Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Blog!

Lovely Readers~

Heads up!

I am moving my blog to my new WordPress website, which will be up in about 2 weeks. (active by Jan 1st!) is up NOW!



Here's the link to my new blog.

I'll be blogging much more often--promise !

Look forward to seeing you over there soon...

Love,
Sondra

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Vitamin D deficiency & Pregnancy


Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin, but a hormone pre-cursor that is essential for the body to grow and function properly. Last year, I was shocked by the many recent reports of Rickets showing up in babies of highly educated, higher-income moms. I dug in and did LOTS of research and am now convinced that Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic and I need to do my part in educating my clients & friends.

After talking at length yesterday with Madrona Bordeaux, a fabulous midwife at the Northern New Mexico Birth Center, I became aware of how many birth professionals and parents are still unaware of the need for Vitamin D sufficiency during pregnancy.

Please, if you are a pregnant or planning to be, get your Vitamin D 25(OH)D level tested. Your doc can order this, or you can buy an online test kit here. While you are waiting for your test results, unless you are light-skinned and get 20 min of noontime sun (in a bikini) every day and live below 38 degrees latitude, then I recommend supplementing with 5,000 IUs of an oil-based D3. You can buy them cheaply on Amazon.

My heart goes out to all the moms and babies who have unknowingly been victims of Vitamin D deficiency...

To support the educational efforts of the Vitamin D Council, I am reproducing their newsletter on this topic. I hope that if this is helpful to you, that you will distribute this post widely!

The Vitamin D Newsletter June 2009
Pregnancy and Gestational Vitamin D Deficiency

In the last 3 years, an increasing amount of research suggests that some of the damage done by Vitamin D deficiency is done in-utero, while the fetus is developing. Much of that damage may be permanent, that is, it can not be fully reversed by taking Vitamin D after birth. This research indicates Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy endangers the mother's life and health, and is the origin for a host of future perils for the child, especially for the child's brain and immune system. Some of the damage done by maternal Vitamin D deficiency may not show up for 30 years. Let's start with the mother.

Incidence of Gestational Vitamin D Deficiency
Dr. Joyce Lee and her colleagues at the University of Michigan studied 40 pregnant women, the majority taking prenatal vitamins. Only two had blood levels >50 ng/mL and only three had levels >40 ng/mL. That is, 37 of 40 pregnant women had levels below 40 ng/mL, and the majority had levels below 20 ng/mL. More than 25% had levels below 10 ng/mL. Lee JM, Smith JR, Philipp BL, Chen TC, Mathieu J, Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency in a healthy group of mothers and newborn infants. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2007 Jan;46(1):42–4.

Dr. Lisa Bodnar, a prolific Vitamin D researcher, and her colleagues at the University of Pittsburg studied 400 pregnant Pennsylvania women; 63% had levels below 30 ng/mL and 44% of the black women in the study had levels below 15 ng/mL. Prenatal vitamins had little effect on the incidence of deficiency. Bodnar LM, Simhan HN, Powers RW, Frank MP, Cooperstein E, Roberts JM. High prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in black and white pregnant women residing in the northern United States and their neonates. J Nutr. 2007 Feb;137(2):447–52.

Dr. Dijkstra and colleagues studied 70 pregnant women in the Netherlands, none had levels above 40 ng/mL and 50% had levels below 10 ng/mL. Again, prenatal vitamins appeared to have little effect on 25(OH)D levels, as you might expect since prenatal vitamins only contain 400 IU of Vitamin D. Dijkstra SH, van Beek A, Janssen JW, de Vleeschouwer LH, Huysman WA, van den Akker EL. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborns of high-risk mothers. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2007 Apr 25.

Thus, more than 95% of pregnant women have 25(OH)D levels below 50 ng/mL, the level that may indicate chronic substrate starvation. That is, they are using up any Vitamin D they have very quickly and do not have enough to store for future use.

Pretty scary.

