#52SmallThings

I’ve been following The Mighty for a little while, because the posts ring SO true to home for me and the entries truly resonate with me.

Today I notice a challenge that was posted for 52 Small Things – a year long challenge to get into habits, which is something I’m sorely in need of. I even joined the community in order to take part with people I could likely connect with more.

Nope. Technology strikes again. I wrote the entry, hit “post”, assigned a user name to myself, aaaaand….. blank screen. Just white. Nothing there. No words, no submission, no nothing.

I tried to comment on the post – and same thing. The site kept telling me I was logged out, when I clearly wasn’t judging by my face in the top corner of the page. I gave up. Obviously there’s a glitch in the Matrix somewhere.

I was frustrated, but then realized there’s no reason to be. I have time to rewrite it. That’s all I have, really, is time. Sitting. Because today is a bad brain day, and I’m sitting and watching movies to avoid dizzy brain space from taking over again. Like it did first thing this morning, and nearly landed my ass on the floor.

So here I am, writing it again. But on my own blog, because I think it’s a good thing to take up. Without judgement or expectation, and no beating myself up for not sticking with it. I’m gonna try, and that’s the best I can really do.

They have goals to follow, but there are some that I really need to pick up for myself first. These aren’t New Year’s resolutions – they’re self care goals.

Week 1: EYE MASK
I have a chalazion on my left eye that I’ve been treating with heat packs since my eye appointment in November. I was instructed to do this for 1-1.5 hours a day, and I was doing really well. For awhile. That habit dropped entirely for a couple of weeks, and I’ve been good about doing it daily again. But only twice a day. I need to get this thing dealt with, which means I need to take care of it more often. I makes my vision blurry for at least 15 minutes after each treatment, which takes away quite a bit of time from seeing. But there are many things I can do without proper vision. No more excuses. And who knows – maybe if it gets smaller it’ll help reduce my double vision. My care team doesn’t believe it’s the cause of it, but I’d like to think they might be wrong.

Week 2: DRINK. MORE. WATER.
I’ve been waking up early and not ready to get out of bed. Three a.m. is not conducive to movement. But if I drink water, I need to pee, and I don’t want to have to get out of bed yet, but then I spend too much time laying there after and by the time I do get up I’m struggling with dizzy spells and it starts the day of horribly. It’s time to fix that.

Week 3: YOGA.
I have too many bad excuses why I’m not practising more, and too many reasons that I should be doing it more. I have been practicing, but not as much as I’ve wanted to. I really need to drink more water to combat the dizzy spells before performing asanas, so I can sweep the animal fur up before placing my mat down. But by the time I get enough water in me it’s the afternoon, and I need food, and practicing with a full stomach is uncomfortable, and by the time I’m ready to practice I forget about it. Thankfully, I have a robo-vacuum on the way, which will take care of the sweeping issue, and if I can get my water drinking habit handled then I really have no good excuse to skip it.

Week 4: SELF MASSAGE
It’s good to increase blood flow and and lymph flow, as well as moisturize my poor, dry, malnourished winterized skin. Without the threat of getting the hose if I don’t follow through. It’s a habit I’ve sorely fallen out of, and picking it back up has been a struggle. Once a week shouldn’t be hard to turn into once a day.

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I reached out … now what?

Asking for help has never been easy. It means I owe a debt, and it’s not always a debt I’m sure I’m able to repay, so it’s only when I’m truly desperate that I do what I feel is grovelling to others to request help. If I’m able to repay the favor, then it’s not hard to ask, but without having that balance I struggle with the request.

Experiences can be humbling, can’t they?

I am at what might be my most humble. I’ve had to ask for help before, but not quite like this.

This year has been a struggle, and we’ve kept many details to ourselves. During yoga teacher training I wasn’t able to keep up well with sales so much, as there was so much going on with trying to finish training as well as my aromatherapy certification. There was also a side project underway where a new company became incorporated, and so much effort had been put into getting this endeavour underway. It was ready to go, and we were just waiting for our financing to come through. It would have been so good for us, but that’s when things started to go wrong. That’s when I could no longer make sense of the things happening. That’s when I couldn’t focus on any of the tasks I was working on without making silly mistakes. And that’s when I had to admit that I couldn’t move forward with the company we incorporated, because it was completely a team effort and we were both needed in order to move forward with it.

We cancelled all plans with the incorporation. We still own it for the time being, but nothing has progressed with it. We wanted to wait to see what would happen.

I am short of my yoga teacher training certification by 10 hours because the worst of my symptoms came up during the retreat, where I found out just how much I was affected by the sun and heat. 

I couldn’t finish my aromatherapy certification because of the brain fog, which has made it nearly impossible to not only read, but to retain new information.

I moved my products out of the house in case they were the source of my issues. This makes them difficult to sell.

All of my plans and income sources had to be put on hold because I couldn’t focus on them. Whenever I tried, I made mistakes, or forgot, and I couldn’t stand the idea of disappointing anyone. So that’s when I made the hard decision to temporarily shut down Bohemian Alchemist, with hopes I could pick it up again soon.

But I couldn’t. My inventory was stored offsite, and trying to sell it was difficult to do when I had a hard time managing the inventory. I couldn’t offer services or products out of fear of making a harmful mistake. I was making mistakes, and it was only a matter of time before I made a mistake I’d regret and hurt someone. Thankfully, they were all minor, but they were enough to make me realize that it was time for me to stop. I did the responsible thing by keeping my clients safe, rather than pushing myself further beyond my limits in order to keep everything operational. I was already beyond my limits, which had changed so, so much from the beginning of the year.

Closing was hard. So much harder than I could ever express. I love my business, and I love the products I’ve made, and I loved the direction I was heading with it. But mostly, I loved the connections I made with people. I worked hard to start and maintain it (not without help – I’ve had so much help from so many people!). I found that hanging off of “maybe”, “possibly”, “one day” and “eventually” wore on me so much, and I couldn’t answer people who wanted to know when I was opening again. The encouragement from others was well meaning, but brought my attention continuously to the responsibilities waiting for me. I felt horrible anytime someone wanted a custom order and I had to refuse. I felt inadequate, disappointing and that I was letting people down – but the one that mattered most was my husband. I have not been able to contribute to our income. He has been ever the encouraging, supportive person he always has been, but this is an insecurity of my own that stems from old, deep hurts and experiences that are difficult to keep controlled when I’m at my most vulnerable.

Everything was shut down. I found ways to keep busy and to keep my flare ups moderately controlled. The more controlled my symptoms are, the more productive I am, which is how I’ve been able to reasonably maintain our home. It hasn’t been ideal, but we’ve made it work.

