Friday, April 24, 2009

The Odyssey Part 2-Five Day Report

This has been an interesting work-week. Beginning on Monday morning, I have been using Sun Warrior protein powder as my only food. It's a well-balanced mix of amino acids, vitamins and minerals and I have been blending this powder with water, taking it to work with me and having one cup every two hours.  The one saving grace is that it is chocolate flavored powder. Even though it is one of the best tasting protein powders out there, by 4 p.m. it tastes more like 'chalkolate' than the nectar of the gods. Added to this glorious diet is all the organic green tea I can drink. I have been going with the mango, berry, and jasmine green teas and brewing about two litres at a time in my handy-dandy tea thermos from Costco. Supplements are at a minimum since the whole idea is to shock the body into believing it has to burn all that nutrition I have been stashing in my body fat to survive. Apparently, it's working. Between Monday and Friday, I have lost 6.5 pounds and have not been hungry, tired, or otherwise inconvenienced. There was a slight headache the first couple of days but nothing that couldn't be taken care of nicely with a cup of skullcap tea.

Not bad. I expected it to be much worse. I do miss food, though. It's not the hunger part at all - it's the pleasure of tasting and enjoying flavor. I've come to realize that eating, one way or another, is at the core of most of my social interactions. 

There are a group of people out there who have made 'minimum calorie/maximum nutrition' a lifestyle. This movement developed from some rather compelling research that has shown a direct correlation to calorie intake and longevity. Those little lab rats that ate a very calorie restricted diet outlived the rest by sometimes as much as 50% while maintaining good health and an excellent quality of life - aside from being denied the pure pleasure built into eating. I am not concerned with living to 130+ unless all my friends and family were doing the same. For now, I am concerned with resetting my hypothalamus and eating well after doing so.

Time for another chalkolate shake.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Odyssey Part 1- Health and Weight Loss

Given the dizzying array of choices in natural health, I have opted to make myself a guinea pig to see how it all turns out. Make no mistake. I am not a virgin dieter nor am I a virgin health promoter. I have no monetary interest in how this experiment turns out but I do have an inherent interest in not passing out during this phase.

Let's be candid. Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar industry. Is it in the best interests of anyone to divulge the secrets without securing a position of gain? No. What is my position and how do I gain? Nothing and not at all. I am a regular person with a weight issue. Even worse, I  am a woman with hormones coming into play. So here it is. 

I am now menopausal. That means I have passed one year without having a menstrual period . It does not mean I have not had cramping, sore breasts, foul moods, hot flashes and insomnia. I have had some or all of these symptoms at one time or another. The jokes are to send the number of menopausal women in America to Afghanistan with AK47s and we could end the war. This is probably more true than it is funny. I am a boomer and proud of it. That came to me in a flash as I was editing my profile on here and realized that publishing my age is a good thing, not something to hide. I know more because I have lived more. Am I incompetent because of it? No, quite the contrary. I am in the wonderful position of beginning to understand the needs and necessities as well as the contraindications of being human. I am female and everything I have to share is based on my experience as such. I have had children early and I have had children late. My hormones and the intelligence I have inherited have made me what I am. So here is my story. 

Am I obese? No. Not in the strict sense of the term. But I am overweight in comparison with what I should be for optimum health. I feel it in my everyday activities. Beyond this, I see a very real difference in performance. My muscles are not there to support me in ways they once were and I am not ready to accept this as an inevitable part of aging. I have tried every diet under the sun and with no long-term success. So what is the answer? I don't have a definitive answer but I am embarking on an experimental journey and invite you to join me with questions, comments, and suggestions as I go forward. 

The last thirty days have been spent cleaning up my nutritional act, which means cutting out additives and eating organically. On Monday, April 20th I will begin a 2 to 3-week program of maximum nutrition while maintaining just under 500 calories a day in an attempt to reset my hypothalamus. I am not recommending this to anyone else but will journal my experience here and record everything as it happens. Wish me luck. 

Health Canada

Immortality - Is It Possible? was the title of my article for a journalism class many years ago. I admit to using blatant tools of the trade to incite readership but despite the provocative headline, there was some very compelling research that supported the idea. I'm not talking about the sensational reports. We have all heard the Walt Disney and cryogenics story. Wishing upon a star and freezing whatever is left at the end of the day is not what this is about. Nor is it about proving the biblical stories true - nobody in living memory has lived 800 or more years. This is about real possibilities.

The human body is made to be regenerative. This is not fantasy. This is fact. We regenerate cells every minute. How these cells are reproduced is both the problem and the answer. As we age, things change. Why? Because we change our environment and we change the input to our genetic code. 

Two of the nutrients I am most interested in are acetyl l-carnitine and l-carnitine. They are not the same. One is a precursor of the other and they do very different things. First of all, they are not amino acids as was once thought. They are part of the vitamin B complex. L-carnitine is important in maintaining muscle and is valuable in protecting the heart and all muscles in the body. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, it protects the muscles from wasting away. Acetyl l-carnitine is what l-carnitine is transformed into. It crosses the blood/brain barrier and has been shown in recent studies to be of major importance in treating and  reversing Alzheimers disease, enhancing the capacity of Downs Syndrome patients, preventing and reversing dementia, and otherwise reversing the memory loss and alleviating other neuro-deficiencies in aging. Both aid in the conversion of fat and the health of mitochondria in the process. Why is it illegal now to buy in Canada without a prescription? Because Health Canada has decreed you now need a prescription which protects the pharmaceutical companies that have otherwise no vested interest in your health. It's all about money. If it works, regulate it and make sure only those who can pay can receive it. 

Speak out now before it is too late. Being Canadian has long meant being polite and speaking softly when it comes to change but we can learn from our American neighbours without adopting the things we don't like.  Make change for the good and make it now. It's now or never for your parents' health, for your own, and for that of your children.  Demand change in our laws and when prescriptions are necessary, shop at Costco for better prices!