Effects on the Mother

Caesarean section
The rate of Caesarean section in American women has increased from 5% in 1970 to 30% today. Dr. Anne Merewood and her colleagues at Boston University School of Medicine found women with levels below 15 ng/mL were four times more likely to have a Cesarean section than were women with higher levels. Among the few women with levels above 50 ng/mL, the Caesarean section rate was the same as it was in 1970, about 5%. Merewood A, Mehta SD, Chen TC, Bauchner H, Holick MF. Association between vitamin D deficiency and primary cesarean section. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Mar;94(3):940–5.

Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a common obstetrical condition in which hypertension is combined with excess protein in the urine. It greatly increases the risk of the mother developing eclampsia and then dying from a stroke. Dr. Lisa Bodnar and her colleagues found women with 25(OH)D levels less than 15 ng/mL had a five-fold (5 fold) increase in the risk of preeclampsia. Bodnar LM, Catov JM, Simhan HN, Holick MF, Powers RW, Roberts JM. Maternal vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of preeclampsia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Sep;92(9):3517–22.

Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes during pregnancy affects about 5% of all pregnant women, is increasing in incidence, and may have deleterious effects on the fetus. Dr. Cuilin Zhang and colleagues at the NIH found women with low 25(OH)D levels were almost 3 times more likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy. Zhang C, Qiu C, Hu FB, David RM, van Dam RM, Bralley A, Williams MA. Maternal plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and the risk for gestational diabetes mellitus. PLoS ONE. 2008;3(11):e3753.
Bacterial Vaginitis

Dr. Lisa Bodnar and her colleagues found pregnant women with the lowest 25(OH)D level are almost twice as likely to get a bacterial vaginal infection during their pregnancy. Bodnar LM, Krohn MA, Simhan HN. Maternal Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated with Bacterial Vaginosis in the First Trimester of Pregnancy. J Nutr. 2009 Apr 8.

Effects on the child
Seventeen experts—many of them world-class experts—recently recommended:

"Until we have better information on doses of vitamin D that will reliably provide adequate blood levels of 25(OH)D without toxicity, treatment of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy children should be individualized according to the numerous factors that affect 25(OH)D levels, such as body weight, percent body fat, skin melanin, latitude, season of the year, and sun exposure. The doses of sunshine or oral vitamin D3 used in healthy children should be designed to maintain 25(OH)D levels above 50 ng/mL. As a rule, in the absence of significant sun exposure, we believe that most healthy children need about 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily per 11 kg (25 lb) of body weight to obtain levels greater than 50 ng/mL. Some will need more, and others less. In our opinion, children with chronic illnesses such as autism, diabetes, and/or frequent infections should be supplemented with higher doses of sunshine or vitamin D3, doses adequate to maintain their 25(OH)D levels in the mid-normal of the reference range (65 ng/mL) — and should be so supplemented year-round (p. 868)." Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Willett W, Zasloff M, Hathcock JN, White JH, Tanumihardjo SA, Larson-Meyer DE, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Lamberg-Allardt CJ, Lappe JM, Norman AW, Zittermann A, Whiting SJ, Grant WB, Hollis BW, Giovannucci E. Cod liver oil, vitamin A toxicity, frequent respiratory infections, and the vitamin D deficiency epidemic. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2008 Nov;117(11):864–70.

That's right. Healthy children need about 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight and their 25(OH)D levels should be >50 ng/mL, year-round.

Eight years before the above recommendations, Professor John McGrath of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research theorized that maternal Vitamin D deficiency adversely "imprinted" the fetus, making infants more liable for a host of adult disorders. Research since that time has supported McGrath's theory. Consider, for a minute, what it must be like for John McGrath, to know that maternal Vitamin D deficiency is causing such widespread devastation, to know it could be so easily treated, but to also know he must wait the decades that will be required to deal with the problem. McGrath J. Does 'imprinting' with low prenatal vitamin D contribute to the risk of various adult disorders? Med Hypotheses. 2001 Mar;56(3):367–71.