But our expenses added up. Medications and supplements and specific clothes that helped reduce symptoms, fuel to get to and from appointments, window replacement, so on so forth. I’ve listed some of our expenses previously. They continue to add up.

And then our hot water tank decided to die on us right after my surgery. The nerve of it, I dare say.

What do you MEAN money isn’t everything? We are a bank!

And it’s been a struggle since then. 

I hit a low point a couple of weeks ago, which I also shared part of. But not in entirety. I had cabin fever in a bad way, and I was unsure of everything. We had been thinking about getting a service dog to help with certain things in order to get me the support I needed to function better in the day, but I wondered if maybe this was too extreme. 

And so did a few others. A few people have mentioned that they believe I may be bipolar, or that perhaps I need to find God, or meditate more, or to “just relax”. It has been implied that my symptoms are imagined and that I’m a hypochondriac. Perhaps I am just looking for attention.

These comments come from very few, select people, but they hurt, more than they could ever know. I believe they had good intentions, and truly believe the things they say. There were harmful, hurtful words regardless of intent, however. They made me think that, maybe, they weren’t wrong. They made me feel insecure. They made me feel that I was sharing too much about our situation, and that perhaps I should keep it more to myself. I found engagements with people to get less and less, and I wondered if I was believed at all or not.

To be fair, when people see me they see that I’ve lost weight and am rocking a fairly normal body size for the first time in a decade, see me walking and talking  and my clean house and see my rosy red cheeks, unaware that the redness is part of a flare up. What they see seems healthy.

What they don’t see is everything else I’ve previously mentioned. The crippling fatigue, the numb cheeks,  the thick brain fog and confusion, the double vision. I’m functional, but very carefully. They don’t see that. They don’t see the little leg pump I do before I stand up, nor do they realize why I stand up so slowly. They don’t see my balance as that bad. They don’t see me avoiding bending over to avoid passing out. It’s hard to believe, sometimes, if there’s nothing to see.

It’s there, however, if you pay attention.

For the most part people have been kind, caring and supportive. Several have offered help, and have stepped up to help where we need it most. Right now, what we need most is financial. Bad timing, I know. Our bills are paid, the animals are fed, but we’ve been maxed out in all accounts since early fall and we have been just barely getting by. The prospect of catching up hasn’t been promising – which also means no possibility of a service dog. I will not commit to getting an animal that I am not able to afford to care for.

So I  reached out.  I asked for help, as so many people have encouraged if I needed it. And I need it. I presented my case. I made a post on my Facebook page. People asked me, “What can I do to help?”

“Share my page post,” I responded. I don’t expect anyone to buy things they don’t want or need, but sharing my post would help get the word out, and perhaps reach and audience that could help. It costs nothing and is easy to do. But then, I always seemed to follow it up with, “If you can’t, then I understand.”

I don’t understand. I don’t know why I  ever said that. To be nice? To give them permission to ignore it? To make them think that we weren’t in as tight of a situation that we are? Or maybe I’m just an idiot. I really don’t know why I said it that way, but that’s what I do.

When I went to see my psychologist and he asked me how I was, I said, “I’m great! Thanks! How are you?” – which I then had to admit that I lied. When he asked why I said that if I didn’t mean it, I admitted that it’s a trained response after growing up in a place that didn’t admit to weakness. I believe working retail also encouraged said response. Customers don’t want to hear how great you’re not. They’re there to spend money, and that’s all. It’s just what we are trained to respond with in order to maintain courtesy, and I’m trying to retrain that response. It’s not an easy thing to stop doing, especially when my defence mechanisms are locked and loaded at the moment.

Anyways, Some people shared my post.

And some people never responded, and never shared it. I see so many people share things supporting other events and complete strangers, but have not supported me where I need it most. Sometimes with excuses explaining the reason of their lack of support – which I appreciate, since at least I know where they stand. Most often the response was silence, however, and it’s the silence that hurts most of all.

And that hurt contributed to my downward spiral, which also caused worsening symptoms and an emotional meltdown, which made my spiral even worse. I spoke with my internist. I was so tired. Frustrated. I was falling apart. He assured me that he believed there was something happening and that we needed to push through just a little longer to try to find some answers. He brainstormed some ideas, agreeing that I needed a break. He prescribed something to help me sleep – something I do not get nearly enough of – and agreed that a service dog would be beneficial to my case. 

This helped alot. The reassurance from both him and my psychologist made me realize that I was spiralling down the hole of other people’s perceptions and expectations again. They told me that I’ve been holding myself together so much better than many other people might in my situation. I don’t know how true that is or not, but I hung onto it. It’s been a source of strength for me to keep pushing forward.

During one of my appointments, I was asked what I would do if I had all of the power in the world. 

I answered that I’d give it away to someone who would use it well.

Then I was asked what I would do if I had all the agency in the world.

I had to think on it, but eventually I answered that I’d use it to become a better person.

Thinking on this…. I HAVE all the agency in the world. That’s not something anyone can control, change or take away from me – only I have the power to do that.

Which gives me all the power on the world to do what I said I’d do. And that’s not a power I’ll hand over to someone else, regardless of their intentions.

I need to stop giving away my power. It’s the only thing I can truly control when I keep it as my own.

I needed that challenge. And I was able to use that to find my calm once again. And my power to become that thing I want to be.

I let things be. Kept my post up, and just gave it over to the universe. A friend of mine told me, “The universe gives you only that which you can handle.” I responded that the universe has more faith in me than I do, but there was an important point in that, and one that I do agree with, even if I struggled with in that moment.

And then the most amazing thing happened. Or, rather, person, and things seem to be progressing in a way I never though I’d see.

I had asked for help, and held unrealistic expectations of others. It was never about them, however. Those expectations were based on my own disappointment in myself and my situation. Once I let go of that disappointment, as well as the expectations of others, things have changed quickly. People have taken my call out seriously and I have found myself surrounded by more support than I had hoped for. There are still those in my corner that hold silence, which is disappointing, but I hold no grudge towards anyone. No one can possibly know how the situation truly feels, and I hope they are never in a position to fully understand – which would mean being in my situation. There are those that do understand it, because they’ve been through a similar experience already. And I have never held more compassion, empathy and understanding for them than I do now.

It’s hard to accept help. Harder than asking for it, especially after the disapproval of some people. But people find themselves in situations, sometimes, and need a leg up. This time, it’s us. Now that help has been incoming, I find myself wanting to offer things to pay them back – knowing full well that we’re not able to. It’s been difficult to say “yes” to the help offered – but I have been. I’m breaking out of old habits and routines, and finding a new way to be.

And once I’m able, I’ll find way to pay it forward again.

The universe knows my gratitude, my fear, my uncertainty and my feelings of personal failure. And I’m learning to trust it to catch me with grace as I’m falling, so that I can later catch others with that same grace and help them back up.

