Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Effect of Food on Your Body

This is a topic that I have been meaning to get to and I feel that it is importaint enough to post here as well as in my health blog. Over the past two years, I have gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. Begining at being super skinny from being on Weight Watchers, to now where I am at a healthy weight (though I will be happy to get out an exercise again). I am not super, super skinny and I feel a lot better for it. I do think though that eventually I will be able to get back into my "skinnier" jeans if I feel like it (I am a size 4-6 right now, size 4 is my skinniest).

At my thinnest on Weight Watchers I felt devoid of all feeling, like a shell. I wasn't happy with my body, it left me with little satisfaction since I still thought I needed to lose even more weight.

Let me tell you what I think happened. Weight Watchers claims to be a lifestyle change instead of a diet, I guess if you know a lot about food and are committed to a completely whole foods diet it can work for you. I decided to do the "points" program and therefore only bought things that were packaged because I could then determine the points values more easily. This worked, I lost weight. The drawback was as I said not feeling anything, slowed thought process, a loss of energy, feelings of inferiority, anxiety. I had a hard time making up my mind on what clothes to wear, and I always felt uncomfortable in what I did choose to wear. Doesn't sound like much fun does it?

Well here are a few things that I learned from my experience.

Your body needs fat, and not just any type of fat. Your brain really needs fat. Here are a few that I have learned to stay away from. Canolla oil, vegetable oils, refined olive oils, refined oils of any kind. Some people can handle these next one's but they really affect me flaxseed oil, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil. In fact over the past two day's I have had a terrible headache and I have been really touchy and angry because I ate some Gluten Free Crackers that have safflower oil in them. I am finally feeling my natural calm again because I figured out what was doing it.

Here is a list of the fats and oils that work really well with me. Unrefined natural organic oils, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, walnut, sunflower seed (to a lesser degree). Unrefined Palm oil is said to be healthy by many people now. I have a bottle and it is a beautiful rich orange color indicating a high degree of caratanoids, but my body doesn't like it much. Then there are animal fats, fish oil works really well for me, (especially if I eat wild caught Salmon). Organic lard (really hard to find I had to order some online from Amish farmers). Grass fed beef contains a lot of beneficial fat, you don't necessarily need to eat a lot of the fat, but you don't need to fuss about taking all of it off either. Plus beautiful yellow butter from grass fed cows, Yumy!

You need to soak seeds, nuts and grains, at least over night. This might not be immediately obvious to you, but try it a few times (even if your almonds look like swollen ballons in the morning). The water that you soaked your nuts will be a dark brown or reddish color. This is the enzyme inhibitors that keep the seeds/nuts from sprouting until soaked and they block your body from absorbing the nutrients from the seeds/nuts. Grains also contain enzyme inhibitors, try soaking your oatmeal overnight and then cook it in the morning. You will feel a difference in the amount of energy that you feel after eatting, than if you didn't take this step. I am not positive, but I think that you need to be careful with how long you soak your nuts. I have gotten a strange taste after eatting almonds that have soaked for a few day's. Really intense almond flavor, but with a really strange bite to it.

I recommend throwing away your microwave. Before you think I have lost it, let me tell you the result that I got after doing it. Number 1, I learned to cook really well. Number 2, the food that I cook tastes really good. Number 3, I feel a lot more energy from lightly steamed veggies than from "nuked" veggies. Number 4, soup and stuff doesn't take that long to heat up on the stove anyway. Number 5, I put a toster oven where the microwave used to be and use it all of the time. The biggest reason I did it was because I researched the issue and found that even if the research was incomplete the possible risks of continuing to use my microwave were to great.

