Why I say hell no to soy forever!

 

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Life as a kid drinking milk.  It sure tasted good though!

As a child I always had stomachaches. I would often ask to the go to the nurse’s office in high school and once in a while I would ask to go home, but most of the time the nurse told me to lay down until I felt better. It would always be after lunch and I would be so bloated and gassy that it was uncomfortable just to sit upright in my school chair! Ironically, no one ever asked me what was I eating? Not my mom, not the nurse, and I certainly didn’t talk about it with my peers. I’m still in awe at how far behind conventional teaching of nutrition was back then within nursing and medicine. The worst part about that, it is still VERY far behind.

From the very beginning, you are told that everyone needs dairy. Thanks FDA! It’s interesting to me that the food groups at the time required dairy and grains (the MYplate still does), and now that I know about food politics, it all makes sense. (And yes, you can live and thrive without dairy and grains. They are taken out of many anti-inflammatory diets such as the Paleo Diet, the Autoimmune Protocol, Repairvite Diet, and recommended by many nutritionists such as JJ Virgin to heal your ‘gut’. Shhhh, don’t tell the FDA!)

I never pieced that it was milk causing me distress, since I had skim milk every morning and didn’t have a reaction then.  Nor did I notice issues with all milk products. That doesn’t mean I didn’t react more often, I just maybe didn’t notice it as much or was in tune with what was going on with my body.   I remember having a box of skim milk with my lunch every single day as that was what I drank to stay ‘healthy’. I think the thought never crossed my mind that something healthy could be what’s hurting me.  It was not until college that the lightbulb went on and I realized that milk was a major factor in my daily bloating. I’d religiously have my milk with cereal in the morning. My new loved routine was going to Starbucks to study and have an ice cold Frappuccino. It started to annoy me when I’d keel over in gassy pain and would have to leave the place to go lay down at home! I truly needed to be annoyed with intensity to pay attention to what my body was saying.  It seemed to be the dose that made the poison, so I don’t believe that you have to have a reaction to a food every time, to know you are sensitive to it.  The clarity was bonking me in the head with the answer.

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How many times do I have to bonk you?  ~ says milk

 

Soy milk had just become popular at the time, so I decided I’d try and switch. It was easy and I loved the taste. Plus the crazy bloating was gone! I was about 19 when I made the switch. I drank soy milk every morning with breakfast, or I would order a Soy Latte at Starbucks. These habits would be consistent for the next 10 years of my life.

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My knight in shining armor arrived. Little did I know I would be betrayed.

I had no chronic conditions and was not on any meds, but at 32 years old, I experienced a tragic life threatening acute illness. I became sick with flu like symptoms, had strange stomach pangs, and had to be admitted to the hospital where I had to be intubated and spiraled downhill. After a week of possibly saying goodbye to life on Earth, I pulled out of it. There was never a diagnosis for what happened to me, besides ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). I was generally healthy, besides the lactose intolerance. It was amazing to wake up from that and realize I was given a second chance at life.  This gave me a new inspiration and I joined Weight Watchers. I became super motivated and active so I could be the best role model I could be for people. About 10 months after my near death experience, my period just stopped coming. I couldn’t be pregnant, and I was not under any intense stress physically or mentally. I was not even under 22% body fat, so low body fat was not a factor. I waited a few months before finally going to the doctor and asked to be tested. My doctor tested me for all the hormones that could be responsible for my period stopping.

Everything came back normal.  He told me he did not know what to tell me, or why it stopped coming, but that since my labs were great, it was nothing to worry about.  

This did not ease my mind. I had not had a child yet and I wanted one so I questioned what this could mean- could I not get pregnant? Not having a period is not normal. So I pushed him with more questions and he told me, “if you are worried about having a period, then go on birth control”. That was my only solution. I went NINE months without having a period, so it didn’t look like it was going to come back on its own and there had to be a reason for this, this doesn’t just happen to normal healthy people.