It feels similar to performing the “Angel Walk” at the end of the YTT training during graduation. I may have been short 10 hours from a signed certificate, but I graduated in so many other ways than I ever could have expected.

I reached out for help. And now, I’m learning to accept it with gratitude, and no expectation.

Break the Cycle

We all live by certain patterns in our lives, many of which have been learned from childhood. Some of these patterns are normal day-to-day life and have no positive or negative effect – they just are how we go about our day. Other patterns, though, can be detrimental to our state of health and happiness, and we find ourselves stuck in a self-fulfilling cycle of repetition.

That cycle will keep repeating, if we let it. The only way off of that train is to break the cycle, or pattern.

But isn’t that easier said than done.

We’ll take an example of my own that I have to break time and time again. Before I actually started to break the habit, though, I was stuck in a downward spiral where the habits and patterns were getting worse and causing more problems each time I went around.

In most cycles there are five stages we go through before repeating the pattern again, and we’re going to use my own weight loss sabotage for an example.

Stage 1: Denial of the problem, or placing blame elsewhere, with no intention to change.

When someone is living in a cycle, they may deny that there’s any behavior that needs to change at all. They aren’t aware that there’s an issue.

I  knew I was a bit on the bigger side, but didn’t think it was a problem. My cholesterol levels and bloodwork all came back normal, so I figured I was just fine. I also had troubles with my knee after breaking it, and had been wanting a consult with a specialist in order to get help. I had nothing but problems with doctors not believing there was an issue beyond my weight, however, and I had many, many terrible confrontations with physicians who refused to help me. I didn’t want to visit another doctor – my anxiety for visiting a physician over rode any concern for my weight. So I decided to just be happy where I was.

Other examples that I’ve heard from others include:

  “I don’t cook, so I can’t eat healthier.”

                “I’m too stressed to think about this now.”

                “I’d rather be fat and happy than skinny and miserable.”

                “I travel too much and don’t have time to cook.”

If you really consider the options above, they are easily passed over without taking responsibility for action – my own example included. All I had to do was look at the BMI chart to know something was wrong – and I did, but decided that doctors were on glue. I was well over the obese range, but figured it wasn’t a big deal. To be fair, I still consider the BMI chart a bit “out there”, because people can’t really all be lumped into the same category. However, there’s a difference between a little overweight, and morbidly obese…. and I was in the morbidly obese range on that dreaded chart. I didn’t have just a few pounds to lose – I had roughly 110 pounds to get to a healthy weight for the type of build I have.

And the signs that it was affecting my health were all there. I was short of breath, I hurt everywhere, all of the time. I didn’t fit into any of my plus sized clothes. I was self conscious, I felt terrible and I was exhausted all of the time. I stressed when it came time to going out and doing anything because I couldn’t find anything that I thought made me looked good enough – even new clothes. Despite the signs, though, I wasn’t ready to accept there was an issue.

And what about the other excuses that are presented above?

                Every single one can be argued. It depends on your desire for change, the reasons for that change, and your willingness to look at options and act on them. Without wanting to break out of that cycle – you won’t. Without being aware of that cycle, you won’t even know to want to break out of it. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as you’re ok with it. But if you’re NOT ok with remaining in the same habits and routine – then perhaps that’s something to carefully consider and figure out the reasons why you stay in it.

Stage 2: Aware of the problem without action.

And then something makes you wake up to the behavior in question. You start seeing things that you may not like. You become aware of it – but don’t do anything about it except watch.

Over time I realized that there was a real problem with my weight. I realized that my husband couldn’t really wrap my hands around me comfortably, and I was horribly aware of hands on the folds on my back whenever anyone put their hands on my back or gave me a hug. I didn’t want to be hugged anymore (and I’m a hugger!!). I was uncomfortable. I hated photos of myself. I couldn’t fit into new pants I had bought not that long ago. And I started looking at what is considered a “normal” weight range – and even the highest range of the “overweight” category was 60 pounds less than what I weighed at the time. That’s not so much weight, right? But it was, on my short 5’2” frame.
And the more aware of it I became, the more stressed it made me, and the more comfort food I turned to – making the situation even worse.

Step 3: Making the resolution to change.

For many people, New Year’s is the time for resolutions. For those keen on making changes in their lives to find a way to be happier, however, they become resolved in that moment to make a change.

For me, I did just that. I hurt so bad that I’d cry getting out of bed in the morning. I felt terrible, had no energy, and simply had enough. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I decided to make the change, and started looking into the best ways for me to do that.
Short-Determination-Quotes-and-Status

Step 4: Making the change

This is where people jump into a new habit or behavior and become hyper aware of it, focused on making the new habit “stick”. They may set reminders, or make appointments, or leave sticky notes. They take the steps needed to make that change that they’ve resolved to.

I decided to start light. I started trying to eat healthier. For exercise, I began with yoga asanas every day. They were enough, and I hurt just from a short 10 minute practice. But I did it, and when I felt I could add a little more, I started using the Wii Fit a little bit each day when I felt able. And then I started to walk around the block. Yes, just one block. It hurt every damned day, and I was taking handfuls of OTC meds to get through it, but I did it. I started looking into diets, nutrition and options for weight loss, but I didn’t just jump on any bandwagon. I researched it carefully before making any big decisions or changes.

Step 5: Maintaining new habits

This step is one of promise and hope. The one where people have been living their change in behavior or habits and are able to sustain their new way of living.

With the new determination, also came new levels of pain. I was struggling. I was hesitant to visit another GP, so I visited Natural Health Services and was able to get a prescription for medical marijuana, which helped me push past pain. I struggled with dosing at first, but I was able to find a happy balance to keep moving forward. While it helped with the pain, however, my knee was collapsing to the side, and I was concerned about damaging it further. This was one of the issues that had held me back for so long, so in order to keep moving forward I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting the integrity of the joint at further risk of injury.

In my resolve to get help, I made an appointment to see a doctor in order to get a referral to a specialist. The appointment went terribly. I felt judged, dehumanized and unsupported. I was demoralized. And this is the step I’d normally get to.

Step 6: Relapse

Things happen, and life gets in the way. Something derails that track that people are on with their new habits, and they fall out of their new routine and back into old behaviors. Sometimes there’s no real reason for it, and other times external factors come into play to influence it.

This is where I’d repeat my cycle. This is the defining moment in my own cycle that I’d normally start over again, and decide that I was fine with how I was and go back to where I was comfortable so I didn’t have to deal with the anxiety, the dehumanizing treatment or the ridicule.

Back to Step 1?

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Or…..

 

Break Free!

Does your pattern repeat, or do you break free from it and continue your new life?

