbls. flax oil added

— lunch– 2 cups green smoothie, 1/4-1/3 cup sprouted almonds or other nuts/seeds, coconut milk/cocoa (quantity as needed, again)

Sunday– breakfast– 3 cups green smoothie with 1 tbsp. flax oil added

— lunch- 3 cups green smoothie, tuna (with half and half white bean puree and mayo, onions, etc) on sprouted bread, fresh veggies, chocolate in some form

— dinner- 2 cups green smoothie and whatever is served for extended family dinner

Raw food weight loss

Raw food promotes weight loss in people who need to lose, and weight gain in people who are severely underweight from malnourishment.   Remember that unless you’re being excessive with nuts and seeds, raw food inherently is lower in fat and starch, which are what lead to weight gain.

To lose weight, following are a few ideas.   Put celery in your green smoothie.   It takes more calories to eat a stalk than you actually GET from it, so it’s bulk, to clean you out, bulk to fill you up, and great nutrition that actually nourishes the thyroid, which regulates metabolism.

Use cayenne, garlic, ginger, and cinnamon, too, to stimulate metabolism as you eat delicious raw food toward weight loss.   And don’t forget lemon juice in your water–it’s a great natural diuretic.

I got this great message on facebook recently from a Canadian reader named Karen.   She said she found GSG.com when googling 12 Steps for a friend in Alcoholic’s Anonymous!   As random as that seems, she called finding GSG “fate.”   She’s made some very significant dietary changes based on what she’s learned thus far, and has lost over 20 pounds.   She wondered if drinking a pint of green smoothie a day is enough.

Answer:   It’s enough for a wonderful first step!   Your body, mind, and spirit will tell you when it’s not enough any more, so listen to those cues and don’t stop your progress now.   My guess is you’ll want more sooner, rather than later.   Boutenko’s Roseburg study asked participants if they wanted to continue with their quart of green smoothie daily, and the vast majority said they wanted MORE, if anything.   I often drink THREE pints a day, though a quart is my average.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 9 of 9]

Bee pollen

Bee pollen has been a fascination of European researchers for a long time.   The dust from the stamen of blossoming plants collected from bees is fairly well documented to improve a lot of things most of us care about.   First of all, it increases your energy throughout the day and stamina for physical activity–it’s a powerhouse nutritionally, with 35 percent protein.

It has natural weight loss properties that have been mimicked chemically in various weight-loss drug remedies.   Bee pollen not only stimulates metabolism, but also suppresses appetite naturally.   It slows aging and prevents cancerous tumors from developing.

It also contains a gonadotropic sex hormone and contributes to improved sexual performance and reduction of PMS symptoms.   Perhaps most interestingly, it may prevent seasonal allergies, like eating raw honey allegedly does, but in a more direct way and without the blood sugar impact.   If you can buy it collected from multiple sources instead of one source, that’s a better product.   Bee pollen is a fantastic ingredient to add to a green smoothie.   I like to get it from All Star Health on Amazon, because (a) the price is good, (b) it’s very fresh and not dry like other sources, and (c) they collect from around the U.S. so it’s not just one geographic area’s bees, which I feel is best for allergy prevention.

Wheat grass juice (fresh or powdered)

Wheat grass was first famously studied and used extensively by Ann Wigmore, founder of Optimum Health Institute and a pioneer of many therapies still used now, 50 years later, in natural healing.   She wrote The Wheatgrass Book, documenting its megapowerful healing properties.

If I had cancer, the first thing I would do is begin growing, juicing, and drinking wheat grass daily.   Nothing compares to it nutritionally, for oxygenating and healing.   I have juiced wheat grass in a few periods of my life (including an early pregnancy, which may have been part of my current problem with it), and I would continue the habit if it weren’t simply the most awful-tasting thing on this planet.   Not everyone agrees with my assessment, fortunately, so give it a try.