I began to do research about my symptoms (halting of menstruation) and was shocked at what came up. There was not a lot of literature or true evidence to back it up at the time, but it circled back to soy.

 

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I read a controversial article stating that soy could put women into a perimenopausal state. This was the only common denominator in my life that could explain what was going on. I had a history of using birth control pills on and off for about ten years which I believe might have also been a factor in my autoimmunity to come, but I had been off of it for more than 5 years by the time this happened. Thankfully, almond milk was just beginning to hit the shelves, so I made the switch again. I then had the doctor put me on the lowest dose of birth control pills available. I had quite a few bad reactions with this, including moodiness, weight gain, and low libido. “This was a nightmare,” I thought, “I can’t keep doing this.” So after 3 months of the pill, I switched to almond milk (and with some serious praying) I stopped taking the pill and my period resumed on time on its own from then on out.

I became pregnant 6 months later- after 6 months of having a regular period on no birth control pills and no intake of soy whatsoever. I do believe there is a God and that he answers prayers!

Soy contains chemicals that mimic estrogen and lower testosterone levels.

The current research is still controversial (is this because of Monsanto’s control over one of the top 3 GMO crops in the US?) Some studies say that too much soy in your diet can affect your thyroid because soy contains goitrogens. Unlike other goitrogenic vegetables, soy does not reduce these factors when cooked. It can cause breast cancer and impair fertility. (Wait, I thought it PREVENTED breast cancer?! Another one of those ‘controversial’ subjects folks!)

 

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American GMO soy is like a drug. An experimental mass dosed birth control drug. We ingest so much of it, thanks to Big Food and many people are now paying the price.

Fermentable soy is really only the healthy form of soy, not unfermented. And in small amounts. Fermented soy includes tempeh, natty, miso, and soy sauce. Unfermented includes tofu, edamame, and everything else made from soy. You even have a choice to give your infant soy formula, which I find to be the most frightening of all (birth control for babies, anyone?). You decide, but after my experience, I won’t gamble and don’t feel the need to supplement my diet or my child’s with soy products whatsoever. If we have sushi one night which is rare, I’ll perhaps allow for some edamame and soy sauce (if I did not bring my coconut aminos) but on a daily basis, that would be a definite no. #BYEFELICIA

“But the Japanese eat soy, and they are healthy!”

Well no, they have not only an entirely different type of lifestyle and diet overall than we do in America, but they do not eat large amounts of processed GMO soy like we in America eat. They do not eat soy hotdogs, fake processed soy meats, or consume large amounts of soy in general whether its soy milk, soy ice cream, or tofu. Soy is also used as a filler in a large majority of processed foods, and soybean oil is a common cheap oil also used in restaurants and processed foods.

Why Soy is promoted as a health food.  (This article gets me fired up, and although he did not emphasize GMOS he does mention big business, marketing, and profits. That is huge and I think a major factor as why we are pushed to believe by many establishments that soy is healthy.)

The interesting thing is that I developed Hashimoto’s with my pregnancy. (Read here for my post on what Hashimoto’s is). Remember soy affects your thyroid?   This means I always had the genes for it, I had leaky gut (intestinal permeability is the scientific term), but perhaps years of soy foods heavy estrogenic effects brought me to the cliff of autoimmunity. The stress of pregnancy on my body so soon after I swore off soy was the push over that cliff. Any kind of stress, whether physical, mental, or physiological can trigger an autoimmune gene to turn on provided you have leaky gut. And many people have this, but conventional medicine does not recognize it for some reason despite over 11,000 research articles on PubMed so how would you know if you had leaky gut? Most people don’t know what it is, and I sure didn’t at the time. (Read here to find out what leaky gut is, and its symptoms)

It’s been 6 years since my pregnancy, and I have had a regular period since. I avoid soy always remembering what it did to me. Soy lecithin is actually one ingredient that is not the soy protein or oil, and is safe for people like me with autoimmune disease, per my doctor. Of course, GMO free is always preferred. I look forward to the day when all food is labeled! #JustLabelIt

Why do consumers want GMO’s labeled?