This time I didn’t fall back into old patterns. This time I pushed forward, because I wanted to feel better. I was definitely not feeling hopeful, but I pushed through my dismay. I bought a weight scale. I knew I had lost some weight at this point, but I made a goal to lose another 90 pounds, which would put me on the high end of the “normal” range on the BMI chart. Soon after that dreaded appointment, I received a post card in the mail for a new clinic in Leduc, and decided to give them a try. My anxiety was so high that she asked me how I was doing and I started to cry. Funny, how anxiety works. She was compassionate and could see that I was sincerely struggling. She commended my use of marijuana and sent the referral for the specialist before I even left the clinic. I had been trying to get this referral for 2 years without success, and suddenly I had renewed hope. She also send me with a prescription for a psychologist, should I choose to use it (also on my request, because I was not feeling very capable at the time). I left in higher spirits than I had in a long time. I continued with the new routine, slowly building up on it.

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60 lbs down in this photo – wearing the exact same outfit in both.

It’s been nearly two years since my resolution to change. It’s been about one year since that appointment with a physician that took me seriously enough to help me move forward. It did take awhile to build those new habits and routines, but I’m doing it. I’ve solidly lost 65 pounds and am still working on my progress. I’m still partaking in physiotherapy to increase strength to keep my knee from collapsing, which it no longer does. I frequent the  gym daily, have taken up martial arts training, can outrun most people I know now, am underway with yoga teacher training, and rarely even need to use the marijuana for pain relief. I don’t use it recreationally, so it goes untouched for longer periods of time. It used to be taken every morning and evening – but now I use it maybe once a week. Sometimes once every two weeks.

When something else came up last summer that threatened my new routine, I called in the psychology card – I was NOT going back to that place again. I was NOT starting my old habits again. As difficult as it was for me to make that phone call, it was an important phone call to make, and one that I don’t regret to this day. The therapist I found fits me well, and he has given me valuable tools to keep out of the cycle I have gone back to way too many times.

If it hadn’t been for that one physician to treat me like a person, I’m not sure I could have come this far. I still attend that same clinic, although with a different doctor because she moved to a different location. He is just as compassionate, though, and I no longer experience anxiety walking into that clinic. Sometimes you just have to find the right care team.

 

Cycles CAN be broken. New habits CAN be maintained. Change CAN happen.

 

You don’t fail until you give up.

 

Sometimes it’s a lot of work, but if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen.

 

Find your big enough reason why.

 

You’ve got this.

 

With love.

A Day Off

It’s not often that I truly take a day off of everything. A day to sit. Binge watch movies. Eat junk food. Ignore the dishes and any responsibilities on my plate. I can’t actually remember the last time I had a real day off. I’ll say I’m taking a day off, but then just sneak in that one thing. When my husband calls me on it, I just smile sweetly and own it. What I get done today is one thing I don’t have to do tomorrow, right?

That’s a bad excuse to ignore my own needs, and sometimes what I really need is downtime.

The last couple of weeks I was supposed to have off in order to focus on visiting friends and family and get a big dent in my studies, but it didn’t happen that way. Which is typical, but I was ok with it. I saw people, but absolutely no homework got done and all of the visiting and food choices made me tired. I’m a creature of habit, afterall, and I’m completely off my normal schedule and routine and have been eating terribly. Which all tires me even faster.

Yesterday I decided to just nope. I barely moved. I snuggled into a blanket with my sick husband next to me and binged watched movies and napped. I didn’t practice any of my normal healthy habits. I didn’t keep track of my food intake. I didn’t clean or even cook. I took a full, complete day off of all things and responsibilities except to feed the animals. Anything else just wasn’t on my radar.

I’m going to be completely honest with you – and I want you to be honest with yourself as you read.

I had always been the queen of excuses. It’s the way I was raised and it’s just what I knew. I was raised thinking that I needed an excuse for anything I did, any decision I made and everything I may be questioned about. I took a lesson from my parents, who always had a reason for their actions, especially when I knew that the reasons they gave others weren’t the same reasons I knew they had. I couldn’t just be and live. This goes for things I did, as well as those things I didn’t do. Didn’t want to go to the gym that day? I wanted to buy something I couldn’t realistically afford? I wanted to ditch my responsibilities and go play? I failed to meet a deadline or expectation? I had an excuse for everything and I managed to believe they were all good ones. Most of the time I was able to convince others that they were good excuses, too. It all depends on your own conviction, and if you’re convinced that your reasoning is sound then nothing will change your mind on the matter. Nothing – except for you.

I would be blamed or questioned on anything I did, so I was always armed with an answer. It used to be that when I wanted a relaxing, lazy day off, I had to have a good reason for it. But that reason would always be legit – I didn’t actually lie. But that doesn’t mean it was necessarily a good reason for anything – but it was a reason that made me feel better to have. Either I was sick or my leg hurt or something something. I’d find a reason to justify my day of nothing so I wouldn’t feel guilty for not getting anything done. My reason was more for me than for anyone else.

Why would anyone else really care that I achieved nothing in a day? That was an insecurity of my own and a somewhat irrational fear of judgement from others. The reality is that no one else really cares because they have their own things to focus on and their own excuses to make for their own choices. This was an insecurity I came by legitimately, but it’s not one that I needed to keep in my life. I’m happy to finally be able to shrug off some of these insecurities, including that one.

There’s always something to do, always someone to answer to, always something to look into or learn or buy or make or clean or fix or change or move. Sometimes you have to look beyond the reasons you give for something and find a counter argument. One of the things I hear from people the most is how they can’t find time for something important to them – but most of all for themselves.

Can’t? Or won’t? You get to make your priorities, and if you don’t make yourself a priority, who else will?

I don’t have time for me. I have to cook, clean, answer emails, feed the animals, clean the fishtank, renovate the basement, pay the bills, get the kids to school, go get groceries, make bread, paint a portrait, go to my other work, learn kung-fu and save the world. [Insert anything I else probably missed, too.]

I have spoken with many people about this, and am always able to find holes in their argument. And that’s because I had to do it with my own argument, too. I know the excuses, the reasons and the fears. The biggest thing holding any of us back is our own way of thinking and the choices we make in order to keep our excuses legit.

List those things you want to do the most, but don’t feel you have time to do. Then make a list of absolute necessities that need your attention in a day and assign a time frame to each of them. Add up that time and see what you have left. (And if you are surprised at how much time you have left and you don’t know where that time goes, take a look at your phone app history.) If there’s no time left for you to fit in something important to you, maybe it’s a good time to reassess your daily tasks. Your priorities are what you make them to be, and I don’t believe that there is any reason in the world that you can’t make time for yourself, unless you don’t want to.