In the event you can’t stomach the fresh juice, more and more companies are dehydrating the juice under 118 degrees and selling it as a powder.   While I find this to be too much in a green smoothie, some people like it.   I prefer to see people add this ingredient to water to alkalize their cells and energize throughout the day, since your green smoothie already provides many of the ingredients concentrated in wheat grass, in other green ingredients.

Generally speaking, wheat grass is juiced and the remaining grass discarded because its fiber is not digestible by the human stomach.   The juicers we used ten years ago are less than efficient at getting the juice from the grass, which is digestible only by a four-chambered stomach such as in a cow.   However, completely liquefied wheat grass such as occurs in a BlendTec Total Blender may render unnecessary the expensive, labor-intensive, and messy process we used to go through with specialized wheat grass juicers.

extra ingredients for green smoothies [part 1 of 7]

Many health food nuts like me have a mental list of ingredients they know are nutritional powerhouses, and we want to get them in our diet but often fail to do so, because we don’t know how or don’t fit it into the day’s menu. Green smoothies are the perfect way to do that–just toss some stuff in! Be adventurous. Use those exotic, high-impact nutrition items if you can afford them. If not, please don’t worry about it–you’re getting tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from the simple greens and fruit combinations. Smoothies don’t have to contain expensive, exotic ingredients. But not all of the “other ingredients” discussed in this section are expensive.

Kelp and dulse

If you don’t mind the seaweedy taste of sea vegetables like kelp and dulse, use those high-impact foods in your blender. Just a little bit is enough, and they are more thyroid nourishing than any other food. So if you are hypothyroid (as about 25 percent of women are in America, many of them undiagnosed), consider getting one or both of these foods in your daily diet. Green smoothies are an easy way to do that. Those who suffer with low energy and slow metabolism often have low thyroid problems. (And diagnosing it can be difficult, involving full-panel blood testing done by a hormone clinic, examining the interplay of several different variables.) Taking a thyroid hormone causes disease risk and can burn out the thyroid even more over time, especially the synthetic drugs such as Synthroid and Cytomel. Sea vegetables nourish and support the thyroid rather than sort of jab and poke it to perform.

Flax oil

If you don’t know how to get flax oil in your diet, minerals from greens are absorbed better when eaten with some fats, so putting flax oil in your green smoothie is a great idea. You’ll never even notice it, used in this form. A tablespoon daily is a good dosage for an adult to avoid inflammatory ailments, and protect healthy cell membranes needed to keep toxic elements out but allow nutrients in. Flax oil has wide-ranging benefits uncovered in research in the past decade involving the immune, circulatory, reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous system. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, including the rather rare omega-6 and omega-9 nutrients that your body cannot manufacture itself and must receive from outside sources.

Using flax oil, you can avoid taking fish oil with all its attendant risks (fish being tainted with mercury and other pollutants). Flax has more lignans by 80 times than the next-highest food, which cut your risk of breast and colon cancers dramatically. Research connects it to reduction of PMS symptoms, improvement in multiple sclerosis treatment, reduction in allergies and arthritis and diabetes, as well as eczema, asthsma, and loss of eyesight. It increases fat burning and allows you to recover from sprains and muscle fatigue more quickly.

You should never heat flax oil, which damages its nutritional properties, and you must purchase it refrigerated and use it very fresh, as it becomes rancid in only a month or two. This is one of the more expensive ingredients you can add to smoothies. If you prefer, you can grind a small amount of flaxseed instead. This is inexpensive, but the whole seed is mucilaginous, thereby making your smoothie thicker and bulkier, so if you add ground flaxseed instead of oil, you may want to add more water to compensate. Use freshly ground flaxseed, as it oxidizes and becomes rancid quickly once ground. You can use your BlendTec Total Blender, or a small $10 electric coffee grinder from any store like Target or Walmart.

If you add interesting things to your GS, let us know! I’ll be posting more of my additions over the next 6 days.