Dr Mercola talks about soy links to brain damage and breast cancer. 

It was difficult to find research that mentioned soy causing perimenopause since I’ve tried to look some up for this article. I assume this is because Google is selective of what they want you to see and are probably paid from companies that benefit from the lies of the giant GMO soy industry, the star being Monsanto.

The Whole Soy Story book  ( a raw and truthful book written by a nutritionist with a PhD)

Well, I think the answer could not be more clearer.  I only wish my Dr, and those school nurses would of known enough to ask me, “What are you eating?” sooner.

 

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Going to Disneyland while on the Repairvite Diet

 

 

We planned a spontaneous last minute trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA for New Years Eve 2015, and this was one week into my Repairvite diet.  I thought to myself, I am going to do everything I can to get through it successfully.  We rented a hotel at Marriott Residence Inn, so it was with a full kitchenette.  This is necessary for sure. I brought a large cooler with half frozen meals and other half snacks.  I stayed on plan with one caveat: I had an UNSWEETENED Starbucks matcha green tea coconut milk latte two times on both park days.  A Venti one day, and a Grande the next.  I was so tired, from walking from 9 am to 6 pm, and we wanted to make at least the 9 pm fireworks. I was yawning and just wanted to pass out.  I thought, couldn’t I have something with caffeine that won’t destroy me or give me jitters, considering I had been off of caffeine a week and a half already?  I learned a few things about this drink later, and will not make this mistake again. First let’s go over some facts:

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are :

Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

Whats in the matcha green tea?  The Starbucks matcha green tea powder is pre-sweetened and the first ingredient is sugar, with the second ingredient being green tea powder. Thanks to Carla for this information!  This means there is more sugar than green tea powder.   The Sumatra coconut milk is also sweetened.  This is good enough for Starbucks apparently, since they want you hooked.  You can add sugar, but you can’t take it away, and this is why I do not buy drinks often from Starbucks.

So how much sugar was in it? You can go to Starbucks website, and create your drink with coconut milk, plug in your size, and find out the sugar content.  I found out after i got home from my trip. Turns out my Venti green tea coconut milk latte has 40 grams of sugar (a man’s recommended amount for the day), and my 2nd day Grande drink has 29 grams of sugar (over a woman’s recommended amount)! This is asking for it unsweetened. They actually add more sugar to this in the syrup form, unless you say no sugar added! That is ridiculous! The venti was about 3 TBSP of sugar, and the Grande is 2 TBSP, I stress this is unsweetened.  Who needs the caffeine when you are secretly sugar attacked?

If I could change this choice, I would of asked for a green tea bag in hot water. Plain, simple, without any sugar.  I will tell you that my sugar infused drink did wake me up, and I had jitters after about 2 hours. I do not have low blood sugar so I thought that was odd.   I probably used up all the excess sugar walking, and maybe had a nosedive blood glucose level.  I definitely am not happy that my adrenals (which I am trying to heal, and chose green tea over coffee for the milder effects) were forced into overdrive because of the sugar and I had no idea why.

I just got the message from my Dr. that I do not need to add another week of the diet because of this mess-up.  Whew I am so grateful!  (Dr David Clark, DC is my awesome holistic healthcare provider!)

What food did I bring?

In my large cooler for the car ride, I had purchased meals from fuelmeals.com which had combos like broccoli, yams, and chicken breast.  I brought 6 meals for 3 days of traveling.  I also brought Aidells chicken and apple sausage for breakfast, and had 1.5 sausages each morning. I cooked up diced yam and cinnamon before the trip and had about 4-5 oz each morning with sausage. I bought cucumbers, sugar snap peas, apples, gluten and casein free turkey, avocado, cooked bacon from Trader Joe’s, and clementine oranges. I also brought peppermint and chamomile tea bags and had a few in my purse.