That’s when the question changes.

Then the question is: What is it about yourself that you dislike so much that you can’t find a reason to spend time with yourself, for the sake of it instead of for the need of it?

That’s a big, sometimes messy answer to find, and a hard truth to face.

But let me tell you. There’s nothing quite like taking a day off just because I want to. I don’t need a reason or excuse beyond that. There’s nothing quite like making choices because it’s just what I want to do, and not because of any excuse I feel I need to make. I didn’t take the day off because I was tired, deserving, sick or entitled.

I just wanted to. And THAT’S power of decision making that I’m glad is finally in my control.

Today is still a day of nothing. I had leftover pizza for breakfast, I’m watching cheesy movies while I type this and a cup of hot chocolate with rum before noon with nibbles from Terry’s Chocolate Orange. These are old habits that I never do anymore, and I just wanted to live them today. Tomorrow I’ll be purging sugar from my system again with healthier food choices, I’ll be up early to practice my yoga poses before making a high protein breakfast for my dear husband and I before heading to the gym together. All good habits are game on again tomorrow, because that’s also what I want to do. I get to make that choice, and despite what others think sounds like a pretty miserable way of being, I actually enjoy living that way. I feel great with my routine and those habits I’ve formed, and I love having the ability to make these choices. But today I’m enjoying a day of blissful, lazy irresponsibility. I have no excuse for it, nor do I need one.

Whatever you choose to do, enjoy every moment of it for whatever reasons you decide to do it for without feeling the need to justify it!

See you next year!

In kindness and loving breath,

Krystal

 

From Fat to Fab! The Start of an Incredibly Healthy Journey.

I’ve been asked if I’m ok. I’ve dropped Facebook, my website is still not finished, my taxes are still underway. What has the Krystal been doing this whole time?

This is a long post about misinformation, misinformed individuals, Juice Plus, healthy eating and research. There are links hidden everywhere in this post. If you’re serious about your health, I hope this post can help you start delving into the world of information. It’s a huge task, and it’s extra hard to figure out where to start. If you want one starting place – check out the documentaries listed towards the bottom. From there, you can ask questions and research the people and the articles that come up in those documentaries. It’ll lead you down a rabbit hole. Also note that I welcome honest and logical debate. I like science. I’m not an expert, so perhaps I’m reading into this wrong. I’ll admit that’s the case if you can show me otherwise – but please don’t comment with rage and name calling. We’re all grown up here, because I highly suspect that kids will not be interested in reading this. Hell, you may not be, either, and skip out early because you just don’t care. And that’s ok! You don’t have to. But for those of you who do, and are on a similar search for health, please do extensive research on any diet program or supplements before taking part. A lot of the information they sell you on is pseudo-science and heavily biased to make it sounds better than it really is. More on all of this below…..

obesity-is-preventable_52fc767facaae_w1500 (1)I’ve made the decision to be healthy. Losing weight has always been a struggle for me, and any time I go see a physician of any kind I’m told that I need to lose weight. Because of my knee break in 2009, I’ve struggled with chronic pain ever since and the most I’m told is “lose weight – you’re fine”. This has been a circular cause of intense frustration that often leads me to diving headlong into hobbies and work, which causes a downward spiral of not having enough time to take proper care of myself, which means more pain, which means less movement, which is even more pain and there’s less desire to do normal daily activities, like cook properly. And so the spiral continues downward. This has not been fair to me, and I’ve made the firm decision to make myself and my health a focus. This, of course, leads to less time online and at the computer, and more time going for walks, dancing in the park, swimming, and reading up on nutrient values and healthy lifestyles.

The things I’ve found on my journey so far have been mind blowing and overwhelming, and the sneaky ways that people are directed to take sides on any matter are becoming more and more obvious to me, and I understand why people become so confused when looking for the exact answers that I’m looking for.

Netflix currently has several documentaries on society’s current lifestyle habits, including eating. There’s a huge discrepancy in the things we learn about food and some of the research available. There are many blogs and opinions and information regarding food, obesity and healthy eating. Trying to sort out what’s reliable information vs what’s not has been hard, and while I can’t say that I’m any kind of expert on the matter, what I CAN say with confidence is that there are too many people with a secret agenda, and it’s likely to cause more harm than good in many cases.

Another documentary called “(Dis)Honesty – The Truth about Lies” takes this concept even further in regards to ethics and morals, with experiments they’ve conducted regarding honesty. Their study showed dismal results when people were enticed to lie for cash. And it’s contagious. There are game referees, parents, politicians, students and more who lie for self-serving purposes, and the more they lie the easier it gets and the more they do it. And when one person lies, it suddenly becomes reasonable for someone else to lie, too. Researchers are no different. Given the right dollar amount, the results of their tests may very easily be swayed, which not only has a major impact on what we know, but also on how regulations are made and how we are fed, clothed and generally governed. Researchers were once paid to endorse tobacco as healthy and non-addictive – it seems that sugar and beef are the new kinds tobacco. What information is reliable and honest?

This is what I’m trying to find out, and this is where the majority of my time has been spent.

Using the information I’ve learned, I’ve created a morning routine that really does take until the afternoon to finish. Exercises, food prep, logging – the morning has become just mine. Physicians tell me that “all I need to do is eat fewer calories than you expend”. The problem with this is that it’s just not that easy – it doesn’t work that way for me. I can expend more calories, but STILL pack on the pounds regardless. Perhaps my body doesn’t like the science. I’ve been on this path before, again and again, and never has it been as easy as they tell me it is. “Oh, just stop drinking pop.” Well…. I don’t drink pop. So that’s not the problem. But there ARE problems in my eating habits – or, rather, WERE problems. I’ve been armed with knowledge, and I’m on a mission to succeed.

This time will be different, and that’s because I’m armed with previous experiences and the knowledge I’ve earned at each trial.awareness

I question everything. All things. Even things from physicians, politicians and governing bodies. Especially from those, in fact. I would love to say that I trust people enough that I know that the information they pass on to the public is unaltered and unfiltered – I’d love to know that it’s unbiased knowledge getting passed around so that people could help others and we could all grow and live stronger together.

Sadly, that’s just not the case. So many individuals and companies state they want to help you – but their pockets seem to get pretty well insulated at the same time that we find ourselves struggling with the information they give to us. I truly believe that people start with the best of intentions, but intentions get waylaid with temptation.

The Canadian Obesity Network held a conference sponsored by McDonald’s and Coca-cola. Those aren’t exactly “healthy” corporations. Researchers are funded by Kellog’s and Coco-cola and other major corporations. A sugar manufacturing company is in collaboration with cereal companies to alter test results to sound healthy. These things are not ok, but have happened – and continues to happen. It’s time to make properly informed decisions, and that’s what I’m currently doing. But man, does it ever take a lot of reading and sorting out information.