Schizophrenia
Dr. Dennis Kinney and his colleagues at Harvard published a fascinating paper last month on the role of maternal Vitamin D deficiency in the development of schizophrenia, in support of Dr. McGrath's theory. As they point out, the role of inadequate Vitamin D during brain development appears to "overwhelm" other effects, explaining why schizophrenia has so many of the footprints of a maternal Vitamin D deficiency disorder, such as strong latitudinal variation, excess winter births, and skin color. Kinney DK, Teixeira P, Hsu D, Napoleon SC, Crowley DJ, Miller A, Hyman W, Huang E. Relation of schizophrenia prevalence to latitude, climate, fish consumption, infant mortality, and skin color: a role for prenatal vitamin d deficiency and infections? Schizophr Bull. 2009 May;35(3):582–95.

Autism
I will say not more, other than to point out that Scientific American ran a lengthy article last month on my autism theory but the editors insisted that the author not cite me, nor my paper, because I am "not a scientist." Gabrielle Glaser. What If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism? 2009 April 24. Scientific American.

Mental Retardation
The only evidence that Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of mental retardation is from researchers at the CDC who found mild mental retardation is twice as common among African Americans as whites, and that the politically correct explanation—socioeconomic factors—cannot explain it. If latitudinal studies of mild mental retardation exist, I am unable to locate them. Yeargin-Allsopp M, Drews CD, Decoufle P, Murphy CC. Mild mental retardation in black and white children in metropolitan Atlanta: a case-control study. Am J Public Health 1995;85(3):324–8. Drews CD, Yeargin-Allsopp M, Decoufle P, Murphy CC. Variation in the influence of selected sociodemographic risk factors for mental retardation. Am J Public Health 1995;85(3):329–34.

Of course, it is claimed you are a racist if you believe these studies. In fact, a number of writers have told me their editors will not allow writers to discuss these studies in their stories. I am glad these studies were conducted by researchers at the CDC. Although, I worry about their political longevity at the CDC after reporting such findings.

I will mention one other fact (at my peril) and that is the fact that a very smart man, President Barack Obama, was born in the late summer (August) and has a brain that developed in a womb covered in white skin, during the spring and summer, in the subtropics (Latitude 21 degrees North), during an age before sun-avoidance was the mantra (1961). Make what you want to of that fact. My point is that whites living at temperate latitudes may have a huge developmental advantage over blacks, an advantage that begins immediately after conception, an advantage that has nothing to do with innate genetic ability and everything to do with environment.

Newborn Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
Newborn babies are vulnerable to infections in their lungs and women with the lowest 25(OH)D level during pregnancy were much more likely to have their newborn in the ICU being treated for lower respiratory tract infections. Drs. Walker and Modlin at UCLA recently presented reasons why viral pneumonia is probably only one of many pediatric Vitamin D deficient infections. Karatekin G, Kaya A, Salihoğlu O, Balci H, Nuhoğlu A. Association of subclinical vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection and their mothers. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;63(4):473–7. Walker VP, Modlin RL. The Vitamin D Connection to Pediatric Infections and Immune Function. Pediatr Res. 2009 Jan 28.
Birth weight

While conflicting results exist on the effects of maternal Vitamin D deficiency and birth weight, the majority of the studies find an effect. Furthermore, the studies are comparing women who have virtually no intake to women who have minuscule intakes. For example, women who ingested around 600 IU per day were more likely to have normal weight babies compared to women whose intake was less than 300 IU per day. One can only wonder what would happen if pregnant women had adequate intakes? Drs. Scholl and Chen, at the Department of Obstetrics at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, concluded pregnant women need 6,000 IU per day, not the 400 IU/day contained in prenatal vitamins. Scholl TO, Chen X. Vitamin D intake during pregnancy: association with maternal characteristics and infant birth weight. Early Hum Dev. 2009 Apr;85(4):231–4.
Diabetes

My old nemesis, cod liver oil, when given during pregnancy resulted in children who were three times less likely to develop juvenile diabetes before the age of 15. Of course, this was back when cod liver oil had meaningful amounts of Vitamin D (these Norwegian mothers were taking cod liver oil in the 1980s). Stene LC, Ulriksen J, Magnus P, Joner G. Use of cod liver oil during pregnancy associated with lower risk of Type I diabetes in the offspring. Diabetologia. 2000 Sep;43(9):1093–8.