Here are a few observations on how foods that my body doesn't like affect my body. Beets- make my heart rate increase, as well as my breathing. So do tomatoes but not as bad. Cabbage makes my stomach swell and I get gas from it (I don't think it's worth eating the food if my body has a reaction to it). I already mentioned safflower oil. Let me mention sesame seeds, this one is kind of funny, but not really. My good friend who happens to be a Vegan suggested using sesame seeds to replace the calcium lost in your diet from not drinking milk. So I tried it out and thought I was ok. At first things seemed great, I felt like I was on top of the world (if not for the light sensitivity). Every nerve in my body seemed alive, everything tasted great (ice cream was a blast, I know, I was replacing milk right). I was incredibly attuned to other people, I felt so happy and calm. In fact all of my inhibitions (almost) were lifted. Then I started having headaches and extreme light sensitivity. So I stopped eatting the sesame seeds (actually making them into a "milk"). My mom told me that what I described sounded like what people on LSD describe, not really funny. (I don't eat sesame seeds anymore).

I have also found that a lot of food should be eatten raw, but I don't like the all raw food diet. Some foods that are definantly better raw are, most veggies and fruits, milk and cheeses, fish (I like tilapia prepared raw), nuts and seeds (soaked), grains (though I just don't like most of them raw, except buckwheat).

I have a really great chart that describes the different Neuro Transmitters in our brains. I wish I could just scan it to the web, but since I don't know how to do that just yet I will attempt to write it out.

Serotonin:

Effects- emotional stability

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of rational emotion; feelings of irritability; sudden unexplained tears; sleep problems.

Suppliments Required- Calcium, Magnesium, Chromium, Vitamin A

Foods in Which Found- Turkey, Ham, Milk, Cheese

GABA:

Effects- Staying Calm

Deficiencies Result In- Free floating anxiety; fearful, insecure feelings; feelings that things are closing in around you; unexplained panic.

Suppliments Required- L-Glutamine, Vitamin B6

Foods In Which Found- Fish (especially mackerel), wheat bran

Enkephalins:

Effects- Psychological pain relief

Deficiencies Result In- Feelings of incompleteness; lack of fulfillment; feelings of inferiority or indequacy; never feels "equal."

Suppliments Required- D-Phenylalanine, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid

Foods in Which Found- Fish & Algae, Wheat Germ, Green Leafy Vegetables, Egg Yolk

Dopamine:

Effects- Pleasure, Reward, Good Feelings Towards Others, Maternal and Paternal Love.

Deficiencies Result In- Anhedonia: no pleasure in life; world looks colorless; inabilitiy to "love"; no remorese about personal behavior.

Suppliments Required- L-Phenylatanine, Vitamin B6

Foods in Which Found- Fish and Algae, Blackstrap Molasses

Norepinephrine:

Effects- Arousal, Energy, Drive

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of ambition, lack of drive, lack of energy, depression.

Supplements Required- L-Phenylalanine, Vitamin B6

Foods in Which Found- Fish and Algae, Beef Liver or Kidney


I also have a chart of the Affect of Drugs and Alcohol on the body, the first few seem repetitive but the next few are different.

Norepinephrine:

Function- Arousal, energy, drive

Drugs that Affect it- Cocaine, speed, caffeine, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Lack of drive, depression, lack of energy

Amino Acid Supplement- L-phenylalanine

GABA:

Function- Staying calm, relaxation, focus

Drugs that Affect it- Valium, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Free-floating anxiety, fearfulness, insecurity, can't relax or sleep, unexplined panic.

Amino Acid Supplement- L-glutamine

Endorphins:

Function- Psychological/physical pain relief, pleasure, reward, good/loving feelings toward others.

Drugs that Affect them- Heroin, marijuana, alcohol, sugar, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Overly Sensitive, feelings of incompleteness, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure normally), world lacks color, inability to love.

Amino Acid Supplement- dL-phenylalanine

Serotonin:

Function- Emotional stability, pain tolerance, self-confidence

Drugs that Affect it- Sugar, marijuana, ecstasy, tobacco

Deficiencies Result In- Depression, obsession, worry, low self-esteem, sleep problems, hunger, irritability.

Amino Acid Supplement- Chromium, Picolinate -increases L-Tryptophan availability.


On a last note,

I really like Dagoba Dark Chocolate (you can find it online if not in your health food store). I also like Tulsi (holy basil) tea and Roobios tea. All of these have helped me deal with stress and anxiety and they taste great to boot!

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