Sugar snap peas, oranges, Apple slices
Sugar snap peas, clementine oranges, apple slices

Breakfast: cinnamon coconut oil fried yams, Aidell’s chicken apple sausage (1.5)

Snack: Apples, clementines, coconut butter, turkey, butter lettuce, bacon, avocado

Lunch/Dinners Fuel Meals with 3 basic things: a green veggie, yam, and protein

I eat whenever I am hungry. You should not be hungry on the Repairvite diet.

When we were at the Disney park, I could not find a microwave, and no restaurant would allow me to give them my food to heat up. They mentioned that they thought the baby center might have a microwave.  I had no idea where that was, and this was New Years Eve, the busiest day of the year! I threw my hands up and asked if anything could be specially made. I had a chef at one of the restaurants in front of Star Tours ride accommodate me. He made me a plain burger patty with only salt and pepper, wrapped in a lettuce bun with a side of fruit and some cucumber slices. He had no onions available, or balsamic vinegar and EVOO for dressings if I wanted a special salad, so burger it was.  It was actually a big patty and filling.  I think it will depend on what restaurant you stop at, what they have available at that area.  Since my frozen meal had thawed at the end of the day, I put it in the fridge and ate it first thing in the morning. I’m glad I started with frozen for this reason!

The next day we were at California Adventure Park, and I knew already that the Baby Center had a microwave, so I mapped it out, and we planned our day.  In this park, it is in Pacific Wharf which is nothing but restaurants.  So if your family is hungry, go heat up your food first, and take it to whatever cafe they are going to eat.  It’s literally right there.

I carried my six pack bags purse which is a cooler. It holds 2 meals. They also sell backpacks that can carry up to 6 meals! This was a lifesaver! Be prepared though as Disneyland discourages bringing food into the park, however if you tell the security person that is checking your bag you can let them know you multiple dietary restrictions.  I don’t think you can bring a 6 pack of sodas or a gallon of water for instance, but you could try.  Worse case scenario you have to store it in a locker in the front of the park.   I had a few bars, fruit strips, and cheddar bunnies for my kid to snack on as well.

Bring a plastic water bottle, and there are fountains that you can fill up at. When we ate, we asked for tap water in a cup, and I used that to refill.  I stayed pretty hydrated, and went to the bathroom what seemed like every hour! But I know I could of felt so much more tired, had I not done this.

Bottom Line:

Rent a hotel room with a kitchenette. You need a cooler that you can carry in the park. Use ice packs in the coolers. Rent a locker for 12 bucks a day, to store clothes to change or valuables that you don’t want to carry. (I mention the following because I wish someone told me): I would suggest a pre charged battery to charge your phone, especially if you are using the Disney app in the park, and don’t post to social media if you can help it, again unless you have the pre charged battery to recharge.  Wait until nighttime after getting to the hotel to do that if you can. Posting all day will drain your battery fast!  If you can, use airplane mode to save the battery and just take pictures. Take one frozen meal per person, and a sandwich or quart size bag of finger snacks. Find out where the Baby Center is to use the microwave.  Take a plastic water bottle to refill (BPA free of course!) Pack a bag with mixed snacks. Decide before going, you will do this today and you will be successful.  Inquire the chef at any and all restaurants, even open air grills (they are in every restaurant) and ask what they have but give them some ideas like a plain lettuce wrap burger with fruit, or salad with a plain grilled protein if you brought your own dressing.

All in all, I think my trip was successful and I learned some lessons including my own strength. I encourage you to feel confident that it can be done, because it can.  I feel assured that the next time we go, I can do this better!  I hope this was helpful!

