Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A woman's account of being gang raped in Tahrir Square

I had to share this, less than 2 weeks after International Women’s Day.

I know this happened a while ago, but the article was just posted online today.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Introducing Konk

This is just a short post to let you know we will be launching our new natural cold remedy this coming fall. We’ve been working on the formula for a little over two years now and it’s ready to go. It has been tested on over and over and it worked on almost everyone. More than 9 out of 10 testers have had their colds disappear in three days or less.

We think that’s pretty remarkable. It works on me in two days, for colds and flu. It is an all natural, no drug formula. No side effects have been reported except for an increase of energy in some testers. I really wasn’t expecting that, so it’s a bonus.

Watch out for further posts about Konk. Coming to a website near you in fall 2013.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

How not to Lose Weight

Ask most nutritionists, dieticians or doctors how to lose weight and you will hear the same litany over and over. Eat less meat, less fat, more whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Go vegetarian. People have been following these guidelines for forty or fifty years and the general population is getting fatter and fatter. What else do the experts say? Get more exercise. Walk more. Use the treadmill or crosstrainer. Lift light weights if you must. Every day at the gym I see these people, walking on the treadmill for an hour at 3 mph or so. Do they ever lose weight? No. So, the answer to the above title, “How not to lose weight” is, go by the national guidelines on how to lose fat or maintain a healthy weight.

Let’s take these things one at a time. First, the diet. We have been hearing for years how eating fat makes you fat and eating plenty of grains makes you thin. The only problem with this is that it’s wrong. I know this from experience, as well as from studying the matter. I used to buy into this idea and I ate lots of whole grain breads, muffins, all the nice fibery stuff. I always had 10 or 15 lbs extra and could never get rid of it. Then I discovered that I had a problem digesting gluten. I gave up all the wheat based products, as well as rye and oats. Within 6 weeks the excess weight was gone and I wasn’t even trying.

But you don’t have to take it from me. Take it from all the health bloggers, doctors and other diet experts who are all talking about this. In fact, some of us are old enough to remember when people who were trying to lose weight avoided “starches” during the 1950’s and early 60s. No, I’m not quite that old but the books and tv programs were still out there in the 70’s and 80’s. This was before Ancel Keys did his famous study mistakenly linking cholesterol to heart disease. This was also before the agricultural lobby grew so strong.
This group and now the dieticians are so strong that recently one blogger was told he had to take down his blog recommending the paleo diet because the dieticians didn’t want him raining on their parade. Or cutting into their profits, because that’s what it’s all about. Did you really think that the national food guidelines were there for your health? Sorry again. They’re there for the benefit of the people growing all the grain. Meat consumption has been steadily dropping over the last forty years because people think it’s bad for them, when in reality, they’d be much better off eating more of it and fewer grain foods. 

So, to recap the first part – eating fat won’t make you fat. Eating bread will. Eating meat won’t make you fat. Eating muffins will. So ditch the lowfat, high grain diet. A friend of mine recently gave up wheat (she still eats a bit of rice) and has lost 17 lbs without trying. Without being hungry. While feeling more energetic. And she’s retirement age. Now for the bad news. Sugar is bad. Aspartame is worse. Why are all the people I know who drink diet soda fat? Because aspartame makes the body store fat. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to ditch the sugar and other sweeteners. Or at least limit them. There’s a whole bunch of science I could tell you now about why this is so, but that’s for another post. Suffice to say, if you want to burn fat, eat fat. If you want to burn sugar, eat sugar. The only problem is if you are burning sugar you are not burning fat.

Now, how about that exercise thing? Well, first off, long hours of steady state, low effort cardio will net you nothing except lost time. If you want to lose weight you need to exert yourself. Quite a lot. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. I see so many people in the gym every day, wasting time, going nowhere and getting frustrated. On the treadmill, the bike, the elliptical, hour after wasted hour.

So, how much do you have to exert yourself? You need to get out of breath. And stay that way for a while. How best to do this? One way to get a lot of bang for your buck is to do intervals. On a bike, treadmill, crosstrainer, the road, whatever is available. Hard, heavy intervals. Go as fast and hard as you can for 30 seconds, then go at a slow pace for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Do this 8 or 10 times. And that’s it. Leave the gym. After stretching, of course. Do this 2 – 3 times a week. Is that it? That’s all I have to do? Nope, sorry again.