Children are not only being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but are dying from heart failure and other complications. Part of the problem is that this was expected – George McGovern wrote a report in 1977 that acknowledged the obesity problem and advised that obesity in Americans would skyrocket within 10 years.

And he was right.

In 1977!! Why is this still an issue? See more on that report by clicking here.

People look at buzz words on the packaging. “Reduced sugar” “Fat Free” “Gluten Free” – sounds great, right? But what if “fat free” has twice the sugar? What if “reduced sugar” means that they’ve used a different kind of sugar that’s in a different area on the label? Or have only reduced it by such a small amount that it makes little difference? Too much sugar in any form – including natural sugar in fruit and vegetables – can still cause a spike in sugar levels which can lead to obesity if eaten in excess amounts. Reading labels is great, but what if you don’t know what half of the ingredients are?

Artificial and natural sweeteners are still sweeteners – most are still a sugar in some form, and they all still need to be monitored.

One thing I’ve learned to do is read labels – not just the ingredients like I used to do, but the nutritional content. It’s amazing what you find once you start combining these things.

juiceplusI recently won a door prize that I’m super grateful for. I love when small businesses can support each other, and this was at such an event. I know that the best of intentions came with it and the business owner strongly believes in the product. As usual, though, I was skeptical, and of course I looked into it. Juice Plus is self-labeled as a “plant-based, vegan, gluten free, non-dairy, non-gmo, fat-free, cholesterol-free natural whole food sourced shake mix supplement that provides a delicious, healthy burst of nutrients in every scoop.”

Sounds great, right?? Actually…. no. Everything I read about eating healthy is to go for whole foods. Not “whole food sourced”. This is a perfect example of playing with words to make something sound better than it is. “Whole food based” does not mean it’s a whole food. It comes from whole foods – but so does sugar, and candies, and many processed foods. It’s the processing of these foods that lose their nutritional value, and “minimally processed” is STILL processed.

The small business owner spoke for the group today, and she shared some excellent information, including a trailor for “Fed Up” – another documentary currently found on Netflix that has a lot of excellent information. Her talk included touching on label reading and to avoid packaged foods that had more than 6 ingredients listed and anything over 6 g of sugar. In fact, the documentary she showed directed you to the same kind of information.

Juice plus contains 11 grams of sugar per serving, and lists 26 ingredients.

And then, while she’s mixing up smoothies for the group, she mentions that the sugar has been removed in the processing, and when someone asked if you could have this mix for breakfast, she replied “yes”.

Wait…. what? Sugar have been removed in the processing….. yet they’re stated on the bag. And I thought this was “minimally processed”. Also, the bag and everything online and research studies state that this product is a supplement – this does NOT indicate a meal replacement.

I’m not sure if it was just nerves, or what – but incorrect information was just passed onto numerous people, who might take that home and tell other people, who also pass it on. Information often gets lost in translation, but when that information is already incorrect to begin with, even more chaos ensues.

And if you look closer, there are also these little tidbits, including one that’s linked off their main page:
California requires the following notice: “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Adverse effects and conflicts of interest: Adverse effects of Juice Plus have been mentioned in three studies,[14][35][60] No monitoring of adverse effects was reported in other published Juice Plus studies. The first of these studies (in 2000) reported adverse effects (upper-respiratory tract, urinary, and musculoskeletal) in roughly a third of the participants who took the products for 7 days; these events resolved spontaneously and were deemed unlikely to have derived from use of Juice Plus.[14] Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center noted[25] that in the second of these studies,[35] some subjects who took Orchard Blend and Garden Blend developed a hive-like rash. In the third study, from 2007, some subjects withdrew due to gastrointestinal distress, possibly caused by the Juice Plus regimen (a combination of Orchard Blend, Garden Blend, and Vineyard Blend).[60] In addition a medical case report[61] was published in which Juice Plus was identified as the probable cause of liver toxicity (hepatic inflammation) in a 51-year-old female patient with endometrial cancer. The liver injury was reversed upon discontinuation of Juice Plus.

Conflicts of interest in studies
In a critique of Juice Plus,[2] consumer health advocate and alternative medicine critic Stephen Barrett of MLM Watch remarked upon the previous association between two authors of a 1996 Juice Plus research study [13] and United Sciences of America, Inc. (USAI), a multilevel marketing company that sold vitamin supplements with illegal claims that they could prevent many diseases.[62][63][64][65][66][67] In 1986, lead author John A. Wise, who later co-authored several other Juice Plus research studies,[32][33][34][35][39] was USAI’s Executive Vice-President of Research and Development; and second author Robert J. Morin was a scientific advisor who helped design the products. State and federal enforcement actions[62][63][64][65][66][67] drove USAI out of business in 1987.[62][64][67] Wise became a consultant to Natural Alternatives International (NAI) in 1987 and a company executive (Vice-President of Research and Development) in 1992. Barrett noted that Wise was also an NAI shareholder and that production of Juice Plus for National Safety Associates (NSA) was responsible for 16% of NAIs sales in 1999.

NSAs Juice Plus website cites various research articles in support of the company’s marketing claims about the biological effects of Juice Plus, maintaining that these “studies were conducted by independent researchers” at various universities.[68] Several of the studies were co-authored by Wise [13][32][34][35][39][69] and Morin.[13][69]

O.J. Simpson
University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter[26] and MLMWatch[2] also commented on the unreliability of Juice Plus testimonials provided by former professional athlete O.J. Simpson. Simpson, known commonly as “O.J.” and “The Juice”,[70] signed a multi-year six-figure contract with NSA in January 1994 and became an official celebrity endorser of Juice Plus. In March 1994, Simpson was videotaped telling 4,000 Juice Plus distributors at a sales meeting that the product had cured his arthritis, improved his golf game, and freed him from using anti-arthritic drugs.[2][71][72][73] However, regarding the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, for which Simpson was tried and acquitted, Simpson claimed in his defence that he was too incapacitated by arthritis to have committed the murders[2][26] and had continued to take the anti-inflammatory drug sulfasalazine.[2][74][75][76][77] As a result of the controversy surrounding Simpson, NSA cancelled his endorsement contract and stopped using the Simpson videotape to promote Juice Plus.[25][26]

Juice Plus Children’s Research Foundation
The Juice Plus Children’s Research Foundation (JPCRF),[78] founded in 1997, is a non-profit medical research organization (NTEE code H99)[79] whose stated goal is to initiate and/or support programs that advance the principle that improved nutrition leads to healthier lifestyle and overall better health in children. The foundation is chaired by executives of National Safety Associates and operates from the company’s head office in Collierville, Tennessee. In fiscal year 2007, the majority of funds donated to the foundation were disbursed to Volunteers of America (a faith-based social welfare organization) and to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Memphis.[80]

The Foundation’s website shows results of an ongoing customer survey (The Juice Plus Children’s Health Study) which suggests a link between Juice Plus consumption and a general improvement in diet and lifestyle habits. The University of California Berkeley Wellness Letter and Stephen Barrett of MLM Watch questioned the survey’s scientific value, and claimed that the Foundation is being used mainly as a marketing gimmick to get families to buy Juice Plus products.[4][81] Barrett’s organization Quackwatch includes the JPCRF among its list of “Questionable ‘Research’ Entities”.[82]”

To see the associated links and more information, click here.