Seizures
Newborns frequently have seizures and those seizures are almost always due to low blood calcium. This problem is so common that many newborns are given a prophylactic injection of calcium. In 1978, researchers found such hypocalcemia can easily be prevented by giving Vitamin D. Sadly, standard treatment remains—not Vitamin D, but calcium and an analogue of activated Vitamin D. Such analogues do not correct Vitamin D deficiency. The fact that this was known in 1978 and has been routinely ignored by obstetricians since then should give you pause. Do not think science will solve the Vitamin D problem. Science simply points the way, activists must change the practice. Fleischman AR, Rosen JF, Nathenson G. 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol for early neonatal hypocalcemia. Occurrence in premature newborns. Am J Dis Child. 1978 Oct;132(10):973–7.

Heart Failure
Idiopathic infant heart failure is often fatal. Of course, idiopathic to whom? The uninformed cardiologists who do not recognize severe infantile Vitamin D deficiency? Luckily, for 16 infants, Dr. Maiya, Dr. Burch, and colleagues at the Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children are not among them. Maiya S, Sullivan I, Allgrove J, Yates R, Malone M, Brain C, Archer N, Mok Q, Daubeney P, Tulloh R, Burch M. Hypocalcaemia and vitamin D deficiency: an important, but preventable, cause of life-threatening infant heart failure. Heart. 2008 May;94(5):581–4.
Weak bones

Dr. Muhammad Javaid and colleagues at the University of Southampton found that children of Vitamin D deficient mothers were much more likely to have weak bones 9 years later. Dr. Adrian Sayers and Jonathan Tobias of the University of Bristol recently found the same thing when they looked at maternal sun-exposure. Javaid MK, Crozier SR, Harvey NC, Gale CR, Dennison EM, Boucher BJ, Arden NK, Godfrey KM, Cooper C; Princess Anne Hospital Study Group. Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and childhood bone mass at age 9 years: a longitudinal study. Lancet. 2006 Jan 7;367(9504):36–43. Sayers A, Tobias JH. Estimated maternal ultraviolet B exposure levels in pregnancy influence skeletal development of the child. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Mar;94(3):765–71.
Brain Tumors

John McGrath's group discovered that children with astrocytomas and ependymomas (brain tumors you do not want your child to have) were more likely to be born in the winter. Ko P, Eyles D, Burne T, Mackay-Sim A, McGrath JJ. Season of birth and risk of brain tumors in adults. Neurology. 2005 Apr 12;64(7):1317.
Epilepsy

Three studies have found that epileptic patients are much more likely to be born in the winter. Dr. Marco Procopio of the Priory Hospital Hove in Sussex has written all three. Procopio M, Marriott PK, Davies RJ. Seasonality of birth in epilepsy: a Southern Hemisphere study. Seizure. 2006 Jan;15(1):17–21.

Craniotabes
Craniotabes is softening of the skull bones that occurs in 1/3 of "normal" newborns. Recent evidence indicates it is yet another sign and sequela of maternal vitamin D deficiency. Yorifuji J, Yorifuji T, Tachibana K, Nagai S, Kawai M, Momoi T, Nagasaka H, Hatayama H, Nakahata T. Craniotabes in normal newborns: the earliest sign of subclinical vitamin D deficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 May;93(5):1784–8.
Cavities

Dr. Robert Schroth from the University of Manitoba reported that mothers of children who developed cavities at an early age had significantly lower vitamin D levels during pregnancy than those whose children were cavity-free. Megan Rauscher. Prenatal vitamin D linked to kids' dental health. 2009. Reuters.