 

 

What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (hypothyroidism)?

imageI have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease, which is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks your thyroid. Your body creates antibodies towards your thyroid. The more antibodies it creates, the worse off your thyroid is. It’s not a thyroid disease per se, but a organ that is targeted. As your thyroid is targeted and destroyed slowly, you will eventually develop symptoms of hypothyroidism.  Some people are prescribed hormone replacement drugs, and others are told to keep checking it since it will be destroyed eventually if you have the signs of hypothyroidism (weight gain, hair loss, cold extremities, loss of outer 1/3 of brow, fatigue).  Eventually, if your thyroid keeps becoming destroyed, you might even be told by your doctor to have it eradicated, and be on thyroid hormones for life. Yet there are the few people out there who have mastered how to manage the triggers. This is no different than one with rheumatoid arthritis, who is never really cured, but might notice certain things or foods trigger flare ups.  Hashimoto’s is a lot harder to tell what a trigger may be, at least for me personally and in my opinion.  Between the research and food reactions, I don’t always have food reactions. But when I eat the offending food daily, over time my symptoms worsen.  It’s like a very slow process, and it tricks me. However, some people may have obvious reactions to food, or they may also have celiac disease which is commonly associated with Hashimoto’s. That can be very useful knowledge in mastering and taming the disease.

This was diagnosed after I had my child, so my pregnancy triggered this gene I already had. I had profound changes in myself from before pregnancy to after, including depression, weight gain, extreme fatigue, and oversleeping. I am also cold when everyone else is warm, and mostly my extremities. Hashimotos is most common in women, some kind of psychological or physiological trigger might turn the gene on, and once you have that gene turned on, its on for life. That goes for any autoimmune disease like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, etc. You can always manage the disease, but it will never be ‘cured’. I’ve learned that Hashimotos is largely missed by doctors because it is not routinely tested in the so called ‘full thyroid panel’ and that 90% of hypothyroid patients have this autoimmune disorder. The good news is that there are dietary measures you can take to downplay the destruction of your thyroid, and if you work with a healthcare practitioner (could be a ND, DO, chiropractor, or health coach) who is well educated in leaky gut syndrome, (there are some, but few MD’s that could help, look up functional MD’s) you may even come to find out more details about what triggers an autoimmune response in your own body. I am working with a chiropractor who is a functional neurologist, and I will be taking a list of supplements that were specific to my labs as well as doing the repairvite diet for 30 days to begin healing the gut, deinflaming the body, which will in turn balance my hormones and perhaps I could finally lose weight!

One experiment I did earlier this year was I joined Orange Theory Fitness which is an intense one hour session of half cardio and half weight lifting using your heart rate as a measure for exertion.  I had spent 6 weeks here and attended 3x week.  I was using a foam roller for recovery, branched chain amino acids as well, and was taking Epsom salt baths frequently.  I was also doing the Alternate Day Diet which I wrote a blog post earlier about.  Three times a week I ate 500 calories in the form of a liquid meal.  This intense class combined with this diet left me feeling extremely exhausted, and sore most of the days.  I still pushed on.  I am very disappointed to report that I lost zero pounds and zero inches.  As a matter of fact I ended up gaining 2 pounds at the end of that challenge.  How in the world was that possible?  This led me to my holistic Dr, a chiropractor/functional neurologist who specializes in Hashimoto’s.  He explained to me that everything that was happening to me made sense and with my disease what goes with it is that adrenal fatigue is common, and weight loss will not happen when the body is in this high state of inflammation. The intense exercise kept me in that state of inflammation.  The 500 calories 3x a week stressed my body out. It just didn’t work for me, although it may work for some. Makes sense, so how do I fix this?

After drawing some labs and ordering supplements he prescribed after reviewing those labs, he also prescribed the Repairvite leaky gut protocol, which I must start for 30 days, then we could add foods back in one at a time.  I am choosing Monday December 21 as my start date.  I know its tough with the holidays, but I think I’m tired of feeling bloated and sick already.  Knowing how difficult this is going to be, I purchased this book: 51GqqyYWeoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_-2

I’m going to need all the help I can get!  Whatever way you need to stay on track, exhaust all avenues! Meditation, journaling, and hypnosis are other great ideas to help keep you on track.  These are all forms of self care.  If you can feed and take care of your spiritual self, it is easier to take care of your physical self in the face of temptation.  I’m not saying temptation free, but helpful, and easier.

Repairvite Diet Protocol on next blog post!

This information should not replace your healthcare practitioner’s advice!