Now you have to work your muscles. Everyone knows muscle weighs more than fiat, right? Well, it also burns more energy than fat. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. Remember the metabolism? That’s what people used to blame for being fat. So, weight train or do hard body weight exercise 3 times a week as well. Sometimes, do a nice long walk. I recommend working out with a certified trainer if you are not knowledgeable about weigh training. Bodyweight exercise can be learned pretty easily online, unless you’re a total klutz, in which case you may need a trainer for this too. If you are middle aged or older keep it light”. (Basically, take some of the bodyweight exercises and tone them down to a non panting, non puking, dull roar). I started doing this after years of weight training and within 6 weeks had lost noticeable inches and gained significant muscle, without changing my diet.

What do I mean by bodyweight exercise? Stuff like squats and pushups. You can also walk around the gym carrying heavy weights. I do. Or walk around your garden carrying rocks. Whatever challenges your muscles. That’s the key. Challenge your body with weights and with hard cardio. If you’re not challenging your body, you will not have the desired results. 

So, to recap the exercise part – challenge your body regularly. Whenever your body gets used to whatever exercise you are doing, up the ante. Bring in new exercises. Switch it around. Work harder. Not longer. Studies show that if you exercise too long it will have the opposite of the desired results. An hour a day is plenty. Work really hard 45 minutes some days, do an easy workout for 90 minutes other days. A long, pleasant walk is a good way to mix it up.

Good luck. Let me know how these recommendations work for you. And remember, I’m not a doctor, and not a physical trainer, so ask advice from an expert if you are not in good shape to begin with. And I’m not telling you to do anything, just pointing out what I have read and experienced.

What is Dysbiosis?

As you are probably aware, there are trillions of bacteria in your gut. Everyone’s gut. About three pounds worth. (Approximately 1.4 Kgs.) Yum. Actually, there are more bacteria cells in your body than there are cells that are you. Fascinating. Maybe we’re just vehicles for bacteria. But that’s for another post. All the bacteria in your body together are called the microbiome.

There are beneficial bacteria that help us digest and absorb our food and a few that are normally considered not so beneficial (e coli) but they’re there anyway, and they’re a normal part of the gut microbiome. Sometimes, things can go awry and we get an infestation of the wrong bacteria. When this happens it makes us sick. What kind of sick? Well, it can start with just a little bloating, diarrhea, some IBS symptoms. (Irritable bowel syndrome) This is what some experts think causes IBS in the first place.

If this continues for a long time without getting rid of these bad bacteria we can get very sick indeed. Eventually we get microscopic holes in the gut, which allow tiny undigested food particles to get out of the gut and into the bloodstream, where they wreak havoc. This has the lovely name of “leaky gut syndrome”. This can cause inflammation, which then can cause an autoimmune reaction, where the body’s immune system attacks parts of the body, organs, etc. If this continues unabated, eventually some people with leaky gut may end up with diverticulosis, or ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease. These are all examples of ‘Inflammatory bowel disease” or IBD. Some doctors believe these diseases, including IBS, are on a continuum. IBS is at one end and Crohn’s is at the other. There are also those who believe that other chronic or autoimmune diseases are started this way. At any rate, inflammation tends to be involved in all of them.

So how do you know if you have dysbiosis? There is a test known as the hydrogen breath test, that can tell if undesirable bacteria are present. A naturopathic doctor can order this test. Another way is to just start treating the dysbisosis and check for a die-off reaction. This is also known as a Herxheimer reaction, named after the doctor who discovered it, or a healing crisis*. Some doctors think that if you have IBS, that dysbiosis must be present.  If you have ever taken antibiotics, the chances of dysbiosis are greatly increased. Some people have taken course after course of antibiotics without replacing their gut microbes. They will be highly likely to have dysbiosis.

So how do you treat it? One way is with probiotics and oregano oil. The oregano oil acts as a natural antibiotic and probiotics repopulate the gut with desirable microbes. You must not take the two together, or within several hours of each other. The oregano oil can kill off the good bacteria ans well as the bad. When I did the protocol I took the probiotics first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and the oregano oil  twice or three times during the day.

Some doctors like to try antibiotics and probiotics, taken the same way as above. I tried this twice and it didn’t work for me. Other doctors try antibiotics only, although I can’t see this working if the patients don’t repopulate their guts with probiotics. The more probiotics you take, the better. I took huge megadoses, 100 billion or more per day.