Asthma
The extant data here is conflicting. Two studies have found higher Vitamin D intakes during pregnancy decrease the risk of asthma in later childhood and one has found the opposite. The best review of the issue is by Drs. Augusto Litonjua and Scott Weiss, at Harvard, who conclude that the current epidemic of asthma among our children is related to both gestational and ongoing childhood vitamin D deficiency. Litonjua AA, Weiss ST. Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for the asthma epidemic? J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Nov;120(5):1031–5.

Furthermore, a very recent study by Dr. John Brehm and the same Harvard group found low Vitamin D levels in asthmatic children were associated with hospitalization, medication use, and disease severity. Brehm JM, Celedón JC, Soto-Quiros ME, Avila L, Hunninghake GM, Forno E, Laskey D, Sylvia JS, Hollis BW, Weiss ST, Litonjua AA. Serum vitamin D levels and markers of severity of childhood asthma in Costa Rica. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009 May 1;179(9):765–71.

In case you are wondering, black children are four times more likely than white children to be hospitalized or die from asthma. Akinbami LJ, Schoendorf KC. Trends in childhood asthma: prevalence, health care utilization, and mortality. Pediatrics. 2002 Aug;110(2 Pt 1):315–22.

My experience, both at the hospital and via my readers, is that asthma improves—albeit sometimes slowly—when adequate doses of Vitamin D are taken. However, Vitamin D does not appear to be a cure, like it is in some other conditions. I suspect children with asthma have suffered both gestational and ongoing childhood Vitamin D deficiency that probably altered, perhaps permanently, their immune system.
The Vitamin D Council's Effort

We recently ran a ¼ page announcement in OB/GYN News and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG). Unfortunately, the editor of AJOG censored our announcement after its first month, but we were able to get the full, three-month run in OB/GYN News. We also sent a very similar email to 18,000 obstetricians in the United States. The total cost to the Vitamin D Council for this campaign was about $12,000.00.

The announcement simply pointed out that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently recommended that all pregnant women have a 25(OH)D blood test because Vitamin D is important for normal fetal development (p. 1145):

"Given the growing evidence that adequate maternal vitamin D status is essential during pregnancy, not only for maternal well-being but also for fetal development, health care professionals who provide obstetric care should consider assessing maternal vitamin D status by measuring the 25-OH-D concentrations of pregnant women. On an individual basis, a mother should be supplemented with adequate amounts of vitamin D3 to ensure that her 25-OH-D levels are in a sufficient range (>32 ng/mL). The knowledge that prenatal vitamins containing 400 IU of vitamin D3 have little effect on circulating maternal 25-OH-D concentrations, especially during the winter months, should be imparted to all health care professionals." Wagner CL, Greer FR; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on breastfeeding; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1142–52.

As the AAP recommendation came from an official medical body, to medical malpractice attorneys it represents evidence of a "standard of care" for future lawsuits. We also reminded obstetricians that the statute of limitations on malpractice suits does not toll (begin) until the injured party recognizes the injury. That is, the parents of a 5-year-old child diagnosed with autism five years in the future may bring suit against that obstetrician for how the child was treated during his time in the uterus, citing the 2008 AAP's recommendation as a standard of care. Obstetricians are already burdened with lawsuits, but they could decrease the number of suits significantly if they would just take the time to learn about Vitamin D.

Finally, we used our last $12,000 to produce and run a television announcement in the Washington, D.C. TV market, entitled Pregnancy and Vitamin D.
What can you do?

Most people want to do good—at least some good—in their lives. The endless pursuit of the God-almighty dollar, better clothes, better houses and better vacations than your neighbors eventually leaves a hole in your soul. Here is an opportunity to fill it.