The highest recommended daily sugar intake according to the American Heart Association is 25 grams per day. One serving of this smoothie powder is nearly half the recommended daily amount – it’s not hard to see how quickly that would add up.

When listing ingredients, it is government regulation to list in order of highest quantity to lowest. The cosmetic industry is no different. The ingredients listed on the package I received are as follows:

Ingredients

Natural Sweetener blend (organic dried cane juice, stevia)
When I questioned the amount of sugar in the blend I was told that it had a lower glycemic index. This is something I hear often, but when I ask them what that means, the best answer I’ve heard was that is was healthier. Ok, but how? This is something I’ve looked at before, so I already know the answer. High glycemic foods cause an insulin spike, which transfers sugars into cells (which results in a sugar crash). Low glycemic foods will release sugars slowly into the system, keeping insulin levels more balanced. The glycemic index in a case such as this would have to be reduced fairly significantly in order to impress me – but it doesn’t, because the option they chose to replace white sugar with is not much different than white sugar to begin with.

There is little difference between cane sugar and white sugar. Cane sugar is less processed – but barely, and white sugar comes from either cane sugar or sugar beets. The glycemic index for white sugar is 63 , for cane sugar juice is 43, and for stevia is 0. So yes, the glycemix index is lower than with white sugar, but excess amounts can still cause a spike in blood sugar. There are two other problems with this, however. One of those is that stevia is listed in a blend, and shows as the last on the blend. That blend is the highest quantitative ingredient listed, but there’s nothing to show how much difference there is between the two ingredients. It could make up only 2% – or even less – of the blend, which would reduce cost for the manufacturer and is a sneaky way to make the list look healthier than it probably is.

While stevia is touted as safe on labels, there are reports of GI symptoms by many people who have eaten highly processed stevia products. It can be irritating to the stomach and digestive system. It can also has a negative effect on those being treated with diabetes and those using blood pressure medication.

Sugar is sugar – even if it has a lower glycemic index, moderation needs to be followed.

Natural gums (Arabic, guar, xanthan)

Arabic gum, or acacia gum, is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of the acacia tree and is used as a stabilizer in food. It may cause an increase in serum cholesterol in some people. Most of the uses for this ingredient in food is to prevent or reduce the crystallization of sugar and as an emulsifier. It is also promoted as a dietary fiber and thought to be a valuable pre-biotic, stimulating the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Guar gum, or guaran, is the ground endosperm of guar beans. It prolongs shelf life and acts as a thickening agent.

Xanthan gum is used in for as a thickening agent.

Plant Cellulose
Plant cellulose is an insoluble dietary fiber extracted by plants – often from tree bark. This has been the cause of much controversy and discussion amongst experts and public opinion. It is used in the food industry as an inexpensive, but health-friendly, filler. it helps the digestive process by absorbing water, which adds bulk and moisture to the stool and helps prevent constipation. Cellulose consists of about 1/3 of all the fiber in all vegetables.

Rice bran

Rice bran is a nutrient rich by-product of rice processing. It is most likely stabilized rice bran, since unstabilized rice bran has a tendency to go rancid. It is a source of fiber and other essential nutrients

Natural flavors

Natural flavors are used when a company does not want to give a proprietary secret away. According to legislation, there are numerous ingredients that may be listed as such if they are used in a small enough amount. Did you know that this proprietary method of secret keeping can also lead to hidden ingredients, since it can be argued that a certain questionable ingredient is part of the flavor. This is an ingredient that’s high on my personal red-flagged list.

fruit and vegetable blend (Ancient Grain Blend (broccoli sprout, alfalfa sprout, radish sprout, organic amaranth, organic quinoa, organic millet), Proprietary powder blend (pumpkin powder, pomegranate powder, spirulina powder, yucca powder))

A nice, wholesome list of nutrient-rich vegetable powders. Too bad there’s more sugar that the stuff that’s actually good for you.

calcium citrate

Calcium citrate is a compound made from the calcium salt of the citric acid and is an absorbable form of calcium that often comes from citrus juices. It acts as a calcium supplement as well as a food additive and preservative.

tricalcium phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate is used widely in both cosmetic and food manufacturing industries. It is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid and helps increase the calcium content of foods.

Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate also helps you to achieve minimum daily calcium amounts. It comes from limestone, marble or sedimentation of crushed marine shells.

sodium chloride

Sodium chloride is salt.

Maltodextrin

Maltodextrin is a thickening agent used in foods to add viscosity to items such as pudding, canned fruits and protein shakes. While is does not have a sweet taste, it has similar chemical properties to sugar. It is made from rice, potatoes or corn starches.

soy and sunflower lecithin

soy and sunflower lecithin are waste products of soy oil production. It is used as an emulsifier to keep water and fats from separating. It is extracted from soy beans using toxic substances such as hexane. It is then bleached to remove the brownish to yellow hue.

The first two sets of ingredients are sugar and thickening agents, which make up most of our protein shake mix. As someone aiming to eat a whole-food, mostly plant-based diet, this isn’t a great start.

The combination of ingredients has more overly processed foods in it than it doesn’t – and I believe that anyone who views this kind of product as a “whole” food has been seriously misguided. What worries me, however, is that the people who believe so strongly in this kind of scam are guiding others, and growing in a tidal wave of misinformed health guidance.

People often hear that I’m gearing towards a healthier life and they have all kinds of diet suggestions for me. The thing is, though, is that I don’t want “to diet” – I want to live healthy. Which means that my changes are habit changes, no temporary fixes. I also know my body well enough to know that whatever diet may lose some of my extra pounds, it’ll also make it come back tenfold. I’ve found the lifestyle diet that I want to follow, and while the hardest part of switching to it was habitual, that’s becoming easier and easier. There are amazing options out there that are healthier and just as tasty as what you’re used to.

From the Atkins diet to Whole 30 – there are so many diets that use faulty logic and science to trick people into jumping on their bandwagon of questionable health. People have an unbalanced and unhealthy view of eating and habits, and it’s no wonder they can’t get on the right track. And no wonder why people eat all wrong.