Another treatment is an elemental diet. This is often used for inflammatory bowel disease as well. An elemental diet is a liquid diet of predigested food. It isn’t as yucky as it sounds. Usually it consists of whey protein and various required carbohydrates. Some of them can be quite delicious. The elemental diet gives the intestines a rest and allows them to heal. At the same time you must use the oregano oil and probiotics, as well as other recommended supplements. The one I took is called Absorb Plus and is sold by the Holistic Health Shoppe. The website listentoyourgut explains the protocol, and is run by the same people who make the elemental diet shakes. I found the protocol quite easy to follow and highly recommend this website and the ebooks and products. It’s run by Jini Patel Thompson, who is an expert in this field and healed her own Crohn’s disease with this protocol. 

So how would you know if you had dysbiosis? If you have food intolerances, experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation or any combination of the above, the chances are pretty good. You may also experience hunger an hour or two after eating. Nausea and stomach pain can also be symptoms. It’s good to fix the problem before it gets out of hand, and you end up with inflammatory bowel disease. There are a lot of people who have these symptoms and don’t realize what the problem is. If you regularly pass large amounts of gas after eating, especially carbohydrates, this could very well be the culprit.

Why carbohydrates? Because that’s what the little buggers live on. They love to eat starchy, sugary things, and when they do, they multiply, and give off wastes, just like you do. These combine to make lots of gas. That’s where the bloating and flatulence come from. So while doing one of these protocols to kill off the little beasties, you must also stay away from starchy and sugary foods. Yes, that includes alcohol. Sorry. Also chocolate. Rats!

Can you cure the problem without going on an elemental diet and taking all the supplements? Probably, but it will take a long time and you will have to avoid starch and sugar for a year or so. May not be a bad idea to avoid those things all the time, but let’s not get too strict right away. Taking huge amounts of probiotics will also help. Make sure they’re good ones, guaranteed until the expiry date
This is by no means a comprehensive article about dysbiosis. It is meant to give you a point from where to start your own research.

*Healing crisis, or Herxheimer reaction. When the beasties die off, they give off waste products that your body cannot eliminate as fast as they accumulate. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, general lousy feeling, sudden body temperature variations, diarrhea, constipation, sleep disturbances, joint and muscle pain and other unpleasant thing that may feel like the flu. It can last anywhere from days to weeks depending on the severity of the problem and how fast you are killing off the bad bacteria. A week may be considered the usual duration.

What is Not a Doctor?

What is Not a Doctor? A blog by a person who is not a doctor, who has an interest in natural health and medical issues. Many of the things I write about come from personal experience. I have managed to pick up some knowledge along the way, because I had to. Why?

I have had some health complaints over the years, and in almost every case, the traditional medical establishment has been unable to help. Why couldn’t they help? Because there were a lot of things they didn’t know. Why didn’t they know? Because the information has been coming thick and fast over the past 20 years or so, and very few doctors can keep up, especially the specialists. There are a few  dedicated professionals who are on it. By “on it” I mean they are aware of the new data and information coming out, and keep up with it. A lot of the treatments and cures coming out are not proven in the lab – the info is anecdotal but they believe it anyway because they have seen it work in their patients. I am thankful for them.

Eventually I found the world of functional medicine, and naturopathic doctors and practitioners, and I’ve been learning and getting healthier ever since. To those who are struggling with medical issues their doctors can’t help them with, there’s hope. Lots of it. Everywhere. Diseases that have been considered incurable are being cured. It’s really quite amazing what’s going on right now. I am hopeful that this blog will help someone out there who is struggling the way I was.

What particular issues are we talking about here? Thyroid (hypo), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, IBD, dysbiosis, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune diseases, nutrition, types of diet, inflammation (big word these days), obesity, food intolerances and allergies, food production, GMOs, exercise and anything else that catches my eye as I read, read, read. I’ll find it so you don’t have to go searching for it. Sometimes it may not even be health related. So there.

Disclaimer:  The disclaimer is in the title. I am not a doctor, so I am not permitted to give medical advice. I am currently training as a nutritionist, so soon I will be able to give advice on that. However, take everything I say with a grain of salt, the way I take everything I read. Critical thinking is a must. I filter through the good and the bad to find the little nuggets of truth and goodness. So if you are interested in anything you find on this site, check it out with a professional before doing, trying or taking anything. I am giving out ideas, not advice.