If you don't feel that soul hole, try a meditation I learned at Esalen Institute in the 1980s and have practiced ever since. Lie on the floor and pretend you are dead in your grave. Feel the worms, smell the rot, sense the finality. Then, when you really feel dead, visualize your gravestone above. What does it say? "Here lies Robert; he had a big fancy house." "Here lies Vanessa; she wore beautiful clothes and had four face lifts." Here lies Michael; he made a billion dollars." Through this meditation, I realized I want my gravestone to say, "Here lies John, he did something good."

One good thing you can do is simply tell every pregnant woman and women thinking of getting pregnant that she needs to take more Vitamin D, a lot more. Pregnant women need a minimum of 5,000 IU per day and even that dose will not achieve 25(OH)D levels of >50 ng/mL in all women. Why not buy a few bottles of 5,000 IU capsules and hand out the bottles to your pregnant friends? You can get 250 vitamin D capsules for 15 bucks. Or, forward this email to them. Show them our Pregnancy and Vitamin D public service announcement.

If you want to do more, why not get a copy of our Pregnancy and Vitamin D public service announcement by emailing our webmaster at webmaster@vitamindcouncil.org (the ad is not copyrighted) and then pay to run it on a TV station in your hometown? You can easily add a caption at the bottom saying this public service announcement is being sponsored by your company, combining a good deed with good business.

Alas, no glory will be yours, at least in this life. No woman will ever thank you for the schizophrenic child she never had, for the trips to the emergency room with a breathless child that she never made, for the repetitive moaning of the autistic child she never endured. Although, she may wonder why her pregnancy was so easy and why her infant is so healthy, alert, active, and smart.

John Jacob Cannell MD
Executive Director

This newsletter may be reproduced as long as you properly and prominently attribute it source. Please reproduce it, post it on Internet sites, and forward it to your friends.

Remember, we are a non-profit and rely on your donations to publish our newsletter, maintain our website, and pursue our objectives. Send your tax-deductible contributions to:

* The Vitamin D Council
* 1241 Johnson Ave. #134
* San Luis Obispo, California, United States, 93401

Monday, 15 August 2011

Choosing to be Creative

I always have a choice to focus on the mundane or on my creativity. Do I pick up the computer and surf my bookmarks for the umpteenth time, or do I sit down, look into the unknown and write a blog post? Every morning, I face this choice.

Obviously (based on my blogging history) I have often chosen the mundane. After all, although doing a load of laundry isn't very taxing, it is familiar and satisfying; I can put the little check mark against it on my internal tally of "being productive." Just made the bed, in fact! Aren't I a good girl?!

Today I'm faced with the interesting dilemma of what to do. What do I really want to do? For the most part, I'm no longer motivated by trying to please others, my need to "save the world" or my need to measure up to someone else's idea of success.

This morning, I am free of the demands of dog and husband (they are happily hiking!) and I have no one who needs my attention--except me.

I've got money in the bank, no mortgage,

a gorgeous husband and equally cute dog who adore me, and no pressing engagements. My house is clean-ish and though I can always find something to do to make it more perfect--whatever I do (on the physical) is not going to make it much more comfortable than it already is.

Finding ways to distract myself is easy. Watch a movie, read a book, surf the net, do my nails... And I can probably do this, as I have many times before and skirt around this question once more:

How can I be creative today?

Without the old motivators, I'm really left with the question:

What would be fun for me to do right now?

Maybe write this blog post? Why not?!

(Now I can go & do my workout!)

What's fun for you? How would you like to be creative today?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Primal Pregnancy!

Hi Everyone~

I'm back! Our move to Santa Fe was easy and we've been here almost a month now. The sun...the sun...the SUN! You folks living in the Pac NW will know exactly what I mean. My energy is skyrocketing now that I'm over the initial acclimatizing period (we are at 7,000 feet) and I intend to be blogging a LOT more often.

Let's kick off this "restart" with my Primal Pregnancy guest blog post for Primal Toad (Todd Dosenberry)--a HUGE enthusiast of spreading the word about the Primal way of life.

Here's the link!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Blame it on the Chile!


Sorry for the long hiatus, but things have gotten very transitional and a bit chaotic around here...