Is the diet I picked “the best one”? Truthfully, I don’t believe there’s any one “best” anything. It entirely depends on the person, their habits and lifestyles and body function. I truly do believe that I have made the best and healthiest decision for myself, however. What works for one person, may not work for another. The “simple” solutions are often so much more complicated than “experts” make it out to be, and just because a product says it’s “reduced salt” doesn’t mean it is low in sodium – just means that it’s not as high as the regular kind. Be careful of buzzwords and question everything.

vegetarianMuch of what I’ve been reading involves vegan and vegetarian options. There are many, many sources that link healthier people to vegetarian lifestyles. While it seems they have not found the specific link between animal protein and obesity, congestive heart failure and other health problems, the results all point to the same conclusion that reduced protein led to healthier personal statistics.

On the other hand, there’s the argument that humans do not require animal protein at all in order to survive. There are a small handful of minerals and nutrients, however, that must be supplemented.

I’m the kind of person that wants the most natural balance I can get. I want to get my nutrients and essential fatty acids from my foods, the way it really should be. If I’m eating properly, there should be little or no need at all for supplements. Sugar is fine to have – in moderation. Fats are fine as well – and also in moderation. Too much fiber can cause issues, too much salt, too much of anything. The dose is the poison, as they say – anything can be toxic if misused. And food is no exception.

Of all the things I’ve read, I’ve finally come to a solution I feel comfortable with. While I’m not cutting meat and animal products out of my life entirely, I’m cutting way back on them. Meat has always been a large part of my lifestyle, so this is a big change for me. I’m avoiding canned foods where I can, since they still contain sugars and salts as preservatives. I’m sticking with actual, real whole foods – the kind that can and do go bad, or sour, or rotten. The boxed and bagged things that sell you on how healthy they are should have warning labels for how unhealthy they aren’t.

This is a journey I am taking for me, because I want to be and deserve to be healthy. I want others to be, as well, and if I’m going to be encouraging to others to take care of themselves and be healthy, then I need to live it myself, and stop being a hypocrite. I encourage so many people to be themselves and enjoy nature and love and self-care, but I haven’t given myself that same respect. That’s why 2017 is for me, however. This is my year, and the year I take control of my life.

What does this mean for Bohemian Alchemist?

I’m just slowing down. But not quitting. Not a chance. I love my job way too much! I just really, really need to do this thing for myself, and it’s taking quite a bit of time and energy.

Want more information? Please keep in mind that there are almost always extreme measures taken in documentaries and media in order to convince you to take one side over another. Please remember that. One of the documentaries listed, for example, used the chemical list in a perfume as an example of “toxic chemicals” used in the formula. What they didn’t mention was how many of those chemicals were naturally occuring components in essential oils – which are used extensively in perfumery. I have NOT watched all of these, yet, but am working my way through. These are currently available on Netflix, but click on the title to bring you to the documentary main page.

Sugar Coated
Hungry For Change
Food MattersFed up
Supernatural
Food, IncCowspiracy
PlantPure NationFat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Vegucated
Addicted to Pleasure
GMO OMG
From Fat to Finish Line
Global Waste

Want more information? Here are some of the links that have been helpful to me. Click on the title.
Please note: Some of the articles listed are only partial summaries, and the full abstracts must be purchased in order to view. I have most, if not all of those listed below. If you’d like more information please contact me.

Sugar and Obesity

Sugar consumption, metabolic disease and obesity: The state of the controversy.
Dietary sugar and body weight: have we reached a crisis in the epidemic of obesity and diabetes?: health be damned! Pour on the sugar.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease risk
Sugar consumption and global prevalence of obesity and hypertension: an ecological analysis.
Effects of sugar intake on body weight: a review.
Starches, Sugars and Obesity
Sugar Intake, Obesity, and Diabetes in India
Cane Sugar Handbook
Manufacturing and refining of raw cane sugar

Artificial Sweeteners

The in vitro effects of artificial and natural sweeteners on the immune system using whole blood culture assays.
Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits
Sweetening agents from natural sources.
Metabolic effects of fructose as a natural sweetener in the physiologic meals of ambulatory obese patients with type II diabetes.
Evaluation of supplementary stevia (Stevia rebaudiana, bertoni) leaves and stevioside in broiler diets: effects on feed intake, nutrient metabolism, blood parameters and growth performance
EFFECTS OF STEVIA REBAUDIANA NATURAL PRODUCTSON RAT LIVER MITOCHONDRIA
CHRONIC ADMINISTRATION OF AQUEOUS EXTRACTOF STEVIA REBAUDIANA (BERT.) BERTONI IN RATS:ENDOCRINE EFFECTS
Chronic administration of aqueous extract of Stevia rebaudiana in rats: renal effects
Effects of chronic administration of Stevia rebaudiana on fertility in rats
Effects of stevia, aspartame, and sucrose on food intake, satiety, and postprandial glucose and insulin levels ☆

Gums

Protective effects of oral arabic gum administration on gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats.
Renal and extrarenal effects of gum arabic ( Acacia senegal )–what can be learned from animal experiments?
Does treatment with gum Arabic affect experimental chronic renal failure in rats?
Acacia gum (Gum Arabic): a nutritional fibre; metabolism and calorific value.
Effects of gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial
Gelatinization of wheat starch as modified by xanthan gum, guar gum, and cellulose gum
TREATMENT OF DIABETES WITH GUAR GUM: Reduction of Urinary Glucose Loss in Diabetics
The prebiotic effects of biscuits containing partially hydrolysed guar gum and fructo-oligosaccharides – a human volunteer study
Properties and applications of xanthan gum
Xanthan gum biosynthesis and application: a biochemical /genetic perspective
Effect of locust bean/xanthan gum addition and replacement of pork fat with olive oil on the quality characteristics of low-fat frankfurters

Plant Cellulose

The relation of cellulose and lignin content to the nutritive value of animal feeds.

Rice Bran

Rice bran: Composition and potential food uses
Functional properties of dietary fibre prepared from defatted rice bran
Rice bran proteins: Properties and food uses
Studies on hypocholesterolemic activity of rice bran oil

More links

4 Ways Juice Plus is Scamming Americans
The Problem with Science Funded by Industry
Juice Plus: A Critical Look
Debunked!: Juice Plus (A Research Review)
Diet Pill Watchdog: Juice Plus
An Unbiased Review of Juice Plus
Is Juice Plus A Scam
http://www.mynetdiary.com/carbs-in-weight-loss.html
http://www.mynetdiary.com/food-diary-for-diabetes.html

The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to test, treat or diagnose health problems or diseases. This information is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.