Last year, my husband got a hankering for Mexican food, which led to an all-out addiction to New Mexican green chile and thus began the latest installment of our on-going adventure in moving home.   We've moved house twice in our 3 years of marriage (and survived!), so this should be old hat by now...

We are settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico as soon as our house sells and I am so looking forward to connecting with the larger and active birth community there.

Here's the link to our home for sale blog.

Wish us well!  More on the birth front soon...I've been more than a bit distracted, as you can imagine!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What I've been up to...

So, it's been eons since my last blog post and somebody, somewhere might be wondering what's up...I hope!


First, I've been working on my new birth-focused website.  It's beautiful and was so fun to create with my new web designer, Bruce Petersen.  It will be uploaded to my url very soon.  For now, you can see it here.   My intention is to gradually shift my coaching practice over the next five years to focus solely on birth preparation and birth trauma healing.  In the meantime, I will continue my life coaching/EFT/Matrix Reimprinting practice with my local and international clients.

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Just a few days after my last blog post, I was doing some web research and came across this website.  Little did I know that this would be the start of more paradigm-shifting for me that would result in some BIG life changes.

Like many in my birth community, I had been eating according to WAP (Weston A. Price) principles and though I was loving the food, I was continuing to put on body fat and wasn't too happy about this.  After a year of watching the pounds increase, I needed to do something!

I dabbled in low carb eating and started feeling better, but bread (freshly-ground sourdough, made locally with organic flour) snuck back into my diet.  I kept craving grains and sugar and despite my best intentions, I ate them and my belly fat kept growing.

Having been a personal trainer/nutrition coach for over 10 years, I thought I knew how to lose the fat--just exercise more and eat less.  Easier said than done.  For the first time in my life, I was watching my body get fat despite my daily hour-long walks, weight-lifting, dancing and relatively little food.

                     Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)                         The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy

I had already read bits and pieces of Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories via a couple of fitness blogs I follow, so I understood that I needed to drastically reduce my insulin-spiking foods like sugar and grains--but I didn't understand how addictive both sugar and grains are for me--and for many people.   I also already understood that animal fats--especially saturated fats from grass-fed animals--are actually very good for us and have been mistakenly given a very bad rap.

When I found The Primal Blueprint all the pieces came together for me.  I learned why grains and sugar are so addictive.  I also found out that grains and legumes have lots of phytoxins that are designed to aid the plant in preserving their seeds which stop them from being properly digested by humans--even with all the WAP-style soaking, fermenting and sprouting.

Convinced,  I adopted the Primal Blueprint eating plan and I cut out all grains, legumes and sugar --including fruits.  I finally started to see the fat drop off--without having to starve myself!  The inital carb cravings went away after a few days--I just ate cheese or coconut manna.  The adjustment to lower carb took a few weeks as my metabolism shifted from carb-burning to fat-burning--and it's been so worth it!

My body is changing in all sorts of magical ways.  I no longer need moisturizer due to all the great fats I'm eating.  My digestion has miraculously improved since dropping grains & legumes--no more IBS-type symptoms!  My sleep has improved.  I can go 5-6 hours between meals without any of my old hypoglycemic symptoms. I can eat cow's cheese again without an allergic reaction.  My menstrual cramps are becoming less painful.  I don't snore anymore...and...I am thinking more clearly.

Not to mention finally dropping my belly fat without starving or slaving away in the gym!

Per the Primal Blueprint exercise plan (free pdf on Mark's Daily Apple Fitness Forum), I move slowly 3-5 hours a week (dog-walking!), lift heavy things twice a week for 1/2 hour (bodyweight exercises I do at home), and "sprint" for 10 min a week (all-out dancing at our local movement studio.)  Since I was already doing all these activites, it was great to recognize the truth that 80% of our body composition comes from DIET not exercise or genetics.

In my next blog post, I'll share more about how the Primal Blueprint can make Pregnancy and Birth easier and more enjoyable!

I look forward to your thoughts....